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Unauthorized Lumberjack

We have a beautiful babbling brook that winds its way through our property eventually draining into the lake. We still have quite a bit of snow in the woods

But close to the lake the snow is almost gone. If you look closely you can see the handy work of our closest neighbour.

Sometime over the winter, our neighbour came for a visit. Somehow they managed to land the tree right on top of another stump!

They must have swam from their lodge on the island across from the far side of our property all the way under the ice to the opening where the brook empties into the lake and chopped this tree down.

I must complement them on their artisanship. Nice even work!

This evening I heard the dogs barking and saw them go flying past my window towards the boathouse. The intruder was back! He/she may be hard to see in this picture, but you are looking at the dark brown wet looking bump on the shore, right in the middle of the picture.

Ed and I walked around to the property next store and creep up to where he/she had been perched. They were already in the water, I guess he/she heard us coming. I got this shot just before the beaver dove and headed for home.

Last Week

Our guild decided to participate in the pillow case challenge. We are making pillow cases to donate to the local women's shelter and the children's aid society. We have a small membership maybe 30 members, but only 15 or so regularly show up for meetings. So far we have made 80 pillow cases! Our goal is 100.

Here are some of the ones I made to deliver to last weeks meeting. 10 in all. Some of the fabrics I had enough of to make 2. Alot of these prints I got on my last trip to Red Deer. The Fabricland there does BOGO on their remnants. Buy 1, Get 1 free.

Elaine and I watched a bunch of the Patsy Thompson quilting CD over the New Years break. In January I had done some samples of the some of the Fast and Free designs. This past week, I took the plunge and finally tried some feathers. I had done a bit of practicing on paper and some nights before I fell asleep I would practice in my head the order of stitching the design.

Here are my first 2 attemps on 8 X 10 inch sandwiches.

I was pretty happy with the results, for a first attempt. My individual feathers are a bit thin and droopy, but I was able to keep them consistent and pretty much sew over the line of the previous stitching. Will try another sample where I make the feather fatter and a little more upright.


Cube Quilting

Earlier this year I took the Patchwork Illusions class on Quilt University with Karen Combs. These are the blocks, just thrown up on the design wall.

After playing with them, I came up with this arrangement.

And here is the quilt all ready for the quilting.

Now I am taking the More Patchwork Illusions class on Quilt University. The first week was drawing the cubes using traditional blocks. This week is a review of colour theory for making cubes. Hopefully the class will pick up soon and we will actually get around to making some.


Couple of things from last fall

I made myself a couple of quilted bags last spring/summer. When my mother saw them, she went through her fabric stash and asked me to make a beach bag from her fabric.

I finished it just in time before they left for Florida in November.

Also this last November at our fall retreat, we got together with the group I am doing the Round Robin with.

Here is my center block.

Its 16" square. The 6 other members of the exchange will each add a 4 inch border. So far I have done 3 rounds for the other lady's quilt. We are all going to be together at our May retreat and we will get to see the progress on all of the blocks except our own. 4 rounds will have been completed by then. We then have the summer and fall to the do the last 2 rounds and then the owners will get their quilt back at the November retreat.


Long Absence

I have been busy and got out of the blogging habit.

I have been taking some Quilt University classes lately and realized I had stuff to boast about!

Here is a project I just finished. Its from the 2 Fabric Appliqué class by Nancy Chong. I realized I needed some help with my needle turn appliqué, so I thought this class would help. I also used this small project to learn a new free motion quilting pattern.

Here is the close-up of my quilting. The arcs still need work, but I am happy with this as a first attempt. And my appliqué skills have improved!


Dunchurch Fair

Well, I had a very successful fair!

My blue quilt I finished binding a couple of hours before the fair entries had to be in, won first prize for machine quilting and grand champion quilt. It will go on to represent our fair at the district championships!

I submitted crafty bear in the machine peicing category, but the judges reclassified it to the lap quilt class, not big enough in their books to be a "quilt". Oh well, it won first prize as a lap quilt.

My flimsy halloween quilt won third prize in its quilt top class.

The tote bag I made for our trip to the UK this spring recieved a 3rd place.

When I moved back to Canada I did not have a dressy winter coat so I made a full length wool winter coat, but have hardly worn it, cuz its just too warm! I had noticed in the fair there was a class for jackets and coats so I put it on my list of entries. When we zoomed up to the fair minutes before the entries had to be in, I completely forgot about taking it. The ladies setting up the hall said they would be there for another 15-20 minutes, so I sped home, grabbed the coat out of the front hall closet and flew back. And good thing I did.

It won first prize for coats/jackets and it won the judges choice for the fair. Amazing.

And Ed put in 7 different articles in the floral classes and got ribbons for 5 of them.

Next local fair is Magnetewan in 2 weeks. Have to get hold of that fair program to see what I can submit there. Then McKellar in 3 weeks.


Getting ready for the fall fairs

Its almost time for the fall fairs and I am spending a ton of time quilting. Trying to get my entries ready. The first fair is August 20th weekend and then there is a fair each weekend for the next 3 weeks running all within a 1/2 hour drive of us.

This is one of the mystery quilts we did in 2008. Here is a picture of it, just after I completed the piecing.

I am quilting it on my Singer 301. The fabrics have silver stars and snowflakes on them. On the large light blue unpieced sections I am quilting a large snowflake in royal blue. I am stippling the rest of the quilt in a silver/grey.

Of course I have to work around my helpers. Well at least my feet do!


And the strange weather continues

It started last summer, cool and wet. We live on a lake, I only have to walk 100 feet to go swimming and I maybe went in half a dozen times, if that. The water was just too cold. We had a beauty of a fall, but it was to late to warm the lake up enough for swimming.

Then winter never really happened. Well at least not the way we are used to up here. The snowmobile trails were not opened until mid to late January and most of them were closed in early March, especially the ones with lake crossings. I only got out snowmobiling twice this winter!

Now we have completely skipped spring. We had 26C here today. Unheard of for the beginning of April let alone May. The lake is up to 9C. And Ed has already been bitten by mosquitoes.

One good thing about the weather, the riding ring has dried up and the horses have shed most of their winter coats. I actually got out and rode on Good Friday.

In the meantime, I have been busy working on quilting projects. We go to our spring retreat for the April 17th weekend, so I am trying to get as many projects to the assembly stage as possible. Still have a whack of flying geese and HSTs to trim.

One thing we need to have completed for the retreat is our paint chip challenge. The paint chip I drew was Tropical Seaweed Green. The challenge is to create something in the theme of the paint chip name and the colour on the chip must be also used. You may need to shade your eyes to look at this picture of my greens.

The other rule is, the article must have some of its construction executed with a needle and thread (either hand of machine). I am progressing nicely with my article. Can't show anything else as the reveal happens at the retreat.

Two weeks ago I stopped by at Cock a Doodle for a visit with the Friday night sit and sew ladies. I picked up a Miranda bag pattern and of course some other bits and bobs. I made the bag and was using it the next Monday. I did adjust the pattern somewhat, but am quite happy with the results.


One Item on my list is done!

Instead of making a new years resolutions, several of us made a list of quilting projects we wanted to complete in 2010. The first one is done!

I made this lap quilt for David Cain who is currently going through radiation/chemotherapy for head and neck cancer. David is the original owner of the company I perform most of my consulting work through.

It evolved from first deciding on colours through to a design concept that would be very personal for David during the healing process. I choose brown and green earth tones, hoping the colours of the outside world would be soothing for him.

David has been blogging and as I was reading the blog I realized there were a series of words and phrases key to him in this process. I went back and culled through the blog postings and collected these words. Then as I prepared each block I printed the words directly onto the fabric using my printer. Each block has a set of two words or phrases facing each other, always printed on the lighter fabric. The blocks are assembled to create a quilt where there are words/phrases facing in all directions.

Some of the printing is fairly easy to read, some is very subtle. Each block has a different font and a different colour of ink. On the back of the quilt I printed labels with all of the words/phrases printed in black on one of the light batik fabrics.

While I was quilting it, I noticed a face in the batik design. At the time I was watching Leno and think the face somewhat resembles him. The image is on a 2 inch block.

The quilt is all packed up and ready to ship tomorrow.


Today's Escapade

You never know what you are going to encounter when you live in the country.

I was driving west late this afternoon along HWY 124 towards Parry Sound. As I was going up a hill towards the sun, I could see the silohette of a figure coming towards me along the road shoulder. Then I noticed the opposing traffic was moving slowly.

As I got closer, I thought the figure might be a baby moose running along the side of the roadway towards me. Closer still I saw it was a donkey with a rope attached running down the side of the road.

When he got within 50 feet of me, I turned my Rav towards the ditch and blocked his ability to move forward, one of the other drivers figured out what I was doing and jumped out trying to catch him. The other drivers were less than helpful!

The donkey decided to turn and head back the way he came. Luckily he stayed on the shoulder. A pickup truck passed me and then drove along the road at the same speed as the donkey. The dork didn't realize that we needed to create a road block and corner the donkey. So I am driving down the road yelling at the driver ahead of me as well as watching the donkey running in front of me.

After going by several driveways the pickup truck driver could have directed the donkey into, he finally pulled ahead of the donkey and when we came to an unplowed cottagers access road, I was able to get slightly ahead of the donkey and direct him off the highway.

The other helpful driver pulled up behind me and we blocked the donkey's access back to the hwy. He decided to go for a walk up the cottagers access road. I had left my window down on the car and Devon decided to join in on the donkey herding. She was not much help! Although she did stay back, she still spooked him.

I put her securely back in the Rav and then remembered I had a pail of vegetable/fruit scraps I was going to take to the barn and feed to the horses in the car. We caught up with the donkey and while he was interested he still did not trust us. He would get close enough to smell what was in my hands, but not close enough for me to grab the rope attached to his halter. Besides the rope was polyester and would easy pull out of my hands and give me a nasty rope burn at the same time.

After walking a couple of hundred meters up the cottage road, we turned around. Mr. Donkey decided we weren't so bad and followed us back. He stayed right on my hells, but would not let me get near him.

I was only about a kilometre from the barn where I keep my horses, so while the other lady kept an eye on the donkey, I went to get some hay and some grain to see if I could entice him that way.

I ran into the owner of the farm and we gathered up various types of feed, buckets and ropes. When I got back to the donkey, I found him tied to a tree! 3 snowmobilers had come along and they had been able to corner him when there were 4 people.

I approached the donkey and sure enough the head went straight into the grain bucket, although he was not real happy about being touched.

One of the snowmobilers had gone to the farm where he thought the donkey was from. I went back to my car, to resume my trip, realized I had my phone and could take a picture of my new friend.

Just as I was getting ready to leave the owner showed up. The 4 year old donkey had been wild up until this spring when they purchased him. He was still in the process of being "quieted" so their daughter could ride him.

He had crossed the path of the tractor while the owner was snowblowing and the snowblower had sheared his rope. He took the opportunity to explore the neighbourhood.

I resumed my trip into town and was able to just make it the various places in town to run my errands before the sidewalks rolled up at 5.