Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Prime of Life..

Last Sunday, November 22, was my birthday-
My current age is the only prime number in my current decade(or so my mathematically minded husband tells me) so I now can consider myself a Lady in the Prime of Her Life. LOL

My birthday began on Friday, the 20th, with my spouse and I having a delicious dinner at a local restuarant. It was so nice to spend time together talking over a gourmet dinner. On Sunday evening we went to see Bill Cosby- he still has the ability to make people laugh about life's everyday situations.

These lovely flowers came from my educational assistant (P.- thank you so much) How lovely they look on our dining room table, almost a week later. The bouquet is in my favorite colors- pink, purple and green- Don't you love the green pompom flowers in the bouquet?

Sunday was the actual day of my birthday, but it really has felt more like a birthday week, because there were birthday greetings from friends far and near. There were packages from my folks and another friend, with some specially chosen things that they knew that I would love. Today I had lunch with my dear friend V. The thing that I have really enjoyed about this birthday, has been the time I have been able to spend connecting with friends and family. On Sunday, my sister and I had a long conversation on the telephone.

One friend, J. contacted me on Face book - I have known her since I was 6 years old- technically she is my oldest friend(not age wise)but she is the one that I have known the longest. I have known J. since I started school. She and her husband live in Inuvik,N. W. Territories, which is in Northern Canada. Her parents still live in a house on the same street as my parents. My parents moved to their current home in 1963. Some of their neighbours have lived on that same street almost as long as our parents. I think it is a fairly uncommon experience these days, to still have connections to the house in which a person was raised. Most families move around alot more-especially if you live in a town or a city. My folks live in a city of 85,000 people. When I was growing up the city was much smaller- about 25,000. My home town is losing that small town feeling.

Another friend E. sent me a birthday card with a new home email address - we had been out of touch for awhile but we now have a way to reconnect. She lives in Vancouver, the home of the 2010 Winter Olympics. We have been friends since we were teenagers.
This Wonky Rail Tie quilt is officially finished- it does have a label but the camera and I had some difficulties communicating and the photograph was too light to read so I will try again another day. Hopefully I will get to give it to our friends next weekend as it is long overdue.
You may remember that we were decluttering our home - last weekend I spent some time going through some drawers of fabric and craft materials.

While I cleaning, I realized how many different types of crafts that I had experimented with on my journey to becoming a quilter. The list is amazingly long-knitting, crochet, silk ribbon embroidery, regular embroidery, painting silk scarves, playing with fimo, macrame, stamping, cross stitch, rug hooking, weaving on a frame, decoupage and candle making. That does not include sewing, pottery, beading or quilting. I found a baby sweater that I knit for Kevin- he is soon going to be 22. Many of the craft materials that were left, I got rid of, but I did find a few gems in the drawers.

I was surprised to find some quilt blocks and scraps of fabrics from my early quilts-I spread some of them out under the bowls of beads. I found it interesting that so many of my first pieces were blue. I continue to make some blue quilts but I have become much more adventurous in my color choice- or maybe there is just so many more different color/ fabric choices available.

I enjoyed playing with all of these crafts, but these days I have limited time, so my first choice is to quilt. When I don't have enough time to quilt, or feel the need to make something that I can complete quickly, then I will play in the beads.

Do you have other types of crafts that you do besides quilting? Does it feel like playing to you?

Do you think of quilting as a craft or an art?

The beads on the plate are from a bead show that my friend V. and I attended today. They were all made by local artisans. While we were at the show, I ran into a colleague that I had had, when I worked in a pediatric rehab hospital in the mid 1980's. Our son's are the same age and have the same name. It was lovely to see her too.

I wish the photos of the beads had turned out better- the photos are all too light unfortunately. We had a wonderful time playing and touching the gorgeous handmade bits of color.

V. makes gorgeous bracelets and other pieces of jewellry and I bought a few pieces to use to make as gifts for others- and one or two beads for myself.VBG. At lunch,V. gave me a lovely bracelet and earrings for my birthday.( Thank you dear friend- you always find such wonderful things.) You can see them on the cup and saucer. I think the beads are called pod beads and I love wearing them because they lay so nice and flat against one's skin. My new bracelet has such pretty colors- pink and yellow and golden in beautiful swirls.

I placed the beads on a cup and saucer from our china. Barb
had shared her china in a post not long ago. (I wrote about a giveaway that her niece is running on her blog in my last post). I love dishes and these dishes are called Limoge Bridal Wreath. I bought them from a friend more than 20 years ago. They had been her grandmother's. Her grandmother had brought them out west with her at the beginning of the 20th century. We use them on special occasions. They need to be hand washed as they are around 100 years old. Like the other photos, they are not the best but hopefully you can see the pretty pink flowers on the china.

This last photo is of a lovely giveaway prize that came from Hazel of Cotton Cocktails. She made this pretty bag and enclosed some wonderful fat quarters too. She also included a very nice applique pattern. Thank you so very much Hazel.

There are many giveaways happening in Blogland just now. Do check out the bloglist because there is often an announcement on them of current blog giveaways.

To all my American friends, A Belated Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you have enjoyed a fabulous time with your family and friends sharing good food and good times.

On the school front, I have completed report cards and conferences- We are now preparing for the Christmas concert. On Friday, I was learning how to sing " Up on the Housetop" in Cree so we could perform it in the concert. I had to practise singing it in English before I could get it right in Cree. Most of my children are First Nations or Metis and we offer Cree as a Second language. We have a Cree speaking teacher who teaches my students the Cree portion of the curriculum. The phrasing is different so hopefully I can get it memorized in time.

December is just around the corner- I have done a little Christmas shopping and am thinking about putting up the Christmas village. We have had a skiff of snow but there is not too much yet.

Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season.
Warmest regards,

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rising from the Sea of Papers and Boxes...

Life has been quite full since I last posted- Where have I been you may be wondering- I wish I could say it has been a grand adventure and, perhaps, it has been, if you call cleaning out and sorting the wheat from the chaff in our basement. This project began innocently enough- We decided to bring in a dumpster bin to clean out some trees and remove some old fencing from our yard- we had some space left in it so we thought we might as well get rid of some of the extra junk/ stuff that has built up over the last number of years in our basement.
Well it was a Pandora's box I can tell you... There is floor space now where there had been many boxes but it has taken many hours of sorting and hauling things out. We are almost done for now- we will send the bin away on Monday-
Will it be completely cleaned out - No but it will much better than it has been for a long time.. It has been quite a process and remains one..

One of the benefits of the cleaning has been turning up a few old treasures. We found the usual letters and photographs and other memorabila that we have enjoyed looking through and remembering. There are still boxes of papers to go through but I got rid of lots of old craft things that were no longer useful and dated. In amongst the damaged things, I did find some fabric pieces that I think I can put to good use. I have some prequilted fabrics that I once used to make into bags. I think I have figured out a way to use the pre quilted fabrics and turn them into baby wraps. They may not be quite as nice as the ones with minkee fabrics inside but it will be one way to use the fabric up rather than just getting rid of it. I am going to try it out anyway and see how they work out. The baby wraps are so useful and I hope these will be nice too.

Some other news...To add excitement to the cleaning project, it has been report card writing time at school and we have battled some illness- my husband particularly. He has had some flu and cold and been under the weather for about 10 days. Life is does pose some interesting challenges sometimes...
On the quilting front, I have been working on the quilt that is pictured here. This beauty was done by a friend in the class that we took together. You might notice the date - 2004. My friend Carol is a fantastic quilter and she did a wonderful job on her version of the Hollow Cubes. I have about 50 blocks made and I need nearly a hundred so I am making progress - very slowly. While my friend chose a limited palette, I have chosen to use a rainbow of batiks for my quilt. I want to frame it in black as well. It is hard to get the rhythm of a quilt when I have worked on it so intermittently. I have a large number of triangles and flags to sew together yet. Still, I am making progress- slowly but surely....
One of the things I found among the photographs was a few quilt pictures ,which was great, because my computer woes continue and I have had to reset my computer yet again. This quilt is a variation of a spiderweb- It was made for one of my nieces for her wedding in 2005. I do love the scrappy quilts with all their different colors.

Quilt Sue of Quilt times posed an interesting question about what kind of quilts one prefers to make- What is your favorite quilt to make? Do you have a favorite design to make?

I have friends who love making scrap quilts and others who love Log cabin and other traditional designs. I don't know if I have a favorite design but I do love bargello quilts and medallion quilts. I prefer quilts that have an over all design as opposed to blocky looking designs. Mostly I love colorful quilts.

Barb from Bejeweled quilts has created a ginger jar quilt for her niece Jennifer's new on line fabric shop. You can find a link to her new shop here Inchworm Fabrics. Do drop by and enter both giveaways. You will be glad that you did...

Hawthorne Threads is also having a lovely giveaway- Go quickly as the draw is on Monday November 16.

While I haven't done much blog reading lately, I did recently win a giveaway from
Cotton Cocktails. It is a lovely Handmade bag. Thank you, Hazel, for picking me as one of your lucky winners. I am one fortunate lady these days. Do stop and visit her blog - she is a wonderful woman who writes a lovely blog.

Carole at Giraffe Dreams is having a giveaway to celebrate her 700th post. She is doing something really special and going to make a donation to a special cause as part of her giveaway. Please drop by and celebrate such a wonderful accomplishment.

My blog friend Kim also wrote about giving and receiving in her newest post. Which one- giving or receiving do you think is the most important? I know lots of generous quilters out there, who give quilts and materials to support people in various ways.
These two ladies do indeed have very generous hearts.

Before long, Christmas will be here. We are beginning to prepare our students for the Christmas concert. The fall has flown by- where did all the time go?

Hope you are all keeping well and taking care of yourselves.
Wishing you good health and time to quilt or feed your creative spirit in whatever way you enjoy doing.

Warmest regards,