Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Tooth , Magazine Therapy, A Package, and some quilt process..

Part one a Tooth Saga..
Recently, Bruce and I stopped to buy some groceries and a few things for the prize box for my little ones at school. While we were there, I saw on the shelf, one of my favorite candies " Edinburgh Toffee". It had been quite awhile since I had sampled its sticky goodness so I bought a bag as a treat. Mint,chocolate, licorice and vanilla flavors are some of my favorite toffees. Someone ought to have reminded me that middle aged teeth do not always like chewy candies, and while enjoying one, I suddenly found myself with a large chunk out of a wisdom tooth.. Yikes.... Fortunately, it did not hurt, but unfortunately, it was rather a large hole where there once was a tooth. Yesterday, I phoned the dentist's office and, today after class, I was able to arrange a visit my dentist... To say, that it made me anxious would be an understatement, but I was more fearful of how much of a pain the holey took could become if I didn't take care of it. It didn't take long after my arrival at the dentist- fifteen minutes later with a frozen mouth, I found myself chomping down on a piece of gauze and minus a wisdom tooth. My dentist also sent me home with some instructions to prevent a dry socket(not a fun condition that my husband experienced) and a prescription for antibiotic and Tylenol 3.. It is now a few hours later and other than the residual freezing, it is feeling not too bad- even without the Tylenol, perhaps I may need one before bed but so far, so good)

Part Two.. A visit to Chapters

One of my vices( besides sticky chewy candies LOL) is a love of quilt magazines and books. The book store is literally on the next corner from the dentist's office. I figured I had earned a little diversion after my dental experience, so I checked out the current quilt magazines. I picked up a collection of ten or twelve magazines, and after some perusal, I narrowed it down to these three that came home with me..
Over the summer, I discovered Quilt Life magazine. I really enjoyed reading the inaugural issue and was very pleased to see a copy of it on the Canadian newsstand. Chapters carries a pretty large selection of magazines- that include a number of US and International magazines. There is now a Canadian magazine too - so many choices- which ones would you pick? What makes you choose to buy a magazine or book? For a number of years, I subscribed to Quilters Newsletter (still do), and the Australian Patchwork and Quilting ( still like it a lot but no longer subscribe to it). Currently, I usually buy Fons and Porter..."For the Love of Quilting" and, once in awhile, still buy the Australian Patchwork magazine. I pick and choose more than I used to - each one runs about 7 or 8 Canadian dollars. It quickly adds up not to mention that the piles of magazines get taller and taller.. This time I chose based on what patterns were in the magazines that really might be added to my bucket list of quilts to make.

Part Three_ A Package in the Mail
Armed with some new reading material, some fresh bread and medication we returned home to find a lovely package of fabrics and rotary cutting blades that I ordered from a company called Sew Sisters in Toronto.. I was so pleased to see it had safely arrived and everything that I ordered came too Woo Hoo....
The first one is a backing for a nature quilt that I am thinking about making for a special someone. Usually I work from my stash but this project has involved collecting panels and other fabrics... The design is still in my head... but it is coming along. I also ordered the large rotary cutting blades- they are the best price I can find here in Canada so I was thrilled to get them for even less on this one day sale.( about 20 dollars Canada for 5 blades)
Sew Sisters also had some of Kaffe Fassett fabrics on sale - I was a bit surprised how large one of the designs was ( the orange petal shaped piece is very big) but they are all lovely. I am so looking forward to seeing Kaffe speak here at a local museum in early October. I wonder which quilts and needlework he will bring to show us?

This collection includes a very cute Raggedy Ann and Andy fabric for a baby wrap- and a piece of Valori Wells Sole fabric line.

Recently some bloggers have begun to write about their process while quilting. Here is the beginning squares to my latest convergence. They are wrinkly here but I did press them, before they were cut up into the strips.VBG
And Voila... Here is the newest completed quilt of this year. It is amazing what a difference quilting, binding, not to mention pressing, make to the look of the quilt. I got it bound last week and it is ready for some special people- It just needs a label on it..

I also completed the body of another of the wonky rail ties (8X9)rows so it will be a queen sized version of the blue/green rail ties. There is still 20 more blocks that I can use to make a small couch quilt... I did get rather carried away when I was making those blocks!

Recently I was visiting a fellow blogger,Elaine wrote about a very cool technique that uses square in a square blocks by Jody Barrows. Elaine is having a little trouble with blogger just now, but do check it out( I just clicked the 2nd link), if you are curious about ways to cut up a Square in a Square design. It reminds me of the techniques used to make the disappearing 4 and 9 patch blocks. Quilters do create such amazing designs... I checked on Amazon for Jody's book, but so far, I have not had any luck finding it..

We are beginning to get healthier in our house ( wisdom tooth not withstanding) and getting settled into the fall routines. The trees are turning, the moon is full and Fall has definitely arrived here in Alberta...

Hope this finds you healthy and having fun creating, in whatever medium feeds your creative soul..

Warmest regards,

Thursday, September 16, 2010

September - the connecting roots....

Here are a few of my father's beautiful lilies- some of which came from plants out of my grandmother's garden. She loved flowers- irises, lilies and pansies were some of her favorites. The frost has come and September has been wet and rainy. We keep hoping that we might have some warm days yet before we have the long winter season.

These last two weeks have been busy ones... This past week was the first full week of school; although I have been back in the classroom since the last week of August. My school kids and I are getting to know one another... My assistant and I have begun the necessary assessments that help us better determine appropriate programming for this group of children. Yesterday we had our annual "Corn Fest" where are families come to see the school and meet the staff. I have been laminating, photocopying and making new things for the classroom so there has not been much time/ energy to quilt.

Last weekend I went for a quick trip to my folks on Saturday. It was a spur of the moment trip that involved my 17 year god daughter A., driving her first long trip( 200 miles round trip). She wanted to see her friend, M., who lives is a bedroom community of the city in which my parents live. A. picked up her friend M., and they drove off to a local restaurant while my friend Val and I, went on to my parent's home to have lunch with my parents. My god daughter A., is the one in the middle. Val and I have been good friends since 1988. Where has the time gone? Our children have gone from babies to near adulthood. Val's friendship is one of the great gifts in my life. While Bruce and I have one adult son, her girls certainly are daughters of my heart. Her younger daughter E., is interested in sewing and quilting- perhaps one day we will make a quilt together.

While we were there, Val and my dad got talking about genealogy and family roots. My father took out some family treasures that my great grandmother Carrie- Belle brought with her, when she and her family moved to Alberta early in the twentieth century. She was a teacher on a reservation in the Dakotas. Carrie Belle was given these beautiful moccasins and pouches/ medicine bags by her First Nation families. The bead work on the moccasins is fabulously intricate and are greatly treasured by my father. One pair was made for a baby, while the blue ones were made for a woman. I don't know if my great grandmother ever wore the moccasins.
This week was also an anniversary of sorts for us. It has been 7 years since my grandmother Grace passed away in an accident. I have written about her before in an earlier post called " Remembering Grace". She was nearly 87 when we lost her- I miss her a lot- I was her oldest grandchild and I spent many happy times during my childhood with her and my grandfather on their farm. My grandmother was the kindest person I have ever known- she and my mother were wonderful role models in my life. They taught me the importance of caring and empathy.
Every post needs a quilt and this quilt was made for my grandmother to honor her 85 years. The quilt is a colorwash quilt with 30X 40 two inch squares. After she died, the quilt was returned to me.

Sometimes when I wrap myself in her quilt, I can remember how she smelled. Did you know that your sense of smell is one of your most lingering senses- that smells can trigger some of your oldest memories?

My blogging friend Michele just lost her father recently. Do go and check out her current post which is touching and eloquent- She has created a beautiful butterfly quilt.

This lovely photo sat on my desk at school for the last few years. It is a photo taken about a year before my gran's passing. It was taken on the farm that she so loved, and is of her and the two men whom I love very much - my son and my husband.

One of my husband's cousins sent us some terrific family photos of a family reunion taken in August. It came in the mail this past week and Bruce and I enjoyed looking at the pictures of family and reading about their connections in a family genealogy book. I love old family pictures and I wonder whether my grandchildren's children will wonder about their crazy old relative 100 years from now.
Many of my parent's generation lived in the same communities as their parents and grandparents. We are such a transient society these days that one's family is spread all over the globe. The internet and technology has made the world so much smaller and accessible to maintain and renew connections with family and friends.

The cool weather has brought fall colds to our home- unfortunately, my husband's developed into bronchial pneumonia. We are hoping that a heavy dose of antibiotics will cure the hacking cough. As for me, it wouldn't be September without some sniffles and a scratchy throat... Too much talking and small children seem to combine to bring a fall cold...

Thanks to all of you who stop by and leave your beautiful comments. I appreciate them more than words can say. When I can,I do so enjoy visiting my blog friends. It is always fun to see what is happening in blogland.

Until next time,
Happy quilting,

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Jasper, Quilt shops and Summer's end...

This summer has passed as a bit of a blur- especially the month of August- It is often that way- July arrives and I am usually ready for a rest and time to rejuvenate and catch up to myself from the busy school term. Sometimes I have a list of goals that I want to complete and other times summer is a time to reflect and do things as they fit in. This summer was the later... In my last post I wrote about some of our travels to the mountains of Jasper- Bruce and I had a lovely time there- While we were up looking around Pyramid Lake( it is above the Jasper town site) we came across some benches where we stopped to contemplate the beauty of the lake and mountains surrounding it. This rock caught my eye- I pondered how long it had taken to form that round boulder- Mother Nature sure is a master artist...

I have to say, my husband Bruce was a good sport about my passion for quilting and checking out the quilt stores. We stopped at three on our five hour journey to the mountains. The first one was in a little place called Edson. Edson is located in the foothills of Alberta- some beautiful knob and kettle farmland but the mountains are still nearly an hour away. This little shop called Quilters Quarters was in smaller house.
All the nooks and cranes were filled with luscious fabrics.

In my hands are some glorious reds and a sunflower fabric that I decided to add to my stash. I bought a second piece of sunflower fabric that was a batik on black for the sunflower collection.
Our next stop was in a place called Hinton.. When you get to Hinton, you are suddenly closer to the mountains although Jasper is at least hour away. Hinton is not far outside of the park gates. Jasper is part of an unbelievably beautiful national park.

The Sew What Shop was a little hidden but well worth the visit. The ladies were helpful and I found three pieces of fabric to add to my collection there. On one table they had some books for sale that had been in a quilter's collection. The woman had passed away recently and any money given was directly donated to the Cancer Society on her behalf. I happened to find a book called " Ghost Layers and Color Washes" by Katie P.Masopust which I gladly bought.( It is out of print I believe).It is nice to know that I will have contributed to a worthy cause as well gain a lovely book.

On the left hand side of the cutting table you can see a very fun fabric that is of volkswagon beetles ( you know Herbie cars don't you?) I bought a half meter that I will use in a child's quilt in the future. The two pieces that are in front of me were from their sale section- I do love buying from the clearance fabric rack.

I also bought a Mrs. Bobbin's calendar for next year. Check out this link if you want to see some of the..Mrs Bobbins cartoons. She makes me laugh- perhaps she will do the same for you!
We came a few miles into Jasper town site the next day, after a great night's sleep in our cabin. The last quilt shop is called Stychen Tyme. It is a bead,yarn and quilt store all in one. Now if there ever was a shop made for me- this is it. I have knit and still do use beads to make jewelery. The fabrics are beautiful there and you can see some of the gorgeous wild life material and kits available there. I mostly bought beads to add to my collection.

The shop is located on a main street called Patricia street.

I have been in about 15 different quilt shops over the summer- Earlier on, Lou and I went on a couple of road trips around the Edmonton area. Over and over again, the places I enjoyed most were determined by the friendliness of the staff and the atmosphere of the stores. Some had more fabric choices and some had less, but all had their own unique qualities. Of course - there is always on line fabric shopping, when one can not find the one piece one is looking for locally. I did find on line the last piece of the Hungry Caterpillar fabric after no success when visiting the local ( and not so local places). There are lots of choices out there - some more reasonably priced than others. It is getting more costly to quilt- I am glad that I have collected fabric for awhile to form a good sized stash.

Bruce and I enjoyed the mountains of Jasper a lot. He was able to go meteor watching 2 of 3 evenings during the Perseid meteor shower and still have enough energy to drive around to the glorious lakes and waterfalls of the area. This photo was taken at Athabasca Falls which are quite breathtakingly beautiful.

A view of the Athabasca falls...
The summer has given me the opportunity to spend time with my loved ones- both family and friends. It was great to reconnect with all, especially with those whom I had not heard from in awhile. I quite like this photo of my parents and myself taken in July.

Bruce and I went to visit my parents just before I returned to the classroom last week and we brought this quilt. It looks even better in their living room. I am very happy with the way the border set off the blocks, and how well the quilt matched their living room decor.

I also finished and made a label for this convergence quilt. It is now in the hands of my teaching partner, Doreen whose friendship I celebrate. We have enjoyed being partners for the past 7 years. I appreciate all the extra things that she does to help our students be successful. This last year our school was renovated, so we had the opportunity to work even more closely together. This was my way of thanking her for her continuing support and gift of friendship.

The fall brings my favorite flowers- This is one of the bouquets of sunflowers that Bruce has brought home from the grocery store. Sunflowers make me feel happy- I have long been a fan of Vincent Van Gogh's sunflowers - one day I am going to make another Snippets wall hanging of sunflowers!

If you are still with me- there is a wonderful giveaway worth checking out. You can find it here . Quilted fish is her blog name- she is giving away some lovely fabrics and doing it soon.

I hope that fall( spring for our southern friends)brings you many warm days and pleasant times with loved ones. I lost a high school friend to cancer last week, and I was reminded about the swiftness and fragility of human life.

As a new school year begins, I am remembering to stop and enjoy each day's special moments and the important people in my life.
I hope you take the time to enjoy your special moments and people too.
Warmest regards,