Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Celebrations and " Just Because."..

Summer time flowers need to include Lilies- Stargazer lilies( the ones with the pink centers) are among my favorites..They were also the wedding flowers of the dear couple in my last post, who will soon celebrate their wedding anniversary.. Anniversaries and birthdays should be celebrated.... More about that later...
In early June, my spouse and his friend,John, travelled way up north to Yellowknife area(15 hours drive)_ to see the Transit of Venus. Here they are, having a celebratory drink after successfully viewing some of the 4 contact points, where Venus seemed to cross the face of the sun. (By the way, there are some significant sun spots to be seen these days and solar flares that can be viewed, through welder's glass.)
Bruce brought back this lovely memento for me. It is a piece of the Canadian Shield with a silver bead representing Venus crossing the sun's face.I love it's beautiful gray green color.I do not mind that they took some artistic license with the Transit angle. In today's post, a pair of earrings to match the beautiful pendant, arrived at our door. Bruce knew how much I loved the pendant and thought I should have the earrings" just because."..
Alberta continues to enjoy some very hot weather, though, we had a bit of respite today from the heat,as we had some serious rain yesterday. I am not very productive in this hot weather, but did manage to get a new quilt cut out. It is a Moda Bakeshop free pattern. You can see the spiral like blocks in the picture. I am not sure how it is going to work out because the cream is quite stark in the two blocks I have made. The pattern is called "Etchings Quilt by Andrea Harris".
I have managed to make a few pendants and continue to knit the frilly scarves.I gave away a few of them last week, when I met with some long time friends for dinner. It was fun to see which pendants and scarves my friends liked best. These are a few of the leftovers. It was my turn to do something fun just because....
This is my forlorn looking Babylock quilting machine- I have another quilt to quilt, but right now, it is too hot upstairs in the gables of the house( even with the fans on) to consider quilting.
I did finish up the Sunset quilt- You can find the pattern here Sunset was originally done on a light background so the contrast is quite different. I made the binding for this second one,quite late one evening, when I could face the heat of the iron. I just need to add a label to this quilt. You can see a bit of the backing in the photo.
My dear friend, Valerie who celebrated a special birthday last Thursday, gave me this gift" just because"... She said it is a Happy Summer present - She knows how much that I love tea pots and this set is very funky looking-It is made by a potter named Eva Gordon. I do love it- it is a treasure just like my dear friend.
July is a month of celebrations for our family and friends. We have a few friends that have birthdays this month. As well, two of nieces and nephews, our good friends Valerie and Alister, and, my parents, all celebrate their Wedding anniversaries. Today is our nephew and niece, Jamie and Sarah's, 7th wedding anniversary. This Tilted log cabin was their wedding quilt... It is a log cabin (1 1/2 inch strips) framed by some wonky tilted strips. It gives the effect of spinning logs. I loved the way this quilt turned out. The happy couple are enjoying some time travelling down south together. Happy Anniversary Sarah and Jamie- may you enjoy many more happy years together.
This summer holiday began with our schnoodle dog, Dusty, needing some serious attention from the vet. She was clearly uncomfortable, and Bruce took her in to be checked out. Some serious money changed hands to get a golf ball sized bladder stone removed from this little 20 pound dog. She is now nearly recovered - She can no longer eat dog treats, and must eat special dog food so that we can lessen the chances of her getting another one. Her night time snack now is pea pods, bits of apple or carrot- Even old dogs have diet restrictions LOL.. We were astounded at how large the stone was, and wondered how long she must have had it- poor thing... Dusty also has an appointment with the groomer this week, so that she can have her summer s hairdo. She must be desperately hot these days and will be glad to be have her curls shorn...
Did you check out the blog hop on Jane's site. It was a fun hop and I know that there will soon be a Christmas one going on. One of the best things about the blog hops is that they can introduce you to some great little projects and new to you blogs...
This is the beginning of week 3 of summer vacation- I best get going on my projects if I want to get some more quilts finished..I am enjoying the time spent with friends and family - I hope that you are too... Happy Quilting and Creating.... Until Next time... Warmest regards, Anna

Monday, July 9, 2012

An Alberta Heat Wave.... There are lots of beautiful flowers blooming around the neighborhood- though its hard to keep them from drying out, in the heat wave that has hit the prairies. We are in the 30's C(90's F) which is pretty hot for here and it appears that the weather is to stay that way for the rest of the week. With the humidity, it feels like over 40 degrees C- very hot. We had a rolling power outage this afternoon - something that has never happened before. You realize how dependent one is on electricity. Every technological connection relies on power!!!! The Alstroemeria ..are looking pretty nice- they stay fresh for a nice long time as long as you change the water regularly..
I thought I might post a photo of the individual blocks in the lattice quilt. My blog friend Sio from Scraps and Thread tales posted a basket weave quilt that she had made, on her facebook page not long ago. It got me to thinking about the construction of the lattice quilt's individual blocks. Her quilt reminded me of the lattice quilts, but she pointed out a couple of differences- like she had 3 strips rather than two, and the weave was continual, whereas mine formed squares that intersect across the quilt.
Here is the second lattice quilt all quilted up- I am glad that I quilted it last week, instead of trying to quilt it in this heat wave. My quilting machine is upstairs in the gables of the house, so even with the overhead fans, it would be quite hot up there. It makes such a difference to a quilt when one gets the edges squared. This one has been squared now.
I finally got some of my spring bunnies put to bed, and decided to leave the buffet fairly plain. It has a Monet pattern on the tea set - the one with the red poppies in the fields. I love the Impressionists, and thought this set looked like summer. My mother gave me the lovely Battenburg lace runner to me a couple of years ago.. It has a wonderful elegance about it!
You have probably figured out that I don't do things in half measures- I have been busy knitting some more of the frilly scarves- They are so easy, and great fun to do, while I am watching a movie or a favorite TV show. Like all knitted things, the yarn makes the difference between them being more lacy, or having a thicker texture. They do have some gorgeous yarns out there to choose from with some stunning color combinations.

From the vaults: Not long ago, someone asked me when I started quilting, and how many quilts have I made? Do you know when you made your first quilts? What keeps you quilting? I don't actually know how many bed sized quilts that I have completed, but I am thinking that I am somewhere between 75 and 100 bed sized quilts. I tried quilting a few times - the first when I was a teenager before the time of rotary cutters and acrylic templates. I have one Dresden plate pillow block from that era. It didn't stick- The second time I tried quilting, I made a queen sized log cabin in a day quilt(Eleanor Burns pattern) in 1987. It took me over a year to get that quilt made- I used a double layer of polyester batting in it, because I wanted it to be warm LOL. In 1996, I moved to the school that I am currently working. I also took up quilting seriously. This sampler quilt was the result. I chose all the blocks from books like Quilts, Quilts by Diana McClun and Laura Nownes and Ruby McKim's 101 blocks. I took a beginning quilting course that summer from a lady named Pat, who happened to be a kindergarten teacher. Not just any kindergarten teacher either- She moved into my old classroom as the new kindergarten teacher, when I moved on to my new school. Talk about one of life's six degrees of separation!!!! The following summer, I finished this sampler quilt and met a mentor teacher named Linda. I have made quilts ever since. I have appreciated Linda's ongoing support and guidance over the years, especially when I would get stuck. Thank you, Linda for being a great mentor and friend. We all need other quilters who inspire us and teach us some of the techniques. I continue to be connected to a group of ladies that love to make quilts. I don't know how many I will actually get completed this summer, but I hope to get 3 made- we shall see.. It will depend on how long this heat wave lasts...

In the next couple of weeks, our two good friends will celebrate a special birthday- This quilt was made for them a couple of years ago. We just wanted to wish Happy Birthday To Valerie and Alister. We hope that you enjoy some great times with loved ones to mark your special birthdays. You are most treasured friends!

Darlene is a quilting friend from the Connecting Threads quilt forum. She decided that she would like to try her hand at blogging. She is off to a grand start- Do go and visit her- perhaps leave a comment. It is always nice to meet bloggers from different parts of the globe. Darlene comes from a farming community in the province that we both call home. Jane has a master schedule for a Red White and Blue blog hop that is going on right now. On some of the posts, there are giveaways and on all of them, there are some fabulous blocks/projects to view. I have seen a reference or two, to a Think Christmas blog hop, that is going to start soon too. One of the things I love best about the blog hops, is that I get to meet some new to me bloggers. They, too, provide some new ideas that act as inspiration for me... Enjoy your summer days if you are living in the Northern Hemisphere. Stay warm, if you are living in the lands down Under. Warmest regards, Anna

Sunday, July 1, 2012

My dear friends, I can not believe that all of June has passed without a post... June is always a full month and this June has been particularly hectic. I feel like we have been on the dead run for the last two weeks. Friday was our last day of school. We had our year end celebration the previous Friday where my students danced and sang for their parents followed by cake and juice. The report cards are done- the classroom is cleaned out and summer vacation has begun. This beautiful bundle of flowers contains some of my very favorite ones- My husband brought home spider mums, tiger lilies and sunflowers - at one point there were even irises in it. It was a spectacular bouquet filled with color that kept me going while I was writing year end reports..
Bruce has loved science and astronomy since he was a boy. Earlier this month, he was honored by the Telus world of Science for having doing volunteer work them every year for the past 25 years. He and Peter began volunteering at the Science Center 25 years ago. Bruce shares his passion for the night sky ( day sky too) with the public on Saturday afternoons during the school year. He is a public interpreter and enjoys sharing his knowledge with others. Recently, he and another fellow went up north to Yellowknife to view the Transit of Venus. The transit is sort of like a mini solar eclipse with Venus passing in front of the sun. It had four contact points that they hoped would be visible from their vantage point. Fortunately they were able to see it as it an will not happen again for 117 years.
A dear friend gave me these beautiful Raggedy Anne and Andy dolls for Annabelle. Unfortunately I was ill with a head cold when she celebrated her birthday. You can see that she is enjoying playing with them with her aunt. Sometimes it is hard for us to get together, so Annabelle received them in an unusual place - The Winspear Theatre where we went to see her dad and Granny had come to sing with their choir. Bruce was a grand sport to carry them down one of the main streets of Edmonton into the theater without a child in tow. I am sure he got some funny looks!

I was recently given this lovely purse as a Thank you gift from a family whose children I had taught. It has been a while since I have had this family's children in my class, so I was very touched by their caring and thoughtfulness. If you look around my neck, you will see the lovely Transit of Venus stone necklace that Bruce brought me back from the north.
June is not an easy time for me to get quilting done, but I wanted to honor a woman on our staff who was retiring from our school this year. She was my student's Cree teacher and enjoyed sharing the language and culture of her people with my kids.
The quilt pattern is called Sunset and I hope that she will enjoy many beautiful sunsets during her retirement. Happy Retirement, Mrs. C.
Like many of my quilts, Mrs. C's quilt does have a mate. This one is not yet quilted but we did manage to get is spray basted, so that it can be quilted one day soon. I love the richness of the colors against the chocolate background of the quilt.
It was a bit challenging to find a border that would work with the quilt- I tried many shades of brown before I found something that was dark enough but not too busy to clash with all the central color. The original pattern did not have an outside border but I prefer to have borders on my quilts, so that the quilt has a frame much like a picture.

Summertime has officially arrived for me. I am looking forward to some time to devote to quilting as well as some good Rest and relaxation. I do not remember being as tired as I am this year. I plan to sort out some of my fabrics upstairs in my sewing room as well as get a new quilt top or two completed. I also want to read a few good books. Does anyone have a suggestion that is this year's hot summer reads? Liebster award On my last post I was honored by another blogger named Brenda. Brenda I am honored that you enjoy my blog. One of the things that it asked me to do was tell you 5 things about myself that you might not know. 1. I am left handed- though I can write a few things with my right hand. 2. I am not good with heights and do not enjoy going on rides at fairs and carnivals. 3. I have two brothers and one sister. I am the oldest sister - can you tell? 4. I love dishes and glass. My grandmother loved dishes and glass and I share her love of baubles bangles and beads. 5. I do not pudding or cake. I much prefer savoury flavors. I am suppose to name 5 blogs that I love that do not have 200 followers. If you are looking for some new blogs to read you may want to check out these ladies or others that are on my blog list. Lots of great ones to read... I am going recommend that you check out some of these Canadian ladies: Cathy of Cathy Tomm's quilts- She is a local blogging friend and is a very talented quilter. I have admired her work for many years when I have had the opportunity to see it up close and personal. Michele is another local quilting friend who enjoys creating her own designs. She is a mom with young children and still manages to find time to quilt. Joyce hails from the beautiful western province of Manitoba and has just had her first show. She also creates her own designs. Pam and I have been friends before I ever became a blogger. We had the opportunity to meet a few summers ago and had a very nice day together. She is a nurse and lives on the Canadian west coast near the city of Vancouver. Carolyn is a dear friend that also lives locally. I love that I have had the opportunity to meet and become friends with people who love to quilt. She is a talented young woman who is busy these days with renovations of their house. Tomorrow is Canada Day. Hope you can spend it having a great time with family and friends. We will go to a banquet that is part of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada's annual general meeting that is being held here. It will be a lovely dinner held on the University campus followed by a speaker named Chris Herd who will share some great pictures and talk about meteorites. I promise to come back with some new projects and fresh energy soon. Thanks for dropping in for a visit. Warmest regards, Anna