Friday, December 30, 2011

Sparkle Dust

Came across this little snippet recently ...


"Every now and again, we meet people who truly sparkle and we wonder what it is that makes them shine. We don’t always know what that very reason is; we only know in our hearts they affect us in a very special way. Perhaps, it’s their mannerisms, and how they treat us with the utmost value and respect that is the reminder of this true gift to have sparkle dust sprinkled on us.

In the process of living their commitment to life and work, people leave with us an amazing gift of believing in us without question. They encourage our spirits and remind us of our value. As we feel the warmth of their smile and see the sparkle in their eyes, we have moments of gratefulness in knowing that we are simply better for having met them."

This is quoting Ms Jerry Bishop, from http://credituniontrainingessentials.wordpress.com/

This pierced my heart ... I have had the good fortune to have a few people in my life like this - sisters-in-law (two!!), people I've worked with, people I quilt with.  It is amazing - they seem to share a wonderful ability to make you feel very special to them.  

So here is a little shout out to all the sparkle dust spreaders - thank you for who you are!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Quilt for Jenny

This one is for my amazing niece, Jenny!  Finished this up last night. She likes blacks & greys and we needed a zinger - fuschia. The pattern is "Study in Black & White" designed by Julie Popa, from Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting, March/April 2008.

The quilting is a combination of freehand (feathered rectangle, curliques, wandering ribbons & curls) and Qbot designs 'Oodles of Doodles' (blocks, borders, corners) by Patricia Ritter from Digi-Tech Designs.

Going to do another one in greys & eggplant for my middlest  Top went together quite quickly - was fun and fast!






Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gone much too soon


Gord was only 55, an amazing brother, father, husband, son and friend.  The community here has been wonderful ... this past weekend, a harvest brigade showed up to help get the soybeans off.  Those glorious sunshine-filled days we had Saturday and Sunday - friends showed up with their combines, trucks, tractors & grain buggies and got all of our soybeans harvested - more than 500 acres.  It was a wonderful demonstration of the power of our small communities, there for each other, especially when times are really tough.   

If you happened to be in Ridgetown this past Wednesday just after 2pm, it was not a rumoured protest of any type - it was the funeral procession moving from McKinlay's Funeral Home to the reception at the Legion.   Truly, I did hear later that there was some sort of huge protest going on - no - it was just friends and family, celebrating a life, love and laughter taken much too soon.  

The "Harvest Brigade"





Gord's obituary - written by Jen!

Gordon Edward Woods
 
Visitation
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
&
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
McKinlay Funeral Home
Ridgetown
Directions


Funeral Service
1:30 p.m.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
McKinlay Funeral Home
Ridgetown
Directions


Memorial Donations
Heart & Stroke Foundation
Canadian Cancer Society 
WOODS: Gordon Edward (September 27, 1956 – October 29, 2011) - It is with immeasurable sadness that we announce the passing of Gordon Edward Woods on the 29th day of October, 2011. This courageous, brave man fought a battle against cancer and passed in the home he so proudly designed, surrounded by loved ones who will miss him so dearly. This Steward of the Soil was born and raised a farmer, and in his last hours he hoped that he gave enough to the community and worked hard enough so that his legacy will be forever remembered. Not only was he an amazing farmer, he was an incredibly generous, caring and inspirational husband, son, father, grandfather and brother who will never be forgotten. We will carry on your legacy and will always wish your tractor never ran out of fuel. Leaving to mourn with fond and loving memories are his soulmate, wife and best friend Yvonne, his effervescent daughter Jennifer, and his hardworking son Timothy Woods who will carry on his legacy. Tim’s wife Liza, grandchild Austin (Spike) and baby on the way will miss ‘Grampa Gord’ forever. His loving parents, Ed and Joyce Woods, and caring sisters Linda McLaren (Don) and Barb DeCook (Albert), along with the rest of his ever-growing extended families will always hold you up on the pedestal where you belong. Gord made a lasting impression on anyone he came into contact with. We will always remember him for the heartfelt and humourous man he was, and always will be. We love you forever. Family will receive friends at the Funeral Home, 76 Main Street East, Ridgetown on Tuesday from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. A Funeral Service will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 with Rev. Mary Elford officiating. Donations made in memory of Gord to the Heart & Stroke Foundation or the Canadian Cancer Society would be appreciated by the family. Online condolences may be left at www.mckinlayfuneralhome.com. Me and You, Forever.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dogwood Blossom quilt for my mom & dad

I've been working on this quilt for a long time - had the top done in the spring but it had to wait for me to get a little more practice on my long-arm. 

This design is from Fabric Trends (Spring 2009), by Cate Tallman-Evans. The moment I saw the magazine article, I knew I had to do this one for mom! She has always loved dogwoods - she has one in her back yard, and I have both a white and pink in my yard.

Fabric is Henry Glass (it feels so wonderful!). Quilt is 88" x 88". 

Quilted on my Pfaff 18.8 using both Qbot designs - a design set by One Song Needle Arts - Donna Kleinke (dogwood border, block and cardinal); and freehand - loopy block and border leaves.

My photo helper in this afternoon's sunshine is Sparky :)

Dogwood Blossoms for Mom & Dad - laid out on the lawn,
with quilt inspector - Sparky
Better view of the blocks and border

Corner
Quilting from the back - the two blocks
and the leaves in the red sashing

Border detail - Cardinal surrounded by dogwoods

Saturday, November 5, 2011

And then there was soup!

Sometimes I cook and bake too :)  Tried this recipe published this week in the London Free Press:
http://www.lfpress.com/life/eat/2011/10/31/18903396.html

Apples, bacon, cheese - intriguing!  I didn't have any cider, and added cauliflower, broccoli, peppers and zucchini.  Yummy!

In case the link gets broken, here is the recipe:

APPLE, BACON AND CHEDDAR SOUP
Inspired by the 2011 Ontario Finest Meat Competition's award-winning bacon, this recipe marries the smoky taste of bacon, tart apples and the bite of rich, old cheddar in this smooth, sensational soup.
Ingredients:
6 strips side bacon
1 cup (250 ml) each chopped onion, celery and carrot
1 tsp. (5 ml) dried thyme
1/2 tsp. (2 ml) each, salt and fresh cracked pepper
2 bay leaves
4 cups (1L) chopped peeled tart apples 
1 cup (250 ml) apple cider
6 cups (1.5 L) chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups (500 ml) grated old cheddar
Directions:
In skillet, cook bacon over medium high until cooked through but not crisp, about 7 minutes. Break into pieces and set aside.
Drain all but 2 Tbsp. (30ml) of fat from the pan. Return pan to medium high heat. Add onion, celery and carrot and cook, stirring often until onion is tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in thyme, salt, pepper, bay leaves and apple; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in cider and broth,scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to boil, reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook 15 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves and blend with immersion blender until smooth or transfer to blender in batches and blend until smooth.
Whisk in cheddar until well blended (may need to heat soup to incorporate cheese completely). Serve in warmed soup bowls topped with reserved bacon.
Makes 6 servings.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fractured Flowers Workshop

Our Guild (Chatham Kent Quilters Guild) has workshops each month, and I finally had a chance (or is that, took the time for "ME" time?) to attend.  This was a one-day workshop, led by Jean Hopkins, called "Fractured Flowers".  The technique is from Brenda Esslinger's "Fabulous Fractures" book.


This one is a table-runner size ... we were to bring fabric with a 24" repeat ... which I thought I had.  When we were having the fabrics cut, we talked about having to get 8 repeats if the repeats were only 12".  But when I opened up my fabric at the workshop, I had only the 4 repeats of my fabric.  Drats!  So rather than spend an hour coming home for my other fabrics and getting back to the workshop, we decided to just use smaller cuts.  Rather than the 3" squares everyone else used, I did mine with 1 1/2" squares.  So it's smaller, but I really like it!

The fractured fabric is the same as the border - those lovely happy pansies :)

Welcome Nevaeh!

My newest grand-niece, Nevaeh has arrived :)  Congrats to Brenda & Brendan (aka Toes)

This quilt is to wrap Nevaeh up in warm hugs ...
Technique from Jenny - Missouri Quilt Co - see the youtube video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5Ixvjje310&feature=relmfu

Saturday, September 24, 2011

This looks like fun!

Canton Village Quilt Works
A blogging BOM Quilt-Along!

A different designer each month, they're all using a selection of Kaffe Fasset fabrics for the squares.

Looks like a great stash-buster :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Why is it ...

There must be a magic formula?  Three minutes sewing = 30 minutes frogging! GRRR.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dragon Slayed!

Today was a perfect day for slaying dragons :)

Found a new-to-us road to get from Maggie Valley to the Dragon - NC Hwy #28 - another sweet ride!

Lunch at Deal's Gap, up the Dragon! Was very glad that I wasn't hugging the yellow line at the same time as the two bikes coming the other way were riding on my side ...

On to exploring a side road in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park - to Cade's Cove.  There's a scenic loop - single narrow lane, 20 mph limit but "cagers" can only handle about 8 mph, and jump out of their cars at the least provocation.  Oh well, it was worth a shot.  The road to the loop was very cool.

Besides lusting for the beautiful Crape Myrtle I've been seeing everywhere ... have also been seeing the 'Royal Empress' tree - look like giant velvetleaf!

Landed in Knoxville tonight - same spot we stayed when we were here for Honda Hoot in 2008.

I want one of these!  Have been seeing them all over - Crape Myrtle.
Wonder if they're hardy  in my zone at home??
Must be - we have all kinds of Carolinian species

Deal's Gap Motorcycle Resort!



Potential dragon-slayers building confidence,
or stress-relief after the ride :)

Sign reads:  No Burnouts, Stoppies or Wheelies


Disregarding the warnings about drownings, these
intrepid swimmers are jumping off the rocks into the pool below.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Drivin' in the rain, just drivin' in the rain

Well, only at the very end of the drive... back over the mountain to Cherokee, north into the Great Smokey Mountain National Park to Clingman's Dome - that last leg is a sweet 7 mile crooked road up to the dome.

Decided to partake of the hike up the pathway to the observation area - half mile.  Also elevation change - up more than 1,000 feet - that is almost a 40% grade.  Have you seen me recently?  Thankfully, there were were resting benches every 10th mile.  Once you're at the top, they have a circular tower to get even higher!

At the top there was a lady wearing a 'Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon' t-shirt - half way down, a fella wearing another 'Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon' shirt - there's no way they were connected.  What are the odds of that!

Spied another turtle in the middle of the road, trying to get across.  Pulled his legs and head in as Don was passing, peeked out and pulled back in when I went by.  Poor thing.

Wildflower beside the path buzzing with bees


View from the top

Observation tower
Drivin' in the rain

Today's route


Saturday, August 13, 2011

A wee wet ride

We started the day kinda lazy, the waffle iron at the hotel wouldn't release the waffles so we had bits and pieces of waffles.  Planned a shorter ride - weather predictions mixed, so didn't want to go too far astray.  Headed out of Maggie Valley to NC #215 to Rosman - a backroad twisty ride with possums playing dead here and there (maybe not playing!) and a lot of pavement patching that was not fun.  There was the usual truck advisory - road with switchbacks, 15 mph curves and high elevations - perfect!

Followed a Ferrari for a while!

Next to NC #64 - a wonderful ride!  Lots of new pavement - more truck advisories - but also tons of traffic.  And then the rain fell.  Went right by Bridal Falls and the spot where I tested the bank angle sensor last time we were here.  At Franklin, hit #441 and headed back to the hotel - still raining.

Nice dinner at the nearby Mexican restaurant - they make such lovely margeuritas :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Snake bite doesn't hurt a bit

Started out today on "The Snake" - Hwy 421 between Boone NC & Bristol TN.  A sweet 22 mile stretch that goes up and down the mountains, with a stop in the valley at "The Store" in Shady Valley.

On through Bristol - last year we were here for the Bristol Nascar race - sure looks different without every available space gobbled up by cars/trucks/rv's by the thousands!  Hwy 70 between Hot Springs and Newport was very nice.  Gatlinburg was stinking hot and very busy - no surprise.  Driving through the Great Smokey Mountain National Park (Hwy 441) was amazing - from 35 degrees in Gatlinburg to 22 at the top at just over 5,000 ft elevation.  The shaded drive was such a relief - and the road was wonderful!  Lots of bikes, some hot rods, some dune buggies.

The photo below shows one fine little spiral curve - which also includes a tunnel!



 From Hwy 441 at Cherokee back to the Blue Ridge Parkway to get to Maggie Valley - only a few vehicles on the BRP and it goes back up over 5,000 ft.  So I think we now have travelled the BRP from end to end!!  Well, not all this trip, but this trip we did get some of the areas we missed on previous travels.

To finish the day, a healthy marguerita and Mexican in Maggie Valley.

Did make a pitstop at the ABC store in Maggie Valley before we checked in to our room - why is Canadian whiskey so cheap here, just infuriating.  And there's a very nice sign at the entrance - 'No firearms allowed' with a nice handgun and a red slash through it.  Also, a poster offering a substantial reward for information leading to the arrest of the villain who shot a juvenile bald eagle this spring in the Valley.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Blue Ridge Parkway - VA & NC

Today was more of mostly the Blue Ridge Parkway, from Roanoke VA to Boone NC.

A side trip at Hwy 52 at Fancy Gap - looking for food/fuel - the road into Hillsville VA is part of Virginia's "Crooked Road Musical Trail"!  Score :)

Lunch was at Brooke's, a little family diner.  Tried the Green Pea salad, hoping it would be a little like the frozen pea salad that my SIL makes, but nope, t'was made with canned peas.  Not such a fan of this recipe.
There were little business-card notices on the tables - prayers before meals encouraged and respected.

Speaking of churches, we really go past a lot - many with non-'traditional' denominations ... I always offer up a little thought of thanks as I whiz by, for my many blessings ... and then I want to string together all the names, kinda like "First Calvary United Methodist Presbyterian St John Episcopal Tent Revival Baptist Mennonite Church of the Apostle of the Redeemer of Christ".


And for dinner, we stumbled upon the most heavenly steak house in Boone, right by the hotel - The Peddlar Steakhouse (http://www.peddlerofboone.com/).  What fun!  They bring the loin of rib-eye to the table for your inspection and cutting instructions.  Yummm.  Accompanied by baked sweet potato.  Dessert of white chocolate coconut creme brule.  Oh my, I'm stuffed!




Criss-crossing WV

We've been finding so many glorious crooked roads!  219, 220, 50, 33 ...
Wed lunch we found a delightful little riverside eatery - Greenbrier - they had bags of corn you could throw out for the mallards to lunch on - hundreds of ducks!

Yesterday we were mostly on the Blue Ridge Parkway, with a few side-trips to go up and down the access roads.  The BRP is well-engineered to have mostly sweeping corners, but the access roads can be really crooked.  One had a 15% grade :EEK:





Monday, August 8, 2011

Weston WV - Lexingon V

This morning was cloudy but dry!

Yesterday, we saw two car washes - one that we ducked into to watch a storm crash by, and the other to wash the dust off the bikes at the end of the day.  And immediately after we did that and parked the bikes for the night, another storm rolled thru.  I was just headed out to fetch ice, and the hotel desk staff suggested we move the bikes up under the canopy.  Well, I didn't even have time to get mine started and down came the rain.  A lightening strike nearby took out power and gave a lovely spark show at the power pole at the end of the property!  Wind and rain just gushed out of the sky - I was drenched instantly.  Don thought the bikes would be just fine where they were - they were solidly parked, locked wheels, heads up, in gear ... so I abandoned them to the elements ... and of course they were just fine!

We had watched the clouds all day and at one point turned back rather than heading over a mountain pass where it looked very ominous.

Today, it was glorious!  Breakfast at the hotel was even fun - our breakfast-mates were a family from Florida and another family (not sure where they were from) ... the Florida family was on their way back from visiting the CN Tower and Niagara Falls.  The other family immediately translated that to "CNN Tower" ... I didn't have the heart to correct them :)

A few clouds here and there, not quite as hot as yesterday.  A magnificent ride all day long.  Hwy 151 off of 33 was a nice backroad (went through Jimtown!), followed by 219 - awesome, but we have to go back for the 'old 219' - a section that is marked 'not suitable for trucks'.  That, and #72, same warnings.

After a quick bite at Yokum's near Seneca Rocks, we headed off on #250.  Oh my, what a spectacular ride!
Seneca Rocks

Yokum's
We had to turn around and do it again on one piece :)  Road is in exceptional shape - nice cambers on curves, good markings, well signed.  One upside down truck grade sign, oh well!  We also tried out our video camera on the bike - no idea whether it was even aimed well!

Here's our result - we're headed up - wasn't it a beautiful day!!!  I do need to be able to stay closer to the bike I'm chasing :)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdWXE-BM6wA 

After our wonderful ride on #250 for miles and miles and miles, our GPS had us take a smaller road - we debated for a bit but decided to go for it.  No centre markings, about a lane & 1/2, no shoulders.  But paved!  We sure surprised some of the local folks :)  We thought maybe a few miles of this but it turned into more than an hour.  And of course, my fuel gauge started showing "E" shortly after we started out through the back country.
WV back country road
It was a nice crop tour - lots of livestock, including some *humungous* long-horn steers (even longer than the long-horns that Wayne had, I'm sure!).  An angry dog barking madly at us (glad he was behind a fence) and another beautiful German Shepherd that just trotted beside us for a bit.  One huuuuge hawk or falcon that tried to take off right in Don's path - narrowly missed each other, thankfully!  And then, just after the 'Prepared to Stop' sign, this lovely little spot ...
Backroad natural spring
A couple of taps for this natural spring, diverting water into a trough so it would go under the road rather than over it.  Pretty little sight!

Bonus - our hotel was right off of our shortcut, right beside both a gas station and Applebee's.  Hurrah! Tucked in for the night, fed and happy :)




Cut Up New House Celebration

Cut Up At the "Pieces of Magic" Quilt Show held by the Oxford Quilters' Guild this May, Sew Sisters' booth had a beaut...