Sunday, October 26, 2014

Western University Convocation Celebration

This past Friday, our middlest received her Masters of Education and Psychology, Applied Behaviour Analysis.  Whew! 

The ceremony was very well done, miles of purple velvet, speaker was Jane Urquhart - one of Canada's preeminent authors.  She was fabulous!  The photo below shows just the graduates and the stage.  Friends and family on either side and behind those seats.



We spent a delightful evening with family and lots of delicious food and drink. Well done, middlest!



Sisters and sometime friends!

Fall Colour Tour Spectacular

We had a wonderful tour, 2 weeks, more than 6,500 km.  250 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Beautiful autumn colours when we were more northerly.  Exquisite twisty roads.  The Tail of the Dragon, The Snake, The Rattler.  Slayed all.

Professional photos testifying to the day ... Killboy photos - Oct 2, 2014, Touring group, just after 3 pm.

Killboy Photos is a terrific business - they have photographers at a variety of strategic positions along the route, taking spectacular photos of all the vehicles as they tackle "the dragon".  Rain, shine, cold and hot.

So many fabulous roads, so much beauty.  A few photos ...









Saturday, September 27, 2014

Celebrating the 27th

Today is my brother's birthday.  He would have been 58 today.

How I miss him, especially his laughter.  

Life is funny ... turns out this is also the birthday of one of the ladies I worked with at Mainstreet (happy day Janet!!).  And another co-workers had her second baby today, and it's also her older daughter's birthday (you're going to have so many happy co-birthdays Brittany!).

So many things have changed since we lost him - so much sorrow, and thankfully, new joys too.

Autumn Colour Tour

We have *finally* found a bit of a window where we have no commitments (or, feel not so horrible about not going to some we'd like to ...) and the weather is absolutely fabulous.  And away we went!

Day 1:  home to Huntsville.  Warm, sunshine, beautiful roads.  Leaf colour just starting at home, getting more intense as we go north.


Day 2: Huntsville thru Algonquin Park and back.  There's only one road, but it does look different each way ;).  Colours are magnificent.  Warm and sunshine.

Day 3: Huntsvulle to Lake Of Bays tour, to Gananoque.  Intense colour to what looks like an early, hard frost resulting in a bit faded colour, nearer Lake Ontario.  Warm, sunshiny.

Day 4: Gananoque to Sarasota Springs NY via Adirondacks.  Warm, sunshiny, lots of bright, intense colour.  Some fields of beans showing results of hard frost before leaves dropped, making the field look fuzzy!  Love the border crossing at the 1,000 Islands - calm, sedate, beautiful parkway, good bridges, lovely.


Still waters, stunning colour, rocks, sparkly sturdy rides, best husband ever.  What more could a gal ask for!  Am one lucky mamma :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Middlest birthday

A score and seven years ago, our Middlest burst into our world, bringing laughter and love. My heart bursts with pride for all my kids and I'm so thankful for the joy they bring us. On this day, we celebrate you and wish the happiest of birthdays, Middlest!

One of my favourite memories of when the kids were little, was reading Dennis Lee poems with them. Giggling and dancing and loving exploring words.

My all-time favourite:

Ookpik

An Ookpik is nothing but hair.
If you shave him, he isn't there.

He's never locked in the zoo.
He lives in a warm igloo.

He can whistle and dance on the walls.
He can dance on Niagara Falls.

He has nothing at all on his miind.
If you scratch him, he wags his behind.

He dances from morning to night.
Then he blinks.  That turns out the light.



Thank you, Dennis Lee, for all of the laughter and giggles that you gave us!

Proud moment!

Mile wide smile!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Reads that changed me

There is a thread ongoing on FaceBook now asking people to list the top 10 books that have stayed with you.  I'd like to do more than just list the books, but also talk about why ... and one of my quirks is that when I find an author I enjoy, I often try to read all of their books.

  • Aleksander Solzenitsyn, who wrote 'One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich', 'The Gulag Archipelago', 'Cancer Ward'.  I encountered this author later in high school.  This was one of the first times I read of the horrors that people can inflict upon others.  Coming from an idyllic setting of rural small town area with little exposure to bigger world, these books were deeply unsettling.
  • JRR Tolkein.  The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion.  I delighted in the rich imagery and languages of middle earth, the bravery of the (not so) ordinary.
  • Frank Herbert.  The Dune saga.  Plots withing subplots, wheels within wheels.  New worlds, new ways to survive and navigate relationships.
  • The Chrysalids by John Wyndham.  My introduction to post-apocalypstic worlds.  I especially loved the ending of the book tying back so elegantly to the beginning.  This was one of the novels we studied early in high school English class, one of the first books I loved enough to re-read.
  • Room by Emma Donoghue.  Haunting.  Finding the will to carry on in an impossible situation, with resilience and love.
  • Alex Haley, Roots: The Saga of an American Family.  Bowling was never the same after reading this book.  Again, the small-town rural childhood, with basically a monoculture, starting to come to some sort of basic understanding of slavery and racism.
  • Diana Gabaldon.  The Outlander series ... now a TV series!  Superbly researched, fabulous details of the times, sassy Sassenach and loyal warrior James Fraser.  I have loved her worlds.
  • Douglas Adams.  Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  Pounced upon 'Last Chance to See' when encountered at a yard sale.  Found and treasured 'The Deeper Meaning to Liff'.  I even collected his quotes. My favourite memory - shortly after my son broke his leg in an ATV accident, we were at the cottage.  Brought a mountain of books for him, including a few Adams books.  He is laughing out loud while reading this series.  42.
  • Kevin Hearne.  The Iron Druid Chronicles.  Wonderful turns of phrases, deep relationships (even with ones you can't trust or even like), lots of magic and alternative worlds.  Makes me laugh.  Intimately attuned to the elements.
  • Dean Koontz.  Odd Thomas.  "Tales of character, mystery, and adventure that strike to the core of what it means to be human" - so wonderfully describes this author's writing.  

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Happy Bits #50 - totally awesome!

We've been working for quite a while on refreshing our bikes ... these sturdy steeds have taken us to both coasts (Cape Breton Island twice!), Key West, to Colorado three times, and many many many points between (including the Four Corners - AZ, CO, UT, NM).


2003 and 2008 GoldWings - saying 'Goodbye, and thanks for all the fish!'
We started 'practicing for retirement' on the 2003 Goldwing, riding 2-up.  Had a blast, loved every minute.  I fretted about being able to drive the beast if the need should arise, and got my bike license.  Got a training bike (1985 750 MaximX - for sale if anyone is interested!).  Moved up to a beautiful blue Yamaha 1100 VStar.  Went to the East Coast, into the Appalachians, West Coast.  In 2008, we went to the Honda Hoot in Knoxville TN, where DH talked me into trying the Wing.  Acquired the dreaded GoldWing grin.  I grudgingly gave it back only after agreeing to get one ordered right up so I could get on the GoldWing as my own.  When I climbed on the GW as my ride, it had about 90,000 km.  

"OldWing"
This is one of my favourite things about my GW - one night after dinner when we were riding 2-up, I accidentally kicked the 'G' off the 'GoldWing'.  Forever after, it has been my beloved 'OldWing' .

2003 GW with 142,851 km
2008 GW with 31,410 miles (about 50,550 km)

Today we thanked these beautiful machines, gave them a final shine, stripped of some of the bling we would keep (like my Deal's Gap blessed bell).  Rode them to the dealer, and traded them on two new 2014 GoldWings. 

Introducing ... 

Waiting for the license transfer ...

12.6 km on the ODO
Ready to go!  At the dealer's yard, photo op for their FB

2014 Home!

Intact fresh new 'GoldWing' brand

The dealer wants to see them back for a 1,000 km service and checkup, so we worked on breaking them in gently (and us!) today - only 450 km.  Beautiful day for riding, hot and sunny.  Great crop tour - a lot of variation out there - some wee corn, lots of patchy variable corn, some lush dark green taller corn.  
Fun things spotted today - cultivators behind horses - one across from a beautiful golf course for superb irony.  Beautiful Lake Huron.  "Gadget Garage".  One of the little towns totally bedecked in purple/yellow/white ribbons and flags.
Have to get highway pegs back on!

Totally awesome day - huge GW grins all around :)

Happy Bits #49

Earlier in the week, we were out and about and spotted this lovely collection ...



The Ontario Police College in Aylmer ON trains precision motorcycle handling for officers from across the country.  See the one in the second photo with the red/blue lights reversed?  That's the instructor's bike :)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Happy Bits #48

Well.  Game 7 of the New York Rangers vs Montreal Canadiens was a very good game, but the Habs are done for the year.  Tonight was the LA Kings vs Chicago Blackhawks - their Game 6.  Chicago took the win, their Game 7 is Sunday night, in Chicago.

Got a nice photo of the rhodo that I planted earlier this week.  When it came home it was still only buds but it was fully in flower today.  Bumble bees enjoying the splendour with me :)  It's still pretty teeny but it's glorious!  Will have to cover it for the winter so we don't lose it if it is as cold as this year!


My optimism sometimes way too often gets the better of me - we went to the practice range and I opted for the jumbo pail of balls.  We started on the putting green this time, then moved to the range.  Hit from the higher irons to the woods.  Definitely need lessons.  I was ready to be done quite a bit before the balls were gone ... just like I usually figure I can go 200 miles more than I actually can when we're on the bikes.  Oh well.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Happy Bits #47 - recipe experiments, golf and a new bird

It seemed like such a good idea!  Love avocados, love chocolate.  Have seen a number of recipes for chocolate avocado pudding, thought I'd give it a try. Didn't even stray from the recipe (other than to make only half as there are only 2 of us!).  Didn't pass muster at all.  Ice cream and fruit instead.

Also tried raspberry jam marinated turkey cutlets.  These were quite tasty!

This little fellow visited our feeder this morning - I didn't catch this photo of him, this is from http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/rose-breasted_grosbeak/id.  A Rose Breasted Grosbeak.  Very pretty indeed!


I'm quite enjoying the Cornell Lab app "Merlin" - a bird identifier app.  Seems to work very well!

Last week we decided which set of golf clubs I'd get (very pretty turquoise accents - because it is about the colour) and brought them home. Aren't they pretty!!

Later in the week, after more practice swinging and research, decision was made which set my DH would get.  Unfortunately they were out of stock of the men's clubs.  NP - the store could transfer from another location.  Should be only a few days.  A couple of visits and 9 days later, no clubs.  We went back to quiz them some more - because the weather has just been fabulous and we'd sure like to get out there and practice and learn and play!  Nope, they had not arrived.  We asked if they could trace them, figure out when they'd arrive.

An hour later, and a few sales reps working on locating them ... they were actually supposed to be at the store.  A box was found.  It had the wrong flex. Off for more searching.  There was a shipment (from supplier not transfer in) with more new clubs arriving - there were supposed to be a set (or 3). Another box was found.  Right flex!  Right handedness.  Inspection ensued.  Driver had the wrong flex, all the other clubs were as they should have been.  Oh my. Packaged improperly at the factory.  NP - there are tons of drivers sold individually, and lots of this brand.  

Small issue - the individually sold drivers are adjustable, but the ones with the set are not.  More consulting - for the grief we've had, they'll just swap. But oh yes, the adjustable driver means you also need an adjusting wrench. NP - tool is located.  At the checkout, the rep is just waiting for the checkout and decides to show us how to do the adjustment.  Oops - the tool he's got for us is not the right head (torque, not the triangle this club needs).  Back to the supply room.  New tool located. Demo ensues.  Success!  All clubs present and accounted for, tool works.  Hurrah!  Whew!  That was a lot of work! 

Game 7 of the Stanley Cup semi finals is tonight - Montreal Canadiens vs New York Rangers.  As we watched Game 6 on Tuesday, FB friends were posting from the arena in Montreal!  Go Habs!  

Off to do one more block of my raspberry / chocolate sampler while I watch the game ...


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Happy Bits #46

Another quilting adventure - 'tis the season for quilt shows!  This is the 4th local show I've been to this spring - wohoo!  Today we visited the Ailsa Craig Community Quilt Festival (https://www.ailsacraigquiltfestival.ca) - this year's showing is "Quilts of Great Britain".
 This group has been organizing international quilt shows for a few years, each year focusing on a specific country.  What a well-organized show.  From the white glove attendants everywhere to help out, to the lunch with theme dishes, well done!

The quilts were entered as a result of a call for entry, and all quilts offered for showing were included - love that!  There were also 15 banners of the various regions of Great Britain - so interesting!  From miniatures (amazing creations!) to wall hangings, art quilts, bed quilts.  Many were hand pieced, many hand quilted too.
Each quilt had the story of that quilt (technique, name, inspiration, etc), as well as the story of the quiltmaker. Lovely.

Inspiring, delightful!

For the volunteers and vendors, it was the final day of a full week, but there was so much good humour, cheeriness and comradeship, it was just fun.  

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Happy BIts #45

Love quilt shows!  They're even better when you can go with a quilting buddy and best friend!!

Yesterday we went to the Piecemaker's Quilt Show in St. Mary's, Ontario.  (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Piecemakers-Quilt-Show/224309937634857)

This is an interesting show in that two guilds collaborate to organize the show.  It is well done - smoothly run, displays were terrific, venue is easy to get to, lots of space.  Vendors had lots of space and were set up around the perimeter of the room with the quilt displays - love that! Fabulous quilts, lots of inspiration.  So much creativity.  I also liked very much that there was a wide range of quilting ability on display - brave beginners, seasoned fabric artists.  Very interesting to see results of workshops/classes - so many interpretations of a pattern or technique.

One of my favourite finds today was a line of digitized fabrics from P&B Textiles, carried by Greenwood Quiltery from Guelph.  The fabrics are so soft and the colours and patterns glorious.  A few FQ's had to follow me home!

You can see the fabric line here ... http://www.pbtex.com/xanadu/.

And found this "Strip Stick" from Babb Enterprises - had seen a review and was on the hunt for one!  Score!

And finished up the jeans quilt after supper.  Have to get out in this sunshine for some pix ...


Friday, April 18, 2014

Happy Bits #44

A bit dreary but fairly warm today, these were all visitors at my wee back yard feeder today, along with a pesky squirrel ...
Goldfinch

Bluejay

Brown-headed cowbird

Mourning Dove

Red-winged blackbird - two juveniles with only yellow bars and the wee-est bit of red starting to show!

Robin


Sewing Advice - then and now! Good to know ;)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Happy Bits #43

So if I don't post for much, much too long, why not post twice in one day!

Found a terrific list of 100 things every quilter should do ... 

http://www.quiltmaker.com/blogs/quiltypleasures/2013/11/100-things-every-quilter-should-do/

I'm somewhere around 78 - Paducah and Houston are on my bucket list!  Yo-yo's, not so much.

which includes a link to this technique - notching to help you line up the ends of bindings ... I'm giving this a try on my next binding!

http://www.quiltmaker.com/blogs/quiltypleasures/2013/10/qm-how-to-join-the-ends-of-binding/

ends9 QM How To: Join the Ends of Binding

Happy Bits #42

Really, you'd think that not working would mean I'd get back to posting! Apparently not so much.  An assortment of 'excuses' ...
Photo: Caption Contest!

Photo sent in by Jen
  • never-ending winter - just goes on and on and on - another 3" this week
  • trying to figure out what to do with myself
  • sleeping in
  • napping
  • unpacking!
  • more unpacking! - we moved last AUGUST


This week I am starting to feel like a real person again.  Getting up, staying awake, doing things.  Feels so much better.  

Josh Groban


Today I was sitting in the sunshine for lunch, enjoying some awesome youtube clips of Josh Groban performances where he invites audience members to sing with him - heavenly!  A fun one ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aN5-IbjoGLs

Such a performer - have been lucky enough to attend a concert in London a while ago.  I also very much appreciate how real he seems, connected to his fans, connected to the world.  

I did a lot of work this week on unpacking my quilting stuff.  I've been mostly cutting up jeans (that I collected for years and years - as the kids grew, as they wore out).  A few quilty things were unpacked, and I did finish the top that I had been working on before we moved (YAY!).  But I couldn't justify to myself starting to cut out something new with so much stuff still packed.  

I *really* want my long-arm set up again, so I have to move the boxes out of where it is going to go.  A couple of weeks ago we popped into the nearby quilt store (Sew Creative Quilting - http://www.sewcreativequilting.ca/) to measure up how much clearance I really need.  We'd been still waffling between setting it up in an upstairs room (with *lots* of light) or downstairs - there is also lots of light but the stairs down have a turn so I'm not sure that I'll be able to get the table out again once it's set up. 

I'm glad we went to do the measuring, as we did figure out how very tight it would be if we did set it up in the upper room.  And a huge bonus - while we were there I asked if anyone is making a 'dead rail' for these frames - and YES - actually, Pfaff does!  An add-on with attachments that just snap over the existing rail caps.  ORDERED!  Should arrive soon :)  Sorry, can't find any photos of it.

Last week I had found some of my thread and a couple of my long-arm rulers. Today, I found my QBot and the rest of the rulers!  Hooray!  Getting closer ... closer ... closer!

And I found a bunch more of the tops that are just patiently awaiting their turn on the frame :)

And I found the red striped denim that I scooped up somewhere years ago, to go into the denim quilt.  
So I have piles of broken down boxes than need to be carried upstairs and out, awaiting pick-up if the moving company will still come get them.  Very deep piles of packing paper unfolded, flattened and folded and repacked into a wardrobe box, ready for the next time someone moves.

I got to admire my fabric hoarding collection, put all the kits together in one spot, find the tools, admire the books.  All fired up with so many ideas again! 

I need to make a list ;-)

Here are the ones I want to do next!
Denim quilts - have lots of squares cut out - 10", 6", 4".  Likely enough for a (few!) handfuls of quilts.  Will aim for car quilts for the kids!  They will be rag quilts, like this ...

Rhubarb Pie (Keepsake Quilting kit)
      RHUBARB PIE QUILT PATTERN

Ricky Tim's Convergence Quilt - with the lovely FQ's my friend game me as a house-warming gift

Raspberry & Chocolate Sampler
I was part of an online swap for pink/brown 12" blocks and I should get those together!  Here is a sample of one that another of the swappers (Charismah) finished ...
Click to view large image

So it's a mix of UFO's and new projects; piecing and quilting that I'm sooooo ready to get back at :)

As soon as we get an electrician in to install some outlets and lights.  And build the frame.  Buy some anti-fatigue mats.  Build more shelving, stow more tubs.  Reorganize.  I'm so glad I'm feeling better :)


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...