Saturday, March 26, 2011

cooler weather here, too

I took a sewing class at my SM dealer this past week that was a lot of fun. We made a tote bag out of the plastic/vinyl pet mesh screening and a bit of fabric. All the totes turned out very nicely. They're extremely lightweight, too. These are nice for the beach because sand will go right thru the screen. Here's a picture, and I have no idea where it will show up in this post. (ack)
As soon as it placed it on the steps for a piccie, Sophie ran up the steps and sat herself down right next to it. I think she knows it's in "her colors" and she seems to approve. Okaaayyy... photo showed up on top left corner, so I cut & pasted this paragraph right next to it.

All our flowering Spring trees are in full bloom right now: redbud, Yoschino cherry, Bradford pears (although they're on their way out), dogwoods, and the forsythia & quince bushes. This is a good three to four weeks ahead of schedule for some of these trees. We had two or three weeks of very warm weather --- even the Bermudagrass is trying to green up. And the dog has started shedding. Ticks came out a couple weeks ago, so Sophie's had her K9Advantix already, too.

The past couple days, however, brought us back to the reality called . . . March. We had a light frost yesterday, which is really more the norm. Our frost date here ranges from late April 30 - May 10. We sure did get spoiled to the warm weather, though. It was almost 80 degrees in the house and cool weather arrived before I had to turn on the A/C.

Pollen here is horrendous, also. Everyone feels half-sick from allergies to the stuff, and the worst hasn't even hit. Thank heavens for antihistamines.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

More snow too in Southern Ontario

I guess we picked up Minnesota's snow storm. It was a gentle whopper and yes, himself will be getting the snowblower out. He'd already packed away his snowsuit for the winter but it's back upstairs warming up. He has to be covered from head to tow because he comes in looking like a snowman with the blowback of the snow. A little taste of spring and we all go crazy driving the roads, which were very greasy yesterday. It's like letting the calves out in spring...we tend to go a bit wild. There were a number of accidents due to the storm.

Marion, I've forwarded your last post and picture to himself. He will find it very interesting and no doubt feel a bit envious of the flat land, the airstrips and yes, you have a little slice of heaven there. I also thought of you, meeting Russell, a New Zealander, leaving your home in England which surely had a few gentle hills here and there dotted with charming homes, lots of people and you came to a country half-way around the world from your family and home in Britain. What a change of life for you. The Brits were a tough lot. How did you manage without the support of family as a young bride? And, how did you find yourself adjusting to a new country and a new and different way of life.

We, who live in the countryside mostly all reach the point of having to leave the visual and physical space around us and that thought of 'going into town' some embrace with relief, others stubbornly hang on until we drive our kids crazy worrying about us. Then, they throw up their hands and say: we give up. They'd be better off in town but we can't get them out of there'...meaning the country. For me, it will be hard to make the adjustment if or when the time comes and it's creeping up faster than I'd like to admit.

I'm flying by the seat of my pants with a quilt I'm making at the moment. It's the first quilt I've ever made that I only had half a design for before I started. Often I build my quilts like a painting, a bit of a time but this one, based on Gustav Klimt images, is challenging me. I'm down to my last corner design, not even the borders and I actually woke up dreaming about how I was going to sew it. I'm constantly arbitrating visual weight with my shapes and colours. The big surprise is 'will it turn out okay'. I don't know. Perfection is fleeting.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Marion, Except for the Mountains, many farms in Minnesota look very similar. Lots of green crops and trees for windbreaks. There are lots of long driveways lined with trees. It's just nice seeing so much green, especially since we got about 6" of snow today!

From the other side...

Yes, Rosey, Russell did take the photos. Our neighbours have a little 'plane and he often gets a chance to fly with them. They live on a similar property a few miles down the road from here. They have developed their land into a private airfield. The people who have built down there, are all aviators and most have their own 'planes.

From this angle you can see our drive. Just a straight line really, but the most economical use of the land. The hills in the background are the Port Hills which surround Christchurch. The grey line below the hills is the Waimakariri river.


A big corner of your world, Marion...

What a beautiful photograph. Russell may have taken it as I can see the tip of the aircraft in the picture. I'm trying to figure out...the upright 'Z" are you close to the bottom there and if so, where is your driveway into the house, I cannot see this? You're are lucky. The thing with the country here is that in winter, when Toronto is jammed up with a heavy snowfall, we in the country will have the snow spread out over the fields and roads but there is some place for it to go. In a city, there isn't and it becomes a more serious problem. When you have the wide sweep of land that you have, I wonder how an earthquake would affect you. Certainly, in the house, yes, but the land is so vast without homes on it that the damage would be directly in your own home and not as much in the surrounding areas other than with the road damage.

The pictures are so uplifting, thank you all.


My little corner of the world...

Here's an aerial shot of the Canterbury Plains and our house. As you see, we pretty much have it to ourselves ! We look out to the foothills and the Alps. We are surrounded by dairy farms, which is why it is so green. The irrigaters go for most months of the year.
Of recent years we have thought about downsizing but we love it here and would miss the peace of the countryside and the possibility of close neighbours doesn't excite us any. Also we would miss the views of the mountains, especially in the winter when they look so spectacular against the blue skies. I think we will be here for awhile yet. Lucky us.
Today I heard that 1300 families in the nearby rural town will be told tomorrow, that their homes will be demolished. 600 of these were damaged in the Sept quake the rest a month ago, during the Christchurch quake. It is hoped that the earth can be stabilized and that it will be safe to rebuild in some areas. I could be up to five years before everyone has a new home. Temporary houses will be put up before the winter.
The situation in Japan breaks my heart. There the people can't even find the bodies of their loves ones and the devastation of their communities is complete. We live in challenging times.
Marion (who should have been in bed hours ago but can't sleep..)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Today in No. Fla.

We had the local elections for mayor, city council, etc. today. I'll be SO glad when the political adds are off of the TV.
My Mom is in the hospital in So. Fla with TIAs, and low sodium, which is accounts for all the confusion. She went in Fri. night, and we hope will get out today or at least tomorrow.
At 93 I guess that sort of thing can be expected, but I was hoping that she could avoid the TIAs. It is sad to see someone who was sharp fade. She used to love to watch 60 min. and Meet the Press on TV, and an active member of her little church. Now she doesn't have much interest in anything.

I did take a quilt top and several small wall hangings to the Sunshine State Quilt Assoc. documentation last Saturday. I guess various states are documenting the quilts, putting them on digital pictures, on cataloging them. Evidently this "double wedding ring" top isn't as old as I was lead to believe, as some of the fabrics in it are from the 1930's. The head of that guild advised me to finish it so that it could be kept in better shape. I'll have to post a picture of it!
I did take some shots of all the azaleas in bloom around the polling place. Will try to do it tonight.
Other than that, I have finally finished striping off wallpaper and went to big box store to pick out paint samples this afternoon. I have several that would work on the top half of the wall. Will be glad when next Tues. comes and this project is finished.
Sara in Fla.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Quilts for Japan, deadline before end of May

I hope this posts okay. I copied and pasted from a quilter group email and it might run together when I post.
There are two deadlines: mid-April and the end of April. Quilts won't be accepted after the end of May.

Thanks to Jeannie Hunt for this information on sending quilts directly to Japan.

Subject: a plea from Japan for quilts
This morning I received an email from Naomi Ichikawa, Editor of Patchwork Quilt Tsushin Magazine. Naomi lives in Tokyo and her mother and brother survived the tsunami in Sendai. Naomi asked me to please spread the word about the plea for comfort quilts. I hope you can help spread the word.
Here is Naomi's request:
It is still bad situation now in Japan. We are still nervous about shaking and radiation,but no way to escape. I start to announce to the quilters to send us comfort quilts for the people who are suffered. I would like to do it to the world quilters. We will deliver the comfort quilts to the people who are very difficult situation.Could you please help to announce it to the quilters in Canada and USA?
We accept any size of quilts(baby to adult).new or unused.

The deadline would be the end of May or later.
★Send the quilts to:

(until the middle of April)Naomi Ichikawa,Editor of Patchwork Quilt tsushinPatchwork Tsushin Co.,Ltd5-28-3,Hongo,Bunkyo-ku,Tokyo,Japan zip:113-0033

(after the middle of April)Naomi Ichikawa,Patchwork Tsushin Co.,
Ltd2-21-2,Yushima,Bunkyo-ku,Tokyo,Japan zip:113-0034
I will appreciate if you help me.Naomi

B&B Guest Room

Here are two quilts which are in one of our B&B bedrooms. The quilt on the left was made by my late mother--in-law, Maude Small, who first introduced me to quiltmaking in my early twenties. I cannot remember the name, a rose pattern. The quilt on the right was made by an elderly woman by the name of Annie May Johnson, who, when my name appeared in the paper in relation to starting the 2nd quilt guild in Canada, called me and said: "I think you must like quilts; would you like to see mine?" And so, I paid Annie May a visit. Her quilts numbered over one hundred at least. She made this Lone Star and presented it to me. Annie May had quilts stuffed under beds, behind the old player piano, under stairwells; we could hardly find them all. What a remarkable woman.

Heather, that little fellow in the middle, I imagining it or does he have a very 'Schooler' look about him. This must give Andy a whole new lease on life. You are both good grandparents to look after these boys. It takes a lot of time, energy and commitment.
Marion, please continue to share your life with us. I hope these pictures brighten your day. We can do nothing from this end of our world but hopefully distract your mind for awhile.


The pictures have been wonderful to see...I don't seem to get much chance to post but do pop in to read as much as I can....these three rascals are mostly the reason for never having time these days for much else.....From the left is Adason 3years + 1 month.....Preston 10 months...and Brody 2years this week! We have the youngest one 3 days a week soon to be 5 days and the other two come at least once a week sometimes two plus it seems sleepovers are popular here...especially when Grandpa sets up the full size tent in the basement and they have a campout with those nights...Grandma gets a good night all to herself ! even the dogs stay downstairs...Sometimes I wonder why we do this and then we get the snuggles and kisses and know the reason why....We will look after Preston fulltime while Mom and Dad work til he is about two unless they come up with someone else they trust (and us too !) to take him part time....they had a parttime daycare space but when it came time Grandpa decided that we couldn't do that to him til he was old enuf to tell about his day and what was happening....I agreed as long as Grandpa stuck to the helping out especially on the days when all three are here....when it is just one it seems like a breeze.....cuts into the quilting time for sure but they do grow so fast and won't always want to hang with us I am sure....
We are sure looking for spring....we are tired of winter for sure....but as Rosey put it....we are do live a privileged life.....and I will take the snow and cold as opposed to the daily aftershocks let alone earthquakes and tsunami(s).....but I would like to see some green grass soon.....
It has been a long day for us.....had all three wee ones plus their parents for supper.....the wonders of crockpots......
sending hugs to all and thanks for all the beautiful pics....

"isolated and privileged".....

Rosey ! That's just how I would have described my life a month ago...How things change... It's a month today since the earthquake . It seems a lot longer than that. New expressions have entered the vocabulary.."the new normal" " pre.earthquake" etc... I was born in 1939, so grew up in England during and after the war. I remember that nearly all conversation seemed to start with "before the war this and before the war that.." I had little idea what "the war" was , but I sensed that it had changed a lot of things for the adults...

Our small rural town has had an influx of people from Christchurch. The shops are doing well but locals aren't used to queueing for things and not finding car parks ! Lots of children have moved to the local schools. There are schools still closed in the city and others sharing buildings, one school uses the buildings from 7am till mid-day and the other school comes in for the afternoon shift. It must be very difficult for staff and students alike. There is an increase in domestic violence , understandable but sad. Alcohol plays a part in that ofcourse. There is an increase in crime. Too many people with nothing to do.. There is an increase in the unemployed due to so many places of work being condemned and unsafe. We have a friend working in a dangerous and difficult environment . It's that or the company folds, so the employees aren't saying too much to anyone.. The journey to work for this friend used to take 45 minutes , it now takes two hours because of the state of the roads. You can imagine the stress in that household. Lots of frustrated business people wanting to get back into the centre city to inspect their properties for themselves. They are told it is unsafe. Professionals are unable to work, because their records and rooms are "off limits"...the list goes on.

A misty morning here and plenty to do . Leaves to sweep up and plants in the garden to attend to. DH is out all day and we have had so many people staying recently , a quiet day in the garden is just what I need . Back to my "isolated and privileged " lifestyle for a day ! Yeah !


Marion and all on the blog

I have just read your post and my heart goes out to all in Christchurch, every time I hear the news there seems to have been more aftershocks and it just seems to be going on and on. One of my friends has a husband who has been there since the first quake, he is a quantity surveyor and sees the worst of the damage. he has some horrible stories to tell and says he will never be the same. We are making quilts but they are not immediate. I am sending money on a regular basis (on super day) but that seems so cold and unfriendly, I really want to go down and hug everybody. Nothing much here I was just starting to relax but have been asked to take another kitten. He needs to learn people are OK and apparently I am starting to get a name for settling them. Personally I would have thought this house is not conducive to quiet times but who knows. Doris I always wanted a dog like yours , she is beautiful, if I ever learn to post photos I will post a photo of mine and you will see what I mean. Hugs to all, Bee in NZ.

Spring Break

We could use the mittens on my grandaughters' quilt here on our Spring Break. My brother in California tells me they were in the 40s and windy and rainy today also. It's March, after all. Just more time to spend in the quilt studio.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday night

I am so enjoying the brightening of the board with photographs. How I wanted to walk that lovely beach, Laura and remind myself that I could fly to Florida and enjoy the white sand beaches. Flying isn't a favorite of mine but time slips by; I have an airline pass and the flights are usually booked pretty solid at this time of year going into Florida.
Doris, that Sophie is one pretty dog. Her eyes would melt the heart of a non-dog lover even. Is she as huggable as she looks?
Marion, I do want to hear the reality of your life and those in Christchurch. We live isolated and privileged lives here in Southern Ontario, long winters and storms, aside. Our geology is not harsh in the sense of what you are experiencing in your area. Your descriptiveness brings it all into focus for me and I'm sure for others. Please continue to share with us here. For example, I would not have thought about the traffic lights being out. Of course; and what that brings with it...possible accidents and danger to others. And the road conditions; buildings being demolished. News is only news when it's kept in front of people; then we tend to forget. It helps to hear.

This afternoon, after an overnight spent at my son and DDIL's home looking after their three year old human dynamo known as Addison, I took in a movie with friend, Virginia back at home. We saw The Lincoln Lawyer. I can highly recommend it. Matthew McConaughey is not a great favorite of mine but he is very good. In fact, all the actors were very good in this movie with a good storyline.


Monday morning..

As you can see by the Christmas cards, this isn't a recent photo ! However, it's a nice photo of the embroidery above the mantelpiece so I thought I would add it here. Some years ago we were in France and visited Bayeux. I was thrilled to see the tapestry, which I remembered hearing about at school. I bought a tapestry kit and enjoyed working it. The stitches used are authentic but the actual tapestry is finer work that this...
Thank you for the photos which keep coming. Aren't they lovely ? They sure do brighten the page and brighten the day . Sophie looks a real lady (!) and the sea scape's were very refreshing.
I'm working hard to keep myself from shaking here this morning. We had a difficult day yesterday. We had a near-miss in the car. This morning the reality of the "what ifs" have kicked in. Yesterday started well enough. We had a friend staying and we needed to take her into town to meet up with her DD, who was planning to take her out of "earthquake city". This was our first visit to Christchurch central since the quake. It was a sad journey seeing so many damaged buildings, porta-loos at the side of the road, piles of silt from the liquefaction, fallen chimneys, fallen garden walls etc, bumpy uneven roads and broken pavements. After meeting with our friends, we parked the car and walked through part of the city. It's hard to look at. So many beautiful buildings "red-sticker ed" (to be demolished..) and others deserted and looking sad and neglected. The CBD is still cordoned off, I knew this ofcourse, but to actually see soldiers stationed there at the road blocks,...... here in NZ....., seemed so incongruous. It was a wet, cold Sunday morning and the streets were deserted. We had also planned to visit our friends who returned to their home last week. They live up on the hills above the city. The drive there was scary as the roads are so badly damaged and the traffic lights not always working.. At one intersection we were nearly wiped out by a fast moving truck. We continued on with our journey and arrived at our friends home to the welcome smell of fresh coffee. .. we said nothing initially, as they were traumatised by the further damage to their home . .. It wasn't till we returned home that we fully processed all that had happened. The evening was interrupted by more after shocks. We went to bed exhausted .. We didn't sleep well. Sorry to unload here but I don't want to worry the DD's with all of this and I feel the need to tell someone..
So, onward and upward ! Today I have to bake for earthquake victims who are living in their own homes but under very difficult circumstances..
Have a good day, hug those you love.



I love the photos everyone have posted here. Please keep posting, ladies. I can't seem to control where mine land in the post. They only want to be at the top of the post. (The Left, Right, Center part is easy.) Such are the ways of computers & web sites, and being technologically challenged.

Laura in AL - I visited Gulf Shores SP beach back in the late 1970s and it was beautiful, back then. My girlfriend and I took turns going into the water, with the other watching for shark fins, as that trip was on the heels of the movie "JAWS". ;-)

Above is a picture of Sophie taken a year ago, right after her bath. She still had her winter coat, so looks very hairy.

Another beautiful, warm Spring day today, highs in the upper 70s. DH is headed to the golf course, which is good exercise for him. The Japanese Magnolia/Tulip trees are blooming, and are gorgeous this year. Hugs to everyone!

Laura, that's my sort of place

I love the sea and sand . My daughter and son in law went camping this weekend taking Cara for the first time, she is obviously one of us and had a wonderful time. Took her all of 2 mins to get wet and she stayed that way most of the time. We have Dept. of Conservation camp grounds in NZ which are very well run , very safe and quite private. This group were Jo's coffee group who have been meeting since the kids were born , so imagine 6 nearly 3 year olds in a heap and you will have some idea of the mess. They were home at 4pm, kids all bathed and fed by 5 and all now asleep.This is the first time Jo and Aaron have been away apart from going to family and a good time was had by all. I spent the weekend trying to garden but kept getting interrupted by the rest of the family. I am so lucky as we all live within 20 mins drive of each other and I see someone every weekend. We have a fantastic Chinese takeaway and a great bakery about 5 mins from here so lunch is never a problem. I always have a huge pot of soup in winter and whoever arrives gets French bread but summer is different and we always buy lunch. Mind you if I knew they were coming it would be different but the first thing I hear is the car and the dog going beserk. Must away and put the kitts away for the night , so my own can have some peace. Hugs to all Bee in a still very warm NZ.