Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Two leather bracelets.

Two dollars

Two bracelets + a Twoonie=Thrift Shop Math

trio of joy

Powder blue, dreamy and creamy. Exactly the same color as Grindley Petalware and you know that has to be a good thing.

I'm pretty sure, well certain actually, that this isn't vintage enamel ware but it is a marvelous big jug that I'll use for flowers and pussy willows and winter branches. Perhaps the bowl will go camping and live on as a dish pan.

I found this truly vintage, enamel ware jug years ago. I love the lines.

Then, a few years ago, I gasped and pounced on this jug at a thrift store. Good grief, it's green. Lovely, lovely Petalware green.

This blue jug is clearly a close relative. They were destined to be happily reunited. I do what I can.

Isn't this a trio of joy?

did I tell you

I chose yellow because she loves sunshine and because there are two yellow picture frames in her dining room. I chose text fabric because she reads everything, even cereal boxes.

I wanted something graphically straightforward and you can't get any more straightforward than a square and a triangle.

I love seeing the parts of a quilt accumulate. They seem to embody limitless possibility.

My mom has never seen text print fabric and was repeatedly concerned that 'someone was sewing with pieces of newspaper.' Just didn't seem sensible to her at all.

Is it just me or can you see a diamond back snake if you squint. Sure hope it's just me.

The backing fabric became kind of a big deal. The backing and the top need to see eye to eye. They need to be on speaking terms. Well, really more than that don't you think? They need to be friends. Speed dating was involved but at last......a perfect marriage. The backing I chose at length is hoarded fabric from Ikea. I bought enough several years ago to back a quilt for a grandchild. For several grandchildren. And likely for a couple floor length curtains but it was still hoarded fabric. Abundance and hoarding are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

As always, I followed Lynne Fanthorpe's quilting advice, "If you can't see it, why do it."

I think I'm in love with the back of this runner. Oh those birds!

I bound the runner in the same backing fabric to bring the 'light' out to the edges.

I was going for wood grain in my quilting but I think it has more of a Hell's Angels flame vibe.

Did I tell you I love birds?

Did I mention it is a veeeery long runner?

Well, then, there is nothing more to add.

Monday, April 27, 2015

all boy

All flannel, all boy, all finished. 

There are some pretty fun fabrics in this baby quilt; engineer stripe, polka dot, plaid, and even a piece of fabric left over from the days when my mother sewed flannel shirts for my dad.

personal spring

I had a frozen smile today.
It was my dentist's fault.
First he froze my mouth so I wouldn't feel my mouth get frozen.
Then it seemed to me he brandished a needle with reckless abandon and sure enough, four hours later my face still felt like a Picasso selfie.
My eye felt like it belonged somewhere else, to someone else.
So did my cheek.
And my smile.
Couldn't whistle either.
I was startled when I discovered that.

It's night now and the great thaw has come and gone.
A sort of personal spring.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

guardians of the Grand

It's official. Spring is here. I know this because the Wee Quilts are on display at McDougall Cottage again.
A few weeks ago my entry for this year flew over the mountains and across the prairies, all the way to Ontario. It will hang in the cottage as spring gives way to summer, and then flutter back to me like a homing pigeon in early July. 
And then I'll know it's summer.
Every year, the entrants of The Wee Quilt Challenge create with a theme in mind.

This year the theme was The Garden And The Grand. (The Grand is a river in the Cambridge area of Ontario) It seemed such a local theme this year that I almost never entered. I didn't think I had anything to say about the Grand River.
But then I realized that gardens and rivers are known and loved everywhere, that I did have something to say, and so I named my piece, Guardians of the Grand and wrote this:

The theme for the Wee Quilt Challenge 2015 reminds me of the importance of preserving the tapestry of beauty around us, the importance of being guardians of river and garden, bird and blossom. In my quilted entry, frilled daffodil sway in the spring breeze and a clump of primrose glow like pennies on the river bank. Water and wave are the sky’s looking glass as a Canada goose and her goslings patrol the river, Guardians of the Grand.

Thursday, April 9, 2015


I love white flowers. They seem to catch the light and glow like stars against the dark green distance.
These white tulips are my absolute favourite flower in my yard. I wait and watch for them every spring. They grow in a perfect bouquet. And they aren't just another pretty face. They're both a thermometer and a clock. The flowers close overnight into firm oval buds and stay closed if the day is cool and cloudy. But if the sky opens and the sun beams down, likewise, they open, grateful for the spring warmth. I imagine it has something to do with pollinators and sunshine but to me it is another example of the miraculous all around us every day.


Aw, aren't these cute?
Little tiny cowboy boot slippers.
I made them two minutes ago although the computer tells me very firmly that it was April 2013. Hah, what does it know.

frame it

Isn't it amazing how a month ago can feel like last week and a year ago like yesterday?
I'm pretty sure it's not because I'm getting older either, because my grandson commented on it and he's only eight.
One thing I've noticed though is how picture taking, which you'd think would lock a memory into place, does exactly the opposite.
As I was trolling online through April photos for all the years we've had a digital camera a growing sense of disbelief enveloped me.
"2013," I would exclaim to myself.
"How can that picture be two years old already?
And, "Hey, Wasn't that just a couple months ago?"
"2011!! No way!"
A lot of my photos are people-less and passing time is irrelevant, but the others are all portals to the past. Rabbit holes to fall down.
It's good to have them.
They remind me that I've had a life.
Am having a life.
That summer did come.
And go.
That I've done things and gone places and been with those I love.
In a strange way, they show passing time in stark relief against this moment in time.
They both erase time and frame it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


I just can't help myself. 
I always did love show and tell as a child. 
Here is a slightly larger corner of this year's Wee Quilt.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

flat tale

Animals cross roads.
They do.
I sometimes wonder why though in a sort of 'why did the chicken cross the road' way.
If, for example, a beaver has a lovely pond and creek and plenty of trees to gnaw, why would it choose to cross a wide and worrisome road to get to the other side?
What about the risk factor?
I pondered all of these things last week as I hastened off to work on a cool, Spring morning.
Ahead, a movement at the side of the road caught my eye.
A big, brown beaver clambered out of the ditch and hesitated at the side of the road.
It was almost as if it was doing the math.
If a car is heading northbound at 70 km an hour and a beaver, 100 meters away begins to cross the road, how wide must the road be to allow for a satisfying conclusion for the beaver?
The beaver and I both did our quick calculations.
It launched itself onto the road and I launched myself onto the horn.
Bleat, blat, bleat!
Back it scurried.
On I sailed.
It's flat tail was the last thing I saw in my rear view mirror.
Flat tail as opposed to flat beaver.

no time at all

My favourite home reno show on TV is Fixer Upper. JoJo and Chip make it all seem so appealing and worthwhile to smash your house to bits with a hammer. It's not just the grand reveal at the end that's inspiring either, but all the decisions made along the way.
It has made me glance about my own living room with a jaundiced eye.
Our fireplace mantel has always struck me as a 'Before' sort of mantel, not an 'After.'
Not really a focal point.
Not really a reflection of our interests and passions.
Over the decade we've been in this house, we've cast about ideas for the fireplace.
We've pondered built-ins and built-ons and built-arounds.
We've considered paint and rock and weathered wood.
This spring, very suddenly, it seemed like the time was right.
Perhaps it was because I found at long last, a completely black fireplace screen. Or perhaps, it was because some projects just need to hang on the vine and sweeten in the sun.
Once a project is ripe and ready, the path seems to clear before your eyes.
Paint seemed called for.
And a more substantial presence.
After that, one thing led to another.
My husbands carved ducks seemed to be exactly the right thing to add to such an important spot.
A quilt will be next.
It is taking shape slowly on the vine right now but it'll ripen up just fine in no time at all.


It's Wee Quilt time at McDougall Cottage in Cambridge again. Well, almost.
This years quilts will be on display from April 10 til the end of June.
I had planned to wait until then to show you my entry for this year but I've cracked under the pressure.
Here is a wee detail of my Wee Quilt.

 And here is a slightly larger detail. A more detailed detail.

 More details to follow....

everyone present

My grandchildren scampered about the lawn gathering up tubs of playdough with lids the color of jelly beans. They created 'moon mud foot prints' and clever cookies and pancakes, while I finished up the squash and apple in the kitchen and my husband whittled away at the ham. Isn't ham a boon to the cook? You just put it in the oven and get on with your life.

Easter decor is fun because I've always had a soft spot for egg shaped things. This year I added eggs (decoupaged with Japanese napkins) to a wooden bowl along with a few wooden eggs (one likely was used for darning socks long ago) and a little metal egg/candy container I got from my sister as a little girl.

I finally have enough vintage egg cups for everyone present. ( and a few spares)

My husband has eaten Paska at Easter ever since he was a hatchling. I'd never heard of it before I met him but it became a part of my own children's Easter essentials and now, my grandchildren's. It's a sweet bread dough (sometimes spiked with orange peel) topped with buttery frosting and sprinkles. (They have to be multi-colored and they have to be round)
Not a true devotee, I prefer mine with just icing and icing alone.

just for me

I was driving to work the other morning when a song began to play on the radio.
In that brief moment when the opening bars of music give way to voice, I felt.... surprise.
It was like running into an old friend in a city far away.
That unexpected delight of recognition.
That flash of something...almost longing...for another time, for memories shared.
It was Keith Green.
And he was singing Your Love Broke Through.
I turned into the parking lot at work and reluctantly turned off the car.
I found myself thinking about the lyrics and humming snatches of the song all day at work.
Sure wished I could have heard the whole song.
On the way home, I listened to the traffic report and music, eventually flipping back to the station I had listened to on the way to work and found myself just as startled as I'd been in the morning.
There it was again.
Your Love Broke Through.
And right in the middle of the song.
An acapella group this time, singing the second half of the song.
Felt like it was just for me.

Your Love Broke Through--Keith Green

Like a foolish dreamer trying to build a highway to the sky
All my hopes would come tumbling down
And I never knew just why
Until today, when you pulled away the clouds
That hung like curtains on my eyes
Well I've been blind all these wasted years
And I thought I was so wise
But then you took me by surprise

Like waking up from the longest dream, how real it seemed
Until your love broke through
I've been lost in a fantasy, that blinded me
Until your love broke through

All my life I've been searching for that crazy missing part
And with one touch, you just rolled away
The stone that held my heart
And now I see that the answer was as easy
As just asking you in
And I am so sure I could never doubt
Your gentle touch again
It's like the power of the wind

Like waking up from the longest dream, how real it seemed
Until your love broke through
I've been lost in a fantasy, that blinded me
Until your love, your love broke through
Like waking up from the longest dream, how real it seemed
Until your love broke through
Until your love broke through