Thursday, June 25, 2015

part time magic

My granddaughter has a marvelous collection of small 'stuffies.' They are her pets. Well, maybe that isn't exactly right. They are her patients. She is a part time Vet.
When she comes to play, she Sets Up Clinic. Kittens and puppies and birds and rabbits line the waiting room. She has even treated a kangeroo and a turtle recently and expanded her Small Animal Practice to include horses as necessary.
Bandages, shots, ex-rays, rehab., medicine; they all work their magic.
The Doctor is IN.


"My life has been kind of ironic this year," my grandson stated, throwing the adults around the table into confusion.
After a flurry of murmurers, I wonderingly asked him how.
"Do you remember when I fell?" he asked.
"Do you remember when I fell in the parking lot of Safeway?
"SAFEway," he said, incredulously.
"Oh," I grinned, "It should have been called Dangerway."

sweet on sweet

"I'm hungry Gramma," my tiny granddaughter announces.
"Do you want to make pancakes?" I ask.
Quick as a flash she is beside a dining room chair, wrangling it over to the kitchen counter.
I place a large bowl in front of her and a big mixing spoon.
"Flour," she happily announces.
I hand her the brimming measuring cup and she tips it with a poof into the bowl.
She is only two but she knows pancakes.
And she knows how to count too apparently.
"That's enough," she chirps after the third spoonful of baking powder.
Right on cue.
Her spoon zig zags through the flour while I get the oil and milk and egg ready.
"Ewwww, sloopy," she exclaims as the wet meets dry.
She always says, "Eww sloopy."
It has come to be part of the recipe for me.
Makes me think of the song, Sloopy Hang On every time too and I almost hear a distant tinny jingle.
The little pancakes cook.
The little cook eats.
Sweet on sweet.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


It was his

but now it's mine.

Monday, June 15, 2015

almost irish

I did a trunk show.
Do you know what that is?
I did a quilt trunk show for a high school grade 11/12 sewing class.
It wasn't a literal trunk of course.
It was a giant suitcase on wheels stuffed to the brim with quiltish pieces and  a giant tote over my shoulder stuffed to the brim too.
Quilt trunk shows were one of the things I loved when I was part of a quilt guild.
I loved hearing and seeing the story of a quilters creative path.
I loved hearing the passion in their voice and seeing their style, unique as a finger print.
I think when you love to do something, when you have a passion, sharing it is inevitable.
And contagious.

I warned the girls that I would be talking as fast as an auctioneer. It would be a sort of archaeological dig through layers of time, up, up, up through fabric and batting.

I began by showing them something I had sewn, when like them, I sat with my foot on a sewing machine pedal in a high school sewing class.
It's crazy that I graduated from high school forty years ago this June.
It's crazier that I still have a grade 12 sewing project in my cupboard.

The focus of my grade twelve sewing course was tailoring.
I dutifully stitched up a pale pink jacket with all the bells and whistles; covered buttons, bound button holes, a curved lapel, pleated pockets, lining......

It looked pretty good on too. Added curves. That could only be a good thing.

I also made a skirt to go with it.
Kind of has a prim and proper vibe somehow.
Looks can be so deceiving.
How in the world has this suit survived all of the Pack It Up And Throw It Out purges that happen over the years. Especially since I moved nine times in the first five years I was married.
It's a mystery.

The girls duly admired my quilts, and were the perfect audience, involved and attentive.
It was a lot of fun.

There was one quilt that seemed to be a favourite. The girls all said, OHHHHHHHHH, in unison. It is an unfinished quilt, a work in progress actually, composed of scrappy sixteen patches. It reads as an almost Irish chain. Wow, Almost Irish would be such a great name for it. My mom has already dubbed it My Blue Heaven but maybe it could have two names.

I had originally planned to set the blocks on point but decided that having the 'Almost Irish Chain' running diagonally was actually more interesting.
I plan to add two more rows to the length and then add an oversized four patch border.
And an Ikea bird print for the backing.
That is part of the allure of quilting; the sense of mystery and surprise.
It never gets old.

just under

I sometimes feel like I'm spread as thin as a skiff of butter on a slice of toast.
Hit and miss.
Barely there.
Don't think that I'm claiming to be too busy, although I've had those seasons in my life; those times when a heady combination of duty and pleasure keep your feet skimming just above the ground.

Instead, I feel like I have become fallow land.
But is that a bad thing?

Perhaps something is happening that I can't see.
Something green and fresh.
Just under the surface.

neither do I

I"ve had a bit of a dip. Which is to say a bit of a down. If I recorded all of my ups and downs on this blog I would seem like the human equivalent of a yo yo.
Actually, yo yo's are pretty fascinating. When things are going right, they take on a mesmerizing rhythm.
Of course, when things are not going right, they sputter and stutter and stall.
The stall is always on the down swing.
Yo yo's never stall up.
Neither do I.

Thursday, June 11, 2015


Nothing like a little 'time lapse' quilting to capture the fun of designing a quilt.

I began 2015, as has become my habit, by creating my Wee Quilt for for the yearly challenge at McDougall Cottage. This year the theme was The Garden and The Grand and I wanted to say something about gardens and rivers. I wanted to honor all that is precious and irreplaceable about them.

I began with the idea of Canadian geese. Geese and goslings are a wonderful harbinger of spring along Canadian waterways.

Or course, every entry in the Wee Quilt Challenge must include some plaid fabric so I chose to express the reflective quality of water in plaid.

I extended the plaid behind the head of the goose to create as great a value difference as possible.

The fabric I used for the body of the goose had a lot of movement and texture and I hoped it would add to the illusion of feathers.

I began to block in the river bank and foliage. I had decided on daffodils and primrose.

I changed one of the goslings and added flower petals.

I kind of like this earlier version of daffodils and would just add some dark shadows and highlights if I did it again.

The orange frill on the daffodil seemed necessary to balance the weight of color in the clump of primrose.

Sandwiching a small project is such a simple, joyous thing. So bite size.

I decided to use paisley on the back. I'm kind of sentimental about paisley. After all, it was a paisley shawl that caused my great, great, great grandparents to pack up, lock, stock, and barrel and travel across the sea to North America.

Quilting a small project is a simple, joyous thing too. I loved creating ripples on the surface of the water, and fuzzy feathers on the goslings. It wasn't too late at this point to do some minor tweaking. I added a smidge more water to create the value change necessary to help a gosling beak stand out and made the silhouette of the goslings slimmer.

I bound the finished quilt in the same basket weave fabric that bound last years entry. It reminds me of an antique wicker picture frame.

My little quilt traveled across the Rocky Mountains and the Prairies, all the way to Ontario where it will hang until the end of June. When it comes back to me like a homing pigeon, it will have a nice big blue ribbon attached. Hooray!!
Guardians of the Grand has won the "Grand" Family Award.

Monday, June 8, 2015


Once upon a time my daughter gave me two identical charm packs.
I promptly chopped them into a towering stack of triangles.
All the more design possibilities that way I figured.

The colors were dazzling.
So unexpected.
I had never sewn with watermelon pink, lemon, lime, dark chocolate and iced aqua all at the same time.
I had never even thought of combining those colors at the same time.
But someone clever had.
Hooray for charm packs.

If you love scrappy quilts like I do, charm packs are a wondrous thing.
And best of all, I think they give you a shove in directions you might not have ventured. They encourage/force you to work with colors and patterns you mightn't try on your own.
Sort of like switching shopping carts with a stranger at the till.
Or a quilter's version of Chopped.


Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Watercolor sketches of chickadee's and squirrels.