Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Hallowe'en!

It's raining here today.  Not good weather for Halloween.  But it did give me a chance to finish my little Jack-O-Lantern wall hanging.  It's my first finish in a long time!

Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Halloween.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Yipes! Was That Frost I Saw? It Must Be the End of Fall

I haven't posted since last Sunday.  Wonder if I have lost my Mojo.  Maybe just my posting Mojo.  I am still busy sewing and creating, so that part is okay.

I went to the Creativ Festival yesterday.  It was amazing, especially because I was able to go on my own.  It was kind of like a pilgrimage.  I left my house on my scooter at around 8:30am and drove to the GO station which is closest to my house.  Even so, it is about a kilometre away.  I had to wear my winter coat because the temperature was around 0C.  There was a hint of white frost on the ground.  Winter is coming.  I got to the GO station about 20 minutes before the train was to leave.  I was right on time and so was the train.

We arrived at Union Station a half hour later.  Then I had to travel through Union Station, the Sky Walk and along Front Street until I got to the Convention Centre entrance.  From there it was a lot of searching, elevators and purchasing a ticket before I arrived at the line-up to go into the show.  Luckily I ran into quite a few quilty friends so the wait did not seem to last long.  Once inside I headed straight to the back of the building where the crowds were not so bad.

It was difficult to get close to very crowded booths and there were many of those.  But I did see everything. And even ran into a good friend whom I haven't seen for many years since she moved up north.  I bought a few fat quarters and some other quilt related things.  I also bought a kit to make a bag for making baked potatoes in the microwave.

There were lots of interesting exhibits.  One was a beautiful display of Amigurumi under water plants and creatures.  I would have loved to make some, but there were no patterns.  It was just a display that would be dismantled when the show is over and the toys given away to kids in hospitals.

I took a photo of this lovely quilt.  I love the applique and piecing.  It looks easy.  I might like to make a wall hanging like this for the winter months.

I left the Show without knowing what time it was.  But the crowds were getting thicker and thicker and it was difficult for me to get around on my scooter.  I reversed my travels back to Union Station and found that I was right on time.  The train that would take me back home was only a few minutes away.  When I saw the sign change, I noticed that my train was to leave from track 27.  I have never left from that track, even when I was able to walk, so I went in search for it.  I found it, but not the elevator that would take me up to the track level.  So I drove around at top speed trying to find a GO person to ask how to find the elevator.  I finally found someone.  She got a couple of people to help me.  The elevator for track 27 was on the other side of the station, past the VIA trains.  A nice man ran beside my scooter and took me up to the next level.  Then he directed me to another nice GO employee who took me up in another elevator to track 27.  I thanked them profusely and boarded the train.  I was afraid I would have missed it, but I was just in time once more.  The whistle blew and I had not even made it to my seat when the train began to move.  A half hour later I arrived at my stop.  The drive home was cold and gloomy.  Clouds had moved in and it looked like it would rain any minute.  But I made it home, safe and dry.  On my way I saw a beautiful red Oak tree. The colour was incredible.  It made me want to start a new quilt.

As you have probably guessed, Wildflower Wednesdays will have to be postponed until next year.  There are very few flowers still in bloom around here.  The end of fall is here.  But I can show you my hexie flowers.  I am still busy with the La Passion quilt.   This is where I'm at right now.

I was very happy when I got home from the show yesterday.  That was the first time I have ever tried to take public transit on my own.  It was very easy and fun and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  Was even thinking of going down there again today.  But it is raining out, cold, windy with heavy rain.  Not a good day to travel, so I will just stay in my sewing room and think of warmer days.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Kaffe Fassett Inspired

My latest charity quilt is finally a flimsy inspired by Kaffe Fassett.  Most of these fabrics are mine, but I was able to pick up a few more yesterday when I attended our Quilts from the Heart group at a local senior's residence.  We cut 2.5 and 3 inch squares (at least that's what I did) from scraps in order to make some Autumn Dance quilts for Quilts of Valour.  I asked if I could have a few scraps of the reds and I was granted my wish.  So this morning I turned those scraps and others into this flimsy.  I hope to sandwich and quilt it this weekend, so it will be ready for guild night.

This pattern is from Kaffe Fassett's book, 'Country Garden Quilts'.  I made a few blocks using Kaffe's fabrics and they turned out beautifully.  I will continue to work on them until I have another flimsy.  But now I am off to do some grocery shopping.  

Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

This is our Thanksgiving long weekend.  No sewing got done in the last few days - just lots of eating and being with friends and family.  Today is actually Thanksgiving Day, but DH and I have the day all to ourselves. Something to be thankful for, I guess.  I am canning applesauce today.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian Friends!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thursday's Weed

The charger for my scooter has been replaced and I can now charge up the batteries and get out of the house.  You have no idea how liberating that is!  I have felt like a prisoner for about 3 weeks and I had no way of taking more photos of wildflowers to post on Wednesdays.

But yesterday my batteries were fully charged and I went to the library.  As I drove around my neighbourhood I noticed the growth of a weed that everybody hates.  It's called Ragweed.

This is not a wildflower.  It's a full-out noxious weed!  But it does have flowers and that's where the problem starts.  This plant is the bane of allergy sufferers everywhere.

Although it is a plant that originally grew in rural areas, it has adapted itself and now grows just about everywhere.  Here is some that is growing in a crack along the side of the road, between the pavement and the curb.

The problem with Ragweed is the pollen.  Ragweed plants can produce up to a billion pollen grains per plant. This pollen is very small and light-weight and can travel for up to 400 km, carried by the wind.  It causes runny noses and watery eyes for many sufferers. Male and female flowers are borne on each plant, but it is the male flowers that produce the pollen.

It always irritates me when pictures of other wildflowers, such as Goldenrod or Dandelions, accompany articles relating to hay fever.  Those plants don't cause hay fever.  You, see, it is the colour of the flowers that gives them away.  Ragweed has green flowers and the others have coloured flowers.  It is only the green flowering plants that produce pollen light enough to float through the air.  The pollen grains of Goldenrod and Dandelions are large and heavy and depend on bees and other insects to pollinate them.  Ragweed relies only on the wind to blow its pollen around to other plants.  So when you see a wonderful field of yellow Goldenrod or the first golden globes of Dandelion-colour in spring, don't stay away from them.  They cannot hurt you.  They are the 'good' plants.

Here is some Ragweed growing beside the bus stop on Lawrence Ave. E.

Ragweed belongs to the Asteraceae family, like Sunflowers and Asters.  The thing that makes me cringe is that they are in the Genus, Ambrosia.  That makes me think of wonderful foods from the gods.  But I think it only refers to this plant's tenacity to thrive just about everywhere. This definitely is a noxious weed!  If you have it in your garden or see it growing along the side of the road beside your boulevard, pull it out!  Other than providing food for a few caterpillars, this plant does nothing for the beauty of our planet.  At least not by my standards.  I don't suffer from allergies, but maybe I am just a little bit biased.

Monday, October 07, 2013

I'm Back!

It was a fantastic weekend!  The weather could have been better, but since we were sewing all day it didn't really matter if we had some showers.  The rooms were fantastic.  The food was delicious.  And all of my fellow quilters were positive and inspirational.  Our venue was Elim Lodge and we couldn't have stayed in a nicer place.  We were set up in the meeting room.  It was huge and we had lots of room with a table to ourselves.

A few of us morning people went over and started sewing at 6:00am.  You can see how spacious it was.  It was quiet for awhile until more people arrived.  Breakfast was at 8:30am.  I always seemed to eat too much.  Everything was so delicious.  

In the afternoon the place looked more like this.  That's Debra in the black, facing the camera.  Sharing our work and talking about quilting.  What more could you ask for?

The dining hall was down by the beach.  On the way, we passed a cute little church.  I just had to get a photo of it.  

I worked on a couple of quilts while we were there.  The first one is Autumn Dance.  I thought this one was perfect for a fall retreat.  I still have several more blocks to make, but I know I can get them done at home. I also worked on some 'Rolling Stones' blocks.  I saw them on Fons and Porter last week and I thought I would give them a try.  I'll show you when I have more done.

On the way home on Sunday we stopped at a newly opened quilt shop in Newcastle.  It was in the quaintest of buildings as you can see from the photo.  It has only been open for about 5 weeks.  The owners were so kind and helpful. It is called Annie's Quilt Shop and I'm sure I'll be going back there if I am ever in the area again.

It was a great weekend.  I couldn't have done it without Debra's help.  Thanks Deb for everything.  You're the greatest!  Here are some more photos.  I just couldn't stop taking photos!

Friday, October 04, 2013

My Bags are Packed, I'm Ready to Go!

It's retreat tine!  Debra from Patchwork Sanity is picking me up in less than an hour.  This is going to be great!  Lots of sewing, friendship, fun and not having to cook.  I'll tell you all about it on Monday


Wednesday, October 02, 2013

This Should be Wildflower Wednesday, but I have More Exciting News!

Today's flower was going to be the Jerusalem artichoke.  You can see it on my header at the moment.  This plant is really gorgeous!  I have it growing in my backyard.  That is why I can show it to you today.  You see, my scooter is not working right now, so I can't go out and take photos.  It's a real drag because the weather has been fantastic and so far I have been stuck inside the house.  My battery charger is not working. One has been ordered and it should be here any day, but for now I am a prisoner in my own home.

This plant is in the Asteraceae family.  It has nothing to do with Jerusalem and it is not a type of artichoke. Its botanical name is Helianthus tuberosus.  The tuber of this plant is edible and is said to resemble the taste of an artichoke.  This plant has been cultivated for its root since before Europeans came to this country.

I would write more about it, but I am too excited about my other news!  Even though I have been unable to go anywhere by scooter, my friend, Sylvia has kept me mobile.  Last evening we went to see Kaffe Fassett!

Yes!  The real, live Kaffe Fassett!

Nicole of Log Cabin Yardage in Whitevale had invited him to come to her shop and talk to us.  It was a fantastic lecture!  Even though he didn't bring any quilts with him, his slide show was beautiful.  He outlined his life and interests and how he got started in knitting and quilting.  He is also a painter, which I didn't know, and I loved seeing his paintings.  He is a great speaker, very talented with a terrific sense of humour.  I was totally inspired by this man!

He signed some books I had and I bought a few fat quarters of his fabrics at Nicole's shop.  I just love his fabrics!  The evening was over far too quickly.  Both Sylvia and I could talk of nothing else on our way home.  What a great middle-of-the-week indulgence!

See that 'necklace' around his neck?  Nicole's daughter finger knitted that during his presentation and presented it to him.  What a darling girl!  He graciously let her put it around his neck.  Thanked her and then without skipping a beat, went on answering questions and making us laugh.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Thank you Sylvia for doing the driving and thank you Nicole for inviting this talented man and allowing me to come and listen to him speak.