Thursday, April 29, 2010

Skyview Friday

Before our winter officially started, I posted a picture of this magnolia tree. I questioned whether the buds would survive. Well they did! This is what it looked like this afternoon.

Want to see more Sky Watch Friday photos? Just go here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Painted Desert - My Miniature Stars

Our power came back on just after lunch and I was able to finish my mini quilt. This was number 10 on my list as picked by Patchwork Penguin for the 2010 UFO challenge. My finish for this month! Hurray!!!

It measures about 15 inches square (38cm) and is from the magazine by Fons and Porter, 'Love of Quilting' July/August, 2004 issue. I started it almost as soon as I bought the magazine! But then it sat, unfinished for over 5 years. I used some batiks that I had accumulated at that time. Just the borders needed to be done on it to make it complete, but I just couldn't get them right. I noticed that even in the magazine they did not line up. So when I took it out at the beginning of this month, I decided to paper piece the border. I drew up the triangles on a piece of graph paper and sewed them together in no time. Yesterday I quilted it and put the binding on - just in time to take it to our Guild Meeting for 'Show and Tell'. But we didn't have Show and Tell last night. (Sigh) Our president thought that the evening had been long enough, so she told us to go home. But no one wanted to leave and everyone walked around the display unit where the Show and Tell quilts were hanging. Some people took photos of my little mini! Most of us stayed until 9:30pm, just hanging around and talking. That was almost an hour after our president had dismissed us. Too bad! Lots of time for Show and Tell. There were many beautiful quilts on display and I would have liked to have heard the story behind each one!

Monday, April 26, 2010

More Cherries and a Finish!

Do quilts grow on trees? Wouldn't that be nice? This is the quilt I made at our Bee Night a couple of weeks ago. It was a sort of 'stack and whack' method. It only used four layers of fabric, cut into four triangles. Then each 'stack' was sewn together to create the blocks. They were 3 inches square in the end. Then I set them on point and added HST all around.

Since I used Japanese fabric - you can see the border fabric I started out with - I decided to take a photograph in my cherry tree. Only my cherry tree is a sour cherry, that bears fruit. Unlike the Japanese cherry trees that don't. Also, mine is white and the Sakura are pink. Look at that beautiful blue sky! Couldn't ask for anything better!
I have one more wall hanging to show you, but it will have to wait until tomorrow. I was busy quilting it this morning, when our power went off. I have no idea why because it is not raining or cold or inclement outside. We had no electricity for several hours, so it's not finished. Too bad. Tonight is our Guild Meeting. I had hoped to have it finished for 'show and tell'. Oh, well, there is always next month.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sakura Hanami

I feel like I went on a mini vacation! On Friday my DD picked me up and took me over to her house. We stopped for Thai food on the way. I spent the night at her place so that we could get an early start for our visit to High Park to view the cherry blossoms.
Until last week I didn't even know we had Japanese cherry blossoms in Toronto! I thought our climate would be too cold, but by the showing of this year's blossoms, I'd say it is just perfect!

The trees originally came from Japan. In 1959, the Japanese ambassador to Canada presented our city with 2000 Japanese Somei-Yoshino Sakura, on behalf of the citizens of Tokyo. This was to show Japan's gratefulness to Canada for re-locating Japanese Canadians following WWII. The trees were planted on a hill on the east shore of Grenadier Pond.

More Sakura trees were presented to Toronto, over the past years, as part of the Sakura Project. Cherry trees are considered 'a joyful symbol of life'. Many were planted in High Park, but others were planted on the grounds of the University of Toronto campus - both downtown and out in Scarborough, where we live and where my DD did her studies. Next year we will go and see them.

When we got to the park, we had trouble finding a parking spot. We drove in a long snake of cars along the many roads through the park. I took the above photo from the car just in case I wouldn't get a chance to get any closer.
But at one large parking lot we managed to find a spot for our car that another family was just vacating. I have a special disability permit, so we were able to park there. There were a lot of people viewing the blossoms yesterday. Many were from Japan. Everyone had an expensive Japanese camera. I think there must have been millions of dollars of photography equipment in the park yesterday! Many families had brought picnics to eat while sitting on the grass under the blossoms. The ground was covered in pale pink petals and as a breeze blew through the park, petals fluttered through the air. It looked as if it was snowing cherry blossoms.
The sky was cloudy, but the temperature was warm. We walked a long way. My DD pushed me in my wheelchair for part of it, but I walked for a lot of it. It seemed as if my energy was renewed by the Sakura. They bloom for only a short time, perhaps a week or so, in early spring. Kind of like a reawakening of life. And that is how I felt as I walked around, taking photos, watching the other visitors and enjoying the natural setting of the park. In some springs, after a long cold winter, the blossoms are few, but this winter was mild, so the blossoms were abundant!

We saw Mallard Ducks and Canada Geese in the pond. A pair of Wood Ducks were swimming along the shore. I think that is the first time I have ever seen a pair of those. Birds sang from the tree tops - robins, cardinals and chickadees. An, unidentified pair of birds (until now, anyway. I am going to look them up in my bird book) were mating high above us. Their unusual chirps and screeches caught our attention. Tulips and daffodills were blooming everywhere. As were the lovely blue Scilla Siberica all over the lawns.

We decided to have some lunch at the outdoor cafe. It was lovely to sit outside, under the Sakura and enjoy a spring day. Both DD's and my energy was renewed by our visit to High Park. Thank you, Japan, for your wonderful gift of pink blossoms!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

(This is the Crimson King Maple in front of our house,)

Monday, April 19, 2010

An Update

I have been busy with my spooltjes (klosjes) this weekend. I didn't make too many new ones, but I did sew some of the finished ones together. I have a grand total of 79 now.

I have also been cleaning up my sewing room, trying to find a couple of projects I remembered I had and wanted to finish. Alas! I couldn't find them, but I did find a hexagon template and decided to make some 'flowers' - it is springtime after all! I had no idea what I would do with them once they were finished, but decided to just sew them together as I make them. This is what I have done so far. I really love the hand piecing aspect. I find it so relaxing.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Of Flowers and Blocks

I have been busy this week, but I don't have much to show for it. I spent a lot of time in the garden. Mostly pulling and digging up weeds and other invasive plants. My back is killing me!
But I guess it was worth it. Things are starting to look really good. This is a group of very early tulips. They open when the sun shines and they close up on cloudy days.
Most of my spring bulbs are in bloom at the moment. Here are some purple hyacinth in the front garden.
This block is last week's Friday Block Party block. It is called, 'Wandering Star'. I didn't get around to making it last week, but I had some time this morning. It is a 9-inch block. I used some pretty batiks. The block could have had a little more contrast, but I like it all the same. It was quick and easy.
I also worked up this week's block on the Party, called 'Crossover'. I bought that blue fabric last week. I just loved it, so I wanted to use it. But for this block I think I should have used a 'plainer', lighter or 'less active' fabric. Still, I like how it turned out.
My computer monitor turned itself off and refused to come back on a few days ago. So I bought a new monitor, but it is wider. And now everything seems to be distorted. Oh, well. I was going to buy a new computer soon anyway. Maybe a laptop. This monitor will suffice for the time being.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Some More 'Spooltjes'

Not much going on in the quilting department last week. It rained for four days and I did not feel much like sewing. Luckily I had gone to the library and had lots of books to read. I did work on my row for Barb's Row Robin. I got inspired by a pattern in Lynette Jensens book, 'Cozy Cabin Quilts'. My row is the churn dash with applique at the top.I also made some more 'spooltjes' (klosjes) this weekend. I now have 72 of them. Can't believe how fast these are going. Whenever I use a fabric, I cut the pieces for another little spool. See the green one, that is from a small piece of fabric I had left over from Barb's RR.
Yesterday was a beautiful day. Warm and sunny! I did a lot of gardening - mostly pulling weeds, but I also transplanted some things into my new raised flower beds. I'll show you a photo when I get some more things planted in it. Here is a shot of the daffodils I showed you last week. I was worried that the rain would destroy them, but they look fantastic! I counted 30 blooms in this bunch.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Bear Baby Quilt - A UFO Finish

I promised to show you my 'Bear' baby quilt. It's a Debbie Mumm pattern. I started it many years ago. Most of it was done by hand. I finally finished it thanks to Nancy's UFO Challenge. I thought a photo taken outside would show the true colours in the quilt. But it was so windy today that I could not get a picture before it started to blow away.
So I asked my DH to hold it for me when he got home from work. It was starting to get dark by then, so the automatic flash went off. The colours aren't as true, but you can see the entire quilt much better. I still want to do a bit more quilting - on the border and on the bear blocks. I am sort of at a loss as to how to quilt the bears. I have outline quilted them, but that leaves a large area without any quilting in it. I don't really want to quilt through their faces. Does anybody have any ideas? I'm open to suggestions.

While I was outside I noticed that my daffodils are beginning to open. We are supposed to get rain and much colder weather in the coming week. I hope my daffodils will keep until after the rains.
My violets are blooming too. This is very early for them. Hopefully they will survive the rains too.

The temperature was about 23C (73F) today. The sun was shining and the solarium became quite warm. I had to open windows and turn on the fan. Mimi, on the other hand, likes being warm. She just stretches out and continues to nap the afternoon away.

A Wonderful Easter Weekend

Hope everyone had a good Easter. Ours was totally smooth and non-stressful. The Easter bunny did not hide any eggs at our house, which was a good thing. And I did not have to cook an Easter dinner, another good thing.

Instead we went to the Franklin Club. It's a fishing club we belong to. We walked around a bit and sat, watching spring and nature at work. When we were there a couple of months ago, there was ice and snow everywhere as well as a good number of ice huts on the lake. But yesterday the weather was perfect! The water was clear, the sun was shining and there were no black flies or mosquitoes yet.
And when I say 'walk', I mean it! I actually walked along the lake with only a couple of rests in my wheelchair. It was so wonderful! We sat and watched the trout, jumping out of the water as they celebrated spring and the arrival of lazy flies that landed on the surface. A gigantic spider, known as a Carolina Wolf spider walked on the brown grass beside us. I think this one must have been a female because it was over an inch and a half in size, not including her legs! I don't think I have ever seen one so big! I didn't take a photo because it was impossible to see her in the brown grass unless she was moving. Wolf spiders don't make webs, but burrow into the sand along the edge of the lake instead. They 'hunt' by chasing their prey. Fascinating creatures!

We went back to the clubhouse dining room and had a delicious Easter buffet lunch. Everything from salads, a selection of cheeses and cold cuts, shrimp, smoked salmon, a whole ham, carved by the chef himself, roast beef, lamb, chicken and so much more. For dessert there was a selection of cakes, pies and other sweets. I could never have cooked all of this at home. And just think about the mess I avoided in my kitchen!

I finished the 'Bear' baby quilt. Just haven't taken a photo yet. It was raining this morning, but now the sun has come out and I think it will be light enough to get a good photo. I worked on my spooltjes this weekend - got another 8 done. These are mostly greens because that is what I had out last week. I also started to sew a few together. I think it will be an impossible and daunting task to sew them all together at the end - when I have a few hundred of them. So if I do a few every weekend it will not seem like so much work - I hope. I am doing these by hand so I can stop and start where ever I want.

I'll post my 'Bear' quilt tomorrow.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

A Short Week - SkyWatch Friday and Other Stuff

This is a photo I took this morning. Vapour trails. X marks the spot! We have beautiful spring weather. You couldn't ask for anything better.

Here is a photo I took on Tuesday. This is the view of the University of Toronto's Scarborough Campus from the Morningside bridge. I always think of a hidden science lab when I see this scene. I think it was used in an old film called "Strange Brew". My DD did her undergraduate and post graduate work at this campus. She was in microbiology. Maybe that's why I think of a lab. It's a beautiful campus.

For more SkyWatch photos go here.

And on my travels I spied the first dandelion of the season. I was so excited that I almost fell off my scooter! Someone was just riding by on a bicycle. She asked if she could help me and I had to tell her that I was okay and just excited about a dandelion!
I am sorry to report that I have not finished my UFO for March. It's been so nice out, that I have been scootering around and working in my garden. There are only so many hours in a day. (Sigh)

But I did do the Friday Block Party block called, 'Nine O'Clock'. Go to it on my sidebar. It's an easy one and 10 inches square. I used green and blue in honour of spring!