A Picture is worth a thousand words

unless it is a picture of Christmas goodies made and consumed in years past….then I think its just mean to post a picture without adding recipe words.

As a ferinstance… doesn’t this look tasty?

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Its called sponge toffee/honeycomb candy/seafoam crunch;  and OMG its simply killer simple to put together. Here is a link to the recipe that I used when I decided to have a go at it a few years back.  Ever since then, it has made an appearance annually.  I know, I know, its nothing but sugar and corn syrup and the only thing worse for me than eating this confection is knowing its out there and I’m not eating it.

If you want to be decadent about it…dip it in chocolate and you have a dang “Crunchie” chocolate bar.  Holy Heck Hermione.  Seriously it is that good.  Nope, its actually better than the real thing.

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This is December 13 and post #13 for the Third Annual 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge being hosted by Cheryl Sleboda over here.  As I’ve mentioned about 13 times now, there are about a gazillion mega-talented bloggers participating in this challenge that are all well worth a read, so you can imagine how excited I am to be part of it. Take a few minutes out of your busy day and  click on the link to check them out.  Many of these bloggers also have a home on Instagram and can be found using the hashtags  #31dayblogchallenge or #2017blogwritingchallenge.  So, Go…enjoy…..but please come back here tomorrow…Thank you.

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Its a Dog’s Life

Hello there, its December 8 and Day 8 of the Third Annual 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge.  This amazing event is being hosted by Cheryl Sleboda right here.  The list is growing every day, and is up to about 1.5 gazillion bloggers who want to show they are motivated to DO THIS and are posting like mad to prove it.  I am thrilled to share my blogging journey and determined to do my best to beat the odds and post something (anything) every day in December.  Oh yeah, if you are an Instagram junkie, you can find lots of bloggers taking on the challenge at #31dayblogchallenge or #2017blogwriting challenge.

According to the list of topics I posted on the 2nd day, this is the post where I am planning to explain why, on some days, I think it would be great to be a poodle.  Did I mention that hubby and I share our home with two of these crazy creatures and we have come to the conclusion that whoever coined the phrase “Its a dog’s life” probably was owned by one or more poodles.

I think the best way to explain why it would be great to be a poodle is to post a bullet list of the way our two boys spend the day.

  • 12:05 a.m. and therefore time to jump up on the bed and curl up in the warm spot between the humans.  (Note, the female human is warmer to cuddle up with, but the male human is less likely to crawl over me at 3:30 to get out of bed to go pee).
  • 6:00 a.m. and I’m starting to get hungry, perhaps I’ll lick the human’s ears and eyes a few times to see if they taste good.  Yum both are tasting especially good today.
  • 7:00 a.m. and FINALLY the female human is getting up.  Half the day is over, why do they sleep in until the sun comes up?
  • 7:05 a.m. and breakfast is STILL not in the bowl.  What the heck is the hold up.  Food, Food, Food, I need to eat.  Yay here it comes.
  • 7:06 a.m. and I decided not to eat because I’d rather chase the cat.
  • 7:10 a.m. and I’m sitting outside in the cold because apparently its my fault that the cat jumped up on the counter and knocked a glass onto the floor. Jeez Louise.
  • 7:30 a.m. and I am outside playing with my brother dog and barking like mad at the invisible squirrel.  My brother is over there under the apple tree digging a biggggg hole.
  • 7:50 a.m. and I’m helping my brother dog to dig the hole.  We gotta make sure its big enough to corral a racoon before the male human opens the back door to yell at us to STOP DIGGING HOLES in the backyard.  Golly he looks cold standing there in his bathrobe.
  • 8:30 a.m. and first breakfast is over.  Waiting until its time to share second breakfast with the humans.
  • 9:00 a.m. and OMG OMG OMG, they are putting on their coats and shoes.  WE ARE GOING OUTSIDE FOR A WALK.  I’M SO EXCITED. HOLY COW HOLY COW HOLY COW CAN YOU BELIEVE I’M GOING FOR A WALK. WE ARE THE LUCKIEST DOGS IN THE WORLD.  YESSIREE WE ARE GOING FOR A WALK.
  • 10:00 a.m. and I’m just totally exhausted from the walk.  The humans say it was 4.5 km, but I know brother dog and I logged at least 12 km.  There were tons of great things to smell, roll on and chase in the woods, and a couple really nasty looking puddles.  There is nothing like a good drink of puddle water, unless its toilet water (for which I always get in big trouble, just saying).  Did I mention that brother dog walked into the creek up to his neck and is wet wet wet.  He’s planning a long nap on the sofa.
  • 12:00 Noon and I’m going to get up in a few minutes and do some stretching exercises.  Then I think its probably time to go see whats new in the litter box.  Who knows what the cat buried in there this morning while I was sleeping.
  • 12:30 p.m.  Looking for some affection and cannot understand why the female human doesn’t want me to kiss her.  She’s saying something ridiculous about litter box breath.
  • 1:00 p.m.  Lunch time – well human lunch time, which means there will be something great for me.
  • 1:05 p.m. Dang, outside again.  Apparently I’m not supposed to stand up at the kitchen island and help the humans by eating most of an egg salad sandwich and 3 olives. Hey I left the dill pickles on the plate didn’t I.
  • 1:10 p.m.  Think I’ll follow the male human around.  He’s carrying something called a pooper scooper and a bucket.  OMG he’s starting a poop collection.  I’ll give him a donation.  Brother dog will do the same.  Oh dear, I think he may have stepped on it.
  • 2:00 p.m. back inside and time to curl up with the humans and watch CNN on the talking box.  They spend way too much time watching something they call Trump World or “God that man is such a Jackpot”.  I find it kinda boring, so maybe I’ll take another nap.
  • 5:00 p.m. Holy cow where did the afternoon go.  Thank goodness someone is thinking about making dinner for me and brother dog.
  • 5:10 p.m.  First dinner is over and now I’m lurking in the kitchen in case anything drops onto the floor when the humans are preparing their meal.  I’m DEFINITELY NOT going to stand up at the counter again.
  • 5:15 p.m.  Dang, outside in the cold again.  I’m in big big trouble.  Something about chicken breasts being for the human’s supper.  I couldn’t help myself it smelled delicious.  The humans food tastes way better than the dog food in my bowl.
  • 5: 17 p.m.  I’m still outside and now I’m looking through the window watching  brother dog get snacks from the table.  Life is so not fair.
  • 6:17 p.m.  Watching the news with the humans.
  • 7:30 p.m. Humans are flicking through the channels and stopped at Animal Planet.  There was a show on about dogs who earned their living being service dogs.  Humans laughing at the idea that I could do that.
  • 7:35 p.m.  My feelings are hurt, so I am considering doing something really terrible in the front hall closet if I can get the cat to open the door for me.
  • 8:30 p.m.  Finally back in the house again.  Jeez, I cannot get away with anything. I didn’t make that mess, I’m pretty sure the cat did it.
  • 9:30 p.m.  Decided to massacre one of my toys to get the darn squeaker out. Wow that squeaker IS annoying.
  • 9:50 p.m.  Watching the male human pick up all the fluffy bits that came out of my toy.
  • 10:00 p.m.  Decided to chase the cat one more time before bed.  How was I to know that he would dig his claws into the male human who was snoozing in front of the TV and make him wake up hollering.
  • 10:05:  Back outside again. Sigh.
  • 10:30 p.m. Time for bed.  Think I’ll sleep on my own doggy bed tonight.
  • 12:05 a.m.  Think its probably warmer up there on the human bed.
  • 12:06 a.m.  Yup it is.  Good night all

So that is basically what goes on with our poodles Tigg and Theo every single day.  Needless to say we love them and try to accommodate their every need because at the end of the day, there is nothing nicer than curling up with a big black dog, who loves you wholeheartedly and would lay down his life in an instant if he thought you were going to be eaten by an invisible squirrel.

Do you have a pet.  Do you ever wonder how you managed to survive without their company.  Here are a few photos of our boys, Tigg and Theo.  You should share pictures of your furry folks in the comments.  We’d all love to see them.

Tigg looking simply adorable
Don’t let this adorable photo fool you. Theo is a wild man
Theo thinks he deserves a snack
Tigg assuming his favourite napping pose. We call it “Hog Tied Poodle”
Theo sporting his first “faux hawk” haircut. We love our groomer.

 

 

 

December 2 is Intro Day so… read on

I’m taking part in an online challenge to blog ever day in December.  Holy OMG!

One part of me thinks blogging every day for a month is an awesome idea, but OMG the itty-bitty, teeny-tiny, rational and sane part of me thinks it’s overwhelming to be doing this in December. What on earth am I going to talk about? That’s a rhetorical question because seriously who is going to answer it? I’m pretty sure I’m the only person awake in Canada at 5:22 am who is wondering/worrying what she is going to say on her blog.   FYI, don’t think I blogged 31 times all year to date….sigh that statement puts this whole experiment into perspective doesn’t it?

A quick search of “Google” confirms that others have worried about this in the past and many of them have actually posted lists of topics to write about.  Well, I’m going to use some of their ideas along with some of my own.  Here is a tentative schedule of things I plan to talk about this month, starting tomorrow (but really I’m starting today because I’m writing this today…which is kinda twisty and kinda smart right?)

  • December 2 – that’s today and its Intro day.  Read on!
  • December 3 – Take a Picture, tell a story – this is a very short post…
  • December 4 – Quilt Designs I’ve fallen in love with
  • December 5 – Something, likely a quilt, I won a prize for
  • December 6 – I was afraid of this (Quilt Con Entry) and then I wondered why
  • December 7 – My Super Power (it involves a seam ripper) and How I learned I had it
  • December 8 – Why I sometimes wish I was a Poodle
  • December 9 – Looking back…words of wisdom I should have said to myself at 21
  • December 10 – Downside of Impulse Purchases – AKA “What is your return policy?”
  • December 11 – Putting my foot in my mouth…again!
  • December 12 – Why is Improv Quilting so difficult for me?
  • December 13 – A picture taken from last Christmas…another really short post…Yay!
  • December 14 – We all make Mistakes – But not all Mistakes need apologies
  • December 15 – Who said it?  Possibly a Quiz
  • December 16 – I could NOT live without….
  • December 17 – An artist I love (spoiler alert….its my hubby)
  • December 18 – The best daughter ever
  • December 19 – I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus last night (AKA my parents)
  • December 20 – ???? is like a boomerang, send it out there, get it back
  • December 21 – Its a rule…so its a rule…Right or Wrong – Quilt Related I think
  • December 22 – Purple/Green/Pink is the best color right?
  • December 23 – Xmas Cookies and why I love them
  • December 24 – Xmas presents should be opened on Xmas Eve or Xmas Day? Discuss.
  • December 25 – In Canada we say Seasons Greetings, Merry Xmas, Joyeux Noel etc.
  • December 26 – Why did I eat so much?or possibly….Hey I didn’t eat too much!
  • December 27 – Quilt Projects I am working on in December and planning for 2018
  • December 28 – Resolutions I made in the past
  • December 29 – I love quilting because….
  • December 30 – Resolutions for the future
  • December 31 – OMG I actually enjoyed blogging this month

So that’s my list… Check back daily to see if I managed to stay on topic. If I was a bookmaker, I’d say the odds are 1000 to 1.  Wish me luck.

And here is a picture because every blog post should have a picture… its a compilation of mini quilts I like.  I put it together to show my Quilt Con Mini Quilt Swap partner the types of quilts that make my heart sing….IMG_5355

 

 

 

Thumper’s Mom had the right idea….

Are we all just getting just a little exasperated with “The Whitehouse” as Reality TV? Yikes, Holy Heck….Am I about to go out on a limb and talk about politics?…which FYI is a subject I know precious little about when it comes to Canada where I live and absolutely diddly-squat about (except what I see on CNN) with regard to the situation in the USA. Nope I’m not…I’m simply going to offer something in the kindest way possible; and then I’m going back to living my life here in the real world.

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

Lets try to be nicer to each other. I feel like we could all learn a lesson from Thumper’s mom, who wisely gave Thumper this nugget of advice back in 1942…before the end of World War II.  Whatdaya think?  Should we give it a try?  I think so.

Announcing the arrival of Théo the Wonder Puppy and  other Things! 

Thank goodness babies are cute because otherwise I’d be tearing my eyebrows out already. Nope we do not have a new “actual” baby. We have a new puppy.  He is a brindle phantom inter-variety (AKA Moyen or Medium) poodle.  This variety is quite rare in Canada and not recognized by CKC or AKC. It’s kinda a cross between a miniature and a standard poodle.  We hope he will grow up to be about 30 lbs and be a little brother to our big 76 lb Standard Poodle. So far Tigg wants very little to do with the new addition.

Here is Théo.  As  can see, he is fully loaded in the looks department but I don’t want anyone to think he’s just a pretty face. Here he is reading the newspaper with my hubby, which is, I’m sure you’ll agree quite astonishing for a fella as young as he is (talking about Théo, not hubby).


Now on a different topic, I am expecting again….Nope, not expecting a baby….I’m expecting to accomplish lots in my  sewing room this year.  This is what’s already on the agenda.

  • Patchwork City Quilt Along.  This started back in September with members all across Canada and already its coming along nicely. I am in awe of the talents of my fellow quilters in this one. It’s simply shocking how very very talented my friends are.  Stay tuned for further pics from this project.  Here are my  blocks so far. I seem to be stuck on green and orange.
  • Bee Inspired.  This is an online Bee comprised of bloggers I met last year in the 2016 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop. My month is June. I’ve already sent one block off to the states. Only 11 more to go. 

It’s a simple paper pieced Block called Split Hatchet. I love it and am eager to see Sharon’s finished quilt.

  • PEIMQG Round Robin challenge.  My centre  block is boxed up and ready to start its travels beginning at the January meeting on Thursday.  Here is a sneak peak of the box and it’s contents. This one has me very excited.
  • Long Time Gone Quilt-Along.  Holy Heck Hermione.  I did this.  It’s A crazy crazy quilt along that aims to complete this quilt in 4 months. The pattern arrived in the mail earlier this week (and Théo has already chewed the pattern book covers)  so I cannot back out now. Yikes this one may be a bridge too far!

  • Japanese Crosses. I’m not sure where this one is going, but I’ve already got about 24 blocks done on this one.  Here is a quick pic of blocks I’ve made since mid-December. 
  • Marie’s Granddaughter’s Graduation Quilt.  There is very little info on this one yet.  It’s going to be a traditional photo remembrance quilt, which is something way outside my wheelhouse, but it’s always good to try new things.   This one has to be done by June, so stay tuned for pics as we progress.

So that’s it for my projects (I think).  I didn’t include the blocks I’ll make monthly for my PEIMQG Bee block exchange or any special blocks I’ll be making for Kindred Spirits Quilt Guild; and I also didn’t include the “150 Women Quilt” that Selina and I are considering making to celebrate our Nation’s birthday. It’s got 150 six inch blocks and it’s a monthly QAL. We are still thinking about this, not sure how or if we’ll get it done. It’d be really cool and I’d do it in a heartbeat, if I was convinced there was a possibility I could make another 75 blocks.


Here is a picture. Here is a link to the site.  150 Women.  Check it out. It’s an important quilt and one any Canadian quilter should have a look at!

What’s on your plate?

Soon it will be Christmas Day…..or Grandma got run over by a reindeer….your choice

At our house, we have been listening to Christmas music for about 3 weeks straight now.  We actually tuned our radio to CFCY in Charlottetown, PEI where the DJs are playing country christmas songs with some of the really old, all time favourites thrown in once in a while. I have to say I really get a kick out of the country hurtin’Christmas songs, while my hubby is a fan of the silly songs.

Speaking of hubbies, I have one who is a Christmas decorating, Ninja.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, but my sweetie REALLY REALLY loves it…For example when we moved to PEI, we brought about 30 tubs of decorations with us including more than 40 plastic poinsettias and close to that many Christmas  nutcrackers. And that’s just the bare beginning of the stuff that gets set out at our house in December. We have two fully decorated and lit trees already and about two weeks ago when we were putting them up, he suggested we should consider getting another tree so we could put one in the bedroom…not a word of a lie folks. I  did manage to put a stop to that particular excess but I think I’m lucky and wouldn’t want to change a thing about him.

I am a bit of a grinch in some respects.  I do not like the hustle, bustle, hassle, shopping, parking lot craziness and freaking out that usually culminates around mid-night on December 22…which coincides perfectly with the realization that our budget, and often our contingency budget has run out, but I love the other more homely stuff, like baking cookies with the grandkids, surprising hubby with a batch of homemade peanut brittle (not that its much of a surprise, its actually more like a tradition at our house) or searching out the Christmas quilts that don’t come out any other time of year.

I thought I would share some of the little Christmas Quilts ( and a couple of the nutcrackers) I’ve made over the years to decorate the door to my hubby’s office (because of course he had a whole selection of office decorations too).  Now that he’s retired these little darlings don’t get out much anymore.

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I love this little door quilt (and there are a couple of the nutcrackers!.
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Tangled Christmas Lights – part of the Joy of the Season.

This year we are very excited for two reasons.  First – our son Kevin is coming to PEI to visit us.  He arrives early early in the morning on Boxing Day, so we are saving our Christmas Festivities until Boxing Day.  We will of course have Christmas Dinner with my mom and sister on the big day, but the main party is reserved for Boxing Day afternoon.  We are having friends and family over for Open House (including all the wonderful treats I’ve been baking and buying this month).  We are both looking forward to spending time with close family members.

— AND —

We have gifted ourselves with a brand new puppy.  So there will be a baby in the house again starting December 27, 2016.  I promise I will post pictures of the new addition (its a boy) as soon as he arrives and settles in.  The last few days we have been trying to choose a name to suit our new bundle of joy.  Here is where we are at in that regard.

I love Dino, Fitz, Theo, Matteo and Mozes.  All of these are perfect for a black standard poodle puppy.  Hubby is a big fan of Dantes, Gunner, Tio, Marco and Sparky.  Come back early in the new year to find out what we ended up deciding to call him. There is an off-chance he will be Noel, or Gabriel to celebrate the season.

So that’s it for me in 2016 (I think).  Merry Christmas Everyone.  Enjoy your time with your family and friends.  Eat lots of turkey and stuffing, drink responsibly, be kind to everyone and pay it forward to someone needy if you can.

 

In my humble opinion….

Our PEIMQG is attempting to build a library for members use and part of the responsibility that goes along with that, is to offer insight into the books available for loan.  Naturally this is a huge job and we are a very new Guild, so the other night our blog author, *Cathy* asked for volunteers to write a book review on one of the books in our library.  Since I have no personal self control at all, I took the plunge and agreed to give a report/review on one book on the list.

So here goes.

It was long long ago, and far far away in my Grade 12 literature class, when I last wrote a book review so it goes without saying that I completely forgot how to do it and a reminder was in order.   It turns out I am not the first to wonder about writing interesting and informative book reviews.  There are approximately 1.2 gazillion sites that will tell you how to go about it.  But for the most part, all agree with step one.

Introduce the Book… so with no further ado, please meet

ModBlock – Missouri Star Quilt Co.  – The Color Issue.  

Click here to go to the Missouri Star Quilt Co. (MSQC) website to get all details such as: place, publisher, publication date, edition, pages, special features, price etc.

I have to say right here at the get-go, this is not an old-fashioned beginning to end book written by one author, explaining the one technique that made him/her famous and then giving examples of his/her work; this is the first edition in a series of books by MSQC to feature some really well known and respected quilters/bloggers, talking about what they do best.

Are you a “new-ish” quilter? or perhaps you are new to the whole idea of “modern” quilting. Then, you, my friend, are the person who this book is written for.  Let me quote what ModBlock has to say,

“There is a new found freedom that you feel when making a modern quilt.  You can follow the pattern or break free and choose you own design path.  There are no rules, just great ideas to help you get started….”

So, there are no quilt police, no rigid rules to follow, no right or wrong, no matchy-match match monkey business.  Anything goes.  Sounds like a great place to start doesn’t it? (or alternatively, absolutely terrifying and the stuff of your worst nightmares…. but that’s a subject for another day and another book review)

The contributors in this edition are Molli Sparkles, Shea Henderson, Amy Ellis, Natalie Earnheart, Lisa Hirsch, Alexia Abegg, Vanessa Vargas Wilson and of course, Jennny Doan, founder of MSQC.  Each of them tackles a part of the quilt making process and explains what they think about and how they approach building a cohesive, modern block/quilt.

Themes discussed are tone/color play, colour placement,  improv piecing, twists on old-fashioned/traditional blocks, use of negative space and new and exciting tools of the trade.  There is even a section for someone who wants to really break out of their box and make a tote bag! Holy Heck Hermione!

Each chapter is presented by a contributor in his/her own words so you can get a really clear picture of how they interpret a particular aspect of quilt making and IMHO should make sense to even the newest newbie who ever picked up a rotary cutter. And bonus, there are tons of photos in every section.  Naturally each presenter provides great examples of projects and provides a pattern for you, should you be inclined to try out the technique.  All told, there are 10 great projects included in this book.

In terms of which author provided content that was most meaningful to me AND which project I want to try, there was absolutely no contest,  my favourite contributor was Natalie Earnheart.  I absolutely fell in love with her “Dapper Dan” quilt.  The section discusses “negative space” and how to make it interesting (which is something that I always struggle with).  It also touches on composition and making opportunities for interesting movement in quilt design (another thing which I grapple with every times I pick up my rotary cutter).  O yeah,  there are also templates involved in this pattern….Yikes.  So am I going to make this quilt…You betcha, but I’m gonna need help from my friends at PEIMQG to make it happen.

If you are a somewhat cautious or new “modern” quilt artisan, you will enjoy this book because it is simply written, with tons of great features such as supply lists for projects and tips to help guide you through construction 0f each project while making it as easy peasy as it naturally should be. The frosting on the cake are the great pictures (sorry folks, there no cake pics).

If you are a well established modern quilter, you will identify with the ideas presented and enjoy the opportunity to get a better perspective of what some of your favourite quilt designers/bloggers are doing and how they go about doing it. In my opinion thats a win/win. 

All told this is a very good book, with information that both new and more experienced modern quilters will appreciate.   It’s well worth a read!