Saturday, December 29, 2012

Quilty finishes for 2012

As 2012 comes to a close, it's a great time to look back to see some of my quilt finishes.  

Tank's owly quilt

Tina & Tilman's "42 Mocha Berry Shadows & Thanks for all the Fish!"

Thirty Shuffle for Henry & Barb

Comfort Quilts for CKQG 
- the tops come to me pieced, with batting & backing and I do the quilting - 
someone else does the binding - I love it!



More quilts headed for Comfort Quilts for CKQG - these tops are ones that my BF does, and I do the quilting.  I have about a dozen more to quilt!  My favourite method for this was putting the quilts side-by-side - the last batch we sent for binding had 4 quilts on one back - not even cut apart - sure cuts down on loading time!  I didn't even keep track of how many of these I've done :(  Oh well.

This quilt is going to a JDRF fundraiser - the back is so fun - popsickles!

Patriotic Blazing Star for Doug & Lara
 

And there is a pile of tops I've finished, ever so patiently waiting their turn on the frame :) So lots to look forward to already for 2013!!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Blazing Star

I finally worked up the courage to put this one on the frame and quilt it!  Definitely have thanks to the amazing quilters at MQR forum for tons of inspiration.  The top has been completed for almost a year.  The recipients are here for the holidays so I'm very glad to be able to send it home with them!

This is a Blazing Star (Lone Star, Texas Star, lots of names for this pattern!), made with fabrics from Henry Glass & Co 'Buggy Barn Basics' line.  The batting is Pellon Legacy Natural.  Quilting threads were Superior Threads 'Lava' (Red Hot) on top and 'Magna Glide' (Blueberry) bobbins.  First time for both threads - love them!  Didn't even take out the backlash spring from the bobbin case and they worked wonderfully.

My quilt hangers and helpers braved the snow to hold up the quilt in the sunshine.

I did a different design in each of the star points, wandering feathers surrounded by radiating lines in the corners, swirls in the border.










Friday, December 7, 2012

Advent(ure) 6-7

Day six treasure touched my heart - a beautiful piece of lacework.  Along with the lace, a booklet from the facility where the lace has been made for so many years - what happened to it during the war, what they're doing today.  And the story of the little girl gazing into the night sky, sprinkled with the gold dust of the stars.  

"Once upon a time there was a little girl whose father & mother had died, and she was so poor that she no longer had a room to live in, nor a bed to sleep in, and at last she had nothing else but the clothes she was wearing and a little piece of bread in her hand that some charitable soul had given her.  She was good and pious, however.  And as she was thus forsaken by all the world, she went forth into the country, trusting in dear God.

Then a poor man met her, who said "Ah, give me something to eat, I am so hungry."  She handed him her entire piece of bread, saying, "May God bless it for you," and went on her way.

Then came a child who moaned and said, "My head is so cold.  Give me something to cover it with." So she took off her cap and gave it to the child.  And when she had walked a little farther, she met another child who had no jacket and was freezing.  So she gave her jacket to that child, and a little farther on one begged for a dress, and she gave her dress away as well.  

At length she made her way into a forest and it was already dark.  Then there came yet another child, and asked for a shift, and the pious girl thought to herself, "It is a dark night and no one can see you.  You can very well give your shift away," and she took it off, and gave it away as well.  

And thus she stood there, with nothing left at all, when suddenly some stars fell down from heaven, and they were nothing else but hard shining talers, and although she had just given her shift away, she was now wearing a new one which was of the very finest linen.  Then she gathered together the money into it, and was rich all the days of her life."

(Talers - silver coins issued by various German states from the 15th to the 19th centuries.)

Day 7 - Lindt chocolate!  YUMMMMM :)


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Advent(ure) Christmas

What a surprise arrived today!

My middlest has a very amazing cross-country friend.  She and her parents arranged for a package for us that arrived in the mail today.  Who doesn't love packages in the mail!


This one arrive with lots or protective packing!  Packs of air, bubble wrap, packing puffs.


And under all that protection - a never-ending supply of packages.  And there are numbers on each of the packages.

And a wonderful card - we have received an Advent Calendar.  I've never had one before!!  Every day we get to enjoy the Christmas spirit and open another treasure.  Of authentic German gifts from a wonderful couple - we sure hope we get to meet them one day :)
Aren't they pretty!  There's also a package in there for our middlest.

This is a 'Smoking Mannikin' - with an assortment of scented smokers.

#1 - Will have to have family here to share these!

#2 - Isn't this the sweetest!  A teensy tin, holds perfectly teeny red Christmas candles.

#3 - More to share! Traditional German baking in a beautiful oval tin.

#4 - Chocolate.  Pralines.  Who could want anything more!

#5 - a perfectly delightful holiday table runner

And now we're caught up - tomorrow we have another adventure :)

What a delightful, thoughtful, totally unexpected gift.  Talk about making our day - we'll get to smile every day!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Technology - gotta have it

Thursday night, I'm microwaving my hubby's dinner (he's been combining corn all night) just after 11 pm (yes, it *was* a long day), and kapow, the lights go out.  We checked our neighbours and they all had power.  DH heads out to the road to see what's happening at the switch - and it's blown.  Blast.

We lost our hydro a couple of weeks ago (posted here) and had to 'trim' our row of evergreens before we could get the power turned back on.  Those trees are still down, in their sad piles, awaiting the harvest to be finished so they can have their turn at getting tidied.

This time, there are no trees to cross the wires, we have no idea why the power has blown.  Call Hydro One, report our outage.  Head to bed.  Middle of the night, I'm awaked - by the lights of the crew checking the wires and the poles (bizarre, eh?)  Power comes back on - hurrah!  Reset the alarm, head back to bed.

In the morning, the usual ritual ... until I come back from the shower, and now that it's light, you can see that our tower for our antenna / satellite dish / internet receiver - is lying on top of that nice pillow of trees.  Well.

So we have power, no tv, no satellite, and *no internet*.  This will never do!

Both of us have a full day - he's got trucks coming, I've got meetings.  Off we go.  Gathering together suppertime, he's filled all the trucks and has to stop.  We're chatting about what to do - not having internet just will not work.  His *other* job is selling seed and he needs to send in the reports etc electronically and I do work from home.  We decide we'd better head out to see what kind of options are out there from other providers (our existing internet is via a point-to-point receiver, has to be +56 ft in the air - hence being on top of the tower).  We head into our nearest city (45 minutes away), hit the big box store.  Their shelves for this hardware are pretty empty and their sales team can't tell us much about the ISP rates anyway.

Did I say this was on BLACK FRIDAY?  Sheesh.  We're in a big box store on Black Friday looking for a router.  Have to head for the mall - where the ISP's have outlets.  Parking lot is packed of course.  Did I mention my DH despises shopping.  And here we are with all the other fools from miles and miles, trying to park.

Ah well.  As you can tell from this post, we were successful.  Chatted with the fine sales team and purchased a router and a plan.  Supposed to be blazing fast.  Our existing service runs somewhere around 1.5 mbps.  On a good, clear day.  This is supposed to get us between 40 - 100 mbps.  We are out in the country, there's no DSL, no fibre, no cable.  Sounds like a plan, right?

Have dinner at one of the mid-range chains - only to discover they're also feeding a hockey team of young fellas about 9 - 10 yrs old.  It's been a while since our guys were that wee and with their teams ... oh well, the Margeurita was splendid :)

Calls to locals who can repair or replace the tower are talking about needing 2 - 3 weeks and mega-bucks to replace the tower (have to put in cement and let it cure ... and it's cold).  Blech.

But we do have internet! Hurrah!  It is faster, but no where near what was promised.  Measures 2.5 mbps to sometimes around 5.  So we'll likely be trying out the competition to see if theirs can do better - they are promising the same blazing fast speeds.  Will have to play with placement of the router too, see if there is a sweet spot that gets awesome speed.

Just for fun, just so you know we're not kidding when we say we use technology - here is one of the sites that we use in our operation (WeatherCentral.ca) - an hour-by-hour forecast including wind speed and direction, precip & temp, for the next 3 days.  How awesome is that!!  Ian, the fellow that built this, is pretty cool.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Massey Christmas Gathering

A wonderful day today!  Even though our crops are not off, and the weather was clear, we did *not* spend the day harvesting.  Nope - today we spent the afternoon with our Massey family.

My husband started his career with Massey Ferguson in Toronto, in the Engineering group, with the Test Track and later with their Central Electronics Group and for a wee bit as things were winding down, at their combine facility in Brantford.  He was elbow-deep in their combine harvester design, development and testing.  Field trips were six weeks (one call home per week was paid for) so the crews really were like family.

Massey closed its doors in North American production in 1988.  But this group of co-workers, colleagues and friends has continued to gather together three times a year, ever since.  We have been able to attend many of these events - Christmas parties and summer BBQ's most often.  It's pretty amazing - people committed to each other 25 years after their company closes its doors (with much controversy).  This gathering, there were 43 attendees.  And again, as has often happened, there are people at these gatherings that we've never met before!  The gatherings have been open to anyone connected with Massey - often we meet people who had already retired from Massey before my hubby started.

Today was very cool - a fellow from the marketing/cost accounting side, who had worked in Des Moines, was at our table.  As well as a fella who is now involved in the photography for a new magazine "Massey Harris Ferguson Legacy Quarterly".  Very interesting conversation about some of the experiences while at Massey.

Just for fun, this is the model of combine that my hubby was involved in development/testing ...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Expanding my resume

What a day ... worked as usual at my regular, full-time, day job (Manager of IT at a credit union) - meetings,  meetings, meetings, fix a few things, write a bunch of stuff, solve a few things.

Getting to the spot in the farming where my better half could really use another set of hands, and the weather has been not terrible for a few days, so headed out early headed back home to help where I could.

Combine is going strong, have a truck on hand to haul the corn away.  I'm on vbox duty - driving the tractors with a couple of vboxes attached, augering the corn from the vboxes into the truck.  Moving tractor/vbox sets between the truck and the combine.

The truck headed out for the last load of the day, and we headed back to break out another field.  Tractor is parked and I'm riding in the combine, admiring the skill of my very talented better half.  I've heard other farmers call him the best combine operator around.  He'd never say it himself, but he is amazing :)

Finishing up what we can for today, we're deciding the logistics of getting all the vehicles shuttled back.  He asks if I want to drive the combine home or the tractor/vboxes.  Well, I've got to tell you, I'm quite terrified that I'll tip the vboxes.  I'm sure they're very stable, but I haven't seen them perform over lumpy bumpy corn rows and all that good stuff.  Just makes me nervous.  And the man says that the combine is easy as pie to drive.

OK- I'm in.  I get some great instructions on how to make it go, how to make it stop.  Trade seats.  Turn around and head back to the tractor.  Dang - he's right - it's a dream to drive!  Going downhill is startling the first time though - even just a bit, when you're not expecting it (it IS dark).  There is a wee dab of corn from breaking out the field, so I get instructions on how to run the header, and there ya go, I'M PICKING CORN.  Yehaw!

I'm farming tomorrow too, maybe I'll drive the combine again :)

My ride for a wee bit today ... (plus a corn head)


Best husband ever :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Timing - Maintenance on the Grand Quilter

I was having issues with my Pfaff  Grand Quilter 18.8 - making a terrible racket after I put in a new needle.  Put the new needle out and in a couple of times but still made this horrid noise.  I knew I had  hit a ruler in the last pass, altho the machine did seem ok to finish the quilt. 

Pulled the cover plate off, manually turned the hand wheel to see how things were moving - and the hook was pushing the needle as it was going by.  EEEK!  

The Pfaff 'manual' really bites - terrible pictures, photos out of order (photo 31 is at the beginning of the section, before photo 28).  The whole section is really awful and I couldn't make head nor tail of what I needed to do.

Like washing machines, fridges etc, lots of brands are actually only made by one manufacturer - my Pfaff Grand Quilter 18.8 is the same as a Viking and a Husqvarna and the Tin Lizzie.

I *DID* find a really good YouTube video of technicians working on a TinLizzy - 2 parts:
 part 1
 part 2

OK - now this makes sense :)  Went back to my machine, tested how things should be meshing, repositioned the needle, moved the hook a smidge, and it's good to go.  YAY! 

And happily can report that it's sewing away on 2 more comfort quilts - I load 2 at a time on wide backing.  Whew!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ribbon Candy Success

I'm *such* a newbie.  I've been trying to draw nicely shaped ribbon candy for months and months.  Literally.  
It just wouldn't flow nicely.

I had a Comfort Quilt arrive that looked PERFECT for ribbon candy in the sashing.  So I spoke harshly to myself, sat myself down and drew.  Looked at samples online, went through my books.  Drew and drew.  Finally, the loops started working - got the hang of it!  Loaded up the quilt, and stitched away.  I think I've got it!!!


Hopefully you can see some of those loops - they're looking nice and full and even kinda even!  Mostly.  Lots of practice still needed, but I'm a happy camper!

This batting is warm & white, the thread Essential Pro in gold - blended nicely with the sash and POPPED on the beadboard on the border!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Burying threads after quilting

Found this *awesome* little video this week demonstrating how to bury your threads after quilting.  I've tried  all kinds of things - short stitches to anchor then just clipping the threads; just clipping; using regular needles, using 'self-threading' needles (which I can't make work without shredding the thread).  The method demo'd here is wonderful - I quilted 2 Comfort Quilts for our Guild this weekend, and used this technique.  LOVE IT!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3gl4K8Z7XM

This is fun too ...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Going ... going ...

Monday just before supper, in the midst of the high winds and rain of the outer reaches of Hurricane Sandy, our power goes out.

We live waaayyyy out in the boonies, on a farm, with the yard/house/barn area surrounded by cedars.  The line of cedars on one side of the property, are directly under the hydro wires.  We've trimmed them and topped them, and knew that soon (this year, after the crops are off), needed to take down the trees that are tangling with the lines.  Well, the corn is still in the field, and the trees tangled with the wires enough to take the hydro out.  Hydro crews can't reconnect us until the trees are trimmed.

Here are the 'before' pictures ...




In progress ...


The dogs are very helpful ... the curly tail monster is Roscoe - the hind end is Cletis


This is from the road looking towards the house


And here's as far as we can get for now - that's Cletis trying to figure out what is happening!

And Wednesday, we get power turned on again! YAY!  It is so wonderful to have lights turn on when you flip the switch!  Amazing how many times I walked into a room, with the flashlight in my hand, and STILL flipped that blasted switch.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Six String Nation

Over the last couple of days, I've been at the CUSA / League Data Technology Conference in Ottawa.  (CUSA = Credit Union Services Association)

The finale of the event was a presentation by Jowa Taylor, with the Six String Nation Guitar (www.SixStringNation.com).  


What a powerful message, wonderful story, great history lesson, excellent presentation! Totally. Awesome! 

From their story ... "Six String Nation is the spirit of a country embodied in a  single guitar.

Canada. Its diversity of geographies, histories, mythologies, languages, literature, art, food, sport and industry all find a place in the body of the Six String Nation guitar, in the music coaxed from its strings by those who play it and in the imagination of all who encounter it.

The guitar is made from 63 items of real Canadian history and heritage in wood, bone, metal and stone representing different cultures, communities and characters from every province and territory of the country. A handful of additional pieces adorn the guitar strap and the interior of the case. Each piece tells a specific story."

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Moving tribute to a life well lived

This morning was the interment for my brother who passed away last fall (cancer).

He was a farmer, adopted the brand "Steward of the Soil".  Innovative and hard working.  Treasured his family.

Just before the interment ceremony, we were honoured with a tribute from the local antique tractor group - they had an outing planned for the day, and rerouted their 'parade' to pass by the cemetery at just the right time.  The drivers stood behind their wheels, hats on their hearts.  Thank you to all the fellas who did this for us!  (East Kent Vintage Equipment Club: http://www.ekvec.net).

Another of his fond memories was his candy red Mustang. As it happens, two of our neighbours have a vintage and a new Mustang - they also paraded by for us.  Thanks to Fred, Todd & Kurt!

The much-needed rain held off until we were having brunch.

Posts should have pictures, and I do have some to share!

My most amazing sis-in-law, with Spike
Jen with Tank!


And then, some of my favourite flowers currently in my garden :)
My Rhodo!

Should have kept the label -
not sure now what it is, but I love it!

Beautiful Iris - one of my all-time favs

Another Iris - brick colour!
Original tubers from my husband's grandmother's garden :)

Poppy

Aren't they sweet!  "Whiskers" tangerine pansies :)








Project 48 Quilt Finish

Project 48 Quilt We've had so much rain and wind it has been a challenge to find a good time for photos.  This is the finish of my ...