Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The Marvelous Mystique

Mystique has been with us for 4 months now, waiting for someone to give her a "forever" family. Meanwhile, she likes to keep busy. I was enjoying her activity that other day.

We put peanuts on "her" window ledge and she sits and watches those coming to her "Takeout Window"

How may I help you?

That will be $2.49.

Thank you, call again!

It's been a busy morning!

Last week, she tried her hand at knitting. It wasn't very successful.

She does have good taste in yarn, though. It is a cashmere blend.

Summer is finally here, and I made my little guy a pair of shorts.

The retail clothes sold for boys is so boring. Quilting cottons are much more fun. The pattern is Sunny Day Shorts by Oliver + S

Thursday, June 27, 2019

A Trip West

We headed all the way west, to visit family, last week. So let me bore you with some holiday snaps.

Before we left, I was looking for something and found a UFO that needed very little work to finish, so I finished it up.

It is a scarf, in pompom yarn and given that it is 29C today, I guess it is going into the Christmas box. I wonder who will want a lovely soft scarf.

I also made 6 lip balm holders to take along as hostess gifts.

I managed to get a picture of 4, two had already been claimed.

The weather in Victoria was lovely, so we spent as much time as we could outdoors.

I tend to take pictures of things I don't see here. Ocean, mountains, lighthouse.

The highest point of Fort Rodd Hill. The fort was in use from the 1800's until the end of WWII. This is the Belmont Battery.

We went geocaching at Esquimalt Lagoon, but didn't find anything. I think our middle Canada mindset kept saying that no one would put a cache there because it would be destroyed in the spring floods. Of course, it is the ocean, so no spring floods, just tide.

I was invited to visit a private bonsai garden. This is a bonsai dogwood tree.

An azalea with flowers much bigger than we see them here. This one blooms in two colours, and it isn't grafted.

This azalea was tiered like a wedding cake, and also two coloured.

I was sworn to secrecy on the location of the garden, but it isn't really a problem because someone else drove, and I have no idea where I was.

This was the concierge at our hotel, an amiable fellow, named John. Not good on advice on where to eat, though.

This is the dock at Butcharts Gardens. I brought back lots of pictures of ocean and mountains.

This pretty much encapsulates Butcharts Gardens. From the bottom up, you can see the Italian Gardens, The Rose Gardens, and the tops of the trees in the Sunken gardens, with a view of the trees going up the mountain. The gardens are built in an old cement quarry.

Because we travelled back on June 22, we got to see the Midnight Sun. This picture is out the window of the plane at about 23:30 Eastern time.

The sun can still be seen to the north. Of course, we didn't get to see an Northern Lights because it was still bright.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Fortunate Finds

A few weeks ago, in my ongoing sewing room cleanup, I found a quilt top that had been resting for quite some time (I suspect it might be 10 years). If memory serves, I was originally overwhelmed by the size of the quilt, then, when I next looked at it, I thought it looked too Christmas-y to put all that work into.

This time, I took a careful look at the top. The green borders had not been sewn on, merely pinned and there was more fabric in the box. My original plan would have made the quilt huge. After I removed the green borders, and added just red borders, it is much improved in my mind.

It is now about double bed sized. It has very nice red borders.

Doesn't look Christmas-y at all. It actually looks kind of like my backyard trees.

Lots of red and cream with some green leaves.

In a piece of good luck, I was at the quilt shop where I got the fabrics for this in the first place. Another store in the building had had a flood from a burst pipe, which caused the quilt shop to go through their storage area, looking for things that had gotten wet. They found some older fabric, that they dropped on the sale rack.  I found a bolt of the floral print.

There was a little over a metre on the bolt, so I took the whole thing. I now have binding for my new quilt, as well as extra fabric for doing something with the borders I removed. I have a plan!

Oh, and I figured out a way around the overwhelming size. I am sending it to be quilted on a long arm. Turns out you don't have to do every thing yourself. I just need to make the backing and it will be off to be quilted.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Spring Retreat

The quilting retreat I usually go to about this time of the year was cancelled. So instead my friend, Maggie, of The Cheerful Chickadee, and I decided to have our own retreat. She came on the train to visit, we dined out with friends, visited our favourite quilt shops, and spent time sewing together. It was a great weekend.

This was our retreat project.

This is the Puffy Coin Purse by Emmaline Bags. It is a free pattern and the pattern page has a link to the frames. The frames are sewn in by hand, which is probably the most complicated part of the entire construction.

Maggie had brought the embroidered front panels with her. The side panels are a scrap of Shweshwe fabric from South Africa.

Of course, the bag has the required cat fabric lining. I am going to store my binding clips in the bag. I got some purple ones to match the outside.

See, they all fit.

It is a really dull day, and it took a bit of work to get nice clear pictures, so I thought you might like to see my setup.

This is my table top photo studio. This is also my dining room table.

Mystique, the foster cat, has been trying to find her passion, while waiting for her "forever family." Last week, while we were having some problems with the kitchen sink, she decided to try plumbing.

"Okay, I think I have found the problem."

She was a big help in getting the drain flowing again.

Monday, May 20, 2019

A New Shawl

I haven't been posting much of my own work lately. This is partially because I haven't sewn much for myself,  partially the "Great Sewing Room Clean-up" and mostly, because I have been frantically knitting.

You see, I sort of volunteered to be a test knitter for a designer I follow. The project didn't look too complicated (not like 1001 Nights) and I had lots of wool on hand that I could use.

The shawl was 303 stitches across. Each row took a long time to knit, and it required careful attention to detail. I needed two contrasting yarns to make the shawl, and I had one I thought would work, but nothing to go with it. So, I needed a trip to the yarn shop. When I started knitting, there wasn't enough contrast between the two for the pattern to show properly. I ended up buying another skein of yarn.

After much knitting, I finished the shawl before the due date, although my hands and shoulders were not happy about all the knitting. It is now blocked, and ready to wear.

The Big Reveal:

This is Tyche by Claire Slade.

After blocking, it is lovely and long. It does take awhile to start to see the mosaic pattern, but it goes much faster after you figure it out.

You can tell I was pining for some nice spring weather when I started this. The yarn is Indigodragonfly Cariboubaa in colourway Guppy Longmockings and Sublime Baby Cashmere Silk in colourway Pinkaboo.

While I was gathering supplies for this, I discovered the required needles were lounging in a forgotten UFO. It was a scarf I started in 2015, then ran into difficulties when I realized I didn't have sufficient yarn in my stash to finish the scarf. The yarn was a sale bin purchase of a discontinued line. This is when it is good to have friends. My buddy Cheryl of Grandma Coco fame had rummaged through the same sale bin and had a skein of the yarn in the same dye lot. While waiting for the yarn to arrive in the mail,  I moved on to other projects, and this one got forgotten. It last appeared in my blog in January of 2016.

I spent a great deal of time on Saturday, figuring out where I left off in the pattern (one should always store a UFO with a marked copy of the pattern). So, I am working away on this scarf. Since I am optimistic that scarf season is over,  it can go into the gift box, for next Christmas.

I do find that 39 stitch rows go much faster than 303 stitch rows.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

RFID Protection and Other Scams

Mystique - Because she is just so cute!

I have been asked, more than once, if I put RFID shielding into my wallets and bags. The answer is no. I have never seen the need. My Geek Girl qualifications are now invoked. I have spent most of my working life in technology. I taught computers to woman before everyone owned a computer. So I understand how this stuff works.

I have seen the demonstrations on TV and on the internet, showing how easy it is to skim a credit card with an RFID chip in it. Most of us (at least in Canada) have cards we can tap to pay for our purchases. I tap to pay all the time. It is quick, easy, and I don't have to remember the PIN number for that card.

When a video made the rounds on the weekend, with the subject "Why You Need an RFID Protected Wallet", I looked it up again. Although it is certainly possible for criminals to get the information from your card, the information is encrypted. They would also have to know how to translate it into something they can use. As well, if you have more than one of those cards in your wallet, they will cancel each other out, confusing the reader, and serving as a shield. I checked my wallet. I have four cards with RFID on them. When I travel, I add my passport, which has one, too.

RFID shielding of your bag also blocks phone calls and messages to your cell phone. Of course, if you don't want to be bothered when you are out...

The biggest reason I don't use a shield in my bags is because NO ONE HAS EVER REPORTED HAVING THEIR DATA STOLEN THIS WAY! It has just never happened. It is too much work to collect the data, figure out how to break the encryption, and produce data that can be used. The only people profiting from this supposed threat are the people selling wallets and other products with RFID shields in them. Next time you see one of these demonstrations, ask yourself what they are selling.

If you want more information, check out this article.

It is far easier for scammers to ask you for your information directly. Everyday, I get phone calls and emails, trying to get me to volunteer my credit card information, either by offering me a fabulous interest rate, or trying to scare me, by telling me my account will be closed. This is much less work for a scammer, you do all the work for them.

These days, I provide computer support for a small number of (mostly) seniors, who trust me to solve their tech problems and like the way I explain things to them. I keep being asked to clean up computers when someone has clicked on the wrong thing, or believed someone who has phoned them to tell them they have a virus, and now they really do have something. It is not my favourite job to fix, because I have to assume that something bad has happened and prove it hasn't first. It takes hours of slow, careful work, before I can declare the computer clean.

My best advice is to never click on a link in an email, if you are unsure of the sender. Never give your credit card number to someone who calls you. NEVER EVER give access to your computer to someone outside your house. Once someone has remote access to your computer, they have access to all your information.

Instead of spending money on an RFID shielded wallet, find yourself a computer tech you can trust. Preferably one who didn't call you to offer their services. Her services are worth the price.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Spring and a Quilt Show

Spring seems to have arrived although the sun is still at a premium.

 The daffodils are outside, not in a pot on my counter.

A few tulips made an appearance for Mother's Day.

We planted this forsythia, not long after we moved into this house. over 25 years ago. It was beautiful with a lovely shape and it always bloomed right to the top. About 10 years ago, the city had to dig up the watermain, and they learned that it isn't on the city easement, where it is suppose to be, but instead goes diagonally across my yard, right under my fence. I asked them to be careful not to disturb the bush. However, that wasn't possible. They were going to toss it and get me a new one, but I asked them just to move it, roots and all, away from the digging. We carefully covered the roots, and put it back in the hole, after they were finished.  It has taken nearly 10 years, but it is back to near its original glory. It also has a new companion on the inside of the fence, that grew from the root that was left in the ground.

Meanwhile, Spring means Quilt Show, around here.  So Friday, I went with friends, to check it out.

My friend, Barbara Karim, took Best of Show for her wonderful Civil War Bride quilt, hand appliqued and hand quilted.

Here are a few of my other favourites.

I obviously have every broad tastes in quilts. I think I like the paddles, best.

Meanwhile, Spring Cleaning 2019, continues. Today, I started attacking the drawers in the sewing machine table. Over the years they have become catchalls for things that don't have a home. In my 30 minutes, today, I got one drawer done.

Now it just has things I use at the machine. Sewing machine needles, wonder tape, glue, and room for my clips.

This is another drawer, tomorrow's project.

I have no idea what is in there.