Saturday, July 2, 2022

Travel Adventures


I have been traveling. The last time I travelled anywhere was in October, 2019. Needless to say, this trip was very exciting.

I haven't travelled a whole lot, but having a bi-coastal family means that I've made a fair number of trips within Canada. One thing I know for sure is that one should never expect air travel to go smoothly.

My flying experiences started when I was in university. I was a co-op student and standby plane tickets in those days were about $25. So I used this when flying between my parents home and my co-op placement in Ottawa. On one trip, the plane landed at Peterborough and couldn't take off again. The airline offered a bus for the rest of the trip. (a 20 minute plane ride, 3 hours by bus). Most of the passengers made other arrangements, but the two starving students on the plane were going to be travelling by bus. Fortunately, a couple of businessmen with a private plane offered us a ride. So, I took a 4 seater to Ottawa, arriving about 2 hours after I was suppose to, but on time for work the next day.

A couple of years later, I took a trip to Vancouver to visit a friend who had moved there. The airline decided to go on strike while I was there. I ended up buying a standby ticket back to Toronto via Seattle, Chicago, and Detroit. Again, I arrived in time for work the next day. I now always fly with my passport.

I have had other adventures where getting home has gone less then smoothly. This time, our flight from Victoria to Calgary was going to arrive in Calgary about 2 hours after our flight from Calgary to Ottawa was going to leave. So we took another route home that saw us drinking coffee in Vancouver for a considerable length of time. At least we found reasonable good coffee.

So, what have I learned? Besides the passport, first off, be polite. The passenger agents are likely just as frustrated as you are. Start by asking for help. In this case, I asked if they could get me home. They checked and found that even if they sent us on to Calgary there were no seats to Ottawa on a later flight, or the next day even. So they sent us to Vancouver, where there were seats on the overnight flight to Ottawa. 

Secondly, be flexible in your plans. We have been upgraded by a passenger agent, and I think it was because we were not asking for anything but a flight home.

Finally, Canadian airports are a mess right now. The security people are unhappy and are taking it out on the passengers. If you don't need to fly, stay home. If you do need to fly, try to avoid major centres like Toronto or Montreal. 

I will be hiding in my house for the next while. However, it was worth the aggravation and delays for this:


Two of my favourite men, planning their activities for the morning! More BC pictures, soon.


Friday, June 3, 2022

Vintage UFO's No More

 The thing with tidying is that you find UFO's that you have been trying to ignore for awhile.

Some years ago, I bought a kit for a quilt. Sometime later, I took the kit on a retreat, and made the top. Then the top and the fabric for the backing and the binding went into a holding area. It turned up in my tidying. So, a couple of months ago, I finished the back and the binding, and sent the quilt to the long arm quilter. She got it back to me quite swiftly, but the binding has been a slower process. Today, the binding was finished and the quilt was taken out to the yard for a photo in the sunshine..

After all that time, one might expect something more complicated. But I'm not much into complicated quilts. Just warm hugs. I've forgotten what the pattern was called. I'm sure it is still here, somewhere. However, it is done and off to be a warm cuddle in it's new home.

I also found a pair of socks. Well, actually 1 1/4 socks. I decided it was time to liberate the needles, so I finished those, too. The pattern is called Crazy, and the yarn is Sockenwolle Cotton Stretch Morgentau. I think these ended up on hold because I didn't enjoy knitting with the yarn, It was kind of scratchy.

The Crazy part is knitting lace socks in scratchy yarn! I didn't even try to make them match.

We had a couple of hot days, which caused the Bridal Wreath Spirea to bloom and then the wind, and rain we have had has knocked a lot of the petals off. The dog keeps coming into the house looking like he was at a wedding.

It has grown quite large and probably needs a haircut.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Decluttering Experts Are Wrong!

 In my efforts to tidy up and reclaim space, I've read some decluttering experts. One piece of advice I've seen over and over again is to get rid of things you haven't used in the last year, or items you haven't used recently and could replace if you needed them again.

Of course, this advice doesn't take into account that every now and again a severe storm passes through, and we are left with no power for a really significant period of time. 

The violent storm that passed through Southern Ontario and Quebec left quite a bit of destruction behind. The giant transmission towers coming into the city were bent over, causing a really large number of residents to lose power. So far, there have been 10 deaths attributed to the storm, all caused by falling trees.

We were very lucky that our neighbourhood had very little damage. Other areas were much harder hit and a local school now has no roof. 

Which brings us to the "clutter". When our children were young, we used to go camping every summer.  We slept in tents, on the ground and communed with nature. (Please don't ask about the black rat snake I found sunning itself behind the car.)

In time, we acquired equipment to make the experience a bit more comfortable. It is all still in 4 bins in the basement. It was last used for camping when our sons were in collage and would go camping with their friends, as an excuse to get away from parents. However, it is those things that make camping more comfortable that are very handy when the power is off for over a day. Our camping kettle, coffee maker and flashlights were all useful. So, I guess I was right to hold on to them. 

However, maybe we could let the snowshoes go.

And, because a blog needs a picture:

A bit of visible mending!

Friday, May 20, 2022

And Then, Suddenly Summer

In this crazy "spring" we are having, the weather suddenly turned hot, and we reached record highs for May. It was 31C (which translates to high 80's for the Americans) , not at all what we expect for mid May. I felt wilted and didn't get much done in the way of sewing.  This was followed by thunderstorms and heavy rain. today, things are a bit more normal.

Sadly, my apple blossoms didn't do well in the hot weather.

They are nearly finished and they just opened.

The pink ones look very sad! Hopefully, we will get enough little crab apples to feed the birds over the winter.

I am actually finishing a quilt, started a very long time ago,

The top resurfaced in my recent tidying and I took it to the long arm quilter to be finished. Now, it just needs its binding. 

I do have plans for a couple of new bags. With this in mind, I placed an order with Emmaline Bags and got some new hardware in sizes I didn't have in stock. This is suited to smaller bags.

Kind of boring, isn't it. Hopefully it will make the bags look classy.

Finally, I was cleaning out a closet and came across this.

This is my shirt from my university days. WISE stands for Women in Science and Engineering. At the time, women made up about 2% of all engineering students, so we were proudly trying to make our presence known. The numbers are higher now, but not what they should be. Sad, because I don't understand what prevents women from joining the profession.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Suddenly Spring - As Usual

 Winter seems to hold on forever. April seemed to alternate between cold, wet days and snow! Then, one day, it is spring, in all it's brief glory.

Daffodils were my mother's favourite flower. So these always bring me a smile.

Our area is know for tulips, since 1945, when the Dutch Royal Family gave us bulbs in thanks for providing safety to Queen Juliana and her family during WW2. 

The tulip meter says that today, the tulips are 5 out of 10

These are my tulips.

As well as some yet to open.

Since the squirrels are known to move the bulbs in the fall, it is always a surprise where and what colour might pop up.

There are also wood violets appearing in the lawn.

These are all a feast for us to see after a long winter.

I do yoga a couple of times a week. If I leave to dogs alone, and no one else is home, they bark and bother me, so this week, we all did yoga together.

I use the yoga mat with a chair as a prop. Doug is trying to be a good dog and not put his paws on my mat.

No sewing this week. Not sure what happened to prevent that. 

Saturday, April 30, 2022

A Fairy Pouch

 Maybe spring has come. There are no snowflakes in the forecast for the next few days. My Forsythia looks like this.

A while ago, I asked my friend Maggie if she had an embroidery design for a Tooth Fairy bag. She found me one in her embroidery designs and stitched it out. I've been trying to figure out what the bag would look like, and decided on this.

When I was little the tooth fairy brought a dime. By the time my kids came along, Canada had a $1 coin, a loonie. So that is what they got. I decided with inflation that this bag should be able to hold a $20 bill. However, I have seeded it with a twoonie ($2 coin) in hopes of not bankrupting his parents. 

I added a designer label.

A quick project suitable for MMM Quilts next DrEAMi collection!

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Inner Circle Finished!

 I started this bag in March of 2020. It got put aside and forgotten until my latest tidy binge. Now it is finished.

As you can see, the sun is shining today (after more snow yesterday) so I grabbed the opportunity to take pictures in the sunshine, though not outdoors since it is +4C. 

This bag has no hardware to speak of. It has a bag zipper at the top and a dress zipper on the interior pocket.

Of course, it also has the surprise kitties! It has a large slip pocket so I added a magnetic snap to the pocket to help it stay closed.

I also added my favourite add on, a key keeper, into the edge of the slip pocket. It keeps your keys in easy reach, instead of having them disappear in the bottom.

 The bag is kind of an oversized clutch, the right size for taking a few things on an outing. 

While I was tidying after I finished the bag, I decided to play with some of the scraps for the next project I have planned. Kind of "Proof of Concept".

It ended up smaller than I wanted, so I am rethinking sizes. However, I have a small friend who will think it is perfect for something. Of course, because I am an overachiever, it is fully lined and the seams are finished. Here is a picture for scale.

Tuesday night was Book Group on Zoom. I needed something to knit, so I started another pair of baby socks. The book was "Once Upon a Wardrobe" by Patti Callahan. The group enjoyed it.

Technically, the season of Easter isn't over until Pentecost, so I have another month before I have to change the tablecloth. ( We only eat at this table if we have guests.)

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Just Random

 My forsythia bush has decided to bloom, and I saw a mention online for Forsythia Flower Syrup. So I decided to try to make some. Looking for recipes I discovered that you just put about a cup of flowers in a jar, make a simple syrup from 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water, Pour the boiling water over the flowers and let steep overnight. Then strain and it is ready.

I lined the strainer basket with a coffee filter and poured it in, this morning. I couldn't get the last little bit to go through the filter, so I just spooned it off and into the bowl underneath.

The result is this light yellow syrup that tastes kind of like honey. I guess that isn't really surprising. Much like other odd things that one eats in a northern spring (fiddleheads, wild garlic), I suspect a long winter gives pinings for things that taste fresh and sunny. 

I going to try adding it to my "iron water" (lucky iron fish) to add a little sweetness and spring to my water. Now I just need some fiddleheads. I wonder when the farmers' market opens?

I may have had a bit of a splurge, the other day. I saw this fabric and it was just what I was looking for for my next bag project.

It looked very summery, with hummingbirds, dragonflies and butterflies. Okay, so I'll order a bit. Except a bit always seems to become a bit more.

And now I have added this. It is okay, I have a use for them all, I think. Now, I just need a bit more time.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Spring, Maybe

So, it snowed on Tuesday. Just when we get to the point where we think spring is here, it decides to hide a bit longer.  

However, there is hope.

There is scilla, with their heads down because the sun is hiding. 

The forsythia is just waiting for some warm sunny days, but the yellow is starting.

I have purple crocus, although closed without sun. I am wondering where the other colours have gone. I had some purple striped ones and yellow ones here. Did they all convert to purple?

Or maybe the bunnies got them. 

The neighbour has some cute little irises. They are about 10 cm (4 inches) high.

I thought the fungus on the firewood was interesting. We really enjoy a fire on a damp afternoon. I think it will be awhile before we give the fires up.

Another pair of baby socks, these for the gift bin. It's good to have a spare pair, because babies seem to keep arriving. Yarn is Rasta from TurtlePurl. This is the third and last pair of baby socks from the leftovers of an adult pair of socks.

For a Canadian, this seems weirdly wrong. There is no French on the box. The cookies were a gift from a snowbird friend who brings them back from the US. Canadian Girl Guide cookies are sandwich cookies in vanilla and chocolate. The Girl Scout ones come in different flavours and the shortbread are my favourite.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Inner Circle

 I got the pattern for the Inner Circle Bag from the Bag of the Month Club on March 1, 2020. I decided it was very doable and dove in, starting on March 4. Then things went sideways. 

Inner circle got tucked away, and I started making masks, and hand sanitizer pouches. So, last week, while tidying my sewing room, it popped up again and I decided it was time to finish it.

It did take awhile to figure out where I left off, and what needed to be done. I had the zipper attached to its facing, and it looked a bit wonky. I'm pretty sure that nobody else will think it is wonky, so, I will move forward. 

I realized that it needed its stabilizers, so they were cut and attached. I had second thoughts on the pocket, so I redesigned how it was going to work. Now it has a lining pocket.

Even I think the lining is pretty wild. So I went a little more subtle on the pocket lining.

This is the outside of the bag. The lining is actually a near perfect match. The fabric was embroidered denim from a long time ago, that was lounging in my stash.

It will be a lovely spring bag for somebody. 

Yesterday, I got the Income Tax Returns finished, so now I am free to play with this. It should go together quickly from here.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Not Much Has Changed

 I'm not sure what happened to the past week. I did some cleaning, attended my on-line yoga classes,  and finished a couple of projects that were waiting.

The socks in Gryffindor house colours are finished. I like how they turned out. 

The forsythia also flowered, so it looks like the bush will soon be covered in bright yellow. I may cut some apple branches this week so I can have apple blossoms for Easter.

I also made more masks. Although our mask mandates are removed, the case numbers are still rising, so it just seem prudent to do a spring refresh on masks.

I added a couple of new fabrics into the mix.

Next up is the semiannual Change the Blade in the Rotary Cutter. As well, I plan to clean my sewing machine and change the needle, and put away all the things sitting out from bag and mask making. I have a plan for another bag, but I need to tidy a bit first and check that I have everything I need.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

DrEAMi! #61 or Was That A Squirrel?

 It is that time of the year. The squirrels in my yard are very busy and very hungry. I don't have any pictures of the squirrels but I can give you one with a chipmunk.

This is the marvelous Mystique, one of our long term foster cats. She was with us for over a year in total. We put peanuts on the window ledge to entertain her. We called it her car order. Here she is taking the order of a passing chipmunk.

Actually, the squirrels for this blog are those little projects that you just have to try. I spent most of the month working on my Boronia Bowler Bag, and Friday, I finally finished it.

However, while I was waiting for matching thread to arrive (yes, I was silly enough not to check to see if I had the correct coloured thread before I started), I saw a new project I just had to try.

This is the Effortless Twin Pouch, by Spencer Ogg Patterns. It is a free video tutorial on her YouTube Channel.

It was quick and easy. I used a fat quarter, some PUL fabric and a zipper I had in my stash, and I did have matching thread for this one. However, because the PUL can't be ironed, I couldn't get crisp folds to make it stand up, unless it had something heavy in the pockets. It also didn't stay folded.

So, today, I mad another one, using the same fabrics, and added a magnetic snap, this time.

I also put a crisp fold in the cotton fabric before I started to see if that would help. 

This is the new bag (the zippers are different colours) and it stands pretty well. 

The centre fold looks pretty good.

On the first one, I added bar tacks to hold the fold.

Now I need to try one with a cotton lining and maybe do French seams on the outside to help it stand. Obviously, there are more squirrel projects to try here!

I'm linking to Sandra's "Drop Everything And Make it" link up, over at MMMQuilts.  Go and check out the other projects.