Saturday, April 29, 2006

Salem Oregon

We left late this morning and spent the day driving down the I-5 in the misty rain! The traffic got quite slow through Seattle. As soon as you get across the border you notice that so many more people live in the US. The are so many more lanes on the highway and much more industry, homes, restaurants etc along the freeway. We packed a lunch to eat along the way -but there are a few places I have never eaten and I really think I need to try -- Taco Bell (they are everywhere) and Jack in the Box - I see the commercials, and I'm not really sure what kind of food they serve there, Jim says they serve a beef on a bun. Although I don't think he's ever eaten at a Jack in the Box either.

We stopped at a grocery store in Chehalis and got a big piece of goat cheese with herbs and garlic for $1.79 -- amazing, and smoked Gouda for 1.69. I love American grocery stores.

We are staying at a Best Western in Salem Oregon. Tonight we had a good seafood dinner at Newport Seafood Cafe - great Calamari with a hot pepper Aaoli. And to top it off we can watch Canadian hockey on OLN -- Ottawa eliminated Tampa Bay and Calgary beat Anaheim.

We plan to drive to Sausalito tomorrow. It will be a long drive but we will just head down the 1-5 and drive straight through. I think Oregon needs a holiday all of it's own instead of just driving down the coast and having a quick look. I want to come and spend just a week in Oregon, so for now we will just drive through and plan a proper holiday on the Oregon coast at a later time.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Getting ready to go to Arizona

I thought I would post a picture of myself and since I am usually the one with the camera and I don't like having my picture taken this is about the best one I could find. This is taken on Chestermans beach near Tofino and Vancouver Island. I'm sure I will eventually find a better picture - but for now this is it. I was thinking of posting the Six weird things but I don't know if I can come up with six.

1. I am left handed and I am unable to easily and quickly determine left from right and quite often give out wrong directions, saying turn left when they are supposed to turn right and in my mind I see the correct way but don't know what is left or right. I have to think very hard before every new task to decide which hand I will use. Some things I can do with either hand. I write with my left hand but I use right handed scissors.

2. I can't spell at all - thank goodness for spellcheck - I agonized for years over my inability to spell but I have accepted it now! Every time I need to spell a word with a "ie" I still go " i before e except after c". Some words I have written thousands of times and I still spell them wrong - or they just look wrong. Andrew has inherited my genetic abnormality and I have encouraged him to just accept and embrace it and use spellcheck. And I have recently discovered the google spellcheck on my google toolbar!!!

3. I really want to exercise but I hate exercising. I think I need to embrace and accept that also.

4. My mother hated musicals and hated Julie Andrews even more for some reason - so I was an adult before I ever saw "The Sound of Music" I thought the movie was wonderful and loved Julie Andrews in it. I have never seen "West Side Story" or most of the famous musicals - "South Pacific" etc. I have married a man that loves the old musicals so I am starting to watch a few now. I quite enjoy them. I also had only one television channel until the mid 1970's (CBC) So I never saw alot of the old television series - Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best, Mayberry FRD, etc. We watched "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "Red Skelton" on Sunday nights and that was the extent of my childhood televison memories -- except of course for "Hockey Night in Canada"

5. I have no musical ability at all -- probably inherited from my mother! I can not carry a tune or can I recognize what is in tune or out of tune -- I can not recognize a song until the actual singing of the title of the song. But - even though I watched very little TV as a child my TV and movie trivia knowledge is amazing! So, in our house - Jim does the music trivia and I do the TV trivia.

6. I love oranges, I would eat them all day long. I am very picky about my oranges and spend a long time choosing them. I love lamb. My mother hated lamb and I grew up thinking lamb was horrible stuff and never had lamb until I was 30 - I discovered I really liked it! I have a great and wonderful mother (other than the Julie Andrews and Lamb issues) - she is left handed also. Some things are passed on from mother to daughter and some are not.

I am getting ready to leave for our trip to Arizona tomorrow and I really should be packing and stuff but I'm not!! I should get going here.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Spring Retreat

I am back from Spring Retreat and have been at work for the past two days - so a bit of a delayed post.

As always I had a great time. The spring retreat is a place to finish or start all those various projects - UFO's - COPS - PIGS !! etc. (love that PIGS) I finished Jessica's table runner and put all the binding on my big quilt. I am sort of working on a "Thinking Outside the Block" project but wasn't too inspired to do very much on it. I also made a few bags. (That could be one weird thing about me, but we won't go there yet) The NVOS has about 20 separate little bedrooms - I should have taken a picture of mine - they have little sinks and bunk beds and are quite comfortable for sleeping. The meals are all provide - we just have to wander from the sewing room to the dining room when they ring the bell! The food is really good. Breakfasts are always so good -- French toast, pancakes, blueberry sauce, fruit salad, yogurt, eggs, bacon, sausage. I don't really need to eat much for the rest of the day after that. We have little door prizes during the weekend. I won 4 fat quarters and we each got to take home our placemat. Each year the women that organize the retreat make little things for us to take home. Once it was a little quited bag to carry a coffee mug - I used mine for my camera. One woman works for a magazine distribution company and we each get a BIG stack of quilting magazine.

On Monday my package came from Keene NH with my 40 fat eighth's for my Dear Jane. I can't believe how quickly it got here. I didn't have to pay any duty or extra charges on it. I will definitely order from her again.

We are getting ready to start our road trip to Arizona this Saturday. I am hoping to prepare a few Dear Jane blocks to take along and sew up in the evenings in the hotel room. Not sure if I will get that done though. I have to work a night shift tonight and then I have a bunch of things that need to be done before Saturday --- LIKE PACK!!! So I better get at it. We are going to take the laptop computer with us on the trip - so we can take lots of pictures and just download them onto the computer. I am hoping that we can also get on the internet and check email and blogs etc. The computer has the wireless web - but we have never used it --- so it will be interesting. I will post before I go off anyway.

Another view of the Sewing Room Posted by Picasa

The Sewing Room Posted by Picasa

The dining Room Posted by Picasa

The Cutting Room Posted by Picasa

The ironing Room Posted by Picasa

North Van Outdoor School Posted by Picasa

Sitting outside in the Sun Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 20, 2006

More Dear Jane Blocks

I have completed three more Dear Jane Blocks! I am enjoying doing them. I guess that's good since I have 260 or so left to do.

I am going off today to have a visit with someone I haven't seen in a long time. It will be nice to see her and get out of the house. I have been home all week with a cough and a sore chest from coughing - not really a cold but tired and sore. I still have been coughing a fair bit at night and I didn't work yesterday because of the cough. I hope getting out and about today will help me feel better because I have my quilt retreat this weekend and I have work to do. I plan on finishing the table runner for Jessica's wedding and put the binding on the big sampler quilt. I would like to finish both completely by Sunday. I think I need to start something new though - I have been buying a bit of bright, fun fabric lately - Jane Sassaman - and a few others and I think I need to do something fun with that fabric. Once the big sampler quilt is ready to go in the show I will start something new. I have been seeing some various quilts on different blogs that have inspired me.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Fat Eighths Posted by Picasa

My first eBay purchase

I have purchased some fabric for my Dear Jane quilt on eBay. I have never bought anything on eBay before and it was surprisingly easy. Although I just did it yesterday so we will see how quickly it gets here and how smoothly the rest of the process goes. The mail seems to be very slow to our little village at the best of times. I still do not have the invitation for Jessica and Ben's wedding and she sent them out almost two weeks ago.

I had opened an eBay account quite a few months ago because Andrew wanted to try and buy some sort of music recording equipment on eBay. We were unsuccessful in our bid. Which in the end was good because the program he was interested in had some bits of hardware that would not have been able to be installed in the laptop computer he was going to be using.

I have been trying to find bits of Civil war reproduction fabric for this quilt and I thought --- why don't I do a search on eBay -- well surprise, surprise there is tons of fabric for sale on eBay. I tried to bid on some - a set of 17-12.5 inch squares that someone in Nevada I think was selling - but again my bid was unsuccessful. I didn't "win". I find that when people say - "I won this on eBay" I think of winning as getting it for free - but you really have to pay! Anyway I found someone that sell all kinds of fabric - fat quarters, yardage etc, nice looking pictures of fabric and she sell civil war fat quarters. I was looking for fat eighth's and so I sent her an email and asked if she also sold fat eighth's as I just needed small bits for the Dear Jane. She emailed me right back with a link to a nice looking bunch of fat eighth's that I could "buy it now" Thank goodness because my bidding skills are obviously lacking so far. So I bought it now! I am quite excited - she sent me back another email - it was all successful and she is mailing them off today.

We had a nice Easter dinner yesterday with Andrew and Anri and Eric. I never took any pictures. We had turkey. I was kind of hoping to have a nice leg of lamb but we couldn't find a leg of lamb anywhere on Saturday when we were out shopping. We went to about 5 different grocery stores. So turkey it was. Andrew was happy, he is not a big lamb fan. We used to have a nice roast dinner every Sunday when the kids were all younger and living at home. Lamb or beef usually. Lamb was my favorite - and then on Monday we would have Beef or Sheep dip or Beef stew or Lamb soup. All those foods we just don't make anymore just for the two of us. I really made a wonderful Lamb Soup. Anyway I seem to be wandering off at the fingers here. Happy Easter.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Magnolia Tree in Bloom

The Magnolia tree in our yard is blooming this year. This is the first year since we moved here that the tree has bloomed. I am not sure why it has decided to bloom after four years of doing nothing but it is so lovely to see it finally blooming away.

Everything is starting to come up so early this year. The hosta's are already well and truly coming up - way ahead of anything from the past years.

Jim and I are planning a road trip to the Grande Canyon the first two weeks of May. We are going to drive down through Washington - the I-5 until Portland or so and then drive down the Oregon Coast - into California and along the coast to San Franciso, Carmel, San Simeon to see the Hearst Castle and then east to Los Vegas and the Grande Canyon and Phoenix. I have never been to the Grande Canyon and I am really looking forward to the trip.

I hope to find a few quilt shops along the way. I don't want to have to go driving out of the way to find quilt shops but it would be nice to come across a few in our travels. I will try to do a bit of pre-trip research. I am still looking for the Civil War Repro fabric for my Dear Jane quilt. I have 8 blocks done now. I may take a few blocks to hand stitch up along the trip.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Red Roses

My Dear Husband went off this afternoon to get gas for the BBQ and came back with a lovely bunch of Red Roses for me. Such a nice surprise.

It was cloudy and mild today but didn't really rain so I did get out a bit today in the garden. Jessica must have phoned about 4 times this morning about various wedding things. She sounds like she might be getting a bit stressed out with wedding details. She certainly seems to be planning a fancy wedding. She has ordered flowers, a limo, bought her wedding dress. One day I will post a picture of her dress - she sent me a few pictures when she tried it on. It is a lovely dress. She will be 28 this August so I guess that she is ready to get married. Ben is a really nice guy and I think a very good match for her. Hopefully the wedding goes just as Jessica has planned.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Six Dear Jane Blocks

My first 6 blocks are completed. I am trying not to get too obsessed with making them. I have this little pile of stuff in the TV room sitting on the table and on the floor. It has not moved for a month or so. We will just pick it up, vacumn and put it all back. It is all the supplies needed for my Dear Jane - three different pairs of sissors, paper, books, thread, patterns, fabric, etc. - looks like a little junk heap. All the required things needed to make the blocks. I also have the Mariners Compass quilt sitting on the floor because I can quilt a row or two on that when I am not working on the Dear Jane.

I have been sort of stuck at home for the part of this week. I had to take my car in to spend two days at the Volkswagon dealer getting "decarbonized" Seems that the diesel fuel was starting to clog up the car. Andrew came out and picked me up yesterday to get my car. Nice to have a bit of a visit with him. Most of the time he is staying at his girlfriends house - Although he insists that he has not moved out. I kind of miss my visits with him. I do try to get a lunch or a coffee visit in once a week or so. He has been working as a ski lift operator at a local ski hill for the past couple of months. He figures he is the first ski lift operator in the civilized world that does NOT ski! He did get a couple of free rentals and tried a bit of snowboarding though. And he did phone home afterwards to reassure me that he hadn't broken anything.

So I did do quite abit of quilting instead of going out into the garden which was what I really should have been doing. And it was supposed to rain today so I went off and bought myself some new gardening tools -- instead it never rained and I still never went out into the garden. We have a fair amount of work to do before Jessica and Ben's June wedding. So now that I have new gardening tools and if it does not rain tomorrow I WILL go out and do some work in the garden tomorrow. But now there is a hockey game to watch and I think I can do another Dear Jane block tonight.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Flowers and Pheasants

We had not seen or heard from Phineaus for 5 days. I last heard him early Monday morning before going to work so I threw some corn out for him because I knew he would be by early and we would be gone all day. He has been coming to our yard for almost 2 years now at least 2-3 times a day for food and to just sit in the corner of the garden and rest. 5 days is a long time to not see or hear him crowing off in the distance at least. He returned early Saturday morning, bright and early crowing and looking for corn. One day I guess he will go away and not return and we will miss seeing him. We just don't know when that will happen. Not sure how long pheasants live - we did a bit of internet research but the life span of a wild pheasant doesn't seem to be well known. Mostly it seems they don't live more that 2 years or so because of predators and hunters. We think he has to be over 3 years old because this is his 3rd spring in our neighbourhood.
The early spring flowers are blooming. This is a camellia in our front yard.
Daffodils in the back garden.
A large Rhododendron bush also in the front yard.

Time to get out in the Garden and start the spring time weeding chores. I saw that some of the hosta's are already starting to poke out through the soil. I love the early spring when things are growing and green and the ground is wet and easy to dig. All the plants are budding and blooming. The weeds are easy to pull up. By the end of July I have lost all interest in the garden and find it hard to get out and weed. We are going to need to spend a bit more time in the garden this spring because of Jessica's wedding. I guess the visitors from Alberta will be coming to the house and we need to get the garden a bit more presentable than it is now.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Three more Dear Jane blocks

This block had that little tiny piece in the centre that I tried to sew on straight and had a heck of a time. I pulled it off once and then the second time I left it - until my husband commented that it was funny looking! So I then decided to reverse applique the centre piece. That worked much better --- then in all my wisdom I thought I would look up the tips and hints on the Dear Jane CD - guess what the tip was - reverse applique the entire block!!!! From now on I will read the tips and hints for the block before I start the block.

These Dear Jane blocks were all applique blocks. I thought I should go back to a bit of an easier block - that first block had such tiny pieces to stitch together by hand, and it had been years and years since I did any hand stitching of seams. I completely forgot how it do it at first. I have a couple more blocks cut out and ready to go.

I am completely finished hand quilting my great big sampler quilt. I just have the binding to put now. So it should be ready for our guild quilt show in September.