Thursday, June 29, 2006


In 1996 Tasha came to our home. We adopted her when she was 2 1/2. She had a few "issues" She suffered a bit from separation anxiety and she was the "dog who loved too much" But she was a wonderful friend.

She loved to get the mail - everyday she would sit at the window and wait for the mailman. As he approached she would start a frenzy of barking and then rip at the mail as it was being put through the mail slot. Andrew's social insurance card will forever have her teeth holes in it.

When we moved to our small village I was so happy to find the mail was going to be sent off to a mail box - no more mailman. Instead she set off into the same frenzy of barking everytime we opened or closed the automatic garage door!!!

Jim insisted that I make a quilt for Tasha. I am a bit of a slow quilter (as you can tell from the 13 years it took for my sampler quilt) I had made one quilt for Jessica and was just starting a quilt for Andrew and I felt I should make the kids quilts before I started on one for the dog. "No" said Jim "you need to make Tasha's quilt first, she won't be around as long as you think" So I made Tasha a little red flannel quilt with ducks. She loved her quilt. We would take it to Tofino where she would lay right in the middle of the living room in front of the fire. Right in the middle of everything - just where a dog should be.
She was such a pretty girl. And she looked at you with these eyes that just said "I love you Pam"
Tasha just wanted to be with us. Where ever the whole family was together. Her favorite place was when we were together on holiday in Tofino. A holiday made just for a dog --- walking on the beach, eating, sleeping and all together in the pack.
Posted by PicasaIn January of 2005 Tasha started to cough. She was 11 years old. Her heart was failing. We started her on a bunch of different medications, she had a Echocardiogram and with the help of the heart medication and Lasix to decrease the fluid in her lungs she got better. But the doctor said we couldn't cure the heart failure and June 28, 2005 she died. We still miss the silly dog. We still have her basket sitting in the TV room, with her quilt and her toys. We took her ashes to her favorite place, Chesterman's Beach.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Jessica and Ben Fraser

This is a lovely picture of Jessica and Jim walking down the "aisle" - actually the red carpet. The wedding was in a little park and it was a beautiful sunny day.
These are a couple of pictures of the bride and groom.
The cupcakes displayed very nicely. I still thought they were a bit on the dry side but Jessica said not to worry, everyone would have had a few drinks by the time the cupcakes were eaten and they would love them.
Posted by Picasa I can see why wedding planners have become popular. Talk about a lot of work. We had a few problems with some of the small details. I had talked to Jessica about music for the walk down the aisle but she never really got around to deciding what she wanted and there was no music. My nephew, Carter, the nine year old ring bearer was standing at the front when Jessica was walking down the aisle - humming "Here comes the Bride" I should have asked him to hum a little louder. So many little details - but in the end the small details are forgotten and it was a wonderful dinner of fresh Spring Salmon BBQ'd by Jim with Mango Salsa, - a wonderful array of salads and fresh vegetables. A salad dressing to die for - thanks to Hans - a fellow blogger and a wonderful chef - Fig infused white basalmic vinegar with white truffel oil. The guest ate all of the food and drank all of Jim's beer and danced up a storm. The Bride and Groom left in the limo at midnight and spent the night in a wonderful hotel downtown. They have now gone off for a week of camping before heading back to work.

And I am exhausted. I think it will be a relief just to go back to work.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The cupcakes that didn't turn out.

Here are the cupcakes. I wasn't sure if I would even post a picture of them. They did not turn out they way I wanted. I was having a bit of a trauma with the Icing. I wanted to pipe the icing on with one of those icing bags -- I couldn't get the icing the right consistancy and the tip was too small and it looked terrible. So I scraped the icing off -- added more icing sugar and tried again -- still looked terrible and the icing was stiff and too sweet, so in the end I just spread it on and then added the strawberries. Thank goodness I am not the one that will be putting on the icing in the end. Anyway - the cupcakes taste pretty good - I didn't think they tasted as good as the test batch I made three weeks ago -- but then that could have been the frustration with the icing.
This is the picture of what they should look like. And I added an awful lot of red food colouring and they still didn't look as red as I wanted.
This is the picture that Jessica sent me to begin this cupcake instead of wedding cake thing. I think once they are all on the lovely silver tray with all the strawberries and the gold foil they will look much better than sitting on a plate in the kitchen.

I iced about 12 of the 96 that I made (as a test batch) then I wandered around the neighbourhood giving them away. The teenage boys will eat anything!!! I will take some pictures of the final display on Wedding day.

The bride and groom have arrived and it has been very, very hectic here, to say the least. And the World Cup needs watching and Edmonton lost to Carolina last night. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Didn't make cupcakes today

I forgot to buy butter yesterday so I couldn't make the cupcakes this morning as planned so I decided to make up a batch of "Gruel" for the birds! Gruel is our word for this mixture of wheatberries, pasta, rice, millet and whatever else grabs me when I am wandering through the bulk section at Whole Foods. When you cook up a little of this and a little of that you end up with a whole lot of Gruel. Now I need to drive off to Safeway and pick up about 100 little snack ziplock baggies to put the stuff into and then I freeze it. The birds just love the stuff - when I give it to them I add some frozen corn and peas that have been thawed and warmed up.
This is Abby - she is a three year old female we got from the SPCA.
This is Zoe - who is about 6 years old and we have known her since she was an egg! My daughter had a couple of cockatiels that some room mate just left with her and they had a couple of batches of eggs -- Zoe was baby #2 from the first batch of eggs. When my daughter moved away a woman who lived near her and used to raise cockatiels took the two parents and the second batch of babies -- and we ended up with Zoe. That in itself is a long story -- kids who want pets and parent who end up with pets -- and vet bills! So she is now my little bird.

So -- I am off to get some butter!! (and baggies). I think I will also buy some stuff - icing sugar etc. to make a test batch of icing. I bought some icing bags and tips yesterday to put the icing on the cupcakes -- rather than just slathering icing on with a knife. I hope it looks nice when it is all finished. And taste good!! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Dear Jane -again

When we went off to see the Quilt of Belonging we stopped into a nice little quilt store in Surrey, Wineberries. It is a store that I haven't been to in a long time because it is about an hour or longer away from my house. Well -- I was quite excited to see they have quite a Dear Jane section. The woman who sells the Bernina sewing machines is a "Janiac" she brought out her workbook for us to look through. I never got her name but I think she also posts on the Dear Jane digest. So of course I bought some fabric - I also bought the two rulers - something I was thinking of getting anyway.
So I have started another Dear Jane Block. This one has been a bit of a challenge with the curved pieces. I use the freezer paper and iron it onto the fabric and then mark a sewing and cutting line and then sew them together by hand.

I should be doing wedding stuff! I have a huge list of things to do - but I am slowly working my way down the list. Jim keeps saying -"I don't recall you being so anxious about our wedding" I don't recall that either. I'm not sure why - but there seems to be alot more details with this wedding of Ben and Jessica. Maybe because I am the mother of the bride and I just want her to have everything work out the way she want it but yet I am not planning the actual way it should be?? Not sure. Plus they live in Calgary and are planning most of it from a distance and then they will arrive next week -- and it is only 2 weeks away now.

She had decided she wanted to have a three tiered tray of cupcakes instead of a wedding cake - so I am going to make Red Velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing and a strawberry cut in half to look like a heart. Actually - I am making the cupcakes this week and then I will freeze them and I will make the icing next week - Thurs or Fri and then the two women I have hired to help set out food and stuff on the day of the wedding will ice them and put on the strawberries. I think it will look lovely. Anyway enough wedding stuff it just gets me going! I think I will go work on my Dear Jane and procrastinate a little bit more. Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Quilt of Belonging

We were not allowed to take pictures inside the Art Gallery - I was thinking that might be the case, I did bring my camera but I didn't take any pictures. These are a few pictures from the Quilt of Belonging website. The quilt is absolutely stunning. You can check out each block on the website. There is one block for every nation in the world ( as defined as a nation by the United Nations) It starts out red and then the blending of colours from red to purple and yellow and green and slowing back to red again. The colour is just wonderful. That is the first thing that hits you when you see it. The entire bottom row of blocks and the blocks on each end are from all the various First Nations (Native Indian Bands) in Canada. They are all beautiful as well. I had not idea that there were so many individual native bands in Canada, around 70. This is the block from the United Kingdom. Beautiful embroidary of various flowers. The English Rose, Scottish Thistle, The Shamrock and a Daffodil (Wales?)
This is the block for The Netherlands. The little house is done in cross stitch. Each countries block was representitive of the needlework and culture of that country. The Eastern European countries do such wonderful needle work. This one below is Hungary.
The blocks are all set so beautifully with the background fabric bringing out some of the colours of the blocks. The shape of the block is a hexagon because that is the shape of the carbon atom - which is the base for all living things. The is a book that can be ordered from the website -- I really think I need that book! Although a picture and the story of each block - and the history behind the quilt can be view on the website - I think it would be nice to have the book and look at the blocks when ever I need some inspiration. The is no block for Canada -- at the top in the centre of the quilt in the red part is a Maple Leaf - that is quite hard to see if you don't know it is there. (The quilt's colour goes from red on each end and red in the middle like the Canadian flag) The quilt says - what Canada is - many different nations - including the native nations - all living in one country. The Quilt really is a piece of art. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Invitation - the Quilt of Belonging

Invitation - the Quilt of Belonging

Tomorrow I am going to Surrey to see this quilt. It is on display at a small museum there until June 25th. I will take some pictures and post them when I get back. I have seen the book and it looks like just a beautiful quilt.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

A day of Quilting

Here we all are in the little village hall for our day of quilting. The day turned out to be quite sunny for the afternoon. Although it has been raining here an awful lot lately. As you can see there is more chatting than sewing going on. We all started at 9 AM and didn't leave until 10PM so it was a long day. I started a table runner that turned out to be more work and more triangles then I thought.

This is the little hall where the reception for Jessica and Ben's wedding is going to be held. So I spent time looking at the tables, chairs, kitchen, sound system. How it will be to decorate, where the tables should go etc. It was helpful.. discovered I rented the wrong size table cloths - so I fixed that today!
These are a few pictures of the quilts that were up on design walls. I really liked this one. Wonderful colours.
Here is another one I liked - different houses.
This is a Kaffe Fasset pattern - although it is just courthouse steps but the way the fabric is placed there is a Japanese Lantern effect. The fabrics are mostly Japanese prints. It is just a wonderful quilt with beautiful fabric. The woman who was doing this quilt sat next to me and I spent most of the day admiring it.

The jury is still out on the Pounce. I opened it up and filled the little "pouncer" and when I finally got the stuff coming out it seemed to just put a very fuzzy line on the quilt. Fortunately it was easy to remove. I will try it again though because it could still be operator error at this time. The cost of it - I'd better get some use out of it. Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 02, 2006

Packing for Quilting by the Bay

I am going off tomorrow for a day of quilting. From 9 AM tomorrow morning until 10 PM at night. I have a few things I can work on. I have a pattern for a table centre that is really nice - I want to use the hand dyed fabric that I have. I also have a kit for a lap quilt. I have never used a kit before (except for the table runner). The kit is with a fabric that I really liked -- Gladiolas. I will see how much I can get done tomorrow and post the results!
This is a package of Quilt Pounce that I picked up at the Quilt store yesterday. I have heard great and glorious things about using the Pounce with the ready made quilting stencils and how easy it is to use and how well it stays on etc. I have one small wall hanging that I just need to finish quilting the border and then it is ready for the binding. I will try the Pounce tomorrow marking a quilting pattern on the border and report back the results.
Well -- I am going to leave this picture here because I don't know how to delete it at this time - but I don't know how it got here. This is the view of Howe Sound from our deck. I took it a few nights ago, and just downloaded it while I was downloading the rest of the pictures. It was a grey and not very interesting night. I am really not sure why it ended up here. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Sampler Quilt

Well - here it is, all finished and ready to go on the bed. I can't believe it is finally finished. Although it is in need of a name still.

When the kids were all quite young, Jessica and Eric were in Elementary school and Andrew was just a baby I decided to go to college and become a nurse. It was about 1986. I started taking the pre-requiste courses and then the required course etc, going to school full time for almost 5 years. It was alot of work at the time. The kids were great and would be quiet when I studied in the evening and Andrew was a great little baby that loved to sleep!! I finally graduated in 1991. I got a job at the hospital I still work at - UBC. After working for awhile I realized that I had all this time off - where I wasn't working, and didn't need to read textbooks, go to school everyday and study - and I didn't know what to do with myself - What did I do before school and studying? I decided I needed a hobby. One day a co-worker brought a quilt top she was making in a sampler course she was taking. I just loved the colours and the patterns (her quilt was a lovely pastel purple and pink colour) and I decided I was going to sign up for the next sampler course. I started the course in 1993 in the spring. I decided to make 20 blocks - very smart! Each block is 12 inches finished. No one in my family ever quilted. I came from needleworkers, kniting, crochet, embroidery, etc. My obsession with quilting and fabric began!!

Most of the blocks are done all by hand. The instructor had us making templates for everything - no rotary cutting. We made two templates for each piece - one for the sewing line and one a 1/4 inch larger for the cutting line. The only blocks sewn on the machine are the log cabin and rail fence blocks. No wonder it took 13 years. The entire quilt is also hand quilted - I figured if I was going to put that much effort into it - I would hand quilt it all. The one thing I did do which helped get it completed in 13 years instead of ?? I got a quilter with a long arm to baste the three layers together for me -- basting is such a labour intensive job - and needs alot of floor space (that is not oak!!) I never really stopped working on it in the 13 years. It was always there - in the background - a few more blocks completed - the sashing to sew on (this was done by machine) I bought all the fabric when I started it in 1993. So in the end when I needed the binding fabric I still had enough left over of the burgandy from the outer border (and it is also in the body of the quilt). I can't even remember how much all the fabric cost -- over $300.00 I think.

At first I thought it was very foolish of me to start quilting with such a large quilt. But in the end this quilt became a good teacher. In the 13 years I've become a better quilter. I've started and completed many projects since staring this quilt. I found a hobby.

Jessica is now almost 28 and getting married in a few weeks. Eric is 25 and Andrew (who still loves to sleep) is now 20. To think that when I started this quilt Andrew was 7 years old. My life in a quilt. Posted by Picasa