Monday, April 28, 2008

Elaine Quehl Workshop

Saturday, Mom and I took the "Beyond Stippling - Part 1" workshop with Elaine Quehl from Ottawa. Elaine was recently featured on "Regional Contact" on CJOH television out of Ottawa, so we were very excited to see her quilts in person and to take her workshop. For 6 wonderful hours we learned and practised new machine quilting motifs such as meandering designs, nested designs and organic motifs, tried out new threads (cotton, rayon, polyester and metallic) and had lots of laughs. It was a great workshop - I can't wait to use some of these new designs on my quilts!! Here are some of my samples from the workshop:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Working is cramping my style!!!

As you may know, my "real job" is being a pharmacist at our local Shoppers Drug Mart. As a rule, I try to work between 24-28 hours per week, so that I have lots of time to run my business, exercise, do housework, do laundry, pay the bills, feed our pets and oh yeah, spend time with my family. Well, one of the other pharmacists has been on holidays for the last 2 weeks, and tomorrow another pharmacist is having an operation and will be off all of next week, so suddenly my 24-28 hours per week turns into 35-40 hours. I like my job, but when I'm there that much, EVERYTHING else suffers. And having it happen three weeks before Quilt Market stresses me out. So, I just have to keep telling myself - hey, at least I'll have more money to shop while we're in Portland!!!!!!

Here's Carson - he's got the idea "Mom, you just need to relax!!"

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The New Addition To Our Family

Our English Cocker Spaniel, Casey, is almost 14 years old. He is deaf, may have cancer and last week was favouring one of his back legs. But he was our "first born" and up until the last few years always acted as though he was still a puppy. Mike and I got him just months after we got married, and until Aidan was born he was our baby. One of the girls at work knew that Casey was getting on in years and she asked if we would like to take her Jack Russel Terrier, Pugsley, as one of her other dogs was not getting along with him and she had recently started to worry that they were going to really hurt each other. Even though she loves him dearly, she knew that she had to find another home for him. Last Monday, Mike and the kids went to see him and fell in love. Tuesday night he came for a "sleepover" just to see how he would behave towards Casey and our cat, Allie. The sleepover went well, and he never went back. He is very lovable and sweet, but quite timid - and he LOVES me!! He follows me everywhere.

Allie and Casey sharing the couch.

Casey on Christmas morning.

Allie, looking like a princess.

Pugsley and Aidan.

Little Pugsley on the lookout for Allie .

Saturday, April 19, 2008

More patterns - hot off the press!

Since we will be leaving for Spring Quilt Market in just 25 days (take a deep breath - don't panic), I have been feverishly writing up my new patterns. Designing new quilts and punchneedle pieces is fun - but writing the patterns is WORK!! As a result, I have a backlog of patterns that need to be written. But this week I finally finished the last three of my new punchneedle patterns. Seasonal Selections #2, #3 & #4 (Spring, Summer and Fall) are all finally done. I'm in the process of printing and assembling, so they are not yet on the website - but here is a sneak peak!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Maple Syrup

Ever since we moved to our old farmhouse 10 years ago (wow, where did that time go?) we have wanted to tap the sugar maples that line the front of our property. The first spring that we were here, a neighbour down the road tapped the trees (and many of our neighbours trees) and showed up on our doorstep a week later with a mason jar full of syrup. We have tried to buy the buckets and spires every year since he passed away, but could never find them. This year, by chance, Mike was out near Carleton Place and spotted a farm supply store with a sign out front that said "We have Maple syrup supplie!" That night he brought the buckets home and we tapped the trees. The kids were so excited - they thought we would have syrup for our pancakes the next morning!! Surprisingly it only took a couple days of collecting and boiling before we had our first jar of syrup. Now that the trees have run dry, we have 7 little jars of dark brown, yummy syrup to keep us over the next three seasons.

Next year we are going to get started earlier - and figure out a new system for boiling (let me just say that our kitchen ceilings were dripping at one point).

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Seasonal Selections #1 - Winter

Today, I have finally finished writing/editing/printing the first punchneedle pattern in my new series "Seasonal Selections". Winter is finally finished (in real life too - YEAH!!) !! Last summer I designed a puncheedle embroidery for each month of the year. But I couldn't decide what to do with them! I came up with the ideaa of a "Punch-of-the-Month" pattern, but the name was already taken. So I decided to do my patterns by season. As you can see, Winter, the first pattern to be released, includes a design for December, January and February. Spring will have March, April and May and so on. Although they are not yet up on my website, they will be soon!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Now, back to work!!

We've been home from Florida for 10 days now, and there was work to do from the very first day bakc. While I was away, Nellie designed a new quilt for Camelot Cottons using their new African themed fabric. When I got home, she had the top and backing all ready to go, so that I could quilt it on my Grand Quilter. They also sent us their new "Dreamsicle" flannel fabrics to work with, so I got to work making the top for that quilt. I'm just waiting to get some backing fabric then I can quilt and bind that one. We also have to write up those patterns, AND send a project to Carla from A Needle Pulling Thread magazine for their Fall issue. Luckily that little wall hanging is already made - I just have to write the pattern. And, oh yeah, we have to get ready for Spring International Quilt Market in Portland ( we leave in 37 days - OMG!!). Good thing I had a restful vacation - I've got work to do!!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Our excellent Adventure - Part 5 - The Manatees

As I've mentioned before, my sons are obsessed with Manatees. We had a total of 5 stuffed animal Manatees prior to our visit to Seaworld - now we own seven (Bill, Misty, Molly, Emily, Slushie, and the twins - Dory and Ice Cream). So, it was imperative that we visit Homossassa Springs State Park before leaving Florida. So Saturday morning we headed north to Homossassa Springs. This state park is home to many different rescued animals, but the ones we were mostinterested in were the manatees. Three times a day there is an educational program about the manatees during which one of the park volunteers gives a talk, anwers questions and gets into the water to feed the 6 manatees that call the park home.
Here, the volunteer is feeding the girls their treat!

After this was done we headed to the underwater observatory to watch these graceful giants finish their lunch of sweet potatoes, carrots and romaine lettuce.
Aidan and Carson were very pleased to get a selection of souvenirs such as the "Manatee Crossing (slowly)" sign and the "Manatee Blvd" street sign. Now we are planning to redorate their bedroom!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Our Excellent Adventure - Part 4 - Busch Gardens

Our day at Busch Gardens in Tampa was wonderful. As soon as we got to the park, Carson insisted that we take the train ride which got us up close and personal with lots of the animals. We all loved the "Rhino Rally" ride, but we were disappointed that the sky ride was closed due to high winds - that is the best way to see the whole park. My boys are not big on rides, so no one tried out the roller coasters, but we all loved walking through the lush grounds to see the different animals. We also were lucky enough to see "Irish Thunder" which was playing at the theatre for the month of March. Lots of step dancing and Irish songs and WONDERFUL costumes - even the boys loved it.

Part way through the day Carson decided to use the rest of his spending money to get his face painted - personally I think he was the cutest animal we saw all day.

Poor Aidan - you can just see the thought running through his head "Oh mom, why do you have to be SOOOO embarrassing!!!

Help!! Aidan is being eaten by a wild hippo!

Now that Aidan is getting to be so good at taking pictures, Mike and I can actually be in some shots together - up until now it's always looked like we went on separate vacations.