Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Day Five The agony of de FEET

 So today was all about the feet. But I'll talk about that in a second. 

I must say that I had a great sleep in that air conditioned room, but it was not without its challenges. I had a dream about Thimbles and Things and it was so weird. It was like I hd married the Hobby Horse adn Thimbles and Things together and Paula and her family were living in the store!! OK  -- where did that come from???

We had breakfast in the albergue so I didn't get out until about 7. The walk was pretty decent for the entire time -- a few uphill climbs as we entered the villages but nothing too long or too strenous. But once that sun came out, it got warm. Not super hot, but warm. 

I think I'm now up to four blisters and one more wanting to form. What did I do to ask for this?? OK - so -- it's supposed to be a pilgrimage and it's not supposed to be easy but seriously??? Four blisters? 

I had a couple of bandaids, but I don't think I'll wear them tomorrow. Just stop and keep the feet lubricated. Yep --- I think God gave me two per foot so I wouldn't over compensate and cause other issues. Thanks for that!!!

We passed vineyards, farm fields of sunflowers, and walked a great part of it close to a major highway, but always far enough away that it wasn't in our face. And can you tell me why every village is on top of a hill? Every single one!!! 

I didnt eat much at breakfast so it wasn't worthy my 6 E, but that's OK. At a small bakery along the way, I grabbed a banana and  cholcate pastry. I got out my tote bag to carry that pastry and it would have been a huge mess if I carried it in my hand. As I walked, I took a bite about every 1 KM. It's easy to hold off and not eat the entire thing at once. It's hard to eat too much in the heat and with all the walking. 

I am not the only one with blisters, and I heard that one girl took the bus today to avoid walking. I hope that won't happen to me but if I need to -- I will have to. But one day is NOT going to fix this mess. 

I will spare you the pictures of any of it. I'm trying to keep them open and we have a nurse amongst us and she was going to help another fellow and said "does anyone have needle and thread"  Yep --- I've got that so I said she could use my supplies as long as she popped the big one on my toe which is very hard to reach. 

I had to slow down a wee bit today because of the pain, but that was only on the really rough patches of the trail. And I did NOT want to stop because it would take some courage to get moving again!!!

And probably because of the pain, it seemed to take forever to get here. By the way - here is Estella which is a fairly big town. I have no idea what is happening to my GPS. The distance today was supposed to be 21.7 KM. However, my Fitbit registered 30 KM. Probably because of all the tiny steps I took on the descents. But I swear I'm connected t my phone GPS so that shouldn't be affecting it. 

 I don't know what the issue is, but I do know that it was a bit discouraging to watch those KM move at a snails pace and not know when or how long it was until we arrived. 

However as mentioned, it was OK. I'll survive. People have way worse things to deal with and a few blisters are not going to stop me. 

There are people from all over the world who are walking. Lots of Americans and there are Canadians, but I haven't met them. Oh -- just Ben from the other night. They are of all different ages and backgrounds and each is walking for their own reason. 

I'm surprised at the number of people who are forwarding their bags or part of their bags. WOW -- why pack a whole bunch of stuff that you won't need? I just seems like one extra thing to take care of. No need for me as I was pretty diligent about the weight an have no issues with the backpack. Just those darn feet. 

OK --- so as I was sitting in the patio area of our albergue yesterday in the afternoon, I spotted a woman walk by with MY pee cloth. OK --- maybe it was a coincidence that she bought the same one. I don't know and it would have been awkward to ask. So I'm going with the fact that she found it knew what it was for and is using it. Case closed!!!

I didnt need it toay anyways. 

And when I arrived a the albergue, I got the bottom bunk AGAIN!!!!!  So I would start taking the top bunk if it would heal my feet. But the lady next to me wanted to wash and dry her clothes and offered to do my laundry as well. So I'm all done and ready for a nap. But I'm waiting for Metta and the guy with the blister so we can do all that medical stuff and then I can have a nap. 

We are staying at a municipal albergue tonight for 8 E. You cant beat that. I only hope we can find a bakery on the way out to buy something to eat for breakfast. Yep -- the meals are a bit sketchy to find, but I went across the street when I got in and had my beer and tortilla which is to die for. 

I can't think of anything else for today. I'd better brush up on the route for tomorrow. I think we have a long stretch with NO towns so better to have food and water before heading out. 

Have a super day!!!!


Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Day four A beautiful walk

 What can I say, but that this is an amazing adventure. I don't want to say that it's the greatest adventure, but it's up there. I'm currently sitting in the shade of the hotel/albergue and listening to some cool music an the misters are keeing things cool,, although I had to move a little bit to keep  my equipment dry. 

Amazing but I had another great sleep in that massive church filled with bedsl. I think I woke up around 4:30 when the two strapping guys next to me silently (well almosts) got up and left. I wouldn't have thought they needed an early start. 

But some of the pilgrims have zero self awareness. crap that mister is misting very corner of this deck except in the sun. Just moved and still getting misted! OK -- back to those pilgrims who are unnaware. And this takes me back to the days when I worked at the fabric company. The president did NOT like flip flops or slip on shoes. They were banned, did you know they make a ton of noise?  Especially in the middle of the night! And there are the lead foots. They sound like a herd of elepahnants. And don't get me started on the shufflers!!!

Oh well, I slept well and that's all that counts. I was awake at 4:30 but didn't get up until 6. What's the point. It only takes me a few minutes to get ready. Had to move again. Love the mist, but not near my "computer". 

I was a bit worried about leaving Pamplona this morning In the dark by myself. Oone does NOT want to get lost -- not after yesterday. Thankfully the streets are pretty well marked and easy to follow. But a couple of times, I had to stop and look at the app. Thank goodness for the app. I would likely have gottenn lost without it. 

It took about 5 KM of walking to get out of Pamplona. Now here's the thing - if you have been to Europe, you know this. NOTHING is open nearly. in North Ameria things are open 24/7. Not so here. So I left with no brealfast, not having purchased any food yesterday. Not that I was starved, but I would have liked to have something. Thankfully about 3 KM down the road (still in Pamplona) I spoted a bakery and got a croissant. I know --- me a croissant for breakfast. That laste me for about 8 KM. I can't eat a lot on the road and that did the trick. I have water with me. 

The facecloth worked well for those that know what I'm talking about. Yeah. Not that there is lots of TP around, but it's shocking that people don't even try to conceal it. It's litter people!!!!  Clean up after yourselves!! I think all hiking stores should make it mandatory that all women be educated about peeing in the woods!!

Nothing got lost today! 

I walked alone again and it was great. I meet people along the way and then you feel obligated to entertain each other an who wants that. I walk alone and I think about so many of you back home. What's going on? How are things? And then I think of nothing, absolutely NOTHING and its glorious!!!! No deadlines, no worries Everyone should try to take a vacation where they get to think about nothing. 

As I left Pamplona, I could see the ridge that we had to cross to get to the next town. There are lots of stories about crossing the road, the bridge, etc. But this was a steep ridge with a wind turbine farm along the top. And it looked FAR AWAY. 

Slow and steady -- that's all you can do. I've passed lots of locatls who are out walking their dogs or just out for a walk. Another lucky day with the weather.  We did have thunder showers yesterday, but managed to stay dry. Today, we had cloud cover for most of the hike, but the sun came out and it got hot!!!!

There's a beautiful sclupture at the top of the ridge and the view on both sides of the ridge. The steep incline wasn't nearly as bad as what I was think it would be. The descent was steep and through a very rocky river bed (a steeply sloped river bank). Once we got down that , the rest was pretty easy. Just long in the sun. 

I stopped about half way to get some orange juice and a banana. Then with 7 Km (or was that 5) I stopped for a tortilla which is like a quiche (sort of) with egg, potatoe and ham and cheese and a COKE which I practically guzzled. So good!!  

We passed some areas near where we are tonight that had burned. Since it was mostly beside the road, I dont know if it was deliberate or a wild fire. I dont have any reservations so you just need to find an albergue when you arrive. I stopped at the first one and it's amazing. 

The place has a/c (cheating!!!) and only three to a room and it cost 15 Euros. That's a steal. I've had another goat cheese salad for lunch and a beer. The blog is basically done and I have o do laundry. Then NOTHING to do until 7 when it's dinner!!!

OH -- you want to knoow about the blisters? Well, I have four hot spots. I slathered the up with lubricant this morning and stopped a couple of times along the way to add more. They are a mess, but not painful or not too painflul for walking. I'll survive. I'm airing my feet out and not going anywhere this afternoon. I like this misted patio and I'll have a nap and then sit out here for the rest of the day!!!!

I'll try to take a picture of my desk once I finish here. OLA!!!!!

Havve a great day!!!!


Monday, August 29, 2022

Day three - life lessons when hiking

 So it's Day Three and I've arrived in Pamplona which is a large Spanish city of 200K. 

Sometimes finding food on the trail is a challenge and this morning, the little cafe that I thought would be open, didn't appear to be. No worries as I had bought a tortilla last night - gosh I think that's what they are called. Made from potatoes, and vegetables. A nice snack to carry. I was not hungry and could not eat before starting out. Not good, but that's OK. 

I had the best sleep so far last night which is odd considering there were 20 of us in one room And I shouldn't say this because I'm going to jinx myself, but I keep getting the bottom bunk! OLA!!! 

It was darl when we left and some people were using headlamps which just kills your night vision. But we soon split up and all was good. I did contempate taking my head lamp out, but decided to wing it. with caution of course. 

Sorry -- typing is extra hard at the moment, I've had two cervozas and not much to eat! Oops. 

OK -- today was a day of lessons and while nothing was damaged or hurt , I'm thoroughly annoyed with myself. I need to tie my hair back with an elastic and to keep them handy, I attached them to the belt of my waist wallet. OK - so that is good, but if you don't close that loop at night, they can go missing. I couldn't find them this morning. GRRRR  

I went back with my flashlight and found one and then the guy in the bunkbed next to me found another. I had three - what happened to the third one? It's not like I can't replace them, but easier if I don't lose them! Guess what I found when I was unpacking? I found the missing elastice and another one in the medical kit - so I have four. I will be putting them on a safety pin and attaching to the outside of my waist wallet. 

Then I don't have to worry about them falling off and the key is to put them back!!!!

The most annoying thing is I lost my pee cloth. It was also attached the waist belt of my backpack and probably fell off when I got into town yesterday and I never noticed it fall GRRRRRRRR    I was so ticked at myself for this I have another one at HOME!!!! 

So I mulled that over for a great deal of the wale today and I have a backup. I have doggie poop bags and tissue with me, but I think I might sacrifice a square of my facecloth. I'm not really using it -- so I might have a small square for you know what and the larger piece for wiping my face. Don't worry -- I will NOT get them mixed up! And I will pin the small part to my belt, not wrap the loop on the strap. It's not the end of the world but just annoying. 

However, the most valuable lesson I learned is do NOT listen to anyone about the route. I reached a point in the path just outside the city limits and the lady said, you can go through town or you can go along the river. Then as I was aiming towards the river, I spotted the red/white slashes heading uphill. I followed that route for about 1 KM, then consulted the map and realized I was on some secondary hiking path. NOT even close to where I needed to be. GRRRRRRRRR  

I was so mad at myself, but what are you going to do? I decided in future to consult the map on the app and listen to NO ONE. 

The worst of it was that my blisters (yes -- now more than one) were not happy, which caused me to walk funny and my knee wasn't happy. As I was now "behind", I didnt spot anyone going through town and that was disconcertiing. My knee wasn't happy (thank god for that walking pole) and my blisters on BOTH feet were making themselves known. 

However, I did start running into a few people which made me feel better and I trudged along. HEY -- this is not a cake walk - it's not called a pilgrimage for nothing!!

I think I walked almot 24 KM so that little detour added 2 Km which I wasn't happy about. That's life and you just go with the flow. 

We are in the centr (old city) of Pamplona which is very cool. I met up with that American couple and we disussed what I would do to reduce her weight As I had a lot of time to contemplate that for her. She now realizes that bringing the small purse as a bad thing. 

We went for a beer, but the meal cost at that place was too steep for their budget. I really wanted a salad and so on the way back to the albergue, I stopped for a salad and they picked up sandwices. The goat cheese salads here are to die for!!! I want to move just for that And I had another beer. Ooops!!!! So any spelling mistakes today -- blame it on the beer.

I've attende to my blisters -- strings hanging out of them. Bandaids on, but I might stop at the pharmacy and get some gauze? or whatever they recommend. I notice the name that is printed inside my right shoe is almost gone, while that in the left is still intact. I have a feeling that my bad knee is maing me compensate on the right. OK - I will get that checked out when I get home, but nothing they can do about it. It's not like the knee is the problem, it's just the entire left leg feels like it will give out at times, which is why I'm not skipping down those downhills!!!

For the most part, our walk was pleasant -- the first half anyway -- throug beautiful forests, along tree paths and in the shade. Then we hit the highway, but instead of walking along the highway, we had to go UP. Why is there always an UP? But nothing like the first ay, so even with blisters, it was bearable. 

I wanted to try and walk ahead a bit on a couple of days, but so far that isn't possible Maybe I can start tomorrow? I need to check the guidebook and see how my feet fare. 

The building we are staying in used to be a church and yes a LONG row of bunkbeds, but for 11 Euro - you can't complain. This is not a five star vacation so I'm very happy. 

It's really about walking your own walk and doing your own thing which is exactly what I'm doing. I walked alone again today and I expect that I'll walk alone for most of the trip That way if I'm not having a good day, only I will know about it!!!

OK -- so laundry is on the line, I've had a shower, and I've eaten. It's siesta time. Then I'll pop to the pharmacy, grab a quick sanwich for dinner and then chill out until time for bed!!!

OH -- the other thing I learned today. Make sure your water bottle is completely closed. I was about 5 KM into the walk and realize that one side of my shorts were soaked. Good lord, I didn't have an accient. No the darn top on one bottle wasn's snapped in place and it had leaked all over me!!! Because there are very loose shorts, I didn't feel it until they were very wet!!!  I LOVE those shorts and would use them for hiking anytime. I stay cool and dry!!!! Unless the water bottle is leaking. 

Let's hope that tomorrow has NO learning lessons and I can just walk!!!

And the worst part of those lessons, is that I should have learned all that from my cycle trips. STOP and pay attention!! OK -- now I can move on!!!!

Have a super day!!!


Sunday, August 28, 2022

day two

 What can I say -- this is an amazing trip and that's from someone who is NOT a hiker per se. But then I wasn't really a cyclist when I started doing those cycle trips. You mjust make it up as you go!!

So met a couple from Idaho. A nice enough couple, but I think their packing stratgies are a bit off. The lady kept saying, I want to pack like Elaine especially I told her my packback weighs about 11 pounds not including water. Hey -- I was vey diligent about as I did NOT want to carry any extra weight. So their beds were beside mine last night and I see why she had 19 pounds in her bag. She's abou the same weight as myself. 

I saw a hard covered journal that they update daily. Go rogue and do it ONLINE. I only need the internet and my folding keyboard. 

She wears contacts and has brought TWO bottles of solution which one needs for contacsts, but could she not have gone with 30 day lenses for the trip? That would have ut a huge weight from her bag. Then she has a dress - a fairly thick one and her daughter who has done the Camino recommended she bring a wrap in case its gets cold. Seriously???? 

She brought her small bag with her with it appears all her cards and crap from home. I brought my teeney fanny pack and a credit and debit card. She brought a heavy canvas tote bag to carry stuff around in I brought a very thin reusable one that folds into nothing. 

Oh -- she has an extra pair of pants for sleeping in -- -I didn't bring anything. It's easy to get undressed in your sleeping liner. They brought small sleeping bags. OH and she gets up to the washroom a zillion times in the night and then proceeds to drink more water before getting back in bed. 

Let's say that her family (and two of her four kids have walked the Camino) have let her down. Oh sand she's trying to stay in touch wih her family through Strave and two of them are not on Strava. Have you heard of What's App?  NO -- 


I will say that I'm happy with the weight of my backpack. It's just the right amount of weight to carry around in this heat (42 degrees right now) and I don't feel it's a burden. I think I did very well. I did buy ONE hiking pole which has come in extremely handy for some of those tough ascents and descents. 

I think I have already used everything I brought, except the shovel and TP and if I never use that, I'll be happy. 

Now for the squeemish among you, this next bit is all about the pee cloth so be prepared. I decided that I needed to use it this morning. I found a quiet spot which of course was littred with TP froom other hikers. Now does one take the backpack off or just attempt to do this with everything on. 

Hmm -- it was possible to do the business but then beause I was sweaty and have my backpack strap and the strap of my waist belt, it was a challenge to get everything arranged just so. Thankfully, I have a very loose fitting pair of shorts, but stili -- it was a challenge to put myself together and it wasn't until I hit a real washroom that I was back in shape. For future, I think it'll be worth it to remove the backpack. 

I had purchase a ticket for breakfast which wasn't served until 7 AM. OK -- let's not rush out of here. By 7:15, I was ready to go. I started out on my own and I walked all day by myself, although I passed some people and others passed me The trails are very well marked, so I wasn't worry about geting lost. 

For the most part, the terrain wasn bad and started out with a beautiful walk through the woods. Absolutely stunning even though it was still a bit dark. I wear my hat only when necessary and with only one pole,, I can hold my hat, or grab some water or whatever. 

We went through several villages but I didn't stop. I had everything I need. I don't drink a lot when I'm out like this. I don't know why -- I just don't. I did stop to put some libricant on my foot. I'm getting hot spots and trying to reprevent real blisters from formin. Atfter the blog, it's time to get the medical kit out and see what I can do. 

We had more climbing as well, but nothing like yesterday. It was doable. But we had some pretty amazing descents. Descents at the best of times are hard on the knees and mine did ttheir fair share of protesting. But the rocks and the pitch make it pretty treacherous an I wasnt taking chances. 

We see LOTS of people doing the trail via bicycle. Are they CRAZY????  The terrain is not fo the faint of heart. We had to cross a small stream of water than ran over some concrete. I almosy slipped twice. On the far side was one guy on his bike and an ambulance. Not sure what happened to him, but he wasn't leaving that spot on his bike. Some of them are using e-bikes and others are pedaling all the way.

It's a bit unnerving since most don's let you know they are there. You have to listen for them. And yes - they went down that steep rocky incline!

Im staying in an albergue tonight at a cost of 9 Euros. No food, so I went in search of lunch after I did my laundry. I think there is only one restaurant in town and it was amazing. I got this amazing salad, which I thought was the entire meal, then  I was served a bit plate of tuna and finally a creme caramel that was to die for. That cost 13 euros. 

It was about 1 KM away which was good as I needed to get out and walk the stiffness from my legs. I had thought about going to the next town, but decided to take it easy and do the recommended distance for today. I might start adding tomorrow. I'll see how it goes. 

I'll head to the grocery shop in a bit to get something to eat for tonight and breakfast so I can leave with something in my stomach. I don't want to start with nothing --- I won't make it. 

On that note you'll find some pictures in Facebook and IG, so hopefully you have something to keep you entertained!!!

Have a great day!!!!


Virtual Retreat Link for August 28


Sunday, August 28th - starts at NOON.

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 816 9371 7518 Passcode: 579285

Saturday, August 27, 2022

only 765 km to go


up and over

 So I was prepared for a tough day, but not that tough!!!  Wow. I met up with a young girl from Denmark and we decide last night that we would set off together. So aftr breakfast at the albergue, we set off. It was 6:30 and still quite dark. 

We met up with loads of people along the way. OK -- so what was I thinking to hook up with someone half my age! She set a grueling pace! For the most part, I kept up with her and only near the end did she leave me so she could get to a washroom. 

I had no need for a washroom No -- I did not get to try out my pee cloth. Let's just say that there was no place to discreetly go off and do that. Plus I did NOT have to do for the duration of the walk which is a bad thing. But I'm OK now. I drank when I wanted to. 

OH  -- the new water bottle holder on the shoulder strap of the backpack??  LOVE IT!!! I'm so glad that I disovered that style and and I carry extra in my backpack in other bottles. 

I will not be able to desribe the trip. There are no words for the scenery that we saw today. And the hills were steep! I not talking steep -- I mean SUPER steep. There's a big difference. I had to have a few rests along the way and Mette and seemed to be super charging past a lot of people. That's the beauty of youth!!!!

We past incredible farm scenes -- horse grazing on hills that were so steep they had created horizonatl paths because they could not go down straight. The horses had bells on which we thought weird. We spotted whole hillside of sheep and at one point we passed a farmer with his sheep dog and that made me think of Sheila and Hutch. Hutch would have been in his glory out there! 

We saw cows, also with bells and some pigs. Nothing seemed to care about us and the traffic just whizzed around the animals like they were not there!

We passed a food truck with 11 KM left so we had a banana and I bought a Coke, I was NOT going to drink sugar while I'm here, but seriously? I needed the sugar. 

When I finally got to the top -- and here were many false hopes for the top along the way, we started the descent. Now this was NOT a gentle descent but rather a toe blistering effort that required a lot of care. I remember on the way up that I longed for a descent, but it was mighty painful, 

However my feet seemed to have survived so I'm good. I think I have a blister on my baby toe as I had before. That one doesn't hurt, but I'll be keeping it lubricated and an eye on it and I might get out my needle and thread to pop it before bed. I'll see how it goes. 

OK - so I'm glad about the weight of my backpack. Many people sent their packs ahead or emptied most of them and sent that ahead. I was NOT having any issues at all. The weight is perfect and it was loaded with almost everything I owned since I wore my shorts and t-shirt for the day. Yep -- a wee bit of sweat was generated to say the least. 

We walked on the road -- can you believe that even high into the Pyrenees, the road -- the single lane road is paved? Totaly crazy. We went through some trails as well and walked along some shady roads. 

The weather god was on our side. The weather could not have been more perfect. I think that was my birthday present! And a very wecome one it was. It wasn't too hot, we generated enough heat to not have to worry about being cold. No rain and we were in by 1:40  or something like that. I didn't really pay attention to my watch, but I know that we had to wait 10 minutes until 2PM to check into the albergue. 

I lucked out with a lowere bunk so that was great. I'll take pictures as we are in an old monastery, but it's all been changed to accommodate the pilgrims 

We had lunch, Mette from Denmark, Paula and Scott from Idaho I wonder if they know Mary's clan?  I'm kidding - Idaho is a big place. I wasn't expecting fruit and salad but so far, so good and had the most delicious goat cheese salad for lunch with a beer . 

Then down to the laundry room to hand wash everything, although for 4 E, the two friendly volunteers would do it. I decided to handwash, but used their spinner and donaed 1 E. It's all hanging on the line outside now and with quick dry everything, it's proabably already dry. 

We have to take our shoes off to enter the dorms an there are plenty of bricks on the floor which was a challege. But thankfully we can wear our sandals. 

I thought I was having trouble with my phone service and then realized I had to put roaming on. Now I am good again. 

I need to stretch some more and drink lots of water which I left upstairs. OH --- I got two new badges from FitBit -- the 300 flights of stairs in a day and the 400 flights of stairs in a day. I think the elevation gain was 1,500 M, I'll try to post pictures of some of the stats. 

I hae three hours to kill before dinner so I might check out some distances tomorrow -- apparently, it's downhill as well, but I hope it's not quite so steep. 

Well that's it for the first day on the Camino de Santiago. OH -- I should mention that lots of people do this trip mutiple times. However, you would think after that wicked first day, they would think twice. Perhaps it's like child birth -- you forget how bad it realy was!! Actually, it wasn't that bad but it was a tough day. 

Since we arrived, many more people have arrived and my guess is this alberrgue will be full with 200 beds. 

Have a super day!!!!!


Virtual Retreat Links for August 27 and 28

 Saturday, August 27th   --- starts at 6 PM EST

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 892 5423 3911 Passcode: 982797

Sunday, August 28th - starts at NOON.

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 816 9371 7518 Passcode: 579285

Friday, August 26, 2022

Stamping my Pilgrim Credentials


Travel day two

 It's day two of the long travel to get here, but Im here and I'm ready!!!!

I got on the train -- yes my ticket was valid, but I will say the conductor gave it a bit of look when I was on the train. 

BUT the first line of business was to find the train. I did not realize that my stop was NOT the last one so I couldn't identify which train was mine. But I knew the time and there were two leaving at the same time I'm not sure why I chose the one I did - oh -- I think I spotted a map somewhere. 

OK - so we have the train but which track? Thankfully I go early to get things sorted out. Then I realized that as the train arrived, the track was indicated. OK -- so that was easy. I've been on the Tres Grand Vitesse before, but it was several years ago and I had M with me so someone to discuss the options. I did ask someone for confirmation. There is ZERO train personnel around - the entire thing is automated. 

I was in car 18 of 18 cars, so I had to walk the entire length of the train and hope it didn't run out of cars before I reached the end! 

In fact, I was at the front of the train. I didn't have a window seat, but that was OK. I was tired and slept for  a good hour, The train made two stops before mine and I arrived in Bayonne at 2 PM.  

OK -- so how do I get to St. Jean Pied de Port from here? This time there was a very friendly lady who basically bought me a ticket at the machine. It was for the BUS not the train. I'm good with that and I went outside and immediately got on the bus and it left shortly after that. 

We left beautiful flat land but now we are in the mountains! Yikes --- this town is very hilly! 

When we got dropped off the bus, now where?  I followed someone else and soon I spotted a shell which is the symbol of the camino. I stopped in and they had room so I took it. No walking around for me!!  The price is right and there is dinner and breakfast included. I'm good with that. 

We are three in the room -- I haven't met the room mates yet. There is an information session at 6:15. Dinner is at 7. Yikes -- I'm going to have to get used to that. 

I had some time to kill so I took a walk around and another geocachingi adventure. How much -- what a town and I spotted and smelled some very good goodies -- fresh maracrons and other stuff, but I didn't stop. I'm not a huge eater on these trips, but I'll eat the good stuff to keep me going. 

I also stopped at the official Camino office so I'm all good and was told that this week is relatively quiet so shouldn't have diffiulty to find albergues along the way. I KNEW that. OK -- I didn't I just got lucky. 

People walk this pilgrimmage for many different reasons. Do I need to change my life? Do I need to work out issues?  Nope --- I'm walking because it's there!!! I like to challenge myself and this will be a challenge. 

But keep in mind, I spent 10 weeks cycling across Canada and other shorter trips. I like myself and can entertain myself all day for days I know how and when to push and I know when to back off. I know what motivates me. 

The tehnology woes seem to be mosty gone although I don't seem to be able to post directly to Facebook. It's only through IG that the posts work. Sigh.......

Well, I'm off. I'll try to post a picture or two in another post. I do NOT want to have to retype this!!! 

Have a great day!!!


Virtual Retreat Links for August 27 and 28

 Saturday, August 27th   --- starts at 6 PM EST

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 892 5423 3911 Passcode: 982797

Sunday, August 28th - starts at NOON.

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 816 9371 7518 Passcode: 579285

The cemetary

This is a test to see if a picture loads 

And check for multiple posts on a single day.  It's not like at home!!!

Travel day travel night

 OK   -- so that seemed to work. Now why doesn't it like pictures?

So I got my Uber to the airport and all was well, except the driver seemed to take the long way. Thankfully they get paid by the ride, not the time. And thank goodness for NEXUS. I arrived at the airport and saw the massive line for the international flights and then the short line for trusted travelers. Thankfully I'm a trusted traveler. 

But the lines were a disaster and they had us going all over the airport. Not to worry - I didn't have to wait one I got to the security. I swear I travel light, but this time I'm freaing myself out beccause I only have my backpack and I keep thinking I'm missing something. 

And I had forgotten how far it was to the international flight area. You have to walk forever. 

For whatever reason they had two large flights loading at gates side by side, so that waiting area was a bit of a mess. And after a one hour flight delay, we were ready to board. but not before I realized I was in the line to New Delhi. DH asked if I couldn' t tell I was in the wrong line by looking at who else was in the line. OK - so he was right!!!

But it's no wonder people get frustrated. NO ONE seems to have the right information. We loadd by ZONES people and five does not get loaded first. I wondere where people's heads are. They used to load by the sections in the plane, but now it seems to be by how much money you pay for your ticket and your status. People who had Zone 5 were going -- don't we get to load first? Sigh.......

It was worth it to fly in Premier Economy and now have the extra expense of Business. And of all the times, I finally get an interesting travel companion. She was wearing a pair of Tilley hiking pants. She was on her way for a solo trip around wine country for a ouple of weeks and will later meet a friend. How cool is that? 

We chatted for a bit and then reconnected on the train from the airport to Paris. 

After arriving, I bought a SIM card and managed to get my phone somewhat connected. It was a struggle yesterday for some things but let's see how it goes today. I can't seem to post new content on Facebook and no pictures in the blog. Sigh.......

I'm working with the support team to see how to fix that. 

I got off the train at Denfert Richereau and walked to the Montpernasse area where the train station is to catch my next ride. I ran my phone battery dead just as I was 250 meters from the place I was going, so I had to find another hotel. Lots of them along the street. And I also bought a block for recharging all my devices. 

Once I dumped my backpack, had a nap and reharged my phone, I spend the afternoon geocaching. I went on two small walking tours as part of that and it was loads of fun. I visited the Montparnesse Cemetary which is OLD and HUGE. But so many big crypts. I also felt like I was back in New Orleans. 

The last one was a bit tricky as it was completely in French and I had walked a couple of KM to get to the location and I was NOT leaving until I figured it out, which I did. Then it was 45 minute walk to the hotel. 

Let's just say that it's a tad HOT here. And I wore my long pants which I'm OK with. I was testing the waters so to speak, but I did NOT have the bakpack on. Only my small fanny back which is perfect for travelling. 

Let's say that the beer at dinner was well appreciated. 

But not before the train ticket issue. I swear I had purhased a train ticket for today, but it did not appear that I had actually made that happen. I had not received a confirmation which should have been my first clue and no charge on th VISA. So I went to the train station to buy a ticket. I could only get one for 4 PM and I wanted to get out of here at 10. NO!!!!  I bought one for 4 PM. Then I went for dinner. 

As I sat there, I checked tickets online and found one for 10 AM. Same darn train. So remember what I said the other day - if you have a problem, just throw money at it. But don't tell DH I said that! So I bought a ticket for the 10 AM train. Then I went back to the train station after dinner and got a refund for the 4 PM train. I wasn' t sure that would happen. Let's hope I get a seat on the train this morning. 

Ok -- almost time to get moving. This is such a crazy city. There are tons of e-scooters around and I swear if any of them crashes, they will be toast. Bikes everywhere, regular scooters, SMALL delivery trucks, small cars -- eerything on the streets is small. I LOVE it. And the city is pretty clean. 

I loe the city -- I have been here before so no need to see Eiffle Tower and all that. This was just a stop. 

On that note, I"m out of here. Hopefully today works out. 

Have a great day!! and I hope I didn't make too many mistakes


Travel day travel night

 So I'm sitting in the hotel in Paris and trying to figure out stuff. Whay is frustrating is that I wrote all this yesterday but the post didn't upload. I think that was because I added pictures. For some reason, pictues are an issue. So we'll see how that goes, 

But I sit here with my phone and folding keyboard and it seems to be workig fine. However, I do not have my grammar or spell checker so the language might be rough. Plus it's a bear to corret on the tiny screen. 

So this is a test - I'm posting this tiny bit to see if it uploads. 

Have a great day!!


Thursday, August 25, 2022

What's in your backpack?

If anyone tells you they look forward to a vacation, they are LYING. At least at my house. The days before leaving on holiday are the most stressful of my life! Although I'm a stress eater and I'm not eating much -- there isn't time! However, I'm going through a chunk of watermelon and chocolate milk, so it doesn't go bad! 

It never seems to matter how much in advance I start prepping; I always run into a very stressful day on the last day! Sigh..................   I think it's just me. But that's OK. Everything is prepared, and can you believe the final package arrived at noon? Now that's a good omen. 

It's also a waist belt, but I think with one pocket, it'll be good for errands around the neighborhood and carrying a phone. The CAA version has two pockets in it, so that's the one I'm taking. 

But KUDOS to Amazon and their suppliers because the expected delivery date for all three items was Friday. See how I live? On the edge! Just like the fact I have booked a flight into Europe and out of Europe and only today did I book one more mode of transportation. The rest? I'll make it up as I go along. That's part of the adventure and the beauty of only taking what you absolutely need. 

Someone used to say if you throw enough money at a problem - you'll get a solution. I prefer to look at the adventure one has by not preplanning too much. I've always gone on vacation that way. I remember spending the night on Isla Mujeres in Mexico in the kitchen of an under-construction hotel because we missed the ferry, and all the accommodations were booked. Ah -- the life!!! 

Anyway -- I managed to get everything in the backpack, and there was plenty of room to spare. I'm not sure what else I could take. 

Here's my rain jacket, sandals for apres hiking, the sarong, and the buff. 

I've got one pair of pants (blue), one pair of shorts (orange), one long-sleeved T-shirt (bright orange) and two short-sleeved T-shirts. I'll be wearing one T-shirt and pants for traveling tonight. 

I have a pink fleece in the event I need it -- it's HOT over there right now. But at least it will be suitable for the plane. And three pairs of socks. 

Let's see -- that's a LOT of orange accessories. A towel, my sleep sack -- too hot for a sleeping bag, the rain cover for the backpack, a facecloth, the pee cloth, and my shovel. 

Here's a small bag of clothespins to hang the daily laundry, and I threw in a small rope for a clothesline. A lightweight, reusable bag for grocery shopping and my medical supplies. Mostly bandaids. 

Toiletries aren't much -- toothpaste and a brush, laundry tabs (in the orange container), TP if needed, a mask, floss, and a nail file. I need a nail file. OH -- and a bar of soap and shampoo. Plus my Solarcaine and some Tea Tree ointment. 

My portable keyboard, three pairs of glasses (sigh), and some reading material which I may or may not ditch. I have mere minutes to contemplate that. Plus a pen and a notebook. Elastics for my hair and two hairbands -- the flowers stay home, but I have a substitute. 

I have a water bottle that will go on the side of the backpack and the other two water systems which will go on the front. I don't know how much water to carry -- I'll have to figure that out as I go. 

If I ditch part of the reading material, the weight is 11.2 pounds. 1.2 pounds more than I wanted to carry, but still well within the recommended 10% of body weight. When I add in some water, I'll be at 10%. 

There really isn't anything I want to ditch, so I'll be happy at 11.2 pounds. 

And there you have it -- -my worldly possessions over the next couple of weeks. OH -- I have a passport and all that -- it's going to be carried in the pouch, and I'm sure it'll all be jostled around and repacked many times during the next couple of weeks as I learn to manage all that stuff! 

I see it's almost time to get changed and get in the Uber for the airport. What a crazy adventure I'm about to embark on! I haven't even had much time to think about or plan - OK -- I did sneak in some planning. GOSH -- I didn't get to watch the Amazing Race this week. That will be entertainment while I wait at the airport. The plane is still on time! Do you know where I'm flying to?? 

OH -- that's it!

Have a super day!!!


Virtual Retreat Links for August 27 and 28

 Saturday, August 27th   --- starts at 6 PM EST

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 892 5423 3911 Passcode: 982797

Sunday, August 28th - starts at NOON.

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 816 9371 7518 Passcode: 579285

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

What's your Plan B?

Yesterday my house was busier than an Amazon distribution hub! There was stuff being picked up and dropped off the ENTIRE day, and I was trying to work!!

I started to assemble the quilt top and had two rows together before the first interruption. I thought I was doing great. 

Lynn was first, and she couldn't pick up the stuff any earlier as I had to make a pick-up from somewhere else, and I only did that the night before. 

Back to work. 

Then Emily stopped by to pick up something, and we hadn't seen each other in a while, so we had things to talk about. 

Then I spotted my neighbor out walking her dog, so I had to chat with her to see if she would help with the girls. I tried talking with her several times, but it never worked out. See -- things work best for me at the last minute. 

OK -- back to work. 

Then Kathi called me, and she was at the door with ONE of my Plan Bs. More on that in a minute. 

Back to work. 

Then the neighbor came over so I could show her around. I still have to write out a list of instructions for her. She's a sweetheart, and I need to make them quilts. They are FIVE in the family. 

Back to work. It might have been around this time that I realized I had turned some of the blocks upside down when I started to sew the rows together. NO!!!!! 

I got a call from a random person (or so it seemed), and he's the blind installer for my Hunter Douglas blinds that had to be repaired. They had been off the windows in Studio U since we had the windows replaced. Blinds to Go did NOT charge me to fix the blinds. Yeah, Blinds to Go. The installer arrived, and within minutes, he had the blinds back up. It's a shame that we can no longer get these bottom-up blinds. Since May 1, they can no longer sell blinds with cords attached to them. 

So someone needs to invent a tracking system along the sides of the window. Maybe more money but cleaner and I'd buy them for the front window. Hunter Douglas??? Where are you??? I love them because they give you privacy, yet the entire window is not covered. Pella used to see built-in bottom-up blinds, but they discontinued this feature due to too many repairs. 

The blinds are back in Studio U

Back to work. Let's say that the top was finished shortly after 3 PM. I had already made the backing earlier in the day, and it was loaded on the long arm. 

I was just about to start quilting when Mary stopped by to drop something off and pick something up! Nice new car - Mary! 

Back to work!

Then my boss called to chat briefly. 

Back to work. 

Around 6 PM, I was working on the binding, and DH called me and said something has been delivered. WHAT???? I immediately dropped what I was doing to check that out. More on that in a minute. 

Then I walked to Diane's to drop off some fabric sitting here for a week and pick up quilts. When I got back, there was another package on the front step. WHAT???? And that is SIX full quilts that I got from Diane!! She's a machine! 

Six more community project quilts

All in all, it was the craziest day ever at our house. Of course, just the day when I needed to be focused. DH shook his head and said, "you do this to yourself every time!". HEY -- I did NOT plan for all those pick-ups and drop-offs on the same day. The blind installer called out of the blue, although that was on my list of things to follow up on. 

So do you have a Plan B when Plan A may not work out? I try, and sometimes my Plan B is real, and sometimes, I just pretend I have a Plan B. 

In 2010, I took my first extended bicycle trip from Vancouver, BC, to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories through some fantastic wilderness and unpaved highways, which was glorious. 

However, I did NOT have fenders for my bike. I could have bought them, but I didn't. You know what happens if you have ever ridden in the rain or the mud. You get mud all up your back, wet and dirty. 

There was nowhere to buy a fender, so we improvised with Plan B. Do you know what we did? Do you know what this is? 

My bike rack

I had a rack on my bike to carry a small pack for food and rain gear. I found a pair of rigid swimming flippers at a dollar store, and someone had electrical tape so that flipper got taped to the rack. It's still there and still working! It was hilarious, but we all had a good chuckle. It was dubbed the "flender!"

The flender

So between DH and I, four things got ordered at the last minute. OK -- so it was ordered on Friday, but when you leave on Wednesday and things need to ship, that's last minute. My quick-dry undies came on Monday with the other three items ordered from Amazon (notice I even said their name out loud TWICE today) not scheduled to arrive until Friday. When we placed the order, did I want to proceed? 

You know me -- let's wing it and see what happens. Last night at dinner time, a package arrived, and this was in it. 

My water bottle clips

These are clips for disposable water bottles (many people use them for hiking but refill as they go), and they are attached to a carabiner so they can hang off anywhere on your backpack. I'm not sure I will like the swinging motion, but I now have them and will take one or two with me and test them out. Nothing like trial by fire. 

I was sure we would NOT see the other two packages until today, and I would be gone by then. So imagine my surprise when I got home from Diane's to discover another package on the doorstep. OK -- so the Amazon driver either missed that and had to come back, or there was a second truck in the neighborhood. Not super efficient, but I didn't care!

This time, the package contained the mesh water bottle holder that attaches to the backpack strap. This is the one that I REALLY wanted to arrive in time, and it did. This fits a SMART (it's a disposable water bottle branded SMARTwater) water bottle, and I'll buy one on the other side of security later today. It has a strap on the back to secure it, so it doesn't swing. 

The second water bottle holder

Maybe I'll like them, maybe I'll hate them, but at least I have them. I've heard good reviews from other hikers about how much they like them and the no hassle of filling and keeping the water bladder clean. 

The last item that hasn't arrived yet was a waist belt. But Kathi came to the rescue on that one. She was at the CAA store (and I had checked online the night before). She delivered it at Noon. Thank you, Kathi!!!!

The waist belt

I took it for a test walk last night on the way to Diane's, and it's PERFECT. When the other one comes, I'll have two, but these are things I will use ALL the time. It's like a fanny pack, but it's super FLAT as it's only meant to hold your phone, money, and ID. I should have investigated this years ago for my daily walks in the summer. Now the cell phone is right handy in front! 

My waist belt

I also have a chest wallet, so I'll be splitting up my valuables amongst the various places and have some cash in several places. I MUST photocopy all that documentation. All that documentation -- there are four things, two of which are debit and credit cards! OH DH -- needs to pick up my cash today -- I wonder if he forgot? 

Did I have a Plan B for the water bottles and the phone? Not really -- I can hold them in my hands as I'm walking. I might be able to buy those products when I arrive. Thankfully the Amazon gods were looking down on me! See --- I have no issues buying from them when I have no other choice! 

I know you're curious if anything got done yesterday. I was shocked, but the quilt was DONE before bed. It's quilted, bound, and ready to be shoved into a box and walked to the post office today. The fourth writing assignment was edited and sent last night. That leaves one more writing assignment for this morning. The sewing machines are off and unplugged! 

Have I packed yet? Nope -- the tags are still on the clothes. And I can't just throw stuff willy-nilly in and hope it works out on the other end. I had to be very aware of the weight. That's the plan for this afternoon. I still have a few e-mails to send, and I have NO IDEA how to set an OUT OF OFFICE notice on my e-mail. I have looked in the past, and on this version of Outlook, it just doesn't exist. Trust me -- I've Googled it several times. It should be a big box, but I don't have that big box on my e-mail. Sigh...........................

There were two blog posts yesterday, one with my usual ramblings and one with classes. Hopefully, you didn't miss the one on the classes as it's important and has all the classes/clubs I'm teaching over the next while. Here's the link in case you didn't see it. 

OH -- I had fun sewing my patch onto my backpack. I had to go from the left and then from the right because the rigid structure of the pack would NOT fit under the arm. 

Sewing my patch onto the backpack

But there it is!!! People will know I'm from Canada! It doesn't look like it's completely stitched down in that photo, but it is!

My Camino patch

And do you think we've had a lot of rain lately??? I saw these little fungi growing in my front yard. 

Fungi in the front yard

Well, that about wraps up today. There should be NO interruptions today - thankfully. It should be quiet, and I can get the last of my stuff done as there's no option for -- "I'll send that e-mail when I arrive." I do NOT want to be doing that so if it doesn't get done - it doesn't get done! 

I'm off to spin class -- yep, more torture session (OK -- I like it) before I go, and I'm bursting with energy this morning. Then laundry to get rid of all the stinky clothes and pack. I'm checked in -- you have to love the Air Canada app. So far, so good; the flight is on time. Keeping my fingers crossed. I just need to book an Uber as it will not make sense for DH to take me to the airport at that time of day. It will take mere minutes to get there with the HOV lanes, but coming back in the traffic? It will take hours! and I'm a big girl! 

Oh yes -- don't forget the Virtual Retreat this weekend. Here are the links for Saturday and Sunday. There are scheduled blog posts for the remainder of this week with those links. And there will be a Virtual Retreat in September, and I must also get those links up. It's the same link, so if something screws up, just check back in the blog for the links. You have to love technology!!!

Saturday, August 27 --- starts at 6 PM EST

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 892 5423 3911 Passcode: 982797

Sunday, August 28 - starts at NOON.

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 816 9371 7518 Passcode: 579285

I have no idea how quickly I'll get back to blogging, but keep in mind my schedule will be six hours off. I hope to blog in the afternoon, so it'll be there the following day for those who read it during your coffee. Just know that it might be a bit irregular as I get myself organized. But I hope to be posting pictures on Facebook as well. 

Have a super day!!!! Or I should be saying this   -- que tengas un buen día


Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The to-do list is shortening!

 This will be a short post this morning. If you check the next post, you'll see a VERY long post about my upcoming classes and clubs. There's much information to contemplate before you sign up for a class or a club. Classes and clubs are fantastic, but you must be mindful about signing up. Imagine a club where everyone signed up so they could see what everyone else was doing and didn't want to participate. It would be pretty dead! 

I'm happy to report that the pile of stuff to do is getting smaller, even though one of those items is a clipboard with a lot of paper attached. 

My to-do pile

The list of to-do items is much shorter this morning, so that's a good thing. And all THIRTY blocks for the quilt are sewn together - thanks to the Monday ladies for keeping me entertained. Or I entertained them -- I don't know which. But they will miss my mindless chatter when I'm gone! The quilt looks fantastic!!! I'm so pleased with it, and it will be in a box by tomorrow, and yes -- it will be quilted and bound. 

I completed all the pictures for the final two writing assignments. They are sorted, edited, and ONE draft is done. 

I WILL make it. I hope to get the bulk of all that done today, so tomorrow is a "nothing" day. A day to run around and do some last-minute things that need to be done. One of the four packages arrived yesterday, so I have quick dry undies, and I have a plan B for the other three. My biggest issue is finding someone to feed the girls a couple of times when DH has to be away. My plans for that keep falling through. 

Lexi had to go to the vet, and while she's happy to be in the car, she's a Nervous Nellie. But then, she's a Nervous Nellie anywhere. She cowered in the back window all the way there. I think that retractable leash didn't help as she tried to lay down, and "MOM -- I can't lay down with this big thing in front of me!" Her only issue is that she gained a KG since the last vet visit, which is a no-no. Too many treats, which she doesn't get from me!!

MOM -- get this leash off me!

Then on the way home, I decided to stop for tea and realized I had removed my debit and credit card for packing. OH -- thankfully, I had an envelope of change in the car. WAIT a minute. This is what money looks like? I can't remember the last time I paid for something with cash! 

This is cold hard cash!

That felt wrong, and I apologized (how Canadian) to the fellow at the cash. 

You know -- I just love my groups. It's a great place to ask questions and get answers!!! And if you want to be part of the group, there's a Virtual Retreat this weekend. I won't be attending, but I hope to drop in if I can find Wi-Fi. I'll be posting those links for the next few days, so they are handy for anyone who wants to join. I suspect the usual crowd will be there, and they are always fun to hang around with. 

Here are the links for the weekend. 

Saturday, August 27th   --- starts at 6 PM EST

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 892 5423 3911 Passcode: 982797

Sunday, August 28th - starts at NOON.

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 816 9371 7518 Passcode: 579285

On that note, I'm out of here. I was up very early and got a lot of e-mail done, I've already had a nap, and now it's time to get the day started!!!

Have a super day!!


How to sign up for a class or a sew along

I promised to provide you with a list of the classes/sew-alongs I'm teaching in the next couple of months and clubs for 2023, so you can find a happy medium in your schedule. ALL the classes and clubs will be on ZOOM. 

The signup process for Thimbles and Things has already started, and I've sent out an acknowledgment of your registration. If you sent me an e-mail and did not get a response - contact me. Please include the word Butterfly, Toes or Timely in the subject matter to speed along the sign-up process.

The classes/demos for The Hobby Horse will be in their newsletter, so be sure to get signed up directly with the store! I'll be sending those confirmations after October 4.  

The registration for the 2023 clubs will be directly with me, so watch for that in November.

I will NOT be answering e-mail for the entire month of September, so if you have questions, or send a registration request, I will not be able to respond until at least October 5. Patience is required, but unless something crazy happens, everyone who signs up should get a spot in the Zoom classes. 

I am NOT discouraging anyone from signing up for one of my classes or any other instructor's classes, be that on the internet, through one of the two stores (Thimbles and Things or The Hobby Horse Quilt Shop), or in person from someone else.

What I do want you to do is to sign up for classes MINDFULLY. We all got super excited about the ability to sign up for classes, especially on Zoom, and before we knew it, our schedules were so crammed that we barely had time to attend the class, never mind do any of the work. It's like being a kid in the candy store, and I want it ALL. 

To help you make your choices, I will list the classes I'll teach this fall, and the clubs that will happen in 2023. That way, you aren't sitting there wondering what's coming - at least from me. And hopefully that will help you figure out what you want to take. 

So how do you sign up for classes mindfully? Some classes are sew-alongs, some are project-based, some are techniques, and some are just for gathering information. 

Here's my take on the different classes/clubs/sew-alongs (at least how I teach them) to help you decide which format is best for you. 

Technique classes: 

Is this a technique you want to learn and have been waiting for a class to get you started? Perhaps you want to see if the technique will be of value to you. 

Keep in mind that techniques are taught ALL the time, so if you don't think you have time to do it justice at this moment, keep it in the back of your mind and wait until the technique class is offered again. 

You may have already taken a technique class on a particular topic and want to hear another person's perspective. This is often a great idea as everyone uses different tools and has a different slant on how things work. Remember that each person is teaching THEIR methods. Your goal in a technique class is to take what they do and make it work for YOU!! 

Here's something very important about technique classes. You can take a class on free-motion every day for years, but if you don't practice, then it doesn't matter how many classes you take; you will NOT learn. At some point, STOP taking the same technique class and PRACTICE!!!

Just because the instructor is well-known doesn't make them the best person to explain their technique. Take the information and make it work for you! And remember -- free-motion is free-motion - it doesn't really matter who teaches it -- it's the same techniques - it's the practice that counts! 

So sometimes, it makes sense to take the technique class, but if you really want to make the most of it -- you should be prepared to do some work. 


A project class is usually one or two sessions and focuses on a specific quilt or project. Sometimes, these are projects that you want to make, and they may seem daunting to you, or you need a push to get started. Sometimes, we join a project class for the social. Having an instructor provide tips and techniques can make a big difference. 

But what you don't want to happen is that the class becomes a UFO. So if you don't have time right now, is this the best choice of how to spend your time and money? 


This is where things get fun! The sew-along (this is mostly what I teach) will last between 9 - 12 months. Essentially, these involve taking a complex (or multi-technique) pattern and breaking it down into several assignments to make it easier to complete the quilt. Many people like the monthly deadline to help keep them on track, and let's face it, some pattern writers -- well, not every pattern is clearly written, so the sew-alongs help to clear up some mysteries.

We are lucky to have Zoom, which makes it easy to attend the sew-alongs and keep in touch without being in the same town.  Because we meet once a month over a year, we get to know each other, and many friendships have blossomed from the sew-alongs. There's a lot of camaraderie in these classes, which you don't get in the shorter project classes.

I always open the classes one-half hour before to encourage people to chat, ask questions and have the same fun as we would if we were in a real classroom. 


Teaching clubs usually involve some sort of lesson and a homework assignment. This is particularly true for software - Electric Quilt 8 and embroidery software are two good examples. The students can sit at home with their software open on a computer and watch the instructor's Zoom screen. 

Teaching software can be challenging as everyone is at a different level and often has different software versions. This is very challenging for the instructor! I haven't been too strict on the requirements in the past, but to make this type of club more useful to the students, I will be more diligent on skill levels and software versions going forward. 

I think participation in these clubs is a MUST. If not, you are not getting your money's worth from the sessions. I like to give a homework assignment, then if you have questions, you can ask them the following month, and you have learned something. If you don't do the homework, you listen to me babble on and have NO CLUE what's happening. Something to think about when signing up for a teaching club. 


These are clubs where we share our work. Depending on the club's goal, I provide an assignment, or we simply show the others what we're working on. Either way, the goal is to share our work. 

People send me pictures of their successes and failures, and I prepare a presentation. As you go through the presentation, I ask questions -- how did they do that? Where did the pattern come from? What issues did they have? How did they solve them? Etc. The more that people participate in this type of club, the more that everyone else learns, and I have learned a TON of stuff from the others. I'm just the moderator, but it's loads of fun! 

While it's fun to sit and watch what everyone else is doing, the more that everyone participates, the better it is for everyone in the club. 


This is a different kind of club where monetary penalties are involved. If you don't finish your homework, you lose money as you pay a "penalty deposit" upfront. The homework assignment is chosen by each participant monthly based on their time constraints. We have accomplished so MUCH in this club. It's now in the third year. The goal is go clean up the UFOs, NOT to keep you on track for current projects, although that has happened.  

Additional Thoughts

Have I scared you off yet? I hope not! Some people participate in a club or a sew-along strictly for social reasons. I find it strange that some people just want to be part of a group, but have no intention of making the project. Especially when during the show and tell, it's only those that have show and tell that get to talk about their work. I always have to laugh when people say they didn't have time, but yet, they try to show what they did with another project! Show and tell is for the show and tell of that class.  

In the future, I will ask who plans on making the project and who is auditing. I want to ensure that those making the project get the attention they need and that I don't keep asking those that are auditing where their project is. 

I prepare a slide presentation for all thesessions with loads of photos, and I provide a written copy of the presentation, and in some instances, I'll record the session and provide the link. But I do NOT want to make that a habit because people think it's OK to miss the class. I only record the session if I have had to move the date, and I think that's only fair if it's my fault. The class dates are published NOW and  reviewed at the end of each Zoom session. I also set up Facebook groups for most of my ongoing classes or clubs as it provides a forum for people to share their work with their peers and help each other if I can't get back to them immediately. 

I strongly encourage people to think outside the box during these sessions. How can you make this quilt your own? If you don't like a particular block or technique, can you change it, so it becomes doable for you? 

Some people want to make a particular quilt but don't want it to take ten months. They have the quilt done before the first class or are always ahead of schedule. I hate seeing pictures of the quilts done way before the due date. It is discouraging for the rest of the class, and people freak out, thinking they have missed some of the homework. 

If you can only work on one project and want to work that far ahead, then perhaps a sew-along with monthly assignments is not your thing. I try to teach a new technique, method, or whatever every month, and if you work so much ahead, what's the point of taking the class? 

OK --- so having said all that -- do you still want to sign up for a class/club/sew-along with me? We have fun, and here are some tips to help you decide what to sign up for. 

Questions to ask yourself as you review the class lists

  • What quilt do YOU want to make? Don't make a quilt just because your friend is making it! Or it's the latest thing on social media. Do you WANT to make that quilt?
  • Do you like the quilt?  
  • What will you learn from this club/class/sew-along? If you are more experienced - perhaps you can change the coloring to give yourself the challenge to work outside your comfort zone or the designers' color choices.
  • Do you like the camaraderie of the class? That includes the social aspect. 
  • Do you want to participate or just audit the class? Let the instructor know, so they can manage their resources better. 
  • If you want to participate, how much time do you have per week to sew? How much time is required to complete the homework for each class? Then do the math. Do you have time to participate in this particular class? Many people have busy lives; perhaps taking one class and staying up-to-date is better than falling behind or never starting many quilts. 
  • What are your goals for taking a class? Learning a new technique? The social aspect? The final project?
  • If your family says, "do you need another quilt?" a good response is to tell them that sewing is your therapy. If you are NOT sewing, you'll be hassling them all day long. And sewing is definitely cheaper than therapy and keeps us from getting old!

OK, those are my thoughts on classes, how we sign up for them, and why we take them. I'm not trying to discourage anyone, but I've seen so much guilt from people who signed up and then struggled with not getting the homework done. Also, people feel they can go back and look at my notes to help them or pick up the quilt later as a UFO. That is doing yourself a disservice! Will you have the same motivation when there's no deadline? Especially on some of those complicated quilts! 

As I said, it's like being a kid in a candy store! Think about what you can do now; there will always be future dates to take another class. I'm not retiring any time soon!!!

Phew -- that was way more than I wanted to say, but I think it's important as our time is precious, and we need to think about this. It's all about being MINDFUL of our decisions and how we want to spend our time and money! 

Having said all that, here's the list of classes/clubs/sew-alongs I have planned. 

Thimbles and Things:  The information for signup is on their web page. 

Tula Pink -- The Butterfly Quilt  (88" by 94")

Dates: October 15, November 19, December 3, January 21, February 18, March 18, April 15, May 20, and June 17

Time: 11:00 AM - NOON


The pattern for The Butterfly Quilt was recently rereleased, and it's magnificent. Purchase a kit while they last, or go for a completely wild and crazy butterfly with your colors of choice. Either way, you'll have a beautiful version of this quilt. You may use either version of the pattern for the class.

We'll cover the accuracies of piecing, pressing, and cutting. There are some curved seams and applique to round out your skills.

Great for all levels. The homework for this quilt is not huge as long as you keep up. There is a Facebook group for this class. 

Toes in the Sand   (Size 64" by 84")

Dates: October 15, November 19, December 3, January 21, February 18, March 18, April 15, May 20, and June 17

Time: 9:30 – 10:30 AM


Toes in the Sand was first released in 2012 and recently rereleased using Tula Pink fabrics. You may use either pattern version, and you'll need the Hex n More ruler by Jaybird Quilts. The shape of the block is a triangle, so we have loads to learn for pressing, accuracy, and much more. It's going to be another fun-filled sew-along. Great for all levels. 

Homework commitment -- you'll be making THREE blocks per month. There will be a Facebook group for this class. 

Timely Techniques with Elaine Theriault

Time: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

There are THREE lectures/demos, and while each one is an independent event, you will be signed up for all three simultaneously to save on logistics. There is NO handout for these lectures/demos, and they are NOT going to be recorded. 

PLEASE use the word TIMELY in the subject of the e-mail when registering for this lecture series. 



October 15 – Fabrics for quilting and how to care for them

How do I judge the quality of quilting cotton? Should I mix fiber content? How should I care for my quilts? What about care labels?


November 19 – Design boards

A design board is a critical tool for a quilter, and it helps you choose colors, lay out your blocks, and keep your sewing room a whole lot neater. We'll talk about different types and how to make your own.


December 3 – What to do with our excess!

That could be scraps you no longer want, quilts you don't need, patterns, books, etc. How do I get rid of this mess? Valuable resources to purge your excess!


The Hobby Horse Quilt Shoppe (these classes will be released in their newsletter SOON and you can call the store to sign up and pay for the course) 

Sewing with Pre-Cuts

Dates: October 29, November 26, December 10, January 28, February 25, March 25, April 29, May 27, June 24

Time: 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM

We will use the book PreCut Strips and Squares by Annie's Quilting as a reference during the class. 

 You bought the pre-cuts, and they are sitting prettily on your shelf. What does one do with pre-cuts? This sew-along will provide you with PLENTY of ideas on what to make with pre-cuts. How to choose a background fabric for a pre-cut bundle, how to get coordinating fabrics if you need borders or binding. All sizes and shapes of pre-cuts are discussed in class. 

As for homework, that will depend on you. You might feel compelled to make a quilt or project from the pre-cut of the month. Or you might do a small project. Or you might wait to see what you can make from all the ideas. The minimal requirement would be to make ONE block per month. 


Dates: October 29, November 26, December 10, January 28, February 25, March 25, April 29, May 27, June 24

Time: 11:00 AM -- Noon


Yes --- the age-old questions of scraps! How to sort them? What size to keep? And finally -- what to do with them. We'll cover a vast number of techniques and tips in this sew-along. 

 The amount of work involved will be up to you, as you could go crazy and make a quilt every month. Or be reasonable and create some smaller projects. WARNING: This class will involve work for sorting/organizing your scraps.  

 We'll be using the book -- Scrappiness is Happiness by Lori Holt as a reference.  



Kidding Around -- Goats in Pajamas

 Dates: Friday, November 18 AND Friday, December 2

 Another session is scheduled on January 7 for show and tell. 

Time: 10 AM

 OK -- this is for FUN!! It's a project class and will provide easy techniques to perfect your accuracy, pressing and carefully following instructions! How fun it will be to personalize each goat with your treasured fabrics.


Topic: Needles and Threads

Saturday, November 26

Time: 1:00 PM


The right needle and thread combination can take you from failure to success! What needle should you use, and which size works for each thread type you typically use? This demo will take the mystery out of needles and threads! 


The following selection of clubs will start in January, and I am NOT taking signups for them at this point. Watch for that in November. There will likely be a small fee for the clubs -- I haven't worked it out yet, but it might be a one price and take any club you want or a fee per club. There will be NO dates for the clubs in July and August -- we're all going to take the summer off! 

Teaching Clubs:

EQ8 -- Electric Quilt 8 software is a design program to design your own quilts. We will be using version 8, and if you don't have 8 but would like to participate, this is an excellent time to update your software. The knowledge level will be the advanced beginner to intermediate - but that could change depending on who and how many signs up. If there are enough beginners, then we'll run a beginners class. 

mySewnet Embroidery Software - this is embroidery software (SVP Worldwide) for creating and modifying embroidery designs. The software is compatible will any brand of embroidery machine; there are three levels of the software (Silver, gold, and Platinum). The level I will use will depend on who signs up and what level they have. I will NOT be using previous software version- it's too complicated, although if you have a previous version, there are a lot of similiarities. MAC and PC will be covered if necessary. 

PLEASE NOTE there will be a shorter version of this in the fall at Brampton Sew and Serge. There will be three one-hour sessions starting in October. I'm working out the topics and you can get more information directly from them. 

Show and Share Clubs

Out of the box - This is a confidence booster to build creativity! I provide a topic each month, and it's your job to create something that relates to that topic or theme. The topic might be red and white, and you can make a quilt block, a sculpture, a machine embroidery -- the choice is yours. The projects are meant to be small and do not have to be finished, nor do they need to be made from fabric. The gist of this class is to learn to make mistakes and focus on the art of doing, not creating perfect results. 

Machine Embroidery - You need an embroidery machine for this club. We are currently full, but I can start a waitlist if you're interested. Essentially, we mess around with embroidery techniques on our own. Then we bring them to the meeting to discuss what worked and what didn't and try to answer all the questions, so each of us is learning. 

Digital Cutters - This is a new area to a lot of us and many people have recently acquired or are wanting to dust off their cutters. It doesn't matter which brand you have, we're going to test them out and offer support to each other. This is NOT a teaching club, but rather a sharing of best practices, so the more you do and share, the more we all teach each other. 

UFO Club - There are currently two sessions of this club, and both sessions are FULL. I have no plans to add a third class at this time unless there is a huge demand. If you want to be waitlisted, a spot or two may open up. 

Jen Kingwell make-up class - This is NOT a teaching class but is more of a motivation session with DEADLINES for those who have not finished their Jen Kingwell quilts I've taught in the last couple of years. We'll cover Long Time Gone, BOHO Heart, Wanderer's Wife, and Green Tea and Sweet Beans. If you have NOT been in one of my classes and want to follow along, I'll make my notes available to you, and you'll have the monthly deadlines to work towards! 

The MANY block project motivation session - I don't know what to call this. A few of us have started big quilts that have become UFOs. I'm talking about a quilt with MANY blocks -- like the 365 Day Quilt (from Australia), the Town and Country (from New Zealand), Dear Jane, Farmer's Wife, etc. This club will work similarly to the UFO Club but will focus ONLY on these very intense quilts. Note -- you have to prove that you are somewhere along your journey with your particular quilt -- you cannot start it during the class. The idea is to clear up a UFO, not create one! So you must be committed to actually working on it. We will each set a monthly goal and keep each other on track for this. Some of these quilts will take years to complete, and I have several in this situation. 

OK -- I think that rounds out the classes for the Fall of 2022, the first part of 2023, and the clubs for 2023. 

Remember to answer those questions about the why and how much time you have. It's not fun to be under the gun, and we must leave some free time for LIFE! 

I want to thank everyone who has been part of my sew-alongs, projects classes, or clubs. I always have so much fun! And I've learned so much from all of you!

So get on the newsletters for Thimbles and Things and The Hobby Horse, and then watch my blog for further updates. Remember, the club signup won't happen until November!!! 

Have a super day!