Saturday, September 30, 2023

We have a visitor!

Well that was a first for me in a long, long time! There was no blog yesterday! Given all the travel and having to blog on my phone with a tiny keyboard -- I can manage all that, but when I'm at home and have access to my computer -- I can't blog? 

It was one of those weird days -- I'm exhausted, yet I'm not. I'm happy to be home, yet I'm restless. I think it was mostly that my routine is totally upside down and I just couldn't get my act together! 

But I had a good sleep and I think I'm ready to get back into the swing of things today! I hope so as there is much to be done.

AND there is a Virtual Retreat tonight and tomorrow. Yep -- I sort of failed at posting that information as well. And if no one shows up -- that's Ok. 

Not a lot happened in the last two days -- well, that's a lie -- I managed to make my way home so yes, I'm now home for at least two weeks before I'll be out again, and I'm pretty excited about that. 

It's always an experience to travel and I know that I have done my fair share, but that doesn't matter --- everyone needs to be prepped when they go. The usual for me is to do everything online before I arrive at the airport. I'm checked in, my boarding pass is on my phone and I can literally get out of the Uber and make my way to the priority security line and within minutes, I'm on the other side and waiting at the gate. 

When traveling with a pet (yes -- Bear came home with me), one cannot get the boarding pass online. You have to line up for that. Let's say that he was a wee bit excited when his carrier came out of the closet! 

I'm going on a plane!!!!

So I'm in line and there weren't many people in front of me, but there were three more experienced in life women, all of them had luggage and I don't think they traveled much. They had sheafs of papers in their hands, which looked like a printout of their entire ticket, which is usually four pages long and you do NOT need to print that out. One person was the spokesperson for the three. 

I'm OK with older people traveling and I'm OK with inexperienced travelers, but people -- it's like being at the grocery store and you get to the end and the cashier asks for your payment. OH -- then it takes ten minutes to find the credit card in a purse. That was the case with these ladies. They couldn't find the passports, then they had to find a credit card to pay for their luggage and well --- it took a bit of time for them to clear. 

Bear and I just needed a boarding pass printed and we were good to go. I wonder why we have to do that? Is it because they are checking the size of the carrier? Probably! And making sure that we are not trying to walk on the plane with a Murphy sized dog instead of a Bear-sized dog. 

Security did NOT like the can of dogfood that I had in my bag, so that got confiscated, but that's OK. Otherwise, we were good to go and we sat and waited at the gate. Bear is so little that in order to see him, you don't see the totems behind him.

A missed photo op with the totems because he is so small

The flight was pretty uneventful, except for the people (different ones) of a certain age and didn't speak English who couldn't for the life of them figure out the seating numbers on the plane. But eventually everyone was seated and we were off. 

Murphy and Lexi were beyond excited to see me, except -- what's with this little guy? An imposter - Mom -- there's a little white thing running around the house!

It's not ideal, but Bear and Murphy walk together and they each stop at different things and Bear needs to stop at EVERYTHING!

Big dog, little dog

The important thing is that they all get along and Lexi is just dying to play with Bear. Bear is like -- who are you and what do you want? 

I had a couple of errands to do and I got them both done before my late lunch. They involved taking the car and Bear got to come along on both of them. He's so little that he's not a problem in the car and he doesn't bark his head off like the other two would. 

Bear in the car

After the late lunch, (I must still be on West Coast time), I decided to sit in the gazebo and read. Of course, I had company. Bear was quite happy to stretch out in the sun. 

Soaking up the sun

Then at one point, I sat him on my lap and he fell asleep, as did I, and it was only when the sun went behind the house that we woke up! It was freezing in the shade! 

This crazy book - I can't put it down! It's one of those murder mysteries by David Balducci, (Memory Man), but it's really riveting! 

Then something else happened yesterday that I've never done. I dropped my big water bottle on the rocks in the backyard and put a big dent in it!! 

A dent!!!

But it's still good, but what a silly thing to do!

Today is my last "quiet" day for a while. I have loads to do - like unpacking my sample suitcases and repacking as I have a one day event this coming week. There are classes to prep for, and quilts to quilt. So I'll finish my book this morning and then it'll be heads down trying to stay ahead of the classes!

Tonight and tomorrows is the Virtual Retreat, so if you get a chance (the weather is cooler), pop in to say HI!!!!

Here are the links:

Saturday, September 30  -- Starts at 6 PM

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

Sunday, October 1 - Starts at NOON

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 861 1959 8156
Passcode: 053861

Have a great day!!!!


Thursday, September 28, 2023

Adventures in Vancouver

Oh my -- I almost forgot to blog this morning. I'm reading this LONG book and want to know how it ends, so I'm sneaking in any possible moments to finish it. It's over 1,000 pages on my phone, which is long, and I'm not sure it needs to be that long. I find it very confusing -- so many characters and so many details. I've no idea how the author was able to keep everything together. In case you're wondering, it's called Lethal White by Robert Galbraith. And yes -- I know that is JK Rowlings! 

The weather turned out perfect yesterday -- a bit cloudy, not too cold, and just a few drops of rain! So what to do all day? We decided to go for a walk around the city and used the Adventure Labs as our guide! That's what's so fun about the Adventure Labs; you have no idea where you'll end up. And we saw a few places M didn't know about, so we were really exploring together. 

Bear started the day with us when we went to Stanley Park, but we ditched him just before lunch as he is very slow. 

OH -- M needed to get a urine sample from him, which was hilarious, but while I held the leash, she did the dirty end of the business, and we were able to get it right away, so we walked over to the vet and got that errand out of the way. 

Someone who was recently here showed us a neat building and asked if M knew where it was. Yep -- it wasn't far from where we were, so we popped over to see it. I call it the Quilt Building, as all four sides looked like this. Oh my -- I just found an article about this building -- you can see the before and after - it was HIDEOUS before. 

The "quilt" building

We saw lots of artwork and sculptures along the way. This sculpture was called A-Maze-ing Laughter, but you can't see what it's all about in this photo. I think there are 12 sculptures, all in various stages of laughter. 

M and Bear

We went into Stanley Park instead of walking the seawall, as that is where the Adventure Labs were taking us. We were shocked to see so many flowers still blooming, and the blooms were gorgeous. 

They were huge, and the colors were still very vibrant. We saw some very sleepy bees on some of them as well. 

Beautiful blooms

We did two Adventure Labs in that area and then headed back to the apartment to drop off Bear and have lunch. 

Then, we headed in a new direction into an area with beautiful heritage homes. They were absolutely stunning. I had looked up one house for sale, and the price was a cool $3.5 Million. Some of these homes appear to be boarding houses, as this one had many bedrooms and a basement apartment, but there was no shared living space. How awful is that? 

Vancouver Heritage home

We discovered the cutest little alley (Mole Hill) and spotted lush gardens along both sides of the little path and a little creek with goldfish! I know --- loads of little secrets hidden in plain view. 

I had a great uncle (I think) who owned a house in downtown Vancouver and refused to sell. I'll have to find out where that was. It looked so weird with the house surrounded by apartment buildings. 

While M doesn't really do any geocaching, she had attempted to do one close to her place. But she had looked numerous times but couldn't find it. So we were subtly searching through flower beds and along a rock wall but found nothing. OK, so it's time to look further afield, and I soon spotted it. So that made the morning! 

We discovered the "O Canada" house, where one of the English first verses of O Canada was penned. Yep -- one of those heritage houses is now a B and B. Then we headed into the downtown area to find some artwork. 

After a bit of searching, we discovered the murals were on the ground, and after looking at the name of the Adventure Lab (Art under foot), that made sense. It's funny how we could have walked past those murals a thousand times without seeing them. This project was called Footprints Community Art Project, but I can't find much else about it other than some of the artist's name and photos of other murals. 

Part of our Adventure Lab tour

Again, I LOVE the geocaches and Adventure Labs because they take you to places and get you to look at things you might never see otherwise!! 

Then, we headed home and stopped in a few shops along Robson Street along the way. So I'm still behind on my walking challenge, but the 20 KM of walking yesterday will be a good start to put me back on track. 

I should be able to catch up within a week or so? There will not be much travel in the next couple of weeks and only a few Zooms, so I should be good. 

As much as travel is "fun" and exciting, I can't wait to get home. It'll be good to unpack everything, do a bit of planning to see where I need to focus my time in the next bit, and then actually get some sewing and quilting done! 

On that note, I'm out of here!!!!

Have a great day!


Wednesday, September 27, 2023

A new city!

 A new day -- a new city! I'm in Vancouver now. Yep --- my Aunt and I took a trip back to the galleries and got photos of the artwork we loved. I'm not going to share this morning. I'll wait until I get home, but hopefully, you had a chance to check it out because the stuff is absolutely stunning. 

Then we were off to the seaplane dock and waited a few minutes for the seaplane to arrive. Goodbyes are never fun, and I need to come back more often! It was a wee bit windy (not really), but little planes, open water - wind? I wasn't sure how much fun that flight would be, but it was terrific. If ever you are in this area, you should book a seaplane ride as it's the best and easiest way to get around if you travel light! Ferries are fun but take more time. OK -- the plane is more expensive!

Seaplane over Stanley Park

This time, I flew directly into Vancouver Harbor, not the airport. I wish I had been sitting on the opposite side of the plane; although I could see, it was a bit hard to get photos. But we flew right over Stanley Park, and it felt like we dropped out of the sky to the dock close to the convention center. I wish I had known that last year when we were here for Quilt Canada. I flew to the airport and then had to wait for the shuttle and the Skytrain. 

There were two cruise ships at the port as well. 

The seaplane dock

M and Bear met me, although we had to text a few times to find each other, and then we walked to her place. Of course, only in Vancouver (West Coast) would you still find flowers in bloom at this time of year! And look -- there's a fuzzy little bear!!!! He is so cute when he's fluffy, but alas, he had to go to the groomer yesterday and is no longer fluffy. 

Bear and the flowers

While we were waiting, we stopped for lunch at a waffle place. I know -- sweet waffles for lunch! Why not? It was a great little place, and we could have had savory waffles, but that will have to wait for the next time. 

A sweet waffle for lunch!

I had a nap in the afternoon -- good grief --- I guess all the toing and froing is tiring, and so Bear and I snuggled in for a nap on the sofa while M did an errand.

We had a great visit, and seeing how your kid turns out in life is exciting. So much more mature and grounded, and well, I wish we lived closer. Remember when I said that we have no ties to retiring in Toronto? Could Vancouver be on our radar? Not just yet!!!! 

She lives in a tiny apartment, so there is no room for me to stay, but you can stay in Vancouver for less than $100. I'm in the Hi Canada hostel, which was a little walk last night but not far! I'm in a 4-bed dorm room for women. After all my travels on the Camino, this is a breeze. 

They have excellent light and power outlets on the bed, so you can read as much as you want and charge your phone. You didn't always get that on the Camino. And while I didn't seem to sleep as well as I would have liked, I still got a good sleep. No snorers, but there's one thing that amazes me. 

Can you tell me why some people are heavy-footed? I swear when they walk, they are MARCHING to the next destination. Walk light-footed when you are in a building with many people. This goes for hotels as well. I don't know how often I've been in a room where some heavy-footed person is above me. Learn to walk softly!! 

Take a walk in your house heavy-footed and then light-footed. Which are you? Do you know that walking with a heavy foot can be very noisy and annoying!!!! If you live in a two-story house, get someone to walk upstairs in both heavy and light mode -- OH -- now I see the difference!!!!

The second thing is the darn doors. These doors close automatically, and I swear from 8:00 PM (when I arrived) to when I fell asleep hours later, every 30 seconds, a door would slam. That's just the nature of a hostel, I suppose! So you get used to it. But no one seems to close the door quietly -- they just let it bang, although the doors are noisy, even when you close them quietly.  

But I survived and didn't need a costly hotel. I swear, they need to make smaller hotel rooms for those single travelers who just need a bed for the night. 

I'm now sitting in a lounge (meeting room) somewhere in the hostel to write the blog. There are two other people in my sleeping room. One was in bed when I arrived, and the other person arrived after midnight! Hopefully, they'll be up when I return so I can pack my stuff, although I can do it in the dark! While not heavy, this backpack feels heavy as it's not made to walk for any distance. The hostel was only 1 KM from the apartment, so it was not far, but the streets are sure dark here! I guess there are so many trees that the lights don't show up, and thankfully, the sidewalks are in good shape because if there was a hole or a deviation in the height, I'd have been toast! 

There was a bit of rain last night, but not enough to bother me. So there'll be some more visiting and exploring today, and hopefully, the rain will stay away. 

My shoulder is starting to bother me -- it was never good at holding a backpack on one shoulder, and I know better, so I'm trying to use both shoulders for it. That's why I carry a backpack and not a bag. I wrecked my shoulder years ago on the Metro in Montreal from carrying a bag on one shoulder and it's been fine for years until I was searching for a geocach in a tree and slipped, bringing the injury back to life. This past bit, with all the traveling, has not helped it heal! 

Well, that's it for me. I'm off to finish packing, find a place to eat breakfast, and then work my way back to M's apartment. 

Have a great day!!!


Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Memories of Salt Spring Island

I arrived on the West Coast just in time for the first fall storm. Thankfully, it was just some wind and rain, but nothing too serious. I debated bringing a jacket but settled on a vest, and while the temperature is a bit on the cool side, I'm good! Is anyone ever ready for winter? No power outages here, but I guess it's a common occurrence - at least on the island. 

We had a great day visiting - just so many memories to relive and so many topics to discuss -- well, we could go on visiting forever. But we had a few errands to do in Ganges, so after lunch, we headed out. 

If you remember my wind sculpture in the backyard, it was in Ganges that I was first introduced to them, as this gallery (Steffich Fine Art) is the sole distributor in Canada. 

Steffich Fine Art

Unfortunately, they were closed on Monday, but I might get a chance to pop in to say HI later today. They have some of the sculptures in the garden areas in front of the gallery, and every time I saw them years ago, I coveted one, and now there's one in my yard. Those flowers have grown up quite a bit and are blocking a good view of them, but they are fascinating. 

The sculptures at the gallery

Then, we popped into the gallery next door to check out the artwork. OH MY --- there were some very cool pieces of art. Beautiful eagles made with cutlery -- the artist's name is Carl Sean McMahon. His work is not cheap, and I can only imagine how heavy they are, but stunning!!!!

We also spotted another artist that I love - Richelle Osborne. I didn't take pictures of the art. I feel bad taking pictures of other people's art, but I guess I could have asked permission! So I'll direct you to their website. 

And then I found something that I adore! This artist is Manuel Castro, and I did take a picture of his art (after asking permission), but I didn't load the image. But I would buy that for my backyard. The only problem is finding a place where Miss Murphy (the bull in the china shop) wouldn't run through it and break it!!!! The pieces I want are not on the website but in his Etsy shop. Here's the link to his Etsy Shop. 

We popped into the library to check out the Libby app for my aunt. So, when we got home, I downloaded it for her so she could check it out. Libby is a great way to access e-books and audiobooks without buying them. Yes -- that is the cheap way to go, but let's face it --- the number of trees that were felled to support our book fetishes is probably huge!!!! 

I've left her with some "lessons," and now she's on her own to figure it out. We chatted about Hoopla, but let's do one thing at a time! She's lucky because she has access to 68 libraries in the BC Library Consortium. Before we left, we checked the actual shelves for craft/quilting books, and I spotted one I wanted to check out before buying. 

We borrowed the book, and I'm almost done with it. Yes -- it's a great book, but NO -- I don't need to buy it. So, my curiosity was satisfied without incurring a cost. I know you are curious, so the artist's name is Emily Taylor -- and the book is Collage Quilter. I could see that as a class?????

We checked out a few other things in town, but driving around brings back many memories. DH, M, and I used to spend our annual family vacations on this island when M was small. We would wander around for hours, checking out the outdoor market, signing M up for classes at the small craft shop/toy shop, Geocaching, and lunching at the restaurant under the tree! 

Every time we come here, we always say we would love to live here, and well, that was over 20 years ago, and we still don't live here! I think this is my first time coming this late in the year. 

Look at how low the clouds were yesterday!!!!

Low clouds on SSI

On the way back from Ganges, the rain had stopped, and the clouds were starting to lift. 

Clouds are starting to lift

So we popped down to Bourgoyne Bay, where there is a little park. Oh, we should not have done that as there was an Adventure Lab (part of Geocaching), and I had to do some! 

The trail along the bay

I was only going to do the first three of the five caches since they were relatively close to the car, but how could I leave this Adventure Lab unfinished? I walked very fast to get the last two. They were related to these wood sculptures along the path. 

A stop along the Adventure Lab

The views of the bay along the way were stunning, and the trail through the woods was amazing. It is a beautiful area, and I wish I had more time to explore it! I checked this morning, and there are TONS of geocaches on this island. While we did get some over the years, my little smiley faces (a logged geocache) are sparse!!!!

Bourgoyne Bay

Back to the house and more visiting for the remainder of the afternoon! I must say that I'm sleeping like a log here. Not only is it pitch black, but there is ZERO noise. Nothing! And with all the running around, I'm catching up on sleep! 

All is good. Let's hope the weather is taking a slight turn for the better.

Have a super day!


Monday, September 25, 2023

Plan B

My apologies for not alerting you that I was going to be in a new timezone and therefore the blog was going to be late. Yep -- a new day - a new city! I'll warn you up front that my spell checker isn't working this morning, so there might be a few issues! 

This time, I'm on the west coast of Canada on Salt Spring Island. Let's just say that Septemeber was a crazy month and it's not over yet! BUT - because I didn't have any Zoom classes or clubs booked, I have the luxury of doing the travel and not worrying about the class scheduling etc. I need to look at 2024 and see how I want to arrange my time or decrease the number of classes/clubs, because I'm loving this flexibility. 

There are two clubs next Sunday, so I'll be prepping for those when I get back! And the Virtual Retreat is this coming weekend as well. 

Claire and I needed to get to the airport early as we both had early (before 9 AM) flights. That meant a short night as the Uber came to pick uus up at 6:30. 

I am traveling EXTREMELY light with only my office backpack, so I could walk right through to security. The line-up for security was LONG, however, I have my NEXUS card, but Claire did not. I THOUGHT I was allowed one person to come with me, so she got in the big line and I went to check. I swear the guy said YES, so I ran back to get her. We arrived only to have him tell me that the person had to be OLDER than 75 or YOUNGER than 17. Oh crap. She was turning to go back, when he said, just slip through the barrier and butt in line, which she did. 

It's so easy now to get through the security check as you do not need to remove anything from your luggage, at least in the priority line. 

However, when I walked through the X-ray, it beeped. Oh -- did I forget something in my pockets? Nope -- I was flagged for a random swab test. I love how they want to swab the waistband of your pants. Yep -- because if I'm carrying a weapon, that's where I'm going to put it! Of course, one does NOT joke about that during the swab test!

All was good and I waited a few minutes for Claire. We felt a wee bit bad for her to butt in the line, but it saved her at least half an hour! 

Off to Tim's for breakfast and another line, but surprisingly they were pretty fast, which is so unlike them at that location! 

As I was waiting for Claire to clear security, I got a notification on my phone that my flight was delayed. Sigh. But when I saw that it was delayed until 1 PM -- I thought "oh crap!" What's Plan B going to be? Not enough time to go home, no lounge access, so I'll wait and read my book. 

However as we were walking to Claire's gate, she spotted a flight to Vancouver that was going to board shortly. OH -- I should say that I was going to be flying to Victoria. Well, Vancouver and Victoria are not far apart and it's easy to get to Victoria from Vancouver, so on her advice, I thought I'd check if they had room for me. 

I went up to the desk and asked. This is the beauty of flying light -- that plane was about to board and if I had any luggage, they (and rightfully so), would have said NO. But since I had everything with me, they put me on standby. They started to board the plane and she had called a couple of standby passengers, but not me. So I went and asked what the scoop was. OH yes -- she had forgotten me, so I got a seat. And ZONE 2 boarding, so I butted in the line of passengers who were boarding and got on. 

Where did I end up? As I had visions of being crammed in the middle seat. Nope -- I got 31C which is an aisle seat at an emergency exit. 

Loads of leg room

Those are the seats that one must pay for if you preselect, so it was empty. Let's just say that I had a very pleasnt flight as there was NO one in the middle seat. The seat was probably better than the one on the flight that I had actually booked. 

Then I arrived in Vancouver and I didn't really need to get to Victoria, I needed to get to Salt Spring Island. Two options -- the ferry or a seaplane. The ferry would take longer, so after checking the schedules, I booked the seaplane (I had checked the schedules of both on my phone, while waiting for the remainder of the plane to board in Toronto). 

Off to catch the shuttle bus to the seaplane terminal. Again -- so easy when you don't have luggage and there is a tier pricing structure for the seaplanes. The less you have, the cheaper the flight! I arrived in plenty of time and had lunch at the Flying Beaver which is at the Harbour Air terminal. There are two different sea plane companies. 

I don't know where all the people came from to eat lunch, but that place was PACKED and it remained packed as I was boarding my flight at 1:30. It must be a destination restaurant, but the food was great. 

And then we were off in the seaplane. It's not my first time, but it's still new to me. It was the first time for one other passenger, so she got to sit up front, while I sat in the back seat with another lady and the three people in the middle were squished in! It's only an 18 minute flight, so no worries. 

Let's just say that it's a bit "up and down" on the take off and getting to cruising height. I'm not the best with that, but I just suck it up and know that I'll be fine. Hey -- I have my floatation device attached!

The seaplane

The view from the air

After I had paid for my ticket online, I realized that the pricing structure is based on weight, with the maximum allowed for my fare was 8 lbs. Yikes -- I have my computer in the back and a few clothes, I might be over. She said at 10 lbs, that I was good! Phew!!!

When I arrived, my aunt was there to greet me and we spent the entire evening catching up! It's amazing how you may not see someone on a regular basis, but you just ease back into the conversation like no time has passed. I wish I could get out more often as we used to get here at least once a year when all the cousins were small. Now all the cousins live in different cities and have their own lives, so that will never happen again. 

BUT we have memories and I have one to share with you, but I need a picture first so that is for tomorrow. 

My advice to anyone who wants to travel is this -- keep everything simple. Bring ONLY what you absolutely need. I will use everything in my backpack while I'm here - oh -- I may not use the Sudoko book that is in there, so I really need to remove that. If you want to bring a book to read, the e-books on your phone are a godsend. No need to lose a book, no extra weight, no fear of finishing and then not having something to read. I'm totally sold on that! 

Clothes can be hand washed or worn multiple times. Anyway -- there are lots of ways to make travel easy and quick. I realize that one of them is experience, and I've had plenty of that this past year. 

Did I mention that I'm now at 25K status on Air Canada, so that gives me Zone 2 boarding on all flights. That makes me happy! 

I had to laugh as I was getting ready to leave in the morning as I spotted this on the kitchen counter. It's a bag that was filled with oranges and DH left it on the counter. Why? Becuase he thought I might like it? Well, we threw MANY of these bags away at Moms, because she had big plans to do something with them. We decided that NO ONE needs them, so out they went! 

My aunt lives in the country on Salt Spring Island and it's DARK! Pitch black with no lights visible at all except when a car passed by on the road. It's after 6 AM and it's still dark! 

So I'm out west for a couple of days and will be home before the end of the week! Lots more fun and games to happen before I return!

Have a super day!!!!!


Sunday, September 24, 2023

Which came first?

We had a great day at Thimble Quilts and Sewing in Lasalle, Ontario. There's always so much to show, and doesn't seem like enough time to show all the samples and explain all the techniques. The poor students who attended went home with their heads spinning from all the inspiration and information!

We had a great lunch chatting with the customers and a good look around the store. A few things came home with me. And I bought fabric - somewhat willy-nilly, which I haven't done in a long time. 

However, I saw some gorgeous batiks and decided that I needed them. Not just because I liked them but because I need to work on a quilt for an upcoming class, and I think these will be perfect. I love the coloring, and it's not the original color I thought I might use, but it works beautifully with the background, as I found out when I got home last night. 

I may need to add to it, and I may need to purchase more, but I'll deal with that later this week. 

I had the embarrassing moment of calling the shop owner by a totally different name halfway through the day, and then do you think I could get that out of my head. It was like my brain had just switched. I was holding a witch pillow when I first used a different name, and I'm blaming it on that! She bewitched me! I managed to get back on track, and then all was good! So weird, though. 

And we did have the most fantastic shortbread you could imagine. I confess that the moment I was done with the first piece, I literally felt a craving for more. That doesn't happen often. 

We arrived home around 10:00 PM but only made it to bed just after midnight, as we had some loose ends (embroidery project!) to finish. I think I'll be napping later today! However, we got everything done that we wanted to, but the sample suitcases will sit in the living room for a few days! 

There is nothing better than a road trip with a companion, especially a driving road trip! We stopped twice, but I didn't feel tired in the four-hour drive home! And we talked about everything and anything! Let's say I got to know Claire better than I knew her!

Traveling can sometimes be a pain regarding what to eat and when, and for the last two days, I think I ate less than I would if I were home. And today is not going to be any better. 

We spotted this while walking through the parking lot to Tim's the other night. 

Who drives this car?

I've no idea why or how that was there, but it was hilarious. "Honey - I shrunk the car!" I'm surprised that no one had run over it! 

And here's a couple of pictures that were hanging in my hotel room. Doesn't that scream flying geese to you?  

But this one? That's the Dutchman Puzzle quilt block. Both of these were painted!!!! 

Now, here's the ultimate question -- which came first? Did this design as a quilt block come first, or was the design a long-known one that was made into a quilt block? 

So I popped over to Google, and this is what I found. But -- it doesn't answer my question! \

It is a very old, very traditional pattern and, of course, goes by several other names. It appeared in the Ohio Farmer in 1894 as the "Wheel" and again in 1898 as the "Dutchman's Wheel". The Ladies Art Company called it "Dutchman's Puzzle," and that is what I believe is the most commonly used name for this block. April 7, 2020

If you think it will get calmer around here, think again! I'm off on another adventure in about one hour, and you'll see where tomorrow. The beauty of this crazy time is that I don't have to worry about juggling classes because nothing is scheduled until October 1. But when I'm back, there will be little time to finish prepping, and then I'll be back into the swing of classes. 

And I had a peek at my walking challenge, and I'm behind! I've managed to eke out 5% of the distance in 9% of the time. This is NOT like me, but there hasn't been time to walk. That should change today? I can easily make up the time, and the worst of the crazy travel is over - I hope! 

I may take a wee bit of it with me to do some planning. OK -- not much planning, but thinking ahead is always a good idea! 

So I must go and get myself organized for the day. 

Have a great day!


Saturday, September 23, 2023

Barn trails!!!!

Yes --- those little holes in the front garden look neatly arranged, but we do NOT have any flowers there. That was all newly planted last year, and unless the landscape company did something I'm not aware of -- we only have those little shrubs. Since we didn't see any flowers in the spring, I'm guessing whoever is digging is looking for grubs!!!  DH is beyond himself with whoever is digging. OK -- time to get that game cam out and set it up. 

What a whirlwind day yesterday was, and I'm running short on time this morning - again! I have a colleague traveling with me as she learns the ropes, and we were off to Petrolia for our event at Stitcharie. It was a 2 1/2 hour drive, and we made it with no issues, except we passed the plaza (JUST) and had to turn around, which was no big deal. 

It was kind of nice to have someone help with the set-up, as I never get that luxury! We had two sessions - one on applique and one on quilting and both were a full house! It was a fun day with loads of laughs, and Laurie provided us with an awesome lunch. Apparently, she is known for her lunches! 

I believe she has a Super Bowl Mystery quilt day, and she provides lunch. Hmm -- that's tempting to come to -- just for lunch! 

I always love looking around the store to see if there are any treasures, and there is always something, so two small things came home with me. NO pictures yet of that. 

The classroom is great, with loads of room, so we were able to spread out the samples on the wall, and then one by one, they got passed around so everyone could have a better look at them. 

Applique and quilting samples

More samples

Sometimes, those samples go around multiple times as we discuss different techniques, etc. 

It's so easy to scare people. You tell them there is a test and they all go crazy! It was a super easy question, but I like to see the reaction! 

Hopefully, everyone went home with some inspiration, a better appreciation of available tools for them to be creative, and how better to use their sewing machines. 

There just isn't time in the entire process to cover everything, and I swear that every time I arrange my presentation to cover everything. I think I forgot one thing from each presentation yesterday simply because we didn't go through all the material, so those things will get moved. 

We popped everything into the car and headed off to Windsor, which is where I am today, and we'll be off shortly to Thimble Quilts and Sewing to spend the day with machine embroidery!!!! It was late by the time we got in, and although we had a late dinner, I'm hungry!

If you are in this area, there are MANY barn trails here, and we spotted some quilt barn blocks along the way. We stopped to get three pictures to share with you. 

I believe there are several books on the barn trails, and there is certainly lots of information on the internet about these barn trails. Some of them, as you can see, are NOT on barns but standing near the edge of the road where they are easy to see. 

This one was barely visible behind the cornfields. 

Have a super day!!!!


Friday, September 22, 2023

It's all about STATUS!

I must be quick this morning as I have to be on the road early to get to my destination and my event on time. I could have gone last night, but no need. I'm off to Stitcharie (Petrolia) for applique and quilting today. So, if you're in the area -- they may still have room, but it will be tight! I'm at Thimble Quilts and Sewing Company in Lasalle (near Windsor) for some embroidery events tomorrow. 

The blog will be short and sweet this morning. 

The first line of business was to get on a chat call with Microsoft to get that laptop fixed. One thing I hate about searching out the support number is that the first link that pops up, and I used to always click, is a paid support place. I do NOT need the paid support since, as a subscription customer of Microsoft, I get "free" support. That drives me crazy, but I've been "tricked" enough to know not to do that. 

Temporary office to fix the laptop

So there I was with my computer, cell phone, and the house phone. I had water and my tea, and it looks like a bottle of wine in the background as fortifications. It took TWO attempts and one hour, but it's fixed! 

It had to sync two months of e-mail and delete tons I deleted in the last two months, but it's working, and that's all I care about. 

Yeah - the e-mail is working!

One of the things they ask is, do you sign in on the website? No -- I never do that, and I guess I should explore the website more. As I was zipping around, I spotted a place where I could set a vacation setting that looked much easier than doing it through Outlook, so I must investigate that. I prefer Outlook -- yep --- you can't teach an old dog new tricks!

While our trees have started to turn, and some are dropping, it's still green for the most part here. 

The walk through the forest

OK -- we need a wildlife cam (got one - not hooked up) in our front yard. Someone is digging little holes. Are skunks looking for slugs? But the entire front yard has little dig holes. Weird. 

Someone has been digging in my garden!

Someone asked about the tag on my luggage with the bicycle on it. I did NOT make this and don't even remember where it came from. 

My luggage tag

It's kind of like a two-parter. You slip the one half into the slot so it stays attached. 

Hidden compartment

Then there's a magnet that holds the two halves together, and you can slip your address card/phone number in. So the information is there but not visible to anyone. It's pretty neat, although I realized I do NOT have any information on the card. 

The inside of the tag

I'm quite bad as my carryons do not have any identification on them. So when they are on the carousel, if they get checked, I have to rely on the style of the bag to identify it. Then, I peek into the bag before leaving to make sure it's the right one. 

Here's a little tip about traveling. If you are a member of any plan, like Aeroplan, ensure you have signed up for all the partner companies that will give you points. I hoped to get 25K status by the end of this year, which would provide me with Zone 2 boarding on all flights. After returning from Saskatoon, I was less than 300 points away. Yesterday, I linked my Uber account to Aeroplan, and with that and perhaps my Avis account, I am now on my way to 35K status! I doubt I will earn that privilege this year, but it doesn't matter -- I got the two things I wanted - two free bags (should I carry that much luggage next year) and Zone 2 boarding. The rest? I couldn't care about it. 

OK -- that's it for today. Lots of other stuff happened, but there's no time it's morning!

Have a great day!!!


Thursday, September 21, 2023

Sorting and packing

I've got time change woes! I can't seem to get to sleep until much later than usual and, hence, waking up much later! I can't let that happen tomorrow, as I need to be on the road EARLY! Let's hope my clock resets tonight. I have no idea how people who travel through different time zones a lot can manage!

After spending most of the morning doing paperwork and answering e-mails, it was time to move on to something else. I will say that the unsubscribing I've been doing seems to make a big difference. While there are still lots of e-mails to process, the numbers are smaller, so that's good. 

It's surprising how much we all want MORE of everything. That's a general statement, and not everyone is wired that way. But I see if often -- quilters see a "free" table at the guild -- "I need that!" There is some handout at a show  - "I need that," garage sales are bad, and there are many other ways to accumulate stuff. If it's something we'll use, great - but to acquire just for the sake of acquiring? That's bad! I used to be terrible at this. But I'm learning! 

I brought the suitcases into the kitchen one by one and emptied them. As I emptied, I sorted into piles for my next four events, which are tomorrow and the next day. I'm driving, so there's no need to worry about the number of suitcases. Well, I need to worry that it all fits in the car! But I know two cases fit in the car!


Of course, the supervisor was handy to ensure everything happened correctly. 


I say that it's quite a chore to unpack and decide what needs to go back in the suitcase and what needs to be put away. But I think I got it all sorted out. And the stuff I didn't need got put away. That's a HUGE job. 

But that presented a dilemma. Depending on the event, I sometimes take sewing machine feet, and I may have some samples related to those feet. So -- do I keep the feet in the bag with the samples? Where do I keep the sample bags so I remember where they are? Should the two be together - the bag of feet and the samples? 

My zipper feet and samples of zippers

I decided to put the "like" presser feet together. Above are the FOUR zipper feet that I have. And let's not forget that there are many duplicate feet because of duplicate machines. So I put one of each kind of zipper feet in the small bag, and it went in the drawer with the rest of my presser feet (sorted by brand). Any duplicates went loose in the drawer. The sample bag went into another drawer, so let's hope I remember where that is the next time I need it! There were three small samples that I could NOT find yesterday. I found a substitute, but where did I put those three small pieces? 

When I want to find a zipper foot, it's in the drawer with the rest! 

Speaking of zippers, look at the zipper I found when I was at Central Sewing in Edmonton. It looks so cute, and I can't wait to make something from it!

Jelly Bead Zipper

I also found a box and extra bobbins for the sit-down quilting machine, so that was a good find. This was also at Central Sewing. 

M class bobbins and a case

I found this great color of chenille yarn at Walmart. One can never have too much chenille yarn. Oh yes, they can, and the only color I need now is a rich forest green! I use this for machine embroidery, and it's stored with the other yarns. That ball is quite heavy and a fair size, so that didn't help the weight situation for traveling home. 

A gorgeous color of chenille yarn

And I found this treasure. This is a product called Sew Soft - I don't think you can buy it any longer, except at the store where I found it. There are about 6 left on the shelf, and I would love to have brought more home, but I could NOT! Why is it a treasure? Because it's perfect for doing machine embroidery in items like wall hangings and table runners. I mean when embroidering (quilting) through all three layers. It's similar to fusible fleece but thinner. I LOVE IT!!! So if you want to buy one of the packages - it's 5 yards - call The Sewing Machine Store in Saskatoon! And tell them I sent you! They do not have online shopping, so you have to call. I'm sure they can figure out how to ship it to you. 

Sew Soft, fusible batting

It's advent calendar season! I saw that the Wine Advent calendar is now available at the LCBO. I may just have to go and get one for a certain person. 

Wine Advent Calendar

The Adventure one by EXIT is also available in stores. I spotted it at McNally Robinson in Saskatoon, but I know it's also available here in Toronto at 401 Games

Advent Calendar by EXIT Games

While I was away, Lexi took over the entire couch. Oh yes -- she still sleeps in the designated spot on her blanket. 

MOM -- I will NOT look at the camera - stop trying to make me!

But I guess when that spot gets too hot? She moves to the other side. She NEVER used to do this. What has happened to our meek little Husky? 

MOM -- a little privacy here!

And why not get Murphy in there as well. She is NOT a fan of this couch and won't stay long. I had to coax her up (I know!). But forget to put a cushion on a chair in the living room, and she's all over it!

The sofa has gone to the dogs

I went for a walk yesterday, but not too long, and I've never been this far behind on a challenge so soon after starting it! I MUST get back into the groove, and I will!

I have much more paperwork to do today. There'll be no sewing for a few days. I mentioned QUILTsocial earlier this week. I goofed -- it's next week! OH -- and I must call Microsoft to get my e-mail fixed on my laptop. 

Have a super day!!!!