Saturday, 31 March 2012

A Wee Smile!

 While parking our car last weekend in Uxbridge we couldn't help but notice this van!  I love things that just make you smile.  And yes, that is why I still have my reindeer nose on my car, can't believe the number of people that point and take a second look then smile!  

What made you smile lately?


Yikes is it the end of the Month already?

Oh my! It is March 31st and I forgot to post my Free motion Challenge photos. I also forgot to wish my Mum Happy Birthday yesterday, yikes I'm a bad daughter. Guess what my Mum's birthday isn't until May. Tee Hee - Sharon had to tell me! Oh Boy! I think I'm losing it!

I have had fun trying to sew in loops and twirls and I finally tried it on my quilt top. I was told to have 1 (not 2) glass of wine before I quilt and it helps to relax you.

I tried out a variegated thread

That's okay on the small machine but not on my Mega Quilter on my frame. I was trying out a new technique with my new hopping foot and the door bell rang. I looked away for just a sec and I had sewn into my ruler! My machine is okay but I broke the needle (naturally) and now I have a new small hole in my ruler! Imagine if I'd had a glass of wine!
I tried Baptist Fans but too hard for first time so I changed it to this design. I goes all around the border of the quilt.

This is my new set of rulers I just bought.

OOPs! theres the hole I sewed into the largest half circle/

I had a little stretch happen in my side border so I quickly folded the extra fabric over and added a little piece of leftover fabric strip. Now (I hope) it looks intentional!

I looks better when I zoom out.

I added the twirls from the Free Motion Challenge in the middle of each pinwheel shape. Due to the multiple layers it was hard to center the twirl. I later learned I could but batting on top and underneath and gently tap the center with a rubber mallet and that will smooth out the bump in the center from all the layers and make it easier to quilt through.

I used up as much fabric from the front as I could to design a backing fabric for the quilt. I have been inspired by all the quilters out there in Blog Land to try a new way of making up my backing fabrics. I like it and it help reduce bits and pieces of leftover fabric sitting in my stash.

My binding is ready now I just have to sew it on and I'm done! I'll show you the finished quilt when I get the binding done. I also have pictures of the quilt I finished for Sharon's classroom. I blogged about it here.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

One of the foods we cook a couple times a week is dog food!  No, we are not crazy or do we have lots of extra time on our hands!  After losing our Australian Shepherd, Raleigh, to Lymphoma a few years ago we investigated alternatives to commercial dog foods.  All of our dogs have been on what we thought were high quality food but two years ago we went through months of two very furry dogs with diarrhea, upset stomachs, multiple vet visits and bills and we knew we had to find something better.  We discovered Urban Wolf, a human grade dehydrated food base that you can add raw or cooked meat to make a complete food.  Both Ceilidh and Poppy have thrived on Urban Wolf for the past two years.  It's really very easy to prepare and can be frozen in meal-size portions if you want to double the recipe or for travelling.  

We cook ground chicken in 6 cups of water along with 2 eggs.  In a large bowl we add the Urban Wolf food base, dried liver powder, a can of salmon, Safflower oil and 4 to 6 cups of water.  Mix well and when the chicken has cooled incorporate them together.  Ceilidh and Poppy are on 2 cups a day (1 cup at breakfast and 1 cup at dinner) and Poppy gets an extra serving when she goes to day care for snack.  We often add a side of brown rice or quinoa when they are extra hungry.  Although it cost more and might not look so appetizing it has eliminated unnecessary vet and medication bills as well as cleaning supplies!  They are both at their ideal weight, have beautiful shiny coats and no skin problems. 
Do you cook or bake for your pets?
We'd love to hear what cooking!

Hello again!  I think after taking two online courses involving so much reading, writing and posting my brain needed a rest, but along with spring my enthusiasm is back! 

This past fall I picked up a basket of shallots from Hy Hope Farms and they have been keeping really well on my kitchen counter in one of my favourite wooden bowls.  I only had two large ones left and decided to use them in whatever I made for dinner.  Although our fridge seems a little empty but with free range eggs from a gentleman farmer near our house and a beautiful broccoli, quiche just seemed perfect.  I find the longer you have shallots the stronger the taste becomes so I chopped them and sauteed them in a little Safflower oil until beginning to brown, then added the broccoli to incorporate some of the flavour throughout.  I put the shallots and broccoli directly into a frozen pie shell, added feta cheese and the eggs, whisked with salt and pepper.  Popped it into a hot over and waited until the smell made its way in to the livingroom!  It turned out better than I thought, light and puffy with so much flavour!  I think not adding any liquid to the eggs helped to let the eggs keep their fluffiness.  Just before serving a shaved a little young Parmesan cheese on top.

What are your favourite taste combinations in quiche?

We had time to take a trip to Hy Hope Farms so I bought some more shallots.  
Versitile and flavourful!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Quilt Shop Hop on a Bus!

I just had the opportunity to go on a bus trip organized by 4 quilt shops. We started in Oshawa at the Ultimate Quilt Shop at 8 in the morning. We were sent off with a bag of treats and goodies. Then we drove to Uxbridge where we stopped at the Quilters Cupboard.

We watched demonstrations, had coffee and treats then we shopped. I tried not to go too crazy because I can go to this shop again but she had the Kate Spain fabric I wanted so I bought 2 meters and a Charm pack.

I bought wonder Clips for binding (they're on my quilt already) , a light to wear around my neck while sewing and a bias binding tool which can be used to make a braid quilt too!

 Then it was back on the bus and on we went to Orillia  to visit Thimbles & Things. As we travelled we played games, guessed how much the bus had spent and some of us won prizes. When we arrived we spilt into 2 groups. The store in Orillia is smaller and 40 women wouldn't fit so half had lunch while the other half shopped. I got to shop first :)

They showed us some very neat demos including using the acrylic templates (which I have in a drawer at home) to make beautiful quilts. I saw a quilt as soon as I walked in that was amazing and it was a Log Cabin pattern, I would never have guessed.

I bought a Log Cabin ruler and a book of all different Log Cabin quilts to make (including the one on the wall!)

Then we went to lunch while the other half shopped. Lunch was included in the price of the trip, we ate at the Mariposa Market and the food was great! I am a vegetarian so I always pack a power bar, cheese/nuts and an apple in case I can't buy a lunch especially in smaller towns who don't have as much vegetarian traffic in their restaurants. Our voucher gave us an entree with a soup or salad, a dessert and a drink. The girls at the Mariposa market were great, when there were no more tuna sandwiches (the only entree on the menu I could eat) they went in the back and made me one. So nice :) I had a sandwich and a chai latte and brought home my muffin. The meals were huge, a lot of people had doggy bags to bring home.

I bought a loaf of multi-grain bread and 2 cupcakes for Sharon and I to share. Did I tell you  gave up chocolate for lent? (I'm not Catholic but I needed incentive) Sharon has given up potato chips. Since we live together we don't eat them in front of each other if we can help it, so it is kind of like giving up 2 things!!!

Next stop after more games and guessing how much we spent we arrived at Millbrook later than planned but they were very nice and happy to see us. the shop is called, Quilts 'n Critters and is actually 2 shops. One shop has all cotton quilting fabrics and the other shop has flannels and gift ware.
Oops! A little fuzzy. I used my phone and I was in the middle of the street!
 By this time I was tired and had trouble picking out fabric. I do have a lot of fabric in my basement so I bought a book on paper piecing which I thought could help use up some scraps and a tool to clean the batting off my cutting board (I had been using a rubber finger but it wore out too fast) and I found 2 fabrics in the clearance section.

I was amazed at the money that was spent at each shop. I forget that my sister and I drive all over the countryside looking for neat things to do and shops to visit so I knew I'd be coming back. I also knew I had to use up some of my stash before I was on an episode of Hoarders!!!

We arrived back home at the Ultimate Quilt shop in Oshawa at 7PM. Shirley sent us home with a promise to give us a special deal next time we came in to shop because we were exhausted and she was too from having 3 bus loads go through her store that day. So more shopping next time I go in to her store. Hmmmm, what should I buy next? 

All in all I had a good time, saw new projects to inspire me to try new things, and I didn't have to drive all that distance. I definitely would do it again. Just let me get a few pay checks under my belt before I go again!