Brother and Sister

Emma, our field bred English cocker spaniel came from the Edmonton area. That’s a long way from here – about 1400 kms. She is three years old now and has a brother, Gus (from a new litter – same parents), living in town. Gus came for a visit the other day. We kept Emma outside for this visit. It was Gus’s special time.

The bowl of walnuts and hazelnuts that was on the coffee table was the first thing to be investigated. Bowls seem to have special meaning to both Emma and Gus.

One leap onto the table  and the nuts were all over the floor. I had to laugh because it brought back so many memories of puppy fiascoes that I had to deal with when Emma was Gus’s age. Everything had to be explored and there were still many rules that needed to be tested.

Like Emma, Gus is energetic, playful, and loving. He showed us how smart he is by lying down and waiting for the treat he knew was coming. A little piece of cheese makes a great reward for good behaviour. 

Notice the big mitts on him? Proof that he is Emma’s brother. She has the same big paws. In the photo of Emma (below) her head looks big because of the way I had the camera right in her face. In this picture she is the same age as Gus is now.

Here she is several months older, but she still has some growing time ahead. Her ears are not yet covered in long curls and the tail doesn’t have all the “feathers” that will make it look like a flag waving.

We loved meeting Gus, and recognized so many behaviours and physical traits that were so much like Emma’s. Their parents both have pedigrees a mile long, loaded with Field Trial Champions, and these puppies have the best of their genes. Sweet and loving and very smart. Can you tell I’m over the moon about them?

 

 

 

 

Julia’s Violinist: A Story of Love, Courage, Survival

Lori Greer in Portland

I miss Julia.

Sometimes my need to know the “rest of the story” competes with not wanting to let the main character go by finishing a book.

I can be almost finished with a book but find that I have to force myself to read the final chapter.

This is the case with Julia, the main character in Julia’s Violinist.

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Learning to Quilt

After finishing three bags at the quilting retreat, I was looking through some red scraps and found this elephant. I was about to cut the material up to make a bag with an elephant on one side when my quilting buddy suggested I make a coffee table topper.  She has a good eye for possibilities and suggested the corners to accent the center. It was also her idea for me to make a flange. 

I had never made a flange before, and in case you don’t see it, it’s the narrow dark border around the elephant square. The really neat thing about a flange is that this little trim lifts up and has a 3-D look. My free motion quilting is still … let’s say … in its developmental stage, but I had fun sewing swirly elephant-trunk-like designs all over the work. In the end, I was happy I didn’t make yet another bag out of this elephant.

Herring Time

When the herring roe fishery happens each spring on the BC Coast, the seine boats and herring skiffs congregate close to shore because that is where the herring can be intercepted as they rush the beach to spawn. At night when the boats have their anchor lights on, it looks like a floating city just offshore.

Sea lions and seagulls and eagles patrol the area in hope of some tasty bites.

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Photo courtesy of P. Knettig

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It’s a bluebird day. Hard to believe it was rough and windy just a couple of days ago. Still it was fishable and the herring filled the seine nets. Then disaster struck as an extra heavy net caused a boat to list  and not recover. The fishing community lost a fellow fisherman. His brother is quoted on CTV News:

“They had a really big set. The boat was listing and Mel went down into the engine room to turn the pumps on, and while he was down there the boat rolled over.”

It brings home to all of us once again, how dangerous fishing is. While the fleet mourns the loss of one of their own, the fishery goes on, as it must. The pretty night lights, and the bluebird daytime sky and sea belie the sombre mood and the heavy hearts of the fishing fleet.

Canada’s 150 Years

This year, we will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the confederation of Canada. Queen Victoria gave her assent to the British North America Act (BNA Act) on March 29, 1867, saying that on July 1, 1867 the provinces of “Canada” (which then split into Quebec and Ontario), Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick would unite and become the Dominion of Canada. Gradually, over time, Canada has grown to include ten provinces and three territories.

Each region has an official flower. In honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary, my friend Gladys has begun a quilted wall hanging to commemorate this special celebration. The wall hanging will feature the flower of each of the provinces and territories of Canada.

At the quilting retreat, Gladys worked on appliquéing the flowers onto a dark background. She has quilted the areas around the flowers in various patterns that she feels will enhance the subject.

The photo below shows a tentative placement of the flowers as a beginning look at some of the design possibilities, but there is much more to come in the design of the finished quilt.020Going from top to bottom and left to right, the flowers represented on the photo above are as follows:

wild rose – Alberta

western red lily – Saskatchewan

prairie crocus – Manitoba

fireweed – Yukon

mountain avens – Northwest Territories

purple saxifrage – Nunavut

white trillium – Ontario

blue flag iris – Quebec

purple violet – New Brunswick

Mayflower – Nova Scotia

lady’s slipper – Prince Edward Island

British Columbia’s Pacific dogwood and Newfoundland’s purple pitcher plant are still to be made.

Below are close-ups of some of the flowers. Notice the fine stitching around the edges of all the flowers and leaves. Then take a look at the quilting around the flower shapes, sometimes echoing the shape, sometimes offering beautiful designs of its own. By the way, for the non-quilters who are looking at this post, the yellow dots you see at the top of each flower patch  – those are the bright yellow heads of the (temporary) pins used to put the flowers on the board. They are not meant to be the sun shining on the flowers! 😉

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White trillium of Ontario

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Fireweed of the Yukon Territory

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Mountain avens of the Northwest Territories

Gladys will put binding on these flower shapes and add some interesting designs to the wall hanging. I know that when it is finished it will be a work of art. I will do another post when she has it finished, hopefully before July 1, 2017, the big 150th birthday.

PS In case any of you are readers, please check out my other blog, Anneli’s Place, and say hello to today’s guest writer, Lori Virelli. https://annelisplace.wordpress.com/2017/03/03/ever-been-at-your-wits-end/

The Inside Scoop

What goes on at a quilting retreat? Here’s a peek at the inside of the lodge at Camp Homewood on Quadra Island, off Vancouver Island.

The lodge has an old part and a  new part. This is the old part, with a huge fireplace (that couldn’t be used this year until the chimney gets an upgrade and inspection). About 40 quilters have set up their sewing machines. They have brought tons of supplies and fabrics from home to finish up old projects or start new ones.

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They hang their completed projects from the upstairs railing to bring inspiration to their fellow quilters.

Some of the living quarters (bedrooms and bathrooms) are on on the upstairs and downstairs of this big meeting room.

On the distant left (below, at the bottom of the stairs) you can see a doorway that goes through to the new part of the lodge.030

Standing in that doorway, I took one more photo of the old room so you can see the setup there, and then I turned  …

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and took this photo of the new part where more quilters had their machines set up. In the foreground of the photo below, you can see the empty round tables to the left. This is the dining area. The long table in the center is where the buffet-style meals are set up. The food is always very good and no one goes away hungry.034

Some of the projects are hung on the railing on the new side as well. In some cases, the quilter might decide to only do the piecing of the top layer and do the quilting at home after adding the batting and backing under the top of the quilt.

026 The quilts below are not finished, but the tops are pieced together, ready to be quilted at home.031

More quilts and a couple of bags (not mine).032 And yet more quilts and another style of bag (not mine) below the smaller green quilt. Beautiful workmanship.025

Four days of intensive sewing and sharing of techniques, ideas (and a few jokes), made this a successful retreat.

Next time I’ll share the close up work of one quilter whom I admire very much.

Oh NO!

Just yesterday, I took the snowy header off my WP home page, replacing it with spring-like pussy willows. Did I anger the gods and they made it snow again? AARRGGHH!

I stuck my camera out the back door and snapped this picture without regard for settings. The snow is falling in streaks, which tells me that the shutter speed is too slow (I think!) but I thought I’d post it anyway because it shows how the snow is basically “streaming” out of the sky. AGAIN!

I’m leaving the spring header on. Maybe it will work some magic.

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NOW look at the backyard! Poor birds have to scramble for food all over again, just when they thought it was spring. All the snow was gone yesterday and today it’s back again. I could cry!

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Gentle snowflakes

Devastate me.

Gliding past 

They say, “Don’t hate me.”

I’m resigned.

It’s like this lately.