wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Quilting Retreat

The view from the lodge where we have the quilting retreat is gorgeous, even with snow, which always seems to hit us for the February retreat.

Inside the lodge, in the new section (below),  quilters have their machines set up at the far end and tables are set up for meals at the closer end. See the buffet-style serving area in the middle by the posts.

Next to the new part is the older section of the lodge, with carpet instead of hardwood flooring. The quilters on this side are closer together, but they each have their stations that they use every time they come to a retreat. The banter and chatter is cozy and friendly, and the quilters share new ideas.

Some of their finished products are hung on the railing of the loft. Sometimes just the flimsy (the top of an unfinished quilt) is hung up, and the less creative finishing work is done later, at home.

More quilts.

My project of fish placemats was very time consuming and I haven’t finished them yet, but I’ll post them when I get them done.

When I came home, I had a short (maybe 10-minute) ferry ride from Quadra Island to Vancouver Island, but the sky and sea were all one snow-filled mass. See the bits of snow still sitting on the roofs of other vehicles? I took this picture from inside my truck.

Looking out one of the ferry’s side windows, I could see the white caps blowing off the tops of the waves. The ferry swayed side to side as it battled the pull of the tide near Seymour Narrows while the wind blew in the opposite direction.

I had a white-knuckle 45-minute drive home on a snowy highway once I got off the ferry, but I felt safe in my truck, and was glad we had invested in good tires.

 


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Set the Table

When I was quite young, my mother taught me how to set the table. I think it’s something that most parents teach their children as soon as they’re able to help out. Sometimes children ask:

 

Which side does the knife go on?

Which side for the fork?

Which way should the knife be turned,

Ready to eat pork?

 

Sharp side in or sharp side out?

How close to the plate?

What if there’s a spoon as well?

Can you tell me, mate?

 

So I decided to come up with a way to make it easier for a child to learn to set the table. Somewhere I had seen a set of placemats that showed exactly where to put the cutlery and where to put the plate.

At the same time, it was a good way to learn what the primary colours (red, yellow, and blue) were. The green was a bonus.

I made these quite a long time ago (eight years), but as I looked through some old photos, I came across them. Since I’m going to a quilting retreat next week, I thought I’d share these with you. I didn’t use a pattern to make the placemats. They’re quite simple. But I did cut out the shapes for the plates and the cutlery using cardboard tracers.

 


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Love, Love, Love

Because it’s February and Valentine’s month, along with my fish placemats, I plan to make some more heart placemats at the upcoming quilting retreat.

Did you see the movie with Adam Sandler where he frequently says, “Love, love, love”? He says it with a sigh, or as if people are making too big a deal of love, but really he wishes he could make the girl fall in love with him. I don’t know which of his many movies it was, but I remember him being on the beach being a bartender in a little beach bar.

Anybody know which movie I’m talking about? I just don’t remember.  All I remember is that every once in a while, he’d say, “Love, love, love,” as if it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

On Valentine’s Day we like to show the special people in our life that we really do love them.

But shouldn’t we do that every day? How should we do that?

 

Here are a few ideas.

  1. Good relationships have a lot of give and take. The thing is, it’s not meant to be “one gives and the other takes.” You both have to give and take, equally.
  2. No good keeping score and saving up Brownie points. Just go for it, and be good to each other.
  3. Work towards a common goal. If you are working against each other in life’s goals, it’s not going to work. For example: If one makes the money and the other just spends it, it’s not going to work. Or if one always messes up the house and the other one always cleans it, it’s not going to work.
  4. Allow your partner his/her own space; time to pursue some creative hobbies or quiet time on their own.
  5. Say something nice to your partner every day.

Lastly, I was reminded the other day about how dogs behave when their owner returns after having been away for a while. If you’ve ever owned a dog, you might have noticed how they jump around and sometimes yip and bark and whine, or roll on their back hoping for a belly rub because they’re so happy to see you.

Wouldn’t it make your partner feel good if you showed how happy you were to see them when they come home? You don’t have to bark and yip, or roll on the floor with joy, but … well … you get the picture.

Happy Valentine’s Day


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Something Fishy

In a couple of weeks, I will be going to a quilting retreat. It’s a chance to do three days of sewing without having to stop to clean the house, make dinner, and wash dishes.

It has been since before Covid that I have been to one of these working holidays and I was at a bit of a loss as to what project(s) to take with me to work on.

Four years ago, I sewed the placemats you see in this post, meaning to take them as gifts to friends in Montana, but with the border closed for a long time, the placemats were put on the shelf for later, and later, and later. I almost gave up on the gift idea and was going to use them myself, but they didn’t feel as if they really belonged to me. They were destined for Montana.

Along comes a quilting retreat that I’m able to attend for the first time in several years. It will be the perfect time to make a set of these fishy placemats for the Captain and myself.

Here is the first one I made, rather oversized, but okay to use as a table center. You can see that I got carried away with my imaginary fish. That’s Darth Vader’s cousin on the top right.

No such fish exist, as far as I know, but it was fun to make up some “pretend” fish to swim in and out of the seaweed.

A few turtles swam past as I was sewing. Some stayed to visit.

Some of the placemats have rocks near the ocean floor. Maybe I’ll put some clams and crabs in the next set. Sea urchins might be fun to add as well, and who knows what else might live there in the depths? Maybe a squid or two? In this case, the sky really is the limit.

I hope to have a new set of fishy placemats to show you in a few weeks.


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Mum’s the Word

Imagine these flowers as the size of a potted chrysanthemum that a friend brought me as a hostess gift about a year ago; maybe a five-inch potted plant.

The potted plant looked so pretty and I thought what a shame that the flowers would soon die and that would be the end of it. But later when the blooms wilted, I put the pot outside and cut back the dead flowers. Out on the deck, I kept the worst of the frost off the plant all winter.

In the spring it got new green growth and wanted to be a tall plant. I should have cut it back, but didn’t, so it got a bit leggy.

But look how it bloomed in spite of me!  Next spring I’ll try to keep it pruned better and who knows, I might get even more flowers – if that is even possible.

Anyway, it’s a beautiful way to remember a friend. I smile whenever I look at this mum.

If you should want to please a chum,

Just give them a chrysanthemum,

These yellow blooms are like the sun,

They tend to cheer up everyone.

 

A hostess gift that stayed alive

And has a strong will to survive,

It blooms for such a long, long while,

Eliciting a frequent smile.

 

 

 


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Flossie the Floozie

Have you ever been ignored by someone you care about? You wait, hopeful for conversation, and … nothing.

I told Floyd, “My name’s Flossie. How are you?” But he was so snooty. He just flew to a nearby tree and ignored me. Let me tell you, I was hurt.

I was seriously doubting myself. Having a confidence meltdown. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Why didn’t he like me? He was so unfriendly. Just stuck his nose in the air. He was fine as long as HE was talking, but as soon as I said something, he flew off.

Then I had a thought. I … er … I … hadn’t had a  bath in a while.

I checked my pits. Hmmm…. Got myself tidied up and as I sat there waiting, I realized that when I introduced myself, he must have thought I said my name was Floozie, not Flossie.

Well, now we wait … and we’ll see. I should wait a few minutes before I call him back. Wait until my feathers aren’t so ruffled. But still, what a nerve of him to be so rude.

 

Flossie Flicker’s feelings hurt,

Floyd has treated her like dirt,

When he talks about his day,

He expects to have his say.

 

But when Flossie wants to yack,

All he does is turn his back.

Flossie is so insecure,

Not so confident, not sure.

 

Then she spruces up her look,

Waits for Floyd and sets the hook,

“My name’s Flossie! It’s not Floozie!

Goodness gracious! Floyd’s a doozie.”


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The Takeover

Whoah! Will ya look at that? Who knew all those poppy seeds would take over the garden?

 

 

When the garden’s full of weeds,

We give thanks for poppy seeds,

Once they grow they cover up

Every weed that’s coming up.

 

But the rain has flattened them,

Looks like someone sat on them,

Soon the flowers have to go,

Or the veggies just can’t grow.


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Log Cabin Quilt

With all the rain we’ve had, I was taking a chance when I hung the freshly washed quilt on the line outside. I was hoping that the trees that form a canopy overhead would save it from any serious raindrops.

As I walked past the quilt, I noticed it for the first time in ages. Sure I’ve seen it on my bed  many times, but I hadn’t paid much attention to it. Here, in a different location, I saw it with new eyes. I thought of all the strips of fabric I had cut to their exact lengths, and the way I sorted them out.

The name log cabin quilt is a bit misleading. You don’t have to live in a log cabin to use it. The name is more about how the squares are made.

Each of the strips is meant to look like a log. The “logs” are sewn together to make it look like a log cabin being built. It was a great way to use up small scraps that might otherwise have been thrown out.

I only sorted the pieces very roughly by colour, but other than that, it was just a matter of using up scraps.

Partway through making up the squares, it suddenly hit me how MANY “logs” I had to put together to make the quilt the size I wanted, but eventually it came together.

 


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Oyster Mushrooms

We had a nice surprise today. A friend had been out in the woods picking oyster mushrooms and had a bunch to give us.

I’ve picked chanterelles but I didn’t know much about oyster mushrooms so I’ve never picked them. With mushrooms, you can’t take chances because many kinds of mushrooms have lookalikes and many of those can make you very sick (or worse).

So here is a picture the friend took to show us how they grow. See them there on the trunk of that dead alder tree?

The pictures were all taken by my friend with his phone, except for the two photos in my kitchen.

If you thought mushrooms always grow on the ground, think again. Here they are again, going way up the tree.

They almost look round like a tennis ball, but if you look carefully, you’ll see that they are flat and often seem to grow overlapping each other.

Because they are off the ground, they are much easier to clean than chanterelles.

I just took a pastry brush and cleaned off a few specks of dirt. No need to wash them and make them soggy.  My dryer has five layers so I filled those up with the flat mushrooms and gave my attention to the rest of them which, temporarily, are spread out on a couple of baking sheets. (They are not going to be baked.)

I put a tiny bit of butter in a pan and put the mushroom pieces in it. This is just the start of what I put in the pan. I filled the pan enough so the whole bottom of the pan is filled. One thing I learned is that it is much easier to tear oyster mushrooms than to cut them.

Once they were sauteed just until they were cooked through, I put them in a big bowl to cool off while I cooked the next batch. After the sauteed mushrooms were all cool, I put them into plastic tubs and froze them. The sauteeing ensures that the mushrooms are not rubbery when you thaw them out to add to stir fries or gravy or whatever dish you want them to be in.

A couple of the bigger pieces were perfect for adding to a sandwich. So good!

If you find the energy to go out into the woods to look for mushrooms, you might be rewarded with the sighting of a large animal – at least the sight of its hind end. I’ll spare you the guesswork – it’s an elk.

Paved road, wildlife viewing, and a load of mushrooms for dinner. What could be better?


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Flower Power

I was happy that my orchid was blooming bravely through the winter, but the room cheered up considerably when our dinner guests brought a pot of primulas. Such bright colours made it hard to be anything but happy.

 

The winter colours all around,

Seem mute, and stay benign,

But springlike colours popping up,

Are bright and so divine.

 

Absorbing rays that warm and heal,

The blossoms open wide,

Displaying cheer, inviting joy,

I know they’re on my side.

***** If you like writing, why not pop over to my other blog that is dedicated to books and writing, at https:///annelisplace.wordpress.com.