Monday, March 6, 2023

Farmer's Daughter

And "sew" it begins again ...

Working on the shirt quilt for Becky and the fitting name of this block is
Farmer's Daughter!!

It went quite well until I got to the vague instructions on how to attach a border,
sewn with angle cuts and block finishing triangles, and the dreaded mitred corners - eek!
"needles" to say after much stitch ripping it is almost finished.
Not perfect by any means, but almost complete!
Perhaps the quilting can smooth out some of the imperfections?

The stormy days and some lovely bright sunny ones lent themselves
well to spending time in my sewing room.
It was a distraction from the thoughts of doing the upcoming income tax prep
(a task not quite as much fun).

The biggest storm of the year so far, thundersnow and all, hit us with a vengeance and left
deep and very heavy snow.
My poor shrubs and tall cedar hedge trees.
Their heads are bowed low and hopefully not broken.

In between storms and sunshine I was delighted to lend a helping hand
to my sister who scored these beautiful crazy quilt blocks from a 
neighbour at her summer Newfoundland home.
We just inserted the navy sashing to make this stunning wall hanging!
What an honour to spend some time with this special sister.

There were some sleep overs at their house and at mine...

So lovely to see that bay window sunset again

She's the best little companion


Fun times ...

Tacos for the win!

Oh and, one of my orchid's bloomed!!

March came in like a lamb but it's been "growling" in these beginning days.
Hoping this means it will go out like a lamb too!

Till next time ... watching for signs of Spring!

Monday, February 13, 2023

Love doesn't Die ... People do

 ... So, when all that's left of me
Give me away!

This quote from Merrit Malloy's Epitaph

When I read this, I was in need of windshield wipers on
the inside of my glasses.

On this eve of Valentine's Day I am mindful of the great loves
I've had in my life, from the unending love my dear
parents bestowed on me, the love from friends and family,
the love from my dear departed partner, the love from my child
and her children and husband, and from the unending love
from my Lord and Saviour.
How did I deserve so much love?

My loves

Jim and I were never ones to make much of a fuss on Valentine's Day,
however, we tried to celebrate by having a nice dinner together and
sometimes there were flowers given.
The steadfast love was all we really needed.

Ottawa 2019

Now I look for him ... in the flowers, birds, sunsets, butterflies, and
in the people he loved too.

This morning when I made my coffee - I thought of he who always
made it for me.
He was the early riser. The bed held me a bit longer.
And so it is!

Today I will buy myself some tulips to remember,
prepare a nice meal for dinner,
take a long walk along the river,
reach out to a hurting friend or two
(there are so many),
and set aside some time to sew, read or paint.

And, oh yes - I need to start preparing my income tax papers ...
the things he always looked after.

Much love to you all as you count YOUR blessings
this Valentine's Day.

Till next time ... hug someone tight today, on Valentine's Day, or any day! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Happy New Year!

A Fresh New Year!!! 

The tree and Christmas decor has been tucked away ...
the Christmas Snow Storm has melted ...
the Christmas baking, caramel popcorn and chocolate has showed up on my hips ...
but all in all - I look forward to this shiny new year of 2023.

2022 ended on such a very sad note.
One of the Farmer's very best friends,
his college room mate, his fishing buddy, his best man at our wedding,
travel mate, and all around dear friend,
joined him in heaven on December 21st.
Almost exactly one year apart!
His wife, my friend from as far back as high school, and I are stunned
that this is even real!
God must have a plan in all of this ...

December had it's very blue notes but the warm light
has begun to show through the brokenness.

The children's programs at church and at school were delightful.
(he's looking for us behind the letter "G" - so cute)

Survived the biggest storm of the year on Christmas Eve Day and 
Christmas Day.
I realized that this was the first time in all of my years to spend alone on those very days.
I was OK though, and remained extra thankful that I was safe at home and
had a warm cozy place to be!
No one was going anywhere till Boxing Day
when we all came together once again.

And then, suddenly it seemed NYE was on our doorstep.
What a pleasure and treasure it was to spend this special weekend with
the Leis clan at our nephew's beautiful northern Ontario cottage.
Just the very best way to begin this new year ...

This place is remarkable and so peaceful ...
We were literally blessed into a new year!

And then one more trip around the sun for this old gal.
We celebrated at "Swish" (aka Swiss Chalet).

Candy Floss on the cupcake - perfection!

Life is as good as we make it!
The Lord has been so good to me all of my days ...
I continue to live with the intention of being thankful and joyful.
Living my best life over here.

Here's to 2023 y'all!

Till next time ... Letting the light come in through the cracks!

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

November's End

November 14 came and went.
I am thankful that I decided not to stay in bed that day...
Encouragement came from my in-laws to gather for coffee
and then to visit the graveside. 
After lunch with some very dear friends I felt the relief of
"getting through this day".

Later that evening, Becky and I had our first of 6 weekly 
watercolour painting classes.
A nice way to end the day.

Watercolour art is hard ... not sure I'll ever "get it".

Snow came rather unexpectedly near the end of this month
and brought with it the feeling of Christmas.
There were many Christmas Craft Markets one could attend and this
special night market at the Tom Patterson Theatre was so beautiful!
A crisp and energizing walk from my home ...

Regardless of the shopping opportunities however, 
my Christmas shopping is yet unfinished.
Most items that I need are still to be made or ordered online.
I just can't face the malls ... am I the only one?

A gingerbread train was created.
This was made from a kit purchased at Walmart.
Best tip I ever received was to hot glue the gingerbread pieces together 
instead of trying to stick them together with royal icing!!!
It's not all that edible anyway.
But, everytime I looked back - a few more gumdrops were missing - a mystery??!!

A really fun thing my friend Carolyn and I did was to complete making
sweet little bags from my bridesmaid dress worn 50 years ago at our mutual
friend's wedding!
Don't ask me how many 50 or almost 50 year old bridesmaid's dresses I have 
hanging in my closet - eek!
Carolyn is a confident sewer and offered to help me make them ...

This is us 50 years ago!!!


We boldly cut into the dress and the velvet over-dress/jumper,
using the dress as lining for the bags and the velvet for the outer fabric.
The velvet is just beautiful and I plan to save some of the pieces for the crazy quilt  
that is on my sewing bucket list.

Carolyn made 3 of these for us!

This one is for Lynn's Granddaughter!

I just love mine - my "theatre bag"

Happiest Anniversary Lynn and Jim!!

So glad to give this to Lynn this morning and to be back home while the snow and
wind rages outside AND while my furnace works again!

And so - November ends ...
My heart is getting ready for the Advent Season and for

Till next time ... wishing you many blessings as we head into the Christmas season.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

November Be Gentle

The month that I have dreaded so much has arrived!
The anticipated "dark" days of November have been surprisingly gentle so far,
unusually and almost eerily warm ...
expected waves of sadness and also with much happiness ...

I pray the gentleness continues as my family and I remember ...

An unusually colourful October went by so quickly!
The Fall colours were especially brilliant this year.
My busyness was a welcome distraction once again.

At the end of September and first weekend in October I was
privileged to be involved with helping to set up some exhibits for the
BiCentennial celebration of the first Amish settlers in SW Ontario!
200 years ago, my ancestors came to farm and live out their lives here.
They came from the Alsace Lorraine regions in Europe to find a better life,
and freedom of religion.
Many were granted crown land on which to farm and live.
We heard many stories about how they co-existed with the First Nations peoples,
stories that were heard for the first time by many participants.
We sang soul healing "old" hymns from the German Ausbund and early hymnals!
I was moved and blessed by the whole weekend!

 Below is a collage of pictures of some of the displays.

It was a well planned and very interesting weekend plus ...
in addition to several Sunday evening hymn sings at various churches,
there were some well researched and interesting bus tours of the historical areas,
and a traditional bean soup lunch.
"Bona Supp" was a favourite meal in my childhood years!

 The tables were beautifully set
with the traditional bowl of 
apple butter to accompany the soup.
And - always - the cinnamon to
sprinkle on top!

My mom's recipe:

“Cook the navy beans till soft and tender”

1 Cup dried beans yields approx. 2 ½ cooked beans.  Overnight Method – place beans in kettle and cover with 4 cups water to 1 cup dried beans.  Cover and let stand overnight (at least 8 hrs.)   Simmer till tender in soaking water.  Quick Method – place beans in kettle and cover with 4 cups water to 1 cup dried beans.  Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.  Cover, remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour.  Return water and beans to a simmer and cook till tender.   Cooking time for navy beans is approx. 1 hour.  Tip – add 1 tbsp. fat to cooking beans to control foaming.

“Add milk and salt and pepper to taste – heat but do not boil”

“Pour hot soup over buttered farmer’s loaf bread cubes and several strands of saffron”. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

My sister remembers mom putting the buttered bread and saffron in the bottom of her large pickling crock and pouring the hot soup over the bread.  She served the soup right from the crock.

I don't remember that we added a dollop of apple butter to the soup but it certainly was slathered onto a generous slice of buttered bread!

What a treat!

October also brought ...
A sweet new kitten named - Spinach

Thanksgiving - so much to be thankful for ...

Glowing trees ...

Sunrises ...

A new something, something ... ?? Stay tuned.

Halloween with "Wreck-it Ralph and Venellope Von Schweetz!

All in all, October was good.

November has taken us to see the "Imagine Van Gogh" installation in nearby London.
What a treat to watch this 7 year old take it all in ...

Praying that November continues to be gentle as I go down this
sometimes very lonely path ...

Till next time ... be good to yourselves and live each day to the fullest!

Monday, September 26, 2022

Monday's Mood

 Today my mood matches the weather!
Might it be because it is Monday,
dreary, rainy and cold?
Is it because the "naked lady'' crocus is blooming,
indicating 6 more weeks till snow?

Some days are just so hard ...

However, I am warmed by emails from thoughtful friends,
messages on facebook,
and the memories from last evening's hymn sing!

For one of the first times in a long while, a large congregation
of folks gathered to sing favourite hymns.
This was in celebration
of the bicentennial immigration of 
the Amish Mennonites who settled in this area
of South Western Ontario 200 years ago!

Here is a wee clip of the acapella singing of "606"
"Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow"
dubbed as the Mennonite anthem.

We sang at least a dozen beautiful/soul touching old hymns and even one from the
historic old Ausbund hymnal!

Here is a picture of my Grandfather's copy (open book - printed in 1905)
 which is on display for
this coming weekend's continued celebrations.

September, for the most part was good.
We swam in the spa, had a fun sleep over, picniked on the balcony 
(until the wasps chased us inside), and then,
BAM - he had his first day at school!

I was saddened when I heard the news that Queen Elizabeth II had passed away.
She came to visit this very site - the Stratford Festival Theatre,
 at least 2 or 3 times during her reign.
The flag remained half masted in her honour.

Did you have a chance to watch the funeral?
I have to admit that I was very moved by it all and many emotions were felt!
The services were beautiful. May she Rest in Peace.

It IS possible for crowds of people to be peaceful and respectful after-all!

One small batch of salsa was made.

Have you ever tried painting with water colours?
There's a great online facebook teacher - Paint with Janet
 who gives free tutorials and I am enjoying
watching and trying my brush at it ...

First attempt at Scotch Thistles

My dear neighbours gifted me with these beautiful red bartlett pears
and since my paints were still on the table I was inspired to paint one.
Not good enough to share tho!
I think water colours are so difficult but surely if I keep practicing with Janet
there might be some success to be had?
My sister Marie is a beautiful water colour artist as well as my niece Shannon Leis.
I have always
admired their skills!

My sewing studio(room) has been sorely neglected all summer
and I hope to get back at some projects.
Need to start using up some of the fabric I purchased on the June bus trip
to Missouri Star Quilt Company.
So many possibilities.

Some of my favourite memories for this past month:
Bedtime stories,
Chocolate fudgesicles
Siblings breakfast
Sister's anniversaries
Apple Butter and Cheese Festival
Lunches and Coffee outings with friends
Successful Soybean Harvest at the farm
Sweater weather

Ahhhh - now my Monday doesn't seem quite as blue
I feel much better now ...
Still so much to be very thankful for!!!

Till next time .... stay well and enjoy these days of Fall!

Farmer's Daughter

And "sew" it begins again ... February, doing almost exactly what I was doing last year this time. Working on the shirt quilt for ...