Saturday, October 26, 2013

Snow,snow go away

We have had our first snow of the year. A few days ago the first flakes, but today it has snowed all morning. Way too early for me. There is lots of work to be done in the garden yet. And  corn to combine!
But first our big news.We have a new grand daughter. She was born October 12th and weighed in at 7lbs and 8 oz. Both mother and daughter are doing well, although Lauren Anne still has her days and nights mixed up. We had Evelyn here for a few days and she kept us hopping.
Here her mother introduces Evelyn to her little sister with her aunt Jeanette holding the baby. Evelyn did not know, what to think of it all.

 Jeanette, Jonas and me at the most easterly point in Canada, Point Speare.
This was before Jonas got sick during our trip to New Foundland.
He turned 1 year old last week and we will be going for a visit tomorrow.
A few years ago I made a lot of cards and over the years they just sat in a box. Lately I have been using them. This card was suitable for this occasion.
The bear is fabric and the balloons are left over pieces of silk ribbon, fused to the card using Steam-a-seam.
The lines are drawn using a Micron pen.


A week ago was the start of my next project.
It will be a group quilt with an African Theme, to be sold at a future Mennonite Relief Quilt Sale in New Hamburg..
There are 3 workshops/open house planned. In total 30 ladies signed up.
EAch will be asked to make a small quilt. They can choose from 2 sizes, both vertical or horizontal. This quilt should be quilted, but not bound.
From all these small quilts we will make one big one.
Some came here with an idea but not enough fabrics, others came with supplies, but not an idea. So far over 20 ladies were here and all left with supplies and an idea, although at times not the same idea they came with.
And while sorting through the fabric I seem to have more now that when we started. Some of it I have never seen before.
Here some of the ladies are getting ready to work on their projects.

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Another project finished

 I have been back from St. John's NFL for over a week now.
But there will not be any pictures till after Thanksgiving. I took Jeanette's small camera and I need her to get the pictures on my computer.
My trunk show went o.k I think. It is different when you do not have a vehicle available. I'm used to filling the SUV up. This time it all had to go in a carry-on and a suitcase with some room left for clothes.
We did not do as much as we wanted to. Jonas did not feel well and by Thursday evening we took him to the Emergency department of the Children's Hospital. He had the croup and was a sick little boy. But we were impreseed with the care he got there. We were instructed to take him outside in the cold as much as possble on Friday and since that was a cool day, it worked our o.k. We walked and walked and walked some more, up and down the streets.By Saturday he felt much better, but I could feel the back of my legs!. So after 2 visits I still have not seen as much as I would have liked. I guess I will have to go back!Last Tuesday I was in Kincardine guild. This was the frist time I taught my sashiko sampler workshop. I had 15 very eager ladies and I had a very enjoyable time. AS you can see in the picture they worked hard.
This afternoon I finished putting the binding on the baby quilt. It was getting time, since the baby can arrive anytime now.
It all worked out well, but machine quilting is still hard on my back and shoulders.
Next project is getting ready for the African themed quilt project for the Mennonite Relief Sale.
I have around 30 ladies from our guild  signed up to come to my place for one of the 3 days
I have set aside.
I don't call it workshops. They can look over all the supplies I have, take what they need, look through my magazines and books and I will help them with whatever they ask me.
I will take pictures as we go.
Last week the weather was great. Laurence combined the white(or navy) beans and has started the soybeans.
Tomorrow he plans to plant winterwheat till the beans are again dry enough to combine. Yes, we did get some rain  last night, just enough to have to stop harvesting..
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Thursday, September 12, 2013


It is that time of the year again.
When we go to Elmira we can see glads for sale  along the road, all the way from one lonely left over in a big pail to a fancy wagon with a large variety.
These pails are always overflowing, but only with a single color.

Not so at this stand in Dorking, my favorite place.
On one of my stops I met the girls, who look after this wagon and they told me, that they have 11/2 acres with gladioli and they figure, that they have about 20.000 flowers.
On a sunny Saturday they will come out every hour with more flowers. I have never stopped there without somebody else being there. And yes, they sell for 3 for a $1. So for $3 you have a beautiful bouquet.
Now I realize, that cutting the flowers is only a small part of the process. The bulbs have to be dug up, cleaned, stored and then in the spring planted again. It is not as if there is no work involved.
 The last few weeks I have been busy with other things, so the quilting was put aside.
Right now I'm trying to machine quilt this baby quilt.
Only the border to go!
These 2 quilt tops have been fun to make and are easy to do.
But the rest will have to wait a little longer.
Next week I will be in St. Johns New Foundland, where I will give a trunk show for the Cabot guild on Tuesday evening.
I'm busy trying to figure out what to take along. I'm used to filling up the car, but that will not work. I'll start with my personal things I cannot do without like some clothes. The rest will be filled up with quilts till I reach the maximum weight.
Then on Tuesday, September 24th I will give a workshop at the Kincardine Sunset Quilters Guild. I will be teaching the Sashiko Sampler.
Yesterday I heard, that the workshop is full with a waiting list.

That will be it for teaching this fall.
I'm in the process of starting another project for a future quilt for the Mennonite Relief Sale and that will take my time for the coming months.
We have had a few very hot days. On Tuesday we were at the Canadian Outdoor Farm Show and it was hot. Too hot for me, so we came home early in the afternoon. But today it is cooler and I will have to spend some time in the flower beds.
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Friday, August 23, 2013

Home alone

The last few weeks have been busy with visitors.All are gone now , but we are left with this huge Smurf, given to us by Johannes.
When we started to farm almost 40 years ago we needed extra help during the summer months.
There was an agricultural exchange program available through the government and that worked very well for us. We mostly had young fellows from Holland with one from France and one from Finland to add to the mix.
Johannes was one of these fellows and we got along so well, that he came 2 years in a row. That was 25 years ago and this year he came back for a visit with his family.
They spend the first few days with us and came back at the end of the trip, with this Smurf. Johannes was a good ball player and he won this at Canada's Wonderland.
Since it was too big to take back on the plane, it stayed with us. Jonas and Evelyn love it

That can not be said for the chicks.
Last Friday was chick day on the farm
Since it just happend to be the same day Jeanette and Jonas came for a visit, we thought it might be fun to introduce the grandkids to the chicks.
Bad Idea!
Jonas might not be scared of the huge smurf, the little chicks was different. He did not like them at all and the visit was very short.

 Evelyn did not mind, but the chicks were more interested in her, then the other way around.
In a way I should not have been surprised. These little chicks can be very noisy and nosy.

In October Evelyn will get a little brother or sister, so it is time to start on another baby quilt.
The circles are sewn together with fusable interfacing.
Turn them inside out and iron the blocks to the back ground.
Next step is to stitch around the blocks. I use a buttonhole stitch with varigated thread.
I made enough blocks for 2 quilts.
Once you have all the fabric out, it does not take much longer to make 2.
Right now is a quiet time on the farm. The wheat harvest is over and the straw is in the barn.

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Friday, August 09, 2013

Summer activities

 A few weeks ago we spend a few, very hot days up at the cottage of Emily's parents. It was just the 8 of us, kids and grand kids.
Evelyn and Jonas enjoyd the sprinkler, at least after the water warmed up.
This was the first time they tried to play together. And we had fun watching.

Talking about dedication! After making a few rag quilts and a table runner Emily decided to tackle a queen size quilt top.
And as we know, a lot of those do not get finished. But not here. She took it with her to the cottage and spend the time to get the top all put together.
She has the next one lined up already!

It is that time of the year again. The harvest apple tree is loaded this year.  I have been making apple sauce, but there is more to do. Both Jonas and Evelyn love apple sauce, so you can never have enough.
Today was not the best day. First one of the jars exploded in the canner. Then when I took the next load of jars out, I dropped one on the tiles in the kitchen. What a mess!
A little later we discovered a flood downstairs in the furnace room.
Bur all is cleaned up again. It helps to have a plumber living in the farm house. REally handy at times.
Now for something unusual. This amarillis is in full bloom out on the deck. There are 2 more buds coming.
This is not the first time hre, but still it does not happen often.
Finally another sunny day.
WE have had a lot of rain and that stopped the combining. But the guys are at it again today. If tomorrow is the same we should finish with the wheat.
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Saturday, August 03, 2013

An old friend

I have tried different times to blog, but I cannot get the pictures to load up.
Maybe it had to do with the fact, that the first try had over 10 pictures.
This will be short and sweet. It if works I will try again.
This week-end is our church's, Listowel Mennonite Church, 50 the anniversary. I was asked to phone Val Fleming, the owner of the Kaleidoscope of Nations quilt and see if she would loan her quilt to us for the week-end. She was willing and yesterday I drove to her place to pick the quilt up and Monday I will return it.
This quilt was sold in 2003 at the Mennonite Relief Sale in new Hamburg. You can find more information on my blog under Relief Sale Quilts.
We are in the middle of the wheat harvest, but it is going very slow. 31/2 inches of rain will do that. We have had a lot of rain. The flower beds look lush, but my planters are not doing well.

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Thursday, July 11, 2013


It feels like the tropics around here. We have had lots of warm weather with almost daily rain.
My flowers have never looked better, not so my planters. Too much rain and hard wind.

But there are still a few places for plants.
This week will be the end of the gardern center at the local Zehrs store and all the plants are discounted.
This morning I found a few more and each has found a place.

This had to happen ,while Laurence was at a meeting. After working in the flowerbeds I seem to complain about my sore back with as a result, that I'm not "allowed" to get more plants.
Anyway they are planted and he would not know, what to look for.

Last week we had Evelyn here for a night. She is walking now and she is a very busy girl. Crawling is still faster, but not for long.
This is the first time she wanted to sit on the rocking horse and it looks like we might have another generation of horse lover in the family.

I finished the second small quilt for the African quilt project.
Both are 20 by 16 inches with extra seam allowance. That will be cut back when the different parts will be sewn together.

Both are machine quilted. With this one I tried to give it the look of a landscape with trees and grasses.
I have lots of other ideas for this quilt, but they are written down. Once I have the workshops here there might be people, who need some help with ideas. If not I can still make more.
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Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Horse power

 Last week we went for a few days to Ohio.
Laurence wanted to go to the Steam Threshers Show in Wauseon and I came along for the ride.
This time the attraction was not the tractors, although there were lots of them, but the 50 or so steam engines.And where there are steam engines, there is dust and smoke. The air was grey and there was lots of smoke. My eyes are still watery.
You would think, that to work with  these 100 year or somethimes older machines, you would find older men, but that was not always the case . Here are 3 teenagers driving a machine around and different ones were driven by women.
It was good to see the interest of younger people in these old engines.

And they came in different sizes. From huge monsters to smaller full scale ones.Then you had the 1/2 scale models , what you see here.
Then finally a 1/4 size model from Ontario.

On the Saturday there was a tug-of-war.
First up was a 1/2 scale steam engine. The kids in the junior grades were asked to come up and pull. When they could not budge the engine, older kids could come. As more kids were asked to come up, bigger machines were used.

Then finally everybody could come up and try to move this big machine.
This proved to be hard till the rope was full with pullers, motly big guys.
It was fun to watch and especially the kids loved it.

The weather had its moments. The 2 days we were there the mornings and afternoons were fine. Mostly sunny and warm. But later on in the afternoon the clouds would roll in and the rain would start.
This picture was taken during the parade and it was raining hard.
Not much happened after that.

For Laurence it was the tractors and engines. For me it were the horses and mules.
On Saturday morning teams of horses and mules were plowing , followed later by a team disking.
A team of 6 Belgians plowed with a 2 furrow plow.

Once part of the field had been plowed the disk came out with a team of 8 mules.
We do not see mules around here, so it was something new for me.
And we managed a visit to the Henyr Ford Museum. We had been there once before with the kids and this time it was just as interesting.
Now it is back to work. I hope to have some quiltery things to show by next time.
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Monday, June 24, 2013

Wood blocks

Two weeks ago I spend 2 days in London with friends. The first one was to see the African quilts and visit the merchant's mall. And a very succesful day we had.
 Then the second day some of us were signed up for a workshop with Paula Benjaminson.
We would be printing with wood blocks made in Namibia.
At one point in Teacher's College I had made cut-outs in linoleum, but that was a very long time ago. This time the blocks were ready to go.
It was a lot of fun. We tried different techniques  with different paints.
 I think that most of us would have been interested in purchasing some blocks, but sadly enough the ones available had all been sold.
Now the next step. What to do with them.
Most of the prints are on my dyed fabric, the light colored one is on burlap, what will fray nicely.
Some of these might work for our African Quilt project.
I talked about the project again at our guild meeting last Wednesday and a lot of members took the information paper home.
 Later there came an e mail through the guild, that there was a multi cultural festival in Kitchener. I know of at least one member, who went and found some very different things.
It seems that one thing leads to another.
Somethimes I seem to forget, what I really have.
That's the reason I put everything related to this project on the table. There is a nice variety already, from vintage kuba cloth , ewe kenta cloth , wax prints to novelty prints.
I have some metal buttons, but have to get more beads, buttons etc.
But even that seems to have been taken care of. I know that Magie at the African Fabric Shop in England has lots for sale. Would't you know, that one of our guild members will visit a quilt show in England, where they will be vendors?
 Dorothy told me, she will leave with one half full suitcase and is willing to pick up whatever I want/need. It this fun or what!!!!
 We finally finished planting, the latest ever. But the weather has been very warm. So with enough moisture things pop out of the ground in no time.
The flower beds have been beautiful.
This is a picture of blooming hens and chicken with a visiting bee.
The roses are just now starting.
And the lawn just keeps on growing!
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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The end of an era

At one time there were thousands of these "bank barns" in Ontario.
This one was build in early 1900 and has seen a lot of changes.
When we bought the farm from Laurence's parents in 1974 the barn looked a lot the same.
We had a small milking parlor and we put free stalls in the barn.
The young cattle were at the neighhour's barn, but once that one was torn down, we put an extention on the back for the young cattle.
A second, sealed silo was added in the 80th.

 The hay and straw was stored upstairs and for a long time I would raise our small calves therer till calf hutches became popular.
It was not fancy, but we made it work.
By the mid nineties we realized that things were going a little tougher. Laurence needed back surgery and I had problems with hands and shoulders.
Both our kids had other plans, so the quota was sold and the cows left.
We had beef cattle for a few years, but decided to quit with that also.
So the barn downstairs stood empty for many years.
Upstairs we still stored the straw we needed for the  chicken barns.
But even that changed. From small suqare bales, that had to be handles many times we changed to big round bales, stored in the shed.
With people coming in to chop and spread the straw,, what used to take a few days, is now done in a few hours.
There the barn stood, empty. And an empty barn deteriorates.
I had been nudging Laurence a few times, but no decision had been made.
Till last week.
 Neighbour Stanley's barn came down and when Laurence went over to see who was doing it, he found out, that ours might also be of interest to the crew.
Saturday the boss had a good look and by Monday morning the crew was ready to go.
First they took all the left over straw bales out and after that the teardown started.
Yesterday afternoon the left over shell came down.
I gave Laurence the camera, but he missed it!
Next step will be the sorting out and cleaning up.

 These banrs were really amazing.
One of the pictures shows a part of a beam. Notice the ax marks.
No saws were used.
And notice the peg
The beams were all put together with these pegs. No nails were used.
Some of these pine beams are over 50 feet and in very good condition after at least 100 years

 In a way I'm glad the barn is down.
We did not use it anymore and we could not see that changing.
On the other side we spend a lot of time in the barn, both good and bad.
There are a lot of memories.

A look out of the back through what used to be the straw shed.
Things have changed in our farming times.
From using a threshing machine for the first grain harvest to a small combine, to a bigger one, still to a bigger one and so on.

The weather has not been cooperating. We still have to plant soybeans  and it looks like more rain is on the way.
I have to say, that our lawn has never looked greener and the perenials are doing great.
My favorite peony, Sarah Berhard. I love the fragrance of this old peony

Tomorrow four of us quilters are going to to see the African Quilts in London.
I'm really looking forward the that.
And then on Friday it will be a workshop with Paula Benjaminson. We will be printing with wood blocks.
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