Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hoping for Spring

I returned from warm, sunny Arizona this past Wednesday, landing at Calgary airport in a snowstorm!  Not unusual weather for April in Alberta.  Statistically, we get most of our snow in March and April.  Fortunately the roads were not snow covered and slippery on the way home, but the landscape was dull and the sky was lowering.  In fact, that weather persisted until this morning.  Now we have sunshine and hopes for some warmer temperatures than yesterday's high of +1ºC.

So Jim is busy preparing for sunny days by replanting the cement urns on the eastern side of the house. This is part of the new cement "apron" we had poured around the east and northeast walls of the house last summer.  He's adding some Amber Jubilee Ninebark to the planters that already held honeysuckle vines.










The third planter is resplendent with a double flowering plum surrounded by red carnations.


Every time I turn around he's planting more spring colour: This is an Alpine Currant surrounded by pansies.








Confession: All these blooming plants and shrubs were in the greenhouse.  This is their brave excursion to the unprotected outside world.  Hope they flourish!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Overdue

I'm way overdue on writing a post here.  Just enjoying the warmth, the morning walks, the afternoon swims, the occasional jaunt out to do a little shopping with dear Sis, etc. to want to sit down and write a bit for the blog.

Life is good in Arizona.  There are lots of activities to choose from in our gated community, lots of friendly people and the weather just continually cooperates.

On Friday some fellows with a truck are going to help me move a few pieces of furniture from the one bedroom condo to the two bedroom condo.  Our plan is to stay in that larger home next winter and rent out this smaller unit.  It was a good place to stay this past winter, but I find the kitchen too small to cook the way we usually do--everything from scratch.  It will also be very good to have a separate room for the two laptops and the sewing machine, let alone all the projects I like to work on.

Sunday afternoon I went to an "Art is Alive in Surprise" festival in the community park behind the regional library.  What fun to be mingling with many happy people, strolling through the exhibits, viewing the excellent art displays (painting, pottery, jewelry, carving, etc.) and seeing the families having a picnic in the park.

Last week Tuesday I had a "brush" with the health care system here.  I realized I was getting a UTI, so my dear Sis dropped me off at an "urgent care" clinic.  The waiting room was full when we got there at 9 a.m., and I realized it would be a long wait.  Too bad I hadn't thought to take along my library book or my knitting!  At 12:30 I finally saw a doctor and soon was fixed up with a prescription for an antibiotic.

She (the Dr.) asked what pharmacy to email the Rx to, and I chose the Walgreens on Bell, not realizing how far away that was.  Good thing I'm used to walking: it was a 20 minute walk west to the Walgreens.  West is the opposite direction from home.  There was a wait for the prescription to be filled, and fortunately, I found an interesting book right there, a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which I picked up and started reading. (I bought the book on the way out.) After about 40 minutes I asked, and, yes, the prescription was waiting ready in the drawer.  I had thought they would call me when it was ready, as they do in our local pharmacy at home.

By that time it was almost 2 p.m. and I had had nothing to eat or drink since 7 in the morning.  I found a Subway store and had a sandwich and "large" diet coke.  What a monster that was: 40 ounces!  I drank about half and threw the rest away in the ladies' room sink.

Then I headed home.  The temperature was about 92ºF at that time, and I had to walk for 40 minutes along a very busy road.  I was wearing long black slacks, a black short sleeved shirt and a long sleeved fuchsia blouse.  By the time I got home I was completely soaking wet with sweat and popped into the shower to a refreshing clean up.

Oh, and the 10 minute visit with the Dr. and the urine test amounted to $125.  Not cheap entertainment!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

In the Warm

Well, I've been back in Arizona for a little over 48 hours now.  The weather is, of course, marvellous.  In the morning I go for an hour walk, half of that hour with my dear Sis.  Yesterday I went to the quilting group and put together a charity quilt that I need to do the machine quilting on.  I just happened to return the day they had their quilters' luncheon.  I enjoy that group of women a lot!  Are quilters always such nice people?

Today Dear Sis and I went to an art show right here in the community center of our village.  There were many beautiful paintings, mostly watercolours.  I met a woman named Mardell who is going to teach a water colour class next October, November and December.  Wonderful!  Just what I would like to be part of.

Then I had even better news from her: she is also a musician and is a member of a chamber orchestra that meets near here, composed of all retired people who live in this area.  They are short of viola players, so when we come down next fall I'll take along my viola.  I will be thrilled to be part of a string group again.  I have missed that so much and had even voiced the thought to the Dear One that perhaps that activity in my life had come to an end, not because I was willing to forgo the pleasure, but because it just wasn't available to me where we live in Alberta.  So that was wonderful news for me to hear.

Then I went to the pool for a session of swimming and sitting in the sun reading and knitting.  Came home around 5 p.m. for a light supper and then talked with the Dear One for a bit by phone.

What a lovely day this has been!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Missed Goal

The current major quilt is off the design
wall, and it was looking very bare.  So a "new" current project takes its place. >>>>
This top was partially finished some time ago.  I really like how dynamic it is, but it looks a little bit "tame" when hung this way.  Right side up shows more motion.

Quilt Club met this past Tuesday and I finished sewing this top together that day.  It's hanging sideways here.  It measures 60" x 72" without borders.  The black strips and small blocks to the left are being considered for a border.  Not sure yet what will eventually come about.

I had hoped to finish the major quilt I was working on before going away for a month, but that didn't happen.  There was just a bit too much to do yet, so that project is folded up and put away in the quilting stash closet.

I probably won't post for a few days, as I will be travelling.  Going south to the warm place!


Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Breakfast Treat

Years ago Pillsbury had a jingle in a TV ad that ran "Nothing says lovin' like something from the oven...."  I took that to heart, and when we moved to Alberta in 1971 with our four kids I decided to make all the baked goods we eat: bread, buns, cakes, cookies, scones, etc.

This morning I needed to make something for breakfast and thought of scones, just plain ones this time, made with butter of course, with a bit of whole wheat flour added in.

What a treat!  A hot scone cut in half and loaded with homemade cherry jelly!

There were ten of them.  Jim ate four and I ate one------There are now five left, enough for another breakfast at a later date.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

An Idea

 This morning as I was trimming 1/2 square triangles I had an idea.  My green cutting mat, which I've had for many years, is getting very beat up where I do most of the squaring up of blocks.  I've used it with the numbers right side up and reversed.  This morning I thought, I should try turning the mat over and seeing if the blank side is the same material, giving a new cutting surface.  And YEAH!  It was a fresh, good cutting surface.

The funny thing about it was that as soon as I turned the mat over the "new cutting mat odor" rose from the surface.  I was so surprised that it smelled new, just because that side had always been face down on the cutting table.

Yesterday I was able to finish only 6 blocks.  I try to do 8 each day, and sew them together into rows and attach the new rows to the ones already finished.  It was just not a good sewing day.

This quilt is probably the most difficult I've ever made, and that's because it is just chock full of points that have to match exactly.  Because the background is a pretty stark white, any slight discrepancy in a point match shows up.  There are hardly any blocks in this quilt that have not had at least one seam ripped out and resewed.  Many intersections have been redone three times, some four, and one memorable one was redone six times!  I am really, really sick of ripping out and redoing.

But as you see in the photo, I'm nearly finished with the last panel.  I have just two and a half more rows of four blocks each and then this panel is complete.  The making of the three layer "sandwich" and machine quilting don't take all that long.  I would really like to finish this before I leave for Arizona on the 18th of this month.  But I will quit working on it after next Tuesday's quilt club meeting.

This Morning

This morning it's coming down thick!  March and April are the months when, statistically, we get the most snowfall.  Kind of gruesome to contemplate right now!