Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Posting some Progress

 This first picture was taken at 9:15 on Monday evening.   We had been gone for the weekend with a preaching and organ playing assignment.  Came home on Monday afternoon.

I guess Jim was so anxious to get the patio finished that he "overdid" the work ethic thing a little bit.  But you know how it is when you've been involved in a big, complicated project, and you sense the end is drawing near.  Like a horse heading for the barn, it's hard to hold back.

This second picture was taken just this afternoon.
The bricks are all in place, the patio is almost finished.   We just need our carpenter to come and saw some of the extra bricks down to the size of the border bricks.  He has a saw that can handle this 4" thick bricks.  And then, IT'S FINISHED!!!

We did have a patio in this area, but picked up all the pavers and had 4 feet of cement laid around the foundation of the house.  Now the original patio pavers have been laid from the cement to the driveway.

On a hot summer afternoon this is a lovely place to sit and have your ice tea.  The area is shaded by the house and there's usually a bit of breeze here to refresh you.  We will certainly enjoy being out here again!

 On the quilting front I'm not making a whole lot of progress.  That was mainly because last week I spent four afternoons preparing the organ music for this past Sunday.  Same assignment for the next two Sundays, but I have most of the music for this coming Sunday picked out already.

On Saturday I took a break from doing what needs to be done, cut out and sewed on a tote bag for myself.  I machine embroidered my initials on the back and added two pockets at the bottom.

On the front side I inset a chenille heart.  This project is a sample to show the quilt club at their first meeting in September, to drum up some interest in making chenille.

The bag needs a lining and the straps attached.

I'm hoping to also make a pillow for a sample of chenille.  And I have a jacket I made for myself some years ago.  That was before I got my digital camera, so I don't have any pictures of it on file.  Maybe some other time

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Patio Progress

On Monday evening our carpenter Rick came and made the form for the sand base for the new patio.  It had to be sloped slightly toward the driveway so that water will run away from the house.  Rick is a very careful carpenter and did a beautiful job on this task.

Tuesday Jim filled the form in with sand.

Today Joshua came and put the gloss finish on the exposed aggregate and also compacted the sand base for the patio.

Here you see Jim inspecting his handiwork.

He has laid the rest of the "path" blocks on the sand base.

At the moment he is now laying the patio blocks on the right hand side of the path.  It won't be long before the patio is complete and we can once again enjoy sitting out back in the afternoons.  When the weather is hot the patio is shaded by the house in the late afternoon and there is usually a nice little breeze there to keep you cool.

Jim is a grower, not a builder, but when "push comes to shove" he can do some surprising things.  He felt that the careful building of the form was beyond his knowledge and ability in carpentry, so we were glad that Rick was able to do that part.

Soon the patio will be finished.  I'll be sure to post a picture of the finished area.

Now I wish I could finish a few of my projects.

Yesterday Susan brought over a huge box of fabric.  I spent some time that afternoon sorting.  I kept back some piles that will be useful to me, but I have three large boxes of groups of fabric to hand out at the beginning meetings of the two quilt clubs.  It's so fun to see the ladies sorting through these freebies.  Like kids on Christmas morning!

I'm scheduled to play organ for six church services on the next three Sundays.  I haven't touched an organ since August of 2012, so it's a bit of a project.  I was at church on Tuesday and this morning.  Tuesday was an eye opener: Wow, do you need practice! Today was quite a bit better.  Tomorrow and Saturday should allow me to polish up the music for the first Sunday.  I have the morning service for the second Sunday all chosen.  If I work ahead and practice diligently, I should be all right with it.

There are few things in life more satisfying that playing organ for a congregation that is singing heartily!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


I was a little bit too eager last night!  After preparing the three layer "sandwich" of backing, batting and quilt top I went to my sewing machine and began quilting this half.

First I sewed three seams across the quilt near the middle, stitching in the ditch between the blocks.  I used invisible thread on the quilt top, and a variegated thread in the bobbin that matched the backing.

After the crosswise seams I did two lengthwise seams, just from the centre to the bottom.

By that time it was 8:15 and I decided it was time to quit for the evening.  I picked up the quilt from the sewing machine and laid it over the dining room table.

WHAT'S THIS?  How come it's so wrinkled?  That doesn't usually happen.  Especially not when the quilt has been spray basted with 505, a repositionable spray glue, which holds the layers firmly in place.

I started investigating and discovered that the reason the glue hadn't held was because in my rush to start sewing I had spray basted only half of the quilt top!  Well, we all do make stupid mistakes at times.

This morning I picked out the seams and now it's waiting to be basted.  For real this time!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Coming Along

I'm so encouraged!  I've had a hard time this summer getting to the end of a project.  Some of the projects have been rather large, and it's no wonder that they take a long time to finish.  One example of that was the job of painting the railing on the balcony.  I'm so glad that was finished in July already!

Another project that I want to finish soon is S's quilt.  Last week I finally got all the 9 patch blocks resewn.  Quite a few of them had turned out too small, and needed to be taken apart and redone.  The problem was that my 1/4" foot made a fat 1/4" seam.  By moving the needle to the right I was able to correct that.

Today I laid out half of the top and made the three layer "sandwich" of backing, batting and top.  Both the backing and the top needed to be pressed carefully again. 

 S. and I were very surprised to discover that we were very short on backing material.  We have only 56" length of the 108" backing fabric.  This is definitely a mistake.  I remember when Lorraine was cutting the backing she came across a flaw and cut a portion off, and then restarted.  I think perhaps we came home with the first cut, the one up to the flaw, and the amount we actually needed stayed there at the shop.

We're fortunate that I also bought a large piece of the same backing for a quilt in progress.  We'll be able to use that backing for the other half of S's quilt.

I will begin the machine quilting tomorrow.  I plan to first quilt "in the ditch" throughout and then later possibly do something decorative in the plain beige squares.

Work on the back patio continues.  There, too, we've had some problems.  It took lots of patience, and our two heads to figure out just exactly how to relay the blocks.  We think we have it right now.

A carpenter will create a wooden frame for the sand underlay.  Joshua will compact the sand or we'll borrow his compacter and do it ourselves.
Then, finally, we can lay the blocks.

Yesterday Dickens brought home a "pocket gopher."  It's basically a type of mole.  We have lots of them in the front landscape.  They make quite a mess.  He dropped it on the sand for the back patio, but because it wasn't dead, it managed to dig itself in overnight.  Dickens was trying to get at it this morning, but didn't succeed.  Later Jim dug it out.  It had died overnight, worn out from its ordeal.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Fresh Fruit

We're picking lots of things these days: peas, beans, Swiss chard, spinach, lettuce, zucchini, beets, Evans cherries (good for tarts and pies).  We also have some fantastic strawberries to enjoy for breakfast lately.  These monsters formed part of our fruit salad this morning.  Do you know how good fresh homegrown strawberries are?  They almost seem like a different fruit from the ones you buy in the supermarket, just as homegrown tomatoes completely outshine anything available in a regular grocery store.  Perhaps if you have a farmer's market available you can find some wonderful freshly picked produce, but, really, nothing equals something just picked in your own garden!

Saturday, August 10, 2013


After I made the last post, I looked at the blog and realized that I had omitted to post the pictures of the pour itself.

This was a tremendous big truck that came.  The top of the hood is taller than I am!

The pour begins.  First cement down the chute and into the forms.  Looks at this point as if Joshua is the only working.

But as soon as there's more poured everybody gets into the act, shoving the wet, heavy cement around, making sure it's packed down solid and level.  I was really impressed with how strenuous this work is!

Cement Work

Thursday morning at 7 a.m. Josh was back to power wash the new cement.  We had been quite surprised by how brown the cement was.  We thought we'd chosen something more of a rusty red.  The power washing strips off the smooth top layer and exposes the grave underneath.  When it was finished we thought it looked great!

Then he spent a long time washing off the cement that had splashed up onto the house, the doors and the windows.  You can see the splash up on the wall and door of the garage behind him.  He did suggest that I wash the doors, windows and window frames again that day to remove the final, dusty layer of splash up.  I did that, and it all looks great now.

So now we have a nice four foot apron surround those sides of the house.

We had a brick patio outside the back door that
Jim had created several years ago.  Those bricks
had all been lifted up to make room for this new construction.  Now Jim plans to relay them in this muddy area between the house and the driveway.

Last night he was trying out the fit of the bricks, starting with the path from the house to the driveway.

 This is roughly how it will look, except that the nearer portion with have the other pattern of patio blocks on either side, stretching along that entire back wall of the house.

But before the patio can be laid, the end juniper needed to be removed.  The bucket on the tractor is good for that job.

Jim also brought several tractor buckets of sand to the area to provide a base for the new patio.  That sand has to settle for a while, then be compacted and levelled and then he can relay the blocks to form the new extended patio.

This is the second of his major jobs this summer (the first being cleaning out the pond in the front yard), and we're both very pleased that it has progressed this far.

We are also both very gratified and pleased with the great job that Joshua did, with his crew, in preparing, pouring and finishing the cement.  They worked quickly and well, and the result is lovely.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Lots Going On

We're having some cement work done around two of the back sides of the house.  Our house has five sides, three of them on the back.  One of the three has the garage attached.  These two sides are the one facing East and the one facing North East.    
                                       Levelling and compacting the base:

They will pour an apron of cement four feet wide, attached to the house and sloping slightly away.  This should end any penetration of rain water into the basement.

We've chosen a red brick coloured exposed aggregate, which will be bordered with the grey and red bricks of the former patio.

They plan to do the pour this afternoon.

I'll post pictures again later when it's finished.

We're really happy this is being done.  It's a very good upgrade.

Creating the forms:

Making more forms:

Drilling the holes to anchor it to the house wall:

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Great Entertainment

On Thursday afternoon we were in Rosebud, Alberta for the matinee of "Cotton Patch Gospel," a modern retelling of the gospel story set in Georgia in the 60's.  The productions at Rosebud are always of highest quality, and this one was superb!  There are many musical numbers and the band (violin, mandolin, guitar, banjo and string bass) was fantastic.  Especially impressive were the banjo player and the string bass player.  We both thoroughly enjoyed the play.

Friday evening I attended a perfectly marvellous concert right here in town.  It was part of the first annual Rosebud Chamber Music Festival.  The performance was in the Atrium, a beautiful two story space in one of the newest building in town, on the property of the local Bible College.

The concert began with a fellow singing two Schubert songs (in German).  Then came a performance of the Piano Quartet in g minor by Mozart and the concert ended with the Piano Quintet No 1 in A major by Dvorak.  We were treated to the highest quality playing by national-class musicians who were obviously enjoying themselves.  The viola player is a young man, originally from Rosebud, whom I knew and played with in string groups when he was a teenager.  In fact, I arranged a chamber music concert in the same venue about five years ago in which he was the featured soloist.  He is now the Principal Violist of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra.  Plus, he's a nice guy.

Afterwards we all walked a block down the street to the Arts Academy for a wine and hors d'oevres reception there.  What a great treat all the way 'round, especially for a small town like ours!  We all hope they do this again new year!