Thursday, January 29, 2009

Flowers for Me!

My husband sent these to me at work for my birthday yesterday. Well, YOU knew I wasn't at work yesterday. Why didn't he?

It's the thought that counts, right? And I did get them when I arrived at school this morning.

You SHOULD go here (click on the picture)

and check out the fabulous, wonderful giveaway. You know how much I love giveaways (even if I've never in my life won anything). It's so much fun to find new blogs!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Birthday Giveaway Draw: The winner is...

Despite my VERY young age (ahem, what number did you think was in front of that 9?), I am an old-fashioned girl who doesn't know how to use a random-number generator, so I've printed out all your names and put them into a basket.

I'll reach in and pull one out:

Do you see that? The winner is...

Shirley! (I have no idea why this picture won't load the right way)
Congratulations! I'll send you an email, Shirley, and get your info. Thanks to everyone who visited my blog and entered the draw. I hope you keep coming back.

Now I'm off to work... yes, even on my birthday, they're making me work. Actually, I'm heading to an in-service, which is worse than work. I'm questioning why I keep signing up for these things when I have so much trouble staying awake if I'm not the one teaching, talking, and moving around. Let's just say, I really sympathize with my students who have to listen to me rabbit on for an hour and a half every class. But at least I TRY to be interesting.

On the upside, lunch is included. Hope it's diet-friendly. I could use all the help I can get.
Have a great day!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday, Monday... I miss the weekend already

Loser Monday update:

'Nuff said. Let's move on.

You HAVE to head over to bitty bits and pieces and see what Kim is giving away. Wow! She has some absolutely gorgeous prizes. On second thought. Maybe you shouldn't. If you don't enter, I have a better chance of winning.

I had a productive weekend. I started a few days ago with this:

What is this? It's a bag of fabric, flannel scraps, to be specific. I used to teach sewing (and a host of other subjects) at a junior high. The grade 7 project was pajama pants and the students always gave me their scraps. I had intended to make a denim and flannel rag quilt out of them, but it never happened. When I was looking for a pattern to make a baby quilt for Jane Marie, I dug them out and produced this:

Believe me, there are still lots of flannel scraps left over just in case I ever do decide to make that rag quilt.
I just realized I forgot to make a label for the quilt... and I already washed it. I guess I won't be mailing parcels tomorrow after all.
It's Monday again. Too bad - I was really enjoying the weekend. Lucky for you, though, there are still a couple of days to enter my Birthday Giveaway! Just scroll down and leave a comment on the Giveaway post. Next time I talk to you, I will announce the winner. Oh, and for the record, the car is not part of the giveaway haha. And it wasn't a birthday present either. Mr. P is generous, but not that generous.
Hope your Monday isn't too painful. ☺

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Blogging Award Goes To...

Pat of A Little of This and a Little of Pat has given me a blogging award for, she says, "being a kind and generous person." Well, I am honoured! Thanks Pat! You have made me feel very welcome here and I appreciate your kindness. I would love to pass it right back to you!

Being the new girl in the neighbourhood isn't easy, you know, but I'm having fun meeting people and reading other blogs. I've got a huge list (more than what's in my sidebar) of blogs I visit. Therefore, I am passing this award on to some of my favourite bloggers:

Sharon at Red Geranium Cottage - Sharon's blog makes me laugh out loud (NOT just lol, but actually, really laugh out loud). Sharon was also the very first person to comment on my blog; she has been a great source of encouragement in blogging and the Diet Challenge 2009. Cheers, Sharon!

Andrea at Welsh Quilter - Andrea always has such nice projects to share - beautiful stitchery and neat ideas that make me want to do more. Thanks for the inspiration, Andrea!

Lola at ...And Sew on - Here's another gal who is quick to share her creations and her philosophical musings. I love checking in to see what she's working on. Brava, Lola!

Autum at Creative Little Daisy - She's just so sweet! And have you seen the pictures of Bayleigh? They'll make your heart melt. Autum's blog was one of the first I started to read on a regular basis. Hugs to you, Autum!

Dawn at Gahan Girls - Dawn posts the most beautiful pictures, especially of her dog Gideon. And I love her house (from the photos, anyway). Plus, she always replies to comments. Thanks, Dawn!

Lucy at Attic 24 - I don't crochet, but Lucy sure makes me wish I did. You should see the blankets she makes! Beautiful, Lucy!

Jen at Miss Punkie Pie - Jen just makes me laugh. Her posts are witty and interesting. Not to mention that her daughter has the cutest little face!

Anna at Thimbleanna - Anna's posts are like reading a story book with interesting "characters" (see her sidebar). She is always so positive and seems to enjoy everything she does!

Choosing only 8 bloggers was really hard. Honestly, there are so many of you out there writing great stories, showing us amazing quilts and other projects, hosting giveaways, giving advice, answering questions. I blogland and all of you!

The weekend looks promising, once again. I feel so blessed to have had so much time to sew lately. At school we're in that in-between time before semester 2 starts. My marking is caught up so I'm free from having to bring home work in the evenings and on weekends. That said, I still didn't get anything done during the week. It was busy in other ways. Today, after I make the obligatory phone calls to my mum and my friend Cheryl, I will hide up in my sewing room and attempt to finish Jane Marie's baby quilt. I'm hoping to mail it out to her on Monday. No pictures to show you yet, so I'll leave you with this:

Ummm... it's a picture of my new car! (except mine is black) This is part of the reason I didn't get any quilting done this week.

Don't forget to enter my Birthday Giveaway! XO

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Announcement: Giveaway!

Remember when you were in school and the ANNOUNCEMENTS came over the PA system in the morning? Well, they still do that in schools. Nobody ever listens to them, though. That's what email is for haha.

Aaaanyway... I have an announcement of my own.

A week from today is my birthday... and it's a very significant birthday... it ends with a 9. That's all I'm tellin' ya. In honour of this birthday NOT ending with a zero, I'm having a giveaway. It's my birthday, but you get the presents!

So, just leave me a comment on this post by midnight on January 27 answering the question: What do you want to accomplish by your next birthday? On my birthday, January 28, I will draw a winner. If you mention this giveaway in your blog and provide a link to mine, I will give you an extra entry (just be sure to let me know you did).

What can you win? For starters...

  • Your own Itty Bitty Kitty (this one was made for my Mum; you will get a fresh one
  • Create a Quilt by Joyce Mori
  • Quilt block Wallies
  • A package of 6" charm squares (you tell me the colours you like best or if you'd rather have flannel)
  • Whatever else I dig up that will fit in the box

Happy Quilting (or knitting, or sewing, or paper-crafting, or whatever it is that you do and love) and remember:

We do what we must so that we can do what we want.

(from the movie The Great Debaters).

Monday, January 19, 2009

Loser Monday

Can you relate? I'm thinking this is the exact reason I didn't lose any weight this past week! What else could it be? Where's that wagon, 'cause I think I fell off it again. Sigh. I'm restarting TODAY. Really, I wrote down breakfast in my little orange notebook (it was 4 points).

I'm also going to blame it on my low iron and vitamin B12 levels. Yep, that's what the doctor said this morning. I need to buy multivitamins with iron, and get a B12 shot every month. I'm hoping that gives me enough energy to actually make it to the gym every couple of days. Lately I've been coming home from work and just dozing off in the big, comfy chair. When I wake up, I'm kinda dopey and I don't feel like doing anything, least of all exercising. My workouts have been infrequent. So, where's that wagon I need to get back on?

How often do you weigh yourself? I've been doing it every day, sometimes multiple times a day (just to see if it's working, ya know), but I think I might have to cut down to once a week. Perhaps Monday morning... bucknaked... before breakfast. That oughta do it!

Enough about dieting. Everytime I try to lose weight, I find myself OBSESSED with food, like the glorious supper I cooked Saturday night. Chicken with Peach Salsa (using the WW corn flake chicken recipe, but I had no corn flakes so I used crushed wheat thins instead) with parsnips (yummmm), green beans, and brown rice. Oh. So. Good.

This is the peach salsa, made in those last dying days of summer before school started.

I need to think about something other than food for a while. Yeah... I spent the weekend sewing a baby quilt for Jane Marie. I'll post a picture when I have it quilted and the binding on. Sewing the top is never a problem, but it sometimes takes me DAYS to figure out how to quilt it, and I approach this step with DREAD. I mean, I put all this effort (and fabric) into creating the top, what if I RUIN it with a crappy quilting design or uneven stitching? Arrrggghhh.

Okay, panic attack over. On with the day!

Oh, and stay tuned. I've got something good planned for later this week...

Oh and oh again...
JoJo at Home Sweet Home is having a giveaway for her 100th post. Visit her here to enter! I did and here's my answer to her question:

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Four Feet and a Tail

This is Rex. Our first-born. My husband and I got Rex about two weeks after we were married, so he's 17 1/2 years old now, and still going strong. We named him Rex because my husband wanted a dog, so I figured a cat with a dog's name was the next best thing. But the name suits him. "Rex" means king, and he was truly the king of the house (and the neighbourhood) in his younger days. It was also a fitting name because, as I wrote home to my mother, "He Rex the furniture, he Rex the curtains, he Rex a good night's sleep."

And this is Abby. She's 9. Abby's a real sweetie, but a bit timid. She doesn't like loud noises and will hide behind furniture during storms. She does, however, love body heat, so she's always snuggling up to someone.

Meet Derby. He's the handsome fellow in the picture at the top of the page. Derby is 3 1/2 and as devilish as he looks. He's an attention-seeker, a food stealer, and Daddy's boy. He thinks he's the Alpha Dog. (He's wrong; I'm the Alpha Dog.)

And this is an Itty Bitty Kitty I made the other night. I was bound and determined to do something creative and finish it that evening. It probably took me longer to find the pattern in my messy sewing room than it took to make him. I think he's pretty cute, so he's going to be tucked into the parcel I'm sending to my mother (with the Union Jack pillow). I think she'll give him a good home!

And for the rest of the weekend, I plan to sew a baby quilt for sweet Jane Marie. I was inspired by this at Sister's Choice Quilts. I don't have time to order the pattern and it looks easy enough for me to figure out so... I'll let you know how it goes.

The weekend looks very promising - no marking! Hope you enjoy yours.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


THIS is what I will be doing tomorrow night. My dance class starts up for the winter session. I'm so excited!

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Quickie

I know what you're thinking, but don't get any crazy ideas... this is just a quick little post.

First, to say thank you to all who left comments about my last night/early this morning post. I truly appreciate your concern and advice regarding my daughter's bullying situation. To keep you updated: I decided to step out of my comfort zone and take matters into my own hands, so I spoke to the three main players about their behaviour (with a colleague present at the time). I don't know if it will change the way they treat others in the future, but at least I got the message across that the school, and I personally, will not tolerate bullying in any form. All three apologized in person to my daughter and the nasty comments on Facebook were deleted, at my request, by the owner of the page. I will follow up by advising the administration and the school constable, mainly to cover my butt and to have it on record just in case it ever happens again. Again, thank you for being so caring and supportive!

Second, Codi at Death by Denim was a late joiner to the Whirl into Winter Giveaway. There are still a few days for you to enter her draw. She is giving away the cutest little apron patterns, as well as some fat quarters, a couple of quilting magazines, and some surprises. It's definitely worth checking out!
Take care. xoxo

Losing It!

I'm losing it! The weight, that is. I'm on the wagon with the rest of the crew at Sharon's Diet Challenge 2009. I think I'm doing okay. On Boxing Day, I brilliantly decided to start a "herbal de-tox" program. I felt I'd overindulged a tad too much in the couple of weeks leading up to Christmas. This program was brutal. Twelve days without sugar, dairy products, wheat, yeast, tropical fruit, peanut butter, tea, coffee, yada yada yada. And the nasty little herbal supplements. Ugh! They tasted simply awful. But I persevered and lasted to the twelfth day and lost 5 lbs doing it. Really! That's what happens when you munch on green beans and snack on cashews for 12 days.
BUT... after my sentence was up, I spent a day eating whatever I wanted, against the advice of the "program" which suggested re-introducing foods gradually. Oh no, I ate chocolate and bread and cheese and... well, you get the idea. Boy, did my body rebel. A word of caution, folks: follow instructions. I was sick for two days after.

Yes, I learned my lesson. I have embarked on a more moderate eating plan, based on the Weight Watchers program. I used to be a WW leader and have always found that program to be sensible and doable (if I stay on track, that is). Yes, I am back on the wagon. This is the wagon I have chosen to ride in.

This is why I need a wagon in the first place. (Oh, yes, I am posting a before picture. Are you happy now, Sharon?) It is just a picture of the "body" because, you see, I am very vain. It is truly an awful picture of me and I think it shows exactly why I'm participating in the challenge! Any time I even think of falling off that wagon, I will remember that I posted this picture for all to see and judge and I have a commitment (or I need to be committed hmmm).

The other thing I'm losing is my temper. Bear with me while I vent a little, would you. My 16-year-old daughter is being bullied. Over the internet. And I am just sick about it. People who were supposed to be her friends have been making extremely rude comments about her on Facebook. Not only is it nasty, but I think it is cowardly. Some of these kids are my students, which makes it twice as bad. They are sweet as sugar to me, then treat my daughter like garbage. Not to her face. Oh no, they wouldn't dare. But online, anything goes. I am in a very sticky position here. I can't do anything about it because it might be seen as unprofessional; but I cannot sit idly by while my daughter's heart is breaking. What would you do?

And I'm losing sleep. Sunday nights, I have so much trouble falling asleep. It might be because I sleep for an extra couple of hours on Sunday mornings. It might be the anticipation of another work week. In any case, we're now in the wee hours of Monday morning and I'm WIDE awake. If I wasn't so afraid of making late-night mistakes, I'd turn on the sewing machine and work on a project or two. Zzzzzzzz.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Brand Spankin' New

Yesterday, I put together the January block of Anne's BOM mystery quilt. I am fairly pleased with the outcome, but I'm a bit of an A-type personality, so while I want perfection, I'm never quite able to achieve it. I don't do embroidery... well, I guess I do now. I actually had to google "stem stitch" to find out how to do it. I have NEVER been able to do a French knot so over the years of cross-stitching I have improvised my own method, which is more laborious than it's supposed to be, but it works for me. So, here is my block.

Funny story (sort of) about the background fabric. Whenever I go looking for fabric, I always have in mind what I want... and I can never find it. I end up having to settle for something similar to what I envisioned. I went to a nearby quilt store looking for a dot print, but there was no such thing. After looking and looking, I had to summon courage to ask if they had a white-on-white dot. No. Instead, I found this little print with tiny stars all over it, had the lady cut it, and left fairly satisfied. Only to get home and realize I hadn't bought enough. Sigh. So now I have to go back and get more. I know... most of you would just look at this as an opportunity to do more fabric shopping... but I have a confession. Quilt shops scare me. I am surrounded by thousands of metres of expensive fabric, the walls are hung with gorgeous quilts made by incredibly talented women, and all I want is a metre of white tone-on-tone. If I had a million dollars to spend, I would be immobilized. I wouldn't know where to start. It is a humbling experience, being in a quilt shop. Oh well, I'll just have to suck it up and go back for the rest of my white fabric. I'll wait until I regain my courage.

Today is my friend Lyra's 40th birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Lyra is the first of our "group" to turn the big 4-0. She's MUCH older than me haha. She's not a blogger or a quilter so she probably won't see this. She is, however, one of the most wonderful and kind people I've ever met. We've been friends since grade 8 and, although we don't see each other very often because I moved to the other side of the country, she is and will always be one of my best friends. We share history - lots of it - and I love her dearly. Aren't girl friends the best!?!

Today is a special day for another reason. My friend Bethany (who is a quilter, but not a blogger) gave birth to a beautiful little girl today. And she named her Jane! (I'm sure not after me, but it's still a great name.) Little Jane will get a quilt from me, of course, and that means that I will have to change my priority project list. I was planning to make the Snowman in the Woods quilt first, but then I decided to make my Mum's Union Jack pillow (so I did).

Then I wanted to finish another quilt that I had started cutting out but never got to. It's called "Let it Snow" and features three appliqued skiers skiing through pine-tree blocks (for my friend, Cheryl, who was a competitive skier and instructor). Now it looks as though those projects will be put aside because I think Little Jane needs a quilt first. I'm sure Bethany's mom will make her one and it will be gorgeous, but what kind of friend would I be if I knew how to do this and just didn't? I will have to look though books and magazines to find something special. Bethany is kind of a zany girl, so her daughter will have to get a bright, modern quilt. Oh no! Does that mean more fabric shopping? Will I have to go back to the quilting store sooner than anticipated? I know - I'll check my stash!

Have a great weekend everybody!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Pay it Forward

Pat at A Little of This and a Little of Pat is hosting a Pay it Forward giveaway! How does this work? If you haven't seen the movie, the basic idea is when someone does a good deed for you, instead of paying them back, you pay it forward by choosing to pass on a good deed to someone else. So, in this giveaway, I will choose THREE people who comment on this post and express interest in participating. Each of those three people will receive a handmade gift from me. They must, in turn, choose three people to whom they will pay it forward.

So, here are the rules:
1. If you want to participate, let me know by replying to this post.
2. Once I have three people, I will send an email to let you know and give you more details. I will also send out a survey to determine your personal tastes so I can (hopefully) tailor the gift to your preferences.
3. You must then agree to Pay it Forward by posting on your blog and inviting three people to participate.
4. You will send those three people a handmade gift; they will then agree to participate and Pay it Forward.
5. You must have a blog to participate and you must send out your gifts within six months.

Sound like fun?

And speaking of fun, Anne at Bunny Hill Designs is offering a FREE block of the month. Each month, she will post the pattern for a block in a mystery quilt. January's is absolutely adorable and I'm already excited about what February will bring. Go over to Bunny Tales and have a look.
If that's not enough good news for today, Dawn at Gahan Girls is celebrating her first blogaversary. She's having a giveaway to mark the occasion and the prize is one of her beautiful handmade journals. So, what are you waiting for? Go and visit her!
See you next time!
Edited to add:
WE HAVE THREE for the PIF! Woohoo!!!
Thanks girls. I'll be sending out information to your email.

Monday, January 05, 2009


Well, okay... I'm challenged in many ways. I can't crochet, I've never been able to do a cartwheel. But that's not the kind of challenge I'm referring to in the title. No, I'm talking about Diet Challenge 2009 with Sharon at Red Geranium Cottage. "Are you woman enough?" asked Sharon. "Heck, Yes!" I replied. And I joined a long list of others who are dedicating 2009 to getting fit(ter) and losing weight. Click on the picture in the sidebar (right) to find out more about this challenge. Thanks, Sharon, for inspiring us all!

The other challenge I'm facing this year is to start my Master's degree. I took a couple of courses a few years ago then started to reassess whether I actually wanted to invest the time and money in a degree that wouldn't increase my pay. I put it on hold because I really wasn't sure what I should do. Lately, though, I've had a resurgence of interest in furthering my education, not because it will allow me to make more money or secure a better position, but for my own interest and satisfaction. I love learning new things, whether it be a quilting technique, a new dance or whatever. The idea of taking courses for the next couple of years is exhiliarating! Crazy? Maybe, but I'm pretty excited about it. And the best thing about it is that I don't have to quit my job; I can take all the courses online - and it's not from an unknown college or university. The program is actually offered at the same university where I took my BA and my B.Ed so I know it to be a reputable school. My application is due January 31, so I'd better get moving on it!

And... I've been working on couple of little projects, inspired by Jane at Posy. She had posted pictures of a Union Jack pillow she'd made from floral fabrics. I thought it was the cutest thing and, being British myself, I felt I needed one too. I stayed true to the colours and produced this:
I'm now making one for my mum. The fabric in hers is delicious! I'll post a pic when it's all done and in the mail to her.

Finally, the first quilt project I hope to complete this year is "Snowman in the Woods". It's from the November/December 03 issue of Quiltmaker magazine. I bought a beautiful snowflake batik a couple of years ago, specifically for this quilt but it stayed locked away until I was ready to tacke the pattern (and had learned how to paper piece). I think it's time!

I'll be making the larger, 25-block version. I'll let you know how it progresses. I've already started cutting out the pieces and strips, but the next couple of weeks at work will be crazy and I know I'll be bringing home marking to do in the evenings. Sometimes life gets in the way of the fun, doesn't it?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Jane's Adventures in Blogland

I fell down the rabbit hole... and ended up in blogland. After spending far too much time on the computer reading other quilters' and crafters' blogs, I decided I should create my own (and spend yet more time on the computer?). We'll see how this adventure goes. In the lazy post-Christmas vacation days, it has been easy for me to delude myself into thinking I have tons of time. But I go back to work tomorrow. And I know it will be busy busy busy.

The first week of January is a time of reflection and planning. Like most people, I have made resolutions, even if I don't want to call them that. My resolutions this year include the usual: lose weight, exercise more, get organized. In addition, I plan to continue the Masters degree I started a few years ago and complete more quilting projects (instead of just buying the fabric and gazing longingly at the pattern). Whew. That seems like a lot of "stuff" to accomplish in the next 12 months. I'll start tomorrow... honest. Today will be spent doing laundry, preparing for classes tomorrow (I'm a high school teacher) and looking back. Yes, that's right. A bit of retrospection is an important ingredient in making goals for the future!

So... the first reflection is on past quilting projects. My love for quilting began with an advertisement for a book from Oxmoor publications called Quick and Easy Scrap Quilts. I latched onto a pattern called "Charm Stars" and vowed to make it for my daughter, who was then two or three. It took me years to collect the fabric and actually put the quilt together, but I did it. She's now 16 and that quilt is one of her prized possessions. I've made other projects since beginning that one, but it still remains my favourite, not least of all because of the excitement and optimism I felt as I was collecting fabrics and building the blocks. What was your "inspiration project"?