Monday, October 31, 2011

I've got a confession...

I've been reading trash again. I've already confessed to my guiltiest pleasure -  an unwholesome attraction to trashy historical romance novels. 

I've now sunk to even lower depths.  I've stumbled upon a series by Lauren Willig, which mashes a good old bodice ripper with (gulp...dare I say it?) chick lit!

I can't 'do' chick lit - post-feminist fluff, with too many pages devoted to lighthearted chit-chat of lip gloss, fashion, shopping, cocktails and the self-depricating inner voice. But I'm hooked. 

The hook here is that a contemporary romance story is laid over the historical story, as grad student Eloise Kelly researches the League of the Pink Carnation among the private papers of the devastatingly handsome and rich Colin Selwick.  That love affair is yet to be requited, but each book has ended in the happily-ever-after marriage of another historical couple.

I've already read the first five in the series:

      The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (spring 1803)

      The Masque of the Black Tulip (spring/summer 1803)
      The Deception of the Emerald Ring (summer 1803)
      The Seduction of the Crimson Rose (autumn 1803)
      The Mischief of the Mistletoe (winter 1803)

...and after work tonight, Hubby and I walked over to the library and I picked up the next two books in the series.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

What another nice weekend!

I spent today sewing more blocks for Shirt Stripe Boxes.  I even pieced together a few "odd" blocks with left over triangles.  Looks like Sundays are turning into my favourite day to sew! 

See...I still don't have a design wall, or a sewing room for that matter, so I have to drag my gear out to the dining room table, so any day but Sunday is out of the question.  It's just not worth the effort to bring set everything up, just to have to turn around and put it away again! 

I even tried my hand a making some "crumb blocks" but nothing ready for the camera!

Friday night, Hubby and I joined the neighbours for a couple of glasses of wine...which spiralled into a couple of bottles of wine...and when the Tequila shots started, it was darn near time for me to go home to bed!  The neighbours are really nice kids, and they think we are "the best neighbours we ever had!"  Wonder who our competetion was - LOL!!!

Saturday night (the adult Hallowe'en) we went to Brantford to see Itty Bitty play a gig at a little bar there.  He hooked up with the other three members through an add on kijiji, and it has worked out to be a really good part time job for him while he's at university.  We only stayed for one set - but they sounded pretty good!  Itty Bitty is definitely the baby among the group -- the drummer is old enough to be his grandfather (and I asked him to look after the wee laddie for us).


We came home to a ...uh... bustling downtown about 11:30 last night.  The sidewalks were filled with university students, under-dressed, and over-drunk.  The costumes were bizarre.  Why is it that young women chose to dress up for Hallowe'en as prostitutes? The most outlandish costume I saw was the Sexy Holsteins.  Imagine, cow ears and horns, a tiny mini skirt -- thank goodness their udders were covered! 

It seems the city buses were rerouted to accomodate the huge influx of party goers that filled the streets downtown.  We were stopped by police on our way into the downtown core in a "Ride Program".We had to walk from our parking garage around the block because the interior doors and elevators that we usually use were locked, so we got to enjoy the sights and sounds.  There was even a 3 piece band performing right on the sidewalk in front of my office! I'm sure the sidewalks were awash in vomit this morning.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hot Flashes and Heart Burn

Rough night -- hot flashes AND heart burn. How is this fair? Finally around 3 am I had enough, got up and opened a window in the living room, took some heart burn medication, and laid on the couch with a chilly 6 degree breeze blowing on my feet.  I did manage to get a few hours of sleep before that damn alarm clock (Gibson) starting going off (meowing, because he knows when its time for him to get a dish of cream).  Spoiled brat.

So, I'm out in the country today, doing some community outreach.  Glad I brought some work from the office, because I haven't seen a single client all morning!

Monday, October 24, 2011

On the Floor

What a fantastic weekend I had! 

This might sound strange -- but I didn't feel like I HAD to try to relax really hard to get it all in.  I actually got to just relax.  Weird, eh?

I puttered around, stayed in my jammies most of Sunday - - my housework is all caught up - - and I got some reading in - - On Saturday, Hubby and I went to a rummage sale at a nearby church, and picked up a pair of great lamps for our living room, and grabbed a coffee on the walk back to the apartment. 

Plus!  Yesterday, I took my sewing machine apart, gave it a throrough cleaning, changed the needle, gave it a drop or two of oil, and did some SEWING!!  I've gotten some more blocks done for Shirt Stripe Boxes.  Three shirts in so far, and I've got a fourth cut up, and ready to go!

Friday, October 21, 2011

It's been a busy week...

Don't let the photos fool you, I haven't stitched a darn thing since Sunday.  But I remembered to upload the pics!

Ya, bad pic.  But I have six more hexi flowers to add to the pile.

And I did give into the urge to start another Kaffe Fasset Shirt Stripe Boxes. I've got another shirt all cut up into triangles, and all ready for sewing this weekend.

But in all other areas -- it's been busy.  Every day at work have been swamped.  Can it be just a few weeks ago that I was begging for referrals from my colleagues, and gratefully taking any grunt work off their hands?  Plus, I've been working on an essay that had to be sent in to my prof by midnight tonight - - every night this week typing, reading, researching, editing, rewriting.

I was out of town at a meeting all day -- in the same town as Itty Bitty.  So after the meeting, I picked him up and we went out to do a little shopping and dinner -- it was good to see him.  And even better to see that his residence room wasn't as outrageously appalling as I remember his big brother's being in his college days.

Monday, October 17, 2011

(Still No) Design Wall Monday

I appreciate all the design wall suggestions - had Hubby take a look at them, and hopefully I'll have something fixed up soon.

Surprise!  I got my sewing machine out!  And Gibby remembers what his job is....bite at pieces as they come through the feed dogs.

It's been a freaky weekend in Guelph.  Saturday was the 1st Annual Guelph Zombie Walk.  My mother-in-law was visiting this past weekend, and we were having coffee in the mall, when a blood covered man went lurching past.  What?!?!  Pretty soon a whole parade of raggedy, maimed, blood splattered, undead dragging past us. NEXT! Yesterday protesters took over the Square in front of our apartment to Occupy Guelph.  There's still folks out there in their tents in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Great Guild Night!

I had a good time at the Royal City Quilters' Guild last night!  Dwayne Wanner gave a fantastic talk on inspiration and challenges of quilting.  Take a look at his gallery; the quilts were beautiful.  He was a riveting speaker as well!  Any quilt guild should see if they can schedule Dwayne to come for a visit. 

Dwayne will be teaching at the Greenwood Quiltery here in Guelph.  I see the fall sessions are full, but a late winter session has been added.  Fifteen of his quilts are hanging in the gallery at Greenwood.  I told Hubby we would need to go--he loves art, and these quilts are definitely art!

I officially "joined" the guild last night, and to make my introduction, I decided to Show&Share some quilts that best reflect ME and my 'style'.  Of course I took three quilts that I made of recycled shirts: Postcards from Canada, Seven Shirts, and Shirt-Stripe Boxes.  I met Kathy (THE Kathy of Kathy's Quilts!!!) hehe..sorry Kathy....had to do it! who has used my design for Seven Shirts to teach a workshop.  I was thrilled to finally meet her -- such a small world!

As a new member, I received the cutest little pin cushion! I'll have to post a photo later.

The biggest surprise last night was HUBBY!  He had just left Monday, and here he was BACK!  He plans to spend the WHOLE WEEK with me.  He can stay forever -- he's been taking good care of me.  He had my lunch nearly ready when I got home at noon, and tonight for supper he made a lovely Italian meal.

Our beautiful weather seems to be gone now -- cool temperatures and drippy skies.  Ah, well.  It was nice while it lasted.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I don't have a design wall anymore (sigh)

I guess I'll have to make do with a "design couch". What do other quilters in rental accomodations do for their design walls? I was thinking that a temporary idea would be to double-sided tape an old flannelette sheet up on on of the closet doors. I know there are colapsible design walls that you can purchase, but....uh...I don't know if you know this about me? I'm cheap!

I guess I'll have to make do with a "design couch". What do other quilters in rental accomodations do for their design walls? I was thinking that a temporary idea would be to double-sided tape an old flannelette sheet up on on of the closet doors. I know there are colapsible design walls that you can purchase, but....uh...I don't know if you know this about me? I'm cheap!

While I was surfing around some of my old online haunts, I came upon Judy Laquidara's blog post: Design Wall Monday. And I wanted to get in on it, but design wall.  However, Design Couch is Gibby certified as an acceptible short-term solution.  Thank you Gibby.

I have no idea how I'm going to put these babies together, now that I'm up to 78!  I'll have to look around the 'net and see if I can find some inspiration.

Just Hangin' Out

Thankfully, Gibby has his naughty bits covered.  The dear old thing has been spending a great deal of time, these past few weeks, working on his predatory skills. He's been doing quite a lot of skulking, creeping, leaping, blitzing, and this morning, launched a full frontal attack, vaulting out from behind the bedroom door, attempting to sink his non-existant talons into my left thigh, and smacking his head off my crotch.  Operation aborted.  He's now on the dining room table, laying on my computer mousing trying to hatch it, I reckon.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


It's been a beautiful weekend.  Itty Bitty decided university residence long weekends were pretty lonely, so he came and spent the night in Guelph with us last night, and then we headed "home" today to have breakfast with my family, and turkey dinner with Hubby's this afternoon.

It was nice to see everyone, and of course the drive was lovely -- all the autumn colours are blazing!  This is my favourite season.

I had a chance to talk quilts with my S-I-L this afternoon, and that really got me itching to do some sewing.  So when I got back home I started pulling out some old projects.  I spent a bit of time working on a new block for Baltimore Folk Fusion.  Cut some pieces out, and pressed the background fabric.  Starting to lose the light, I switched to Grandmother's Flower Garden. I've run out of ugly vintage fabrics, so I'm having to mix two prints in each blossom.  I'm up to 76 now!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Autumn Splendour

Ah - another gorgeous day in Guelph - and a forecast of at least another four days just like it!

I had a really good social work-y day.  All my clients had great outcomes, or are moving forward with whatever particular issue we are working on.  But I had kind of a crappy, rest-of-my-life day.  My landlord called me at work -- and he is LIVID that I have a cat.  I'm not sure how he found out.  As much as I know it's really not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things (it's not like he can DO anything about it) I'm still upset about the confrontation.  It was very uncomfortable.  UGH!

I did something very unusual tonight - I BAKED!  I don't bake.  I really rarely cook.  I prefer the "eat" part of the whole food thing.  But, since this turned out SO GOOD, even for someone with such limited skills I had to share.

I picked up some magazines at the library book sale the other day for a dime a piece.  One of them was a Oct 2010 issue of Create & Decorate.

Every issue includes a feature called "For Your Country Kitchen", and this time they included a recipe from Charlotte's House B&B in Bolton, MA. for "Apple Crisp Bars".  This recipe takes the flavours and sweetness of apple crisp and turns it into a very portable bar. And there are no weird ingredients or scary techniques. I gotta admit - I wasn't sure how this was all going to stick together.  But they do - and they are YUMMY!

Apple Crisp Bars

Preheat oven to 350, and grease a 9x13 pan

2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (I used margarine)

Mix the flour, sugar, and butter together -- you can use a pastry blender, but I just used my hands.  Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan

4 tart apples (I used Spartans)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup white sugar

Mix the dry ingredients together.  Peel, core, and chop apples into 1/4" - 1/2" pieces.  Blend with dry ingredients, coating apples completely and pour into crust evenly.

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
12 (twelve) Tbsp melted butter (I used marg.)
Mix together until everything is moist.  Sprinkle over apples, and press topping down with the palm of your hand.

Bake 45 minutes.  Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Terrific Tuesday! Ending on a bit of a frown.

I can't believe this sunshine and warm weather, especially after the icky weekend we had.  You just never know what you're gonna get in October!  Hubby and I will be celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary this weekend - I think it's the 8th, but I'm never quite sure.  Anyway...the year before our wedding, while we were making arrangements, the weather was like this - bright skies and mild temperatures.  The next year, on the day of our wedding, there was actual SNOW falling!  UGH!  But this week looks like a beauty.

I even had to turn on a little A/C tonight when I got home from work, in order to simmer up a pot of homemade Cauliflower Cheddar soup!  It's still bubbling on the stove, and smells terrific.

I stopped at the library today to get a week's worth of DVDs, and out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of a quilt book I hadn't seen before: Marie Osmond's Heartfelt Giving

It's got some cute stuff in it!  Next time you're at your library, see if they have a copy.  There is a baby quilt in it that is too adorable, as well as a matching diaper bag.  There's a quilt called "Paper Roses" and the rose details are something I've never seen before--something to keep in the old memory bank.

I haven't told you about my favourite street person.  Living and working in the downtown core means lots of interaction with some colourful characters.  My favourite street person is a senior Italian man, who spends his days camped out in front of my office. Everybody knows who he is, because he's generally shouting at cars, or singing at the top of his lungs. 

He hit me up pretty regularly for change "for coffee".  So now, every morning when I make my tea to take to work, I fix a travel mug of coffee for my buddy.  When he's done with it, he brings it into the office, and leaves it at the reception desk.  We've had a couple of chats, when he's most lucid.  I mean, he's clearly got some mental health issues, but he's basically harmless, though sometimes a bit of a nuisance when he really gets loud.

The other morning, I went into work early to get some stuff done -- at about 7 am.  I didn't make up our mugs because I didn't think he'd be there THAT early.  WRONG! 

HE:  Hey-a guwrl. (I've told him my name a dozen times) You bring-a me coffee?
ME: Oh Carlo!  I'm sorry.  I haven't even had my coffee yet.
HE:  Come he-ya. (reaches into his pocket, and pulls out a handful of change he's panhandled) Come on.  I buy-a you a coffee.

No, I didn't let the him buy me a coffee.  But he did do me a solid and lend me some street cred.  There was an altercation on the corner the other day between my buddy and a woman, who was clearly out of her mind to mess with him!  I immediately ran out to put a stop to the fight, and within moments a police officer arrived.  I explained that I had witnessed the entire thing, and the woman had gotten him agitated.  Carlo was standing right there in the huddle with me and the cop.

HE: (to the cop) She a nice-a guwrl.  She buy-a me coffee. She bring-a me McDonald's....(not true, but I appreciate that he had my back -- I bring him cookies,cheese and crackers, and muffins)

A few days later, I was sitting with my buddy on the planter in front of my office, assessing how another street altercation was shaping up (this time, not involving him).  The offended party came across the street and says to Carlo, "can you believe that mange-cake accusing me of stealing?"  He reaches into his pocket, pulls out a cigarette and gives it to Carlo. 

HE:  Ah! No!  The police-a man, he like-a you.  He like-a me.  He like-a her.

That seemed to reassure the other fellow, and he went on his way.

Today, I didn't see my friend until closing time, as I was locking up the office.  He was sitting on the planter in front of the building.  I sat down beside him, and told him I was sorry I didn't see him all day.  Then I noticed a big fresh bruise on his jaw. 

ME: What happened to your face?
HE: What.
ME: It looks sore.
HE:  Oh, I just-a scratch it with my finger.

Clearly, someone didn't like-a my buddy Carlo as much as I do.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The neighbours are VEGANS!! - - no judgement here....

...because they are totally terrific human beings.  They fill my wine glass, and let me steal their internet!  Yes, I'm still without phone, cable, and internet.  Living a very frugal life here.  Paying rent on my apartment, AND a mortgage on the house makes for some pretty tight purse strings.  Good thing I'm naturally so CHEAP!

I do have my cell phone - and I only call Hubby and the boys.  We're on the same plan, so it's free calling between us.  When I do have some spare time to sit in front of the telly, I've been watching DVDs borrowed from the library.  I'm making my way through a set of Catherine Cookson movies currently. Love me a period costume drama!!

I've been thinking a lot about making another Kaffe Fasset Shirt Stripe Boxes quilt.  The one I made last year is currently on the bed back at the house in St. T.  It looks wonderful, but I need a bigger one for the queen sized bed here. many little time.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Elora Gorge

I love how the tree roots look!  Hubby and I took a stroll through the Elora Gorge last weekend.  It was probably the most relaxed Sunday afternoon we'd enjoyed in three months.  There was an art studio tour going on in Elora coincidently--I didn't know anything about it until we got there--and this is just right up Hubby's Alley.

One of the galleries we visited was called Styll and there were having a special exhibition and sale called Styll Squared.  Local artisans, working in clay, glass, metal, wood and textile had created diverse wall sculptures, each piece 12 inches square.  It reminded me of a quilt!

Styll Squared

We had lunch on the deck overlooking the Grand River at a nice little restaurant called Mill Street Bakery &Bistro.