Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tuesday on the Picnic Table

So about that title...

I can explain. Sort of. Last evening, we had a cookout at the river bottom to celebrate my soon-to-be-son-in-law's birthday (which was last week - but he had to work that night). After getting set up, we realized there were an awful lot of ants around our picnic site. No problem for those of us wearing shoes, but a little less pleasant for our four-legged girl who was barefoot. This is Nellie. She belongs to our daughter. We love her. The ants were really bothering her; she kept lifting her paws to try brush them off but it wasn't bringing her much relief. Nellie, being the athletic little girl she is, decided she had had enough, and jumped up on top of the picnic table. We couldn't really fault her, so we pulled back the tablecloth and let her sit. And she did. She was a good dog while we had our dinner and didn't even try to steal anybody's food; I think she was just relieved to be away from those ants! Dogs are not permitted to be off leash in the river bottom and if anybody is wondering, she is wearing a Gentle Leader head collar which was recommended by our dog obedience instructor. My daughter is pretty sensitive on this issue as someone in the dog park once commented that it must be a mean dog since it is wearing a muzzle. Nellie is definitely not mean.

Our picnic meal was smokies, baked potatoes, veggies and dip, and a pasta salad with iced tea and flavoured ice water to drink. Son-in-law-to-be does not care for mayonnaise or anything creamy and he really likes potatoes. I wanted to come up with a dish that he would enjoy (he passed on the pasta salad) but one that wouldn't have me heating up the house any more than it already was. I decided baked potatoes would be a good choice (and I made sure to bring lots of toppings!) but I dreaded turning on the oven so I got the idea to put them in the slow cooker. I checked out what the internet had to say and sure enough, lots of ideas on how to do it. I poked mine, brushed them with a bit of oil, sprinkled on seasoning salt, and wrapped them in foil. I put the slow cooker to high for 4 hours and they were absolutely perfect. I put an old beach towel in a basket and tucked the foil-wrapped potatoes in there for transporting to the picnic - they were still piping hot when we got there and the leftover one was still hot when we returned home at the end of the evening! I might never bake potatoes in the oven again. I baked ten potatoes, and there was still room for more in the cooker. 

So, not exactly a recipe, but still a story about picnic table gatherings and being with family (the best!). I'm linking up to Tuesday at the {picnic] Table here. Debbie has a yummy-sounding picnic-friendly cheesecake recipe on today's Tuesday at the {picnic} Table post - I think I should definitely test it out soon.

Happy Tuesday.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Birthday gifts

Tomorrow is our daughter-in-law's birthday. We love her very much and my son tells me often that she loves the "cute things" I make for her. I heard through the grapevine that a tote I had made for her a couple years ago was starting to show signs of wear. She didn't want to tell me because she did not want me to feel bad but I was thrilled! I explained this meant it was a loved and well-used gift and I'm so happy it didn't just sit in a closet somewhere. It also gave me an idea for a birthday gift for her. I made her a tote from this free tutorial at Sew4Home. It was very quick and easy to make and I was able to pull everything from my stash. I did not embellish it the way the tutorial shows, but I am happy with how it turned out.

I thought she might need something to go inside, so I made a coordinating zipper pouch using some scraps and this tutorial. BOth projects ere simple and fun. The solid fabric in both is a piece of Essex linen I had had around for a couple of years. I have never sewn with linen before, but I really like it. I love how it presses up and I really like the texture it brings to these projects. I finished up her gift by adding a bag of Lindor chocolates - mmm!

Our son and his wife live up in the big city, so we drove up there last night, spent the night, went for breakfast, then came home today. It was a really nice outing. We told her to go ahead and open her gift while we were there and she is really pleased with them.

No long weekend this week - darn! Sure do enjoy those three-day weekends when we get them. Looking forward to another productive week at work and hopefully some happy time spent in the sewing room.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mailbox fun!

The college I work at was closed on Monday as July 2 was day off in lieu of Canada Day falling on Sunday (July 1). It was a nice day, I finished a few tasks, so I decided to reward myself by going down to the post office at the border to collect some packages I knew would be waiting for me. I was very excited to see all of this:

Now, this is not a usual thing for me to go on a fabric binge; these packages had accumulated over the last month or so and most of the fabric is designated for projects I am 
working on now, or soon will be.

The owl fabric at the bottom is for a baby quilt; a friend of mine is going to be a grandma for the first time in August. She had tried to win one of the auction quilts I made earlier this year, but somebody outbid her at the last moment, so she asked if I would mind making one specifically for her. The baby is a girl and her nursery is being decorated in an owl theme. I showed my friend several owl fabrics and she picked the Forest Life print at the bottom of the stack above.

The grey posies FMF print is backing for my Swoon quilt. I am very excited to be taking it over to the machine quilter tomorrow afternoon. I seamed up the backing tonight and gave everything a good pressing so it is ready to go. The green dot FMF is the backing for my daughter's wedding quilt, so it will get used right away. The four neutrals above that are for that same wedding quilt. And on top of the pile, my June shipment of Charming Solids Club from Pink Chalk Fabrics. I have been admiring the projects made with Summersville for some time now and am excited to have some of my own. The colours are so pretty. I really like the selection of solids that came with it; the black and cream are Michael Miller fabrics and the colours are so nice. I don't have a plan for these yet, but I do like  Rita's quilt here and Ashley's quilt over here. I guess I have enough other projects on the go right now I don't have to worry about those charm packs just now.

The weather report says we are in for hot, sunny weather for the next few days. I am looking forward to it.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Canada!

July 1 is Canada Day and today we are celebrating Canada's 145th birthday. I am very blessed to live in this country; it is a beautiful place to call home.

I thought a red and white project would be in order to celebrate my country's big day so I put together another fun drawstring bag based on this tutorial. A couple weeks ago, there was a tutorial on adding pockets to this pattern, so I thought I'd give that a try, too.

This morning I discovered Lily's Quilts blog. It looks like something special is going on over there.

Lily's Quilts

We get to show off projects we made in June! I don't have enough finishes to put together a mosaic, as she suggests, but I can show you my favourite (I think because it was my only!) finish:

I know, it looks pretty familiar, eh? This was the first of these bags I made, and it inspired me to make more. I decided even if the week is really hectic, there is time to make one of these and feed my creative soul with time 
in the sewing room.

Lily also has a Small Blog feature going on today, so I am linking up with 
that as well.

Lily's Quilts

I wanted to start a blog so I could be part of the online quilting community in part because I haven't really found any like-minded quilters in the community where I live. The Small Blog Meet is a great way for me to get to know some other quilters, so I am looking forward to see where it goes.

Hope everyone has a great week; we have a long weekend so tomorrow stretches ahead full of lots of promise (and working on my master's defence - but the end is sight!).