Thursday, April 09, 2015

Five On Friday

It's been pretty grim looking outside this week. Although not raining torrents, it has been raining. The wind and cold 0'C temperatures have not enticed me outdoors beyond an obligatory morning walk.

I'm going to show you some things my talented husband has made in woodworking. He's been making furniture and other decorating features since I met him almost 30 years ago. In fact some of our first dates were spent in his parents' garage working on a stereo cabinet. He began woodworking when he was in high school, and I'm really proud of the things he has made. Often the only two things holding him back are the expense of the lumber, and a place to put the finished pieces in our home. I've shown you the beautiful low bookshelf he made a while ago, and also a cabinet to hold our fish tank, so today I'll share a few more things he has made.


My husband and I love to go canoeing ... not in white water, but quiet paddles around the lakes and rivers we visit while camping. This spring my husband created this beautiful paddle rack for our modest collection of paddles.  He had seen this idea on a woodworking show. The wood pieces are vertical slices off a tree trunk with the bark "live" on the edges. His biggest challenge was finding someone who sold these slices which took some time. He finally found a guy a couple of hours north of us that supplies logs for log home builders, and he happily sold them to my husband for a mere $20 a piece. People here in southern Ontario were trying to sell them for close to $100! He was really pleased with the pieces he picked up, and left them to thoroughly dry in our basement over the winter. I think he did a magnificent job with the paddle rack, and it now hangs proudly in our front hallway for a really stunning impact when you come in the front door. 

The two paddles on the right are mine ...
both given to me by my husband :)


In the fall of 2013, my husband surprised me with this beautiful cherry bookcase for my birthday. It is patterned after a bookcase that was once in my parents home that I really liked. I have this one in my bedroom with all my novels. It was difficult to decorate it exactly how I wanted it with a few bits of artwork etc. because the books filled it all up very quickly!  It's quite narrow, which is perfect because of limited space in my bedroom.


We refinished our family room quite a few years ago, and my husband made these sturdy mission style end tables for the room out of cherry. They're a really nice set of tables that are a perfect size. We both love mission style furniture, and he has lately made more furnishings in this style with great success.


He has also made these handy oak shelves for our two kids. My son loves little bits of memorabilia, and has put his shelf to good use. He has everything from his great-grandfather's bowler hat to railway spikes found on a camping trip. The centre panel is corkboard, and the shelves are all adjustable.


I've shown this next piece before, but didn't tell you about it. Also made by my husband when he was in high school, is this handy little pine dry sink in our kitchen. I find it very useful for large awkward pots and also for my vases and candle holders. He gave it to his mother when he finished it, but when they moved house about 18 years ago they gave it back to him. I'm really glad they did because I love it!

Thanks for stopping by today!


Monday, April 06, 2015

Quilt Show

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter with family or however you celebrate. My family didn't get together this year, although my daughter did come home and we had a tasty roast beef crock pot meal on Saturday. Yesterday we drove her back to university town where she will stay to write her final exams in the next two weeks and then she's back home all summer. I'm really missing her more and more this year, so it'll be nice to have her home for a good long stretch in just a short time.

About a week ago, my sister and I attended a quilt show in Mississauga put on by the Etobicoke Quilters Guild. This is a really nice show, and a great place for inspiration. There was everything from old-fashioned 'granny' type quilts, to modern geometric dazzlers. I didn't take photos of all of the quilts, only the quilts that really caught my eye (but even then there were quite a few!!).

I really liked the subdued colours in this quilt with pops of red. Sampler quilts always make for a great display. The square in the bottom right was my favourite.

This next geometric quilt was one of my favourites. It reminded of an eclipse. The pattern was so effective even with the use of so much brown. I couldn't get back far enough to get the entire quilt in the shot (which happened a lot ... space was tight).

This next quilt had an old-fashioned pattern, but the colouring and placement made it look quite modern.

There were a few quilts that used batiks, and the effects were all stunning. I liked the slightly wonky skinny strips laid on top of the batik squares. It gave the whole quilt a softened hand-pieced effect.

There were some amazing appliqued quilts, and my hat goes off to the quilters' skill to achieve such delicate floral shapes.

Another appliqued quilt below. The fine details in this wall-sized quilt were amazing. There is so much work in the piecing.

Loved this quilted piece, which I think was a table runner. Just a stunning pattern and the colour choices made the pattern stand out perfectly.

You just can't go wrong with a nine-patch quilt! A great quilt that is simple, but colourful and cozy.

Another nine-patch with the same colourful appeal.

This next quilt was too high up on the wall to see the piecing clearly. The card for it said that the quilter used hand-painted fabrics. It looks just like a painting! I just wish it had been closer to see it better.

There were quite a few quilts that used black and white fabrics. Most of them I didn't like. One was in pink and black which just never looks good to me. This next one had a nice olive green for contrast, and I liked the way the green pieces seemed to float over top of a black and white background.

Another example using the black and white fabrics with contrasting red. 

Some of these photos don't do the quilts justice. Lighting was difficult as it came in through huge windows making a glare on some of the quilts. The next quilts had a nice layout, and when we looked closely, we could see just how much work went into it.

The next quilt is a bit of an optical illusion. The quilt was made with straight strips of fabric. The quilting stitches were stitched in a wavy pattern, and this makes the strips look wavy. A nice straightforward design with that interesting detail giving it a twist.

I really liked this next quilt, and stood admiring it for quite some time. The more I looked at it, the more I could see shadows of the triangles shifting and moving. It's a simple overall pattern, but the placement of the colours create the movement. I don't know if the triangles were placed randomly or in a definite pattern, but it looked great. The quilter said she made it after visiting the Rocky Mountains in the summer and knew she wanted to get the effect of the mountains and the pine trees into a quilt. I think she accomplished her goal :)

I liked the wonky squares in the next quilt ... and also the fact that it has feet!

There were cards beside all of the quilts giving a little insight into the making of the quilt. A lot of them were machine quilted, but some were quilted by hand. I once made a queen-sized quilt for my brother and his wife when they got married. It took me a long time to make it, but I had a few "quilting bees" and invited my family to help me quilt it by hand. There were lots of hands making that quilt. My mother, two sisters, my husband's mother and grandmother (who taught me a few tricks about quilting) and me. I had the quilt rolled onto an antique quilting frame that I found in my great-aunt's house. The quilt was a "bear paw" pattern since my brother had moved out to BC where there are grizzly bears. 

This next quilt has part of the same bear paw pattern in it, and a few more triangles then make up the maple leaf. I really liked how all the leaves are placed different ways, making them dance across the quilt!

The next quilt had a lot of movement and colour which I really liked.

 The quilting pattern was really detailed too.

Another quilt where the star squares seem to be floating on the background. Loved the bright, cheery colours in this one.

This was a very pink quilt, but the pink just didn't show up as well in the photo. I think there were retro fabrics used in this one if I recall correctly.

I didn't get a picture of this full quilt, but I did love the retro fabrics used in it. The pattern is "courthouse steps", and one that I've often thought of making. I spent many years as a legal litigation secretary in Toronto and many hours spent at the courthouses for my boss!

A lovely granny quilt. I think this pattern is "grandmother's garden"? A lot of work with the tiny hexagons.

Although this next photo was rather fuzzy, the quilt gave such an impact with the bright yellows and blues. Another beautiful sampler quilt.

The next two quilts were a couple of my favourites (together with the "eclipse" quilt at the beginning of this loooooong post). Loved the colours in this next quilt, and the simple, but effective pattern. I wish I had taken a close-up of the stitching.

And my favourite quilt of the whole show! I just love this pattern, and the brilliant colours make it stunning!

This last quilt was a lot of fun to look at. It's the pattern of "Sunbonnet Sue", but the quilter has used great imagination in Sunbonnet Sue's activities! My sister and I especially liked her scuba diving with her bonnet still in place ;)

Scuba diver in lower shot on right edge of quilt.

I hope you enjoyed the quilt show as much as I did! Maybe a few too many photos? Ah well, I couldn't stop at just one or two ;)

And here are a few photos of the Easter treats for my two kids ... I don't think you're ever too old to receive a few chocolate treats and a little bunny (click here for the pattern) handmade by your mom, do you?

Thanks for stopping by today!


Saturday, April 04, 2015

Easter Birds' Nest Treats

One year at Easter many moons ago, I found a recipe for birds' nests made with chow mein noodles mixed with a hot, gooey peanut butter mixture. I started making them for our family's Good Friday hikes, and handed them out to all the nieces and nephews for dessert with our lunch which we ate on the trail. They were fun to make with my own two kids, and it became a tradition for me to bring the birds' nests on our hikes each year.

As the years went by, there were fewer and fewer of us going on the Good Friday hikes. When the kids were no longer joining us, I stopped making the birds nests. My daughter came home for the Easter weekend from university and texted me earlier this week asking "are you making the birds nests for Easter?!" Well, I couldn't disappoint her, could I? So an old tradition was revisited this weekend. My sister and I were the only two who went on our Good Friday hike this year (there used to be 20 of us on the trail). When we stopped along the trail to have our lunch, she asked "so no birds nests anymore?". And I had to admit I hadn't made any for our hike, but that I was planning to make them when we got back home at my daughter's request. These are full of sugar and chocolate and peanut butter ... but fun to make and fun to serve to kids (no matter how old).


Birds' Nests

1/4 cup butter
4 cups mini marshmallows
1/4 peanut butter
1/4 chocolate chips
4-1/2 cups chow mein noodles
candy-coated chocolate eggs (I use Cadbury's)

Melt butter with the marshmallows in a large saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Heat and stir until smooth. Add peanut butter and chocolate chips and stir until all melted and mixed together. Remove from heat and add chow mein noodles. Mix until noodles are thoroughly coated. With buttered fingers shape roughly into nests and set them on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Fill nests with about 3 or 4 chocolate eggs (or other egg shapes such as jelly beans). 

Allow to cool before eating. Makes about 20 nests, depending on size. Enjoy!

Thanks for dropping by today!