Thursday, 29 January 2009

Day 3, footings are in and we are ready for...

From here you are looking at the footing for the cold cellar and across to the basement.

This is the other end of the cold cellar.

We are guessing that the wood may be for for forming the porch but we are not sure.

Here is some of the straw pulled away from the footings.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Day 2 photos, it snowed

I guess you will only notice changes if you look carefully.
The forms are on site now.

This trench will be where the footings for the garage are.

If you look towards the back of the photo, the pile of blue styrofoam will become the framework for the foundation. They are stacked and filled with concrete, stabilized with rebar. This is the key to the insulation and strength.

This will be where the garage ends and a doorway will open to the mud room/laundry room entrance to the house.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

YES!!! a hole in the ground filled with straw (week 1 plus 3)

This is an excavation, filled with straw as insulation.

Thanks to John, Kelly, Carol, Graham and all your crew.

If you look closely you will see green piping that will be our heat source, geothermal heating.

Tomorrow there should be (weather willing) footings being poured.

What happens next: after the footings then there will be about 3 weeks of pouring concrete inside the insulated forms. This will extend right up to the roof line. The walls, when finished in the inside and outside will be nearly 1 foot thick; very quiet, very well insulated, fire safe and pretty solid!!!

Quilty-wise: I chose the fabrics to be used in the "Shakespeare in the Park" quilt and the quilt I am making for silent auction at a charitable fundraiser.

I am going to use my wine themed fabrics to make a lap/sofa quilt. I will share the fundraiser details here soon,

Pay it forward a bit more, and random threads


I can still send one more handmade item for the Pay It Forward. Carol and Toni are each getting a giftie in the mail...

Ki -West update:

There is a big hole in the ground filled with straw today! That is great news, even if it still will be -17C tonight. Sweetie will send me pictures that I can upload tomorrow.

Quilty stuff:

I have been playing with my fabrics, sorting them, making post cards, planning projects and just dabbling. There will be some heavy duty quilting soon! Well at least cutting and sewing. These greens and neutrals will become my "Shakespeare in the Park", the Reds and Purples will become Melissa's quilt.

and just for fun:

I was digging through envelopes of old photopraphs because I wanted to do a photo show for my dear friends and I enjoyed it so much I could hardly tear myself away to do my homework, housework, work-work or sew. It was such a hoot to look at pictures from 20 - 25 years ago.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

The Power of Hope

The sky is clear blue, the sun is shining brightly and the air is fresh.
Today is a day for hope and fresh beginnings.
I am here at work with a little TV at my desk tuned in to the CBC News special. I had the opportunity to join a bus from Toronto going to DC but the thought of the 24 hours bus riding , 2 million strong throng made me want to be closer to the words so I decided to watch from here.

This is a direct lifeline to the heart of the true and founding ideals of our country. It is the move to reclaim our honour as American.

Thank you Obama for making our hope real.
I am watching, crying, praying and rejoicing!!!

Monday, 19 January 2009

January 19, MLK day, a national day of service

I believe in the power of thousands and thousands of positive actions; positive minded people whose caring, intentions and actions will renew our collective spirit and rebuild the road of hope that now lays before us, all of us who share this world.

The Obama's call to action for a a national day of service, the efforts of a One Million Acts of Green; these matter.

So please, do something good for your community, and if you are already doing something good, Thank you, please do another. Only we can be the change we want to see happen.

So write a letter, help a neighbour, use our natural resources wisely, pick up some trash, be respectful of the lives around you, show someone that people really do care.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Pay It Forward time

this is a good viral thing, PIF. I am playing off UP Quilter's blog; if you are you are one of the first three to leave a comment here (I will need to have your snail mail address), post the PIF on your own blog and then I will send each a handmade items.

Smile. Pass it Forward.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

If it is Thursday it must be London

I was not sure if it would be better to laugh hysterically or yell out in frustration. It happened like this:
The phone rings at 9:05 PM, my mother said that the train was late, she will be getting the train at 9:15 instead and she could not buy her ticket for that part of the trip so she would be buying it after she got on the train. I asked if she would be in London in an hour and a half or two hours, she said she did not know so I told her to call me again when she was close so I could head out to the VIA rail station downtown. She hangs up.

I call my brother to see if there is any food needed. There is not much in the house that Mom would eat or cook, no milk or bread for her so I head out to a late hours grocery store to stock up. I am back home at 10:30 PM. I sit with phone in hand so that when it rang my Sweetie would not be woken up. It is a 10 minute ride downtown.

11:30 pm and no call, perhaps she missed the train and had to go to Toronto to catch the later train which arrives in London about 1:15 AM. I sort of snooze on the couch on and off with the dogs, phone still in hand.

Sweetie comes in at 2:30 to tell me what the time is, and I am still waiting for the call to meet her. I know there are no more trains arriving tonight and I start to worry. Mom is a senior, health issues, it is -27C outside so I worry a lot.

I check the train schedule - no more trains. Sweetie asks if I called VIA and check for a passenger list. They don't really do that for train travel in the way that airlines do but it's well worth a try. I did try mom's cell # but she was not available. Sweetie is very helpfully telling me that she should have come home on the weekend and let us know ahead of time so if she ran into some problem like this we could go pick her up. This is not possible on a weekday.

I call the 1-800-help-me-choose-#4-wait-on-the-line-because-your-call-is-being-held-in-priority-sequence-VIA and Roger tries to look through train times, reservation lists and whatever info he has at his electronically enabled fingertips but he has no access to AMTRAK info. He can however tell me that the train was not late tonight, the London train left on time and the station master would have been there until 10:30 to sell her a ticket. No trace of her buying one though. He suggests I talk to AMTRAK but likely they will not be able to help me locate my lost mother because they also have privacy policies. I call 1-800-help-me-choose-#4-wait-on-the-line-because-your-call-is-being-held-in-priority-sequence-AMTRAK and ask for help, please. Alicia tries to see what bytes of helpful data she can find for me. beep, beep, beep, the line hangs up.

REDIAL, wait-in-priority-sequence, Maria responds and I go back to the beginning of the story. My mother is traveling from point A NY to Point B Ontario via a transfer point. That I had spoken with her, heard her train was delayed, she is taking a later train and I have been waiting long past any other trains expected arrival; now I have lost her.

AMTRAK voice checks the train history, it arrived at 7:27 PM; the connection should have been made. My desperate voice encourages her to look through the reservations list and not ticket has been purchased under any possible version of her name. She is sorry.

3:00 AM. I call my brother again and ask him to look to see if she is perhaps, actually in her bed and did not bother anyone to help her get home from the downtown train station. He assures me that she is not there, and after looking tells me no, she really is not there.

Images of Toronto Union Station, middle of the night, homeless lurkers avoiding the minus 27C and my diabetic senior citizen, not a critical thinker, say-yes-when-you-have-no-idea-what-is-being-asked-mother who likely has no money either spending the night. Not a pretty picture.
I am starting to freak a bit now. I have lost her somewhere, somehow.

Time to call the Aunt who she had been visiting and tell her that I lost mom. It is now 3:30 AM in London, it must be Thursday right.

I call, sorry Aunt, this is L and I don't know where Mom is. She called at 9:05 telling me the train was late, she was taking a train at 9:15 to London and I had asked her to call me when she was close so that I can pick her up but she has not arrived and I have no idea where she is. Pause from Aunt; "your mother is here. She is not leaving until tomorrow morning. She is getting a ride to the station in the morning". OH.

What was my mother talking about? I have no clue. Why did she tell me the train was late and she had not even left yet. There is only one train and it only leaves at 10:40 AM; that sounds nothing like 9:15. What did she think she heard when I asked if she would be here in and hour and a half or two hours? I really have no clue.

So from patiently (impatiently) waiting with the phone in my hand for 4 hours, freaking and worrying for another hour I am now freaking and being crazy because I still have no clue why I wasted the last 5 hours. AGHHHH! Am I still in London? Is it Thursday? I have to go bed because I have to get up and go to work.

Thank goodness Thursday is Cappuccino day with Penny, She arrived early enough and woke me up so that I could do Thursday, in London.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Kathy's Quilts: Celebrating 300 posts!

Kathy's Quilts: Celebrating 300 posts! Visit Kathy and help her celebrate 300 posts!

Blackberry, Crackberry, it is in my hands

Let’s talk about this Blackberry thing, you know, the Crackberry part of the equation. Everyone close to me knows that I “live” by my Blackberry.
No, I am not a workaholic, not tied on a 24 hour leash to a boss’s whims, and definitely not forsaking family and friends for a vibrating pacifier. But I do look at it on and off all day long. I am sort of lost without it nearby. WHY?
My honey and all our kids are out of town. My honey works out of town and has a long commute. The kids all live out of town. My sisters live out of the country. Many of my friends live out of this area. For this reason most of our communications will not be sitting across the table sharing a cup of tea from the same pot.
I write letters and send cards but many days pass between the moment they are written and the time they are being read. It feels good to hold a letter, my fingers following the flow of the ink and the lasting essence of the writer’s touch on the paper. Most of the time I want to tell someone what I think and hear what they have to say back pretty quickly. Our lives however have paths that travel through so many different places; it is good that we can still touch each other wherever we are.
I have said this about my Blackberry on other occasions.... I can read what my friends are telling me when I have the free moments to do so. I check it when I am waiting in a long line at the store, locked in the limbo of being “on hold” in telephone land, stuck at the train tracks waiting for a passing train, sitting until I am called in for my appointment, not interested in what is on television, needing few minutes to myself. I look and there are notes from some special some one out in e-world. All my frustration melts away.
Ceaseless vibrating, not here; the only messages that trigger any type of notifications are my honey and kids. No one else is really important enough to me to interrupt my day. Anyone can set their options so that they control who is making their Blackberry buzz, and when.
200+ emails-- delete, delete, delete. Search, sort and delete. You can do it, really. That is why subject headings and sender’s names show up on the screen. You already know who any message is from and what they want to talk about.
The beauty of the Blackberry is that it gives you the power to set it up in any way that suits your personal needs. It is a tool. Use it as a tool. What a great tool it has been.
All the lists, details, addresses, dates, memos, to-do’s, and any other tidbit that would be written on small pieces of paper are safely thumbed into my Blackberry. I am far less likely to lose the Blackberry than the many little pieces of paper (and all those messages are going to be at my fingertips when I want them).
I have an amazing network of wonderful friends that I have met online. So many quilters, so many lessons learned and so many smiles inspired.
When I want you to reach me I will share my Blackberry address with you. I will check out your message and I likely will respond. No personal space will have been compromised in this exchange and nothing work related is likely to be taking place.
P. S. My deepest apologies to anyone who has been talking to me while I picked it up and scrolled down the screen, I probably really needed to check what time I was supposed to.... and I sure love the camera, internet browsing, just “reach out and touch somebody” feel in my hands.


Sunday, 4 January 2009

Making needle cases (wallet style) - using scraps

I made a dozen of these needle cases as gifts. You will need 2 pieces of fabric, firm-textured cotton batting scraps, a small piece of Hook and Loop tape or a snap and a button. You can always click on any of the images for a good close-up look.

They were very easy to make. These are my own design and would work well with the thimble holders I have designed in the past.

Choose both an inner and outer fabric, cut each 5" by 8 1/2". Place both pieces, right sides together, and sew all around (1/4" seam allowance) leaving about 2" open for turning right side out.

Notice my work space, good background entertainment. I especially love "Babylon 5" DVDs, or if not then it would be CSI, Peter Mansbridge or Strombo. I do have more Battlestar Gallactica to watch and Santa left me a 21-DVD gift pack of James Bond. There will be lots of sewing done to that series.

This is a great opportunity to use the cut-off edges from previously made quilts (yes I save it all). Find a piece approximately 4 1/4" by 7 3/4" (this stuff will always come in handy).

Lay the batting within your stitching line; turn the piece inside out, capturing the batting to the inside and making sure it is well tucked into the corners. Carefully push out the corner points (without poking through the stitches or making a hole in the corner). Gently press flat and topstitch all the way around, closing the gap in stitching.

Fold the wallet into thirds and mark the fold lines with chalk or finger press the creases to indicate where they are. Note where the pieces of Hook and Loop tape (or snaps) need to be in order to secure the wallet closed. The Hook tape will be sewn to the inner fabric near the far right edge, the Loop tape should be sewn to the outer fabric where it meets the Hook tape when folded.

At the fold line near the Hook tape (the right hand fold line) sew a line of straight stitches to emphasize the crease when folded.

Cut 2 pieces of batting approximately 3 3/4" by 5". Fold in half along the 3 3/4" width, match this fold to the left side crease and stitch these in place across the fold. Back stitch at both ends. Trim the pieces of batting so they appear even when folded together like the pages of a book.

Add a button to cover the outer stitching of the Hook tape.
These are easy scrap busters and should only take about 30 minutes to make.

Friday, 2 January 2009

How to do resolutions

Now that I am past the list of what I want to do I have to figure out how I will do that.

Packing - I will start a few boxes at a time, and for this I will put an updater on the sidebar; same thing with purging. I will count "boxes worth". I have approximately 5 months in which to pack and purge so we shall see how it goes. I did challenge myself to starting the process after Christmas so that I have accomplished (4 boxes packed, 1 garbage bag worth purged).

Quilting: a few hours a few times a week, slow and steady, the turtle and the hare, a little bit at a time, etcetera, etcetera

Healthy Stuff: Somehow I inadvertantly have a gym membership, hmmm. I would not pay for one but I don't like to waste anything so I will have to use it somehow. Classes I guess.

Enjoying all the special people in my life: Every chance I can :)