Saturday, December 31, 2005

Baby fish quilt

Last post for today, I promise. Here is the baby fish quilt. The top corners are a little crooked but appear more so in the photos because I'm standing behind it holding them.
I hope you can see the stitching. And the yellow batik backing.
I'm all tuckered out from downloading/uploading. Time for a nap.

Two projects, one finished, one not yet

Here is my first quilt. Obviously not finished. The pieced top -- it really is more brown than orange. And the black backing with beige,brown and gold fabrics.
And I threw in my contribution to the Pomegranate Summer Challenge, a banner with the word "mishpacha" (family) and each letter embellished felt "family" members.

Crazy quilt ready for embellishing

Ok. So I am now ready to embellish. Here are some photos of the finished naked cq piece and some closeups of the fabrics in the cq. Not necessarily in that order since I haven't quite gotten the idea of how to upload pictures in order.

Welcome to my studio

Just as I said. The wall unit with books/supplies/etc. On the right is a drying rack which I bought today so when I'm choosing materials, I can drape them over the metal strands and have them all in one place. This is my work table, with my cutting surface, sewing machine and serger. And the final picture is the room ready, after a trip this morning to Michael's, for embellishing the cq.
Perhaps I should have included my bed because many of my ideas come to me while I'm lying awake during bouts of insomnia...

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Every little bit helps

I am trying to do at least a little bit of creative work each day. I was going to hand sew a few needed stitches into the baby quilt but this would require being extremely focussed and by the time I got home from work today, I was just too tired for it.

So instead, I finished sewing together all the rows of the crazy quilt. I now have a quilt four 6" squares by six 6" squares. And no excuses not to start embellishing. It's a good thing it's again a long weekend.

On the way home from work, I stopped into the dollar store and bought some clothing dye. I have a bunch of white and off-white fabric motifs which are a bit too stark and I am going to try dyeing them in varying shades of purple. I don't know what material they are so let's hope it's not something synthetic which won't take the dye. I shall, of course, report on the results.

I also found some crocheted motif instructions on the net and will try them out as well. Tomorrow, when I'm awake.

Binding the baby quilt

So I decided to jump in and machine sew the binding. After about a linear foot of straight stitch, I didn't like it. I switched to zig-zag and because of the variegated thread, it turned out pretty nicely. Of course it's not perfect but neither am I so I will do minor repairs by hand using, I hope, invisible stitches and that's that. I am quite pleased with myself. Photo to follow when DH returns.

Now I shall return to the cq squares, finish sewing blocks into rows and go from there.

Off to my day job. I like it, but on cold, damp, drizzling, dreary days like today, I wish I worked from home.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Baby fish quilt

I finished the wave quilting. What I did was freehand drew two rows of waves onto freezer paper, cut out along the wave lines, ironed the cut out freezer paper onto the quilt and straight sewed along the edges of the freezer paper. After reironing the same freezer paper waves, I had to add pins to hold them in place. Pricked my finger on the pin, got blood on the quilt, panicked, washed out the blood (no traces, thank goodness), decided not to be stingy about using the freezer paper and cut out enough wave strips to use each once only. By the time I did my final waves, I was pretty good at manoeuvering the quilt. And the end result is quite nice.

Now I have to do the binding. I am doing double binding and figured out how to do the strips but am hesitant about starting because, lazy me, I would prefer to do machine binding and am still looking for easy understandable instructions. I may just look for a seasoned quilter to show me how. I'm not very good with following written instructions, hence don't know how to program VCR, DVD, remotes, etc. The VCR, DVD and remotes don't bother me but I would like to learn how to use the digital camera which was originally purchased for my fabric "business" (yet to materialize, excuse the pun) and how to upload the photos. When "my guy" returns from winter camp with the camera, I shall attempt to learn.

I would like to make a label for the back in the form of a fish, maybe freezer paper applique it. I'll see.

So, for Sari and David's chuppah. I was initially quite thrown by the idea of not doing the family fabric crazy quilt. But I already had three previously made panels, the centre panel with the birds in the tree, and two side panels which are white duppioni silk with felt appliqued flowers with the Hebrew letters for the words "mazal" (luck) and "bracha" (blessing) appliqued in the centre of each flower. I had taken the panels apart because I wasn't quite happy with how they were joined. They're very pretty together but there is a large expanse of white fabric on the top two-thirds of the two side panels and I can hear Ruzka's voice saying "fill the page"... I had a thought about maybe beading there but I'm not sure whether on the silk itself or on another fabric overlay, or whether randomly or in a pattern. Like most of my ideas, it has to simmer until I'm (almost) sure I know what I'm doing. And maybe I'll crochet some lace to embellish the two seams between the three panels. So I'm back on track as far as the chuppah goes and will keep you posted.

Monday, December 26, 2005

What I did today

I started by ripping the cq squares. Instead of two rows of 9, I now have four rows of four and enough unattached squares for two more rows of four. I think I will make one pieces 4 squares X 4 squares and another 2 squares X 4 squares. After embellishment, I will donate the larger one for a charity auction and give the smaller one to the bride as a wall hanging.

Then I attacked the baby quilt. The instructions for sandwiching the quilt said "tape the backing face down to the floor. Lay the batting on top of the backing. Lay the top face up on top of the batting." So I meticulously tape, layer and layer. Then comes the part where the instructions say "if you're using fabric adhesive spray, first put a large sheet down on the floor (to catch the adhesive overspray) before you put down the backing." Thanks for telling me in advance. Oh, and also "said sheet should be ironed and wrinkle free". I'm already not happy. But do I iron the sheet? Not me, too lazy. I pin the three layers I've already put one on top of the other, lift the quilt, put down the the sheet, smoothing it with my hands, reposition the quilt, remove the pins and start spraying as per instructions, first one half, then the other. The top is great, the bottom, not so much. So I fuss and smooth and it's OK. Then I do the second half. Same process, same results. I am already royally aggravated. I mean, the designing and cutting and piecing and sewing was fun. This part is not. I finally get the thing more or less wrinkle free. Next one (see, I'm forever the optimist and know I will do this again), I will get end-of-the-roll unprinted newsprint (which doesn't require ironing) to tape down to the floor before the quilt layers. The paper can later be recycled.

Back upstairs to sew. I have a lovely variegated yellow/gold thread. I put on the walking foot, cover the feed plates. Do a few practice free-motion rows of stitching. Looking good. Feed in the fabric sandwich, do a row of free-motion meandering. It looks chalushus (sickly in Yiddish). Rip it out. Do over. Not much better. After the third rip, I decide enough for today.

Tomorrow, I go to plan B. I will cut out a template of a gentle wavy line and use the regular foot to do straight line sewing following the waves (apt because of the fish pattern, no?).

It's getting me to rethink the whole machine quilting finishing thing. I know it takes practice but I never learned to play a musical instrument properly because I didn't have patience to practise. I think my penchant for finding shortcuts has something to do with my lack of patience.

So I kind of ran out of steam earlier than I had intended but fear not, the long weekend still has one more day. Of course I'm going in to work tomorrow for a few hours, but when I return, I shall machine quilt.

Bumps in the Road

Life is full of the unexpected. Bumps in the road. So when the bride called yesterday morning to ask me not to use the family fabrics in her chuppah, I was thrown for a loop. I won't go into her reasons for it out of respect for her privacy. She is the bride, it is her chuppah and her decision. And there is plenty of time to change things to accommodate her wishes. So I have no anger towards her.

My dilemma now is what to do with the naked cq squares. Because of the family fabrics used, I don't want to use them in someone else's chuppah but I think that if I make a wall-hanging type quilt for charity, it will honour those whose fabrics I have used. And since it looks damn good and will probably be even better when embellished, that is probably what I will do.

Her call came in the morning, and it put a crimp into my plans for the day because I had planned to work on the chuppah all day. Instead, I got busy on the baby quilt. I got the top cut, most of it sewn. The fish fabric is directional and I made an error in the piecing. When I "righted" the fabric, the plain coloured squares were no longer in the order I had originally planned, but I was too lazy for ripping so if anyone is looking for a pattern other than alternating fish, colour, fish, colour, you won't find it. It's not too obvious and again, I have something against ripping. Whenever my husband is dissatisfied with some handiwork he's done, my motto is "the big picture". In the big picture, it won't be that noticeable.

In the evening, Devorah picked me up and we went to Shloimeh and Zena's for a Chanuka party. It was very nice. Growing up, we were very close with my maternal first cousins -- Alissa, Brochy, and Leah. Probably because we were very close in age. Between my sister Bat-Sheva and Alissa is half a year, Alissa and me nine months, me and Brochy about a year (I think), Brochy and Devora about three years, and then Devora and Leah are also either a few months or a year. And our extended family "entertainment" involved visiting one another. I have younger siblings but they were born later on and Shloimeh and Zena's son was born when I was already 17.

Brochy, one of Shloimeh and Zena's daughter's, was in with her husband, Vernon. They live in Chicago so we don't see them all that often. And their oldest daughter, Hadassa and new husband, Chaim, are visiting from Israel. So it was very nice to meet him and renew the family connection. And when we left, big snow flakes were falling, the trees were lightly dusted and it was magical. Except for the slush...

Today, I am again homebound, of design, and will shortly commence work on the baby quilt, finish sewing the top, choose a backing fabric from my stash -- it feels good to be able to say that -- sandwich and maybe even quilt it. I will then bite the bullet and rip the cq from the chuppah. I may even be brave enough to sandwich my own quilt. If I machine meander quilt the baby quilt, it will be good practice for quilting mine.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Day one of long weekend

So, very productive day. I got all the cq squares sewn. And figured out how to do piecing, ironing, sewing efficiently by reconfiguring my "studio" (fancy name for bedroom no longer in use).
My studio is about 10 ft. by 10 ft. I will try to post photos soon. My central work area is three work tables (fancy name for kids' old 4 ft. long by 2 ft. deep desks) two tables back to back and the third at the end giving me a 6 ft. long by 4 ft. deep surface. I also have a fabric/book/supply station (fancy name for wall unit inherited from brother-in-law's mother's estate), an ironing board and iron (acquired when my daughter moved home and subsquently moved to Israel leaving them behind), I think you get the picture -- I'm a firm believer in recycling and making do with what I already have (a fancy term for cheap). I have one of those clear plastic drawers on wheels units which believe it or not was purchased new. One of the back to back desks is my sewing table, the other back to back is my serger table (for the serger I thought I needed and rarely use because I'm too lazy to thread it) and the end table is my cutting table.
I took my (16 year old Singer plain stitch) sewing machine off the sewing table and placed it on a small wooden tv dinner type table beside my chair on the right-hand side. This freed up my sewing table for putting an ironing pad and iron on the right hand side, the cq template in the middle and the cq cut squares on the left.
Once again, I assembly-lined the process -- sew piece, iron, sew next piece, iron, etc. The only thing I didn't do assembly-line was trimming the squares. I was in constant fear that with the pulling and straightening of squares they would be less than 8 inches. I was close a few times but all met the minimum.
After I finished sewing them, I took them and the central panel downstairs to lay out on the dining room table and decide placement. But the table wasn't long enough without extra leaves which I didn't feel like getting, and I was tuckered out so I'll do the placement tomorrow morning.
I also got the baby quilt fabric washed and will iron it tomorrow.
And did I mention the lovely background choral music on the classical station this time of year?
All in all, a good day.

Long weekend. Yay!!

I can't say that I'm unhappy about the four day weekend ahead of us. I have several projects to work on and since Menachem will be away at winter camp, I'll probaby stay home, sew and relax.
In order to prepare for the sewing bit, I went to Fabricland to buy some 505 spray which my quilting guru swears by for basting quilt layers. I want to get the layers basted, start and maybe even finish the machine quilting.
While at the store, I saw a lovely fish fabric, black with neon yellow, pink, green, turquoise, etc. fish. Quite a departure from usually staid and conservative colour choices. So I bought a meter of it and three meters of other coordinating colours. I probably wouldn't have made the purchase if fabric wasn't on sale, because I'm trying to be a "fiscally responsible" quilter. Oxymoron? Probably. Anyways, my next door neighbours are expecting their first child and all the IJQ postings about "whipping up" baby quilts have inspired me. It will be a crib quilt with an uncomplicated design.
Or maybe we'll just buy our standard baby gift -- large box of diapers with a bow on top -- and stash the fabric...
I also bought some ribbon for my cq blocks and picked up an idea for crochet embellishments from something I saw. I have also found some lovely internet sites with embellishing designs which I shall shamelessly appropriate.
Sunday evening, we have an "extended" family Chanuka get-together at Shloimeh and Zena's. Brochy and Vernon and family are in town. However, from my family, Menachem will be away, Bat and Sandy are in Cornwall, Penina and family are off either in St. Martin or skiing, Yunkie and family have a prior commitment, so it's just Mom, Devora and Noam. Alissa and Mel should be there with Ethel. Maybe Sari and David, Joanna and Matty. So Noam will be the only child. Kind of a sad Chanuka gathering with only one child and not ours and no soufganiyot but that's life. Menachem made a small batch last night but probably won't make any more this year. Unless we do something when he returns from winter camp, but I doubt it.
Unless there are kids, there's not too much point. Everyone else is counting calories and cholesterol...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Cutting all done

As soon as I came home from work yesterday, I went straight to my studio and finished cutting the templates. They are now neatly piled beside the sewing machine and waiting patiently for the weekend when I can sew uninterrupted.

Last night I went to a meeting of the Pomegranate Guild. Arlette and Melanie showed some of the felted materials and vessels they had made and then demonstrated how to felt. I thought that I had ruined a sweater once. Turns out I just felted it.

Almost as soon as they started "carding", I started itching and turned red. I can't wear wool because it irritates my skin but this was worse. Funny, when we raised sheep their wool didn't bother me...

I doubt if I will ever do felting, but it got me thinking about all the techniques I have learned and how my exposure to other types of needle arts through the guild have influenced my own work and creative process. So even when the temperatures are below zero, the snow is blowing and I'd much rather crawl into bed with a good book and a cup of cocoa, I usually make the effort to go to guild meetings. Except next month's meeting when the topic will be knitting, a skill I do not have nor do I intend to acquire. But I do crochet and there may be yarn for my stash. Hmmm....

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Industrializing -- part two

So, I tried assembly lining the cq's. It went surprisingly well, even though there were a few glitches. The spray glue sprays farther than expected but I had moved stuff out of the way so nothing got sticky, the spray glue was old so a little globby. It took me about an hour to get everything set up: gluing template squares to freezer paper, cutting template pieces, and laying them out by block. I have a rotary cutter which I use for paper only so my concerns about ruining my good rotary cutter were not relevant. I let everything dry overnight. This morning, between 5:30 a.m. (insomnia) and 7:00 a.m., I got all but 5 of the 16 cq fabric squares cut. I will do the remainder this evening or tomorrow morning.
Actually, the part that takes the most time is deciding on which fabric to place where. Because I am using specific fabrics, I can't quite put them down randomly and have to alternate so as not to have identical squares. I suppose if I really wanted to assembly line a project, I would use something like the "Stack a Deck" method. Maybe I'll give it a try once I finish this one.
Anyways, it goes well! I should be able to sew them up on the weekend and start embellishing.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

How to industrialize cq square making

I am inherently lazy so I am always looking for ways to make things easier and do things quicker. It doesn't always work but often I get lucky.
I am using four different template designs to make 24 cq squares.
This is how the process has evolved so far:
Template #1 -- I enlarged one of the templates to the size I wanted, then traced it onto freezer paper, cut the the freezer paper pieces, ironed them onto the materials, trimmed the pieces to size and sewed the finished naked square.
Repeat process on templates 2,3 and 4.
OK. That's four squares.
How can I streamline the process? Why not do the preparation process at the same time for each template (i.e. piece and cut all four) and then sew all four at the same time? Big time saver.
OK. Now I have eight squares.
What would have if I photocopied extra copies of each template, spray glued them to the freezer paper, and finished the prep for the remaining 16 squares at once and then sewed the 16 squares at once?
I don't know but I'll let you know how it turns out.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

How to be a Perfect Stranger

Our neighbour across the street has been battling cancer for the past year and is apparently losing her battle. Her husband told us Saturday that they have stopped treatments and that she is now at a palliative care facility.
These neighbours have lived across the street from us for several years -- I don't know how many -- and we have exchanged pleasantries over the years. The awful thing is, I don't even know their names. I'm sure they told us but we've always just politely asked how ia your husband/wife, how are the children, using generic family member wording.
So I did a reverse lookup and found a name. Is it his name or hers? They have talked about "back home" but have never mentioned exactly where "back home" is, although I could venture a guess. I don't know their ethnic or religious background. And in politically correct Canada, that is a question that one does just not ask.
I am expecting a funeral in the near future. So even if I had "How To Be a Perfect Stranger", a book which explains proper etiquette for various cultures' and religions' lifecycle events (births, weddings, funerals), I don't know which group they belong to. When the time comes, I can only hope that my actions will not offend and not add to the family's sorrow.

Sari and David's chuppah.

The photos got put in in the incorrect order, but the tree is the central panel. The tree itself is loosely based on designs by Baillie Scott (c,1896) and Godfrey Blount (c1898). It is felt applique on duppioni silk. The saying underneath the leaves is from the Song of Songs, as is that on the tree trunk -- I know, the lettering on the trunk is not terribly visible.

Here are also my first four "naked" crazy-quilt squares. I envy those who can do CQ freehand -- I am using four different templates. The fabrics are "family" fabrics. The colours don't come out terribly true but there are pieces of my aunt Elsie's, the bride's grandmother, dress (purple and gold and purple lace), a dress (fuschia) of Alissa's, the bride's mother, my sister Bat-Sheva's wedding gown (white with lace trim), my sister Devora's wedding gown (white duppioni silk -- btw, she made her own wedding gown!), two bridesmaid dresses (pink) from my sister, Penina, my cousin Ruthie's wedding gown (white with embroidered silver rimmed flowers) and pieces of my wedding dress (white lacy type fabric).

I intend to "frame" the central panel with the CQ squares, still not sure how yet, and then mount the whole thing onto organza. I also have to figure out how to use the other aunts' gloves but I'm getting excited. Once the naked squres are done, the fun part starts -- decorating them with "family" buttons, beads, jewellery, etc. So any comments or suggestions will be appreciated and considered.

We're going to Mintzy and Rafi's for lunch -- last week they had our leftovers, this week we're having theirs... So I'll sign off now and maybe get one or two squares done before we go.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ouch. Double Ouch.

Today was not the best day for me. It started out with periodontal surgery. Not painful during or even after, except for the pain in my pocket...
I didn't go into work after the surgery because I expected the pain to hit in the afternoon - surprisingly, other than being exhausted (one of my neighbours was hammering away at 3 a.m. so I didn't sleep that well.
I decided to make a naked crazy quilt square a day. I made one yesterday which turned out great. I made one this afternoon which was a total dud -- too small, doesn't lie flat. I've put it away to use for scraps for other projects.
Tomorrow is another day. I hope tomorrow's square will be more successful.
Big snowstorm forecast for tomorrow. Ah, the joys of winter in Canada.

Monday, December 12, 2005

First Chuppah

Finally got the photo posted! But without commentary, so here goes:
This was my first major project. I wanted to make a chuppah for my children that would encompass both personal elements and Judaic themes.
I am jealous of those who see the finished product in their head before they start working. My creative process such: I have an idea and start and see where it takes me.
I had decided on the format of squares and rectangles, mostly because I was afraid that if I did one large fabric canvas, I couldn't manage it and I wouldn't finish it. By "dividing and conquering" into smaller units, I would have the satisfaction of completing them, and then assemble them into the larger unit.
I knew I wanted to use my wedding "gown" --I got married in the late 60's on kibbutz so there wasn't a lot of fabric. It was a mini dress made from material purchased from a remnant bin in a Ramat Gan store... (Background fabric for chamsa). I also wanted to use something of my mother's. My mother, Charna, got married in Toronto in a backyard wedding. Her wedding attire was a pale blue suit, because to buy a white dress for one use was impractical and the suit she could wear more than once. But she had totally impractical lace fingerless gloves. They are the chuppah in the central panel. Some of you may recognize the central panel as being a well-known work by Obican. My Uncle Chaim had purchased a framed copy of a calendar page of it for $2 at the local Pioneer Women's or Hadassah bazaar. I loved the images in the picture -- the chuppah and the klezmerim so I used it. The bride is wearing pearls from a bracelet my sister Penina gave me as a bridesmaid's gift at her wedding. The bride's shoes and the groom's shoes are made from my Aunty Nechama's glove collection. The klezmerim are done in my "specialty" -- embellished felt applique. Above them is sheet music of a klezmer tune printed onto silk. My late father, Abe Galper, was a well-known clarinetist and published a collection of klezmer tunes, including several wedding tunes. The one I used is "Far der chuppah". The candlesticks, although a universal Judaic theme, also have a family twist. They are a replicate of my candlesticks which were my great grandmother's. Also a story. My mother had them gathering dust in her basement. I asked for them, took them home, shined them up and used them proudly. My mother's entire family came to Canada in the early twenties so this was a real heirloom -- or so I thought. Turns out my mother bought them for a few bucks at Woolworth's as a mother's day present for her bobbeh...The background fabric for the "ani ledodi" is from my cousin Ruthie's wedding dress. The "kol simcha etc." panels have actual bells so the chuppah makes music when it's in use. The top left hand corner is my homage to Moshav Sadot where my children were born. It is white crazy quilt with green trim (Sadot was actually "sadot yerukim" -- green fields). the tassels hang down when the chuppah is in use. As do the zodiac signs embossed on velvet (not terribly successfully) in the lower right hand corner.
A few other symbols, wedding rings, pomegranates, love birds, etc. round it out.
My subsequent work is perhaps technically more polished, but this one got me more involved in needlework in general and Judaic needlework in particular, so it will always be special to me.
And if my children eventually use it, I will be ecstatic.


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Sunday, December 11, 2005


I have heard about other people's stashes. I have seen some pretty impressive stashes. And until now, I have resisted creating my own. Today, however, I went to the Quiltmaker's (LQS) going out of business sale. Prices were drastically reduced: $6 CDN/meter (more than a yard) or $5/meter if you finished off a bolt. I bought about 10 meters of fabric. I know, I know -- big deal 10 meters. But for me, it's a big deal! I don't have anything planned for it so it was just buying fabric for fabric's sake.
I am still quite conservative in my colour tastes so almost everything I bought was burgundy purplish small prints or designs. I also bought some thick pink thread for the crazy-quilt chuppah I'm making. And some variegated gold-brown thread for quilting my "red onion" quilt (which is actually black, gold, brown, reddish brown). And some black and white fabric for my "housecoat" baby carriage quilts.
The sale is on until Tuesday at those prices and then Wednesday, the sale's final day, is "make me an offer" day. I may just go back and see if there's anything left to buy at ridiculous prices. If I can buy really cheap, I may go a little wild in my colour choices buying stuff I would never buy otherwise.
You only live once.
We also stopped by at my mom's to visit and I raided her button supply and relieved her of all and any mother of pearl buttons.
I really must bite the bullet and make the first cuts for the cq chuppah. I am always so reluctant before I make my first cut. After that, I usually get going and work non-stop til I'm done.
And I want to use the weekend and December holiday days off to make serious progress in all three planned projects.
I guess I lied yesterday when I said I would post pictures. But soon, I promise!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Encouraging words

The weekend is once again upon us and once again, busy.

I got up early to clean the house a bit before we hosted the Hashomer Hatzair board of directors meeting. Menachem cooked a big pot of vegetable barley soup, a big pot of majadra, a big platter of raw vegetables and dip, and also his famous hazelnut cake. The meeting was called for 11 a.m.

Dee, my quilting guru (and also board chairperson, came early to help me with my quilting. It is my first quilt and Dee has been there with me every step of the way with encouraging words. The top turned out great which I view more as a fluke than talent. And because it turned out so well, I am hesitant to ruin it by quilting it myself. Dee said "pshaw", showed me how to sandwich it, gave me a few tips about machine quilting it and now I just have to buy variegated thread, jump right in and do it!
I also showed her the fabrics I have collected for the three baby carriage quilts I plan to make -- one for each of my children. Nuff said on that subject. I also showed her the fabrics and stuff I've assembled for the crazy quilt chuppah. Hopefully tomorrow I will stop showing and start sewing...

But I also hope tomorrow to get down to a LQS, Quiltmakers, for their final going out of business sale. I will try to keep myself from going crazy buying stash stuff, but I'm not promising anything. We'll see how much self-control I have.

And hopefully tomorrow I'll finally get some photos up.
The board meeting was very productive and enjoyable. Everyone raved about the food but as usual, we made too much and are left with a ton of leftovers so I invited Mintzy and Rafi to come for dinner.

And that's all for now.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Canadian winters

My attempts to photgraph my work have been hampered by winter. Although I have a cathedral window in my living room, but when I leave for work at 8:30 a.m., it's still not bright enough for photography. And by 4:30 - 5:00 p.m. when I return, it's already too dark. Coupled with a windowless cubicle at work, I see very little sunlight during the day and by evening am just feeling too blah to do much of anything. I can hack the cold weather and even the chilling winds. It's the lack of sunlight which does me in.

Yesterday I left work early (2:30 p.m.). Menachem picked me up and dropped me off to pay a shiva visit at a friend from the Pomegranate Guild who's mother had died. Ruth was introducing me to her friends as "an amazing artist" and I was very flattered. I do nice work but don't consider myself anything near an artist. Ruth had some beautiful artwork in her place and I was itching to come home and do something "artistic".

Especially since Menachem had gone to pick up my sewing machine from servicing while I was visiting. I read somewhere on the internet that I should have my sewing machine serviced annually because if it was my car, I'd take it for regular servicing. And I have had the same machine for 16 years without servicing it. Again, by the time we got home, I just put it in my sewing room and left it at that.

Maybe today, ha ha.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Busy weekend

We've had a fairly busy weekend so far.
It started Friday night with dinner at Itai and Inbal's. Inbal is an excellent cook and the meal was delish. Saul and Miriam were also there until Saul left for a hockey game. In our after dinner conversation, I mentioned quilting and it turns out that Miriam quilts (quilted) and we're going to get together to quilt/needlework together. We were there until after 11 p.m. and anyone who knows me knows that that's about three hours later than I usually go to sleep...And then when we got home I couldn't fall asleep and can never sleep in, so I was working on only a few hours of sleep.
Last week, Menachem (the Mr.) fixed the parquet flooring in the living room. It had lifted due to water damage from overwatering the plants. (We have a cathedral ceiling in the south facing living room so there are ideal light conditions for growing plants. It is a veritable jungle.) Fixing the flooring involved removing the tiles which had lifted, replacing them, sanding and varnishing. The sanding covered everything -- curtains, furniture, plants, floors, pictures, etc. -- with a thin coat of dust.
Yesterday, we started tackling dust removal.
This meant taking down the curtains and washing them. Not easy because Menachem had to get up on the extension ladder on each side of the window several times and with his knee problems, it was both painful and difficult. We also had to move all of the plants to the kitchen so we could manoeuver. We started at about 10 a.m. and haven't finished yet because we also had a few errands to run.
I took my sewing machine in to get it serviced. I've had it for about 16 years and it has served me well. I'm trying to learn machine quilting (stippling, meandering) and can't get my stitch tension right. I'm not sure if it's me or the machine so I took it in.
The machine repair person has a place in mid-town Toronto and we're up in Thornhill (about a 30 minute drive). Why shlepp so far, you ask? Because he's really good and knowledgeable. We bought a serger from him a few years ago. Not that it was the smartest purchase because threading it is complicated and I don't really do that much serging. He showed me a quilting model machine but I resisted. I'm on my first quilt. I don't think I need a machine will all the bells and whistles just yet.
After we dropped of the machine -- it should be ready mid-week -- we popped in at my mother's for a short visit. She doesn't sleep well at night so she was a bit groggy from napping during the day. Devora has ordered internet for her which she should get this week. It will be interesting to see whether she uses it...
We had a call from Alissa (my first cousin who is mother of Sari, the bride for whom the crazy quilt chuppah is being made). Her son is buying a computer and wanted advice from Menachem who is a maven. At the same time, we made a dinner date for last night. We came home and continued hanging the curtains. It took a long time because again, up and down the ladder, and since they're loosely draped over the curtain rod, getting the folds to hang properly.
We went out with Alissa and Mel to Anton's, an Israeli-Russian restaurant at Bathurst and Steeles. We ordered a large combination salad plate -- three types of eggplants, beets, carrots, mushrooms -- and Menachem and Alissa and Mel had lamb shishlik. The salads were enough for me because we hadn't eaten lunch until 3 p.m. and I wasn't all that hungry. After dinner, we went back to their place for coffee and conversation. And then tiredness from Friday's outing kicked in. But I did have a good night's sleep last night and will tackle the rest of the living room/dining room/kitchen today. And maybe start cutting the fabrics for Sari's chuppah.
I also hope to get some photos posted so keep posted!

About Me

I am in my mid 50's, have been married (happily) for 38 years, have 3 adult children who live an ocean away... By day I am a legal secretary. The rest of the time I play with fabric but I still won't run with scissors...