Thursday, 25 August 2011

Another One!

The only one of my four (four! WOW!) grandchildren who didn't get a crib quilt made by Nana when he was born was Callum, so I had to remedy that ASAP. And here it is. It has his name and birthdate embroidered on the back, just like the others. And a message telling him that his Nana loves him.

I know, he's three and a half and doesn't need a crib quilt now that he's a Big Boy, but I just had to make one for him.
And I've enjoyed making these baby quilts so much that once I get going, I just can't stop.

So I went shopping and added to my fabric stash. (Fabricland had a sale!!!) Today I washed it all, ironed it and folded it, ready to start cutting. Watch this space for more quilts coming this way.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Did the Earth Shake?

Apparently, there was a 5.8 earthquake that shook northeast North America today. I'm trying to remember what I was doing just before 2:00pm.... playing cars with my grandson, I think. Or maybe we were just finishing our Kraft Dinner. With a Heinz Ketchup smiley face on it, of course.
I didn't feel a thing. Not like last time. But lots of people did.
Did you feel the shaking?

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Shaggy Dog Story

This framed watercolour hangs in my entrance hall. A reminder of some of the doggy friends who have shared their lives with my family over the years. The artist is Gareth Lewis.

There were cats in our house through the years too....
who lost all feeling and movement in his fluffy ginger tail after a bladder operation.
who thought the grass was greener the other side of the fence and went to live with the lady next door.
Dainty Dixie who lived to be almost 20 years old.
who got hit by a truck when she was little more than a kitten.
All fondly remembered. But unfortunately no portrait.

Patch c.1960-1971. Patch was found as a stray when we still lived in England and was taken in by my husband's family. Nobody claimed him so he stayed. Like all Border Collies, he could run like the wind and was an expert at catching balls and chasing sticks. And loved going out in the car. His ambition was to learn to drive so he didn't have to wait for someone else to take him out.

Blackie c.1970 - 1979. Blackie became part of our family when we bought the small rural farm where he lived. The previous owners couldn't find a home for him, so he stayed when we moved in. He looked ferocious but was really a gentle teddy bear sort of dog. He roamed the neighbourhood looking for treasure, coming home with assorted prizes.... a cow's leg complete with fur still on it, a cooked lobster, and even half a piglet (the back half)!

Sweep c.1969 - 1979. Sweep was another "found" dog. She was lost, living in a ditch, fur all matted and dirty, when my husband brought her home. She soon settled in and lived a happy life with us. She didn't like to be near water.... I wondered if someone had tried to drown her. She produced a litter of four puppies to our surprise. She eventually became diabetic, and blind, and I gave her an insulin needle every morning. But in spite of her blindness, she still managed to escape from the back yard and go for walkies to visit the neighbours.

Shebah 1980 - 1994. Shebah was a typical Siberian Husky. The first six years were the worst! She howled in the night, chased cats and frightened old ladies, knocked down small children, killed the neighbour's chickens (that cost me a fortune), dug huge holes in the lawn, duelled with a skunk and lost, and shed white fluff over everything, especially people wearing dark clothing. She became a neighbourhood character, and when she died, people came knocking on the door to offer their sympathy. Her ashes were sprinkled on the front lawn where she spent so much time laying across the sidewalk, trapping old ladies so they were compelled to bend down and pet her.

Wendy 1994 - 2007. When we lost Shebah, I put my foot down and firmly declared "No more dogs!" So that's when we got our Golden Retriever puppy Wendy. You can read her story here.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Cats and Dogs

Callum: What are those things called, Nana?

Me: Some people call them bullrushes, some people call them cattails.

Callum: When they grow up they're going to be hot dogs.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

If You Go Out In The Woods Today....

... You're sure of a big surprise....

Back in June, I hosted a party for The Bride to welcome the twins. Of course, the babies still had a while to go before making their grand entrance into the world, but they were very much in evidence if you looked at The Bride in profile! I invited friends, family, neighbours, and we enjoyed an afternoon filled with laughter, friendship, gifts and of course, party food.

Just look at this amazing cake!

Remember that children's song, The Teddy Bear's Picnic?

All created by hand by a wonderful friend. The picnic quilt was made of fondant icing. The grass and flowers were butter icing. The leaves even had sparkle on them. The baby bears were created from rice krispie squares moulded into a bear shape and covered in chocolate. There were baby boots and baby toys for the bears to play with. All completely edible.

The little boy bear cub brought his baby bottle.

And the little girl bear cub was in charge of the teapot and the cookies.
"Shall I be Mother?"

Who was the domestic goddess that created this work of edible art?

My good friend Glitterfly, that's who. She has just started her own blog, so please, go and pay her a visit. And don't forget to tell her how gorgeous the cake was!

Thursday, 11 August 2011


Lots of tiny scraps and strips were leftover from my recent baby quilts, plus I seem to have aquired more fabric than I need by rummaging through the remnant bins of the local fabric stores, so I created some placemats.

Crazy wild colours and my first attempt at freehand machine quilting... not entirely successful as my Singer is almost 45 years old and probably not really suitable. However, I'm learning.

I used metallic thread for the top quilting. Hard to work with, but it got easier as I got the hang of it. I found quite a few tutorials on the internet, e.g.: how to make perfect HSTs, and how to mitre the corners of the quilt binding.

The placemats weren't made with any specific patterns in mind, they just grew according to the scraps I had left. And it's amazing to me that they all ended up roughly the same size without a lot of planning.

My next project, now that my grandtwins have arrived, is to embroider the babies' names and birthdates on their quilts. And then I start on the next quilt!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Double Trouble!

They're here!

I've known they were coming for a long time, and finally they have arrived.

One of the blue variety, and one of the pink variety, a baby brother and sister for Isaac and new baby cousins for Callum.

Introducing Max. He arrived on Saturday at 11:40 in the morning, weighing 6lb 14 oz, and measuring 52cm.

His sister Emma arrived ten minutes later, at 11:50 in the morning, weighing in at 6lb 9oz, and measuring 49cm.

Max and Emma were at home with mummy and daddy (YoungerSon and The Bride) by 3:30 the same afternoon.

There was quite a reception there to greet them.... Nana (that's me), big brother Isaac, OlderSon and The Equestrienne and big cousin Callum, and The Bride's mom (Grandma), dad (Poppa) and sister (Auntie J).

These pictures were taken when Emma and Max were only 6 hours old.

The other grandies are here... see any similarity?

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Mud Dauber Wasp


What's that high pitched buzzing sound?

I looked up and saw this strange tube clinging to the verandah wall above my head. Whatever is it? And why is it making that noise? When in doubt, consult the internet.

It's the home of the "Organ Pipe" Mud Dauber Wasp.

The Mud Dauber wasp builds her nest by carrying balls of mud in her mouth and sculpting it into a tube shape. As she does this, she makes a loud high pitched buzzing noise.... that's the sound I heard.

Update: the buzzing sound is Mama wasp beating her wings at high speed to dry the mud!

When Mama wasp is satisfied that the nest tube is long enough, she flies off in search of juicy spiders. She catches them, stings them into submission and paralyses them, and pops them into the nest, stocking the larder.

Then she lays her single egg on one of the comatose spiders.

Now it's time to seal the tube with more chewed up mud, and start on the next nursery tube. The egg hatches, and Lo and Behold! the baby wasp larvae can feast on fresh spider meat every day, thoughtfully provided by Mama.


A bit of a shock for the spiders though.

However, I gave the nest a shot of Raid.... sorry Mama, please build your elegant nest somewhere else.