Monthly Archives: March 2016

Happy Easter!


I hope that you’ve all had a pleasant Easter weekend.  It’s a funny one, what with different people getting different days off.  Looking around our neighbourhood it’s obvious that there are some family gatherings happening, maybe some Easter egg hunts??

Good Friday saw me out early for a bike ride.  It was kind of a shake down cruise as I’ve not ridden much since 2013.  Well, I did try to ride on Thetis Island, at the quilt retreat, but one of my pedals snapped after about 15 minutes.  Lucky for me, I was at the top of a hill and managed to coast most of the way back! Stanley Park is an amazing place to go for a bike ride.  There’s very little traffic early in the morning.  The road surface is smooth, there’s one good hill and the view is unbeatable.  It’s a 10km loop, so I did two of those, plus there and back from home, which totalled 35km.  Now that I know the bike is in good shape I will venture out for longer training rides.

The other fun thing that happened on Friday was the start of the 48th annual Southern Straits Yacht Race.  It’s put on by the West Vancouver Yacht Club and the start is directly off the pier at Dundarave Beach.  Hundreds of spectators turn out to watch.  There were bands playing, pancakes for breakfast, free coffee and the Easter Bunny was there too.  Here’s a photo of the first start with the bigger sailboats.


Saturday was an indoor cycling workout, followed by chores and sewing for the afternoon.  The highlight was dinner out with Blake’s brother and girlfriend at Arm’s Reach Bistro in Deep Cove.  Fabulous food and a wonderful setting.

It’s now just before noon and I’m excited to say that I knocked off a 15km run this morning.  I’ve not run that far since 2013 and it was awesome.  (I set out last Sunday to do that distance, and just wasn’t feeling the love, so bailed at 5km!)

I had my good playlist and just chugged along listening to tunes.  Have you seen the Academy Award nominated movie Selma?  It was nominated for Best Picture in 2015.  It deals with the black struggle for the right to vote in 1965 and is a powerful film.  The song Glory, by Common and John Legend, is from that movie and is one that I could listen to over and over.  It came on during my run and, as always, it moved me deeply.  Is there a song that does that for you?

I wish you all joy and peace today and every day, wherever you are and whether you’re alone or with family and friends.

Thanks for reading.




Start To Finish #3 -Assembly

In the last progress report, on the colours of India quilt, I had cut out what I’d hoped were enough 2″ strips to make a quilt top that measures approximately 80″x 80″.  Those strips were set aside, waiting to be stitched together at my annual quilt retreat.

Retreat began last Monday afternoon.  I spent the first afternoon and evening working on another project, wanting to be fresh for this one.  Bright and early Tuesday I got the pile of strips out and sorted them by colour.  Then I started stitching them together, end to end.  There was no pattern; I just tried to keep them mixed up a bit.  The next step was to take this very large strip of 2″ fabric and cut it into 60 x 80″ widths.  So far so good, and it moved along quickly.  Here’s the pile of strips joined end to end:IMG_2176

Then came the tedious part.  I paired up the strips and sewed them together, creating 30 strip pairs.  Then those pairs were joined together, creating 15 quad strips.  This continued all afternoon and into the evening.  Each 80″ seam needed to be pressed.  Throughout this process I resisted the urge to see how it was looking.  It was all random and I just crossed my fingers and hoped that I wouldn’t end up with 20 pieces the same in one place.   Here are the 30 pairs of strips:

IMG_2195 3

By mid-day on Wednesday the top was assembled and I folded it up and set it aside for that evening’s show and tell.  Honestly, I was afraid to look at it.  The colours are bright and bold and I thought it might be garish, tacky or just plain ugly.  At show and tell I explained that I’d wanted to recreate the colours of India in a quilt.  It was well received and the comments were positive.  Two of the gals held it up so that I could have a good look and I was thrilled.  It was just as I’d hoped, only better.  Here’s the completed quilt top:IMG_2198

On my way home, after retreat, I stopped at The Cloth Castle in Langford to look for fabric for the back of the quilt and found three perfect pieces.  Better still, they were in the markdown section!  I’ve got them washed and pressed and am thinking about how to put them together in a way that will complement the top.

I’m really excited to see this one coming together.  It’s joyful and brings back such fond memories of our special Indian adventure.

Thanks for following.  Comments are always welcome.

Retreat 2016

I’m sitting on a ferry, heading back to the mainland after five days at a quilt retreat on Thetis Island. This was the third year that I’ve ‘retreated’ and, like the previous two years, I wasn’t disappointed. Our retreat takes place at Capernwray Harbour Bible School and Conference Centre, during their spring break. Most of the students clear out for the break and head off to do mission work or return home.   This frees up accommodation for 40 women, their sewing machines and stacks of fabric.

The school is located on a bay, adjacent to the ferry dock. The grounds are beautiful; with rolling green fields, barns, a pond, a playground and walking trails through a forest. We sleep in cabins that are spare, yet spotless and comfortable. Meals take place in the dining room and we take over two lecture rooms for sewing. The food is plentiful, healthy and very tasty.

You may wonder what takes place at a quilt retreat. Well, lots and lots of sewing; there are no lectures or workshops. The participants bring their own projects to work on. Take away the usual distractions of working, childcare, dog walking, cooking, cleaning, gardening and the rest and you’re left with hours of uninterrupted time to create. Some women worked on multiple quilts. Others focused on one. There were new projects and there were projects that had been started several years ago.

At times the sewing rooms were so quiet you could hear a pin drop. At other times there were many conversations going on, and every once in a while there’d be shrieks of laughter. Ideas, tips and techniques were shared. The more experienced quilters generously passed on their knowledge.

A highlight of the retreat was Wednesday night’s Show and Tell, which was attended by the quilters and several of the Capernwray staff.   Almost all of the quilters got up onto the stage and showed what they’d been working on. It was wonderful to see the variety in the projects.   Large, small, bright, pastel, modern and traditional, they were all there.  Everyone was supportive of each other and, regardless of quilting style, we all appreciated the work involved in turning out a quilt.

I’m happy to be home and sleeping in my own bed.  However,  I’ve paid my deposit for 2017 and have put March 13 – 17 in my calendar and will be counting the days until the next retreat.

Thanks for reading.



Start To Finish #2 – Cut It Out

I wanted to have my big project all cut out before heading to quilt retreat next week.  There are two reasons for this: 1. I don’t want to take over the shared cutting table for an extended period and 2. I knew it would take some focus, and a room full of excited, chatting quilters might not be the best scenario for that.  It turns out that this was a really good decision.  It took more than three hours to get everything pressed, cut and organized.

In Start To Finish #1 I had said that I’d use a mix of 2″, 4″ and 6″ strips – something I’d been pleased with in a previous quilt.  In the end I cut all of the strips 2″ wide and they will be finished at 1 1/2″.  Why the change?  Mainly because I wanted to make sure that I had enough fabric without having lots leftover.  Most of the strips are the full width of the fabric, or about 40″ wide.  The quilt will be 80″, so every two strips will make one row.  I kept a running tally as I cut and fortunately I had enough fabric to make 60 rows or 90″.  That’s pretty long, but it gives me flexibility to move things around and swap out rows that don’t work well.  Here are the cut strips.  At this point it looks like an odd jumble of random and unrelated colors, but I think it will come together nicely.


Right now I’m sitting in the ferry lineup at Horseshoe Bay, about to board the 8:30 sailing to Nanaimo.  From there it’s a 45 minute drive to Chemainus, where I’ll hop onto the 12:15 sailing to Thetis Island.  By 2pm I’ll have my car unpacked, my bed made up, my clothes stored and my sewing station organized for four days of sewing.

As a special bonus the torrential rain and strong winds have stopped.  There is blue sky and fresh snow on the mountains-a gorgeous coastal morning.  What a way to start a week!


Whatcha listenin’ to?

Music, podcasts, books – all great options in the background while I’m sewing or running.  I grew up surrounded by music, mostly classical.  My parents both played the piano and my dad loved listening to opera.  I tried the piano, several times, and even got my Royal Conservatory of Music Grade 7 certificate, but I was just never comfortable playing in front of people.  I was definitely not a natural!  When we moved from Ontario to British Columbia in 2007 I donated our piano to the Conservatory to be used as a practice instrument.

In spite of, or maybe because of, my lack of musical skill, I love listening to all kinds of music.  I have several playlists on my MacBook and I’m constantly updating my library with iTunes purchases.  My choices include: gospel, country, oldies, movie tunes, rock and classical.  Some of my current faves are: Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats, The National, Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.  On the iPod are custom playlists with tempos for LSD – (Long, Slow, Distance) – runs and for faster runs.   Truckin‘  by The Grateful Dead and Bat Out Of Hell by Meatloaf can really help the legs turn over faster, as can Lose Yourself my Eminem.  Nothing like a little angry rap music to speed things up!

So, here’s one of those questions that I both love and hate.  (love because it makes me stop and think, but hate because it’s so hard)  If you could choose only 10 songs to listen to, what would they be?  Here’s my list, in no particular order:

  1. Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen
  2. Don’t Give Up by Peter Gabriel
  3. We Shall Overcome by Pete Seeger
  4. Lose Yourself  by Eminem
  5. You Can’t Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones
  6. Sacrifice by Elton John
  7. Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
  8. This Love by Taylor Swift
  9. Will You Be There by Michael Jackson
  10. Messiah by Handel

Like I said, my choices are mixed!  What would you have on your top ten list?  Care/dare to share?

Thanks for reading.


Night For Life

I made this blue quilt last winter and donated it to a friend who was organizing a gala for the Canadian Transplant Association as a way to raise awareness and express gratitude.    My friend, Matt, had become very ill with an auto immune liver/bile duct disease called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, or PSC.  In the fall of 2014 Matt had a liver transplant, and received a portion of his cousin’s liver.  Both donor and recipient are doing well.


Night For Life

I’ve made this quilt twice and love its simplicity.  It’s fun to make and goes together very quickly.

I met Matt through an online group for people with PSC.  Yes, that includes me.  However, PSC affects people in many different ways and my doctors think that I will remain fairly healthy.

If you haven’t thought about organ donation, please do.  If you’re procrastinating about signing the card, please don’t!

Here’s a link to some good info about PSC.  Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis

Thanks for reading.