Archive for the ‘Scatterdays challenge’ Category

Scatterdays – U

August 3, 2013

Another two weeks has zoomed by – I thought things slowed down during the summer?

Here is our challenge for this week!



When John and I met I was living in Calgary and he was living in Yellowknife.  He hired the group I was singing in to come and sing with the group he was singing in (The Gumboots). We stayed at his B&B and the rest, as they say, is harmony.

People who live or have lived in the North of Canada have a special bond.  They have survived and thrived in an extreme climate, and made the best of their time there.  The friendships are lifelong and many people speak of their time in the north as the best in their lives. Yellowknife was a great community for John.

To keep in touch with what’s going on up there, he subscribes to a magazine called “Up Here“. It’s a great read, with lots of entertaining stories of the characters who live Up There. It’s even good to read if you haven’t lived there!



We have a fairly new Tom Tom GPS which is very helpful when you travel as much as we do.  I have learned that you actually have to program it correctly, however, for it to tell you the right directions.  If there is more than one airport in town, you have to know which one it is, or you might miss your flight……

We have friends who told us about getting different voices on the GPS, and John decided on an Australian one.  As you know, Aussie-speak is sometimes different from Canada-speak, and it’s been wonderful to hear some of the things that “Bruce” says.  Whenever we arrive where we’re going he says:

“You have reached your destination:  windows up, grab those sunnies and don’t let the seagulls steal your chips!”

Occasionally we’ll drive by where we’re going so we can hear him say:

“Chuck a U-ey, mate”.

So this is my contribution this week:  the U-turn! Only dangerous when you see a sign like this!



Yellow is such a happy colour; I love happy music, too.  The happiest  – and coolest – instrument on the planet is the UKULELE.  Isn’t it wonderful that this Mahalo soprano uke comes with its own smiley face painted on?


It makes me want to start singing “U R My Sunshine”!


All quilters know that this refers to an UnFinished Object.

Quite a few years ago I made the Star and Plume quilt (I’ve mentioned it here before, and am currently doing a Block of the Month for it). I found a very cool block for it called “Beg and Borrow.

This is the block

This is the block

I designed a queen sized quilt using this block, and decided I’d make it while in hotel rooms on tour. I brought my little sewing machine, pre-printed a whole bunch of papers for piecing (it’s a paper pieced block because the angles are strange), and pulled all my orange and blue fabrics.  I could DO this!

What I didn’t factor was two things: a) most hotel rooms are totally inappropriate for intensive paper piecing. The flat surfaces are too low for cutting and ironing and you can seriously hurt your back (ask me how I know!). And b) each block takes 1 1/2 hours to make  – and after 40 or 50 of them, it’s DEAD BORING!!!!!

I’ve made all the blocks for the outside, most of the inside ones and I’ve given up. I HATE THIS QUILT! Even though I’ve spent easily 60 hours on it so far, it has not reached the point of no return (that I have to finish it because I’ve invested so much time in it). Nobody can make me finish it!!!

The pattern, and all the blocks I've made so far.

The pattern, and all the blocks I’ve made so far.

On August 17 we’ll be doing Hs: Sticky (!?!?), Breakfast, Wearable and Hiding Place.  Should be interesting!

If you’d like to see what the other Scatterdayers are coming up with, there are links on Cinzia’s blog.

Scatterdays – Z

July 20, 2013

I’m back, after missing the last one – it’s very difficult to think about doing a blog when you’re on the road!

This fortnight’s challenge: Z

zHere are the categories: Notorious, Edible, Family, ZZZZ

When I was growing up, I used to watch the TV show Zorro.  What a NOTORIOUS, swashbuckling hero he was!

zorro-imageYou always knew when he’d been around by his signature.

zorro zEDIBLE:
I have a vegetable garden in my backyard.  This year, I’m growing tomatoes, squash, radishes and potatoes (well, they actually come up every year – I don’t have to plant them).  The deer got my entire apple crop and most of the kohlrabi and peas.  I’m ready to do in the next deer I see….. practicing my bow and arrow technique….

One year I actually grew Zucchini (courgette for you Aussies and Brits). Never again. It is physically impossible for two people to keep up with the plant, and inevitably one escapes your view and becomes gargantuan before you know it.  I have recipes that use zucchini, like chocolate cake, that can hide it and use up large amounts, but still…..  I don’t mind eating zucchini once in a while, but not steadily. Now, I buy it from the store.


Here’s a picture of my ZANY family, thanks to the family reunion we had last week in Ontario.  We spent most of the time at the pool, because the days were very hot and humid. I don’t get to see them very often, so John and I flew back for this event.  It was WONDERFUL!

008 group shot smallZZZZZ
I’m not entirely sure what this one means.  I’m going to take it as my favourite quilt to sleep under!  I made this when I lived in Darwin Australia in 2000, as I was writing songs for my first quilting CD. It was a class I took taught by my friend Jenny Armour called “Country Quilts”. A central medallion style quilt – each of us designed as we went, so that each quilt made in the class looked quite different.  It was a great class, and, thanks to the Matilda’s Own wool batting/wadding inside, toasty warm!

I bought the fabric in Bali on our way to Darwin, so the quilt is called “Bali Stars”.  It won Best in Section at the Fred’s Pass Rural Show in 2000, much to my great surprise.

Bali Stars

Bali Stars






Scatterdays: B

June 22, 2013

Greetings from Summersville West Virginia!  I’ve had a most wonderful weekend here, and am winging my way home today.  This is my first time singing in this state, and I’m delighted with the hospitality and warmth that the quilters have welcomed me with.  It was a long day yesterday, with a full-day Notan class and a concert, but it was worth it!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, and I haven’t been able to concentrate enough on my answers to today’s letter: B I’ll do my Best!

Our categories are: Library, Smell, Equipment and Blog.

In Victoria we have several Branches of our Greater Victoria Public Library.  One of them is called the Bruce Hutchison library. Beautiful!

Books, Beautiful Books!

Books, Beautiful Books!


I woke up this morning in Summersville West Virginia.  Breakfast was Bountiful at the Hampton Inn. I didn’t wake up and smell the coffee – the Bacon cut right through everything else!

Wake up and smell the bacon!

Wake up and smell the bacon!


Guitar, sound system, sewing machine, computer.  Hmmm. No “b”s here….. How about Bobbins? This is how I keep my bobbins, not entirely neatly, but it helps.

BobbinsAnd finally: Blog

I enjoy blogging.  It’s an extension of the personal journal I’ve been keeping for the last 25 or 30 years. I like sharing my travelling experiences and new interests with everyone. I love it that some people are interested in this as well. Thank you for reading, everyone! I’ve even had comments from people that they enjoy reading the Scatterdays posts – maybe because they are so random and I guess they reveal things and relate stories that I might not otherwise tell.

Just this year I’ve started two more blogs – it’s difficult to keep them straight, sometimes.  Hard enough for me to keep this one going!!! But one is devoted to our upcoming cruise in September, so we’re talking all about the trip, the cruising experience, the classes, etc. So that I don’t have to bore anyone who isn’t at all interested in the cruise, I started a separate blog for it.  And then when I decided to offer the Block of the Month for the Star and Plume quilt, I needed another one for that!   The learning curve has been high on this one, because I needed to figure out how to make it possible for all my BoM-ers to upload their own pictures and comments on the process.  Happily, WordPress makes it easy to figure these things out.

I’m still getting used to the fact that sometimes when I meet people for the first time, they seem to know everything about me.  Obviously they have been reading my blogs and Facebook posts.  But still, it’s strange.

Star and Plume quilt

Star and Plume quilt

That’s the quilt we’re making (I’m remaking it in shades of grey – it’s my Year of Grey). And the Block of the Month Blog is here.

When I get home, I’ll be finishing up my latest Refractions quilt and looking for inspiration for the next one. And tending what’s left of my garden after the deer munched their way through it while we were up north. There will be some tomatoes and squash, but no peas or kohlrabi and I have only one remaining apple on the tree.  I’m starting to collect recipes for venison…….

Soon I’ll have the time to write the remainder of our travels north.  It really was a wonderful trip.

Till next time!


Scatterdays – X

June 3, 2013

Cinzia has given us a significant challenge this time: the letter X!  To her credit, she has also given us an “out” if we are unable to do it: we can do an acrostic of our names instead.  But I have been very fortunate in the last two weeks to find enough images to do the Xs. Yay! AND I’m a week early!!!



Our categories this week are:


We’ve just driven a couple of hundred kilometres on a gravel road in the far north of Canada.  There were times when it was appallingly rough, with large rocks and frost heaves from the permafrost, which our little VW car didn’t like much.  But mostly, it was just dusty.  Here’s a picture of the back of the car at the end of that drive.  Can you find the X?

X hidden dirty car small



We visited the MacBride Museum of History in Whitehorse Yukon, and found lots of stuffed animals, a huge exhibit about the grueling Yukon Quest dogsled race, and quite a bit of historical paraphernalia from the Gold Rush era.  Here’s a picture of one of the famous showgirls from back then, known as “Madame Zoom”, likely because nobody could possibly pronounce her first name: Xheusune!

Xheusune Corbet

Xheusune Corbet was a dressmaker from France, and a dance hall girl in Dawson City


When you sign a letter, at the end many people add XOXOX.  The “o”s are for hugs, and the “x”s are for kisses!  I Googled images for “kiss” and guess what I found?

X Kiss

Alive and kissing!


We sang in Yellowknife last night, and my friend Steve Lacey was closely examining my Star and Plume quilt.  He said he counted a LOT of X blocks in the quilt!  How many can you find?

Star and Plume

I think I can find about 9 proper crosses in this quilt.

That’s it for this week!  Can’t wait to see what’s up for next time!

To see what the other Scatterdayers are up to, check out the links on Cinzia’s blog.

Scatterdays – M

May 26, 2013

Greetings from Dawson City, Yukon!!  I’ve just had two days of warm, sunny temperatures (much warmer than home just now), and VERY long days – we are just below the Arctic Circle, the furthest north I’ve ever been, and you could easily fit two days into one here.  It never gets dark, although the sun does dip below the horizon.  That means that you can be out gardening at midnight – and people do! It’s very difficult to get to sleep when it looks like about 7pm (but is really midnight!)

This week’s Scatterdays challenge is the letter M

Sport, Foreign, Animal, and Modern Quilt

Well, there are Marathons, aren’t there?  I used to run, but I never did a marathon.  I think I’m glad about that.  Today at noon in Dawson City Yukon (which at one time was the biggest city west of Winnipeg and north of San Francisco) they started a sort of marathon called a “Relay for Life”.  Teams are going to be walking for the next 12 hours to raise funds for cancer. It will still be light when they finish!

The opening ceremony of the Relay for Life in Dawson City Yukon

The opening ceremony of the Relay for Life in Dawson City Yukon


Mount Cook on the south island of New Zealand

Mount Cook on the south island of New Zealand

This was from my first visit to New Zealand in 2004.  We were not there first thing in the morning, but we were able to take this classic picture of the reflection of the mountain.  I love New Zealand, and can’t wait to get back sometime.


I have so many ideas for this one!  I first thought about including the endangered Vancouver Island Marmot, but I’ve never actually seen one.  Now that we’re in the far North of Canada, it seems very clear which animal should get my vote: the moose!

This is on the wall of the Commissioner's Residence in Dawson City.

This is on the wall of the Commissioner’s Residence in Dawson City.

Moose drop their antlers each year, and people up here find them discarded in the bush.  You can use them for the most interesting things:

Moos antler chair and My DH

Moos antler chair and My DH

We have seen a live moose on the road, but I didn’t get a very good picture of it. Today, someone told me that the animal they’re most afraid of meeting in the wilderness is a moose – they’re nasty, and will run after you – and they’re BIG.

But I must show you the other major candidate from this tour for this category:  the Woolly Mammoth!  Because Alaska and part of the Yukon escaped the last Ice Age, there were many interesting animals  here (including really big bears, and lions).  Outside the Berengia Centre in Whitehorse, we encountered a small, but impressive looking mammoth, looking very fashionable!

A wooly Wooly Mammoth

A woolly Woolly Mammoth – Yarn Bombed!


I don’t think I make “modern quilts”, so I’m going to show you one of my own most modern (read: latest) quilts.  It was taken from a detail of a picture of reflections in the water at Port Angeles, Washington State.  One day, I’ll make a modern quilt.  Maybe.

Port Angeles Harbour done small

That’s all till next time – the dreaded letter X!!! I was hoping we could miss this one…. Keep you posted.

Scatterdays: V

May 11, 2013

Today’s letter is:



Our categories are:


With such a Variety of Vivid, Visible Variations possible for this category, where shall I begin? From Vermilion to Violet to Vanilla.  And such Vivid Views!  My choice is Verdigris – a loVely colour, and one that I actually found in my house! (If you just keep enough stuff, it’s amazing what you can find when you’re looking for something unusual!)

A verdigris candle holder.

A verdigris candle holder.


—- VANE! John and I were visiting a friend in Quebec many years ago. We had a day to relax, and I decided I wanted to retrace the steps from my childhood – once, my parents and I were in Quebec and they bought themselves a weather vane. So, John and I and our friend went down to the local hardware store, where we met the owner (and former Mayor of town).  Everything was done in a mixture of French and English: a weather vane, in French is called a “girouette”.  I wanted one in the shape of a rooster (un “coq”). We were shown into the basement, in a back dusty corner, to two boxes with “girouettes”. One, “un cheval” – a horse, and one a sailboat.  The owner was very entertaining, and upbeat – he opened one of the boxes and said – “Look, you even get some hardware (screws) to install it!”

I said “Je prefere un coq, s’il vous plait”.

and HE said: “You get four free screws a she STILL wants a “coq”!!!

To my eternal regret, I didn’t buy the “cheval” or the sailboat, holding out for the “coq”.



It’s spring here, and I’m just planting my garden before we head out on tour again. While preparing the bed to receive my tomatoes and squash and kohlrabi plants, I found some remaining carrots from last season!  Too woody to eat, alas, but they are my pointy VEGETABLES!



If you’ve been reading this blog before, you’ll know that I’m in the middle of an art challenge with two friends.  By next February we are each to have created ten pieces on the theme of “Refractions”.  Then, we’ll display our work in a local gallery.  In my last 6 months (mostly) home, I’ve been on a wonderful journey to create the first 6 pieces – learning curve is very high, and I’m starting to think more as an artist.  These pieces will be for sale when the show is on, also a huge step forward for me, who gives away or keeps everything she makes.  Here is the most vibrant piece I’ve made for this challenge, based on pictures I took of two straws in a glass of water, in front of rainbow fabric.  The glass was fluted, leading to some really interesting refractions of the straws.

Drawing Straws

Drawing Straws

If you’d like to see what some of the other participants did for this challenge, check out Cinzia’s site, where you’ll find links to everyone else’s responses.

I hope I can continue doing this challenge while I’m on the road – we’ll have to see! Next time, we do M: Sport, Foreign, Animal, and Modern Quilt.

Scatterdays: L

April 27, 2013

Another fortnight, another last minute mad dash to figure out my four categories. This week our letter is:


The topics are: Sky, Purple, City and Lap Quilt


I’ve been following the adventures of Canada’s favourite spaceman: Chris Hadfield.  Chris is currently the Commander of the International Space Station, and he’s doing more than anyone else to demystify and popularize the goings on up there. He’s using social media a lot while he’s there, and sending back lots on Facebook and YouTube. I’ve seen videos of how you sleep in zero gravity, how you get a haircut, and how to brush your teeth.  Even a science experiment suggested by a Canadian student about what happens when you squeeze a soaking wet facecloth in zero G!  (you’d be surprised what does happen).

I have a personal connection with Chris – he’s a musician and songwriter too, and he’s been working with my producer, Paul Mills, to record a bunch of songs FROM SPACE!  It’s going very well, I hear.

Chris is taking some amazing pictures from space, and here’s one that he took of the rising moon – otherwise known as Luna.


I’ve already taken a sneak peek at Cinzia’s post this week, and she chose the city London.  As in England.  I have been there too, but actually I grew up in London Ontario. Not quite the same cachet that the other one has, but it’s where I’m from, so this is the one I chose.


And yes, the Thames River runs through this one, too.  AND Stratford upon Avon is not far away!

I have lavender growing in my yard.  This time of year, it’s not very purple, but it will be.  Here’s what lavender looks like in the spring in Victoria BC.


Just beside the first shoots of lavender are proper purple flowers:


This is one I made with my Mock Mola Applique technique.  It’s a combination of two Labyrinths, the top is Caerdroia Labyrinth, and the bottom is a Roman one.


 That’s all for now.  In two weeks, I’ll see you with Vs: Colour, Weather, Pointy and Vibrant Quilts!!!

To see some of the other Scatterdayers, there’s a list of all of us on Cinzia’s blog.

Scatterdays S

March 30, 2013

Happy Easter, everyone (and soon to be April Fool’s day).  I’m enjoying spectacular weather here in Victoria BC – it feels almost like summer!

This time, our Scatterday challenge was S:  Female, Ice Cream, Empty and Stash.




A few years ago we were visiting our good friend Jan in Brisbane.  Our concert was held in the Mary MacKillop Primary School.  I was interested in the name of the school, since my father’s great grandmother was Catharine MacKillop, from the Isle of Iona.  They had a little display about her in the school, and I was interested to find out that she was from the same relative area as my gggrandmother.  Since them, Mary MacKillop has been Sainted!

Saint Mary MacKillop

Saint Mary MacKillop

It’s an unusual name, and I’m SURE SHE’s a relative!!! (Just haven’t found out how yet…..)


Ice Cream:

We were on tour in Oklahoma with our RV many years ago. It had snowed overnight. (BRRRR!)  In the old days, we had to check our email by going to the camp office and plugging into their telephone.  I was doing that when a local came in and started talking about SNOW ICE CREAM!

Being a good Canadian, used to snow, I was amazed that I had never heard of this before.   Here’s the recipe:

1 gallon snow
1 cup white sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups milk (or cream)

Mix the ingredients together and eat it.

Make sure you use clean snow, not what I’m standing on here.

Don't use this snow to make ice cream!

Don’t use this snow to make ice cream!


It’s a beautiful Spring day here in Canada, with the temperatures climbing and the sky clear.  Time to do some Spring cleaning!  It’s the only way I’m ever going to find an Empty Shelf anywhere in my house!




Okay, I admit it: I keep almost everything.  I throw out fabric that won’t cut a 1 1/2″ square, but keep everything else.  I even keep Selvedges!  Here’ s my bag full of selvedges, and what I do with them (obviously I’m a bit behind in this – time to start crocheting again…..). To keep this extremely S-y, I’ve added three of my favourite Scissors, as well!

Selvedges and Scissors

Selvedges and Scissors

Next?  We’ll be doing As: House, Bird, Junk and Art.

See you in two weeks!

Scatterdays: D

March 16, 2013

Today’s Scatterdays challenge: the letter D

Something Humorous
A Quilty Display

Feet were made to DANCE!!! Here’s the cover of one of my recordings, featuring the song: Dance Beneath the Moon.  I hate this cover, but  it’s a real “blast from the past” to see my hair like this again – very 80s, dontcha know! (PS it never was this big – the artist drew in some of the top hair because the picture was cut off…..)

Funny hair, horrible album cover, but it was a good song!

Funny hair, horrible album cover, but it was a good song!


Furniture: My desk!

This is as clean as it ever gets.....

This is as clean as it ever gets…..

Something humorous: sorry, I’ve totally blanked on this. I’ve no idea.  Dada? a funny disguise? a Dirigible? a Dromedary? a Dodo bird?  How about the book series by Patrick Taylor that I’m reading: An Irish Country Doctor?  There are several books in the series, about a freshly minted Irish Doctor who starts working in the fictitious town “Ballybucklebo”, complete with its hilarious finely drawn characters. I’ve laughed out loud many times while reading this book!!

This is the first book.

This is the first book.

A Quilty Display:  Here’s my selection of hand-Dyes and fabric I’ve Dyed.  I’ll do more.  It’s so much fun!


Next?  S: Female, Ice Cream, Empty, and Stash. See you in two weeks!

Scatterdays – I

February 21, 2013

I am WAAY early (over a week) with my contribution to Scatterdays this time – I’m off to a quilt retreat next week, and I didn’t want to forget when I get home.


I thought this one would be difficult, but I didn’t find it so this time. The challenge to find words that started with “I” on the topics of:

Sewing Room “Inchies”

The hardest one for me was Money; how do you take a picture of “interest” or “investment” or even “income”?? There are lots of words about money that start with I: think “invoice”, insolvent”, or even “impecunious”! But just try to take a picture of them.

So now, I’m thinking of other things that can be used as money. I’ve found that camels, cowrie shells, stones, blankets rice, salt, peppercorns and even blood were once used as money. And how about those home-canned jams and preserves that double as legal currency at Christmas? No “i”s anywhere….

So I’m back with more standard forms. All of our currencies used to be based on a supply of gold held in the banking centres. Not so much anymore, now that governments just print more money when they’re running out. But in the old days, gold Ingots were the basis of everything! Woo Hoo – I did it!!!!

Money = Ingots

Money = Ingots


Easy peasy.  I make my living as a musician.  My main tool has always been my Instrument!

My airline guitar: black and made of carbon fibre so it won't break on a plane...

My Instrument: black and made of carbon fibre so it won’t break on a plane…

Metal: IRON

Last year we spent some time in England, and we visited Ironbridge in Shropshire, which the tourist brochures call the “Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution”.  It is where Abraham Darby perfected the smelting of iron with coke, and it was a filthy, productive, and inventive river valley in its time. The bridge across the Severn River was the first cast Iron bridge in the world, and one of the last remaining.




I like small things, or at least things made out of small pieces.  That’s probably why I became a quilter.  Or maybe it developed because I was a quilter? While we were staying with our friend Rosemary in Pennsylvania several years ago, she showed me her latest king sized quilt, made of 8″x8″ blocks of 64 one inch squares.  I was hooked.  And what a scrap bag buster!!! I now keep every scrap from my projects that will cut a 1-1/2″ square.  Just in case I make another one.

Philately No.1

Philately No.1 Queen Sized 5,120 inchies

I do believe I’m first with the challenge this time – I can’t wait to see what everyone else has chosen!

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