Tuesday, August 5, 2014

More Little Blocks...

I have managed to finish 8 more little hand applique blocks from Lori Smith's pattern, "Miss Emilie's Garden."  They will finish about 6 inches square.

Spending a week along the St. Lawrence River in Ontario, Canada was good for me.  Staying in a rustic cabin, watching the river, and listening to all the birds and wildlife in that beautiful area near the Canadian Thousand Islands are highlights of our year, as Steve's family owns the 11-acre peninsula covered with old growth forest and a handful of rustic, non-insulated structures.  This was my 24th year in a row of going there every summer.

We had some annual upkeep and chores to perform, but rainy, unusually cool weather allowed for cozy fires in the fireplace and a little time to hand stitch and work a couple of fabulous new puzzles purchased just for the trip (my daughter and I are militant puzzlers...).

We spent the week with Steve's brother/wife/dog, so there were just the five of us...very low key.  They drive from Maine and we drive from Michigan.  I love being in Canada, and the Kingston/Gananoqua area is so beautiful and the people so very nice.  Mostly just like a cleaner, nicer United States.  I love passing all the wind turbines that have been installed in the southern Ontario farmland areas and around Kingston.  It takes us 40 minutes to be in Canada from our house, then we enjoy the good roads, beautiful views, and wonderful hospitality of our Canadian neighbors (we bypass Toronto on the 407...).

We have two more brief road trips before Riley starts her senior year on August 18.  Then, maybe I can exhale...it has been one crazy summer.

There are 25 total blocks in this wall hanging, which I think will measure 42" x 42" when finished.  I have 9 more blocks to do...maybe I will finish all the hand work on these next road trips.

I love these reproduction fabrics, but they are definitely a little duller than what I have been working with on "Baltimore Rhapsody" and our anniversary project.

I have picked some brighter repro fabrics for the sashing and borders/swag, so I think things will be more "zingy" overall once everything is assembled.  Someone emailed me about the duller tones, worried that my mood was affecting my color choices, but I actually picked these fabrics and prepped these blocks before my parents' fatal accident.  I am doing OK, by the way...

On a recent college swing through the state, I stopped by "The Door Mouse" in Kansas, OH and picked up some yardage of the above, older repro fabrics.  I may use two reds, but if I only use one I am leaning toward the one on the right with the smaller scale print.  I love this green for the swag!  

I was in and out of "The Door Mouse" in less than 20 minutes, which totally stunned my daughter...that's the shortest stay in a quilt shop for me EVER, so I guess I'm still not quite back to normal, LOL. She had just gotten comfortable in the classroom area of the shop with a novel when I prodded her toward the car...

This is the main swimming/bathing area at Grass Creek, with Riley and Steve "demonstrating."  The water seemed warmer than the air some days that we were there.  Those were days with very quick dips, only for cleanliness sake!

Those are long skinny islands across the water, with the wider branch of the St. Lawrence on the other side.  We only get local tour boats, sailboats, and pleasure boats on our branch...so nice to watch all the pretty and fancy boats!  All the commercial boats and barges are on the branch we can't see.  With the "protection" of a row boat (so boats can see us...), we swim across and back some days for exercise.  It's about a half mile one way...

That is the way to Kingston...

...and that is the way to Gananoqua, the gateway to the Thousand Islands.  The boat house just sits on the rocks by the shore...

Steve is relaxing on the Main House eating porch, drinking a cup of coffee and watching the river...

The dish washing area on the porch is kind of behind him (we boil river water to hand wash the dishes).  The indoor kitchen of the main house is right behind Steve's head.  We have a propane stove and refrigerator and all the pots, utensils, china, etc., so we can cook just about anything.

Freshly washed breakfast fruit, awaiting Red River Cereal...

Walking from The Robin's Egg cabin (where we stayed) over to the Main House in the morning.  There are three sleeping cabins (each with an outhouse), the Main House, the Boat House, and a free standing outhouse (yes, ladies...outhouses...not so bad...).  You can see the river peeking through the trees...

Lots of ferns, moss, weird mushrooms, wild flowers, wild life 
and rotting trees that have fallen over the years...

I've been walking by this rotting part of a tree for years, watching it's transition from huge limb to shapeless mulch on the forest floor...

This is Diaper Point...named that in 1928 when the family bought the property (Steve's Uncle and Dad were babies at that time...).

From the Main House porch, looking at the back side of the Boat House...

The Main House and porch...we now have a solar panel and enough power for limited lights at night and recharging our phones and devices...).

The living room, where a cozy little fire is getting started in the fireplace...

We haul in drinking/cooking water, but bring river water up in old aluminum buckets for everything else...

There are clothespins with the names of everyone who comes to Grass Creek, family and visitors alike.  The clothespins mark people's places at the table(s) and keep folded paper napkins from blowing away...

I had to retire my parents' clothespins this year...they visited 3 or 4 years ago, coming up from Alabama while we were there.  I brought them home...I think I will put them with the Christmas ornaments to clip to the tree.

At the end of our peninsula there is an inlet called Grass Creek that comes in and makes our land almost an island (except where we drive on).  There has recently been a HUGE mansion built across the inlet.  It is called "Mandalay."  It is quite impressive, as compared to our humble structures and outhouses.  The owners made their money from inventing those pine tree air fresheners that you hang in your car.  We have rowed over for a closer look...it would be fun to invite them for dinner some year...    :o)

My husband's cousin is a quilter, but we are never really there at the same time (Hi Peg!).  It would be fun to have a little hand sewing retreat there, although I am tempted to take my Featherweight next year...if there is room in the car!

I love being there, but I do admit that the first warm shower upon returning is AMAZING...

Happy stitching!

Teresa   :o)


  1. What a beautiful environment! Thanks for showing, to me it is like Norway and that is the country we want to go when we are able to go for three weeks without the kids. About a couple of years, I hope!

  2. Was thinking about you this morning. Glad to see you had some relaxing time. Chris

  3. Now this is my kind of vacation. Lovely blocks and I like the fabrics in them. I am always amazed at how fast you do handwork. Glad you got some valuable breathing time away.

  4. What a lovely posting, Teresa! Beautiful spot! And I like the red fabric on the right also for the border...nice blocks...hugs, Julierose

  5. love lake living! visited the lakes of Wisconsin as a child
    beautiful repro blocks - love your fabrics

  6. What a beautiful relaxing place. I LOVE your applique blocks, perfect fabric choices, your work is so neat & tidy.

  7. It is so nice to have a post from you today. I have missed you..but I Di understand.

  8. I don't think there is anything dull about the repros you are using - your blocks are fabulous! What a beautiful place!! Thanks for sharing you pictures. I'm glad you have such lovely things to say about Canada :0)

  9. You know what? I bet those folks in that "mansion" don't enjoy it one tiny bit more than you guys do!!! Looks like a wonderful place.

  10. Thank you for sharing your Canadian camping trip. How wonderful that you can spend time with family in such a wonderful location. In my humble opinion, the cheddar fabric brightens the quilt. Clothespins make great tree ornaments. It's a good feeling when you accomplish some sewing while on vacation.

  11. Love your appliqué blocks--kinda nice to change up color schemes for different projects. Looks like a wonderful area to get away--- your husband appears relaxed in his pic!! Nothing beats the outdoors during the summer.

  12. You took me on a mini vacation, located here in Australia, where it is winter I will do anything to be somewhere else even if it is only a trip on the internet. I have found your blog through Tree of Life and I am so glad I did. Enjoy your holiday and always travel safely. x Lesley

  13. Your blocks are gorgeous - I love the fabrics and any/all patterns by Lori Smith. Glad you had a great vacation. It sounds so relaxing - but...I have to have running water!

  14. I love your mini blocks! Love the fabrics you have chosen and I assume you will hand quilt this quilt? I spent my childhood summers on Tremont Island, one of the Thousand Islands. My grandmother"s cottage was the island closest to Gananoque. Our big outing was taking the water taxi to Gananoque once a week for groceries. But our even bigger outing was to go to Kingston. When my Grandmother purchased the cottage, it came furnished and also had hand made quilts on all of the beds. This was the first time I saw a quilt and I remember being very interested in them. I was only six years old!

  15. So good that you were able to get a break in the middle of all the business. Mandalay reminds me of the estate called Manderlay in the classic novel Rebecca, which was a great book btw. It was also turned into a movie with Lawrence Olivier. Your 6" blocks are just so sweet. Its going to be great!

  16. All the cheddars in your blocks.....wonderful feast for the eyes

  17. Hi Teresa! I have been enjoying your pictures of Grass Creek - especially the beautiful boathouse roof. :-) I love your idea of a hand-sewing retreat - we'll have to work on that!

  18. It looks wonderful! Roughing it is lots of fun too - making do - thinking up ways to use things (like clothespins with names on them for napkins, etc! Beautiful woods!

  19. Oh how I love reading all the posts and your beautiful not dull blocks. I actually laughed out loud at your comment of inviting those neighbours for dinner across the way in that mansion. I am a Canadian and how nice of you to say nice comments about us. I love Americans too. So sad to read about your loss. Hugs Bunny


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