Sunday, 19 April 2020

My First Meadowland Quilt (Then Came June patterns)

The Meadowland quilt pattern has been extremely popular.  Last fall I started my first one using solids including kona cottons and a soft cotton/linen type fabric (I cannot remember what it's called... sorry).  The meadowland pattern looks really good in solids!  I made it as a housewarming gift which was quite late getting to the receiver but that's how it goes sometimes!

I usually quilt my own by this time I had a very talented lady do this quilt on her longarm machine.  
It turned out so well done in a swirly pattern which looked nice since the pattern is straight lines.

I've already made a long table runner using 5 meadlowland blocks and have plans for another meadowland in the near future ie. fabric is bought!

Then Came June quilt patterns
Mad About Patchwork My all-time favourite quilt fabric shop!

Monday, 13 January 2020

I Support Our Teachers

Recently there have been many reminders that our teachers are in discord with the province of Ontario and those who hold positions of power making decisions about our children's education.  Work-to-rule and strike positions are extremely tough for all involved... mostly our teachers.  Our children lose out on extra activities and experiences and sometimes loss of school days (they won't complain about that most of the time) but the teachers and school support staff have the most to lose.  I have always chosen to support those in the trenches.  We are reminded over and over again that those in higher positions tend to be removed from what really happens in a school and classroom.  Why do they get to make all the big decisions?  How can they make GOOD decisions when they haven't been there ever or in a long time?  How can they so easily pull resources away from classrooms and add more resources to the superintendents and higher levels of government?  I often wonder what are they thinking?  Whose best interest do they have in mind?

We have three children.  One is in high school and has a natural drive and determination and works hard in school.  She achieves good grades but it hasn't necessarily come naturally to her.  What she has on her side are teachers who care about her success and a desire to do well.  This will take her far.  Learning comes easily to our next child, our son.  He has a good memory, likes to learn and is naturally inquisitive.  His marks don't always reflect his ability because his effort is sometimes lacking but we know this, his teachers know this and most of the time he is still successful.  He's one of the lucky ones.  Our youngest child, our second daughter, has had to work very, very hard to learn and grasp information.  Right from the beginning, we kept a close relationship with her teachers who were all 100 PERCENT  there for her.  They kept tabs on her, understood her strengths and worked with her weaknesses to always encourage success.  EVERY SINGLE one of her teachers was a gift.  I feel she was blessed with each one of them who found ways to teach her to learn her own way, have confidence and then she would have success.  She started out struggling to learn and is now doing extremely well in grade 6.  She works hard and this is what will take her far in life.  I have no doubt each one of her teachers has had a hand in this and we will ALWAYS be grateful.

Our teachers care about their students.  They want to encourage success in whatever capacity that student needs.  They take time out of their own life (and many of the teachers in our community have full lives just like our own) to make sure each of their students' needs can be met in some way.  Our teachers don't want to take away exracurriculars.  They find enjoyment in the "extras" as well but we need to remember that these are extras.  I certainly don't want to see this go on for too long.  Our children benefit from everything the teachers do from high school sports teams,  high school choir, elementary school sport tournaments, grade 8 trip and grade 5 to 8 ski days and so much more.  These activities make school rich and wonderful.  This is what keeps those struggling kids motivated.  It gives a purpose to school life outside of classroom learning.

Despite all of that, I support our teachers.  The number of students in a classroom should not increase, no student should be forced to take an online course, numbers of support staff shouldn't decrease... the list goes on.  No more jobs should be created at the Board of Education level.  Let's try to find more meaningful ways to save money that won't hurt schools and therefore students and teachers.  We need leaders making better decisions.

Our youngest daughter just wrote her own speech.  She's very proud of it and I am proud of her.  When she was younger, I was worried about her grade 6 year.  I am not anymore and am so thankful. 

Monday, 6 January 2020

My 20 For 2020

Happy New Year... 2020 has arrived!

It's a little bit surreal to be honest.  2020 seems like such a futuristic year to be in... like it's unreachable to those of us who grew up in the last millennium but here we are!  No flying cars in sight though...
I'm in my New Years mode; fresh starts, new ideas, positive planning, changing habits and new outlooks.  I love this time of year.  Last year I created a list of 19 "items" of interest that I wanted to tackle this year.  Some were going to be big accomplishments but many were small items that I could manage.  I recently reviewed my list and, ahem, lets just say I didn't quite reach half of them BUT I also didn't revisit my list throughout the year.  I think that was part of the reason.  I don't feel all that bad about it though... my life took a slight detour from where I expected it to go and honestly it wasn't that much of an issue that I didn't conquer everything I wanted to do.  Sometimes life throws curve balls and we need to roll with it and find a new path.  I feel like I'm just starting down a new path and I like it.

I've created my new list for this year but instead of 19 I'm writing down 20!  20 for 2020!
1.  Complete my Tuplip Quilt project and hang it in the upstairs hallway.
2.  Renovate the livingroom
3.  Walk MORE (10K steps each day or more)
4.  Use weight watchers app and points system
5.  Get my nails done more often
6.  Go on a trip with Ian
7.  Walk the kids to the bus more often. 
8.  Blog more often - write more often.
9.  Finish Pivot Quilt project.
10.  Finish Meadowland quilt. 
11.  Empty freezer of berries by making jam
12.  Continue golfing regularly this summer.
13.  Consistently drink 100oz of water each day.
14.  Watch Anne with an E on Netflix
15.  Work on Lucy’s behaviour
16.  Find storage for linens upstairs.
17.  Kitchen table refresh
18.  Kitchen door replacement
19.  Work at MAP at least one day per week
20.  Take more photos

There it is... now I need a reminder to revisit my list each month!  I have a "Habit" app on my phone for reminders so I just added "revisit my 20 for 2020" every 30 days.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Happy 13th Birthday to Alex!

I love looking at photos of our family over the years but when I'm looking for photos for a birthday it just makes me a little sad.  Nostalgic.  It's bittersweet. 

Alex turns 13 years old today.  I spent  his "birth"day walking up and down our lane way and it didn't take long for him to arrive after we got to the hospital.  I will always remember that day. 
I actually use his birth/age as a way to measure a few important parts of my own life.  I started quilting when I was 7 months pregnant with him... I took classes from a lovey person, Barb Robinson.  I also measure how long I've been out of the teaching profession by his age because I didn't go back after he was born. 

There's no doubt Alex has made our life interesting.  This started from the moment he was born.  He cried a lot.  The poor guy had red red cheeks for ages it seemed... I guess teething was tough on him.  When he was in kindergarten he had quite a hard time keeping his hands to himself.  He was always physical... not necessarily in a bad way but in people's personal space too often.  He definitely had a tough time adjusting to school.  By the time he entered grade one, he seemed to settle into the school routine and became a much loved student.  Alex is fortunate that learning comes quite easily to him.  He loves playing hockey.  He loves playing video games (ugh... the parenting challenges).  He is in between two sisters in age.  He is a typical 13 year old boy... driving his sister's and mom crazy at times but he is so loving and sweet.  He has a HEART of GOLD.  He has so much empathy for others.  He is so good to anyone younger than him... he especially loves babies and toddlers.   I am starting to see glimpses of his adult personality and I just know he will be a pretty great guy.  I have my own ideas of the path he should take but I hope no matter what he does in his life that he remains helpful and caring and that he always looks out for the underdog and the less fortunate.  Always.

My Alex. 



Thursday, 19 September 2019

Our Summer... In Pictures

 A simple blogpost is better than no blogpost.  Here's our summer 2019 in pictures and I just realized I did not take enough of them! 

Our pool area is one of our happy places.  It was another summer of cloudy water until the end of July but we enjoyed it anyways!  

It was a long wait but so worth it... my girls and I were very lucky to see Carrie Underwood plus others in concert in Ottawa.

Right after school ended, the girls and I headed to Niagara Falls for the Shine Dance Competition.  It's always so much fun!

Our Lucy is 4 years old now.  She is almost perfect... very nice personality, very sweet and loveable but still sometimes jumps and barks at all creatures that lurk around our yard.  We still love her to bits!

No summer is complete without a stay at the Curries!  It was hot hot hot but we enjoyed their pool and played games in the evening.

I love going for walks in our fields.  It's usually just Ian and I but sometimes the kids join us to!

This is Jenna's wedding (Ian's cousin) and we sure had fun tearing up the dance floor!

Our annual camping trip to BonEcho was a HUGE success this year.  It's always good company but this summer we also enjoyed amazing weather.  It's not always the case.  One big, loud thunder/lightening and rain storm at night didn't get us down.  We always go with our friends, the Collins family and the Costello family.

These two... not in a lot of photos these days but it was good to see this on my phone.

Courtney and Warren came for a visit at the end of the summer.  Courtney is  always up for some adventurous fun... Alex wasn't so sure of the rolling bale though.

My sweetheart and I on my 42nd birthday.

Same day... different outfit.  

This summer we worked with the kids most weeks... it's one of the best parts of the summer.

Alex was my sidekick for most of the summer at the Pembroke Farmers' Market.  He may have worked there even more than I did!  Our customers love him... he has an easy smile, is very, very polite and his math skills are truly amazing (and I'm not just saying that because he's my kid)!  I am so proud of him and cannot wait until he is big enough to do all of the heavy lifting!  Haha!

I'm going to end with the spot we spent most of our free time at... our lovely oasis in the back yard.  Looking back I'm missing a few photos that I didn't take.  I golfed weekly all summer long with my favourite golfing buddies, the kids had various camps, Ian and I did get to go on at least a couple dates and we worked pretty darn hard.  The summer was successful on our farm, thank goodness.  We are all busy again with various activities and I'm turning over a new leaf and beginning a part time (very part time) job at Mad About Patchwork in Stittsville.  More to come on that soon.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

My Tribute to Grandma and Grandpa Rimmelzwaan

My Grandpa went to heaven this week.  There is no doubt in my mind he is there and is back with the love of his life, Grandma.  He was 96 years old... I feel a sense of comfort now even though I miss them both a lot.  Grandparents hold a special place in our hearts especially if we've had the privilege of having them in our lives.

A Tribute to My Grandpa Rimmelzwaan:

Grandpa Jake (1923 – 2019)
Grandpa was a special person in our lives.  He was a steady, strong influence always sharing his love for us, love for his family, love for his farm and his strong love and pride for his heritage.  Our heritage.
Our first memories of our grandparents are from visiting them on the Rimmelzwaan family farm.  What fun we had there!  We were fortunate to get to spend time with them for extended stays (overnight).  We would follow Grandpa and Uncle Jim around the farm… there was always work to be done but it seemed fun to us.  Grandpa had a love of animals and Grandma loved her gardens… the front yard was a magical, fun place to play.  Our aunts and uncles (in their 20s at the time) would come by and play with us… these were good family memories.  Once Grandma and Grandpa moved to their beautiful, dream home we spent time there to.  When we visited, we had fun playing games with them and sharing delicious meals.  The gardens out front were stunning and a pride for both of them to share with us.  I am so thankful we were able to continue to visit them there with our own children… their great grandchildren. 
Grandpa loved to share stories of his youth.  Growing up in Holland wasn’t easy especially during WWII.  As children, we didn’t always understand this but we listened and over time, as we grew up, it became more important to understand his history.  He shared stories of his siblings, his parents, the animals he loved (horses were always in his stories) and the people he met.  He would also share stories of those first years as a new immigrant to Canada.  I don’t think, as children, we understood the significance of his stories and but as adults, we know some of our history and I think it was so important he shared with us.  Recently my sister, brother, mother and I travelled to the Netherlands and we were so fortunate to visit where both Grandma and Grandpa came from.  It made all of his stories so valuable and I wish I could remember more of the details. 
Grandma and Grandpa shared their love for their family with us.  I will always remember their voices… their dutch accents.  I can spot a dutch accent from a mile away and as soon as I hear it, I can feel them around me.  I feel lucky in those moments when they come back to me. 
Grandpa lived an extraordinary life.  I am so thankful for that… he was a healthy strong man that I always looked up to.  We all did.  His devotion and love for Grandma was amazing to witness.  For me, his legacy is be proud of where you came from, share your story, work hard and love your family. 

Written by Deb McGregor, August 2019

A Tribute to My Grandma Rimmelzwaan (1926-2013)

I find myself thinking about my grandma a lot these days.  She was an avid gardener.  Her farm home and the home my grandparents built when they retired from farming were always surrounded by beautiful flower gardens.  When I was a child, she would take me to greenhouses shopping for flowers to plant and then other times when I visited, we would just go for a drive, find a garden centre and just wander around.  Every single time I visited her home she would want to take me on a tour of her gardens and talk about new and old plants, names of them and when they would be at their best.  She worked hard to maintain her gardens and my grandfather would help her when they grew older.  In the last few years of her life the gardens were much smaller but no doubt there were still flowers to look at and enjoy.

Once I had a home of my own, she would give me shrubs and flowers for my own gardens.  I have a beautiful garden rock with "Welcome" painted on it near my front door which was a gift from her.  My love of plants comes from many influences in my life but the influence of my grandma has been strong.  I will forever have those memories in my heart and it makes me happy... and sad at the same time.  I wish she could come for a visit and I could take her on a tour of our farm and then maybe she could give me advice on what I could do with my own gardens.  She knew so much about what different plants needed to grow to their potential and she wouldn't hesitate (in her younger years) to just get down on her knees and get rid of a few weeds.

I have a vivid memory of her long row of peonies along their farm's front lawn.  My brother and sister and I played a lot in that front yard... it has beautiful, tall trees and a lush lawn... perfect for running and playing.  When her peonies were in blossom, it was a beautiful sight; something I will remember forever.

My grandma passed away last August (2013).  As a tribute to her, I am planting a row of peonies on my own front lawn.  I planted one peony plant a few years ago and it is strong and tall but I have added a few more and hope that someday it will be a tall, beautiful row of peonies and I will tell my children and grandchildren about why I planted them and tell them about my own grandma.  She was very special to me and I hope that I can pass on at least some of her wisdom to my own children and grandchildren.

Written by Deb McGregor, 2014

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

19 for 2019

This past year I have thoroughly dived in and enjoyed quite a few podcasts about self-discovery and happiness.  I read the The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and quickly found her podcast, Happier, which I LOVE!!  If you like listening to podcasts, I highly recommend this one. It's light yet thought-provoking!
Anyways, in this podcast, 18 for 2018 was introduced and continued for 2019.  I decided to follow up by creating my own list of 19 items I would like to accomplish by the end of this year.  The list can include ANYTHING.... big, small, ordinary, simple, easy, complicated and difficult but all of these items need to make me happier in some way.  It's like a list of resolutions but I like it better because it's open to interpretation and it doesn't have to be ways I want to change or improve but just a list of "stuff" I want to accomplish.
So here goes...
There's an explanation for almost every point but I won't get into that today. 

1.  Run 5km (I did it before and can do it again).
2.  Make my Fox pattern quilt.
3.  Make something out of the fabric Ian gave to me (a couple years ago).
4. Finish my Tulip pattern quilt.
5.  Finish blocks for my solid fabric sampler quilt.
6.  Consistently drink 100oz of water each day.
7.  Enter "onederland" (for those of you who know what that means).
8.  Golf regularly all summer (again).
9.  Get rid of old teaching supplies.
10.  Paint our kitchen.
11.  Find a new place to volunteer my time.
12.  Go on a quilting retreat.
13.  Continue therapy sessions.
14.  Visit an optometrist.
15.  Promote my Farmhouse Quilter business.
16.  Get a logo for the Farmhouse Quilter.
17.  Get another piercing.
18.  Plan a big trip.
19.  Empty freezer of berries.

I made this list shortly before the New Year began so it was interesting to revisit it today... I feel a little hesitant and nervous about some of those items but I am going to give it all a try!