Entries in Humor (28)


Hello, my name is ...

With the recent launch of my pattern shop and impending book release, I've had a few raised eyebrows about my last name and how to pronounce it.  Believe me, I tried really hard to convince my husband to take MY last name.  But my grandfather was Albanian and my maiden name was only slightly less ... er ... problematic ... for (most) North Americans.  So for those of you who are curious I'm re-publishing my first blog post from Feburary 14th, 2011 where I address the matter of how to say my name without hurting yourself.

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Before your head explodes, here's how you pronounce it:

... kinda sorta.  At least that's how I say it. 

Lemme 'splain.

First Name – no, I didn’t go through a rebellious phase where I had my name legally changed just to be obnoxious.  It’s always been this way.  (Even Margaret Atwood questioned me about that at a book signing in 1993.)

For years I wished I had a name that people would automatically know how to spell - like Jane or Barb or Lisa. 

I’d say “Kristyne with a K” but they’d have CH written before I got to “with a K”.  So they’d change the C to a K, making my name start Kh.

And then it went down hill from there. 

Over the years I learned to just start spelling. To all erasers out there, “You’re welcome.”

Last Name – (can I buy a vowel please, Pat Sajak?)  I love my husband.  Very much.  He’s from Poland.  I’m not.  He can say our last name properly.  I can’t.  Even after 16 years of marriage.  And I'm fully aware that when I do try to pronounce it correctly, I look like a baboon doing kegels while lip-syncing to the Beatles "Hey Jude".

So I don’t. 

And you probably shouldn't either. 

Unless you're Slavic.  Or a linguist.

Just call me Christine ...

with a K. 

I'm good with that.


Oh You Have GOT to be Kidding Me!




I got a new iron.  Which boasted - among other features to justify the $160 price tag - that it WOULD NOT scorch fabric.

May I present to you Exhibit A ...

Seriously?  Are you KIDDING me? 

I think I might have used every bad word in the English language. 

More than once.

Because "picklejuice" and "fiddlesticks" weren't cutting it.

Don't worry, I spared the children by using my inside-my-head voice.

But I'm pretty sure Martin Scorsese woulda been impressed.

So now do I use one of my reject blocks?  Or replace this one ... because it WAS one of my favorites ...

I think I need a break from this quilt.  Clearly I'm being punished by the quilting gods for not making that 111th block.

Besides, I got a fun new book I want to show you next week.

And I really need some fun right about now. 

"Look out Weekend, here I come!"


A Word About Hand Quilting, If You Please ...

When I made my first quilt in the mid 80s (I was 19), I thought that a quilt was only a REAL quilt if it were ALL pieced AND quilted by hand.  (Feel free to roll your eyes ... I won't be offended.)

The first two quilts I made were English paper-pieced hexagons ... and I didn't know how to hand quilt properly so I STAB STITCH hand quilted them all in the ditch ... I'd say several miles worth of thread.  Remember I never exaggerate.  (I also used polyester batting, backed one with a bed sheet and didn't know about binding ... but I digress.)

I realized if I wanted to make more than five quilts in my lifetime I was gonna have to figure out how to do this quilting thing faster ... enter straight line machine quilting.  Regarding my 19 year old attitude, I'm proud to say I'd matured considerably.

I finally took a hand-quilting course in 2000 after I made a Baltimore Album quilt and felt it really needed to be hand quilted.

As I watched my needle-rocking technique improve dramatically over 16 blocks and was reminded how beautiful PROPER hand quilting looked, I regressed to my 19 year old obnoxious self and proclaimed I would NEVER again finish ANY of my quilts by machine.  EVERRRRRR.

AHEM.  Yeah, RIGHT!  Enter motherhood 6 months later.  I managed to finish 3 baby quilts by hand before obnoxious me finally shut up about hand quilting 11 years ago.

Fast forward to today.  OmG do I ever hate how long it takes to hand quilt.  And omG does it ever wreak havoc on my tendonitis.

But OMG do I ever LOVE the look of it!  I can't help it.  Call me a snob, I don't care.  I will NEVER in a million years feel about machine quilting the same love I feel about hand quilting.  Never.

Don't get me wrong.  I highly respect longarm quilters and the very talented work they do.  And I've seen countless machine, FMQed and long-armed quilts that are nothing short of breathtaking.  I've hired several in the past and will continue to seek out and enjoy long-arm quilting on future quilts.

But I hold a very special place in my heart for tiny dimpled rows of stitches made by hand.

I would have machine-quilted this project too ... in a heartbeat ... because I was anxious to get it done and my wrist was hurting from the several consecutive days of embroidery and applique.  But I really wanted to honour Amy's design and knew the embroidery would look a million times better if I bothered to hand quilt carefully underneath my stitchery.

So glad I did. :)


My Needles - A Primer

Yesterday I had a few questions about needles so I thought I'd write a post on the subject. 


There are a bazillion needle manufacturers out there ... and I never exaggerate. But my favorite needles are from Jeana Kimball

If you know anything about marketing, you would label me as a "brand loyal" sort of person.  Jeana's got needles for all my sewing needs, the quality is really nice, I never have trouble with them, I can find them locally ... and I love the cute little cases they come in.


I have four types of needles in my sewing arsenal...

(not including the curved upholstery and super long soft sculpture needles from a bear-making class I took some 15 years ago)

... each for different uses.  Sharps, Straws, Betweens & Embroidery.  (Keep reading for an explanation of each.)


As with other manufacturers, Jeana's needles are sized according to length.  I don't know why, but the bigger the number, the smaller the size.  I'm sure there's a very logical explanation for this nomenclature ...

Also, it's important to know that a #size of one type does NOT translate to the same size in another type. 

For example, see the difference between a size 11 Straw and a size 11 Betweens?

Does Size Really Matter?

That depends.  ;)  Lemme 'splain. 

If you find yourself trying a new sewing method and aren't sure what size needle to use, I know Jeana sells Sampler Packs - an envelope with one of each size of that type of needle.  The fact that Jeana and other manufacturers actually SELL Sampler Packs should tell you something.  I suggest getting one of these packs and trying out the different sizes.  Some people don't care.  But I've found that most stitchers who spend a lot of time with a needle in hand will develop preferences based on everything from the task to the size of their hand to their technique. 


This is my "go-to" needle for general things like mending, reattaching buttons, that sort of thing.  I'm not really picky about size with these ... whatever I have on hand usually does the job. 

Although you can bet I've used Straw needles to hem pants and Betweens to sew on a button ... most of the time my mending needle is the first one I pull out of my pin cushion!  Major bonus for me if it's already threaded with the right color. ;)

Currently I have a package of size 9 Sharps in my drawer.  

I seem to go through a lot of these.  Not sure why.  I think there's a needle black hole somewhere in my house.  My husband used to find them with his feet ... a lot.  But since becoming a mom I'm better at keeping track of them ... sorta.


I only use these for applique.  They are thinner and tend to bend - which is a good thing for applique work.    I like size 11.

I've heard more than once these work great for hand-stitching quilt binding.


These are designed for hand quilting.  Whereas Straw needles are very thin and long and therefore bendy, Betweens are thicker and shorter and much less flexible because they need to endure a lot of pressure from the thimble and being loaded with multiple, heavy stitches.  And after a lot of use, however, my Betweens will still develop a slight bend. 

Again, size 11 is my preference. 


I used to buy 11s but now I find my poor aging hands are more comfortable with the slightly longer 10s.

I've used 3 of my 4 needle types just for this one project:

Embroidery for the embroidery ...

Straw for the applique ...

and Betweens for the hand quilting ...

I only know about these needles because I've taken applique, hand-quilting and embroidery classes ... and used them all ... a lot.


Yeah, no.

I tried something new ... new as in I've never done it before ... not new as in I'm so brilliant to have just invented quilting with embroidery floss.

Amy quilted around her circle with floss and I love hers.

And Monica did an AMAZING job quilting her Granny Squares with floss.

But I'm only lukewarm about my circle quilting.  And this edging?

Hmmmm, yeah no.

Don't like it.  It's too ... I dunno ... loud?  Too chunky?  I'm not doin' so good with my adjectives today.  It doesn't have the  refined daintiness (better) I'm going for with this project.

And plus I think I pulled my quilting stitches too tight so the circle is all ... hoochy coochy poochy.  (HA!  Take THAT you troublesome English language!!!)  (Just please ignore the "and plus" at the beginning of this paragraph ... I know it's naughty ... but I did it for comedic effect.)

So I unpicked.  All of it.  This pretty little thing is too ... pretty ... to not fix.

Sigh.  No pain, no gain. 


Wait, What?

(Imagine soft, lilting background music ...)

Ok.  So I was happily stitching away, playing around with floss colors, making a few mistakes, unpicking some stitches, being impressed with my redos, enjoying my work ... and then deciding I needed one more color for the flowers.

This is the color I picked.

(Insert "needle scratching record" sound effect here ...)

Wait, what?!


I had to go look in the mirror and ask, "Who ARE you and what have you done with Kristyne?!  She would never ... ... ... what's the word ... VANDALIZE ... her pretty pink & ivory & sage green embroidery with ... with ORANNNNNGE!"

Well, apparently she would. 

I don't understand.  It doesn't make sense.  In my mind it's practically sacreligious what I'm doing!

But there's a new muse in town ... she knocked on my door and I invited her in for tea.  (I think she probably would have preferred to simply text me ... if I knew how to do that sort of thing.)

And I'm liking our conversation.

But don't worry, I promise to end my relationship with her if she starts talking about the 70s ... and avocado appliances.


It's a mystery to me ...

why not EVERYONE loves to do this sort of thing.


Making stuff - 'specially pretty stuff - is THE.best.therapy.GOING! 

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I've had a few questions about the size of my blades and the circle for this project.

I made this template for myself ...

But both Amy and Anne used this nifty tool.

And my circle for the embroidery finished at about 6" so cut it 6 1/2" in diameter.  That said, I'm not using an embroidery hoop so I don't need extra fabric.  If you like using a hoop, I'd suggest cutting a 10" square, tracing the design, stitching and THEN cutting out the 6 1/2" circle.  Make sense?


Daisychain Sampler "R"

R is for I'm on a ROLL here!

And if you're Canadian, it's also for RRROLL up the RIM to win time, eh?!  LOL!  I actually went into a trash can yesterday because I forgot to roll up my rim before I threw out my cup ... didn't win anything though.

For those of you who have absolutely no flippin' idea what I'm talking about, lemme 'splain.  There's a famous national donut chain (yes, there is some merit to the stereotype about Canadians & their donuts) called Tim Hortons - locally known as Tim's, Timmie's, Hortons ... and probably other nicknames I haven't heard. 

Tim Horton was a hockey player turned entrepreneur.  And may I just throw down the gauntlet by saying that Tim Hortons beats Krispy Kreme (an American donut chain) every day of the week and twice on Sundays.   Other donut shops have gone head to head with Tim's, but none have lasted. 

Just sayin'.

So once or twice a year, Tim's has a nationwide contest where you have a chance to win a prize ranging from a free coffee or donut to a car.  The potential prize is hidden under the rolled edge of a paper cup, hence the term "roll up the rim" - and you have to roll the R like you're Scottish. 

I don't drink coffee.  Tim's does have a nice steeped tea, but I can get tea for free at home.  And then there's also the thing about me not having enough self control to walk into a donut shop and NOT order a donut ... so "just a cup of tea" ALWAYS turns into "a medium steeped tea, double double (that's how I order cream & sugar) and a 10 (or 20) pack of assorted Timbits".

However, yesterday I was at the swimming pool for an hour on a field trip with my daughter and I WASN'T allowed to bring any stitching because then I wouldn't be WATCHING her jump off the diving board like I promised.  And I also didn't have time to make a cup before I left home.  But there just so happened to be a Tim's drive-thru on the way to the pool ...

But I digress.

LOL!  I'm gonna make all you non-Canadians at least honorary citizens by virtue of meaningless trivia about this fine country if it KILLS me!!!  LOL!  You can thank me next time you're struggling for a topic of conversation and you find yourself talking about donuts and Snowy Owls at a cocktail party. ;)

All right, all right!  Keep your shirt on ... here comes the Sampler.

I wasn't sure if this dark brown & light pink would work together.

I was worried the dark would end up super loud ...

... and the delicate pink would disappear.

I don't think that happened.  I am totally diggin' how it turned out.


Communication 101 ... For Moms

If your 8 year old requests macaroni & cheese for dinner and you go to the grocery store with her after school to get the ingredients and you're not sure how much milk is in the fridge so you ask her and she tells you there's LOTS, make sure she knows you mean WHITE milk, not CHOCOLATE. 

'Cause even hardcore chocoholics have to draw the line somewhere ... right?


10 Things I Know Today That I Didn't Know 3 Weeks Ago

1. If you have an eye infection, don't chop onions.  THAT shoulda been a no-brainer.

2. If I'm not blogging I can make 22 Farmer's Wife quilt blocks in one week.  Trying to start the 23rd block, however, is like pointing a loaded gun to my head.  Just.couldn't.do.it.

3. If there is a Super Bowl party at my house, the next day I will have chocolate covered cheesecake morsels for breakfast, red licorice for a mid-morning snack and potato chips with pickle dip for lunch ... and then grow a zit by dinnertime.

4. The NEXT time I go to a seminar on how to use my new computer, I WILL remember to bring a notepad and pen.  (What is WRONG with me?!)

5. Getting used to using the "command" vs. "control" key is surprisingly difficult & frustrating.  (This will only make sense to you if you've ever gone from a PC to a Mac.)

6. If the furnace in my house dies at 3:30 a.m. and it is only slightly below freezing and lightly snowing outside, I can stay almost warm all day if I drink lots of tea, wear a wool sweater & socks, keep a space heater on in the hallway and the oven on in the kitchen ... and all the lights on in the house.  Eating ice cream is not recommended.  And making the chili for dinner extra spicy only upsets the children. 

7. If my husband has recently started a new job and I attend the annual company party with him, I will ALMOST make it through the night without sticking my foot in my mouth.  Unfortunately, I will exercise my occasionally sarcastic sense of humor as we are leaving and make fun of the door prize we won ... TO THE WOMAN WHO ORGANIZED THE ENTIRE EVENT.  (Seriously, WHAT is WRONG with me?!!  I was just trying to be funny.)  In my defense, I didn't know it was her.  And it really was a fantastic evening, just sayin'.

8. I will never wear high heels again.  Ever.  Life is too short to suffer that kind of unnecessary pain.  I am probably shopping for black patent ballet flats this very minute.

9. I love blogging.  Not being able to blog about pretty things makes me sad.  (I also had "& lonely" but deleted it because that just sounded pathetic.)  I am back tomorrow with some new things. 



It's What Canadians Do

If you read this post, you need to pinkie swear first that you won't call child protective services on me, kay?

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I gave birth twice.  I'm not having any more children.  This kitchen is closed.  So you'd think I'd want to keep the ones I have safe, right? 

Just one problem.  I'm Canadian.  I'm culturally obligated to let my offspring participate in somewhat ... er ... unconventional activities. 

Admittedly, the following story illustrates a rather bizarre way to enforce national pride.  But I don't make the rules.  I just live here.

So here's how we spent Boxing Day.

"Ok girls, guess what we're doing today.

We're going to get into this galvanized-steel-coffin-on-tracks (otherwise known as a  snowcat)

named "Felix"

and I'm going to let your Uncle (my brother)

drive us for about an hour along 12 miles (20km)

up a vertical mile

to an elevation of 7,400 ft (2,300 m) at the top of a mountain.

When we get there he's going to use Felix to dig a huge pit in the 4' (1.2m) deep snow in about 30 seconds

and we're going to make a bonfire

so we can roast sausages & marshmallows to go with the smoked salmon sandwiches, veggies, shortbread cookies & chocolate packed for us to eat

while sitting on snowbenches,

complete with hot chocolate mug holders.

Then I'm going to let your Uncle take us waaaaay up there,

where your mom will almost s%&* herself

(Okay dude, seriously?  Dude?!  DUUUUDE!!  STOOOOOP!!!  I am SO NOT LIKING THIS RIGHT NOW!!!!!)

'cause she reeeeeally doesn't like heights.

Up here I'm going to give you an inner tube ... yep, that inflatable rubber donut that comes with warnings about "causing serious injury & even death". 

That's right girls, that what it says right here in big bold letters ... SERIOUS INJURY & EVEN DEATH.

I'm going to let you sit in this human-missile-maker with absolutely no safety devices and have someone give you a big push from this spot right here

and I'm going to let you fly down the mountain

at god knows what speed

and hope you stop before you disappear over the edge.

Then I'm going to follow you on a sheet of plastic called a crazy carpet ...

... in a manner that could not POSSIBLY be less dignified.

And then we're going to do it again.  And again.  All afternoon. 

At some point, your Aunt & I are going to think it's a good idea to share an inner tube down the mountain

and we're going to have an EPIC wipeout

and then laugh until we can't breathe.

Ok girls, you up for all that? 


Now go put your helmets on.  Wouldn't want you to get hurt."


Humility Bootcamp?  

If you're not a parent but plan to become one some day, take my advice and practice humility.  You're going to need it.

For example if you live in a cold climate, your child might make an announcement that goes something like this ...

"Hey Mom, I just farted in my snowpants and now I'm all extra warm!"

... followed by hysterical laughter ... in the produce department of a grocery store ... with lots of people around. 

Just sayin'.


Making Room for Christmas

So, does anyone else have to take down Valentine's Day decorations ...

and/or (in my case AND) Easter decorations ...

to make room for the Christmas stuff?




Mr. Martha?

Ok.  Has this ever happened to you where you walk into the kitchen on a Sunday morning only to find your husband doing something he's NEVER IN HIS LIFE EVER DONE before ...



... making homemade vanilla of all things?  Since when was I married to Martha Stewart??!!  (Although note HIS idea of a "decorative bottle" - LOL!)

Disturbing, hilarious and endearing, all at the same time ...  ;)


More About Me

I've been blogging for a little while now, talking mostly quilting & motherhood ... and being an occasional bad driver

I should qualify that last thing by saying I've never hurt myself or any one else with a vehicle.  I've just damaged my vehicle(s).  And my husband's.  And maybe my dad's. 

And maybe my neighbor's truck.  (Dude, he shoulda KNOWN better than to park at the bottom of an icy hill in the winter in Canada ... just sayin'.)

Oh yeah, and maybe my sister's brand new car.  Word to the wise ... if you're driving through the mountains, go AROUND big rocks that have fallen onto the highway - not OVER them.  Boulder vs. oil pan ... guess who's gonna win.  That might seem obvious now, but it wasn't so much when I was going like 90kph (55mph) very early one morning ... maybe ... (sorry, Sister!)

But there's more to me than just quilts and insurance claims.  I embroider.  Yep, I do.

So why haven't I mentioned this before?  Well, last summer (2010) I kinda messed up my hand by embroidering WAAAAAY too much.  (One WOULD think embroidery is safer than driving ... unless you've met me.)

I ended up looking like this for a few months ...

I know.  Super attractive, right?  I felt sorta like this ...

... just without the cool.  (But it does get you out of doing dishes and stuff for a little while!)

And then after a cortizone injection (for De Quervain tendonitis if you're curious), I looked like this for a few more months.

Only slightly less ridiculous. 

After months and months (and months) of physio ... and by the way, I was my physiotherapist's very first embroidery injury - an honor I mention with great pride ... my hand is almost back to normal. 

But I have to be very careful.  No more sitting on my butt for 10 hours straight with a needle & thread in hand.  I'm having to employ things like "balance" and "moderation" in my daily activities.  (Yuck.  Hate those words.  Have I ever mentioned that I'm also sometimes a little immature?)

So back to being careful, I still get into trouble if I spend a few evenings in a row watching an entire season of "Weeds" on DVD (for example) while doing this ...

My hand was very cranky for a few day's after all that cutting. 

(And my mouth needed a bar of soap!  Sheesh.  "Showtime" (not HBO, my bad!) tends to bring out the sailor in me ...)

But never mind that.

The reason I'm bringing up the embroidery thing is because if you happen to stop by tomorrow, I don't want you to think you came to the wrong blog when you see this ...


The Cost of Vanity ...

is measured in fabric? 

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Have you ever gone on an extended vacation for oh, I dunno, let's just throw a number out there ... say, 43 days ... for example.  But you forgot to pack this seemingly insignificant little device that lives quietly in your medicine cabinet in the bathroom.

After about a week, you realize this beauty accessory was left behind and the internal argument begins.  See, you've bought cheap tweezers in the past and over the years you've established a general policy, that for such things, either invest in the good stuff or don't bother. 

But good tweezers are about $10.  And you go through life comparing the price of just about every non-essential purchase to the cost of fabric - in this case, 3 or 4 fat quarters.  You reason that you already have a perfectly good pair at home.  Why buy another pair and be stuck with two?  Because graying hair aside, there is NO WAY you're EVER going to forget to pack them again.  What a waste of ... fabric, right? 

So I pose the question to all you hard core fabric lovers:  would YOU be prepared to spend most of your vacation looking like the love child of hers

and his

for the sake of fabric?

Now I'm not admitting anything here, but let's just say my husband values personality over looks.  ;)


Logic is TOTALLY Overrated

So.  My husband was at Costco the other day and came across two women & a toddler, who was sitting in the cart. 

Halfway through the store the little one got antsy and started demanding her freedom. 

The mom said, "You have two choices:  either sit here in the cart, or let your Aunt carry you."

Little's response?   "Me pick PURPLE!"

Next time someone offers me two unacceptible options, I'm picking PINK!


Note to Self #4

CENSOR the lyrics of a song that gets stuck in your head after listening to a 90s radio station - like “You’re Makin’ Me High” by Toni Braxton - before absentmindedly singing it in the kitchen while preparing lunch for your daughters. 

I don’t know all the words, but apparently know the first seven lines well enough to confuse the heck out of my 9 year old … !


Expect the Unexpected

So.  You know how your child comes home from school sporting a painful looking scrape or bruise and you ask what happened expecting the explanation to include something about the monkey bars at recess or the soccer game during gym or the obnoxious kid in class? 

Her story started with, "Well ... we had library today ..."



Not Just a Pretty Face

Yesterday I went grocery shopping with my husband.  We never shop for groceries together.  But we really needed them and neither one of us wanted to face the Friday afternoon lineups alone.

While standing in said line he pulled out his blackberry to read my blog post and he's all,

"Dude! A video link?  You made a video?"

And I'm like, "Dude.  YouTube."

The irony becomes clear when you get just how technically incompetent I really am.

After 15 years of marriage it's nice to know I can still surprise him.