Saturday, 28 December 2013

2013 in (Mostly) Camera Phone Pickshurs

Last year I noticed how the story of most of my year could be told by looking at my phone pictures. I thought about doing something like this then, but there were too many pictures to try to take off the phone and, as you all know, I'm lazy.

So I found this app called Flipagram which allowed me to make this from the phone really easily and decided to do it this year. Unfortunately it started to crash when I'd crop the photos how I wanted them, so by the third try I just stopped cropping; as a result it made some really crappy crops. ESPECIALLY disappointed that the "SUCK" part of the Bombers SUCK foamy is missing. Despite that it was kind of fun to do, almost wish I'd done that with the grey cup pictures. I do wish I could fade different songs in or something. Oh well it's pretty good for a simple free app.

I backed it with the theme song of Saskatchewan for 2013, Feeling Good by the Sheepdogs. With 2013 being the year of emerald, ISON and the Riders, things definitely came up green for us this year. I also saw them perform the song at Grey Cup and the Junos (those pictures being on Real Cameras).

Included are pictures of us at mem's wedding, Alex Cuba, The Unbearable Snow, Junos, The Great Throwdown, shootin guns, Regina Folk Fest, Paul McCartneeeeyyy!!, Cruz in the hospital, Play it Safe Day, The labour day game, the Sept 14 home game and the 101 Grey Cup (not so much of that cause those pics are already on here). And also James' cat Fergus mac Roich. Then some random ones.

I added a few of the best ones that weren't on camera phones, but alas am missing the one of me gettin ready to kill MARV, and the one of me in the igloo (that is on Holly's camera phone but never got it from her). The paper near the beginning is symbolic of the fact that I feel good I got out of the hell of the wretched Philadelphia International airport, btw.

Anyway started with a self portrait and ended with one ruined by Fergus. :)

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Quilts 2013


Since I bought Shemar in January, I've gone back to making traditional quilts. And given the harp space, many of them have been larger bed sized quilts. Unfortunately Shemar is turning out to be a machine riddled with problems and I'm not sure what to do about it.

I do like being able to work on the large quilts. Just wish the machine worked properly! I've oiled this machine more than any machine I've ever owned and we have an old school cast iron singer that needs to be oiled in about 15 places. Typical for Janomes, the biggest problems always originate in the bobbin case, but this machine also has some bizarre engineering quirks, like a bar beside the presser foot that makes it ultra difficult to change the foot, and a power foot that makes the machine run on its own while I sit across the room and watch it go. The quarter inch foot is wobbly and inaccurate; I had to buy an accufoot version, which helped the wobbliness, but have to really watch that I'm getting a true quarter inch on it.

I bought it for quilting of course and while the foot feeds really nicely, FMQ is where the bobbin problems become most apparent. This is disappointing. But I'm stubborn so I insisted on making it work as best I could.

The first thing I did was pull out a quilt I had started on the hoop back in 09, which was put into storage when we moved to the crapartment along with the hoop. I pulled it out to work on quilting. Forgot what a pain in the butt polyesther batting can be. Mama bought herself a jelly roll to make an apron, which I ended up making for her.  Then I took the leftovers and made this quilt. I still haven't bound it because I hate binding and always will.

The problems started with this quilt as the bobbin casing became dislodged. It originally did it very occasionally, but as sewing progressed it started to happen more frequently.

Second quilt, which I made for Christina for her grad. She picked the style of quilt and I used mostly quilts that had a vague "baroque" style in pastels because this is what she likes.  After this one I sent Shemar in for servicing because it was knocked out of time from the bobbin casing sliding out of place. Uncool. This machine is LARGE and not easy to tote across town for servicing everytime it does this.

Front and back respectively. I've been piecing all the backs with leftovers lately just because you don't need such a big piece of fabric to cover the back, and it's interesting on both sides. When you do machine quilting you don't really need to be able to see the stitches perfectly.

Detail of the quilting, which was a feathered swirl.  Also ran out of thread twice, so there's three shades of turquoise on it.

The third quilt was a medium sized one I made from a charm pack for Quilts for Calgary. Because I straight line quilted it, there were fewer problems, but it still wasn't problem free.

I pieced the back of this one, but don't have a picture of it. 

Part of the problem was that the thread was making lint in the hook race; never seen a machine pick up lint like this one. For that reason I decided to try invisible thread again for the next one. While it didn't dislodge the  bobbin casing, the thread nested really badly; had to cut it out and start over a few times. And it's invisible thread. That stuff is as awful as I remember.

Still turned out pretty well. This was for the baby of a co-worker. I used moda "flirt" fabrics and I wanted to add the picture panel to the back.  I echoed the pattern of the panel in quilting and then quilted the rest in hearts. Man that invisible thread was a pain. Thinking if I buy some good stuff it might be a better choice for shemar though. I did finish the last bit with grey thread because I ran out of the invisible stuff. I wanted to make it white originally, but I felt there were too many prints with a white background and did a grey background instead, which I think turned out really well. 
This quilt was made for the co-worker from whom I got Fergus; he likes sitting on the quilts as soon as I lay them out, even when the quilt is still in pieces and he's stretching them out of shape. For this he has received the beats many times.  He still tries. He's a little speshul. And stubborn. 
I made one for cruz that was originally going to be all turquoise and black, but Richard said they were decorating his room in monkeys. I've had two sock monkey fabrics hanging around for years, but could only find the red one. So it became red and turquoise. Very similar in colour to the previous one, except more red than orange. I also used a couple of leftover pieces from the other one.  

Front and back of the quilt. I quilted this one in straight lines again. This caused fewer problems, though the tension was off at times and I had to sew very slow. Sometimes I had to just stop and come back a few hours later and the machine would work fine. I also bought a couple of accufeed feet which stablized the piecing and made it a bit more accurate, which I needed because these were all quarter square triangles and therefore bias edges.

I've noticed that I'm getting wavy edges; usually this means a quilt that wasn't quilted evenly or that has stretched. Not sure why this is happening but thinking it might have to do with the tension problems? Not sure.

When I went to buy the moda fabrics, Avery was with us. He wanted a quilt made with this horse fabric. So I told him to pick the fabrics and the design he wanted; this is what he chose. It turned out bigger than I intended--almost full bed sized. The orange fabric was a pain--moda marbles tend to warp and fray for me always.

The rope pattern in the borders quilted nicely, but the FMQ I did between the horses was a nightmare to do. I did everything I could to get it to work but I had to rip the threads apart several times, and quilting that should have taken a few hours took days of ripping out and starting again. Ugh. By far the worst experience. Pure awfulness.

The last one I made was mem's Thing.


I found this OSU fabric on so I made him an O quilt out of it. Kansas Dugout FTW, again. It truly is one of the most versatile of all the simple blocks. I had the least problems with quilting on this one, but I did a lot of work to keep it from being ruined. I must have oiled it 10 times. The blocks are gigantic--18 inches. So it turned out to be a large throw size.

I ran short of fabric so pieced the back pretty extensively. I didn't lay it out quite straight so the backing is cockeyed compared to the top, unfortunately. Lack of space in the crapartment makes it hard to lay out large quilts properly.

 I quilted the centres with footballs, but apparently only Canadian footballs have stripes all the way around. So they're Canadian footballs.

No matter because I added a patch to the back to represent Mem's favorite CFL team (by my dictate and according to the anti-blue-and-whore-gold-pact we made ages ago) to the back, the 101 Grey Cup Champion Saskatchewan Roughriders. :) 


I printed it from a block print with pigment ink which unfortunately washed out. So I had to try to print it a second time post-quilting, which didn't totally work. But at least it's there to remind mem of the best professional team evAr. :)

I am still disappointed with Shemar and may end up trading it in because it is an extremely finicky machine and as I mentioned has some really weird design issues. But definitely enjoyed going back to old simple style quilts, which I wouldn't have done otherwise. It was fun to work with simple shapes and colours, and I've always been a fan of heavy quilting even when I did it by hand. The FMQ foot does work so much better than my old one, which was a jumping foot. Just wish the bobbin behaved better. :(

Next I think I will make one of the trendy union jack quilts. I'd like to do the Kafe Fasset "pickle dish" that isn't really a pickle dish at all and use the John Flynn method on it, but I'm really not sure Shemar can do something that requires that kind of accuracy. Perhaps will try to paper piece instead and see.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

GREY CUP 101 (part three) CELEBRATION

So the final play ended and it was time for what the media called the Riders "coronation" (which is crap because we did actually have to, you know, PLAY and stuff to get 45 points--plus the fans managed to scream so loud that Henry Burris missed a snap--you think that just happened all accidental???).

At the running out of the clock, the team streamed out on the field. Security also swarmed out on the field to keep the fans off. Which completely sucked and was lame, and it's not like we didn't try to get out there. We helped win that game dammit! 2013 was the year the 13th man worked for good. And helped BEAT KENT AUSTIN.

But some of the players did come to us. Dwight Anderson ran around the field with a Riders flag. 

Tyron Brackenridge and Diamond Ferri also came all around the stadium. I was about to take a pickshur when some MORON stepped right in front of me so I only have the back of Tyron Brackenridge.

Tyron + MORON.

 While a few people left, most of us hung around to see the awards handed out, and the cup presented. We wanted to see, in the twilight of Taylor Field's lifespan, the final cup ever presented in it handed to a ROUGHRIDER.

Kory Sheets, game MVP.

Chris Getzlaf, Regina boy and most valuable Canadian.  He got a lot of flack afterwards for insisting on wearing his cap Fresh Prince style. 

Presentation of the Cup! #BlameDarian

My fave pic is this one posted by the team taken at the same time of Dressler with his arms up but too little to reach the cup. lol. 

All of the screens of course immediately lit up with "101 Grey Cup Champions" but this one included all the championship years, which as I said previously, were ALL legendary WINS.

 Meanwhile, the fans who watched at home were already making their way to Vic and Albert and the "Green Mile"--Albert street from Dewdney to the Leg, so dubbed in 07 when we last won. Did not see any evidence of Tom Hanks turning up down there, but then again there were a crap tonne of people, so maybe he did.

As we left the field we saw green and white fireworks being let off from the top of City Hall. 

...And the lights on every side lit up to make an "S". 

Half the city converged on the green mile, which was shut down from 12th to 14th for close to three hours before the police started making the revelers move along. 

Someone took a pic of the green mile from above, in which you can see the corner of Vic and Albert with the stadium in the background. This has gone viral on facebook (don't know who the original photographer is but the pic is too great not to post): 

It took a good half an hour to walk the 6 blocks to home, but no one minded. It was all partying and elation with several thousand best friends and no destruction of property....Regina FTW! Although some MORON actually tried to get past the police barricades from Albert to Vic. MORON. 

Many people phoned in sick on Monday or likely wished they could. 

On Tuesday the Green Mile was the scene of the Grey Cup parade, where the cup and the players made a trip down Albert to the Leg for a presentation. I didn't go to the presentation because it was at one and I worked both the night before and the night after, but I did stay up until 11 to cheer on the Riders as they rode victorious through the heart of the city. This is why it's awesome to live downtown btw even if the parking sucks. 

Parade making it's way down Albert. The players were in two flatbed trucks, which reminded me of a lot of parades in Saskatchewan where grain haulers make particularly good parade vehicles and  no one sees a problem with this. 

 Draft horses pulled the lead vehicle (and yes the one has ice on its coat--it didn't feel THAT cold to me but apparently it was) which carried the precious cargo...

They had the players in two trucks. It would appear the first was offence and the second defence. I was too busy trying to recognize players to take a pic of the first truck, but when I saw DD I thought about yelling "IT'S DARIAN'S FAULT". I thought better of it because of the close proximity of mama's hitting arm. She hits hard. I think it would have made him smile though. 

I did get a pic of the second truck though. 

And one of John Chick, whose name mem should not make fun of because he could snap mem in half with like a frickin twig. 

The parade carried on to the leg, with fans following in the wake of the team. They then did presentations, pictures of which were posted to the Riders FB page, while I went to sleep for work that night. Many of the players went home afterward, some were likely not to return. But at least they gave Regina one of the best weeks EVER. 

GREY CUP 101 (part two) THE GAME

The week before the Grey Cup was filled with festivities that basically reached a fever pitch by Saturday when the tickets to get drunk at Riderville sold out. People had to make alternate arrangements for drunken revelry. So finally it was game day.

Here is some of ridernation trudging up North Railway to the game. Someone was already selling Riders championship lanyards. Cause he knew. 

This is the shot from my seat when I first got there and the teams came out to practice. I was in the south theatre seats right in the corner, between two sets of season ticket holders who told me the seat had been empty most of the season since it was a single. It was positively balmy, and a lot of us wondered why the game didn't start at 3 instead of 5. Yes that is melted snow!

Waiting for the game to start. 

Riders practicing. And some were dancing. 

Ticats practicing. Not dancing.

The LeaderPost did a cool zoomable panoramic of the field which allows one to find themselves in the sea of Green.

 I found myself beside the drunk guys in the mexican wrestler outfits. I was probably planning on getting my hot shots out at that point. My hands got pretty cold and the wind was in my face, but it was a pretty mild wind and over all wasn't too bad at all. Though I am glad I found hot shots and I now have extras for the future.

Predictably, the stands were mostly green, although HUFNAGLE was three seats in front of me. I sent mama a text that he was there and she was like "how did you know??" To which I replied "I recognized him mom"

The Prime Minister was apparently over in this section, though I didn't see him. Mebbe he is in this picture. Two fans in full costume got a picture with him, so it's like Steven Harper and two fans all YEAH RIDERS. Hilarious. 

Martin Short and Tom Hanks were also there to cheer on the Ticats, but half way through the game Tom Hanks saw the writing on the wall and switched allegiance to the riders by donning a green toque. One wonders how many people asked him if they'd see him on the Green Mile and how sick he prolly got of that.

Kickoff finally started. The Sheepdogs played Feelin Good, which was basically true for all of Saskatchewan at that point. 

And no we did NOT run out of beer--just everything else except beer, fries and popcorn.

Mounties with the flag, Gainer and the national anthem sung by Serena Ryder, who all the fans like just because of her last name.

The announcer gave us the Ticats starters one by one. Then it was the Riders' turn, except they only got through the the first player and by the time the second was announced the place had erupted into BRING EM OUT BRING EM OUT and the entire team shot out from the tunnel to the field. There was a pause on the screen, assuming because the tv people weren't sure what to do since all the Roughriders were already on the field jumping and posing for the crowd. So they gave up on that.

The turning point of the game came early on when DD fumbled, only to have Kory Sheets catch the fricking ball and run for like 40 yards with it (he ultimately broke the Grey Cup rushing record set in the 50s). That was when we knew the Roughriders could basically do no wrong. Whether it was the green light of ISON or that God really is a Riders fan, that's mostly how the game shaped up. We played a little crappy in the third quarter, but Hamilton was never able to catch us.

I've been to many games at Taylor field, and it's always pretty loud (especially when we're playing the troglodytes from Winnipeg). But the noise level at this game was unreal. Never ever has it been that loud. On Geroy Simon's first TD in a grey cup game I may also have contributed to this by screeching OMGEERRROOOOYYY at a pitch that could break glass.

Okay I totally did that.

The halftime show was performed by Hedly and wasn't that bad considering (at the labour day game everyone booed when they found out it would not be the Sheepdogs). Also in a quintessentially Canadian moment the show featured a stunt skidooer. Yeah.

All the best moments of the game can be seen here. I suggest anyone watch it just to hear the noise level in there (and see that fricking fumble that Kory Sheets ran with at 0:41). Every single one of Hamilton's offensive drives was punctuated with 45k people yelling "HEEENNNRRRYY".  Like normally you can hear games at my place several blocks away, which doesn't translate to the tv. In that video, we actually start overpowering the announcers. It was THAT LOUD.

Lining up for the final drive.

I took a video of Taylor field in the dying seconds to record the moment we won the Grey Cup at home in Taylor field for the first and only time. 

The final score! 

Took it for Taylor Field!! I may shed real tears when the last game is played there. :(

Piffles Taylor btw was a total BAMF. A pilot in WWI, he was shot down, lost an eye, and spent a year as a POW. When he returned to Regina, he burned all his law books and said "screw this goin to play football" (okay and also helped in family business, blah blah). While playing one game, he lost his glass eye on the field. Play had to be stopped so he could find it and on doing so, he dusted it off and popped that sucker back in and kept playing--most likely crushing the opponents since Regina was the most dominant western team at the time (and with people who could not only get hit hard enough to lose an EYE but don't even CARE if they lose their eye playing, no wonder). This is how the field got it's name: the field where that total and complete BAMF Piffles Taylor lost his fricking EYE and kept playing ANYWAY. But that was all long and stuff so it got shortened to "Taylor Field".

Regina could NEVER take the cup in Taylor's lifetime, so the last time the cup would ever be contested on his field, we finally brought it home for him. BAMFs of the world take note. Who needs an eye when you have the Grey Cup???

Monday, 25 November 2013


So when the Western final was over and the Roughriders had actually made it IN to the Grey Cup in Regina, I had to go. Mama has never watched the Riders in a Grey Cup game ever and refuses to do so, so that meant I got to go by myself. She also hates cold, so I went alone to the opening ceremonies in -28 weather and waited in a lineup that snaked all the way down and back up Scarth:
Half way there!!

But she was willing to go to festivities as long as they were a) indoors and/or b) had food.

While looking for hot pockets, we found out the Grey Cup was coming to Marks Work Warehouse, so we got our pictures taken with it in preparation of our inevitable WIN:

Mama, being very crass and embarrassing, wore Ottawa Rough Riders colours. She attempted all week to wear the colours of other teams we don't care about, so some open rebuke had to be meeted out. God says it's better than hidden love, and who argues with him except stupid people?

The Grey Cup has been through a lot and it shows. Because we were waiting for our pastor to show up, we hung around until the crowd thinned and I got to take pickshurs of the only three plates that remotely matter on the entire thing: 

1966 (Ronnie and George)

1989 (the greatest Grey Cup game EVAR)

and 2007 (the BANJO CUP)


I've come to the realization that the reason we haven't won that many cups is really just because each win must be more EPIC AND AMAZING than the last. If it's just run of the mill Grey Cup win, then run of the mill Toronto can have it. The Riders only have EPIC wins because we are of course such an EPIC team.

Since we decided to walk around and it was ridiculously cold, we stopped to sign the banner of well-wishes for the team. This picture showcases one of the things I love most about Saskatchewan; even when it's -30, the sun still shines. 

Mama managed to get food at the Calgary Breakfast; it was Calgary that was responsible for making Grey Cup a real event, so all you whiners can blame them. Or you could shut up and take their free food. 

We took the food and smiled. They also had entertainment, fun times even though their team didn't get in.  

Since it was cold we looked for things to do in the tents. The family zone had uniforms of all the teams; I asked how many of the other team's helmets were being tried on. The volunteer said "well one person talked about putting on the Lions' helmet, but never did." It's Regina, what do you expect. Char's razor applies here.

And yeah my nose is actually purple in this. And that helmet was really heavy and awkward. I think I would throw it at someone. 

There were some ice sculptures in the downtown area guaranteed not to melt for awhile, but it was so cold some of them cracked. I hate the thought of ephemeral work myself. I want it to at least outlive ME. Then at least I'll be all dead so I won't care.

This particularly nice one on Scarth shows the world as it basically should be, with the Riders on top and Winniprigs on the bottom, where they landed this season and also  belong for all eternity, along with Satan, Judas, Cassius and Brutus. This may be a sign that the post millenials are right. 

There were other things I didn't take pictures of and things that got cancelled cause it was fricking COLD. It was great both the tuesday before the kickoff and the day of the Grey Cup. It was the in-between that was fricking AWFUL. I blame ISON, because comets are in space and space is all cold and stuff so I'm pretty sure ISON is the logical choice for blaming. Plus also it's going to get burnt up right away. Next GAME DAY.