Saturday, 14 May 2022

Seeing Eckhart Tolle, Toronto Trip, The Jackrabbit Beginning

After over three years, I finally went somewhere! My last August 70th birthday gift from daughter was a ticket to see this fellow in Toronto.  Hence the train trip I mentioned in the last post.


Ekhart is a tiny man; we joked he looked like a happy gnome. We had wondered if, because he is such a low key fellow, our evening might wind up being a little boring. Anything but! 

 He talked for two hours straight and dealt with mostly two topics -how to deal with memories, loss and unhappiness, and also about God and beliefs. He taught us how to empty, as he put it, our minds. To just BE STILL( he discussed the Bible line, Be still and know that I am God), be present, etc.  I tried to take in every word. My emotions ran the gamut while listening...tears in my eyes pretty much throughout (sometimes a struggle not to cry) to smiling and feeling awe that he was striking so many chords with me. He has a unique ability to clarify complicated feelings and I was also impressed by all the philosophical references he quoted. There was a tremendous amount of love shown to him by the really diverse audience of about 2000 people. Us among them and so well deserved.

The suite at the hotel had marvelous views and amenities including a tiny sitting room and tiny kitchen.

 I could live there! And the vibrancy of any big city downtown, so different from my life, always pulls me in when I do get to go there. 

Street cars from the 21st floor

We spent a wonderful day at the Art Gallery of Ontario. I'll highlight two of the exhibitions we enjoyed. The Blue Series- 40 paintings from the tragic Matthew Wong. I'm sharing these because I feel they are interesting-wish we had had an interpreter with us to help us understand more about them,  and perhaps some art quilt inspiration for some of you as well. Here is a New York Times article about Matthew.

I was surprised when I realized I had taken a photo of this work of Matthew's I came across online a couple years ago. I like through the window views and houses. Early Moon
A highlight of our visit was seeing this very large beauty, Christi Belcourt's The Wisdom of the Universe. Christi is a Metis artist and used pointillism to mimic Metis beadwork. Up close it was a million tiny dots and looked extraordinary in the precision, colours and placement of each item. 

I invite you to watch this lovely animated video that explains all the features and special meanings of each item included in this fabulous work. 
Our favourite restaurant and bakery was an Italian one nearby; the bread, tiramisu and cannoli were delicious. We did a lot of walking so all good!
I made a little start on the Cottage Garden Samplings, The Jackrabbit, just so I could say I began it on my trip to mark the occasion. Wonderful memories!
The lilac flower was worked with a specialty cotton that came with the kit and I don't like the flat effect and the way it lay. I'm going to take it out. I think I am spoiled by DMC and the little sheen it has.

 About my photo I shared last post...A reader in the U.S. who has never commented before had to write to tell me I'm a dead ringer for her great aunt who lived to be a hundred. Imagine that!
Sharing this post with Kathy's Quilts.

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Hair Cut, My Face, In the Garden-Blooms At Last, Table Topper Video

I got my hair cut and it really wasn't that bad. The salon was just fancy enough if you know what I mean. I love how so many buildings in the closest town downtown are updated versions of the old fashioned original buildings. 

Here is my hair because several of you asked to see it. I have a little natural curl so it kind of springs up a bit. That also helps disguise how fine it is. See those two lines right between my eyes.  They appeared last November...I don't think they were there before that. I also note that my left eye droops a little more when I'm tired. I like how this photo has softened my jowls which are getting quite wrinkled. But I really don't care about any of that. I'm just so grateful to be here.
And so very lucky to have gone away on a little train trip for four days and I'll share lots more about that on Thursday!

Our last recent overnight frost advisory was Saturday and it looks like we are truly into spring and gardening time. Lately, I'm spending my morning in the garden and have cleaned away almost all the ugly gardening debris in the front flower beds. Soon things will be ready for a little planting and replanting of what I started inside. May 24th is the official date here when we have the all clear to plant outside without a risk of frost but things are warming up fast.  I've also transplanted a lovely Bleeding Heart bush from a totally shaded area and, fingers crossed, that will work out. Anyway, the garden will be a focus for part of each day from now on for me.
When I prepped a number of the Panama Pyramid blocks, I looked through my green fabrics which happen to be almost my skimpiest colour. Purple holds that honour. I managed to find a few in one of the RSC colours for May, sage; later on I'll look to stitch a few in forest green. Unpressed and a bit bumpy.
 I enjoyed this video below very much when I was thinking of the Table Scraps Challenge run by The Joyful Quilter.  This is just 12 minutes long and the process is surprisingly easy when taken step by step. The finished little table topper looks very complicated but isn't when taken step by step. 

Gardening, stitching and feeding us is just about all that is on this week's TO DO list.  Hope you have likewise, wonderful things to enjoy your time. 

Enjoying too linking with Texas Quilt Gal and Quilt Fabrication.

Friday, 29 April 2022

Weekly Wonders at the Wooden House

The Eastern Phoebes are nest building on the back of the house. I'd cleared out last years nests and two pairs are using the exact spots again. Location, location, location, I guess. LOL

It was Anzac Day, April 25, recently. Newfoundlanders were the only North Americans to fight along side the Australian and New Zealand forces at Gallipoli in World War I. This event is marked by the Royal Newfoundland Regiment each year. In 2021, the bands of both forces, while continents apart, linked up to make this video.  The piece is called Invercargill, named after a city in New Zealand. How important these connections are!  Now more than any time in my life maybe.
I cooked a roast pork dinner for us and have leftovers today.  The sides were cheesy cauliflower, peas and carrots. The pork was cooked in the slow cooker and turned out very tender. It made a great gravy too. I must remember this when our heat ramps up and I get reluctant to turn on the oven. 

Speaking of heat...don't have much yet. Still have freezing overnight temperatures and high winds too which is not usual but becoming more common here it seems. My morning walk is a chilly one.  As always I find the cold invigorating so I'm not complaining. 

One of Daughter's cakes to us recently was this Maple Pecan Carrot Cake with buttercream  frosting. Delicious as always. Hubby is so spoiled with these wonderful desserts. Maple Pecan Carrot Cake recipe at Rock Recipes.

I got my Elm Street Quilts OMG for April partially finished.
 I did work out a little motif for that missing spot on the Angie's Pots piece above.
Thank you all for the great suggestions and the idea of a small vase with small flower made sense so I went with that. I think it fits in well. There was a surprising amount of decision making for such a tiny thing.
I chose a neutral colour for the vase and picked up on the blue of the water pitcher for the petals. The black with red center is like the flowers beside it and the green; oh my, I had the hardest time choosing the green. It is a difficult colour with the brown greens, blue greens, bright greens, yellow greens, etc. In the end I picked what looked like it matched the other stems. 

Now my OMG for May will be to add some embroidery and get this one quilted and finished completely. 

I also finished this little piece for a mug rug. I had the idea of joining the fun at The Joyful Quilter's Table Scrap Challenge. These tiny 4 pink and blue square blocks were orphans from the Kathleen Tracy SAL I took part in several years ago. This link will take you to her site and the free pattern for the foundation pieced tree pattern I am using for that project. Thank you Kathleen!

From my scrap bags, I picked out spring like florals and colours for the backing. 
And enjoyed embroidering a very tiny Spring '22 on it too. 
I hope your week has been great and your weekend even better!

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Shopping Purchases, The Perfect Nanny, To Do List, More Panama Pyramid Blocks

 I love the look of ivy trailing along a wooden shelf. The dining room back at the farm had almost floor to ceiling windows so lots of bright though indirect light. Above was my English Ivy also called Common Ivy -there are actually two plants there...the plant I have now is remnants of one of these.

My audio book this week is The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani.

 It was voted one of the top ten best books last year by the New York Times Book Review.  I am enjoying it too. Though a translation,  passages are beautifully written. It's turning out to be more a character study kind of read. Nannies, who usually are very poor, hold an interesting/complex place in rich households; so close providing affection and kindness, yet just employees. 

I love things that light up and bought this very heavy crackled glass item from Wayfair. The two Bluebirds have a string of lights inside and sit, center mantel, in front of a photo of the two lovebirds, LOL.  

I promised to show you what I bought on my shopping trip last week. After months in cozy and casual wear, I decided I needed a couple of dressier items.  This first blouse is a viscose material and drapes well. Tiny pale blue dots all over it. Very light and airy so will be good when the weather turns hot and muggy.
 It seems polka dots, which I happen to love, are very popular this spring. I had three tops in my cart at first and thought that a little excessive so returned one. This one below is also a soft material, not cotton and black with white dots. I like the stand up collar and the curved hem. 
To Do this week...
Make an appointment to get my hair professionally cut. That will be a biggie for me. ✔ Appointment made for Friday morning. 

Sew more seeds.

Get the last of the Tumbling Blocks slabs sewn together.

Prep more of the Panama Pyramid blocks. Great to have them ready when sewing time crops up.
OH yes, almost forgot...finish my OMG for April. Thank you all for suggestions as to what could occupy the little empty space. As someone suggested, I have a little vase applique made. Now need to make the templates for the tiny flower.

Final week of another month. It is tiresome to say again how fast these days are flying but they really are! Enjoy every minute!!

Enjoying linking with Texas Quilt GalQuilt Fabrication and Life in the Scrapatch.

Thursday, 21 April 2022

4 Bits of Wisdom, Fabulous Fishy Cake, Amongst the Mostly Masked, New Quilt Start-Panama Pyramids

 My research of one site showed this was a Thanksgiving cactus. Because it bloomed at Easter, I thought it might be one programmed for spring, but no. I couldn't remember the colour of the original plant, but turns out this is pink. The Geranium there is also budding.

I just have to show you the cake Daughter Beth made for SIL' s birthday. He is a sports fisherman and Robbie said make a fish cake when asked what kind of cake should they make. 

She used a little Air Brush for Cake Decorating tool to get the colouring right. She said she is still wiping up green in the kitchen as I guess there is a learning curve with using that tool. 😁

I'm enjoying this book. Successful over age 50 women from all walks of life  speaking about what life has taught them. 
Here are 4 ideas that resonated with me...any of these strike a chord with you?

That it is empowering to nurture and encourage people, animals, nature, etc. (not confined to mothering and grandmothering which applies, of course).

That I, too, have been many women throughout the years, some still with me, some come and go. For instance, I'm still coming to terms with being an over 70 year old white haired woman; while my body feels pretty much like I did at 40, my mind needs to catch up or something. 

That I too wish I had had the confidence at 30 that I discovered I had at 50. 

That beating myself up over some words I used in a conversation decades ago is senseless. I've forgiven others so time to let myself off the hook too. 


With Fans and Wildflowers finished, on a cold, lightly snowing April day, I decided to make a new start.  A project I first mentioned maybe two years ago so has been on my list for a long time...Panama Pyramids, pattern by Linda Collins.... more EPP, my favourite!! This is another big scrappy project-want it to be a real quilt so it will be with me a while. Still working out the fine points of the templates I made out of cardboard. I think I will check out if I can get plastic ones online. This scrappy project was featured in Quiltmania magazine, 2013; any of you work on it?? I would love to share your work here on the blog if you like.  Etsy Link to Linda's pdf patterns and pretty quilt here.

I used pinks for these first blocks and will link up with So Scrappy on Saturday. 

I've been busy walking, reading, writing a bit, shopping (I'll show what I bought next post), bird watching and visiting family. Not spending as much time in my own head as it were which is a good thing. It feels wonderful to be out and about amongst the mostly masked folks! 

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Window on My World, Fans Finish, Beautiful Ukrainian Eggs

I've turned around my happy chair in the living area so I can face this window and watch the clouds glide by.  I can also keep an eye on the bird bath that is now up and running. So far, lots are taking a drink but only one American Goldfinch and a Robin have availed of a little wash up. 

But as you see, the ice has receded except for shaded areas, and the grass is already showing some greening which always happens surprisingly fast. It is still quite cool with freezing temperatures overnight so I'm holding off on any planting.
Or cleanup just yet.  

SIL dropped us off a little treat to have for Good Friday dinner, a Costco Fish and Chips meal.  It was very tasty and we had leftovers the next day. Costco is putting together more of these meals I noticed when we got inside the store finally after a year or so.
Look what's up on the wall in the back hallway. Yes, Fans is a finish!
I really only had the edging to hand stitch and a couple more embroidered butterflies to add. That did not take too long, one evening actually. Here I lightened the photo to show the butterflies but normally they don't stand out.
Anyway, nice to have another finish for my Done With It All year!
My good friend, Heather who lives at home and I miss,  posted these very lovely Ukrainian Easter Eggs on her Facebook page. She made them years ago using the wax resist method and they are still so beautiful.  And poignant too when thinking of all the troubles in that part of the world. 
I am surprised when I think of how far away I am from the Easters of my youth. Some of you remember too the new bonnets, outfits and gloves to wear to church and the big Sunday. very traditional meal following. 
But still I am so fortunate to live close to the daughters and be able to have family coming over for dinner tonight. We are going very non traditional for Easter and ordering in Indian food. We are all looking forward to it!
SO happy to share this post with the Slow Stitching party at Kathy's Quilts. Also sharing with Small Quilts and Doll QuiltsWendy's Quilts and MoreLife in the ScrapatchCreations Quilts Art WhateverHome Sewn By Us and Alycia Quilts.

Tuesday, 12 April 2022

2 In Between Quilt Projects, Raisin Oat Cookies, Tulips For Planting Time

Emily's Quotes- Pinterest

I've just put another pan of raisin oat cookies in the oven. The smell is fragrant.  Make no wonder cinnamon is so prized among spices; it makes anything baking smell so delicious.  
Outside we have had rotating bouts of snowflakes, hail, rain and yes even sunshine all these recent days. There was snow on the ground when I got up Sunday morning...I suspected because the light behind the blind seemed whiter. That bit didn't last at all.  Today we have a promise of 12 C. 

Getting back to the cookies, I used partial whole wheat flour and also ground flax seed. Extra molasses and lots of raisins. I had soaked dates with the thought of   adding them to the dough but decided at the last minute, I had played havoc enough with the recipe. I'm saving them to add to my oatmeal tomorrow. Recipe is here at Sally's Baking Addiction.

Since I had the oven on and warmed up, I roasted chicken thighs afterwards for the meat to use in a curry dish too. Chicken thighs are good for that.  All of it was tasty.

Two IN BETWEEN Projects

#1   I have a few more blocks from my Tiny Trees project to show with the thought of stepping up the sewing of these blocks this week.  I've not kept up the six or so a week I had promised myself that I would do. Need to play catch up while using up scraps.

#2  I did test out the Confetti scrappy quilt block using foundation piecing I mentioned in this post last month. It really wasn't effective for me as I realized right away I do not have enough white fabric. Seems like a lot of cream, off white, etc. is in my stash.  I also wanted to use scraps and not many of my scraps are worthy of fussy cutting like Rachel did with hers that made them look so pretty. In the end, I went rogue and just sewed randomly with the smaller scraps especially.  Perhaps more confetti like in the end as I think of confetti as tiny bits. 
 The pattern is there if I want to revisit it but for now I'm just going to sew more blocks in a liberated style and try to use up as many scraps as possible in the process. The white fabric does showcase the colours well.  This will be a 9 inch square and the thing that really surprised me was how long it took to sew this. Putting it together so it doesn't look like a dog's breakfast takes time. Hopefully,the result in the end achieving an "unstudied, unpretentious, and more interesting" quilt...a quote from Gwen Marsden.
 And another  upshot, I need to buy more fabric!

The ground is softening up quickly. I have tulip bulbs I received as a birthday gift last year that I want to put into planters as soon as the threat of frost is over.

  I can't put them in the ground as the squirrels find them. Of course, they might find them in the planters too but I plan to keep them up on the veranda close to the front door. That may or may not help.

I have two robins combing the side lawn for worms already. They are off to an early start with the nesting. 

The Phoebes are back; it was music to my ears to hear their familiar calls. Migration is such a miracle. How in the world do those tiny birds manage it! 

I'll leave you with a photo of one of the red squirrels.  It was munching away on last years' spruce cones sitting on a branch outside the dining area window. It's a good thing they're so cute!

Hope you are having a great week!