Thursday, 8 April 2021

Stash, Finishes, Bird Fair in Town

I've been walking a lot to try to cure this sad head of mine. Fresh air and time passing is working its magic I would have to say. Witnessing the change in nature from winter to spring is also wonderful. 

And sitting out on rocks and logs trying to let the fresh air and woody vistas sink into me. I had this little thing float down on my head during one of those times. I thought it was a leaf. Realizing it was a moth put a smile on my face. Where did it come from with the air so cold and freezing overnight! Such pretty shades of greens- perhaps an emerald moth??
It is like the fair has come to town to see all the birds that have appeared like magic. I just love it.

All taken through my kitchen window so not great shots but you get the idea of the array that are showing up daily now. This is not Tilly but she has been visiting morning and evening.




Yesterday I saw a few brave green sprouts have poked through the ground. Sun and cold have been the weather news this spring. No more snow though which is a bonus.


And a few out of focus pussy willows too which is the earliest I've noted them here.



I've always said stitching is my therapy. I finished stitching Quilting Bee and took this photo in bright sunshine to try to get the colours right. I've been frustrated by this.

I wish you could see the true colours as they are pretty plums and deep blues contrasting that bright gold. It now joins the others in a drawer for someday framing.
And I finished up the Snow Bound Table Topper just in time for spring. 😉
I edged it with a herringbone stitch  in black.  Tucked away now for the fall.
Lying on the floor doing my exercises I really liked this view of the plants in front of the patio door where I kept a bunch this winter. The sunlight was wonderful despite how cold it was outside. The geraniums and Christmas cactus are sprouting flowers in response to the extended light. I'm looking forward to getting all these outside.
Now I get to choose a couple more projects. Get back to the tulip research and kit up another cross stitch project...maybe flowers this time. So nice to have some stash at times like this. If one thing doesn't suit, it's good to have another to consider. 
A huge thank you for the kind comments and email messages which we both read. I was touched by how many of you shared stories of your precious pets too.

Always happy to link with Not Afraid of ColorKathy's Quilts and Paying Ready Attention









Sunday, 28 March 2021

This One's For Murphy

 I am now able to write about what happened to us in the wee hours of Wednesday, March 24.

Murphy woke me to put her out twice. The second time she didn't return to her bed in the bedroom and I heard her vomiting. When I went out she had vomited a large amount of blood. Alarming but she was quiet and calm and showed no signs of distress. I woke Hubby and we got ourselves ready to take her to the vets when they opened. They found she had an inoperable tumour that threatened her health and life so she had to be put down. No choice, the vet said. Despite the covid restrictions, they allowed us to be with her which was the only good thing about that experience. And the vet's compassion...Dr. Sue Martin at North Lanark Veterinary Services; she has been Hubby's vet for decades and this is the third time the two of us have gone through this with her. 

Murphy would have been 11 in June and we honestly thought she had more years to live so this is a shock to us. It is the first time in his life that Hubby is without a dog or cat in the house. I would have to say he is feeling bereft. 

For myself, I'm an old hand at dealing with loss. So while I feel unhappy right now, I know I will feel better later on. 

Tuesday, March 23, Afternoon Walk...I was looking for ducks on the marsh so had my camera with me.

So glad I let her do this.  Labradors love water.

Yes, she lay down!

Writing this has helped me a little. Take care all of you; this is not over yet and Happy Stitching!



Thursday, 25 March 2021

Excitement, Can This Spring Be Real? and Stitching Of Course

 I've spent a good amount of time outside lately. The temperatures were so warm and especially welcomed because it is still March. Feels like a bonus to have lovely weather during this month usually known for late snowstorms and the dreaded freezing rain. Bits of green are poking through the dried grass and we wondered was it survival growth under the snow or brand new. It doesn't matter...these tiny spring signs are welcome to my eyes.

The hint of red on the head there identifies this wee one as a redpoll, I think. He was sure enjoying a little rest in the sun.

The ice on the pond has become soft and walkable. Monday we crossed it walking carefully with our cleats but Hubby broke through at the far edge and just like that was up to his knees in water. Over his high boots and we had a heck of time getting him up and out...soaking wet jeans and water weighted boots. I went over one boot in the process so we hobbled back to the house where Hubby got a hot shower and change of clothes. No worse for wear.  Exciting times here at the wooden house!!

Continuing excitement...first chipmunk of the season out and about in the front garden. Looking a little small and also thin.

But he spent lots of time under the bird feeder and I caught this photo of him before he headed back to his burrow...cheeks full.
Also exciting -we visited Abbey and her puppies. 
Both Abbey and Ned, the father, a chocolate Lab, were from litters that had all three colours of Labradors so it was exciting to find out what colours her puppies would be. She had 3 of each. 9 puppies!

Thank you all for the comments and emails about owning a puppy at this stage of life. Hubby read your words as well.

I have discovered Kombucha and really like it. As a vinegar liker, I find it similarly pungent and a great substitute for a sippy kind of drink. Also nice to try out different flavours. Oh and I also drink cranberry juice sometimes too.

I must mention this post from my blogging friend, Gladi Porsche.. She is an extraordinary quilter and in that post, treated us to a picture show of those featuring curves, which I especially love.  What beauties!! Inspiration galore! I know I will return often to see how she put fabrics and colours together too.

I'll leave you today with this photo of Hawk Run Hollow's April block.  I am not a great full coverage stitcher so the house is slow going if I am to keep the stitches as neat as I like them to be.  But enjoyable nonetheless.

Since I'd written this post already, I will publish as is. However, Hubby and I suffered a hard blow yesterday which I won't include now but talk about next time. 

Till then, stay safe...this is not over yet, Take care of yourself.

Always happy to link with Not Afraid of ColorPaying Ready AttentionKathy's QuiltsViewing Nature With Eileen and Brian's Home Blog.


Thursday, 18 March 2021

Quilting-Scrappy and Hexagons, Leaping Hares and What Do You Think???


It is remarkable how true this is.  Sections of our trails through the thicker wood and the chill just hangs in the air with a noticeable drop in temperature, while mere steps away the sun is beating down warming everything. 
But overnight temperatures dipping well below zero are keeping our little pond a frozen expanse.
The wind has stopped...gosh that made walking so cold in spots.
Including the little wetland below to the left of it. This is a part of our walking trails that is now off limits as even though we have cleats on our boots, we don't take a chance with falling.  We probably won't get to walk over there again till late July when the path nearer the woods  dries up for a brief time.  This is where I've spotted unusual ducks and the regular ducks swimming but so hard to get close enough for photos.

We did this this week. Grateful for the free service and so useful for pantry items.
I've been busy stitching as always. Several more Sawtooth Stars, in particular, this one,
that features the Leaping Hare, a very common motif in quilting and cross stitching designs.
And here it shows up in the Rifle Company fabric line, Wildwood.

I've not had the best of luck getting photos of the many many rabbits living around us here. I took the one below at Daughter's house where the rabbits visit her bird feeder which rests on the ground. They seem very tame compared to ours here. 
I'm also diligently quilting the Hexagons on my coffee table runner. Hand stitching at night in front of the tv. which, as you know I enjoy, though I do feel the weather will be decidedly more spring like by the time this is finished, hopefully. I've outlined each hexagon using one of those heat erasable blue marking pens as a guide for the stitching. 

I got out my scrap bags last weekend and made a right mess in the sewing room. I managed to cobble together four more of these super scrappy blocks. I haven't evened them up yet.  I found the mess I made a little overwhelming, truthfully. I couldn't wait to get it all stuffed back in the bags and out of sight.
I'm sharing some news/photos about this girl, Abbey, daughter's dog.  She has had puppies!
Here she is patiently waiting by the truck for SIL. She's so loving and also loyal... has never needed to be leashed as stays close to her people no matter the distractions. I wish Murphy could be like that. 

We are discussing whether we will get one of the puppies. Hubby has always had 2 (sometimes more) dogs at a time and would love another. But at our ages... and then there is Murphy's feelings to consider too. She loves to see Abbey and other dogs, but how would she feel about one staying here and a puppy at that. Also Hubby has always adopted rescue dogs and feels strongly about doing that...this would be a first time to have a puppy. What do you think??

Thursday, 11 March 2021

69th Spring Still Holds Surprises

 You'd think my 69th March would hold no surprises for me. But the suddenly melting snow, emerging sidewalks, sun feeling so hot on my back I had to unzip my coat and remove my woolen toque, all took me by surprise. This happened in just the last three days but so wonderful. Temperatures above zero and even into double digits one day like what spring is meant to be. Now if only the snow can stay away and a hex on freezing rain too. 

And the birds started chirping just like that. I've heard the male cardinals now singing their glorious songs and suddenly there are three or more around the feeder. Several were dancing a jig along this branch but they would not oblige for a photo together. Drat.

The Indiana Barred Owl cam is back on line and she has already laid one egg. I just love to check in each day to see what's happening in her nest box. It's the highlight of March every year now for the last three. It's so nice to know nature is continuing on all in its usual order and time.

Red squirrels took me up on my offering of apples for the birds. Both apples disappeared in a matter of minutes!

The one below sat in the comfort of the feeder to munch. Hubby said I'd better keep an eye on them or they will set up house in it. 😊 He is definitely using his paws to hold his food here.

Guess what this is???

Yes, the back of my hexagon piece and looking at this reminds me that's a lot of hand stitches there. There is a certain card quality I like to use...not too thick but also not too flimsy. Some of the real estate advertisements are just right.  I think I'll add a few more hexagons to even up that one end on the right and say this one is big enough.  Love hexagons!

I've also been making good progress on Quilting Bee just in time for spring it seems. Someone asked...usually on smaller projects, I work from the top left over and down. I prefer working on the left side first and stitching left to right. If the project is a large one, I also run a threads through the center vertical and horizontal to keep me on track. Then I will probably work the whole left  bottom quadrant first.  I note a lot of folks work from the bottom up or the right side over to left. Some prefer to work the border all the way around first. Why we get these preferences is interesting. I think sometimes it is due to concern about having enough fabric for the design. 

The ladies, Deb and Liz, who have a flosstube channel called the Country Stitchers recommended this piece of headgear and I ordered it from Amazon.  It's magnifying glasses, comes with 5 different interchangeable strengths, and LED lights. I really like how the glass part is situated so you can watch tv by just looking straight ahead without having to move your head. It's also surprisingly comfortable to wear and I was telling Hubby, I can feel my eyes relax when I stitch with them, the same feeling I get when I put on my good sunglasses. Here is the Amazon link if you'd like to check it out yourself.

And, btw, I have no affiliation with Amazon or any other company that I link with here on the blog...just sharing what I like myself and enjoy. 

Deb and Liz are one of my favourite duos to watch while stitching. They are in Pennsylvania and actually stitch while they chat about things. This is Liz here on the left and Deb on the right.  

I've added this online word game to my list of games to play to try to keep the aged brain synapses firing- Word Nut.  You have to make as many words as you can with the letters they give you and fit them into a crossword. Each puzzle completed adds percentages of points to what they call your IQ; I am at 112 now and I wonder when I will wash out.  

I miss going to movies with older 16 year old grandson, sigh. He has his G1 permit and is doing his Driver's Ed. At this rate, he'll be able to drive me to the movies by the time this is all done here in Ontario, Canada. 

I have floors that need mopping and a mix put in the bread machine...making whole wheat today. Then it will be some stitching time. Hope your day is equally as stress free and enjoyable.

Also enjoyable to link with Not Afraid of ColorQuilt FabricationViewing Nature With EileenKathy's QuiltsQuilting Applique PatchworkConfessions of a Fabric AddictWendy's Quilts and MoreSugarlane Designs and Paying Ready Attention











Thursday, 4 March 2021

6 Satisfying Things on a Thursday

 I think we all know what we like and need to make our days feel productive and enjoyable. Here are six of the many things that make me feel satisfied and content with my life even in a continuing lockdown state.

1...Good Food

I love how my appetite is still strong for good food. I love finding a new way of cooking something that I've been eating all my life.  Take eggs for instance.  Lately I've been making scrambled eggs alongside rice and veggies with a little sauce of balsamic vinegar, dash of soya sauce and honey. This makes a quick nourishing lunch and I don't think I've ever eaten these two dishes together this way before. Like a new comfort food dish for me. 

No eggs in this one but I love this video from Ree, the Pioneer Woman. Her Top Ten Comfort Food list. I also love the tops she is wearing in this one especially the pretty red/pink one while making Corn and Cheese Chowder.  

I also enjoy seeing your photos of food in your posts and following any foodie links you share.

2...My indoor garden

I enjoy everything about gardening and feel rewarded with the smallest little growing things.

 Keeping these plants healthy throughout our rather dark winter months is a challenge. Remembering to keep the geraniums pinched back so they don't get too leggy reaching for the scant light is important.
i
Getting to this stage of later winter and seeing most of the plants still hanging on and growing a little too is satisfying.

3...My Books with the addition of Audios nowadays

I've written that I thought of having a blog about books but being eclectic in my tastes and hobbies, I would find it constraining to stick to just one topic for posts. I realized the blogs I loved the most were ones that showed various aspects of life not just one hobby. So I've kept this space as one where I can natter on about whatever interests me or crosses my mind. 

Where ever I sit, a mound of books grows around me. I try my best to keep it neat and tidy. But I want at hand my thesaurus, my daily journal, my blogging notebook, whatever poetry book I'm reading, the novel that I'm reading, my bird books, and in season my gardening books -yes, a lot of books.

I also love my laptop desk.

One of my worst dreams was one where I couldn't see and realized I wouldn't be able to read. I woke in a state and then thought, how foolish; I would learn braille I told myself- you ninny. That wouldn't be so bad. 

I'm pretty sure that dream was triggered by seeing a girl at the university library use what looked like a powerful and complex monocle of some sort that she passed over every line of a book she was reading. I was a little fascinated as I watched her progress across and down the pages with this monocle pressed to her eye and the book pressed to it. 

4...Sharing my life with another species, something David Suzuki says we humans should all do. 

 In my present case, a dog is living with me though there have also been cats in the past. Murphy is great company and loyal (though not in the way that Rex was as I always felt he was guarding me); she is always by my side. Getting me up and outdoors walking is just one of the ways she is benefitting me. 

Here we are down by the pond last August (the pond was getting quite dry at that stage). Oh my eyes are loving all the green growing things in this photo. I also remember how warm that grass felt to be sitting on it.


5...Taking photographs
Thanks to this blog, my interest in photography has grown. I've realized how much fun there is in taking photographs especially in my case, of nature.  And out of that has grown an interest in macro photography. Though I don't have the kind of equipment to be super macro, my little camera affords me the opportunity to at least dabble in this field. Here is a tiny Kalanchoe plant, a Christmas gift, that is obligingly blooming just now. Reminding me of sweet Easter like blooms.

Last but definitely not least  #6 on this list is...My Stitching Hobbies and these I count on to keep my hands busy and my mind free from worry.

Drawing and possibly appliqueing Tulips are on my mind this week. The only thing I'm sure of is that I want them to be biggish, possibly bright and maybe colourful.  Okay so I'm still not sure of what exactly they might be...more combing the stash and scrap bins today before settling on colours. The only thing I know for sure is that I want an appliqued project to see me into spring...hand stitching being my favourite way to roll.  

I admired Quilty Folk's Audrey's chunky tulip project to be seen here  and also her Autumnal Tulips here and downloaded the pattern that she generously shared for a while. Then I admired Little Penguin Quilts Diann's pretty tulips to be seen at this post.  So I've been percolating some tulip ideas. As a motif, they appeal to me and I like how they can be vintage or modern, small or large. And how there is an abundance of totally tulip inspiration on the net. For instance, Lynn Dykstra alone has collated over 300 tulip quilt patterns for her Pinterest Board...well worth a visit.

This is one of my favourite Spring time appliqued finishes and I look forward to putting it on the wall again soon. 

Meanwhile, the Sawtooth Stars are growing in number. Thanks to all who kindly offered suggestions as to how these are winding up with differing points and sizes. Also nice to know I'm not the only one who grapples with accuracy from time to time. 

There you have it...six of the many things I'm enjoying while basically confined to home for over a year now. Writing about them helped me see that though I've had my hard times long before the pandemic, life is good just now. I'm so thankful my days are filled with personally rewarding and interesting activities. And thankful to you, dear readers, especially those who kindly comment and encourage and offer help and inspiration. 

Always wonderful to link with Not Afraid of ColorJaipur GardeningMy Quilt InfatuationSo ScrappyApplique Quilting PatchworkLife in PiecesQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkKathy's QuiltsFloral Friday FotoSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsIn the Jesh Studio and Brian's Home Blog.