Monday, 24 February 2020

Thread Magnets, Hand Quilting, Blessings After All

I realized winter clothes are serious lint gathering clothes. Extra thick leggings under something woolly or corduroy and usually dark colours- all of which are ort magnets is what I wear mostly in winter.  Here is a typical getup for me, my black corduroy dress which has survived multiple washings and is soft, warm and comfortable.  And a perfect thread magnet.
  I could completely clean the sewing room floor if I rolled around on it just a couple of times.  But that's not going to happen.  When I'm playing with younger grandson and I'm crouching for a while hiding or rolling on the floor (which we have done in a contest once to see who could roll the fastest- we tied), it's a shock to realize how unused to such exercise my body is.  And how easily my head can spin.

Time Waster Last Week
I spent ages researching why my audio on this lap top seemed to have disappeared.  Voices suddenly were just whispers.  Hubby helpfully suggested deafness on my part as he doesn't think I hear him sometimes.  But no, turns out this little button on the keypad had been turned all the way down.  Right in front of me and with the little audio icon and everything.

To Do This Week
I'm going to spend the week days at daughter's house in another town for her to take an annual southern holiday.  I'll be staying with the older grandson.  On our agenda is going to see the Oscar winning movie, Parasite.  In addition, I'm hoping to get to several libraries, Michaels and a couple of quilting shops while he is in school.

I have to get together my stitching to take with me for the time away. I have plenty of projects requiring hand work so I'm choosing the Swirling Flowers cross stitch, the Cardinal piece there to lay some quilting lines by hand and finish the Cabin- hopefully. I won't drag along the dresdens panel because it is too big.  I will be taking my desk top Ott Lite to help out the old eyes.
Also I must line up Hubby's meals.  Especially rearrange the fridge and pantry so he can find things with his Man Eyes.

Meanwhile, warmer temperatures lately with brilliant sunshine and look who showed up in my puzzle box, a scant sign of spring.  This is a harmless Western Conifer Seed bug and living among fir trees like we do, we see them from time to time in the house. I love to look at their patterning. Hubby doesn't want me to put them outside because they'll freeze.  So a colony is brewing here somewhere!
I've had my share of ups and downs...and oh, the losses.  I take nothing in my present life for granted, not for one second, not even a tiny bit.
                                         Image result for one has to spend so many years in learning how to be happy. george elliot


Maybe it is time that teaches us there is richness in the little things. And the living on too, surviving, now that is a blessing. 
Also happy to be joining these link up parties...Small Quilts and Doll QuiltsLove Laugh QuiltViewing Nature With EileenHome Sewn By Us and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Heart Shaped Cake and Pizza, After Quilts, Mourning Dove

It is now past midwinter and our snow is piling on snow. 
A rabbit has been using the little ornamental fir bush at the front as a home this winter; have never seen him just the tracks.
But February days are flying by just like July's.
For Valentine's night we got to babysit littler grandson so his parents could go out to dinner. It was a nine course dinner where each course wouldn't fill your tooth, as my grandparents would say about scanty food on a plate. (They came home quite filled, however. :))
  But Daughter had made a dinner for us... with hearts being the theme.  Pizza
and a strawberries and cream cake.
Delicious! I ate quite a lot because this is a simple combination I love...real cream, strawberries and a vanilla cake. 
We had a great time with the grandson and also with Abby, their Black Lab, who loves everyone.
Her preferred position- in your lap. I know it doesn't look like it, but Hubby was delighted to be paid such attention by a dog. Our Murphy is so reserved for the most part.
 Abby is also learning manners which is good as she has an overabundance of energy and exuberance.
New to me:  Have you heard of an After Quilt?  Here is an excellent video from Karen Brown explaining what it is and I really should try this when I actually finish real quilts some day.
Some of you have asked about the header; it is one of the Kathy Schmitz designs for her project called Snow Bound.  I stitch one of these from time to time and have most of them done. I love the name of the embroidery thread, Presidential Blue.  (Sorry for the dull photo taken on the fly.)
I love seeing projects that combine embroidery with patchwork. Here is a link to Kathy's site where she has many that do just that.
                                Snow Bound
After an ice storm back at the farm, I caught a little mourning dove resting in the sun. It was motionless so long, I feared it had frozen. But no, it was fine. Amazing how birds can survive such.
Happy Thursday All!
Also happy to link with Not Afraid of ColorIt's a Small Town LifePaying Ready AttentionAn Artful MomKathy's Quilts and Brian's Home Blog.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Free Patterns, Dear Jane Cross Stitch, Quilt Sandwiches

I've been making sandwiches lately...quilt sandwiches.  Another panel of the Dresdens is all ready for the hand stitching to begin. I'm happy with how the first one worked out and fingers crossed, both pieces will fit together in this quilt as you go bigger project.
I've also layered up the Very Scrappy Valentines runner. Thank you all for the encouraging words about this. I'm going to hand applique around those valentines probably with the red perle cotton since I'm enjoying using it so much.
I spent a happy hour yesterday trailing through the pattern gallery look books on the Art Gallery Fabrics site. They have a look book for each of the fabric lines and there are a lot of them.  At the blog you can find a free pattern for each.( For the record, I have no affiliation with these folks or any others mentioned in this post.)
Here is the blog link to the free pattern for their Foresta Fusion quilt.
                                 New- Fusions Foresta Quilt 1 1
   And here is the link for their Free Pattern site. There are 9 pages of them. Their Ballerina line is delicate and pretty. There is definitely a fabric line for all tastes.

I am so happy I found and follow this lady -Sarah at A Little Happy Place.  Her site is chockablock with projects, many of them easy and all of them pretty.  Here is a wonderful tutorial on Hand Quilting she made.
                        
She also generously offers an extensive array of free patterns for quilts, hangings, small projects and also embroidery. Definitely worth taking a look through.

Many of you are taking part in the Moda Blockhead project.  I liked this little project and lo and behold it is part of the 2020 series. This free pattern is found at  Brigitte's blog.
I think it is a great pattern for a cushion to be made any time of the year.
                                          Block 5 in the Moda Blockheads 2020 year-long sew along is brought to you by Zen Chic using the Just Red and More Paper fabric collections.
I talked about the fabulous Dear Jane quilt in my last post.  How enduring is the pattern and all the wonderful interpretations it has inspired! I wonder what the ailing Jane Stickle would think of it all.
  I was intrigued to find a cross stitch version of it as well.  It can be bought as a PDF download at Carolyn Manning Designs for a very reasonable price. A very colourful version.

               Jane's Joy (PDF Download)

I've had my eye on Carolyn's It Takes a Village design for a while.

This is our monthly linkup time for our international SAL hosted by Avis at Sewing Beside the Sea. All these ladies are stitching widely differing patterns and styles.
AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborah, Mary MargaretRenee, CarmelaJocelynSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJenny

I'm chugging along with my own Swirling Flowers cross stitch project.  I've finished two motifs and started two more.
I hope your Sunday is calm and relaxing despite world news.  It is a long weekend here in Ontario as Monday is a provincial Family Day holiday...a midwinter day off to celebrate winter activities with family and friends.
Fun to link up with these parties: Kathy's QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkThe Madd QuilterThe Inquiring QuilterMy Quilt Infatuation and Life in Pieces.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

High Five These Midwinter Thankful Things

On that blustery snowy day, I had this in the oven. Old fashioned Seven Layer Dinner. This was a very common dish in homes in the sixties when casseroles became more popular. At home it used to be called Ship Wreck and you can read about why here at the Saltjunk site. Is this something you would have grown up with too?
It is so fitting to have comfort food on a bad weather day. A first for me making this for Hubby and he loved it.  I'd forgotten how much it is a vegetarian meal if you wish.   I refreshed my memory by watching this video from  Bonita's Kitchen on Youtube.
This week I got to go out with younger daughter for facials at the local spa.  A true Midwinter treat and like with most fun things, we thought why don't we do this more often. Not just in February.
I'm wearing my Newfoundland tartan scarf and my bird whistle necklace (yes, I have one!). Newfoundland and birds, two things I love. And look what was facing me. They had a nordic theme throughout the place...lots of polar bears. In my time in the far north, I never saw a polar bear, only the pelt of a male once. The talons were longer than my hand.  Oh and look, pretty cookies.
We also ate out for brunch that day.  I had Eggs Benedict and didn't like it at all. 😊
In my promise to read more books, I've read these, two of them nonfiction, since Christmas.  Enjoyed them very much and I'm enjoying short stories more which is a great discovery.
My table topper Little Cabin in the Woods is all appliqued with the usual...blanket stitch. I added the chimney and a moon.  I'll be making this into a sandwich tomorrow and getting it ready for some hand quilting.  Perhaps a few stars in the sky too.
I also stitched the very scrappy hearts onto this lovely grey material using a close zigzag on my machine. Here sorting the placement and getting carried away by all those bright red scraps. To the point where I decided to make a border of them as well.
 It is so much faster sewing on the machine and also better because those hearts had a lot of seams on the edges.

  
 I no sooner got it all together when I began to second guess the choice of so many scrappy bits here. Can you overdo scrappy reds in one piece- no matter how happy they made you feel while stitching them? Is this border over the top? It can be easily taken off.
  Murphy is very close to me these days. When I was gone for the spa day, Hubby said she was whining by the front door at times.  Perhaps she is missing someone more than we realized. Sigh

Thankful as always to link with Not Afraid of ColorFor the Love of GeesePowered By QuiltingSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsLove Laugh Quilt and Brian's Home Blog.











Sunday, 9 February 2020

Dear Jane, Scrappy Hearts, Peace River Honey,Cardinals

I've been doing lots of this...
after two snowfalls, but today we are in what we call Deep Freeze weather...-27C straight temperature. That's about -17 F for my American friends. Brrr...
But keeping our front steps all clear is one of my winter goals, so far, getting done.

I have to mention how much I'm enjoying this honey...Peace River which comes from Canada's largest organic apiary.  A little goes a long way, if you know what I mean.  Hubby prefers brown sugar on his oatmeal but I'm enjoying some of this honey on mine. I got this container at Costco. At the Peach River blog site you can find many recipes using honey including one for Valentine's Rice Krispies.

I must admit my enjoyment of quilting is getting a bit more complicated.
 In the beginning I seemed sure of my likes and dislikes.  Now not so much.  More of what is called modern quilting is appealing to me though some still not at all.  Those  I view with the same dubious eye I look at certain modern pieces at the art gallery.  I like when improvisation is welcome in quilt making and I guess you can do that at times no matter what kind of quilting you enjoy.

A quilt I've long found inspiring is the famous Dear Jane.  It was made by a bed ridden farm wife, Jane Stickle, back in 1863, as a way to pass the time.  So much geometry in a quilt was very interesting and the mixture of her own patterns with traditional made the whole quilt unique.
I've followed many of you as you have stitched these 225 blocks. In fact, Karen at Quilts, Etc. completed two of these tops in different colourways! That definitely makes Karen a Quilting Queen.

                                   
How do you feel about Dear Jane?

Now to move from the sublime to the ridiculous, LOL.
In my sewing room, I've been making some scrappy hearts mainly just to use up the scraps. (Not sure that is the kind of inspiration I should be tapping into!)
 A little hand applique for a table runner- maybe light stitching this week.
 I've been experimenting with using old phone book pages as backing.
It's great to play around with cheery colours and I did this last Saturday when it was a thoroughly blustery day with blowing snow and nowhere we had to be but right here.  The best kind of day.

I've been trying to capture a photo of our lone cardinal who visits us quite late in the day.  This is not a great photo and I think it was the bad weather that inspired him to show himself a little earlier in the day to grab a few nourishing sunflower seeds.
I watched carefully...my first thought, a one legged cardinal! But no, he had two legs, phew!  Just trying to minimize heat loss.

 Here is my redworked cardinal from Crabapple Hill Studio's pattern called Flight of Fancy. All twelve birds have been stitched and they are on my radar to get sewn into a quilt...soon. (I've been saying that for about 5 years now. :) )
 I hope you are making good on your promises to yourself.  I will be spending some serious time with my sewing machine this week reviving a very old project.
Take care of yourself.
Linking this post with Kathy's QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkPersimon DreamsViewing Nature With EileenHome Sewn By Us and I'd Rather B Birdin'.




Thursday, 6 February 2020

Quickest, Easiest Quilt Project, Newfoundland Raisin Buns

It's almost a year since Hubby's incident on Valentine's Day when a lung embolism caused an emergency ride to the hospital and a subsequent 4 day stay.  Yesterday we had his last visit with the Thrombosis Center downtown where he was given a clean bill of health.  We are so thankful!
And here are a few other things that made this week a good one too.

I made a batch of Newfoundland Raisin Buns last weekend.  I shared them before with you way back in 2016 when I used coconut oil to grease the pan and it made the bottoms crispy. I forgot about that. I used Barry's recipe found here at his Rock Recipes site.  This time I did add vanilla but I still lessened how much sugar I used.  They were really good. I ate three and I can't remember when I ate three of anything sweet in one sitting.
See that odd shaped one sticking out on the bottom right...that's the cook's bun.

 In that same post I also showed you this wonderful knitted tea cosy featured at the  Tea Cosy Folk site. Her Majesty in her early years.
                    
 This one is there too-so cute.
                                  
                 Firefighter
You can see the most amazing depictions of every job, hobby, activity, sport, etc. at the site.

 I use a lot of little journals and notebooks for all the things I like to keep track of. Each year I go through a phase of thinking I will use one larger diary to hold it all and there are so many beautiful ones around.  Lucy at Attic 24  often shares how helpful her journal is. I looked into it but couldn't bring myself to pay the bucks for it.

 So I bought this one last year at the after New Year's markdowns...made by ban.do
 I had spent ages looking through the diary section at several stores before settling on it...Pretty and with inside pockets, a sturdy cover and places for notes,  it seemed to tick most of the boxes but upon putting it to use, the illustrations and stitckers seemed too youngish for me. And I found the sayings dotted here and there...You couldn't be cooler if you tried or You are the sunshine in your days, didn't suit me at all. ( I feel badly about that because I know someone put a lot of thought and effort into choosing these sayings.)
 But I found it in a drawer and decided that though it is not correct calendar wise, I could put it to use as a food, sleep and stress diary.  This I've been doing since Christmas. For instance,  I've given up coffee and immediately could see a pattern I was sleeping better as duly noted daily in the journal. My stomach seems to feel more settled as well.   Could my occasional sleep issues be caused by something so simple as a cup of coffee? Can you develop a sensitivity to caffeine just like that?
Kind of breaks my heart because I loved a cup of coffee in the mornings and as a treat out and about.

But I've discovered Decaf and it's been a worthy substitute so I'm not complaining,
 no sirree, not me.

The Quickest and Easiest of Quilt Projects
I had a squirrel moment this week and went off on a tangent after seeing some of the wonderful heart/valentine projects cropping up.  I decided to make two mug rugs for us- the lovebirds at the wooden house, LOL.
But first I had to join some of the smaller pieces of batting.  I just use a loose zigzag stitch on my machine and it seems to work well without leaving a bulky kind of seam.
I found the above little video from Patchwork Posse helpful.
I didn't follow a pattern, big surprise, just winged it.  But did use two orphan blocks from that Scandinavian Redwork project as a start.  Added a couple of pretty fabric strips and outline quilting with a little embroidery using perle cotton.
I was pleased with how they turned out. A great way to use up scraps and orphan blocks too.

Hope this Thursday finds you all well and doing all it takes to stay healthy. Hydrate!

So happy to share this post with Not Afraid of ColorMy Quilt InfatuationConfessions of a Fabric AddictAlycia QuiltsGone Stitchin' and Quilt Fabrication.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Red Big Stitch Quilting, Orange Flag Blocks, Hearty Chili


A neat Christmas gift was this glass ball I hung in the window; one day it spun colours on the floor which was really pretty. One of these days I'll get a photo of that if only the light will cooperate again. Yes our sun has been very shy since Christmas.  We've had to add Vitamin D drops to our meals.

Ahh but this season is such a great time for hearty food. This post at Marilyn's Treats features the recipe for her 3 Bean Firehouse Chili.  I tried this and we had enough for several meals with a salad and pita bread. It was good.

                                        Three kinds of beans add a real taste treat to this crock pot chili. Topped with crackers or nachos and sour cream and cheese and you have prepared one good warm and hearty meal.
I guess it's appropriate to be working in red this month.  Here is how I'm quilting the Dresdens...you must be sick of me talking about them. Sorry 
I guess it's kind of big stitch hand quilting but no matter what you call it, enjoyable stitching in front of the TV. My goal will be to finish the quilting on this project this month and I'll make that official by linking with Patty and the Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal gang.
I've never quilted with a brightly coloured thread before, always something neutral.
You're going to be happy I have something else to share...I revived my Flag blocks yesterday and had a great time digging deep in the stash for more oranges.  That's the colour of this month's RSC at So Scrappy so I figured why not go with it.  Seldom do I coordinate with the monthly colour but I do enjoy seeing what you are making with the colour of the moment.
That was fun! Hope there is fun and joyfulness in your stitching too.

I had this thought when reading about this couple who are living completely off the grid in an abandoned Newfoundland outport. There are whole towns abandoned in so many places in Canada.
Here in our section of Ontario, there are no abandoned buildings even.  Any of those have been bought and renovated, if large enough, into condos or apartments.  There is nothing too shabby left standing or if there is something, you can bet a builder has an eye on it. Location is everything, I guess.
                         Image result for february poetry"
  I am fortunate to feel this way in my past lives and now living in my little corner of the Ottawa Valley.  Hope you feel like it too wherever the first Sunday in February, 2020 finds you.
Also fortunate to link this post with Kathy's Quilts, Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, Show Me Something, Sum of Their Stories and Love Laugh Quilt.