Sunday, 24 September 2017

Pleasing Pumpkins and the Blogger's Quilt Festival

I have been following the Baskets of Plenty quilt- along hosted by designer Cheri Payne and am a member of the Quilts By Cheri-Friendship Group on Facebook which has reached almost 5000 members.  In particular, I've followed the progress of fellow blogger, Nancy, at her blog, Joy For Grace with her baskets and really liked her final finishes.

 So pretty.  I've never tried to stitch anything labelled primitive but was very intrigued by what I saw Nancy and various group members achieve.  When Cheri announced she was offering a Sew Spooky stitch -along I thought perhaps I would give it a try. The patterns are free and the link is here if you wish to check out the project.  Cheri has generously uploaded the patterns there to make all 6 blocks.

 I started with the block featuring a pumpkin just because I love them.  My pumpkin and crow are freezer paper appliqued and the other motifs are fused.

  I've been hand stitching a little blanket stitch around it all...very enjoyable slow stitching.  And this will receive my attention on this lovely Sunday here in Ontario.

I noticed in my Connecting Threads October catalog this very cute pumpkin kit called October Vintage Blessings. Sometimes the most simplistic designs are the best.

                                   Image result for october vintage blessings hanging

 And I must show you something I've bookmarked from the beautiful Nordic Needle catalog. This gorgeous multi-coloured pumpkin to be cross stitched and I am so tempted and it's grinning at me just like it knows I won't be able to resist.

                            Image result for free halloween cross stitch patterns to print

Talking about pumpkins made me think of the Fall wall hanging I made last year.  I remember well how I struggled with trying to do the designs myself.  It looks easy but when you come down to it, it really isn't...or at least for me it wasn't.
Here is that particular pumpkin partway through the stitching.

 But I did like how it all turned out and I kept it hanging up in the back hallway till it was time for the Christmas things.

When I use these older photos, I can see now how my new Christmas camera is improving my photo quality.

I have bright sun to cheer me today and a veranda to sit on and stitch.  Hope all is as calm and calming where you are.

 Amy Ellis at Amy's Creative Side is hosting the Blogger's Quilt Festival 2017 and I am linking this post.  Scoot over and take a look at all the beautiful quilts being shown.  However as Amy wisely states, "Don't let the beauty of what someone else has created, keep you from sharing your project."
Thanks, Amy.
I am also linking with Crazy Mom Quilts; thanks Amanda.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

A Couple of Baking Things and Books

                            Though I like August (it is another summer month after all), a little tingle of angst sets in round about the middle of the month. Memories or some residue of memories, I guess. I have an August birthday towards the end and it always was happy yet sad because just a week later it would be back to school. Holidays over.

And standing pond side early this morning while Murphy took her usual dip, a flurry of tiny leaves rained down on me.  I glanced up to see a young tree already giving up its leaves to autumn so despite a week of hot temperatures, our seasons are surely marching onward here in Canada.


Isn't this a pretty calendar and at The Cottage Market you can find one for each month of the year. Also lots of other free printables.

Getting to eat dinner out is a treat for me, one I love.
Hubby had his birthday in July and we celebrated with two invitations out to dinner. But that meant we postponed his home made birthday cake.  I finally got around to making him his promised birthday cake, sprinkles and all. And it was large, just the way he likes his cakes.

I probably saw this idea somewhere but have forgotten where... of making a basic yellow cake in two layers with a third surprise layer in the middle made of chocolate.

I used  the Southern Living basic yellow cake recipe and I did like the flavour.  Mine was on the dry side but that is because I always tend to over bake.
My chocolate layer was a basic brownie mixture which Hubby liked but found a bit chewy.  The recipe I used is This- LOL

                                          Image result for duncan hines brownie recipe

Anyway, said cake was liked very much by the birthday boy who turned the grand age of 78!!!

Have you tried these?  I think I would like them.  Cinnamon Sugar Pita Strips

Image result for cinnamon sugar pita strips

At the Broke and Cooking site you can get the recipe, though calling it a recipe is a bit of a stretch.  These are on my TRY SOON list.

I liked this movie which I got to watch on Netflix recently.

                                              Image result for arrival

 I guess it was the angle of exploring language and communication that interested me.  Amy Adams always gives a good performance and I liked how a fellow Newfoundlander, Mark O'Brien, also had a role in it.
                                   Image result for mark o'brien arrival

Summer Reading

I've been neglecting to share what I am reading.   I read these two books this summer and enjoyed them.

Image result

It was coincidental that both were about events around the Holocaust.  I also read several non fiction books; I'll think of the titles later- I don't know why non fiction titles don't stick with me.
 But this one sure did..

I listened to this audiobook holding my breath and often with tears in my eyes.

What a brave woman she is!

Happily linking with the folks at Gingersnap Crafts for Wow Me Wednesday!

Sunday, 17 September 2017

I Fall In Love

My head is not easily turned, never was and certainly not these days.  But when it comes to fabric, cross stitch patterns and lovely stitching, my head is on a swivel.  I spied this project at the local quilt shop and immediately fell in love.  (And what is that something about a project that grabs and holds our attention, while others go unnoticed.)

I even love her name...Painted Lady.  A favourite little butterfly present in every province of Canada.  This is a pattern by Laura Heine and you can get a closer look at the beauty of it at the Fiberworks shop here.

 I couldn't wait to have the patchwork blocks done to begin this piece and what a lift it gave me to be working with such vibrant colours.  The folks at Mad About Patchwork had put together a convenient bundle of all the materials needed to stitch it.  The materials are wool and included were the pretty Valdani threads to match.

A start has been made- above are the freezer paper pieces and  below, a couple of petals stitched on by hand using a blanket stitch.

Wool is such a forgiving material to embroider on; my main challenge with this will be to make sure the placement is accurate.  I think I can manage that even in my addled brain state!

Here is another lovely butterfly, not as common as a Painted Lady, but one of the green comma butterflies - I think; there are so many variations of this little fellow it is hard to be sure.  The hydrangea blossoms are a wonder in all they attract...loads of bees of different kinds and butterflies as well.

Painted Lady will get all my stitching attention today, this late September Sunday.
 I hope all is calm sailing where ever you are!

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Finishes and Santa Stitching

Well, I must admit I'm starting to feel more normal.  But I've been working on it...walking lots, trying to sleep better and more, listening to music I love, researching a few ideas I've had on my list for ages that were nagging me, and getting out with friends.

I've mentioned I am a true loner.  If you can think that heaven is being home, plonked in front of a Netflix show, stitching in hand and two dogs snoring softly nearby, then you understand me.  And yes, Hubby is in this scenerio too.  It's like I want someone else with me but a someone who won't interfere with my idea of heaven.  Luckily this is his notion of heaven too.

So the getting out with friends was a good thing to do; afterwards I'm always glad I went and I knew this to be true about myself.  And lunching in pretty places is good too.  Especially ones with homemade scones.  I always buy several to take home for a treat.  This one is some kind of herb and cheese.  Very dense and tasty.

So I've ticked all the boxes on the mood lifting list and yes, they worked.  My mood is definitely improved.

So my big knitted blanket is finished.  Happy about that.  Temperatures already dipping down at night so it will come in handy directly.

But especially proud to have these done.  The twelve patchwork edgings on the A Patchwork Year project.  May not be perfect but finished is good.  A couple of points need a little bit of tweaking but nothing too serious.  I actually got better at this as I went along and I don't know why that would be a surprise, practice being the way to improve and all.

I also have six of the designs stitched.  I couldn't resist working on Santa.  Stitching a Santa has to be a happy thing and I was pleased with him.

  Though I did have a moment of panic.  See where his belt is attached to the pack...I was sewing in the basement, realized the belt was not where it should be around his waist and thought, oh no, I've traced the pattern all wrong.  Raced up to the sewing room to look at the pattern and thankfully, the belt is exactly where Kathy had drawn it.  Whew!

Redwork is always such happy stitching.  I love it.

I am so so sorry for all the people being terrorized by these monster hurricanes and forest fires.  

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Heaven For Quilters

So what have I been doing with myself.
 I figured a good way to keep my body moving and accomplishing something useful at the same time was to tackle cupboards, trunks and those giant plastic totes we'd used for moving.  It's been a year and it was definitely time to reacquaint myself with what was in them.  I'll show you some things I found in the next few posts.  I amaze myself sometimes with what I squirrel away.

In the process I also gave the sewing room a big cleanout.
 I'd dragged in a big comfy chair which I just dragged back out.  It was feeling too cluttered and hemmed in which is definitely not good for creativity, I'm thinking.  Piles of things just seem to grow around me when I'm working...papers, books, bits and bobs.  I think I am mostly a visual learner so I like to be able to see what I'm working on or at least that is my excuse.
Here is the after shot. Floor clear again...for awhile.

This is all my stash so as you can see, I'm a little light on fabric. But on the up side I can see at a glance just what I have.

It is light Especially when I do the comparison with some of you who relate some serious numbers when it comes to yardage or boxes of material.  I'm talking about you, Marlene, with three walls lined with fabric filled cubbies! But what a visual treat!  A little like what heaven for quilters must be.

As is this one I saw on Pinterest. Pure heaven, or maybe I would get completely overwhelmed!

Image result for fabric lined sewing rooms

And here are examples of sewing themed fabric that I know many of you could whip into wonderful items for your sewing room. From Nancy's Notions which is a great site for sewists and offers a fantastic bank of novelty fabrics of all sorts.

                                             VINTAGE SEWING MACHINE TOSS FABRIC

                                             NOTIONS TOSS FABRIC

 And on my table last week

These are a wonderful perennial daisy and I'm so pleased to have a number of banks of them around the property.  They lasted for ages and have only just now died out. Make such pretty bouquets, don't they. (Sadly their slightly droopy heads was caused by the heavy downpours of rain that characterized the summer weather this year.)

Hope there is something pretty in your week!

Friday, 8 September 2017

Sensitive Me Feeling Blah

I have traveled far the past few weeks both physically and mentally.  Both journeys worth taking but both took a lot out of me.

Truthfully I've been feeling very sad for a couple of weeks and have only just now gotten myself in hand.  I'm not even sure sad is the right word...maybe melancholic would suit better.  Hubby has termed me pensive.

My physical travel since talking to you last included visiting my grandparent's community in Newfoundland.  It is a haunting kind of place on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and evokes deep feelings in me; I'm always very nostalgic and teary while there and this time was no different.
 On the end of that trip I stayed with my mother.  Though visiting her is always wonderful, it is always a wrench to leave her and for some reason, this time was especially so. Mom and I were always very close; she had me when she was just 17 and always said we grew up together. The whole flight home that took me further and further away from her was difficult for me.  I felt like I was abandoning her which in reality is a state that exists only in my mind.

  But I don't know if that is the source of my general malaise. Here are some other things that upset me....

 Three people I knew well died this summer which got me down.  I've given time to each...thinking back over various memories of each of them. I cannot believe they are really gone and that their life's journey is done.  That seems impossible and so sad to me.

 I heard of several others fighting what is often called a courageous fight against cancer.  May it also be a victorious fight for them.

 My littler grandson just started Junior Kindergarten and while I'm so happy about that, my babysitting services will no longer be needed.  I really loved my time with him and will miss it so much. There is something so grounding about being with little children and participating in their world.  But now more of my time stretches...

 The world in general continues to be an unsteady, turbulent place with hateful news.

I thought I was doing okay with this aging thing, but perhaps not. I realize now that I can accept the deaths of people in their 80's a lot better than those dying who are my age.   I just don't know.

Maybe my mood is being influenced by none, some or all of these things.  I always knew I was sensitive but I didn't think I was so egocentric.

But thankfully I'm finally feeling the need today to talk to you again and begin to get back on track. Thank you for checking in with me from time to time.  I really appreciated it.

And I have been stitching and knitting trying to shed some of these blah feelings through busying my fingers.
Hope your August was anything but blah!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

What the World Needs Now (Maybe)

I like this passage from Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift From the Sea.
"For to be a woman is to have interests and duties, raying out in all directions from the central mother-core, like spokes from the hub of a wheel."  She goes on to say we are like a spider's web, sensitive to each wind that blows, each call that comes.
 Of course, finding time for ourselves in the midst of all the distractions that is basically life these days is a challenge.  Anne, btw, took herself away to a seaside cottage for a week where she even rolled up the rug and put it away, because she didn't want anything to distract her from her purpose which was to get back in touch with herself.  I seem to lack such devotion to a cause even if the cause is myself!
( Apologies for wobbly photos!)

I like the inscription in her book which I bought at a thrift store, having lost my original copy.

Are you like me, do you wonder who is this Rich/Rick who worded this so sentimentally and old fashioned really, With Fondest Love, this gift he bought for a woman.  Birthday?  Christmas? He purchased it in 1955 in Toronto and used an actual ink pen to write this.  And who was she who would like such a book.
But I like it when people inscribe a book.

New to Me #1

Which brings me to of my new to me things this week.  I'd never heard of it and came across a magazine article about it,  The Curious Case of the Word Sonder by Niel de la Rouviere.  The concept of SONDER intrigues me.


This made me think of many many things, among them the scene in the old comedy series, Mad About You where Paul and Jamie realize they had encountered each other as kids when visiting a New York museum.

  More seriously, I thought of the detective who testified in the Ontario case of an 8 year old girl who had been murdered.  When testifying on the stand, he insisted on using her full name each time he could have said "the victim" and when asked about it he said he wanted the little girl to be a real person to the court.  Making us real to each other can affect how we treat each other;  it can influence how we make important decisions.

Perhaps it is not love that the world needs now (being the tall order that that seems to be) but sonder!

New to Me #2

Something more 'down to earth' called Matchstick Quilting.  When I quilted my little green scrappy runner, I could have done Matchstick quilting on it.  Basically I would have had to run another line of quilting between my existing rows to achieve that.  Kelly Nagel has this excellent article about the technique - Matchstick Quilting Tutorial.

In the right hands, this can be an easy yet very effective technique especially with contrasting thread colours.  I like how it doesn't need templates or anything more than the walking foot.
 This is an example from UK Pinterest.  If you know the maker, please let me know so I can credit this lovely piece.

                          Related image

I really like this chair.  I spied this outside the Vet's clinic last week.  Her century old home is next door and she has decorated all around with wonderful country style items.  But I've never seen a Maple Leaf chair before. Adirondacks of all kinds but not a leaf.  Very Canadian!

The colours reminded me of fall....and I certainly don't want to think of it just yet, but fall is my favourite season.

Enough of me blathering on... be sure to stop over at Not Afraid of Color and It's A Small Town Life               to read wonderful likes and thankful things of all sorts.