Sunday, 24 March 2019

Reinventing the Basket

This would be a good day for the Kitchen Drawer Police to visit me.  I spent my domestic pursuit time today cleaning out the four big drawers beside the sink.  How does it ever seem a good idea to keep take-out packets of soya sauce there?  Or pens, or rubber bands, old toothpicks, plastic spoons, or coasters. When I have perfectly good designated areas for all that stuff.  In a hurry, I guess.  But in retirement should I ever be in that big a hurry.

Another thing I did was make Hubby a cake.  Honestly we are still celebrating his survival and I'm so happy his recovery seems complete. He loves dates so this recipe fits the bill.  Date Coffee Cake With Chocolate Chip Streusel from Rock Recipes. For him the topping featuring chocolate chips was a real treat as he is a chocolate lover too.  Mine turned out a little denser than Barry's, but Hubby says it is very tasty.

Reinventing the basket block

Inspiration for basket block quilts is all over the net. One of the most popular basket blocks was designed by the gals at Blackbird Designs. I've enjoyed seeing versions of it ever since it appeared in their book When the Cold Wind Blows back in 2013.
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After making the summer basket hanging last year,  I figure it is time to try out another kind of basket block.  Since all my scrap containers are scattered around the sewing room, perhaps I can use up some more scraps in the bargain

I began by trying to draw the kind of basket I wanted. Then making a template.

I had to include this photo because I liked seeing the sunshine across my sewing table.  I'm trying not to make the basket too small as then I would need so many hundreds to make any size quilt-if I ever get it to that stage.
This is Block Number 1 and I'm using needleturn applique.  When I finish stitching the handle later on today, I'll know if this fits the 8 inch background fabric (which is not coming from scraps).


Playing with my Photos...which I don't do enough of.

It was fun to work through my photo files and make this little collage. The wild rabbit is one I watched in older Daughter's back yard, the woodpecker is spotted frequently here, Hubby on one of our trails, and the back yard still smothered in March snow.

But this month is getting tucked away. Temperatures above zero today and the cardinals singing sweetly on our morning walk.  So we are "resonant with hopes of spring" this second last Sunday in March.

Linking this post with Kathy's QuiltsLetting Go the Bay LeafPretty PineyViewing Nature With Eileen, Quilting is More Fun Than Housework,and So Scrappy.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Ugly Stitching, Pretty Purchases and Wool

St.Patrick's Day is behind us and Easter lies just ahead.  The season is definitely shifting. The light is more luminous and the strengthening sun is working its magic on ice and snow.

One of the red squirrels who has kept us company all winter long..
 Melting is a good word usually...but this has been happening.  All the built up snow and ice on the roof is letting go and breaking the metal snow guards, sometimes completely off.  Sounds like we are being bombed when it happens. It is so bizarre; I don't know if this is due to us having a metal roof and a lot of it being a large bungalow, or what. All the snow guards have been affected so roof work will be required. Pales in comparison to all the flooding issues around the globe though.

Our front steps completely obliterated by ice and snow too heavy to shovel.
My bag of beautiful Stylecraft wool is opened and the first rows started on the Attic 24 Sweet Pea CAL, another party I am late to but it doesn't matter. You can join the yarn-filled blankety journey, as Lucy calls it, whenever you like.

First rows in very pretty violet.  The little plastic markers were a great help for setting up the initial row.

I've realized something.
  Scrap quilts can take a long time to make.  Especially if, like in my case, there isn't a huge scrap supply to pull from.  So I've settled my mind that scrap type quilts, especially this first one where I may not have photograph worthy images, will take a long time. For now I'm attempting two different scrap patterns to use all those strings I was sorting.
 My version of a photograph block is one.


The photograph blocks are coming together fast because they are being machine stitched. Even with that and the accuracy it allows, I'm trying to carefully trim these to the exact size I want.  My wonky eye is something I am mindful of at all times. As mentioned, I'm using just scraps and will take my chances if this means they will be ugly stitching or not. On the plus side, this activity is feeding my thrifty nature.
Next post I'll show the other scrap block.

I've had some luck with online purchases and have a couple of things to show you.

Have wanted one of these little applique irons for a looonnnggg time.  I found this Clover one at Amazon.  I've wanted to get in on all the hexie fun for a long time too and ordered these basting papers from the  Just Me Too shop at Etsy.
I was also outlet shopping and bought this shawl/scarf.  I am such a person who wears one almost every day. They help keep me warm during my daily time in a cooler basement where the t.v. is but I like them anyway. I think you are person who wears scarves or not basically.

I'd looked at it in the Roots store before Christmas and when I saw it was now 30% off I decided to go for it.  Very soft and the colour combination -pale pink, gray, yellow and cream in broad stripes looks like a wonderful modern style quilt.

 And in real time, these two are here wanting to go for their walk.  How good to have something that gets me out of this chair. I didn't realize how white their muzzles are getting!
March is a difficult month for me, a month of hard losses and I've carried the notion that it is a month with not much going for it being in between seasons as it were.  But I'm concentrating hard on the following...

Image result for feel the feeling dont become the emotion

And officially Happy Spring!
Please visit to see lots of  thankful and springy things at Not Afraid of Color, It's A Small Town Life, Em's ScrapbagThe Inquiring Quilter, My Quilt Infatuation and Brian's Home Blog.







Sunday, 17 March 2019

Online Fusses, SAL, A Truly Canadian Bird

Hubby, having eaten his oatmeal breakfast, has retired to his computer eager to finish making a sale online.  I've told you how he has driven motorcycles all his life but gave it a break last summer after having a little mishap the year before. Here with one of his pride and joys.
 But he has longed to return to the road and his brush with mortality last month has spurred him onward in achieving that.  He is buying something called a Ryker, a 3 wheeled vehicle that I must admit seems like just the ticket if a 79 year old is insisting on motorcycling still.  Just hope so.

                                   Image result for ryker
It has put a spring in his step and a smile on his face, so what can I say.

What do you make of this?
One of my Facebook quilting groups has had a fuss.
  Someone posted well wishes for the New Zealand folks in the wake of that awful massacre and someone else took umbrage with using a quilting site to spout politics. The ensuing squabbling was swift and not very nice.  I read a little and wondered myself about it. My initial reaction is to think that a disaster/massacre is not politics per se and being kind, caring people, expressing support would be what we naturally do.  I can see if your quilting blog is a business one, you wouldn't want to go there as such, but even then wouldn't a word or two be fine.
 But then I believe people when they say they get enough bad news without facing it in their happy spaces which our blogs and stitching groups usually tend to be.  I don't know, but we who resoundingly don't condone such acts cannot afford to turn away without so much as a word. Can we?
You know I am a live and let live kind of person so I see both sides.  What do you think?

In my stitching news...
Look at my little scrappy snowmen on the wall.  Actually, finally pleased with them and just in time to stow them away till next winter!  Because I am sincerely hoping snowman weather is behind us.


I used a little scallop stitch and loop stitch on my fancy machine and some straight walking foot lines.
( I groaned when I saw how skewed inward there at the bottom it looks; after seeing this photo I had to go back to the block and examine it...it is straight as you can see above, I promise! )
And moving along nicely with my Cornwall Cottage piece too.  Loved stitching that alphabet, easy stitching. The basket will be pesky though as two colours alternate.  That little outlined box is to record my name and date, something I've never done before on a piece.

The SAL hosted by Avis at Sewing Beside the Sea is working well for me...encouragement to work on this project each month.  I hope you will check out these amazing stitchers who are also busily stitching away.
AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHelenStephLindaHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganCatherineDeborahConnieClare, Mary MargaretReneeJennyCarmelaJocelynSharon

Lastly today, I'm sharing a photo I took at Daughter's house...a junco sitting on her back deck. Juncos are typical northern birds with dark plumage and black eyes. It is a truly Canadian bird as it is found in every province and territory. Here they hang around all winter and benefit from my "ugly gardening", foraging on left over bits from the flower beds and bushes which I love to see.


Kudos to them for being so hardy!
 Some fun shopping purchases to show you next time.
Pleased to be posting to Kathy's QuiltsSo ScrappySmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsLove Laugh Quilt , Cooking Up QuiltsSew Fresh Quilts and Viewing Nature With Eileen.







 


Thursday, 14 March 2019

Sentimental About So Many Things

I am trying my best to observe and even savour the beauty of the natural world around me while walking our little patch of wild land each day. Fresh snow reveals so many critters have walked my way, stepped in my footsteps even.  Our own little ecosystem! And they seem to be faring well considering all the tracks visible in the snow. This is just one way the winter season is special.

 Here at the back of our property, Murphy is crouching, assessing fox tracks with her very clever nose; they must have been fresh as she kept looking up as if she expected to see him which made me a tad nervous.
And I have to wonder what walked here towards the pond.  It looks like something bigger but I know blowing snow can change the appearance of tracks. And it laid down in the snow or dug there.
I was worried our bird feeder was attracting squirrel predators but we haven't seen the owl or fox since.  I guess their wide territory keeps them busy.

I wonder do you like this?  I do.  It is Kingfisher Cottage by Jo Grundy and can be bought at at this spot on Etsy. I especially like her snowy landscapes; you have to be clever to paint snow well (I have tried).  They are so reasonably priced too. I am such a sentimentalist.

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We are finished the series, Justified, which we got to watch on Amazon Prime.  Loved the performances. My only complaint was I kept hearing the accent in my head and wanted to talk like I was from Harlan County, Kentucky after the tv was shut off (nerdy I know, but I can't seem to help it). Thankfully Hubby doesn't mind me...he is kind of deaf. :)
                                             Image result for justified
 The Southern US accent is a delightful accent.
They could be saying I'm going to hurt you bad and you are hearing something like come on in and have some biscuits. You know what I mean?

I'm trying to keep you informed of the current  2019 BOM's on the go.  Here is another...Dear Diary Block of the Month. This one, by Sherri Noel, features empowering words and phrases.  What a great idea.
                                   Image of Dear Diary Block of the Month Quilt
Something totally new to me I will definitely be trying-

The clever Amy Smart has been stitching Manx squares.  As well as offering tutorials to guide you through, she relates the background history of these unique blocks made without a ruler of any kind.  Women did the measurements using only their hand which is intriguing to me.  You will have to see what I'm talking about at Amy's Diary of A Quilter site  Part 1 here and Part 2 here.  This is Amy's pretty Gretel fabric line, btw.

                                            
A fantastic use of scraps and lovely slow stitching if you don't want to machine stitch. The oldest variation of the Log Cabin square has been traced to 1650 England and I know it is held dear from pioneer days by my American friends.

  I'm continuing sorting and digging through my shoe boxes and tins of scraps.  I thought I'd pull out all the longer neutral or low volume strings. Sounds like I know what I'm doing but I really don't. I have a half baked idea of something to do with them.


"Nana, where's your list?"  littler granson asked me when I came through his door.
"What list?" I ask.
"You know, the one of all the fun things we are going to do today."

So began my two day babysitting stint during March break with him earlier this week.  What a great two days it was! We even got to spend an afternoon with older grandson who is also on March break this week. I feel like everything is right in my world when time is spent with those two.
Image result for grandparent quotes

Hope your world this week is soft, kind and warm!
Linking this post with Not Afraid of ColorBrian's Home BLogIt's A Small Town LifeThe Jesh StudioThe Needle and Thread Network Floral Passions and Busy Hands Quilts.


Sunday, 10 March 2019

Fox and Owl, Lilies and Milkman

I wonder how the early pioneers did it for we are not long from those times here in Ontario. Their marks of old stones for fences zig zag through this property still.  Their triumph over nature in the true sense of the phrase puts our complaining about winter weather- a snow storm today, into perspective especially when I read detailed accounts of their agonizing experiences settling Lanark county.

As  you may know we are surrounded by woods here and this allows us to get up close to nature.  Here is an instance that was very close.
 I glanced out the kitchen window and caught sight of a fox under the bird feeder. He made one quick movement, turned and was off back to the tree line immediately where he paused to enjoy his meal.  In the blink of an eye we are down one red squirrel.
  I keep my "point and shoot" camera there so was able to snap a couple of photos, albeit bad ones.

He had the most beautiful bushy tail and looked quite healthy. I wish I could have gotten a better photo.
Mama Barred Owl in Indiana has now laid two eggs in her nest.  I'm so happy the Cornell Lab camera is back on line to follow along with the hatching and raising of the owlets. This is year 3 for me to watch them and I am ridiculously in love with this.

I've sewn two rows of red scrappy blocks around those lilies.  I'm wondering if I should go for a third...you know that old rule of threes being more pleasing to the eye. What do you think? No shortage of little red blocks...just where did they all come from!!!
Today I will be back to the hand stitching, the first part of the alphabet, having finished the last half, on the cross stitched Cornwall Cottage, progressing.  While I watch the snow softly fall...

Or while listening to this, Milkman by Anna Burns...just arrived in my email from the library as an audiobook, after a long wait.  I have my hopes up as it won the Man Booker Prize in 2018.

                                 

Gay at Sentimental Stitches is hosting another patchwork block of the month this year called Cheddarback. Patterns are free for the first month they are posted. You may remember Gay also shared a sampler style project last year called Dear Daughter.  Thankful for all these generous quilters sharing their talents.

Thank you all for the sweet comments and emails about my husband's brush with what I still think was near death. He continues to get stronger and and is able to walk once a day with me now.
However, he will have to be careful not to cut himself while on this particular blood thinning drug.

Happy Sunday all.
Joining Kathy's QuiltsViewing Nature with EileenConfessions of a Fabric AddictBusy Hands QuiltsSo ScrappyEsther's Quilt Blog and Em's Scrapbag.




Thursday, 7 March 2019

Something I Could Not Tell You


We've just come through a crisis, Hubby and I. Something I could not write about till I knew the outcome.
 Hubby's been diagnosed with blood clots and is now on one of those blood thinning medications. We had no idea how common this is and I wonder why as I don't remember hearing much about it years ago.

His diagnosis came about after a frightening episode early one morning when he could not breathe. What followed- a harrowing ambulance ride during which everyone thought he was having a heart attack, almost a week in hospital, the care of many kind nurses and a wonderful doctor, numerous tests and then a diagnosis of lung embolii.
So now in addition to all his other follow ups (you may remember that Hubby is a cancer survivor, having beaten 4 different kinds of cancer!), he will be followed by the team at the Thrombosis Center.  All this care and attention, free. So thankful for our Canadian Healthcare system that is definitely working well for us, a bit of an understatement that.

Also so thankful for family as younger daughter and SIL came immediately to our aid and shovelled and snow cleared the fresh snowfall so the medics could get equipment to our door.  Their presence helped steady me as I was uncharacteristically a teary yet zombie like mess -the only way I know to describe what I felt like. (Have you ever felt like that...in those moments I couldn't seem to gather my thoughts...my decision making skills vanished!)

During those hospital days, I was so glad to come home to Murphy and Rex waiting for me and so happy to see me.  They seemed quieter though, I think picking up on the tone in the house and stayed very close to me.
Napping together at the farm, 2015
 I was able to stitch still which for me was more proof of its therapeutic value.

Into the alphabet on my Cornwall Cottage Sampler!

And sort of mindless piecing...more of my blues string style blocks. I have to tell myself to stop now; think I have enough but it was fun while it lasted.


So there it is- family, good healthcare, my dogs, my stitching, and last but not least, a recovering, healthy Hubby, AKA the Miracle Man.


 On this Thankful Thursday, my gratefulness knows no bounds!
Also grateful for Link up Parties and the blogging friends I meet there:  Not Afraid of ColorIt's A Small Town LifeBrian's Home BlogThe Needle and Thread NetworkSew Fresh QuiltsSilly Mama Quilts,  and Esther's Quilt Blog.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Owls,OMG's, Other Things

Winter, the Huntsman, is still riding through his iron glade here outside Ottawa, Canada. We are very much a winter wonderland with narry a sighting of spring to be seen even with these hopeful eyes.  For I am starting to think this is enough now.  Let's move to the next season please.

Indoors there has been baking and reading going on and tending to my little garden.  A sunny week has perked them up.

And stitching too.  The slow kind with the counted cross stitching daily and this too.
Bonhommes en Chapeaux is now a basted sandwich with some quilting lines made. My OMG for March at Elm Street Quilts will be to have this all quilted and finished. I also want to finish quilting this block of my Kim McLean Glorious Applique project.

Outdoors it is massively icy and dangerous.  Cleats on my boots is the only way I'm venturing on the trails and even then, I'm being careful.  It doesn't make the walking so enjoyable when you have to be mindful of every step but I am loving the fresh air in the sunshine which is warm to the back.

 News of A Mystery Quilt Along that is starting soon... Jennifer at The Inquiring Quilter has posted all the details of a new mystery Sewing and Quilting themed project.  Thirteen blocks with lots of design partners, support and loads of prizes not only for American participants but for international folks too. March 12 will be the reveal of the first block.

Now for what has been exciting the bird lover side of me.
 Our barred owl paid us a lengthy visit this week, sitting for hours in the big tree by the garage right in front of my kitchen window!!  I stood on the veranda and got photos plus this little video. Sorry for the shaky start and end but it was cold to the hands. This Windows 7 won't allow editing of videos.

The photo just below shows you how far I am from the feeder when I talk about taking photos through the kitchen window.  It is kind of far. White arrow in the trees shows the owl and the other arrow is pointing to the feeder.  That's Hubby looking at the mail.



He (the owl, not Hubby!) was basking in the sun while occasionally looking at the feeder. I watched him take two swoops at that area with no luck catching one of the four red squirrels that stayed around totally unaware of danger. I have no idea if there was any success in that regard eventually or not. We seem to still have our full complement of squirrels!


Having trouble uploading the video. I will keep working on it!


That made my day.