Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Where Our Joy Lies, Free Applique Patterns, Big Stitch Quilting, Tuesday To Do

It says a whole lot about us what we find pleasure in I think.

 I love how my blogging friends find joy in spying a feather flicker, a bud opening, words on a page, the colours of a sunrise or sunset, the look and feel of pretty fabric, the eating of the supper meal in front of the television with hand work at the side waiting for a few more stitches.  Observing the little things, noting and appreciating them all and loving it all too makes me enjoy my visits with you all so much.  If we want the world to be a better place, many more of us need to go small and find our pleasure there. Anyway, that's my small thought for this week. 

Before I forget again, I must tell you there is now an official Downton Abbey Christmas Cookbook to be available in October but can be preordered now. You can check out more details here at Amazon; great gift for Downton Fans which is probably everybody.  

 I got a whole bunch of my plants repotted- transplanted from outside to indoors. Saves me having to run out with a blanket these last few nights with a threat of frost.

So I can relax about that now.

Speaking of plants...something that turned my head....the wonderful Gay at Sentimental Stitches under her free patterns file has an applique project in that bank that features leaves. I thought what a great fall project. Available are the full size downloadable patterns for about 19 different leaves. You could choose only the ones native to your area or substitute with such. 

Nancy Page Club Falling Leaves Quilt

It reminded me of one of Jenny at Romany Quilting's projects.  She stitched appliqued leaves for a quilt and I admired it very much.

While at Gay's site, check out the other patterns as well...so many wonderful quilts to dream about!

I made an after quilt for the backing on the Flower Garden piece. I used leftover Indigo Snowball blocks from that project stitched several years ago and this fabric with a smallish flower motif in the same shade of blue. There's enough extra around the edge to become the sashing when I'm ready to do that. 

I've begun the quilting using a perle cotton thread in a navy blue colour which I think suits the colours of the whole piece. Getting to practice that rocking motion heaps on this one.
I'll see how far a week gets me. I'm dividing my time between this one and the Dreamy Hearts. I want the back part of that all sewn by next week, too.

I got out my scrappy triangles blocks and enjoyed trying out different patterns with them.  Settled on one and have been stitching a few blocks here and there.  It would be nice if this project can get moved along as well this week though there is no rush with this one. More about it later.


Around the house chores

1) I must dig out my Halloween/Autumn quilts. Time to put the Laundry Basket Pumpkins wall hanging up and some of you may remember I made a large Halloween quilt with a combination of embroidered blocks and pieced ones last year. It's around here somewhere. Maybe to be found when I accomplish #4!

2) Gather kindling and store it for the morning fires...this is not really a chore for me as I love to roam about. I only pick sticks that are not embedded in the ground in any way...don't want to disturb any critters. With our aged forest area here, there is always lots lying around especially after a wind storm.

3) Shut down the pool...it was another wonderful summer of swimming. I think I missed 4 days without a swim.

4) Change over our summer clothes for the winter things. In the process, clean out the closet in the spare bedroom where I store the seasonal stuff from our closets and my big stitching stuff like batting and yarn. 

Hope this week will be a productive one for you all.  Please include food in your posts...I'm getting tired of eating my own cooking and need some ideas. (You know how we seem to fall back on the same things all the time.)

Love joining with Home Sewn By Us for the To Do linky party. Also linking with Small Quilts and Doll QuiltsMy Corner of the World and Quilt Fabrication.

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Belief in Fairies, Mushrooms, Last Veranda Stitching (Sigh), Lovely QAL

 Fairy rings are on my mind today. (Of all things!)

 I ventured all over the land yesterday and photographed multiple kinds of mushrooms as well as several remarkable fairy rings. We've been oohing and ahhing on our walks about all the different mushrooms and how did they all come about this year. Perhaps the heat of July and then the wet of August. Who knows. I wish I knew a chef who could visit and pick his fill of any that are edible. They are wasted on us as I'm naturally not going to put any of these in my mouth. They're here by the hundreds this year. Never saw the like before.

Little aside I came across while looking up fairy rings. Did you know Sir Arthur Canon Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, believed in fairies?  Here is the Wikepedia entry about this story. He saw the 1920 circa Cottingley photographs and apparently accepted them as proof of fairies. This is photo #1 of the famous 5.

Here is another article where we learn how much those photos are worth on Antiques Roadshow decades later.

Back to earth, I spent most of last Wednesday outdoors and it was glorious. Warmish and sunny, I probably did the last of veranda stitching for 2020. Actually I was out on the back deck where the sun was shining unlike the shady veranda.  I also finished the last of the Dreamy Hearts and am piecing the final sections together which involves machine stitching the front and hand stitching the batting and backs. I'll show photos of that later. Still loving it all and thinking it will make a warm Christmas gift. 

A free and very interesting QAL is happening at For the Love of Geese. It is called The Tree of Life and features log cabin blocks. Making a quilt with that block is on my long list for someday.

I love how Hubby keeps himself occupied and busy with his various projects. Here he is in his corner of the basement where I don't venture often just like he is with my sewing room. He's sprucing up one of his auction buys.  What a difference a coat of paint can make!

Well I have tea to drink and some big stitch hand quilting to get to. Hope your Sunday is a safe and peaceful one. 

Happy to join Kathy's Quilts where the slow stitchers are linking up today.

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Gardening and Applique Rewards, Too Old for April Cornell?, Fabric Ambassadors Needed

 This week was a whoosh. My guess is I must have been having a whale of a time, never mind just fun. 

Is it because I was a teacher that September still feels like a fresh start somehow. Because I do seem to have that "new start" feeling. Kind of invigorating and here's hoping it lingers. And that's another thing I love about living where there are seasons. As each rolls around it provides a perfect opportunity for a new beginning.

I've been rewarded for my gardening efforts in two tiny ways.

First of all, the Madagascar Jasmine did very well outdoors and grew lots of new leaves. The final glory was when it sent out a blossom, the first since Christmas when it arrived already in bloom.

Here is the start of the indoor gardening.
And the second thing...I planted a little flowering Weigela bush back in May and it too did well this summer. I was happy to see it send out a few blooms before the fall weather sets in in earnest. 
 I'm relieved it has obviously rooted well and I look forward to it blooming for many years.

Am I too old for April Cornell? I've always had a skirt or jumper in my closet often bought at thrift stores. I still love their stuff-their attention to details is the best- and have one summer skirt still and several table cloths. Here is a link to view their array of pretty things.

 I was thinking I'm too old for it now but this catalog features a model who looks to be about my age which is kind of clever of them to think of us aged hippies. So maybe that is meant to answer my question. 

She's wearing a velvet tunic in this photo...very elegant though comfy but sadly I have no cause to wear such an item, especially these quarantined days. 

✅I've been meaning to post this...the folks at Michael Miller Fabrics are looking for ambassadors for their fabrics. You can read all about it here. Many of you, my talented blogging friends, would qualify I'm sure so please check out the duties.  The thought of getting free beautiful fabric is enticing!!

This female cardinal is looking a little rough around the edges and seemed to be taking a  rest in the grass. I thought she might have some horrible disease and then realized she is more than likely molting.


The male is also not looking as splendid as he did at the start of the summer.  However, it always feels special when I get to see them both at the same time in the garden.

My patience held up and the Flower Garden project is now a flimsy!  Have to get a backing and batting to make it up. 

 After much pressing of seams into submission and using a little spray starch, this will suit some big stitch quilting I'm thinking.

And here is my version of Susan Smith's pretty Solidarity Block, all hand applique like the Flower Garden.

This little panel was included in a fabric bundle I received last month.  Love the saying!

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Fitness To Do, Apple Muffins, We Still Miss Someone, Fire Starter

 I do carry with me all the time the feeling that this time is invaluable, precious even and therefore I must make the most of it. Perhaps at night watching our bit of t.v. is when I can shrug off the "every moment must be productive" feeling. I grew up with a father who often said "to labour is to live" and it must have sunk in deep with me. 

 I have a long list of things to get started/continued/done this week.  Here are a few of them.

 Continuing the research into the topic of fitness for my age.  In particular, this week the focus is on improving my balance. I wasn't surprised to read that Vitamin D is important for muscle strength btw which in turn, affects balance.  Falls can be killers for older folks but it's proven that exercising can help. I tried all of these in the video and if you know of another video or something you are doing for balancing, please let me know.

 Trying to keep my diet healthy too, of course, as I've said before, is a given. I do like treats though. I made this recipe for Healthy Apple Cheddar Muffins and they are very good. 

I feel a need to write more and write better. The new journal, perhaps because it is a gift that I really want to use, is helping with this.

I have these peaches I must use. A cobbler maybe??  Any ideas?

To Begin/ Started

I'm going to repot the outside plants that I plan to overwinter indoors.  I'm looking forward to having an indoor garden again. Something green while the outside world turns white.

One night some little critter munched on the Christmas Cactus on the right till it was down to this.  But left the other one completely alone. That's a mystery.

Time in the sewing room which means time with the sewing machine.  I have been doing a lot of hand work just lately so it was time to break it up with some machine stitching. The Easy Hexagon Stars project is growing though so happy about that.

 I'm plugging away on the Flower Garden table cloth.  Pat mentioned to me that Wendy at Wendy's Quilts and More had a video on how to handle so many points in one meeting place.  I watched it before but it was time to check it out again. Very helpful. Hand piecing stars with 8 points-that very middle bit is the issue.

I've been starting a fire in our fireplace each morning. It has a Jotul stove insert so can throw off a nice heat.  It reminds me of the mornings at the farm when I did the same thing and enjoyed that small warming ritual to start the day.  I hope to keep it up. 

Rex and Murphy in front of the stove at the farm. Miss our loyal big guy so much. 😢 Neither of us can mention his name.

But meanwhile for this week, try to be like this Rudbeckia that is still thriving in the garden though getting a little worse for wear looking...stay strong, outlast and try to spread a little joy if you can

Hope your week is a good one! Join me on Thursday when I ask the question "Am I too old for April Cornell?"

It's To Do Tuesday over at Home Sewn By Us. Also linking with Our World TuesdayThe Needle and Thread NetworkQuilt Fabrication and Inquiring Quilter.


Sunday, 13 September 2020

Halloween Patterns, Scrappy Blocks, Autumn Signs, Redwork Birds

The sunlight in waves yesterday alternating with clouds - we walk in light then dark then light again. The tree tops all moving to wind imperceptible to us way down here on the path. No sign of the turtles-have they already taken to their muddy winter home? But there are fresh signs of autumn. 

This white hydrangea gets tinged with pinks when the overnight temperatures drop.
We had our first frost warning so I will have to get the geraniums brought inside. They are fairly hardy  though so no rush just yet. This year I dragged one of the old apple baskets out to the laneway to use when the old barrel finally collapsed. This is on its last legs as well.
I enjoy sighting American Goldfinches and they stay around here through our winters too. How do they do it I wonder.  Frequent visitors to my feeders so maybe the sunflower seeds help out. 
I stitched a redworked series of birds years ago; patterns from Crabapple Hill Studios called Flight of Fancy and are still available there.  I repeat myself by saying I must get them sewed together sometime.

 I mentioned I was doing some scrap management in this post.  In the process I found these blocks and put them on the wall in the t.v. room to have a gander at.  I liked this staggered block arrangement.  I'm going to keep out my scrap bag of smaller scraps to sew more of those tiny blocks together.  I checked and I still have black fabric for the centers. If I just sew one every now and then, I will eventually get there, says she hopefully.

I've been working on the Quilt Bible blocks here and there.  This is Block #56, Spinning Pinwheel which is in Section 2, Pinwheels and Windmills. 

And this one that I stitched with red before I tackled the Solidarity blocks but happy now as it will match. This is Block #157, New Jersey, a square in a square block from Section 6 with that name.                                          

There is a Quilt Block Mania QAL happening with many fine designers offering free patterns for 29 Halloween blocks. You can find all the details at Powered By Quilting or any of the designers participating. How generous these folks are to give away such cute patterns. 


Working outside in the garden today so I've already made my mind up to have a Delissio deep dish frozen pizza for supper ( I add spinach and extra peppers, tomatoes and cheese); Hubby is braving the Canadian Tire Store for their irresistible weekend deals.  So continues our quiet but utterly satisfactory life here at the wooden house.

Hope your weekend's swell! 

Something else that's swell...these linky parties. Kathy's QuiltsLife in PiecesQuilting Patchwork AppliqueSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsPretty Piney , Super Scrappy and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework

Thursday, 10 September 2020

Patience and Pinning, Birds and Books, Inspiration Galore

 Everyone talking about fall here as after a wet August we are experiencing a rather cloudy September so far. Our temperatures are starting to take a dip too especially overnight with several going down to single digits. Time to order our firewood. Small sigh about that -though sorry to see this season end,  I'm looking forward to using the fireplace again. 

I received this magazine subscription from daughter for my birthday and the first issues arrived with a gorgeous bag as well.  Love Quiltmania, as you all know.  I actually deliberately didn't look through them till now as I just can't have my head turned by more projects till I get those I have "on the go" further along.  Did you ever do that? Deliberately avoid what you know might be too inspirational. :)

Sure enough the cover quilt is one that features applique and I love it.

I saw this amazing little insect on one of the cone flowers and had to look it up. It was white with pale violet coloured stripes and seemed to have captured a small moth. I was struck by how the stripe matched the shade of the faded cone flower it was on. So happy to have the macro setting on my small camera to snap a special photo like this!

It's the Ontario Golden Rod Crab Spider and has a magical secret to help it catch prey. It can change colour somewhat to match what it is sitting on, a process researchers aren't sure how it works. 
Those same cone flowers have spread themselves into the neighbouring hydrangea and seem to be thriving there. I don't really know what to do about them...should I try to transplant them somehow?

Bird Migration is taking place as we speak. Here is a most interesting article, If Birds Left Tracks in the Sky, from Environmental News. Some of the images are breathtaking and so artistic looking.

 This turned out to be a special photo when I uploaded it to the computer and realized what it was. Parent and perhaps a juvenile together at the feeder. I think they are chipping sparrows.

Ask me if I'm enjoying hand stitching all these seams at the points on my Flower Garden piece!  It's a labour intensive process and one that involves lots of pinning and is taxing my patience. Thank goodness I have lots of both so let's just say I'm enjoying the challenge of trying to get a hundred seams meeting at one point nice and flat. If I don't succeed somewhat it will be a table topper with 20 odd weird little bumps here and there. 

Daughter shared this book with me, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and I enjoyed reading it very much. I especially liked the discussion for Agreement #2, Don't take anything personally.  It reminded me of several very big issues in my life which I did take things personally and it turned out to be totally foolish. 

                                                        The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom - Trade Paperback

Hubby mowed the side lawn and perhaps it will only need it one more time, if that.  He deliberately kept several bunches of the pretty little fleabane I showed you a few posts ago.  He thought I'd like that and I did!

Hope you've had a good week and the weekend will be even better. 

Linking with  Not Afraid of ColorFloral Friday Foto, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Wendy's Quilts and MoreJaipur Gardening and Paying Ready Attention

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Tuesday To Do, Fitness Dreams, Free Halloween Patterns, Giant Among Hostas

It was a long weekend here in Ontario with a lot of folks heading to cottages or campgrounds. This week I talked to Mom about the few times we went camping as a family.  We didn't do much of that because, as Dad put it, Sally can't keep the floor of the tent as clean as she'd like it. Yes, my mother lived by the law that cleanliness is next to Godliness and part of that was having a floor so clean the neighbours would say "you could eat off it". 

We both enjoy this reminiscing and having a laugh about the past and it's good that Mom can remember so many of the details of those days. I'm happy and feel blessed to have talking to Mom a part of every week. 

I'm pleased with myself that I kept up my little daily fitness routine this week. I've always had a longing to be as fit as I can be-in my dreams at least.  At every decade of my life it was there with me reminding me about my diet or exercise. Even at my age, I have that same desire to feel good in my body and especially now to be able to face down whatever aging challenges me with.  None of us know the health issues we may have ahead of us but I think at least I can try to face it being as healthy as I can muster. That's what I'm aiming for this year.

 I've always done a few stretches but have added several of the exercises I used to do during my aerobics years; I've also added planking which I'm not good at. However, I already notice a difference in how agile I seem. Now that is impossible and wishful thinking since I've only been doing the extra for a couple weeks. I also feel an uptick in my general sense of well being.  It's all in my head!

Now if only I could learn to not bring potato chips into the house! Maybe that should be a goal for this week. LOL

I achieved my goal to add to the Easy Hexagon Star project. I've sewn four more rows and the bright colours of the fabrics are enjoyable. 

Each hexagon I cut I remind myself to not be afraid of colour, right LeeAnna? Adding a few more rows to this will be on my to do list this week for sure.

Solidarity blocks 
This is  Karen Styles' block. You can see more of her work here at her Somerset Patchwork site. Karen's interest is in antique quilts and the re-creation of them with modern looks.

I have the famous Susan Smith's block prepped and ready to applique which I hope to finish this week.

I'm in the midst of doing some scrappy clean out and sorting. In the course of doing that, I found an autumn type top that I must have found in a thrift shop probably a decade ago before I bought a sewing machine.  Completely forgotten about -clearly I don't have Mom's memory !! I'm wondering what to do with it. It does have some pretty prints in it which, no doubt, was what attracted my attention.

Oh, here is a neat link to 19 Free Patterns For Halloween Table Runners offered by the  Sewing Support
folks. This one caught my eye. Definitely my skill level. All about the fabrics for this one.


I'll leave you today with a photo of one of the giant hostas on our property; it is at least 6 feet in diameter and is a beautiful shade of green. The morning sun illuminates it.  

It's lines are deep like quilting lines.

Hope your week is off to a great start!

So happy to link this post with Home Sewn By UsThe Needle and Thread Network and Quilt Fabrication.