Thursday, 5 December 2019

Three Stitching Projects, There's Power in Kindness

As I ate my late breakfast, oatmeal, walnuts and blueberries, this morning...
I thought of this.
Hubby lies down every day for a nap and it is not a factor of his age; he has been able to achieve this feat as long as memory serves him. He can be reminding me of our car appointment or what to say if so and so calls and the next moment be breathing deeply like somebody already past the dreaming stage. I marvel at this. As you know sleep is like a foreign country to me and I definitely can't lie down during the day and expect to nod off just like that.   Is it some remnant of old belief where it was only babies that went down to sleep during the daylight hours. Adults had too much work to do to afford such a luxury. But when I think about it, most outport kitchens at home had something called a daybed in them. So someone would have been napping.  I know my grandfather would sleep on theirs extra cold nights and keep the wood stove in the kitchen going all night.
Anyway, I'm a bit envious and wonder what it would be like to go through life thoroughly rested all the time.
I have a million things to do but seem to be lollygagging this morning.  Google is playing me some violin music that is making me feel melancholic.  But I love it anyway.
I just went through the online Ottawa Library catalogue and put a hold on this book by Kathy at The Cottage at Cardiff Farms.  Pretty nature inspired applique.
                                                        A Cottage Garden
I have that turkey carcass from Sunday's meal that I need to turn into soup. Later today.
I have block 1 of my little Quiltmania Advent appliques finished. I followed the instructions to double the perle cotton to make the twigs but it looks a little fat to me. What do you think?  Just started the bell for number 2.
I have the border and backing stitched on this piece.  Thinking now about what quilting lines to lay down...since this was embroidered onto a quilt batting back, maybe a few free motion type swirls around the edge will suffice. I'd thought of working more small motifs around these big ones; hope it doesn't look sparse. What do you think?  Meanwhile in need of a good press.
I loved the red fabric for the border but the trouble was I had only a small amount so had to rig it for just the edging and plain white for the backing.
I'm turning this Santa Snowman into a cushion top.  Do you remember about 10 years ago when Just Believe seemed to be on everything.  That was when I found this little Cross stitch  kit at a thrift store and finished it.
 Though the phrase is passe, it's time now for it to be something and this fabric is red not orange as it's showing.
I enjoyed reading this Tuesday's post at Not Afraid of Color.  LeeAnna shared some stories about meeting people and striking up a conversation- how the exchange can make you feel good. I was telling her how I often speak to checkout clerks as I think their job must be so hard. Sometimes I mention their earrings, or hair or the weather. I've always been rewarded with genuine responses.  Face to face positive connections, even tiny wee ones like this, are important.

I'm enjoying all the birds at the feeders. The chickadees, my most frequent diner, are keeping me busy with the refilling which is good.  Having chores is a good thing but first today a good walk.  We have a family member here cutting brush to clear more walking trails for us so I must go see how he's making out.
Hope you are brimming with energy (unlike me!) today as the countdown to Christmas is now serious.
Also enjoying linking up with Paying Ready AttentionMy Quilt InfatuationQuilting and Learning,
My Bijou LifeIt's A Small Town LifeQuilt Fabrication and I'd Rather B Birdin.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Gaining Confidence, Hand Stitching, Damp Dogs, Happy Birds

I enjoyed reading all the Thankful posts around the blogging world this week.
 This kept running through my mind...Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.  This was one of my favourite hymns during childhood, maybe because it was sung much more up tempo than the usual hymns. Anyway, it seemed like just the process of naming the blessings is happy inducing. I could hear the enthusiasm and sincere gratefulness in your words.

We had bouts of light rainfall several times lately though one overnight amounted to an inch or so on the ground. I thought as I watched the daylong drizzle, if only we could share it with California. There seems to be somewhere on fire all the time lately. Very frightening for all those folks and my heart goes out to them.
The dogs must go out and most reluctantly too. For such big dogs they can be babies about such things. And we laugh at Murphy who loves dunking herself in the pond but doesn't like raindrops on her head.
However, back to cold temperatures again...-15 C overnight but still no more snow. Which is good as my snow tires go on this week which was pushing it. Heavy activity at the feeders.  However the juncos such as this one prefer to poke about the ugly gardening remains.  Pleased with this shot.
I finished hand stitching the last of the motifs for my little runner. This will be a Christmas gift when I get it bordered and backed. Perhaps a little hand quilting too for this week's goal.

My goal for this month is to get four projects finished for gifts admittedly some very small.
By the way, you have not heard me talk about giving away the things I make. That is for a simple reason- I have a problem thinking they are good enough.  It is only now that I seem to have the confidence in what I make to think someone else would like it. Perhaps all the encouragement from you folks has aided that improvement in my outlook so thank you.  💝

My scrappy patchwork projects are ongoing though I do hope to bring the Dresdens blocks up to 80 completely finished this month.
I am pleased with how colourful and interesting they appear all together.
I'm cooking a turkey dinner today and invited some of my tiny family to join us.  It is our anniversary and I wanted to use an extra turkey I'd bought during the Canadian Thanksgiving specials back in October. And hearing about all the wonderful food eaten last week gave me a penchant for turkey too.
Thankful still for a healthy appetite!
 Thankful too for these link parties: Quilting is More Fun Than HouseworkKathy's QuiltsI'd Rather B BirdinElm Street QuiltsSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsSum of Their StoriesPretty Piney , Home Sewn By Us and Viewing Nature With Eileen.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Thankful Too On This Special Thanksgiving Thursday

A big Happy Thanksgiving to my American pals! Enjoy every minute whether with family and friends or quietly with just yourselves. Hope the eating is great and please be sure to tell me all about it later.

Hubby got his annual Advent calendar from daughter...chocolate of course.
 He is a tiny bit Grinchish when it comes to Christmas and he has a wife whose family are quite the opposite.  He goes along. I have littler grandson spending his PA day with us tomorrow to help me with our Christmas decorating. This is year 3 he has done that with me and a really fun day for us both.
Last year, in charge of the tree.
No matter the season but especially now, my baking  is still comfort food...more muffins.  I made another batch of Pear, Blueberry and Bran and froze them.  They thaw well and this prevents drying out which I find muffins do rather quickly. This is an old original recipe from Kellogg's, easy to follow and allows for substitutions (in this case pumpkin seeds and fruit) and who doesn't need bran. I find them satisfying and filling with a pieced of aged cheddar or Havarti and not as guilty as eating cake or pie even though I know they might match up calorie wise (but I don't count calories).
I'm trying to add more ginger to our diets.  Fresh ginger in sauces and stir fries. I keep Ginger Chews in the house and crystallized ginger for baking.  Like all these things I don't know how much of it you would have to ingest for it to really matter. But I think I'll buy some ginger tea.  I have green tea but you know what, I'm not that fond of it.  Only wish I were.

In the sewing room, I'm cutting more Dresden blades, sewing more tiny blocks for the Baskets border and prepping the Quiltmania Advent blocks for hand stitching.
Here is Block One, the Star, almost done.  These are tiny so stitch up quickly. The gray is showing up more brownish in this photo and the red is definitely redder in real life; it is beautiful fabric to work with. I am getting more cavalier about cutting into "good" fabric, here one of the French Generals for Christmas.
Another amazing designer...
Temecula Quilt Company  is hosting a Tiny Tree Sew Along starting December 4th. It looks really cute and a great way to dive into that green stash.  I'll be keeping an eye on it.
I was so pleased to see this article in our Nature Conservacy magazine. Doctors prescribing nature! An amazing concept! Who ever thought this day would come or need to come for that matter. I, like so many of you, grew up with the idea- a given really, that fresh air is good for us. Finally scientists agree.
I love a good shop and that goes for armchair shopping too.  I don't mind being a window shopper.  I read this article and thought it had neat things certainly worth checking out. Especially good stocking stuffers.
36 Amazing Things Under $20 On Amazon That Keep Selling Out
Being Amazon Prime, we get next day delivery which totally boggles my little mind.  How can they do that!  Of course I will be checking out Black Friday deals too.
And Etsy has Cyber week deals of 60% off so I will be taking a peek there too.

Rainfall took away a lot of our snow but the ice has remained solid in the pond. We were intrigued by the stunning designs that appeared like magic. Google says they are ice octopi or ice spiders, a common phenomena when a freezing then thawing pattern occurs.
 Brave Murphy is the only one still walking on it. She enjoys feeling special and we laugh because she looks back at us like are you watching me.
And it was the glint of it that caught my eye... thaw with rain then freezing made this spikey spray on the tired worn out milkweed pod catch the sun. I had to marvel at the beauty of hundreds of tiny beads of ice.
I know there is a general negative aura these days about the environment but we mustn't forget it is still very much an amazing bird-singing, flower-growing world. It is still in our hands and within our sights to savour and enjoy and yes, especially to protect and keep it that way.

Permit me a little flag waving this morning too about Canada. Acknowledgement of what a wonderful country we have and a reminder we are priviledged to live here enjoying the freedoms and rights and peacefulness, even if the winters are darn long!
Canada ranked number 1 in global quality of life for its citizens.
Happy Thursday All!
Linking as always with Not Afraid of ColorBrian's Home BlogFloral Friday FotoPowered By QuiltingAlycia Quilts and It's A Small Town Life.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Art is Long and Life is Short

Margaret Atwood celebrated her 80th birthday recently. She clearly has not lost her mind because she just recently won the Booker for the sequel to Handmaid's Tale, The Testaments. She is equally as adept writing nonfiction and poetry which makes her a rare literary triple threat.
                                                          Image result for margaret atwood the testaments
This is one of her quotes taken from the Blind Assassin.
"As you ramble on through life, Brother, Whatever be your goal, Keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole." She also has a slick sense of humour.

C'est fini!
I tried very hard not to rush the final stitching of this piece, the one I've been calling Autumn Patchwork.  I wanted to still be willing to tweak blocks here and there so that it would be as good as I could get it. You know what I mean, not to just want it done.  It's not perfect but I am pleased. Now it will reside with the others in the TBQ pile.  I've already put my mind at rest about that growing pile by saying 2020 will be the year of the quilting! I know I will eventually get to them all. Thank you for all the kind words, suggestions and ideas on every stage of this project. It was so encouraging right to the end.
This is our monthly SAL linkup which is such a great, positive way to stay on track. Many thanks to Avis at  Sewing Beside the Sea for hosting this international group of stitchers.
AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyLindaHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborah, MaryMargaretReneeJennyCarmelaJocelynSharonDaisyAnneConnie
 I'm pleased to have another section of my own cross stitch project, Swirling Flowers, mostly finished.
I'm stitching the second motif on my table runner. This is Kantha style running stitch with batting on the back. It's looking a little Scandinavian to me and the fabric dotted with tiny gold stars is beautiful to stitch on. This is working up very quickly especially with no counting of threads!
Do you like your sewing/woolly projects to match the season? I kind of do. That's why I'm tempted to start this Redwork Noel.  I would like to see how far my December stitching time would take me.
Next post I will show you my little applique Christmas/winter stitching that I've begun. The link is here to the Quiltmania page and free patterns for you to take a peek.  Working in just three colours- red, grey and white. A very different feel after the autumn hanging.
So many wonderful things to stitch, so little time. I'm fortunate to be retired so I can indulge my hobbies.
 Art is long and life is short so we must all get on with it.
I'm happy to be linking with post with Kathy's Quilts, From Bolt to BeautyQuilting is More Fun Than Housework, Wendy's Quilts and MoreSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsLove Laugh Quilt and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Seasonal Beauties, Breakthroughs, Birds and Wonders

Here in Canada we have four distinct seasons and there are things to love about each.  And also things to complain about like last year when winter felt like it stretched into May. Yesterday walking, I noticed how fresh the air smelled and how crisp the landscape looked. It was so invigorating and I realized I'd forgotten that feature of winter.
Image result for phylis harris drawings every season has its beauties"
From Phyllis Harris Designs
Meanwhile the days are shortening. I took this at 4:30 recently just as total darkness fell in the front yard. Happy the ivy seems to find enough light there.
 It seems the long shadows of morning are just disappearing when the long shadows of afternoon begin.  The sun in between is just topping the trees but is a welcome warmth on my back.

Carl Sagan said Somewhere something incredible is waiting to be known.  I wonder what year he said that. Medicine always comes to my mind because we've made such discoveries and treatments that are incredible.  And more every day. I felt heartened to read this article because losing my mind is a fear of mine! Millions of us are and will continue to do so but researchers do seem to be whittling away at the causes and treatments.  Baby steps it seems.
10 Alzheimer's Breakthroughs You Should Know About
Our wonders are much more down to earth here at the wooden house. Like what made these tracks in the garage. Whatever it was shook my mouse trap and dug in a bag of dirt making a right mess with it. We're guessing the resident raccoon.
I did feel a bit of wonder when we spied not one, which would be a treat, but two pileated woodpeckers playing in tandem around the trunk of a tree in the deciduous forest.  Wish I had a recording of the sounds they were making as they were vocalizing the whole time.
 I had to run back to the house for the camera and luckily, they were still there moving from tree to tree. I had to be very quiet as they alarm easily. Chilled to the bone but happy, I watched them for ages till they moved out of sight.
I do glimpse one from time to time and always suspected there was more than one. I'm thinking this is a mated pair.  Here is where my old camera would have done a better job on distance.
I enjoy a look around the bigger library in the next town and found these three books that I've been really reading instead of just glancing through.
All three have proven to be useful and inspiring and I've noted a number of things from each. In particular, I liked how Ann Myhre in her book, Quilts Inspired, works through two large projects including the one on the cover, Nordic Log Cabin. I read that section with my own Autumn Patchwork project in mind. I believe when she says differing blocks, methods and patterns can work together in a fun way. And to shut out the quilt police while welcoming individual creativity in the process. As I sew each of my large sections together, I hope I am achieving that too. Meanwhile my pile of flying geese for the border is growing.
Have you ever heard of this?  A poverty patchLori in this post at wonderful Humble Quilts about vintage quilts shows how the tiniest little patch was used to make a diamond big enough.  I have never heard it called that though I have done something similar a couple of times.
Something fun that made me smile- for Jenny at Romany Quilting who spends many a happy hour caravan touring. I think her cat, Gemma, would love it! This is Ana Rosa's Pattern On the Road House from Ravelry.  The ingenuity of stitchers is always a wonder!
In the Jesh Studio
This is the time of year I think of home and what my mother would be cooking...boiled raisin cakes, baked custards and partridgeberry pies.  Always a warm house, a happy smile and good smells greeting us when we came in the door from a day at school.  So blessed.
I hope you have such lovely memories to buoy you up and carry you through too.
Happily joining Not Afraid of ColorPaying Ready AttentionIt's A Small Town Life, Bijou BoutiqueFor the Love of GeeseViewing Nature With EileenCamera CrittersThe Jesh Studio and The Needle and Thread Network.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Stitching Meditation, Tools, Dogs, The Crown

Last month I spoke about stitching as meditation. To that end I joined a Facebook group, Stitch Meditations,who share their stitching and write about the comfort it is to them especially during difficult times. It is amazing the number of folks who are stitching in hospital beds or waiting rooms for instance. I myself have never seen anyone. Except my mom who always took knitting and her cross word book with her which I do as well.
Below is a little piece I've been stitching that is solely hand work and combines my love of hand stitching with a kantha style of running stitch. This works well when my eyes need a break from the counting of the cross stitched Swirling Flowers. I'm using the General's Sketch &Wash HB pencil to mark a little guide. I'm  practicing keeping my stitches evenly spaced and the same length. I've had to take out a couple.
I have this little box of 12 and with Hubby's auction winning of office supplies last year, I think we have enough pencils to see us through now. :) Btw, it was Anne at Every Stitch who recommended them. Sadly, she is no longer posting but you can still visit her blog and see the most beautiful of projects.
Image result for general hb sketch and wash pencils"
 This is also a quilt as I go piece with batting on the back which is often done with Kantha stitching.
I got the circles hand stitched on those Dresdens and counted how many are completely finished. Exactly 68. Hmm, need more than that. Scrappy projects can take a long time to finish. But my stitching motivation for this particular project is still high.
Goals this week re stitching..
Keep the three projects- Autumn patchwork, Swirling Flowers and the Dresdens moving forward.

Our upstairs TV room is taking shape. The new TV arrived and is one of those 4K, whatever the heck that means. Apparently it's a good thing; anyway, we've been blown away by the picture quality and the size of the darn thing.
We had debated whether we needed to buy a new one but now are glad we did. And in time for The Crown ...I will be able to see even more details of their lovely clothes and the palace. Olivia Colman is already getting rave reviews.  Anybody else a fan?
                                   Image result for the crown season 3
I got all the gardening stuff stowed away in the garage and extra bird seed brought in just in the nick of time before the snow came to stay. I'm running two feeders now and there has been a lot of activity with the sharp downturn in the temperatures.

Keeping them filled, checking the mouse trap (3 more added to the list) and shoveling the steps are my basic outdoor chores which are not that much.  And it already feels like I have more free time with no gardening.
Rex on the deck patiently waiting to get back in the house.  He doesn't at all mind lying in snow.
Miss Murphy, our diva, letting me know at the window that she wants back in right now, as she always does.
We just got in from our morning walk with them (more of a slow saunter for Rex) and the ground is frozen enough to allow tramping around the wetland area next to the pond. This means we can do almost a complete loop of the property on our walks including the area where we watched the snow white weasel last year.  Perhaps I'll be lucky enough to get a photo this year.
Hope your Sunday is wonderful!
Linking this post with Kathy's QuiltsSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkHome Sewn By Us, Brian's Home Blog and Love Laugh Quilt.

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Favourites: Artists, Honey, Shows, Design Wall

What a difference a week makes! Tuesday night it got down to -24 C with the wind chill. I'm now wearing my bedsocks to bed. Anybody else have such an item of apparel in their wardrobe?
Taken from one of the bedroom windows- I can't get over how deep into winter this looks so soon, too soon!  Is this going to be another very long winter, sigh.
We received this little gizmo/ personal assistant as a free gift with the new TV.

 You just have to say Okay Google, play violin music and a polite voice replies and voila, music begins.  Hubby has been testing it's ability to keep up with the weather.  It's been fun using it though we do wonder about the stories of it listening in and recording conversations. Here at the wooden house, that would be quite a snooze. Typical for us:
Hubby: What's for lunch? Me: How about a sandwich? Hubby: Okay, wait, have we got any white bread left? Me: Yes  Hubby: And tomatoes? Me: Yes  Hubby: Sure then.   ZZZZ

Do any of you do jigsaws?  I always complete the New Yorker Cover jigsaw online. You don't have to be a subscriber to access the page.  I try Level 3 to make it a little more challenging.  They all feature various artists work for the covers which I find interesting.
 Here is the link to the jigsaw page.
This cover from October 1959 featured a soon to be very famous artist, William Steig.  Did you know he is the original creator of Shrek?
See the source image
That's one cheeky looking pumpkin!
                          I use honey a lot and lately this kind, Manuka, keeps cropping up.
                                See the source image

 I'm using a wildflower honey now and when it's finished I'm going to give this a try.  Costco is selling it I know.
This article at Healthline states there is now scientific information to back up its health benefits claims. But who knows; they've said that about so many things!

We watched this documentary on Netflix and found it enthralling and heartbreaking. How long do you think someone could live in an abandoned house with just apples from a nearby tree to eat?                             See the source image
I've been staring at the wall in the sewing room.  This must be configuration  #4 of the various blocks and the one I'm most happy with so far.  This one has the four Dresdens on the corners and brings the six embroidered blocks to the center. I have other blocks made to fill the vacancies but think I'll still have orphans at the end.
I've sewed a pile of little triangles to make an outside border of flying geese. Kind of boring but good practice on the machine.  First I thought of piano keys or something fun like that but then realized such a piece as this with so many different blocks could use a more cohesive border.  And using the more neutral gray fabrics would also help in that regard.  Here I tried a few against the embroidered blocks and liked it.
Managed to capture this little sparrow foraging. I find sparrows quick moving and not easy subjects for photos. I guess you could say that about a lot of birds. Aren't his browns pretty though.
I think it is an American Tree Sparrow.  There are so many kinds of sparrows and with the juveniles wearing different colours at different stages, it can confuse identification.
It's snowing out...a light but steady fall.  Hubby is off to coffee with, as he affectionately calls them, the old gits.  But there are still three of us here holding down the fort.
Linking this post with Not Afraid of ColorQuilt FabricationFor the Love of GeeseThe Jesh Studio,  Floral Passions and Paying Ready Attention.