Friday, 20 January 2017

Two Finishes, Three Cooking Hits and One Miss

I am so pleased with myself and my efforts to get things done before starting new projects.  I think you can tell it's been a bit of a struggle to hold myself back. There are so many lovely projects out there swirling around and I've been biting at the bit to jump in.
Instead I've been reminding myself over and over...FINISH, FINISH.  So far, so good.

Crabapple Hill Studio's design, "Shiny and Brite" is all done, quilted and bound.  These will be packed away soon; I just wanted to enjoy it for a few days .

Here is my Blackbird Designs "Strawberry Fields Forever"cross stitch piece.  It was such a treat to stitch.  I did add a few more stitches here and there, changed up the gate a little and also added my daughters' first initials.  I only had the gate area to finish when I paused it for the Christmas stitching so it didn't take that long.  Can you spot the two leaves that need adding?  Can I blame my sad old eyes.

I've pinned it up in the sewing room to remind myself to add them!

My Circles piece is rolling along (ha ha) as well.  I was worried it would look like the proverbial dog's breakfast but it is looking better and better to me.  I'm not used to using such bright colours in abundance in a piece but I'm liking it.

This week I've been in a cooking mood.  One day I made two meals.

 A slow cooker meal of beef stew which really goes down well on a cold winter day.
 I also made something I've never made before....baked spaghetti.  I've made lots of spaghetti but just never treated it as a casserole before.  It was really good.  I used mascarpone cheese instead of  cheddar, cottage or cream cheese and it added a wonderful flavour to the sauce.  Mascarpone cheese is the one used in the famous Italian treats, tiramisu and cannolis,

 I'd love to use it more often.  What have you used mascarpone in?

This little venture in the kitchen meant lots of leftovers so meals for the week were almost but not quite all taken care of.

Yesterday I made a dish  I don't think I'll make again.  It was tomatoes filled with a couscous mixture.  Healthy I imagine but rather tasteless.  I would definitely need to work on the spices part of it if I were to make it again. The tomatoes were also lacking in flavour which didn't help the dish.

 I made cabbage cooked in milk to go with it.  I fried out the cabbage with a little onion in a pan and added the milk a little at a time as it cooked. It took a long time to soften but with a little real butter, salt and more milk, it formed quite a tasty mixture.  I broiled two thick slices of bread and spooned the cabbage over them.  Now this Hubby loved and I must admit I liked it too.  It almost made up for the couscous. Definitely will be making it again.

I mentioned dessert...and I did make one.  I have a photo in the camera and I'll show you Monday.

On a very sad note, the wonderful designer Sue Garman has passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer.  I just love her designs which are available still to buy.  I always liked her "All Around the Town" and "Afternoon Delight" patterns in particular and they sit in my favourites list right now.  I've read all her posts and she was extraordinarily brave throughout the treatments and set backs she had to endure.
 Her legacy in beautiful work and designs enjoyed around the world will live on.

        All Around the Town - Full Pattern Set 
        Image result for sue garman afternoon delight pattern

Hope there is something wonderful in your weekend.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Saris and Kimonos...Beautiful and Sensible

This is the bag my daughter gave me several years ago.  I"ve shown you it before and it is distinctive because it was made from discarded saris and the sale of these bags contributed money to a charity.  I just loved it to death and used it for my blog stuff.  I'd gotten more compliments on this bag than any I have owned.  Sadly, the stitching began unraveling and some of the delicate silk pieces frayed away to nothing.

 When you think of beautiful women's clothing, saris come to mind.  I especially love the colours and the way the cloth flows over a woman's body, I imagine they are a 'forgiving' piece of clothing.

Antique kimono exhibition room at the “Japan Kimono Culture Museum" in Koriyama, Fukishima Prefecture, Japan.

Kimonos Presented As Art

Several years ago I attended a presentation on Kimonos at one of the local museums.  An Ottawa girl had just returned from Japan where she had been studying the art of dressing 'Kimono', a four year long course of study.  She had learned all about the Japanese ancient skills of dyeing and weaving fabrics and how kimonos are at the heart of their culture.  I was fascinated as I'd had no idea how involved and important each step of the process she demonstrated the eight steps to dressing Kimono, her reverence and love of what she was doing shone through.


 In older times the kimono would actually be taken completely apart for washing and then resewn afterwards.  Of course, they were all hand sewn often of the most expensive cloth available.
At the end of the performance, a group of volunteer models wearing kimonos joined her on stage.
These demonstrated the kind of kimono that would be typically worn at different seasons and occasions of the year.  It was a spectacular sight; all the beautiful colours and prints were a real feast for the eyes.


The audience, mostly women, oohed and ahhed and we all agreed it was one of the most beautiful shows we had ever seen.
 Kimonos like saris, are also a forgiving garment.  With just a few adjustments, a woman can wear the same kimono all her life.  What a sensible approach to clothing women, dare I say it, especially older women...and so beautiful, too.

Cynthia at Wabi Sabi Quilts  stitched this very pretty Kimono friendship block quilt.

                             A Quilter by Night: Kimono Friendship Quilt:

Isilay Yalaz has a Pinterest board of over 80 pins devoted just to kimono cross stitch patterns including this one that is a kit from Dimensions. / Фото #7 - Elegant_Kimono - Tatiananik:

I like this one that combines a sampler idea with kimono, elegant too.
Image result for kimono cross-stitch patterns

I wonder are my eyes drawn to this because we are at the height of the colourless time of year.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Monday Mix Up

In this life the days sometimes run together.  Something that never happened in my work world. There each week day had a different feel to it that was hard to describe.  But I remember a Monday felt different from a Thursday and Friday had a joyous uplifting feeling all its own.  Now I sometimes say to Hubby is this Tuesday or Wednesday?  And he'll say darned if I know; let me check the paper.

One thing you in Blogland have taught me is the value of having a design wall.  I'd never thought of it on my own but it has proven so valuable for just about every project I've sewn these last two years. And my Quilty 365 is benefiting greatly from having the circles on the wall where I can ogle them and move them around and test out various scenarios.

The idea of a center block and the circles moving around it has gradually taken form. I like the idea of a house block in the middle so have been trying various kinds of houses to suit.  Still a work in progress.

If you are too tired to read an article, how about one that just requires looking.  You must take a look at this exquisite rescued cross stitch/ needlepoint and the clever, amazing items that have been fashioned.  The link to the Guardian article called " A Stitch Through Time" is HERE.

                          A rotary telephone by Swedish designer Ulla-Stina Wikander, who covers 1970s household objects in second-hand cross-stitches

And for the teacher friends I have and our worries about the grammarly points of the English language being lost, here is a mug I bought for Hubby as part of his Christmas gifts.  I noticed the error right away but I bought it anyway because I loved the sentiment.  He is actually my brilliant one.  I need one of those pens that write on porcelain to correct it.

Just For Fun

Have a look at all the "lovelies" these two collected.  The Duke and Duchess of Winsor. I watched a complete biography narrated by the duke's great nephew, Prince Edward, on Youtube while I was working on my circles. The Prince expressed just as much awe of the abdication for love as the rest of us.  A sad note was when he visited the little pet cemetary they kept on their property for all their beloved pugs.  Not having any children, they adored their pets.

Meanwhile in Canada

A photo to cool down my Australian and New Zealand friends!

This is a photo taken in Islington, Newfoundland and Labrador by my face book friend Paul Seymour.  Going to be a while before it's picnic time.  This is the North Atlantic Ocean and such a scene leaves no doubt as to why it is often described as frigid.

Image may contain: ocean, water and outdoor

Friday, 13 January 2017

Pet Peeves and A Bunch of Other Stuff

 I'm not a good driver which means I have to drive very carefully.
 I set everything- mirrors, sunglasses, temperature, music, etc. before putting the car in gear.  I can't handle reaching to twirl buttons and staying in my lane at the same time.  I do believe I'm a considerate driver.  I always signal well in advance when I'm going to turn.  I move over when I can see someone wanting to pass me...go for it.  I keep up with whatever is the posted speed limit.  If I have to turn off the road I'll try to do it as quickly as I can so the driver behind me won't be slowed down too much.  I guess just the usual things most people try to remember to do.

 Anyway, I do have a couple of pet peeves about other drivers which I share with a lot of you.
It is annoying when people put on their signal light when they're basically already making the turn.  Depending on the road, this can also be dangerous.
Driving too close to me.  I wish I had a sign in the back window I could switch on to say stay back.  It makes me a little nervous because I know if I have to stop suddenly, we are both going to be in trouble.
  This happened to me.  On a two lane winding road, a large truck carrying mattresses was following me much too closely. I turned a corner, had to brake because the police had pulled someone over and the mattress truck had to swerve wide into the opposite lane to avoid hitting me. Lucky for us all there was no oncoming traffic.

And lately I've gained a brand new pet peeve but this one has nothing at all to do with driving.

Since I've happily gained readers in Europe and the Netherlands and I don't speak Russian, German, Dutch, Swedish or any other language, I have to rely on Google Translate to read messages and posts.  It is very frustrating because so many of the translations are terrible.  Sometimes it reads as pure gobbledygook; sometimes I read certain lines out to Hubby because they are so laughable.
 And it leads me to wonder how my words get translated back.  You would think by now, Google could have come up with a better system.  Anybody else share this particular pet peeve with me?

And to put pet peeves completely into perspective.

This week we went to the funeral of a friend who was a year older than myself.  We'd visited him in hospital ten days ago and now, just like that it seems, he's gone.  What a strange feeling and long day we had.  They held the wake, funeral and reception all in the same day because many people had a long drive.  We were totally beat. We hardly spoke. Completely drained.

How Wolves Change Rivers

Meanwhile with some better news, it is nice to hear good news about the ecosystem.  Though I've read this video oversimplifies the contribution of the wolf, there is common belief they have greatly helped portions of the park revitalize in just the ways this video purports.

I have a little reading to do on the weekend.  Partway through The Perfect Girl by Gilly MacMillan.  A fast read that's for sure but enjoyable.

I hope to have a number of stitchy things to show you next week.  I have a few projects all poised at the same stage...the almost done stage. This is good because I'm getting there.  I'm dangling all my new projects I might start in front of myself like a carrot.  They look so good.

I'm casting about for a dessert to make this weekend.  Have several possibilities in mind.  Are you in the kitchen this weekend?

Finally a little listening sweet music, Vivaldi's Four Seasons and this is Winter with Julia Fischer. The beautiful violins start around the .39 mark and Julia's playing is amazing.

Hope wherever you are this weekend, in the kitchen, out and about or in your Pet Chair, you enjoy every minute.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Hopelessly Old Fashioned and Fairy Bread

I must have been born in the wrong century.  When I look at quilt designs, I am drawn to the old fashioned ones more often than the modern, as bright and fresh as they can look.
And I also love to think of the access rural women were given to designs through local newspapers and magazines so often including quilt patterns in their pages as regular items.  I know my grandmothers cut out patterns they came across in this way as they did with recipes.  Perhaps that can account for how some patterns became almost universal in the quilt world.

Dresdan plate, now there's an old fashioned pattern.
And I just love Michelle Ridgway's Dresdan plates.  Michelle just finished co-hosting a 1 Dresdan Plate a month challenge at her blog Michelle Ridgway Designs.  A different colour each month and such pretty fabrics.  She always has such wonderful projects on the go.


I'm hopelessly old fashioned in lots of other ways too which could be another whole post.

For now finishing my 2016 starts is on my mind.  Here are my Quilty 365 circles hopefully in their last before shot.

I organized them by colours and now have to figure out how to arrange them for sewing together.  I'd also thought about trying to figure out a central medallion to somehow arrange these circles around, if that makes any sense. It would be nice to come up with something clever.  I'll have to do a little research.
 Any ideas, let me know.

And still it snows.  Hubby has been busy keeping our lane way cleared.

The sun was shining and I raced outside to get some sun on snow photos.  Well maybe not raced because by the time I got out, the sun was gone.  So I took this photo instead.  Haven't seen the sun since.

Before I leave you, have you heard of this trend?

Fairy Bread

Image titled Make Fairy Bread Step 5

Here is the recipe as found on Wikihow.

  • 8 slices of fluffy white bread
  • 1/2 cup hundreds and thousands (or colorful sprinkles)
  • 1/2 cup butter (or non-dairy substitute)
Hubby says he'd love to give it a try.

Monday, 9 January 2017

The Crown: Did You Watch?

Worth Every Penny
And Netflix has invested quite a lot of pennies!
Anyone else addicted to The Crown?  I just finished Season 1 and enjoyed every single minute.  I even love the opening credit scene with the molten metal and gold crown sinuously taking form; I can't look away. It is like watching a piece of art form in front of your eyes.

 I am happy to hear there are plans for at least three seasons and maybe up to six.

I am a bit of a royalist and follow a blog about Her Majesty's jewels called From Her Majesty's Jewel Vault. It's there on the right.  I love broaches in particular and love seeing her beauties.  I used to have a collection myself but lost them.
And speaking of the Queen; just now I am a little concerned about her health. Not much has been forthcoming from the palace about her other than the statement she still has a heavy cold and Princess Anne stating briefly that her mother is alright.
I am not a big Prince Charles and Camilla fan soooo....

This is a photo and quote from Heather at The Patchwork Heart, a great crochet site to check out.  Heather has the most wonderful eye for combining colours and making winning afghans in simple stitches.  My kind of designer.


 I always think it is the little things that mean the most.  Sometimes even the tiniest things.  I used to smile whenever I heard the phrase. "Small things amuse small minds."  Yup, that's me.

Have you made a yearly goal?  A "just for 2017" goal?  Or are you making monthly goals?  I've been enjoying reading other peoples' goals not having taken the time to make my own.  Lots of people promising themselves to finish projects but also lots of promises to start whatever new projects strikes one's fancy.

For now finishing my 2016 starts is my goal.
 And on the subject of starts and crochet.
 Here is my crocheted hexagon project.  I finally got my wool and finished crocheting hexagons and edging them all in a white single crochet stitch.  I can't believe how time consuming just that step was.
This is a 7 foot table so I'm happy with the number I made.  I'll use this photo to help guide me when I join them.  I tried to get each colour to sort of trail through the group.

And yes, now to join them.  I can only blame The  Move for how behind I got on a couple of  these projects.  This one should have been wrapped up long ago.  But I loved crocheting hexagons I must say.
  A great little project in front of the t.v. but Rex is not impressed though he did watch me the whole time I was standing on the chair.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Tea Tangent and Free BOM's

Part of a hostess gift I received during the holidays included this tea, pomegranate white tea. I never used to think I liked flavoured teas as such; Earl Grey was about my limit for something different but these last couple of years I've developed more of a taste for them. It started with peppermint tea which I like when my sinuses are acting up, then I really liked the Earl Grey strawberry tea I had for a Mother's Day Tea one year and now this one which I'm enjoying very much.
 I do need two bags for my large mug.  It's become my late afternoon habit to enjoy a cup.

If you are interested, 27 Items All Tea Lovers Need In Their Lives is a great article featuring funny and sweet tea things for instance something my Hubby would love, a tea cup with a little built in shelf for his bikkie.

With almost a week into the new year already, it's time to get serious about choosing  new stitching projects especially those that are year long.
About that, I've made a little rule with myself; I can look but I'm not allowed to touch.  These first months are going to be finishing school for me.

There are a few free 2017 BOM's around the net. As I say,  I have been looking and in some cases I've downloaded the patterns just in case.  Just in case what exactly, I'm not sure; I live to be 120 and run out of patterns somehow.  Yeah right!

 Here is one of those BOM's, a surprisingly patriotic one.
2017 marks Canada's 150 birthday as a confederation.  Part of the tributes is this quilt composed of 150 red and white blocks with each block representing a particular pioneering Canadian woman.  It is a marvelous quilt to complete and the free patterns are being released 3 at a time.

                               Image result for The canadian 150 womens quilt

I have been hesitating to jump in mainly because it reminds me a lot of the Farmer's Wife quilt I worked on for 10 months of 2016.  By the end I had gotten tired of all the triangles and the exactness required for paper piecing each block.  But I must admit many of these blocks look easier and probably don't require all the little pieces that the FWQ blocks did.
  I love the reds and pinks and purples which make the quilt look so striking so you see I am tempted.
I will think on it.

Sara Barnes wrote about a neat little Stitch a long at her blog Brown Paper Bag. It is called 1 Year of Stitches and is based on Hannah Claire Somerville's 365 day project by the same name.  Hannah completed her stitch each day into her hoop and wound up with an eclectic, very arty looking piece of work.  It's wide open-the stitches, colours, patterns, whatever is all up to you so absolutely no pressure.

                   1 year of stitches: join the fun!

Sara provides the links so you can get all the details.  Again, I am so tempted.
  More later on about other stitch-alongs I've discovered. And please let me know of any you have found in your net travels.

I've talked about how Rex is always by my side. At night he makes a last sweep of the house and the very last thing he does is check my side of the bed before lying down in his bed.
I took this photo to show the after mess from making a Black Forest Cake on Christmas Eve.  I didn't realize it had been photobombed till I saw it on the computer.

I don't remember him being there; in fact I'm pretty sure I'd shooed him away.  Dogs and baking don't mix.

And see that kitchen window; here is my view out that window on January 1, 2017.

Wild, our weather has been wild.  Snowy, blowy, rainy, freezing back to snowy again.
Hope your weekend is calmer, at least weather-wise.