Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Comforts During Isolation, Number 1

Google is playing me lovely violin music this morning and a ray of sunshine is trying to break through the clouds. I lost some sleep in the middle of the night worrying about all the wrong things so I'm going to soothe myself a bit just for now with the right things. Basic but comforting.

It's comforting to have all the folks heading this battle working together; our prime minister and the provincial premiers are sharing and offering each other all the help they can.
I especially like that the prime minister has twice now addressed the children of our nation and funded extra services to help any in distress so they can have someone to talk to day or night. He has also increased funding to women's shelters knowing that it is not only the sick who need extra help in trying times like these.
I love that a Winnipeg dad made a Lego version of  Prime Minister Trudeau's speech to the children.
I liked that our Queen addressed us. Ninety-three now and still doing her bit to buoy spirits. She sported her 1897 turquoise and diamond broach, inherited from her grandmother, to signify survival through hard times.  I bet there was much discussion about that pretty aqua coloured dress she wore too.
We heard the peepers in our wetland area for the first time several days ago and spied the first frogs in the pond three days ago. Could they have hatched under the ice? This is almost a full month ahead of last spring. It seems especially wonderful to see the earth come alive again.  Spying three kinds of birds under the feeders was joyful to me. Can you name them?
Update: Florence at Buzz and Flutter tells me there are two kinds of birds here, male and female goldfinches and male and female purple finches. I thought the striped brown birds were one of the sparrows.
Birds inside coming together. I have my own complex method of organizing pieces.  LOL
I love seeing bits of green peeking through the mud even as there are banks of frozen snow here and there.
Spring will be a real season this year it seems, unlike last year when we skipped and moved right into summer. I'm enjoying rambling around the property with my camera. Mitts Free! Itching to rake but want to let it all dry out first and allow whatever critters have hibernated during the winter get away first.

I made another block in the Pieces From the Past stitch along hosted by Melva Loves Scraps. This block is often called the Sailboat or  Schooner Block; in this case it is the Mayflower Block.
And here is version 3 of Louisa, the Book Club Hand Pieced QAL Block. My version 1 was not bad, version 2 had a pucker where the six points meet that I couldn't quite get rid of, so version 3, also slow stitched, got made just to try it again.  I like this one.
I heard that the Lion in the Living Room video was giving problems opening internationally.  Here is the same video on YouTube.  Secret Life of Cats-Details You Didn't Think To Ask Did you know that when cats walk, their hind paws step into the same print made by their front paws?  I can't help it; these kind of facts amuse me. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Hope you are staying equally amused and comforted and most importantly, virus free.  Crucial now that we stay inside.
As always linking this post with Not Afraid of Color, Needle and Thread Network and Paying Ready Attention.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Quarantine Days are Strange But Busy, EPP, Poetry Too

Sunshine warming our shoulders lately so April has been kind to us. March went out like a lamb; it had come in like a lion so, for once, the old saying stood up.  Look at all the leaves revealed now down that trail.
We had our grocery order delivered by SIL. Hubby watched the video on how to handle it so we got him to drop it at the bottom of the front walkway. We used rubber gloves and removed it all from the bags, put it in my own bags, then wiped it all with a bleach solution and rinsed well in water. I plan to make a cabbage and carrot soup tonight and I wondered if boiling would kill this virus. So many questions about it.

It's turned out to be a great time for stitching projects with loads of sew alongs and free patterns cropping up around the net.
I downloaded the pattern for this block at the Melva Loves Scraps Sew Along and made cardboard templates.
 It's called the Flower Garden Block.  I love the pattern and am working out how to handle those y seams while English paper piecing.  I'm using freezer paper.
 This particular video made by Linda Franz was a help. She is also a fan of freezer paper templates. I find I learn something from each of these wonderful sewists who offer these videos.

Hand quilting around the baskets is taking up a chunk of the evening stitching time.  One panel is completed and I'm halfway around another of the four.
I checked on my linen order and sure enough, the little company I'd ordered from is temporarily suspending business, as one of you had mentioned. But they had refunded PayPal so all good.  I've since repeated the order with a company that is now dealing in only online orders and following Corvid 19 practices.

Murphy got a new bed for the bedroom, one of those supersoft furry warm ones. We thought it would be nice for her old bones. She loves it and occasionally takes a day time nap there which she never ever did before.
I used to read a lot of biographies; maybe trying to figure out my own life, looking for answers.  Find behaviours I could adopt or patterns I could follow.  In particular, the women.  This week I've watched two interesting videos, one about Anne Lister (all Annes are always so smart!) and this one about one of my favourite poets, Edith Sitwell.  Both these women defied convention in times when it was socially daring to do so.
 But Edith's words were meaningful to me and I did finally arrive at my own great conclusion.

Answers Poem by Dame Edith Sitwell
Well, I hope you are filling your time with what interests you. Those of you working still, please be careful.
Happy to share this post with Not Afraid of ColorBrian's Home BlogMy Quilt InfatuationKathy's Quilts and It's a Small Town Life.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

To Do List, Blue Scrappy Strings, Book Club Hand Quilting

Our concern has heightened just a bit with the news that the virus has hit a nursing home just one town away from us with 4 people infected. We were going to do the grocery pick up this week but have decided SIL will do it for us.  Basically we are not going off our property.  We are so fortunate and grateful to have our space to walk and roam and more than enough hobbies/activities to amuse us in the house.

With that in mind, we intend to maintain our twice daily walks. We both enjoy the fresh air and Murphy can't live without them! I intend to keep using the elliptical trainer indoors for a little fitness boost as it's a bit icy underfoot outside for jogging just now.
Though wet yesterday, there was a definite smell of spring in the air (you know that earthy wonderful smell!), more of the paths snow free, birds chirping and the chipmunks and red squirrels running about. Life in nature going about its business as usual which is always wonderful to observe.

Here are some specific things I hope to accomplish this week.

 I plan to make a list of my projects on the go and those that are in the queue requiring quilting. I can think of four including my cross stitch/embroidery currently being worked on.  I also want to list those I would like to start next as that is kind of fuzzy just now.

Return emails to friends to catch up with them.

Make nasi goring for supper with the left over roast beef and some of those brown eggs. One of Hubby's favourites...Here is the recipe I usually follow. (I use a little sriracha sauce instead of the terasi.)

Finish reading this book which I finally received as an ebook from the library.
                                      Cover art
 I reattached the walking foot to my newer Singer and am running quilting lines in the blue scrappy strings blocks.  I can work for about half an hour without aggravating that one muscle on the right side of my back.  My aim will be to have this all done this month, the quilting part I mean. That would be a good OMG for the Elm Street Quilts link up. I would love to have the baskets all hand quilted too but that is labour intensive slow stitching so I can't promise myself that.
Yes, that is the instruction manual there as I had to do a little machine maintenance adjusting the top thread tension. On this machine, that involves screw drivers, albeit, little ones. :)

 Louisa is the next block in the Book Club Hand Pieced QAL.  She features that pesky 8 points meeting in the middle thing which made her a tricky one. Here is one version; I intend to make another to work on that accuracy. Oh I should have snipped off her dog ears for her photo.
   I found this great video from Wendy's Quilts and More very helpful for dealing properly with these points.
I have an interesting group of projects on the go, some with challenges which is a good thing. I love them all and that never changes for in I usually almost always love what I work on.  And that's what it's all about isn't it...spending our precious minutes, hours and days doing what we enjoy.

I was thrilled to have a little flock of American Gold Finches visit the bird feeders a few weeks ago. They are just starting to brighten up a little by the looks of it. The males will be such a beautiful lemon yellow in a short time. Taken through my kitchen window.
Hope all is well with you and please stay home as much as you possibly can.
Sharing this post with The Book Date, Paying Ready AttentionElm Street Quilts and Home Sewn By Us.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Free Patterns, Quilting From the Past, Embroidering Flowers

Week 3 of self- isolation and all's well.
 The season is striving to change. Raining heavily as I write but with all the freezing rain we get here, there are banks of hardened snow and ice that will resist.  We are still wearing our cleats as the trails, tramped down by us, are icy in patches.  That's the underfoot news. Above, we've been enjoying warmer temperatures for our walks, occasional sunny breaks that I insist we put our faces into. How good to be alive and feel the warmth out in the fresh air.

I have joined Melva at Melva Loves Scraps for her Pieces From the Past stitch along.  I was intrigued by her stories and being such a sentimentalist, love reading about the past and all the old things. This little block appealed to me so I downloaded her free pattern and set to work. The Lost  Goslin'. Another great one for me to machine stitch and practice preciseness.  More blocks to come and Thank You, Melva for generously sharing.
Being Sunday, old habits kick in and I have a beef roast thawed to make a cooked dinner- mashed potatoes and vegetables. I am going to try Rock Recipes recipe for Perfect Yorkshire Puddings to go with the gravy. That got Hubby's attention! I wonder will mine look like Barry's. He put a recipe for Peach Compote there too because popovers are not just for dinner.
                                Perfect Popovers on white plate for breakfast shown with orange juice and jam
I showed you my Year at Hawk Run Hollow cross stitch pattern I was hoping to begin. My fabric has yet to arrive (sigh) which is worrisome. I keep thinking I must check on it.  Meanwhile I've picked up an embroidery piece that really should be finished after making a small start two years ago. It is a downloadable pattern from Nancy Nicholson called Bouquet Sampler.
And here is what I achieved so far. Thought I'd start with the leaves. The fabric I chose is not dark as this photo shows and has butterflies here and there which I thought appropriate for this flowery piece.

This is our day for the SAL party with these stitchers from all over the world and hosted by Avis at
Sewing Beside the Sea.
AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborah, Mary MargaretRenee, CarmelaJocelynSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLinda

Thank you all for the kind remarks about my Pandemic hair do photo in the last post, It is definitely minimalist but I'm liking it.

Staying home means staying safe for now.  Make sure to heed whatever advice your country is providing. Some of the best medical minds in the world are leading this fight.
Happy to link this post with Kathy's Quilts and Love Laugh Quilt.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Links to Amuse, Hand Quilting, Hair Do Photo, Painted SnowBunny

Well, I don't have to ask because I know the introverts and the stitchers especially are faring well with our imposed isolation. The sewing machines are being given quite the workout these days. Including mine.
But for today I'll show my hand stitching results.
Final look at my scrappy Log Cabin in the Woods piece which is all finished. This was a goal to finish as declared at Elm Street Quilts OMG for March. I hand quilted diamonds in the bottom using a masking tape guide and decided on a starry, starry night for the sky.
 A fun piece to stitch by hand. (Yes, it is a lot of stars but can you have too many stars.)
It's covering the top of the trunk in the t.v. room for now.

Here is Jane, another block in the Book Club Hand Pieced QAL  (hosted over at the Elm Street Quilts) joining Evelyn there.  I fancy Jane Eyre in more muted colours, hence the greys.  She is an easy block; a great one to start with if you'd like to give hand piecing a try.
Here are a few links I've found to keep myself amused.  Hope you like something in the group.

Hubby is a huge granola fan. I found this recipe at The Inn At Occidental web site and plan to give it a try.  I've gathered together the ingredients.
I received loads of questions and emails about the hair cut.  There are many videos on YouTube of how to cut your own hair.  I liked this one as Carmen really took her time with the process. I had no problem with following along. I also used number 6 attachment on the clippers.
And here is my spare bathroom selfie; the light is surprisingly flattering in there.  I put on a little makeup for you. No two hairs on my head are the same length but the great thing about hair is that it will grow! My hair continues to thin in the front so perhaps this is the length it should be now.
Why am I wearing a scarf with a turtleneck?  Nothing to do with fashion. This is a worsted wool sweater which I love but is kind of itchy. The scarf prevents my neck from itching. ๐Ÿ˜„

How to hand tie a quilt...certain quilts suit this method. Jordan's Quilts made an excellent video of exactly how to do it properly and done in this manner, would definitely secure your layers. The little ties would add an old fashioned charm to a quilt, I think. At the Jordan Fabric site you can find a very nice bank of free patterns for all sorts of quilting projects too.
Sephora Bestsellers for anti aging.  Though I may not use many, I enjoy looking at beauty products.
Top Ten Anti-Aging Products at Sephora

The Fat Quarter Shop has this free downloadable pattern  for the Carolina Lily classic vintage block I mentioned in the last post.  Someone, sorry I don't remember who, asked about a link.           
               Carolina Lily Classic & Vintage Quilt Block | Free PDF Pattern
Many, many of you are ardent cat lovers. I like cats too. This documentary on household cats is fascinating. I learned so many amazing things about cats, like what they can do with their bodies to prevent injury when falling from heights- things I'd never heard of before or dreamed that cats could do. It is a CBC Nature of Things episode.
                        Image result for The Nature of Things The Lion in Your Living Room
I showed a photo I'd taken of a bunny in our back yard recently.
Multi-talented LeeAnna in this post at Not Afraid of Colour shared a watercolour painting she had made of it.
                        Devoted Quilter
Check out that post to see a large version of her painting which really shows her details better. Her Snowbunny is so beautiful! Thanks LeeAnna!

We must try our best to stay positive and do our best to listen and follow the advice of the health experts. I'm impressed with all the stories about community spirit that are emerging and of course, so thankful for all the health care workers, including my daughter, who are on the front lines.

Besides LeeAnna's blog, I'm happy to link this post with It's a Small Town LifeMy Quilt InfatuationConfessions of a Fabric AddictAlycia QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkMeadow Mist DesignsDevoted Quilter  and The Needle and Thread Network.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Pandemic Haircut, Blue Strings Blocks, Baskets (Again)

I gave myself a haircut this morning...shorter than I've done in a while. I'm calling it my Pandemic hairdo. It looks like I could go on the run any curling irons necessary. If you would like to see it, tell me in the comments.  Speaking of which, I am always so happy to hear from you; it makes my day.

Hey, you never told me there was math involved with setting blocks on point! This has taken me a while to figure out the placement, one that I can manage that is. I've settled on sewing the blocks into four larger panels and doing a little hand quilting as I go kind of thing this week. For the backing I chose neutral floral prints so these are now sandwiches. I love seeing the baskets up close again.
Another old old project is the scrappy blues string blocks started about 5 years ago.  I used thrift store shirts and pillowcases in this one too.
  I also used the blocks to practice 15 minutes a day of free motion quilting, some of it turning out better than others. I have four larger panels joined together and another four prepped as sandwiched panels. I hope I keep this project moving forward this week. I like the blues.
Spring is occurring as I write this. We watched the first trains of Canada geese yesterday flying overhead and honking loudly as if to shout, we're back.  Cool but sunny outside and with the recent rains, the snow is leaving the land. The normalcy of watching a season change is comforting just now.
Hubby spied this little fellow first and called me to come see him.  Fresh from his underground nest, he was sitting for ages just looking around. Haven't seen any chipmunks since last October.
Murphy has no interest in posing, anxious to get going. It is doggy heaven on the trails with many new smells being revealed every day.
I hope you are keeping yourself away, tucked in and safe.  I know the stitchers all are.
Linking this post with some of those stitchers at Kathy's QuiltsLove Laugh QuiltPretty Piney and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework. Also linking with Viewing Nature With Eileen.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Gifts, Quilty Shopping, Itty Bitty Turquoise Triangles

There is so much to keep us busy and enjoy even though a thread of worry is winding its way through these strange days. I'm limiting how much I'm reading about it. I'm concentrating on feeding us well, reading your blogs and choosing the neat things to share with you for this happy Thursday post.

I just loved this little video from 1964 and was totally gobsmacked by how fast these women could knit.  What they produce are works of art really.  The opening bit badly needed an edit but the rest of the film is well worth a watch. Here is the Link as I couldn't get the video link to work...Shetland Knitters.

Julie at this post at The Crafty Quilter shared good news in the form of quilty news.  She shared links to BOM's and QAL's coming up.  I have my eye on the Fat Quarter Carolina Lily one which isn't quite ready yet. I've always loved that block.
Julie also shared a free pattern for a block she calls Glass Half Full.  I really like it.

Quilt-y news is good news and I'm here to share some with you at The Crafty Quilter!
  I made a little piece last year with a lily type block; enjoyed the process very much.

It always helps whatever is the situation when food and treats are dropped off by our own little family.
Chocolate cupcakes decorated by a 6 year old...
And farm fresh eggs
The old jigsaw puzzle is done and a new one underway.  And we have one very large Lindt chocolate ball to finally tuck into. Christmas gifts both.
My last outing last week was for necessities -to a grocery store and a little nearby quilt shop, Happy Wife Quilting.  Jenn, who is knowledgeable and friendly, runs her shop with her long arm services in her home. It is beautifully appointed with lots to look at.  I made these two purchases, a new Oliso mini iron...been scouting this for some time, and more batting. I can't seem to keep that on hand; I guess because I usually buy only little bits at a time.  I must be thinking I will make an actual quilt by how much I got this time.  :)
The colour of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is turquoise.  I went to my fabric cupboard expecting, like Old Mother Hubbard, to find it bare of anything turquoise.  But there were a few things similar to that colour, some with blue too, so I made a few more of those flag blocks.  I just call them that...I think technically they are itty bitty triangle blocks or some such name.
Home- that's where you'll find us for the time being feeling comforted and knowing our glass is half full.


So happy to link up with Not Afraid of ColorIt's a Small Town LifeSugarlane DesignsFor the Love of GeeseSo Scrappy and My Quilt Infatuation.