Friday, 2 December 2016

Three Sewing Things I Love and Other Stuff

Fog...wow have we had fog.


 I thought I knew a bit about fog but living here has furthered my foggy education.  I just hate driving in the stuff which I've had to do lately.  The way a car emerges suddenly right in front of you is so unnerving. And I get nervous thinking about animals on the road; you'd have no chance to see a deer in such weather.  I'm slightly claustrophobic so I think fog stirs those feelings a bit in me..it sets.a little smothering sensation tingling in my mind.
Then two days of heavy on and off rain.  The world looks a sodden mess right now with little orphaned splashes of snow here and there.

 No sign of my little chipmunk so I think he has put himself to bed for the winter.  I hope the peanuts in the shell that I sprinkled around for him are safely stored with him.

Speaking of tingling things, my right arm has been sending me the signal that I'm overusing it.  Ever since I had the problem with my right knuckle I've been very careful to favour it and the arm, but loading and stacking firewood seems to have set it off again.  I've been limiting my hand stitching to just an hour a day this week and not lifting anything heavy with my right arm.  But really, I'd have to have it taped down or in a sling to not automatically use it.  You can read my Post about what the doctor said about my hand last time.  My gosh that was that long ago!

So light on the stitching show and tell today which gives me the chance to chat about these sewing things I love.

MY OTT LITE

Sorry if I'm boring you banging on about this light.  Okay this is the last time I'll mention it.
Ahh, there's a picture of it at the old place. ( I can't remember what that is I have on the sofa??)
Though it is a bit cumbersome, my special light has proven itself invaluable with the stitching projects lately.  I've not had one complaint about eyestrain since beginning to use this light.



My THREAD CUTTING GIZMO


This really works.  You can cut your strings so much quicker than using scissors.



My SEWING MACHINE

I took a very long time to buy an updated sewing machine (I'd had a very nice one in days gone by but lost it) and had been managing with an economical just straight stitching Brother.  After a bit of research I bought myself the Singer Quantum Stylist 9600 and I'm so happy with it. It's the smartest machine I've ever had...it can thread itself! I'm still discovering all the wonderful things it can do.






Not a thing but I'd be lost without YouTube Videos

YouTube Videos are a boon to me whether I'm crocheting, knitting or reviewing a new to me applique technique, I am sure to find it on YouTube.  I've also found it so helpful for cooking, blog applications, product reviews, music, watching t.v., etc. etc.; the list is endlesss.  Think of any topic or subject and there is a video about it.

Like this one...


Jan Patek showing how to applique a house block...who doesn't love houses.  It is such a common motif for needle workers whether in cross stitch, embroidery or fabric..  I love Jan's approach to appliqueing.  She is so easy going and down to earth; she insists that it's not rocket science so we should relax and enjoy the process.  And with  her unfussy designs you can do just that.
And YouTube brings her right into my sewing room with me.

New Sewing Things I'd Never Heard OF

I loved this article from  Sew What Alicia.  Often it seems sewing tools are rulers, so many rulers out there.  It's nice to know there are many different gadgets both practical and clever.  My cutting gizmo made it onto this list, I see.

                                        10+ Sewing Gadgets You Never Knew Existed | www.sewwhataliicia.com

What are your favourite little sewing things?  Anything I should look in to?  You know me, I need all the help I can get.

My wool has arrived so the weekend will see me catching up on crocheting- very carefully.

 Hope you have hands that aren't letting you down and something fun to be catching up on too.


Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Living With the English

The heart and soul of the English is to enjoy simple joys.  Collecting stamps, studying butterflies, having a cuppa, maintaining a shelf of books, putting a few wildflowers in a jar...these are the sorts of things that give pleasure.  Living with an English hubby has taught me this and a lot more.

There is a certain protocol to the day; no dressing gowns at meals including breakfast.  There must be tea served on a tray several times a day and by the way, I am the server. This ritual includes a sweet biscuit or cookie, possibly two but never more.  There is usually economy about all his food...he can make a meal on boiled eggs and a can of sardines, what would be considered snack food the way I grew up. Despite the blandness of so much of the diet he was used to, he has an inexplicable love of curries, Thai food, and tacos. Oh yes, and hubby loves his boxed chocolates, the fancier and darker, the better. 

The love of cardigans (a word familiar to those over seventy or us knitters), good mystery shows, well-made furniture, and reading newspapers cover to cover; this is my hubby. 
I've read that the English had a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals a hundred years before they had such a society to protect children.  This is perhaps one of hubby's most English characteristics...his love of animals is truly amazing, especially dogs.

Hubby extends his sense of economy to his wardrobe; old coats are never given up on, there just might still be wear in them or as he said to me one day, perhaps I could find a good use for the lining of one such poor example.  Yet, good shoes are a necessity for ones feet, no matter what the cost. Money is happily spent on proper tools, anything made of good leather, pursuing hobbies, cars, and travelling.  And meanwhile, in his office, he is using both sides of every piece of paper and saves all pennies in old coffee cans. 

Perhaps this is not describing just the English as I set out to do, but many of us at this stage of life.  I'm thinking of the part about enjoying simple joys, in particular.

 The older we get, the more we all learn to appreciate the small, little, lovely bits and pieces that fill our days.    

                


Monday, 28 November 2016

Scrappy at Heart

In my heart of hearts, I must be a scrappy quilter.

 When I begin a project, I say to myself pick out 6 fabrics and stick with just those for this one.  That way your quilt will be coordinated perfectly and you won't have to do all the second guessing of your choices part way through.  So sensible and I don't know why my brain wants to derail this idea...but at some point, I always remember a great pattern fabric that would look even better than what I originally chose, then out comes the pile and I'm awash with choices again.  The next thing I have 10 or 12 or more fabrics I'm trying to juggle.

  And at about that point, I speak in my stern teacher voice to myself, stay with just these now, what ever else you do, don't add anymore.   That last is silly I know and I don't possess a stern voice; my voice is the weakest part of me, I actually can't physically shout.  When Hubby says to me stop whispering it is not only because he is half deaf, I really do have a soft voice.

Ok, where was I?  Oh yes, scrappy at heart.  I think I like to go off the grid when it comes to quilting.  I am never happier than when making those Quilty 360 circles where I get to use whatever I can find in my remnants basket.  More about that little project later.

How about you?  Are you scrappy at heart too?

We had two days of milder temperatures but rather dreary weekend weather overall.  I couldn't take photos indoors and I wanted to show you my quilting on "Shiny and Brite".  Sunny breaks were promised for today and we have them.  So I've just taken my photos and now here I am sitting in my pet chair with a large coffee and talking to you.


I mentioned the "Shiny and Brite" piece is now a sandwich.  Used my kitchen island again for lay out and a ridiculous number of pins.  But they work.



 I have spent about 5 hours so far hand quilting the inside portion around the wreath.


  I expect to use the machine to stitch the outside, stitch in the ditch or something similar.  I am pleased with the thread I am using.  First I used plain white and suddenly remembered I had this wonderful variegated spool in pale pinks, blues and greens. It struck me that it was the perfect thread to be using for this colourful wreath.


 I was glad I'd worked a few circles with the plain white though as it gave me a chance to practice my quilting stitch and get a bit of a rhythm going.


 You do have to break the 10 foot rule though, to see the variance in the subtle thread colours.  It's taking a while, slow stitching and, of course, being me, I'm wondering now why I chose to stitch such tiny circles, why not bigger ones.  But I am liking how the small ones are looking overall.

I should mention the batting which was recommended to me at the Mad About Patchwork shop.
Hobbs Tuscany Collection which is 90% silk and is a dream to stitch through.  Apparently it makes me a "discriminating" quilter to use it, LOL. But I must say it is wonderful stuff.




It is also enjoyable for a change to have stitching that does not involve counting.

So did you take part in the Black Friday sales?  Any bargains?  I did a little online shopping I'll talk about soon.
Hope your Monday is not feeling at all like a Monday!




Friday, 25 November 2016

Winter Came Last Saturday

Gardener's Alphabet "W" block

Outside last Saturday, Sunday and part of Monday...winter arrived full force.


Schools were closed and except for the wind howling, it was pretty quiet here at the wooden chalet.  The dogs sensibly showed no interest in going outside.
 Duh, it didn't occur to either of us to put the cars in the garage.


Inside we were busy feeding the downstairs wood stove, reading, stitching (me not Hubby) feeding ourselves and watching our Netflix and Acorn. Not a bad life really.
"Strawberry Fields" benefited from the extra attention.

                                             

"Shiny and Brite" is now a sandwich.

And I made Lumberjack Cake. I thought it was a fitting treat, sort of stuck as we were in our little woods with the snow swirling all around us like some northern lumber camp.
The recipe came from a kind Margaret in response to my writing that I wanted something good to eat and couldn't think of anything.  She patiently wrote out the recipe in a comment to the post and you can find that recipe for yourself by going HERE.
The cake is delicious and real comfort style food.



It required a surprising amount of fruit including dates.  Delicious.



The perfect cake with a cup of tea, perfect on a snowy late November day.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

In Which I Feature A Gobbling Star


I took  this little video two weeks ago when the wild turkey flock crossed Daughter's backyard.


                                          

                              The Star of the Thanksgiving Show



Hope all my blogging friends and readers who celebrate the American Thanksgiving are having the most wonderful of days!

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The Doctor Said and Cross in the Moon

I tried to get a photo of this year's Super Moon.  There were so many beautiful photographs taken.  Here is what I was able to capture with my little Sureshot.
It's kind of interesting.


Every picture showed a cross through the moon.





Some sort of aura I guess caused by the flash. Unseen with the naked eye because just looking at it didn't show it.  The night sky was very clear and with our best binoculars, I could make out the shaded portions on the moon's surface which I found entrancing. No cross of any sort. It just showed up in the camera's photos.  Anyway, I think my cross in the moon photos are intriguing.  Perhaps it was a foretelling of the weather we just had for the last two days...high winds and blowing snow totaling 25 cm.

Last Wednesday, we had our checkups with our GP and I got to relate my vertigo incident I told you all about back in October.  He was very reassuring that it was not serious and pegged it as part of a gastro virus of some kind that went through my system.  He said if it were something serious I would have been having other ongoing symptoms such as headaches, blurred vision, perceptual difficulties, etc. He totally understood how upsetting vertigo is; said he had seen people with it have to crawl into ER; they couldn't stand up.  The rest of our visits was equally reassuring which is especially happy for Hubby who is a mutliple cancer survivor.
So I'm going to put that behind me for now.

Up to Saturday it was the depth of bleak November.  Everywhere the ground was browns, grays or blacks.  Some would find these views depressing but I kind of like how the earth shows its' bones, so to speak this time of year like none other. Nothing is hidden; branches bent and broken, nests and remnants of nests, all the woodpecker holes; everything visible for viewing.  Now all that is resting under a snowy white blanket.

I had to smile when someone mentioned this to me...colouring since I had said I enjoyed colouring as a girl and mentioned it again with "Shiny and Brite".  This colouring book was recommended by that reader.  I am familiar with Thomas Kinkade and how he is called the painter of light.  I know as well he has come under fire for going so commercial with his artistry.  But that very thing has made him a household name and made his work well known to so many people.  His cottages lit up for evening time are so lovely and familiar.

                                    

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Old Place, Goodbye

We finally made the decision to try to sell the old property.  We'd been tossing around so many options and with winter maintenance facing us, decided to give selling it a try. After all, if it took all winter, so what, we had nothing to lose we figured.
Here is a short little video the real estate agent made.  I want you to note those woods behind the house; that's where I got lost for 90 minutes that time, remember?  You get some idea of how dense it is back there.


Anyway, it worked because the property sold in less than 2 weeks and it seemed we had lots of options for buyers.  The buyers are a young couple with children which couldn't have pleased us more.  Children have never lived there which I always thought a shame as it's such a wonderful place for them to explore, keep animals, climb trees and grow things. They will inject new life into the place and have the necessary energy to maintain and enjoy all the property has to offer.

I still walk through the rooms sometimes in my mind.  I spent so many enjoyable hours sitting stitching in the living room with an  eye to the bird feeder just outside the window. I always had  my breakfast coffee in front of the kitchen woodstove, the coziest spot on a winter morning.  I loved all the outdoor time spent on the woods trails and spying all the little creatures.
I am so happy to have started this blog while living there...it meant I took lots of photos and recorded things I might never have done.  I'll always have that.