Thursday, 25 April 2019

Costco Haul, Spring Strings

Something larger than a mouse stirred last night.
It clambered noisily across our veranda loud enough to wake me and make the dogs bark savagely; Murphy with her hair all standing along her back was especially upset.  A deer comes to mind but why a deer would be up on the veranda, I do not know. Murphy wanted to go out to do battle but of course, I kept her in. She is quite often misguidedly brave!
 Then sleep was not an option for me. Drats!

It seems like the world has awakened around our house; everywhere I look I see birds.  And down at the pond, the peeps and other frogs have begun their annual spring serenades. Noisy little critters- however their song is music to our ears anyway.

Did you hear about Gwen?
This is a book I bought a few years ago.  With all the string flurry going on, I got it out to have a look.  Gwen Marston was one of my favourite simply because she, like Cheri Payne, emphasized having fun and enjoyment first and foremost with your quilting. Now Gwen obviously had a flair for matching colours and fabrics too. I was sorry to hear of her recent passing but her quilting legacy is firmly established and will continue to be celebrated.
                          
I've had a busy week but did manage to finish four more of the Spring Strings blocks. Enjoyable stitching but many more to go!


My Costco Haul
I don't go to Costco often mainly because it offers a crowded kind of shopping feeling. But I'm lured sometimes because of the special items I can't locate elsewhere. Or the more economical pricing of dearer items such as the quinoa, pumpkin seeds and coconut flour.  That Goldenberry Power Mix of dried fruits is delicious, as are the little lemon curd tartlets.
 Please do share with me what you find at Costco that I should be buying.
A couple of Easter gifts to show you.
Hubby's new egg cup. Boiled eggs in egg cups remind him of when he was a boy.

And a lavender Hydrangea plant which I love and hope to successfully plant outside later on.
I'm calling this one below a Purple Finch and I was happy to get a photo of her, albeit through my window. She was smallish and loved the sunflower seeds. After two days of lunching, she must have moved on...no sightings since. And if our temperatures remain above zero, I should no longer have to take photos from inside!



Things are warming up here. Hope the weather is exactly the way you want it wherever you are!
As always, linking up with the I Like Thursdays party at Not Afraid of Color.





Sunday, 21 April 2019

Glad Surprise That is Spring

Heavy rain and the odd thunderclap were keeping us inside for the most part. It came with wind too lashing about the trees.
 We went out for our walks but I worried Hubby would get cold from the dampness.  I grew up with those notions; did you?
Bit brighter today and there is no doubt "spring is breaking in glad surprise" all around us.

For instance, the phoebe has returned to the rafters of the tiny garage by the pond. Last year two nests were inside and the birds didn't seem to mind the closeness. Having a pond on one side and meadow on the other provides lots of food for these little insect eating birds.
And all the rain didn't stop this mother robin (can you see her?) from continuing her most important work, nest building.
Which she is accomplishing in a tree overlooking our back deck conveniently placed for me. I can stand in the patio door and watch her at work.
Nests with their precious cargo make me think of baskets.  Did you know humans have been forming baskets as far back as it is traceable?  Like mother robin, our need to collect and carry inspired every form of a basket.
I have this woven one that I love, bought at a thrift store years ago.  I keep my best magazines in it.
A few yellow appliqued baskets have joined the browns/tans on the wall. Think I'm going to keep the colours very controlled; maybe just in this range of tans, browns and yellows.  Putting them together on the wall makes them look like something which is encouraging to me.
I feel like I should have felt more upset about the fire in Paris which was truly horrible but we seem to be hearing about one catastrophe after another. Just this morning, dreadful news from Sri Lanka, for instance.  The way the world is these days, some things just have to be thrown overboard.  Lamenting heavily every single bit of awful news, I guess, is one of them. You can't carry it all, I tell myself.

But on a positive note our love of wild birds here in Ottawa means the Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Center is getting a brand new building by 2020. The 17 acres to house it have been purchased and we have seen the new design. I'm very happy about this and support it all the way.

Special visitors at the front of the house yesterday stopping by the bird feeder- two white tailed deer.
 Happy Easter to all who celebrate! This is April's redwork block called Buns and Peeps from A  Patchwork Year  by Kathy Schmitz.
 I'm stitching appliqued pieces on my Spring Strings blocks today and also giving the Cornwall Cottage piece some attention.
Hope your Sunday is calm, peaceful and you are doing something that you love too.
Something else I love is joining these link parties. Kathy's QuiltsViewing Nature With Eileen, Small Quilts and Doll Quilts and Busy Hands Quilts.


Thursday, 18 April 2019

Thursday This and That

Driving rain and high winds and we can now see all the fir branches swaying without ice.  Ice will be the mark of this past winter and it made me think of my years on Baffin Island where ice played a role there too.  I don't think I've mentioned that while there I got to walk on a glacier, part of the Penny Ice Cap just inside the Arctic Circle.
The most surprising thing was that it was a noisy experience...the cracks and creaking sounds were surprisingly loud, echoing in the cold, quiet air.  I found it unnerving. My two little girls were there with me and I worried a crevasse would open up and swallow one of us (which I'm sure has happened sometime somewhere) so it was a relief to step off it.

And while thinking of swaying branches, I thought this very beautiful. The Sydney Opera House illuminated with Glimt's The Tree of Life images (credit Ken Butti). I had a brief Glimt phase in university when I drew many of his curvy branches, all badly.
Unique and meaning laden, the tree of life idea has been rendered numerous times in many art media by many real artists.
Image result for sydney opera house illuminated with tree of life
And coincidentally while looking through one of my favourite magazines, Quiltmania Simply Vintage No.22 checking out spring ideas,
I spied this project, another Tree of Life version, by Darlene Sabo for Olympic Wool Works.
 And of course, there are both vintage and classic versions of Tree of Life quilt blocks.
Recently I got to eat at a wonderful restaurant and it was so special.  We seldom do this and always say we should be doing it more.
It was Italian so I had the lasagna; we shared something new to me -polenta fries and loved it all.  I admired the swirls on the cutlery handles.
As well as the view from the window. Spring melting and the river is high.
My geraniums have rewarded me with a little bloom.  These are from the laneway pot last summer and I can't wait to get them back out there.
The cool overnight temperatures are making it hard for icy patches to melt. The forest holds onto its snow and ice; I can vouch for that.  But the deck is free at last. Woo Hoo!
While making a mess in the sewing room, I prepped the applique pieces for my next four Spring Strings blocks.  I used all scraps for the darker leaves which pleased me.

My Sweet Pea crochet project benefitted from some attention this week. I'm not sure about this trellis stitch; I think there are others that I've enjoyed working more though this is very easy to crochet while listening to tv or whatever.  I have extra wool so I'm making three rows with each colour.

Especially nice to have a sleeping dog at your feet.  
I'm sorry these photos did not capture the true colours.
I hope you have had a good week and thank you for the kind comments on previous posts. SO appreciated!
Linking this post to Not Afraid of ColorMy Quilt InfatuationIt's A Small Town Life, Esther's Quilt Blog and Brian's Home Blog.



Sunday, 14 April 2019

Avocado, Birds, Free Patterns

Lately this has been my favourite lunch which I make sure I eat by 1 pm.  Two slices of dark rye bread, a little olive oil, an avocado and a sprinkling of pink salt. I find avocado, like bananas, filling.
 I have to work on not gobbling it down and am practising mindful chewing.  Yes, that's a thing and pretty tiresome too but necessary for me as I have a tendency to inhale my food.  Even with this, I tend to forget sometimes and then I'm a big old turkey, gobble, gobble.
As a Newfoundlander, we are known for a love of food..."love our stomachs" as we used to say.  And just mentioning that conjured up an image of Mom's homemade bread just out of the oven spread with butter and molasses.  Washed down with a big cup of tea.

Saw a whole flock of robins yesterday and was thrilled. It was a day that also felt like spring with a double digit warmer temperature and dry pavement. A day to not wear my winter jacket but a lighter one with a turtleneck sweater under it.  Progress!
This is a redwork pattern I embroidered a few years ago, part of Crabapple Hill Studio's Flight of Fancy project. (Still have those blocks somewhere, unpieced!)

No robins but did capture from my kitchen window, this little guy sitting in my boxwood bush. 
So many different sparrows and the immature versions also make identification tricky.  But because of that spot in the center of his chest, I'm going to guess song sparrow.  Any other thoughts?
Yes, the Barred Owls of Indiana have hatched!  Two little white puddles in the nesting box at this point surrounded by prey. Both parents hunt to feed the young, are very able at it and the young are always blessed with lots of food as a consequence.
 All About Birds Barred Owl Cam



Spring and Mother's Day
Jacquelyne Steeves has coalated this selection of 25 Free Spring/Mother's Day Patterns to stitch.  Umbrellas and chicks, flowers and butterflies...the usual springy lineup. Love this one.
                                       
And my own efforts in the sewing room have led to this.  My first four blocks of Spring Strings.  I'll change up the fabrics for the next four appliqued flowers but hoping to keep them springy though.  I have also made a different flower template but wondering if I should just stick with this.  I have a stack of these string background blocks made so lots to play around with.  


Coffee finished and we are heading out with the dogs for our morning walk now.  We have a rainfall warning to begin early afternoon.  So more stitching time coming up. 
Linking with the following wonderful link parties:- Kathy's QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than Housework
What a Hoot Quilts, Small Quilts and Doll Quilts and Viewing Nature With Eileen.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Photograph Blocks And More

A most welcome April but the wild melting/freezing/snowing cycle we've been experiencing is mostly unspringlike but making the landscape take on a harshness just the same.  Exposed are last autumn's withered leaves, all the stumps and sticks and suddenly there are even soggy areas where you can go over your boots. Unlike the crisp freshness of winter air, walking today, the air had a smell that was a little woody and earthy.
But the Canada Geese are returning! I was mesmerized by that very moody March sky.

  Yes that early spring smell is familiar to me from my long early spring walks to school years ago. And that made me think (for this is the way my mind flits about) did any of you get new clothes for Easter growing up? We always did.
Just recently in talking to Mom, she mentioned how she would knit me a new spring cardigan each year and I would want to wear it to show it off before she thought the weather was warm enough.  She could work in any pattern without instructions...a clever skill I wish I had!

I got to see the marvelous Captain Marvel movie with older grandson recently.  I really liked Annette Benning as the Supreme Intelligence in this and loved the way they gave the original male role to a woman.
 She thanked the wig people because she wore wigs throughout. Love this wig. Maybe because it is the style I'm trying to achieve with my hair, which is thinning.  I'm still relying on texture spray - this one- Moroccanoil Dry Texture Spray but a wig is in my future. I've learned enough about wigs now to know that height in the top and back there is gotten through something called permatese. (oh the useless information that gloms onto my brain!)

                                   Related image
And speaking of strong women.
I still follow the royal family and especially Herself, Queen Elizabeth.  She really is remarkable even just for the stamina and dedication she has at her age, almost 93...an inspiration for me.

  Apparently she is just as smart as she always was too...able to correct the medals sergeant about which he has chosen for which award.  Medals is just one of unusual areas of expertise for her; horses being another.  Dog calling too.  I also like how she eats whatever people serve her and does not ask for special foods (with the exception being requesting no garlic). She has never once bothered the kitchen staff for anything past her 9 pm. tea and biscuit. That certain modesty despite her station in life is admirable. Especially during these times when wild ostentatiousness is at an all time high.  She will, quite literally, be a tough act to follow.
Riding still at that😒 age!
                                    Image result for queen elizabeth riding recently
So here at the wooden house, all calm...two snoring dogs and one snoring hubby accompanied me throughout last night and myself, tired enough to go back to sleep even after being woken. Thankful for that. And I'm tired of reading how important sleep is to good health. 😒

This mug had to come home with me when I saw it featured a wooden house in the fir trees, as well as the name of this beautiful province.  I love the pretty aqua colour on the inside too. Little squirrel is one of three tree decorations which includes an owl and a deer.  I thought  they also belonged here.
Happily stitching a few more of the Photograph Blocks.  The scraps are not always obliging enough to render a full little motif but I'm trying my best.
These are being sewn in stages.  Here is stage one with just one small strip added. This helps use some very small narrow bits.
And then a few more to add to the wall.  I'm aiming for 10 a week.

I must be sitting at the machine funny or something. I'm not there long when a certain muscle on one side of my back begins to ache. After a session, it is quite sore. I must dig out the heating pad.

A Little Good News
I can feel her panic because I would feel exactly like that! I'm obsessive about my wallet.  And of course, I'm happy the hero is a fellow Newfoundlander.
Iowa Woman Seeks Good Samaritan Newfoundlander

Kathryn Madera Miller of Iowa, pictured recently with her husband, John Miller, is on the hunt for a man from this province who returned her lost bag to her at Tampa airport on Tuesday, March 19.
What a sweet looking couple.
Update: He has been found! Good Samaritan Found

I love how winter weather exposes nests hidden while in use.  I've watched this one all winter wondering if it would hold up and it has. Now I wonder will it be reused...a chance for bird photos later on maybe.  Looks the right fit for a wren.

Taking myself in hand again with my reading...besides enjoying Ted Talks, reading some nonfiction. This one was an ebook downloaded from the library which I admit I skimmed, enough to learn I am not highly sensitive, just a little bit but perhaps you are.  I'm just ordinary, LOL.

                                      Page de couverture de The Highly Sensitive
I have lots more to chat about but must stop before I've chewed your ear off.
As always linking this post with Not Afraid of Color. Also linking with Esther's Design BlogSew Fresh QuiltsMy Quilt InfatuationThe Needle and Thread NetworkBusy Hands Quilts and The Jesh Studio.



Sunday, 7 April 2019

Pin Cushions and Cross Stitch

Was my life too a pilgrimage...one that led me here on this calm Sunday thinking grateful thoughts for the journey that has been my life. There have been valleys to trudge through but also mountain tops to wave from. Maybe there was a purpose to all the happenings that came before; perhaps to lead me here to this very spot of beautiful land that I troll every day for little sights that please my eyes and make me happy.
Like this very fluffed up mourning dove for instance.  There were just the two together trying to stay warm.  Love the colour of the breast, unusually golden.

When I pulled out some spring like fabrics I noticed this one from Tula Pink with the little curled up fox napping.  It reminded me of the foxes we glimpse from time to time here on the property. I thought he would make a cute pin cushion.  I love polka dots too.

Pin cushions seem to be enjoying a revival. They suit themselves so well to using up scraps is perhaps why. This book Pin Pals by Carrie Nelson is very popular. You can read all the 5 star reviews and purchase it here at Amazon.

                                          Pin Pals
Of course, it is the simplest of things to sew and after a morning in the sewing room, I had my little pin cushion for spring finished and put to use. Not much pizzazz but I like him.

Sandra at mmm-quilts, Musings of a Menopausal Melon  has started her QAL project called Beothuck Star.  Pretty name and it promises to be very popular with stars as the theme.

                                        
Progressing on my cross stitch project. Slow stitching at its best. I'm working on the flower motifs in and around the handles taking a little break from the basket stitching.
My cross stitch SAL group  led by Avis at  Sewing Beside the Sea is linking up this week.  What an amazing variety of projects!
AvisClaireGunCaroleJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHelenLindaHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMegan,CatherineDeborahConnieClare, Mary MargaretReneeJennyCarmelaJocelynSharon

Time is moving so fast it's a wonder my head is not spinning. Seriously. But not toppling over; in my mind feeling level thankfully. Hope you are all upright as well!
Linking this post with Kathy's Quilts, Pretty Piney, Love Laugh QuiltQuilt FabricationEm's ScrapbagFrom Bolt to Beauty The Inquiring Quilter, Confessions of a Fabric AddictWendy's Quilts and More and Viewing Nature With Eileen.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Colourful Thursday and Spring Strings

I wonder how many of us love a blank page and have a favourite pen. I am a little particular about the pen I write with-must be black ink, for instance (always have been...may be a Virgo thing?).  And a blank page always beckons me.  And black is a colour too.

Hubby was looking for a pen he could write upside down with, specifically complete his anagram puzzle in the paper from a reclining posititon.  After auditioning several, he settled on this one which when I tried it out, lo and behold, I liked it too. (Cannot say that last bit without hearing the girl with the fake Irish accent from the old Irish Spring Soap commercials!)  The Bic Intensity available at Walmart and it's all about the small things these days.

                                                   BIC Intensity Fineliner Marker Pen Set, 3/Pack

The evening sky at Daughter's last fall.  Colours not heightened, btw...the sky was literally glowing with this beautiful range....naturally.  But it only lasted a couple of minutes, long enough to hold me in awe though.
Happy crocheting with these pretty shades of lavender (Blogger turned them blueish) and forgetting just how long it takes to crochet 211 stitches! Started Lucy's Trellis Stitch pattern and mine seems a little bumpy.
Definitely won't be seeing daffodils any time soon and actually I'm glad they can't pop up yet. Last years' bloomed on time only to be destroyed by freezing rain.
Here is my version of the Farmer's Wife Daffodil block...hand pieced and yes, the pattern is this, a little odd. I think I had to do this three times to get it to work but took heart when many others also had difficulties with it.  One of the pluses of joining online group stitch alongs is reading that you're not alone with pattern issues.


I think I mentioned I've read the many autobiographies and books about the American First Ladies. So I remembered that Lady Bird Johnson's agenda while First Lady was to beautify and conserve natural landscapes, in particular wildflowers and trees. She was instrumental in setting up the National Wildflower Research Center. I love her legacy! It blooms on!
               
                       Image result for where there is flowers there is hope
                                         
You can find the free pdf download for the design below which is called Arbor.  I keep coming across this in my searches for scrap quilts.  It would work so well for a wide variety of scrap fabrics and colours.
Live Art Gallery found through QI link


                              Free pattern (PDF download!)
I am working on my string project and settled on spring colours for the flowers I intend to applique on the blocks.  I'm calling this one Spring Strings which is a bit of a tongue twister.
I included some aqua for the petals and now I'm trying to figure out which green coordinates with aqua for the stalks and leaves. Or is there a green that does? Perhaps a darker shade of aqua?

Rex at the farm, 2014.  Look at those ears.  He must have been such a cute puppy.


Though a little envious, I'm enjoying seeing the colours in your gardens many of you are sharing.  Enjoy it all and our time will come!
Linking as always with Not Afraid of Color.  Also joining the link parties at Brian's Home BLogEsther's Quilt BlogSew Fresh Quilts, and My Quilt Infatuation.