Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Closing the Garden Thoughts

I am basically new to gardening.
 I still am learning and that is why I get such enjoyment from watching Christine's Garden on Youtube. Christine Walkden is so joyful, enthusiastic and encouraging to us novices.  Here is her episode 1 if you haven't already watched.  After watching a Dateline or 48 Hours Mystery show, it's nice to be soothed and comforted by Christine's chatter about all growing things.

  My past gardening experience was mainly adding a few seeds to soil in a flower bed mid season and hoping for the best.  I always had enough success to keep me at it and trying again the next season.  Indoors I kept a few plants that were fool proof, the geraniums and African violets namely.

 On the old property with all the land, I'd been seduced into branching out and trying to grow vegetables as well as more kinds of flowers.  The results with the flowers had been pretty good; the vegetables not so much. I never could identify what kept eating things and figure out how to put them off.

 Rhonda at her Down To Earth blog gives very good advice on how to grow your own vegetables as well as tips and information on many, many topics.  She is an inspiration to live more simply and find the pleasures in doing so. And what she harvests from a relatively small piece of land is amazing proving you really don't need a lot of land to have a harvest if you have your wits about you.

Before I forget to do so, I want to show you this flower.  It sprouted these bright yellow flowers in mid July and has only stopped blooming early October.  I'd never seen it before but the huge elephant ear leaves caught my eye before we'd moved in.

With research I discovered this is ligularia, a relative of the genus Aster and sometimes called leopard spots.  I loved how the bees and butterflies also loved it.

This Swallowtail butterfly spent a couple of hours on it one day while I was sewing nearby. I think by that point in the summer there was slim pickings for any other flower food.
There are two large clumps and I'd like to divide them.  The clump in front of the house is quite large and seems to enjoy the partial shade of the veranda, a thought to keep in mind for replanting.

I'm a note taker ( I've shown you my lovely stack of journals and notebooks) but not with the gardening stuff.  I wish each season that I had taken note of what grew well so I could use that brand of seed again.  It is a mistake to rely on my memory, which since retiring struggles to keep in mind which day of the week it is, sooo

What I could write down if I did...

What grows well where

This is fundamental because soil conditions, even from bed to bed, affect sprouting and growing.  When faced with the huge bank of seed envelopes at a store or in the catalogues, it would make so much sense to have a few reliables to turn to that grow well in Ontario.  And then to know where exactly to plant them in my garden.

Sometimes I seem to neglect the easiest things.

Sprouting Too Late
This caught up with me badly a couple of years.  Often March is still steeped in bad (snowy) weather and does not seem like seed planting time, green house or not.  But it kind of is especially for the tomatoes.  And about tomatoes...

 Not properly staking the tomatoes; what a silly mistake this is.

Something else I need to take more seriously.  Tomato plants grow many branches and usually sprout a tomato or two on each branch.  These get heavy and need supports to stay upright.  I found myself trying to tie branches to stakes haphazardly mid growth.  It would have made sense to plan for this by caging them properly from the start.  

Lacking foresight is a gardening problem not just mine...I see that all the time with people planting trees too close to the house.  That little seedling is just too small to imagine the size it will become.

End of October is close and I still have pruning to do and some extra mulching.  I was told there were lots of spring perennials here so it will be fun to see what pops up next May.

Meanwhile we are still looking up.
 Leaves are clinging on and at the height of their colour. Our drive last Thursday was through a forest of blazing colours on both sides of the highway.  My little camera could not capture the vibrancy especially through the windshield but you get the idea.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Canadian Needle Nana Is Featured

I keep forgetting to mention that this blog was featured in the October, 2016 issue of Cross Stitch Collection, a UK monthly publication.  I was asked by an editor last March to do a little interview which I did.  But first I had to make it perfectly clear that I don't talk just about cross stitch in my blog, far from it. She was very kind and said that's what makes it interesting.  And truthfully, I have mentioned before that with this blog when I talk just about stitching I don't have the page views I have for lots of other topics.
The library carries this magazine here so I was able to access it through Zinio and grab this photo for you.

I went through this issue and see there is something for everyone including some lovely autumn patterns they've made into pin cushions that caught my eye.  Loads of free patterns.

So if you are new readers, welcome to my little corner of the blogging world and please do check out the wonderful blogs in my Blogs I Follow list on the right.  That's where the real stars are, I assure you.

Meanwhile...this weekend, what did I do?

I gave Hubby a haircut and decided to give myself one at the same time.  I now am sporting a very bad haircut.  I really need more practice with clippers.  Thank goodness hair grows!

I finished my little appliqued house block and really like it.  It is simplistic I know and a house has to be just about the easiest thing to draw and cut. The house itself was needle turn and the pumpkins were glued and then blanket stitched down.  Not quite done yet as I plan to work on the windows and maybe add a little path. Do you think I should do that? What else should I add?

I was able to spend a couple of hours on Strawberry Fields.  Michaels' had replenished their cross stitch fabric selection (finally, surely I'm not the only one looking for something other than 14 count Aida!) and I found a cloth in a colour I really like.  A tea dyed Irish linen in 28 count which is close enough to the the 32 count.  This will definitely work better for this pattern than that very deep deep grey.

And oh, about that.  Thank you Georgie, for the leads to cross stitch patterns in white or pale blue that would look so nice on the almost black cloth.  I have them bookmarked.

I enlarged the pattern, got out my Ott light and set to.  It was slow going and every now and then, my eyes would sort of blur but I could see the rhythm in it...two over, two up.  This is the top border more than half way done; I realize now this isn't a very big piece.  Also there are only 13 colours, unlike most of my projects that use at least twice that number, so very easy to manage.  I actually had some of the side border completed, but made a mistake so had to take all the stitches out. I'm used to that. Sigh  Pretty rosy colours, heh.

Another thing we did this weekend was have our first fire.  The wood stove insert in the living room fireplace worked well.  It not only radiated a nice heat into the room, it looked pretty while doing so.

 The temperatures are gradually slipping lower and we've had two overnight frost warnings lately.
  I'll have to launch a search for our hats and gloves; we'll be needing them any minute now.

Friday, 14 October 2016

A Project Set Back and Dog Report

I received my Confederate gray cloth, 32 count and I don't think it is the right shade of gray for this project. Drats!  If you'll remember in my photo of Strawberry Fields Forever, the background cloth looks almost cream to me.  Doesn't it look light or cream to you?

 I've looked through many finished versions of this project on the internet and all of them look much lighter than this material which is actually a light black (don't think there is such a colour, but if there were, this would be it).

This cloth is so dark I don't think the floss colours would show up very well at all.  I won't be trying to use this though it is a nice piece of cloth.  I'll save it for a design with a lot of light coloured threads.  Meanwhile I'm casting about looking for a lighter colour of 32 count that would be appropriate.
  Just look at that tight weave- still have my self-doubts.  Going to take some positive self-talk to overcome them and tackle stitching on such an even weave fabric.

In that same package (combining shipping costs) I'd ordered a pattern I've admired for a while.  Swirling Flowers by Rosewood Manor.  The same thread count material in antique white linen and the Weeks Dye Works threads are so pretty.   I've had to hold myself off from starting this as I'm standing firm that Strawberry Fields will be started first.

Someone asked about Rex and Murphy.  They are doing fine and spend most of their days hanging around on the back deck and patios.  They do have a very large fenced area there but mostly stay near the house and keep an eye out for one of us.  They seem very needy of our attention and I suppose we have spoiled them in that way. Lately we've fallen into the routine of taking them on two lengthy walks a day.  Hubby takes them first thing in the morning down the woods trail I showed you and I take them around the grassy trail before supper. We do think they have adjusted well to the new house and surroundings.  We've not taken them back to the old property; we wonder what they would do if we did.

I'd mentioned the dog paraphernalia we have.  Here are a couple of pretty porcelain pieces.  Hubby has had three German Shepherd dogs up to now.  Rex is the fiercest with visitors which is probably due to his early guard dog training in his first life.

We still think of Lacie, the dalmatian, a lot.  When packing for the move, I had to wash her old coat so naturally I remembered various things about her.  Sadly I never knew her as the elegant, graceful dog Hubby knew.  By the time we met, she was very elderly and coping with old age in a quiet sweet manner.  You can read my post Good Bye To Lacie  about how sad it was for Hubby to finally let her go.  He still cannot mention the simplest memory of her without tears forming. Of the three dalmatians he has owned, I think he is extra sentimental about her because she was the only of his dogs that he knew as a puppy; she was not a rescue.  

So what are your weekend plans?
 Hubby is getting his brand new wood splitter tomorrow and is very happy about that. I see wood stacking in my near future. Smile
 And  I am hoping Michaels will finally have on hand that cloth and I will (gulp) make a start on Strawberry Fields.  Wish me luck.
I have three more little autumn blocks prepped for appliqueing so hand stitching will be in my weekend one way or another.

A photo I took from Daughter's back deck last Tuesday.  Their trees were just beginning the wonderful colourful changes  that are autumn's most splendid marker here in Canada.

Hope there is something colourful in your weekend too!

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Tuesday's Talk

Took it rather easy most of the long weekend. After tea and toast meals I did have a  heavy breakfast yesterday, porridge with dried cranberries.  Yes, we have decades of dog paraphernalia around the house including mugs.

 I'm happy to report everything health-wise has remained settled so I'm hoping against hope my lost Friday was a one time thing.  Fingers and toes crossed! Thanks for all the well wishes.

 It's time I caught you up on my little autumn blocks. I've enjoyed trying to draw my own designs to use in these despite the false starts, extra cuttings, unsewing, restitching that each very small picture has required. They are turning out to look very primitive indeed which was not exactly what I was aiming for either.  Maybe I needed to start out with a clearer picture in my head of what I wanted.

 I tried very hard to get a leaping hare under the harvest moon.  That's what I was going for in these photos.  The first I drew and actually appliqued onto the block was too small so I had to take the poor little fellow off, draw and cut and sew another one.

The first moon I had was too small also as well as being too pale in colour.  I'm much happier with both the new moon and hare.  Now I have to work out how to draw the bushes or grass he is leaping over.  And complete his blanket stitching as he is a fusible applique.

I also worked out most of a little planter of flowers.  I'd seen a photo in one of Hubby's books that I liked.  See the little planters with white and red flowers, they were a sort of inspiration. In the right hands, these flowers and little trees could be translated amazingly into fabric applique.  Wonder what that is meant to be on that guy's head there on the right?! Looks like a tree stump. lol

But in my hands, this is what I came up with.  Rather far from the original thought.  I worked hard on those smaller red circles, making the templates and basting them, trying to get them perfectly round, etc. only to think they are too big.  What is it with me and sizing these pieces!!

I'm finding it harder to design my own patterns than I'd thought. It certainly is time consuming.
 No kidding.
 I have a renewed admiration for those who do so and produce such novel and beautiful patterns for us to follow.

Monday, 10 October 2016

The Thanksgiving Dinner That Wasn't


  I had run around on Thursday; actually went to two grocery stores to pick up everything I needed for the big feast.  I'd decided to do a Newfoundland meal...salt meat, peas pudding and cabbage along with the turkey and all the usual...mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, parsnips and sweet potato.  I wanted everything tucked away in my cupboard so there would be no last minute running out to pick up something.  So far so good.

Friday morning I didn't have my eyes open when I felt something not right.  It felt like the room was spinning.  Opened my eyes and the sensation was worse.  I was immediately very unwell.  I had to spend the whole day lying down, mostly with eyes closed, feeling weak and off balance any time I tried to stand.  I couldn't read, write or look at the internet.  It made me too queasy. I slept a lot.  Hubby hovered. In our time together, he'd seen me sleep in seldomly and stay in bed all day never. Nothing he could do as I  couldn't eat. I tried to sip water constantly because of the fear of dehydration.  I was drained and weak as a kitten by day's end.  I agreed with Hubby I'd have to go to the hospital in the morning if I wasn't seeing an easing of my symptoms.

Saturday morning and I could stand again.  The spinning room had slowed to just something like a tilted room; I could make it to the couch.  Out of bed...joy!  I could move my head like a normal person.  I didn't need to go to the hospital...more joy.  I lay on the couch watching the rain drip off the evergreens and it looked so wonderful to me...beautiful even.
 I was alive (a little dramatic, I know).

 But reality set in about my big dinner.  I knew I wasn't going to be well enough in time to make the dinner, clean house, and do all the little chores you must do to prepare a big meal.  I needed to call people to tell them in time so they could make other plans.  Which is what I sadly did.  I was so disappointed because having everyone together for a big meal is one of my favourite things in this world to do.

But as sad as I was about that, I was just overjoyed that I was going to be alright.  I was so thankful that I was feeling better.  As the day wore on, everything settled down to the point where I could read again, keep down some plain rice and toast and watch a bit of television with Hubby, like normal.
Ahh, normal.

So So thankful.  Yes.

But I wonder what I had. (Me scratching my head) A weird virus, an episode of vertigo...

My cancelled dinner made me think of movies with Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner scenes; there have been some great ones.  I also thought of the famous dinner scene in Gosford Park...will never forget it.  I couldn't find a good video of the crucial moments to show you.  But I came across
 this link to wonderfully executed awkward dinner scenes in  8 famous movies. I'd forgotten the scene in Scent of a Woman.  So many good movies in this list.  Is it just me or is it getting harder to find good movies.

 Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends and family.
And to all my blogging friends,  

 Image result for canadian thanksgiving 2016

For being an important part of my life!
Thanks for putting up with my dotty ramblings.

Friday, 7 October 2016

A Tour of My Little Sewing Room

I changed the photo in my header.
 Someone told me the old photo was triggering their OCD for tidiness and they hated looking at the messy assortment of spools of thread.  They were itching to fix them up.  So R., if only I could get you to visit my house; I could use your help with more than my header. LOL Having just a touch of OCD about tidiness is probably not such a bad thing (not that I am making light of OCD, mind you, not at all.)

A look round my little sewing room.  Think I mentioned already this was a nursery and an office in times gone by.  It is closest to the master bedroom and doesn't have a closet so I don't know what the original builders had in mind.

I have a hodge podge assortment of furniture...most just rejects from the real rooms.

Yes, I bought two more plastic table cloths to use as 'design walls'.

Threads, needles, other tools are in these drawers.  That's my cardboard collection in the corner. My grandmother would be proud!

The extent of my fabric stash

I keep my small ironing board on top of two little bins and handy to the table.

I love that I can keep all my crafts stuff in one room.  I didn't show you my tote tower behind the door.  But at least I know everything is there- somewhere.  I also like that I can close the door on this  when it gets real messy and no one need see it so I don't have to clear anything away (like in the dining room).  There are screens on both windows so on warmer days, a breeze can be let in and with a large overhead light, it is surprisingly bright.
I plan on moving another table in for the sewing machine and I have yet to hang some of my pictures.
So that's my sewing space.  I've already spent many happy hours there listening to podcasts and stitching and am look forward to many more.

I will be having the family here for Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday.  I'll tell you all about that on Monday...our Canadian Thanksgiving Day which is always the second Monday in October.

Turkey with all the trimmings will be in my weekend.
 Hope there is something good to eat in yours.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Abundant October

Welcome to October but if you are like me, you are wondering how the heck did we get here so quickly!!

Pumpkins, the leaves changing colours from green to gorgeous yellows, oranges and reds and of course,  Halloween, are reasons October is one of the most popular months of the year in our country.

One of the major pumpkin farms here has just harvested their pumpkins.  It's sad that so many of the mishapen ones (probably insects found them) are left behind in the fields.  But on the up side, this is a bonanza for the wildlife and crows.  Even after the winter, the Canada geese will be seen trolling the rows looking for leftover pumpkin bits.

When I wasn't in the sewing room I was in the garden this weekend.  Separated some of the clumps of hosta and rescued many plants that were completely overshadowed by their bigger neighbours.  It seems the spirea bushes especially like to run amok.

 Lots of brown eyed daisies were being lost from view as well as cone flowers and salvia.  I've moved them to more advantageous places but it will be next summer before I know if they will thrive in their new locations.

Both the dogs love it when I work in the fenced part of the back yard.  You can see the field of hostas here which thankfully, really is low maintenance.  I've had to pull a few weeds but that's about it.  There is lots of space for more plantings as you can see...in time.

I wanted you to know

A lovely October CAL is being hosted by Kathryn Senor at Crafternoon Treats.  It is called the Flower Power Autumn Blanket and there is no guess work in getting started with this project.  All the information, instructions and tutorials you could need are provided.  This uses chunky yarn and could make a king sized blanket.

Flower Power blanket crochet along Crafternoon Treats

 Kathryn generously offers her pattern as a free download on Ravelry HERE and you can purchase the wool pack consisting of 13  balls to complete this pretty blanket  HERE.  There is also a chart to follow if you want to use Stylecraft DK yarn instead of the suggested yarn.

Ontario Pears, another of my favourite fruits, are being harvested presently.
 A few treats for working hard in the garden...coconut date rolls, a favourite of Hubby's, pears and walnuts.  I've found keeping a bowl of walnuts on the counter has encouraged us both to eat more of them.
 But a word about the date rolls...s-w-e-e-t!! Which is exactly why youknowwho loves them.