Friday, 22 June 2018

Singing Story, Pinks in the Garden and Lilies Too

I am back home safe and sound from my trip where I got to log many miles by train.  Since I am the full time cook, server and cleaner upper here, it was such a treat for me to sit back and be served a lovely meal while the  pastoral scenery of Quebec flew by.  I loved every minute of it and felt very privileged and thankful.

Hubby and dogs well and just like that, one day home and I feel back into my old routine.

A Before picture- hopefully.

This is a corner of my crowded (and messy) little sewing room taken a while back when my Patchwork Year blocks were on the go.


I've gotten a new piece of furniture at a secondhand furniture store and plan to put it to use in this room.  It is an armoire type of unit, will definitely hold a lot of materials and clear away the floor. More about that later. (Note to self: take a photo of this room when tidy!)

I promised I had a singing story and here it is.

 My Singing Story

I've mentioned I have a singing story.  I used to be able to sing, not exactly sing sing but carry a tune well enough I passed the audition to get into my university glee club (but the director, Iggy, was a kindly man so I don't know if he ever turned anyone away).  My voice has been getting raspier as I've aged and never mind singing -I'm gasping to get words out sometimes and am self conscious of how awfully ragged my voice sounds.

As a result, back in March, I got sent to an ENT doctor who said to me before he even put the light down my throat, I know what your problem is.
 The joke is I have Singers Nodules, something singers get but it turns out is also very common for teachers to develop especially after thirty odd years in the classroom. I was so relieved and thankful it wasn't something else (and you all know what was in my mind!). But as I was leaving, this very young doctor said to me with a serious, sad tone, you may not be able to sing again. Whereupon I laughed and said I was never exactly Celine Dion or anything so no big loss there.

Anyway, the treatment for Singers Nodules is rest; literally don't speak, don't even clear your throat, no more ahems.  When I told Hubby, he didn't say anything but I know he was thinking something. ( I am definitely the chatterbox of the two of us.)

Hosta Heaven

You can see why I call this place Hosta Heaven....they are back in all their big leafed glory.


At the center of the below photo is a pretty flowering Weigela, one of the Spilled Wine forms I planted soon after moving here.  I thought the front was badly in need of more colour to break all the green.  I'm happy it seems to be thriving there.


I do have a small worry- I don't remember how big the card said it would grow.  Rookie gardener mistake! I love it but I don't need another tree sized bush there. (The hydrangeas are now small trees out front.)

Just before I left I had tidied away my projects so only had this one handy.  Six more lilies completed.


Do you agree with Henry James?

Related image

Grateful to link this post with all the happy posts at Not Afraid of Color. Also linking up with
Sugarlane Designs,  and It's A Small Town Life,

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Quilting in Space (Literally), A Finish, and Other Things

We have just finished a week of glorious weather...sunny with low to mid 20's with a little breeze. No intense heat or humidity. I loved it and spent oodles of time outside puttering around and down by the pond with my camera.  It made me think of summer days in my childhood...how we loved them!

Before I forget, Hubby got a message from his GP; absolutely nothing wrong with his heart so it can be ruled out as a cause of his tiredness.  We are very thankful for this news and also grateful to all who asked and sent good wishes.

And to think I find it hard enough to quilt on earth...

Karen Nyberg, who not only has the right stuff, is also a sewist.  In this video she talks about the challenges of quilting in zero gravity and I'm so impressed with her final red, white and blue square.



And in my stitching news, I'm so happy to report a finish.  Since this one was so close to the end I put a rush on and got it done.
The red and white polka dot fabric was an obvious choice for the final border.  And just for fun, I cut  the letters for SUMMER out of it too.  I did a little FMQ...straight lines through the squares. a curvy one through the sashing and a zig zag through the final edge. (I tell myself when I get better at it, I'll venture in and around the applique.) And in real life there are not those pouches under those bottom baskets...you'll have to take my word for it.



So happy the son in law is back to keeping chickens for the summer. Younger grandson is getting quite good at corralling and feeding them, and gathering eggs...and washing his hands after as he pointed out to me. Each hen, this time round, lays a different coloured egg so they know who is laying or not. They have fresh eggs for what seems to be small efforts.




Can't get all 4 of them at once out of the coop for a photo, it seems.

The wonderful Mary Corbett over at Needle n Thread gave this colouring book a great review and I've taken a look at it on Amazon.  Great drawings and lots of opportunity to pluck out motifs here and there to use in applique or embroidery.  The love of everything Morris continues.

William Morris Designs Coloring Book by Emanuela Carletti

And though I'm not going on a jet plane, I am going for the annual train ride- my absolutely favourite way to travel.  Older grandson, his grandfather and I are off to Montreal and Quebec City for the next week.

Image result for via rail long term parking barrhaven fallowfield

Hope you are enjoying wonderful June whether it means summer or autumn for you.

As always happy to link up with LeeAnna's Thursday likes at Not Afraid of Color.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Netflix Show, Purl Soho Quilt and BOM's

Sunrise over our little pond this morning.  I'd gone down early hoping to catch the early bird with my camera. No luck but got lots of bites from mosquitoes or nippers as we called them growing up.


I know most of you are so wonderful with handling complex quilt piecing but not all of us are such quilting queens.  I had to share this pattern for the latter group though I'm thinking the ease this one could go together would please anyone.

I loved making the snowballs in that snowballs quilt.  When I spied the Tiny Tiles quilt kit at Purl Soho, I immediately thought of the way the snowballs quilt goes together and sure enough, this is another variation.

Tiny Tile Quilt | Purl Soho

Kind of ingenious really, how simple this is but so effective. An added bonus of this pattern is you can use scraps and very tiny pieces of material. Corinne at Purl Soho gives a very detailed tutorial on how to make it all the way through to how to quilt it. She has written it as a beginner style of tutorial so nothing is left to chance. I was thinking what a great baby quilt it would make and judging by the numerous comments at their site, this pattern was a huge hit.
Btw, Purl Soho generously provides free instructions for all their  lovely quilt kits.

One step ahead and a couple back-

Last night we finished up this Netflix drama which we enjoyed. Dilemmas and gray areas abound in this one.  Did anybody else catch it?

                                             Image result for seven seconds

All the while I sewed my rows together for this block in my Grasshopper BOM.  Just have the corner to attach and fingers crossed, it will be the size required.  If this one is all good, I'll be cutting out the pieces for the other three and plan to do some veranda stitching when it warms up later today.


 Sometimes it's just about what you can live with...

In the background there, is my Friendship Garden Mystery Quilt block all apart...Yes, I couldn't bear to look at the uneven lines and undid a couple of borders which I felt surprisingly okay with.  It is my machine stitching accuracy project so I may as well do my best to make it so, right?

 Hope it is all forward marching for you though!

Linking this post to Kathy's Quilts who has embroidered the cutest blue thread spool. Also joining the link parties at Small Quilts and Doll QuiltsCooking Up QuiltsBambi's Show and Tell Monday, Free Motion by the River and Love Laugh Quilt.


Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Watches, Baskets, Poor Robin and Starry Nights

 We have been discussing watches lately.
Since retiring and feeling that time is finally my own, I've deliberately not worn watches very much. Hubby, however, doesn't feel dressed unless he has his watch on. He has an eco driven watch that he loves. He sets it on the window sill just so each night and solar power keeps it running. He loves not having to buy batteries. I mentioned an interest in such a watch magically powered by the sun.

Now I am getting emails from him with suggestions of ladies watches that are also solar powered with headings like what about this one or perhaps this one.  He is finding sales of course and I just might say yes to one.  Do you have such a watch that you like?

But we had lunch on Friday with friends and I admired her watch. Silver strap and silver case, not too big, not too small- you could read the numbers(yes it had numbers)...nice looking. Walmart she said, $10, now 3 years old.  Do you get tired of replacing the batteries?  Her hubby chimed in no, they buy them at Dollarama.  As far as they are concerned they work just as well as the expensive ones.
 Now of all the things I buy there, I would not think of buying batteries at dollar stores.  Do you?

I love being up close to nature but sometimes it is a little confounding!

Another crazy robin story...We heard strange scrambling sounds and dull thuds in the dining area.  Watched for a bit and discovered a poor robin battering himself against the window. He was relentless so I had to do something...lowering the blind and closing the curtains didn't work.
 Googled it and found just this sort of thing happens this time of year...a male robin will see his reflection in a window, assume it is a rival and of course, want it gone. Our recourse was to put newspapers over the outside of the window.


 He hung around for a while in the evening...not hitting the window but agitated -hopping back and forth from deck railing to tree branches. When I came out to the dining room this morning at 6:52 am, he was sitting on the railing and I thought oh dear, but he has now left and I haven't seen him since.  I think he returned just to reassure himself the rival has disappeared.

The baskets have gained flowers and leaves now.
 But I'm deliberately showing you the cords there on the right.  These are essential for several of my devices and if I don't have them in full sight, this is just the sort of thing that disappears on me even in that tiny sewing room.  I got fed up with having to waste time looking so this my recourse.  Now, though unsightly which is the price I have to pay, lol, I always know where they are.
Do you have a sure fire way of putting your hand on these small but essential items?


The baskets also have some sashings and a fun border made from scraps. What a great stress free project.


Don't let the process defeat the purpose. 

 I don't know who said this first but it's been around the net for a few years. When I read it again, I realized we all have something in our lives we can apply this too.  For me (this week anyway), it is about the finishing of my projects...the actual quilting of them.  I tend to put that part off...I have reasons...I want to keep practicing first to improve my stitching which is legitimate but I need to call a halt at some point and actually get down to the job. No one wants a project to be spoiled with sloppy quilting, but it is pointless to have them pile up in one of my totes...never to be seen again.
(By the way, thanks Roseanne at Home Sewn By Us for the encouragement re fmq.)

I heard from a lot of  colour blue lovers so here's a little more about it. This is a great article
from Brain Pickings  called Two Hundred Years of the Colour Blue.  It is interesting to think of a colour having an illustrious history.  I love the references to nature in these descriptions.



I love colour wheels and to note all the nuances that make up blue in this one is wonderful.




Just a little bit of awesome is this video of a true song of colours, Starry, Starry Night sung to a backdrop of Vincent Van Gogh's paintings.  It reminded me of the saying that yellow is all about light. And just how free Vincent was with all the shades of blue and yellow. Don McLean's voice is so sweet too.



Hope there is colour, vibrant or soothing as needed in your day today.
 Think of me as I accompany Hubby to the Heart Institute for a major work up- he has never had a heart problem per se but wants to rule out any as the source of his continual tiredness.

So happy to link up with happy things over at LeeAnna's Not Afraid of Color.
Also linking with Esther's Quilt BlogFree Motion by the River, Busy Hands Quilts, My Quilt InfatuationBrian's Home BlogSew Can She and Em's Scrapbag.

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Sunday, 3 June 2018

Blues, Baskets and BOM's

So much to love these early summer days. It is all about the garden for me right now which I'm enjoying very much.  And my body seems to be adjusting and not complaining as much.

June is an amazing month - one heralded with rejoicing back in my teaching days.  The mood in any school just lifts off at this time of year the kids are so happy- as happy as the teachers might be, no one knows how to show joy like children do.

A couple of nature's blues...
I know it is a poor carpenter that blames her tools, but one of the flaws of my camera is that sometimes it will bring into focus surroundings rather than the focal point which it did with this photo but I wanted you to see the brilliant periwinkle colour these irises are sporting right now. ( Irises are one of three favourite flowers...years back I had cross stitched a very large piece of pinkish/lavender irises on black fabric which took me most of a year to complete; though I've lost it, the memory is with me, sigh.)


I spied a couple of birds I did not recognize right off but a bit of sleuthing and confirmation from Facebook friends came up with its name. This is a great time for bird watching here before they get hidden by full summer foliage.

This is the yellow- rumped warbler...a "new to me" bird.  There are a number of them flitting about high in the tree tops down by the pond; I had to hang out there for about thirty minutes before I was able to get a decent shot and this is with my zoom fully extended and then some cropping. The camera gets heavy at that point and harder to keep totally steady so I am pleased with this particular result. I love how summery looking that blue sky is...so welcome after the cloudy cold spring.


Got my planters put together again. They are a little bit sparse but will thicken up when things begin to grow. My back loved not having to bend over quite so much.
This is last years group...this year ditto.


I have an abiding love of basket motif quilt blocks. Like stars, I seem to love them all.
With that in mind, I began a little summery kind of quilted hanging with little baskets. Started with these 6 and it was so stress free to make these appliqued parts I added 3 more in an 8 inch square each.


 I saw a number of projects on Pinterest with a similar type basket and drew my own little template.  Inspiration from here at Podunk Pretties.


I'm finishing off the nine continuing the freezer paper applique for the basket parts.  I found this very useful tutorial on how to use freezer paper for templates from Linda Franz if you are thinking of using them too. This is a great little project like the lilies for when I grow tired of (thinking about, lol) the machine work on the snowballs.  I will definitely finish this piece this month.

And I have watched all my wonderful videos provided by Sarah Fielke for The Grasshopper BOM as preparation for getting deeper into that project.  It is in month 4 now but I'm not in any rush- as Sarah says it is the journey that counts.
 And this project is designed to be hand stitched so a slow process overall. I want this to be my summer stitching and especially need those snowballs out of the way first. I have hand stitched three blocks and they have worked out exactly to the size Sarah said they would.


What a relief and confidence booster for me as I venture onward with the blocks getting increasingly more difficult.
 Sarah's patterns have been faultless and I'm off to a good start so will  state a monthly goal- that being to complete Blocks 3 and 4 of this project.  I feel lucky to be able to avail of such a wonderful project, btw.
The fabrics and pieces for Block 3 below- blues have such range and I think are so pretty. Wish me luck as I continue the hand stitching with a lot of little blocks in this one.  That is Gutermann 100% silk thread- I am enjoying stitching with it.


I see versions of Sarah's Down the Rabbit Hole, the 2017 BOM, at many of the blogs I visit.  She does make lovely contemporary designs.
Image result for sarah fielke bom 2017 down the rabbit hole

So, do you like baskets and blues? And hand stitching? How about blooms or birds? (This post is full of "B" words inadvertently!)
If not any of these, hope your first Sunday in June does have lots of other good things to enjoy.

Also enjoy if you can the linkup parties at Kathy's QuiltsElm Street Quilts, Small Quilts and Doll QuiltsCooking Up QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkWhat a Hoot Quilts, Love Laugh Quilt and Sew Can She.













Thursday, 31 May 2018

Icebergs, Bandanas on Dogs,and Quilts

Since we are both lifelong dog lovers (and cat lovers too, but not quite the same), we have a lot of dog paraphernalia around the house. We love this plaster dalmatian, a reminder of the three Hubby has had in his life.  The last one, Lacie, was also my pet for the last three years of her 17 total.


She lived all her days from puppyhood onward at the old place- the farm, and is buried there.  I wrote this short post about saying Goodbye to Lacie, the Dalmatian.  I am so thankful for pets and the pleasure they give us.  Not a day goes by without me getting to pet fur, which is a wonderful thing.


My Sewing Box offers the kit to make very cute bandanas for dogs; I'm thinking cats and guinea pigs would not wear neckerchiefs-am I right?  Our old fellas are past the dressing up part.  But I think these are very cute (as well as that sweet spaniel).


Dog Bandana Project Box

It's Iceberg season at home in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada!
 Imagine looking out your bedroom window to this!  This photo is actually from last year as it takes a while for the icebergs to make their way to the more southern part of the island.  I remember how surreal it is to have a hot summer day in Bonavista with one of these giant 10000 year old ice bergs floating mere feet away (and cooling any breeze off them too).  Here is an article about the phenomenon of icebergs in Newfoundland.



Several of these Brown Thrashers have been visiting the side garden mostly clinging to the tree line though.  They are omnivores and very shy -all photos I've taken of them are from a distance. I was happy with this photo of one who ventured near the garage while I hid on the veranda.  I love their foxy red and that very stern bright yellow eye.
It was quite literally thrashing about in those leaves- looking for bugs I think. Perhaps that is why it got its name?.


Which being me reminded me of this...have you ever heard of a 10% rule for using the colour yellow in a quilt? I've read this several times and wondered where it originated.  An old wives tale kind of thing maybe.

I've been using this book, The Complete Guide to Machine Quilting by Joanie  Zeier Poole to aid with my FMQ practicing.  Available at Amazon Here.


As mentioned already, I've been trying this for 15 minutes a day.  This is my second time taking Joanie's book from the library and it's a great book; the problem is me.  Just when I think I'm doing okay, I sew an awful line.
Hubby says perhaps I need to practice for more than 15 minutes.  But perhaps there are people who can not learn this skill and I'm one of them.  I wonder.

I'm feeling the pressure as the number of projects I have waiting to be quilted is mounting (but not nearly as many as Barb in Tucson who has 35!!).
Like getting this one, the Indigo Snowballs, almost to that point.  But very pleased with the overall look of it so far.



Thoughts anyone?  I'm now thinking another row of the dark blue would be more striking than a border of cream.  And though I like the good rectangle size I have going on, I would like it wider which I should have thought of back at the snowball stage.  Or even with those piano keys. Would it look funny to have wider borders on the sides than the top and bottom for the next round??


Note to self: give more thought to final layout next time!

I have other sewing news as The Grasshopper has begun! But my editor (Hubby) will say this post is too long so next time about that.

But one last but by no means least thing to mention on a thankful Thursday.  Hubby had his annual cystoscopy Tuesday and was all clear again...marking just over ten years cancer free!

So happy to link with Not Afraid of Color,  Crazy Mom QuiltsBrian's Home BlogSew Fresh QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than Housework, and Quilt Fabrication. Thanks all for hosting.








Sunday, 27 May 2018

Marshmallows, Snowballs, Slow Stitching

I just have to tell you about a free and very sweet little stitch along occurring on Facebook called Enjoy the Little Things.  Serena Boffa Soda, the administrator, combines embroidery with patchwork beautifully and is actually providing video tutorials for each of the stitches in this project.  Many embroidery novices have signed up too and I'm so happy to see that.
Serena's fabric and colour choices for her projects are sublime and remind me of a more colourful Yuko Saito if that makes any sense.

Much happiness for Serena as her first book was published this year - Small Wonders,available Aug.1st Here.
No automatic alt text available.
Busy sewing piano keys which is a little boring. This project feels like it is going on forever now. I'm at the "wish I could snap my fingers and it be done" stage.
I decided on a deep blue border to go first.


I'm really hoping the piano keys will look okay next.  I'm finishing it with a cream fabric that has a deep blue filigree kind of pattern in it.  I had liked it so much I bought a lot of it a few years ago and its time has come!



Now that the summer light is here and so much rejoicing about that...
I've gotten out my cross stitch project I tucked away last fall.  My Cornwall Cottage Sampler and launched in again.  It goes without saying this will provide lots of slow stitching for the summer.  Wouldn't it be nice if I could have it finished then! I love this piece but a lot of stitches required...
Here was the start in 2017.


Murphy is bored with it she told me (and she is enough of a diva to speak her mind just like that).  The only thing she likes about it she said is it means veranda stitching again which means happy snoozing time for her.


My baking this week included a very unlikely product.  I love marshmallow anything and Older Daughter had given me two bags of toasted coconut marshmallows as part of my Mother's Day gift.
Image result for toasted coconut marshmallows
I ate one bag(!!) and thought, oh lordy, I need to get this other bag out of my sight somehow.  I decided to google what (if any) desserts you can make with these marshmallows.  Lo and behold, there are many.  Who knew?! (My mouth is actually watering as I write this!)

 Since I didn't have Rice Krispies which would have made the most wonderful squares I think, I chose to make the chocolate cherry cake. Yes, a cake with marshmallows!
 In a nutshell, here is what you do:- Into a 9 x 13 inch pan, sprinkle the whole bag of marshmallows. Mix a chocolate cake mix and pour over, then spread a can of cherry pie filling over that.  All of which I did.  The marshmallows rose to the top somehow and gave the baked cake a bit of a glaze.  Hubby has been valiantly eating it all week and it goes without saying, he loved it...chemicals and all. LOL
 I prefer to eat my marshmallows one by one...as a snack, but that sounds so awful to say you eat marshmallows as a snack. And there's no stopping at one!

Here is one link to an easy chocolate and marshmallow cake just in case the mood should ever hit you for such an easy dessert.

I'm hoping your Sunday is sweet but definitely not glucose laden!
As usual linking with fellow stitchers at Kathy's Quilts as well as Small Quilts and Doll QuiltsCooking Up QuiltsSlow Motion by the RiverEsther's Quilt BlogSew Fresh Quilts and  Busy Hands Quilts.