Thursday, 23 March 2023

Free Patterns, Farmer's Wife Quilt, Hockney's Pink Tree, Apple Blossoms

Above is David Hockney's Pink tree Study for Cherry BlossomHere at Art Finder you can read 5 interesting facts about David. Joyous and colourful are two words often used to describe his work. It reminded me of the pretty apple blossoms I found on forgotten and very elderly apple trees at the farm. May 24, 2016.
In the same file was this photo of my Farmer's Wife quilt. Brand new to quilting, I haven't any idea how or why I thought I could sew these blocks. I bit off more than I could chew for quite a few of them. Many were hand stitched because I knew so little about using the machine. And that's my crowded dining room/sewing room there.
Bright colours because I wanted a Springtime on the Farm kind of feel to it which I think it has now looking back. I still shake my head when I look at about start big!
Speaking of spring, LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week was do we plant a vegetable garden or herbs or whatever. Though I've tried often, I've had little success with vegetable growing. The best I've achieved are some tomatoes and green beans. Meanwhile I fully intend to try again this summer. My issue here is all the critters getting into things even before they get a chance to sprout. I would have to figure out coverage for the plantings and I'm not sure I'm committed enough to fool with it all.  But I'm all in to try tomatoes and beans again. What about you?

I finished reading an ebook called The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold, the Lovely Bones author. I enjoyed it very much but I must warn you, there is a strange and horrific thing at the heart of the story. 

Just for fun I looked up apple blossom hand embroidery (you have to specify hand embroidery because there are so many machine embroidery sites these days) and found a page at Clipart Library and downloaded it. BTW, lots of other images to download at that site should you be interested.

Are you seeing Granny Square quilt blocks around the net?  I am. 
Here at the Robert Kaufman you can find the free PDF for a pattern.  Also looking springish in these colours.

At Gathered Quilting is the free pattern for this Chevron Table Runner by Laura Jane Taylor. Really neat how the chevrons are formed.

DMC offers a sweet series of free patterns to embroider called  Bouquets in Vases, like this one for my slow stitching friends.
And for my cross stitching buddies...Whispered By the Wind offers many lovely free designs to cross stitch. Like this one called Finnegan's Flowers...
Thank you, Mari, for sharing your talent with us so generously!
The days are bounding along and another week is almost done. I'm off grocery shopping and will pick up some take out food for supper as a treat. Hope all is well in your world.  

Wednesday, 22 March 2023

EPP Plus Quilt, Embroidery, Pizza, New Quilter Video, Barred Owl is Back

This is what is left of my geranium plant that was so beautiful last fall when I brought it inside. It is alive but spring can't come fast enough to revitalize this one. Truthfully, being on the floor, I kind of neglected it a little and am lucky that geraniums are a hardy plant. 

It seems like I've watched Jacques Pepin, the French chef, all my life. Decades ago while living in Labrador, I would catch his show on PBS on Saturday afternoons, and loved it. I follow his ChefJacquesPepin Facebook page and recently Jacques shared how to make a fast baked potato, one of my favourite things to eat.  I thought it perfect to try with a fancy thin crust pizza I made and had to have the oven already heated for. Hubby's side gets the pepperoni pieces, mine the veggies. 
Here is Jacques explaining what he does. 

More good birding news...a female Barred Owl is back in the U.S. central Indiana nesting box, has prepped it for the season and has begun laying eggs. The debate each year is if it is the same owl. I thought this one looked smaller and didn't fill the box like last year's so a different owl. Now they are saying it just may be a different one and a new mother to boot as she laid the first egg and left it unattended overnight while temperatures were below freezing. That egg will probably not be viable but she has since laid another that she is tending.  Last year I enjoyed watching the two little owlets hatch and grow and fledge safely. Fingers crossed it will be another successful year. The Live feed can be found on YouTube again this year.
 Hand stitching is always pleasurable for me as you know by now. I never tire of it and look forward to my peaceful time when I can pick up whatever the current project is and lay a few stitches. Since the dogs have been here, I've not gotten into my sewing room but I've been happily hand stitching in front of the t.v. at night when all are settled down.  I finished another of the Snow Days blocks. This is appearing as black threads but are dark brown in reality.
And joined more of the Plus pieces. I also prepped a bunch more for stitching so I will continue on with this EPP project this week. 
And a new to me quilter popped up in my feed that I want to share with you- MerryMabelMarket. She moves quickly and concisely through whatever aspect of a project she is presenting. I watched her sewing blocks out of strings and was a little mesmerized, in a good way, with how proficiently she sewed them.  Then on her home page I found and watched this video on how to incorporate an embroidered panel into a quilt. Great stuff.
So my week is going well; the birds are singing early morning despite the freezing temperatures.  The dogs are keeping me on my feet and my ball throwing arm is getting a good workout. I am so grateful to be able to do all these things. Hope you all are also having a good week. 

Thursday, 16 March 2023

Three Free Patterns, More EPP Pluses, Embroidered Snowy Scene, Muffins, A Show to Watch

 My Jasmine Magnolia is bravely blooming a little. Photographed against a screen and that backyard bank of snow.

I'm a bit proud to have kept this one alive and kicking. And thanks Mary Anne, Magpie's Mumblings, for that tip about banana skin water being excellent for houseplants too. We eat a lot of bananas so I will definitely be adding it to the mixtures rather than straight to composting.

LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week was about favourite spring flowers. Think it will be a while before I'm seeing any flowers here. This is our front steps where that dip is, well it was ...much shovelling in my future which, don't worry, I will take breaks.
That is all snow off the veranda roof. But I know when the snow starts to melt it will go quickly. Of course, I love to see the early flowers but they tend to pop up before the weather is quite ready for them. Spring is when we get freezing rain and that usually kills any flowers. But nothing is going to be popping out of the ground just yet and that is why I love it when you share your spring blooms. 

Daughter shared her walnut and bran muffins with us. She had cut the sugar in half and realized afterwards that that was a tad extreme. But with butter and raspberry jam, they are delicious. 

It's coming to the time for Easter and bunnies. This fabric, Dandelion Easter, showed up in an email from The Quilted Boutique, one of my favourite shops to explore.  So pretty. 

 Slow stitching this week is taken up with my Crabapple Hill StudiosSnow Days blocks. Here is the first block finished.
And stitching in front of this series which we have finished now...I even got used to Harrison and Helen together which seemed odd to me at the start. Thanks all for the recommendation of this one.

I stitched a couple more of the Pluses in greens...

Thursday's Three Free

I'm seeing this kind of scrappy triangle pop up here and there around the web and many are calling it the modern triangle. Here is Rebecca from Bryan House Quilts showing how to make the modern triangle and form it into a heart shape too in this case. Lots of good info and ideas here and on her blog too.

From the folks at Sulky, in their free pattern bank is this very cute pattern called Irish Twins.

Also there you'll find the link to make this 50 States Wallhanging. Along the way is the template for each state to personalize your hanging. 

I'm always spying ways to use up scrappy strings and this is a neat quilt below called Diamonds and Strings. Made by  Beth on her YouTube channel My Sewing Room. Beth shares something I've always wanted to know how to do... how to draw an accurate diamond shape, in this case out of cereal box cardboard. The video is called Make a String Quilt using A Diamond Shaped Template (homemade of course).  Beth's scrappy stringy diamonds are really pretty.
That night I was browsing 
At Sum of Their Stories and I found this wonderful post that takes you through how to crochet a granny square.  Then they show you all the wonderful items you can make with them. 
And as always for my cross stitching friends, Smart Cross Stitch has a bank of very neat patterns to download for free. Like Christmas Deer below. I especially love the embellishing stitches on this one.
I'm enjoying my week with the dogs. They are so happy for any little time and attention given them and return to us such love and affection back. 
Sharing this post with Floral Friday FotoKathy's QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkSmall Quilts and Doll Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

Knitted Coasters, EPP Projects, To Do This Week. Woody/Wendy of Woodpeckers


I may have mentioned before that I knit scrappy wool into table toppers and use them underneath my plant pots. I've learned that wooden tables need protecting from the damp or scrapes that happen (even when sitting on saucers) when used for the plants. Smaller squares knit from prettier wool are good for a coffee coaster too. 

To Do This Week...I'm looking after Daughter's dogs, very lovable Abbey and Petey, this week. She is recovering from an exercise injury which seems like such an unfair thing to happen. Ned is in his glee. 

I woke up this morning with all three dogs cuddled together on the bed with us.  A little more company than I'd like, but it was adorable to see. 

Also this week will be a job to sort out the backing for this one...the Lone Star Medallion which is now finished to this point. Here is the un-pretty back showing all those little pieces (over 200) of cardboard.
I would like to make another of these but next time with eight diamonds as I realize now the true Lone Star does look more remarkable with more points. To that end I found a link to a free ebook PDF HERE by Terri Swallow.

I finally got a photo of the fellow pecking so much alarming damage to one of the trees near the house. I recognized the rectangular shape as being made by a Pileated Woodpecker.

 While getting wood from the veranda one morning, I heard him. The loud heavy knocking sounds were echoing. A few minutes later I was sneaking around the trees trying to get a good photo. His head was in constant motion and below turned out to be the best photo of those I took. And through my camera, I could see this was a female not a male because there is no red cheek stripe. She's been busy in that area and I wonder what she is finding in that poor tree.
I'm pleased to share the first few Pluses I've sewn, a project that came out of the blue and totally turned my head!  I discussed it HERE. May as well sew them in the So Scrappy RSC green. I will try to stick with each monthly colour, but no pressure. BTW, the free pattern from Mollie works quite well. I downloaded the sheet, glued it to cardboard and cut out the individual little beach houses, four of which form the plus or X. A great scrappy project and I have to remind myself not to sew too tightly which is a habit of mine when hand stitching. A definite SQUIRREL project. If I remember I will link up with Sandra's DrEAMit post at the end of the month.
Here is our house in early winter 2021 which reminded me of Robert's poem's last stanza. 
From Winter Time by Robert Louis Stevenson-
                               Black are my steps on silver sod;
                              Thick blows my frosty breath abroad
                              And tree and house, and hill and lake,
                              Are frosted like a wedding-cake.
I was taught with these kind of rhyming poems; they were all I knew of poetry for a long time and I loved them all. This also matched the rhyming hymns I sung in church every Sunday which I also enjoyed. 
 Hope your week is off to a good start. I'm off to throw the ball for three Labradors. How lucky am I!
Note: Please always let me know if a link you are interested in doesn't work for you. I will do my best to get you connected!

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Free Patterns, Lone Star Medallion Progress, Cutest Thief

Doesn't he look so innocent! 
Meanwhile, he is a thief, albeit a cute one. He is quite adept at robbing bird seed from whatever style feeder I use, even those labelled "squirrel proof". Luckily, I don't mind. All creatures deserve a little something to get them through our cold winters. This time of year, the furthest from anything growing, there's not much left of nature's food. 
This below made me smile; "my" squirrels still run away when I appear but the moment my back is turned, they are instantly like magic at the feeders again. 
I'm feeling happier with how this below, the EPP Lone Star Medallion, is looking.  Colour choices and placement are certainly important for a medallion and, being me, I'm still second guessing where I've placed the darks and lights. One more diamond to stitch...maybe next week that will be a priority. Btw, the three triangles on the tips are actually real red, not this burnt red looking colour showing.
LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week is what would we like in a dream studio. I've moved around a lot and lived in all kinds of accommodations. I've never been one to dream about a space that would be just mine. But if I'd done that I probably would have wanted a space for a little library with big wingback chairs and a nice writing desk. I do wish my present sewing space was big enough to hold a cutting table though. But other than that, I'm pretty happy and grateful for what I have available to me in this house. 

Thursday's Three Free

 Planted Seed Designs is home to Gerri Robinson, a designer for Riley Blake Designs. She has interesting free patterns like this one called Chinese Checkers... It involves something called  a Triangle in a Square block that when aligned together forms stars.

I followed up with this tutorial video showing how to make that block and got lost at the idea of using rulers. But many of you are adept at it.  Emily does make it sound sort of easy in this video. She has lots of other tutorials at her own site, Homemade Emily Jane
You'll find more links to Gerri's books, kits, patterns and fabric lines for Riley Blake there as well. 

I love this pattern called Berry Patch from Laundry Basket Quilts. The free PDF download is found HERE. What a pretty table topper this would make.

I became quite taken with the look of a quilt made up of a block called Clown's Choice. I found free download instructions at Meadow Side Designs Link Here. Very simple geometrics (yes I could sew it!) but the combination gives an interesting overall look to a project. Two basic colours, a light and a dark but they also show how to incorporate a third colour into the design for another "look".

And for my fellow slow stitching friends...Smart Cross Stitch has many pages of free cross stitch designs for special occasions and whimsical topics too. This caught my eye.  A small project that uses cross stitch and pretty Algerian Eyes stitches which look complicated but are easy. 
The sun is shining brilliantly but not warm enough for any melting today alas. But the daylight is lengthening and the quality of the light is changing, definitely brighter. Hope everything's brighter in your world too!

Tuesday, 7 March 2023

Snowmen, Panama Pyramids, EPP Plus Quilt Pattern Link, Indoor Gardening

We did get lots of snow on Saturday.  

Hubby always gets busy plowing as soon as the wind and snow stops.
And Sunday, just like that, the sun shone and things began to melt. It shows that we really are moving towards spring. The snow was just right for snowman making, an elderly one that needed a stick to help him apparently. Robbie is 9 now; time is definitely moving faster for me. Just look how the snow is reflecting that gorgeous shade of blue.
My indoor garden is doing well considering how little sunlight we get in the house. We don't get to see sunrise or sunset with the positioning of this house. So never direct sunshine in a window, just sometimes on a slant. It's good though that all the windows are quite large.
I also haven't given them any fertilizer. However, I do add a few secret ingredients to their water. To water them (which I never overdo), I've used ash water from the fires, left over coffee water, and leftover water that veggies have been boiled in. These are things I read about using years ago and do seem to benefit a winter garden. I also spritz them regularly with one of those spray bottles. 
Bet you can't guess what that lighter vine in the middle is. It's a pumpkin vine. I tried growing pumpkins back at the farm and all I ever achieved was a pretty vine. Last fall I put a few seeds in a jar to grow over the winter knowing I would enjoy the pretty leaves. And here they are and I do. Such a pretty shade of green. While my outside garden is under mounds of snow, it's enjoyable to coax these contrasting greens  to grow. A small thing, I know. 

 Another small but enjoyable thing is seeing these Panama Pyramids-finally- all in their rows. I had in mind this would be a good RSC project several years ago when it got started. I'm not great at keeping up with it but since there are many green blocks here, I'll share this at the  So Scrappy March Green RSC Linky Party. EPP triangle stitching and now machine stitching the rows together.
My to do list this week includes getting these rows sewn together and hopefully have a flimsy on my hands. Joining the To Do party at Quilt Schmilt this week.

Something I'm eyeing that would be my next EPP project. I watch Kate at The Last Lonely House on YouTube and she started a Plus quilt. Of course I loved it. 

She links to Wild Olive and Mollie's offer of a free template to make the little beach house like pattern that fit together to form a plus. Wild Olive So I just wanted you to know I'm exploring this one to continue my small o obsession with EPP. :D
Another thing I came across that I liked and wanted to share with you. Just in from Japan and available here at Stitched Modern. 100 Ladies Printed Fabric to embroider or colour.  What a neat idea!
Well, I've rambled long enough. Hope your week is off to a good start. 

Friday, 3 March 2023

Free Patterns, Ned's Birthday, Thrifted Fabric, YouTube Channel to Watch And Learn From

This fellow, Our Ned, is two years old! 

He is a quiet dog, rarely barks or makes a sound. His favourite thing in the world is playing ball with Petey and Abby; a close second is taking up most of the bed at night for his long winter naps

LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week is to talk about our dedicated sewing spaces if we have one. I have a bedroom converted to a sewing room and love the way I can close the door on the mess as it were. It is small and oddly proportioned and there isn't room for a cutting table which is a drawback. What I like best about it is the window and its view of a portion of the back yard. That changes with the seasons. Here I am in my room with said window engaging in my least favourite part of the quilting experience...using the machine- in this case  to join those pumpkin blocks. There comes a point in almost every project where I have to use the machine.

I had good luck at the Thrift Store when I went through the men's shirts section there in early February. I was looking for the largest size and they had to be 100% cotton which these four are. I'm always surprised by how much fabric can be retrieved from a shirt. I'll just show you that black print up close. Now you can see that green circle. Neat modern design and I thought this would make a good binding fabric. And it makes me feel good to possibly be saving fabric from the landfill.
I have almost all of one block embroidered for the Snow Days quilt. This is the most enjoyable embroidery one can do. Simple running stitch with no colour changes. 
We are watching Noraly's, Itchy Boots, motorcycle adventures on Youtube. We followed her all the way up North America to Alaska last year.  Now in Season 7 she is in Morocco and the Sahara Desert. Just sand but encountering small groups of people living there. I'm totally captivated as such an environment is so foreign to me. How they manage water and food is fascinating. 
It's funny now that when I first thought of making it a Thursday "feature" to offer three free patterns each week,  I thought I would run out of free pattern sites to share with you. Silly me. There are thousands of quilting sites; no end it would seem to the free patterns they are offering either. Lucky us!

 Thursday's Three Free

From The Fabric Hut Blog comes this pattern called Neon Bow Ties.Adaptable for all sizes including a table cloth.

At The Vintage Sewing Box site, Emma offers a bank of free patterns and tutorials for stitching items using English Paper Piecing like this- Butterflies in different sizes. SO pretty.
I saw this block and thought it neat.  Especially as we all get so good at sewing flying geese.  From Quilting Daily comes the PDF download for this block called the Gosling-Go -Round block. At that site you can see Marcie Patch's pretty lap quilt made with this block. I love this colourful scrappy block.
At Days Filled With Joy you can find the first download for Joy's SAL called Teacup Critters. Embroidery blocks combined with quilt blocks, very cute. 

I'll show how my indoor garden is doing in the next post. It's hanging in there.It was -15C on my morning walk but sunny and pleasant. However, another weather event is imminent. Snowfall warning for overnight into Saturday with high winds. 
But it being March, it won't last too long, fingers crossed.