Thursday, 22 October 2020

Visits- Abby, Animals, Chimney Sweep and Hexagon Quilt, Parachutes Quilt and Free Pattern

The weather has been best described as indecisive lately...sun, cloud, cold and then warmth...this fluctuation ongoing all day long like Mother Nature can't make up her mind. All over the place and this week rain and cloudiness thrown in.  The season is trying to change that's for sure. 

So happy that Abby came along with SIL when he dropped by to do a few bigger outside chores (like straighten a chimney on the garage- Hubby is no longer allowed up on roofs). The two Labs get along well and Murphy tolerates the much younger Abby's intense friskiness no problem. Hard to get a good photo as Abby kept wanting to hug me. The friendliest dog we've ever seen.
Keeping with chimneys, we had our chimney sweep come for his biannual visit- he's always cleaned the chimneys here so knows just what to do.  I watched him on the roof and was happy he was wearing special boots for walking on metal roofs. I'm always worried about bird nests in chimneys but he's never found one here. He mentioned starlings are prone to doing that and I've not seen any starlings so far. He made me think of Santa up there. ๐Ÿ˜Š
I saw this on Facebook and just had to share it as it was so intriguing. Fascinating really. It was a great year for bees here; I've never seen or photographed honey bees before and so many of them. And this amazing sculpture below is controlled by live bees! This article at the Smithsonian explains how it works.  Prepare to be amazed! I found this wonderful free pattern  from generous Allison at Cluck Cluck Sew called An Hourglass a Day. Easy to sew (even for me), stress free and a great little pattern for those taking part in the RSC or wishing to use up those scraps.  

My Hexagon Stars quilt is now a flimsy! It measures 56 by 70 which makes it a great throw size. I enjoyed working with the pattern enough to think of doing this as a truly scrappy version with white hexagons and multi coloured points which could use a lot of scraps because why are there always so many of them. This project started as a true squirrel...I was intrigued when I saw it and just had to give it a try. A great use of some old Kaffe fabric (with other brights) as well.

Something similar happened last week when I got inspired to try another pattern. I mentioned it in the last post and spent ages trying to work out a pattern.  Here's part of that venture. Not much to show for like two hours...
The fans are too large I decided even though I was okay with the overall finished block.  Well a few kinks to work out like the wonky curve and where those stitched lines are meeting in a mess there.  Can't have that.
But at least you have an idea of what I have in mind.  I'm going to call them Parachutes. I've since made the parachute pattern a little smaller but keeping it in an 8 inch block. I'm also going to stay with dark blue backgrounds and alternate patterned fabric with plain for the fans. Perhaps use up scraps of the Kaffe fabric and some very old batik material I have. I've since found another link which better illustrates this idea....Tokyo Jinga , an interesting site that sadly ended in 2015. 

In this photo taken through the old sewing room window back in July, you can see two deer visiting our little side lawn, a popular spot for them.  
They are extremely skittish and can alert to sounds made inside the house.
You can't see it but a little rabbit was grazing on the edge of the woods at the same time. I was happy to get photos of them all by changing cameras to the one with the zoom.
Looked like a healthy specimen too, happy to note. 
Murphy and I often catch sight of their cottontails leaping away from us on our early morning walks. 
I've forgotten to mention we have put out a trail cam and so far have photos of just two animals...rabbits and fox. It is a fun thing to do and Jenn at Cottage Country Reflections regularly posts their trail cam footage -loads of different animals and she lives in our neck of the woods.  I'm curious if we will see some of them too.
This is Thursday so lots of thankful, positive posts floating around the blogging world. You can visit more at Not Afraid of ColorIt's a Small Town Life, and  Brian's Home Blog. Also linking with My Quilt Infatuation and For the Love of Geese.

Sunday, 18 October 2020

On Line Shopping, Embroidery, Garden Flowers Still, Squirrel Moment, Ugly Gardening

  I had a funny thought this week when I ordered checks online from my banking site. The smallest order was for 100 and I figured these will probably see me through now. I so seldom write checks anymore. It wasn't a sad thought just like oh yes that's true now.

We have an overabundance of office supplies. This is thanks to auction wins and having extras thrown in during one of them that we did not bid on.  This week I'm planning on organizing the smaller totes and storage bins with the intent to lessen the amount. Just how many staples, paper clips and elastics can two old people make use of.  Especially in a world where we are committing less and less to paper.

Shopping-Online of course. It's younger grandson's birthday early next month and I've found several games for him at Amazon so I've got to get that done. The three of them have a family board game night which is a great idea.  

Mail came. I've wanted this book for a long time and finally ordered it from The Book Depository which offers free shipping worldwide.  When The Cold Wind Blows from the ladies at Blackbird Designs.

Practicing my ugly gardening. But before I talk about that exciting thing, some of the flowers did so well in spite of the overnight temperatures dipping down, they've amazed me.

Here's brand new growth on the rose bush. Taken last week and I'm so happy that heavy pruning I gave them in the spring didn't founder them.  I think they are quite old so it might have.

And a touch of frost brought out streaks of pink/red in the new buds as seen above and below which was interesting as the blooms are white.  I've never seen this before.
Update: However, we had a heavy frost two nights ago and all this bloom has been affected.
This week I'll be putting all the final flower pots away and start to stack wood on the veranda for the fireplace.

I've been slow stitching a lot which most of my stitching seems to be.  I decided to embroider herringbone stitches over all the hand stitching joining the pieces on the back of the Dreamy Hearts. It should help make the quilt hold together better as I am hoping this one will be used on a bed. I'm using a variegated pink DMC and enjoying it very much.  This quilt is my October OMG so I'm trying to accomplish that posted goal - for once!

And I had a squirrel moment on Friday but I have an excuse.  I really needed a distraction from sad feelings and this suited just fine.  I'll hopefully have something to show for my couple of hours in the sewing room working out a pattern.  Eager to give it a try actually. After a little machine stitching, it will require more hand stitching too. I was inspired by this article at the AQS site featuring variations on Dresden plate, a block you know I love. More later - I hope. :) 
 Almost forgot...I mentioned ugly gardening. Here is one of the tiny but precious reasons I feel privileged to do that.  Taken from my kitchen window.

I hope your Sunday is a swell one!


Thursday, 15 October 2020

Canadian Thanksgiving, Snacks and Cake, Neon Pink in Nature, Flower Garden Quilt Back

Several people asked about the Canadian Thanksgiving; some had never heard of it so I thought I'd write a little about our celebration.
  In fact, in Canada, Thanksgiving has roots reaching far back in our history.  It started with the 1578 celebration Martin Frobisher, who was looking for the Northwest passage for England, had with his crew in Canada giving thanks for the safe crossing and protection in a dangerous land. But it was in 1879 that our prime minister made it officially a national holiday and it remains a Federal holiday since then with many working people having the Monday after Thanksgiving off. It used to be in November till moved to the second Sunday in October to coincide with harvest and also so Remembrance Day (Armistice Day) and Thanksgiving could each have their own appropriate observance. 
When I was a girl, us church goers celebrated Thanksgiving at church. The altar was always laden with harvest items and the theme was one of gratefulness for harvest and our bountiful life in Canada. Interesting note for my American friends, during the Revolutionary War 1775-1783, Americans fleeing to Canada brought their Thanksgiving traditions of turkey and pumpkins which, because they were delicious, soon made their way into our celebrations too. However, our Thanksgiving has never gained quite the prominence, though a holiday for many, that the great American Thanksgiving enjoys. 

 Long weekends in the work world are something we all love no matter the reason.  I know I certainly did. Now, in retirement, it is moot as they are all long weekends. ๐Ÿ˜Š
 Here are some other things I liked this week. 
Like several of you showed, our Burning Bush turned neon pink too, not red this year. I wonder why.
It certainly made a show of itself with that amazing (and kind of surreal) colour.
Getting to finish up my Flower Garden quilt is a pleasure. I'm working on the border and looking at the back here.

My quilting stitches are a little wobbly in places.

But having the border follow the star points gives it some added interest.

I found this sweet little online fabric shop; Lady Belle Fabric  -that is a link to their quilt kit page where there are some sales and lots of inspiration.

All Time Best Paint Colors collated by Real Simple.  I thought of a number of you who are renovating or repainting your houses and feeling overwhelmed by the huge selection out there. The shades chosen are beautiful I think.

One of my favourite snacks.  Rice cakes with peanut butter and a topping usually banana  

or dried craisins.
Daughter gave us another cake!  It was the best he'd ever eaten, his nibs said, and seeing as how he is 81 and has had a long history of cake eating, that would be quite a compliment.  And yes it is quite delicious. Rock Recipes Chocolate Stout With Bailey's Truffle CakeIf you are feeding a chocolate lover, this would be the one to make for a special occasion for sure. 
And here is my chocolate lover down by the pond with Murphy.  Taken the end of September.
I hope your week has had many many things to be thankful for too!
Always thankful to link with Not Afraid of ColorNeedle and Thread Network,

Monday, 12 October 2020

Missing These Birds, Golden October, Halloween Quilting, Thanksgiving Free Pattern

Right now I am missing these little birds. I'm missing their song and the way they fly through the air snatching flying insects and return to the same spot to perch like on my lamp light.   In fact, sat there enough that a cleaning of the lights is now in order.   Eastern Phoebes have nested here every year using the various sheds and building distinctive nests with mud and moss.                             I'm also missing the hummingbirds. Though silent, they were a constant fixture this summer flitting about the two feeders.  

  I have to take in their feeders and clean them up for next spring.

 The Golden Maple tree beside the house is in glorious bloom. Every year it astonishes us with the beautiful colours of its leaves. 
 At an auction I won a quilting frame and have put my Halloween sampler quilt on it. I've never used such before so this will be interesting.  Wish me luck! 
We had warm temperatures on Saturday and I couldn't resist taking it outside for a little photo shoot with the maple tree. I do have four maple leaves in this particular piece. Love to see the rays of sunshine on this.
I tried to show just how tall this tree is.  Nope, still didn't get the very top of it in.
I have the special marking pen and I've looked up lots of ideas about laying stitching lines on these varied  appliqued, embroidered and patchworked blocks. I've thought of using a spider web design over it all, maybe in a pale gray coloured thread. What do you think? 

Since we Canadians have our Thanksgiving Day on the second Monday in October, here is a sweet little free pattern I found with the perfect message. It is from
Creative Kismet which features the art work of the generous Regina Lord. Too late for me to stitch but in lots of time for my American buddies and their November Thanksgiving.

A couple of things I must do this week:

I have to set up the two humane mouse traps in the garage to help keep them out of our vehicles. They worked last year, I think, because no mouse set up a house in our cars last winter.

Finish the Flower Garden quilt border. Almost there!

Happy Thanksgiving to fellow Canadians; hope you are enjoying the long weekend and staying safe. I cooked a ham and wished that I'd planned on turkey. Oh well, it was a tasty dinner with sweet potatoes and broccoli, homemade cranberry sauce and dessert from daughter. 

So happy to link with Kathy's Quilts where Kathy is talking about making Siddi quilts (must check that out)
Love Laugh Quilt where Beth has made the cutest scrappy log cabin blocks on point, Small Quilts and Doll Quilts where Judy has finished a very sweet Buds in a Basket quilt and with Quilt Fabrication where Susan is showcasing beautiful Halloween quilting.  Also linking with Our World TuesdayHome Sewn By UsAlycia Quilts and Paying Ready Attention


Thursday, 8 October 2020

Halloween Colours, Poetry, Tiny Yellow Triangles, A Show to Watch

Dylan Thomas

                                       Especially when the October wind

                                       with frosty fingers punishes my hair,

                                       Caught by the crabbing sun I walk on fire

                                      And cast a shadow crab upon the land

No shadow crab cast that day. Hubby and Murphy enjoy one of our daily walks in cloudy weather. Someone asked and yes, we walk no matter the weather. We have all the gear.

Suddenly it seems, all our trails are leafy ones. 

And wild autumn New England asters are everywhere! From this meadow area, our trail leads through those trees to the left of the white birch branch, an area peppered with the lilac coloured flowers.

And our hardy perennial, purple asters in the back yard...last year's photo but ditto for this year. 
|Wearing their Halloween colours, these two Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillars are doing their seasonal walkabout in search of milkweed and they won't have far to go because there's lots around here.

The Wooly Bear Caterpillar also sporting oranges and black. I keep finding them on stone walkways and have to move them to foliage. 

Soothing myself with watching for the umpteenth time this version of Pride and Prejudice on BritBox. I don't think the Bennet sisters were ever better portrayed than in this particular series. Jennifer won a BAFTA TV Best Actress award for her role as Lizzie. 

And also loving the Jane Austen fabric line from Riley Blake Designs. Did you know Jane was a quilter? This is a great short video of Jane's hand stitched coverlet and an introduction to the reproduction fabrics to recreate it. 

Finding comfort in this itty bitty thing... clean sheets. I know it is too small to talk about but I am ridiculously happy getting into a bed with clean sheets. 

Also enjoying a little machine stitching this week. Lots of Tiny Triangle blocks.

Sewed more of the yellows together. 
 Since this is October's colour at So Scrappy, I'm happy to coordinate with that link up for once. In this photo contrasting with some of the blues though the lighting in the sewing room doesn't do them justice.
I've learned something new recently about myself. I am missing the gardening for the mind/thought soothing effect it had on me. I guess it is true that you cannot worry while working in a garden. Probably it helped me stay light and positive throughout the worse days of the quarantine and for that I'm thankful. 

 Check out all the things folks are liking at Not Afraid of Color. Also linking with Quilt FabricationFloral Friday FotoIt's A Small Town LifeConfessions of a Fabric AddictSkywatch FridayViewing Nature With EileenThe Jesh Studio and My Corner of the World.


Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Fitness To Do, My Haircut, Free Patterns, Loving Morris Baby Blocks

 This week in the fitness department I'm working on my posture. I got a bosom early and always rounded my shoulders to hide it. Add to that a lifetime of being bent over books, schoolchildren and stitching and I've got quite a slump going on. Sometimes I'll spy a lady with a dowager's hump and I'll panic. So what am I doing to try to prevent that?

I've raised my laptop and ipad to eyelevel propping those up on cushions.

I've been doing these exercises to prevent forward head syndrome.

I've been consciously reminding myself to straighten up; this I purposely do especially during our walks and while at the sewing machine. 

I see those ads for devices you wear that straighten your back and I've wondered about them. Anyone try one that works?

Yes, I cut my hair last week which was on my to-do list. I used mostly the clippers except on the bang. It's pretty short but that's okay; though thinning it is still growing. I'm wearing one of my favourite scarves; it's Balinese and silk. Daughter bought it at one of those international trade shows for me. It's soft, surprisingly warm and even has fun little tassels. Autumn is really the start of my scarf seasons-yes, I wear scarves a lot. I look like Mom in this photo. ๐Ÿ˜Š


A couple of sites you might like to check out this week.
I found this website that I think some of my arty blogging friends should check out...  Make Art That Sells.  I thought it interesting as I used to dream about illustrating a children's book. 

And wool folks, this is a link that rounds up free one skein/ball knitting and crocheting patterns...which means quick projects... Noble Knits. I thought this cute...the Little Rustic Pumpkin Baby Hat; that pattern is Here.

My brain is swirling with ideas for what next to make of a quilty sort. But I have to get a couple of  projects out of my lap so I'm holding myself off just yet.

 In particular though, I have a small collection of Morris fabrics that I have put together over these late years. 

๏ผ’ Things that stopped me from cutting into it-

Are my skills up to it?

What exactly to make?

 Recently this block below was featured on a Morris Hexathon and it caught my eye. Baby's block or tumbling block is what I've seen it called; you might know another name for this vintage style pattern. It is a block that depends on correctly positioning light, medium and dark fabrics and that is something the Morris fabrics are known for. A block I think I can handle. These are from Barbara Brackman's Material Culture site.

While talking about Morris, I thought I'd share this news. Just about my oldest blogging buddy is Michele Hill of William Morris in Quilting. Way back in my first year of blogging, she caught sight of a post where I mention I own two of her books and also have a love of anything Morris. She contacted me with a thankyou and added me to her blog reading list. I did likewise with her and we began a correspondence where I would comment on her posts and she would email me back with her news.

   In September, Michelle went public with the news she has stage 2 breast cancer and is now having chemo treatments. I was very sad to hear of it. But I'm heartened to read she is being her usual upbeat, chipper self and is surrounded by loving family and extraordinary friends. These also include her international buddies who, like me, Michele befriended in many different ways over the years.  I hope this doesn't sound too silly- every day I've been choosing a tree on my land, usually a mother tree, placing my hand on it and thinking of Michele and sending her all the healing thoughts my old brain can muster. 

Perhaps you too could send Michele some healing thoughts this week. Michele, btw, has often told me to cut that fabric. I know many of you have made Micheles' lovely applique patterns...I'm thinking of Karen at Quilt...Etc who has stitched a spectacular Morning Glory medallion to be seen HERE.

Have a good week all!

Linking this post with Home Sewn By Us where it's  the To Do Tuesday linky party. 

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Thrift Store Scores, Natures Pinks/Violets, Dreamy Hearts Quilt, Bathing Birds


This is a close up of phlox.  A few bunches are here and there all over the garden. There is white as well but not nearly as showy. It was an excellent year for phlox and it did well despite the July heat and drought. Another wonderful perennial for a little further back in a flower bed.

I was struck while out and about by how much violet/pink is represented in an autumn time garden. Here is a smattering.

The sedum which is coming into bloom. There are two kinds here.

This bull thistle

Still prized by a few slow moving bumblebees
The look of the meadow down by the pond
filled with this plant- I think it is loosestrife, something that has made quite a nuisance of itself in certain areas but its pretty colour cannot be denied. But I thought loosestrife was in single strands and there are some with these multi branches. The leaves have all the colours of fall right now and I hope to get some closeups of that.

Thrift Store Finds

I promised to show what I bought at the Thrift store last week.

This went right into my Old Foley Strawberry pitcher which is a vintage piece and I love strawberries on china. I paid $4.99 for it and my research Here at Ebay shows prices ranging from $40 to $70 Cdn. This pattern can still be found as a complete set of dishes which would make such a pretty summer set.

It's surrounded by my last tomato harvest...LOL.

No hesitation with buying these four 6 inch tea plates that are Laura Ashley Thistle pattern either. The 4 cost $3.99 and are perfect for Hubby's morning bickie with his tea. I found the same set on Ebay for $52. 22 Cdn which was a surprise. 

I always look through the books. This quilting book from Better Homes and Gardens, 501 Quilt Blocks, is one I've checked out of the library a few times so I'm quite familiar with it. It has a nice selection of both patchwork and applique blocks. It's on Amazon for $31.55 plus $3.95 shipping so I think it was a great deal for $2. 

And something to wear (cause I have nothing, LOL) a new blouse which actually seemed to be new.  Love paisley and I noticed the pretty rounded collar and how the cotton seemed to be brushed. When I tried it on, I was intrigued there was a hidden snap sewn onto the chest placket...and I realized this blouse had been tailor made. When I looked up Maxwell's, I found out they are custom clothiers so I figured my blouse was worth the $6.99 I paid for it.  I have a medium blue v necked sweater that this will match with well. 
So all in all, I had fun and caught enough good deals for less than twenty dollars to make me want to return.  Which with the way things are going, who knows when!

Here is how large my Dreamy Hearts quilt is now, about 55inches wide by 62 inches long.  I have two more rows to add to the length. 

I'm going to set this as a my OMG at Elm Street Quilts for October. To have it all ready for a bed. Yeah, we'll see how far I get with that.  But saying that, it is pretty close soooo...

Here are some robins enjoying the bird bath. They were part of a flock with about 20 of them hanging around the garden for three or four days last week. I've never seen so many together before so that was fun. They loved the bird bath and kept emptying it with their vigorous bathing. And I always knew when they'd been because of all the water on the patio.

I guess they wanted to be clean for the big flight. 

Speaking of which, I just loved when former First Lady, Laura Bush, went public asking Texas to dim lights overnight during the height of bird migration-  here is one of the articles about it.

Love to link up with Not Afraid of Color as always. Also linking with Paying Ready AttentionConfessions of a Fabric AddictPowered By QuiltingKathy's QuiltsSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsJaipur GardeningOur World Tuesday and Viewing Nature With Eileen