Sunday, 9 August 2020

Perfect Ontario Summer and August Day, 2020

 Sometimes I get down on myself because I'm not as productive as I used to be and still have in my head that I should be. For instance, there's the matter of my photos. With Windows 10 I can create albums which would be such a terrific asset when trying to find just the right photo to insert in this here blog. I started doing it, was excited about it and then the will to keep doing it drifted off across an ocean somewhere. But the idea of it still nags at me. I really must get that done. I think I'll set that as a goal for this week. Telling you all just might give me the incentive to do this. 

Saturday was a glorious August day. Sunny and about 27 C with little humidity; it was the kind of summer day dreamed about. I spent part of it down by the pond and watched a number of critters going about their business. Time spent that will be happily thought of come winter. 

Lots of chickadees to be seen and heard down there.

Then I got in some time veranda stitching and made a little headway with another round on the Medallion project. It's a bit wonky-these were fiddly to hand stitch- but by the time I get to the last portion, the fourth, I should be surer with how it all fits. 

I'm enjoying the challenge of this nonetheless.

Murphy does enjoy joining me in the front. Dozing mostly. 

Not bothering to even check out our onlooker who comes around as soon as we appear.

I've started hand quilting the Dreamy Hearts. I'm using dark pink DMC thread because I think it suits the theme of these blocks.

I enjoy seeing each of the pretty fabrics up close.

The hummingbird feeders had to be moved away from the veranda. They were inundated with wasps and hornets, the latter with such large abdomens I had to look them up on Google. They reminded me of the cartoon hornets/mosquitoes I used to watch when I was a girl.  I loved Saturdays and especially The Bugs Bunny Show and made a vow when I was ten I would always watch cartoons.  A vow that hasn't exactly been kept but happy memories nonetheless. 😊 I've gotten to watch lots with both the grandsons which was/is fun.

                                 Image result for the bugs bunny show

Hope there is something fun, even if it's not cartoons, in your days to help you through what continues to be trying times. 

Fun to link with Kathy's QuiltsSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsOur World TuesdayLove Laugh Quilt and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Happiest Flower, With a Will, There's a Way, Continuous Small Treats

First of all, what I made with those ingredients I showed in the last post...Scotcheroos. One of my facebook friends posted a recipe for them that does not use corn syrup to our All Day Sweets Pinterest board. I love anything with marshmallow in it so of course, I stuck with marshmallows rather than honey. These were a great treat and I shared them too with the little grandson hence the sprinkles.
My bread machine turned out an acceptable loaf of whole wheat/oat bread on Monday. I've been making a loaf a week and so far we've enjoyed regular white, country white, French and regular whole wheat. It's not the most wonderful of breads but at least I know what ingredients are in it. Hubby likes it which is the main thing.  If you have a good recipe or site to check out for bread machine baking, please let me know.
Cherries are in season and we both love them and have eaten our way through 1 1/2 large bags. Farm fresh cucumber is delicious with a little apple cider vinegar and lemon pepper. 
We have one squirrel proof feeder that has held up to its claims.  However, the heavier squirrels, those black and grey, have learned to climb up and rock it a bit to send some of the sunflower seeds to the ground.  With a will, there's a way.
Garden blooms for now, the first week of August, 2020. White Coneflowers, so loved by bees; the Day Lilies too are all in bloom and the two banks of Shasta Daisies are just starting to die off.  
Summer always shows me a tiny little bit what it must be like to be a farmer. I picture a farming couple standing and looking with such a sense of satisfaction out over their beautiful growing fields.  I never tire of those iconic pastoral scenes here in rural Ontario. 
  For instance, there is a massive sunflower farm we pass en route to a nearby town and once we stopped to take photos. It's just about the happiest sight in the world. So I'll leave you today with that.

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Rare Visitor, Slow Stitching Sunday, August OMG, What Will I Make??

My happy chair with a view of the back yard this morning. Perhaps you can make out the pouring down rain. That old expression, the heavens opened up, applies today. We can use it so it's all good. 
For instance, this is a little patch of hardy fleabane and there are many dotting the side lawn. Normally it is pretty against the dark green grass but this summer the grass has disappeared in the heat and the area is actually crunchy to walk upon, a strange sensation.
A bank of violet mallow on the partially shaded left side of the house...I think it has gone feral as there used to be a rock garden there years ago.  In my dreams, I am restoring it.
 I still have some transplanting to do as I did buy those geraniums from the local nursery. The very pretty variegated pink geranium attracted a special visitor that I feel so lucky to have gotten a photo of.  (Hubby will now remind me if I step out without the camera so I usually have it nearby.)

I was weeding the front stones when it appeared.  First I thought it a little odd to see a hummingbird around a flower not at the feeders.  Then I realized I was looking at a large moth of some sort, its wings moving so fast as to make them invisible. It was flitting quickly just like a hummingbird, hovering only a second at each flower.  Off to Mr. Google for the answer... a clearwing Hummingbird Moth though I don't know which one. So happy for this capture!
And aren't those geranium blooms pretty. It will be my challenge (and pleasure) to keep it alive this coming winter. Hopefully this week, I will be truly done with all planting for the 2020 garden.

Which reminded me, I need to order a tripod for my camera, the one with the zoom capability. When the lens gets extended, keeping it all super steady is challenging. I've been looking online and need to get that done. 

My Dreamy Hearts project is moving along. I've begun stitching the blocks together, the ones I've appliqued so far, that is.
 I don't want to turn it into a mountain of blocks and then feel overwhelmed by the task of joining them.
  I've decided blocks of 9 hearts are what I can handle to quilt. 
  It is just straight stitching except for matching the seams. Oops! 
This will be my August OMG over at Elm Street Quilts- to get them all stitched together in groups of 9 and the hand quilting begun. So far I have 8 of these larger blocks. A surprise there are so many stitched and a great start. I feel lucky to work with pretty fabrics and also to incorporate some scraps from recycled blouses/shirts too. 

I have these ingredients assembled for a little dessert square I'm going to make.  Any guesses as to what I have in mind?? No oven required which is an essential aspect of feeding us these days.
While there won't be any lying down in meadows today or venturing out at night by me either-I really don't know what's out there😟, Wendell's words still apply. He's about 87 now and I wonder what he is making of things right now if this was his thought in 1968.
See the source image
I believe nature can save us if only we could put aside the tiny matter of our colossal greed.

With no let up yet in the rain, I'll get to catch up on inside chores this morning with the promise of  hand stitching time later on. But first a cup of decaf and some blog reading. 

Thursday, 30 July 2020

July Bits and Bobs- Bird, Bunny, Butterfly, Blooms, Blocks, Bel Canto

It's turning into one of the hottest summers on record here just outside Ottawa, Canada. Several days have broken a 100 year old record. Of course, it is the humidity that people complain the most about as there has been lots of that too.  I find it saps my energy when it hits a certain point and working outside becomes uncomfortable. That being said, it is cooler today with continuing sunshine so promising to be a beautiful late July day.

 No veranda stitching lately but lots inside under one or another of the ceiling fans. I finished Melva's latest block, Dragonfly, in her Pieces From the Past SAL. Not perfect by any means.  Said it would challenge me and it did. It went smoothly till I joined up the final quarter which I think I can easily amend. 
This colourful Solidarity block is now finished. 
And I was happy to achieve my July OMG at Elm Street Quilts. I have 13 of these 9 1/2 inch Flower Garden blocks made so far -this is a pattern also available from Melva's Pieces From the Past SAL. I will keep stitching them as I enjoy EPP very much. Great for evening t.v. viewing/listening. Later I'm going to retake this photo to try to show the pretty blues better. 
My audio book this week is Ann Patchett's Bel Canto, an Orange Prize for Fiction winner and available on YouTube.  I disappointed myself years ago when I couldn't get into it and I'm now finding it enjoyable to listen to her confident writing being read by a soothing voice. 
                                                         Image result for bel canto ann patchett review
My lunch is always better if I treat myself to smoked salmon and avocado with it. Since lunch is important for me as it breaks my fast, I try to choose wisely what to eat. That does not always happen!
Cone flowers are in bloom and attracting lots of attention from the butterflies, especially the Swallowtails.
Meanwhile the hydrangea seem to love the heat. The blooms are so heavy the branches are all but lying on the ground.
I loved this delightfully written post from Carol Michel at her May Dreams Garden site (which is called that because we dream all year about May and getting into our gardens). The Five Secrets to Achieving Happiness in Your Garden

And visiting my garden recently, this bird of prey.  It sat in the grass for a while idly eyeing the bird feeder area. It sat there so long I worried if it was okay. But after a seeming rest, it strutted around for a bit and then flew off.  My amateur guess is this is a sharp-shinned hawk. 
I'm sure my hawk-eyed 😉 birder friends will identify him.  

One day I turned a corner in the path to the pond and this guy was just sitting there. Hastily got a shot before he hopped away.  I told him he was very lucky it wasn't Mr. Fox that happened along.
I have another very unusual visitor to the garden to share with you on Sunday. I had to google him to find out what exactly he was!
Hope your days are filled with interesting bits and bobs too. 



Sunday, 26 July 2020

July Garden Green Joys, Facebook Group Blocks, Breakfast For Supper

Back in December I showed you this Madagascar Jasmine, a completely new to me plant we received in this pretty Christmas arrangement. 
 I managed to keep it alive all winter and moved it to the front veranda when the hot weather began...the one thing here that enjoys humidity.  Lately I've been pleased to see it's leaves grow much larger and was especially happy to see new leaves appear-finally-all the lighter green in this photo.  I'm still grappling with the issue of repotting but since it's obviously doing okay I'm going to leave it for just now. 
Sticking with greenery, my view out the sewing room window is of these hostas. We called this property Hosta Heaven when we first saw it because there must be over fifty hostas here. It's quite shaded in this little corner and they are doing well. I removed three or four the first summer here and replanted them along the laneway. The deer have found them there and keep them trimmed. 😞
 It would be nice to have some colour here. Anything you can think of that would be colourful and maintenance free...I have enough weeding to do.
 I should say that the shorter plants in between are mostly Hens and Chicks that also do well in this location.
We've had several wasp nests in inappropriate spots. One under the back deck where it had to be removed (thanks SIL!) because they were around the patio door. Another is under the front veranda and so far, we are tolerating it there because it is located in an impossible spot to get at. I got stung on my thumb joint which I found surprisingly painful at first (and I have a high pain threshold); my swollen, slightly aching thumb has made me much more wary of them.  I don't have any fear of such things normally. 

Most enjoyable slow stitching...
I worked on my Claudine's Quilt Quilt It & Dotty Facebook Group project yesterday.  Here is what I've achieved so far. What do you think about the blues for that row?  Still in its papers and unironed and for some reason I couldn't find that last block. It turned up afterwards.  I'm returning to the darks for the next row which I have to make the freezer paper templates for today.  
And here is another sweet block from the Quiltmania Solidarity SAL.  This is Australian designer, Veronique Diligent's pattern which I changed up a little. My first time working with hexies and I loved it. These are small- about 1 1/2 inches so didn't take long to stitch together. You can look at more of Veronique's work at her Wattlebird site. I wonder what is a wattlebird. 
Another hot day here in our corner of Ontario, Canada...37 C with a humidex of 40.  I think it will be a breakfast for supper day (do you ever do that?). Hubby's favourite sausages are in the fridge and I have a hankering for pancakes.  Won't need an oven which is good. 
Another July Joy is linking up with Kathy's Quilts and Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Thursday, 23 July 2020

Awful Night, Farm Sampler Box, Birds and Blocks and Hubby Has a Birthday!

Recently I had the most awful of nights.
 Murphy woke me around 3 am with a very sharp bark and simultaneously it seems I heard too what she did.  A very loud but soft thud.  I got the flash light and looked all through the rooms to see if something had fallen off a shelf or toppled over. Just like the t.v. detectives do (have you ever noticed they never turn on overhead lights; just use their itty bitty flashlights to search). Not a thing out of place.  I've watched enough movies to know not to go down into the basement by myself and I was pretty sure Murphy would have kicked up a fuss if there was a reason to go down there. Of course, by then I was wide awake and stayed up.  Drank chamomile tea and read and watched dawn break.  The first bird sang at 5:10 am. I felt out of it all day and even the nap, something I can count on two fingers I've done in years, didn't snap me out of feeling kind of groggy.  If only there is something I could take for odd sleepless times like that or even if I drank, a little I mean! I know someone who drinks a large sherry at those times and is happily soothed back to sleep.  

 Sorry to start today's post on such a jolly note!
But I made up for it by having a wonderful sleep the next night. Be thankful if you are a good sleeper!

Thank you to fellow birder, David, at Travels With Birds who correctly identified the little guy taking a bath in the water tub (HERE).  I found other photos of what I think is the same bird in the front yard and turns out it is a gal.  This bird is a first for me- so to note in my journal. A female Yellow Bellied Sapsucker photographed from my kitchen window.
The mallards are still around the pond. We've seen three females at a time there having a little swim.
Here is one I photographed on an early morning visit. So much easier to capture as they don't flit about!
I was so happy to get a food sampler box from another local farm, Welsh Hill Farm; daughter was trying them and ordered one for me too.  We loved it. Besides the array of vegetables, eggs, herbs, dill pickles and two meats, there was a freshly baked loaf of whole wheat bread with homemade chive and garlic butter. Things were wrapped in brown paper and tied with string just the way I remember the little shop in Maberly, Trinity Bay, Newfoundland used to do when I was a girl and visiting my grandparents.  
I'm going to get our name listed for regular supply as supporting local is a good way to go. 
Lots of happy stitching this week and thankfulness too for this hobby of mine. I can't imagine my life without it! Not tiring of stitching hearts and working with pinks and reds.
Anne Varley's Solidarity block from the Quiltmania SAL. A do over would be to pick a background fabric with a little print in it. These blocks are offering a great chance to dive into my pink and red scrap box!
And a couple more Quilt Bible blocks-and dare I say, enjoyable machine stitching. 
Here is Block 26, my version of Ribbon Star
and #89, Four Patch and Geese.
  I've downloaded Melva's latest block from her Pieces of the Past SAL- the 1936 Dragonfly, a block that I like but will definitely challenge me. Can't wait to try it. 
I'll close this post on a very happy note. It was Hubby's birthday last week. 81!!!🎈He doesn't have an ache or a pain and has absolutely no problem sleeping. 
 Daughter made his cake, chocolate, of course. Her recipe is now well tried and is delicious.
Tony having his favourite, a Guinness, by the pool with Miss Murphy.                                 
I say that he is not aging but Murphy and I sure are! Also wish he would smile more and show his lovely teeth!

Thank you for all the wonderful comments on my posts! I read them all when I need a little boost and I try to always return the favour by visiting your blog too or writing back to you. 

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Summer Sounds, One Deep Thought, Auction Wins, Applique Stitching

No matter how slow our hours are, it seems the days have sprouted wings. July is flying by.
I came across these words by Dryden and thought how true.
                            "Love and time with reverence use-
                                   For each year their price is more..."
Yes understood more deeply as we age I think, the value of our time that is. Maybe we have to have that fear of it running out before we get all the things done that we want to- built, stitched, sown, baked, read, etc. to really appreciate it all. That's my deep thought for today.

Yesterday we did something completely different.
 Hubby won a couple of lots in an online auction and we drove to a nearby town to pick them up. It was well managed, safety wise, and his things were in the garage waiting for us with the organizers masked and keeping their distance. He won a gardening bundle and a storage lot. I was quite interested in the gardening things and pleased with the slew of items we got ranging from seeds to rakes, shovels, tomato growing kits, etc. Some of them good quality and unused.  It seems folks have the desire to grow things but don't always get the chance or muster the energy, I suppose.

 Also yesterday, littler grandson and family and three little friends with their parents came for a swim.  I could hear the squealing and shouts all the way up here inside the house. Such happy summertime sounds made just a little bit poignant because of these strange times. 

I've been enjoying the patterns offered by designers from all over the world in the Quiltmania QAL.
Some of the blocks have been easy to make especially the ones with the larger applique pieces.
This is the Els Feteris block. Love how fun this was to stitch and how it used some scraps as well.
And the Cosabeth Parriaud block all ready to be stitched down. Hopefully, today I'll get it finished.
And here is a selection of my summer dreamy hearts on the overfill design wall in the den. Darkish in there so difficult to light properly.
Folks, I have tried needle turn applique any number of times; I just prefer the freezer paper and keep returning to that method for my applique.  

Another wild flower in bloom- Viper's Blugloss or Blueweed. I'm fascinated with how it features violet shades with the blue. And the blue is such a vibrant electric blue. 
Along the fenced in back yard, a few surprises. This is one of the dianthus, Arctic Fire, in a pretty white with deep pink that has spread well beyond the corner flower bed. Do you like dianthus? At home there was a wild version we called Pinks that cropped up annually.
They are coexisting with the equally runaway Moneywort (Creeping Jenny) trailing vines. They line the very back fence and the little yellow flowers make a surprisingly pretty display. Both these plants are hardy because they survived the three week drought we had with very little watering. 
So how are you surviving...making sure you are watering yourself, I hope, especially those of you down south in the states. But here in what on a world map is north-ish, we've had heat warnings all week and high humidity as well. Soul sapping that last is. A high of 34 C (around 94 F) for today though I think it will be higher as it is 30 degrees now at 9 am.
I'll leave you with a photo of what I think is a very young Pileated Woodpecker cooling off in the front water bucket. Snapped from my kitchen window so hard to identify.