Sunday, 20 January 2019

Two Trends I've Noticed

A Sunday snowy world outside my bedroom this morning.
 We are experiencing a double whammy weather event.  A snowstorm from the south, the U.S., and a frigid air mass from the north meeting right here so we have two warnings...extreme cold coupled with snowfall.
  It meant on our walk today we were bundled up like Arctic explorers and the snow was up to Murphy's belly.  It was more of a slog than a walk and we had to cut it short actually for her and Hubby.  Lots of snow clearing to come.
Inside, after our walk in a snowstorm, we warmed up with hot chocolate- and a chance to use my heavy Snowman mug. Yes, it's Canada in January!

Two trends I've noticed around the quilt blogging world.

 One is the finish up crowd.  A number of my blogging friends are determined to get their WIP's finished up in 2019. A few have already shared some wonderful finishes.

And two, along with this is the stash/scrap busting crowd. There seems to be a lot of folks trying to get their on hand fabric used and to make a dent in the scrap bin as well.  To that end string quilting, a wonderful way to use up scraps, seems to be enjoying a bit of a comeback.

At the Moda fabric blog, for instance, they are running a Moda String-Along inviting people to make and share string blocks. At that link, you will find a nice overview of different ways to make string blocks and ideas for creative ones as well.
String blocks have deep historical roots. This is a vintage string quilt Moda featured.  It works well to anchor the stringed blocks with a solid coloured block, it seems.
The wonderful Lori at Humble Quilts is also running a string block quilt along. She is offering lots of information and is planning a basketweave quilt, I believe.

From vintage to contemporary...Quiltmania's Stringed Beads quilt.  Would this be too unstructured for you?
                                                 Image result for simply modern string beads quilt
Paulette at The Way I Sew It has created a Pinterest page of over 600 string quilts. You can check it out at her Silly For String Quilts board.  Loads of inspiration!
Stars are always so popular.

                                              Image result for string quilts

I've looked at some of the blocks folks are sharing...some are so coordinated they must not be all scraps.  But I can see raiding your stash to complement certain colours or patterns.  And using up fabric either way.

  I am definitely in the Finish Things Up bunch and happily moving a number of projects along.  But I have felt inspired to also get out all my scrap boxes to have a look.  With the 2018 projects, I've added some pretty materials to the scraps.  I've also been saving my selvages so they have mounted.

The appliqued snowmen are coming along.  I'm anchoring them with neutral greys and I've chosen the border. It will be a scalloped red against grey. To that end I spent sewing room time yesterday sorting out how to make the scallops without a special scallop ruler.  I experimented with different curved edges to choose the size I will need. A saucer is too big in this case.
Toting them about in a cardboard tray. 
I've not made fabric scallops before.  This method seemed interesting and I'm giving it consideration.

Here is a photo of the Keto Pizza Casserole prior to baking.

Hubby, who is a pizza fan, loved it. He said he would be happy if it made regular occurrences on our menu.  High praise indeed.
I followed the recipe found here...Kasey Trenum and added mushrooms, peppers, and cauliflower.  It's one of those things where you can use up what's on hand and is quick to put together. It would go great with tortilla chips.

I wish you all a wonderful Sunday!
Linking this post with the other hand quilters at Kathy's Quilts. Also linking with Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, What a Hoot Quilts, Quilting is More Fun Than Housework, Cooking Up Quilts, and
Love Laugh Quilt.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Grandparents, Birds, Dogs, Stitching

My elderly grandparents liked to sit in a darkening kitchen and listen to the clock tick.
 I was always too shy to ask that a light be turned on so sat with my book in my lap and pretended it wasn't there for I didn't want them to feel badly they had neglected to turn on a light for me. It would seem to be a surprise to them that suddenly it was dark and we needed a light. I would have to say they had a high level of contentment just sitting like that with each words, and the only other sound in the room, the ocean, a roar heard, not heard, then heard again.  Perhaps I was chasing boredom to be so mindful of the ocean sound like that but it is true that with any wind at all, the sound of the Atlantic Ocean could be heard inside that house in Maberly, Bonavista Bay.

Sometimes our memories take on a significance with time and I'm happy to be able to share that little but significant one of mine with you.  Grandparents are meant to be significant people in our lives, I believe. Besides being part of our personal history, they provide an added cushion of security and support...more important now than ever before, I think.
 And it is a troubling loss when that is not possible.

Present day and we are having a strange winter.  Foggy at times, rainy at times, blasts of extreme cold, snowfall...a little of all the winter gods have to offer it seems.
Hubby is using his special therapy light to ward off depression but thankfully, weather as such never gets me down and so far, so good for him too. And inside our wooden house, the four of us are snug as bugs.

I've been stalking the pileated woodpecker who's been making this mess of an old tree. We've caught him at it a couple of times...much squawking ensues.

Warning: Bad Bird Photo
This is the best I've managed to date...yes that red bit there in the middle is his head. He's quite the size.

At one of the birding sites (I wish I took note of the one), someone posted a bad photo and there was an unkind comment made about it. (I have to ask, why do people take the time to do that!)
 The manager asked that people share their bad bird photos because, of course, everyone has them.  So it was nice to see these wonderful photographers sharing their misses.

I purchased a beauty product back in the fall that I'd been reading about for a couple of years. A dermaroller...this is entry level with the shortest of the needles.

 I've been using this on my face once or twice a week and also on my receding hairline. I started out being very gentle with my face.  Now I press hard enough to make it feel a bit red and tingly sort of like a good cleanser feeling. While I don't put a lot of stock in these things, I do believe my scalp is getting a little bit of regrowth but perhaps that's just my wishful thinking. Sigh
  Differning Opinions abound of course!
Here is one article definitely saying nay to DIY microrolling.
And here is one that is positive about it.

Sometimes it comes as a surprise to me to know people are really reading what I write here on the blog. Thank you, Jessie, who noted that with my love of redwork and bunnies, this project would be up my alley. I've duly added it to my list.  It's from Bunny Hill Designs and called Rabbits Prefer Embroidery.

Rabbits Prefer Embroidery
And on that note, thank you to all who take the time to comment and/or email me. I love it and appreciate it so much.  I just wish Google did a better job of translations.

Last little bits being sewn on this...corners, etc., my Garden of Contentment. I'm doing lots and lots of hand quilting making sure all the pieces are well anchored.  Easy, stress free stitching and really, it is finished. But I don't want to let it go; it feels so nice in my lap.

True to their characters here when off leash, Rex watchful and Murphy running with typical Labrador abandon.
It's a frosty -30 C with the wind chill this morning, so bundling up will be the main fashion concern today.

Yesterday I made something called Keto Pizza Casserole. A photo and review next time.
Happily linking up with lots to like at Not Afraid of ColorBrian's Home Blog, and It's a Small Town Life.  Also linking with Em's ScrapbagKathy's Kwilts And MoreConfessions of a Fabric AddictMy Quilt InfatuationViewing Nature With EileenFrom Bolt to Beauty and Sew Fresh Quilts.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Rabbits, Mystery Patterns, Walksies

The rabbits are running these cold winter nights.
 Loads of tracks crisscrossing our trails and I have to stop the dogs from munching on the buttons.  We saw two places with little bits of fur where something successfully preyed on them too.  Sad to see but it is the cycle of wild life.
As mentioned, I am continuing year 2 of my plan to try to spend an hour a day outside in the fresh air no matter the weather. With our back acres bordering other people's back acres, we have a sense of  a small wilderness back there. We have permission to walk their trails too.  With the tiny plots of wetlands frozen over and the many trails, we can easily get a good walk in and fulfill 30 minutes of two old folks trotting about twice a day.

When I lived in the Arctic, the far north on Baffin Island, the local nurses encouraged the school to continue the twice daily 20 minute recess breaks to be outside no matter the weather. There being a strong belief that the fresh air was good for the children and for us too.

I do find the winter air bracing we will say and it feels like everything in my head gets cleared. Invigorating, hubby says and nothing makes a hot cup of tea taste better once our outer layers have been shed.

  How do you like my moose nightlight?  Or my Kensington Stafford's Teapot I found at a thrift store?  Pours beautifully which I appreciate.

But speaking of rabbits, I love the image of hares and they abound in so many patterns and designs.
Here is Hare in Snow on a greeting card from Cotswold Trading.  This could easily translate into an applique design.
                          Image result for the Christmas hare

There is a bit of a mystery about this bunny below.  He was worked by Kristen at Knitionary from an old pattern she had from Associated Talents. He was so popular at one time a facebook page for him was formed and he became known as "Facebook Bunny"; however the pattern seems to have been discontinued and no one can find one.

                                         Image result for mr. bunny needlepoint
This quilt is called In My Garden, a design by the very talented Dawn Heese from Linen Closet Quilts.  I can't find this pattern either. If you know of it, please let me know.


Meanwhile, I've been so good to not sign up for any BOM's (so far) and to continue the new year finishing up my on the go projects.
In accordance with that, I've put myself on a diet...a fabric diet. No new purchases til some headway is made with that closet of lovely choices I already have.

No rabbits but out came my Cornwall Cottage Sampler which I love and am determined its time has come.  Do you have those feelings too about a project just out of the blue?
I realized though that I could not work this on the 32 count without my Ott Lite. The light means so much with these old eyes.

This has been a busy Sunday with lunch out but now I'm home and settled in my pet chair ready to pick up my needle and thread.  Just a little each day to keep moving it forward is my plan.

Pleased to be linking this post with Kathy's Quilts.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Spinner Rings, Finishes, Domestic Minutiae

Why must you always be doing something?  Hubby asks me.
 He's referring to my way of getting things done.  I can't just sit and read, or watch t.v. or take a nap.  I have to have a couple of things on the go at once.  My stitching in my hands, audio book or music playing, the washing machine running, etc. But I'm not frenetic about is all done in my own, "mind my own business" quiet way.  For a guy who is generally focused on one job at a time, it doesn't seem beneficial to multitask... something loses out.

Is this familiar?
I think of how we end the night.  Downstairs, finished watching t.v., I turn off the lamps, pick up our food tray and head upstairs. I divert to the storage room to pick out a frozen chicken to thaw for tomorrow. Upstairs now, I put the dogs out, rinse the tea things, fill the coffee pot for the morning, fill the kettle, put things in the dish washer, check that the dog's water dish is full, turn on the night light in that room for them, go to our bedroom, turn on his lamp, lower the three window blinds, go back out to get the dogs in, give them the last treat of the day, make sure doors are locked, turn off the floor lamp, and for a while there- unplug the Christmas tree.
Dealing with this kind of minutiae seems to be my forte these days. Now that makes it sound negative or I'm complaining. I don't mean it that way at all.  It's just life, right.

 I am on the look-out for this book, Educated by Tara Westover. Earning a hearty 4.3 rating on Goodreads, it sounds like a very interesting memoir. Tara's first day of university was her first day of school.  Her childhood was spent in a family preparing for the apocalypse, scavenging for survival and isolated.  Yet she went on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University.

                                               Cover art

I do love it when I have a ham bone to make pea soup. Also happy to have a husband who loves pea soup as much as I do.  And the dumplings or dough boys as we called them in Newfoundland, make for hearty winter fare.  This photo is the first time I made pea soup and dough boys for Hubby back in 2011.

I got a new lamp over the holidays. We've been stumbling around in the the semi dark in the living area...part of the reason we loved having the Christmas tree lights, I think.  We have lamps, antique ones that are difficult to fit bulbs to and glow with only enough illumination to show just how dark it is!  We were in Home Depot and I spotted this one. You don't have to wonder why it belongs in Jocelyn's house.

My new ring from younger daughter...something called a Spinner Ring. I love it. And here is a link to the over 10000 spinner rings on Etsy!

So glad this is on the wall. And out of my lap!  It seems to suit a wooden house.

Replaced by my Garden of Contentment getting bound this week.  Also sides straightened up with the help of Hubby's straight stick.

It's kind of nice to revisit old work up close like this...and be happy with it.

Hope your weekend will be a good one!

Happy to link with Not Afraid of Color  as always. Also glad to join the linky parties at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Sew Fresh Quilts, My Quilt InfatuationWendy's Quilts and More, Anja QuiltsSo Scrappy and Quilt Fabrication.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

The Reds, Tidying and Stitching Snowmen

Come quick, Hubby called from the kitchen. Looking out the window, I could see a fox checking out the bird feeders. I  didn't bother running for my camera as I know these little fellows don't stick around. Instead I watched and admired how beautiful his red/orange coat looked against the fresh white snow. He soon trotted off and I reached a side window in time to watch that red disappear through the trees. I tried not to lament not getting a photo and instead think of what a wonder it is to have seen him like that sniffing his way along in front of our  house.  How great it is to live on this plot of land.  Every day, there are fresh marvels to enjoy.

Speaking of flashes of red, I did capture this shot through that kitchen window and enlarged it on the computer. I love spying their brilliant flashes but they have been scarce this winter.

And this is interesting too.  Why Cardinals are really redder in winter!

New Year/New Broom
There is a lot of organizing going on around the internet.
I watched the first episode of Tidying Up on Netflix featuring Marie Kondo and realized that while I've been folding our tee shirts correctly (whew), I've been folding my pants wrong all these years.  I immediately went and did it her way and I must admit it looks much neater.  Taking the time for the folding will be the challenge.   You can visit her site here and here is a brief video of Marie explaining how to fold your pants.

I've been thinking again this new year about keeping an actual organizer.  Perhaps time would not vanish on me if I had such a thing.  I did a bit of research and it seems the Plum Paper one is best but I don't think I can order it in Canada.
These organizers can range widely in price depending on how many bells and whistles you want.  However, the very highly recommended Erin Condren Life Planner seems to make most of the lists. Here is the Erin site where you can check out all the features.  They are so pretty with their customisable covers.

This is a bit of hoot that I would pay such money for sort of note taking.  Considering Hubby is still recycling his papers from the nineties-using the backs for taking notes at the computer. Also cutting it into squares and using a staple through a bunch for a handy notebook.  I do it too sometimes if I come across paper I like such as vellums or pinks.  Penny wise and dollar foolish.

Christmas is tucked away now but snowmen abound here at the wooden house.  Funny how each of these seem to have a bit of a personality. I'm trying to figure out how to anchor them.  Like Nancy at Joy For Grace who spoke of wanting to anchor her appliqued pots, I'm having the same issue. I feel like they should be grounded some way.
Still trying out bits and pieces before stitching it all down.

So that's my fun stitching while finishing up my panel which is almost done.
Hope you are all tidy and organized and stitching something fun too!
So happy to be joining the following linky parties- Kathy's QuiltsViewing Nature With EileenSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsSew Can She,  Quilting is More Fun Than Housework, Em's Scrapbag and Busy Hands Quilts.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

How I Spent New Year's Eve/ Christmas Gifts

Sleep is precious.
My quest for better sleep has led me to consider many sleep related things. I have tried to find the perfect pillow, use higher thread count pillow cases, invest in a beautiful mattress and a cosy duvet with colourful covers that I love.  Because I know for me, I do find comfort in these small things.
 I'm baffled as to why such a simple thing as sleeping eludes me sometimes. I'm getting my hour of fresh air every day, moving my body lots, eating mostly well...a bit more sugar than usual lately though.
 I can't quite put my finger on when it began to be an issue. My ex who is my friend told me it was when I had my children and getting up in the nights and the listening because nights are all about the ears on alert for us mothers. But I'm not sure about that.
  For a while there in the fall, I seemed to be sleeping well consistently.  But lately I am back to sleepless episodes...Santa coming obviously was too much for me to handle. :)
 I do worry that lack of sleep will impair me somehow...prevent my cells from their night time rejuvenating which is more important than ever, LOL, or shorten those important telomeres or make my judgement unsound.  Thank goodness it doesn't make me grumpy as Hubby has reassured me when asked.

What hath night to do with sleep? asked John Milton in 1637. Indeed!

The one thing that thousands now say helps is a weighted blanket.  Any of you give that a try? Anyway, enough about that; be thankful you have a bed I tell myself.

"I use my librarian Ninja skills," my sister said when I asked her how she always finds me the perfect book for Christmas.  Love this.

Here are a couple of other Christmas gifts I received .... I wear scarves and shawls around the house a lot so I welcome this multicoloured one. Very intrigued by the Danish Dough Whisk, a completely New To Me item.  

Here is a very brief video from Lee Valley Tools showing its use.  Mixing batter made easy with this tool, great for easing pressure on hands which I will appreciate.

How I Spent New Year's Eve

Besides watching Bird Box, eating pizza and Tim Horton's apple fritters (I was kid sitting a 14 year old- older grandson)...
 Perhaps I've added too many lines on this piece but the hand quilting was so enjoyable I just kept going.  A completely wonderful way to spend New Year's Eve, Nana style, all in all.

Love this Alphabetical Guide to Happiness poster from  The Little Truth Studio.

ABCs of Life Art Print
I try to do just about everything on this chart but that pesky last bottom of the alphabet one remains somewhat an issue.

I received a unique style ring for Christmas and will share a photo next time.  Oh and I have more of the Bonhommes en Chapeaux blocks to show as well.

Starting the New Year off right by joining these great sites- Not Afraid of ColorMy Quilt InfatuationThe Needle and Thread NetworkSew Fresh Quilts, Busy Hands Quilts and It's A Small Town Life.

Monday, 31 December 2018

Enrolled in Finishing school

"Wisdom comes with winters," said Oscar Wilde.

Here I am another winter on my hands and hopeful the wisdom continues to mount, LOL.
Frozen over now, we walk across the wet land area and I think of the frogs that caused such a racket there all spring and summer. How deep in the mud have they had to sink to survive this, I wonder.

Taken at our pond at the height of last summer before Miss Heron sauntered through!
There is a lot of sharpness in the woods...all the trees deleafed and all their bits sticking out. Hubby leading our little family on our walk took a full body fall recently. Without a chance to put out his hands, his chest took his weight. He was creeping around painful when he had to turn or twist but we are both counting our lucky stars he didn't break anything and is all better now.
It will happen- the falling down, the getting up.  Which is really like a metaphor for life isn't it. We fall down, we get up. We have to do this. Just like in the coming new year, we know for sure there will be the good days interspersed with bad days and even on those bad days we put one foot in front of the other.
  Hopefully a lot more of the good ahead for us and the people we know and love.
 My wish for all you reading this will be that then... a 2019 overflowing with goodness.

Here is something that always makes me smile, such a happy Jack Frost, designed by Kathy Schmitz.  This is the January block from my A Patchwork Year.

Meanwhile, I am serious about starting Finishing School.  First up is finishing the Hand Quilting on this piece, the Kathleen Tracey Mystery Friendship quilt. Fingers a bit sore but managing.  I've been using painters tape to help with straight lines.
Need work still on the eveness of the stitches showing on the back.  Part of me says not to fret while another part wants those to be as even as the front. Then to the binding. Part 1 of my OMG for January as declared at Elm Street Quilts.

And Part 2 of my OMG....Just have the binding to sew on this one. YES to finally getting Lynette Anderson's Scandinavian Christmas finished. Then I just might hang it up even though Christms is over. In fairness to me, I could not find a fabric for the binding and was late last year when I did. But really, many months have elapsed since so there is no logical explanation why this piece that I love and put so much work into was allowed to languish unfinished.

So I have my work cut out for me which is good...goals are good.
  The sun may be low but I fancy it is strengthening and the days are longer by just a bit. Here is that low winter sun setting on Friday just behind the house. (BTW, did anyone else watch that series Low Winter Sun...we enjoyed it.)

The happiest of New Years to you all!
Linking this post with  Kathy's Quilts,  The Quilting JetgirlSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsEsther's Quilt BlogFree Motion By the River and Sew Can She.