Sunday, 17 January 2021

Flosstube, Shopping Sales, Wintertime Slow Stitching

 After a night of steady snowfall, we woke to a true winter wonderland yesterday. The views out each window were spectacular and the snow continued to fall all day. 

The feeders got refilled the evening before and many birds availed of an extra bit of nourishment including several blue jays that stopped by.

The back yard...

The golden maple...
 The day before we'd been able to follow a deer track all the way up through our land, see where it had pawed the old leaves to find something to eat and then move on. I was pleased to note trails of tiny tracks leading to and from several of the branch piles I had made in the fall. 

After our walks we stayed close to the fire- myself set up for my hand stitching below.  Also wearing head to toe fleece.  The bright turtleneck fairisle tunic came from Lands Endhere is a link so you can check it out yourself.  I bought a couple of items for the daughters too that were on sale and then had a further markdown at checkout.

My white hair is blending into the white snowy background. I'm really not bald...yet!
I'm watching Flosstube. This is the best time of year for Flosstube viewing as everyone shows their WIP's, stash and stitching plans for the new year. Some folks have over a hundred!!

Speaking of stitching, I finished the Be nice piece. I'm a little baffled as to what the connection between the queen, king rooster, coffee pot, acorn, crown, heart and rabbit would be. I read all the notes but no mention of a story. This was a miniature kit from The Heart's Content, 1999. When I realized I could never sew it on the 40 count silk gauze that was provided, I used evenweave instead and enjoyed it very much.   

I've started the next cross stitch project, Find the Good Every Day from  Erica Michaels. I'm using 32 count linen and also enjoying the idea of stitching another message that is exactly what I try to do every day. 

The news continues to be a parade of dread and worrisome events. This pandemic is truly horrible and it is continuing, picking up speed even. The wonderful advent of the vaccine has become fraught with confusion and concern which is disheartening. The only thing we can do is stay isolated and do our best to stay fit, busy and keep each others' spirits up.

So happy to be a part of the wonderful stitching community including the folks at Kathy's Quilts linky party.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Wooden House Winter Times

 I've been striving to spend an hour a day outside in the fresh air. I feel it is beneficial in many ways and it is true that I always come inside feeling upbeat and feeling more refreshed somehow. And also grateful for the warmth of indoors and perhaps a cup of tea waiting for me. 

How do I spend an hour outside?  Usually our couple of walks take 20 -30 minutes each. By myself I collect twigs and tree bits for the fire and I also ramble about with my camera. Late afternoon yesterday I sat on a log in a sheltered area over where I usually see the barred owl and waited. It was bright still but the light perceptibly changed from white to blue as I sat there.
 How quickly it changes to dusk, I thought.  And no owl. But one fluffed up lonely mourning dove on a high branch kept me company the whole time.

SIL has made an amazing back yard rink and the three of them have been skating daily.

What great exercise in the fresh air and one happy little Canadian boy! Hockey is such a passion here!

This is what happens when an engineer researches your Christmas gift- a new tripod...quite sturdy and able to gyrate the camera into so many positions including this one that so impressed him.  I think it's one you could take up Mount Everest or something. But I'm very appreciative of its sturdiness. Happy to have another learning experience figuring out all its working joints. 

Our latest cake from daughter, a black and white with marshmallow frosting. YUM.

I took this test back in November...23 and Me, one of those ancestry tests.   
My results are back and I'll share them when I have a chance to read all the material they've forwarded. As my sister has already extensively researched our family tree, I was more interested in the health component offered by this one.  So far looking interesting.
I still have some of my Christmas/winter hangings up in the back hall. It seems like Christmas was such a mere blink in time and I want to enjoy them for a while longer.
We are freshly concerned about the pandemic news. In his last briefing, our poor premier was almost distraught and so frustrated with the reports of folks not heeding the warnings.  We have renewed our efforts to stay isolated which we were basically doing all along. But we are back to pick up for groceries, etc. and not going anywhere where there are people. Thank goodness we are home bodies with lots of hobbies. 
As always happy to link with Not Afraid of Color and Paying Ready Attention.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

 I have enjoyed my little unintended hiatus/sabbatical from the internet very much. I thought of taking Christmas week to read more and write some and that time was so enjoyable, it stretched out. I also stitched a bit and enjoyed making the most of our quiet Christmas time together. 

So since last talking to you I did these things.

Ate a lot of cookies! This was definitely the Christmas of the cookies for us as friends and family dropped off an array of yummy treats.

Continued to enjoy this arrangement from the First Wife's family and so grateful they accepted me into the family ten years ago. They know I like to try to grow things so send plants instead of bouquets.

Enjoyed Scrooge with his candle and tiny Christmas tree in the t.v. room.

Tested my cross stitch skills with my little Be Nice pattern from The Heart's Content and found I can work well on this particular thread count-32 count evenweave. Discovered peaceful, calming feelings working on this in the living room early morning light. The best of slow stitching.

 Did a deep clean of several storage containers and sewed together some of the green fabric scraps. They made a perfect little pin cushion and I added herringbone stitches in red DMC to mark this special event...what I hope will be our one and only pandemic Christmas.

Robbie really like his crocheted blanket! This is the season for working with wool and coincidentally Hobbii had a deep discount on a line of Tivoli yarn.  I ordered a bag of the dark plum and I'm knitting a shawl using seed stitch...perfect project for night time t.v. viewing.

I also opened some great gifts which I will share soon. We are especially thankful that our family remain healthy, as do we.   

I sincerely hope 2021 will be a healthy and happy one for all of you!

Linking this post with Kathy's Quilts and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Christmas Eve, A Different and Thankful One

 One morning I got a glimpse of special beauty. It was a frosty, blue skied, sun shining brightly morning. The old dried summer grass rimming the frozen pond was sparkling with bits of ice, looking like a field of diamonds shimmering in the sun. A little breeze added to the shimmering effect.  I took a photo but a bad one that did not do the scene justice. But it made me think how nature provides such beauty when left to her own devices, no matter the season. 

I found this tiny evergreen growing among the cedars. He will have to fight for his right to stay there but we know how strong trees are especially if they have the opportunity to run their roots deep. 

And on that same walk through an unfamiliar trail I found out why I occasionally find large pine cones close to the house like the ones Robbie and I collected. A huge pine tree reaching to the sky in amongst those cedars was loaded with large pine cones. Hard to see but all the blacker blobs are pine cones.

I succumbed to the yarny goodness lure and began crocheting an afghan for a Christmas gift. It's for Robbie so I chose blues and a few browns for contrast. 

Here it is now and it's all ready to give away.  He likes to get cozy in the one I made for his mom, the Sweet Pea version, so I thought he should have his own.  All treble crochet with Stylecraft Dk yarn; I order it from the Wool Warehouse in the UK. They provide excellent and fast service.
I also sewed this. ???
 I had never heard of Among Us, the newly popular online game. I was told Robbie will like getting it. They are astronauts apparently and it needed a little back pack which I made like a pouch and attached separately.
No pattern available, of course, so I had to wing it by looking at a little plush toy on Amazon. It reminds me of Minions or Teletubbies.  Fingers crossed it will pass muster with the 7 year old.

Cookies from daughter. I look forward to one each night as an after dinner treat. Almost too pretty to eat. Almost...

The Santa Claus parade was cancelled so our neighbours went ahead with making a little float for their grandkids and driving them around the neighbourhood. We appeared at the end of our driveway to cheer them on. That's grandad there dressed as the Grinch coming toward us to hand out candy canes and that's grandma waving. 

What wonderful grandparents!
While at the end of our driveways, our next closest neighbours, who we've just waved to up till now, trotted over to meet us. They had their house built the same time as our wooden one was being built so knew lots about it. For instance, they told us why a second well was dug down by the pond. Apparently the brothers who built the house loved animals and enjoyed how the pond was used by them. When it dried up the first summer, they decided to dig a well down there to keep the pond flooded. Which I am using for the same purpose these late years and so pleased to know I'm carrying on what they would have liked.  Up till now we thought it was to flood the pond for wintertime skating. The former owners had a skating shack and electric lights rigged up for their teenage son and his friends who used it quite a bit. 

Ontario is back to a complete lockdown as of Boxing Day. Though low where I live, the numbers keep rising and I think there is renewed concern because of the mutated version appearing in England and Europe.  

  I have a lot of things that need doing, one of which is a delicious one-cook a turkey. I'm really looking forward to having Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. However, the weather is not very Christmasy looking with rain pouring down. A heavy rainfall warning is in effect.  

The three of us here will enjoy the day very much nonetheless. We are thankful to have avoided illness so far and know enough to count our blessings, naming them one by one.  We hope your Christmas will be equally peaceful and wonderful! 

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

WIP's List!, Basket Case Finish, Magpie Art and Squirrels

 Breakfast in front of the fire. 

And from another angle. Smile says me; I am says he. 
Our Christmas was certainly never busy. I used to feel the need to deep clean everything before the big day but I won't bother this year with just the three of us here. Of course, some deep diving into totes and storage drawers would be a good thing but I have to be in the mood for that. Perhaps I'll feel like it more when the Christmas things have to go away.  

Basket Case has moved along nicely just this week.  As I showed last time, I used the yellow fabric for the central block which you all seemed to like. The baskets themselves went together quickly. It is larger than I thought at 40 x 44 and I had to use the floor to sort it out. I'm happy with it at this stage now, a flimsy; though being me, I will always have doubts about my choice for the center block. The small basket was a free pattern from the talented and generous Michelle at  Michelle Ridgway Designs.

 As promised here is my Stitching Wip's List. Don't gasp!
Medallion Quilt is stalled right now. Still more of the bow ties ready for stitching but just not getting it done.

Fans...almost there...getting closer. At least to the flimsy stage.
Solidarity blocks. I had made a decision way back to work on and finish these mostly red blocks in February. 
The last of three Christmas/Winter table runners is together in its layers ready for quilting. A project for this weekend. 

Quiltmania X-mas( I'm not fond of when Christmas is written that way). The last 7 blocks have been prepared and are ready for stitching and embellishments. 

Halloween Sampler. I've kept it in the t.v. room for those odd moments when I feel like hand quilting. I've got 6 blocks quilted with this very off hand method. 

A Year at Hawk Run Hollow cross stitch. I have it in the t.v. room too but sadly, this time of the year, the light is terrible- no sun for days at a time, so even with my special lights, I found it was giving me eye strain. I'm a little worried about this and hope it is not going to be a thing and prevent counted cross stitch. 

Tiny Triangles is my scrappy project for the RSC which I had totally forgotten about till seeing some of your projects getting finished. Lots of neutrals here but are they the shade of neutrals for this month? It is resting in its box waiting for attention but keeping very quiet for now. 

I'm not counting Book Club or Easy Hexagon Stars that need to be quilted or Other Baskets that just needs binding to be finished. Daughter has promised to help me when this is over.  I just can't handle quilting the bigger projects by myself. (That's why I did QAUG on my Dreamy Hearts quilt.)

Ongoing Quilt Bible blocks. I do sew one on the machine now and then.  I have 11 done.

Actually I'm not daunted by this list.  I seem to thrive on variety and usually enjoy all my projects right to the end no matter how long that takes.  And since I favour big projects, that can take awhile. I will get to them all-eventually.

This painting is From Swedish artisit Lennart Helje's Pinterest Board.  Just love the stark but also gentle rendering of the snow and tree and of course, the magpie, which Lennart favoured.  I have never seen a magpie here but had the fun of watching them in Alberta on one of my visits there. They were larger than I had thought, beautiful with their flashes of white and black and quite plentiful.

Below is a photo of the back window over the stairs to show what the weather looked like early Sunday morning. Lennart would have been able to paint this no doubt though it looks a little like a painting already especially a thread painting. And that reminded me of Mary Anne at, coincidentally, Magpies Mumblings, and her wonderful life like fabric landscapes too. Fabric artist, Mary Anne, also shares great links to a variety of items that are always interesting to me. 

Squirrel antics at the feeders. And by the way, I've sworn off any squirrel antics in the sewing room too. This is a large Eastern Grey squirrel that makes its way here every now and then from the far back property. He won't be able to open this one as it's got a little hasp on the side and the feeder tray also closes when triggered by weight. But the shaking will reward him with a few seeds on the ground. Splendid tail with pretty white trim. 

He went up and down a number of times. I wondered if he expended more energy with that effort than the sunflower seeds were providing. 
I'm kind of taken with squirrels as there were none in Newfoundland when I grew up and lived there. 
Meanwhile, all calm and peaceful here at the wooden house and in our corner of Ontario too though a little shivery with a newly arrived cold snap. Hope it is all calm and peaceful wherever you live too.

Friday, 11 December 2020

Links, Christmasy Fingernails, Nature Scene and A Favourite Bird

We've had a good week here at the wooden house or as SIL says "in the pines". Got in enough exercise to feel vindicated in treating ourselves to dessert and got our Christmas gift list in order to name a couple of things. The cut off for delivery to Canada was midweek so that stopped the dithering and we got our decisions made and everything ordered. Not that there is that much because our family circle is tiny. 

So here is a little round up of the minute joys and tiny things that I am happy/thankful/grateful for. 

About once a month I get to wishing I had better nails and make a goal to look after my cuticles. This time I decided to paint them a Christmas colour.  Essie A List, yes just like me. LOL But it does look very Christmasy.  I think I'm more aware of them just now because of the wood and all the hand washing. 
  I'm so happy that this little table topper is finished.  A very enjoyable and short stitching experience and that left side is much straighter than it shows. I wonder does the camera lie as I took a second photo and it looked pretty much the same. 
I quilted a soft diamond shape in the borders which was all it needed after all the heavy quilting in the middle. 
I also have the central basket for Basket Case finished. I fiddled with this a lot longer than I needed to. My first time trying broderie perse which was fun.  I tried to hit all the colours of the little baskets.
This week I enjoyed putting out what we named a nature woodland collection. During several walks around the property last year, younger grandson, Robbie, and I collected these specimens (as we called them) and put them together in this large dish. I need some fresh evergreens for it.  Turkey, Crow and Barred Owl feathers here.

Finding the tiny nest down the cedar trail was the most fun. He'd also included more leaves that have since disintegrated. At the time he couldn't decide if the tree ornaments should be on a window ledge or in this so I've left them here. 

 I liked these links.  Google reveals the 20 most searched food recipes for 2020.  I chased down several of the recipes.  I was interested in the Ikea meatballs and this one, Dole Whip, which I've talked about before. I found a recipe where you use coconut milk and mango or banana instead of ice cream. 
And this link found at Good To Know Latest...How to make Christmas patchwork ornaments, free tutorial included. It's all about the fabric for these. They are easy to stitch and can be embellished in any number of ways.

I'll leave you today with a photo of the wonderful Northern Flicker taken last summer. One seemed a little braver and actually checked out the bird feeders.  I'm fond of these birds for their pretty doe pink feathers with striking black dots and the way their red patch forms a heart. 
I'm still counting my WIP' not really. 😊 I'll share that list next time as this post was long enough. 
Have a wonderful weekend.  

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Advent Calendars, Snowmen Runner, Christmas Lights and Yarn Temptations

 It is the dark days before Christmas, as it used to be called and I do wish the sun would shine more. Hubby has mild SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and now has his special light turned on whenever he is at the computer. But we are barrelling towards the shortest day of the year and then the lengthening of each day will begin again. I keep reminding him.

We are being warned to stay home, not go out except for necessities and then use grocery pick ups- just like back in March.  But we have been good about staying in to ourselves all along anyway...the odd trip to Walmart being the exception. The Brits are getting vaccinated so it will be interesting to see how that goes. I am very hopeful and in amazement at what these researchers have accomplished.

Daughter gave us before Christmas gifts with the message that we had to open them right away. They are advent calendars. Mine is the Clinique one which was all I used for many decades of my life. Such a fun way to try out new products. 

Hubby's is Godiva chocolates and my, he's loving it especially the truffles. 
And Murphy's from Abby is special bone shaped biscuits and she loves them. So much so she got ahold of the box and completely 
mauled it trying to get them out. Deck the Howls With Cookies
I've been pretty good at doing my floor exercises. Every second day and first thing in the morning. Lots of leg work and planking. My core is sadly weak. I remember well all the sit ups and push ups I used to be able to do. Sigh  But my resolve is still strong to face 70 in the best shape that I can muster.

A number of you liked my Santas Here but mentioned they are now covering up my quilting. Well, truthfully I never thought of that till I'd placed them all there "just so"- what was that, some kind of brain glitch!  Then I figured I would change it up the next day.  That hasn't happened. But a few other touches of Christmas are here.  I do love the lights.

We had another sprinkle of snow overnight.
We did get back at the wood stacking with three loads each of the last two days being moved. Here we are about half way through this load. More stacking to do. We've moved about half of this pile now. 
I have another table runner to finish this week. I made the cute Turkey block for the center which I thought appropriate for this time of year and put the embroidered blocks on each end so they would not get covered. 
Look what's tempting me. A bag of "yarny goodness" as Lucy at Attic 24 calls it. 
But I must stay strong and keep working on  Basket Case, Fans and gifty table runners this week.  Next time I'll share my WIP's list, yikes!
Hope you all have a marvelous, productive week and do your best to stay safe.
Also  marvelous to link this post with Home Sewn By Us and Our World Tuesday.