Thursday, 13 May 2021

Welcome Neddy, Vintage Tumbling Blocks Quilt, Bird Watching

Our spring started with a bang warm enough to wear shorts for the shorts wearing crowd. Then it fizzled into these late weeks of weak almost nonexistent sun, low temperatures and chill bearing winds. It is just weather, though sad for us that it doesn't help to brighten our gloomy news on that other front. It seems our strict lockdown might have to continue into June. 

One morning the mallard on the pond was feeling the cold and kept tucking his neck in. From my great distance, I couldn't tell exactly what this was.

Another morning the mallards, male and a female, were taking a leisurely swim very much in sync. Interesting how different in colour even their beaks are. 

 I've been cutting into some of my Morris fabric instead of just taking it out from time to time to pet, LOL. Making a scrappy Tumbling Baby Blocks quilt has been on my bucket list for ages. So here I go.  The first few blocks. Since red is May's colour at So Scrappy, I figured I would stitch a few in reds.

I'm using EPP method and putting my cardboard collection to good use. A word about the cardboard...someone mentioned isn't it too thick to use for this. I'm using the kind of cardboard used in flyers and packaged material as well as old greeting cards, cardstock I guess you could call it. It is flimsy and just right for this EPP purpose.

  I also bought the diamond pattern from an Etsy shop that offered a PDF download.  Now I just need to make like a thousand of these and I should be good to go. 😀 I'm actually very happy about this, another in my lap project.

I  really enjoyed this YouTube video from Beth at The Sewing Room. How to make baskets using improv and scraps. I was intrigued as no applique was involved and the results are so pretty. Beth hosts a popular linky party at her blog Love Laugh Quilt as well.

Also happy news. We did adopt one of Abbey's Labrador Retriever puppies. They are all adorable and received an outstanding report and glowing bill of health from the vet.

 Hubby narrowed it down to a chocolate one, a male we have named Ned/Neddy.  He is very affectionate and lovable.

  Ned is very tired these days with the training of these old folks he has undertaken.  Getting them to answer to his every cry and whim was easy but having them understand exactly what he wants is very tiring.  He loves that he has encouraged more exercise for them...three walks a day up from two and not nearly the sitting around they used to do.  

Here is Ned investigating what I was aiming at - a bunch of daffodils which have finally opened.

And then of course, the obligatory puppy taste test. Don't worry, we are trying our best to screen everything that goes in his mouth.

We have had him 11 days now and he and us are doing well. I've not been in the sewing room which is off limits to him at this stage of his life. That's why it's so good for me to have hand stitching projects too and if only the weather would oblige, veranda stitching to enjoy with him.  I'm so looking forward to some warmth.

Hope there is something new and interesting in your life too. 

You can check out what other bloggers have been doing this week at Not Afraid of ColorBrian's Home Blog and  Paying Ready Attention

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Mystery Solved, Tiny Stitching, Sawtooth Stars, Christmas Gift in May

 Can you spy her?

She froze and I moved close enough to get this photo; I really didn't want to disturb her foraging.
That's a little snow on the ground on Monday early morning. I took this photo of the marsh frozen over.
The Canada Geese have moved in and several always settle in on the little pond for a short while. 
I got my Christmas gift from Hubby recently. This book, The Bedside Book of Birds by Graeme Gibson. that I wanted had been out of print and it took this long to get a reprint copy. It's simply beautifully illustrated with lots of well written prose and such a legacy to Graeme's lifelong love of birds.  Graeme was Margaret Atwood's husband and died of dementia complications in 2019. 
I've been stitching umbrellas on the Hawk Run Hallow April block very suited to May with all the rain and cool, gloomy days we have had so far.  
A couple more of the Sawtooth Stars have been sewn. Honestly can't remember if I shared these or not. 
Almost time for me to think of what to do with them, eek.

 On my list to try sometime...frozen phyllo pastry. It pops up from time to time in recipes and looks so easy and delicious. I think I tried it once for a salmon recipe but I forget.  I make my own pastry but why bother if I can just buy this much flakier version.  Any suggestions for using it that you've tried??

Lastly MYSTERY SOLVED! Those of you who guessed raccoon were right!  He's still at it actually as the lid is on the ground again this morning. Clever little beasts!

So happy as always to share this post with the following link up parties:- Not Afraid of ColorLife in the ScrapatchesViewing Nature With EileenMy Corner of the WorldSo ScrappyKathy's Quilts and Paying Ready Attention.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

The One Where You Learn More About Me Than You Wanted to Know

I was doubly blessed as two very kind ladies nominated my blog for an Outstanding Blog Award, a little fun thing circulating blogland these days. 

Firstly, kind Kathy at Sewing, Etc.  nominated me back in March. It was lovely of her to think of me and a huge surprise for me! Kathy does what I think of as "real sewing" i.e. clothes. For instance in this post, she deconstructed a shirt and restitched it to a smaller size and it turned out beautifully. She also knits, quilts and cross stitches. She is just starting to cross stitch one of those big Christmas stockings. You can check out her beautifully stitched  prayer book finish HERE (Jenny Elefantz design).  If all that wasn't enough, Kathy is a gardener too, grows real produce so includes gardening news in some posts.  So thanks Kathy for maintaining a lovely blog and sharing all your talents with us. 

Here are my answers to the questions Kathy posed.

How do I learn best?  I'm a visual learner so love the videos that our talented friends publish showing us exactly how to do something...a quilting block, knitting or crocheting pattern. YouTube is my go to these days where books used to be.

Did you do post high school training to prepare for a career? I am a retired teacher and have a couple of university degrees. I always thought I'd be a nurse or teacher and since I was too young to get into nursing when I finished high school at barely 17, I went to university and that led me to teaching. My favourite thing about teaching was enjoying that very special energy children bring to everything and also getting to celebrate all the occasions throughout the school year with them. 

What do you look for in a friend? I'm not a great friend myself as I am a true loner which I think I learned to be. For many decades of my life, someone else mostly decided on the friendships and socializing and we also moved around a lot.  I learned to let people go but I remember them all very well and have quite a store of memories. These days in a new province, my family fulfill the friendship roles in my life. I also get a lot of satisfaction from the blogging community and the online connections we maintain. 

Early bird or night owl? These years I am an early bird which I think happens as you age. 

Favourite instrument? I love to listen to violin or piano music especially early morning as I start my day.  

And kind Cathie at  Cathie's Craftworks also nominated me which made me feel doubly blessed!

 Cathie is also one of those multi talented folks who can turn her hand to anything as we say at home. You can see her pretty crocheted Bobble stitched blanket HERE  and she also is cross stitching an amazing Santa for one of those gorgeous Christmas stockings. Cathie shares her delicious baking and recipes with us too like this one for  her own Mom's recipe for Sour Cream Coffee Cake as well as  photos of her neck of the woods. Thank you Cathie as well for maintaining such a lovely and interesting spot to visit in blogland!  

Here are my answers to the questions Cathie asked....

Do you do anything else while crafting?  Huge yes to that one! TV, audio books, podcasts, YouTube, etc. all accompany me while I work.  I find it hard to sit and do nothing. One of the things I like about bird watching is it is teaching me the patience to just sit and watch and do nothing else. 

Do you prefer crafting alone, with a buddy or in a group? I stitch alone but would love to have a stitching buddy. I have belonged to two stitching groups here and though I never got much stitching done during the meetings, I loved the conversation. I would love to join a group again and I keep searching to find one that I can easily drive to. 

Ideal Vacation?  I would love to go anywhere right now. LOL  We've talked about buying a cottage on a lake since we both love boats and water. But a weekend in Montreal or New York would be fun. I love museums, antique stores and art galleries. I don't have an ideal vacation in mind but they all should include walking/hiking and especially good food. 

Favourite Music Genre? I have eclectic tastes in music. It is easier for me to say my least favourite which is rap. 

Thank you ladies for thinking of my blog!  What a treat it was for me to write this post!

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Beauty Product, Apple Crumble, Basket Applique, Amazing Bird Sighting

All this week down at the pond I've been serenaded by several cardinals singing their beautiful songs. I had to think how blessed I am to not only live where this is a morning greeting but also to have my hearing to hear them. With hubby being hard of hearing, I'm conscious of that too. 

I had a marvelous treat last week when the barred owl suddenly alighted on a tree in the marshy area as I was sitting on the skating shack steps. I was using binoculars and caught the movement of something quite chunky looking. Because they don't spook easily, I was able to move a little closer and get a few shots. Always thrilling to see such big birds and look at those eyes.

Busy looking around.
And to my complete wonder, a second barred owl joined him. This I've never seen before...two barred owls together! The sun went in but I didn't notice.

One very happy amateur birder here!  Emphasis on amateur...I realized afterwards, in my excitement I did not have the correct setting adjusted for such long distance shots. 😞

We watch Friday Night Dinner on Amazon Prime and enjoy the very lighthearted comedy. 

The mom, Jackie, is played by the wonderful Tamsin Greig. She usually makes an Apple Crumble for dessert which the family calls a Crimble Crumble. Since I'm so easily influenced, I decided to make one.  And wouldn't you know, UK's Nervemedia published this article- How to Make Crimble Crumble Just Like Jackie.  I make my own version with extra oats and lots of the crumble part.

My next table topper is an appliqued one.  I was inspired by Barbara Brackman's quilt project in this book.
 I've gotten this far below- would have been further but got very hung up on the fabric choices.  Then I had to employ Hubby's straighter eye to help me get it all lined up on the much larger piece of background fabric.  I love this shade of soft baby blue.  I think I'll call this one The Big Handle Basket, LOL. There is a bird, leaves and flowers to add yet.  Kind of in slings but you get the idea. Finishing this will be my May OMG over at Elm Street Quilts.
Hubby has been busy too with a variety of chores including this one.  Re screening the screen door in the patio door; someone (not mentioning any names) had pawed it and made quite a tear in it. He did a great job. Hopefully it will be warm enough to put screens to use sometime soon. 

A beauty product that is new to me but perhaps not to you...Boom By Cindy Joseph.  I'm sure you've seen the ads for this. I like the whole pro age kind of thinking behind this product. It claims to look good on all faces, and I have to say, I like it on mine.  With the blush, a little goes a long way. And I like the little zippered pouch it came in too.

 My bathroom lighting is a little dull and I have this fear of looking like Nora Desmond as played by the wonderful Carol Burnett in a skit years ago. That being said, only Hubby is seeing me these days and it would take a lot of pink for him to notice I think. 

Next week will be yard cleanup time for me. I look forward to that very satisfying work and thankful to still be able to do it. 

A mystery...something has been visiting my compost bin nightly and taking off the top. This is a bit of a feat as the lid has a special locking feature with arrows you must align to get the top off.  It stumps me sometimes!!  We've set up the trail cam so perhaps one of these days we'll solve this mystery. 

I'm sharing this post with Paying Ready AttentionKathy's QuiltsSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsApplique Patchwork QuiltingCreations Quilts Art and I'd Rather B Birdin'.

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Bee Food, Mini Quilt Finish and Cross Stitch Start, Take Out Treat

Sure sign of spring. Happy to spy this lone dandelion down by the pond...first food for the bees.

Snow yesterday and very cold today but spring is trying its best to take over. Robins are all over the place.

This nuthatch made many trips to the ground which was unusual as they normally stay on tree trunks. I think it may have been gathering material for a nest.  Our nuthatch numbers keep rising so I'm thinking they are nesting nearby.
I have a plan to sew table toppers for the smaller pieces of furniture I have around the house. I experimented with this particular quilt block, courthouse steps, and made a mini quilt. 

I enjoyed using the Pantene 2021 colours, grey and yellow.  Machine stitched and then hand quilted in yellow threads. What a great scrappy block!

An unusual event for decide on a pattern, cut, sew and hand stitch a finish all in one day!

I also set up my new cross stitch project. This one is a design by Lori Markovic at La- D- Da and is called Fraktur Flowers. I love the bird. The colours are reminding me of autumn which I also love. I'm using my Russell Stover pretty summertime tin to corral the threads, scissors, etc.

Have my start made. The outside border called for DMC 3799 which is Pewter and I just love it. So much softer than black. 

Quick question for you???

 How many projects are you comfortable with carrying at a time?  2, 4, 6, 8?  Or more? I think my limit is 4. But I've learned to relax about a couple of projects I'm carrying as it were- the big year long cross stitch project I work on now and then and also two quilting projects that I stitch a block here and there. I know now I will get there eventually with all of these.  

We had take out from a local restaurant...the nearest little town is blessed with many small eateries and cafes who all seem to be doing well with just take out business these days.  Souvlaki platters with Greek salads and fresh pita bread which we both enjoy.  Is this something you would like?

I'm feeling a little more reassured now that both of us have had our first vaccines. Mine was a drive through affair which is very efficient. Both our vaccines were administered by doctors and we wondered if that was the best use of their time, especially as hospitals here are saying they need more medical personnel with in hospital cases rising. 

I'm trying not to be critical of the handling of the epidemic and how fellow citizens are behaving. Trying my best to stay positive. Hope that is exactly how you are feeling today...full of positivity and enjoying your day. 

Check out the other bloggers at Not Afraid of Color who are also focusing on the positive. Also linking with Paying Ready AttentionKathy's QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkQuilting Patchwork Applique, Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, Alycia Quilts and Life in the Scrap Patch

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Cakes and Puppies, Quilted Stars and Flowers in Blues

 Hello all. A sincere thank you for the emails we are still receiving. All read, all appreciated and put a smile on my face. 💗

This week included good choices and some bad choices food wise.  Why did I include a party sized bag of potato chips in last week's grocery order!! Hubby couldn't believe I did that but I reminded him that we also ate a giant container of baby spinach in various dishes this week. Perhaps one will counteract the other I said, hopefully. 

We did some munching while watching this great little series on Masterpiece PBS and CBC's Gem, Victoria starring Jenna Coleman. I love these period pieces- the clothes, jewelry, great houses, food, horses, etc. All of it I guess.

We  also very much enjoyed Jenna's performance in another wonderful drama series called The Cry.  It was one of those where you have no clue what is really going on. We found it on Amazon Prime.

I have not been keeping up with showing you our cakes from daughter. The coconut layers were so delicious in this one, just the right amount of sweetness. German Chocolate Layer Cake and it went perfectly with a cup of tea too.  So thankful for treats.

I don't always show my finishes especially of smaller items I make. I realized that when I found this pin cushion I'd made about four years ago from a little wool applique kit.  I think I showed the start of the stitching.

I found it amongst some wool and felt Christmas ornaments I made years back.  Kind of neat to have it in use now. A bonus, it had several of my "good" sewing needles in it... from Tulip. 

I have machine stitched more Sawtooth Star blocks including these in blues...

While I have no outside bloom at all yet just lots of green shoots, at daughter's house these ground cover pretty blue squill flowers were standing out in her back yard.

I took the photo through the window because I didn't want to disturb these two, her resident mourning doves who are, no doubt, gong to be nesting nearby as mourning doves do there every year.

We have been visiting the nine Labrador puppies when they get outside play.  They are starting to play with each other, tire out easily and curl up anywhere for a nap. It is a total cuteness overload. I like that neighbourhood children are coming for little play sessions with them too, a break from the online learning (all schools are closed province wide now) and good socialization for the puppies. 

With that happy photo I'll leave you this morning. Take care all as we are doing our best to ride out the continuing strict lockdown here in Ontario, Canada. For us it's not over yet by any stretch of the imagination. 

As always joining the thankful bloggers at  Not Afraid of ColorPaying Ready AttentionIt's a Small Town LifeFor the Love of GeeseSo ScrappyViewing Nature With EileenConfessions of a Fabric AddictKathy's QuiltsSmall Quilts and Doll Quilts and Brian's Home Blog.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Stash, Finishes, Bird Fair in Town

I've been walking a lot to try to cure this sad head of mine. Fresh air and time passing is working its magic I would have to say. Witnessing the change in nature from winter to spring is also wonderful. 

And sitting out on rocks and logs trying to let the fresh air and woody vistas sink into me. I had this little thing float down on my head during one of those times. I thought it was a leaf. Realizing it was a moth put a smile on my face. Where did it come from with the air so cold and freezing overnight! Such pretty shades of greens- perhaps an emerald moth??
It is like the fair has come to town to see all the birds that have appeared like magic. I just love it.

All taken through my kitchen window so not great shots but you get the idea of the array that are showing up daily now. This is not Tilly but she has been visiting morning and evening.

Yesterday I saw a few brave green sprouts have poked through the ground. Sun and cold have been the weather news this spring. No more snow though which is a bonus.

And a few out of focus pussy willows too which is the earliest I've noted them here.

I've always said stitching is my therapy. I finished stitching Quilting Bee and took this photo in bright sunshine to try to get the colours right. I've been frustrated by this.

I wish you could see the true colours as they are pretty plums and deep blues contrasting that bright gold. It now joins the others in a drawer for someday framing.
And I finished up the Snow Bound Table Topper just in time for spring. 😉
I edged it with a herringbone stitch  in black.  Tucked away now for the fall.
Lying on the floor doing my exercises I really liked this view of the plants in front of the patio door where I kept a bunch this winter. The sunlight was wonderful despite how cold it was outside. The geraniums and Christmas cactus are sprouting flowers in response to the extended light. I'm looking forward to getting all these outside.
Now I get to choose a couple more projects. Get back to the tulip research and kit up another cross stitch project...maybe flowers this time. So nice to have some stash at times like this. If one thing doesn't suit, it's good to have another to consider. 
A huge thank you for the kind comments and email messages which we both read. I was touched by how many of you shared stories of your precious pets too.

Always happy to link with Not Afraid of ColorKathy's Quilts and Paying Ready Attention