Friday 30 September 2016

On Line Stitching Purchases

Last weekend I did some on-line shopping.  Here's what I purchased-

The 32 count confederate gray linen for my next cross stitch project, Strawberry Fields Forever by Blackbird Designs.  With much trepidation I might add.  Can these old eyes of mine manage this low a thread count.  My Ott Lite is good but is it good enough.  These were my thoughts even as I was pressing the buttons that took me towards CheckOut and the final sale.

French General Petite prints

                                               Image result for french general petite prints

I ordered these one day and they arrived 4 days later.  I was so surprised to see the package sitting in our mail slot so soon.  Craftsy is good!

I've been eyeing these for quite some time.  Lovely little prints perfect for backgrounds or small applique.

A Hera marker like I've shown you before.

A Clover bias tape maker which is useful for making those lovely winding stems and tendrils when appliqueing.  Here is Londa demonstrating how it works.  Could I fool this up?

So with these purchases, I am getting 'kitted up' in the tool department.  Then it will be putting them to good use.

I have read granny square ponchos are very popular again.
 The idea of everything old is new again is interesting to me. In my second year of university I had crocheted myself a very long scarf made of granny and burgundy and lots of people commented on it.  But it was a time when many were sporting these type ponchos.  Sort of the tail end of the hippie thing.
Certainly is colourful and easy to make. This one is available to buy on ETSY.

Image result for granny square poncho pattern

A quick note about my crocheting.  I've not found my hexagons that I made before the move (remember them?).  I've found the left over wool and other bits of wool, but none of the finished pieces for that particular project.
But I'm not worried; I know they are tucked away somewhere to be revealed sometime when I'm on the hunt for something else.  That's the way I find most things!

I also got Hubby out for a lunch at a popular Indian food buffet restaurant here in Ottawa called the East India Company.

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 It was so good.  The only odd thing was you have to pay for the Naan bread separately but it was so worth it.  They also offer a very nice chutney selection which we sampled.  The mango was delicious.

Photo of East India Company - Ottawa, ON, Canada. from the Buffet

Love Indian food; how about you?

 That was last weekend.  Not sure yet what this weekend holds.

Whatever is in your weekend, hope it is good stuff.

Tuesday 27 September 2016

I Made a Pumpkin Dump Cake

Since it is almost October and pumpkin season, I decided to make a pumpkin cake.
  I know Dump cake doesn't sound all that appetizing but really it just refers to how easy it is to make this particular cake.  Now this recipe does take a little more effort than just dumping everything into a pan.  You do have to whip some of the ingredients.  

There are many, many recipes for pumpkin dump cakes but the one I followed was offered by Karly on her Buns In My Oven blog so you can get her full instructions there.  This particular cake required a can of pumpkin puree, a yellow cake mix, 4 eggs, a can of evaporated milk, sugar and cinnamon.  

You can see the two layers in this photo...the crunchy layer and the bottom custardy layer.  Kitchen chemistry I suppose is why that happens.  They provided different taste sensations with my favourite being the crunchy part.

I decided to ice mine with a basic cream cheese frosting that worked well with the pumpkin/cinnamon flavour.
This recipe made a large cake...I worried the batter would be too much for the 9 x 13 pan but it worked perfectly.  The longer this cake sits the tastier it is.  
Needless to say, I've got one delighted hubby.  

Monday 26 September 2016

4 Things I'm Loving This Week

MacIntosh Apples

 are being harvested locally.  Just love them as a part of a snack with a little cheese and cilantro (which proves I will eat cilantro with anything).

This book,

 the 2012 Giller Prize winner, 419 by Will Ferguson.

  Another book that has been on my list for awhile and finally I got my turn to read it.  I guess most people have heard of the scams where you are offered a share of a large sum of money in exchange for helping someone transfer it out of a foreign country.  These schemes are tagged 4-1-9 named after the former section of the Nigerian Criminal Code. This book takes you into the life of the person getting scammed in Canada and the people who are orchestrating it in Nigeria.   I am enjoying the scenes in Nigeria so much I'm skipping other sections and reading my way through Amina's story.  Wonderful descriptions.

Fresh eggs

 Son-in-law has had real success with his chickens laying.  They are averaging three eggs a day from the four chickens.  They have been adding fresh green vegetables to their diet which the chickens love, and this is turning their egg shells browner.

They must be happy chickens especially with such a good diet.

The Hydrangeas

How pink those hydrangeas are turning.  So pretty in the early evening light.  I think I am in love with them.

They are definitely going out in a rosy glory.

And this is not a thing per se but I'll add it anyway

More Time

This week is the first without obligations for me back at the old house.  I can concentrate all my efforts and energies on this house and my hobbies.  And hopefully get that little sewing room completely organized.  Looking forward to browsing this book and thinking of something autumy to do.  That cover piece certainly has all the glorious fall colours.  And I do love pumpkins.  

I'll be busy this morning reading some blogs and checking out autumn patterns.  Happy Monday!

Friday 23 September 2016

I Wish...Newfoundland Thoughts

If wishes were fishes, we'd all cast nets.

                                                      Frank Herbert

I wish I was home again
Truthfully this is a sometimes wish.
I see photos of my grandparent's house and wish I lived there. All of my life, wherever I lived, I always said I was returning to Newfoundland when I retired.  Sometimes  people would bring up the weather or the lack of amenities, how much it cost to fly out of there or whatever.  My stock answer was always, you don't go home for the weather, you go because it's home.

  I know exactly how my life would be each and every day.  I know I would look at the ocean with the same appreciation for its beauty that I always felt and wrote about so ineptly as a student.
So it is a little ironic that here I am living four provinces away from Newfoundland. And enjoying it.
Here my views are mostly pastoral and there is such beauty in that too.

In my more naive days I used to believe Life Is What You Make It for the most part.  That was my motto when I lived in communities that were considered isolated.  Now sometimes I think I am a little too tired or too old to call up all that mind over matter stuff and just want life to run smoothly regardless of where I'm living.
 I'd like to hear only good news; my friends all having lovely grand babies, see photos of wonderful vacations or lovely birds at the feeders and every test result be a good one.  Wouldn't it be nice if when you turn a certain age, that's exactly how life could go.
Now there's a wish worth wishing for.

 Anyway, enough about that.

Last look at my FINISHED cross stitched Floral Bouquet.  Both of my grandmothers would have loved this.

Happy Belated Autumn Equinox!  Time has a way of slipping past doesn't it.

I know I love it too.  How about you?

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Thrift Store Finds

As promised, I want to share a few charity Thrift store finds with you.  It seems I haven't had the time to stroll through any store lately, let alone take the time I need for searching second hand store shelves.  But last week I took most of one morning to do just that.

I do love transferware plates.  This one is Royal Stafford and a common design, Asiatic Pheasants.  But I liked the black and white and the middle size of it, bigger than a salad plate but not as big as a dinner plate.  Sometimes that is just the size you need.  It was still sporting a Winner's sale sticker saying $5.99 and I paid  $1.99.

A dozen quilting magazines and one quilting book that I'll show you in more detail sometime.  I can't wait for a chance to go through these and ogle the fabrics and projects.

A very pretty pink leather case. It did have a manufacturer's tag still attached and looked like it had never been used. I guess it could be used for makeup or pencils or whatever.  I love the feel of it, very soft.  I looked around because I thought it might be part of a set but couldn't find anything matching like a change purse.  I don't know yet what I'll use it for. I'm thinking it could be very handy for travelling.
And this item makes me wonder why would someone discard something so good.  I'll never understand how some of the things I see in thrift stores wind up there.

I know many people don't like to buy clothes that have been previously owned but sometimes I do, especially if it is an expensive brand name and something I've coveted as is the case with this....

An LL Bean Barn Coat in a mauve/ purple colour with brown corduroy collar and cuffs and the best part, it's an insulated coat so will be great for winter.  It looks brand new, certainly shows no sign of wear.  I looked on ebay and saw one just like mine selling for $42 US and I paid $14.98 so I am very happy with this find.  And it suits my log house! lol

When I checked out, the lady commented on both the little purse and the coat.  She explained that they don't get first dibs on anything coming in.  The rule is it has to be put on the shelf for one week and then if it isn't sold, they can buy it.  She said she was sure someone had their eye on my things. (But maybe she says that to all the customers.)

So I had a relaxing morning looking, took home a few bargains with sales helping a good cause and it all cost less than $25.

Monday 19 September 2016

A Goal, Crocheting Plastic, Hens and Chicks

I'm learning from some of the best stitchers over at Floss Tube on Youtube.  Some of them have a monthly action plan with a yearly goal. Goals are good, I'm thinking.  So far in my stitching world, I have been flying by the seat of my pants more or less, with not too much thought to finishes, except to show you all. I have learned what a serial starter is and realized I am not one, well maybe a small s one.

That being said, I do have a goal, a big one for this year.  I want to get my projects framed.  I know you've heard me say this before but this time I mean it.  I now have lots and lots of wall space to hang a lot of items.  And a large  inventory of finished pieces...

Cost be what it will....

You can tell my pleasure really is in the doing...

Do you have a plastic bag stash?
 I have one despite trying really hard not to grow one.
This little video appeared on Youtube and I love the idea of using up plastic bags for something good.
I was surprised to learn how many plastic bags you need to make a sleeping mat.
But what a great idea and I'm sure there are lots of other things that can be done with them as well. Kudos to these ladies who are volunteering their time and talents to a worthwhile cause and putting hundreds of plastic bags to good use.

Did you get a good view of the harvest moon?  This is one taken of it over the Rideau showing our Canadian Parliament Buildings there on the right.

Image result for photos of harvest moon ottawa ontario

Back down to earth,
In my back yard

Someone planted Hens and Chicks around each of the basement window wells.  They are doing fine in these mostly shaded areas though not as large as I have had them grow previously.  Nevertheless, this is a care-free plant I love and it was on my list to add to the garden.

Some of these are very tiny; didn't know they could be so little.

Here a few have bolted into Hosta territory.  ( I was thinking hostile territory as I typed that; but who knows, maybe this area is hostile to little Hens and Chicks.)

I'm typing this out on my backyard deck; it's just cool enough to need a sweater so the season is changing.  Not a Monday goes by without me thinking of the work world.
Hope your week is off to a good start where ever you are and whatever you are doing.

Friday 16 September 2016

States of "Done-ness" and Odd Little Creatures

If you look you will find....

I went through every single bin and tote I have in the sewing room.  I pressed all the little pieces of fabrics and trimmed the raggedy tails and sorted everything by colour.  I uncovered a couple WIP's that had been tucked away for one reason or another.  I have made a decision to bring each of these to some state of 'doneness' before beginning anything else.

Meanwhile I finished stitching another of the blocks I had appliqued last May.  It is relaxing to do this.

The colours of this block match my living room curtains so I think I'll make it into a cushion for the couch.
I saw this fellow making his way around one of the patios while I was weeding.

 I was a little shocked at its size.  It was bigger than my little finger and in these parts, we don't see caterpillars that large. And it was an unusual limey green colour.  I took a couple of photos before moving it outside the fence to the trees beyond the dogs' reach.  I noticed it had quite a grip and wasn't that easy to pick up.
  Later I looked it up and was pleased to see that it was the caterpillar of the Polyphemus Moth, also large as moths go...4 to 5 inch wing span.  Oh I wish I could see one.  We don't keep outside lights on at night so I don't know how I'd go about it.  But isn't this a beauty!

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The only provinces where you won't find this moth are Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Another little visitor hanging around the back yard patio...

A gray tree frog.  I've seen two of them and it is hard to know if it is the same two as they change colour which has to be just about the neatest feature a creature could have. Not very attractive even as frogs go but I love spying them.

Speaking again of 'done-ness', I will show you the fully finished Floral Bouquet next week.  And I'll talk about my next cross stitch project, Strawberry Fields Forever by Blackbird Design.
 Oh and I'll also show you a few great finds I came across at the thrift store.  Hadn't been there in ages and was so rewarded for dropping in.

 Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday 13 September 2016

45, A Movie, and Harvest Festival

Why No Stitching Last Weekend

  I had to spend Saturday you-know-where tidying the greenhouse and sweeping out the barn.  Hubby had to do the mowing again and so it goes.  I brought home the gardening tools that I had stored in both places that the movers had missed.  There always seems to be more.  Like I had completely forgotten about the tall bird feeder stake on the front lawn; it was a rather pretty one with wrought iron leaves and green beads so this time I remembered to get it.

 Hope I'm not boring you to tears with these 'house' updates.
However, though dog tired, we were both in good humour leaving because "the end is in sight", at least the moving of items is.

Sunday, I had an outing with Daughter and Little Grandson.  The Lanark Harvest Festival is a traditional September gathering in this area. There were  lots of booths displaying locally grown food, honey and maple syrup and also artisans showing their wares.  I'm sure wherever you live, there are many such events staged at harvest times.

All the animals got along in this smallish pen- goats, pigs, hens, ducks and donkeys.  For a loonie, you could buy an ice cream cone full of feed pellets and feed the goats. They also ate the cone.
And Grandson got a ride on a pony which he loved. Gosh, he loves horses.

45 A Movie

We watched a movie, 45, starring Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling.   I enjoyed it very much.  It is about a couple who are just about to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary when they receive news about the husband's former lover.  This is fascinating to me...the notion of the seemingly ideal marriage, the underpinnings of which are, in reality, ever so shaky.  As the song at the end says "how do we know our true love is true".
Trailer is here...

I love Charlotte and enjoyed  her roles in many movies as well as Dexter and Broadchurch more recently.  She was considered quite a beauty in her day and did lots of modelling, but did you know she is also a singer.  And her voice, that also famous sort of gravelly voice, can supposedly be attributed to lots of cigarettes smoked with the filters torn off!

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Monday 12 September 2016

Stitching in the Great Outdoors

Thank goodness for all the fresh vegetables in the house these last few weeks; it has made dinner ideas easy and healthy at the same time.  I have been so busy, when I have a 'down' day, I just want to sit and read or sew.
 I haven't even gotten out and about in our new little town to explore.  Soon, I keep promising myself.

We've been blessed with a lot of sunny days.
I've spent as much time on those down days as I can outside and stitching.
 The front veranda (at home I would call this the bridge) is proving to be a wonderful sewing spot for me.  With shade from the sun,brilliant light, my lap top, my ice water, and my bit of stitching, I have all I could want including pretty views every time I glance up.

 Hubby got this shot of me one day.  I can tell you I am listening to a podcast called Someone Knows Something on the CBC radio web site.  It is a series of episodes chronicling the story of the only unsolved mystery in the Renfrew County Police Department, the case of a missing little boy, 5 year old Adrian McNaughton.  Adrian wandered into the Ontario woods one day in 1972 and was never seen again.  The link is  HERE if you would like to check it out.  I thought the episodes were very well done and I especially liked the interviews with local people.

Meanwhile I haven't shown you the little sewing room for a reason.  Truthfully, it is still a bit of a mess and I haven't had the time to really go through everything and sort like it needs.  It is working its way to the top of the 'to do' list.

I want to call your attention to the white blossoms poking into the window frame on the bottom right.

Outside, here is that same bush and it is gloriously laden with huge blossoms.  It is a Peegee Hydrangea, one of the most reliable hydrangeas for blooming.

They are gradually acquiring a pinkish tinge that is so attractive.  After shaking off the ants, I'm finding them very pretty in a vase.  And with their size, you need only one for a bit of show.

Oh what I'm working on in the outdoor light is the Floral Bouquet; yes, still not finished but nearly there.  I am almost at the point where I need to hold it up to the light to see if I've missed any stitches.

Friday 9 September 2016

Toile Bedroom Curtains and Tool Hunting

Have I mentioned before that as well as Jacobean, I also like all things toile.

 I guess it is the designs ( not the linen material) usually found and labelled toile that I actually love.  They are often rustic depicting scenes in nature, the country side, children and animals. Occasionally, you see rich people with their horses or picnicking.  These days you can get toile in a range of colours from the classics, reds and blues to tans and aquas.  I love this one with the birds in black and white.  So elegant.

                                        Image result for toile

I have had cushions made up in toile in the past and decided my bedroom curtains would be toile this time round.  I chose a soft red against an off white background.  It looks more pinkish in this night time lighting but it really is red.

There are two large windows in the bedroom and I needn't have worried about the design being overwhelming in the room.  Just like in the living area, wood seems to soak up colour.

On a different matter...

Looking for tools

With the move, I got to see for myself how many tools Hubby has amassed in his collections.  He takes having the right tool for the job important both for making the job easier and also achieving the result he wants.

I decided to take a lesson from that.  It's time I take tools more seriously.  I've always kept my "tool collection" basic and just last year for the first time bought fancy quilting templates.  I've always used Freezer paper from the grocery store instead of buying the nice applique backing papers.  I'm going to invest in some and start building my own tool collection for my stitching hobbies.

After reading the Every Stitch post where Hilda  explains how she makes great use of a simple tool called the HERA,( Hilda, by the way, is a master quilter and generously shares information about her tools and materials.) I did some research about it myself.  Marking fabric for the all important final quilting is a bit of a challenge.  Quilters use all kinds of things...chalk, pencils, pens, tissue paper, cellophane.  As Hilda describes, the hera doesn't leave any permanent mark on fabric but it does make a delible mark that can be followed to stitch on.  I found the video below on Youtube which explains how the hera works.
Clover Hera Marker - Clover

The hera seems like a good tool to have on hand.  What do you think?

And on another note:  Turnips or Swedes

A reader asked if Swedes and turnips are the same thing, this in response to the Cornish Pasties post.  No they are not identical and have a few major differences.  Swedes are bigger, sweeter and yellower than our turnips.  Having said that, turnips are used exactly like Swedes in recipes.  I grew up with us calling them turnips even if sometimes they might have been small Swedes or rutabagas. Thanks for your comment, Daisy.

Wednesday 7 September 2016

Out on our Trails

Our lane way, looking slightly purple in the late evening.

One of the trails is a grassy one...

And another is through the trees.

We walk the dogs first thing in the morning and pick up the paper.  I haven't seen any wildlife on our walks and only one chipmunk lives in the front garden.  But I know they are out there...

Then breakfast...

Hubby reading the paper over breakfast.  Taken from what is becoming my "stitching chair" in the corner.  The light from the large window is wonderful for stitching.
You know what is the best part of that paragraph.  The fact that I can decide to stitch in the morning if I want to.  The joy of retirement and believe me, I am so grateful.

They had all the Sharwoods on special at the local grocery store. This is a brand I like especially their chutney so I bought a few bottles for the shelves.  I have leftover chicken from one of those store roasted chickens so it will be an easy chicken and vegetables red curry for supper tonight.