Friday, 29 April 2016

Friday Fixings


Before I forget, I've learned what a FRIVOL is (thanks, Sue).  It's a small quilt kit usually packaged in a special tin.  Everything you need to make your quilt is snugly tucked inside. What a neat gift idea.



The tin also becomes a collectible.  So another mystery solved.

Doesn't this look tasty.


It is something called Turmeric Lemonade.  Son- in- law gave me a package of turmeric powder after both of us had read about the health benefits.  The recipe for this special drink was on Facebook so I gave it a try.



To drink Turmeric Lemonade  means you've got to like the taste of turmeric.  I do but maybe not THAT much.  (If you get my drift.)


Remember my need for more fabric?  Think it might be solved.  These arrived yesterday.
  Show and Tell next week. Yah!





I got to spend some time catching up on Dateline and 48 Hours Mystery which in reality means cross stitching.  One half  of Floral Bouquet almost all done.







                              

But how about this...the famous David Beckham sewing doll's clothes for his daughter.  I wonder how is he with a needle and thread. Or does anybody care about that. LOL

Hope there is something for you to LOL about in your weekend.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Old Woman Meditating


I love how the sun is shining on my hexagons in this photo.  So bright and cheery.  I am down to my last two balls of wool.  I think I will be reordering more in order to make it big enough for an afghan.
Love Knitting is a site that carries a wide variety of wool including the Stylecrafts and offers free shipping to Canada on orders $75+ and sometimes on special promotion it is free.




Saturday was a pensive sort of day for me.  I hung around in the morning kind of dilly dallying and didn't have anything to show for the morning hours.
 At one point I took a cup of tea outside and in my winter coat sat on the front step and watched the birds.  I noted that the Phoebes are back and nesting again above the garage door light.  There was also an odd bee, hundreds of them in fact, buzzing all over the lawn. Some kind of ground bee, I suppose.  There are so many.



                                    Slowly, the world is awakening.  But no buds here yet.




My Coleus plant (some call Painted Nettle) had sprouted little spikes of pretty bluish flowers.  I cut these off as the plant experts advised  but I did enjoy them for a few days first.

Later Murphy did her Retriever stance down by the swamp.  She always does it in the same place so we can't help but wonder what is attracting her attention. There are lots of red-winged blackbirds there presently which was all I could spy.  She becomes very still and holds a good 'point' something we are sure she was never trained to do.  She is a rescued dog like Rex.



            This is from Meditations of An Old Woman by Theodore Roethke, poems commemorative of his mother.  These six lines are just about my favourite of all Roethkes' writings.

                How can I rest in the days of my slowness?
                I've become a strange piece of flesh,
                Nervous and cold, bird-furtive, whiskery,
                With a cheek soft as a hound's ear.
                What's left is light as a seed;
                 I need an old crone's knowing.


                             
Sad that he was a heavy drinker and suffered deep mental anguish, as so many of these genius types did.







Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Christine Walkden Drinks Tea Too


                              

I just had to use this poster at some point as a nod to my sister.  Three of her favourite things are in it...C.S. Lewis, books and tea drinking.

What I've Been Watching and Loving


A BBC program called Christine's Garden.  It features Christine Walkden, a gardener who I gather is quite famous in Britain.  I can access the Season 1 all 6 episodes on Youtube and I've been meting them out.  



I'm enjoying Christine's dialogue and all the garden shots, as well as her conversations with her neighbours and friends.  Very down to earth.  The 'kettle is always on' kind of people.
 And wow, does Christine ever know her flowers, plants, vegetables and trees.

This is a story I enjoyed and  I got the link from Rhonda at her Down to Earth blog.
 It's a story about a gentleman and his house in Pembrokeshire, Wales.  An Interesting House and Interesting Owner . I was curious to read he lime washed his house regularly and this made the house so white it almost glowed.  My grandparents would lime wash their picket fence every summer so it always looked gleaming in the sunlight.

On the weekend, I thought I'd treat Hubby to some Newfoundland Raisin Buns fresh from the oven for breakfast.  While he took the dogs for their early morning walk to get the paper, I put together the simple recipe and had them in the oven by the time he got back.  I greased the bake sheet with coconut oil and it worked well.  Actually it made the bottoms lovely and crispy.
The recipe for Newfoundland Raisin Buns is at wonderful Rock Recipes.  Btw, I use slightly less sugar and omit the vanilla extract.  I figure we are going to use butter and jam on them so that's enough sweetness.





Just the best treat with a cup of tea.  And my special tea is still Vanilla Earl Grey.  So far, I can buy it only at Davids Teas.




I love the Queen and I am so happy for her to still be the reigning monarch.  I think she is unique and when they made her, they threw away the queen mold because there won't be another like her.  She seems to be in excellent health and I've read she drinks only Earl Grey tea.

 Here is a knitted teacosy featuring the young Queen Elizabeth by Teacosy Folk and their link is HERE

       

Wouldn't it be fun to imagine HERSELF uses one like this...

Monday, 25 April 2016

What's a frivol?


What do I keep in my Russel Stover Christmas chocolate tin??


Why my Quilty 365 blocks and stitching  kit.


I've begun to sash them with some of the Brenda Riddle Ambleside fabric.  I figured if I waited, I would have a mammoth task on hand to frame 365 of these.



I've also decided to add a little embellishment in the form of an embroidered stitch or two to each block.


What a fun little project this is turning out to be.  More of the leftover bits and pieces being put to good use and each block gets finished so quickly.  Make no wonder so many have joined in this sew along or SAL.

I'm still catching on to the acronyms circling around the internet...imo for instance. Yes just figured that one out.

Ravel and unravel both mean the same thing.  I should know this as I'm quite the expert at whichever you call it.
Stash...special treasures all secretly hidden;  mine is actually in the dining room for all the world to -see.
Now here's one that is cute.
WIWMI- wish it would make itself
I'm wishing a certain pile of blocks I have could sash themselves or WIWSI.

So just what is a frivol anyway? 

I don't know but I've encountered it on my internet travels.

Lately the weather has been uncooperative for picture taking...either (rarely) too bright sunshine or (usually) gray, dull days that make it a challenge for my little SureShot to filter enough light. So I apologize that my photos are not that crisp.

This little snippet of poetry definitely applies to our 2016 April we have had and are still having.

                          "The sun was warm, but the wind was chill,
                               You know how it is with an April day."


 -                                                                     Robert Frost


Lots of robins around.  This one was part of a group of 11 that were hanging out in the back yard being very social with each other.  I think they may be nesting already.  But the temperatures are still below freezing at night so it makes a nest a chilly home.



And these two taken through the living room window.. show lots and lots of finches.


Sorry, except for the pinks and yellows, they still pretty much blend in with the ground which is all a little drab.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Sewing Sashes


Wednesday found me sewing sashes (try saying that three times) on my little blocks.  My, they have grown and at final count number 108; you'll remember I've been borrowing from the Farmer's Wife 1920's block designs which seem easier to me, certainly fewer pieces.

Traffic on the Farmer's Wife Facebook page has slowed considerably.  I know many people have finished the blocks they intended to do and I am in awe of what beautiful quilts they have made.  When you use a coordinated line of material you do have a polished looking finish.  And those new lines with the pretty turquoises and apricots look so modern and pretty.

 I have been busy!  I am sewing 10 in a row with 10 rows.  So I'll have a complete square which is most impractical for on a bed...just thought of that.  Hmm  But then would I want any of those hand pieced blocks on a bed...with Murphy jumping up.  Not a chance.

I'm planning on running the white sashing between these long rows.  I debated corner stones but decided there was enough interest in the blocks themselves.  Still have some straightening out to do and I am still finding erant papers squirrelled away in corners of the trickier blocks.
Here are the first six rows. Yes, I see Grandmother is upside down.  :)





Now this is what happens when working from the stash.  Things, as in use of prints, get out of hand. But I am happy to have depleted most of anything I had in my three bins that looked even vaguely 1930's.   There is a satisfaction in using up cloth right down to the tiny bits.  I even used up a lot of the whites I had.
 Yes, I know what you are thinking...this gives me the excuse to fabric shop!!

I am contemplating my next project.  It won't be the Splendid Sampler as much as the blocks are so beautiful.  I don't think I could enjoy it coming on the heels of the Farmer's Wife like it has.  But I have saved all the patterns for another time.

I am eager to work on applique.  To that end I've looked through a couple of my books.  I have my own Michelle Hill's William Morris in Applique, which is an absolutely gorgeous book. I keep it on my coffee table some days just to ogle the photos.
BTW, here is the link to Michelle's pretty blog, William Morris and Michelle. Always lovely photos and pretty things to inspire.

 Sadly I don't think my skills are up to working anything in Morris just yet.  It is my dream!

This edition of Quilters Newsletter included an article on beautiful landscape quilts.  They are really works of art, I think.  And lots of other good stuff to read too.




It also included the directions for making a cute wallhanging, one with a FOX on it.  They are everywhere!  I copied the pattern and added it to my wishful thinking pile.  Ever growing.

Downpours of rain here today so hope you are keeping dry, warm or cool, depending on the weather in your part of the world.





Thursday, 21 April 2016

Such is the Life of the Retired

We spent half of Sunday trying to remember the name of Mrs. Fawlty Towers, you know Basil's wife in the short lived British series, Fawlty Towers.  We bounced various suggestions back and forth, Priscilla, Prunella, Constance. Two syllables for sure, no, maybe three.  Anyway, we were determined to remember it without google's help.  This is the good thing about living with someone in your own age group...you totally understand each others' references.

My current book on the go.

Longbourn, you may remember, is the home of the famous Bennet family from Pride and Prejudice which chronicles all the upstairs happenings.




 Longbourn, the novel by Jo Baker, follows the lives of the downstairs staff, which is rather scant and definitely overworked.   As well we get to see the Bennet family, with those very engaging daughters, through the eyes of those who are waiting on them hand and foot and it isn't always pretty.  Halfway through now and enjoying it but not wildly, if you know what I mean.

But I must say how much I love the cover. I even love how the word Longbourn is written with the flourishes at the start leading into very plain font.  I'm perhaps reading too much into it to think it is mimicking the diverse lives of the people inside that building embodied in the name.


Here is that lovely masterpiece by Liotard.  This particular image is from the cross stitch kit offered by Keepsake Needlearts and is on reduction right now.  I've looked at it a number of times but I suspect there are too many threads for my brain and fingers to keep straight.  But finished it would be a masterpiece in its own right.


Chocolate


I came across this short clip of Jo talking about her choices of characters and influences in writing Longbourn. I am always interested in hearing authors and artists explain their influences and processes. 


                                       

And on an entirely different matter:-

 These Aussie Bites were being offered at Costco as a sample during one of our visits.  Hubby thought them worth a buy.  All organic, with no preservatives and lots of good ingredients...oats, apricots, honey, coconut, seeds and quinoa.  Anyway, I've frozen them and Hubby enjoys them as his bikky with a cup of tea.  My Australian friends would know if this really is a cookie authentic to Down Under.



And here she is, Sybil Fawlty, a name neither of us remembered.  I'm thinking it's a good thing we are retired.

                                   

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

I Soap The Windows


This post is about the day I had to soap the windows and not to clean them.

 Flocks of little birds have been loving the nyger seed in the front yard feeders.  My whirlybird hangers I suspended in front of the windows had been doing a fine job of preventing window strikes.  However, I put these up in 2013 and some have given up the ghost and left a couple of panes empty.  I've looked but not seen them in any dollar store since.  We didn't mind them and in fact, they made a pleasant little tinkle against the window in wind- not unlike a wind chime.



 I had been meaning to address the now bare windows but with all the gray weather I guess they weren't posing a reflection problem for the birds so I never thought about it.

That changed the minute the sun came out.  In the space of a couple of hours one day I heard several dreaded strikes of birds hitting windows.  I looked but couldn't find any birds on the ground.

Later that same evening  I saw a lone bird sitting on the ground under the feeder and when I glanced out again 15 minutes later he was still there.  I went outside to investigate and was just in time to see the poor little fellow keel over.  I'm not sure he was one of the birds who'd hit a window but quite possibly he was.  It was a Purple Finch btw, a bird Roger Tory Peterson described as a sparrow dipped in raspberry juice.  I got to stroke his tiny red plumed head before taking him back to the forest.



I'd read about the continuing problem of birds hitting glass on tall buildings in downtown Ottawa and our local Wild Bird Sanctuary produced a little film showing ways you can help stop this from happening.  One way was to make streaks on your windows with soap.  I decided to give that a try.

My streaks, as you can see on the window above, are not very even.  I had the 4 step stool and didn't feel comfortable hopping up on the top step so had to reach high consequently wobbly markings.

It's great we live in the country and we can do basically whatever we want to our windows, isn't it?

Happily this seems to be working fine. Not one hit since I've marked the windows.
 The rain we had one day washed the marks off one of the panels so I had to go out and redo them.

 But it is only a little work for great reward.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Me on Saturday


Saturday and we got the promised warmer temperatures.  I could walk without a coat and gloves, in just my down vest.  Freedom!  Don't my puppies look good in this picture.

But there is still old icy snow in some areas of the trail that are in the shade.


The old apple trees in a row.




And just look at this...I was so happy to spy some real colour. Wonderful Coltsfoot I sighted in the ditch.  This is often the first flower to spring to life after a long winter, but we didn't need Coltsfoot to tell us this winter had overstayed its welcome. 
Such a hardy little plant, a cousin of the Dandelion, it can thrive in wet or dry, bright sun or a little shade.   


I've returned to look at it several times because it is literally the only thing bearing any colour at all so far.

Friday, 15 April 2016

What Do You Use To Mark Quilting Lines?

I have been busy trimming those Farmer's Wife blocks.  They are in three stacks presently and I think I will sort them according to main colour for the final placement. I will have to use our bed for the lay out because my 'design wall' is just not big enough.  This is giving me some idea of how large the finished quilt will be.  Much bigger than I had thought.



As I journeyed along with this project, I learned to allow much more seam allowance on the edges of the outer pieces.  A couple of my earliest blocks had a mere smidgen of cloth to trim and four turned out to be under sized.  How that happened, I haven't a clue. I had to play around with more fabric for them to reach the 6.5 mark.

Crazy the wastage though in both fabric and thread isn't it when you do these big projects.


What do you use to mark quilting lines?

There are so many tools for marking quilts that it is hard to choose.  The special markers marketed to quilters are a bit expensive I find.  I've read some quilters use Crayola Ultra thin washable markers and love how they get a nice bright line to follow that will safely wash out later on.
 One of the blogs I follow suggested this tool; Generals Sketch and Wash graphite pencils.  A box of 12 cost me about $17 from Amazon.ca which seems like good value for the money.  You can look up the reviews; many quilters have contributed favourable ones.
I need the security of marked lines to follow so I will certainly be trying these. When I do, I'll let you know how they fare.



This story circulated on Facebook garnering a lot of 'likes'.   Something to smile about.
Maryjane Wapachee in Quebec lost her glasses while making bannock.  Blamed everyone in the house she said.


                          

I used to make bannock when I lived in the far north.  Haven't made it for years.

Meanwhile, I hope there is something to smile about in your weekend.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Pinterest Power


Through my Pinterest forays I found these wonderful artists and followed up with their sites.  I'm so grateful to Pinterest for alerting me- that is the power that is uniquely theirs.



Louise Gardiner is a textile artist who uses machine embroidery, applique and other techniques to create wonderful original pieces.
I watched her video Stitch and Shine that is at the head of her site and was so impressed.  She shared her techniques and chatted in a casual way about her work.  So creative!  Please check out her site, Lou Gardiner here.  You won't be disappointed!
 Don't you just love this work behind her.  It is such a pretty colour palette and of course, the needle and scissors are so meaningful to us stitchers.

 And another wonderful artist...

                                                

Gillian Bates uses free motion embroidery and regular embroidery to create her works of art.  As someone who could barely "write" a barely ledgible 'Jocelyn' in free motion embroidery, you can imagine how in awe I am of this piece above.



I know I said no more foxes but isn't this wonderful.  I can't get over the eyes.  I know from my needlepointing days, eyes were the hardest to get looking realistic.  Gillian's gallery on her site, link is here, is a wonderful showcase of her work.  I am drawn to her birds in particular.

BTW, I've heard from several of my UK friends and foxes are a big topic for them, causing problems for some and prompting the need for Fox Protection groups by others. One in particular is The Fox Project that was established to humanely deal with foxes in urban and rural areas.   I did go to their web site and it was interesting reading.

Besides being an accomplished knitter, Kaffe Fassett is famous for his use of brightly coloured fabric for quilt making. I don't have the stats but he probably has the largest following of all quilt makers around the globe.  From my visits to various blogs, I come across people making this pattern of Kaffe's, Hatboxes.  They are finding it a fairly easy pattern to paper piece. Getting the rounded rim bit is the trickiest part.  Some have chosen to use vintage style fabrics to match the subject matter and are achieving a sweet sort of nostalgic looking quilt.

hatbox pattern, Kaffe fassett:

This one, made with Kaffe's own signature brightly coloured fabrics, has a vibrancy all its own.
 The quilt fair glows, doesn't it. (As my grandmother would say.)  The pattern is featured in one of his books, Passionate Patchwork: Over 20 Original Quilt Designs.  It is  Available here at Amazon.com for about $11 which seems like a good deal to me.

Here is my copy from the library. Lovely to look through and read about his process.



Just about every day I'm grateful to the power that is Pinterest.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Tuesday Round-Up



Wood Carrier

Yes, we still need our home fires burning, in our case, wood.  Most years, we have not needed to keep them up much into April.  But winter is clinging on this year. We have burned 6 cords of wood; all that we had stored in the garage and more that Hubby has been cutting himself.



Mess Maker

No 3 year old makes the mess that I do.  I must have earned my PHD in mess making by now.  I can't believe how many threads and bits of cloth I generate when I spend time quilting or stitching.  I am in the process of trimming my Farmer's Wife blocks into 6.5 inches on all sides.  This is a time consuming process with 80 blocks, which is how many I think I have made.  Cutting the sashing pieces is next on the agenda.





A failure

 These are Paleo pancakes made with coconut flour.  I looked around the net for a recipe and found one for making fluffy, it said, pancakes.  Mine were flat and didn't taste very good.  I think the recipe had a mistake in that it called for baking soda instead of what I think it should have read...baking powder.  Hubby used lots of syrup and said they were fine.  This made me wonder...has he got any taste buds left.  He says all my food is fine; believe me, if he thought these tasted ok then he is not my trusty taster like I thought he was.


Some of the critters around...



The gray squirrels in Older Daughter's back yard last week.  We all feed the birds and whatever other critters drop by.




The deer in Younger Daughter's back yard two weeks ago when we had Spring ever so briefly for a couple of days.  


Counting on indoor colour these days


                                                                      Parrot tulips.