Sunday, 10 December 2017

Can You See What I See?

Can You See What I See

There are three deer here though I know that is hard to believe. When I first thought I spotted movement (from my kitchen window), it seemed as if there was some strange optical illusion at play.  It wasn't till the first one stepped out of the trees and onto the laneway that I knew for certain I was seeing deer.

 It is deer hunting season and it hurts me to think of such graceful creatures being killed.  However, I am a carnivore and will eat venison so my dilemma continues.

Two large and the smallest one is in front there showing why they are called White Tailed Deer.  They are part of a large population of them here in Ontario.
 Interesting how even stark bare-leafed trees can provide camouflage.

My chipmunks have gone underground, but the black, gray and red squirrels are still rushing about trying to beat each other to the bird feeders.

 Taking a Break from Scandinavian Christmas

My fingers are making protesting noises today from the tiny applique stitching I've been doing lately. I am now working on Block 4 of my S.C. and also cross stitching the snow flakes for the border. I think it is going well, as in I am still on track to fulfill my OMG for December.

 In the meantime I began this little runner for my sofa table made up of wonky Christmas type trees.  Just working around the green now with a little hand work that is not as exacting... blanket stitch and totally questioning why I try to make up my own patterns! (Will this look ridiculous!)

Wreath Making

Just love this tutorial on how to make your own wreath.  She makes it looks sooo easy!
But what I really like is the idea of using local foliage and that this could be a winter wreath and stay up through the winter months.

And speaking of wreaths, one of my fb friends decided she would try her hand at making outdoor winter decorations.  Here's the set she made for me.  I know I will enjoy it all winter. 

I think she did a great job.

As always happy to link this post to some wonderful sites hosting parties that bring so many of us on the web together. I always try to visit three sites at each party and have learned so much!
Kathy's QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsSew Can SheBusy Hands QuiltsOur World Tuesday and Normandy Life.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

I Like a Little Morris in My Life

I know a lot of us like this saying by William Morris because I see it on your blogs. 
Image result for morris have nothing in your house
My Morris inspired bag is one I bought at a quilting store and really value. I only use it to house my good wool or some such in the sewing room.  Someday it might see the light of day LOL.

I just got out my Morris scarf (as I call it) again to wear now with the colder weather and just love it so much.  It is one of two scarves that I've received compliments from perfect strangers about. 

I also love Michele Hill's blog  William Morris in Quilting. Michele writes about all things Morris and also shares beautiful photos of life happenings.  I go back a ways with Michelle because I'd bought her book long before this blogging business came along.       
Her book is gorgeous with beautiful templates. I've pored over it many times.

I also own this book of cross stitch patterns adapted from Morris works.

And  I loved working on this cross stitch design from the book.  It's called Strawberry Thief and I really need to get it framed.

My sister gave me this beautiful book for Christmas last year.

The sweet illustrations are by Liz Catchpole.  So soft and pretty.

The post Black Friday sales beckoned me and I did cave in. Of course, I've had my eye on various Morris inspired fabrics for quite some time. This one is Moda's William Morris 2017 by the Victoria and Albert Museum.  Mine came from the great folks at  Green Fairy Quilts.

It just arrived and my big question for myself will be...can I cut into such beautiful fabric! The idea of chopping it up just seems too harsh or something.  My scissors and (especially) I are not worthy. LOL
What pattern out there will warrant doing that.

 But I do feel myself edging closer to working something Morris like in fabric so if you know of something, please let me know.  I welcome all suggestions!

There's something in the blues in particular that I just love.

But do you have a favourite fabric you can't bear to cut?  Or perhaps I just need to give it time.

So that's my current Morris likes.  How many of you share my interest in his work?

And here are places where Positivity Reigns- Not Afraid of ColorIt's A Small Town Live and Good and Random Fun.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

How Lazy is This?

How Lazy is this? I just googled crock pot meat loaf.

This is going to not only be a slow stitching Sunday, but slow all round and I have a good reason.
I fell asleep about 9 pm last night and woke at 3 am with absolutely no way of going back to sleep.  I was up fixing a tall glass of lemon water and completely confusing the dogs who kept trying to lead me downstairs to give them breakfast at 3:15.

Turns out crock pot meat loaf is definitely a thing but you have to mix it all up just like making one in the oven.  I think I need something where you just throw everything in.  Next up was looking up a ground beef stew thing; I decided on the one below because I can add beans and corn and a pile of mushrooms I was given by someone who grows them. Mine won't look as nice as this one put together by Corey at Family Fresh Meals.

                                     Cheesy Crockpot Cowboy Casserole - Family Fresh Meals

Here is her link to the Crockpot Cowboy Casserole recipe. ( Not sure what cowboys have to do with this and Hubby is about as far from a cowboy as you could get, LOL.)  But with some mashed potatoes, I'm sure he'll love it.

Back to business.

 Scrappy Happy Christmas Tree Runner

I have a sofa table that is calling out for a Christmas runner.  I keep a neat Ikea one there most of the year but it is definitely summery.

I think this is my own idea...I mean as much as any of us can own ideas these days even though it is so vital that original work be protected.  But maybe I saw one similar somewhere.  Let me know if you did.  But I did look through some colouring books and old magazines to come up with a newish pattern for each of the trees. When I was eventually satisfied with the placement, I used fusible backing and ironed some of the pieces in place.  I've kept them a little loose so I can readjust them along the  way. Then I began hand stitching a little blanket stitch around the edges.

I loved how this project allowed me to use up the reds and greens that I have in my little scrap box and also provided a pattern that could stretch out as long as I needed it to. First I started with 8 trees then expanded it to 12, all of them slightly wonky.

I used a neutral light grey fabric for the background that has white stars and circles.  It helps the trees stand out, I think.

Blocks 3 and 4 of my Scandinavian Christmas blocks were all cut and freezer papered on Friday- there is an angel, a reindeer, a house and a large Santa here.

 All the while I listened to this audiobook, The Big Why by Michael Winter.  I said to someone I found just about every sentence interesting and I didn't want the book to end.  It is always interesting to a Newfoundlander to see ourselves and our province through the eyes of someone from away, in this case an American artist from New York.  I guess that idea applies where ever you are from.

                                  Image result for the big why by michael winter

Well I won't be causing any ruckus today.  Just a bit of slow stitching in my flannel wear while something else does the cooking.
And linking up with other stitchers at Kathy's Quilts.  Also so happy to join Quilting is More Fun Than Housework and Love Laugh Quilt.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

OMG,Thrift Store Woolies and First Merry Christmas

My November One Monthly Goal was completed a week early.  I really like the look of each block of my Patchwork Year BOM individually quilted and sashed.  One of my commentors said why don't you just leave each one and change them up monthly on a wall somewhere.  I checked around and found out some people have done just that with their 12 blocks.  I would embroidery the month on each one in that case. I have lots of time to make up my mind about the final presentation.

 So Pot Holder quilting is a success but I won't know completely till I decide to actually stitch them all together.  My, I love working on this Kathy Schmitz project so much. (The sides are not as wonky as this looks!)

Meanwhile I do admit I enjoyed the challenge of getting something done in a set time frame.  I will join the December One Monthly Goal over at Elm Street Quilts with this next plan for December.

My Scandinavian Christmas I dare say that I will have the blocks stiched and sewn together in the form of a flimsy by January. Well, that will be the plan.

With the downturn in temperatures, I am into sweaters and staying warm.  Here is my very thrifty purchase at a local charity shop.  It is a Woolrich cardigan which you would know can fetch a pretty penny but I paid $10 for it. It fit me perfectly and I loved the colour- a deep burgundy.  I also loved the embroidered flowers on pockets and elbow patches. After a good soak in Woolite, it was ready to wear.
 (Btw, my hands are not insanely big like this picture seems to show which reminds me of the Jerry Seinfeld episode about the date who had "man hands"- link is  here if you'd like to see what I'm talking about.  I loved that show.)

I like that skirt I'm wearing.  It was no bargain but I've been wearing it for a few years and still like it.  From the Sundance catalogue where you might like to check out the artisan jewelry section especially the personalized items.  I love the way jewelry can really mean so much.  For instance do you like this?

                          A men's personalized pewter cuff bracelet with appealing sheen and fine lettering.

Meanwhile a little Christmas crept into my life as I got to attend the local town Santa Claus Parade last Saturday.
I imagine this is a typical event happening in small towns all over North America and that thought makes me smile.

 This year's theme was the Canada 150th anniversary and there were just enough marching bands, bag pipes, and carollers, all of which I love.  The happy smiles on all the faces, young and old, and everyone calling out Merry Christmas was wonderful to be a part of.

Image result for carleton place santa claus parade

And these dancers, cleverly decked out to look like the RCMP, our Canadian police force, were amazing.  (photo by Robert McDonald)

Image may contain: 7 people, people smiling, night and outdoor

I also love linking this post with Not Afraid of Color,  Elm Street QuiltsIt's A Small Town Life,  My Quilt InfatuationNeedle and Thread Network and Good and Random Fun.
Thank you all for hosting!

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Embroidery, Cones and Roast "Beast"

A light snow covered the ground this morning and it was minus 5 degrees...brisk but very invigorating for my walk. The dogs love to sniff all the new smells overnight creatures wandering our trails must leave and their mood is one I can describe as joyful.  I can't help but sort of match them somewhat in thinking too, yes, isn't this all wonderful.

I've been noting an abundance of evergreen cones on our trees...where none were last year.

The belief is that this is a sign of a hard winter with lots of snow and the extra cones higher up on the tree are food to help sustain wildlife throughout such hard times. Other parts of the province are also reporting lots of cones this year, so much so that the Weather station had a meteorologist address the issue.

Of course he said this was a myth.  That in fact the extra cones are self preservation for the tree itself.  Having the cones higher than usual is another way of having them available for birds to carry the seeds wide.  But he did admit it was a very nice myth.

Here is a link to read more about conifer cones if in the unlikelihood that you are a nature nerd like me and would find the fact that it is the females that are higher on the branches interesting!

So appropriate that I am working on a snowman today-still this week.  His scarf is giving me a bit of grief. For starters I think the cream colour is too close to his white so I'm going to change it to a darker cream in hopes it will not blend in with his body.  The stripes are kind of fiddly but doable.  I'm glad I didn't stitch any of this down till I had a good look through the camera's eye.

And chickens need wings and feathers still and the reindeer need eyes, mouths and saddle blanket decorations on this one.  There is a surprising amount of hand work to finish these blocks but all of it enjoyable.

I know my American friends would have feasted on turkey recently, but we had a roast "beast" on Friday. Just so you know we are not always eating soup, lol.  That yellowish stuff is mustard pickles...any of you like that?  Hubby had never had them till I came along and now loves them like I do. It's a little hard to tell but there is turnip, carrots, peas and potatoes here.

I have registered for the Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2018.  I've visited the site several times and looked at the wonderful works of art really that some have made of their "pages".  I'm looking forward to it and would hope to see some of you there too.
 The CQJP 2018 link is here if you'd like to check it out.

If you know of other BOM's that you think would interest me, please let me know.  I love the idea of a block a month which is manageable to me.
Happy Stitching All!

So thankful to link this post with all the happy stitchers at Love Laugh QuiltFree Motion By the RiverStitch All the ThingsThe Quilting Room With Mel and Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework.  Thanks for hosting all!

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Something of Mom's and I like Free Patterns

My mother did quite a lot of cross stitch in her day and loved it very much.  When she downsized she gave me a bag of pieces she had completed but never framed.  I thought of them the other day and got them out to have a look.  I had thought of framing something of hers for my sewing room (inspiration) and realized one of the smaller patterns would work well for a pin cushion.

The message is a good one for these uneasy times...praying or whatever it is we have to do to soothe ourselves and feel that calm heads will prevail and that good will overcome no matter what.  Smile

This was the simplest of ideas to stitch together.  I must be thinking of Christmas because the red and green in the fabric jumped out at me. It was a good sized piece I found in my scrap box (while searching for something else...which seems to be the way I find a lot of things these days, lol).  The plain though cheery red backing was from an old shirt that I disassembled.

Now I have something else of Mom's near by and when my eye falls on it, I always think of her.  And it is nice to have a finish, though tiny, in the midst of all my long term projects.

There are oodles of wonderful pin cushion patterns and one of the cutest patterns is at Tilda's World.
The Link is here.  Of course her fabrics add to the beauty of this.  I've already downloaded this pattern.


You came along with me for my little journey making Sew Spooky from the free October patterns provided by Cheri Payne.  Cheri has also put together a Christmas Sew Merry Sew Along and again generously shares the patterns for 6 blocks.  You can find them at the Quilts By Cheri~Friendship Group under Files at Facebook.
There is also a Santa Claus pattern there that people are using to make wonderful hangings. They say it is a very quick and easy project.
Cheri is still battling serious health issues but continues to be optimistic and encouraging to all of us!

I like this very cute Yarn Basket ornament for the knitters out there.
 Here is the link to the free pattern at Ravelry.

And talented Caroline from Sew Can She has a free pattern and tutorial for a potholder pattern( or anything else you would like to make from it) on Craftsy; you can check this out when you go looking for the Black Friday deals.   That link is here.
Log Cabin is one of my favourite patterns.  Is it one of yours?

And Hexies seem to be everywhere these days!

Well, I'm not going to be everywhere today but I will be shopping.  According to the calendar it's time to take gift shopping seriously.

And to all my American friends, enjoy this wonderful day laden with a tradition of saying thank you and that we all like!

Image result for vintage thanksgiving day pictures

Thankful too for friends who host link up parties like the following:-
 Not Afraid of Color             Good and Random Fun       It's a Small Town LIfe                        Quilting is More Fun Than Housework    Sew Fresh Quilts     Busy Hands Quilts
Sew Can She

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Four Reindeer Later And Unamused Hubby

So I said to Hubby, November will be the month to get a lot of things done...stuff we've been kind of putting off.  On the short list-
                                          flu shots
                                          winter service the cars
                                          put away the patio chairs(definitely not going to be sitting outside                                                          anymore)

       But look at this! We've been caught out on two of these things.
 The view from my Kitchen window, today November 19, as we are experiencing our first winter snowfall. I've enjoyed a long lovely fall so I'm thankful for that and that the snow held off as long as it did...a help to all the little critters.

And another job on the list for inside-strictly mine- clean the oven...we all have ovens so I thought you might be interested in my little experiment.  This, byw, is a job I detest. But I don't like a really dirty oven so needs must!

Perhaps you've seen all the links for cleaning your oven with more natural products, not those awful chemical oven cleaners; they also offer great savings too, I might add.

 I decided to give one of the concoctions a try.  The one I mixed was part baking soda, vinegar and a squirt of dish detergent.  I put the temperature on 200 for about 20 minutes beforehand because  I think I read somewhere that a warm oven is easier to clean.
My oven before

During which I left it for 24 hours. No, I did not scrimp on the mixture.

And After

No not really much cleaner.  The dirt that's gone is what I scrubbed off myself at the end.
 Oh well, I satisfied my own curiosity.  If you know of a cleaner that does not have those harsh fumes and is not so hard on skin, please let me know.

Snack time...sometimes simple is so tasty...cheese and tomato under the broiler in said slightly cleaner oven. (But I must say it smells nice.)
 This goes well with a bowl of soup and especially so on a snowy November day.

I seem to have a lot of hand stitching projects just now.  I usually rotate them day about.  The Scandinavian Christmas blocks are moving right along with two of the four blocks at this stage...
Lynette's reindeer have been so cute to stitch.

Block 2 taking shape. Cross stitching the borders was fun to do. Who would have thought mushrooms would look so at home in a winter scene!

Now I have to bring Block 1 along.  Today's slow stitching will be more reindeer ears and a snowman's scarf.  So appropriate for the weather!

But I confess I've been a bit distracted by this (amongst other things!).  The Crazy Quilting Journal Project  or CQJP for short.  I'd looked closely at this last year when the 2017 project was announced so it is high on my radar for this year.  I love the creativity involved with both the quilting and the surface stitching that make up Crazy Quilting.

Here is the link if you would like to read more about this one block a month project.

Hubby is hard of hearing anyway and presently has an ear plugged.  No speaking in the house.  Here is what I write him at one point. (I'm such a nerd.)

He was not amused.

Lots of slow Sunday stitching to check out at Kathy's Quilts. Caroline at Sew Can She has made a very cute little tote with a tutorial for us as well as hosting a link party.  And Beth at Cooking Up Quilts shares how to beautifully repair an old quilt. And you can see a collection of lovely things including the most incredible blue and white Jane quilt at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts. Christmas quilting is starting to creep into the Monday Making list at Love Laugh Quilt. As well Connie has this post of free Christmas patterns  at Free Motion By the River.
 Last but not least, Susan at Quilt Fabrication has announced a giveaway next week, November 29th, to celebrate #100 of Midweek Makers, her link party.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Good Enough and Lily Love

New to Me!

I love these shoes and my feet are thanking me now that I've decided to forego slippers and wear shoes in the house. I am much more sure footed as a result too. I now have a collection of Sketchers for indoor wear.
My constant companion is trying to figure out what are we looking at.

In that photo I'm wearing one of my favourite skirts that has swirly designs in pretty mauves and purples and is an inexpensive Joe Fresh  purchase. I included the link because online there is a Womens Plus section that I think is so sensible to offer. Imagine buying clothes in the grocery store though!  It is almost like we are returning to the old "needle to an anchor" type stores only on a far grander scale.
Anyway, back to the swirls...there is true quilt inspiration there if in the right hands.

Lily Love

I didn't show you any of the day lilies that bloomed last summer.  They came in late because of the rainfalls but the wetness did not dim their beauty. There is a clump or two of just about every colour here.

Knitting News

I really like how the Ticking Stripe Scarf (my knitting project from Purl Soho) is turning out.  I can only get one row knit during an hour long episode of one of my shows... each row being 490 stitches. I also admit I've ignored it the last two weeks in lieu of time spent getting a couple of other projects up and running.  But it's back in my line of vision for this weekend.  This main body part has to measure 20 inches before repeating those pretty coloured stripes again. The wool is very soft which is essential for a scarf.

Good Enough

I really like this little piece made by Christine Kelly and shown at her Gentle Work blog. Her posts are scarcer these days but oh so pretty when they do show up. I love how Christine uses vintage linens in her creations...recycling and reusing with such beautiful results.
 This notion of "good enough" as in -is it good enough has crept into my life from time to my mothering, my food, my teaching, my writing, my stitching, etc etc. etc. good enough?

So pretty and a reminder that our best will be good enough.


Hope all is well and definitely "good enough" in your life!

There are lots of other little things to love, ogle and give a try at Not Afraid of ColorLittle Things Thursday , It's A Small Town Life and Home and Garden Thursday.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Sad News, Autumn's Call and Painted Lady

There is something pleasant about walking in November sunshine.
Maybe because the leaves are now down, nesting is done, frost has brushed the ground several mornings and yet here is a bright crystal clear day with faint warmth on my shoulder.  But there is a tinge of sharpness in the air that makes me walk a little faster, breathe a little deeper and wish I'd remembered to wear gloves.  When the dogs and I come back in the house, Hubby tells me we've brought the cold in with us.

Yes, now we are deep into Autumn here in Canada.
Here is my version of Crabapple Hill Studio's pattern Autumn's Call.  I worked this piece in 2013 using crayon tinting backing the embroidery.

The  2017 International Quilt Festival in Houston mounted a beautiful display of 75 quilts made by Sue Garman to honour her memory.  As I watched the Aurifi+l video I was a little sad but just completely in awe of her wonderful work.  This is the Aurifil Facebook link if you'd like to check it
Here is the last design Sue was working on, Blue Heaven.  BTW, her daughter is continuing the Sue Garman Blog with lots of quilting info.


I was also sad to hear Nancy Zieman's news.  An icon in  the quilting/sewing world, she is retiring due to serious illness.

                         Image result for sewing with nancy

Her personal note to us is here.

 I go way back with Nancy to my years of living in Labrador and when we finally got PBS included in the lineup.  I loved to catch her t.v. show and I've been getting the Nancy's Notions catalogues which she started, for eons.

I'm boiling the kettle as I write this to you btw. And I am also cleaning my oven supposedly as I sit here...more about that later in the week.

I am now keeping a few stitching projects afloat.  So far, so good.  No sinking.  LOL

Today's slow stitching will concentrate on my Painted Lady project.  All the tiny hearts have been blanket stitched since this photo was taken.  It's  ready for the embroidery inside the petals which just couldn't be more relaxing stitching.

I will finish this to the quilting point before Christmas which will be fine for now.
Like so many of you, I have Christmas stitching I really want to work on.

And I'm off to enjoy a mug of tea; this time Earl Grey, which is one of my favourites. 

Hope you get to enjoy a favourite something or other today too!

So grateful to the hosts at Small Quilts and Doll QuiltsThe Needle and Thread NetworkStitch All the ThingsEm's Scrapbag, and The Quilting Room With Mel for giving us sewists lovely places to meet up on the web.  And Kathy at Slow Stitching Sunday has an interesting post on lighting...a topic of much interest to all of us.