Sunday, 23 April 2017

My Leaves, Courtesy of a Gift

I have almost all my Tuesdays Flowers blocks completed and allowed myself to begin my newest project, Tiptoe Through the Tulips by Allie Oops. A very easy to follow design but very effective. And what a marvelous way to welcome spring.

                       
This is a small wall hanging consisting of 9 seven inch blocks and the pattern is available to purchase for download at Allie's shop Allie-oops Designs .

I was late starting as I told in a post that I did not have any of the spring green coloured fabrics like Allie had used.  A reader, Pat from New York state said she would send me some, so true to her word, several weeks later a package arrived in my mailbox from Pat.  She had completely nailed the colours and I happily set about making stems and leaves.






  So generous of Pat and no, she doesn't have a blog. I know she likes batiks so I will be responding in kind.

And to be getting into my pinks is a treat for me.  I'm using freezer paper applique method and it's all coming together seemingly quickly for hand stitching.




And speaking of pinks...here is a male Purple Finch enjoying sunflower seeds.  I've mentioned before that our Canadian birds are not usually brightly coloured so any change from greys and browns stands out.  This little fellow with his pretty hues is a treat to spy.


                                         Taken through my kitchen window.

I am linking this post to Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts, and Quilting is More Fun Than HouseworkLife as We Know It by Paula and Patchwork TImes.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Something You Have to See to Believe

I should show you where I am with my knitted scarves blanket.  I've finished three scarves and sewn them together; a fourth scarf is almost finished.  It was a relief to see this together and realize, yes it looks like a blanket (to be) and I like it.  It's destined for the spare room bed.




I used mattress stitch for joining the seams. This is a great little 3 minute video explaining how to do it.  I am so thankful for the resource that YouTube continues to be.


 Knitting is my evening project while I watch Netflix or Acorn. There are two likes in that sentence!

Daughter gave me an orchid for helping babysit grandson when she went away for a well deserved holiday.  This is my second Moth Orchid and I'd had great luck with the previous one I had; it kept blooming for a couple of years and I only lost it when I went on holiday.  I just loved that pretty pink orchid. So much beauty for so little maintenance.
My previous orchid...

  This one has the prettiest deep violet spots and lovely yellow accents.  I think for now I will do exactly what I did with the pink one.  Watering with 3 ice cubes a week and not giving any fertilizer.



Nature's Frozen Carvings

Speaking of water. This is definitely something you have to see to believe!!
 It is ice berg time in my home province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The ice bergs break from the Greenland glaciers and two years of ocean floating later, they reach the coastline of Newfoundland on the east coast of Canada.

The varied shapes and sizes are astounding.

Image result for icebergs newfoundland 2017




This one below I've read is aground so will be there for quite a while.

Image result for icebergs in newfoundland

Thousands of bergs pass through the area, what is now called Iceberg Alley and it is quite popular with the tourists, as it should be because they are the most remarkable sight. My friends are saying it is a bumper crop of icebergs this year.
So what do you make of this phenomena?  Would this be an amazing sight for your eyes?
Nature is amazing always to me.

I'll be linking this post with other lots of likes at  LeeAnna's Not Afraid of Color and the loads of thankfulness to be found at Michelle's It's a Small Town Life.  I have also bravely linked to the Knitting Love party at Underground Crafter  and Patchwork Times On The Needles. Yikes what great knitting there!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Playing Around the Pond

Major changes have happened outside.  Last week the pond on the property looked like this. Still wrapped in snow and ice.  The heavy rains several weeks before caused it to flood its banks as well.



Now it is free of ice and snow and abuzz with lots of activity.  Frogs croaking, the peepers singing their bird like chirpy songs and birds of all description. It is miraculous really the transformation that a week has made. And water is certainly a pull for wildlife.


I spent a wonderful hour and half huddled at various sides taking photos.  Hubby thought he would have to send out a search party for me...he still remembers how I got lost on the last property. You can read my post about it titled Getting Lost Literally  if you have the time.

I took several photos of this grey squirrel, the only one I saw around the area; this was the cutest pose which he held for a surprisingly long time. The ground is still grey so he doesn't exactly stand out. What a tail!


We have seen a pair of ducks there for several days. Saturday I only saw the mallard and wondered if the female was on shore nest making. The male usually hangs close to the female. These are very wild and alarm easily (unlike ducks in city parks) so I had to take these photos with the long lens.




I watched lots of robins which we have in abundance here in Canada.



Watched four Phoebes tending two nests in that little garage you can see in the photo. I was interested because they didn't mind at all crossing paths. They seemed to be taking in food not nest materials so I think they must already have hatchlings.  From that vantage it gives them a perfect view of the large field the garage is facing so lots of bugs in the air for them and perhaps that is exactly why they are there.






They are a graceful upright kind of bird that so helpfully identifies itself by saying its own name.
I watched them flying low over the pond, making many quick short flights; no doubt wonderful insect hunting.


I went "over my boots"; got my feet soaking wet. But my time in the fresh air watching all the winged and furry things was worth it.



Hope there is something wonderful to watch but no soggy feet in your day!










Sunday, 16 April 2017

Stitching and Baking

 I say I should have called my blog The Imperfect Quilter.

Since retiring I am taking my quilting more seriously and trying ever so hard to get it right. In the process I've discovered I am not that great at straight lines and precise angles -abilities much needed in patchwork piecing. But I am learning to be more forgiving of my mistakes and imperfections and mainly because I've also discovered this.  When any piece is quilted, bound and hanging on the wall, the imperfections are not as glaring, even to me.

This was a good week for my Tuesday Flowers Project. So good I allowed myself to start my next little project which I will show soon.

I just love this block and loved piecing it.  I like it so much I'd like to make more of just this one sometime.  And if I got to practice it more I'd eventually make one just like the design!
When the papers come out, the block takes on a new look...a soft, quilty kind of look to it that is appealing.

Block 10 which gave me some fussy cutting practice.



Here is Block 13 in pieces.


And this is Block 15 getting its embellishments, a little herringbone stitch around the center circle and of course, blanket stitches because this one was fusible appliqued.




And from my kitchen, this treat for us.
I had some leftover buttermilk for pancakes so I made a batch of Buttermilk Raisin Scones.  Such a comfort type of food for me as I grew up with Mom making many variations of these biscuit type treats.

 I will say I cut them smaller than I normally would; I reminded myself that I'm supposed to be mindful of portion size right now.


And there is an old housewife's tip about buttermilk which I know Mom used.  If you don't have any on hand, stir a teaspoon of vinegar into a cup of milk and let it sit for 5 minutes and this results in a mixture that is very like buttermilk.

Find the easy to follow recipe here:- Canadian Living Finest Buttermilk Scones. I added one cup of raisins to the mixture.



So good with a bit of butter and a big mug of tea.


Wish you could join me!

And speaking of joining, today I am happily linking up with Kathy's Quilts Slow Stitching Sunday post, designer Cynthia's Quilting is More Fun Than Housework blog, Patchwork Times, Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Life As We Know It By Paula.







Thursday, 13 April 2017

Who's The Pretty Girl

Who's the pretty girl? asks Hubby every day.

No Hubby is not talking to me.  He is talking to Murphy, our Black Lab. Yes, the dog.  We have had a laugh about this.  We do pour a lot of sweet talk into our pets, don't we?  So Murphy is our Pretty Girl and big Rex, the German Shepherd, Rex is our Handsome Fellow.

The belief that we should live with other species is a good one, I think. I like it.





Several years ago, we hosted Hubby's cousin from England which was a lot of fun and interesting to see everything here through his eyes.  Since it was late September, he wanted to see leaves of fall and luckily we found some. But what surprised us most was how fascinated he was with looking up at the night sky and looking at the stars.  The part of England he lived in, the bright lights made it hard to star gaze.

 So every night we would bundle up, step outside our door and stand with him staring upward and thankful for a few clear  nights during his visit so he could spot all the major constellations in our part of the world.  Something we take completely for granted and shouldn't...a peaceful night sky.  Benign and beautiful.

Our night sky last week
I like hearts and I like them as a motif in quilting and cross stitch and especially in embroidery. Below is a great beginner's pattern to learn a number of embroidery stitches. It is also a great piece for the Stitch a Day sew along.

Follow this link to find the tutorial for this lovely Heart Sampler

                     embroidery-sampler-33               


I am a bit of a nature nerd.  I've been following the Dale Hallow Eagle cam and watched two eaglets grow up.  I am now a bit addicted to a Barred Owl live cam feed on Youtube.  The sitting mama has now hatched three little owlets. The male has been bringing this female food and she is one well fed mama. I didn't realize how much variety there is in their diet.  She has had a smorgasbord of forest offerings....a worm, several fish, a vole, a mouse, a rabbit, various birds, and a crayfish. She has eaten it all including the fur!

 I check in several times a day just to see how they are doing. To say I like this is to put it mildly.


I like this saying. I don't mind admitting that I am a complicated person though I am mellowing and shrugging off some of the stresses and anxieties that made me more complicated way back when.
And without any shred of bragging... no I am equally aware of the good qualities I possess and have easily shared in this world too.


                                       Image result for the march of time quote

Life is certainly quite a ride, isn't it.  We just don't know where it will take us.

I'll be sharing this post with lovely hosts, LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color and  Michelle at It's a Small Town Life.  Lots of wonderful likes and thankful things all over the place.






Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Free Cross Stitch Patterns

I love looking at various sites on the net and noting anything free that I would like to stitch myself. I usually have a list of downloaded patterns waiting in the queue so I thought today I'd share some of them with you.  Today's list is cross stitch patterns.

Gallery Ru has to be one of the premiere sites for free patterns on the web.  I am always amazed by how many lovely designs originate with them...usually the ones that catch my eye on Pinterest are from that site and in fact there are any number of Pinterest boards devoted to Gallery.ru.  However, whenever I go there I can't seem to find the Translate button and since my Russian is non-existent, I have a problem.  There seems to be patterns all over the place but how helpful they would be I'm not sure.
Just look at these lovely butterflies.  I've never worked butterflies before but how pretty would this design be.  If you go to Gallery.ru and have success, would you please let me know.  I would love to explore that site properly.

                                      Butterflies

The wonderful Not Forgotten Farm is another interesting site that generously offers a bank of free patterns to cross stitch.  This is a great site to explore as they also have free tutorials and links to their Farm Shop, Youtube channel and Ebay Store all featuring the folk art and needlework of Peter and Lori Bechlin.  These are primitive type designs and I love them. And oh yes, there are also rug hooking designs.  This is just one example of the many freebies they offer for personal use.

                               
A free owl cross stitch...owls are my favourites.  This one I tracked down at the Cross Stitching Mania blog site 2014, but you can still copy the pattern.  I must remember to share the owl cam I am following in another post.

                                   

Here is another great site to have a look through.  It is Yiotas XStitch, a small company in England also run by a husband and wife team.  They design, manufacture and sell all the products on their web site.  They use only the highest quality materials including Madeira Threads. Below is one of the free designs in the bank they offer.  The link to their site is Here.


                                    border=0

 While there, look at the wonderful selection of kits for sale.  The designs are amazing and range from fantasy to realistic.
Here is a smattering that caught my eye.

The vibrancy of this piece is just wonderful.

border=0




Cabin by the lake
                            Village in snow cross stitch
                             Just love houses! This is called "Village at 9pm".

I came across another site that offers cross stitch kits to purchase and also generously includes a couple of pages of lovely free designs.
The site is Brooke's Books Publishing and most of the designs are the personal work of Brooke Nolan.

I have downloaded Brooke's Stitcher's Alphabet...it is adorable and free. The little squares would take no time to work up.

Image result for Brooke's cross stitchers alphabet

Y is for Yarn.  So cute.

                                 Image result for Brooke's cross stitchers alphabet                         


Brooke hosts a very busy interactive Yahoo group where she also shares free designs with her members.  In particular, I love the House For All Seasons series.
 Here you can be taken to Craftsy where these patterns are a free download.
 My favourite is the Winter house with the little cardinal on the roof top.

.  BROOKE'S BOOKS 4 HOUSES FOR ALL SEASONS FREEBIES | Craftsy:

I'm always impressed and grateful when designers share their talent for free.
 Have you found any you would care to share?




Sunday, 9 April 2017

Weight (Yuck) and Stitching Goals

Does this happen to you too?
Throughout our long winter, I notice some pounds creep onto my body.  I am ending winter heavier than I began it.  I maybe should not be blaming winter; I did some wonderful eating throughout those months, a lot of it comfort type meals made by myself so I can't blame anyone else.  Hubby is exactly the same weight as he always was and he seemed to be eating right along with me. And in fact ate far more of the dessert foods I made.

 But I think a woman's body is different somehow; those fat cells just lie in wait to be plumped again.
I don't weigh myself  so I haven't any idea in poundage what I'm talking about.
Anyway, I've redoubled my efforts for food vigilance.  I don't make weight goals but I will make this one... to try to be more mindful of the amounts of food I'm eating.  Portion control Vigilance, in other words. (Sounds like poison control!)

And speaking of food...I did make that 3 Ingredient Chocolate Mousse. As predicted, Hubby loved it.  I made it with the dark, dark chocolate so it wasn't really sweet as such.  The recipe also didn't make that much so Hubby just got three smallish bowls (camera angle enlarging the size here) from it, which was his only complaint.


Goal setting has been on my mind lately.  I just read that we have one quarter of the new year gone already and it made me think of what have I accomplished.  Some of you are posting beautiful finishes and I seem to be working away but nothing near finished yet.

Am I organized enough to set a stitching goal?  I had to think about that.  I tend to plod along working on whatever projects I have at the time without too much thought to when to finish.
( Remember my 9 month long crocheted hexagon afghan!)

But I did have a sort of goal in mind with my Tuesday Flowers project.  I wanted to get at least 10 of the 20 blocks finished before allowing myself to start another quilting project.   I have 9 completed with two more in pieces right now.  So for April I will try to get those two finished with two more added to it.  This is mostly EPP with hand applique and it can't be hurried...that much.
The process of tracing and cutting the freezer paper templates takes time.


Then choosing  the fabrics and shaping each piece around the template.



Block 5 is one where I departed from the freezer paper method and used fusible applique.  It's not my favorite thing to do but it worked well for this particular block.  Then I blanket stitched around each piece which gave me a chance to use those pretty Valdani threads.



That part I do enjoy. Anyway, I'm moving along.

So I'm letting myself start thinking about (maybe) tackling a large project down the road a bit.  To that end I did order a fabric bundle that caught my eye on a Craftsy sale.  I like the idea of red, white and blue, a nod to our Union Jack roots and for a long time have had the plan to make a quilt in those colours. This fabric is called Colonial Manor (Americana).  Can't wait to get it and see if it will go with anything I already have on hand.

                                 


 But here is where I fall down the rabbit's hole...which reds, which blues.  In each of those colour groups there is such a range and they don't all mix well.  This is the toughest part of the quilting process and it comes right at the start!

How about you...any particular goals in mind for the next quarter of the new year?

I am happy to link this post to Slow Stitching Sunday at Kathy's Quilts blog.  So much wonderful stitching happening there!



Thursday, 6 April 2017

Can You Spot The Bunny?

I like bunnies!
My nickname till I was 7 years old was Bunny so maybe that is why I especially love bunnies.
I know Bugs Bunny cartoons were a Saturday favourite of mine growing up.  Did anybody else watch Bugs, the Wascally Wabbit and the gang?

                                      Image result for bugs bunny

I took this photo in Daughter's backyard.  Can you spot the bunny?





Another day he was easier to spy under the bird feeder.




And I was able to take this photo through the window.  So happy to see up close he looked healthy.




Sometimes I think I should have one as a pet.  (But then there is Rex.) But tell me this is just about the cutest thing you've ever seen!

baby bunny:


Inspired and inspiring. I think we all love bunnies in our tales and stitcheries and chocolates!

 A Japanese quiltmaker made this beautiful hanging below.  It was featured on Michele's William Morris and Michele blog.
The absolute height of applique perfection, as far as I can tell.  It makes my little Tuesday flower attempts look utterly puny. Which doesn't discourage me at all...I am where I am and I know it is a process, one I enjoy no matter my skill level.

William Morris in Quilting: Tokyo Quilt Festival Part 2:

Are there chocolate bunnies in your immediate future or perhaps for some little ones you love.
                                         Image result for chocolate bunny

Or maybe my favourite, the marshmallow ones...

Image result for marshmallow bunny


Hop over to LeeAnna's Not Afraid of Color  where you can read about lovely likes from lots of other bloggers.