Friday, 30 June 2017

Ten Interesting Facts about Canada

It's  Almost Canada Day!

Just like you, I love my country too and am thankful to live here.

We celebrate our country on July 1 each year, so tomorrow is a holiday and there will be community parties, get-togethers, barbeques, cakes, fireworks and concerts all across the country.

I thought I would write 10 interesting things about our country and then had a hard time keeping it to just 10.  Please bear with me as I show some Canadian pride.

1. Canada is the second largest country in the world next to Russia.

2. We have basically free health care.  When I had my daughters in hospital, it cost me about $5 each time and that was a charge for a private phone in my room.

3.  Our country has five  biomes...tundra, boreal forest, mountain forest, grasslands, and deciduous forest. That's a lot of forest. There are also over 3 million lakes housing approximately 60 % of the earth's fresh water.

4. Ottawa, where I live, is the second coldest capital city in the world.  If you've been following Canadian Needle Nana, you've heard a little about that. LOL

5.  The border between the United States and Canada is the longest unprotected border in the world and is the longest border between two countries in the world.
Watch This amusing video about the oddities and interesting facts about this border.

6.  Queen Elizabeth II is our official head of state.  We spell many words the British way as some of you have remarked to me since I've been writing to you.


 Image result for Queen elizabeth with justin trudeau

7.  Our police are called the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the RCMP .  We think they are special especially in their red serge uniforms. LOL




8.  We really are very polite.  The other morning going through the drive-through at Tim Horton's I could hear the drivers saying thank you and the poor girl working there saying "you're welcome"....over and over. By the end of her shift, she must be so tired of saying those two words.

9. Our money is kind of interesting; the bills are colourful which lead to jokes that it looks like play money.





 We have a coin for $1 that features the bird, the loon, on it and this fact quickly led to it being called a "loonie".  It just made sense that when we made a  $2 coin we would affectionately call it a" toonie".


10.  The beaver is our national symbol.  Nothing pompous, grandiose, or legendary.  Just a hard working rodent who minds his own business and spends all his time building his house and feeding his family.  That's us.  LOL

Here is a great little Attenborough video about the value of the beaver's work in an ecosystem.




Happy Canada Day to all who are celebrating!

And of course, so happy to link with Not Afraid of Color and It's a Small Town Life.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Strawberry Sundaes and What the Heck!


Love strawberries, do you?

I talked about making something with blueberries last week.  They are still in the fridge waiting.  I got waylaid by the news that the local farm strawberry u-pick was open for business.  Saturday I spent a very happy hour there with Daughter and littler grandson and got to scratch my berry picking itch as it were.
Came home with these and they were so ripe and sweet, we had to have some right away.


We decided to get together for an impromtu supper of "make your own" pizzas.  That's little grandson, Robbie, getting to help spread the toppings.  Three year olds want to 'help' so much.




These were thin crust and so good.
But the highlight was the "make your own" strawberry sundaes for dessert. Yummy!


What a great easy way to have the family together for a meal.

What the heck?!

Now something entirely different.
 One morning last week, from my Pet Chair, I noticed a flurry of bird activity outside on the veranda.  A friend was visiting and I didn't want to interrupt so just sat there meanwhile wondering what the heck was going on outside.

Later got to see this....



Bird nest material brought to each little alcove in the veranda roof.


We counted 13 places where it seemed a nest was begun with the one there at the start brought the furthest along towards an actual nest.
When we arrived here last year, there was a robin's nest at either end of this veranda which meant quite a space between and each bird able to fly off in opposite directions.  That made sense.

But I have no explanation for this...I do know it was more than one bird, appeared to be robins and they were there at the same time.  Very unusual.

Haven't seen a bird there since.
Any thoughts???

Monday, 26 June 2017

Should I Buy This?

I visit a lot of your blogs and it is a favourite pastime of mine.  I've noticed a number of you are using this particular tool and are very positive about both the time it saves you and the accuracy of your resulting fabric pieces.

                                     Image result for accuquilt

Cutting fabric always makes me nervous.

It is something I'm not great at and getting it accurate even with a rotary cutter is also not a strong point of mine.  I'm a little like the old saying...can't draw a straight line even with a ruler.  I can't seem to cut accurately even with the rotary cutter.  And it's a whole other issue trying to keep the blades sharp-mine never seem as sharp as I see on the videos with the single pass through making a crisp sharp cut.

So should I buy this?

  An Accuquilt is what I'm talking about.  It isn't cheap and would mean an investment and a commitment to future quilts I would have to make to justify the purchase.

                            Image result for accuquilt
I do have a lot of cutting coming up.  I purchased this fabric to make a quilt for our bed...the red, white and blue a nod to our Union Jack roots. ( Hubby being English born and the Union Jack was the provincial flag of  my home province, Newfoundland and Labrador till 1980.)

I just have to settle on a pattern or patterns.  More about that search in another post.

                                      Image result for colonial manor fabric projects



I'm debating.  I could ask for it for my birthday.
What do you think?  I understand there are several of these machines.
 Is there one you would recommend??

While I ponder that, I've just put together lunch for us...bulgur, spinach, apple, cranberries, and pecans.  That's a little goat cheese in my portion.


 I made this little apple cider vinaigrette to coat it.


1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons honey, a little salt and pepper.
Tasty!

And for the rest of the day...easy guess, stitching.



Happy Stitching All!
And happily linking up with Cooking Up Quilts ,  Love, Laugh, QuiltMolli Sparkles and A Life in Patchwork.








Friday, 23 June 2017

June Loves

Breathing easier now; I am so thankful my sinuses cleared. This is a big happy "like" for me.

I'm used to hearing frog sounds at night with living in the country.  At the old place it was peepers and bull frogs.
We have gray tree frogs in our back yard here.  I had no idea they are so noisy! Now that the weather has warmed up, every night they make a racket; however not for long. The first time I heard them, I thought it was a bird in distress and went out with my flashlight to find it.
 This doesn't bother me at all; I like the idea of sharing my space with living creatures.
  Another plus for Hubby and his deafness!

 Click below to hear exactly what we are hearing every night. Wild, heh.



Like lace curtains, I love the old doilies made by older generations. I often rescue them when I spy them at secondhand shops.  This post was in my book marks.  Perfect way to showcase some of the more intricate crocheted pieces. I like this. It can't be that hard to do can it?


                             Related image

Being a Nana is an important part of my life.  I know just how fleeting these hours with the grandsons are and try hard to stay in the moment with them. With this little guy, I talk so much on my day with him that I sometimes have a bit of a hoarse throat when I go home. (Being in the classroom for 30 odd years killed my vocal chords.)  I love how he loves nature too.




Finally a bouquet from my garden.  A little bit of coloured bliss for our wooden house.



I love blueberries and wish I could pick them in the wild like you can in my home province.
I really really miss that.  I have happy memories of picking berries all my life till coming here.
Blueberry desserts abound at home with them used in cakes, squares and puddings and just as toppings with yogurt the way I often eat them.  I intend to make a special dessert with them this weekend.  I'll show you later what it is!

Meanwhile below is my blueberry cake and I've made this recipe so many times.

Here is the link to my cake recipe.



I messed up with the publishing of yesterday's post and today's...reversed them.  I think it's memory loss; Hubby says it's because of my habit of always trying to multitask.  I think I'll go with his version.

I will be linking with Not Afraid of Color and It's a Small Town Life. Really amazing variety of likes and thankful things to be found there!




Thursday, 22 June 2017

When Artists Use Needle and Thread

I'm always impressed and interested in quilters who can just play around with their materials and let their feelings or inspiration take charge of what they are doing.  LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color comes to my mind when I think of that.

I also think of a fibre artist from my home province whose work I've followed for years, Judy Cooper.  A link to Judy's gallery of work is Here.

                     Detail from The Deep

 I've been a rather rule governed person and it shows in what I try to create in fabric as well.  By the book kind of thing.


I'm noticing more and more books and magazines moving away from what I think of as traditional quilting.
 These showcase more artsy types of quilted pieces that incorporate mixed media and techniques far beyond what a rotary cutter and a fat quarter could achieve, and of course, the results are completely different. For one thing traditional quilting usually involves making items of use; having to be able to put them through the washing machine comes to mind.  Or maybe, quilted wall hangings which become a little more of an art item.

 However, with this new trend and new ideas, quilters produce genuine pieces of art which is the objective. While many of these works reveal obvious skill and talent, I must admit, the beauty of others completely elude me.

I have checked out the book above several times from the library and each time find something new to interest me in its pages.  Patricia Bolton is the host of Quilting Arts, a t.v. show and has published several books on the subject of quilted art work.  Her book, The Quilting Arts Book is a compilation of the best projects from the Quilting Arts Magazine .  This is a magazine I always look at when I get a chance to go to Chapters.

                            Image result for quilting arts magazine 2017

  Anyone who has old copies of that magazine around probably won't want to own the book however.

This book below receives excellent reviews on Amazon.com where it is available for around $18.  Award winning quilter, Deborah Boschert,  provides step by step instructions on how to incorporate different artistic elements into a quilting piece.  Even the projects shown on the cover look great to me.

                    

Not exactly quilting but I had to show you this as I really like it. This is a work from the talented hands of Gwen Klypak. Interesting and unique. I think those are yarn and silk threads.

                       

I'm interested in the idea of what these fibre artists are trying to achieve.

  I love how they have the where with all to use different materials, even metallic foils, to enhance their work.  The embellishments are sometimes beautiful and you can see that just from the few projects photographed for the cover of Patricia's book.  Pearls, buttons, bits of ribbons, lace, netting, paper...all these things become part of the picture.  The various fabrics can be coloured with crayons, painted, dyed, marked, stenciled...anything you can think up to do with it basically.

It is a little like seeing quilting in not one but many new ways.  And those ways are endless, as unique and varied as the imagination can envision. Sadly as much as I would like to create, I think I'm rather lacking in that regard.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

An Embroidery Finish and Thrift Store Finds

I finished this piece long before I went away on my holiday.  Just never got around to pressing and taking a photo.  I loved stitching this fanciful bird from the clever mind and hand of Nicola Jarvis. I actually added extra embellishments just to make it feel more like mine.


 The kit was unique in that each of the stitches required was illustrated right on the upper and lower edges of the cloth.  All her work is so beautiful; take a peek for yourself.
Nicola Jarvis Studio and Shop

I love looking through second hand stores and it fits well with my idea of reusing and recycling.  I've found this is something you either love doing or just don't.
 I even have ideas in mind for certain things I'd love to find.  For instance, my winter dish set is the Friendly Village by Johnson Brothers.  I've been lucky to pick up extra pieces at thrift stores and am always on the look out for more.

                                     Image result for friendly village dishes

I always rummage the craft sections looking through patterns, books and fabrics.  This last visit someone had dropped off over 50 boxes of Lain Colbert tapestry wool.

Image result for boxes of laine colbert tapestry wool
 I have no use for it but I was sorely tempted to buy them.  Top notch stuff in all the beautiful colours.  But what could I do with it?  Can you crochet with them? Any suggestions?   I'll run right back and buy them.


This is a cushion cover just like one I handled at Ikea last month.  It was $2.99 but I know at the store it was $6.99 and it is striped on the other side.



I saw this striped white and pink blouse and liked it right away.  Banana Republic with the tags still attached saying $60.  It is one of those non-wrinkle kind and will go well with a pair of white capris I have.  I paid $12.98 for it.


This vintage tablecloth doesn't have a mark on it and cost $1.99.  I love the weather vane motifs and the pretty country scenes.


This has jiggled a memory for me.  It seems familiar and I think one of my grandmothers used to cover her washing machine with one similar.  It is now on the table in my sewing room.

I got a couple more things, but Hubby (my editor, LOL) says my posts are too long so I'll save those for another day.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Stressful and Controversial Quilting...Who Knew!

With my Tuesday's Flowers a flimsy now, I thought my quilting time could be used for my Kathy Schmitz 12 month project, A Patchwork Year.


I had prepped two of the patterns to take on my trip and was pleased to actually finish one while away.  This one is for May and embroidered with back, stem and daisy stitches using my favourite Aurifil red.


Read and reread Kathy's directions for the patchwork bits surrounding the embroidered centres.  All the numbers- oh dear.  Finally realized there are Flying Geese, 4 to each block so I will need 48 of them.  Somewhere to begin.  I used this very good video from McCalls to get me started and followed it closely.


Before long I had 6 little Flying Geese made and was feeling pretty good about it.  Sure this is easy, I told myself.  Pride goeth before a fall, my father used to say.  So the very next set, I do this.  Sew them on backwards.


I don't get angry when I make a mistake; I get disappointed in myself.

Then I had a fresh panic when I thought I'd cut the seam allowance too close on the side points.  But luckily it occurred to me when they were sewn on, I could adjust the triangle part and they would be fine. Whew!
Another little blip when I realized the patchwork around each monthly panel is slightly different...may not need 48 of the Flying Geese after all.  I halted that production and took a closer look at the other blocks.  Yes, it seems each is surrounded by Flying Geese.


Perhaps I will just work on each block as I finish the centers.  I'll show you how this one works out because my goal today, after some garden weeding, is to get May block finished.

Who Knew?!

Who knew this would be controversial. I certainly didn't.

I'm a member of a Facebook group that celebrates hand quilting.  A member who is new to quilting posed a very innocent question about the validity of using cheater cloth, those pre -designed panels in her projects.

Well, I couldn't believe the comments that ensued!  I had no idea we would feel so strongly about a topic. And the debate over what is the difference in piecing, patchwork or quilting, a quilt or a blanket, the validity of hand stitching versus machine, etc.

  I hate snobbishness in any of its forms so I finally felt obliged to comment as well.  I said something like it is the pleasure in the doing that is important and surely that's entirely up to the individual.  (But then I know I will never ever have a juried quilt so maybe that is slanting my thoughts.)

Someone finally said hey Quilting Police, cool it down and thankfully then it shifted to more positive remarks.
But this made me think how blessed at this moment that the only drama in my life is in the sewing room!
And I hope that is the only drama in your life too!

Happy to link up with Busy Hands QuiltsNina Marie's Creative blog , The Needle and Thread Network and Em's Scrap Bag .

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Can There Be Too Much to Love

Something in the air when I was gardening has given me mild sinus congestion. This is something I seem to be a little more subsceptible to since moving to Ontario.  I know the spring culprit is the fluffy white bits that float so prettily through the air.  But what a nuisance it is to not be able to breathe as well as one should.  But you know I am not complaining- not really; I am so thankful to be upright, still breathing (however stuffily) and going about my business as usual.

I like this article called  One Woman's Trash is Another Woman's Quilts from Upworthy.  Amazing the talent to use up tiny fabric crumbs and also how wonderful to empower women to help themselves while doing so.


                           

My lilac tree is finally in bloom.  This is a pretty version called Sensation and has a unique feature -the edge of the bloom being a different colour from the rest of the petal. This is called a picotee flower.  How do I know this?  I'm fortunate that the tag is still attached to the base of the tree.  The smell around it is heavenly according to hubby; well he didn't say heavenly, he said nice.



I'm loving my new tablecloth from Ikea.  The flowers mimic cross stitch and are a rosy red colour.



I couldn't resist buying this copy of Simply Vintage magazine. This edition has 21 projects with all the full scale pull out patterns.  At the Quiltmania site you will find how to videos that support some of the projects.  I found that feature wonderful for the Tuesday's Flowers hanging.



 I especially love two of the patterns that caught my eye. And the log cabin is certainly a vintage pattern.


Recently I got caught up on Jennys' posts at Jenny of Elefantz.  I was delighted to see she has made her version of this quilt and isn't it the prettiest thing.  I like it so much.
The link to her post about this hanging and all her other lovely stitching is HERE.



And the other project?  This one and isn't it sweet.  What is it about leaping hares against a night sky that I like.



And the message Follow Your Heart.  And tiny hexies- love them too.

And love to link up with Not Afraid of Color too.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

I Just Want to Watch Longmire and Knit

Our weather has been ridiculous.  We went from one of the coldest springs on record to setting a new record for heat a couple of days ago. And it has stayed high ever since...today 35 C with heat warnings.

And here I am to talk about woolly things. But our basement t.v. room is very cool so knitting down there while watching one of my shows is perfect. Last week I kind of binge watched House of Cards.

And don't you find there are times when that is exactly what you want to do...just slip into comfy clothes and knit or stitch in front of whatever t.v. is sort of mindless but amusing.
 A mild antidote to the horrible news we are forced to absorb on a daily basis.

  My knitted scarves bed blanket is moving along.  Here is where it was last weekend.


I have three more scarves ready to stitch to it.


My goal is that it be big enough for our queen sized bed.  No doubt next winter it will be much appreciated though that is hard to conceive of at the moment.

Are you familiar with swing knitting?  Sometimes called short row knitting?  Of course this is new to me but then I'm a novice in the knitting world too. I'm seeing this called tapestry knitting as well.  It is a technique that creates hills and valleys in the knitting and makes it quite decorative.


                                       Image result for tapestry knitting


Ravelry: Knitting the Swing - Swing-Knitting:
                   
Here is a great video that explains the technique rather well. Very creative.


Always something new to learn in the stitching world.

Knitting while walking, now that's clever too.  Love the pretty colours in this painting.

                                             Audrey the Shepherd Lass by Gari Melchers:

I'm linking this post to Sew Can Do where there is quite a show of fantastic crafty happenings.