Thursday, 20 July 2017

TimTams Among My Thursday Likes

New To Me

I am friends on Facebook with Robin Anne West, a wonderful quilter.  She mentioned a little tea and biscuit snack called TimTams.  I asked what are TimTams. And kind Robin responded by sending me a package with an assortment of TimTams and Australia's own Vegemite (more about that later).  The TimTams are a big hit in this house...the double coated are especially good so if you can get your hands on them in your neck of the woods, do indulge!

I love movies and going to the theatre to watch one is a favourite outing for me.  I get to do that with older grandson these days which is a bit of fun for me.  Last week we went to see Spiderman: Homecoming; I enjoyed it very much.

I am a person who prefers to focus on the present day.  I'm a little careful with my reminiscing as, like everyone, I've had my share of sad things happen to me.  I wonder if the mind somehow holds the feelings even though consciously trying not to think of the events themselves. Would that account for those rarish days when I feel not myself and a little bit down for no good reason.  Those are times when I need to go in my sewing room and lose myself.  It works for me to keep the morbid thoughts at bay and I can emerge feeling better. Fabric is still cheaper than drugs..LOL.

Speaking of you like this new fabric line called Cottage Charm from Jacquelynne Steeves for  Henry Glass and Company.  I wonder will she use this for her new BOM in August.  I think it is pretty but there are so many around it is hard to choose one over another.

                                         Image result for leanne anderson new fabric

 The garden also helps soothe me too I've noticed.  I don't need a plan in mind...I'm out there bending down and immediately there is something that needs doing...weeding always, and gradually I am settling down inside as I pull out weeds or note what needs transplanting.
I am so grateful for these pastimes that carry me through my weaker hours.

The Balloon plants also benefited from heavy pruning last fall.

Loads of day lilies all around.

And here are flowers worked on wire fences!!
Danielle Clough is a thread artist who likes to work her magic in city places such as parking lots.


And also on tiny landscapes as well. The talent all around us  is so wonderful to see.

Image result for danielle clough

Here is the link to her web site where there are amazing embroideries to view.

I am happily linking with the lovely Not Afraid of Color blog and will be reading the wonderful Thursday likes posted there, every single one!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Veranda Stitching and Sad Nest News

Most of the sunny days you will find me on the front veranda stitching away and Miss Murphy with me.  Rex is too "on guard" to join us...alerts at every butterfly and bird and doesn't relax.  Since I've sat on porches summertime stitching most of my life, I don't think of it as an elderly pursuit as such.

But summer has arrived and in between showers, I've been enjoying lots of garden and outdoor time.

Below is a flowering bush called "Summer Wine" which has burgundy leaves and an interesting bloom.  The landscapers must have been very fond of it because there are three here which I pruned back hard last fall.  This seems to have led to massive blooming along lovely trailing branches this year.  Or maybe it responds well to lots and lots of rain.

Meanwhile, our resident robin did choose one nest of the thirteen starts, finished it and laid three eggs.  The male and female have been very busy feeding the three hatchlings.

The answer to my multiple nest problem.   


Q. Is it common for a robin to build more than one nest at a time?
A. This is a question we hadn't been asked before, so we wrote to Len Eiserer, the author of The American Robin: A Backyard Institution. Len answered,

Building multiple nests simultaneously happens every now and again with robins. One started 26 different nests on roof rafters of a garage under construction; another built 8 on successive steps of a fire escape. Support from underneath is the primary site selection factor for the female robin — it's more important than concealment. Because some human structures provide repetitive sites with strong support, the female can get seduced into building multiple nests.

This is an example of "supernormal stimuli" — artificial stimuli that are even more effective than those provided by Mother Nature (tree limbs). Animals have a hard time resisting supernormal stimuli. There are many examples. Your robin will probably settle on one site and just lay eggs in that nest, or else just incubate eggs in that nest after laying, say, one egg in one nest and two in the other. She won't lay two complete sets of eggs and try to incubate both of them at the same time.

Sad News

Something attacked the nest overnight and all three hatchlings have died.  The dogs barked in the night and I got up to look about but didn't see anything.  I just wonder what could have come up on the veranda and gotten up at the nest.  The nest is in pieces on the ground.  

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Embroidery on Wool and Yummy Blueberry Dessert

I have finished the knitting part of  my knitted blanket project. I do like how colourful this is and it will definitely brighten the snowy days next winter. I crocheted three rows of single crochet for an edging.  It is very heavy and warm which is a good thing.

How many dog noses can you see in this picture?
 I know because now I am embroidering decorative stitches around each block and it has to be maneuvered and has to sit on my lap and legs to do so.

This is my "basement" project these days in front of the t.v. where it is cooler.

I'm enjoying this embroidery part very much, working whatever stitches I feel like and also using up a bunch of tapestry and crewel wools I've had hanging around.

I've been eager to share this blueberry recipe with you.. the Heavenly Blueberry and Cream Angel Dessert posted over at Mel's Kitchen Cafe.
I did make it finally and took photos of the process...
There it is...the beginning layers in the large glass bowl.

Angel food cake cubes, cream cheese and sugar mixture and cooked blueberries. It is a very easy recipe to make especially if you use a store bought angel food cake. And a little more economical now that blueberries are in season and the prices have dropped dramatically from back in the winter.

 I forgot to get a photo of the completely finished product probably in my haste to get it into my mouth!
 But Mel's does look better than mine anyway so I'll show hers.

                                         Blueberry Angel Food Cake Dessert

It was so yummy and blueberries and whipped cream just go together beautifully.  ( Well, what doesn't go with whipped cream!) You can Visit Mel's Kitchen Cafe and see the recipe and video for this as well as lots of other great dishes.

 Happy Stitching All!

Happily linking up with all the craftastic ideas at Sew Can Do!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Thread Spools Have Secrets!

Did you know this?  It is new to me.
  The Gutermann thread spools are hiding a secret.  SuperMom No Cape  wrote this wonderful post about the secrets in your thread spools.  And I had to go right to the sewing room and check it out-sure enough, there is a tiny secret compartment in the middle of the spool especially if one end is covered.

What could one hide there?  Needles are obvious, but perhaps a dollar bill or a couple of aspirin. Wouldn't it be interesting to know just what some women hid there.  These Gutermann spools have been around since 1864.
Imagine learning a new thing about something I've been handling for decades!

A surprise package in the mail gives us all pleasure, I think.
This a fat quarter bundle I had bid on awhile back and forgotten about from Massdrop.  Enough of us had entered the 'drop' as they term it, to bring down the price 42%. This is Morning Song by Elizabeth Olwen for Cloud 9, kind of modernish designs with some deep mauves and cool colour combinations.  Good to shake me up a bit.  The  Massdrop quilting and stitching community continues to grow and people are suggesting very interesting items.

I felt lucky to have spied this on the outer garage wall when I went there to give Hubby a hand with the mowing tractor.  I raced to grab my camera and it rewarded me with just a few seconds, long enough to get one shot, before flying away. It is the marvelous Luna Moth, about four inches across and I was lucky since they only live for about a week, do not feed and have to rely on the food they ate as caterpillars. Isn't nature fascinating! They are an interesting border crosser and have been making their way into Ontario from the United States.

I promised to find out more about Japanese embroiderer Kimika Hara and I did.  Along the way I visited some wonderful embroidery blogs and almost lost my way, but eventually found this.
Here is the link to Kimika's blog.  Amazing interesting embroidery in her Etsy store too.

And I'm just as taken with her self portrait as I was with her fox at night piece.


Thank you all for the concern about my poor finger.  It is surprisingly quiet...not hurting at all which I don't know if that is a good thing or not.  Have I killed it!!

Be sure to click over to lovely Not Afraid of Color and visit the likes that others are linking. Also linking with the wonderful thankfulness to be found at It's A Small Town Life.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

What Was In the Chocolate Box? Hint: Not Chocolates

 Going through one of my big totes, I uncovered a flat Laura Secord chocolate box and wondered what was in it. Not a clue.  This set of  twelve embroidered bird blocks was inside.  I'd completely completely forgotten about these.  Yes, hurriedly getting to the stage where I'll be able to hide my own Easter eggs!

So this is another project with the embroidered pieces finished and in need of joining in some fashion!
 I had this one on the go back in the year 2014; I liked to keep it for my bit of handiwork on outings.  I had a little baggie with one square (design already drawn on), the aurifil red thread and a needle and this was so easy to cart about and pull out to lay a few stitches if I was waiting somewhere or sitting around chatting.  I took it on holidays that summer but truthfully, did not sew a stitch.  Things were too hectic and all moments taken up with one thing or another, I simply could not get to it.  However, my fingers became busy once more when I came home.

This project from Crabapple Hill Studio is called Flight of Fancy.  It included the patterns for the twelve birds to be embroidered using redwork and then sewn into a quilt.  The design they used was for large blocks to match the size of the bird blocks so the whole quilt would make an easy to piece together quilt finally measuring about 76in by 76in.

I liked how all the birds are found in our area and some are real favourites of mine.

 The material I used was bought originally for the Susan's Dresdan Garden project, also from Crabapple Hill Studio but in the end I did not like how dull it seemed.  However, I did turn this one block I made into a little mat for a side table.

 I remember searching through my likely background materials and pulling this one out and realizing immediately how it could look like a mottled kind of sky.  I knew the red aurifil thread would be intense enough to stand out against it.  I tried it for the first block and liked it.  The material itself is excellent quality and was expensive so I was so happy to have found a good use for it.

For a while there, I seemed to do every project from Crabapple Hill.  I have at least 10 of them done or the patterns in my files.

Who knows what surprises still await me in the totes I have stored at daughter's house?!

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Liberty Block and A Smashed Finger(!)

Warning:  Smashed finger photo at the end so don't go there if such would upset you!

I hesitate to tell you how long it has taken me to finish these, my first two blocks of the Kathy Schmitz A Patchwork Year project. After a valiant attempt, I could not get the pieces to fit by machine so wound up sewing them by hand.  At least, though much slower, they more or less fit together at the seams and points.  But I love how they look and I'm hoping the imperfections won't be too glaring in the overall end result.

July was the Liberty house, a lovely design to stitch.  And yes I can see that the right upper corner and bottom right need more tweaking and luckily I cut these little blocks with lots of seam allowance to play with.

With those two more or less finished, it was time to get out my light box and trace another pattern.

I use a Micron Pigment pen for tracing and the pale orange is strong enough for these eyes but will get completely covered by the red thread.

Some people don't like this part of the process and I understand if you have a shaky hand it could be frustrating.  I wish I could come to your house and trace for you as I could do this all day! Perhaps you could then do my piecing for me!!

June pattern...More happy relaxing stitching ahead.

Some of you know we use wood what with a large stove in the basement and a wood stove insert in the living room fireplace.  We also have a small outdoor wood stove used to heat water.  Yesterday we were hauling wood to stack near it and I had a little mishap.
 I was reaching high over the steel fence and tossing the chunks over.  Towards the end I noticed I was tiring with the continual lifting my arms above my head to reach over.  It was about then a rather large chunk slipped from my right hand and caught my left hand middle finger between it and the iron fence giving the top a good bang.

 I had to get into the house fast as I immediately felt faint.  After a bit of a lie down, I felt fine and tended to my poor squashed finger.  I decided I didn't need medical help, soaked it in tea tree oil and bandaged it.  It was throbbing so I confess I did take some Tylenol.
 I have a high threshold of pain which is certainly helpful being me!

Hubby is so good at pacing himself and taking breaks but as he tells me, I don't know when to stop and always try to do too much at once.   I don't really know why that is the way I work...if there is a job to be done, I want to get on with it and get it over with.  Then with the reward earned as it were, I can relax. Are you like that too?

So what do you think?  Do you think I will lose the fingernail?

Thursday, 6 July 2017

My New To Me Thing Among My Thursday Loves

New To Me #1

I'm going to post a new to me thing each week. I'm still learning so much and the new thing will be anything I come across that tweaks my interest.  Learning new things is good for old brains too.  LOL
This week it is a quilting thing...tricot quilts.  I'd never heard of them till Carol spoke of them on her
Just Let Me Quilt blog.

The silky material Tricot quilts use make the stitching easy...what a great way to practice slow motion quilting or hand quilting.  I'm sure many of us have memories of just such silky feeling quilts from our childhood.

Image result for tricot quilts

Remember the tempest in a tea pot that was taking place online about the use of so-called cheater panels in quilting.  I receive Janet Granger's posts directly in my mail box and lo and behold, there was Janet, who is a wonderful hand quilter and advocate, btw,  making use of just such a pre designed panel.
This one is called Stonehenge: A Stitch in Time- Quilt Block Panel and I like that palette.  Does it appeal to you too? She is using that dark mustard fabric for the backing.

cheater quilt

Janet was saying in her post that she wanted to make a Quick Quilt and this panel fitted perfectly what she had in mind.  She quickly made her sandwich and has set about hand quilting it which she does beautifully.

Meanwhile I want to spread the word.
 The wonderful designer and quilter, Jacquelyne Steves, is offering a free BOM beginning in August.  I Love  Home will feature 4 blocks with borders and options to piece, applique or embroidery your blocks. I love the idea of such choice.  And who doesn't love houses?! And designers who generously share their talent!

And what do you think of this?  I'm quite taken with it. Maybe because I love the combination of fabrics and embroidery in general.

What word comes to mind when you look at this piece below??  Fanciful came to my mind.

Embroidered by Kimika Hara and I think I remember this is a fox out at night.  I'm going to try to find out more about Kimika and get back to you with what I find.

I like that Michael J. Fox became a Governor General's Performing Arts Laureate last week.

Image result for Michael J fox getting canadian laureate award ceremony

A great little video about Parkinson's, a disease Michael jokingly calls, the gift that keeps on taking.  

Happily linking with the other "Like" posts at Not Afraid of Color.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

In and Around Our House

I wondered where Murphy was - she is usually under my feet.  And there she was all curled up behind me in my sewing room chair.  I hadn't seen her sneak by me.  She can be quite stealthy when she wants to be.

Rex too seeks out his comforts... often in my living room pet chair just like Murphy above is doing.

 Why these two very big dogs want to be off the floor every chance they get, I don't know.  They are rescue dogs; pretty sure Rex especially only ever knew a crate before life with us.

But I feel it is all the more reason to indulge them a little.

 They don't handle heat well but will still beg for their walks.  I'm not sure I'm doing them favours having them out wearing fur coats as it were.  Early in the morning works the best for them so it's then I take them around the pond with Murphy always diving in for a dip.
 Labradors adore water; we have witnessed her try to do a full body bath in a little puddle.

At the pond we encountered a deer one day but luckily, it was swifter at seeing us and was able to leap out of sight before the dogs got too excited.  I was rewarded though with the memory of its pretty pale red/brown coat shining in the early morning sunshine.

Two things I love about the picture below...the poppies are a given.  But also I'm loving my new Sketchers sandals for around the house.  Comfortable and totally attached so no chance of me falling off them (which I have done with the backless sliders, so no more of those for me).

Here's a closer look at them. Light as air and so comfortable and they fasten with velcro just like the little kids shoes.  What's that expression that applies now...once a man and twice a child.

A couple of bird shots for you.  The first, a chickadee at the feeder, taken from the veranda.

And a pair of Canada geese that stayed around our pond for a couple of months but have moved on now. Try as I might I couldn't sneak up on them without one sounding an alarm.  You can see the one of the left is doing just that.

An unlikely visitor to the feeder area...a wild turkey, all by herself, trots through every now and then. She seems to be hanging out in a area of the woods where Hubby has seen a groundhog.

Lots of bloom inside these days with longer hours of light. All the African violets are flowering nicely.

June is over and we are into July.  Time is like the air now...nothing to it at all.

A Big Happy July 4th to my American friends!

Happily linking this post to A Southern Daydreamer and lovely outdoor stuff.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

What's Green and Very, Very Scrappy

My Inspiration

I've been interested in seeing the creative ways people are using their scraps these days.  So many wonderful challenges occurring around the net. What people are making for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge  is just one that I am following; amazing to see how inspiring each colour of the rainbow can be.

My Sad (ish) Scraps

 This prompted me to get out my tote with all the scraps and see if I could make something too.  I'd already sorted them into colours in separate plastic ziplocks.  I had a lot more in the green baggie though I don't really know why.  Other than for leaves, I don't think I've made anything green so the green was what I started with.

I should say though, that I don't really have that much fabric either as stash or scraps. Still building.

 Such Stress Free Sewing, Sigh

I started sewing the smaller strips together and realized I had enough to make a runner.  I found this such a stress free process, so unconfined by shapes, cutters or templates of any kind.  I had the thought that maybe this would be my sewing by machine from now on.

It Grew So Fast

The strips quickly grew longer.

Then joined with smaller pieces in the center with the longer bits on the sides.

Before I Knew It, I Was Quilting

I decided to quilt this with straight lines using the walking foot which was already set up on my newer machine.

Another day later, I got to finish the edging all around with a little zigzag stitch.  Smooth sailing or should I say, smooth quilting.

A Very, Very Scrappy Finish

What a sense of satisfaction to have a finish.  I like the way it looks and there's no denying it is very, very scrappy.  With all those rows of quilting, this is sure to withstand the washing machine even though made of many little scraps of cloth.

That's a couple of branches of one of the dwarf Dogwood bushes that have been planted here; the variegated leaves are pretty.

Future Scrappy Stuff

I'm thinking I might try the same thing in red scraps for a Christmas runner and by the looks of it, I have enough reds to choose from in my scrap baggie.
Funny about it though, the baggie of green scraps does not look much smaller than when I started.

While stitching I glanced out the window and was a little startled to see this.

She/he has returned often lately to nibble on the tops of one kind of hosta, obviously the one that tastes best, and, oh yes to mightily tease the dogs!

Besides the wonderful link parties  on the side, I am happily linking up with Julie Lou's lovely blog.