Tuesday 31 October 2017

Retro Halloween

Is Halloween celebrated in your neck of the woods?  It is traditionally celebrated here in Canada with costumed children going about the neighbourhood, knocking on doors, saying "trick or treat" and being given a treat in the form of candy. It was the highlight of  my growing up years; I think because we were never 'treated' like kids today are. 

Here is my post I wrote about what Halloween was like for me as a girl growing up in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.


I always had a face mask like this and usually it was of an animal.

"They're just too lazy these days," said an old great uncle of mine about 35 years ago.  We were sitting around lamenting the dwindling numbers of children going from door to door trick or treating.  We thought he might have a point but the teachers in the family were hesitant to support the use of the L word.
That comment  certainly did not apply to us when we were young, I can tell you.

Strong in my memory are the Halloweens of my childhood.  Hugely anticipated, we would talk about and think about trick or treating for days leading up to it. Costumes didn't figure heavily in any of this...mostly we wore those rubber or plastic full face masks that cost 39 cents from Stedman's.  They were horrible, smelly things and by the end of the evening your face would be a wet, sweaty mess but we certainly didn't complain.

We loved planning our route beforehand, wondering how far we could get.  The longer you were out and the further you went meant more goodies.  Someone could always remember which houses gave out the best stuff; we all coveted bags of chips especially and there was always a house on Mount Bernard Avenue that gave out  the 5 cent bags of Scotties chips.  I'm sure half the kids in Corner Brook would ring their bell but they never ran out of chips.

Perhaps Halloween was so important to us because treats were rarish in those days.  We got certain things for Christmas and our birthday, but candy and such was just not plentiful around the house, or at least, not in my house.

 The Halloweens of my childhood were innocent, fun-filled affairs; I don't remember ever any talk about the sinister associations some people have made of it these days.

But then it changed.  The costume got to be more involved and important and expensive.  Rumours and stories of razors and needles (eek) in apples made the news and parents became more suspicious of the free treats from strangers' houses.  Children began to get treats more readily not just for special occasions; a few candies didn't hold the same appeal.  Supply and Demand.  Maybe for one or all these reasons the children went out in fewer and fewer numbers.

Some of the subdivisions around here still have a goodly number of trick or treaters, this many years past uncle's remark.  You can almost tell the demographics of your neighbourhood by the number of children coming to your door on Halloween night.

Hubby can't remember the last time a trick or treater came to the door here.  In fact,  for us here deep in the country and fairly isolated, I think someone ringing our doorbell on Halloween night would actually be a scary thing.  Booo  

                                  Image result for vintage halloween images

Happily linking this post with Our World Tuesday where you can read about interesting happenings around our world.

Sunday 29 October 2017

A Christmas Start

Yes, so with the little Halloween hanging on the wall in time for the 31st, I could think of starting my Christmas project, Scandinavian Christmas, from Lynn Anderson Designs.  I am very happy to be launching into this with what I think are good allowances -time wise.

I started with something I've read a number of you are doing...namely stash shopping.  From my cupboard, I pulled out the appropriate neutral kind of shades in reds, tans and greys.  I did not go to my little box of Christmas fabrics because I know everything there is the brighter Christmasy kind of colours.   Anne, bless her heart, had included in her parcel all her leftover fabrics of the called for line designed by Lynette herself.. I had looked online to buy some of this but could not find it anywhere.  But I think I have enough including some Lynette Anderson for Thimbleberries fabric (where did that come from??) to get by.

So Block One is the one with the stacked reindeer and two chicken.  I love it and working out the freezer paper templates was easy.  A little bit of hand sewing for later in the day.

I proceeded to cutting the little churn dash blocks using the allowances written in the pattern.  It was supposed to finish at 3 inches exactly.  Mine was too big but I knew why.  I'd added seam allowance of 1/4 inch all around each piece (because I couldn't find where it mentions this) and you weren't supposed to.  But I don't care...this was good practice and I have a nice little orphan block which might fit somewhere in the piece anyway.  I suppose this is where if I was really good at measurements I would have known those dimensions would wind up being too big.

I am very pleased with the embroidery that is part of this pattern too... a bit of cross stitch and stem stitch here and there.

This is my second Lynette Anderson project.  I completed her In Full Bloom BOM back in 2013 and loved working on it.
We used it for a winter in front of the fire place at the old house to help stop draughts.  Hubby's very practical idea for the use of quilts other than on a bed. LOL
Did any of you complete this same project?

Lynette seems to enjoy using what I would call somewhat muted colours in her fabrics.

This was when I was still dyeing my hair I see. I can tell from this picture that my face is thinning as I age too, just like Mom. (If only other body parts would thin along with it !!)
 I think I looked like a different person then. LOL

Meanwhile here in 2017, I am listening to and enjoying this audiobook.  Of Jane Eryre's era and a female serial killer!  Those two points don't go together very often. 

                                        Cover image for Jane Steele

  So this is my Sunday plan for today's Slow Stitching and Listening.
 Enjoy your stitching where ever you are and whatever you are up to!

Happily linking this post to Stitch All The Things.  Host Christine has posted her cross stitched piece...Sleepy Hallow Halloween which is beautiful plus it has the most remarkable framing I think I've ever seen.  What a keepsake!
I am also linking with The Quilting Room With Mel.  Mel has a very cute mini quilt that has been chosen for display at the current Houston Quilt Market.  Her quilt consists of 106 half square triangles each only 3/4 in. finished! I am amazed by her precision...award winning in my book!
I am linking up with the rest of the Moving It Forward group at Em's Scrapbag too.
 Em is showing the beautiful Moda fabric line for Christmas called Vintage Holiday by Bonnie and Camille.  I can't wait to see what she will make with it.

Thursday 26 October 2017

October is About Leaves

I found the title of this post under my feet.  Literally.  I had to get a photo quickly while the reds were still present as they are the first to fade.  The weather has been changing things up this very strange fall by remaining remarkably warm.  But oh so wonderful for walking which I love.

Here is the very pretty L is for Leaves block from The Prairie Schooler Alphabet design (also on my watch list).  Goes without saying I love this.

                               Image result for prairie schooler l is for leaves

Got sidetracked by this when I was hunting for a link for you...their Fall Fields to cross stitch. The only one I haven't seen here on this property is the pheasant.

                                 Fall Fields - Cross Stitch Pattern

Are you like me and would have to live to be 120 to stitch all the things you love!

I usually walk a couple times a day and have caught sight of a Great Blue Heron down at the pond several early mornings.  Frightens easily so no photo.  Twice I've caught its great long legs up in the sky which just looks so odd  till it straightens out.

The walking trails on this property are wonderful for us old folks to toddle around.

Love how the ornamental grasses, which I guess you could say are leaves, are so showy this time of year.
And this about leaves- here is a photo of my Painted Lady hanging with the big leaf motif on one side.  These are such joyful colours to work with.  I'm enjoying the hand stitching too.

I just love this little poem which could have been written for our Canadian autumns.

October, baptize me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse me with split pea soup. October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins. O autumn! O teakettle! O grace!

Hubby would second the candy bars and the teakettle! How about you??

Please check out Not Afraid of Color where LeeAnna is hosting #60 of Thursday Likes.  Where has the time gone!! Happily linking with Good and Random Fun and It's A Small Town Life.

Saturday 21 October 2017

Sew Spooky So Finished!

I waver between thinking I am useless at this to thinking there is hope for me yet.  I am pleased with my individual blocks but putting them together posed problems for me.  I won't bore you with all the second guessing that entailed but there was a lot.
 A couple of  the Sew Spooky blocks before becoming a hanging.

Here is Kitty before getting her whiskers and during the "buttons for eyes" try out.  I found this cat button in my tin.

Here is the sandwich part bristling with pins. Wound up with what looked like empty space on either side at the top and decided to put spiders' webs trailing there to fill it in.

 How to quilt it?? Decisions, decisions. I am far more comfortable with hand stitching but I know I should practise more with the machine.
That involved the darning/embroidery foot going on my machine.  And finding out that somehow I have misplaced my pressure foot holder.  How in the dickens did I do that! I'm now at the point after an exhaustive search(es) of just ordering a new one. Grrr...

I sewed trailing lines for some blocks around the appliques and went to town on circles around Kitty.

 They were fun and scary to do which sums up how I feel about free motion quilting in general.
I was surprisingly happy with the trailing lines I laid down though.
 And actually, my practice piece for pebbles was better than this; by the time I got to the actual block, my hands were tired.  FMQ is all about the hands, I've discovered.
I've deepened the shadows deliberately so you can see the circles.  Thankfully, they are not as prominent as this in normal light.

And finally taking its place in the back hallway...my rogues gallery of quilt hangings where luckily the 10 foot rule applies. lol

After this week with the machine, I am eager to return to hand work and will be embroidering on my Painted Lady piece today. I am actually working on the butterfly wings which are two shades of blue and so pretty.

Late afternoon, almost sunset...the hydrangea in front of my little (but yet not so little that things can't get lost in it!) sewing room windows.

Hope you and all your belongings, bits and bobs are all accounted for!

So happy to link this post with sewing parties at Crazy Mom QuiltsConfessions of a Fabric AddictLove Laugh Quilt, and Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing. Thank you all for hosting this valuable way to get to know each other.

Thursday 19 October 2017

Did This Make You Smile

New to Me

I have a thing about mugs.  I just love using a mug or cup I like.  They can't be too heavy which is kind of sad because I love pottery and often those mugs are just too weighty.  They are always part of my hunt in thrift stores and Winners or Pier 1.  A surprising place I've found two mugs I really like and that is Walmart. They ran a series of Canadian items to celebrate our 150th anniversary and I really liked the mug that was part of the collection.  It is actually a deep red, not pinkish like this photo and I love that moose.  It seems very at home in our wooden house too.

I had not realized you could get turmeric in pill form.  Some may remember my phase of adding turmeric to my drinking water when it had been recommended to me for its claim to have anti-inflammatory components. It involved mixing these items-

Admittedly taking a pill seems a much easier way to get turmeric into your body.  Considered golden and not just in colour, turmeric is an interesting spice.

This was a most excellent gift for a quilter I received back in Christmas 2014.  It had an insert that came with the actual calendar and it includes all the instructions to make the monthly featured quilts.

I usually look at each month still just to ogle the pretty quilts.  This was the quilt for October and I found it useful for picking colours for the Sew Spooky blocks.  It is called That 70's Quilt and is from Kate Henderson's Strip Savvy book...link is here if you want to check out more patterns in the book.

And from the sublime to the ridiculous,as the saying goes...

I use the biggest jar of peanut butter I can buy for the dog's kong treats. So this caught my attention. I'm apparently not the only one who keeps a tiny spatula just for getting the last of the peanut butter from the bottom of the jar.  Well just for us folks, they are making a double lidded peanut butter jar.  No more getting your knuckles full of pb smears!

This little film made me smile perhaps because I love train travel. Will it make you smile?
 I'd love to know what you think of it!

Hope there is something to smile about in your day today.

So happy to link this post with  Not Afraid of Color and  Little Things Thursday.

Sunday 15 October 2017

Focus, Jocelyn, Focus

A maudlin kind of day.  Mildish but wet off and on. But the best kind of day to stay indoors, forget the gardening you had planned, and settle in with various pursuits.
 Like having a pot of soup simmering on the stove.  This is my Red Cabbage Soup, as I call it.  Really it could more aptly be termed "clean out the fridge" soup, as whatever vegetables I can find go in it.  I just start with chicken broth, an onion, lots of sliced cabbage and go from there.  At some point a can of good tomatoes goes in to make it red.
Hubby likes his a little hot so his bowl gets a swish of sriracha sauce.

Our littler grandson started Junior Kindergarten this fall.  I am so happy I still get to see him two days of the week to be there when he joyfully gets off the school bus.  It's nice to stay in contact with him however briefly.
His dad made the wonderful sign for him.

I have a small flock of these wonderful birds- bluejays, visiting one of the feeders.  They will stay with me all winter and make even more striking sights when their blue is backed by white snow.
They have a reputation of being assertive, but I have witnessed one or two give way to the mellow mourning doves from time to time.

Lots of these little guys, the white-breasted nuthatches, very busy after sunflower seeds too.

I am in love with Sophie Digards' scarves ( I think you either love scarves or not; I do).  I think hers are beautiful and I would have one in a flash if they weren't so darn expensive.  To that end, though, I am trying out a tiny crocheted block with my Debbie Bliss Andes yarn just to see if I can stitch something a little bit similar to Sophie's beauties.

However, that is just a momentary distraction.  I will be hand stitching on my Sew Spooky hanging today and yes, the blocks are all together with sashing so is officially a hanging.  Those spiders' webs are to be finished by day's end and then the quilt sandwich bit and just maybe I might get this quilted by Halloween. Focus, Jocelyn, focus!

Just look at this. I think it's lovely. You can see more of Sophie's work at this site of beautiful things, The French Needle.

Related image

Hope your day is anything but maudlin and your distractions, like mine, are beautiful ones!

Slow Stitching Sunday is happening over at Kathy's Quilts and it is always a treat to see what Kathy and the other stitchers are up to. Also happily linking to the pretty Busy Hands QuiltsCooking Up QuiltsStitch All Things and Normandy Life sites.

Thursday 12 October 2017

Thrift Store Finds and Ugly Gardening

I feel like I struck the jackpot when I found this tea pot at one of the local thrift stores.  It matches my dish set...the Friendly Village, and pours beautifully.  It also holds a goodly amount of tea which is great for Hubby with his multiple cups of tea a day habit.

Funny  how coincidences happen.  I'd just gotten this deal from Massdrop, Tula Pink's Free Spirit bundle of fabrics.  Isn't it bright?  I'm adjusting my liking to things a little bolder and brighter striving to move along with the times, as it were. I'd like to think I'm keeping up.

Anyway the coincidence is that at the thrift store, there was The Tula Pink Coloring Book.  The designs are great and so are the pictures to colour in the other one I found, Jardin Secret by Johanna Basford.  I won't be colouring but love idly daydreaming about embroidering the designs sometime. I like how colouring book designs can be transferred onto cloth quite easily using my light box and then stitched.

I have looked at both of these at Chapters.

I also found this sweet little jug; it is marked James Kent Ltd, England, and from the 1930's.  Just right for a couple little flowers. I looked it up and it is worth about $15, much more than I paid for it.

Btw, I've had to unsubscribe to Massdrop. The quilting community on there has really grown and is now continually offering deals.  I really can't buy anything more right now and seemingly don't have the will power to resist when I see fabric at a good price.  That lack of control is kind of sad at my age. LOL

But thrift stores are great spots to practice the three r's- recycle, reuse, reduce.  We are still not up to par with some other cities in recycling.

Speaking of recycling...

I am practicing the Ugly Garden idea and liking it.  It sounds like a thing but really isn't...just not pruning or clearing out all the dead and dying plants (yet).  The birds in particular still find lots to munch on from the drying stalks and old seed heads and it is working.  Hubby called me to look at the plants around the tiny decorative pond in the back.  A flock of American goldfinches were having a field day, with what I'm not sure...but definitely finding something to nibble.  Again, this is something we can do, hidden as we are from the neighbours. I'm not sure how it would go over in the suburbs because frankly, it is kind of ugly.
Here is the state of the Purple Globe Thistle and the Ligularia.

Warmer temperatures during September and into October encouraged both to put out new growth.

I like how I was able to divide these mounds very easily last fall.  Both plants grew well in their new spots and because they are still overlarge and overgrown, I will be dividing them again soon.  I have oodles of places around the property to plant them and the bees and butterflies like them.  Win, win.

I'll leave you with this early morning photo of a pretty plant that is here in abundance and is much loved by bees as well, the foxtail. 

Hope your day is going well and your weekend will too!

So happy to join link parties with friends writing about positives and fun things.
Not Afraid of Color
Little Things Thursday
It's A Small Town Life

Sunday 8 October 2017

A Little Spooky But Blissful Stitching

I have been busy working on my Sew Spooky blocks designed by Cheri Payne.  They are really a lot of fun to make and I am a bit sorry the blocks have ended.
Mrs. Pumpkin Head is a little lumpy looking as she still has her freezer paper dress on.

It's taking me a little longer as I'm hand stitching around most pieces and doing a little embroidery here and there.  I must admit I enjoy the "feel" of the pieces made with freezer paper over those with the fusible backings.  There is something soft and more homey about them. I guess that is because they are more like the quilts I grew up with and those were never stiff and certainly never beautifully quilted with all the feathers and designs you see today.

What a great way to use up scraps and smaller pieces of material.  And make a mess in the sewing room.

That bag, btw, is one I bought at the Salvadore Dali museum in St.Petersburg, Florida.  I consider it one of the highlights of my travel to have gotten to see his great works there.   Presently, it is my library book bag.

Again, Cheri Payne generously shares these patterns under Files at the Facebook page, Quilts by Cheri-Friendship Group.  I love how she encourages individual creativity to change up the details and add your own touches if you want.  Of course, some people are turning out works of art which is wonderful to my old eyes.

Also wonderful to my old eyes is the bloom on these wonderful sedum these days.  Sedum really can't be beat for late fall blooming and is a most hardy perennial.

My goal today is to finish all the touches on my spooky blocks and hopefully begin to sash them.  I've decided to use black for that.
Happy Stitching All!

And happily linking to the lovely sites in my sidebar as well as the sweet Love, Laugh, Quilt site.

Thursday 5 October 2017

Me Last Month and My Wishful Someday List

I was trying to focus on Rex in this photo.  I don't move in the house without him being beside me. If I move, he moves.  He brings new meaning to the term loyal companion.

 I see now how unslimming this jumper is but I love how comfortable it is.  And comfort more or less reigns these days.
 See that little table in the background... I like it and it is antique, just barely though being Regency and is interesting.  It has faux drawers and also one secret real drawer.  There is a story in Hubby's family about a good ring being lost for many months before someone remembered the drawer and sure enough, there it was.
This was taken when layers were needed just before the odd September heat wave hit.

On my Someday Wish List

I have a bunch of stuff I could show you having to do with my stitching and like most of you, I do keep finding the most wonderful projects that inspire me to give them a try.
I have always admired the Hawk Run Hallow cross stitch series by Carriage House Samplings and love spying it around the blog world or on Flosstube.  In particular, I'd like to get the A Year at Hawk Run.
A Year At Hawk Run Hollow

 But I have to have my Cornwall Cottage Sampler pretty much done before I'd consider tackling another big project.  I just can't seem to work with a number of cross stitch projects on the go at once.  One each in wool, applique, quilting all at the same time...yes, that I seem to be fine with.

I get Quiltmania and just love it.  In the September-October 2017 issue, lo and behold there was this particular pattern by Edyta Sitar of the lovely site, Laundry Basket Quilts.  I'm just now noticing her everywhere! Pumpkins always seem to grab my attention as you know.  Edyta used batiks with reproduction fabrics so cleverly to make this gorgeous quilt.

 Anyway, I do not have any batik cloth and it would be nice to finally jump in and get some.  The patterns, including all the colourways, are in the magazine so now this too is added to my wishful Someday list.  You can check out Edyta's wonderful site here in case you haven't already.  I also have my eye on her umbrellas and butterflies patterns which also use batiks I think.
 Isn't this pretty, though?

Image result for pumpkins by edyta sitar

Here is the right bottom corner of my Cornwall Cottage.  Can you spy what I thought was a problem?  My heart sank.

I had a small moment of Oh! Oh! Then realized when I checked the pattern, I'm meant to turn now and proceed across and most importantly(!) will probably miss hitting that bit sticking up.  Hopefully, problem averted!

Before I spied this, I'd decided to start the big basket motif that fills the center just to be sure I'd have room enough for it all at the bottom.

I'm enjoying this work so much and am quite happy that so far, I have not had to take back stitches.  But one never knows!

I was happy to hear that this years' winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature is Kazuo Ishiguro.  I've read and enjoyed each of his books and adored the movie version of The Remains of the Day starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson.  In fact, I think it is time I watched it again.

My Sew Spooky blocks are moving along and is a very enjoyable project.  Can't wait to put them together and show you my progress.  Soon.

Happily linking with LeeAnna's Not Afraid of Colo and Little Things Thursday at Good and Random Fun.

Tuesday 3 October 2017

Quaker Love

I realized in the post about butterflies that I think of them as 'shes' and I have no idea why.  Growing up we thought of all boats as shes too even though women were considered bad luck on a fishing boat.
 Also cars...my friend's dad had a car before we did and they had named it Betsy.  When driving up steep hills around snowy Corner Brook in the winter, all us kids in the back seat would shout "go Betsy go" as the tires spun and the chains clanked.

Yes, I am old enough to remember tires having to be fitted with chains each winter to make it around slippery roads.  I sometimes wonder if having chains today would prevent some of the winter accidents we have especially during freezing rain situations.  But of course they are illegal these days.

But I digress...
I wanted to show you my Quakers cross stitching which I'm just loving.  The continued spate of sunny days has encouraged my veranda stitching and with good light out there, I have been working on my Cornwall Cottage Sampler.  You might remember it ....

My start in January

A really big project so it will take me a long time to finish it.  Probably till this January!

I am doubly blessed with verandas. When the light begins to fade in the front, I can shift to the back which has equally pretty views.  However, it has cooled off quickly and I took out my afghan to cover my legs...yes, a real Granny I am now complete with blanket covered legs!
Pink asters in the back.

Quakers are so much fun to stitch.  I saw this Halloween cross stitch pattern and thought it one of the nicest of the Halloween projects.  Available from 123stitch.com.

Image result for halloween quaker cross stitch

Today I'm thinking about continued atrocities and wishing it wasn't so.