Thursday 31 May 2018

Icebergs, Bandanas on Dogs,and Quilts

Since we are both lifelong dog lovers (and cat lovers too, but not quite the same), we have a lot of dog paraphernalia around the house. We love this plaster dalmatian, a reminder of the three Hubby has had in his life.  The last one, Lacie, was also my pet for the last three years of her 17 total.

She lived all her days from puppyhood onward at the old place- the farm, and is buried there.  I wrote this short post about saying Goodbye to Lacie, the Dalmatian.  I am so thankful for pets and the pleasure they give us.  Not a day goes by without me getting to pet fur, which is a wonderful thing.

My Sewing Box offers the kit to make very cute bandanas for dogs; I'm thinking cats and guinea pigs would not wear neckerchiefs-am I right?  Our old fellas are past the dressing up part.  But I think these are very cute (as well as that sweet spaniel).

Dog Bandana Project Box

It's Iceberg season at home in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada!
 Imagine looking out your bedroom window to this!  This photo is actually from last year as it takes a while for the icebergs to make their way to the more southern part of the island.  I remember how surreal it is to have a hot summer day in Bonavista with one of these giant 10000 year old ice bergs floating mere feet away (and cooling any breeze off them too).  Here is an article about the phenomenon of icebergs in Newfoundland.

Several of these Brown Thrashers have been visiting the side garden mostly clinging to the tree line though.  They are omnivores and very shy -all photos I've taken of them are from a distance. I was happy with this photo of one who ventured near the garage while I hid on the veranda.  I love their foxy red and that very stern bright yellow eye.
It was quite literally thrashing about in those leaves- looking for bugs I think. Perhaps that is why it got its name?.

Which being me reminded me of this...have you ever heard of a 10% rule for using the colour yellow in a quilt? I've read this several times and wondered where it originated.  An old wives tale kind of thing maybe.

I've been using this book, The Complete Guide to Machine Quilting by Joanie  Zeier Poole to aid with my FMQ practicing.  Available at Amazon Here.

As mentioned already, I've been trying this for 15 minutes a day.  This is my second time taking Joanie's book from the library and it's a great book; the problem is me.  Just when I think I'm doing okay, I sew an awful line.
Hubby says perhaps I need to practice for more than 15 minutes.  But perhaps there are people who can not learn this skill and I'm one of them.  I wonder.

I'm feeling the pressure as the number of projects I have waiting to be quilted is mounting (but not nearly as many as Barb in Tucson who has 35!!).
Like getting this one, the Indigo Snowballs, almost to that point.  But very pleased with the overall look of it so far.

Thoughts anyone?  I'm now thinking another row of the dark blue would be more striking than a border of cream.  And though I like the good rectangle size I have going on, I would like it wider which I should have thought of back at the snowball stage.  Or even with those piano keys. Would it look funny to have wider borders on the sides than the top and bottom for the next round??

Note to self: give more thought to final layout next time!

I have other sewing news as The Grasshopper has begun! But my editor (Hubby) will say this post is too long so next time about that.

But one last but by no means least thing to mention on a thankful Thursday.  Hubby had his annual cystoscopy Tuesday and was all clear again...marking just over ten years cancer free!

So happy to link with Not Afraid of Color,  Crazy Mom QuiltsBrian's Home BlogSew Fresh QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than Housework, and Quilt Fabrication. Thanks all for hosting.

Sunday 27 May 2018

Marshmallow Chocolate Cherry Cake, Indigo Snowballs, Slow Stitching Cornwall Cottage Sampler

I just have to tell you about a free and very sweet little stitch along occurring on Facebook called Enjoy the Little Things.  Serena Boffa Soda, the administrator, combines embroidery with patchwork beautifully and is actually providing video tutorials for each of the stitches in this project.  Many embroidery novices have signed up too and I'm so happy to see that.
Serena's fabric and colour choices for her projects are sublime and remind me of a more colourful Yuko Saito if that makes any sense.

Much happiness for Serena as her first book was published this year - Small Wonders,available Aug.1st Here.

Busy sewing piano keys which is a little boring. This project feels like it is going on forever now. I'm at the "wish I could snap my fingers and it be done" stage.
I decided on a deep blue border to go first.

I'm really hoping the piano keys will look okay next.  I'm finishing it with a cream fabric that has a deep blue filigree kind of pattern in it.  I had liked it so much I bought a lot of it a few years ago and its time has come!

Now that the summer light is here and so much rejoicing about that...
I've gotten out my cross stitch project I tucked away last fall.  My Cornwall Cottage Sampler and launched in again.  It goes without saying this will provide lots of slow stitching for the summer.  Wouldn't it be nice if I could have it finished then! I love this piece but a lot of stitches required...
Here was the start in 2017.
Murphy is bored with it she told me (and she is enough of a diva to speak her mind just like that).  The only thing she likes about it she said is it means veranda stitching again which means happy snoozing time for her.

My baking this week included a very unlikely product.  I love marshmallow anything and Older Daughter had given me two bags of toasted coconut marshmallows as part of my Mother's Day gift.
Image result for toasted coconut marshmallows
I ate one bag(!!) and thought, oh lordy, I need to get this other bag out of my sight somehow.  I decided to google what (if any) desserts you can make with these marshmallows.  Lo and behold, there are many.  Who knew?! (My mouth is actually watering as I write this!)

 Since I didn't have Rice Krispies which would have made the most wonderful squares I think, I chose to make the chocolate cherry cake. Yes, a cake with marshmallows!
 In a nutshell, here is what you do:- Into a 9 x 13 inch pan, sprinkle the whole bag of marshmallows. Mix a chocolate cake mix and pour over, then spread a can of cherry pie filling over that.  All of which I did.  The marshmallows rose to the top somehow and gave the baked cake a bit of a glaze.  Hubby has been valiantly eating it all week and it goes without saying, he loved it...chemicals and all. LOL
 I prefer to eat my marshmallows one by a snack, but that sounds so awful to say you eat marshmallows as a snack. And there's no stopping at one!

Here is one link to an easy chocolate and marshmallow cake just in case the mood should ever hit you for such an easy dessert.

I'm hoping your Sunday is sweet but definitely not glucose laden!
As usual linking with fellow stitchers at Kathy's Quilts as well as Small Quilts and Doll QuiltsCooking Up QuiltsSlow Motion by the RiverEsther's Quilt BlogSew Fresh Quilts and  Busy Hands Quilts.

Thursday 24 May 2018

What I Did Mother's Day 2018

I've been asked what did I do on Mother's Day. At my request I got to do some of my favourite things.
I'm a thrift store shopper and I like nothing better than a good dig. I hadn't done it in a while so was very eager to go.  Like any treasure hunt, gold dig, etc., patience gets rewarded in those endeavors sometimes.

A couple of my finds

A set of these coasters, machine stitched but pretty just the same.  I use coasters everywhere.

A  Coldwater Creek quilted vest for me in a gorgeous shade of teal green (not photographing well in this picture at all). I saw one just like it on Tradesy for over $55US so at $6.99 with a tag attached, I was so pleased. 

Here is what the shade of green actually looks like. Older Daughter said I should live in this colour  and now that I'm older, I seem to be not as afraid of colour (like LeeAnna ☺).
Image result for coldwater creek green vest

Fabric in a huge yardage for $3.99.  Backing maybe?

This necklace.  The hammered silver had started to tarnish which may have been why it was donated but with a little silver cleaner, it was sparkly again.  Since I've turned white/grey, I seem to be liking silver jewelry more and more.  It was $1.99.

As son in law tells me, it is only a bargain if you are happy with it and I figure for my $15 I sure was.
It was busy there at that particular Value Village so I know I'm not the only bargain hunter.

Got to go to the Garden Center

We went to our local family owned and operated garden center. I've never been there before what with growing things from seeds and supplementing with Costco or Walmart plants. Which is a shame that such places give those older operations so much competition.

They had a beautiful store at this center and I spied these on special.
Non Floppy Flip Flops
My southern holiday taught me that a pair of footwear like this for the beach,etc. is not a bad idea.  I've given up wearing any flip flops because they are not firm and sure footed enough for me.  However, I tried these out and they remain sort of attached to your foot in an odd kind of way- not floppy.
Also in teal.

Of course, the green houses were almost overwhelming in the array of growing things but one thing caught my eye...A Trailing Geranium- of all the geraniums I've grown over the years, I've never had a trailing one so I'm happy to give it a try.
This is just a stock photo; mine is a small 6 inch pot size right now and I'll show you when I get it repotted properly.  But I have high hopes for it.

Image result for trailing geranium

We also got to have a late lunch at Milestones where I ate their California Eggs Benedict ( with shrimp) and Parmasen baked potatoes...all good.

 But the best part of Mother's Day 2018 was spending a great day with younger daughter who is very busy with her career and mothering the littler grandson. Like we always say about such days, we should do them more often.

Back on the home front. The stitching is moving along monthly on my Angie's Pots; this is Block 5 with its freezer paper templates ready to be stitched down.  I will get this done later today.

But first, the sun is shining and it's out into the garden for me.
 I'm using the three big planters from last year to refill for the front veranda.  So far I have geraniums, creeping ivy, petunias and a mixture of plants I kept alive all winter.  I'm waiting for more heat to move the poinsettia outside.

Happily linking with Big #90 I Like Post with LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color. Also linking with
Esther's Quilt BlogWhat a Hoot Quilts, My Quilt Infatuation and Quilt Fabrication-can you believe Susan you are at #125 of  Midweek Makers!

Sunday 20 May 2018

Scrappy Lilies Free Pattern, Kathleen Tracy SAL, Violets, Bowties

The Wedding

I had been subscribed to the CBC Royal Fascinator, the online blog covering everything about the Royal Wedding leading up to the day.  The night before I had a sleepover at Daughter's and got to watch the main event the next morning on her big tv that has cable. It was very, very early for us but I didn't care. It was fun to see what everyone was wearing and the bride's dress in particular and to hear all the commentary.  I figured it would probably be the last of the major Royal weddings in my time (a thought which kind of gave me pause).
Anyway, here is a link to the best fascinators of the wedding if you like to look at such.

This Week in Stitching

I fnished the Block 5 details of the Kathleen Tracy Mystery Friendship Quilt.  As I mentioned this project is a great chance to practice accuracy.  And I know this will sound kind of bad, but I do take heart when I hear some others have abandoned this row of tiny blocks in favour of adding one long strip.They find it too fiddly for a variety of reasons.  But of course, many others have turned out perfectly matched seams in every one of these borders.

This month's instructions meant making lots of tiny bowtie/ hourglass blocks, something I'd never made before but enjoyed doing which was the easy bit.  Getting it all to match up with the previous border was the tricky part but thankfully, it did not have to do that everywhere.

 Of course, it was about then I thought of abandoning this version and trying a new one from scratch or taking this all apart and starting over but no, I think I'll soldier onwards.  I'll wait and see what the next block entails at least.

Here's a great chance to use up scraps- it really doesn't get much better than this.  

While exploring one day, I came across The Lily Challenge at a lovely blog called Het Klossie, another of those wonderful Dutch hand work/quilting sites.  This little (less than 5 inch square) flower type pattern really appealed to me and I thought I would try a few to see if I could work out the design properly.  Here is what I've made so far.

The pattern is a free PDF download and there is a Facebook group sharing their efforts.  I made one with EPP but the others are machine stitched.  I've set up two more for EPP hand stitching and alternate this with my embroidery for my tv sewing.  A pleasant diversion really from the more challenging projects and I'm going to stick with the cheery reds.

Love Love Love Planting Stuff 

I mentioned little grandson helped me plant a lot of seeds when he came over for that visit.  They were placed in front of the big window in the garage which has proven to be a great location because a lot of sprouting has since occurred.  I'm still recycling composted soil from the old place which I'm convinced has super powers.
So gardening for 2018 is in full swing.

I also raked most of the flower beds this week getting rid of all the debris from my Ugly Gardening project.  That was certainly successful with finches and juncos enjoying the old stalks all winter long. Will definitely do the same thing next winter.

I limit myself to one hour at a time in the garden...this old body is just too achy if I do it for longer and I figure it is not a race.

This little wildflower has cropped up in the front flower beds and I've left them there.  After a little research through my flower books, I think it is another member of the wild violet family, the Sweet White Violet and no matter its name, it is very sweet.

On this pretty note I'll end the post.  Hope your day has something sweet in it too.

There are also lots of pretty things to see over at the slow stitching link up at Kathy's Quilts.
Also linking with Em's ScrapbagCooking Up QuiltsSmall Quilts and Doll Quilts, Quilting is More Fun than Housework, Free Motion By the RiverCrazy Mom QuiltsSew Can She and Bambi's Show and Tell.

Thursday 17 May 2018

Air Fryers, Aprons and Stitching

Woken this morning by Rex barking his head off.  We usually have a lone turkey and this was the very first time the whole family showed up. Barkworthy indeed!
The females do not seem that impressed by that male!

Hind View !

Murphy took her usual morning dip in the pond.  She's done this every day since there was a crack in the ice. Cold temps obviously don't bother her.  This greatly enhances her unique doggy smell for the rest of the day!

Rex, on the other hand, hates getting his feet wet, never mind his body.

I like aprons but they haven't made one big enough to cover all I need covered in the kitchen. LOL I am messy!   Aprons seem to be cropping up all over the internet.  Perhaps they are having a resurgence in popularity.  I came across this unique one and thought how great it would be for berry picking or gathering eggs if one were fortunate enough to engage in either of those activities. Oh how I miss berry picking at home!
This is from The Sewing Happy Place where you can see lots of other patterns as well.

                  No automatic alt text available.

I keep wanting an Air Fryer which I've mentioned before.  I looked long and hard at this big boy.

Wolfgang Puck 7.2-Quart 1700-Watt XL Air Fryer
Anyone using an Air Fryer?  What do you think of it? This one - the Wolfgang Puck model is on The Shopping Channel and is big enough to hold a whole chicken.  There's something about the tidiness of tucking food out of sight and having it cooking away without my attention that really appeals to me.

 My Garden of Contentment piece is now a quilt sandwich thanks to the batting I bought at the Perth Fabric shop. (More about that later.)  I was trying to show in this photo the fabric I used for the blocks.  It was one of those white tone on tones with dragonflies on it which I thought appropriate for this project.  What made me think of it was seeing the first dragonfly of the season yesterday.

And this is me trying out  Free Motion Quilting practice which I've committed myself to for 15 minutes a day till June.  Did you love these shows like I did? Note the hair curlers...amazing how going about your business with your hair in curlers was a trend back in the day.

                         Related image

And when you only want a little piece of cake....?!
I love this little video.  Miniature anything is so cute and to see the way this all gets mixed together just like a regular cake even though so tiny is amazing.

I'm halfway through the Block 5 instructions for my Kathleen Tracy Mystery Friendship Quilt blocks sewing 20 hourglass blocks.  I've also straightened some of the seams where I was trailing to the right at the end of a line of stitching. This little project has been a great opportunity for practicing accuracy.

This is happy post day over at Not Afraid of Color and Brian's Home Blog. I am always so happy to read everyone's likes and thankful things. Also linking with Off the Wall FridayEsther's Quilt Blog, Sew Fresh Quilts, My Quilt InfatuationSugarLane DesignsCrazy Mom Quilts and Free Motion By the River.

Sunday 13 May 2018

Red Carnation for Mother's Day

I'm feeling a little discouraged.

I said to Hubby I'm not sure why I do this and he said because most of the time you love it.  He's right of course. We were talking about my stitching.
 I've had to do some tweaking on the Contentment Garden blocks to make those straight lines straighter and after relatively smooth sailing with the Indigo Snowballs, I've had to undo a few lines of stitching in that too. So I'd had an afternoon of unstitching as it were.

 And just when I was thinking I was improving my machine stitching, too.
  I did discover and correct a problem I repeatedly made...trailing to the right when ending a line of stitching.  Don't know why I did that...but I did and it really made for inaccurate seams.  I've learned how even just a smidgin off in each block adds up when joining up with other blocks.  I guess it's a good thing I learned that at least!

Anyway, not discouraged enough to stop mind you. Forging onwards.
Here is my little table topper I finished up. It will do. Enjoyed the bit of hand quilting I did.

I'm trying to take smaller hand stitches as well. Jenny of Elefantz makes the tiniest stitches which allows for very tidy looking lines of embroidery.  She suggested trying a one inch test to see how many stitches you make per inch.  She makes 15 stiches to the inch and when I tried that test back in 2015, I made just 8. When I tried to make 15, my stitches got a bit uneven and wobbly but as Jenny says it is all about practice.

My practice piece
In this project, my Sew Laugh Love piece, it is mostly back stitching so a great chance to practice executing  those smaller stitches.  I've taken out quite a few along the way but as long as I'm mindful, I can achieve the stitch length I want which is continually smaller.  At least that is one of my goals as I work on this project in the coming weeks.

But as was told to me years ago, it is not about how many stitches per inch. As long as you are consistent with the size within a piece, the end result will be pleasing.

My stitching it seems, just like me, is still a work in progress.

Because it is Mother's Day, I want to share this photo of the last owlet to fledge, Dock, (the three owlets were named Hickory, Dickory, Dock) with his Mom keeping him company now that he's been left alone at the nesting box.  She has been very attentive to him providing him with lots of food (he ate a songbird at 3 am this morning that she brought him) and frequent visits.  Because he was the last to hatch, it is natural that he be the last to fledge. That's going to happen any minute now.

From Kris on Twitter

Did any of you do this?

So Happy Mother's Day to all who celebrate. Being from the dark ages, I remember wearing a red carnation to church service for Mother's Day and you wore a white one if your mother had passed on.  Say what you want, there was such respect in those old rituals.

Joining the other slow stitchers over at Kathy's Quilts.  Also linking to Crazy Mom QuiltsSew Can SheSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsStitch All the Things, Em's Scrapbag, In the Quilt Room With Mel and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Thursday 10 May 2018

What Moves You?

We are watching the series Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace on Netflix and enjoying it very much.  An added bonus is seeing how quilts are used throughout.  Grace, a young Irish immigrant to Canada, says there are three quilts every girl should make before she is married...the Pandora's Box, the Tree of Paradise and the Basket. Grace is also sewing a quilt all the while she is telling her story.

 Here is a wonderful  post at Sew Mama Sew explaining the quilts, the meanings and the makers of Grace's quilts along with tutorials for you to make them.

Image result for alias grace photos quilts

My empathy button is turned all the way up while I'm listening to Grace.  During one of her scenes, I had a shiver go all over my body.  Is it because of my own Irish roots, the fact that Grace's accent sounds like Newfoundland to me, or the beauty and poetry in some of the phrases and words.
 I was kind of glad that something still had the power to move me like that actually.

And speaking of having the power to move me...spent some time with the younger grandson where we got to explore the pond, plant some seeds and make ice cream cookie sandwiches, a great hands on dessert for a 4 year old. At one point, he licked the oozing ice cream all around one sandwich and then presented it to me...this is yours Nana. LOL

 We found three of these salamanders which particularly interested him.  He asked if he could pet one which he did very gently.

Keeping it simple and making Piano Keys for a border on my Indigo Snowballs.  Just happen to have a good template to use and I was told that design will contrast nicely but not overpower the main pattern.
Oh Oh
 However, since making this start, I've discovered joining long strips of the fabric and then cutting them would make for greater accuracy and be easier.  Wish I'd learned that sooner! So I'll be checking that out.

My Garden of Contentment is now a flimsy ready to be quilted.  I was reading a post where someone was saying they double the batting so they can achieve a higher loft when quilting.  I realize all the batting I use is kind of flat ...actually I must confess often it is what I have on hand and sew together to make it fit.  Needless to say often this doesn't show stitches very well at all.

Then I remembered this Autumn project I made in 2016 and the batting was much thicker; I seem to remember buying a special batting from Connecting Threads made by Hobbs for it.

I'm following a video on how to use the walking foot in this photo.

I should pay more attention to the details like that.  Do you have a particular batting that you love? Please tell me...especially one for hand quilting.

My brain has been feeling a bit sluggish since my holiday...spent yesterday out in the fresh air which really helped. But pouring rain is a bit of a deterrent today.
Speaking of weather--special reminder to all my friends experiencing extreme heat...hydrate!

It's Thankfulness and Lots of  Likes Thursday over at Not Afraid of Color.  Linking this post to Quilt FabricationMy Quilt Infatuation and Needle and Thread Network.

Sunday 6 May 2018

Lemon Pie and Resurrecting an Old Project

How wonderful to see the earth renew itself- literally rise from the ashes as it were.

And pussy willows- aren't they so sweet; all us kitten lovers love The Legend of the Pussy Willows, how they got their name. Growing up these soft opening buds were a true sign of spring and I remember trees being laden with tons of them.  I don't see them in those numbers any more.

This reminded me of a springtime pattern from Crab Apple Hill Studio that I thought had pussy willows in it. It doesn't but is so pretty and of the season.

                                 Image result for nesting time embroidery pattern

I felt like making a more summery dessert to celebrate true spring here in our little corner of Ontario.  Lemon meringue pie sprang to my mind.

I blame the near disastrous overbrowning of the meringue on Murphy!  Underfoot all the while I'm in the kitchen and distracting me.

Yes when I'm at the counter, this is her favourite location.  It's dangerous! But nothing gets between a Black Lab and food!

I make my own pastry but I cheated with the filling and used this.

                                          Image result for dr oetker lemon pie filling

 I found it too sweet but for the record, Hubby loved it and thought it very lemony.

I was sorting a couple of totes and came across two hand projects that had been practice pieces for applique and embroidery.  I remembered why I put this away...though I liked the flower arrangement okay, something is off in the proportions with the vase. However, I decided it could be useful as a little table mat.  Got it hand quilted with large loops drawn with my Frixon pen and courtesy of that template that came with a magazine.

I used a photo in an old magazine to draw this and I'm sorry I don't know whose work it is.

 I happily bound it only to then think it needed more quilting lines. I will sit and finish this today perhaps even on the veranda depending on the temperature.

Lovely slow stitching over at Kathy's Quilts to check out. Also linking with Quilting is More Fun Than Housework, Free Motion By the River, Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, In the Quilting Room With Mel, Esther's Quilt Blog and Koka Quilts.