Thursday 28 June 2018

Summer Skirts, WIP's Past and Present

I like the view from my pet chair.  With an open concept you basically live in one big room so from my spot I can see pretty much everything.  This is not my favourite choice with houses, btw; I would prefer a more sectioned set up but it still seems openness such as this is very popular.

Here's something I have my eye on... a skirt from Simon's, one of those stores I check out online from time to time.  I've mentioned my hips before...I used to bemoan their wideness but now I've grown to appreciate a new feature- they are still working well and, after all, did help me with two successful pregnancies and for that I am eternally grateful.
But because of them, pencil skirts are out and ones with some extra material in that region are the only choice I'm comfortable with.  I'm a little conservative when it comes to clothes generally but that ring of chintz looking flowers is beckoning. LOL

Have you made any great summer clothes purchases? Come tell me so I can check it out too.

My reworked Friendship Garden Mystery Quilt Along is down to just one more month with the last border information coming next week.  I'm very happy I took back those two borders and tweaked the corners, etc. Kathleen Tracy has provided excellent instructions all along.

A flashback to 2016 when I was finishing up the Farmer's Wife Sampler quilt along.  I completed 50 of the blocks using EPP. Come to think of it, this too is folded away and needs to get quilted.  It is draped over the china cabinet there in the dining room which was also my sewing space in the old house.
"Springtime on the Farm" was my loose theme for choosing the colours from mostly scraps.

Hard to believe something that was so labour intensive could escape my memory but it did.

Here is our big boy Rex in the back yard...contemplating life. I hope he is thinking it is a good one!
He is losing his winter undercoat and looks a little ragged right now.

He is blissfully unaware his annual checkup at the vet's is late this afternoon...something both dogs find stressful. We always get the last appointment of the day to lessen the possibility of Rex encountering other animals or strangers. He is fine with our female vet and her female assistants, thankfully and actually, they love him.

Hope this last weekend in June will be a good one for you. Ours will include the annual Canada Day celebrations which I love.
Also love joining the folks at LeeAnna's Not Afraid of Color for things to like on a Thursday. Also linking with Esther's Quilt BlogBrian's Home BlogQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkSew Fresh Quilts, and My Quilt Infatuation.

Sunday 24 June 2018

Free For the Clicking and Ginger Scones

I must admit I am in love with the internet.  Though I lived well without it on holiday, returning to it kind of heightened my appreciation again for what a marvelous tool it is. So much to find with just a few clicks.

Like these free for the clicking patterns.

Days Filled With Joy where the lovely Joy shares her free Fruit of the Spirit patterns.  I love her design for the word gentleness.

The Red Boot Quilt Company has a cache of very cute free patterns including one that I really liked...Spring Mandala.  I could envision it in bright summery kind of fabrics for a cushion or table top.

Quilt Inspiration offers a number of beautiful and free patterns.  In particular one called Orb Medallion Quilt caught my eye...sort of like a colour wheel

                              Free pattern! PDF download

and here is the link to the PDF for it....Lecian and it's a design by Rebecca Bryan of Bryan House Quilts.

Yesterday was a cloudy, rainy day and a perfect one for making scones.  I continue to expand the variety of these biscuits I've tried.  These are Ginger Scones made with both grated fresh ginger and the crystallized candied kind.  I like ginger, believe in its " good for you" kind of properties so will enjoy them from time to time with a cup of tea.  They freeze really well.  Here is the recipe from Elise at Simply Recipes.

This is another Slow Stitching Sunday at Kathy's Quilts and my Love Laugh Sew piece will get my attention today.
Embroidering is so relaxing.

Taken yesterday as well, between the rain drops, the oak trees framing one of the trails. -

Looks so green to my eyes and peaceful; here's hoping your day will be too (not the green part but the peaceful bit).

Friday 22 June 2018

Singing Story, Pinks in the Garden and Lilies Too

I am back home safe and sound from my trip where I got to log many miles by train.  Since I am the full time cook, server and cleaner upper here, it was such a treat for me to sit back and be served a lovely meal while the  pastoral scenery of Quebec flew by.  I loved every minute of it and felt very privileged and thankful.

Hubby and dogs well and just like that, one day home and I feel back into my old routine.

A Before picture- hopefully.

This is a corner of my crowded (and messy) little sewing room taken a while back when my Patchwork Year blocks were on the go.

I've gotten a new piece of furniture at a secondhand furniture store and plan to put it to use in this room.  It is an armoire type of unit, will definitely hold a lot of materials and clear away the floor. More about that later. (Note to self: take a photo of this room when tidy!)

I promised I had a singing story and here it is.

 My Singing Story

I've mentioned I have a singing story.  I used to be able to sing, not exactly sing sing but carry a tune well enough I passed the audition to get into my university glee club (but the director, Iggy, was a kindly man so I don't know if he ever turned anyone away).  My voice has been getting raspier as I've aged and never mind singing -I'm gasping to get words out sometimes and am self conscious of how awfully ragged my voice sounds.

As a result, back in March, I got sent to an ENT doctor who said to me before he even put the light down my throat, I know what your problem is.
 The joke is I have Singers Nodules, something singers get but it turns out is also very common for teachers to develop especially after thirty odd years in the classroom. I was so relieved and thankful it wasn't something else (and you all know what was in my mind!). But as I was leaving, this very young doctor said to me with a serious, sad tone, you may not be able to sing again. Whereupon I laughed and said I was never exactly Celine Dion or anything so no big loss there.

Anyway, the treatment for Singers Nodules is rest; literally don't speak, don't even clear your throat, no more ahems.  When I told Hubby, he didn't say anything but I know he was thinking something. ( I am definitely the chatterbox of the two of us.)

Hosta Heaven

You can see why I call this place Hosta Heaven....they are back in all their big leafed glory.

At the center of the below photo is a pretty flowering Weigela, one of the Spilled Wine forms I planted soon after moving here.  I thought the front was badly in need of more colour to break all the green.  I'm happy it seems to be thriving there.

I do have a small worry- I don't remember how big the card said it would grow.  Rookie gardener mistake! I love it but I don't need another tree sized bush there. (The hydrangeas are now small trees out front.)

Just before I left I had tidied away my projects so only had this one handy.  Six more lilies completed.

Do you agree with Henry James?

Related image

Grateful to link this post with all the happy posts at Not Afraid of Color. Also linking up with
Sugarlane Designs,  and It's A Small Town Life,

Thursday 14 June 2018

Quilting in Space (Literally), A Finish, and Other Things

We have just finished a week of glorious weather...sunny with low to mid 20's with a little breeze. No intense heat or humidity. I loved it and spent oodles of time outside puttering around and down by the pond with my camera.  It made me think of summer days in my we loved them!

Before I forget, Hubby got a message from his GP; absolutely nothing wrong with his heart so it can be ruled out as a cause of his tiredness.  We are very thankful for this news and also grateful to all who asked and sent good wishes.

And to think I find it hard enough to quilt on earth...

Karen Nyberg, who not only has the right stuff, is also a sewist.  In this video she talks about the challenges of quilting in zero gravity and I'm so impressed with her final red, white and blue square.

And in my stitching news, I'm so happy to report a finish.  Since this one was so close to the end I put a rush on and got it done.
The red and white polka dot fabric was an obvious choice for the final border.  And just for fun, I cut  the letters for SUMMER out of it too.  I did a little FMQ...straight lines through the squares. a curvy one through the sashing and a zig zag through the final edge. (I tell myself when I get better at it, I'll venture in and around the applique.) And in real life there are not those pouches under those bottom'll have to take my word for it.

So happy the son in law is back to keeping chickens for the summer. Younger grandson is getting quite good at corralling and feeding them, and gathering eggs...and washing his hands after as he pointed out to me. Each hen, this time round, lays a different coloured egg so they know who is laying or not. They have fresh eggs for what seems to be small efforts.

Can't get all 4 of them at once out of the coop for a photo, it seems.

The wonderful Mary Corbett over at Needle n Thread gave this colouring book a great review and I've taken a look at it on Amazon.  Great drawings and lots of opportunity to pluck out motifs here and there to use in applique or embroidery.  The love of everything Morris continues.

William Morris Designs Coloring Book by Emanuela Carletti

And though I'm not going on a jet plane, I am going for the annual train ride- my absolutely favourite way to travel.  Older grandson, his grandfather and I are off to Montreal and Quebec City for the next week.

Image result for via rail long term parking barrhaven fallowfield

Hope you are enjoying wonderful June whether it means summer or autumn for you.

As always happy to link up with LeeAnna's Thursday likes at Not Afraid of Color.

Sunday 10 June 2018

Netflix Show, Purl Soho Quilt and Grasshopper Blocks

Sunrise over our little pond this morning.  I'd gone down early hoping to catch the early bird with my camera. No luck but got lots of bites from mosquitoes or nippers as we called them growing up.

I know most of you are so wonderful with handling complex quilt piecing but not all of us are such quilting queens.  I had to share this pattern for the latter group though I'm thinking the ease this one could go together would please anyone.

I loved making the snowballs in that snowballs quilt a while back.  When I spied the Tiny Tiles quilt kit at Purl Soho, I immediately thought of the way the snowballs quilt goes together and sure enough, this is another variation.

Tiny Tile Quilt | Purl Soho

Kind of ingenious really, how simple this is but so effective. An added bonus of this pattern is you can use scraps and very tiny pieces of material. Corinne at Purl Soho gives a very detailed tutorial on how to make it all the way through to how to quilt it. She has written it as a beginner style of tutorial so nothing is left to chance. I was thinking what a great baby quilt it would make and judging by the numerous comments at their site, this pattern was a huge hit.
Btw, Purl Soho generously provides free instructions for all their  lovely quilt kits.

One step ahead and a couple back-

Last night we finished up this Netflix drama which we enjoyed. Dilemmas and gray areas abound in this one.  Did anybody else catch it?

                                             Image result for seven seconds

All the while I hand sewed my rows together for this block in my Grasshopper BOM.  Just have the corner to attach and fingers crossed, it will be the size required.  If this one is all good, I'll be cutting out the pieces for the other three and plan to do some veranda stitching when it warms up later today.

 Sometimes it's just about what you can live with...

In the background there, is my Friendship Garden Mystery Quilt block all apart...Yes, I couldn't bear to look at the uneven lines and undid a couple of borders which I felt surprisingly okay with.  It is my machine stitching accuracy project so I may as well do my best to make it so, right?

 Hope it is all forward marching for you though!

Linking this post to Kathy's Quilts who has embroidered the cutest blue thread spool. Also joining the link parties at Small Quilts and Doll QuiltsCooking Up QuiltsBambi's Show and Tell Monday, Free Motion by the River and Love Laugh Quilt.

Wednesday 6 June 2018

Watches, Baskets, Poor Robin and Starry Nights

 We have been discussing watches lately.
Since retiring and feeling that time is finally my own, I've deliberately not worn watches very much. Hubby, however, doesn't feel dressed unless he has his watch on. He has an eco driven watch that he loves. He sets it on the window sill just so each night and solar power keeps it running. He loves not having to buy batteries. I mentioned an interest in such a watch magically powered by the sun.

Now I am getting emails from him with suggestions of ladies watches that are also solar powered with headings like what about this one or perhaps this one.  He is finding sales of course and I just might say yes to one.  Do you have such a watch that you like?

But we had lunch on Friday with friends and I admired her watch. Silver strap and silver case, not too big, not too small- you could read the numbers(yes it had numbers)...nice looking. Walmart she said, $10, now 3 years old.  Do you get tired of replacing the batteries?  Her hubby chimed in no, they buy them at Dollarama.  As far as they are concerned they work just as well as the expensive ones.
 Now of all the things I buy there, I would not think of buying batteries at dollar stores.  Do you?

I love being up close to nature but sometimes it is a little confounding!

Another crazy robin story...We heard strange scrambling sounds and dull thuds in the dining area.  Watched for a bit and discovered a poor robin battering himself against the window. He was relentless so I had to do something...lowering the blind and closing the curtains didn't work.
 Googled it and found just this sort of thing happens this time of year...a male robin will see his reflection in a window, assume it is a rival and of course, want it gone. Our recourse was to put newspapers over the outside of the window.

 He hung around for a while in the evening...not hitting the window but agitated -hopping back and forth from deck railing to tree branches. When I came out to the dining room this morning at 6:52 am, he was sitting on the railing and I thought oh dear, but he has now left and I haven't seen him since.  I think he returned just to reassure himself the rival has disappeared.

The baskets have gained flowers and leaves now.
 But I'm deliberately showing you the cords there on the right.  These are essential for several of my devices and if I don't have them in full sight, this is just the sort of thing that disappears on me even in that tiny sewing room.  I got fed up with having to waste time looking so this my recourse.  Now, though unsightly which is the price I have to pay, lol, I always know where they are.
Do you have a sure fire way of putting your hand on these small but essential items?

The baskets also have some sashings and a fun border made from scraps. What a great stress free project.

Don't let the process defeat the purpose. 

 I don't know who said this first but it's been around the net for a few years. When I read it again, I realized we all have something in our lives we can apply this too.  For me (this week anyway), it is about the finishing of my projects...the actual quilting of them.  I tend to put that part off...I have reasons...I want to keep practicing first to improve my stitching which is legitimate but I need to call a halt at some point and actually get down to the job. No one wants a project to be spoiled with sloppy quilting, but it is pointless to have them pile up in one of my totes...never to be seen again.
(By the way, thanks Roseanne at Home Sewn By Us for the encouragement re fmq.)

I heard from a lot of  colour blue lovers so here's a little more about it. This is a great article
from Brain Pickings  called Two Hundred Years of the Colour Blue.  It is interesting to think of a colour having an illustrious history.  I love the references to nature in these descriptions.

I love colour wheels and to note all the nuances that make up blue in this one is wonderful.

Just a little bit of awesome is this video of a true song of colours, Starry, Starry Night sung to a backdrop of Vincent Van Gogh's paintings.  It reminded me of the saying that yellow is all about light. And just how free Vincent was with all the shades of blue and yellow. Don McLean's voice is so sweet too.

Hope there is colour, vibrant or soothing as needed in your day today.
 Think of me as I accompany Hubby to the Heart Institute for a major work up- he has never had a heart problem per se but wants to rule out any as the source of his continual tiredness.

So happy to link up with happy things over at LeeAnna's Not Afraid of Color.
Also linking with Esther's Quilt BlogFree Motion by the River, Busy Hands Quilts, My Quilt InfatuationBrian's Home BlogSew Can She and Em's Scrapbag.

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Sunday 3 June 2018

Blues, Baskets and BOM's

So much to love these early summer days. It is all about the garden for me right now which I'm enjoying very much.  And my body seems to be adjusting and not complaining as much.

June is an amazing month - one heralded with rejoicing back in my teaching days.  The mood in any school just lifts off at this time of year the kids are so happy- as happy as the teachers might be, no one knows how to show joy like children do.

A couple of nature's blues...
I know it is a poor carpenter that blames her tools, but one of the flaws of my camera is that sometimes it will bring into focus surroundings rather than the focal point which it did with this photo but I wanted you to see the brilliant periwinkle colour these irises are sporting right now. ( Irises are one of three favourite flowers...years back I had cross stitched a very large piece of pinkish/lavender irises on black fabric which took me most of a year to complete; though I've lost it, the memory is with me, sigh.)

I spied a couple of birds I did not recognize right off but a bit of sleuthing and confirmation from Facebook friends came up with its name. This is a great time for bird watching here before they get hidden by full summer foliage.

This is the yellow- rumped warbler...a "new to me" bird.  There are a number of them flitting about high in the tree tops down by the pond; I had to hang out there for about thirty minutes before I was able to get a decent shot and this is with my zoom fully extended and then some cropping. The camera gets heavy at that point and harder to keep totally steady so I am pleased with this particular result. I love how summery looking that blue sky welcome after the cloudy cold spring.

Got my planters put together again. They are a little bit sparse but will thicken up when things begin to grow. My back loved not having to bend over quite so much.
This is last years group...this year ditto.

I have an abiding love of basket motif quilt blocks. Like stars, I seem to love them all.
With that in mind, I began a little summery kind of quilted hanging with little baskets. Started with these 6 and it was so stress free to make these appliqued parts I added 3 more in an 8 inch square each.

 I saw a number of projects on Pinterest with a similar type basket and drew my own little template.  Inspiration from here at Podunk Pretties.

I'm finishing off the nine continuing the freezer paper applique for the basket parts.  I found this very useful tutorial on how to use freezer paper for templates from Linda Franz if you are thinking of using them too. This is a great little project like the lilies for when I grow tired of (thinking about, lol) the machine work on the snowballs.  I will definitely finish this piece this month.

And I have watched all my wonderful videos provided by Sarah Fielke for The Grasshopper BOM as preparation for getting deeper into that project.  It is in month 4 now but I'm not in any rush- as Sarah says it is the journey that counts.
 And this project is designed to be hand stitched so a slow process overall. I want this to be my summer stitching and especially need those snowballs out of the way first. I have hand stitched three blocks and they have worked out exactly to the size Sarah said they would.

What a relief and confidence booster for me as I venture onward with the blocks getting increasingly more difficult.
 Sarah's patterns have been faultless and I'm off to a good start so will  state a monthly goal- that being to complete Blocks 3 and 4 of this project.  I feel lucky to be able to avail of such a wonderful project, btw.
The fabrics and pieces for Block 3 below- blues have such range and I think are so pretty. Wish me luck as I continue the hand stitching with a lot of little blocks in this one.  That is Gutermann 100% silk thread- I am enjoying stitching with it.

I see versions of Sarah's Down the Rabbit Hole, the 2017 BOM, at many of the blogs I visit.  She does make lovely contemporary designs.
Image result for sarah fielke bom 2017 down the rabbit hole

So, do you like baskets and blues? And hand stitching? How about blooms or birds? (This post is full of "B" words inadvertently!)
If not any of these, hope your first Sunday in June does have lots of other good things to enjoy.

Also enjoy if you can the linkup parties at Kathy's QuiltsElm Street Quilts, Small Quilts and Doll QuiltsCooking Up QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkWhat a Hoot Quilts, Love Laugh Quilt and Sew Can She.