Sunday 29 July 2018

Applique Blocks, Books and Critters

A week with lots of sun, some rain, high temperatures but lower humidity so it was a great week for outdoor activity...weeding and walking and veranda sitting, namely.

I am thankful I do enjoy nature and all the buzzing/flying/treading things around me. Though the birds are a little quieter, every day new kinds of butterflies and bees are appearing. Including a large wasp nest on the front veranda that son in law had to take down for was growing bigger as we eyed it, it seemed. Usually we leave these things be.

Speaking of front veranda, Hubby is worried I'm taming the chipmunks. They appear as soon as I sit out there because I've been bringing peanuts with me. Yes that will do it.

Lounging in the hydrangea bush behind my chair wondering where is she. 

Sometimes they will eat one in front of me, but most are quickly scurried away to their burrows.

Late in a day back in June, Hubby called to me to come see something over at the big barn. Bring your camera he yelled.  This is what he was showing me and knew I'd like to see.  And forgive me if I've shown you this already...I forget sometimes.

A Giant Leopard Moth...I'd never seen one before and it blended fairly well against the concrete so thanks to Hubby's sharp eye, I got this photo.

Recently I spent a couple happy hours prowling one of the local libraries.  Several books on hold became available for me and I picked them up.  I do love this one, Stitches from the Garden by Kathy Schmitz and think I will purchase my own copy. I love all of Kathy's little patterns.

Meanwhile I'd been waiting for this ebook- What She Ate by Laura Shapiro
Image result for what she ate
 to become available and enjoyed some of the stories much better than others- the first about Dorothy Wordsworth, William's sister, was depressing.  And Helen Gurly Brown talking about sugar free jello as if it was manna from heaven was just sad.  If that's the kind of foolishness it takes to stay skinny, it is definitely not for me!  Preparing food and eating it is one of my great pleasures still and I hope I don't lose my appetite anytime soon. However, these six women highlight how complicated our relationship with food has been and still is.  And reading about all the food did make me feel a little hungry at times, LOL.

I have my Grasshopper BOM blocks up to date and now ready to work on the applique pieces for the main center panel.  Last night I prepped 31 leaves while watching t.v. and also a few of the flower pieces. It will be exciting to bring all these bits together eventually.

Today I'm going to sort through my fabric to figure out what to use for that center panel (fingers crossed I have a section big enough) and hopefully set up some of these pieces to begin stitching. Lots of lovely hand stitching ahead on this sunny last Sunday in July.

Joining other stitchers at Kathy's QuiltsSmall Quilts and Doll Quilts, What a Hoot Quilts and Cooking Up Quilts.

Thursday 26 July 2018

Middle of the Night Shopping

With the internet comes a new advantage/concern...the ability to shop in the wee hours of the morning.  I woke this morning and thought, I think I ordered something during the night and checked -sure enough, at 3:20 am I ordered this little kit from Alicia at Posie Gets Cozy. I'm rather impressed that I remembered my Paypal password at that hour but I guess where there is a will, there is a way. Lol
It's Alicia's pattern for Summer, part of her seasonal series.  Pretty, heh.

                         Summer Storm Cross Stitch Sampler Kit

Well, I have another free Quilt Along for you to check out.
 This one is thinking ahead to autumn, features fall motifs and is called Fall Into a Quilt AlongHere is the link to the Snowy Days Quilting post outlining all the details.  Six blocks have been released with six more to come. Acorns and pie, bonfires and baskets, sunflowers and hedgehogs, all very cute.

                      Fall QAL logo.png

Speaking of quilting, I finished my four Block 2 spinning star type blocks and have started the house block. On a confidence high right now as the measurements are working out exactly as the pattern says it should.  Loving assembling the houses.  Two episodes of Midsomer Murders got me through the stitching of one house.
 Someone asked which fabric this is Bloomsbury by Franny and Jane for Moda and this is the first project I've done with an actual coordinated set of fabrics.

                                   Image result for Bloomsbury by franny and jane

I've had to restrain myself from going to the scraps and making more of these houses.  Focus!
I tried to get closer shots so you could see the fabric patterns.

I also made the  pointed blades for the Dresden block that is in the center panel.  I followed Sarah's video provided which was a big help.

I found this video on Youtube that illustrates the same way to make them. Susan shows that at about the 3:40 mark if you are interested.

New to Me
With an eye to some Christmas stitching -In crochet I am checking out this stitch... the grit stitch.  I did finish a couple of wooly projects last year that I didn't show you.  I can't think of handling wool right now but I will have photos later on.

Hallelujah! I am finally remembering to bring my own bags to the supermarket consistently.  I'm ashamed to admit how long that habit has taken to form.  I'm now adding to my collection of glass bottles for usage in the kitchen. And I saw this product and wondered if any of you have tried it.
Reusable Bags available from Amazon but they are made from silicone. Now is that a worse product for the environment?  I don't know.

Reusable Silicone Food Storage Preservation Bags and Silicone Straws|Set of 4 Food Grade BPA Free Airtight Seal, Versatile Leak-Proof Silicone Bags & 6 Reusable Silicone Straws & Brush

A couple of birthday snaps of the littlest guy in my life...he is an interesting little bundle of ideas and actions all wrapped up in a great sense of humour.
 "What are we doing next " is one of his favourite sayings, keeping everyone on their toes.

If  Hubby and I had just a tenth of his energy, we  could save the world!
The Midsummer linkups:  to #99 at Not Afraid of Color.  Also linking with My Quilt Infatuation, Busy Hands Quilts and Sew Fresh Quilts.

Sunday 22 July 2018

Hubby's BDay and Grasshopper BOM

A photo from 2014, Hubby with Rex and Murphy at the farm. We had a picnic on the first really warm day in late April.  It was not relaxing for Rex as he was agitated by the squirrels and birds and completely out of his comfort zone being deep in the woods.

We celebrated Hubby's 79th birthday at the start of the week and he had a good time.  Daughter made him the most wonderful chocolate cake that had a surprise ingredient- nutella. Here is the link to the Life Love and Sugar post with the recipe.

But this year marks the end of an era...Hubby has made the decision to stop motorcycling.  After a couple of mishaps, he has decided the universe is giving him a message.  But he certainly had a good run...over 50 years without a serious accident. He loved it.

I am knee deep working on my Sarah Fielke Grasshopper project these days.  Here is a photo of trying out the possibilities with this present block.  Lots of colourways with the fat quarter bundle I'm using.

My design wall ( plastic picnic tablecloth) showing the one I have finished there on the right.

Slow stitching today as I try to get the rest of the blocks put together.  I have an assembly line set up with all the corners sewn already- I like to get the fiddliest bits done first.
Happy Sunday All!
Linking this post with other hand stitchers at Kathy's Quilts. Also linking with What a Hoot QuiltsSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsBusy Hands QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than Housework, Clever Chameleon QuiltsEsther's Quilt Blog and Cooking Up Quilts where Beth has an exciting new site.

Thursday 19 July 2018

Do You Look Good in White?

Hello on a very hot Thursday from my home in the little woods.  This early in the morning all the windows are open hoping to catch the last of the overnight cooler breezes before having to shut them all.  It is still hot here- not complaining. Because all this sun is glorious!

My bouquet for indoors this week...the whites and the almost all whites. (Too many here but trying to dry some to keep). These are from the smooth Annabelle hydrangea trees that are on each side of the front walkway...the blooms are greenish (like in the photo below) till they turn white and then they look like giant snowballs. The bees like them.

And this little guy who seemed to be basking in the sun. It was around this time, I realized I would have to start watering more heavily as things were drying out fast.
They made me think about the colour white, the everlasting symbol of purity and innocence.  Even if the lie we tell is a white one, it is probably considered innocent.
  I read that more women's names are derived from white than any other colour, like this famous one- Blanche Devereaux (perhaps scampishly named this considering what white stands for).  Oh I got such a kick out of that show!

A tree frog...their white colour so surprised me the first time I saw them. We usually have many of these guys around the back deck and go to sleep at night to the unique sounds of their mating croaks.  Music only to a fellow tree frog ears!

Even the scrappiest of quilts needs something to tie it all together. Often the colour white is used in this way perhaps because it is being chosen by older individuals. Our love of white grows as we age apparently, as children almost never say white is their favourite colour.

Here is a perfect example of a beautiful scrappy quilt made more beautiful by the effective use of white. You can read this 2012 post at the Squares and Triangles blog to see how it was made.

Tanya seems to have ended her blog in 2016 but this post remains a valuable one for showing how to use scraps to make a wonderful quilt.

Do you have a favourite flower?  Mine is miniature white carnations. I like just one or two together or many making a large bouquet. Long lasting, unassuming, easy to care for and not expensive at all means they have a lot going for them.  When I was younger I thought those words could also describe me but time/experiences have shown me I and we are all probably much more complicated than we think. :)
Image result for miniature white carnations

I made four more Lily blocks and realized how it is the whites that are making the reds and pinks shine. But not showing up in this darkened sewing room photo.  Can you see where the wind lifted in the blind?

Now I've got to ask, do you think you look good in white?  I know some nurses in the old days hated to wear their white uniforms because they thought the white didn't suit them.
I was always kind of neutral (lol) about white but now that my hair is whitish, I seem to like it more. Perhaps I'll even go the way of Katherine Hepburn who in later years wore only comfortable (but I'm sure well tailored) white shirts with equally comfortable khaki slacks.
 I will be linking this colour white post a little ironically to LeeAnna's Not Afraid of Color!
Also linking to Esther's Quilt BlogThe Needle and Thread Network and Sew Fresh Quilts.

Sunday 15 July 2018

Quilt Bible Blocks

Funnily I was just thinking the hostas the deer like should be ready for harvesting. LOL
 I glanced out a front window and there she is having a bit of breakfast.  This was taken through the screen with the window thrown wide to let in a little fresh air before everything gets barred up later on.  It poured rain overnight which the ground badly needed.

Meanwhile I was happy to photograph this fellow finally.  I've watched him or one just like him troll the small pond every spring I've been here and he alerts so easily, was never able to get a photo to identify him. I'd thought of plovers or tiny herons of some sort. These photos were taken from very far away and then cropped.  A "new to me" bird and pleased to add it to my list- a killdeer. I think they are rare at home; my birding friends can let me know.

First photo, he is finding something to eat in the dried pond bank area.  Snails maybe? because they are plentiful there.

Second aided the identification...those two throat stripes.

My facebook friend Anne, who lives in Australia, is doing the 100 Days 100 Blocks Challenge  being run by Gnome Angel and using Tula Pink's book City Sampler.
Because she is an amazing quilter, Anne's blocks are all beauties.  But it reminded me of a book on my bookshelf... The Quilt Bible by Rosemary Youngs who loves the civil war era reproduction fabrics and her blocks are easy ones too like Tula's.

 I do not have such fabric which is a bit challenging but really I should be able to cobble together a few from what is in my cupboard and scrap bin.

This was fun sewing and I hand stitched because frankly I'm a little addicted to it. And it is hard to machine stitch on the veranda!
What a welcome change to get out of the sewing room and sit in the fresh air eyeing all the little flying and flitting things while sewing.

We are watching this series, Anne, on Netflix and amazed by the young Anne's performance.
I read the books Anne of Green Gables when I was 13 (and can still tear up just thinking about Anne, the orphan, telling old Matthew "I'm going to belong to you now"). I've watched many different reproductions over the years and something about the filming of this one is appealing to me.

Image result for Anne with an e

“Dear old world', she murmured, 'you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.” 
― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables

Hope your world is lovely and you are full of gladness today too.

And glad to link up with Kathy's QuiltsFree Motion By the RiverSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsCooking Up Quilts,  and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Thursday 12 July 2018

Clam Shells, Grasshopper, and Sugar Daddy

Hubby finally mentioned to me something I do he was curious about. Something frankly I thought was self explanatory.
He noticed in particular how I usually have the old newspapers or recyclables in a little pile on the half wall leading to the basement or the small laundry hamper placed there.  I explained how since moving to this bigger house, it is my way of moving along the little chores I have to do.
 Instead of walking all the way down to the lower level to the laundry room or further along out into the back porch, I gather things together and leave them for when I have to go down there.  Like to get something from the cold room or freezer or go down to watch t.v. and then these things get taken downstairs.  So basically, something is in my hands for both trips. I believe it saves me steps overall and is my own little way of moving chores forward. Am I the only one who does this because he seemed to think it a little odd.

Look at the size of this hosta leaf...its beautiful veins reminded me totally of trapunto quilting!

Veranda hand stitching in between bouts of extreme heat.
Still trying to capture that shade of pink.  Have my little assembly line sorted for this block of the Sarah Fielke Grasshopper project and absolutely loving it.  My favourite block so far.

That is my latest issue of Quiltmania's Simply Vintage on the right.  There is always at least one project in the 20 plus they offer that catches my eye.  Love this pattern here by Rita Vermeersch for Twinkle Designs which also features a cute house and tiny stitched quilt.  This is a link to Rita's blog Twinkle Patchwork where you can see her other very cute designs.

Everyone loves a bargain and some of the blocks of Splendid Sampler II are being offered for free (for a limited time I think).  I thought this block by the marvelous Helen Stubbings of Hugs and Kisses was very cute.
It actually took a lot of clicking to find this link so I hope someone checks it out. LOL

Time for some body maintenance...the dreaded pedicure and manicure.  My finger nails are such a state I could never take them to a professional but sometimes when I go out in company I try to improve their look so people aren't too aghast.

I use this Essie one called Sugar Daddy.  The Queen prefers Essie Ballet btw...a perfect example of the perfectly useless information I confoundedly hold in my head.  Royals are not allowed to wear coloured nail polish.
That beautiful deep red for the toenails, which are in much better shape simply because I don't dig in dirt with my feet, was the one the spa gave me when daughter took me for a pedicure two years ago.  I remember its name, Decadence, because that day was lovely and decadent.
 These bottles are going to last forever at this rate.

As always, joining LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color for positive things Thursday. Also happy to join the link parties at Esther's Quilt BlogSew Fresh QuiltsQuilt Fabrication and The Needle and Thread Network.

Saturday 7 July 2018

Squirrel Club and Grasshopper Too

Have you heard about the Squirrel ClubCrazy Mom Quilts posted the idea of using scraps to make what she called a Scrap Vortex quilt.  She shared the simple instructions in this post back in 2015.  Then Julie at Me and My Quilts- Exploring the Possibilities recently suggested why not have a club of like minded quilters determined to make a dent in their scrap bins by joining a Scrap Vortex quilt along.
                                         The Squirrel Club

Read their posts and see what you think about the idea. I personally do not have enough scraps to get that far with it, I don't think. But I will enjoy seeing what they make.

Meanwhile, I have been a bit squirrelly myself with my stitching many wonderful distractions in my days recently. But I am determined to apply myself and get the blocks for the Grasshopper project made this month. Dare I set it for my One Monthly Goal and link to the other quilters at Patty's Elm Street Quilts who will probably accomplish their goals.
 I haven't made mine yet!  But like all stitchers, I live in hope.

 I loved how easily the checkerboard style block came together but the next one with curved edges is a little more challenging. Then there is a house block that I'm really looking forward to trying.  The hand stitching is improving I think which is good because there is a lot of it.
The navy blue looks almost black in photos.

Testing colours for the curved block. This is pretty salmon pink but not true to colour in this photo.

The same flowers in bloom at this time of year despite the heat which worried pots have not fared so well, sadly. It seems trickier to keep them watered properly and moved in and out of shade.
  Here is my first bouquet from the garden.  What a treat!

So taking time to smell the flowers and stitching away and staying cool. Grateful that "All is rosy in my garden" this week.
Besides Patty's wonderful link up, I'm also joining the party at Sew Can She, Kathy's Quilts, Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, Cooking Up Quilts, Quilting is More Fun Than Housework, What a Hoot Quilts and Stitching Cubbyhole. .

Thursday 5 July 2018

A Lake Side Canada Day

Me at the lake cottage for Canada Day weekend, with humidity flattened hair and happy smile. I love large family gatherings and enjoyed every minute of our time together. 
But what I'm attempting to show you is my skirt...a new Joe purchase- navy with pretty shells all over and that flowing style so comfortable and cool.  The Talbots top was bought many years ago and is a gauzy material.  Also perfect for summer heat.

There was a breeze off the lake at all times and my bedroom had a small balcony. I slept well and woke early so would sit out there each morning enjoying the amazing sunrise and views. A mama duck trolled up and down the shoreline leading 8(?) constantly bobbing ducklings just for me to see, I figured.

We got to do some wonderful eating (men and their barbequing!) and I enjoyed this Smores treat mostly because of the huge marshmallows.

New to Me  How come you didn't tell me about giant sized MegaMarshmallows?  How did I not know this!
Littler grandson threw himself (almost literally!) into the Canada Day celebrations. Especially loved the blinking bling. 😊

Back home and the garden fading because of lack of rain.  Heavy waterings are helping.

I am determined not to complain about the heat.  I know some of you have been with me through the moaning about the cold winter and dreary spring so your patience must be wearing thin with me and my weather whining.
 But seriously, we have been sweltering in 35C plus temperatures the last 6 days (with humidity reaching almost to 45C which is 113F) which means a number of things for me.

1. Walks with the dogs are early morning and this morning both turned back to the house after covering only one trail something I've never seen them do.
2. We are indoors with drapes closed and fans whirring.  Hubby is old school and this is the first recourse to staving off heat.
3. Easy kitchen oven turned on.  I've stocked up on salad fixings, cheese and fruit.  I've got the bread machine on making us a nut and seed kind of loaf to go with supper tonight.  We'll live, lol.

Both dogs had a good checkup with Dr. Sue.  Rex is getting cloudy in one eye and has some stiffness in his hips, what would be expected considering his 10 plus years but Murphy got a completely clean bill of health.  Both had super weights so no lecture for me about the treats!

Finally I hope my American friends had a wonderful "Glorious Fourth". Independence is definitely a glorious thing. To that end I want to share this little slide show featuring the beautiful birds that have the word 'American' in their name.  Put together by the Cornell Lab people, I just love it.
Celebrate July 4th with All "American" Slideshow

American Kestrel by Ken Phenicie Jr. via Birdshare.

As it is Thursday I will be linking to LeeAnna's Likes at Not Afraid of Color.

Sunday 1 July 2018

E.E.Cummings And the Heavy Lifting the Heart Must Do

I love this bit of writing, especially the way I think the author let himself just play with certain phrases and let them take him wherever they would lead.

And I believe that anyone we have ever loved do get 'carried' by us.

It is Canada Day today where we celebrate wholeheartedly the love we feel for our country, but for those of us who are Newfoundlanders we also mark this day for a whole other reason.
  On this day during World War I, the Newfoundland Regiment fighting in Beaumont-Hamel, France were sent 'over the hill" into battle.  About 700 men were killed or wounded, almost the entire regiment. July 1 is our Memorial Day in remembrance of them.

One hundred years later, they are still carried in our grateful hearts.