Thursday 30 August 2018

A New App, Sarah's Grasshopper Applique, Barred Owl Love

My iPad Pro is just a year old so I am new to the whole app phenomena. I do my 'work' on my 17 inch Acer laptop that is over 6 years old now and still works well for me. I love it.
 The iPad Pro I bought for myself as a fun thing has turned out to be just that...great fun.  I have downloaded a few free apps on it and one I love is called Flipboard.
 It reminds me of Pinterest but instead of images, you are sent articles curated from around the world.  And you can do a little survey at the start if you like so you can be forwarded items that suit your interests.  This has turned out to be the most marvelous resource for a wealth of information and interesting tidbits. I know online time often needs minimizing but I think this resource is a keeper. Yes, all kinds of stitching is found there too.
You can read more about Flipboard here.

One of my first posts from this property was about a barred owl I fact it was sitting in the laneway when we returned once from the cleanup at the old place.  I've seen one perhaps three times since. However, we have heard them calling many nights here so know there is more than one around.
 Recently, when I was walking the dogs, I caught sight of a flash of wings and there landing on a very high tree branch was a barred owl.  I set off home, dropped the dogs, grabbed my camera, wishing against hope the bird would still be there by the time I got back.  No it wasn't, but I heard blue jays squawking like crazy not far away and followed their racket.  And there was the owl sitting so high up I could hardly make it out.

It was quite serene and seemed to be looking down at me, not at all interested in the birds flying about and screeching. I positioned myself and the camera against some thin birches and took photos using the zoom fully extended which makes handling the camera so darn awkward-and wobbly.

Two things struck me.  One, just how big this bird is.  I looked it up after and they can be as much as 2 feet tall. He/she looked enormous to me especially with mostly song birds I see for comparison.  The other thing was how hard on my neck this was!  It really hurt to be staring straight up for even a short bit of time. I had to keep looking down even though I didn't want to take my eyes off it.
What a beauty! And so happy to have a photo for my records.

Speaking of birds, here are my two large Grasshopper fellows. ( I'm calling them Gertrude and Heathcliff -how many of you will get that reference, I wonder.)  Two tulips to go next and lots more leaves to sew on.  The last block will be released any day now. I think this will be an interesting piece once all put together.

Continued heat and sunshine so it is still veranda times.  And yes, I have the classic Greek female foot where the second toe is longer than the big toe.  Many of you have that odd little thing too??? About 25 % of us do and you can read more about it here. I must have mentioned a concern at some point because I remember Mom telling me it was a sign of intelligence and to forget about it. I had very supportive parents!

We sometimes have tea mid afternoon there like the civilized people we are, hubby would say. LOL

I'm hand stitching like crazy on my other project, the Sew Laugh Love, hoping to accomplish an OMG for a change. And eyeing new projects as these two are winding down. I'll be round to check out what you are doing.

Happily linking with Not Afraid of ColorEsther's Quilt BlogThe Needle and Thread Network, Busy Hands Quilts and Free Motion By the River,

Sunday 26 August 2018

Me in the Garden, Sunday Enjoyments

Happy Sunday all.

This is one of the embroidered tea towels I found in a thrift shop several years ago.  There is a large Dutch population here in farming country and I imagine the set was worked by someone with that connection. Or perhaps not, for who doesn't love Dutch motifs. These are from 1940's patterns so are vintage. You can buy similar patterns made by Aunt Martha at Colonial Patterns.

I had saved this picture I found on Pinterest just because I thought the embroidery stitch was interesting. Note the tiny space between each tiny stitch like a wee running stitch. Also the edging seems to be a tiny running stitch. It gives an interesting overall look especially contrasting with the stem stitch used on the wool. It also reminded me of the pulled thread work my mother used to do years ago; I think she called it drawn work.

I could not find the stitcher's name unfortunately to give credit here for a piece I enjoy looking at.

Hubby took some photos of me in the garden. I'm just learning to take photos of what is growing where as a record. I've been doing my best to tame the weeds and going in the garden is like entering the sewing room.  I may not know what exactly I am going to do at first, but within minutes the hands are busy.

I began the hand quilting on my Sew Laugh Love piece last night. I'm using one of those Frixion pens to mark the guide and this one has a name I can't remember.  I'm such a novice, I didn't know these all came with names.  It's the top one there and sorry it's such a bad photo of the actual stitching.  I am actually happy with it.

This has been a very enjoyable project to stitch. I wonder what I can find like it to do next.  Any suggestions??

I enjoy bringing a little of the garden inside but not too much. The bees and butterflies need it more than I do.  Also enjoy this new Canada so many of you, I am fussy about a mug- for me can't be too heavy or thick and must be white inside.  What are your requirements for a favourite mug?

I hope your Sunday is chock-a-block with enjoyments too.

Also enjoying being able to link with Kathy's Quilts, Bambi's Show and Tell, Love Laugh Quilt, Em's Scrapbag and Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.

Thursday 23 August 2018

Overwhelm Happens

I have been feeling nearly normal for almost a week. I credit it to getting more sleep after a terrible bout of continual insomnia.  I would like to know the cause. Is it my fearful, worrying and sometimes overactive brain that can't stop thinking of things past, present and future. Intellectually I know just what a waste of valuable time (when I could be getting much needed beauty sleep, LOL) such meanderings are!
 Like so many of you, I do possess a slim vein of creativity in me ...words, music, nature, architecture, art, fabric each and all stir me and make me want to get going making something, anything. This sometimes leads to frustration.  Whatever I write, make or do is not usually as wonderful as my idea or vision conjures it. And then disappointment enters into this cycle.
A phrase I read recently struck a chord- "overwhelm happens"( the way nowadays verbs are turned into nouns!). Since my days are so calm, peaceful and I think more or less productive, is it in the nights that the "overwhelm" happens. I don't know.

 As I was thinking about all this, I read a wonderful post shared by Caroline at Sew Can She about her journey coping with anxiety and depression.
And this one by Susan Biali published in Psychology Today which I found meaningful to me...A Little Weird? Blame Your Creative Brain.

Sorry about that big moan.  On to other things.

I have been chicken sitting while family were away. They are beautiful hens and we enjoyed the fresh eggs. They seemed to be happy to see me and would run towards me when I entered their cage. But they are such fluttery creatures... no petting.  Sigh

I have my Sew Laugh Love piece to the quilt sandwich stage. Choosing the border fabrics was easy with all those pretty colours throughout the piece. I will sew buttons on those blank spots when I'm done with the quilting. Since this is my OMG for August, I hope to work on that this weekend.

I have logged many hours on my Grasshopper project. More bias making and I have the two larger birds prepped plus the tulips. Appliqueing down each of the pieces on the huge center piece was tricky with the actual start the trickiest. Now things can begin to just line up.  I finished the latest four blocks, also hand sewing; there are just four more to go. Using a fabric collection has lessened my indecision about the choices so that has been a bonus and a major time saver.

I've spent enjoyable early morning hours in the garden. So much clearing out of now dead weeds and tidying. Watched some videos on how to divide various perennials that are overrunning their beds, notably the shasta daisies and all the day lilies.  Though the early drought and extreme heat took a toll on the lilies this year.

For My Records
 Into bloom now are the broad leafed goldenray- a favourite with the butterflies

The anemone plants- bees by the dozens always on them

the rudbeckia- I was trying to capture Mrs. Cardinal from my pet chair in the living room

the phlox (with a row of blue balloon plants just fading there in the background)

not sure what this one is, but the bees are drawn to it before it even opens

and the lavender hibiscus which also attracts the bees.

I'm pleased to have inherited such a bee and butterfly friendly garden. I mustn't forget the hummingbirds...have lots of those here too.

Hope you all are facing the day well rested. Are you?

Happy as always to link this post with Not Afraid of ColorEsther's Quilt BlogFree Motion By the RiverMy Quilt InfatuationBusy Hands Quilts and Sew Fresh Quilts.

Thursday 9 August 2018

Plum Cake, Sewing and Flowers

This is an odd thing; when I regard the world widely, it seems to be a more negative and unhappy place, environmentally and politically than I've ever known it. But when I bring my vision closer to home, everything is fine.
We are going along enjoying what we do, our freedoms, celebrating summer activities, our encounters with each other and nature the same as always. Other than recording more hot days this summer, all is seemingly as it should be.
 And I'm sure it's not just in Canada that it seems to be that way.

(But if you think all this would help me sleep better, it doesn't.  Have had almost ongoing insomnia now for a couple of weeks. Not good, ugh!)

But back to calm and peaceful...  Hubby and Murphy on the laneway...always outdistancing Rex these days.

My geraniums in the ancient wooden pot by the same lane way.

And in my sewing room...
Here is the center of the GrasshopperSarah Fielke designed this so we would be taken through a skill set, try out a few different techniques and end up with a very unique piece of work.
(The only thing not included in this design is embroidery.) I made the bias tape using my little gadget...there is more to attach on the bottom and also more motifs to fill out the empty spaces before all the pieced blocks get joined for the border. Kind of fun to see it at this stage though it was awkward handling and took two solid days of hand stitching to attach everything so far. Keeping it straight with Hubby's help and satisfying to see the overall look start to come together.

Don't worry about any wobbly bits...lots of leaves and vines yet to come!
Did you know you can buy ready made bias tape?  For an unknown reason I'd completely forgotten this fact though a card or two of it always sat in whatever sewing basket I had at the time over the years.  I'm going to keep my eye out for some because it is a bit of a pain to make your own.  And not just solid colours, pretty prints are available too like these at Ali Express.

                                                      25mm(1") wide Prefolded Bias Binding Tape Cotton Single Fold Bias Tape

And I knew when I bought a basket of pears and also one of plums at the same time that it would be too much fruit for us to eat up but I couldn't resist how good they looked. While we ate every single pear - so good with a little Gouda,  I had a few plums left over.

So I baked the ideal fall dessert in the heat of August!
I made a plum cake yesterday and one of those custard sauces to go with it.  A little rich but tasty. Do you use Horne's powder?  Another item my grandmothers used and is still on the go all these decades later. Interesting article here at Confessions of a Dietitian comparing Bird's, Hornes, canned and making your own custard- the pros and cons. I guess I'm old fashioned to be even thinking of this!

Note to self: Let it cool next time so it doesn't fall apart taking the first slice.
Hubby said I should keep the recipe because he liked the cake and he knows these days I jump around on the internet trying recipes all over.  It was from Epicurious and called Cinnamon-Sugar Plum Cake and is a very simple, straight forward mixture that any fruit would work with.

Thanks for stopping by!  I am joining the link parties at Not Afraid of ColorEsther's Quilt Blog, Busy Hands Quilts and Brian's Home Blog.

Sunday 5 August 2018

Swimming, Stitching, Bill Nighy!

                                            Image result for mary engelbreit summer
This is me...with yet another heat wave warning, I am spending a lot of time floating in the pool and trying to keep my flowers in the garden alive and blooming.  Though I don't wear my flowers on my head, I do wear a hat which is okay because I only do the breast stroke.
 And sad news, my thighs have truly run amok.  Usually swimming will tame them into some semblance of sort of fitness, but this year that isn't happening. They're remaining vanilla pudding thighs, but what odds, they still work.  That's going  to be my new mantra about body parts from here on's not how they look that matters, as long as they work!

I spent all day yesterday in the sewing room and have lots to show for it.  Like this mess under my chair and the prepped piece of cotton for future applique...did that just to relax after the tension of trying to get everything straight on my Grasshopper center piece and yes, with this crooked eye of mine, that is a challenge!  Thanks to Hubby for his help with that too.  Photos later.

Tried out an arrangement for the latest block and sewed most of it during last night's tv viewing,
Bill Nighy starring in The Limehouse Golem.  Love all his performances....think I could get a crush on him! LOL
 It's an interesting combination of pieces.  Also trying hard to keep to the light, medium and dark colours to give vibrancy to the blocks.  My inclination is to stay so neutral- this is good for me.

I'm busy with embroidering in between the Grasshopper blocks. I love it. And tried out this little sampler of needles from Foxglove Cottage.

Jeana Kimball has a lovely site with sweet patterns and notions.  Also her journal section has interesting notes on applique.

I am deliberately keeping some of the so called weeds in the garden this year after realizing how important they are to many birds.  I was so happy I did when I spied the little American Goldfinches plucking the seeds of the backyard tall bull thistle; they use it for food and to line their nests.  And importantly, time their breeding with the availability of this thistle down.

There is a large flock of these birds down by the pond so hopefully there are enough thistle plants to help them all nest.
Here is a good example of the bright male and duller female taken through the window at older daughter's house.

This is not about thistle but about thyme...the amazing Joan Baez singing Will You Go, Laddie, Go. Feel sentimental about seeing her so young in this one and hearing that voice so youthful and vibrant she is trying to rein it in.

A quiet Sunday is on order here in the little woods.  Hope all is quiet or busy as you like it wherever you are. Enjoy!
Linking up with wonderful stitchers at Kathy's QuiltsSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsLove Laugh QuiltBambi's Show and Tell MondayBusy Hands Quilts, Quilting is More Fun Than Housework and What a Hoot Quilts.

Thursday 2 August 2018

Oh Thursday I Used to Love You

Oh Thursday, I used to love you just because of your proximity to Friday.  Now my days are all Fridays or Saturdays or Sundays.  But Thursday, I still like you.

And on this Thursday I want to share some things I've enjoyed recently.

I made and ate this again...I love curried soups. I don't follow a recipe anymore but this recipe from Pinch of Yum  called Anything You Have Coconut Soup is a good one.  I used chicken broth instead of vegetable, omitted the tofu but added a handful of a rice/lentil blend I have and used up elderly mushrooms from my fridge. As usual I sprinkled a little of one of my Pink Lady apples on top.  They're presently still my favourite.

I bought a loaf of a specialty whole wheat bread to go with it.  It was okay; I think what I make in my Bread Machine is just as good if not better. Note Miss Murphy's strategic location.

I drank this- Rose's Lime Cordial, added a splash to my ice water and it was so tasty! My grandparents used to drink this- it's being made for over 140 years, started as a cure for scurvy in sailors!  I'm drinking a lot of water these days and sometimes I need a bit of a boost to down it.

I thought should I be stitching something for Christmas. It seems to be a thing online these days...the whole "Christmas in July" wave. With that in mind, here is some temptation.

Craftsy Loads of lovely projects here to ogle.
Pinterest link to 165 Christmas Stitching projects- I like the Scandinavian Fabric Stars, do you?

                                        Image result for Scandinavian fabric stars

Rose at Threadbare Creations offers a free pattern for a beautiful Christmas Star. Rose also offered a free Christmas Planner that is still available to download in  this post if you have a hankering to get yourself all organized. I think if I was younger, it would be a very useful tool.
What about you? Are you ahead of yourself and making Christmas things already??

I keep working on my SewLaughLove embroidery project and am happy to have most of it done. It will be my OMG for the August link up at Elm Street Quilts and that includes the borders and quilting.  Yes, I'm enjoying the hand work that much.

I cut my hair this week even though I'd vowed (like I always do) I was going to get a professional cut this time.  But I'd invested in good scissors from Amazon and was eager to try them.  They were amazing; it's a wonder I have a hair left!

I got Hubby to take my picture to show you...not a great photo but you can see my cut. The Maroccanoil Hair spray works wonders with texture and lift (I recommend it)...oh oh- still have a slight wing there on the right.

My "older woman look" in photos is definitely coming along. My Mom is the only person who looks at these blog photos and tells me I look too thin, bless her heart, rather than old. Anyway, I remind her I carry my reserves further south in my body and there's lots there should I ever need it. LOL
I wonder though would I look better having my hair longer on the sides to combat the long face.  What do you think?
 But I don't mind looking older at all...a pleasure denied to many as the saying goes.

I enjoyed this quote from a woman who has had to cope with so much... Hannah Gadsby.

                                             Image result for hannah gadsby quotes

 I agree with Hannah.  A woman who's been broken and put herself back together, is the strongest of women.  Since I've had to reassemble myself a couple of times, I like to think this applies to me too. And feeling grateful for the strength to more or less carry it off!

So what are you managing to carry off these days? Because we do have to keep going, don't we!

So happy to link to #100 of Thursday Likes at Not Afraid of Color.
Also linking with Brian's Home BlogThe Needle and Thread NetworkFree Motion By the River, and  Sew Fresh Quilts.