Sunday 30 September 2018

Bird Sweater Season and Pumpkins Too

Just like that it seems, Mother Nature snaps a finger and it is Bird Sweater season. Love this sweater!

And since this season is already here, I've been wondering if I really wanted to/had the time/ inclination,etc. to  sew something with pumpkins this year.  First I had to check if I had enough orange/autumnal colours.  I have to admit what a surprise it was to realize I had this much hiding in my smallish cupboard- orange is just about my least favourite colour (probably next to purple) when it comes to choosing material.  So lack of fabric is not going to be an excuse for skipping the pumpkins which I love, btw.  I think they are such happy looking things.

I even have a real Halloween fabric there with black cats which I would have denied owning!

I almost ordered this pattern of Pumpkins designed by  Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts

when I remembered the full pattern appeared in a copy of Quiltmania I own.

Yes, found it and I think this is going to be the pumpkins I work on this year.  I will make it my OMG for the month of October over at Elm Street Quilts which seems very fitting.  Edyta ( I wonder how you pronounce that name?) used fused applique method and rounded each with blanket stitch by hand which should be easy and enjoyable.

But before that, I'm up to Month 7 with the Grasshopper and want to move it along further(before the pumpkins start) by working on the last four starry blocks. Lots of little pieces but I'm following closely Sarah's method of sewing each half of the star first, then joining the two halves.

I've decided to break down and do a little fussy cutting with these center pieces of each star.  I'm usually reluctant to do this because of the bit of wastage it entails.  I mentioned there are lots of little pieces; I checked and in fact there are 32 of these diamond shapes in each block which will make for some interesting hand piecing.

Meanwhile I have my little Scandi redwork horse finished and am embroidering the rabbit now.  This is just about the most relaxing hand stitching you can get. I wonder should I add more embroidery to his end and legs. I seem to have made his head extra dense with stitching.  What do you think?

Again I'm apologizing for the photos taken this morning- we are having a very grey, cloudy start to the day with more rain in the forecast.  Hope it is sunnier where ever you are.
Linking this post to  Kathy's Quilts and thanks Kathy for hosting a slow stitching party each week.
Also joining the parties at What a Hoot Quilts, Em's ScrapbagBusy Hands Quilts and Love Laugh Quilt.

Thursday 27 September 2018

Take a Break Stitching

I'm back from visiting my mother in Newfoundland and like all journeys home, it always makes me feel so nostalgic.  I have wonderful memories like most of us, of a childhood typical of those innocent times.  My sister and I walked the street that we called "In Town" growing up and I saw where my school and the movie theatre had been, changes made to the bell tower of our church, and the drug store I and my friend were in getting ice cream cones when we heard President Kennedy had been shot.  A story I didn't believe till I got home and there was Mom in front of the t.v. crying.
I love my family and especially my sister and brother and sister in law who I think are all remarkable, interesting people. I always learn things from them.  So thankful they are in my life.

In the suitcase was a pile of Mom's knitted dishcloths for me to share with the daughters.  Like myself and so many of us, she likes to have something to do in front of the t.v.  It's heartening to know hand work like this can be kept up into ones' mid eighties.

In my absence, the hydrangeas outside my sewing room had turned to varying pinks in reaction to the cooler temperatures.  A pretty sign of fall.

I love having a little wetland and pond on the property.  My first morning back we watched these Solitary Sandpipers trolling the pond for nourishment which they will greatly need for the upcoming migration all the way to South or Central America.

The white spots on their backs helped with identification.

I showed you my Redwork blocks with the Scandinavian designs I'd drawn on.  Sewing simple stitches such as back stitch, running stitch, blanket stitch and French knots is really take a break stitching for me.  It allows my mind to drift just like working in the garden does. I relax without having the worry of precise measurement and dealing with seams that must match up.
Working with the cheery Christmasy DMC red is a bonus. (Showing more orange/red than it really is here.)

 I think we should all have take a break stitching. Do you have such a project on the go??

Coincidentally, after writing this bit, I read Mary Corbett's post on Needle and Thread where she speaks of exactly the same thing.  She doesn't think hers is quite as mindless as I do as she called hers a Stitching and Thinking Project. :)

Well, I was intrigued by this bit of fun, The Best Mantra For Your Zodiac Sign and couldn't resist seeing what Virgo's mantra should be.  Some of you who remind me not to be so hard on myself would agree with this. But Virgo is the sign of the perfectionist. 😊

Today is an outing day with Hubby I've been looking forward to all to a nearby little town for a shop and lunch.  And there is a quilting shop there too.

Hope you get to do something fun today too.
Linking as always with Not Afraid of ColorMy Quilt Infatuation and Needle and Thread Network.

Tuesday 25 September 2018

Watch, Read, Eat, Stitch, Repeat

The Weather Today
Here just outside Ottawa, Ontario, Canada it is presently pouring down rain.  Cleanup from the tornadoes that occurred last week continues.  Missed us completely but the seeming randomness of how they touch down is so scary and now I can add tornado to my middle of the night things to fret about.  Thankfully, no one was killed despite all the damage.

Chores To be Done
I guess it's time to mop the floors.  Hubby says they are sticky in places.  His slippers are not gliding like they should, LOL.
The floor situation is not helped by these two...puzzled why I'm there but not immediately opening the door. I'm at their beck and call when it comes to the ins and outs.

A Chore I Ignore
Ironing...I usually postpone ironing a ridiculously long time.  Also don't like mending which is confounding for someone who loves needle and thread.

On My TV
We're finishing up Ozark and Homeland  on Netflix.  I've been watching Murdoch Mysteries while stitching.  But just to confound you, I'm looking forward to the new season of Walking Dead too.

Reading and Listening
I've been listening to the CBC podcast Somebody Knows Something and also the podcasts of Serial. The last book I read was this one below.... I enjoyed it. There is something about books written from the perspective of minister's wives that appeal to me. I liked Linda, the wife of a Mormon bishop, very much.

                                         Image result for the bishops wife novel

What I'm Eating
 I just bought an Air Fryer on sale at Canadian Tire; it has been on my "to buy" list for about a year.  I made chicken and vegetables last night in it and we both enjoyed the meal.  I liked the convenience of putting fresh food in the tray, setting a timer and 20 minutes later, having a meal. It's kind of like a mini oven.

I also made us a batch of blueberry seed muffins (not in the Air Fryer!).  Dairy Goodness has the recipe which I changed up slightly...used all whole wheat flour and cut the milk with water. They are filling and freeze well.

My Stitching
I have Grasshopper, my Sarah Fielke BOM, out of the sewing room and into the main area to give me more room to maneuver it.  Applique is enjoyable but not if you can't get at it.  Love that Ott light and how the blue of the birds is standing out.

Also love having finished this project, the Sew Love Laugh embroidery and hand quilting.  This was my OMG for a September Finish at Elm Street Quilts. Now this is typical of me... I'd picked out the buttons for the finishing touches, then lost said buttons; searched, searched several more times, no luck. Then opened a drawer one day and there they were.  I really don't know how I do that! Confounding some more but I guess the lesson learned is not to sweat the small stuff.
This will look nice in the sewing room and I'm sorry about the rather dull photos today.

Looking Forward To
I'm looking forward to some Nana time with the grandsons this week and getting out the Autumn hangings.  Meanwhile I'm contemplating moving my sewing room to a larger bedroom.  Maybe I shouldn't do that as my sewing stash, etc. seems to expand to fill whatever space I have.

Hope you all have a calm and enjoyable week.

Also enjoy joining these link parties  Diary of a Stay At Home Mom, Sugarlane Designs, What a Hoot Quilts, Love Laugh QuiltCooking Up Quilts, Sew Fresh Quilts and Free Motion By the River.

Sunday 23 September 2018

Free Kantha Stitching Tutorial and Silly Fears

I've been buying kind of cheap sunglasses most of my life and sometimes have even found a dollar pair at Value Village I liked.  Last year, I decided to let Hubby buy me a good pair...over a hundred dollars at Costco!! But they are amazing; perfectly suit my vision; I can feel my eyes relax with them on.  For the southern very sunny holiday, they were tremendous and I think essential.

  But such comfort comes with a cost that is not just dollars.  I'm obsessed with the fear of losing them.  Before, it really didn't matter much if sunglasses went missing or I left them somewhere.  Now, like my connecting cords, I have to be able to see them and reassure myself exactly where they are.  Sometimes I've made the decision not to wear them and wear a pair of my cheapos instead simply because I'm afraid I'll lose them.  Which kind of defeats the purpose to say the least.

 But I seem to misplace things a lot and spend a fair bit of time hunting things down...and I am the queen of losses, so it is not totally irrational.  But anyway, do you have something like that.  You spent more money on than you're used to or comfortable with and now fear for the loss???

Those sunglasses come with a case, a very large case, too large for any of my cross body bags.
 I saw this idea at Radiant Home Studio where Sara provides a complete pictorial tutorial of how to make a sunglass case and thought it a good one for me.  Kantha stitching -something new to me to learn and in the process make something useful for when those sunglasses make it out of the house.
                             Image result for kantha stitched eyeglass case
 I have a few pieces of Tula Pink fabrics that I don't remember how I came by and decided they would be perfect for this project.
 The first few rows of  hand stitching and I'm totally hooked on this process; it's very easy and produces such a strong, soft, thick fabric.  I can see why blankets would be so warm and durable made with this method.
As always a couple of Youtube videos helped me sort out what makes Kantha stitching unique.

A close up of the stitching and realizing how the overall size shrinks as more stitches get added.
Also a great way to use up scraps.

I've begun to applique these pieces on the first block of the Kim McLean applique quilt called Pot of Flowers.  Thought I'd start with the smaller blocks first.

These fabrics are very bright and cheery...this would make a great project for the middle of the winter with its darker, grayer days.

Hands busy and lots to catch up on getting ready now for the new season.
Happy Sunday, happy stitching all.

Linking this post to Kathy's Quilts where very beautiful hand stitching is on display. Also linking with these great blogs: Quilting is More Fun Than HouseworkSmall Quilts and Doll Quilts, and Love Laugh Quilt.

Wednesday 12 September 2018

Autumn and Applique

Sign of fall...the wild asters in blues and purples are in bloom.  So pretty dotting our trails.

And in the garden, the different kinds of sedum are showing their true fall colours...

On the stitching side of things, my brain has also switched seasons and is swirling with ideas for autumn and Christmas.

 Have you seen the lovely new quilt pattern called 101 Maple Street offered by Anne Sutton at Bunny Hill Designs.  I think if I lived on a Maple Street I would definitely have to make this and fit the number to suit. So pretty.  Or you could put any street name for that matter, duh.

Image result for bunny hill designs

Our Quilts By Cheri Friendship Group on Facebook keeps adding wonderful and free primitive style patterns and there is a pack of pumpkins being sewn up right now. Since Cheri's sad passing, the leader is Irma Vergara Sefers who is doing a marvelous job of updating the files and keeping alive the memory and quilting legacy of Cheri Payne.

                                         Love it- quilt by Cheri payne

Lynette Anderson has released a beautiful new line of fabric called Peacock Manor and these sweet blocks called Woodland Secrets made with it.  Check out her site at Lynette Anderson Designs.  Lynette favours the understated in her fabric designs and colours.

                            Woodland Secrets Blocks

I love her stitcheries and have done two BOM's by Lynette, In Full Bloom and Scandinavian Christmas.  This is one of a set for Christmas ornaments which is also very cute.
Meanwhile, I've been busy prepping some applique.

This project represents a huge departure for me.  I've never worked with fabric like this.  Yes it is the famous Kaffe fabrics provided in this kit, Kim McLean's Flower Pot, Hubby bought me a couple of years ago.

                                   Flower Pots Quilt 475x460

A site that celebrates her patterns is Glorious Applique and you can find tutorials and a list of amazing stitchers there.
 The fabrics and patterns are rather wild and so bright and I don't really know what to make of them.  Sometimes I love them and then other times they seem just crazy...what we called psychedelic in the late sixties. Perhaps if I was using a pattern that was more 'contained' I would enjoy them more.  I'm thinking of Kaffe's own pattern Hat Box which I like.

hatbox pattern, Kaffe fassett

What do you think?  I know Kaffe's work is astonishingly popular but yet not everyone's cup of tea.  I've been watching videos on YouTube of him speaking about his journey with knitting and needlepoint and the discovery of colours which is interesting.

On the sleeping issue, I've been practicing a military breathing technique that is working for me for now. I'm in about week 2 of sleeping through the night...just like a baby. :)
This Ted talk was helpful-
 I'm seeing my GP soon for my annual checkup and I don't know whether to mention the insomnia or not.
Meanwhile so many things to love, create,watch, eat, enjoy whatever the season where you are!
Love to link up and this time with  Not Afraid of Color,  Esther's Quilt BlogFree Motion By the River, and Sew Fresh Quilts.

Sunday 9 September 2018

Ugly Skin, Redwork and Composting

Have you ever done this?  Put aside a bunch of clothes to bring to the goodwill and then gone back to the bag later on and pulled out something and put it on?? I did that very thing recently.  The warm, humid weather continued last week and I don't have that many short sleeved blouses (because of my vitiligo) and I remembered one I'd put in that bag and went and got it.
Some days you just need short sleeves...ugly arms or not!  I'll be brave and show you what I'm talking about.

Sometimes when I leave the house, I've put a little coverup makeup over that right hand white spots because they are more pronounced than this photo shows.  But vanity is leaving me and I seem to be caring less and less about this stuff. I know this is a minuscule thing for someone fair as I am-not complaining just sharing. :)

I compost as much as possible here in the little woods.  I have a small bin I keep on the counter...very handy and unforgettable when I'm doing the vegetable peelings and choppings.

And then this gets emptied in the big bin at the back door.  It has to be watered and turned but other than that, works its own magic becoming a soil like mixture over the long winter.  Surprisingly this does not attract animals (that we know of!).

Recently I noticed just how much of my vegetables wound up in the compost and thought perhaps I could make some stock from them.  Of course, on the internet there is a video for that! Just like anything else you can dream up these days.  I've made lots of chicken stock but never tried the vegetable one before.

So I've started a baggie of vegetable pieces kept in the freezer of the fridge.  When I accumulate enough, I'm going to try to make vegetable stock and see how it goes.

And in my little sewing room, I'm attaching leaves, finishing up a border and starting a new applique project that I thought I would squeeze in before autumn starts in earnest.  Yes, No, No, YES (Reminds me of a Vicar of Dibley character!).
In my defense, the Grasshopper applique can't be stitched anywhere but in the sewing room as it's too big for the lap.  I need a couple of somethings for t.v. viewing and stitching.

So here is a photo of the prepped blocks for the Scandinavian Redwork project with thanks for all of you confirming DMC 321 for the Christmas stitching,btw.  Using this colouring book for embroidery patterns was on the list for last year, but I'm happy enough getting to it now.

Thanks to Zeena Shah for her lovely drawings.  And more about that other project peeking out there later.... glorious applique!

 Enjoying every minute of wonderful weather logging lots of garden time.  Hope you enjoy this photo I took of a waxwing, one of a flock down by the pond. His belly is such a pretty lemon colour. The light is changing daily, I notice.

Hope your Sunday is as sunny as this picture!
Happy as always to link this post with Kathy's Quilts and Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.

Thursday 6 September 2018

Thursday Threads

Despite the continual muggy weather...which means high humidity, or perhaps because of it, the marigolds keep blooming in my pots.  What a hardy annual!

I promised you a link re stippling. I haven't tried it yet I confess. But  I will as soon as I am no longer mad busy.
 Stippling as a quilting technique is something that weirdly has evaded me. It looks like it should be so easy, brainless even but yet, I always sew myself into a corner or back track over sew lines without meaning to and it ends up being kind of ugly. I wonder is it saying something about my personality that I just can't meander.  This link is to a method that attaches a little organization to those squiggly lines perhaps just enough to work for someone like me. Anyway let me know what you think.

The Quilting Board-Paths to Better Stippling

Up Where He Does Not Belong

My blogging friend, Libby at Life on the Hill, was on a quilting cruise to Alaska! I'm so envious but happy for her -I have always wanted to do that cruise but loving seeing her photos and here is her post about the stitching part of that amazing trip.

I don't think I showed you my previous four Sarah Grasshopper blocks all finished!  A unique pattern with a lot of little pieces to hand stitch, but I actually enjoyed it.  The last block pattern has been released, a star but also one with many pieces...tiny eeek. However, this BOM has been such a pleasure to slow stitch I'm not complaining. (And it is not only the kitchen where Miss Murphy is underfoot!)

This is the most wonderful story of an injured condor being released after a long rehabilitation. He is surrounded by his vets, biologists and caretakers in this video who he kept looking back at. Condors are the largest flying bird in the world and an endangered one.  I had tears in my eyes watching this remarkable event.  While watching I kept thinking positive thoughts of what a wonderful world this is with people all over the globe caring about and looking after animals and birds.

I'll finish the thankful wonderful Thursday likes with another video.  The Queen's Welsh Guardsmen adding their tribute to Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, playing Respect outside Buckinham Palace.  And what a gift to this world she was!

Always happy to link with Not Afraid of Color and Brian's Home Blog.  Also Sew Fresh Quilts,  Esther's Quilt Blog, Quilting is More Fun Than HouseworkEm's Scrapbag,
Crazy Mom Quilts and Quilt Fabrication where Halloween is creeping into the projects.

Sunday 2 September 2018

DMC Christmas Red, Rock Recipe's Bakeapple Cheesecake, Sew Laugh Love Binding

I had an unusual birthday cake this year. Daughter made me a Bakeapple Cheesecake.  Bakeapples are an orange shaded berry that grow in my home province, Newfoundland and Labrador.  It is called Cloudberry in Europe and grows in specific marsh-like areas. Because there is just one berry per stalk, they are not plentiful the way bush berries can be and make it a challenge to get a lot of them. And I can testify it is backbreaking work! Due to all this, they are expensive to buy.

But we love their unique flavour and prize them for jams especially.

But back to my cheesecake. She used Barry's recipe from Rock Recipes called "Just a Vanilla Cheesecake" and it was just delicious (and I've made and eaten a lot of cheesecakes).
By the way, Barry cooks and bakes and blogs about it from his kitchen in St.John's, Newfoundland and been successful enough to now have three cookbooks in print.

Whipped cream and marshmallow fluff for the birthday girl! So grateful!

I did not accomplish my OMG :( but that's okay. Things always seem to take me longer to finish than I think they will especially the hand stitching. I'm so close to finishing it though, I feel confident in saying this will be my OMG for September and will join the OMG link party at Patty's Elm Street Quilts.  I'm hand stitching the edging today and hopefully, Sew Laugh Love will be given a pat and put to bed!

I made such good progress on Grasshopper and had stitching of a more mundane nature that got done this month.  I've just begun prepping a project I'm calling Scandinavian Redwork for Christmas which I'm so happy about being the redwork lover that I am.  More about this to come.  I'm now thinking about the red floss to use for the embroidery though.  Christmas red as it should be but which one.??

Are we in agreement that 321 is the  DMC Christmas red?  Any other suggestions?

Btw, I've found a way to make some sense of stippling with machine quilting and will share that next time.
Happy Sunday everyone!

Linking this post with Kathy's Quilts where Kathy is running a photography challenge.
Also joining Sew Can She, Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, Love Laugh QuiltFree Motion By the RiverSilly Mama Quilts and Cooking Up Quilts.