Sunday 31 March 2019

Sunday Sundries

This far past retirement, I marvel that I had a working life.
Really I  did, but now it is tinged with a dream like quality-was it really me with all that endless doing and forever the sense of busyness that consumed and sometimes overhwhelmed me.  Did I accomplish it all that I was supposed to?  Perhaps my days were longer then for it is true that I cooked, went to aerobics (remember that!), needlepointed, taught Sunday School, read heaps of books, took night, correspondent and summer courses, constantly French braided two little heads of hair and for a time even painted! In addition to my day job.

Now all I accomplish can fit inside a thimble compared to what I used to do. And it wasn't just me...all the working mothers I knew were managing the very same things, some of them even more.

 But yet I am busy still or appear to myself to be.  It is a little confounding how I seem to be so ably filling the hours without a job to go to. Perhaps time is really speeding up and the minutes aren't as fleshed out as they used to be.  However, SIL was mentioning the same thing...that his week seems to be Monday/Friday it goes so fast so it's not just a retired perspective apparently.
What about you? Is time speeding up for you too?

This short article from Psychology Today delves into the notion that time is really speeding up.

Hopefully Winter's last flick at us...snow/freezing rain yesterday with another 2 cm today. Just when I was getting my spring hopes up!  Winter Wonderland 2.0

I had to look back to see what I had set as goals for the March OMG at Elm Street Quilts.
I did finish my little Bonhommes piece and it is tucked away in my cupboard so there's that but I confess I completely forgot about the other goal, to get another Kim McLean Glorious Applique block quilted.  However, I have gotten a few more of the pieces to the freezer paper stage ready for applique.

Today should be a day for sad window gazing as the snow flakes drift downward.
 But not really... for loner me, on a positive note, winter weather is a great excuse for staying in and getting lots done.  I will be working as usual on my Cornwall Cottage today. The basket motif is very intensive stitching.

Also a good excuse to get out the slow cooker for one of those all day simmering meals... something beef as we haven't had red meat in a while and I always worry about getting enough iron into us. 

Hope your Sunday does not whiz by too fast!

So happy to link this post to Kathy's Quilts where hand stitching continues to be celebrated. Also linking with Love Laugh Quilt, and Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.

Thursday 28 March 2019

Worthy Thursday Things

In the middle of the night I had a couple of ideas for this post but I didn't have enough wakey sense to write them down. But believe me, they were brilliant.

I've been wanting to share this lamp, a gift I received from Hubby's former in laws a few years ago.  I was happy that they had accepted me and took the time to pick out such an appropriate gift for a stitcher. It is very special to me.

March Winds Vintage Hummel- always have loved these. Do any of you?
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I'm liking learning how NOT to scorch my fingers while getting a hang of how to use this wee little bitty iron! That long steel bit in the middle gets hot.

Enjoyed this little series very much.  Manhunt starring a much thinner Martin Clunes than I'm used to.   Manhunt link at IMDB  Wish they'd make more.

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Been on Nana duty a few days this week. Little grandson was spiking a fever off and on. You know it gives me joy to be able to be with him. He said the first morning...
"Nana I have a serious cough so no hugging today."

I think I'll share a few basket projects that I've come across in my research.  I've been inspired by so many of you with your sweet basket designs.  I bought this pattern from Allie Oops Designs shop a few years ago.  It features the Loaves and Fishes, based on the famous Bible story many of us grew up with.

                                     Image result for allie oops loaf and fishes
 Allie's FaceBook Group continues to grow and she is very generously offering many of her patterns for free. Check it out at Allie-Oops Designs.

Speaking of baskets, I've had a little time this week to work on mine. Twigged the pattern to make it slightly smaller and have worked out a system for ironing and basting the edges, then sewing them in place. I'm enjoying using this Sulky silk type thread...the stitches disappear.
At the  Sulky of America site you can check out lots of free stuff, patterns and also videos like this one  featuring how to use crayons to tint cloth...a favourite technique of Meg's at Crab Apple Hill Studio. Update: A little weird...the wrong video is here and I can't get rid of it. Sorry.
I've been steadily working through my bin of larger scraps and sewn quite a few string blocks with them. Mindless sewing is good!  But how can there still be so many scraps left?
 It is almost reckoning day when I try out the idea I had. Wish me luck!

I looked at this photo with a fresh eye...spying for the first time how strings have been used in those diagonal background stripes.  Interesting use of colour- restrained and so effective.

On the pole by the pond, lucky to grab these shots of a northern flicker.  We see them frequently around the edges of the tree line, sometimes venturing onto the lawn on the west side of the house.  Strong bird but very shy.  These took lots of cropping to get to this point.
Spied the beak first.
I think he was taking a moment to enjoy the sunshine which we too are enjoying lately. The black bib, black spotted belly and the yellow tail feathers make him a Yellow Shafted Northern Flicker.
Can't blame him for savouring the warmth there after the winter we've had.

Anyone interested in writing their memoirs? Recommended by a facebook friend;I've read the reviews on this book and think it looks as good as these type of books get.  Amazon link is here.

I treated myself- meted them out so as not to give myself sugar overload because I wanted to eat them all. (Sorry Hubby.) So it seems my love of marshmallow and chocolate has not abated, no sireee, not one bit.
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I hope there is something creative, inspirational, or tasty in your day!
Lots more to see at Not Afraid of ColorNew Thursday 13Sew Fresh QuiltsMy Quilt Infatuation, Quilting is More Fun Than Housework, and Paying Ready Attention.

Sunday 24 March 2019

Reinventing the Basket

This would be a good day for the Kitchen Drawer Police to visit me.  I spent my domestic pursuit time today cleaning out the four big drawers beside the sink.  How does it ever seem a good idea to keep take-out packets of soya sauce there?  Or pens, or rubber bands, old toothpicks, plastic spoons, or coasters. When I have perfectly good designated areas for all that stuff.  In a hurry, I guess.  But in retirement should I ever be in that big a hurry.

Another thing I did was make Hubby a cake.  Honestly we are still celebrating his survival and I'm so happy his recovery seems complete. He loves dates so this recipe fits the bill.  Date Coffee Cake With Chocolate Chip Streusel from Rock Recipes. For him the topping featuring chocolate chips was a real treat as he is a chocolate lover too.  Mine turned out a little denser than Barry's, but Hubby says it is very tasty.

Reinventing the basket block

Inspiration for basket block quilts is all over the net. One of the most popular basket blocks was designed by the gals at Blackbird Designs. I've enjoyed seeing versions of it ever since it appeared in their book When the Cold Wind Blows back in 2013.

After making the summer basket hanging last year,  I figure it is time to try out another kind of basket block.  Since all my scrap containers are scattered around the sewing room, perhaps I can use up some more scraps in the bargain

I began by trying to draw the kind of basket I wanted. Then making a template.

I had to include this photo because I liked seeing the sunshine across my sewing table.  I'm trying not to make the basket too small as then I would need so many hundreds to make any size quilt-if I ever get it to that stage.
This is Block Number 1 and I'm using needleturn applique.  When I finish stitching the handle later on today, I'll know if this fits the 8 inch background fabric (which is not coming from scraps).

Playing with my Photos...which I don't do enough of.

It was fun to work through my photo files and make this little collage. The wild rabbit is one I watched in older Daughter's back yard, the woodpecker is spotted frequently here, Hubby on one of our trails, and the back yard still smothered in March snow.

But this month is getting tucked away. Temperatures above zero today and the cardinals singing sweetly on our morning walk.  So we are "resonant with hopes of spring" this second last Sunday in March.

Linking this post with Kathy's QuiltsLetting Go the Bay LeafPretty PineyViewing Nature With Eileen, Quilting is More Fun Than Housework,and So Scrappy.

Thursday 21 March 2019

Ugly Stitching, Pretty Purchases and Wool

St.Patrick's Day is behind us and Easter lies just ahead.  The season is definitely shifting. The light is more luminous and the strengthening sun is working its magic on ice and snow.

One of the red squirrels who has kept us company all winter long..
 Melting is a good word usually...but this has been happening.  All the built up snow and ice on the roof is letting go and breaking the metal snow guards, sometimes completely off.  Sounds like we are being bombed when it happens. It is so bizarre; I don't know if this is due to us having a metal roof and a lot of it being a large bungalow, or what. All the snow guards have been affected so roof work will be required. Pales in comparison to all the flooding issues around the globe though.

Our front steps completely obliterated by ice and snow too heavy to shovel.
My bag of beautiful Stylecraft wool is opened and the first rows started on the Attic 24 Sweet Pea CAL, another party I am late to but it doesn't matter. You can join the yarn-filled blankety journey, as Lucy calls it, whenever you like.

First rows in very pretty violet.  The little plastic markers were a great help for setting up the initial row.

I've realized something.
  Scrap quilts can take a long time to make.  Especially if, like in my case, there isn't a huge scrap supply to pull from.  So I've settled my mind that scrap type quilts, especially this first one where I may not have photograph worthy images, will take a long time. For now I'm attempting two different scrap patterns to use all those strings I was sorting.
 My version of a photograph block is one.

The photograph blocks are coming together fast because they are being machine stitched. Even with that and the accuracy it allows, I'm trying to carefully trim these to the exact size I want.  My wonky eye is something I am mindful of at all times. As mentioned, I'm using just scraps and will take my chances if this means they will be ugly stitching or not. On the plus side, this activity is feeding my thrifty nature.
Next post I'll show the other scrap block.

I've had some luck with online purchases and have a couple of things to show you.

Have wanted one of these little applique irons for a looonnnggg time.  I found this Clover one at Amazon.  I've wanted to get in on all the hexie fun for a long time too and ordered these basting papers from the  Just Me Too shop at Etsy.
I was also outlet shopping and bought this shawl/scarf.  I am such a person who wears one almost every day. They help keep me warm during my daily time in a cooler basement where the t.v. is but I like them anyway. I think you are person who wears scarves or not basically.

I'd looked at it in the Roots store before Christmas and when I saw it was now 30% off I decided to go for it.  Very soft and the colour combination -pale pink, gray, yellow and cream in broad stripes looks like a wonderful modern style quilt.

 And in real time, these two are here wanting to go for their walk.  How good to have something that gets me out of this chair. I didn't realize how white their muzzles are getting!
March is a difficult month for me, a month of hard losses and I've carried the notion that it is a month with not much going for it being in between seasons as it were.  But I'm concentrating hard on the following...

Image result for feel the feeling dont become the emotion

And officially Happy Spring!
Please visit to see lots of  thankful and springy things at Not Afraid of Color, It's A Small Town Life, Em's ScrapbagThe Inquiring Quilter, My Quilt Infatuation and Brian's Home Blog.

Sunday 17 March 2019

Online Fusses, SAL, A Truly Canadian Bird

Hubby, having eaten his oatmeal breakfast, has retired to his computer eager to finish making a sale online.  I've told you how he has driven motorcycles all his life but gave it a break last summer after having a little mishap the year before. Here with one of his pride and joys.
 But he has longed to return to the road and his brush with mortality last month has spurred him onward in achieving that.  He is buying something called a Ryker, a 3 wheeled vehicle that I must admit seems like just the ticket if a 79 year old is insisting on motorcycling still.  Just hope so.

                                   Image result for ryker
It has put a spring in his step and a smile on his face, so what can I say.

What do you make of this?
One of my Facebook quilting groups has had a fuss.
  Someone posted well wishes for the New Zealand folks in the wake of that awful massacre and someone else took umbrage with using a quilting site to spout politics. The ensuing squabbling was swift and not very nice.  I read a little and wondered myself about it. My initial reaction is to think that a disaster/massacre is not politics per se and being kind, caring people, expressing support would be what we naturally do.  I can see if your quilting blog is a business one, you wouldn't want to go there as such, but even then wouldn't a word or two be fine.
 But then I believe people when they say they get enough bad news without facing it in their happy spaces which our blogs and stitching groups usually tend to be.  I don't know, but we who resoundingly don't condone such acts cannot afford to turn away without so much as a word. Can we?
You know I am a live and let live kind of person so I see both sides.  What do you think?

In my stitching news...
Look at my little scrappy snowmen on the wall.  Actually, finally pleased with them and just in time to stow them away till next winter!  Because I am sincerely hoping snowman weather is behind us.

I used a little scallop stitch and loop stitch on my fancy machine and some straight walking foot lines.
( I groaned when I saw how skewed inward there at the bottom it looks; after seeing this photo I had to go back to the block and examine is straight as you can see above, I promise! )
And moving along nicely with my Cornwall Cottage piece too.  Loved stitching that alphabet, easy stitching. The basket will be pesky though as two colours alternate.  That little outlined box is to record my name and date, something I've never done before on a piece.

The SAL hosted by Avis at Sewing Beside the Sea is working well for me...encouragement to work on this project each month.  I hope you will check out these amazing stitchers who are also busily stitching away.
AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHelenStephLindaHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganCatherineDeborahConnieClare, Mary MargaretReneeJennyCarmelaJocelynSharon

Lastly today, I'm sharing a photo I took at Daughter's house...a junco sitting on her back deck. Juncos are typical northern birds with dark plumage and black eyes. It is a truly Canadian bird as it is found in every province and territory. Here they hang around all winter and benefit from my "ugly gardening", foraging on left over bits from the flower beds and bushes which I love to see.

Kudos to them for being so hardy!
 Some fun shopping purchases to show you next time.
Pleased to be posting to Kathy's QuiltsSo ScrappySmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsLove Laugh Quilt , Cooking Up QuiltsSew Fresh Quilts and Viewing Nature With Eileen.


Thursday 14 March 2019

Sentimental About So Many Things

I am trying my best to observe and even savour the beauty of the natural world around me while walking our little patch of wild land each day. Fresh snow reveals so many critters have walked my way, stepped in my footsteps even.  Our own little ecosystem! And they seem to be faring well considering all the tracks visible in the snow. This is just one way the winter season is special.

 Here at the back of our property, Murphy is crouching, assessing fox tracks with her very clever nose; they must have been fresh as she kept looking up as if she expected to see him which made me a tad nervous.
And I have to wonder what walked here towards the pond.  It looks like something bigger but I know blowing snow can change the appearance of tracks. And it laid down in the snow or dug there.
I was worried our bird feeder was attracting squirrel predators but we haven't seen the owl or fox since.  I guess their wide territory keeps them busy.

I wonder do you like this?  I do.  It is Kingfisher Cottage by Jo Grundy and can be bought at at this spot on Etsy. I especially like her snowy landscapes; you have to be clever to paint snow well (I have tried).  They are so reasonably priced too. I am such a sentimentalist.

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We are finished the series, Justified, which we got to watch on Amazon Prime.  Loved the performances. My only complaint was I kept hearing the accent in my head and wanted to talk like I was from Harlan County, Kentucky after the tv was shut off (nerdy I know, but I can't seem to help it). Thankfully Hubby doesn't mind me...he is kind of deaf. :)
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 The Southern US accent is a delightful accent.
They could be saying I'm going to hurt you bad and you are hearing something like come on in and have some biscuits. You know what I mean?

I'm trying to keep you informed of the current  2019 BOM's on the go.  Here is another...Dear Diary Block of the Month. This one, by Sherri Noel, features empowering words and phrases.  What a great idea.
                                   Image of Dear Diary Block of the Month Quilt
Something totally new to me I will definitely be trying-

The clever Amy Smart has been stitching Manx squares.  As well as offering tutorials to guide you through, she relates the background history of these unique blocks made without a ruler of any kind.  Women did the measurements using only their hand which is intriguing to me.  You will have to see what I'm talking about at Amy's Diary of A Quilter site  Part 1 here and Part 2 here.  This is Amy's pretty Gretel fabric line, btw.

A fantastic use of scraps and lovely slow stitching if you don't want to machine stitch. The oldest variation of the Log Cabin square has been traced to 1650 England and I know it is held dear from pioneer days by my American friends.

  I'm continuing sorting and digging through my shoe boxes and tins of scraps.  I thought I'd pull out all the longer neutral or low volume strings. Sounds like I know what I'm doing but I really don't. I have a half baked idea of something to do with them.

"Nana, where's your list?"  littler granson asked me when I came through his door.
"What list?" I ask.
"You know, the one of all the fun things we are going to do today."

So began my two day babysitting stint during March break with him earlier this week.  What a great two days it was! We even got to spend an afternoon with older grandson who is also on March break this week. I feel like everything is right in my world when time is spent with those two.
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Hope your world this week is soft, kind and warm!
Linking this post with Not Afraid of ColorBrian's Home BLogIt's A Small Town LifeThe Jesh StudioThe Needle and Thread Network Floral Passions and Busy Hands Quilts.