Sunday 30 June 2019

Sunday Amid Celebrations

This is Canada Day weekend here in Ontario and we went to sleep last night to the sound of fireworks.  There will be continual celebrations and in fact, we have a couple of outings on the go too. Today we just returned from meeting up with friends for brunch in the neighbouring little town of Almonte. We ate lovely omelettes at the Heirloom Bristo situated in an old mill on a river....if I could make omelettes as good as those, I would have them much more often at home. Since we see these folks just a few times a year, there was a lot of chatting and catching up. Very enjoyable. 

                         Image result for heirloom bistro almonte    

I permitted myself a little national pride and wrote this post, Ten Interesting Facts About Canada, in 2017 telling why Canada deserves a lot of love. I'm a proud Newfoundlander who is also loving Ontario so much and it is a given of course that I will always be devoted to Canada. 

Meanwhile, my camera developed a problem last week something to do with a jammed lens and is in Hubby's fix- it corner of the basement.  I'm quite lost without it and have not been able to get photos of my OMG finishes or my Cornwall Cottage Sampler that I'm happy to report is all done! I now have the fun of choosing what to work on next. 
I thought by way of compensation, I would show a couple of other cross stitch finishes from the recent past...still to be framed.
Strawberry Fields by Blackburn Designs, another much much smaller sampler.

and Floral Bouquet, a kit I think I got from The French Needle...a huge number of stitches in this one  
Our international SAL hosted by Avis at Sewing Beside the Sea continues and it is time for our June update. This is the kindest, most encouraging group of people who are all working on diverse and amazing stitching projects -
AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHelenLindaHeidiJackieSunnyHayley,Megan, Deborah, Clare, Mary MargaretReneeJennyCarmelaJocelynSharon

Our garden is flourishing. Hubby and I have both been working hard outside to that end.
Four blooms for June.  The start of the poppies and blue cornflowers, end of the iris and lilac.  

I'm off to my little cabinet where I keep my cross stitch patterns to do a search for the next project. Oh the fun of a new start!
Hope you are having a fabulous Sunday! So happy to link this post with Letting Go of the Bay Leaf.

Thursday 27 June 2019

Eight Things Illuminating My Simple Life

A simple life is what we live here. No flash or dazzle. Just the two of us with our dogs daily wandering our property, noting the changes four distinct seasons bring us. Trying to practice wellness in exercising and eating good food. And especially being of good cheer to each other. 
 I think of some things as illuminating this simple life of mine. Here are a few of them.

Hubby and Murphy in the tall deciduous forest when the leaves were just opening, May 26.
Rex under the flowering Weigela and beside our wood pile for next winter.
Spotting the first Swallowtail...thank goodness they are back and have brought a few bumblebees with them.
 I've seen over 50 different species of birds in the three locations around Ottawa I have lived since moving here. Some I see over and over like the often viewed  chipping sparrow.
I put a name to this particular dragonfly with the see through wings that fascinated me the first time I saw them.  Plentiful each summer on the little pond, the common Whitetail Dragonfly is in this stage for a few mere weeks of its life span.
Spying on these little guys...three chipmunks hanging around these days much to my relief because I thought they were all gone.
And inside, adding to my life's enjoyment are my hobbies. Here I finally made a decision about the border for that little appliqued table runner. I settled on these two Kim Diehl Butter Churn Basics for Henry Glass and have ordered more of the one with a little green in the leaf; it perfectly matches the greens in the blocks. Here is the Fat Quarter Shop link where you can look at all these pretty blender style fabrics.
Also illuminating my life is you.  I am old enough to still find lots of wonder in this internet thing (being a person who doesn't understand how they got voices through wires for phones!) and especially the way it can connect us around the world... awe inspiring in every way.
And lastly I want to say this- please hold onto the feeling that the life you are living is special, whatever or where ever it may be

Sunday 23 June 2019

June Garden, Flowery Baskets, Turmeric Vegetable Soup

Happy Summer! My cheery 2018 Baskets hanging is up on the wall to help us celebrate the season. Appliquing these scrappy blocks was so enjoyable.
I realize now that summer is all about outside the house for me. Especially on sunny days.
I go out first thing in the morning just to have a quick look round and see what may have opened since the day before. Lately I am always rewarded; things are blooming quickly now thanks to several days of sunlight in a row. It is especially fun when the newest flower is one I've forgotten all about planting.
  I go back in, have my coffee and head straight back out. Then it's close up which means weeding and pruning on my knees to ease the back from all the bending. (Hubby blames all the weeds on the abundance of rain we've had.) I limit this to an hour because I find more than that makes my right hand ache. My stitching hand, so can't have that.
But happily I've gotten to relax too outside with some veranda time sitting and stitching.
 Also I try to get in a swim every day...the only time I won't swim is if there is a thunder and lightening forecast. As I've said, swimming is the only exercise that controls these vanilla pudding thighs of mine.
Of course, we are still walking Rex and Murphy twice a day though lately, we've been taking Rex once a day as it seems to be slow going for him with a little bit of confusion involved too at times. 😢
                              English Ivy Care Guide
I used that Plant Snap App to identify my ivy plant that is about 6 years old now. It sat on top of the cabinet at the old farm and spread itself well.  In fact I made a second plant of it there on the right that I gave away.
 English Ivy or Common Ivy was what it told me; no surprise there.  It's one of those plants that can't handle direct sun but likes bright light which can be tricky to satisfy inside a house. (The orchid gets a little trickier as it needs colder temp. for part of each day as well.)
That Ivy today...still thriving and I've tried to coax it away from runners and to thicken up which it has done a little / I haven't killed it...yet.
I made a turmeric vegetable soup with added beans and coconut milk.  It was tasty. Similar recipe here called Anything You Have Coconut Curry Soup at the Pinch of Yum site. We both like curry so it works for us and I make it in one form or another a lot.
 Helped me feel better about the quick meal of hot dogs we'd had the day before.  Hubby just loves hot not so much.  Mom was always distrustful of wieners, as in not knowing what went in them; consequently, we did not eat them growing up.  Maybe that is why I feel like I do.

At first I thought this was the female cardinal I was watching through the window. But it is the male...the colours not nearly as bright as earlier in the season but still beautiful...kind of purplish-puce? Unperturbed by the steady rainfall that day.
My cross stitched Cornwall Cottage Sampler is finished so it's back to the baskets today for a little late afternoon stitching hopefully on the veranda.  I will have no trouble meeting my June OMG this time!
Hope all is rosy in your June garden literally and figuratively!
So happy to link this post with kathy's QuiltsSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkEm's Scrapbag, and Love Laugh Quilt.

Thursday 20 June 2019

Free Apps, Lovely Vlog and My, What a Long Beak You Have!

Thanks for the comments on the new header. Someone said "you are the chick, Jocelyn." No she looks like a spring chick and believe me, I am no spring chicken! Was I ever a chick? No don't think so...I was always told I was born old. My mother has also told me I was a walking health book from the time I started taking Health as a subject in school. When smoking was the rage, she said there was no way they would have gotten away with smoking, not with me in the house.
But little chick is round on the bottom which is a little like me.

Two free apps I'm enjoying and thought I would share with you.
This one is  Cryptic Crossword which is one of Hubby's pastimes and now he's gotten me into them.
 They always seemed very cryptic to me till I actually really tried to work out one and realized I could. But they are more of a brain exercise than crosswords as you have to think of a number of different ways of solving a clue. Here is an example. Sadly, Blogger is blurring the photo but 12 across is the clue "Father's attempt to get pie-crust"  and the answer is "pastry"  as in pa's try.
On second thought, perhaps you have to be nerds like us to like this. :)
And this one which I tested out already called PlantSnap Plant Identification.
I tested it on this little clump of flowers in the backyard.
It immediately provided me with two names for it, one being the Blood Iris.  I was impressed.  This app will be put to good use around the property.  I will be trying it out on trees because we have a lot here I would like to put a name to.
Are you using any apps that the rest of us would enjoy?  With over 2 million available, there have to be more that I could use. Please let me know.  All topics welcome.

Also the world of vlogs keeps on growing.
 I happened upon Rachel and her Youtube vlog called Sew Ray Me. She has been uploading a video every day for the month of June; there is a calming quality to her productions as she shares her daily routine, meals and very talented sewing. Her love of domesticity and contentment with the simple things in her life are absolutely lovely to watch.
Hubby surprised me with this little gift one day. He bought it because the tag said it was an oriole feeder and he knew I've been wanting one. But so far, only hummingbirds have used it and quite frequently so it is a hit with them.  I know nothing about these tiny birds. Can someone identify this one?
They may be tiny but they must win the prize for the longest beaks!
 I've looked at this wall so much and wondered what am I doing??? The good, no great thing is this used up a lot of scraps so a success from that point of view.  So charging onward...I've decided to make a few more blocks of the nine little squares each to even out the rows and I've also picked a kind of neutral grey tone on tone material for the sashing.
That's this one, part of the Uptown Duets by Faye Burgos for Marcus Fabrics. It's pretty with a sort of brownish grey shade if that makes sense.
                              Image result for faye burgos fabric uptown duets
And Loyal Companion, Miss Murphy, under foot literally in the sewing room. Now I know why I find threads all over the house.  And it's a wonder I haven't killed myself tripping over her!
It would not be Thursday without linking to some blogs that celebrate thankfulness/positivity in our days. Namely Not Afraid of Color, It's A Small Town Life, and Brian's Home Blog. Also linking with Sew Fresh QuiltsEsther's Quilt Blog, Paying Ready Attention, My Quilt InfatuationBusy Hands Quilts and The Needle and Thread Network.

Sunday 16 June 2019

Does Her Neck Look Okay?

Hubby has been busy mowing. Kitchen window view to the left on Thursday.
Tilly the wild Turkey visited the front yard again this week.  Does her neck look okay to you?
I got a couple of sewing items in the mail.  I've never used these needles before- the Bohin needles from France which sounds posh as Hubby would say.  For certain projects like applique, I prefer shorter needles. I usually use John James. But so many of you recommend the Bohin I thought I would give them a try.
And how do you like my Murhpy mug as I call it?  I bought it to mark her coming to live with us.
And it is sitting on one of the dish cloths knit by my Mom when she was 84 (sadly at 86 her fingers no longer allow her to knit). I use the smaller ones as rug mugs.
 A couple of hanks of Valdani 6 ply floss just to try. But will they be worth the $3 a skein price! Gulp!
Murphy checking out the pond area in the rain.While the west end of Ottawa was still clearing up from the May flooding, the east end experienced a small tornado. The weather guy has warned that we are likely to see more of this unsettled, almost unheard of weather this summer. Hope he is dead wrong!
Before I forget I wanted to show you this.
 The blogging world has led to the discovery of many things for being the heritage of Dutch quilting. I came across this book Dutch Flower Pot Quilts by Anja Townrow available used on Abe Books (CLICK) for a very low cost. They offer an abundance of quilting books and other needlework as well as many other subjects, so stay and have a look around this site.  It is like a mini Book Depository.
                              Dutch Flower Pot Quilts: Marjorie L. Russell; Anja Townrow
After cloudy skies yesterday, we have been blessed with steady sunshine this morning. Glorious!
I have this in my lap-
Hope you have sunny skies and something wonderful in your lap too!
So glad to link this post with Kathy's Quilts, Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, Busy Hands Quilts, Powered By QuiltingThe Jesh Studio and Viewing Nature With Eileen.

Thursday 13 June 2019

Hobbies...The Keeping Up Of

The irises take their turn. There are pale blue and pale yellow around the garden, but the purples are classic.
We enjoyed our sunlight there for several days in a row. Outside every minute I could get despite the mosquitoes which every year Hubby thinks get worse. I've caved and spray some Woods around my ankles, arms and neck. Sometimes around my sun hat which is always on my head.

Ants decided they liked our bedroom and were making their way inside and milling about, unsure of what exactly they were there for. Once again, I had to get chemicals to spray under the baseboards to get rid of them. No,vinegar did not deter them. Now just spotting the odd sad little carcass.
 Determined not to complain about any of it after the long winter and seemingly longer cold spring, what there was of it.
Hostas are the most remarkable perennial...coming to life so quickly...view from the sewing room several weeks ago.
The plants that overwintered inside got replanted with a few petunias, marigolds and begonias that I bought at Home Depot.
  I've used two old apple baskets for the bigger planters this year as a change and I've added a couple of hanging baskets.
 Every spring I always start out in a bit of huff to have everything sorted.. if it's something that needs doing, it should have been done yesterday is the way my brain works.  But after the initial big cleanout from my overwintering Ugly Gardening, I quickly relax into a rhythm of outside work for an hour or so in the early morning.
I just love the outdoors and do not need to remind myself to enjoy every minute of this season too. It is a great feeling to work the body gardening, aching in places later but feeling great satisfication that a bed has been weeded or seedlings planted.  I'm not even sure why I get such enjoyment from it but I do and am thankful my interest has not waned.

Someone asked what I made with the cabbage. I made nasi goreng, a meal I make sometimes when there is leftover beef, pork or chicken. It's a stir fry really. This is the Wikipedia entry about it. I don't add egg but often make papadums with it. I just stir whatever veggies I have all together.

                                               Image result for nasi goreng
I also shredded some for salads.  I had a small ham that I served with twice baked potatoes, buttered cabbage and mashed turnip; pretty basic but I think that was our tastiest meal recently.
 I wonder how do they make the pickled turnip served in schwarmas. Must remember to look that up as I like pickled anything. Do you?

I spent one morning in the sewing room and quilted two more of these quilt as you go string blocks.  I would love to have this finished and on my bed next winter.  Though the batting is thin, they feel heavy so I'm thinking warmth. An old WIP that needs finishing rather than just wishing it done.
The blues are cheery too.
I've prepped this pattern for embroidering. ( And couldn't resist stitching a couple leaves.)

 It is Nancy Nicholson's Bouquet Sampler pattern that was downloadable which is quite a saving on shipping for us Canadian folks. That little pouch is perfect for toting about this simple project.
Some might remember the other fun project of Nancy's, one of her fanciful birds I worked, which was a kit.
Tomorrow we make our way to the airport to pick up the grandfather (my ex); a long drive for us but I want to do it as long as we are able. Must keep up. The grandsons are very excited to have their Poppie visit.
Next time I'll share a great new book site I've found.
Happy Thankful Thursday to all! Linking with Not Afraid of ColorIt's A Small Town LifeEsther's Design BlogSo Scrappy, Quilting is More Fun Than Housework and My Quilt Infatuation.

Sunday 9 June 2019

Thrift Shop Surprises, SAL Update

Early morning warmth, the first of the season, led me outside early and down to the pond with my camera.  I had in mind to look for the small flock of ravens that hangs out to the left around the little wetland area.  Sure enough five of them were there moving about on the ground with their hobbled, hoppy way of walking. I thought I was soundless, but of course, wasn't and before I even adjusted the camera, they took off filling the air with mad squawks. I  wonder what is their intention there every morning or perhaps they roost there overnight. I haven't figured that out.
One day I did catch a couple hurried shots of Canada geese gliding about the pond. Hurried because these alert easily as well.  Two are seen together often for several years now and I wonder would they be the same ones.  I was pleased with this shot when I got to look at it on the computer later.  Such a distinctive chin strap.
Thrift shopping is a fun outing for me and it is not just about the bargains. You can find things in these stores that are unique and different, items you do not see in any regular stores these days.   Here are some things I bought recently when I did my drop off.
My love of china, tea cups, plates, whatever, continues. I cannot resist looking through the well stocked kitchen area. I didn't question buying the large plate below. I love the blues but also can't resist the pink when I come across them.   This Old English Staffordshire piece depicts the French fort at Lake Chaplain, New York.  Each plate has a different floral garland which is interesting. At $20 US on ebay, it is a bit of a collector's piece.  I paid $1.99.
No need to wonder why I bought this numbered piece, Loyal Companion by Bruce like our Murphy girl.  We both enjoy dog memorabilia celebrating the dogs we own and have owned.
I know what this book costs new because it had the tag still on it.  I don't think the cover has ever been cracked.  I love America's Test Kitchen shows.
This heavy bag of scrap fabrics priced at $9.99 was debatable but I am so happy I made the decision to buy it.
 Scraps on the outside but inside were hiding three yards of Sandy Gervais Nature's Christmas fabric for Moda.  Also other coordinating pieces too. I checked and it is $13 a yard Canadian.
As well as two large pieces of this fun fabric...Treelicious by Maude Ashbury.
I got a 20% off coupon for donating so that helped with the bottom line.  Pure guilt free shopping.

I had to push myself to finish my cross stitching goal for this month.  My arms were a bit tired from all the weed pulling and repotting which just shows me how out of shape my arms really are. I guess plying a needle doesn't build muscles. :) But most of the garden plots have had some attention at this point and I won't be doing any more planting so my weakling arms will have plenty of time to recover.  I like how the two shades of floss made this interesting basket weave like pattern.
Propped on our knickknack shelf...
I have vines and leaves left to finish and to add a date as well. In anticipation of finishing this slow stitching Sunday and veranda stitching (yah!), I have prepped an embroidery project from Nancy Nicholson. More about that later.
Meanwhile I appreciate the incentive provided by linking monthy with the SAL group led by Avis at
Sewing Beside the Sea.  It has been a great experience to visit each other and offer encouragement.
AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHelenLindaHeidiJackieSunnyHayley,MeganCatherineDeborah, Clare, Mary MargaretReneeJennyCarmelaJocelynSharon

To those of you sweltering, stay cool and those feeling wintry breezes, bundle up. Our extraordinary natural world continues to fascinate.
Linking with Kathy's QuiltsViewing Nature With EileenPaying Ready Attention and I'd Rather B Birdin.