Thursday 29 August 2019

Sleeplessness and Other Stuff

Dogs barking in the night, well 4:10 am, woke me. True to form for me, that was the end of sleep. I realize I should develop a different attitude to the not sleeping thing. Perhaps just get up and do something instead of tossing and turning, growing frustrated that I can't nod off. But I keep thinking I can overcome it somehow because the goal is to get more sleep, not more work done.
Here is one of the culprits looking tired because I think he is tired. Poor old boy.
Hubby researched and is now making the trek to a specialty store to buy him special food. He is loved!
Yes I'm guilty of this, but I don't know how to be otherwise.  If you are a thinking person with some empathy, the ridiculous antics going on in this world have just got to get you down sometimes. The challenge is to not get weighed down by it.

                               See the source image
While I ponder all that, here are the best things so far this week.
I was finally rewarded after two summers of trying to photograph the turtles in the pond. The algae makes for great cover for them. Here is the big one who just happened to be lounging near the edge one morning. No time to set up a photo as it is moving away as I caught this shot. There is a middle sized one and a baby there as well. Yes our own three bears.
It was my birthday recently and I had a round of continuous small treats, the secret to happiness according to Iris Murdoch. Here are two of them. This beautiful bouquet of different kinds of sunflowers from SIL was so special. And also special was the cake, a Reine de Saba, Queen of Sheba, made by my younger daughter who is a queen of cake making herself.
She gave me this paper with it. I've never heard of it so was intrigued and couldn't wait to try a piece. Very dense, very rich and delicious. One of those cakes you only need a small piece of.
I am now an even number of years and why that should even cross my brain, I have no idea.

LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color  was inspired by the flower photos I posted and drew a lovely interpretation of them.  You can see it in this post at her blog.  She is a talented soul and I particularly enjoy her Thursday writings from her poodle, Milo.

Carol at Beads and Birds mentioned she had bought about three dozen Japanese snails and put in her pond to help keep the algae in check. That's a great natural solution. I wonder where we could get some of them.

Libby in this post at Life on the Hill explained her success with growing vegetables in a VegTrug wooden raised garden box this summer.  This may be just the ticket to satisfy my itch to have a vegetable garden. Available from Wayfair.
                                 WallHugger Bed Wood Raised Garden

We are rewatching two old favourites, Keeping Up Appearances

Image result for hyacinth bucket

See the source image
So I'm heading off to bed with pleasant thoughts. And while watching I've been removing the freezer papers from my basket blocks.  Two nights and about half way through. More time consuming than one would think!
Enough of my meandering on a Thursday. Hubby has a day of medical appointments so we will be on the go all day.
Sincerely hope you are well rested and coping well with whatever life is handing you today.
Linking with Thursday Likes at Not Afraid of ColorIt's A Small Town LifeViewing Nature With EileenAlycia Quilts and Brian's Home Blog.

Tuesday 27 August 2019

To Do, To Really Do

There is mud on my pants and dirt under my nails which means I was working outside.  I'm not a clean gardener I've discovered.
I planted these lavender plants SIL gave me.
 I've also been doing some raking in the pond which sounds bizarre. With all the July heat, algae and seaweed grew like crazy throughout and threatened to take over the entire surface. I've been raking some of it out each day to give other things a chance to grow. I did look it up and this is what you do. Or use chemicals but I like the idea of raking first to see if this will help.

Before they fade (which they are all doing) I must show you these orange day lilies. Younger grandson helped plant them and said they reminded him of pumpkins and his favourite Halloween thing to do is carve pumpkins.

But getting back to the garden goals...
This is the time of year I research what plants can be divided in the fall and which can be left till spring. I do this each season as I forget from year to year which are when. I checked again to confirm our overnight frost can start as early as October 1 here in Ottawa. Things need to be set down in a new location about a month prior to that according to the folks I consult. So that means the sooner the better. I have several plants that are withering slightly because they need dividing.
And every year I have plans to gather seeds and never do. This year will be different. I'm really going to do it.  The yucca is loaded with seed packs this year and all the coneflowers have started to seed. It's all there for the picking. Just need to get at it.  So two garden goals for this week are to divide/ replant and collect seeds.

 I do have my photograph blocks back on the wall and I'm feeling more kindly toward them than I did before; several rows have been trimmed and joined. The sashing has been cut to join those rows, so progress.  Let's say getting this to the flimsy stage will definitely be a goal for this week.
I also have more of the red flag blocks made.
Jenny of  Romany Quilting mentioned this would make a great leaders and enders project. I couldn't agree more. Easy to cut and easy to sew.
I wonder what the next colour over at the So Scrappy RSC will be?  A fallish colour perhaps. Someone mentioned purple.  It just occurred to me (duh) I could coordinate the flag making with that SAL just for fun. To date I've made 30 blocks each of the two colours.  So another goal will be to make 30 of whatever is September's colour.

I did not make the Ginger Puffs yet but for a special reason. I had more than enough treats this week which I will tell you about on Thursday.  So I'm going to move this goal ahead for later in the week.

I have taught myself a very good little pattern for the scarf crochet project. I used this YouTube video made by Tracey Beebe to help. So that wooly project has begun.  I wonder what can't you find on YouTube!
I have done the online shopping and that Silpada silver necklace and the Karen Kay Buckley circles are winging their way to me. Many of you commented on how great those circles are.
I've been adding the collagen powder to our almond milk, coffee and yogurt. Very happy with the way it blends in and is unnoticeable in the food. I'll let you know if my hair starts to thicken because that will be big news!
Meanwhile, hope your week is off to a great start.
Happily linking with Home Sewn By UsLife in PiecesThe Madd Quilter,  Small Quilts and Doll Quilts and Em's Scrapbag.

Sunday 25 August 2019

Learning from Hannah's Story, Cross Stitching, Phoebe Nests

It is the last Sunday of August and I'm feeling a little bit sad about that. With the children soon back to school, it is summer ending. We in Canada adore our summers.
 But it is perhaps the best growing season I've ever shared in and it has revived an old thought of mine that I would like to own a farm. No, not one of those mega farms with mile long barns, just a little one with chickens and a small vegetable garden. An old dream of mine. I must renew this talk with Hubby.

 Recently I watched several videos about a most remarkable woman, Hannah Hauxwell, and perhaps that too got me thinking of farms.  Hannah's farm was in Yorkshire, England.
                                                 Image result for Hannah Hauxwell
 Hannah became famous for her steadfast attitude of thankfulness while living alone and in poverty. She took her only enjoyment in life from the land around her. A lesson for us in thriftiness and loving nature.  I also loved her opinions on life and her accent. I had tears in my eyes watching her.
I'm cross stitching a little each day in an attempt to regain confidence with this craft.  This has confounded me a little. I've been cross stitching since I was 17.  I'm being very careful to turn the needle so the threads lie the way they are supposed to. This second white bit for the tiny quilt seems to be working better than where I abandoned it at the start. I'm wondering if 32 count linen is just too tiny a weave for my eyes. Perhaps.  I'll keep plugging along whatever.
I looked forward to enjoying the stitching of these simple motifs so I'm a little disappointed.

Meanwhile, in the sewing room, more reds have been added to the wall. And two older projects brought out for an airing.  More later about that.
This tiny nest squished between the electrical box and the eave on a backyard shed yielded two successful broods this summer.
 The first were Phoebes and two birds fledged mid July; I'm not entirely sure what this second one is exactly. Hard to photograph. But two more were raised here successfully and left before I got a chance to get a photo other than this one of a parent.
Do you think I should now remove the nesting material and clean up the spot? Since it is the back yard, I'm not that fussy about the look of it all...meaning I don't really care especially if it will help the birds.
All quiet and calm here at the wooden house this morning, a gradually retiring sun shining down on us. Already a noticeably weaker kind of light.
Hope all is quiet and calm with you too.
Joining the linky parties at Kathy's Quilts and Viewing Nature With Eileen.

Thursday 22 August 2019

Whimsical Me, Colourful Flag Blocks

Getting a seamless eight hours of sleep a night is impossible for both of us it appears. I recently tried one of those diffusers with lavender essential oil drops having read that aromatherapy is helpful for sleep issues. I woke about four with the smell of it making me feel a little nauseous. I have it in the main room now which has a 15ft+ ceiling so I think it won't bother me there. So scratch that idea I guess. But it may work for some of you.
In between his various camps and holidays, I've spent several days with younger grandson. His parents don't know it but often when we're at their house, things get rearranged. A blanket gets hung over the dining table to make animal lairs or monster's dens. Sometimes the whole living room gets a makeover.
This is an example...the obstacle course which we have been doing since he could walk.  It has evolved from simple steps on pillows on the floor to this with him being an Olympic athlete taking bows with points awarded for perfect steps.

 Oh and Nana has to do it too. In fact, I'm the official tester as to whether the course is challenging enough (i.e. not too dangerous). And I'm also his spotter when he is taking his turn.
  I'm much more cautious, of course, stepping around on chairs than he is with his almost six year old legs. And I'm also careful about the dismounting where you have to fling yourself into a pile of pillows on the floor.
So happy no one can see me! I realized recently that I laugh out loud more with him than I do with anyone else in my life.

I had several questions from you about my colourful flags blocks. I've sewn a few with red they are.  Is it looking like something yet? :)
Yes it is a great way to use up scraps.  You can adjust the sizes of the background block and the triangle to whatever you want.  The colourful part can be tiny, just a little touch of colour if you'd like. I'm using these Marti Michelle templates I bought a few years back when I was stitching the Farmer's Wife blocks. The bigger square is almost 5 inches and the smaller one is almost 3 inches. (You can see why I have issues with accuracy using a mathematical term like "almost".) I am drawing the line from corner to corner and also pinning the two pieces because of my said problem with accuracy when machine stitching. Fun and easy blocks.
I should tell you that my original inspiration for this was a Prism quilt I saw at the Purl Soho site.  They used Liberty fabrics which are so expensive and that is why they came up with this idea of using just little "bites" of fabric to great advantage. Here is the Purl Soho link to the free tutorial for making this quilt.
                     Prism Quilt in Liberty of London | Purl Soho
The garden is at its blooming height right now. Everywhere my eye falls there is something to love. And as Walt Whitman proclaimed- as gardeners we think they do it all for us. The blooming is our reward somehow. I certainly feel rewarded looking at these gorgeous pinks.
The tall Phlox, a wonderful perennial.
Sweet William I planted in honour of my grandmothers. This was a commonly planted flower in Newfoundland outport gardens.
And the coneflowers which are more popular every year according to the guy at the nursery. They are also popular with the bees.
Christmas Wishing
I love lights.  I especially love any that could be used for Christmas. These are the Crushed Cranberry hand dipped light strand from The Unique Black Sheep website.
And here is me, rounder on the bottom and all, of their hand crafted mice who is called Summer Flower Garden Mouse. Miniature things always amuse me.
                                        Rustic Summer Flower Garden Mouse Home Decor Figure - Handmade in USA
On that whimsical note, I'll leave you today. Hope there is something you can laugh out loud at today!
And as always linking with these amazing parties:- Not Afraid of ColorIt's a Small Town Life,
Needle and Thread NetworkFor the Love of GeeseFloral Friday FotoCreations-Quilts, Art, WhateverAlycia Quilts and Esther's Quilt Design Blog.

Tuesday 20 August 2019

Mom's Ginger Puffs, Kay's Perfect Circles, Silpada Silver, Debbie Bliss Andes Wool

In my work world I lived by the to do list. I had notes for just about everything and I credited them for keeping me on track and on top of whatever needed doing.
For the first year after retirement, I would put my hand in a skirt pocket and there would be one of my notes. I loved coming across them and mostly because it reminded me that that world was behind me and nothing was as pressing it seemed any more.

This is a happy totally non work related to do list.

Make a batch of these....
They are called Mom's Ginger Puffs and ginger is good for you(!) and the link is here to the Crosbie Molasses recipe.

Any of you using this? Collagen supplements. I've been reading so much about how healthy it is so I thought I would give it a try.  I've mentioned before how my hair is so fine and I can't grow nails.  Maybe this will help.  But really it isn't just the superficial I'm concerned with; the claims include it will help all the connective tissues in the body.  I've bought a smaller size to give it a go and I'll be feeding it to Hubby too. :)
                                               To Order List
Order these.  Several of you use them and find them wonderful for achieving perfect circles for applique.  They've been on my to order list for some time.  Putting it in writing here will make me hop to it.  The Amazon link is here and I'm going to order them through the link at Karen's blog at Quilts Etc....

                                       Image result for kay buckley circles
Also on my "to order" list is this necklace available from Silpada ; they call it the Thoreau. I love silver jewelry, as do several people on my Christmas list and this necklace gets rave reviews-they also say it sells out fast.  I've had it noted for a couple of weeks and it is something I can tuck away for Christmas gifts.
Stitching Stuff
Get my new crochet project started. I've had several false tries with sorting out the size of the hook to use with this wool, that would be the Debbie Bliss Andes which has alpaca in it so is very soft. 

Here's what I have in my head to make, well not exactly this but something similar. I don't have the skill to make an actual Sophie Digard scarf though while exploring recently I found a site that offered her patterns! (Update...further to this, no, there are no patterns around...why Sophie hasn't offered any is a bit of a mystery.)
                        See the source image             
Get my red flags blocks made this week.  I've made blue ones as shown in last post so now want to proceed to the red.
But also want to halt the flag fun long enough to resurrect my photograph blocks which are partially joined and get that flimsy ready.

So retirement is sweet and time does not rest heavy on my hands...ever!
I think I'm going to enjoy writing a public to do list each week.  Next week I'll let you know if I got it done!
Note: I had problems with this post as I tried to get fancy and link photos on my old Acer with this one and it caused a riot of problems. With Hubby's help I rescued it but a different version has appeared from the original. Computers are scary!

Linking this post with Home Sewn By Us . 

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Sunday 18 August 2019

Blue Flag Quilt Blocks, Spring Strings Quilt, Spanish Rice, Brilliant Wildflowers

As I make my way about the property, I'm so happy not to be colour blind. This would be the saddest season to be unable to see all the pretty colours, each it seems more vibrant than the one before.
Wild Canadian Thistle
Living in a wild garden, for that must be what this really is, as from my kitchen window I watch hummingbirds at the feeder, a chipmunk run under the rose bush, two red squirrels uncivilly(chasing each other about) taking turns drinking from the pot of water I put out, and the surrounding spruce trees, interspersed with many brightly blooming things.  A sight this morning I'm going to try to hold in my mind's eye for later when I know summer will be a dream.

I have finished a couple of projects so it's time to pick up some new ones. No shortage of ideas in my notebook thanks to the constant inspiration I get from you folks!
 I've been getting a new scrappy project up and running in the sewing room this past week.  I found inspiration for this idea at Pinterest and followed up at Sew Delicious (where Ros hasn't posted for a while).
 Small corners of colour reminding me of flags representing all the colours of the rainbow in one quilt. I was influenced by the gorgeous blue of that flower below to begin with blues. I don't have that many low volume fabrics for the backgrounds so there will be repeats.

I don't know enough about photo editing on Windows 10 yet so this is its true blue colour...electric.
Viper's Bugloss, sometimes Blue Thistle
 Lucky because blues are my biggest stash as well.  A messy process though as all the fabrics must come out for an airing and look over. But a great way to get to the bottom of the pile and always find something I'd forgotten about.
The result has a restrained kind of look yet there is such freedom to choose any and all colours of fabric. You can tell I enjoyed stitching the first batch of blocks very much.

I have all the papers removed from my Spring Strings and the hand stitching held up. It feels softer and is ready to be a sandwich. This bundle of wool, the Debbie Bliss Andes, has been with me for a few years now. I wrote about it in this post way back in 2015- I Love Debbie Bliss Andes Wool. It is so soft and needs to be used-another crochet project. With the blanket finished I can start this one...guilt free. More about that later.
And an equally brilliant shade of yellow.
Birdsfoot Trefoil named after the seed pods
Today I'm going to be stitching on my cross stitch Summer Storm piece. I am listening to this audiobook (second time I've tried it). Still not really grabbing me but I'm hoping it will.
                                                       Women Talking
Karen at Quilts...Etc. is listening to a John Grisham novel, The Litigators; I just might have to look for that.

It's leftovers today for supper. I made meat loaf and baked potatoes last night with enough meat loaf left over for today. I knew the weatherman was promising high humidity to arrive by Sunday here so I would not want the oven on.  I've had this recipe from Simply Recipes bookmarked for a while, so today's the day to try it out.  I'll be using one of my most useful small appliances, the rice cooker.
Spanish Rice

2 tablespoonsolive oil (can use up to 1/4 cup)
1onion (finely chopped, about 1 cup)
1garlic clove (minced)
2 cupslong-grain white rice (or medium)
3chicken stock (cups, or vegetable stock if vegetarian)
1 heaping tablespoontomato paste (or 1 cup of diced fresh or cooked tomatoes, strained)
add pinchoregano
1 teaspoonsalt

So that's all that's cooking here today.  No outings planned so a quiet day to putter about.
Btw, if I've mislabelled these wild flowers, please let me know. I am absolutely an amateur at this.
This post will be linked with Kathy's QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkSmall Quilts and Doll Quilts and  So Scrappy

Thursday 15 August 2019

Flowers Everywhere

The weather has been-dare I say it- sublime.
We have enjoyed many ideal weather days in a row...sunny, warm temps and no humidity.  My weeding has slowed and now the cone flowers and sunflowers are blooming...and competing for space with those hydrangeas. They were definitely not crowded out like this last year. (Sorry didn't have time to do some photo cropping.)

This is the provincial bird of my home province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Atlantic Puffin. (About 95% of North America's puffins breed around the coasts there.) And the photo was taken by Candace Mugford near where my dad lived and distributed by CBC. He is holding wild iris we called Blue Flag growing up.  These birds have such a permanent cute expression, don't they.
See the source image
This was interesting. I've mentioned sighting the little fox around the pond.
 He was there one morning getting a drink when I did my early walkabout and I got a couple of photos...albeit from far away.  I think it is the same fellow who took a nap in our driveway.  Look at how much of the pond dried up in July's heat.
I've been chicken watching for daughter and sil while they were on their annual trip to Newfoundland.  My reward was fresh eggs which are so good. We've thought of having a few here, something |I always wanted.  But with so many fox I'm not sure they would fare well unless we had a substantial enclosure for them.

These are my last basket blocks...a few of the yellowish ones. They are freezer paper appliqued if you're wondering and l last count I had made over 60. Time to think of getting them joined up.
That's my summer caftan I wear most mornings. I just love the sunflowers and the shades of colours throughout.  Tula and Kaffe would approve. :)
August redwork block from Kathy Schmitz  features sunflowers too. I'm now spying them blooming reaching atop fences, such a happy country sight.
Our August everyday living has been quiet and enjoyable here in the wooden house, festooned outside as it is by all the green and blooming things.
 We too are lamenting the back to school is all such a rush out there it seems.
                              See the source image
I hope your veil is affording you views of happiness.
So happy as always to link up with Not Afraid of ColorNeedle and Thread NetworkMy Quilt InfatuationThe Jesh StudioBusy Hands Quilts,  Floral Friday FotoViewing Nature With Eileen and My Bijou Life