Thursday 28 November 2019

Thankful Too On This Special Thanksgiving Thursday

A big Happy Thanksgiving to my American pals! Enjoy every minute whether with family and friends or quietly with just yourselves. Hope the eating is great and please be sure to tell me all about it later.

Hubby got his annual Advent calendar from daughter...chocolate of course.
 He is a tiny bit Grinchish when it comes to Christmas and he has a wife whose family are quite the opposite.  He goes along. I have littler grandson spending his PA day with us tomorrow to help me with our Christmas decorating. This is year 3 he has done that with me and a really fun day for us both.
Last year, in charge of the tree.
No matter the season but especially now, my baking  is still comfort food...more muffins.  I made another batch of Pear, Blueberry and Bran and froze them.  They thaw well and this prevents drying out which I find muffins do rather quickly. This is an old original recipe from Kellogg's, easy to follow and allows for substitutions (in this case pumpkin seeds and fruit) and who doesn't need bran. I find them satisfying and filling with a pieced of aged cheddar or Havarti and not as guilty as eating cake or pie even though I know they might match up calorie wise (but I don't count calories).
I'm trying to add more ginger to our diets.  Fresh ginger in sauces and stir fries. I keep Ginger Chews in the house and crystallized ginger for baking.  Like all these things I don't know how much of it you would have to ingest for it to really matter. But I think I'll buy some ginger tea.  I have green tea but you know what, I'm not that fond of it.  Only wish I were.

In the sewing room, I'm cutting more Dresden blades, sewing more tiny blocks for the Baskets border and prepping the Quiltmania Advent blocks for hand stitching.
Here is Block One, the Star, almost done.  These are tiny so stitch up quickly. The gray is showing up more brownish in this photo and the red is definitely redder in real life; it is beautiful fabric to work with. I am getting more cavalier about cutting into "good" fabric, here one of the French Generals for Christmas.
Another amazing designer...
Temecula Quilt Company  is hosting a Tiny Tree Sew Along starting December 4th. It looks really cute and a great way to dive into that green stash.  I'll be keeping an eye on it.
I was so pleased to see this article in our Nature Conservacy magazine. Doctors prescribing nature! An amazing concept! Who ever thought this day would come or need to come for that matter. I, like so many of you, grew up with the idea- a given really, that fresh air is good for us. Finally scientists agree.
I love a good shop and that goes for armchair shopping too.  I don't mind being a window shopper.  I read this article and thought it had neat things certainly worth checking out. Especially good stocking stuffers.
36 Amazing Things Under $20 On Amazon That Keep Selling Out
Being Amazon Prime, we get next day delivery which totally boggles my little mind.  How can they do that!  Of course I will be checking out Black Friday deals too.
And Etsy has Cyber week deals of 60% off so I will be taking a peek there too.

Rainfall took away a lot of our snow but the ice has remained solid in the pond. We were intrigued by the stunning designs that appeared like magic. Google says they are ice octopi or ice spiders, a common phenomena when a freezing then thawing pattern occurs.
 Brave Murphy is the only one still walking on it. She enjoys feeling special and we laugh because she looks back at us like are you watching me.
And it was the glint of it that caught my eye... thaw with rain then freezing made this spikey spray on the tired worn out milkweed pod catch the sun. I had to marvel at the beauty of hundreds of tiny beads of ice.
I know there is a general negative aura these days about the environment but we mustn't forget it is still very much an amazing bird-singing, flower-growing world. It is still in our hands and within our sights to savour and enjoy and yes, especially to protect and keep it that way.

Permit me a little flag waving this morning too about Canada. Acknowledgement of what a wonderful country we have and a reminder we are priviledged to live here enjoying the freedoms and rights and peacefulness, even if the winters are darn long!
Canada ranked number 1 in global quality of life for its citizens.
Happy Thursday All!
Linking as always with Not Afraid of ColorBrian's Home BlogFloral Friday FotoPowered By QuiltingAlycia Quilts and It's A Small Town Life.

Sunday 24 November 2019

Art is Long and Life is Short

Margaret Atwood celebrated her 80th birthday recently. She clearly has not lost her mind because she just recently won the Booker for the sequel to Handmaid's Tale, The Testaments. She is equally as adept writing nonfiction and poetry which makes her a rare literary triple threat.
                                                          Image result for margaret atwood the testaments
This is one of her quotes taken from the Blind Assassin.
"As you ramble on through life, Brother, Whatever be your goal, Keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole." She also has a slick sense of humour.

C'est fini!
I tried very hard not to rush the final stitching of this piece, the one I've been calling Autumn Patchwork.  I wanted to still be willing to tweak blocks here and there so that it would be as good as I could get it. You know what I mean, not to just want it done.  It's not perfect but I am pleased. Now it will reside with the others in the TBQ pile.  I've already put my mind at rest about that growing pile by saying 2020 will be the year of the quilting! I know I will eventually get to them all. Thank you for all the kind words, suggestions and ideas on every stage of this project. It was so encouraging right to the end.
This is our monthly SAL linkup which is such a great, positive way to stay on track. Many thanks to Avis at  Sewing Beside the Sea for hosting this international group of stitchers.
AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyLindaHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborah, MaryMargaretReneeJennyCarmelaJocelynSharonDaisyAnneConnie
 I'm pleased to have another section of my own cross stitch project, Swirling Flowers, mostly finished.
I'm stitching the second motif on my table runner. This is Kantha style running stitch with batting on the back. It's looking a little Scandinavian to me and the fabric dotted with tiny gold stars is beautiful to stitch on. This is working up very quickly especially with no counting of threads!
Do you like your sewing/woolly projects to match the season? I kind of do. That's why I'm tempted to start this Redwork Noel.  I would like to see how far my December stitching time would take me.
Next post I will show you my little applique Christmas/winter stitching that I've begun. The link is here to the Quiltmania page and free patterns for you to take a peek.  Working in just three colours- red, grey and white. A very different feel after the autumn hanging.
So many wonderful things to stitch, so little time. I'm fortunate to be retired so I can indulge my hobbies.
 Art is long and life is short so we must all get on with it.
I'm happy to be linking with post with Kathy's Quilts, From Bolt to BeautyQuilting is More Fun Than Housework, Wendy's Quilts and MoreSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsLove Laugh Quilt and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Thursday 21 November 2019

Seasonal Beauties, Breakthroughs, Birds and Wonders

Here in Canada we have four distinct seasons and there are things to love about each.  And also things to complain about like last year when winter felt like it stretched into May. Yesterday walking, I noticed how fresh the air smelled and how crisp the landscape looked. It was so invigorating and I realized I'd forgotten that feature of winter.
Image result for phylis harris drawings every season has its beauties"
From Phyllis Harris Designs
Meanwhile the days are shortening. I took this at 4:30 recently just as total darkness fell in the front yard. Happy the ivy seems to find enough light there.
 It seems the long shadows of morning are just disappearing when the long shadows of afternoon begin.  The sun in between is just topping the trees but is a welcome warmth on my back.

Carl Sagan said Somewhere something incredible is waiting to be known.  I wonder what year he said that. Medicine always comes to my mind because we've made such discoveries and treatments that are incredible.  And more every day. I felt heartened to read this article because losing my mind is a fear of mine! Millions of us are and will continue to do so but researchers do seem to be whittling away at the causes and treatments.  Baby steps it seems.
10 Alzheimer's Breakthroughs You Should Know About
Our wonders are much more down to earth here at the wooden house. Like what made these tracks in the garage. Whatever it was shook my mouse trap and dug in a bag of dirt making a right mess with it. We're guessing the resident raccoon.
I did feel a bit of wonder when we spied not one, which would be a treat, but two pileated woodpeckers playing in tandem around the trunk of a tree in the deciduous forest.  Wish I had a recording of the sounds they were making as they were vocalizing the whole time.
 I had to run back to the house for the camera and luckily, they were still there moving from tree to tree. I had to be very quiet as they alarm easily. Chilled to the bone but happy, I watched them for ages till they moved out of sight.
I do glimpse one from time to time and always suspected there was more than one. I'm thinking this is a mated pair.  Here is where my old camera would have done a better job on distance.
I enjoy a look around the bigger library in the next town and found these three books that I've been really reading instead of just glancing through.
All three have proven to be useful and inspiring and I've noted a number of things from each. In particular, I liked how Ann Myhre in her book, Quilts Inspired, works through two large projects including the one on the cover, Nordic Log Cabin. I read that section with my own Autumn Patchwork project in mind. I believe when she says differing blocks, methods and patterns can work together in a fun way. And to shut out the quilt police while welcoming individual creativity in the process. As I sew each of my large sections together, I hope I am achieving that too. Meanwhile my pile of flying geese for the border is growing.
Have you ever heard of this?  A poverty patchLori in this post at wonderful Humble Quilts about vintage quilts shows how the tiniest little patch was used to make a diamond big enough.  I have never heard it called that though I have done something similar a couple of times.
Something fun that made me smile- for Jenny at Romany Quilting who spends many a happy hour caravan touring. I think her cat, Gemma, would love it! This is Ana Rosa's Pattern On the Road House from Ravelry.  The ingenuity of stitchers is always a wonder!
In the Jesh Studio
This is the time of year I think of home and what my mother would be cooking...boiled raisin cakes, baked custards and partridgeberry pies.  Always a warm house, a happy smile and good smells greeting us when we came in the door from a day at school.  So blessed.
I hope you have such lovely memories to buoy you up and carry you through too.
Happily joining Not Afraid of ColorPaying Ready AttentionIt's A Small Town Life, Bijou BoutiqueFor the Love of GeeseViewing Nature With EileenCamera CrittersThe Jesh Studio and The Needle and Thread Network.

Sunday 17 November 2019

Stitching Meditation, Tools, Dogs, The Crown

Last month I spoke about stitching as meditation. To that end I joined a Facebook group, Stitch Meditations,who share their stitching and write about the comfort it is to them especially during difficult times. It is amazing the number of folks who are stitching in hospital beds or waiting rooms for instance. I myself have never seen anyone. Except my mom who always took knitting and her cross word book with her which I do as well.
Below is a little piece I've been stitching that is solely hand work and combines my love of hand stitching with a kantha style of running stitch. This works well when my eyes need a break from the counting of the cross stitched Swirling Flowers. I'm using the General's Sketch &Wash HB pencil to mark a little guide. I'm  practicing keeping my stitches evenly spaced and the same length. I've had to take out a couple.
I have this little box of 12 and with Hubby's auction winning of office supplies last year, I think we have enough pencils to see us through now. :) Btw, it was Anne at Every Stitch who recommended them. Sadly, she is no longer posting but you can still visit her blog and see the most beautiful of projects.
Image result for general hb sketch and wash pencils"
 This is also a quilt as I go piece with batting on the back which is often done with Kantha stitching.
I got the circles hand stitched on those Dresdens and counted how many are completely finished. Exactly 68. Hmm, need more than that. Scrappy projects can take a long time to finish. But my stitching motivation for this particular project is still high.
Goals this week re stitching..
Keep the three projects- Autumn patchwork, Swirling Flowers and the Dresdens moving forward.

Our upstairs TV room is taking shape. The new TV arrived and is one of those 4K, whatever the heck that means. Apparently it's a good thing; anyway, we've been blown away by the picture quality and the size of the darn thing.
We had debated whether we needed to buy a new one but now are glad we did. And in time for The Crown ...I will be able to see even more details of their lovely clothes and the palace. Olivia Colman is already getting rave reviews.  Anybody else a fan?
                                   Image result for the crown season 3
I got all the gardening stuff stowed away in the garage and extra bird seed brought in just in the nick of time before the snow came to stay. I'm running two feeders now and there has been a lot of activity with the sharp downturn in the temperatures.

Keeping them filled, checking the mouse trap (3 more added to the list) and shoveling the steps are my basic outdoor chores which are not that much.  And it already feels like I have more free time with no gardening.
Rex on the deck patiently waiting to get back in the house.  He doesn't at all mind lying in snow.
Miss Murphy, our diva, letting me know at the window that she wants back in right now, as she always does.
We just got in from our morning walk with them (more of a slow saunter for Rex) and the ground is frozen enough to allow tramping around the wetland area next to the pond. This means we can do almost a complete loop of the property on our walks including the area where we watched the snow white weasel last year.  Perhaps I'll be lucky enough to get a photo this year.
Hope your Sunday is wonderful!
Linking this post with Kathy's QuiltsSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkHome Sewn By Us, Brian's Home Blog and Love Laugh Quilt.

Thursday 14 November 2019

Who is Listening?, New Yorker Puzzles, Honey, Netflix Docs

What a difference a week makes! Tuesday night it got down to -24 C with the wind chill. I'm now wearing my bedsocks to bed. Anybody else have such an item of apparel in their wardrobe?
Taken from one of the bedroom windows- I can't get over how deep into winter this looks so soon, too soon!  Is this going to be another very long winter, sigh.
We received this little gizmo/ personal assistant as a free gift with the new TV.

 You just have to say Okay Google, play violin music and a polite voice replies and voila, music begins.  Hubby has been testing it's ability to keep up with the weather.  It's been fun using it though we do wonder about the stories of it listening in and recording conversations. Here at the wooden house, that would be quite a snooze. Typical for us:
Hubby: What's for lunch? Me: How about a sandwich? Hubby: Okay, wait, have we got any white bread left? Me: Yes  Hubby: And tomatoes? Me: Yes  Hubby: Sure then.   ZZZZ

Do any of you do jigsaws?  I always complete the New Yorker Cover jigsaw online. You don't have to be a subscriber to access the page.  I try Level 3 to make it a little more challenging.  They all feature various artists work for the covers which I find interesting.
 Here is the link to the jigsaw page.
This cover from November, 1988 featured a soon to be very famous artist, William Steig.  Did you know he is the original creator of Shrek? I see a lot of turkeys here.
                     I use honey a lot and lately this kind, Manuka, keeps cropping up. It's supposed to have high medicinal value and is expensive.

 I'm using a wildflower honey now and when it's finished I'm going to give this a try.  Costco is selling it I know.
This article at Healthline states there is now scientific information to back up its health benefits claims. But who knows; they've said that about so many things!

We watched this documentary on Netflix and found it enthralling and heartbreaking. How long do you think someone could live in an abandoned house with just apples from a nearby tree to eat?                             See the source image
I've been staring at the wall in the sewing room.  This must be configuration  #4 of the various blocks and the one I'm most happy with so far.  This one has the four Dresdens on the corners and brings the six embroidered blocks to the center. I have other blocks made to fill the vacancies but think I'll still have orphans at the end.
I've sewed a pile of little triangles to make an outside border of flying geese. Kind of boring but good practice on the machine.  First I thought of piano keys or something fun like that but then realized such a piece as this with so many different blocks could use a more cohesive border.  And using the more neutral gray fabrics would also help in that regard.  Here I tried a few against the embroidered blocks and liked it.
Managed to capture this little sparrow foraging. I find sparrows quick moving and not easy subjects for photos. I guess you could say that about a lot of birds. Aren't his browns pretty though.
I think it is an American Tree Sparrow.  There are so many kinds of sparrows and with the juveniles wearing different colours at different stages, it can confuse identification.
It's snowing out...a light but steady fall.  Hubby is off to coffee with, as he affectionately calls them, the old gits.  But there are still three of us here holding down the fort.
Linking this post with Not Afraid of ColorQuilt FabricationFor the Love of GeeseThe Jesh Studio,  Floral Passions and Paying Ready Attention.

Sunday 10 November 2019

Links, Free Pattern, Projects, Critters, Poppies

I just poured myself a cup of green tea (how good I'm being because I'd really rather a second cup of coffee) and read through some of your blogs. Such great many quilts being finished! I need to find more folks who are not finishing things. Just kidding; I love to see your finishes and I'm that one in the crowd who claps the loudest for you and keeps clapping after others have stopped.  Yes, I've done that embarrassing thing in real life too!
With the weather taking a turn cooler, we do not need wonder if the snow is here to is. This always makes me think of the critters in the pond.  Haven't seen anything stirring in about a month now. Did catch this little guy sinking in the mud...
And that same day the medium sized Painted turtle who also kept sinking in mud.
 I'm thinking they are all under the mud somehow now and perhaps I glimpsed them both on their last day topside, as it were.  They will have to go deep to survive the extreme cold that our winters bring us here in Ontario.

Did you know Kathy Schmitz and Bonnie Sullivan are sisters?  How wonderful that must be to have a sibling sharing an intense love of stitching. They have both been featured in Quiltmania magazines. Bonnies' book, Heart of the Home,is now on a special sale here at Quiltmania with her shopping bag included for free.
                                 See the source image
This lovely is called Poinsetta and Pine and is an upcoming BOM from Shabby Fabrics.
                               Poinsettia & Pine Patchwork Quilt displayed being a Christmas tree | Shabby Fabrics
                   Lynn at the wonderful  Sew n Wild Oaks site has this pattern of hers for sale. Still lots of tender points I notice. I just saw in her recipe section, Lynn has a recipe for Peach Amaretto Bread that is something Hubby would love.
                                    Row-Mancing Alaska image 0
The talented artist, Michelle Palmer generously offers a free Christmas pattern each year. Here is her design, Wren on the Holly, for 2019. No need to wonder why this caught my eye! I plan to download this pattern myself this week.
                           No photo description available.
I'm still back on autumn particularly with my larger project. It is gradually, slowly making itself into something. Sewing borders on the embroidery blocks has been easy and fun.  Two words I almost never associate with me and the sewing machine. I hope to have that all finished this week.
Also on my TO Do List this week...
Cross stitching is continuing on my Quakers while eyeing a Christmas pattern I have. I really want Section 2 finished by the next SAL linkup so must stay focused. That's the beauty of these monthly check ins... Anybody else use a piece of batting to secure needles?
Tomorrow is Remembrance Day in Canada. I make a point of wearing my Legion poppy scarf this month. My little way of remembering my grandfather who died in World War II and my dad who was a Korean War vet. It is large and has a wonderful silky feel to it. I also have the earrings from The Poppy Store,
Feeling thankful for my peaceful home and country, never ever taken for granted.

Linking this post with Kathy's QuiltsSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsPretty Piney,  Bambi's Show and Tell, Quilting is More Fun Than HouseworkHome Sewn By Us and Viewing Nature With Eileen.

Thursday 7 November 2019

Super Thursday Thoughts

Hello, I have so much to talk about and be grateful for on this Thankful Thursday.

It was a cool misty morning down at the pond recently.  As I neared this spot, I caught sight of two white tails...deer, leaping through the brush.  A very autumn look to the landscape that I decided to show you as we have a light snow falling so it does not look like this today.
My old Christmas cactus is rewarding me this year by sending out a few blooms. I've had it a few years with no blooms not even when it was given to me. Why now I don't know.
These are an orangey colour. But they are pretty up close.
I had no idea these Hallmark Christmas movies were so popular till I started reading blogs and it seems a love of these movies goes hand in hand with stitching. Definitely should be on some of your Christmas lists. They are available from a bunch of sites. I typed in Hallmark Christmas Movie watching sweatshirt and many variations on the same theme turned up.
                                        Image result for christmas movie sweatshirt
And Christmas stitching is starting to crop up.  At Sew Can She, Caroline shared this.
                                            The 15 BEST Free Christmas Stocking Sewing Patterns on the Web!

Before I start anything Christmasy I've got to move a couple of projects forward.  Namely the Dresdens.  Hand stitching slows this down that's for sure.  But I have 12 more ready to receive their little black circles.
Interesting and a bit confounding, still lots of scraps.
About the Pumpkin custard...we liked it!  I would use regular sugar next time as the Stevia came through as almost too sweet. I would shorten the cooking time too. Mine was a little bit too set but still tasty.  It's interesting how pumpkin can blend in and not taste exactly like pumpkin in these mixtures.
Warm and cozy - my knitted squares blanket is also cheery against the wooden walls. And a great way to use up yarn scraps.  My inspiration for this project was from the amazing Jane Brocket at YarnStorm where she shares her quilting, cooking and crocheting too.
Many of you are following Jenny of Elefantz as she discusses the various sections in this book of  Jane's,  The Gentle Art of Domesticity available here at Amazon.
The dogs and I along the deciduous tree trail; the sun was bright enough I had my eyes closed. Thought I'd share this one too while we had our blanket of leaves. (No these are not my "good jeans")
Hope you are staying cozy or cool where ever you are in this amazing world of ours.
Sharing this post with Not Afraid of ColorIt's a Small Town Life, The LLB Gang, Floral Friday FotoCreations, Quilts, Art...Whatever and The Needle and Thread Network.