Thursday 30 January 2020

Winter Survival Stuff Here at the Wooden House

Lately our footsteps from all the days before are visible like small ruts in the snow. Melting and freezing enshrined them, then more snow has softened their look.  We pass the pond every day and I always think of the turtles and frogs marooned in their mud heaven far beneath the frozen snow covered surface. Most likely the same turtles I held in my hands last summer.

Keeping warm is important to me. I suffer from cold toes and fingers...the first parts to feel frozen, sometimes even when I am not particularly cold if you know what I mean, so I am a bit fussy about what covers them.  All my life when shaking hands, I'm the one who has to say sorry cold hands but you know cold hands, warm heart.  So when you say to me stay warm, believe me, I am.

So I naturally think of this when winter starts.  If there is an investment in my wardrobe, it is in the warming things.  Cozy sweaters, turtlenecks, down vests, anything fleecy, my bed socks.

Younger daughter and I both took advantage of the Boxing Day online sale to order this Columbia down filled coat and I'm enjoying it. The link is here if you're in need of a long down coat.


Lined leggings- what an invention for us northern folks! This article in Good Housekeeping rated the 8 Best Fleece Lined Leggings. I have a pair from Under Armour that have actual fleece on the inside and they are the best for our outdoor walks.

I survive the winter by encouraging my plants to survive. ☺
When I think of an indoor garden, I think of a house I used to pass in one of the towns I've lived; it had a large porch on the front with a row of windows. Geraniums and ivies climbed to completely cover the window space and there were always flowers showing here and there.
  My claim to indoor gardening is a bit sketchy but I continually love to give it a go. I have ten or so plants most of which sat in the outdoor pots during past summers. With no sun facing windows, I feel like I'm just keeping them alive- barely, in these winter months. It's wonderful when we do see the sun so I move those that enjoy it to the patio door area to soak up a few rays.
Geraniums never let me down even to sending out the odd bloom mid winter.
I guess hobbies also include watching and recording all the critters around me which continues in winter....including this black squirrel below hanging off the bird feeder and can't miss really because look at that tail. How in the world did it get that distinctive missing fur ring?  He is a little aggressive with the smaller squirrels; did the tail suffer damage in a skirmish with something more aggressive than him. It reminds me of an old fashioned bottle brush my mother used to keep handy under the sink.
Other Hobbies too because creativity is good for mental health and staying busy is good for the mind and body especially when freezing rain is keeping us inside. We have had more of that these last two winters.
The Stitching of course -this week I've been working on this...
Getting the last of the Dresdens stitched into manageable panels.

And the first sandwiched ....the backing I've picked is this pretty blue with polka dots which are something I love. Pleased to have this project to this point.
But don't have quite enough of the blue so maybe I'll use a panel of this white with grey polka dotted fabric that I've had out of the bin for months to remind myself I have it.
And hand stitching blanket stitch around the appliques for the Little Cabin in the Woods.

Which leads me to the last of the survival stuff for this post which is great TV viewing while stitching which makes my winter nights fly by.
Lately we've enjoyed this one...Vera, played by the wonderful Brenda Blethyn, is back with another season.  I love how she runs her hands through her hair and dresses seemingly willy nilly.  But make no mistake, her clothes are high quality...I've spotted several Liberty blouses and her shirt dresses are beautiful. Brenda says Vera has the clothes but doesn't know how to put them together exactly.
   Actress Brenda Blethyn during filming of Vera on South Terrace in Wallsend, North Tyneside
She's most famous for her hat and coat which are Barbour...and cost a pretty penny.

When teaching, I used to find January a long month but this one, the first of 2020, seems to have flown by. Surviving quite well in that case, I guess.  Hope you are too!
Linking this post with Not Afraid of ColorAlyciaquiltsFrom Bolt to Beauty , It's a Small Town Life, Floral PassionsFloral Friday Fotos, In the Jesh Studio, Confessions of a Fabric AddictViewing Nature With EileenQuilting is More Fun Than Housework and Elm Street Quilts.

Sunday 26 January 2020

2020 Celebrating, Scrappy Dresdens, Colourful Cardinal and Flowers

Are you doing something special the 20th of each month this year?
 Many people are since this kind of number doesn't happen often- just once every century...1818, 1919, 2020.  Some are buying a little gift for someone, a flower for themselves, a special dinner or dessert, a treat in some way to mark being alive and kicking in this remarkably numbered year, I guess.  What do you think?

I have about half of the scrappy Dresdens sewn together so basically half a flimsy.  The plan is to set this up to begin hand stitching the quilting lines this week.  With it in two pieces I can manage it, kind of an extra large quilt as you go experiment.  I just can't handle large quilt sized pieces but I'm happy this project is moving along in its own way.

After I get this all sewn, I hope to start piecing together the basket blocks this week.

 I took ages to find a shade of red fabric that matched the cross stitched Cardinal and then a piece to match that.  Here is what I've made so far.  Sadly I don't think my stitches are as good as when I worked this one just about 10 years ago I think.
 Think I will keep adding to make a small cushion. Thanks once again for the suggestions and Wendy at Pieceful Thoughts (who has a cat, Wilbur, who is very helpful with her quilting; Murphy is useless) for this particular one... as a bowl filler which sounds like a great idea but I'd already made it this big.  I'll try to remember that as I have more of these small cross stitched and embroidered pieces tucked away.

I continue to be happy enough with my progress on my large cross stitching  piece, Swirling Flowers...a few more of the motifs are finished and I'm onto the last two final sections.
 Our monthly SAL hosted by Avis at Sewing Beside the Sea is catching up with each other again this week.  Lovely stitching  from all over the world.
AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborah, Mary MargaretRenee, CarmelaJocelynSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJ

A goal from before Christmas -I have all my photos sorted and uploaded onto my new Acer. Whew, that turned out to be a much bigger job than I would have guessed.  I had accumulated over 5000 photos and wound up discarding many in the process. I do take all the photos of animals, birds and flowers I share here, unless otherwise noted. Having a blog has encouraged my photography efforts and I'm thankful for that.
Also thankful to link this post with Quilting is More Fun Than Housework,  Elm Street Quilts, The Madd QuilterLife in Pieces, Love Laugh QuiltPretty PineyHome Sewn By Us and Kathy's Quilts.

Thursday 23 January 2020

Scandinavian Redwork, Christmas Coins, Home Comforts

Snow blowing (Hubby)  and shoveling (Me) were chores recently as we felt the effects of a Colorado low move through that brought us about 25 cm of snow. What I got to work with was not nearly as much fun as his giant toy...
Birds steady at the feeders these far chickadees, nuthatches, goldfinches and small woodpeckers and briefly, one cardinal. Blue jays occasionally join the group. This little woodpecker whisked away a seed to eat in peace and quiet (or stash) in the birch tree. Downy or Hairy???
SIL gave me the rack below for Christmas and I've already enjoyed displaying a couple of quilted projects I had forgotten about.  Here is the Scandinavian Redwork project I completed last year. This was so enjoyable to stitch.
Murphy photobombing.
So happy the scrappy Christmas Coins are a flimsy! And for something that had a lackluster start by me just wanting to use up more of the scraps, it turned into something pretty.  The jelly roll strips made it so easy too. Thanks for all the comments and suggestions about it.
Last week I got to spend time with both grandsons, time I enjoy so much.  Older grandson and I went to Best Buy for him to use his gift cards, then to dinner.  He's 15 now, definitely doesn't need me to kidsit and we talk about movies, cars, books. My sister had given him a copy of Dune for Christmas which he was very happy with.  He's still holding onto his kind nature and is a big animal lover too.
Teen years were never easy but is it just me or do they seem to be treacherous nowadays in this new world of ours. I know I sound like an old fogey when I mention all this online stuff as just one of the things that worry me for their sakes.
 The two grandsons, back in September, 2016
Murphy is always joyful on the trails, no matter how cold and snowy.
BTW, some of you express concern about our well being outdoors in snowy conditions. You needn't worry; we are well dressed for the weather and as long as we keep moving, we don't get chilled.  We both believe winter fresh air is invigorating and try to adhere to a two walks a day regime in said air.
While that is true, the coming inside to a warm house with the kettle boiled ready for tea making- small comforts, are never more appreciated than in this season.
Image result for she was an adventurer at heart
Hope you are enjoying small comforts today and every day!
So happy to link this post with Not Afraid of ColorBrian's Home Blog,  Paying Ready AttentionMy Quilt InfatuationIt's a Small Town LifeConfessions of a Fabric AddictFrom Bolt to Beauty Wendy's Quilts and More, Viewing Nature With Eileen and I'd Rather B Birdin'.

Sunday 19 January 2020

Cabins in the Woods, Christmas Coins, Hearts Too

Our house yesterday-view from the feeders at 4 pm
I had lots of emails about the bunny photo I took through my bedroom window shown in last post.  These are cottontails and do not dig burrows but mostly make use of available spaces to huddle in and use as nurseries. We see them year round and the winter gives us more information about their numbers and where they are hanging out. We think they are also using the wood pile at the back door to hide in. Their tracks are unmistakable and we have many, many lines of tracks crossing the property. Perhaps they are healthy as a population, here anyway and pretty safe close to the house. They provide me with amusement when I generally catch sight of those puffy white tails bouncing along and away from me on one of our walks. Just on Thursday that happened twice.
Today's project getting my attention is the table runner I'd labelled Little Cabin in the Woods. I will begin the applique starting with the cabin and trees there around it. Hope to have it done by the weekend.
This is the week I also start sewing the Dresdens together!  Fingers crossed as I have a vision in my head of what they should look like. And also I want to finish up these Christmas Coins which I have begun.  So far I am pleased with how it looks.  Jelly rolls are so much easier than measuring and cutting long narrow pieces of fabric...with my crooked eye anyway.  No Kidding!!
What's percolating...something with hearts maybe after seeing some of your projects. I'm not a huge huge heart fan but I do like them.  So a smallish project for now.  And it will have to be scrappy.  I have an insane amount of red scraps...where the heck they came from I don't know.
I'll share a project made with hearts next time.  I've admired it for years.

I have this book below checked out from the library once again for probably the fourth time.  I asked the librarian if I could buy it as I'm the only one checking it out.  She said as long as it's being checked out it stays on the shelf.  I pointed out that I was the one doing the checking out but it didn't matter.
Bit of a catch 22. Oh well.
Loads of hearts in this book.  Cheri's facebook group is still going strong this many years after her sad passing. A huge file of free patterns now available there also SAL's, etc.  Quilts By Cheri~Friendship Group
Though primitive in style, I'm intrigued by how some folks can take such patterns and make them look completely modern by the fabrics chosen or a design tweak here and there.  Stitchers amaze me so much with their boundless creativity. That would be you I am talking about!
Hope your Sunday is going well...stay warm, dry, or cool depending on where you are, but all stay hydrated!
Happy to be linking with Kathy's Quilts, Home Sewn By Us, Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, Love Laugh Quilt and Our World Tuesday.

Thursday 16 January 2020

No Bake Refrigerator Peach Cake, Three Beauty Products

I must admit I am worried about how much of our planet is being incinerated right now as I write these words. With a preschool understanding of world politics, I can only wish for any changes necessary be made and that help continues to pour into these areas.  And that the people who need to take on the mantle of environmental stewardship, do so in a meaningful way.  Hope!
                                  Image result for bible quotes about hope
This reminded me of another small cross stitch project I finished...I can't remember when exactly.  I think at the old farm when I was seeing cardinals for the first time and was amazed by their colours.
They stand out so much around here amongst our brownish/greyish coloured songbirds. Now that I have unearthed this, I will figure out how to use it somehow.  A little too big for an ornament, though but would work well for another small project finish.
I promised to show you my online shopping from Green Fairy Quilts.  I've had my eye on the Minick and Simpson Northport fabric and when it came on sale I decided to splurge. What I was actually shopping for was the Kona jelly roll in is more of a light cream which I think will suit the project in mind better.  So now I have no excuse not to get these brilliant Christmas Coins strips sewn together.
 This was my first fabric purchase in a long time so it was exciting and it will be my very first time using a jelly roll!  Wish me luck!
A long time ago, I promised to show you three beauty products I've been using and liking. I never wore any makeup for decades of my life so this whole beauty product thing has been a later in life adventure for me.
First up is the L'Oreal Age Perfect Rosy Tone Cream.  I talked about this last year and I am now on my third jar.  My skin is dry so this somewhat thicker face cream works well for me and I do think it brightens me somehow.
                              Image result for helen mirren loreal
The middle item is Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer.  I have ghostly pale skin and anything tinted is usually too dark...even once when I had a facial, the lady did not have a cream light enough for me. This one is ON1 Petal which is the lightest.  I use it sparingly and for special times and it is light and blends well...another problem I have with tinted creams.

I also have dark shadows under my eyes and I am always looking for undereye creams that would help with that issue.  This one, the Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector, light to medium, works well for me. I use a tiny bit of this in the corners and it gives a little reflecting sheen depending on how you move.  I guess reflecting light is a good thing.
Pretty basic stuff.  (And just for the record, I absolutely do not have any affiliation with any of these make up folks in case you are wondering).

I love the idea of a no bake cake recipe.  We still have Christmas chocolate floating around...But when I read this remarkably simple and delicious sounding No Bake Refrigerator Peach Cake I had to bookmark it.
So on this delicious note, my post today is done.  Oh, just one more photo.  Bunnies are once again hiding close to the house, especially under the rock landscaping in the back yard. Another favourite spot is under the bedroom window area where there is warmer air from the furnace pipe doohickey and the air conditioning unit provides some shelter. They are all cottontails.
A little comfort and shelter during the snowfalls.
Happy to link with Not Afraid of ColorNeedle and Thread NetworkSugarlane Designs,  My Quilt InfatuationViewing Nature With EileenClever Chameleon and It's a Small Town Life.

Sunday 12 January 2020

Bobby Bateman, Red Toile Fabric, Flu Shots

We have many large coffee table books, most from Hubby's parents. One is Robert Bateman Natural Worlds. One of our blogging friends shared why she thought hawks were her spirit bird.  I was pleased to see this beautiful painting of Robert's and thought of her.
But my favourite of his is this watercolour called Backyard Birds he painted when he was 14 and Bob Bateman...after Bobby and before Robert.  I love it.
It brought back the memory of the day a hawk visited our front yard, hung around watching the feeder activity and long enough for me to get photos. It was thrilling and no small birds were lost that visit either as far as I could tell.
I'm almost ready to pull the plug on the Dresdens.  When's enough enough!
I almost started to stitch them together when I got sidetracked by this below...and did a little dreaming.
I look at this large piece of fabric, Christmas Classics from Northcott, often and wonder what I could make with it. It's been with me for years and moved from house to house with me.  Definitely something I still love, toile-like in design and rich in colours...burgundy running to a red tinged pink.
Remember my bedroom curtains are red toile. I'm so old fashioned.

But on the other hand, I'm seriously trying to quell a case of startitess. Which I notice some of you are succumbing to.:) Which totally makes me want to too! It's infectious!
✱Speaking of succumbing...I did get the high dosage flu vaccine for seniors while at the doctors last week. My doctor thought it was a good idea.

Hoping to squelch the startitess itch with some slow stitching of flowers today...while a wild winter blows outside my window.
Hope your Sunday and upcoming week are wonderful!

Thursday 9 January 2020

Remnants- Christmas, Words, Garden, Fabrics, Home

 A while back I posted a little verse from Proverbs about using kind words.  I was thinking this morning about how some words said to us even decades ago, stay with us, maybe forever. It could be stinging words, but also may be kind or complimentary words. Like the first boy I liked when I was about 14 told me one day that I had nice teeth and I was ever so pleased-he knows I'm alive and he thinks I have nice teeth!  I always smile when I remember that-his comment and my reaction.  Do you have such a story about remembered words?
                                    Image result for memory is the power to gather roses in winter
Finding something of interest in the sad Hydrangea remnants is this little guy....can you spy him?  There must be something good there because they leave the sunflower seeds at the feeder and rummage around in these patches of my ugly gardening. His colours blend well.
Remnants of Christmas, some that will linger a long time,..
Small treats

This beautiful plant, a Madagascar Jasmine, will be my pleasure to try to keep alive! Must read up on it.
My sister sent me this lovely ornament, a cardinal.  I love it.
And my ex who is my friend gave me this...
So Christmas 2019 is pretty much all tucked away.

This past week I've been engaged in some pretty but kind of mindless machine sewing.
Sometimes I have to take a break from the stitching that is more concentrated like counting linen threads in cross stitching and do what I call mindless sewing.

Those thrift store remnants- the pretty Christmasy ones, yielded enough smaller blocks for me to make a number of chains. I added white and green or red from the scrap bin because I could see this could turn into enough for a small coin style quilt.

 Of course, like most stitching ventures, that didn't end there. Shopping became involved.
This led me to a little online purchasing-more about that later.

With that I come to the last item in today's remnants theme...
 North America is peppered with abandoned communities and my home province is as well.  One of these made the news recently when one couple made the decision to stay on even after the lights were finally turned off-literally.  The community is Little Bay Islands and the couple is Georgina and Mike Parsons.  Their story was told in the National Post and in this Washington Post article .  They have also started a facebook page called Kintsugi chronicling their days living off the grid in a ghost town that can only be reached by sea and that sea is the great North Atlantic. I invite you to check it out because Mike writes exceedingly well and also very touchingly about his feelings.                          Image may contain: sky, outdoor and water
With their dogs, their chickens, solar panels and their wood stove, they are determined to not only just survive, but to live a meaningful life and enjoy the experience of supreme solitude that can be found in a deserted Newfoundland outport.
Great to link up with Not Afraid of ColorFloral FridayThe Inquiring QuilterThe Needle and Thread NetworkViewing Nature With EileenQuilting is More Fun Than Housework,  Tish's Adventures and It's a Small Town Life.

Saturday 4 January 2020

Free Quilting Patterns 2020 Style, Winter Projects, Icy World

One word for the weather lately, icy! But I'm not complaining. It has been mild and with cleats on our boots, we are good to go.  Ice rimed everything for several days; it weighed down the trees, broke small branches and turned the pond into an ice rink.
I need to update you about ongoing BOM's for 2020; it is always fun to take a look at the free ones with a hearty thank you to designers and their generosity in sharing.  Here are a few more links to check out. It's safe to say there is something out there for everyone. Or as the Spinster Stitcher puts it, to blow up your skirt. (I've been following Connie for years now.)

Barbara Backman will be offering a free BOM in two ways...pieced or appliqued.  Called Yankee Notions you can check it out here. Many of you enjoyed Hospital Sketches last year.

Suzy's Sitcom is offering a free bench pillow sized pattern for each month of the coming year.
First up is this one...nothing like a bright cardinal to catch the eye.
Snuggles Quilts is also generously offering this free BOM for 2020.  Details are here and it looks to be primitive style-interesting.
At Stitching the Night Away, cross stitchers can find a comprehensive list of SAL' s for 2020.  I need to take my time to look through them,-there are so many, some free, others not.
I have another motif finished on my cross stitch project, Swirling Flowers.
Cross Stitched flowers and motifs in Pinks, Lavenders and Blues
I would have had more done but had to spend a session unsewing. I'd incorrectly assumed if one of the spokes was 10 blocks, all of them were. After finishing the whole outline, realized that was not the pattern, some are 8.  If I am one block off, my rule is I'm okay to leave it (depending on where it is), but two or more, no, can't do it.
It is our monthly SAL link up party hosted by Avis at Sewing Beside the Sea ...We are now heading into a new year together!
AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyLindaHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborah, Mary MargaretReneeJennyCarmelaJocelynSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJ

 A little winter scrap project I'm appliquing is this one I'm calling, not very imaginatively,  Little Cabin in the Woods.  Still testing out fabrics and colours, etc.  Hope to make it long enough for one of the side tables. This is fulfilling a promise to myself to work on smaller projects this year.
A Christmas present- Anybody else Bob's Burgers fans?
So think of me, the world outside my windows snowy white, as I sit here cosy inside waiting for supper to finish reheating...a combination of Thursday's chicken and rice and yesterday's Indian food.

Hope the first week of the brand new year finds you all off to a great start.
Linking this post with So ScrappyKathy's QuiltsLife in PiecesSmall Quilts and Doll Quilts, Letting Go of the Bay Leaf , Bambi's Show And TellOur World TuesdayClever Chameleon,  The Jesh Studio and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.