Tuesday 31 March 2020

To Do List, Blue Scrappy Strings, Book Club Hand Quilting

Our concern has heightened just a bit with the news that the virus has hit a nursing home just one town away from us with 4 people infected. We were going to do the grocery pick up this week but have decided SIL will do it for us.  Basically we are not going off our property.  We are so fortunate and grateful to have our space to walk and roam and more than enough hobbies/activities to amuse us in the house.

With that in mind, we intend to maintain our twice daily walks. We both enjoy the fresh air and Murphy can't live without them! I intend to keep using the elliptical trainer indoors for a little fitness boost as it's a bit icy underfoot outside for jogging just now.
Though wet yesterday, there was a definite smell of spring in the air (you know that earthy wonderful smell!), more of the paths snow free, birds chirping and the chipmunks and red squirrels running about. Life in nature going about its business as usual which is always wonderful to observe.

Here are some specific things I hope to accomplish this week.

 I plan to make a list of my projects on the go and those that are in the queue requiring quilting. I can think of four including my cross stitch/embroidery currently being worked on.  I also want to list those I would like to start next as that is kind of fuzzy just now.

Return emails to friends to catch up with them.

Make nasi goring for supper with the left over roast beef and some of those brown eggs. One of Hubby's favourites...Here is the recipe I usually follow. (I use a little sriracha sauce instead of the terasi.)

Finish reading this book which I finally received as an ebook from the library.
                                      Cover art
 I reattached the walking foot to my newer Singer and am running quilting lines in the blue scrappy strings blocks.  I can work for about half an hour without aggravating that one muscle on the right side of my back.  My aim will be to have this all done this month, the quilting part I mean. That would be a good OMG for the Elm Street Quilts link up. I would love to have the baskets all hand quilted too but that is labour intensive slow stitching so I can't promise myself that.
Yes, that is the instruction manual there as I had to do a little machine maintenance adjusting the top thread tension. On this machine, that involves screw drivers, albeit, little ones. :)

 Louisa is the next block in the Book Club Hand Pieced QAL.  She features that pesky 8 points meeting in the middle thing which made her a tricky one. Here is one version; I intend to make another to work on that accuracy. Oh I should have snipped off her dog ears for her photo.
   I found this great video from Wendy's Quilts and More very helpful for dealing properly with these points.
I have an interesting group of projects on the go, some with challenges which is a good thing. I love them all and that never changes for me...as in I usually almost always love what I work on.  And that's what it's all about isn't it...spending our precious minutes, hours and days doing what we enjoy.

I was thrilled to have a little flock of American Gold Finches visit the bird feeders a few weeks ago. They are just starting to brighten up a little by the looks of it. The males will be such a beautiful lemon yellow in a short time. Taken through my kitchen window.
Hope all is well with you and please stay home as much as you possibly can.
Sharing this post with The Book Date, Paying Ready AttentionElm Street Quilts and Home Sewn By Us.

Sunday 29 March 2020

Free Patterns, Quilting From the Past, Embroidering Flowers

Week 3 of self- isolation and all's well.
 The season is striving to change. Raining heavily as I write but with all the freezing rain we get here, there are banks of hardened snow and ice that will resist.  We are still wearing our cleats as the trails, tramped down by us, are icy in patches.  That's the underfoot news. Above, we've been enjoying warmer temperatures for our walks, occasional sunny breaks that I insist we put our faces into. How good to be alive and feel the warmth out in the fresh air.

I have joined Melva at Melva Loves Scraps for her Pieces From the Past stitch along.  I was intrigued by her stories and being such a sentimentalist, love reading about the past and all the old things. This little block appealed to me so I downloaded her free pattern and set to work. The Lost  Goslin'. Another great one for me to machine stitch and practice preciseness.  More blocks to come and Thank You, Melva for generously sharing.
Being Sunday, old habits kick in and I have a beef roast thawed to make a cooked dinner- mashed potatoes and vegetables. I am going to try Rock Recipes recipe for Perfect Yorkshire Puddings to go with the gravy. That got Hubby's attention! I wonder will mine look like Barry's. He put a recipe for Peach Compote there too because popovers are not just for dinner.
                                Perfect Popovers on white plate for breakfast shown with orange juice and jam
I showed you my Year at Hawk Run Hollow cross stitch pattern I was hoping to begin. My fabric has yet to arrive (sigh) which is worrisome. I keep thinking I must check on it.  Meanwhile I've picked up an embroidery piece that really should be finished after making a small start two years ago. It is a downloadable pattern from Nancy Nicholson called Bouquet Sampler.
And here is what I achieved so far. Thought I'd start with the leaves. The fabric I chose is not dark as this photo shows and has butterflies here and there which I thought appropriate for this flowery piece.

This is our day for the SAL party with these stitchers from all over the world and hosted by Avis at
Sewing Beside the Sea.
AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborah, Mary MargaretRenee, CarmelaJocelynSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLinda

Thank you all for the kind remarks about my Pandemic hair do photo in the last post, It is definitely minimalist but I'm liking it.

Staying home means staying safe for now.  Make sure to heed whatever advice your country is providing. Some of the best medical minds in the world are leading this fight.
Happy to link this post with Kathy's Quilts and Love Laugh Quilt.

Thursday 26 March 2020

Links to Amuse, Hand Quilting, Hair Do Photo, Painted SnowBunny

Well, I don't have to ask because I know the introverts and the stitchers especially are faring well with our imposed isolation. The sewing machines are being given quite the workout these days. Including mine.
But for today I'll show my hand stitching results.
Final look at my scrappy Log Cabin in the Woods piece which is all finished. This was a goal to finish as declared at Elm Street Quilts OMG for March. I hand quilted diamonds in the bottom using a masking tape guide and decided on a starry, starry night for the sky.
 A fun piece to stitch by hand. (Yes, it is a lot of stars but can you have too many stars.)
It's covering the top of the trunk in the t.v. room for now.

Here is Jane, another block in the Book Club Hand Pieced QAL  (hosted over at the Elm Street Quilts) joining Evelyn there.  I fancy Jane Eyre in more muted colours, hence the greys.  She is an easy block; a great one to start with if you'd like to give hand piecing a try.
Here are a few links I've found to keep myself amused.  Hope you like something in the group.

Hubby is a huge granola fan. I found this recipe at The Inn At Occidental web site and plan to give it a try.  I've gathered together the ingredients.
I received loads of questions and emails about the hair cut.  There are many videos on YouTube of how to cut your own hair.  I liked this one as Carmen really took her time with the process. I had no problem with following along. I also used number 6 attachment on the clippers.
And here is my spare bathroom selfie; the light is surprisingly flattering in there.  I put on a little makeup for you. No two hairs on my head are the same length but the great thing about hair is that it will grow! My hair continues to thin in the front so perhaps this is the length it should be now.
Why am I wearing a scarf with a turtleneck?  Nothing to do with fashion. This is a worsted wool sweater which I love but is kind of itchy. The scarf prevents my neck from itching. 😄

How to hand tie a quilt...certain quilts suit this method. Jordan's Quilts made an excellent video of exactly how to do it properly and done in this manner, would definitely secure your layers. The little ties would add an old fashioned charm to a quilt, I think. At the Jordan Fabric site you can find a very nice bank of free patterns for all sorts of quilting projects too.
Sephora Bestsellers for anti aging.  Though I may not use many, I enjoy looking at beauty products.
Top Ten Anti-Aging Products at Sephora

The Fat Quarter Shop has this free downloadable pattern  for the Carolina Lily classic vintage block I mentioned in the last post.  Someone, sorry I don't remember who, asked about a link.           
               Carolina Lily Classic & Vintage Quilt Block | Free PDF Pattern
Many, many of you are ardent cat lovers. I like cats too. This documentary on household cats is fascinating. I learned so many amazing things about cats, like what they can do with their bodies to prevent injury when falling from heights- things I'd never heard of before or dreamed that cats could do. It is a CBC Nature of Things episode.
                        Image result for The Nature of Things The Lion in Your Living Room
I showed a photo I'd taken of a bunny in our back yard recently.
Multi-talented LeeAnna in this post at Not Afraid of Colour shared a watercolour painting she had made of it.
                        Devoted Quilter
Check out that post to see a large version of her painting which really shows her details better. Her Snowbunny is so beautiful! Thanks LeeAnna!

We must try our best to stay positive and do our best to listen and follow the advice of the health experts. I'm impressed with all the stories about community spirit that are emerging and of course, so thankful for all the health care workers, including my daughter, who are on the front lines.

Besides LeeAnna's blog, I'm happy to link this post with It's a Small Town LifeMy Quilt InfatuationConfessions of a Fabric AddictAlycia QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkMeadow Mist DesignsDevoted Quilter  and The Needle and Thread Network.

Sunday 22 March 2020

Pandemic Haircut, Blue Strings Blocks, Baskets (Again)

I gave myself a haircut this morning...shorter than I've done in a while. I'm calling it my Pandemic hairdo. It looks like I could go on the run any minute...no curling irons necessary. If you would like to see it, tell me in the comments.  Speaking of which, I am always so happy to hear from you; it makes my day.

Hey, you never told me there was math involved with setting blocks on point! This has taken me a while to figure out the placement, one that I can manage that is. I've settled on sewing the blocks into four larger panels and doing a little hand quilting as I go kind of thing this week. For the backing I chose neutral floral prints so these are now sandwiches. I love seeing the baskets up close again.
Another old old project is the scrappy blues string blocks started about 5 years ago.  I used thrift store shirts and pillowcases in this one too.
  I also used the blocks to practice 15 minutes a day of free motion quilting, some of it turning out better than others. I have four larger panels joined together and another four prepped as sandwiched panels. I hope I keep this project moving forward this week. I like the blues.
Spring is occurring as I write this. We watched the first trains of Canada geese yesterday flying overhead and honking loudly as if to shout, we're back.  Cool but sunny outside and with the recent rains, the snow is leaving the land. The normalcy of watching a season change is comforting just now.
Hubby spied this little fellow first and called me to come see him.  Fresh from his underground nest, he was sitting for ages just looking around. Haven't seen any chipmunks since last October.
Murphy has no interest in posing, anxious to get going. It is doggy heaven on the trails with many new smells being revealed every day.
I hope you are keeping yourself away, tucked in and safe.  I know the stitchers all are.
Linking this post with some of those stitchers at Kathy's QuiltsLove Laugh QuiltPretty Piney and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework. Also linking with Viewing Nature With Eileen.

Thursday 19 March 2020

Gifts, Quilty Shopping, Itty Bitty Turquoise Triangles

There is so much to keep us busy and enjoy even though a thread of worry is winding its way through these strange days. I'm limiting how much I'm reading about it. I'm concentrating on feeding us well, reading your blogs and choosing the neat things to share with you for this happy Thursday post.

I just loved this little video from 1964 and was totally gobsmacked by how fast these women could knit.  What they produce are works of art really.  The opening bit badly needed an edit but the rest of the film is well worth a watch. Here is the Link as I couldn't get the video link to work...Shetland Knitters.

Julie at this post at The Crafty Quilter shared good news in the form of quilty news.  She shared links to BOM's and QAL's coming up.  I have my eye on the Fat Quarter Carolina Lily one which isn't quite ready yet. I've always loved that block.
Julie also shared a free pattern for a block she calls Glass Half Full.  I really like it.

Quilt-y news is good news and I'm here to share some with you at The Crafty Quilter!
  I made a little piece last year with a lily type block; enjoyed the process very much.

It always helps whatever is the situation when food and treats are dropped off by our own little family.
Chocolate cupcakes decorated by a 6 year old...
And farm fresh eggs
The old jigsaw puzzle is done and a new one underway.  And we have one very large Lindt chocolate ball to finally tuck into. Christmas gifts both.
My last outing last week was for necessities -to a grocery store and a little nearby quilt shop, Happy Wife Quilting.  Jenn, who is knowledgeable and friendly, runs her shop with her long arm services in her home. It is beautifully appointed with lots to look at.  I made these two purchases, a new Oliso mini iron...been scouting this for some time, and more batting. I can't seem to keep that on hand; I guess because I usually buy only little bits at a time.  I must be thinking I will make an actual quilt by how much I got this time.  :)
The colour of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is turquoise.  I went to my fabric cupboard expecting, like Old Mother Hubbard, to find it bare of anything turquoise.  But there were a few things similar to that colour, some with blue too, so I made a few more of those flag blocks.  I just call them that...I think technically they are itty bitty triangle blocks or some such name.
Home- that's where you'll find us for the time being feeling comforted and knowing our glass is half full.


So happy to link up with Not Afraid of ColorIt's a Small Town LifeSugarlane DesignsFor the Love of GeeseSo Scrappy and My Quilt Infatuation.

Monday 16 March 2020

Self-Isolating, World War II Rations, Hand Stitching

It seems like the worst of times are upon us. Hubby and I have begun to self- isolate, a new phrase being slung about. Our joke is that this is actually normal living for us with the exception of not seeing the family.  But it is heartening to see how people pull together in hard times.  The Brits are harkening back to war times and the stoic, chin up attitude that saw them through.

 Not quite the same for us of course. In those days people were called to war to fight in horrific battles and on the home front, exist on meager rationed supplies.  We're being told to stay inside with our Netflix and delivered food.  Yes, all the grocery stores in the nearby little town will deliver to our door. (Mind you, that could only last while there are workers healthy enough to work.) But what I have in the sewing room could see me through several long winters of isolation. Plus there is the comfort of online shopping.

I watched this video and enjoyed it...anything about food catches my eye. Katie eats only a WWII rations diet for 5 days. You might even find foods here you grew up with if you are as old as I am.

Before I forget, I must tell you about the embroidered piece in the header as many have questioned. It is called Sew Love Laugh by Leanne Beasley from Leanne's House. A fun piece to work on and it resides now on one of the two painted walls in this house- this in the sewing room. (Purple, the favourite colour of the former owner's little girl.)
I'm finished stitching the first block of the Book Club Hand Pieced QAL.  This one is named after a girl who dreams of opening a quilt shop, Evelyn.
 I enjoyed this design very much and made two of them.  Since I had made the templates by gluing the paper shape onto cardboard, I figured just as well to use them and try out different fabrics from the ones I'd picked.
It is enjoyable slow stitching in front of the t.v. This week will be spent making the next block and finishing the baskets to the flimsy stage.
The Indiana Barred Owl has laid three eggs so now the fun begins. This is the youtube link to the live cam.
Hope you are getting fresh air while staying safe. We have lengthened our two daily walks in an effort to soak up more of the sun and fresh air. Hopefully, boosting our immune systems. Doing what we can.  
Linking  up with Kathy's QuiltsPretty PineyHome Sewn By UsClever Chameleon and Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.

Thursday 12 March 2020

French Apple Cake, Creativity, Mental Health, Hand Stitching,

I had a hankering for cake on the weekend, thought about it Saturday and relented on Sunday.  I made a French Apple Cake and used several Ambrosia apples that we love from Costco. It was light and delicious...what a great recipe and wonderful instructions from the talented Jenn at Once Upon a Chef. Just because it has French in the title doesn't mean it's fancy- quite the opposite, simple ingredients really. It tastes so good we are not needing any cream or ice cream with it.  And because I'm basically sugar free, it is satisfying my urge for something a little bit sweet.
We've been watching this version of Bleak House on Britbox and enjoying it.  Lady Dedlock is played by Gillian Anderson who I think has a face made for subtext. In this case, hiding well a secret that could ruin her.
                                  Image result for bleak house with gillian anderson
 Dickens' play with words in naming his characters amused us.   I said if he had to name me I would definitely be Mrs. Threadwear. (note threads on my sweater below)

I have a couple photos to share of my start on the Book Club Hand Pieced Quilt Along blocks.
Here with making up the templates.  Some curves to tackle. Love my cardboard stash.
I have a small quarter inch ruler which I've found to be invaluable for applique and piecing and use a pencil to draw on the lines.
Trying to keep my stitches small and straight with a back tack here and there.
I'm thinking of making more than one of some of the simpler blocks since I have the templates ready. I like these first blocks enough to want a bigger finished piece. It's always fun to see how colour choices affect the look of a pieced block.
Up to my neck in baskets in the sewing room. These were freezer paper appliqued and still need a few pieces removed.
I have several trains of basket blocks sewn together. Ongoing at the machine.

Rose at Threadbare Creations wrote an important post about the link between creativity and mental health.  She speaks about finding our flow, a place where being in the moment makes our worries and negative thoughts disappear, is the sweet spot of creative hobbies.   I know it works for me.  Does it work for you?

I'm sharing this video today. Filmed on the Atlantic Ocean's edge, it features the Newfoundland groups, Women's Lady Cove Choir and Eastern Owl, an indigenous drumming group. Warrior made its rounds on Facebook during the International Day of Women and is powerful.  There is something about the drumming that makes it so.
I was also happy to spy a lovely closeup of one of my Facebook friends singing her heart out.

Costco was unusually quiet on Tuesday.  We were actually able to sit and have a hot dog there which we haven't been able to do for almost two years...the seats are always taken.  Toilet paper was on special so loads of it available.
During our walk yesterday we were happy to hear the Barred Owl.  It's been a while. I walked and walked trying to locate him but no luck. But I did get another photo of one of our resident bunnies. They've been living in the wood pile at the back door.
I hope your week has been good and your weekend will be even better.
Always happy to link with Not Afraid of Color, Viewing Nature With EileenCreations, Quilts, ArtFor the Love of GeeseWhat a Hoot QuiltsLove Laugh QuiltSum of Their Stories and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Sunday 8 March 2020

March Weathers, Basket Blocks, Cross Stitching FLowers

Just one of March's many weathers...
March brings sugaring weather to our corner of Ontario as well though we won't be spying daffodils any time soon.  Here is a Tasha Tudor sweet image featuring the dogs she adored-corgis.
                   Image result for tasha tudor march
Can I cram it all into one post, was my thought this morning.  I have so much to say.

First off I'm busy hand stitching  Block 1, Evelyn, in the Book Club Hand Pieced QAL.  I love hand stitching but I didn't realize I would like and be pleased with the results of hand stitching pieced blocks.  I learned that last year when I was doing the same with the Sarah Fielke Grasshopper project; I liked the process and also was surprised with how strong hand stitches can be especially remembering to take a back tack stitch every so often.  As well it does not cause eye strain which my cross stitching seems to do.

My quilt as you go Dresdens panels are sewn together which went surprisingly smoothly.  I had two tucks that had to be released and resewn which was okay especially considering there are about a million seams in this. I still like the look of the piece as a whole.  It is so cheery! It is a good twin bed size at this stage.  Contemplating borders.

I finished my Swirling Flowers as mentioned in a past post. This was stitched on 32ct linen,
And chose this one, A Year at Hawk Run Hollow, to keep my cross stitching mojo going.  I got the threads all ready.
Started stitching the outline on a fabric I had on hand and realized this far into it
that, even though a large piece of linen, it was not near large enough for this design. Halted that and have ordered a fat quarter piece of 28 ct Wichelt Jobelan so no moving forward on this one till that arrives.  Eeek...did not realize just how expensive the larger pieces of linen are! But I'm anxious to get it and get a real start made, hopefully this week.

A bit of bother.  Then Pat at Life in the Scrap Patch mentioned to me what about joining this SAL hosted  by Lori Holt called Prim Village.  Lovely shades so I'm very tempted.  Thinking hard about getting the pattern for later on.
Also very tempted by the Prim Village quilt version which is available as a kit.  I always wanted to make a house quilt.
                    Prim Village Quilt Kit | Lori Holt for Riley Blake Designs
I began stitching together my baskets blocks! I made about 65 of them and this week I hope to stitch them into three panels much like I did with the Dresdens. This will help me manage the eventual quilting.
This is our monthly linkup for our international SAL hosted by Avis at Sewing Beside the Sea.
AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborah, MaryMargaretRenee, CarmelaJocelynSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLinda
An interesting array of  hand stitched projects to see when you visit, being stitched by the kindest, most encouraging group of stitchers to be found.

I guess we'll do a Costco run tomorrow morning.  Seems like a lot of people are preparing for this virus to cause problems here too. Our Public Health have told us to have medicines and essentials on hand. I guess it can't hurt. What are you thinking about all this? Has it reached your neck of the woods?
So happy meanwhile to join Kathy's Quilts and Slow Stitching Sunday. Also linking with Kate at Life in PiecesSarah Goer Quilts, Home Sewn By Us and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Thursday 5 March 2020

Free Patterns, Hand Quilting, Bird Cams, Grandson Time

March, the month of many weathers, is upon us.  There are so many sayings related to this month. Did you ever hear this one... that whatever the weather is on the 21st of March, that will be the weather on June 21st?
A few crows cawing and the chickadees twittering-I've yet to hear any spring bird sounds.  I'm anxiously waiting for the Indiana Barred Owl live cam to come back on stream. That always makes March enjoyable. A link is here to the All About Birds cams if you would like to check out many birds raising their young from egg to fledgling.

  February nature walks with this little guy were one of the highlights of last month.  I love all the walking trails through park land around this neighbourhood. And that this grandson is just 10 minutes away from me.
And my Kolanchoe plant keeps sending out these sweet little pink blooms as if to encourage me.  Spring is near, it's saying.
All of the indoor plants are doing well and now, with steady daylight, no longer having to reach for the light like they did back in January. So not as scraggly.
Judy at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts shared this simple technique she had found for making two nine patch quilt blocks at a time. All the details are  here at Generations Quilt Patterns.  I've bookmarked it to try. There is a large library of free quilt patterns of all kinds to be found at that link as well.

I've registered this year for the Book Club Hand Pieced QAL hosted by Elm StreeQuilts and Simply Homemade Every Day ,

    The templates are downloaded and fabrics chosen.  Looking at slightly different fabric choices for me but I'm drawn to this little range for some reason.  Trying to keep this number tight so I don't go overboard and overwhelm myself...which is easily done. That blue is actually a deep teal colour.

The one on the far left is a thrift store shirt that I had fun deconstructing. Loved the pattern and soft grey colour and being Michael Kors, I knew good quality. Surprising how much perfectly usable fabric can be gotten from shirts. This one cost $8.99.
Here is a great little video from Margo Price explaining how to cut apart men's shirts for quilt material.

What I Would Like
This little guy from Simon's.  He's $15.  A doorstop that is a fox would totally suit here though I haven't seen our little guy since last fall. Lots of tracks though so I know he's about.
                              Image result for simons fox door stop
I'm using a very old cat in a bed brick door stop presently that came from the farm.
Hope your week is going well and please wash your hands!
Always pleased to join linky parties around the net.  Like these...Not Afraid of ColorFloral Friday FotoAlycia Quilts and It's a Small Town Life.