Thursday 28 May 2020

Sun On My Back, Needle in My Hand, May Blooms

Hello all again.
  Hubby had been hesitating to go for a ride with his little gang of motorcycling men but the lovely sunny weather last Wednesday tempted him and he went. Of course, he thoroughly enjoyed himself. Met the group in a parking lot where social distancing was not a problem and off they went. They did not stop for lunch like they usually do but he came home a tired but very happy camper. And that's a good thing here at the wooden house where we are still very much in isolation otherwise.  Here he is with his Ryker,  a three wheeled motorcycle.
Sun on my back and dirt under my nails. There is always something to do in a garden. It reminds me of going into the sewing room. I'm never there long before it's head down working away at something or other. I made an order to a local nursery and they say they have a bridal wreath spirea in stock so I added that to the list. Yea!
 However, my gardening has been derailed by this. When it's 20C at 8 am you know it's going to be a hot one.
The temperature that day reached 36 C (that's 96.8 F for my American friends) with high humidity. I can take heat but at a certain point I find the humidity draining.
 I cooked a roast chicken dinner that day! The day before we had picked up a grocery order (on line and no contact service) that included the largest fresh chicken they offered and I didn't want to freeze it.  So I put it in the oven when I got up and had it cooked by 9:30 before the heat got too bad. We enjoyed it with vegetables and last night I made leftovers into hash.  The last of the chicken will make a curry tonight.

I trot about the property every day with my camera and last week found the white trilliums, the pretty provincial flower of Ontario, in bloom. It is also the state wild flower of Ohio.
 Blooming a bit later for us here because of our wintry spring.  They are white but if cool temperatures touch them overnight become tinged with pinks and violets. Another delicate flower blooming on the forest floor.

Found this little guy, a painted turtle, smack dab in the middle of the back yard concrete steps. He looked dry and very dusty. Where had he come from?? I took him down to the pond where he will be much happier I'm sure.
No sign of that crazy robin, thank heavens. However, this little fellow crashed into a window; something I've not had happen here. Photo taken through the window. Any idea what he is? His breast was quite speckled. A baby maybe.
 I held my breath while watching out for him but after about 15 minutes I could see him moving; another 5 minutes and he was gone. Thankfully! We had a terrible time with this at the farm and I had to put up these whirlygig things which worked well.
I'm finished all I want to do with the Book Club Hand Pieced QAL project for now; it is a flimsy. I need to get my hands on some very thin batting to hand quilt it somehow.
 Hubby did the honours for me so I could get a shot in the sunlight.  Finally a photo that shows the true colours.
 I'm very happy I participated in this wonderful SAL. Always new things to learn! This was my OMG for May over at Elm Street Quilts which I achieved for once!

I've been cross stitching mornings usually early with the light so bright.  I am experiencing a little eye strain so have to pace myself. Oh this skater needs his head! Funny how the camera shows you things you didn't notice.
This Sunday is our SAL link up party time hosted by Avis at Sewing Beside the Sea.  We are all astonished by how fast three weeks go by!
So we must be having fun!
AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborah, Mary MargaretRenee, CarmelaJocelynSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLindaSherrieHelen

Our Thursday is another hot one so our walk was early and now sheltering inside.
Always glad to link with Not Afraid of ColorFloral Friday FotoPaying Ready AttentionConfessions of a Fabric AddictFrom Bolt to BeautyKaty's QuiltsViewing Nature With EileenMeadow Mist Designs and It's a Small Town Life.

Thursday 21 May 2020

Needlework, Birds, 2020 Wild and Planted Garden Growing

It is the green season right now. Amazing how the earth renews itself and I am equally amazed by the transformation every spring. But amidst the greens, little spots of colour also so welcomed. The tiny violets are popping up in the back garden too thanks to the sunny days this week we've enjoyed very much.
Coincidentally I came across this beautiful painting by artist, Paul Wolber, called A Mother's Day BouquetYou can see more of Paul's work here.
A Mother's Day Bouquet: Wildflowers by Paul Wolber
Also appearing in the back garden and equally small, lungwort, which I wish we had more of.
We had our silly robin return, the one who battered himself against our windows for two springs now thinking his own reflection is a competitor. This time he was relentless and when I covered the large window he started out with, he moved on to hit the other windows around the back of the house.
 He actually drew blood on the patio door. We had one of our spring snowfalls and very cold temperatures for the next week and he finally disappeared.  We wonder if he is okay.

Here he is at the sewing room window. Poor fellow. Luckily, with the overhead lights on, he would leave this window alone.
Another successful year for the Indiana Barred Owls. The three little owlets have left the nest and are hopping about in the nearby trees still fed and monitored by both parents. These owls are amazing parents. I see them and wish I could pet them. Here are the two oldest who branched first in a photo from the All About Birds site..
Bird Cams FAQ: Barred Owl Nest | All About Birds All About Birds
Striving to lay good stitches on my cross stitch piece.
Beautiful silk threads came with this pattern and I'm finding them persnickety. They snag easily (have to keep an emery board handy) and they also don't lay like the DMC floss. For instance, the old rule of twisting your needle a certain way as it's pulled through the fabric in order for the thread to lay untwisted doesn't work with this kind of thread. I only just realized that the ice is forming a heart; duh- it is the February block.
So happy to have the Book Club QAL blocks all done and on the wall. You would not believe how long I stared at these blocks and rearranged them to finally get this arrangement. These colours and fabrics were out of my like zone but I do like them all better now that it's together. I thought I might try some element from one of the blocks to use for a border. Still experimenting. This is an angular design overall-more curves would make me happy. I did learn that I find black jarring in that it stands out so much when you use more of it. But yet, I do admire black and white quilts so much!
I used my Marti Michel templates for several blocks so for those I had to "size them up'. Here is Amy at Diary of a Quilter's post by Leila Gardunia on how to resize blocks. I agree with Amy; it actually adds interest to certain blocks when that has to be done.

I've been gardening- raking and pruning. It made my whole body ache a bit.  I think the bending, getting up and down. But it was a good tired like I knew I had used my body and it's also a good feeling knowing work had been done. Learning to pace myself too especially in warmer temperatures.  Always thankful that I can do this myself.
Thankful too for linky parties like these: Not Afraid of ColorFor the Love of GeeseWendy's Quilts and MoreKathy's QuiltsViewing Nature With EileenQuilting PatchFloral Friday Foto and Paying Ready Attention.

Sunday 17 May 2020

Wild Violets, Quiltmania Free Patterns, Book Club and Pieces From the Past QAL's

Stay together
Learn the flowers
Go light
-Gary Snyder

I am happy this morning  because as soon as the dew is dry, I'm heading out to the garden. At last, a day with warmth and dry enough to do some raking.  I hope to clean up some of the ugly gardening I deliberately maintained :) for all the insects and critters. I'm also going to put out our veranda chairs and hope I don't jinx anything weather wise by doing that. It's time to put out the hummingbird feeders as well.
 I dried many seeds last fall with the hopes that they could be planted this spring in spots along the lane way.  Wish me luck!

A sure sign of spring; the northern blue violets have sprung up in the lawn. Such a pretty but also tiny wildflower which you can't tell from this photo.
My stitching fingers have been busy.
I sewed two of this block, Elizabeth, for the Book Club Hand Pieced QAL. (They are different fabrics though it's hard to tell.)  All these blocks have been enjoyable to sew and the ladies have provided clear instructions as well as videos which are also very helpful.
Sitting on a piece of old Sevenberry cloth...I really need a new ironing board cover.
Diann at Little Penguin Quilts has sewn all her blocks in reds and they are so pretty. Take a peek  here.

I've also hand pieced another Flower Garden block...Melva's Pieces From the Past SAL free project.
I'm going to work my way through blues and enjoy the stitching journey.
There are so many quilt alongs happening, it's wonderful to see.
 Here's another that I've downloaded the free patterns and will enjoy stitching, I know. It's from the clever folks at Quiltmania, my favourite quilting magazines. A number of designers from around the world have generously contributed a block to what they are calling the Solidarity Quilt.  This pretty block is Barb Vedder's contribution.

A house block...hard to resist, isn't it?!
I've got work to do, flowers to learn, while the weather cooperates. Hope your Sunday is great.
Always a pleasure to join the linky parties at Kathy's Quilts and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Thursday 14 May 2020

My Aurifil Thread Prize, Treats, Basket of Diamonds, Contentment

Spring continues to play hide and seek with us.  Ottawa has now recorded lowest temperatures on record for a few of the days this week and snowflakes keep dancing outside my windows (but not landing thankfully). Now they say Saturday will be normal for here. It seems a little like a carrot on a stick so I am not, as the saying goes- preparing my joys.
We continue to spend our days in a certain amount of busyness. The two of us are basically happy hermits who for the most part, find enough to do in our near surroundings without pining for much else.  Hubby is still enjoying cutting dead wood and clearing new trails all the while lamenting he can't work like he could when he was 40 (which is half his present age).  But I know he likes to get out in the fresh air, put to use those tools he's bought over the years and also ride about on his fun four wheeler. It also totally justifies the nap he likes to take when he comes in.

I've been happily checking out garden centers that offer curb side pickup.  Every year I buy a new flowering bush for the front garden. I keep looking for a Bridal Wreath spirea which is next on my list. This is what I'm dreaming of.
 NOT MY shrub:  a photo from Nature Hills Nursery
                  Bridal Wreath Spirea
I finally got a photo of the duck on the pond and that morning there were two of them. Mallards both. My fingers were cold so it was hard to adjust the camera and I was crouched in the little place I've made as a sort of blind.  I will have to get more comfortable like find an old stool if I'm going to hang out there for any length of time. I just can't seem to crouch for long any more.
I got well treated for Mother's Day.  A meal from a local restaurant, mimosas for two and home made goodies. It was nice to eat someone else's cooking for a change. And look at that lovely planter.  It is inside for now till the air warms up a bit. Murphy was so excited - someone was here!
A sweet tulip which matched this week's table cloth and sweet treats.
I was a winner! On the facebook group for the Book Club Hand Pieced QAL, I shared one of my blocks and won the prize that week. This was extraordinary because almost always prizes are only awarded to US folks because of the high cost of shipping, which I totally understand. So I never even read what the prizes are for any of these giveaways or SAL's.  But how nice to get this little package of Aurifil threads called Calm in the mail. That was a treat too and I know I will enjoy using them.
I have Basket of Diamonds, No. 1 made.  I used my Marti Michell templates. I think it is the same as Melva's.  This is machine stitched. I will be trying another.
I've never cared for the use of the word happy...the defining of what it is exactly so hard to put into words as I do think of happy as a floating kind of feeling. I've always thought being content is more grounded, more attainable and a more enduring emotion. In this saying it looks like I found someone who agrees. ( Whoever the heck he was!)
There is no greater disaster than not to know contentment.
-Laozi, c. 550 BC

I hope you are content though circumstances are trying.
Happy to share this post with Not Afraid of ColorBrian's Home BlogPaying Ready AttentionMy Quilt InfatuationViewing Nature With EileenHolunder BluetchenI'd Rather B Birdin' and It's a Small Town Life.

Sunday 10 May 2020

Happy Mother's Day, SAL Updates,Talking to Mom

First of all many thanks for the interest in my post about free vintage embroideries, Free Vintage Patterns and Several Vintage Style Projects.  I really enjoy sharing the great sites I visit around the internet and giving those folks a well deserved little shout out.  Hearing that some of you find enjoyment or patterns to download, etc. from them makes my day!

I have finished January's block for my cross stitch project, Year at Hawk Run Hollow.  I enjoyed the stitching very much but have to do it in the mornings when the natural light is at its best. These blocks are fairly large at 6 x 6 in each which you would not think from just seeing the pattern.
This is our link up day for the international SAL hosted by Avis at Sewing Beside the Sea. She is doing a happy dance today because her lovely highland landscape project is finished. You can see such an interesting variety of projects if you visit these stitchers.
AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborah, MaryMargaretRenee, CarmelaJocelynSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLindaSherrieHelen

I've sewn a few more little freezer paper, hand stitched baskets.  Pattern called Basket Case is from Michelle at Michelle Ridgeway Designs and I must check what she is intending to do with hers before I make up my mind about these.  I'm tempted to add a few embroidered flowers to the centers there. Love the pinks.
I've downloaded the next block, Basket of Diamonds, for the Pieces of the Past SAL hosted by Melva at  Melva Loves Scraps.
It is another sweet little block, also a vintage pattern and I can't wait to give it a try. I enjoy reading about their history as well.

I'm a little late posting today because I was on the phone, something unusual for me. I was talking to my mother who was having a good day.  She likes when we chat about food and old recipes. Today I quizzed her about an old dessert type square she used to make for her card clubs. It had a graham cracker crumb base and used a can of fruit cocktail. She remembered it also needed a can of sweetened condensed milk something she would have had to make a point of buying just to make these squares. It was always a hit especially for those with a sweet tooth. I must look it up sometime as Hubby would probably like it. I don't know if they still make fruit cocktail in a can though.

So lastly Happy Mother's Day to all celebrating today! Photo Credit
Motherhood in nature is so often a joy to behold.
Also happy to link with Kathy's Quilts and the Needle and Thread Network.

Thursday 7 May 2020

Pieces of the Past Flower Garden Block, Scrappy 4 Square,Blocks, Soda Bread, Flowers Outside!

From the journal of talented Alexandra Schmid.  An illustration I think our watercolour painting friends, LeeAnna and Mary, might like. And sadly, mess is the word. For all our technology and advancements, a virus is going to leave quite a mark on mankind.  But we are doing our best to make the best of it all and I love that.

A few other things I love...
We are enjoying watching The Village on Brit Box and I think I've had tears in my eyes once every episode. Warning: It is grittier than most of these shows tend to be, though after the first episode it all eases up. Maxine Peak is a favourite of ours from her Silk days.
And Tilly our turkey has been visiting the feeder regularly early morning or late afternoon for a week or so.  She loves scratching underneath and seems to be having good luck. I read that they are omnivores and eat a variety of items.  I hope she is eating ticks.
Here she is fleeing by way of the side garden. Look how green it has become over there.
I love how people have taken to their kitchens to cook and bake during this time. Wonderful recipes turning up. I'm hoping to make banana oatmeal muffins soon and clear out those old bananas I've stuck in the freezer.
  I did make another soda bread loaf last week and added raisins and a little sugar this time. We enjoyed it almost to the end. It dries out quickly. I had thought of making a small bread pudding out of the leftovers but we didn't leave enough for that so Murphy got the last piece.
I'm happy there is more light and what there is of it, seems brighter. It is May after all but with the possibility of snow in the forecast (thanks Polar Vortex!), it isn't a given that there will be warmth.  But all my indoor green things are greener. And sighted on our trails, the trout lilies are blooming, a sure sign of spring. Such a delicate flower to bloom on a forest floor. I love them.
I've been continuing to stitch scrappy four squares as a border for my baskets. I will have cleared out almost all of the smaller scraps of browns, creams and odd yellows by the time I finish this.
My hand stitching projects are progressing.  Love how the various pieced sections of the Flower Garden block make such a star.  Everyone loves stars! From Melva Loves Scraps Pieces of the Past SAL.
A few bright spots in the garden. Worried now they'll get clobbered by the weather on the weekend.
No raking just yet.  I read we need a daytime high consistently 10 C which we have yet to achieve. And with overnight below freezing temps, I'm sure hibernating insects have not been awakened.

Murphy outwits us every time and manages to plunge herself into the pond on most walks. Oh how she loves the water! We watched her one day lie in a puddle and flip to her back wriggling about even though there was hardly any water.
But yet when we give her a bath, she looks sad and bedraggled like we are punishing her.
Hope this Thursday finds you all well.
Love linking with Not Afraid of ColorPaying Ready AttentionMy Corner of the WorldQuilt Fabrication , My Quilt InfatuationFloral Friday FotoBrian's Home BlogGone Stitchin'I'd Rather B Birdin' and the Needle and Thread Network.

Sunday 3 May 2020

Free Vintage Patterns and Several Vintage Style Projects

This post was initially published May 2, 2016 and was updated May 2, 2020.

I've discovered that writing a blog is a great way to keep a journal like record of  bits and pieces of my life.
  As well, it prompts me to take photos which I probably would not bother doing.  I definitely would not be celebrating my handiwork the way recording it online is encouraging me to do so.  I've stitched, sewed, knitted and crocheted all my life but rarely shared it, definitely not the process.  Even my mother did not realize I could crochet till she read my blog and asked how did I learn.  I couldn't remember; it feels like I always knew how.
 The blog also helps me see how long it takes me from start to finish on my many projects.  I usually think I've been working on one a lot longer than I have which is interesting.
  So blogging is good for all kinds of reasons, not the least of which is providing a needlework record.  I encourage anyone who is toying with the idea of starting a blog to go for it...jump in.

Here is a little hanging I made for Hubby and me six years ago.  I loved working the embroidery on this. It is Hedgegrow Wreath from Crabapple Hill Studio and I added our initials in the middle.

Here is a vintage style appliqued and embroidered basket top that I made 7 years ago (I'm so happy to still have it.) Meaning: It survived my fire.
I have a strong memory of the enjoyment I felt making this too. Sorry I can't remember who designed it.  But when I examine the chain stitches I can see I'm not as neat and tidy with my stitching as I used to be.  I guess the hands are not as steady which is a little disappointing.
I can see I quilted in the ditch with a pink thread; I wonder why I chose that.
Happy May!
I read that May in the Southern Hemisphere is the equivalent of November for us here in the North.
What an amazing place this planet is! 

This vintage embroidery transfer of Lily of the Valley and Hawthorn, flowers for May, has been in my files for several years.   This and patterns for all the months as well as many more vintage motifs are free from the wonderful Pattern Bee site.

Another pretty free vintage pattern is available from The Spruce Crafts site.
Vintage-Inspired Bloom Frame Embroidery Pattern

The wonderful (as I think of her) Mary Corbet at her equally wonderful site, Needle n' Thread, offers a huge bank of free embroidery and cross stitch patterns. Click on Patterns in her headings to do some exploring.

                              Hand Embroidery Pattern: Art Needlework Daisies
Another site that provides lots of information about vintage embroidery and quilting is Q is For Quilter. Martha Dellasega Gray used to run a Free Friday pattern post, such as this one, Bird with Polka Dot Dishes. Though this site has not been updated, all the posts are still available including patterns.

No shortage of inspiration and patterns to be found around the internet, vintage and otherwise.

It's like I misplaced a whole month because I honestly don't know where April went.
Do you feel like that too?
So happy to link up this post with Kathy's Quilts and Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.