Sunday 28 June 2020

Gardening, Stitching, Not a Picture Perfect Cake, Wet Robin

The tools of my trade these days...I fill my pink weed bucket about four times a morning when I'm out in the garden weeding. By then I'm tired or too hot or hungry. This garden, the cultivated almost 1.5 acres, is a real work in progress especially in my very amateur hands. It is also real work but luckily I enjoy it very much.  
Those gloves have been a real find for me. I can feel my fingers in them so am more adept at pulling smaller weeds than the leather gloves which always came off at some point not to be put back on. My fingernails have been thanking me! Bought at Walmart.
I've also been making more use of the small stool with the handy carrying handle so my back is happy too. 
A photo of the flower beds on this side of the wooden house. Sad note about that large goats beard bush with the white flowers. A brief bout of heavy rain and high winds broke the taller branches and bent them over. However, they are still blooming so I'm leaving it for now.
The beds continue down the front walkway and along two sides bordering the driveway. I heavily pruned that rose bush and it's taken right off.  The hydrangeas are just starting to sprout their flowers. 
I have always kept a few flowers but nothing like this before. It is providing endless learning for me which would be wonderful if only I could remember it all from season to season. I need reminders it seems.
Now about that not so picture perfect cake. Remember?
 The cake itself was fine-my problem was with the frosting.  I had a hankering for cream cheese frosting, something decadent considering my overall diet. And I thought it would go well with the orange flavourings.  I made a basic cream cheese frosting and then decided to add a tub of Cool Whip to it.  I can see now that just a cup would have been fine, but the whole tub turned the frosting into a muddy sliding mess.  I scraped as much as I could back onto the top and rushed it to the downstairs freezer to firm it up a bit.  Which fortunately it did.
 So we've been having a piece of cake and an added large spoonful of frosting; no one's complaining! So yummy and the extra crunchy layer- walnuts, brown sugar and graham crackers, is good too. Hopefully I'll remember this bit about the frosting for another time but I probably won't.

My OMG at Elm Street Quilts was to continue making the  Quiltmania Solidarity blocks, as many as I could manage. Many are appliqued or EPP so enjoyable hand stitching. I've now made seven of them so I'm happy with that progress. 
Heads up for embroiderers. Moda is hosting a free Christmas stitch along called Holiday Stitch-A-Long. I've downloaded the first two patterns. 
We are having a little break from the high humidity which makes it enjoyable to sit outside today.
  We are amazed at how much use the bird bath is getting. All kinds of birds have been in it including a female cardinal (a match for that male that visits the feeder, I wonder) and a variety of small sparrows.  But it's been the biggest hit with the robins who line up to use it.  I'll leave you with a photo of one of our baby robins taking a bath.
Not sure he meant to make himself quite that wet!

Thursday 25 June 2020

American Goldfinch, Wildflowers, Pieces From the Past SAL, Solidarity Blocks and Cake Too

Happy Thursday!
I captured this little American Goldfinch looking at me as I photographed him from the dining room window.  He stared at me quite a while and I worried he was seeing his own reflection and would start  dive bombing it like the crazy robin did. This is their mating time I understand. But no, he soon hurried off with other very important things on his mind, no doubt.
Our bird bath has been a success and I hope to show photos soon of the robins lining up to take a turn. That's been a lot of fun to watch.

I'm photographing the wild flowers on the property with the intention of keeping a record. Here is Birdfoot Trefoil.
And one of the hawkweeds.  If you know which, please let me know.

Melva at Melva Loves Scraps released another block in her free Pieces From the Past SAL, the Modern Broken Dish pattern.  Kudos to Melva for hosting and also for writing such wonderful posts about her family's history. 
I gave it a try this week and was pleased with how it came together for me.  I made four of the center 9 patch design before adding the outer parts to two of them.  I think these blocks can be added to the Quilt Bible line up as the fabrics I'm using are similarly reproduction style.  The photo doesn't show the pretty pinks of that lighter colour.
I also finished Gina Gregory's pretty appliqued block in the Solidarity set. 
I'm enjoying this series of open lectures from Yale University on the modern poets.  I was interested in the professor's lecture on Frost.  It's always interesting to me what gets omitted in these talks. Perhaps kindly people just don't want to talk about less kind things which is understandable.  

We enjoyed this British series available free through CBC's Gem The White House Farm Murders. Based on a true story and a real whodunit. 
                                    CBC Gem - Featured
I made my Orange Crunch Cake and I will tell you what went right about it next time as well as what went a wee bit wrong.
Here's a sneak peak and I'm blaming humidity. 😉
 Hubby is off on his Ryker for his weekly ride and Murphy and I are going down to the pond with my camera.  Another large bird has been sighted there the last two mornings. Hope to catch a glimpse myself.
And hope all is well with you. 


Monday 22 June 2020

Quilt Bible Blocks on My To Do List

Hot June; up in the night. Murphy with me and it was 24 degrees C outside. Windows were wide open after being closed all day. What did she hear?? If only she could talk to help me understand what was so interesting to warrant barking and waking me and then look at me with hopeful eyes as if I can tell her all about it.  
But anyway.  
On Saturday we went to Canadian Tire and bought a Bird Bath which I've set up in the back garden. There are two robins with nests on the eaves and I'm hoping cooling off in the bird bath will help the mothers out in the 35 + temperatures we're still having. 
I've taken to weeding earlier still in the mornings. I've noticed weeds are undaunted by drought and heat it seems. Every year there is a different weed that takes over the front if I let it. This year it is mullien, some of which I will let grow. When seeded later in the fall, it will provide winter food for the birds so I'm torn about pulling it all out.   

Our resident cardinal is still visiting the feeders later in the day, almost dusk, so he is flirting with danger. No sign of a female.                              
I was going to make a cake on Sunday but I didn't feel like having the oven on. Here is the cake I want to make Wednesday when the heat lets up. Orange Crunch Cake from the Bubble Room I wonder will mine look like that...I'll share photos on Sunday.  Photo Credit
I have a small collection of quilting books. One is the Quilt Block Bible by Rosemary Youngs. I made a plan at the start of June to stitch a block a week from it during the summer.
 Starting with easier ones and even with that, I made an error on this one and had to unsew one of the combos to get the pattern right. Sigh
One variation of a Susannah, block 75.
 Machine piecing is like a loss of control to me. Simple hourglass, Block 115.
Here are two I found in the book that I had made before. One to show off  fussy cutting a particular special piece of fabric I guess.
 Block 201, Lantern Light which I changed because I didn't want to cut up that center piece.
This one too. Found blocks are fun.
I read in my journal I began these in 2018 but dropped it with not liking machine piecing. And my instinct is to turn these into an EPP project but I have enough hand stitching right now.  I also seem to be enjoying machine stitching more especially with just a block at a time and no pressure. So far so good. I hope to keep this up with a couple more blocks already cut to sew this week.  Wish me luck!

We intend to maintain our isolation for the time being. We wear masks when we do go to the grocery store. I notice fewer people wearing them now even though this pandemic is far from over.  Maybe folks are getting tired of the restrictions and I know it is uncomfortable to wear masks especially when it's hot, but we've been told they work.  So we are sticking with the program.  How is this working out in your neck of the woods?

Thursday 18 June 2020

Free Online Word Games, Appliqued Hearts, Cheeky Squirrel, More June Blooms

Mister sun has been blazing all week. 
 I've been outside stitching on the veranda every day. I've also been swimming and so glad for the exercise of it. All this time outside has made me think of how our winters really do make us hibernate to a certain extent. For the most part a happy hibernation luckily.
I'm noticing this uptick in outside activities is also making me feel better about this isolation.  Things are gradually opening but for folks in our age range, there are still warnings and precautions to be heeded. But just the thought that things are moving in the right direction is giving me hope and brightening my mood. 

Love how many bees and butterflies are already all over the garden, seems early this year.
One of the Swallowtails on the lilac tree blooms.
Here is the Snowball bush, overgrown, in the back yard. I need to check how to prune these. It was alive with flies, ants and bees I noticed. 
Two free word games I still play most days and enjoy.
Lexulous is a scrabble game you can play on solitaire mode.
  And 7 Little Words is a match to meaning combination of crossword and word find game. 
 Both are trimmed down, no gimmicks or interruptions and easy to work on when you have a few minutes here or there. 
If you know of other online wordy games(that don't hound you mid game to purchase things), please let me know.

I like this fabric line called Tealicious from Anni Downs for Henri Glass Company. Her designs are sort of whimsical and fun.  I would enjoy working on her patterns too someday. This line is available at The Fat Quarter Shop.  We are drinking so much tea these days!

                              Tealicious Slate Blue Tea Cups and Tea Pots Yardage | SKU# 2417-11
My spring ramblings outside would not be complete without getting a shot of a red squirrel looking at me looking at him. I was actually aiming for a raven that was much higher above him, but his impertinence with approaching and chattering at me made the better photo. Reminding him that I'm the one supplying his sunflower seeds didn't impress him.  
I ordered this pattern that conveniently includes three sizes of hearts from Edyta Sitar with the thought of making a heart quilt some day. 
Summertime and with isolation continuing, someday has arrived. I have the idea of keeping it dreamy with soft colours and sort of old fashioned.  The kind of quilt to be made for a granddaughter or a grandmother maybe.
Here are a few of the scrappy pinks I've made.  My usual applique using freezer paper.
Hope you too are finding all kinds of enjoyment in these mid June days. 

Tuesday 16 June 2020

June Blooms, Patchwork Blocks and Relishing Sunshine

Quarantined still; however a few restrictions are relaxing which is giving me mixed feelings.  I'm adopting a wait and see attitude about it as much as I would love to hug certain people.

It's going to be another happy week in the garden. Every day now something new is opening.
More iris blooming...this one not at all showy like the purples.
A little hard to appreciate their colours which are delicate. There are two large bunches of this Yellow Flag Iris here.
And all the sun we've been enjoying encouraged the rose bushes that border the front walkway to come into bloom, a little earlier than usual.  They will now bloom for the summer months.  The bees love them.  These are not a favourite of mine (though I appreciate their beauty)...they wither quickly into brownish blobs and with the thorns, I have to use shears to cut them off. And there are a lot of them. I've not been able to pin down their name but they remind me of a hardy old style garden rose like the wild ones I'm familiar with in Newfoundland. Let me know what you think they are.
 I'm still weeding lots, an hour or so each day, but now nothing urgent to do or overwhelming. 
I'm happy to say that the flowering Weigelia, Sonic Bloom, that I planted seems to have rooted well and the bees are also enjoying those pretty blossoms.
Hubby found a surprise when he checked our propane tank.  This looks like a red squirrel's nest. It would have been very cosy indeed with all that white fluffy insulation gotten from the nearby garage ceiling.  Make no wonder we have so many of those little guys running around.
  I like this latest Grandmother's Flower Garden block because I love indigo shades. 
I've hemmed and hawed and finally settled on white for the centers.  I tried blue, grey and black; the black probably worked the best but I'd had my fill with black centers when I worked on the dresden project. It was a toss up really.  This week I hope to sort out how many to stitch together to begin hand quilting them. I have a lot of blue in my cupboard but as we know, not all shades play well together. But I'm good for the meantime and still enjoying the EPP stitching.

A couple more of the Solidarity blocks have been stitched by machine. Good practice for me. And two of the appliqued ones ready to be stitched this week.  This is Jane Gregory's block and I was pleased with how it turned out. I might even be able to handle a log cabin design which is on my bucket list. 
And this one which is Jane Bromberg's block.
Well, my sunny world outside my door is completely enchanting me.  Every green possible is there and all the pretty flowery colours too.  Am I so taken with it all because for so much of the year our world is made up of greys and white, I wonder. 
I hope your June days are as interesting to you where ever you live and whatever season you are experiencing. 
Linking this post with Home Sewn By UsLove Laugh Quilt and Our World Tuesday.

Thursday 11 June 2020

Gardening Workout, Pink and Red Applique, Quilty Mail

I'm working on the new Blogger platform- fingers crossed this works out. 
 I've now planted the few new flowers and two new bushes and also transplanted a number of things.  I've still got to move this Bleeding Heart plant that is blooming prettily though mostly shaded behind the back deck wall and completely out of sight. I'll look it up if autumn would be a good time for that.
 Perhaps the other trees were not so tall when it was planted there.
  In between the garden stuff, I've been getting the pool ready. We heat it with a special wood stove and it is my job to run the stove till the water temperature is okay. Usually three days gets it done and if the summer temperatures stay high, it will only need to be used once or twice more. Also I've swept the back stone walkways...with all the fir trees there is a carpet of needles after the fall and winter. Again a once a spring time thing.  Yes I'm still busy outside which is good for me. 
A small but vibrant patch of primrose also hidden in the back yard. Again as with the irises, the blooms fade quickly. I think I lived here two years before I discovered these.
These chores have definitely eaten into stitching time. However, my two figure skaters have their heads.  I hope to finish this February block this weekend.  March is a lion so that should be fun to stitch.  ( I sometimes  run extra lines of thread to keep me on track and it makes the counting easier. ) 
I'm happy to finally finish these two blocks of the Solidarity SAL. How out of shape am I that my arms are tired in the evenings!
 I used EPP with freezer paper templates.

 I spent a couple of hours veranda stitching last weekend which was so enjoyable. Summer has begun with lots of sunny days so far.  And lower humidity for just now. Murphy is not nearly as excitable and actually rested nicely with me out there. Even the red squirrels running about didn't interest her. What a great place to keep an eye on the birds.
I just made a cup of this Twinings Honeybush, Mandarin and Orange tea...with a tiny bit of honey, it is wonderful especially if you like an orange flavour.
I received an order from the Missouri Star Quilt Company, a fat quarter bundle of French General's Le Beau Papillon.  Their service was marvelous. I couldn't resist the sale.  Are these prints that would appeal to you?
Le Beau Papillon by French General  38 x Fat 8ths Bundle image 0

 And I liked their message to their Canadian buyers.  

Canadian Rates
For our friends north of the border, we'll keep it simple, eh'. You get $10 flat rate shipping on all orders! Packages are shipped via FedEx's International Economy option and delivered within 2-6 days, depending on proximity to the US Border. So, grab your favourite (yeah, that's right, we spelled favourite the Canadian way) Tim Horton's beverage or bowl of poutine, and kick back and relax while you order 'til your heart's content.
I'm grateful today, as always, to be feeling well in body and mind.   

Thursday 4 June 2020

Applique in Reds, Chunky Chocolate Cherry Muffins, Hummers are Back

Hello all, It is ceiling fan time at the wooden house. Thankfully these are in all rooms (except the small ex sewing room) with two in the main area.
  Cloudy today but muggy. While the world is tragically chaotic, all is as our new usual for us.  We are venturing out a little more with forays to the grocery store in our masks and trying to lose the feeling that we look ridiculous like white haired robbers.

We lost a day and then gained it back. We blamed that on last Saturday feeling like Sunday. Hubby ordered the same thing twice and I forgot perferred isn't a word. These are the small happenings that make us question how we would fare on the Alzheimer's test.

The lid to our tea pot, a thrift store purchase that matched our dishes, broke. Hubby drilled a hole in the bottom so I can use it for a planter.  This necessitated him do some tool shopping, an activity he enjoys, for a diamond drill bit.  Here is a sprig of cheery Coreopsis Sunkiss. 
I made these muffins and decided they needed a boost so iced them with pink icing topped with a cheery cherry.  They are chocolate chip and cherry muffins and the recipe is at Rock Recipes under Chunky Cherry Chocolate Muffins.  I snuck in pumpkin seeds. I blame my hankering for icing on Colette who shared her cake decorating frosting skills HERE.  Her giant frosting roses made my mouth water and I'm not a big sweets fan.
It really is a great thing to be working with pretty reds and pinks during these strange days. This is the Margaret Mews block for the Solidarity SAL.  A simple applique one all prepped ready for stitching. If you are thinking about trying applique, this is a great block to begin with. You can get the free pattern here.
I don't think I showed you the finish of my Kay Mackenzie flowers extra long runner from way back. I made it purposely this long to fit the coffee table in the t.v. room.
Patterns from Kay's book Inspired By Tradition.

 Hand appliqued and hand quilted, it has a very soft feel.
The hummingbirds are back.  Not a lot like last year yet but steady visiting.
Our minds are reeling with all the sad news in the world just now. Humanity is being tested, of that I have no doubt. But never forget the world has survived many such tests. There are good people in the world still doing good every day.
Always a good thing to link with Not Afraid of ColorPaying Ready AttentionMy Quilt InfatuationFrom Bolt to BeautyFloral Friday Foto and It's a Small Town Life.