Saturday 29 August 2020

Birthday Thoughts, Stars Not in the Sky, Mr. Fix-It, What To Do With Leftovers

 So I had a birthday last week.  I walked around all day thinking now I am 69, what exactly am I feeling. I kept waiting for some sort of revelation from that big number, the one before 70. And true to life that when you chase something down. thinking you can run it to the ground and capture it, it doesn't happen. I had a perfectly normal day doing the things I usually do; however, with a heightened sense of how lucky I was to be here in this safe spot, moving my body with comfort, thinking clear thoughts and breathing fresh air.  Maybe that was my revelation, that what we crave is normalcy. If we are in a good and comforting space, then we don't want it to end or to change a thing.  Enough is enough.

I do have plans for this year. Nothing grand, just me going about my business but hopefully putting more effort into certain aspects of my life. For instance, I'm going to work harder at my overall fitness. I don't particularly have strength or flexibility but I do (used to) have endurance. More work on strength and stretching then it will be.  Right now, my motivation is strong to do this. Fingers crossed it stays with me. 

Above, wildflower Goldenrod in bloom; taken hastily because there were wasps!

Our good spell of all appliances working well ended recently.  Last week the dryer stopped drying though running fine. Hubby had to take it apart and did find the problem- the heating coil had a complete break in it.  I did some flashlight holding and now know more about the insides of a dryer than I ever wanted to. But clever Hubby found the problem, ordered the part online, had it in two days, put everything back together perfectly and now our dryer is drying again! He saved us a bundle in the process and I told him the added bonus was working his brain too. 😊

I made a decision about the Flower Garden blocks from Melva Loves Scraps  Pieces of the Past SAL.  I'm going to stop at 19 which should give me a nice sized table topper.  That means 2 1/2 more to make which I hope to get done soon. I think having this one finished and on a table will be my September OMG at Elm Street Quilts.  I'm still loving the hand stitching. Keeping my hands busy while watching t.v. has never changed for me. I think I'm addicted!

At Melva's link there you will find the latest block for her SAL, the India Star pattern, another pretty star. Thank you Melva for hosting this look at the past through quilt blocks.

I had a profound SQUIRREL moment recently. Items crop up in my mail from Pinterest and a pattern called Easy Hexagon Star Quilt caught my eye. I thought of my small and scrappy stash of Kaffe prints that I don't know what to do with and how much I love a pattern that miraculously makes a star somehow as this one promised to do, so figured I would give it a go.

Here is the link I followed to Calvin and Carolyn and their tutorial. How generous of them! You can see the version of this with white hexagons and colourful points which is a great scrappy project.

And here are a couple photos of what I've made so far. Ten blocks across is pretty much double bed size.

Fun too to have a project that gets stitched up quickly on a machine for a change.

Is this a pattern that would turn your head?

I'm looking up a couple of links to sales and then it's into the sewing room to prep enough hand work to see me through the weekend. Oh, remember the spaghetti sauce I made; it was way too much for one meal so I've looked up what to do with it. I found this site, 18 Delicious Ways to Use Leftover Spaghetti Sauce, and one of the ideas is to use it as a base for soup. Going to do that today too.  

What's cooking at your house?

Happy to link this post with Sandra at MMMQuilts who is hosting our squirrel projects. Also linking with Kathy's QuiltsSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsLove Laugh QuiltQuilting Patch Applique, Our World Tuesday and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Thursday 27 August 2020

Journey Around the Sun, What's Cooking, Yellow Bird, "After Quilts" and OMG

Pouring down rain today but that's okay. I've been outside a lot lately so this is good to be in and taking stock, catching up on a bit of housework, etc. I was up early and made a spaghetti sauce for supper tonight. I like to simmer it for a long time and a tip when using tomatoes in sauces, always add a little sugar to cut the acidity.  I'm thinking of making Baked Spaghetti which sounds odd but is so good. Here at Spend With Pennies you'll find an easy recipe.

Amy at  Diary of a Quilter shared a post I liked about how to choose the batting for a quilt. This is important. For instance, I always wondered if I hand tied a quilt which batting would be best for that method of quilting. 

This video from Karen Brown at Just Get It Done Quilts  was also interesting. I've never given much thought to the different sizes of precuts you can get nowadays with regard to which are the best bang for your buck. Thanks, Karen, for such a great video.

My quilting time this week has been focusing on my Dreamy Hearts cause I think I set a goal at Elm Street Quilts to have it to the flimsy stage. Not quite but progress none the less. I'll blame August for somehow sprouting wings- it's going by so fast. Below my first row of three blocks of nine hearts each. It's so long I had to hang it up for a photo. How long, you ask. Don't know. Measuring is not my strong suit, but I'll find out. I do know it was wide enough for a double bed as I always use the spare room bed to lay out my blocks.

For fun I made a tiny after quilt which Karen also explained in this video.  I sewed together several of the rejected blocks left over from my Farmer's Wife venture to incorporate in the back. I'm still working on the rocking motion for hand quilting but so far, I'm happy enough with the back stitches. 

I think that upside down block on the left is called Nosegay. These were EPP and I cross stitched over a couple of seams that looked a little dodgy.

The Balloon Flower or Chinese Bellflower has bloomed prettily in the backyard with a purple that is hard to describe. Another great perennial.
The very brillantly coloured Ligularia is in bloom. It took a hit during our July heat waves despite being watered so didn't produce quite the show as other years. Now I can see why all the books say it is happiest in shady areas. It is really more orange than these photos show.

The leaves are like elephant ears.

A look back at a couple of photos of the American Goldfinches getting some nourishment from the cone flower of the reasons I practice ugly gardening.

It was my birthday recently and I was over the moon and slightly teary about my cake from daughter.  Such pretty sunflowers. And tasty too.
As always so grateful to celebrate another birthday and better yet to have a chat with Mom. We talked about her memories of the day I was born at Sir Frederick Banting Memorial Hospital (named after the co-founder of insulin) in Gander, Newfoundland.
 Interesting fact about Fred Banting-he won the Nobel Prize with Dr. John McLeod for developing life saving insulin. Fred felt his fellow Canadian, Charles Best, had actually done more work to advance their discovery than did John McLeod so he shared his portion of the prize, as well as honours, with him. McLeod also then decided to split his prize money with the assistant who had worked tirelessly with Banting and Best, Dr. James Collip. Banting sold the patent for one dollar, claiming the discovery belonged to the world, not to him and of course, it has saved the lives of millions around the globe. Will we see such altruism again! 

I'm on the cusp of a big number in years and I have a special plan for this year. I'll chat about that another time. 

Never regret growing old; it's a privilege denied to many.

Lots to like at Not Afraid of ColorPaying Ready AttentionFloral Friday FotoViewing Nature With Eileen and It's a Small Town Life.

Thursday 20 August 2020

Slow Stitching Summer, Pretty Annuals, Two Bird Captures

 I've had to do something I really didn't want to and that is enable comment moderation on my blog. There has been increasing levels of spam. So there will be a delay between you commenting and it appearing in public. Your comments mean the world to me; they show me I'm not just talking to myself so are a vital part of writing a blog. I'm  really sorry about this. 😞

A change is afoot!  The season is turning. It is still August but the evenings are closing in that little bit sooner each day. On one of our gloomy, thunderstorm days, it was very noticeable. Overnight temperatures are dipping down as well so while I try hard to stay in the moment, a part of me is panicking that this loveliest of seasons will soon be over.  Meanwhile, about eight thousand miles away, my Australian friends are welcoming early opening spring blooms while our late summer flowers are in bloom.

I always use a few of those seed packets to try growing a couple annuals in pots. This year I grew petunias which last all summer as long as they are deadheaded.

And white periwinkle that I wish could be a perennial, I like it so much. 

I worked on the collating of my photos on the weekend. More to be done but I will chip away at it a bit here and there.

Veranda stitching this week involved concentrating on my medallion piece. Those small little triangles were so fiddly,

I almost chucked it. But didn't.  When I went back to the site, I saw several folks had omitted this round or substituted another row like number three. I didn't even think of doing that and after investing so much time, I'm not changing it now.  One more row to go-wish me luck! I think I will try it on the machine this time.

The best thing about the Solidarity SAL is the opportunity to try new methods. Like this one involving a little bit of fussy cutting. Here is the back with its freezer paper pieces.

  And the front where you can see I'm still not completely sold on this method. Hate to waste good fabric. Loved piecing the dresdens, of course, and working with a large hexagon. This one is almost all sewn down now. Update, finished.

 The late summer Japanese Anemones are in bloom. So lucky to have four patches of this hardy perennial around the house.
 I stared at one that had popped up in a window well -hardy as I mentioned, and then noticed the little critter there which I rescued. I hadn't noticed before how pretty the leaves are.
I'm happy with two of my bird captures this week.  I finally got a good shot of a Mourning Dove as they are not plentiful here like back at the farm where a few visited from time to time.

And the Brown Thrasher, whose rufous colouring on the back is beautiful. It's spots are very pretty as well.

Hope your week has been going well and the weekend will be even better.

So glad to link with Not Afraid of ColorViewing Nature With EileenKathy's QuiltsI'd Rather B Birdin'Paying Ready AttentionOur World Tuesday and It's a Small Town Life.


Thursday 13 August 2020

Ten Things That Made Me Smile

 Recently I picked up chicken duties at Daughter's house when they went to a cottage for a little holiday. They took their boat and enjoyed their time on the Ottawa River; compensation for missing their annual trip to Newfoundland.
 I love seeing the chickens up close and of course, collecting the eggs. These are marvelous layers. Here they are waiting patiently for me to take a picture before letting them out.
The common wildflower, Chicory, is in bloom displaying a beautiful shade of periwinkle blue. I love how it lines the country roads here.

Purple Globe Thistle is in bloom in the garden.
And very popular with bees-here a bumble bee and a honey bee foraging before it was completely in bloom.  I'm delighted with all the bees and butterflies in the garden this year.
Great free TV viewing On CBC's Gem -The Secret starring James Nesbitt.  A series chronicling where infidelity can lead- and spoiler alert, it's not a good place. Based on a true crime.
                           See the source image
Finishing More Solidarity Blocks- these definitely make me smile. 
Marie Lismore's design 
 You can explore her board Quilts With Personality on Pinterest.
and Sophie Dawson's pattern and you can see lots of her lovely work at her site, Sew Swish Designs.
 A book in the mail, one I've had my eye on for quite a while. Tending the Garden by Barb Adams and Alma Allen, the duo behind Blackbird Designs.
Showing you the photo of the sunflowers in this post reminded me I had a small sunflower tablecloth tucked away.  So I got it out. It's many years old and was made from a panel cut apart and resewn.  Some of you may have the same piece. Certainly cheery!

Spring Jubilee, a print by Jahna Vashti.  You can see more of her work here.  She says every smile brought to the viewer's face is a success for her.  We have not seen a bear here but I have photos of the rest including the weasel to show they all scamper or fly about our property.

Lastly I was so happy these three successfully fledged from the nest on a beam outside our bedroom window.  It made me a bit nervous and feeling sort of responsible to have them there so close.  We couldn't move our blind or curtain because it would alarm the mother. I got this photo when she was away getting food. What a great mother she was! I think the photo I took of a baby robin in the bird bath was one of these guys. 

    That definitely put a smile on my face!    
Hope there is something to smile about in your world today!

Sunday 9 August 2020

Hand Quilting Dreamy Hearts, Complicated Medallion, Bugs Bunny Memories

 Sometimes I get down on myself because I'm not as productive as I used to be and still have in my head that I should be. For instance, there's the matter of my photos. With Windows 10 I can create albums which would be such a terrific asset when trying to find just the right photo to insert in this here blog. I started doing it, was excited about it and then the will to keep doing it drifted off across an ocean somewhere. But the idea of it still nags at me. I really must get that done. I think I'll set that as a goal for this week. Telling you all just might give me the incentive to do this. 

Saturday was a glorious August day. Sunny and about 27 C with little humidity; it was the kind of summer day dreamed about. I spent part of it down by the pond and watched a number of critters going about their business. Time spent that will be happily thought of come winter. 

Lots of chickadees to be seen and heard down there.

Then I got in some time veranda stitching and made a little headway with another round on the Medallion project. It's a bit wonky-these were fiddly to hand stitch- but by the time I get to the last portion, the fourth, I should be surer with how it all fits. 

I'm enjoying the challenge of this nonetheless.

Murphy does enjoy joining me in the front. Dozing mostly. 

Not bothering to even check out our onlooker who comes around as soon as we appear.

I've started hand quilting the Dreamy Hearts. I'm using dark pink DMC thread because I think it suits the theme of these blocks.

I enjoy seeing each of the pretty fabrics up close.

The hummingbird feeders had to be moved away from the veranda. They were inundated with wasps and hornets, the latter with such large abdomens I had to look them up on Google. They reminded me of the cartoon hornets/mosquitoes I used to watch when I was a girl.  I loved Saturdays and especially The Bugs Bunny Show and made a vow when I was ten I would always watch cartoons.  A vow that hasn't exactly been kept but happy memories nonetheless. 😊 I've gotten to watch lots with both the grandsons which was/is fun.

                                 Image result for the bugs bunny show

Hope there is something fun, even if it's not cartoons, in your days to help you through what continues to be trying times. 

Fun to link with Kathy's QuiltsSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsOur World TuesdayLove Laugh Quilt and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Thursday 6 August 2020

Happiest Flower, With a Will, There's a Way, Continuous Small Treats

First of all, what I made with those ingredients I showed in the last post...Scotcheroos. One of my facebook friends posted a recipe for them that does not use corn syrup to our All Day Sweets Pinterest board. I love anything with marshmallow in it so of course, I stuck with marshmallows rather than honey. These were a great treat and I shared them too with the little grandson hence the sprinkles.
My bread machine turned out an acceptable loaf of whole wheat/oat bread on Monday. I've been making a loaf a week and so far we've enjoyed regular white, country white, French and regular whole wheat. It's not the most wonderful of breads but at least I know what ingredients are in it. Hubby likes it which is the main thing.  If you have a good recipe or site to check out for bread machine baking, please let me know.
Cherries are in season and we both love them and have eaten our way through 1 1/2 large bags. Farm fresh cucumber is delicious with a little apple cider vinegar and lemon pepper. 
We have one squirrel proof feeder that has held up to its claims.  However, the heavier squirrels, those black and grey, have learned to climb up and rock it a bit to send some of the sunflower seeds to the ground.  With a will, there's a way.
Garden blooms for now, the first week of August, 2020. White Coneflowers, so loved by bees; the Day Lilies too are all in bloom and the two banks of Shasta Daisies are just starting to die off.  
Summer always shows me a tiny little bit what it must be like to be a farmer. I picture a farming couple standing and looking with such a sense of satisfaction out over their beautiful growing fields.  I never tire of those iconic pastoral scenes here in rural Ontario. 
  For instance, there is a massive sunflower farm we pass en route to a nearby town and once we stopped to take photos. It's just about the happiest sight in the world. So I'll leave you today with that.

Sunday 2 August 2020

Rare Visitor, Slow Stitching Sunday, August OMG, What Will I Make??

My happy chair with a view of the back yard this morning. Perhaps you can make out the pouring down rain. That old expression, the heavens opened up, applies today. We can use it so it's all good. 
For instance, this is a little patch of hardy fleabane and there are many dotting the side lawn. Normally it is pretty against the dark green grass but this summer the grass has disappeared in the heat and the area is actually crunchy to walk upon, a strange sensation.
A bank of violet mallow on the partially shaded left side of the house...I think it has gone feral as there used to be a rock garden there years ago.  In my dreams, I am restoring it.
 I still have some transplanting to do as I did buy those geraniums from the local nursery. The very pretty variegated pink geranium attracted a special visitor that I feel so lucky to have gotten a photo of.  (Hubby will now remind me if I step out without the camera so I usually have it nearby.)

I was weeding the front stones when it appeared.  First I thought it a little odd to see a hummingbird around a flower not at the feeders.  Then I realized I was looking at a large moth of some sort, its wings moving so fast as to make them invisible. It was flitting quickly just like a hummingbird, hovering only a second at each flower.  Off to Mr. Google for the answer... a clearwing Hummingbird Moth though I don't know which one. So happy for this capture!
And aren't those geranium blooms pretty. It will be my challenge (and pleasure) to keep it alive this coming winter. Hopefully this week, I will be truly done with all planting for the 2020 garden.

Which reminded me, I need to order a tripod for my camera, the one with the zoom capability. When the lens gets extended, keeping it all super steady is challenging. I've been looking online and need to get that done. 

My Dreamy Hearts project is moving along. I've begun stitching the blocks together, the ones I've appliqued so far, that is.
 I don't want to turn it into a mountain of blocks and then feel overwhelmed by the task of joining them.
  I've decided blocks of 9 hearts are what I can handle to quilt. 
  It is just straight stitching except for matching the seams. Oops! 
This will be my August OMG over at Elm Street Quilts- to get them all stitched together in groups of 9 and the hand quilting begun. So far I have 8 of these larger blocks. A surprise there are so many stitched and a great start. I feel lucky to work with pretty fabrics and also to incorporate some scraps from recycled blouses/shirts too. 

I have these ingredients assembled for a little dessert square I'm going to make.  Any guesses as to what I have in mind?? No oven required which is an essential aspect of feeding us these days.
While there won't be any lying down in meadows today or venturing out at night by me either-I really don't know what's out there😟, Wendell's words still apply. He's about 87 now and I wonder what he is making of things right now if this was his thought in 1968.
See the source image
I believe nature can save us if only we could put aside the tiny matter of our colossal greed.

With no let up yet in the rain, I'll get to catch up on inside chores this morning with the promise of  hand stitching time later on. But first a cup of decaf and some blog reading.