Thursday 29 October 2020

Medallion Quilt, Dreamy Hearts Finish, Jenny Wren, Free Patterns,

 One of the things I love this week was getting a photo of a wren. I've often caught sight of them down by the pond because I think they like the heavy shrubbery on three sides. There is a meadow there as well and loads of grasshoppers which I know wrens are fond of. However, it was right in front of my kitchen window that I managed to grab two quick shots of this little guy while he was checking out the decaying plants.

 In the third shot I took he was a complete blur.

This was my redworked wren from that Crabapple Hill Designs series, Flight of Fancy.  Perhaps I've shown you all of them now. 
We don't have the banks of sumac here like those that lined the farm driveway, but there are a couple of bushes. Amazing reds this time of year. 

Before I forget, the header photo is one I took a number of years ago. Hudson's Farm puts pumpkins on a cart in this field every year and you are on your honour to pay for one. You can see the cash box there on the left by the big pumpkin on the end. 
Remember I started a Medallion quilt back in August. I have been working on it a little. I set up the next round which are Spools and have 7 of them sewn. Every little bit moves it forward I figure.
I may have more time to devote to it as my Dreamy Hearts quilt is a finish! It was my October OMG at Elm Street Quilts. I'm happy with it and it is now tucked away to be a Christmas gift.
It is very soft and warm and single bed sized.
Recently there was a great little blog hop hosted by Carol at Just Let Me Quilt. Sewists shared their patterns for quick little quilty gifts you can make. Two of our Thursday Likes group shared their work at these posts, Pieceful Thoughts and Life in the Scrapatch.
And I love this too.
Lena generously shares her free pattern for this lovely Moon Flower block at her Lena Pugacheva Art Quilts site. Lena also hosts the Friday link party, Creations, Quilts, Art.
Just love this too- both the hands and the message. The photo is by Newfoundland photographer, Ned Pratt, and is used by Nonia, a non profit organization that has been selling hand made goods by Newfoundland and Labrador women for over 50 years. These are the hands of one of those women. 
I know by working with wool and fabric I am doing what my mother, both grandmothers and the one great grandmother I knew as a child did. That great grandmother had snow white hair, sewed quilts by hand but it was her gold tooth that fascinated me.

I'm thinking this morning about how the fate of humans all over the globe may well be in the hands of  scientists and researchers. They are working tirelessly to achieve the perfect concoction of a vaccine for us, one that will be safe in and of itself and also protect us from this awful virus, a monumental task. I am very thankful for them, their knowledge, unceasing labour and care. Here is a link to a Q & A with one such American researcher talking about how their quest is going. 


Monday 26 October 2020

Pumpkin Soup, Auction Bidding, Binding Stitching, Christmas Quilts, Mouse Update

 When in the work world, I often lamented not enough time for my hobbies. I used to think I would spend all morning reading for instance, when I retired and had nothing else to do. However, to sit around reading in the mornings still doesn't work for me. My days must still have busyness in them but, what do you know, there is no end it seems to the things to do. Filling the hours is not only not a problem, it is uncanny how busy we seem to be and this is even in a semi-lockdown situation.

Autumn Ornamental Grass at the Farm

For instance auction bidding took up part of one evening. Pool stuff, a headboard for our bed, duck decoys all caught our attention and we won everything except the ducks which were my favourite part. We were willing to go to $50 and they sold for $55.  There were four wooden and one ceramic. This is a house that totally suits ducks. To do this week will be venturing to a new part of the city to pick up our winning items. 

Last night I made the barest of meals. A pumpkin soup cobbled together with veggies from the fridge added to a large can of pumpkin. One of the recipes I consulted suggested adding maple syrup and despite misgivings about it, I did, a little at a time, taste testing all the way.  It was good and gave the raw pumpkin added flavouring, which if you've ever tasted it, you know it needs. Toast rounded out that supper.  Feel like I should come up with something with meat for tonight.  Protein, iron and all. 

About meat. I must research and order a Sous Vide for us. I've talked about it for years now-even here on the blog, and don't know what is stopping us. If I'm going to pay for grass fed beef, I should be cooking it carefully and properly. Apparently these things take all the guesswork out of it, a good thing for me these days. And they're not just for cooking meat. Even oatmeal can be cooked perfectly with a sous vide. This video explains how versatile it is. And I do like my small appliances!

Look what's keeping my lap warm these nights.  I machine stitched the front of the binding and am now hand stitching it to the back.  I picked more modern and not exactly flowery kind of fabrics for the binding but ones that have soft colours to suit the hearts. This must be finished this week no ands, ifs or buts!

Down the Rabbit Hole Looking: 
I found this free pattern for a more modern-ish looking Christmas quilt I thought you might like too.

The link is here at the All People Quilt site.

While searching about I found more I liked here - Swoodson Says- 30 Modern Christmas Quilt Patterns, so you can take a stroll through yourself.  It's from 2018 but still more or less modern I guess.

Mouse Update

 Two Humane Mouse Traps- Mice captured and released to date-6

I forget just how tiny mice are. This one was itty bitty with a tiny sharp nose. Yes, I have old batting and cloth in there because it is cold in a metal box on a concrete floor. There is also crackers with peanut butter. Daughter said I'm providing hotel accommodations, mouse style.

As long as it keeps them out of the cars, that's all I care.

Here's hoping all of you have a great week.

Linking this post with Kathy's Quilts, Our World TuesdayQuilting is More Fun Than Housework, Home Sewn By Us and The Jesh Studio.

Thursday 22 October 2020

Visits- Abby, Animals, Chimney Sweep and Hexagon Quilt, Parachutes Quilt and Free Pattern

The weather has been best described as indecisive lately...sun, cloud, cold and then warmth...this fluctuation ongoing all day long like Mother Nature can't make up her mind. All over the place and this week rain and cloudiness thrown in.  The season is trying to change that's for sure. 

So happy that Abby came along with SIL when he dropped by to do a few bigger outside chores (like straighten a chimney on the garage- Hubby is no longer allowed up on roofs). The two Labs get along well and Murphy tolerates the much younger Abby's intense friskiness no problem. Hard to get a good photo as Abby kept wanting to hug me. The friendliest dog we've ever seen.
Keeping with chimneys, we had our chimney sweep come for his biannual visit- he's always cleaned the chimneys here so knows just what to do.  I watched him on the roof and was happy he was wearing special boots for walking on metal roofs. I'm always worried about bird nests in chimneys but he's never found one here. He mentioned starlings are prone to doing that and I've not seen any starlings so far. He made me think of Santa up there. 😊
I saw this on Facebook and just had to share it as it was so intriguing. Fascinating really. It was a great year for bees here; I've never seen or photographed honey bees before and so many of them. And this amazing sculpture below is controlled by live bees! This article at the Smithsonian explains how it works.  Prepare to be amazed! I found this wonderful free pattern  from generous Allison at Cluck Cluck Sew called An Hourglass a Day. Easy to sew (even for me), stress free and a great little pattern for those taking part in the RSC or wishing to use up those scraps.  

My Hexagon Stars quilt is now a flimsy! It measures 56 by 70 which makes it a great throw size. I enjoyed working with the pattern enough to think of doing this as a truly scrappy version with white hexagons and multi coloured points which could use a lot of scraps because why are there always so many of them. This project started as a true squirrel...I was intrigued when I saw it and just had to give it a try. A great use of some old Kaffe fabric (with other brights) as well.

Something similar happened last week when I got inspired to try another pattern. I mentioned it in the last post and spent ages trying to work out a pattern.  Here's part of that venture. Not much to show for like two hours...
The fans are too large I decided even though I was okay with the overall finished block.  Well a few kinks to work out like the wonky curve and where those stitched lines are meeting in a mess there.  Can't have that.
But at least you have an idea of what I have in mind.  I'm going to call them Parachutes. I've since made the parachute pattern a little smaller but keeping it in an 8 inch block. I'm also going to stay with dark blue backgrounds and alternate patterned fabric with plain for the fans. Perhaps use up scraps of the Kaffe fabric and some very old batik material I have. I've since found another link which better illustrates this idea....Tokyo Jinga , an interesting site that sadly ended in 2015. 

In this photo taken through the old sewing room window back in July, you can see two deer visiting our little side lawn, a popular spot for them.  
They are extremely skittish and can alert to sounds made inside the house.
You can't see it but a little rabbit was grazing on the edge of the woods at the same time. I was happy to get photos of them all by changing cameras to the one with the zoom.
Looked like a healthy specimen too, happy to note. 
Murphy and I often catch sight of their cottontails leaping away from us on our early morning walks. 
I've forgotten to mention we have put out a trail cam and so far have photos of just two animals...rabbits and fox. It is a fun thing to do and Jenn at Cottage Country Reflections regularly posts their trail cam footage -loads of different animals and she lives in our neck of the woods.  I'm curious if we will see some of them too.
This is Thursday so lots of thankful, positive posts floating around the blogging world. You can visit more at Not Afraid of ColorIt's a Small Town Life, and  Brian's Home Blog. Also linking with My Quilt InfatuationConfessions of a Fabric AddictSo ScrappySmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsViewing Nature With EileenApplique Patchwork QuiltingRandom-osity and For the Love of Geese.

Sunday 18 October 2020

On Line Shopping, Embroidery, Garden Flowers Still, Squirrel Moment, Ugly Gardening

  I had a funny thought this week when I ordered checks online from my banking site. The smallest order was for 100 and I figured these will probably see me through now. I so seldom write checks anymore. It wasn't a sad thought just like oh yes that's true now.

We have an overabundance of office supplies. This is thanks to auction wins and having extras thrown in during one of them that we did not bid on.  This week I'm planning on organizing the smaller totes and storage bins with the intent to lessen the amount. Just how many staples, paper clips and elastics can two old people make use of.  Especially in a world where we are committing less and less to paper.

Shopping-Online of course. It's younger grandson's birthday early next month and I've found several games for him at Amazon so I've got to get that done. The three of them have a family board game night which is a great idea.  

Mail came. I've wanted this book for a long time and finally ordered it from The Book Depository which offers free shipping worldwide.  When The Cold Wind Blows from the ladies at Blackbird Designs.

Practicing my ugly gardening. But before I talk about that exciting thing, some of the flowers did so well in spite of the overnight temperatures dipping down, they've amazed me.

Here's brand new growth on the rose bush. Taken last week and I'm so happy that heavy pruning I gave them in the spring didn't founder them.  I think they are quite old so it might have.

And a touch of frost brought out streaks of pink/red in the new buds as seen above and below which was interesting as the blooms are white.  I've never seen this before.
Update: However, we had a heavy frost two nights ago and all this bloom has been affected.
This week I'll be putting all the final flower pots away and start to stack wood on the veranda for the fireplace.

I've been slow stitching a lot which most of my stitching seems to be.  I decided to embroider herringbone stitches over all the hand stitching joining the pieces on the back of the Dreamy Hearts. It should help make the quilt hold together better as I am hoping this one will be used on a bed. I'm using a variegated pink DMC and enjoying it very much.  This quilt is my October OMG so I'm trying to accomplish that posted goal - for once!

And I had a squirrel moment on Friday but I have an excuse.  I really needed a distraction from sad feelings and this suited just fine.  I'll hopefully have something to show for my couple of hours in the sewing room working out a pattern.  Eager to give it a try actually. After a little machine stitching, it will require more hand stitching too. I was inspired by this article at the AQS site featuring variations on Dresden plate, a block you know I love. More later - I hope. :) 
 Almost forgot...I mentioned ugly gardening. Here is one of the tiny but precious reasons I feel privileged to do that.  Taken from my kitchen window.

I hope your Sunday is a swell one!


Thursday 15 October 2020

Canadian Thanksgiving, Snacks and Cake, Neon Pink in Nature, Flower Garden Quilt Back

Several people asked about the Canadian Thanksgiving; some had never heard of it so I thought I'd write a little about our celebration.
  In fact, in Canada, Thanksgiving has roots reaching far back in our history.  It started with the 1578 celebration Martin Frobisher, who was looking for the Northwest passage for England, had with his crew in Canada giving thanks for the safe crossing and protection in a dangerous land. But it was in 1879 that our prime minister made it officially a national holiday and it remains a Federal holiday since then with many working people having the Monday after Thanksgiving off. It used to be in November till moved to the second Sunday in October to coincide with harvest and also so Remembrance Day (Armistice Day) and Thanksgiving could each have their own appropriate observance. 
When I was a girl, us church goers celebrated Thanksgiving at church. The altar was always laden with harvest items and the theme was one of gratefulness for harvest and our bountiful life in Canada. Interesting note for my American friends, during the Revolutionary War 1775-1783, Americans fleeing to Canada brought their Thanksgiving traditions of turkey and pumpkins which, because they were delicious, soon made their way into our celebrations too. However, our Thanksgiving has never gained quite the prominence, though a holiday for many, that the great American Thanksgiving enjoys. 

 Long weekends in the work world are something we all love no matter the reason.  I know I certainly did. Now, in retirement, it is moot as they are all long weekends. 😊
 Here are some other things I liked this week. 
Like several of you showed, our Burning Bush turned neon pink too, not red this year. I wonder why.
It certainly made a show of itself with that amazing (and kind of surreal) colour.
Getting to finish up my Flower Garden quilt is a pleasure. I'm working on the border and looking at the back here.

My quilting stitches are a little wobbly in places.

But having the border follow the star points gives it some added interest.

I found this sweet little online fabric shop; Lady Belle Fabric  -that is a link to their quilt kit page where there are some sales and lots of inspiration.

All Time Best Paint Colors collated by Real Simple.  I thought of a number of you who are renovating or repainting your houses and feeling overwhelmed by the huge selection out there. The shades chosen are beautiful I think.

One of my favourite snacks.  Rice cakes with peanut butter and a topping usually banana  

or dried craisins.
Daughter gave us another cake!  It was the best he'd ever eaten, his nibs said, and seeing as how he is 81 and has had a long history of cake eating, that would be quite a compliment.  And yes it is quite delicious. Rock Recipes Chocolate Stout With Bailey's Truffle CakeIf you are feeding a chocolate lover, this would be the one to make for a special occasion for sure. 
And here is my chocolate lover down by the pond with Murphy.  Taken the end of September.
I hope your week has had many many things to be thankful for too!
Always thankful to link with Not Afraid of ColorNeedle and Thread Network,

Monday 12 October 2020

Missing These Birds, Golden October, Halloween Quilting, Thanksgiving Free Pattern

Right now I am missing these little birds. I'm missing their song and the way they fly through the air snatching flying insects and return to the same spot to perch like on my lamp light.   In fact, sat there enough that a cleaning of the lights is now in order.   Eastern Phoebes have nested here every year using the various sheds and building distinctive nests with mud and moss.                             I'm also missing the hummingbirds. Though silent, they were a constant fixture this summer flitting about the two feeders.  

  I have to take in their feeders and clean them up for next spring.

 The Golden Maple tree beside the house is in glorious bloom. Every year it astonishes us with the beautiful colours of its leaves. 
 At an auction I won a quilting frame and have put my Halloween sampler quilt on it. I've never used such before so this will be interesting.  Wish me luck! 
We had warm temperatures on Saturday and I couldn't resist taking it outside for a little photo shoot with the maple tree. I do have four maple leaves in this particular piece. Love to see the rays of sunshine on this.
I tried to show just how tall this tree is.  Nope, still didn't get the very top of it in.
I have the special marking pen and I've looked up lots of ideas about laying stitching lines on these varied  appliqued, embroidered and patchworked blocks. I've thought of using a spider web design over it all, maybe in a pale gray coloured thread. What do you think? 

Since we Canadians have our Thanksgiving Day on the second Monday in October, here is a sweet little free pattern I found with the perfect message. It is from
Creative Kismet which features the art work of the generous Regina Lord. Too late for me to stitch but in lots of time for my American buddies and their November Thanksgiving.

A couple of things I must do this week:

I have to set up the two humane mouse traps in the garage to help keep them out of our vehicles. They worked last year, I think, because no mouse set up a house in our cars last winter.

Finish the Flower Garden quilt border. Almost there!

Happy Thanksgiving to fellow Canadians; hope you are enjoying the long weekend and staying safe. I cooked a ham and wished that I'd planned on turkey. Oh well, it was a tasty dinner with sweet potatoes and broccoli, homemade cranberry sauce and dessert from daughter. 

So happy to link with Kathy's Quilts where Kathy is talking about making Siddi quilts (must check that out)
Love Laugh Quilt where Beth has made the cutest scrappy log cabin blocks on point, Small Quilts and Doll Quilts where Judy has finished a very sweet Buds in a Basket quilt and with Quilt Fabrication where Susan is showcasing beautiful Halloween quilting.  Also linking with Our World TuesdayHome Sewn By UsAlycia Quilts and Paying Ready Attention