Thursday 26 November 2020

Turkey Photos, Winter's Palette, Fans Applique, Homemade Bagels

 In honour of my American friends celebrating their Thanksgiving-

Turkeys- live ones. They trot through from time to time, no rhyme or reason for their visits.

I love their feathers and sometimes pick up one around the property.
Such large bodies; such tiny heads!

I  watched the snow falling all day long yesterday. Out every window it was the same view. Evergreens laden with white and the snow flakes drifting down. Pretty but I realized how narrow the colour palette becomes in a Canadian winter. No pinks or yellows, or blues.  It's a beautiful one in its way with all the shades of grays and greens and bits of browns. But on a gray day, not exactly cheery. 

The last hurrah of the milkweed.

I was busy in the sewing room making headway with a couple of projects. The scrappy appliqued Fans are moving along with this many stitched and on the wall. I think this is my OMG for November so best get a move on.

Anybody else watching this...The Undoing starring Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman. We've been getting a new episode a week and enjoying it very much. Is it just me or does Nicole Kidman not look like Nicole Kidman anymore. 

We enjoyed a wonderful treat from Daughter. Homemade bagels with smoked salmon, cream cheese, dill and lots of capers. The bagels she made were smaller and Montreal style. That reminded her and I of our summers in Montreal when her father and I were attending McGill. After St.John's, Montreal is still both daughters' favourite city. 

I made a spinach salad and we had a very yummy supper.

I hope this Thursday is a wonderful one for you. If you are in an area that is experiencing increased virus cases, please do your best to stay safe. 
As it's Thursday, it is time to see what other folks are enjoying and thankful for at Not Afraid of Color. Also thankfully linking with It's a Small Town LifeWendy's Quilts and MoreViewing Nature With EileenKathy's QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than Housework and Paying Ready Attention.

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Ten Things on My Christmas To Do/ Bucket List

 Our place was looking very Christmasy yesterday after all the fresh snow had fallen. 

And in the back yard.
And from my happy chair.
This will be our first Christmas during a pandemic and hopefully, our last. It seems folks are determined the conditions won't stop them from enjoying it; in fact, are going all out to make this a Christmas to remember for all the right reasons. With that in mind, even though it's a tad early, I thought I'd share a few of my thoughts about how to start our Christmas in November too. 

My Christmas To Do/ Bucket List

1. Make/Finish 5 gifts to give. After the Dreamy Hearts quilt and the Fans Hanging, the others will be small-table runners mainly. I've started one called Scandi Snowflake Table Runner that I saw in a list of free patterns. I began with sewing together a background of varied gray fabrics. I guess that's the Scandi bit.

Chose this for a border.

The finishing will involve snowflakes in red. 

The others will be relatively easy sewing as well. 

2. Put my tree up this weekend. Love doing that but will miss little grandson's help. But determined not to feel too sad about that.  

3. Set up the angels and Santas tables. 

4. Begin wearing my Rudolf sweater and my Katmiss fuzzy pyjamas that jingle (yes, I have such things!).

5. Dig out the Christmas mugs and other dishes. That won't be hard as I know exactly where I put them -for once!

6. Make smores in our fireplace...bought the marshmallows and graham crackers and there is always chocolate here. 

7.  Put fruit cake and cinnamon biscotti ingredients on my grocery list.

8. Start using my Christmas candle warmer that uses candle scents with names like Christmas Cookie and Christmas Morning. I already have it out along with the vintage sleigh bells that belonged to Hubby's parents. With two old people and a big dog living here plus using a wood fire daily, the place could use some serious freshening up.

9. Set up a gift wrapping area in a spare bedroom... first dig out the wrapping paper, tags, etc.-in a tote in the basement pretty sure.

10. Set up those wonderful displays we won in an auction back in July. Wait till you see them. Hope I will still feel as happy about them as I did when we got them.

The more I think, the more things there are to be made ready. I may have to make another list. 

What's on your Christmas/ To Do bucket list? 

Happy to link with To Do Tuesday hosted by Home Sewn By Us. Also happy to be joining Our World TuesdayMy Corner of the WorldConfessions of a Fabric AddictSkywatch Friday,  The Jesh Studio and Needle and Thread Network

Sunday 22 November 2020

Christmas Gifts, Cozy Walmart Buy, Thrift Store Find, Appliqued Fox and Others

It's a dull weather day today as we brace for snowfall later this afternoon, the first real snow of the year. It is thanks to conditions far away...something called a Colorado low.  See how connected we are, my American friends. 😊

Meanwhile, I have a fire burning and a cup of two teas, green and peppermint together, to sip.  The cup, a Rose of England fine bone china thrift store find, has these pretty designs of owls and flowers. They make me think of embroidery. Anything Rose of England is very collectable, btw. 

But it is the sweater I'm wearing I wanted to talk about. I'd bought a gray one like it at Walmart. They were on an outer rack and, as I walked by, I couldn't resist reaching out to touch it. The fuzzy softness and how warm it would be swayed me to buy it though it's rare that I buy clothes there. It was wonderful- cozy and warm, went through the washing machine no problem and I went straight back to buy the same sweater in black. Perfect to be pulled on over comfy lounge, pyjama, sweat pants, etc. all the better at  
 $25 C. 

The last hurrah of the Japanese anemones which stayed in bloom into early November this year! I've never seen them go to seed like this before. An amazing sight. Puffs of spotted whiteness all over the garden.

Two  stitching things 
Below are a few of the blocks made for an old project in 2018 I think; I'd have to look back at photos to be sure these aren't from last year. Appliqueing these 24 sweet, tiny (and free) scrappy designs called Xmas by Quiltmania was fun but I ran out of the steam to work them into a project.  I'd like to do that this month. Patterns are still available at that link.
Loved the little fox. 
And generous Amy from Diary of a Quilter collated this post  50 + Gifts to Give or Make For Quilters as well as for yourself of course. Some really cute things and ideas with tutorials there.

You know who is looking at me with those eyes that beg walk me now so I'll close this post though I have lots more to talk about. Might have to fit in an extra post this week. Hope your Sunday is calm, relaxing and you have something you love to work on. 
Check out what folks are sharing as their Slow Stitching Sunday projects over at Kathy's Quilts. Also wonderful to join these linky parties- Quilting is More Fun Than HouseworkJaipur GardenSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsLove Laugh Quilt and Applique Patchwork Quilting.

Thursday 19 November 2020

Whimsical Foxes, Applique, Christmas Quilting Tutorials, Netflix Viewing

You know I like whimsical...especially involving mice, fox, deer, dogs, bunnies; well I guess any critters actually. I love the details in this scene below. 

Snug little fox with her knitting, cup of tea and pizza slice. And note the dream catcher on the wall and the tiny cowboy boots.  Does a scene like this make you feel cosy and snug too? As far as I can find out this illustration is from a children's book called Jezeva Kucica by Branko Copic.  Translation, The Hedgehog's House. If you know more about the artist, please let me know. 

And another fox paused for portraits beside our house in September.  It shot across the front yard, only to stop and hang around at the edge of the side lawn. It kept looking back and I wondered what could have frightened it. I've circled him there. 
 I waited and after a while a group of turkeys sauntered out to the bird feeders. Don't think it was them that put him on the run.
And here are the cropped photos; I was very happy to capture this fellow.

 He was heavier with a magnificent tail and healthier looking coat than the one I showed you before. He kept a sharp eye in the direction he had run but gradually settled down and even sat awhile.
Sewing Chat 
 I've been happily working on a little broderie perse which always sounds posh and certainly far more hoity toity than any of my other sewing room endeavors...that's for sure!  There is skill in the choosing, cutting and appliqueing of these flowers if you are fitting the pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle which I'm not. Of course, the Kaffe fabrics with their florid details lend themselves well to this technique.  
I mentioned quite a while ago that I had drawn a basket for a center block of the Basket Case project. And that's what I've cut out the flowers for. Getting this project finished is on my mind but I got a little bogged down in the choosing of the final background fabric....something that would match the two rather dark greys of the small baskets. Finding a good match from my little stash of greys wasn't easy because who knew that not all greys work well together.   Or try to figure out what to order which would complicate it more because choosing colours online is tricky too. Yes, I tend to get overwhelmed sometimes with these tiny tasks so that stalled.  

But I've finally made a choice for better or worse in this grey fabric with a little print and it's a browny grey that coordinates with the others.

😕 Now my next hurdle! I'm stuck on which fabric to choose for the big basket itself. I thought of something bold like the mustard (actually darker than in this photo) which has a brown woven kind of print on it- rather like a basket. Or what about that piece of Laura Ashley paisley fabric I've hoarded for a long time that is brownish grey (actually more grey than in this photo!) and would blend in well in a softer kind of way. Suggestions please???

We've been enjoying this series so much.  I love the era, the clothes, the cars and of course, learning so much about chess.  Beth's story is a riveting one.  The Queen's Gambit on Netflix.

Leila Gardunia has collated twenty video tutorials featuring Christmas Quilting found at this link to_her site. Several of interest to me...something for you too I'm sure. 

I'll leave you today with Murphy greeting Tony back from what was no doubt his last ride of the season last week.  His little biker gang were very fortunate to enjoy riding so late in the season. She likes to have us both around and is always a little unsettled if one of us is gone. 

Hope your week has been grand and your weekend even grander!

Sunday 15 November 2020

Delicious Gifts, Embroidery, A Free BOM and QAL

I bet you would not be able to guess which of the garden plants this little leaf came from. The strange weather this year- cold and then very warm again, seems to have made for interesting patterns in the fading leaves. This is from the old rose bush and the ground was covered yesterday with similarly patterned leaves. Such a pretty autumn palette. 

 I received a wonderful gift in the mail from Amazon beautifully wrapped in this organza bag. 
A total surprise from Hubby. I had no idea Amazon wraps gifts so beautifully. I will share more about this book when I have a chance to read it and I will be trying a recipe or two for sure. 
Another gift, this one a delicious one from Daughter. A glazed lemon loaf.  I think I could have eaten it all went so well with a cup of tea.  Do you like lemon flavouring? I sure do. 
I showed you in this post what was in my big frame. Today here's What's in my small hoop...
Last year I showed you the first stitching I did in this set by Kathy Schmitz called Snowbound. Cute snowmen families. Simple backstitching. Photographed outside yesterday in the weak sun.
 I've stitched several more in between working on other projects. There is often that moment of time when embroidering something small and in hand is just the thing I want to do. 
 These are being stitched with DMC Presidential Blue, a timely name. 
I plan on using them in a couple of table toppers for Christmas gifts. I've registered for Kathy's One Stitch at a Time Club. A link is there if you would like to check it out. Kathy's designs are very cute like this one that is available from 123 on sale just now. 
I've downloaded all the blocks so far being offered by Sheila Christensen for her Hemisphere QAL.  When I get a couple more of my projects moved along, I think I will begin these. It might be a good lesson for me in machine stitching accuracy.  

And generous Gay at Sentimental Stitches is running another free applique BOM called Poppy's Polka Dot Garden. I just downloaded the first four blocks. Two blocks will be posted around the first of the month for the next 24 months so this is a long term project.  I enjoy reading the history behind these quilts. This photo is not doing its beauty justice.

I've enjoyed writing this post today and including a few good links for you. Embroidering, appliqueing or machine piecing only, it is all enjoyable stitching. And it is always good to keep those fine motor skills sharp and the mind engaged and focused. Never more true or needed than in these strange days. 

Also appreciate linking this post with Kathy's QuiltsLove Laugh QuiltOur World TuesdayQuilt FabricationNeedle and Thread Network and Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Thursday 12 November 2020

Soup, Muffins, Wood Workout, Hand Quilting and Free Patterns

I'd put my chicken carcass on the stove to boil down to make a base for yesterday's chicken soup.  Half an hour later I thought what on earth is making that smell.  I went to the kitchen to investigate only to see it was my chicken broth bubbling happily away. Thankfully I always start with lots of water in the pot and a low heat.

 Totally forgot it-wiped from the brain and now I can see how old people can start fires in their houses, right under their noses. Hubby says it's because I'm always juggling a number of things at once. I tell him that's just being a woman and I've been doing that all my life.  Besides which, at that time, I was juggling or attempting to juggle exactly two things...the soup and a bit of reading. Thankfully our smoke alarms (which are very high up with the ceilings here) have 25 year batteries. 
I added tinned tomatoes to this one... San Marzano is one of my favourites. 
The weather has been wonderful. The warmest November I've experienced here in Ontario. Last year this time there was snow on the ground and the pond was so frozen we could walk on it.  With temperatures up to high teens most days, nature is reacting like it's spring. More new growth here in the purple globe thistle for instance.
Maybe I could blame that lapse in memory on being sapped a bit physically. Loading wood on the trailer and then stacking it next to the house the last couple of days was quite a workout for us both. I noticed how differently we react to a little physical labour. I ache a bit whereas Hubby gets really tired and needs more sleep. I've noticed after day 3 of moving my body like this I've been sleeping better as well.  So thankful we can both still manage these chores. 
We have the other half of our wood order coming Saturday. We are already thinking we will stack it at the drop off and cover it well. Save us lugging it up here to the house and that way we can space out our wood getting trips as we need it. 

 I have a bunch of other things to share this post.

Let's start with food, my favourite topic and combine it with the season which normally (how much nothing seems to be normal this year) is one of comfort food.

Crosby's Molasses has a free e-book section. I downloaded Comforts of Home- 20 recipes for Homemade Comfort Food.  Molasses has 25% fewer calories than sugar so if you like it that's good. I'm not a big molasses fan but I love it in baked goods. 

Crosby's Comforts of Home E-Book

I made a batch of loaded bran muffins...raisins, dates and pumpkin seeds added to these. 

I found this wonderful free tree pattern with a tutorial from generous Leanne at Devoted Quilter named Ticker Tape Tree.  Super easy, really neat how this goes together and another scrap using pattern. I'm going to get out my green scraps and give this a try one morning very soon. I'll finally get to use green thread in the machine. 

Rachel at Stitched in Color and Lucy at Charm About You are co-hosting a sewalong called Geesey Geesey. A chance to practice keeping all the points when making many many geese. I'm thinking this could be an excellent candidate for the RSC which I assume will start again with colours in January. Or right now in Christmas fabrics. 

This colourway, which looks like Art Gallery fabrics to me, is appealing. I like how vintage patterns take on a completely modern look depending on the fabrics. 

I have to prep more spool blocks for the Medallion quilt and make the last of the fans to total 18.  
I love how hand quilting looks and feels. It is addictive and maybe that has to do with the soothing effect of this kind of slow stitching. 
Here I took the Halloween Sampler out of the frame to get a photo. Enjoying this stitching very much and getting a hang of how much slack I need in the cloth to get the rocking motion going.
A couple of woodpecker photos taken from a great distance down by the pond. Interesting how they use their tails for stability. They are enjoying the suet cakes I've put out and I'm seeing more of them. Update: This has been identified as a yellow bellied sapsucker by birder friend David at Travels With Birds.

Hopefully I'll have further opportunities to get better photos. 
We are off to do a grocery and dog food pickup. Hope your Thursday is a great one.