Thursday 28 January 2021

Covid Thoughts, Stitching Stars and Crosses, Bouncy Bird

I said yesterday can we really keep doing this. This being just the two of us here day in, day out with only a far wave or a shouted hello very occasionally to other people. Of course, we can and I know we can; after all we have no alternative even though it is feeling like this pandemic is dragging on far too long. Almost a year now we remind each other and we've made it this far, still safe and healthy which is the main thing. So good then. Then we go about our activities, watch our shows, eat our good food, stoke the fire and feel badly for feeling even the tiniest bit of sorrow for ourselves. We can't imagine how rough and worrisome all this must be for some folks, never mind the deaths; my heart goes out to them all. Funny how you can feel so grateful yet have dispirited thoughts all at the same time.

Can you spy what they call the fingernail of the moon in this photo?  The skies have been pretty lately especially later in the afternoon. This is the little skating shack down by the pond. 

 Natter here when not talking vaccines, covid numbers and can we make it...

Do you think large eggs are as large as they used to be?  We both agree they seem smaller. For many years, I bought medium because I'd read medium eggs had exactly the same amount of nutrients as the large. Seems to me the large I'm buying today are the old medium size. What's the natter in your house?

Happy to have a little sewing done. A sawtooth star start...I liked this simple design enough to want to sew more of them and they provide the perfect chance to highlight extra pretty fabric in the center.  Tula Pink's pretty pink chipmunk gets to be framed in this one. The sawtooth star is simple yet offers variations that can add extra interest. A great star block for scraps too.

I found this tutorial at A Quilting Life for how to make a truly scrappy Sawtooth Star. 

These have been on the picnic tablecloth design wall since December. I'd like to do something with this fabric. If only something would come to me like that lightening bolt that would appear in cartoons when a character was struck with an idea.  They are so pretty in their shades of reds. I do love toile. 

I have this Erica Michaels cross stitch piece almost finished. Such an enjoyable project.  It's resting on a woolen shawl that was a gift from daughter Christmas, 2019 and a colour I'm struggling to describe. It's kind of salmon pink leaning towards the browns. Whatever it is, I'm thinking it would work well in a quilt. 

Can you spot the chickadee here?  It was foraging in front of the kitchen window (amongst that ugly gardening) a couple of months ago. I have a healthy number of chickadees visiting the feeders and do enjoy watching them flitting about in what I think is a bouncy, joyful manner.

One of the things that is helping me make it through is you and your lovely comments and emails. I love reading every one, invariably, with a smile on my face. Thank you!

Thursday 21 January 2021

Fitbit Facts, Quilt Finish, Hawk Run Cross Stitching, Red Comet

One of my Christmas gifts was a fitbit. I was especially curious about my sleeping patterns which this records nightly.  You may remember me complaining about insomnia and the general feeling I have that I don't sleep well.  

I've discovered with Ms Fitbit that my amount of sleep averages 7 hours most nights, an occasional night it is 8 and also occasionally it is as few as 6.  So it seems, overall, I'm doing okay in the sleep department but it could be improved. The fitbit clocks the restful sleep too and that is what I've mentioned here. That was a little surprising; I thought the numbers would be less.

 I'm most surprised by only one thing- the number of steps I take before sitting down after getting up in the morning.  I do have a number of chores like take Murphy down to the basement to feed her and also while there, pick up wood out the back door. I usually make this trek twice to get wood.  Anyway, whatever it is I'm doing, opening drapes in various rooms, filling the coffee pot, etc. , I'm averaging 1200 steps before sitting down with my cup of decaf. That seems like a lot.

 I'm also pleased with how far our daily walks take us, averaging 4 - 5 km a day. So it has been fun and interesting too to wear this gadget.  I will challenge myself now to keep improving on the numbers with my overall goal in mind, that still is to face age 70 as fit as I can muster.  

I'm happy to have this quilting project now a flimsie. This was the tiny triangles made into diamonds that was my scrappy RSC (loosely) project.  I'm pleased with how colourful it looks in this photo a little breeze catching it.

And here the wind obliging; it will be a good single sized quilt.

I'm enjoying reconnecting with my love of cross stitching.  Between morning with the best light of the day and the help of my OttLite floorlamp, I'm not straining my eyes- yet. It is calming and a great way to listen to podcasts, etc.  I really hope I can keep it up.  Here stitching the March block of A Year at Hawk Run Hollow,  which features a lion and a lamb. 
Someone asked...I copy the pattern and use the copy as I stitch. I use a highlighter to colour what I've stitched to help me stay on track. I never mark on a pattern; I guess a throwback to not marking pages in a book when I was a child, something my parents would have taught me. 

I almost wrote that I was late in getting my Hawk Run piece stitched (since it was started last year). Then I thought how silly- there is no such thing as being behind on your own stitching that you are doing for yourself only. The work world with deadlines that must be met, etc. seem to embed in some of us, especially me, the notion that a project is behind when really that structure doesn't apply anymore.  The pleasure is in the journey and that lovely feeling of passing the time in enjoyable stitching is its own reward.  I believe it but have to remind myself too. 

I've been listening to this audio book, Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath by Heather Clark. I've been in the queue for a long time to get this one. There has not been new information about Sylvia in many years, but this writer has scrounged up a few more tidbits and offered several fresh views that I found most interesting. 
So here we are in our wooden house, the three of us and glad of it too. Sticking to our own turf. Definitely saving on gas. And Murphy is here with us on her journey in this world too. I hope it is enjoyable for her- I think it is.

 This look is put your needle down, we have walks to take.

I hope your week has been a good one and the weekend even better.

So happy to link with Not Afraid of ColorQuilt FabricationKathy's QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than Housework and My Quilt Infatuation.


Sunday 17 January 2021

Flosstube, Shopping Sales, Wintertime Slow Stitching

 After a night of steady snowfall, we woke to a true winter wonderland yesterday. The views out each window were spectacular and the snow continued to fall all day. 

The feeders got refilled the evening before and many birds availed of an extra bit of nourishment including several blue jays that stopped by.

The back yard...

The golden maple...
 The day before we'd been able to follow a deer track all the way up through our land, see where it had pawed the old leaves to find something to eat and then move on. I was pleased to note trails of tiny tracks leading to and from several of the branch piles I had made in the fall. 

After our walks we stayed close to the fire- myself set up for my hand stitching below.  Also wearing head to toe fleece.  The bright turtleneck fairisle tunic came from Lands Endhere is a link so you can check it out yourself.  I bought a couple of items for the daughters too that were on sale and then had a further markdown at checkout.

My white hair is blending into the white snowy background. I'm really not bald...yet!
I'm watching Flosstube. This is the best time of year for Flosstube viewing as everyone shows their WIP's, stash and stitching plans for the new year. Some folks have over a hundred!!

Speaking of stitching, I finished the Be nice piece. I'm a little baffled as to what the connection between the queen, king rooster, coffee pot, acorn, crown, heart and rabbit would be. I read all the notes but no mention of a story. This was a miniature kit from The Heart's Content, 1999. When I realized I could never sew it on the 40 count silk gauze that was provided, I used evenweave instead and enjoyed it very much.   

I've started the next cross stitch project, Find the Good Every Day from  Erica Michaels. I'm using 32 count linen and also enjoying the idea of stitching another message that is exactly what I try to do every day. 

The news continues to be a parade of dread and worrisome events. This pandemic is truly horrible and it is continuing, picking up speed even. The wonderful advent of the vaccine has become fraught with confusion and concern which is disheartening. The only thing we can do is stay isolated and do our best to stay fit, busy and keep each others' spirits up.

So happy to be a part of the wonderful stitching community including the folks at Kathy's Quilts linky party. Also enjoying linking with It's a Small Town Life,  Paying Ready Attention and My Corner of the World

Thursday 14 January 2021

Wooden House Winter Times

 I've been striving to spend an hour a day outside in the fresh air. I feel it is beneficial in many ways and it is true that I always come inside feeling upbeat and feeling more refreshed somehow. And also grateful for the warmth of indoors and perhaps a cup of tea waiting for me. 

How do I spend an hour outside?  Usually our couple of walks take 20 -30 minutes each. By myself I collect twigs and tree bits for the fire and I also ramble about with my camera. Late afternoon yesterday I sat on a log in a sheltered area over where I usually see the barred owl and waited. It was bright still but the light perceptibly changed from white to blue as I sat there.
 How quickly it changes to dusk, I thought.  And no owl. But one fluffed up lonely mourning dove on a high branch kept me company the whole time.

SIL has made an amazing back yard rink and the three of them have been skating daily.

What great exercise in the fresh air and one happy little Canadian boy! Hockey is such a passion here!

This is what happens when an engineer researches your Christmas gift- a new tripod...quite sturdy and able to gyrate the camera into so many positions including this one that so impressed him.  I think it's one you could take up Mount Everest or something. But I'm very appreciative of its sturdiness. Happy to have another learning experience figuring out all its working joints. 

Our latest cake from daughter, a black and white with marshmallow frosting. YUM.

I took this test back in November...23 and Me, one of those ancestry tests.   
My results are back and I'll share them when I have a chance to read all the material they've forwarded. As my sister has already extensively researched our family tree, I was more interested in the health component offered by this one.  So far looking interesting.
I still have some of my Christmas/winter hangings up in the back hall. It seems like Christmas was such a mere blink in time and I want to enjoy them for a while longer.
We are freshly concerned about the pandemic news. In his last briefing, our poor premier was almost distraught and so frustrated with the reports of folks not heeding the warnings.  We have renewed our efforts to stay isolated which we were basically doing all along. But we are back to pick up for groceries, etc. and not going anywhere where there are people. Thank goodness we are home bodies with lots of hobbies. 
As always happy to link with Not Afraid of Color and Paying Ready Attention.

Saturday 9 January 2021

How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

 I have enjoyed my little unintended hiatus/sabbatical from the internet very much. I thought of taking Christmas week to read more and write some and that time was so enjoyable, it stretched out. I also stitched a bit and enjoyed making the most of our quiet Christmas time together. 

So since last talking to you I did these things.

Ate a lot of cookies! This was definitely the Christmas of the cookies for us as friends and family dropped off an array of yummy treats.

Continued to enjoy this arrangement from the First Wife's family and so grateful they accepted me into the family ten years ago. They know I like to try to grow things so send plants instead of bouquets.

Enjoyed Scrooge with his candle and tiny Christmas tree in the t.v. room.

Tested my cross stitch skills with my little Be Nice pattern from The Heart's Content and found I can work well on this particular thread count-32 count evenweave. Discovered peaceful, calming feelings working on this in the living room early morning light. The best of slow stitching.

 Did a deep clean of several storage containers and sewed together some of the green fabric scraps. They made a perfect little pin cushion and I added herringbone stitches in red DMC to mark this special event...what I hope will be our one and only pandemic Christmas.

Robbie really like his crocheted blanket! This is the season for working with wool and coincidentally Hobbii had a deep discount on a line of Tivoli yarn.  I ordered a bag of the dark plum and I'm knitting a shawl using seed stitch...perfect project for night time t.v. viewing.

I also opened some great gifts which I will share soon. We are especially thankful that our family remain healthy, as do we.   

I sincerely hope 2021 will be a healthy and happy one for all of you!

Linking this post with Kathy's Quilts and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.