Sunday 28 February 2021

Stone Soup, Flosstube Favourites, Hexagon Hand Stitching, Outliers

 Very early morning kitchen window view...
Yesterday I started out thinking I would like to make a broccoli soup. With the snow drifting down, it seemed like something hot and especially nourishing would be in order. Of course, with no in-store shopping, I didn't have broccoli but had an assortment of vegetables so figured I would use what I had.  The result reminded me of the famous Story of the Stone Soup. By the time I'd sauted onions, carrots, and celery, added potatoes, chicken broth, half a bag of clam meats and a can of coconut milk, I had a fine tasting soup- out of what seemed like bits and pieces.

There are loads of recipes online for so called Kitchen Sink Soup. I'm pretty sure this would be the way soup would have been made in the "old days". In the Kitchen With Mom Mondays has one such recipe.

I am so very happy with my progress on Quilting Bee. I wish that gold was showing true to life as it is much yelllower and brighter than here.

 She is a delight to stitch early in the morning after the fire is set, Murphy is fed and I can sit with my coffee.  That is also when I check in with Flosstube and watch a couple of favourites including Brenda and the Serial Starter. What beautiful cross stitching and such an array of projects; they are inspiring.
I am reading this book by the wonderful Malcolm Gladwell.  Outliers. Bits are familiar to me so I must have read it before. Lots of interviews with Malcolm available on YouTube so maybe that is where I ran across his theories of success. (Some having to do with birth month, a most interesting notion). In fact, I've just discovered the entire book is available as an audiobook on YouTube if you care to check it out.

I made an order to the Fat Quarter Shop last month. They are slow shipping out to Canada due to the special circumstances so I still haven't received it. It was for special fabric I'd had to research to find. I have two quilting projects in mind and need that cloth, one a heritage red from French General and the other a special yellow, Confetti Yellow from Riley for them.  I thought for sure it would be here this week to show you but soon I'm sure. Fun to look forward to stitchy mail, isn't it?

Meanwhile, I'm making headway on my Hexagon table topper project. 

Here it is on the coffee table I'm making it for so quite a ways to go yet.  But that's fine...lots of great hand stitching in front of the t.v. And getting to use up my card/cardboard collection, LOL. I'll show a photo of the back soon.

I'll leave you today with a photo of one of my constant visitors to the feeders, a nuthatch, against a backdrop of snow. Love to see his pretty compact, yet sleek shape, as he scoots up and down tree trunks.

Hope your Sunday is wonderful.

Sharing this post at Kathy's QuiltsAlycia QuiltsSugarlane DesignsSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsLove Laugh Quilt and Paying Ready Attention

Thursday 25 February 2021

Links, Minor Quilting Mystery, Snug Bunny

February is moving along quickly and out rather quietly.
 Have had more gently but steadily falling snow that's been going on for days and then some warmer temperatures. Those loosened the banks of icy snow on our roof and that came down in a series of crashes that sounded like thunder. Where it all landed on the front steps made for quite a shoveling job, one that required Hubby's help too. In fact, we couldn't lift it...wet snow is heavy, so wound up fashioning a new set of steps out of snow. 
This old photo shows how the snow builds up on the metal roof. 
To the left of the path and in front of the kitchen window, a number of rabbits have been overnighting under that little bush, a snug little spot. You can see it in the above photo.
Lots of tracks and bunny buttons but not one photo of them have I been able to get.

Grandson and I say they look like cocoa puffs or chocolate M&M's. 😊We both puzzled about how they could be so round.

The revitalized or newfound interest in DIY projects and needlework is continuing which is wonderful and interesting. My Facebook groups are full of newbies expressing such enthusiasm that it really is contagious. 

  Folks on Flosstube are reporting massive increases in viewership with many commenters saying they are trying embroidery and cross stitch, or also crocheting and knitting for the first time. And finding it a gratifying and rewarding way to pass the time. It's wonderful to think these heritage arts will continue. 

Some links that interested me and perhaps you too.

Gathered wrote about a sew along called Floral Applique featuring all hand appliqued blocks. It looks modern and interesting and is being offered by the folks at the magazine, Love Patchwork and Quilting. Do you like this colourway?

That led me to the Ruby Star Company where they are selling this pretty panel, amongst others. I can think of all kinds of uses for these individual sayings.  I really like Done is better than perfect.

Are you a gadget lover?  I watched this video from Tula Pink where she introduced a new little gadget. These look like neat little magnet thingies, not just good as needle minders. They are quite nifty for holding pieces together for EPP or applique. I can't explain them; you'll have to watch the video to see how they work. 

Thanks to blogger friend Wendy at Pieceful Thoughts for tracking down that small piece of grey fabric with the house in the trees I could not name (HERE). It is Andover/ Makower  Scandi Trees and also comes in red. It is rare now but some still to be found on Etsy or the grey at Not at all surprising that I was attracted to something Scandi as it turned out.

I enjoyed finishing two more of the Sawtooth Stars, what I think will be a long time project.  
❓Here is a little mystery...I'm using the exact same templates for all of them, also a strict (I think) quarter inch seam when stitching the parts. Why are some points or corners different sizes?? I have no idea. 

Anyway, as I puzzle that quilting mystery, I'll leave you today with Miss Murphy catching some rare sun rays.  She says she couldn't care less about quilting or points or mysteries in general. Food and walks are what really matter.  

Hope you are safe, warm and taking care of you wherever you are. 

Lots of links and things to like over at Not Afraid of ColorSo Scrappy, Quilting is More Fun Than HouseworkSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsLove Laugh QuiltQuilt Fabrication and Brian's Home Blog.

Saturday 20 February 2021

Quilting Mojo, Olive Kitteridge, SnowBound (The Fabric), Hexagon Hand Stitching

I finally finished my last audio book, The Red Comet about Sylvia Plath was 45 hours and 37 minutes long! I really enjoyed it. It was especially nice to hear how well her daughter has gotten on in life. Now I'm listening to this one and enjoying it too.

One of my most read posts was one I wrote about the original, Olive Kitteridge, 

Olive Kitteridge is Wearing My Skirt. I have an identical skirt to the one Frances McDormand is wearing in the film version of the book.


Truthfully my quilting mojo took a dive around Christmas time. As a result I had to do a little re-evaluating and thinking about how I want to spend my stitching time. Every now and then that seems to happen with me.   

Out of that little thinking time, a new attitude about my stitching grew, in particular relating to quilting matters. I'm not going to participate in any BOM's or SAL's for now because I don't want any deadlines or even perceived pressure to enter into my thinking. Or to end up having to work on some block or other that I don't really care for. I want to sew what truly makes me happy in the moment. ( I really hope this doesn't mean I'll bounce around from project to project; not finishing things makes me feel sad and of course, I want to avoid that.)

I know some of you get around this somewhat by not showing a project on your blog till it is well underway or even finished. I'd never thought of managing things that way either. 

Speaking of which

 We have a large coffee table in our living area that Hubby uses and he asked if I could make a cover  for it. So I thought of making a mini quilt for a table topper. I have a few fat quarters of Kathy Schmitz's Snowbound and figured now in our winter would be the perfect time to be working with it.  I'm making hexagons, tracing the pattern on old cardboard pieces and then hand stitching them together. Chose a size large enough to show the pretty designs Kathy drew. Hand stitching always makes me feel happy and this project is not letting me down. 

 I'm much further ahead now so I know it will be finished!  Another photo coming soon to show my progress.

And I saw this sort of block at the Art Gallery Fabrics site. The way it uses different sizes of fabric, scraps in other words, and no particular rules to the design appealed to me. Yellows come in such a range from the mustards...

to the delicate lemons.  I don't have a lot of yellow in the scrap tote but surprisingly a few pieces. The block below reminded me that the Pantene colours for 2021 are Illuminating Yellow and Ultimate Gray, representing hopefulness and strength, what the world needs now besides love, of course. 😊

 I wish I had more of that grey with the house in trees, but alas, I only had this bit. Anyone know the name of this line?

During our recent heavy snowfall, several black squirrels appeared and worked very hard to get at the suet cakes we have out for the birds. He remained in this position for a long time so he must have been able to scrape off a little something.

How spoiled I am! Once I sort out supper and get in a couple of walks, this is as busy as Saturday gets for me these days. 

I hope all who are reading are enjoying your weekend too!

Happily linking this post with So ScrappyKathy's Quilts, Quilting is More Fun Than HouseworkApplique Patchwork Quilting and Viewing Nature With Eileen.

Sunday 14 February 2021

Mood Boosting Things During LockDown

The high Arctic Polar Vortex chummy touched down here on its way through most of North America.  Instant frostier than usual temperatures. When it is -20 C straight temperature it doesn't take much of a breeze to have frigid wind chills.  But not alone with this as so many of you have emailed about your equally frigid temperatures much further south of us.

Low Winter Sun

On a bright note, the folks at the Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre have noted the male American Goldfinches are already sporting brighter plumage. Though it may not feel like it just now, spring is inching closer!

A little closeup of overwintering garden remnants.
How it remains though freezing over and over.
Closer still with cropping and now looking like a painting, one I would call Coneflower in Winter.

My present book, The Overstory, offered up this advice in my reading yesterday. 

Do you know the best place to go if one has to sleep rough as in your car?  A warehouse store parking lot. They are always plowed, have lots of lights and security cameras that work. So pull into such a well lit corner, you can pop in and out for the bathroom and snacks; it is busy enough that no one will notice you. If anyone notices your car at night, they will assume it is night staff doing the shelf restocking.  Isn't that the best thing about reading; among other things, you can join someone on their journey as they leave their old life and take on a new name, a new life. And pick up tips if the need ever arises for you to do this, LOL.

 The talented Ann Wood at her blog, Ann Wood Handmade, published this post.  These ideas are so creative, just like Miss Wood herself, of course. See those tiny hexies in the right upper corner...they make me want to make them.  And the owl of course and the cute fish too. Always fun to see what artists are making and sharing.

March is not my favourite month but I enjoyed working on the March block of A Year at  Hawk Run Hollow.  I wasn't sure about that lion but liked it more as it emerged.  Cross stitching is soothing to me  just as I know some of you enjoy sewing on your machines.
I do have an issue with the pattern should you decide to get it; the colours in the photos are not the same as the ones listed for embroidering. In the photo, they are much brighter, not as muddy kind of as the suggested colours which are what I'm using. . 

I enjoy checking out stitch alongs. The Facebook group, Cackling Stitches and Friends, is sponsoring another quilty stitchalong. Patterns will be free for a month. This one is called Hagatha's House, set to begin March 1.

On YouTube I've been watching several vlogs that are quiet, peaceful and thought provoking. 
These have been beneficial to my mental health, certainly better than the news outlets! Here are two you might enjoy checking out. 
The first is Fairyland Cottage-this particular episode is Things I Stopped Buying.

And this one that is a real gem, Green Resistance...every episode features different people around the globe asking and answering important questions.  I love them!

Thanks for visiting with me today. I love your comments as that is how I know who is reading and how it is with you today and during these times; that is always so interesting to me.
Update: It's Thursday, so please think of checking out all the interesting links at Not Afraid of Color and It's a Small Town Life.

Also linking this post with Kathy's Quilts and In the Jesh Studio

Thursday 11 February 2021

Ski Do Fun, Chocolate Rum Mousse Cake, Sawtooth Stars, Icy Cardinal, Warming Winter Drink

It has snowed; I've been shoveling. There has been sun and brilliant blue skies. There have also been frigid temperatures with wind chills in the minus twenties celsius.  Yes all since I last wrote to you. 

All in all, a normal February for us...actually perhaps warmer than usual because we haven't dipped to the minus thirties which is normal too for here. On the warmer days, daughter and Robbie have been here riding the little ski doos around the property. 

Besides the wintertime fun in the fresh air, it's a help to us because they nicely flatten our walking trails. 

Our February cake from daughter was a showstopper. She used Rock Recipes Ragged Rock Chocolate Rum Mousse Cake recipe and it turned out to be delicious.  

Hubby enjoyed it to the last rich morsel. 

Months back during our very last Costco run, I'd bought this jar of Honey, Citron and Ginger Tea Base. These are flavours that appeal to me and I've enjoyed it tremendously. About 2 tablespoons in a mug of hot water is flavourful enough for me and the perfect winter's day beverage to sip on. It also is a delicious marmalade and well suited to toast, which is the way Hubby has been enjoying it. It's over 4 pounds so a good amount for the cost.

 Being situated as far from the fire as the house will allow, the sewing room is one of the two colder rooms here. I have to turn on my little heater to take the chill out of the air but, within minutes, it feels toasty and I can get down to business without cold fingertips. Anybody else have to run a heater in the sewing room?

 I'm having fun choosing the fabrics for these, a couple more Sawtooth Stars.  This piece reminded me of last summer and all the bees I happily noted in the garden.
And another of Tula's fabrics, Elizabeth by Tula, that is so fun. Some are turning out more perfect than others. :)
Oh and I've been cross stitching too, a little each early morning. Miss Quilting Bee has eyes and is developing a wing. 

Our daily natter... Tough as nails, as we would say at home.

It is always fun to spy the male cardinal usually just before dusk and when the other birds have disappeared. I have wondered why he showed up at that time when it seems more dangerous with the night creatures appearing.  Hubby and I talked about it and agreed that perhaps for him with the bright red against the white snow, he was actually a little safer in the dusk. 

 Not a good photo but sharing it because it shows how cold it is with what looks like tiny icicles on his beak. Proves just how tough these little creatures must be to survive in our winters. And happy he is getting some sunflower seeds here at our place.

I really liked this saying, maybe because so much of my life has concerned itself with weather, considering the kind of places I have lived.  By not reading or listening to news or researching so much virus info, I'm definitely feeling unburdened, calmer and more positive. 

I hope that is exactly how you feel too. There is really not a whole lot we can do except keep to our own patch and make the best of it all. If that tiny bird can survive....

Sunday 7 February 2021

Sunday Stitching Along, Free Patterns, Great Book As Snow Falls

Views from our bedroom windows this morning.

The black thing is my compost bin. Snow softly falling all morning.
This week has been productive with the reading, stitching, moving the body and feeding it too.  I hope the same can be said for the upcoming week. And here is Murphy's contribution to the wood getting. She always chooses one stick (or several) to have a good chew each morning. 
Do you know what a boxing band is on a pillow? I'd never heard of it till Rachel at Stitched in Color shared how she made her pretty Penny Bird Pillow-pattern is available as a digital download. Aren't those fabrics pretty colours.

 There is Of Course, a video on YouTube about the box banding.

I've started cross stitching Quilting Bee from The Blue Flower and like the colours Jeannine chose very much, mustard yellow and lagoon blues. This week I hope to make inroads to the bee itself.  

I got out my Scrappy Hearts runner I sewed last winter. Enjoyed working on these hearts very much and this one was my favourite.

 Meg Hawkey at Crabapple Hill Designs is running a stitchalong that she calls Beautiful World Stitchalong. It features free snippets of her lovely designs to embroider.  I'm planning on downloading these to use as one project panel.

Both daughters are readers and this has finally happened. They are recommending books to me these days. I started reading this book, Pulitzer Prize winner, The Overstory, lent to me by younger daughter and I am quite taken with it. The writing is wonderful and how trees figure into each story is ingenious. Overstory itself refers to the layer of foliage in a forest canopy.  Inspiring to me and my awareness of trees has certainly been heightened by having the pleasure of living on the last two properties here in Ontario.

As I mentioned this week was a good one and my mood did not drift into over reflection as my mind is wont to do.  I'm deliberately not reading as much news which has been a help too.  Hope you are enjoying your Sunday wherever in this beautiful world you are.

Thursday 4 February 2021

Comforts and Small Joys to Pass a Canadian Winter in Isolation

We had a wolf moon last week- the first full moon of a new year. Early morning stepping onto the front veranda for wood I was surprised by how it looked so brilliant and illuminated the landscape.  This photo taken around 7:30 am. and look at those colours...cobalt? purples?  What colour(s) do you see|?

I am toting a lot of wood these days, part of the routine here in winter.  I'm pleased my joints aren't creaking though I think my arms may be an inch or two longer by the end of the winter. Never fear, I know exactly my limit with the hoisting and carrying. 

 We'd talked about doing this and decided it was time... We registered with the goodfood folks to get a box with three meals a week delivered. I still have to cook them but besides choosing from a menu, don't have to think about the groceries for them, or that interminable question what will we have for supper. Several have been enough for two nights for us especially with a salad added or an extra veg or bread, etc. We've enjoyed all of the 6 meals we've had so far, even his nibs saying they are tasty. This has buoyed me up as I was feeling tired of my own cooking. The meal below was oven roasted veggies on quinoa with a cream sauce that was very tasty. Maybe this will see us through till the present stricter lockdown is lifted.

  I do wonder what do the folks who don't have hobbies do during these days. Though I guess the internet and tv do offer loads of entertainment. I know a couple who are enjoying movie marathons, in their case, all their old favourites. That sounds like a great idea. We watched this movie on Netflix and enjoyed the calm, understated way the story got told. Always liked both the main actors, Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan. 

My shawl is this big. The very simple knitting pattern, Seed stitch, offers an easy rhythm while relaxing in front of the tv. Btw, several of you wondered and here's my answer- if I can do this, you can do it. Knit and purl patterns are easy to learn.  Shades of that sky above...

I finished this piece Find the Good Every Day by Erica Michaels on 32 count linen, two threads over two. I changed a couple things... chose a lighter colour for the background scroll and omitted the edging which I began and didn't care for. There has been a massive resurgence of the past time of cross stitching with many folks either trying it for the first time or returning to it after years away. It's been wonderful to read their accounts of newfound comfort with needle and thread.

 I also did what a lot of cross stitchers do when stitching an alphabet...put the initials of family members in a different colour, in this case those of my two girls and their two sons. 

I always loved receiving mail. When I lived in isolated communities on the coast of Labrador and in the Far North, the arrival of the mail plane was a joyful event. In one Labrador community, if the mail plane made it before Christmas it meant the children had gifts from Santa who would put their gifts on that plane. One time the plane arrived on the day school was closing for the Christmas break. When we heard the unmistakable sound of a plane's engine, the children, all 23 of them, ran outside and began waving, laughing and hollering at it. We watched, so happy for them and clapping too.
 Children have such joy in them and to share it was one of the best things about being a teacher. (By the way, I am friends on Facebook with one of the students who was there that day. She was in Grade 1 at the time and is a retiree herself now.)

But getting back to present day mail. Two books arrived...This one by Jen Kingwell called Quilt Lovely featuring 15 different projects, came very quickly from Amazon, the only place I could find it.    

I've had Jen's Glitter pattern noted for a long time, another great scrappy pattern. 

And this one from the Blackbird Designs ladies who straddle the two creative worlds of quilting and cross stitching.  The Bells on Christmas Day features five patterns for cross stitch of a primitive and sampler kind of style. Here is the link to their blog and a design called Frosty's Night Out that is very cute.

Nattering here...Hubby in his new Eddie Bauer fleece lined shirt, more happy mail.  I told him it's called a shacket, and he said why not call it a jirt.  He points to how hard it is to warm an old man (he doesn't shy away from calling himself that) citing how many layers he is this photo, four, even as he's planted directly in front of the fire.  

Later that day, it was bitterly cold but bright, eye-blinding sunshine as we ventured out for our walk and I said to him, look at that sun. Turn your face to it and let it warm you.  Take it in.  Though things are different in our world just now, this sun is the same old warming sun as far as I can tell. 
Another small but not insignificant joy is linking up with these fine folks....Not Afraid of Color, My Corner of the World and It's a Small Town Life.