Thursday 24 June 2021

Downsize??, Critter Heaven, Slow Stitching Sunflowers and Tumbling Blocks

From a distance I can hear a familiar summertime drone; a neighbour is mowing his lawn. This is the good neighbour to us as he often mows our section of the front lawn on the street to save Hubby having to go all the way out there with our mower. We are so sorry they are leaving. They sold their house quickly having discussed for ages and finally made the decision to downsize. The fact that they are much younger than us is not lost on us.  And some days we do question us living here and trying hard to maintain everything. 

I follow Patti on Youtube, RXSTRmom, and she is in her mid 70's.  They had downsized to a condo in Florida- a beautiful spot in a gated community. But they discovered condo living wasn't for them and have just purchased a house again. She grappled with the idea of house ownership at their ages but decided to go with it.  Everyone must suit themselves when it comes to these decisions I guess. 

The poppies are in bloom and they add flash to the front flower beds. Every summer I have to relearn that glaring sunlight is not the best for photographs.

 However it was the symmetry of their centers up close that caught my eye. What pretty colours too.
Frequent Visitors to the feeders are the male and female American Goldfinches.

It wasn't just a good year for mosquitoes. We've seen more bunnies this summer than all the other years put together.  
And down by the pond, more turtles too. Here the larger turtle is sleeping (?) on land which is rare to see.

 I've sewn a few more of my Tumbling Blocks together, still in their cardstock here.  Trying not to make the stitching too tight as I tend to do.  I always worry with hand stitching that it will fall apart and then over compensate by sewing too tightly. That's Neddy's Teddy there...a toy passed down from Hubby's mom's days.Gladi ( Gladi Porsche Quilts ) mentioned she uses foundation piecing when making log cabin blocks so I thought I would give that a try for the Courthouse Steps. I quickly bought and downloaded a pdf file for a Courthouse Steps block and have it set up in the sewing room for when I can get some time uninterrupted. This should be interesting.  I'll keep you posted; meanwhile enjoying slow stitching pretty sunflower petals. 
We gave ourselves a little treat after getting our second shots done.  The Crispy Spud is not far from where we live and we usually get cheeseburgers and fries there a couple times a season. I like how it's real fries and real hamburger, if you know what I mean. It's cash only, $25 for the two platters and drinks and there is always enough for a third person.  Do you have a favourite little stop like this near you that serves surprisingly good food?
Sadly the local strawberry farm, Beckwith Strawberries, that has a popular u-pick, lost over 70% of its crop due to cold and frost overnights lately. Strange weather...since last posting, we've had high humidity, heat, then cool enough to need a jacket on our woods walks again with single digit temps overnight. But today is sunny and I'm sure will warm up nicely. 

Thursday 17 June 2021

Hope and Feathered Things, Courthouse Steps Question, Fraktur Flowers

 Birds chirping early morning. Still lots fluttering about and to spy on. The second phoebe nest on the back wall of the house is active with both hard working parents bringing food. The young stay very quiet so I haven't a clue how many are there or were in the neighbouring nest either. They tolerate us now using the patio doors I notice. Phoebes are relatively easy to photograph because they take little rests between their frequent flights to capture flying insects. I read they eat over 700 such insects a day... if they are mosquitoes, all good.

Opening the pool and getting it heated with the wood stove has consumed a lot of my time since last week. I have to fill the stove every hour; it is a marvelous thing that generates a ferocious heat.
  Last summer I ran it for four days and did not need to fire it up again for the whole summer. As long as the temperatures remain hot, the pool is fine. And we all don't mind the water being slightly coolish either. Still warmer than any lake in summer is the way I look at it. 

Playing with, walking, training Ned is taking up a lot of my time as well. He has learned the name of his favourite toy, Duckie. And of course, he knows out, come and Tony.

I really enjoyed making a Courthouse Steps block for a little table topper a while back. I've finally received the heritage style red fabric I had in mind ages ago for a project featuring that block. An hour in the sewing room one morning gave me the opportunity to sew up two blocks as a trial. Like Log Cabin blocks, keeping the sides straight and even is a bit of a challenge. Probably more so for me with my crooked eye.  I copied the pattern from a book of vintage patterns I own and I'm wondering if the very central block should be smaller. I really appreciate your help/comments! Thank You!
When I get a chance I'm going to try a couple more blocks before I decide if this is a project I want to continue. Perhaps sewing it by hand would be better for me.  I can always hope I could get more accurate with a little more practice. We'll see. I do love how the contrasting light strips use up scraps quite nicely. 
I've also added a few stitches to Fraktur Flowers which is my cross stitch project to  advance this month.  The colours are soothing and the green, interesting. It has a teal cast to it. I'm enjoying them.  I will leave the bird, my favourite bit, till last. 
The province is out of lockdown- again,  People have not been going too foolish with the gatherings which they are apt to do. Still no in-library browsing allowed which I was hoping for. But no doubt that will come soon. Hopeful this will be our finale with this virus.
 Our sad, very old crabapple tree still sends out a few blossoms each spring.

Here's to hoping you are having an enjoyable week!

Linking with Not Afraid of ColorLife in the Scrapatch, Viewing Nature With EileenApplique Patchwork QuiltingKathy's QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkSmall Quilts and Doll Quilts and Paying Ready Attention

Thursday 10 June 2021

Thoughts and More On a June Thursday

Don't know how you folks in warmer climates do it!  I guess it's because I'm originally an east coast Canadian that the humidity really really gets to me. I find it isn't at all pleasant to walk, jog or garden in. I can't shake the idea that even breathing air like that is not good for you. 

But I'm all set up with overhead fans whirring and this in front of me.

I'm listening to Anne Tyler's Red Haired Girl By the Side of the Road.  I think I read it before as parts of it seem familiar.  I like the orange Bubly the best and please take a look at those petals under the word Bring.

I haven't been keeping up with showing you Daughter's cakes to us.  This one was another lemon with frosting...delicious, a requested remake. 

 I pictured this book in the last post, The Book of Flowers, Four Centuries of Flower Illustration by Alice M. Coates. And thank you all, by the way, for the comments on the tablecloth. I joined a SAL at Melva Loves Scraps and got caught up in this flower garden block. I wound up making a large tablecloth with them.  Melva is hosting another such SAL called Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail. Melva's link there will take you to the latest free block, Snow, which is very interesting.

 The book belonged to Hubby's mother who was a flower lover.  The illustrations are marvelous- here are the sunflowers. 1777 by J. Miller.

 My next block of the Hawk Run Hollow piece is of sunflowers for May and I'm not crazy about the colour of one of the very large sunflowers. It is a dark cinnamon colour that looks brownish. Not a sunflower colour  I'm familiar with.  I'm trying out the brighter reddish cinnamon that was used in the ladies dress in the first block - though I'm a little reluctant as I do respect the designers' thoughts. You can see my substitution in the first photo back at the start of the post.  What do you think?

We had the Bell guy here to fix phone issues and he was terrified of dogs. So much so that every time he re-entered the house he wouldn't come in till reassured Ned was corralled. We thought by saying he was a puppy it would be okay, but not.  Must be awful to have a fear like that.

I realized I should sew some of the Tumbling Blocks together to make sure this pattern will work. It was a challenge to sew those 6 points meeting in one spot but manageable.  Someone mentioned the darkest colour should traditionally be on the top.  I didn't know that.

The chickadees have gone quiet but lots of other birds are around. The bluejays in larger numbers than usual have really enjoyed the suet.

And the ravens are usually present early in the morning and late in the day.  I love to watch them strut about but it is hard to get a good photo of them together. I see they like to spread out and seemingly cover a lot of ground. Not a good photo but amazing how a month makes such a difference to the grass and the greening of things.

We both have been able to move up our second vaccines. Will be a relief to get them over with.  I am so tired of all of that. But meanwhile, enjoying life and all our pastimes while still corralled here at the wooden house. 

Happily linking with Not Afraid of ColorPaying Ready AttentionConfessions of a Fabric AddictAlycia QuiltsViewing Nature With EileenApplique Patchwork QuiltingQuilting is More Fun Than Housework and Life in the Scrapatch

Friday 4 June 2021

Three Things About This Picture

 I had to dig out my old brown winter coat for my early morning walk last Friday. 2 c when I got up at 6:45 but Ned didn't care. He is a great walker and only needs the allure of a stick to keep him moving fast. We have proceeded to have very hot weather in between but no rain all week till today and it is pouring buckets as I write this. The garden needed this. 

Daughter is off to a cottage for a few days and I am minding the chickens.  

They have more this year and their eggs have been plentiful including some for us too. 

I'm still feeling distracted with having Ned around so picking up a needle has been intermittent and I still haven't been in the sewing room.  Being able to grab a moment here and there doesn't work for me for the cross stitching. I like to settle in rather than have to keep picking it up and putting it down.  I'm sure that will get better when we have him completely housebroken and past the chewing everything in sight phase. He's a smart fellow so it's on us if he doesn't learn the ropes. 

 That all being said, I did finish my April Block of A Year at Hawk Run Hallow. The house was a bear to stitch so happy to have it finished. 

Gladi at Gladi Porsche Quilts highlighted Wendy Caton Reed's quilts displayed at The New England Quilt Museum  in this post.  Wendy has a wonderful quilting blog, The Constant Quilter. Do take a look, quilters, as they are all so beautiful. 

Ned and I this week...

If only my face was as smooth as it looks in this photo!

                   Three Things About The Above Picture

1. I thought our lockdown would have lifted by now so I could finally get a professional haircut. That hasn't happened so I had to get out the scissors and clippers and do it myself.  It's always a bit too short for the first week or so then I adjust I guess.

2. I'm wearing my Sketchers Bob's slip on shoes. These are great for summer,  provide memory foam support and are washable.  And the soles have a little traction too.  I think I bought mine at the local Mark's. I really like the Bob's Sketcher's Donation Program where for every pair of Bob's sold, the company donates a pair to a child in need- over 9 million donated and counting. (I'm not affiliated in any way- just sharing something I really like.)

3. Ned is now 25 pounds so our lifting days are coming to an end. He got a superlative report from his second vet's appointment on Tuesday. They all loved him especially how friendly he was.  He is growing so fast; I'm enjoying these puppy days with him all the more as they are so clearly short lived.

A couple of in the garden photos... the chipmunk vigorously cleaning itself using its tongue and paws. The paws were a blur so glad to have this shot.


And  spied from the kitchen window...a groundhog ambled through in a haphazard fashion and finally out the laneway. We have never seen one here before. Poor fellow must be molting or something...looked kind of worse for wear. Hope he is okay. I never knew they had such skinny tails.

What do you think? Is this little one okay?

                         I'll leave you with a little haiku from the famous Basho. Our dragon flies are flitting about despite the temperatures up and down.

Hope your week ends on a high note!

So happy to link with Not Afraid of ColorViewing Nature With EileenKathy's QuiltsMy Corner of the World and It's a Small Town Life.