Thursday 22 July 2021

Free Patterns, Christmas Stitching in July, Playful Pups and Empty Nests

Summer is in full bloom here in Ontario. The fireflies are out nightly and we've had strange moons, weather, and thankfully, this week a break from the humidity that further drags me down. We also had one noteworthy storm that was kind of frightening. Suddenly it turned dark as night, the wind came up and then we had torrential downpours of rain with thunder crashing all the while. It was how suddenly it turned dark like night that I couldn't get over. However, after 20 minutes or so it all cleared off, leaving in its wake many of my taller plants and bushes beaten down. And worse, severe damage to farm crops in the area.

Strange moon rising...

Down to earth all the day lilies are in bloom. Many shades are represented here and they provide beautiful colour amidst all the green.  

And the bees and insects are busily foraging which I always like to see in the garden.

The Eastern Phoebes on the back of the house have all fledged. I got to see one who left the nest and flew to the metal roof where it proceeded to gently slide down. The parent alerted me with its frantic calls but when the little guy ran out of roof, it discovered its wings and flew to a tree a couple of feet away. The parent immediately followed it. I watched and got to see them both fly off into the big wood together. I miss them very much, as even in the tv room in the evenings, I could watch the parents alighting on the trees that frame that window. However, I hear their calls on our walks so they are about still. 

There is a great Halloween stitch along starting up August 2 from the Fat Quarter Shop. It's called Bats and Boos and will offer free quilt patterns and also free cross stitch patterns to match. Here is the link.

My own hand stitching this week is a little Christmas in July stitching. I love to think of Christmas and am really hoping this one will be like old times. Moda with designer, Susan Ache, offered a free Holiday Stitch-a-Long featuring Baltimore inspired patterns to be set in a quilt with Courthouse step blocks.  I downloaded the patterns.  Here is the link to all the downloads and info about the beautiful quilt.
I also downloaded free patterns for tiny stitcheries, 5 inch blocks, in winter/Christmas themes. These, of course, work up very fast.  Here is a link to 10 sites that offer free Christmas embroidery patterns including vintage.

I was asked about the sites I follow about the Royal Family. I used to have several on my Blogs I Follow list, then when that grew, I moved them to my Reading List. I've put three of them back into the current list on the side so you can click those links to find information and news about the royals. I'm such a nerd; I also like architecture so love the virtual tours and photos of the various homes and palaces.  

Sweet distraction during trying times are the puppies. Here Ned has a good play with his litter mate-brother, Petey. Daughter brings him along when they drop over for a swim much to Neddy's delight.

I hope you, dear reader, is as happy as a pair of pups running amok on a summer's day. 

Happy as always to link up with Not Afraid of ColorBrian's Home BlogLife in the ScrapatchViewing Nature With EileenKathy's QuiltsLetting Go of the Bay Leaf and Paying Ready Attention

Thursday 15 July 2021

Nature Sings, Courthouse Steps and Tumbling Blocks, Have You Heard of This?

Since reading The Overstory, I've been more aware of trees. I still count as one of my duties here to name all the trees; I'm sure many are represented just outside my front door. Though I do not think our woods are enchanted, the sounds I hear there are kind of enchanting to me.  For instance, early one morning, I heard two barred owls hoot to each other from different parts of the woods. Then a couple of cardinals chimed in, also distances apart, to sing their tuit tuit calls. Meanwhile, chickadees were chirping continuously and a couple of red squirrels were chittering. It was all a kind of symphony to my ears, one that made me feel emotional in that moment. It reminded me of a hymn we used to sing growing up..."All nature sings and round me rings, it is my Father's world." Is that familiar to you too? 

I think I found one of the chipping sparrow nests way up in the eave of the side wall tucked away; what a great spot! I had to use my distance camera and would not have seen it but heard this one out of the nest and chirping loudly and then noticed a bird fly somewhere up there to feed it. The adult wasn't much bigger than the one being fed. Do sparrows make messy nests?
A day later this brave little one took a dip in the bird bath then stood around calling to its parent. I waited but never saw one show up.
I continue to follow our Majesty and enjoy reading about her habits, clothes, jewelry, duties, etc. 
Below here she is at the G7 Summit in her summery flowery dress with a sunny smile to match. 95 and still working. Apparently her mind is just as sharp as it always was-still reads her daily political briefings and considering her knowledge of dogs, horses and medals is extensive, that's impressive.  She still rides, albeit a much smaller horse and with a companion, but also remarkable I think. One can only hope to be so well in mind and body at such an age.
Foundation Piecing is going well!
I'm feeling successful with the foundation piecing of the Courthouse Steps scrappy blocks. This many completed. If I'm going to be on the machine, I may as well sew something I like as much as these. And I must admit this is probably the most precision that has ever happened in my sewing room!
The Tumbling blocks are gradually being joined, I have five sections like this now sewn together. So many hand stitched seams and I'm very happy my enthusiasm for it hasn't waned. Hopefully, my current motivation will see me through to getting this large undertaking finished. Fingers crossed!
Ned continues to provide so much pleasure. Such a good little fellow almost like he knows we are old so he must be well behaved. 

Have you heard of the Hepburn Voice? I read about it on a blog and looked it up. Sounds like an interesting device- designed to look like a retro radio but has all the latest technology to control all your other devices. Especially interesting is the choice in covers. Cath Kidston designs available for covers. 

My photo uptake gave me issues this morning...this photo of a bluejay feeding another was supposed to be up top there in the bird section. 
My ipod Shuffle finally died; I think it is about12 years old. The young man in the store I went to to get a new one told me they haven't made them for quite a while. Now folks put their music lists on their phones. But what about wanting to have music while swimming, I asked him. Look up headsets, he said. He was sure they've made something just for that purpose. So I'm hunting and if you have a suggestion, I'd appreciate it.
  Speaking of which, I enjoy reading all your emails and comments so much! A Sincere thank you for your kind words, suggestions, advice and sharing a little of your life as well. 

Thursday 8 July 2021

Critters Big and Small, Imperfect Stitching, Exercise and My Brain

4 Ticks!

Yes, I've picked 4 ticks off myself this season so far. That's three more than average. And I've had to extract one each from Hubby and Ned (though Ned is on a medication to repel parasites-too bad I couldn't have such). A lot of critters have been flourishing this year including these tiny as mites things.

 And the garden continues to grow like crazy...I guess it's the heat. View from my kitchen window this morning showing the lawn on the left where I play ball with Ned.

I was working on my photos this week, an ongoing goal, and came across photos of the Fans quilt I made last fall/winter. I realized I hadn't shown the piece with all the blocks sewn together. Still not quilted and definitely imperfect (perhaps why I hadn't shared it). And I do have regrets about using those two lighter blues though in real life they are the prettiest blue fabric here.
I must share with you this my last post I wrote about feeling distracted.  Noticed yesterday that my May doesn't have an A. Definitely imperfect! Oh well, a little frogging and it will be remedied. 
Note the specs in that picture.  A couple of blogging friends mentioned these particular readers.  I checked them out and bought a set, 5 pairs for $19 US. And I could get magnification of 4 which I didn't even know was possible. These are well made and I can stitch any thread count with them when I want to take a break from my real magnifiers. Here is the link to Eyekeepers and the women's readers collections.

Garden visitors We continue to be blessed with all form of creatures, great and small, visiting our summer gardens. And that includes the ticks!

These chipping sparrows have flourished the last two summers here though I've yet to find a nest. Many of them in the trees and under the feeders. 

Lots of chipmunks too. Hard to count as they seem to be loners.
There is something about turkeys that fascinate me...their size, the strange featherless heads, the beauty of their large feathers; I don't know. 
Thank you all so much for your thoughtful and encouraging comments on my last post. The heat broke and it is cooler now- to me more pleasant outside.  A swim every day, an early morning little jog to the newspaper box with Ned and playing ball on the lawn with him is making me feel fitter. When I feel fitter, I do feel better mentally which I know is how my brain works.
  Plus I was able to have both grandsons here for a swim (and a float) last Sunday which was wonderful. Things are slowly starting to feel more normal.
Hope everything is even finer than normal where ever you are!


Thursday 1 July 2021

Which Me Am I Now?

 I've been a bundle of thoughts since I last wrote a post. So much bad news in the news and sadness abounding it seems. And this heat...which I say feels like you're stepping out into warm, thick pea soup, has also served to dampen my spirits and sapped my little energy along with it. How hot has it been?  So hot Hubby is wearing a short sleeved t-shirt without a long sleeved shirt over it. I've never seen him wear such before. 

Ned is learning to enjoy the walks especially in the shade on a hot day.

So we are bumbling along. My hair, which has a little natural curl, has been frizzy just like any time I was in Florida. It makes no difference to pull a comb through it. This, of course, is the least of my concerns just now. 

 It's more my mood that worries me. Up and down and all over the place. Reminds me of that saying, which me am I now? The normal me is, if graphed, a straight level line but not lately.  And oddly I've had a hankering for hearty food during this heat. I made a large pan of colcannon which is basically mashed potatoes, cabbage and bacon. And a large tuna/macaroni casserole that lasted two suppers for us.  Not suffering a lack of carbs!

And of course, my concerns pale in comparison to what people are going through in the western provinces where folks have died of the heat and now are coping with massive forest fires. On the heels of the residential schools continuing horrific news- all the loss and suffering! I find it all distressing to hear about.

Meanwhile everything in the garden is growing wildly for Neddy's first summer.

A bit overgrown as I've neglected the weeding this week.

Nice to see purply sedum and lavender, my additions, doing well in the garden.

I did get to try out the foundation papers to stitch two new Courthouse Steps blocks. It worked quite well and definitely improved the accuracy of the straight lines. Now that I have the hang of it, I'm doing three at a time. I'm pleased with myself for trying something new. I still like the heritage red fabric and love the using up of scraps too. This pattern has the center block smaller and the same size as the two nearby red blocks (unlike the vintage block I had sewn before).

I'm reading this book and enjoying it, After the Fire by Henning Mankel.  I like books where the protagonist is old; how they are coping with life is interesting to me. Perhaps I can pick up some pointers.

 I hope this Thursday finds you well and coping with whatever life is throwing at you!