Friday 27 August 2021

Birthday Milestone, August Quilting and Stitching Thoughts

Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly 

Isn't it interesting how certain projects stir our creative side.  I hope you also experience that feeling of joy, little jabs of joy, when you see a design and know it would be something you would love to work on. 

Linda, The Texan Quilt Gal, felt that zing I'm sure when she saw Jen Kingwell's beautiful Wensleydale quilt featured on the cover of her latest book Quilt Recipes. Linda has made a lovely start on it so be sure to drop over and have a look. 

I have Quilt Lovely which I bought because I was taken with the quilt Jen named Glitter.  It is so like me to be drawn to blocks that have lots of pieces that would work well with hand piecing. And in looking through the book, I was also struck by the quilt she named Halo, so much so I've ordered the templates. I also love curves in quilt blocks and I hope I am better at forming them than when I made the Fans. More about Halo later.

When I saw this pretty design I knew I would share it with you. It reminds me of Dresdens. What is it about Art Gallery with all the free patterns they share! Their Look Books for each fabric line are so gorgeous to look through and dream about making. This one is called the Buenos Aires Quilt Block..

So many opportunities to showcase certain fabrics or colours.  Here is the link to the free PDF Download.

I did get to go through my cross stitching stash to choose another chart to begin as a birthday treat. That took mere minutes because I do not have that much on hand.  I chose Autumn Quakers by Rosewood Manor and I was happy to find the fabric, 28 count Cashel linen, I could use for it. I really like the plums and golds, autumnal colours used in this one.

 However, I do not have the threads but made the decision to indulge myself by ordering a curated Valdani Fibre bundle from a Canadian online shop Gitta's. So a new start is in the offing. Meanwhile, here is the progress on Fraktur Flowers

What I am listening to while stitching besides Floss tube....Lately this book called Three Martini Lunches at the Ritz about a brief relationship between poets, Anne (yet another clever Anne!) Sexton and Sylvia Plath. Both committed suicide later in life which is such a bleak notion to digest. However, what I would have given to have been a fly on the wall and listened to the conversations two such brilliant women would have had!  Their very influential work very much lives on. 

I'll leave you this week with this photo of me taken on my 70th birthday by one of the hydrangea bushes in front. This is the one I cut down to the ground two years ago; it grew back fine last year but has really flourished this summer with all our extreme heat. Technically, it's probably a tree now.

I hope there is some zing in your life, something that is giving you jabs of joy these final days of August, 2021. 

Linking up with Not Afraid of ColorKathy's Quilts and Life in the Scrapatch


Thursday 19 August 2021

Links, Free Patterns, Sawtooth Stars, Delicious Black Forest Trifle

 It was a week of horrid muggy weather setting a dew point record.  I had a vague idea of what that meant but looked it up anyway. Muggy is what a high dew point means; in our case, very muggy.  Dew point is not something I ever had to concern myself with in Newfoundland. But that broke overnight on Saturday and the temperature went down to 10C so very refreshing on the morning walk with the dogs.

The last of the lilies coincided with the hostas in bloom which is happy news for the bumblebees. 

One of these days I must write down the day lilies that are here. They are so pretty and I do take them a bit for granted. The bird bath was busy during those hot days with American Robins, Chipping Sparrows and American Goldfinches being the major bathers. 
They play nice and give way for each to have their turn. 
And we were happy when the turkey parents brought by their young ones for us to meet. The dogs and I watched a turkey fly from its overnight roosting spot down in the deciduous forest. But it flew from a spot so high up I've since questioned if it was a turkey; am now thinking it was a heron as we have seen them at the pond. 
 More of the late summer plants are starting to bloom now, another sign the season is moving along.
Stitchy News

Joann's is now shipping worldwide. I always enjoyed a poke in the one across the border in Ogdensburg when we used to travel. I liked their prices on notions and the good specials they offered so it is fun to have online shopping an option. Link to Joann's here!
 I also came across this panel called Rebel Without a Claus that I thought very nice. Not all Santas look as sweet. It is the work of Mariam Bos for Dear Stella Designs. Aqua is still very popular this year.  Here is one link to an Etsy shop selling it.

Here is a free cross stitch chart from the talented and generous Teresa Kogut.  Kindness is Free Chart. Teresa shares many beautiful charts for free downloads on her blog. 
Teresa also paints (and quilts!) and in this video she shows step by step how to paint your own Earth Angel. 
 I would love to see you try your hand at cross stitching if you haven't done so already. It is the ultimate slow stitching, soothing kind of hand work with such wonderful results.  Here is a good article on the Mental Health Benefits of cross stitching. You don't need machines, gadgets, stash, a room (LOL), etc. in order to engage in this wonderful hobby. There are enough free charts offered online to occupy a lifetime of stitching. In particular, there has been a resurgence in stitching American and other country's samplers, a wonderful way to celebrate history. I've also found it entertaining to watch the Flosstube videos which I usually stitch to. 

 In the sewing room, I have the Sawtooth Stars back on the wall trying out different arrangements for piecing. This will be fun!
Before she left, daughter dropped off a wonderful dessert, Black Forest Trifle, which to say we enjoyed very much is putting it mildly. 

The combination of whipped cream, chocolate and real cherries was so good. Just writing about it now is making my mouth water. Here is a link to The Novice Chef's Easy Black Forest Trifle recipe.

On that delicious note, I'll leave you this Thursday.  Hope there is something tasty on your plate today.

Thursday 12 August 2021

Dog Therapy, Dining Out, Squids and Blueberries, Bring Flowers and A Poem Too

 I recently met up with an old friend to have lunch- it's been such a long time since I could write that! Everything is far here compared to what I was used to so I had a 40 minute drive to the restaurant.  On the route which is familiar to me, two new roundabouts had been made during pandemic days. I don't know what it is about them, but you can see the drivers hesitating though really, they are fairly straight forward. I had to wave a woman on in one-she had right of way but maybe was too polite to claim it. Roundabouts appear to be a great way to handle 4 way stops and there are so many of those here in the country. Anyway, it was wonderful to spend a couple of hours just chatting and eating somewhere completely different. I had delicious Steak Frites which I often order when out.  As I've mentioned I don't eat much red meat at home and fries are always a treat for me. 

Here is the front view framed by both my kitchen window (which I've shown so often as it is my window on my world it seems) and the verandah roof. The hydrangeas are wild this year. But that is not what I was focusing on.  Can you see her?

I've been fortunate to watch this mother with two fawns cross the front a couple of times now. 
I think it is unusual for them to have two. Update...I've been told it is fairly common.
The fawns are especially pretty.
These weeks I am dog/chicken and house sitting for Daughter and family to make their annual trip to Newfoundland and Labrador which they missed last year.  Here is Robbie in Newfoundland squid jigging which is a lot of fun and I bet not many of you can say you have done that!

And the eating of it is fun too.  Calamari is one of my favourite dishes; any of you like it?

They've also been picking wild blueberries. I am envious.

More heat waves and high humidity here making walking and sitting outside uncomfortable for me and the dogs. They've all been good as gold though. Being Labradors, I've yet to find their saturation point for pets, rubs and hugs. We've had to draw the line at all three of them on the bed with us and so far, they are taking turns.  Below here they are... Abbey and Neddy panting and Petey posing prettily...very hard to get a good photo of the three together. They are good therapy for me right now and I'm grateful. 
I finished my May Bring Flowers block for A Year at Hawk Run Hollow a while ago.  June is a bride which will be fun to stitch. 

I'm giving Fraktur Flowers attention these days.  In Flosstube world, there is a custom of allowing yourself a new project start on your birthday. Since my birthday is coming up, I've been thinking of which pattern I'd like to start next. Maybe more flowers or another bee since it is still summer.  

A poem I liked.

So that is my weekly round up. I surprised myself by getting it written and the photos taken and added in time for the Thursday link ups. The dogs are keeping me pretty busy.  😍

Thursday 5 August 2021

Life's Ups and Downs, Carousel of Time

A friend said to me a few years ago, Jocelyn, now we are the grandmothers. It was one of those moments when an idea hits you with a certain clarity and truth.  From then on I seemed more aware that life is definitely not static, is always swiftly moving on and me along with it. I thought of this when I saw on Nancy's blog, Joy For Grace. she had posted a video of Joni Mitchell singing The Circle Game.  In 1966, as a 15 year old I would have enjoyed her beautiful voice, but now all these years later, the words themselves have fresh meaning to me.  Do they resonate with you?

 This photo shows the side of our house with one of our bedroom windows framed through the Smoketree. Ours isn't so much a tree as a widely spreading bush. I love its pink and burgundy colours. 

Visible too is the Goat's Beard tree that produces beautiful creamy blooms. However, this one had its tallest branches broken during those heavy July rains and I had to trim its crown. Wish I'd gotten a photo before that happened as it was in its glory. 

Below is the entrance to our driveway up at the cul de sac.  These are a form of orange ditch lilies that were here when we arrived.  I added the hydrangea from what I had propagated last year and was happy to see it survived winter and actually bloomed. We had our own little plot of Birdsfoot Trefoil there that Hubby didn't mow because it was alive with bees and flying insects and he knew I would like it left for them.

And here is Neddy waiting patiently for me as I pick up Hubby's paper across from those pretty yellow blooms.
I felt like sewing yesterday and now have 40 of the Courthouse Steps Blocks finished. I think I will need about 80 so I'm halfway there.  Loving using foundation piecing and the accuracy it is giving me. Also enjoying digging through scraps bags for the light strips. 
I've had a couple of emotional weeks and I will tell you about it later.
 But in the midst of that, one of the happiest of things happened too. (And isn't that just like life, the ups and inevitable downs too.) My hubby celebrated his 82nd birthday with a beautiful chocolate mousse cake from daughter and a wonderful surf and turf meal cooked by son in law. Best of all was being together again- it felt like old times when we would share a big meal once a month. 
We are very hopeful the pandemic is behind us as everything is getting back to normal here in Ontario. Mask wearing indoors still is the only sign of what we've come through. 
Hope things are similarly positive where you are!