Thursday 30 September 2021

Nostalgia Notes, Oodles of Links, Free Patterns, Halloween Project

Rule #8 Concentrate on the memories- the good, the happy, the tiny ones too.  I am now free. I no longer need to prove a point, win an argument, get my point of view across, retell my side of the story. I'm done with all that. None of that matters to me or anyone else anymore. Let all that go and instead, remember and concentrate on the good and sweet stuff. 

Nostalgia has been proven to counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety. It makes people more generous to strangers and more tolerant of outsiders. Couples feel closer and look happier when they're sharing nostalgic memories. On cold days, or in cold rooms, people can use nostalgia to literally feel warmer. NY Times.

I'm a member of Facebook groups for places I have lived and I like to have Fb friends from all those places as well. The connections from the past and memories they stir seem important to me. And not just me. The remembering of streets, events, buildings, people seem enjoyable to all who take the time to read these posts judging by their comments. And not just us old folks; sometimes it is grandchildren chiming in with their memory of things as well. 

 I can also feel quite nostalgic sometimes for aspects of my childhood. For instance, books were there right from the beginning. Though money was tight, both my parents were readers and belonged to a mail order book club and the library when I was growing up in Corner Brook. Seeing a certain kind of illustration will take me back to school and my readers that I enjoyed so much. And the simple rhyming verses too. They certainly had a strong influence on my own early writings too.

From The Bumper Book by Eulalie

 Subscribing to Brain Pickings has taught me lots of interesting things. Pearl S. Buck is one of my favourite authors and I spent many happy hours reading my way through her books as a young university student. (When I should have been studying my textbooks no doubt!)

 Here is an article about her Nobel Prize for Literature win for The Good Earth. She remains still the youngest woman to receive that honour. I just love when an author can write simply yet beautifully and tell an interesting story at the same time.  I reread this book when I lived on Baffin Island and remembered how it made me nostalgic for the university campus days I enjoyed so much. 


Early  memories of  Mom are often of her, apron on, standing at the stove stirring something. Certain dishes our Moms make often stay in our memories all our days. ( There is the story of the elderly lady who while deep in Alzheimers had only one real memory left- that being of the pulled taffy her mom would make for her and her siblings when they were kids).  Here is a great link to some of the same sweets or very similar to ones I got to enjoy when even I was a kid. I wonder will you recognize any from your youth too.

27 Nostalgic Baking Recipes That Will Make You Feel Like a Kid Again From the folks at Taste which is Australian I think because we would call these bars or squares instead of Florentine Slice. But they look delicious so I've bookmarked this recipe.

For the knitters, I enjoyed this article and I know Mom knit some just like these back in the day and crocheted doilies that looked just like this too.  I may not need another knitted dish cloth- I still have some she knit, but I would like these made a little larger for cushioning under my plant pots. Here is the link.

Michele, at what I think of as her other blog, Pennsylvania Piecemaker, writes interesting posts about the history of bygone day quilt making. I admit to having a real love of old patterns. In that link, Michele shows a quilt with leaves as a motif, something that is on my long list to make. Melva at Melva Loves Scraps loves to share diary entries from the past and link them with quilt patterns; she also loves hosting SAL 's featuring those patterns sharing free copies and lots of tips for making them. 

In keeping with the nostalgic theme, I got out my autumn/Halloween project from last year. Some of the start of this project is featured in the post on the right, back in 2019.

The one I had embroidered vintage Halloween motifs for...

Such enjoyable stitching and I have it about half way hand quilted.

This will get a share of my stitching time now for the month of October and I'm thinking doable to finish. I got some of the free patterns from Martha at Q is For Quilter who no longer blogs but has kept her posts up for reference purposes...well worth a visit. The others came from a bundle I'd purchased from Homespun Hearth by Buttermilk Basin. Another site with lots to explore.

Hubby and I just finished watching this series on Brit Box and enjoyed it very much. Him for maybe the third time. Here is a great article about it...4 Reasons You Should Watch The Duchess of Duke Street.

He had a tear when we finished the last episode as he suddenly remembered how much his mum had loved the series. 
Our connections with the past are meaningful and usually consoling to us. I'm grateful I have a bank of memories too that are dear to me and worth rekindling even more going forward. 

  This unusual strange time in history will be ushering in new memories. Hopefully, some of them will be good ones, good enough for folks to feel nostalgic about in the future. 

So happy to link with Not Afraid of ColorTexas Quilt GalAlycia QuiltsConfessions of a Fabric AddictWendy's Quilts and More and Life in the Scrapatch

Monday 27 September 2021

WIP's, Flying Geese, SAL's, Purchases

This is a banner year for cones on the fir trees including the balsams. There is a saying that this is a sign of a harsh winter to come and nature produces more to help the animals survive. A nice notion and one scientists debunk; however the last time we had this many cones, it was a very harsh winter with a lot of freezing rain. I took note.

Pretty patterns and colours up close when they first emerge.

It's good to know almost 83% of our population here in Ottawa are fully vaccinated (almost 90% with one dose). With that in mind, I'm feeling a little safer out and about shopping. 

 I got to go thrift shopping last Friday which was a treat and also go inside a Costco. More about the purchases later especially a very sweet one at the Value Village.  I found it a bit exciting but a little unnerving as both places were quite busy. Everyone was masked, hand sanitizing stations all around and telephone numbers were recorded so they were doing their best to keep it all safe but open and running.  For me it seemed there was just so much to look at in both places, I could hardly take it all in. I've been sensory deprived shopping wise, LOL.  

I stitched many more flying geese for the border of the Sawtooth Stars while I seem to have mislaid the ones I sewed last week.  I rolled them into a small bundle and I know I will find them but grrr to the time I will waste looking for where I've tucked them. (The state of that sewing room probably has something to do with it.) Anyway... Does that happen to you?
Our wood for the winter got delivered so some stacking in our future. For now it is thrown over the ground under tarps. I take a certain pleasure in stacking it properly on the veranda and at the back door, at hand to bring inside and I look forward to the cozy warmth of our winter fires. If you remember, I am the resident fire starter, :).

 In the mail recently, Hubby got these wavy wrenches that I thought looked neat and Neddy got his special personalized harness from LL Bean. I bought them for Abbey and Petey too. The llBean Dog Supplies shop has really great items if you dog owners want to take a look.

 So far Ned hasn't needed a leash around the property. Unlike Murphy who would have followed her nose into the next county, Ned does not go very far from us.  We are fairly confident that he'll only need leashing when we take him to community trails. At 6 months old, he is actually a bit of a fraidy cat about noises, the dark, strange people, etc. but this could change of course.

Kathleen Tracy, the queen of small quilts, has just released a beautiful new book, Schoolgirl Sampler. I hear she plans a stitch along using it in January. Here is a link to Connecting Threads where the book is on sale now.

And Leanne at the Devoted Stitcher is running a challenge that I signed up for the reminders. Thought it would help keep me motivated to finish my own projects.  A 100 day challenge to work on WIP's 
It began September 23 and runs till the end of the year. Any WIP"s will do including wooly ones.
And speaking of WIP's I am going to show you one I unearthed recently. Probably one of the first larger pieces stitched after I bought my machine about 13 years ago. I was in a shop stitching group called the Knotty Girls and the shop had put together bundles of autumn fabrics. They were donating some of the money to a charity overseas so I bought one. I copied what one of the other stitchers did with hers.

Nothing fancy, just straight stitching but some of the fabrics are pretty.
Sorry it's not showing up well against my Thanksgiving table cloth -Canadian Thanksgiving is Oct.11.

My week is off to a wet start with lots of rain showers today. But hopefully, lots of stitching time will be had. 


Wednesday 22 September 2021

Rule #7, Embroidered Primitive Mini Quilt, Links, Shopping

 Rule #7 All life on earth is vulnerable. Money, intellect, education or prestige don't protect against all the ills that can befall us. So there is nothing that has happened to me or will happen to me where I can say those two little words, why me.  While I didn't say that out loud when I lost everything in the fire, a part of me inside felt let down by the universe.

 I'd been through enough by then with my various losses to know I wasn't special enough to be given a free pass from bad things (during those times I got a lot from reading the book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner)  but I did think of myself as a good person going through life trying my best to do good. It felt like because I'd had those bad experiences and survived, I'd paid my dues, that I'd earned protection from further bad things happening to me. How could that be my pay back I thought. Nonsensical I know, especially when I would remind myself that nothing I'd been dealt was directly life threatening like so many many face. I'm  ashamed to admit I was bitter for a month or two. before common sense took over and righted my thoughts, thankfully.  Aging is going to present challenges I know; perhaps I'll have a better perspective. 

Ok, enough about that...on to the good stuff that we all enjoy and love. For instance, with continuing warm temperatures, the autumn garden is still pretty. In particular, the pink Sedum has thrived.

All the yellow Ligularia in this garden is the Brit Marie Crawford strain which is known for its gigantic elephant ear leaves. Here the Sedum is a standout with Lavender on the left and one of the mauve Asters in front. Coral Bells peaking on the lower right. Any purple to be seen is Lavender.
Neddy down by the pond. Wild Goldenrod flourished this year and with the warmth, is still blooming.
This week I sewed a primitive style mini quilt. I've often mentioned how much I love pumpkins. I drew this very simple pumpkin shape, embroidered chain stitch to get full coverage on a small scrap of dark gray fabric. I used the most orange DMC, #740, that I had.

A little Kaffe material (I think) from the scrap bag for the border.

And embroidered the word Pumpkins on the other side. Funny about colours in photos; this is actually the same green as the stalk on the front. 

I'll probably use it for a mug rug. A fun little project. And here is the link to the Pinterest site, Mug Rug Halloween that features 630 Halloween/Autumn mug rug ideas.  All so cute and many many free patterns.
Stitching this weekend will be working on evening up the sides of my Tumbling Stars panels. I think I have enough sewn for a single bed size now and it's time to gather ideas for borders. All happy stitching for me. This is definitely my most ambitious hand pieced project to date.
We bought ourselves two items to celebrate our summer birthdays. One was the Nespresso machine and the other was a Cubii elliptical machine, not quite as much fun.   I've been using it while watching tv which you can because it is very quiet.  As a committed multi tasker, I think it is wonderful.  Strong legs are important for balance so hopefully this activity, even while seated, will help somewhat. 

New mug from Walmart with words I couldn't resist. Link is here if you'd like to order one.

Hope your week has been a great one and your weekend will include some stitchy time.

So happy too to link with these fine parties... Not Afraid of ColorLife in the ScrapatchTexas Quilt GirlThe Inquiring QuilterMy Quilt InfatuationConfessions of a Fabric AddictAlycia QuiltsSo ScrappyKathy's Quilts and Quilt Fabrication

Monday 20 September 2021

Rule #6, Bargains, Delicious Macaroni, Flying Geese, Courthouse Steps

 Rule #6 Walk Tall.  In keeping with the walking...One of my aims during my year leading up to 70 was to be as fit as I could be. And part of that was improving my posture.  With decades of bending over childrens' heads and desks and a needle or book etc., well let's just say,  I was not happy with my posture. And I have a fear of developing a hump on my back.

 So I made a conscious effort all of last year to improve  it.  I read a little about it and also watched YouTube videos. I reminded myself especially when walking to straighten up, put my shoulders back, tuck in my chin. And the effort paid off in the sense that I always remember when walking to straighten up now. I still catch myself slumping so I've not "corrected " it as such but I now seem to be aware when I do that.  I'm also much more aware about aligning my head to prevent head forward syndrome, etc.  So trying my best to keep as straight as I can. I've tried to concentrate on this rule other times in the past but would let it fade. I wish now I'd kept at it as it feels good. 

I liked this Healthline article, 12 Benefits of Good Posture, and I do the floor exercise, the Bridge, which was always a part of my aerobics years ago.

Follow up to last post and a question about the tiny scrappy table topper I showed. Here is the little embellishing I stitched using yellow and orange valdini threads. Enjoyable easy herringbone stitching.

I also stitched together a few orange mixed fabrics for a little gift.  What do you think I'm going to make with this???
Last week I machine stitched a few more Courthouse Steps to add to the pile.
And had fun sewing colourful geese which I've decided will be one of the borders for the Sawtooth Stars. I used fabrics from the stars or ones that matched. Two more rows to go.
Meanwhile I ordered enough of these cloths for myself and the daughters from Ikea. I think they are a bargain at 49 cents for each dish cloth and 79 cents for each tea towel. Lots of different uses can be found for these.  Here is a link if you'd like to check them out.
I actually got inside a library last week. It felt like visiting an old friend. Here is one of the books I checked out. One of the queens of little quilts and a fabric designer is Jo Morton and this is her second book, Jo's Little Favorites II. There is something homey about the colours in these...cheddars, warm browns, deep reds. Looks like autumn. There is a certain blue she uses a lot that I am going to hunt for. Kind of a bright navy almost cobalt blue.
Quick question...anyone tried this?? It sounds kind of delicious. Macaroni and cheese with stuffing (dressing) on top.  I think I'm going to give it a try. Here are the recipes for both the dishes from Paula at Constantly Cooking. Matter of fact, I will try these recipes today and let you know how it turned out. is the macaroni mixture and the bread torn into cubes (sort of) ready to be seasoned. I used poultry seasoning, sage, salt and pepper and real butter. 
And we enjoyed it very much.  It made a meal for two nights for us. The next night we had pickles and broccoli with it. Two great recipes!
Thank you all for the very kind comments and emails about what I write in this blog. I love to read each and every one (and Hubby often does too). One of my favourite things in the world is to write these fun posts. 
Also a favourite thing of mine, linking with Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, Sum of Their Stories and Love Laugh Quilt

Thursday 16 September 2021

Rule #5, She Keeps Walking, Tiny Scraps Autumn Table Topper, Blueberry Muffins

Rule #5 Keep walking...both physically and figuratively. I'm intrigued how the two are linked. The summer after I moved to Ontario was a very difficult one for me. I'd had difficult times before but it seemed nothing had prepared me for the new challenges I faced. Separations are never easy and it felt like new worries were being piled on top of old.  I would take my little Shuffle with my music in my ears and walk all over the small town I was living in.  I would walk fast and return to the house tired but calmer in my mind.  Gradually I realized this bodily movement was helping me more than just for exercise; it was moving me forward mentally somehow and my choices were clearer. It was during one of those walks that I knew I would forgive it all. 

One of my walkways these days...Neddy likes to chase a ball up through these trees.

Thank you all for the kind comments about my "photo shoot" in my last post.  I was laughing when I did it for a bit of fun. I'm almost a size larger on the bottom than the top (like my maternal grandmother) which used to be a challenge to clothe but not these days with being retired and dressing casually most/almost all my days.
Enjoyed watching the male and female cardinal that visited regularly all summer. Here at summer's end, the male is not as brightly coloured.
I liked capturing this Cedar Waxwing on the move; albeit a very bad photo. Love that mean bandit look he has going on.

I've worked on two smalls this week in between the two big quilt projects that are on the go.  I finished quilting that little EPP tabletopper I showed last post.
 I photographed it with the hydrangea blossom to show you how the cooler overnight temperatures affect the formerly very white flowers. I sewed a flat button over the center points and thanks for the suggestions on how to deal with that issue.
And at the start of September I had started another tiny scrappy project for the autumn. It began when I found a bag of tiny triangles (perhaps cut offs from the Tiny Triangle quilt) and realized the colours looked fallish to me.  Tiny and imperfect and definitely scrappy. 
This is a great little topper for under my plants which will be brought inside soon. I found a multi stripe piece for the backing that was big enough to bring forward for a border and luckily it had most all the colours of the triangles in it.
I decided to quilt it using little ties.

You are a real stitcher when, to take a break from your big projects, you sew little ones.  Isn't that the way that saying goes?

As Cunning As a Fox by Olesya Lebedenko  Pattern available in Quiltmania Magazine 145 Neat (is that a word anybody uses anymore?) colours!

When this arrived in my email, I knew I would have to pass on the information.  I'm sticking to my 2021 plan to not join any SAL's but this is very tempting. It's a sampler quilt, Twelve Days of Christmas, being offered by Nicola Dodd who is a designer behind CakeStand Quilts. That is a beautiful site, btw, to have a look through especially if you are fond of Tilda fabrics. 

Unique interpretation and beautiful fabrics. More information is here at Willow Cottage Crafts.

I have blueberries so I'm off to make Blueberry Muffins using an old church cookbook recipe. Anyone else love those old cookbooks?

Hope your week is going well!

Sunday 12 September 2021

Rule #4, Shopping, Table Topper Almost Finish, Flosstube Love, Hanging On!

 Rule #4 Calm yourself. Stop dreaming up negative scenerios! You are safe and comfortable. Your children are safe and comfortable.  Shut down the negative thoughts! Give your mind a well deserved break from all the horrible imaginings! Anybody else identify with the middle of the night wandering thoughts that take a dark dive?? I'm determined to put a stop to it. 

Have you heard of Butter Denim?  I got out shopping last week at Winners and bought these jeans made of Butter Denim; I think the company is a number like 1822. This is me trying to model them for you, LOL. I always have to wear a top that more or less covers my bottom. 

They are so soft, and very stretchy and lightweight. I tried them on and had to buy them.  I'm not even a big jeans lover, but I can honestly say I love these. Have been wearing them every day since buying them. (Not affiliated in any way, just sharing something I like. 👍)

I enjoy Flosstube when I am stitching. Here is one of my favourite stitchers to listen to, Susan Standley at A Stitch in Time...she is very knowledgeable.  

So happy to be concentrating on A Year at Hawk Run Hollow for this month till the threads come for me to make my special birthday start. This is June's block, How Do I Love Thee, featuring a bride, groom and tiny church. The white of the church was stitched with silks, very soft...where it came from in my stash, I have no idea but so happy to get to use it up. 

 In my last post I shared  Lillyella's link to free templates to make a cute little EPP tabletopper.

Here is what I have done so far and I have to say, it is a sweet pattern and the options with it are endless.  As someone mentioned, it's a great chance to practice fussy cutting now for Halloween or use up scraps. This is smallish, just 10 inches across so stitches up quickly. 

 This one wasn't really Christmasy as I don't have much seasonal fabrics. And I'm not happy with how I wound up coping with the points all meeting in the center; I did sew it in two halves so they were relatively flat but a little askew. You can do better, I told myself. So I'm making another one, perhaps a little more of Christmas this time if I can find a Christmas green in the drawer.

I just have to share this photo of the last of the lilies to bloom and this guy hung on till last week though he didn't look as fresh as this by then. It is deep orange and I planted them because they remind me of pumpkins which I think are such  happy things. 

Here's to hanging on!!

Very happy to link with Kathy's QuiltsLife in PiecesApplique, Patchwork, QuiltingQuilt Paint Create, Small Quilts and Doll Quilts and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework