Friday 31 December 2021

Christmas Parcel, Cross Stitching Birds, Jewel Box Quilt Finish, Supportive Blogging World

 I've been giving Fraktur Flowers attention for the month of December. Hard to believe we are down to just hours of 2021 left, isn't it. 

My sister always sends me a lovely Christmas parcel. I've not read this book. Any of you?  And of course, Liberty of London little sticky notes are very pretty.
And the tiny owl ornament with its' message is also so appropriate for me on both counts.
My happiest thing this week is having the Jewel Box Quilt all finished off. Funny how that can happen when you spend all your stitching time on one project. I used my walking foot to run quilting lines through all the red blocks.

For the backing, I used up these two coordinating fabrics I had in my cupboard for ages. 
I made a sashing of red, then pulled the backing around for a narrow finishing edge. Since I wound up using batting for the middle layer, it is really too fluffy for a tablecloth.  Better suited for a lap quilt so will be a little gift in the future for someone.
Another  week in another year almost done... an early winter sunset. 

What a supportive world the blogging stitching community is!
Thank you all for the sympathetic comments about maintaining good mental health throughout these very strange times. 💖Thank you to those who shared with me your experiences and suggestions; I appreciated that so much. I'm feeling well and almost back to my mostly very positive self. 
It will be a quiet ringing in of the New Year here at the wooden house. But it's all good!
Enjoy your evening, your day tomorrow and cheers to a wonderful new year for all of us!

Monday 27 December 2021

Depressive Feelings, Lounging PJ's, Jewel Box Quilt

 My 70th Christmas went by in a flash. All of it enjoyable and very thankful for that too. 

Though I will admit now that I had several very low days before the holidays with no accounting for exactly why. My mood was down in my boots. I worked at it though -spent extra time in the woods walking and with my camera, went through my photos, emailed friends, took my Vitamin D and exercised. I have no idea if any or all of that was what righted my mind. Perhaps it would have happened anyway if I'd put myself to bed for the duration.

 Hubby thought it was because of the new variant and lockdown talk. I really don't know but I will say again I have a new appreciation for the suffering that depression brings. It is definitely not a "snap out of it" or "buy yourself a new hat and you'll feel better" kind of experience. My wish for you who read this is to never ever have to experience it. 

Here is an ebook I recently read and enjoyed very much; the short story format really suited my mood. I got my copy from the library but Thriftbooks has it in paperback for less than $5. I also enjoyed reading the essays from the jurors about what influenced their choices for the prize. 

I got these lovely red flannel pyjamas for Christmas. I am going to use them for something I'm pretty sure my grandmothers never heard of- lounging

Since passing the shortest day of the year here, our light will now lengthen by approximately 20 minutes a week. I am reminded of the old saying, As the days lengthen, the storms strengthen. My parents used to say As the days get longer, the cold gets stronger.  That is definitely true for here in the Ottawa Valley, Ontario.  Have you heard this or something similar?? Hopefully there will be no truth whatsoever in these old sayings this year.
A few close up photos of my Jewel Box quilt which is now a flimsy. Someone thought the bigger blocks were in blacks but they are a mixture of dark colours.
This is a really fun block and the possibilities with it are really endless it seems.
I've chosen the backing and will get it layered today. I haven't decided if I will add it to my hand quilting pile or not. My Quantum Singer should be able to handle the quilting. 
 Though it isn't perfect, I am happy I didn't lose any points in the stitching.

Hope your Christmas week is everything you hoped it would be. Keep safe!!

Happy to link with Small Quilts and Doll Quilts and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Thursday 23 December 2021

Christmas This Year, Nana Time, Jewel Box Quilt

I heard from talented Robin at I Like To Create that she had stitched the quilt I showed Santa stitching in the last post.  Robin and her husband do the jigsaw puzzle each year and it was her inspiration for the quilt.  She also called the pattern Rising Sun. Thanks Robin for letting us know and allowing me to share your pretty quilt.
In my sewing room, the Jewel Box blocks continue to grow. This is an easy block to stitch once I'd figured out templates for the parts. I do seem to get good use from those Marti Michell templates I purchased to stitch the Farmer's Wife quilt all those years ago. 
Trying to keep preciseness with the cutting is a challenge; my mind tends to wander during that part. This is the layout so far and I need one more strip for the right side there and then I'll say this is large enough. 

Schools here shut down a few days early and I've had the pleasure of Robbie being with me this week. Being a grandmother is a definite plus of aging. We spend time outdoors of course. 
Which Ned loves as well.
Besides testing ice strength all over the property, we spent some drawing time indoors which is one of his favourite activities.
He also shoveled the snow off the veranda which he told me was his one act of kindness that day. He said he's doing one act of kindness every day. One day he brought chocolates to the lady next door and I asked what did she think of that, he said "her reaction was overwhelming...she absolutely loved it."

This happened to me once...went right from school (where I was teaching) to a party and there was a tray with broccoli and the most delicious dip. I was starved and ate too much. By the time dinner was served- let's just say I'd taken the edge off my appetite. Ever happen to you???

It is white for Christmas here and Lady Google has been playing Christmas music. We will visit younger daughter for Christmas Eve but forgo the get together on the Day when all the family meets up. Older daughter who is a health care worker has to work on Christmas Day, which so often happens for her. 
 I sincerely hope this is the variant to end all variants. 

Sunday 19 December 2021

Santa Quilting, Vintage Blocks, Tiny Trees, Jewel Box Blocks, Hope For Better

 I was a little concerned about our 95 year old Queen there for a couple of weeks. I was relieved to see her back on duty greeting this fellow, Thomas Trotter, and presenting him with the Queen's Medal for Music on December 8th.

I was a Girl Guide for a number of years and took my weekly pledge to do my duty to God, the Queen and my country very seriously.  This Elizabeth has been my queen all my life. She has never put a foot wrong and I feel very sentimental about her, foolish I know. And the Girl Guide motto, Be Prepared, has also been with me all my life. 

I've mentioned before the whimsical idea (so say meteorologists) that nature provides for wildlife by having more cones grow that fall when there is a hard, long winter ahead. This year there are massive numbers of cones on the trees. I've seen one year before with the trees so laden with cones and I noted that it was a hard winter. I do wonder what we are in for this year. I was aiming for the junco here and you can't see that the top of the tree was so heavy with cones, the branches were all drooping.
These little foundation pieced trees are really fun to sew. I prep a few in front of the tv and have them by the machine ready to go. I wish I had more interesting low volume type fabrics for the backgrounds. After talking about sewing from stash last post, now already wishing for more fabric. Sigh
We got our third shot or booster on Tuesday evening at a clinic in a nearby town. I was surprised to see families there, the children too, getting their vaccines. Everyone was so kind to us and each other and several times I heard we are all in this together. It made me think of the togetherness the world wars made of certain nations. 
With my brain, one thing always leads to another and I thought of the videos I'd watched about quilt making during wartimes. This one below is very good and explains too how women in different nations worked together for the common cause. Especially between Canada and the United States.

And speaking of vintage.  I recently tested a very old pattern called Jewel Box, which also goes by other names. I would really like to make a large tablecloth for Christmas use. I have a few blocks sewn and on the wall to try to decide if I like it enough.  I decided on adding reds for more or less the nod to Christmas. 
 Update: I've continued on and made enough blocks now. Photographing anything down in the sewing room, especially on cloudy days is certainly not showing them well. So I'll get a photo (in another part of the house) as soon as I've sewn them all together.
I enjoyed this photo when it appeared in my Facebook feed, the work of Tom Newsom.  Lots of comments about which pattern it is that Santa is stitching. Any ideas? 
The closest someone came was saying it was Rising Sun. I was able to find a tutorial for stitching this Santa's quilt at Victoriana Quilt Designs. And more of Tom's beautiful Santas can be seen here at Tom Newsom Art.

We have  about 10 cm of fresh snow this morning and the sun is shining. A brilliant Christmasy look to everything. I have my little Snowmen hanging, Bonhommes en Chapeaux, up. I have to smile when I look at them. I've seen tracks lately, but haven't spotted a fox in a while.
And it looks like we will again be sticking close to home. Too much of the new variant around and numbers rising rapidly. We just have to keep hoping this time will be the end once and for all. 
My hope for you is that you are fine, coping well with whatever life has thrown at you this week. And if it's something wonderful, enjoy every minute.

Tuesday 14 December 2021

Advent Calendars, Pears in December Sunlight, Applique Blocks, Yuletide Blanket

 Besides being fleeting, the sunlight is not especially good sunlight these days. It is weakened and I think of how the sun is really so far away especially in winter for us in our corner of the world. We are careening, it seems, towards the 21st, the shortest day of the year. But the air is good. I compare it to the kind of air humidity creates which I complained about so much last summer and the air these days is superior even while cold. But as always grateful to be breathing still or topside as my grandparents put it

I liked how these pears and home made honey, gifts from older daughter, looked in the pale sunlight this morning. I have a thing about pears; I like their shape and their taste.

The three of us here, Hubby, myself and the Ornament Eater, are enjoying our Advent Calendars, a gift from younger daughter each year.  

Mine is the best...Clarins. Their Rose Radiance Moisturizing Cream is beautiful but so expensive. I have a jar and use it sparingly. Then the voice in my head will say things like use it up, you don't spend money on makeup, what are you waiting for, you're thrifty in other ways, etc. etc.  Do you have such a voice?

I've read this recent trend...folks are making the resolution to stitch strictly stash (say that 7 times!) in the new year. And this trend is also circulating FlossTube which is YouTube for cross stitchers. That I can understand as some stitchers there have over a hundred patterns collected. I should be taking the same vow even though my stash is nothing compared to many. But sometimes I can feel overwhelmed by what I have sitting -waiting. 
 Now completely disregard that train of thought and have a gander at a little temptation...

Art Gallery Fabrics has released a video of their new lines for the new year. A little bit of gorgeous is all I'm going to say about that.

On my continuing Christmas TO DO list for this month...several more of the Xmas at Quiltmania blocks are finished.  

And this big-eyed bird. 

I've been testing a vintage style block called Jewel Box for some Christmas machine stitching. Photos next time. 

And I love how Yuletide Blanket is growing. Definitely Yuletide colours and crocheting goes well with the evening tv viewing.

A little smile today...
Writing About Writing
Hope everything about your week is wonderful!

Friday 10 December 2021

Disappearing Tree, Slightly Foxed, Appliqued Blocks, Christmas Thoughts

The tree was up and enjoyed for two days. As always Snowy Owl looked down from the very top and I loved the way the 8 year old decorator decided every single item had to be hung on it and that most of the lights hanging in one spot was especially pretty. 

Then it had to come down. Ned! He just loved the ornaments too much and his reach was too far. After losing several of them, I decided to put it all away where everything will be safe for another year. Hopefully, he will be more mature then too and the soft ornaments won't be quite so enticing.

.How did Ned feel about this?

No comment though I'm sure inside he feels badly.

I am enjoying reading the little book down below, A Countryman's Winter Notebook by Adrian Bell.  I purchased it at Slightly Foxed, an online literary magazine which also features reissues of classic memoirs for sale like the one I bought. 

I like a passage in Adrian's book about how old folks search at Christmas time, searching for the Christmases we used to know, what we think of as the true Christmases...if not those of our own youth, then the ones we provided for our children in their childhood. The further away from those we grow, the less real the feelings of Christmas are. I think there is truth in this as I heard my own parents comment that Christmas wasn't the same anymore to them (and this from a mother who was mad about Christmas back in the day) much the same as I too am feeling and searching these latter years.

I am busy deciding on embellishments for the squirrel and bird in the little Xmas at Quiltmania SAL.  I'm almost ready to put these on the wall and make a decision or two about putting them together. 
That's one of Murphy's ornaments...I've kept it out. 😔
It's now the season for heartier food it seems. My bread machine turns out a pretty good loaf. With real butter and molasses and as always, my cup of tea, it definitely makes a hearty treat. 
I had to do my first snow shoveling on Monday, a chore I don't mind at all. It felt good to be taking my time, getting a necessary job done and breathing in the crisp, fresh air. 

 The Virtual Cookie Exchange has been going on and I've tried to visit a couple of folks every day. Wonderful concept as you get to see projects and enjoy a cookie/sweets recipe- more often than not, a tried and tested one. Sometimes vintage too which I especially like to learn about. Hosted each year by Carol at Just Let Me Quilt. There you can visit all the folks both past and present. 

Marja at Sweet Home Alamarja has this saying at the end of every post.A stitch every day is a shirt sleeve in a year. Perhaps the Dutch is not translating perfectly but we all know the sentiment to be true.

I am trying not to feel pressured, to relax, take my time and enjoy this wonderful month. And that includes, of course, the stitching, yes I am going to celebrate every bit of that too. 

 Hope you are too!

Check out these great parties....Not Afraid of ColorKathy's QuiltsSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsQuilting Patchwork AppliqueQuilt FabricationPowered By Quilting and Brian's Home Blog.

Sunday 5 December 2021

#2 Best Auction Score, Quiltmania SAL, Homemade Yogurt, Neddy

After two years, we were able to revive our tradition of Robbie helping me decorate the house for Christmas. We had a wonderful day together and he had much fun opening up the totes, unwrapping the ornaments, and choosing just the spot for them.  

Before the shutdown we had won an amazing auction lot for Christmas items. Last year I showed you two of the items we got, the little tree and Scrooge with his moving arms, one holding the light up lamp.

But we didn't bother getting out the large item that was a real score, my #2 best all time thrift purchase.  So here it is, a vintage animated Santa in Sleigh and Reindeer.
 It came in it's own huge tote that takes two old people to lift and is beautifully made with lots of amazing details. When plugged in, the sleigh light comes on, music plays, Santa's arms move and the reindeer's head turns back and forth. It all works, is in pristine condition and Robbie loved it. 

I found this YouTube video of it. 

We can't remember what we paid for the lot but it was probably less than $50. I looked this fellow up and he originally cost around $275, now available on eBay for $200C plus.  An estate sale and surprising that nobody in the family wanted these items. 

I do love saving things from the landfill!

My larger sewing room projects are moving along. I found the time to get out an "in between" project, the appliqued blocks from the Xmas by Quiltmania  2018 free SAL. Here is a link and all the patterns are still available.  I've just added mittens and a berry bowl to the group (mittens are away getting their wooly ties). 

This just might be the year to get this project finished! In fact, I'm going to say finishing this little UFO will be my To Do project for this week.  They will make a cute little hanging. 


You've been asking about the yogurt maker. My first batch was a success! Several of you mentioned I did not need special yogurt starter to get it going (thank you) so I bought plain yogurt at the grocery store, followed the easy directions I found online and used that.  Worked like a charm.  The yogurt is a little tangier than commercial which I liked. This one used up leftover chopped apple and grapes and a little honey. It will definitely provide our yogurt from now on. 
I'll leave you today with this photo of Neddy. He had chased a red squirrel into a hole in this mound of rocks. We are unsure of what the rocks were...we have two lines of them running more or less straight through our property. Moss covered, very old looking and definitely arranged in lines like fencing. 
They are now home to many little creatures as I've seen chipmunks running in and out and the pile down by the driveway housed a fox's den. We were told that by the former owners. But fox also use the mound behind the big garage as Rex once chased a fox and it disappeared into the rocks leaving Rex completely bewildered as to where it had gone. With snow now we will see lots of tracks around them.

Hope your Sunday is wonderful!