Friday 30 December 2022

Free Patterns, After the Snowstorm, Here's to Better Everything

After the storm...

We are all dug out and have made several runs over the trails with the ski do so they are walkable again. Sun is shining and water dripping from the eaves. Yes it's warming up and rain is in the forecast for tomorrow. Crazy weather.  When the storm was winding down,  I took this shot of Ned sitting on his favourite new snowbank...from this spot he can see round most of the back yard. 
I've been working on my photos, organizing them and deleting some too. It is very time consuming. I've also printed out several of the projects I'd downloaded and saved, freeing up more space on this laptop. That has also proven time consuming. 
I'm reading (as opposed to listening to) a book written by Margaret Verble -this one, Maud's Line, which was a true finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. I think I borrowed it years ago from the library.  
 I ordered my own copy from Amazon for $10. I'm quite taken with the writing and the story line is also, as they say, compelling. Maud is an excellent character. Amazing to think this was Margaret's first novel; Maud must have been in her head for a long time.

Thursday's Three Free

There is never a shortage of inspiration on the net thanks to all the designers generously sharing their talents with us.
Windham Fabrics has an astounding 45 pages of free quilt patterns. I got lost around page 12; there were so many I wanted to note. So beware when you visit! Here are just two of those that caught my eye. This one is called Good Morning Sunshine by Heidi Pridemore ...LINK

and how about this one called Terrace by Stacey Day ...LINK

From the Folks at APQS comes this post featuring their 10 Most Downloaded Quilt Patterns of 2022.  This one did not make that list but I like it. Free pattern Blocked In

 I couldn't resist sharing this project from Jenny of Elefantz, pattern  Found Here. I think I've shared this in the past.  When I read these words I think of all the women who are constantly doing the thousand little things that come with managing a home and family. Many of you are blogging and I get to read what you are doing to make life easier or better for those you love. I wonder was Mother Teresa thinking of women when she wrote this down.  Jennifer made it into a small cushion. 

LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week was what would we like to try, learn, do, visit, etc. in the New Year. 
And in line with that I'm going to take the time to review and possibly reset and renew some of my hobbies, especially with an eye to how I use my time. Time seems to flee from me sometimes with not much to show for it. I also feel like I've let things build up around me and I would like to be less cluttered physically and mentally too. Any resolutions in your mind?

To help with the reassessing and decluttering, I will be enjoying a short blogging break. Please do meet me back here early in the New Year. I am gathering still tons more stuff to share with you.

The Not So Innocents Abroad

Hope your New Year's celebration will be everything you want it to be.  Let's hope for better in 2023, better everything. 💓

Wednesday 28 December 2022

Blizzards, Christmas Time, Finishing Quilts

 Thank you all for the well wishes leading up to our storm that yes indeed, we did get. There was snow and blowing snow, then rain which was really weird, then back to a blizzard like I'd never seen here in Ontario. 

And it kept up for over three days! 

We were fortunate to not have a power outage though lots of folks did. We did have a little drama when our propane tank ran dry...a computer glitch about refills at the company office, and they sent a chap out here at 10:30 at night to fill our tank. Thankfully the major roads were mostly cleared by then. The fellow that came was so nice, even stayed with Tony to make sure our furnace was working well before he left. I am unsure what to do in situations like that- to tip or not I mean. It being Christmas, we did and I was happy- he seemed surprised but then very grateful. 

It was a lovely Christmas with my tiny family insisting of coming here for the Christmas Eve present exchange so we didn't have to brave the weather. They brought the drinks and food, nibbling things and hors-d'oeuvres.  

Then the bigger gathering including in laws at Daughter's for the feast was the next day. This year's meal included seafood-crab and scallops. All so delicious. I overate and I topped it off by having two pieces of cake...I figured what the heck, it's my 71st Christmas! Daughter had made a deep chocolate cake with a candy cane marshmallow frosting. The combination was irresistible to me. Robbie even said to me I knew you were going to like that Nana. :D

Another shake up in the sewing room accompanied by the sound of wind howling outside the window. Again with the never ending scrap sorting.  This latest sorting by colours. About half way through here. On the upside I came across lots of scraps for the Pyramids and also more large enough for the Trees project.

A review of Panama Pyramids- yes I have enough to proceed with sewing it all together. There are now 120 blocks done, all with EPP; that's a lot of tiny hand stitches. Am I completely mad, LOL. Here are the last three batches I finished, on the wall to see what they look like together. BTW, the original plan was to match these blocks to the monthly RSC but that fell by the wayside. 
I've chosen a yellow to alternate triangles with these. Though there are a number of Panama Pyramid quilts around the web using that colour, I will have to try it out to see if it works for me. 
Then I'd love to have those triangles all cut and ready to sew by machine this week. 

Ned is now allowed walks on the lead which is good for me. It's not as much fun to walk alone I found out. 
Thank you for all the lovely Christmas messages! I am so thankful for this wonderful supportive blogging community of ours! And you all enjoy this time now till the next big day. 
Linking up with Texas Quilt Gal and I'd like to thank Linda for her wonderful hosting of the To Do party. And a big thank you also to Carol at Quilt Schmilt who is taking over. 

Friday 23 December 2022

Free Patterns, Storm Watch, Quilt Finish, Christmas Tradition, Chocolate Snowballs

Christmas is kind of taking a back seat here to the weather forecast. About which we can't say we haven't been warned!  It's everywhere; warnings even turned up on my phone which I didn't know could happen (I have the simplest of plans on a 6 year old phone).  Some folks have just gotten their power back from the last snow event and now we are told to stock up and be prepared for more possible outages. 

We have our oil lamps ready, plenty of wood for the stove insert in the fireplace, the bath tubs filled and a case of water in the house.  As it happens, when asked this year what we wanted for Christmas, we spoke of emergency supplies such as LED lamps and wind up radios as possible gifts. 

I have to run an errand for a family member and then I will turn on some Christmas music and settle in for a Christmas gift wrapping session, something I love to do. 

LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week was a favourite Christmas tradition. I'll share one that I used to do while my girls were growing up. Part of Newfoundland Christmas tradition is to have salt cod and potatoes on Christmas Eve. Because fishing was the main livelihood, it was a way to give thanks for it and I grew up with my parents carrying on that tradition even though no longer dependent on the sea for a living.   I always made seafood crepes for a special meal on Christmas Eve, just a little nod to that old custom.  I would make the crepes the day before- they keep well, and also have the mixture all made and ready to pop it all in the oven. My older daughter reminded me of this meal just the other day.  I'm glad she remembers it fondly. 

 Thursday things to share with you all. 
First up is Robbie's Quilt. It is 48 in x 50 in. which I found out was a perfect size for me to manage the hand quilting of but more importantly is a good lap size for a 9 year old.  It has just enough batting and quilting lines to make it a bit soft and squishy. And it definitely does not have a wave in the binding there on the right!
And the message on the back-
Hubby wasn't impressed with it while I thought it said everything. Now I'm second guessing it. 😦

Thursday's Three Free

From Susies- Scraps.Com comes the tutorial to make these string pot holders/trivets. They can be fashioned for any season of course. Susie has an abundance of patterns and tutorials on her site. I'm so happy she continues to share her talent and inspiration with us.

Kind Michelle at Michelle Palmer Art offers the free applique designs for these three lovely stockings.  

 Here is a link to Michelle's punch needle shop designs and Here to her lovely watercolor designs.

From Jo Avery, yet another sweet free pattern for A Mini Boris the Bear Portrait.

Do check out Jo's beautiful quilts too. Jo is part of the trio of talent behind The Thread House, another great site for quilters to check out.

And for my cross stitching friends, from the talented Liz Matthews' bank of freebies is this one I chose to share.  It's called Winter Celebration and there's that cardinal again. What a clever border too!  Hello From Liz Matthews is her web page and I enjoy her videos on YouTube too. 
Btw, Liz is the daughter of Kathy Barrick, the creator of Carriage House Samplings so talent obviously runs in that family.

My last and one of very few stitchy purchases of 2022 (I look back and realize I purchased very little sewing supplies this year not like I did during the Pandemic).  From Madame La Fee, Jour de Neige- Snow Day and oh how I loved those wintry days growing up and still do really (but not power outages!).  A little bit of nostalgia for me. 

I've got a hankering for Chocolate Snowballs.  I'll use the recipe here from Saltwater Daughters; being no bake they will be a great choice even if there is a power outage. And being mainly oat based rather than flour, are a good choice for us. 
Still on my own schedule it seems with the postings. All good just a bit busier than usual for me.
Hope you are all well, snug as bugs, or cool and collected where ever you live in this great world of ours. 

Also enjoying linking this post with Alycia Quilts and Kathy's Quilts.

Wednesday 21 December 2022

Reflections, Project Progress, Gift Wrapping Video, Link to 2023 QAL's List

It's that time of year and I too have been reviewing 2022 and noting what worked well for me and what didn't. I'm pleased with my fitness efforts and my focus on upper body strength for my year 71 to 72 continues. There is much more I could be doing with this if I was really serious but I'm not. The overall basic goal is to remain upright, able to walk where ever I want unassisted and for as long as I want without being tired. And of course, to have the strength in arms, hands and fingers to continue stitching, etc. which goes without saying.

I would like to be reading more. It seems audio books have become my main literary venue and I know exactly why. I can stitch away while listening, two things at once which feeds my multitasking soul! Perhaps I will try to change that up in the new year and make an effort to return to visiting the bigger libraries rather than using online downloads. 

I've been doing more deep tidying up and want it done before Christmas Eve.  That is my deadline. I'm wondering for the umpteenth time, why can't I keep the sewing room tidier on a regular basis. It stays tidy for what seems mere minutes. Then it looks like a fabric factory exploded leaving tiny bits floating all over the floor. If only I were more productive, it might be worth the continual mess! Good thing I can close the door on it. Unlike back at the farm where this was my set up...the doorless dining room. How many of you have had dining room sewing centers?

Have you heard of The Red Dress Embroidery Project?  This beautiful dress has been traveling the world and to date over 400 embroiderers in 49 countries have added their stitches to it. Here is the link if you would like to read more about this remarkable project and to find out where the dress will be next. Red Dress Embroidery

I have Robbie's quilt finished. There was just enough of the very colourful fabric to eke out a binding to edge the whole quilt. I'm stitching a little message on it presently. I'll show you when it is done later this week.

And Snowman has his straw broom.
Again this year, Frederique at this post Quilting Patchwork  & Applique has collated all the upcoming BOM's, QAL's, SAL's etc. for 2023.  It is quite a varied list! Thanks Frederique!
And I want to share Karen's video showing how to use up the stash/scraps in a different way- for gift wrapping. She's so clear in her instructions and has excellent sound on her videos. 
There are blizzard warnings to the far south of us making their way north we are told and aiming straight at us for Christmas Day. Perhaps it will all fizzle out by then. Meanwhile we are enjoying our very white Christmas season. 
Oh and thank you for all the well wishes for Ned. He is healing well, missing his play mates, but getting extra walks around the back yard to help compensate. 
Hope you are enjoying this special season whether it is summer or winter where you are!

Friday 16 December 2022

Free Patterns, Christmas Redwork, White Lotus, White Winter World

Ned, stopped in awe, looking at what the back yard has been transformed into this morning. Our first real snowfall taking the yard from brown to white overnight. It actually made him frisky something he is not supposed to be these days. I just got the shovels from the garage and will tackle the front steps shortly. So winter really begins.

While it's great to be finishing up Robbie's quilt, I felt the need to be stitching something of the season.

In my stash was this little kit someone gave me ages ago. The included fabrics are quite nice...I'd not taken it apart and really looked at them before. It's called Holly and Jolly from Australia's The Rivendale CollectionThe floss included is DMC #304, a medium Christmas red with a hint of maroon and I'm really liking it. Using two strands in a running stitch for most of the lines and trying my best to keep them small and smooth.

A word about those glasses which I need for up close work. These are half rims I've gotten from what I have to say is my favourite online store, Eyekeepers. They are inexpensive but I find them great for the price. I like wearing the half rims while in front of the t.v. I'm not affiliated with these folks but as a return customer I now get 20% off. 

LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week was a favourite song or musical. It really is so much fun seeing live performances. Never discount local musical productions because often the voices are strong and beautiful. Over the years, I've been very lucky to see Phantom of the Opera, Jersey Boys, Camelot, Mama Mia, 42nd Street and many more but the standout for me was seeing Cats on Broadway and hearing Memory being sung from the stage. Considered the most successful song ever from a musical, Memory is hauntingly sung by Grizabella, a bedraggled old cat recalling her former glory days.  SO thrilling. "Memory- open up, enter in"

We liked the ending of Season 2, The White Lotus, and were happy to hear there is going to be a Season 3.  Created, written and directed by the very talented Mike White.

Great Free Patterns this week...thanks to all the generous makers!

Christmas Countdown with Janome Free block patterns found at the American Quilter's Society site.  I just checked and the PDF's are still there ready for downloading. What a terrific site! Here are the pinks again and the teals.

More from the Martingale Freebies bank.  O Christmas Tree   I can picture this in all colourways and fabrics. Perhaps my Morris greens that I'm still saving.

Since Christmas stitching time is running out, here is another freebie for a great little project. 
Fort Worth Fabric Studio has the download for this Sew Merry Log Cabin Table Topper. Love the fabric used for the edging.

 FYI, at Cora's Quilts you will find a list of 2023 Quilt Alongs.  The Barn Star QAL is one that is very popular as everyone loves stars. 

And for my slow stitching pals, Cuore e Batticuore has this lovely free pattern called Christmas Joy. Check out Carolina's beautiful site and also her Etsy Shop and see her very sweet patterns. 

Several folks asked what I was using for quilting the Friendship Stars.  It is a Sulky 30 wt blendable doubled, colour Foliage which suprisingly has a little of all the colours of the rainbow in it. That stitch featured is herringbone, my version.  I ran a few lines of that here and there just for fun.  

Hopefully I won't be playing catch up next week. I have all the decorating that I will do done, the cards mailed and gifts ordered so that is under control. 

Wednesday 14 December 2022

Advent Calendars, Friendship Stars Quilt, Neddy the Patient

Tony and I are enjoying our Advent Calendars from daughter. Mine is the marshmallow one and Tony's the chocolate. The marshmallow items are a small and delicious square, not enough to make you feel guilty for eating it but just big enough to taste moreish. 

I've made great progress on the Friendship Stars quilt. I've hand quilted around the stars and blocks and added extra lines too because this will need to go in the wash a lot. It fit well on my floor quilting stand and was quite manageable.
Bright sun showing what that background fabric looks like with its million tiny stars. I quilted with a variegated thread that had the colours of the rainbow.
I'd tested those bright fabrics for colour stay and they were fine but I will give it a wash when it's all done. Just have the binding to sew which will take up most of my stitching time this week.
Our Ned had his neutering operation and we've been coddling the little patient. He was a sad pup when we picked him up, quite groggy and disoriented. He whimpered a lot the first night which didn't stop even when I slept on the floor with him.
 However, the next morning he was his old self, bright and behaving normally. He doesn't know yet but there will be no ball playing for two weeks so that will be another blow. And I've lost my walking pal as well. He made great friends at the vets as all the workers loved him, thought him gentle and sweet which is what we think too. Naturally, LOL. 

I'm off my days this week just like last. I'm also experiencing some difficulty commenting on some blogs, no doubt an issue with this old Acer. I'll soon be switching totally to my new one. I love being a part of the blogging world and am happy and thankful to be able to keep my blog going.

Meanwhile also happy to link with Texas Quilt GalQuilt FabricationThe Inquiring QuilterWendy's Quilts and MoreAlycia QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than Housework and Brian's Home Blog.

Thursday 8 December 2022

Free Patterns, Friendship Stars Flimsie, Broken Glass Squares, Autumn Quakers

Both daughters and their partners went to New York City recently. They had a wonderful time. We got happily sidetracked from our usual routine while having  Robbie with the dogs, Abbey and Petey, here for five days. Robbie has a busy schedule counting all the hockey practices and games. And school of course, Grade 4 this year. Ned was completely in his glee to the point the first night he panted so much I was afraid he would have a heart attack! There was lots of ball playing to keep them busy. Petey, the most athletic of the three, does not have to work as hard to keep up. 
Yes, still no snow! Our kind Autumn has turned into a kind Winter-so far.
Robbie helped me decorate and this year we decided to put the Santas and Angels together on one big table for the first time ever. 
He saw his quilt blocks on the wall and liked them. One more row to sew on.
We decided together to make a border of the remaining bright fabric with black from a jelly roll I have. The black matches the small stars in the background material too which are hard to see in the photos. This hopefully will be ready for quilting this weekend.
Here is where my Autumn Quakers piece is now. See that circle on the right that I've stopped stitching. I've made a mistake there which isn't so bad but even with a ton of recounting, I can't find it. Grrr I just may have to take the whole motif out. SIGH

I have my tiny tree plugged into the computer again this year. It still works! Small things, Folks!
 LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week was our favourite Christmas cookie.  I don't have a favourite as such but I will share one that always appeared at my Christmases while growing up. Mom always did a lot of baking for Christmas and one of the favourites was the pan of Broken Glass Squares she always made. These were jello based and she would use red and green jellos with a dream whip topping. I don't think there was any baking of a bottom involved in hers.To a kid, with the glowing red and green, they seemed like the perfect Christmas treat.  Now would a square count the same as a cookie?

 I couldn't find a recipe just like what Mom made though there are many variations of Cut Glass squares on the web. Leigh making her Grandma's Broken Glass dessert here has my mouth watering while watching it so I thought I'd share this instead of a recipe.  Do you have a cookie you just have to make each year?

Free Patterns, Links and Tutorials

Nancy at Liberty Primitives and Needlework gave us this free cross stitch pattern that can be found on her Dec. 1, 2014 post. 

Amy Smart, the lady behind Diary of a Quilter collated more than 30 of her favourite Christmas Quilts, with links to patterns for all in that post. 
Here is the link to the tutorial for this one called Patchwork Plaid Christmas.
She also has the tutorial for these very cute Flying Geese Mini Tree Ornaments found Here.

Sherri at A Quilting Life offers 11 Favorite Christmas Quilts to Make and Love, also with links to patterns and tutorials. This one, Takes the Cake, caught my eye because it looks like it could be made with EPP. 
Ingrid at her blog, Joe June and Mae  has a post called Best Quilted Christmas Stockings with a free stocking template and tutorial to make a hexie stocking.
So pretty!

I'm noticing more of the teal/aqua greens and pinks in Christmas sewing in recent years. It is a fresh looking combination. 
I hope you are all enjoying your stitching, Christmas planning and anything else that strikes your fancy this week and have something fun to look forward to on the weekend! 
Happily linking with Confessions of a Fabric AddictBrian's Home BlogAlycia QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkKathy's Quilts, Small Quilts and Doll Quilts and Wendy's Quilts and More.