Thursday 23 February 2023

Free Patterns, Lone Star Medallion, Edna's The Little Chairs

 Snowing outside with another snowfall warning in place but cozy inside.  I had a special coffee this morning from the Nespresso machine, a Melozio, with cinnamon and frothed milk. I'm not at all one for fancy coffees but once in a while it is a treat. I bought a loaf of sourdough bread which toasts well and I like marmalade too. 

I've just begun listening to this book, The Little Red Chairs by Edna O'Brien; I do enjoy her writing and use of phrases, etc. It is sounding a little familiar to me. I wonder if I've read this before actually. hmmm
Just now, while listening, I decided to sort through my needle tin. As you can see my organization is nil really. How do you corral your needle packets?
 I do seem to have a lot of John James needles but I inherited quite a few of them from Mom. John James, a British product, was always popular in Newfoundland. 

I've managed to stitch one more of the diamonds for the Lone Star Medallion. I do like how this is now looking. Yes for those asking, this is EPP style with me making templates out of the light cardboard that flyers often use. No, I won't be removing them till this is all sewn together.

LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week is do we have a special someone in our lives who does kind things for us. While Hubby is our on the spot Mr. Fix It and Computer Guy and helps me everyday,  I'm going to give a shout out to my SIL, Brad. He is the person in my day to day life that I know I can call on day or night for anything. He's one of those positive, Can Do kind of fellows who is full of solutions no matter what the problem. While keeping me supplied with salt for my icy steps, just yesterday he delivered a Costco chicken to me because he knows I like them. He was also the one that I called first when Tony had his health crisis four years ago. He was here in ten minutes with an ambulance already called and on its way. I wish that everyone could have such a dependable person in their lives. 

Thursday's Three Free

As always lots to share with you.  Hope there is something here that twigs with you.

First up is lovely Sandra at her lovely blog Cherry Heart where she shares a detailed with photos tutorial for making pretty Dresden placemats. Sandra is fond of Liberty prints which are costly but there's lots of pretty prints to be found in the many fabric lines available these days as we all know.

At the Tilda's World site, they update their new free patterns section three times a year. Here is a new one in keeping with the dresden theme that would look stunning in all kinds of colourways. The Fan Bird quilt block.

Quilt For Lovers has an impressive index of free quilt patterns/ links including this one for a Double Disappearing Nine Patch block that I thought looked neat. 

New Quilters also has a cache of tutorials such as this one by Christine Mann which is one of 19 pages worth! I love wreaths. I know we here in the north are far from autumn, but I couldn't resist noting this one. Isn't this pretty? I really like the background sewn of neutral blocks too. 
And for slow stitching friends, Lovecrafts has an extensive bank of over 200 free downloadable patterns to hand embroider. They are sorted by category and seasons and range from the simple to more complex designs. Something for everyone in other words. 

I've spent most of my morning with you and as soon as I hit publish, I'm getting out my Snow Days embroidery to lay a few stitches. With this weather, we won't be leaving the property. Think of me then, snow falling outside and me cozy and calm doing something we all love. 

Tuesday 21 February 2023

Turkey Up A Tree, A Me Day, Wheel Within A Wheel Quilt, Starting Snow Days

 This time of year I take comfort in the lengthening of light that suddenly becomes noticeable. Not that I dislike winter; in fact, I enjoy it. I even like the snow especially piling up and the shadows all in blues and purples.  But yet, thoughts of spring and garden flowers are uplifting thoughts, filled with light thoughts.  I always feel grateful for living where there are the seasons, the wonder of it all continually moving and changing around us.

 I was thrilled to hear birds singing Monday morning. I distinguished the Cardinal and the Phoebe, the latter surprising to hear this early in the season. (But then I'm always surprised by how early they arrive back here from the south). They survive on insects and surely it must be slim pickings still in that regard. 

I was so excited when I spied this bird high, high up in the tall deciduous forest. I thought, with some excitement, it's an eagle, my first here on this property. 

No not an eagle; yes a turkey. However a little exciting because I'd always heard they roosted in treetops overnight. Always fun when you get to witness it. Such a heavy, ungainly bird so high up. 

Saturday I had a me day. Stayed in flannel and cozy fleece all day. Drank a second cup of coffee.I had made a pasta casserole the night before to keep me out of the kitchen. I used lots of cheese and actually put a package of Stove Top Dressing on top too. To compensate/ramp up the nutritional value, I chopped carrots and spinach to mix in with the dressing. It all was tasty. Btw, I have switched from using a sort of fancy marinara sauce bought at Costco to good old Prego which does surprisingly well in taste test competitions. Walmart doesn't carry it so I get mine at Giant Tiger.

 I took an extra long walk in the morning, collected sticks for my fires along the way. Ikea bags come in handy for so many things.

I worked on adding more bits and bobs to those Wheel Within a Wheel blocks. My eyes are adjusting to their extreme scrappiness. :) They remind me of old time quilts where whatever material was to be found would be used to make quilts.
I need to sew more of the fans and figure out how many of these blocks I need all together. To continue doing this week.
Astrid in  this post at Red Needle Quilts showed her progress on her Crabapple Hill Design, Over the River. It reminded me that I have a similar pattern called Snow Days. I dug it out, cut the blocks to size and put my giant light box to work tracing the designs. That was very relaxing. 
What had stopped me from starting this project (which I've had for almost 10 years!!) was stitching the accompanying quilt blocks. Now that I'm this far into quilting and more experienced with a machine, I think I can manage to sew them. 

I also read my eyes out visiting your blogs. So much beautiful stitching going on; I'm in awe of all your talent and generosity, my kind blogging friends.  Also as always, thanks for sharing your stories with me and sending me words of empathy and encouragement. 2023 has gotten off to a rocky start for my little family but we are in it together, supporting each other which is what family does. 💕

Do drop back on Thursday...I'm especially happy with the new finds I'll be sharing with you.

Happy to be sharing this post with linky parties at Quilt SchmiltCreations, Quilts, ArtWendy's Quilts and MoreFor the Love of GeeseConfessions of a Fabric AddictQuilting Patchwork Applique and Alycia Quilts.

Thursday 16 February 2023

Free Patterns, Valentine's Gift, Prairie Schooler Slow Stitching

Heavy downpours of rain last night. Everything strange outside this morning with slush, ice and also bits of grass showing through. Our walk under a dark and gloomy sky but the air pleasant at 5C. 

Hubby did present me with a Valentine's Day gift, a surprise.  This card comparing me to his favourite food, pizza... 

He was impressed with the technology included whereby pressing the button activates a voice that tells me I am hot and there's not mush-room for improvement, amongst other "cheesy" phrases. LOL But he also gave me a certificate to the local spa which I will look forward to using soon. 

Slow stitching this week is a catchup with my winter cross stitch project. Vintage looking Button Up patterns from The Prairie Schooler

I'm stitching these on 28 count Lambs Wool Jobelan Evenweave as decorations for a tree. The colour is a little darker as I wanted the snow to show up.  Pattern and fabric are from one of my favourite online shops for cross stitch supplies, They provide very reasonable shipping rates and speedy service.
Just finishing the snow on this one.
My needle minder says Dogs leave paw prints on your heart.  They certainly do! And LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week is to honour a mate, be it human or animal, that was special and there for us.  Here is a dog that never left my side- Rex, the German Shepherd. I was definitely his person. 
Still love him and miss him! I labelled this photo below Rex at my feet and orts on my dress. Both constants in my life!

Thursday's Three Free

This is the link to Purl Soho's Free Patterns section. There you will find categories to check out including knitting, crochet, embroidery, sewing, weaving, etc. All their patterns are basic and beginner style so easy to follow instructions. Below is Broken Dishes Baby Quilt.

I'm so happy I found this site, Pink Simplicity, and their Free Patterns and Tutorials section. Lovely items to stitch like this and lots more.

Not free but so pretty..Lovingly Lissa has this pattern for sale. Really neat seeing how to turn a log cabin block into an apple. She has made a hanging with four of these blocks and it is stunning. 

For my fellow slow stitchers...from Hodgepodge Crafts, comes this lovely spring like design called Floral Meadow that is a free download along with the instructions on stitches used, etc.

Thanks as always to these clever folks who share their talents with us.

Hope your weekend will be fabulous!

Also fabulous to link up with Kathy's Quilts and Songbird Designs.

Wednesday 15 February 2023

Two Thrift Store Finds, EPP Lone Star, HST Blocks Galore

 We've been enjoying much warmer temperatures and sunshine during the days with freezing overnight; the sunshine makes me think of spring and that brightens my mood. Underfoot the paths continue to be tricky early morning. The deeper foot prints are frozen and you can catch your foot in one. My walk has been reduced to more of a creep around.

On last week's list of what to get done was sew another diamond for the EPP Lone Star Medallion.  I got that done and now hope to finish up another one this week. Yes Susie, these are Minick and Simpson fabrics I'm using.  Loving the sunny day when that photo was taken.

This week I've got to do another YouTube crash course about my good camera, the Nikon P900. The settings have gotten shifted so much with a year's usage, the photos are not as sharp as they used to be. Thankfully, there are lots of knowledgeable folks who can lead me through it. 

I've been rewatching this show in advance of the next season being released finally. It's challenging to remember and hard to believe all the wheelings, dealings and general skulduggery that went on in one family. Good acting too.

Two Thrift Store Finds

Up first is Edyta Sitar's book Scrappy Firework Quilts available on Amazon for $34; mine cost $3.99 but could have been cheaper if I found other books to purchase as a bundle. That would have been easily done but I'm limiting myself with what I bring into the house for 2023. In fact I'm aiming to keep trimming our "stuff" and trying hard not to add to it. 

I've not purchased new fabric in many months. But speaking of just that, have you seen Edyta's latest fabric line called Primrose? You can see all the patterns worked with this line Here at her Laundry Basket Quilts site. They make me think of Mom as these are exactly the colours and prints she would have loved. In fact she had a dusty rose sofa set for a decade or so way back when that seemed to be popular. 

The second thrift item was a bag of vintage threads on pretty wooden spools. The thread was useless, breaking easily when I tried to use it. I've wondered what to do with them. The spools are wooden and look very old. My search turned up this Go Go Kim post with links to 9 ways to use spools. All lovely of course in the hands of the talented.

Here is another link that I think you may find very useful. All the kinds of blocks to be made with mainly HST's.  The Plover Index  I think there are over a hundred different ways to fashion blocks there. Certainly would provide ideas for borders too which I struggle with. 
This week is going well; I'm feeling stronger in spirit than I started this month. I am more optimistic and I hope it continues. I think most of you know that I sometimes (thankfully rarely) have to take time one day at a time as it were and one day recently, I had to take an especially anxious day one hour at a time. Though I was proud of myself for pulling it off, it might not have happened as successfully without wonderful words of support from family. Offered in the moment when I needed them most. If you know someone going through a rough patch, think about reaching out with a kind word or two. It could mean the world to them.
Hope everything is rosy in your garden, whether it is winter or summer outside your window.

Thursday 9 February 2023

Free Patterns, Not Sewing This (For Now!), Monty Don, More Panama Pyramids

Older grandson, Jack, walking Neddy
This morning's walk with Neddy was accompanied by the sound of dozens of ravens cawing wildly. They very oddly seemed to move with us as we proceeded around the perimeter of the property. We were thankful all the while for the snowmobile run around Hubby did recently that flattened the trail making it far more walkable than it had been.  I kept a sharp eye on the ravens looking to see if they were chasing off a Barred Owl. But no owl was seen. One of my birder friends said this is mating time for the ravens so that may account for the massing together so early in the day.    
This is not the best photo; it was taken during a snow storm. I was aiming for the beak. Tony had questioned if the birds I've been calling ravens were not crows. It is all about the beaks and I think this beak proves my constant visitors are ravens.                                    
 With the arrival of a seeds catalogue this week, I remembered this guy below and how much I love his videos. This is the wonderful Monty Don who became a YouTube celebrity back during the pandemic. I 've always loved his message of not being afraid to be a bad gardener. Just give it all a go is his motto. Which I have tried to do and it is as he says... a very rewarding experience for little effort overall and even if you're not producing show winners, who the heck cares! 

I also like how he has been open about his years' long battle with depression.

 What I badly wanted to start but did not! Yes I stayed strong! I follow Rachel at Stitched in Color and absolutely love whatever she stitches. She has hit a delicate mark between vintage and modern that definitely speaks to me in both the patterns she chooses and fabric choices too.  I just loved her take on the very old fashioned Log Cabin block in a QAL she called Circus Cabin. The contrast between those very bright colours and the lights was very eye catching. Does this appeal to you too?

Thank you for all the interest/encouragement you showed my Lone Star Medallion attempt. There will need to be six of the large diamonds eventually, hopefully. I did cut out more of the diamonds and matched fabric last night. And I pulled out a few more of the EPP Panama Pyramids in pinks to snap a quick photo before continuing machine stitching together.  I will share these with the So Scrappy Saturday Pink Party. Sorry, didn't have the time to give them a press and how long have I been talking about this project??? Hubby spoke of it today by name; he's never been able to do that with any other of my projects!
 It seems my organization in the sewing room is lacking despite recent efforts to improve it. I'm still finding blocks/bits of blocks that were just tucked away. I need to purchase bigger tote boxes so I can keep it all in one place rather than two or three smaller ones. 

LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week was anything special we will do or have enjoyed for Valentine's Day. We don't celebrate it and never did. I don't remember it being a "thing" very much when I was growing up. On second thought, I've been reminded that we did share paper valentines that were cut out of a large book of valentines bought at a local 5 and dime store, Stedman's. On the night we would run from house to house leaving the valentines and giving a loud knock to let folks know we'd been.  I know I will enjoy reading about any of your special memories, meals, gifts, etc. 

Thursday's Free Three

From Wee Folk Art comes this adorable cardinal pattern to applique. Kimara shares lots of simple shapes to applique. And she has also provided a cache of links to over 350 free patterns/projects for stitching, knitting, crocheting, etc.  Wonderful winter reading!
Here's a neat take on the old Dresden fan kind of block. This one is called Friendship Fan Block and a free download is found at Nancy Cabot's Sewalong blog. Reprisal of a 1933 pattern. What a great scappy block! I can picture this one in modern day fabrics with a combination of solids and prints.
Our own blogging friend, Melissa, is offering more continual lovely free stitching patterns.  In This post, Melissa provides all the links to her Parade of Houses to cross stitch...including this one called Winter Manor; isn't that house blue a beautiful shade! DMC 317

She has included house designs for the months and all the occasions of the year. Thank you Melissa for the bounty of your gifts to us!

Folks asked....Daughter's chocolate cake with marshmallow frosting recipe can be found here..
And Napper or Not?  It appears to be just about an even split on whether you, dear readers, nap or not. And those of us who do not, so wishing we could. 

Tuesday 7 February 2023

Lone Star Medallion, Cake Love, Napper or Not?

 Recent -42C wind chill temperatures and here I am bundled up for my outdoor walks.  Don't you think I look chic? 

Will Hammell for Puck Magazine

I've yet to see Snow Buntings on my property. And imagine a world with "muffs" and where the word "chic" would apply to my day to day clothing. Oh dear, it's been quite a long time since I last "dressed up" even a little. 
Is weather worsening I wonder. Regularly we are being urged to prepare for power outages and have supplies ready.  I don't remember this being a usual thing even in winter. Meanwhile, Tony and I watched some of the videos of the ice coated highways in Texas...that was quite something and we felt badly for the truckers whose job it is to keep the supplies moving no matter the road conditions. 

I've been remiss in showing Daughter's lovely cakes.  This is our latest and it is the chocolate with marshmallow frosting one and peppermint chocolate sprinkles, a favourite for both of us.

 I've been eating a piece each evening because it's winter and cold outside and I need the calories to stay warm. :D
The plate is from my Johnson's Brothers The Friendly Village winter set and the little side plates feature Sugar Maples and collecting the sap to make maple syrup. I love the shades of reds used and the subtle greens throughout the leaves.

It is a hopeful thought too as this will soon be started (if it hasn't already) here in Ontario, a late winter/early spring activity. 

I felt like I just had to take a break from my current two projects that I'm a bit tired of sharing with you at this stage of year 2 of sewing. So this happened! 

A wall hanging I spy often in movies (do you do that?) features the Lone Star Medallion and I always admire it. Early in the new year I downloaded the free pattern at Childlike Fascination, with credit to Terri Ann Swallow and chose the medallion with 288 diamonds. I set about sewing two diamonds myself using EPP just to see if I could do it. The colours are a nod to the red, white and blue of the Union Jack which was the provincial flag of Newfoundland till 1980. I think it would suit our wooden walls. Wouldn't it be nice if I could buckle down and concentrate and get another diamond sewed this week.  There have been distractions but I will try. And my love affair with EPP continues!
 I just realized in this photo above I've reversed the points. I'm aiming for the flower to be in the center of the medallion.

Here is a link that is useful...the year 2023 calendar cleverly laid out on one page. Found at Big Think. Helpful for tracking appointments.

I just looked over at Tony on the sofa. He is having one of several daytime naps. How I envy that! Even if I want/need to, I just can't sleep during the day. Are you a napper or not?

Linking with Quilt SchmiltCreations Quilts ArtAlycia QuiltsSongbird Designs and Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.

Thursday 2 February 2023

Free Patterns, Colour Talk, Embroidery Stitch Along

We are deep in winter,  a time here for the fleece wear and flannel and staying cosy by the fire. Not a problem for us retirees. I just got out my winter coffee table runner that I sewed a couple of years ago.  Kathy Schmitz Snowbound fabric and EPP hexagons.
It's been through the wash a couple of times and has a nice crinkly feel to it. I mentioned at the time that I certainly would be stitching hexagons again and someone recommended this little tool below.  So I bought one on Amazon but haven't used it yet. It's supposed to make it easier on the hands with all the cutting of thin cardboard.  Any of you ever use this?

LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week was how do we feel about Pantone's colour of the year, viva magenta. It is a stunning colour!
 Years ago I had a student tell me she could "feel" the colour green. I am not  in touch with colour like that but there is one colour experience that is thrilling to see in person.  An offering of nature's own shades of yellow/purples/magentas.  I've had the pleasure of viewing the Northern Lights many times in my over 25 years of living in the far north and Labrador.

 I follow Newfoundland photographer, Brad James, on Facebook. Brad had the honour of this photo of his being chosen for the cover of the William Collings 2022 Bird Photographer of the Year book. It's not exactly viva magenta but those magentas are amazing especially in contrast to the little Yellow Warbler. 

Thursday's Three Free

At Freda's Hive you can find the tutorial to sew this sweet cottage.

It caught my eye because I'm a member of the  Corinne et Cecile Quilt Along group on Facebook. The present challenge is to sew houses and it's been so much fun to see the array of houses/villages folks from all over the world are stitching. 
There are also links to free patterns too of course. Houses must be a very popular pattern no matter where you live and that got me thinking about the wonderful architectural pieces to be found at Magpie's Mumblings where Mary Anne often includes buildings, barns, houses, etc. in her stitching projects. The realism is phenomenal in her fabric art. 

Beyond Valentine's, from Leslie, the Seasoned Homemaker, comes the pattern and tutorial to make this very cute Easter Peeps Mug Rug. Ah Peeps, yum!

Leslie also shares how to make the perfect Valentine Star using HST's which is really easy and neat. 
From  Subrosa comes another cross stitch freebie that is lovely and delicate like everything she creates.

And last but definitely not least, I was very happy to see this announcement from Meg at Crabapple Hill Studio. I  have stitched so many of Meg's wonderful patterns over the years and just know I will definitely enjoy whatever she designs. The Crabapple Hill 2023 Embroidery Month Stitch Along is found at the Crabapple Hill Studio site under  Other Stuff in Downloadables file.  In fact I've downloaded the first free pattern. 

How great is our stitchy world and the talented folks in it!
Also great to link with Wendy's Quilts and More where talented Wendy has made herself a lovely sheath style dress from Kaffe fabrics. Also linking with Alycia Quilts where Alycia shares a beautiful red, white and blue quilt featuring lovely Friendship Stars. Linking up with Quilting Patchwork Applique too where Frederique shows how her village of houses is coming along for the Corinne et Cecile QAL. Also joining the slow stitching folks at Kathy's Quilts where Kathy is cross stitching sweet little hearts that have deep meaning behind them. Joining too the gang at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework (yes it is!) where Cynthia shares a gorgeous pieced heart.