Thursday 30 March 2023

Free Patterns, Seed Packet Quilt Talk, Slow Stitching Updates

Do you shop at the Bulk Barn or similar such store? 

 I went in there recently and was overwhelmed by the array of products. I had no idea they offered so many surprising items like teas, dog biscuits, vitamins, plus a full gluten free product section. I usually buy sunflower seeds for the birds there because there are no broken/empty shells in what they offer and when I saw some unique dog treats, bought those too. I find dog bones have become very expensive here.

Here is my capture of a White Breasted Nuthatch, one of the many that enjoy my sunflower seeds. 

 LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week is do we have a special baked goodie for Easter. I have never made Hot Cross Buns though Mom did and they are very popular this time of year. When the girls were little and I made my own bread, I would form bread rolls into a bunny shape to bake. I'd do the same thing for Christmas dinner forming a candy cane. I'm looking forward to what the Thursday group will share for this prompt...good eating going on there.

My spring jigsaw puzzle arrived lickety-split from Amazon. How do they do next day delivery??? I realized it fit in with all the planting/garden chatter we had per LeeAnna's last Thursday prompt. It is fun to read about planting/garden hopes for our rapidly approaching summer (I hope!). And pick up some tips too. 

I love the beautiful poster featuring vintage seed packets that arrived with this puzzle. 

Funny how one fairly uncommon thing can thing can suddenly appear somewhere else. I've shared Kate at The Last Homely House before when she got me started with the Plus quilt. Turns out Kate is also making the Kaffe Fassett Seed Packet quilt.
You can see Kate's version on her video below. I think she bought the kit so received the fussy cut blooms perfectly cut and ready to sew. If you love bright colour like Kate does, Fassett fabrics are for you.  I have a few stowed away somewhere and retrieve a bit when I want a piece of brilliant colour. But what a great choice for a gardener to work on in springtime especially when that spring is a grey, still freezing one. Sigh
The pattern is a simple one and any fabric with a pretty flowery motif could be substituted of course. 
My own stitching this week consisted of much more subdued sewing-joining more of the EPP pluses together in yellows and that interesting greenish yellow fabric.
I also began embroidering the third block of Snow Days

Thursday's Three Free

At Center Street Quilts Kristina shares her tutorial for making this fresh looking table runner. Tulips certainly remind me of spring too. How about you?
BTW, one of my favourite imaginative quilters, Audrey at Quilty Folk just finished another tulip motif quilt. It is her first finish of 2023 and it is so beautiful. 
At Coriander Quilts, Corey offers the free pdf file for a pretty springtime quilt she calls Tiled Blooms. So lovely with endless possibilities in terms of colours.
At the Fort Worth Fabric Studio's blog you will find a Beginner's level project tutorial and layout to stitch their Tea and Biscuits Table Runner. So pretty in spring colours too or this would also work well in autumn colours for all my friends in the southern hemisphere into autumn now.
Spring projects are not complete without a cute bunny design. Our Melisa at Pinker n Punkin Quilting and Stitching generously shares many patterns with us including this sweet one...Beatrice's Carrot Haul. Just love cross stitched bunnies!

She showed us her Bunny Tree in this post; amazing is all I can say!

I just love noting and sharing wonderful projects gathered from all over the internet. How generous so many designers are to provide the patterns free. 
When the Doggy Daycare closes for the weekend, I look forward to getting in the sewing room. Hope you have something to look forward to as well!

Tuesday 28 March 2023

Three Special QAL's, Three Questions Answered


                                            It's Spring. Theoretically. 

From Sandra Boynton

So we have officially changed seasons but the weather is still a bit on the wintry side. Freezing rain and snow overnight Friday and into Saturday with about 5 cm of fresh snow on the ground. I got snowed/rained on with ice pellets while playing ball with Ned and it was a bit hard staying upright.All in all, a little like spring in the air but definitely winter underfoot.

I'm receiving this magazine after a three year break. Quiltmania is always inspiring and something I look forward to getting in the mail. Do you get any magazines in the mail these days?
I have access to hundreds of magazines for free through the library system but I just don't find it very satisfying to read them online for some reason. I've gotten used to ebooks so maybe I should try harder to like emagazines. 

I had a good weekend in the sewing room. Wheel Within a Wheel blocks got sewn together and into rows. Then I mislaid two rows which I was baffled and frustrated by. The space is not that large. Do you have sewing room mishaps such as this? They will turn up I know. 

And I cut and stitched a few more foundation pieced Tiny Trees. I can't seem to give up on this project as it and the stem three piece section use up scraps so nicely. I will sew another row of these together this week.
That's a corner of the Lone Star Medallion getting ready for a backing. Also something I want to have done this week. I'm happy to have it at this stage.

Three QAL's I Love
Sandra at MMM Quilts has announced her QAL this year called Rainbow Neighbourhood. |Like so many of you, I love house blocks and keep saying I want to sew some. I've purchased the pattern so we will see if I start this or leave it for later. It will be fun to follow along and see the neighbourhoods folks will create.

. Another stitch along I wanted to mention and that I like is being offered by the wonderful Temecula Quilt Co. Sheryl is calling this one Whirl. It is really neat'll have to go there to see for yourself how she is working out the very simple blocks- 9 patch blocks, into a novel design. Found Here. Sheryl is also generously offering a free pattern there called Egg Basket.
Most of you know Sheryl specializes in small, gorgeous quilts.

And Pen + Paper is running the lovely The Sparrows QAL that I would like to sew... of course!  However, it says it's for the Advanced Beginner Sewist which I don't think I am- definitely not on the machine. 
I've gotten a few questions that I thought I would take time to answer.
The header cross stitched picture is Strawberry Thief, a William Morris design. I have the book called The Art of William Morris in Cross Stitch that I used the pattern from.
The embroidery blocks I've shared lately are part of a large project called Snow Days from Crabapple Hill Studio. That link will take you to the Snow Days page.
No, our wooden house is not all heated by the wood stove. We have a propane furnace as well that cuts in early morning during the winter months. We also have AC but seldom use it as all the principal rooms have ceiling fans.  The wooden walls tend to retain heat in winter but also keep things cool in summer we've discovered since moving here- a good thing.

I'm running a doggy daycare this week which is keeping me on my toes. Daughter's two dogs, Abbey and Petey, are here during the daytimes to get exercised as daughter heals from her exercise injury. Ned is in his glee!
Hope your week is off to a great start!

Thursday 23 March 2023

Free Patterns, Farmer's Wife Quilt, Hockney's Pink Tree, Apple Blossoms

Above is David Hockney's Pink tree Study for Cherry BlossomHere at Art Finder you can read 5 interesting facts about David. Joyous and colourful are two words often used to describe his work. It reminded me of the pretty apple blossoms I found on forgotten and very elderly apple trees at the farm. May 24, 2016.
In the same file was this photo of my Farmer's Wife quilt. Brand new to quilting, I haven't any idea how or why I thought I could sew these blocks. I bit off more than I could chew for quite a few of them. Many were hand stitched because I knew so little about using the machine. And that's my crowded dining room/sewing room there.
Bright colours because I wanted a Springtime on the Farm kind of feel to it which I think it has now looking back. I still shake my head when I look at about start big!
Speaking of spring, LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week was do we plant a vegetable garden or herbs or whatever. Though I've tried often, I've had little success with vegetable growing. The best I've achieved are some tomatoes and green beans. Meanwhile I fully intend to try again this summer. My issue here is all the critters getting into things even before they get a chance to sprout. I would have to figure out coverage for the plantings and I'm not sure I'm committed enough to fool with it all.  But I'm all in to try tomatoes and beans again. What about you?

I finished reading an ebook called The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold, the Lovely Bones author. I enjoyed it very much but I must warn you, there is a strange and horrific thing at the heart of the story. 

Just for fun I looked up apple blossom hand embroidery (you have to specify hand embroidery because there are so many machine embroidery sites these days) and found a page at Clipart Library and downloaded it. BTW, lots of other images to download at that site should you be interested.

Are you seeing Granny Square quilt blocks around the net?  I am. 
Here at the Robert Kaufman you can find the free PDF for a pattern.  Also looking springish in these colours.

At Gathered Quilting is the free pattern for this Chevron Table Runner by Laura Jane Taylor. Really neat how the chevrons are formed.

DMC offers a sweet series of free patterns to embroider called  Bouquets in Vases, like this one for my slow stitching friends.
And for my cross stitching buddies...Whispered By the Wind offers many lovely free designs to cross stitch. Like this one called Finnegan's Flowers...
Thank you, Mari, for sharing your talent with us so generously!
The days are bounding along and another week is almost done. I'm off grocery shopping and will pick up some take out food for supper as a treat. Hope all is well in your world.  

Wednesday 22 March 2023

EPP Plus Quilt, Embroidery, Pizza, New Quilter Video, Barred Owl is Back

This is what is left of my geranium plant that was so beautiful last fall when I brought it inside. It is alive but spring can't come fast enough to revitalize this one. Truthfully, being on the floor, I kind of neglected it a little and am lucky that geraniums are a hardy plant. 

It seems like I've watched Jacques Pepin, the French chef, all my life. Decades ago while living in Labrador, I would catch his show on PBS on Saturday afternoons, and loved it. I follow his ChefJacquesPepin Facebook page and recently Jacques shared how to make a fast baked potato, one of my favourite things to eat.  I thought it perfect to try with a fancy thin crust pizza I made and had to have the oven already heated for. Hubby's side gets the pepperoni pieces, mine the veggies. 
Here is Jacques explaining what he does. 

More good birding news...a female Barred Owl is back in the U.S. central Indiana nesting box, has prepped it for the season and has begun laying eggs. The debate each year is if it is the same owl. I thought this one looked smaller and didn't fill the box like last year's so a different owl. Now they are saying it just may be a different one and a new mother to boot as she laid the first egg and left it unattended overnight while temperatures were below freezing. That egg will probably not be viable but she has since laid another that she is tending.  Last year I enjoyed watching the two little owlets hatch and grow and fledge safely. Fingers crossed it will be another successful year. The Live feed can be found on YouTube again this year.
 Hand stitching is always pleasurable for me as you know by now. I never tire of it and look forward to my peaceful time when I can pick up whatever the current project is and lay a few stitches. Since the dogs have been here, I've not gotten into my sewing room but I've been happily hand stitching in front of the t.v. at night when all are settled down.  I finished another of the Snow Days blocks. This is appearing as black threads but are dark brown in reality.
And joined more of the Plus pieces. I also prepped a bunch more for stitching so I will continue on with this EPP project this week. 
And a new to me quilter popped up in my feed that I want to share with you- MerryMabelMarket. She moves quickly and concisely through whatever aspect of a project she is presenting. I watched her sewing blocks out of strings and was a little mesmerized, in a good way, with how proficiently she sewed them.  Then on her home page I found and watched this video on how to incorporate an embroidered panel into a quilt. Great stuff.
So my week is going well; the birds are singing early morning despite the freezing temperatures.  The dogs are keeping me on my feet and my ball throwing arm is getting a good workout. I am so grateful to be able to do all these things. Hope you all are also having a good week. 

Thursday 16 March 2023

Three Free Patterns, More EPP Pluses, Embroidered Snowy Scene, Muffins, A Show to Watch

 My Jasmine Magnolia is bravely blooming a little. Photographed against a screen and that backyard bank of snow.

I'm a bit proud to have kept this one alive and kicking. And thanks Mary Anne, Magpie's Mumblings, for that tip about banana skin water being excellent for houseplants too. We eat a lot of bananas so I will definitely be adding it to the mixtures rather than straight to composting.

LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week was about favourite spring flowers. Think it will be a while before I'm seeing any flowers here. This is our front steps where that dip is, well it was ...much shovelling in my future which, don't worry, I will take breaks.
That is all snow off the veranda roof. But I know when the snow starts to melt it will go quickly. Of course, I love to see the early flowers but they tend to pop up before the weather is quite ready for them. Spring is when we get freezing rain and that usually kills any flowers. But nothing is going to be popping out of the ground just yet and that is why I love it when you share your spring blooms. 

Daughter shared her walnut and bran muffins with us. She had cut the sugar in half and realized afterwards that that was a tad extreme. But with butter and raspberry jam, they are delicious. 

It's coming to the time for Easter and bunnies. This fabric, Dandelion Easter, showed up in an email from The Quilted Boutique, one of my favourite shops to explore.  So pretty. 

 Slow stitching this week is taken up with my Crabapple Hill StudiosSnow Days blocks. Here is the first block finished.
And stitching in front of this series which we have finished now...I even got used to Harrison and Helen together which seemed odd to me at the start. Thanks all for the recommendation of this one.

I stitched a couple more of the Pluses in greens...

Thursday's Three Free

I'm seeing this kind of scrappy triangle pop up here and there around the web and many are calling it the modern triangle. Here is Rebecca from Bryan House Quilts showing how to make the modern triangle and form it into a heart shape too in this case. Lots of good info and ideas here and on her blog too.

From the folks at Sulky, in their free pattern bank is this very cute pattern called Irish Twins.

Also there you'll find the link to make this 50 States Wallhanging. Along the way is the template for each state to personalize your hanging. 

I'm always spying ways to use up scrappy strings and this is a neat quilt below called Diamonds and Strings. Made by  Beth on her YouTube channel My Sewing Room. Beth shares something I've always wanted to know how to do... how to draw an accurate diamond shape, in this case out of cereal box cardboard. The video is called Make a String Quilt using A Diamond Shaped Template (homemade of course).  Beth's scrappy stringy diamonds are really pretty.
That night I was browsing 
At Sum of Their Stories and I found this wonderful post that takes you through how to crochet a granny square.  Then they show you all the wonderful items you can make with them. 
And as always for my cross stitching friends, Smart Cross Stitch has a bank of very neat patterns to download for free. Like Christmas Deer below. I especially love the embellishing stitches on this one.
I'm enjoying my week with the dogs. They are so happy for any little time and attention given them and return to us such love and affection back. 
Sharing this post with Floral Friday FotoKathy's QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkSmall Quilts and Doll Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Tuesday 14 March 2023

Knitted Coasters, EPP Projects, To Do This Week. Woody/Wendy of Woodpeckers


I may have mentioned before that I knit scrappy wool into table toppers and use them underneath my plant pots. I've learned that wooden tables need protecting from the damp or scrapes that happen (even when sitting on saucers) when used for the plants. Smaller squares knit from prettier wool are good for a coffee coaster too. 

To Do This Week...I'm looking after Daughter's dogs, very lovable Abbey and Petey, this week. She is recovering from an exercise injury which seems like such an unfair thing to happen. Ned is in his glee. 

I woke up this morning with all three dogs cuddled together on the bed with us.  A little more company than I'd like, but it was adorable to see. 

Also this week will be a job to sort out the backing for this one...the Lone Star Medallion which is now finished to this point. Here is the un-pretty back showing all those little pieces (over 200) of cardboard.
I would like to make another of these but next time with eight diamonds as I realize now the true Lone Star does look more remarkable with more points. To that end I found a link to a free ebook PDF HERE by Terri Swallow.

I finally got a photo of the fellow pecking so much alarming damage to one of the trees near the house. I recognized the rectangular shape as being made by a Pileated Woodpecker.

 While getting wood from the veranda one morning, I heard him. The loud heavy knocking sounds were echoing. A few minutes later I was sneaking around the trees trying to get a good photo. His head was in constant motion and below turned out to be the best photo of those I took. And through my camera, I could see this was a female not a male because there is no red cheek stripe. She's been busy in that area and I wonder what she is finding in that poor tree.
I'm pleased to share the first few Pluses I've sewn, a project that came out of the blue and totally turned my head!  I discussed it HERE. May as well sew them in the So Scrappy RSC green. I will try to stick with each monthly colour, but no pressure. BTW, the free pattern from Mollie works quite well. I downloaded the sheet, glued it to cardboard and cut out the individual little beach houses, four of which form the plus or X. A great scrappy project and I have to remind myself not to sew too tightly which is a habit of mine when hand stitching. A definite SQUIRREL project. If I remember I will link up with Sandra's DrEAMit post at the end of the month.
Here is our house in early winter 2021 which reminded me of Robert's poem's last stanza. 
From Winter Time by Robert Louis Stevenson-
                               Black are my steps on silver sod;
                              Thick blows my frosty breath abroad
                              And tree and house, and hill and lake,
                              Are frosted like a wedding-cake.
I was taught with these kind of rhyming poems; they were all I knew of poetry for a long time and I loved them all. This also matched the rhyming hymns I sung in church every Sunday which I also enjoyed. 
 Hope your week is off to a good start. I'm off to throw the ball for three Labradors. How lucky am I!
Note: Please always let me know if a link you are interested in doesn't work for you. I will do my best to get you connected!

Thursday 9 March 2023

Free Patterns, Lone Star Medallion Progress, Cutest Thief

Doesn't he look so innocent! 
Meanwhile, he is a thief, albeit a cute one. He is quite adept at robbing bird seed from whatever style feeder I use, even those labelled "squirrel proof". Luckily, I don't mind. All creatures deserve a little something to get them through our cold winters. This time of year, the furthest from anything growing, there's not much left of nature's food. 
This below made me smile; "my" squirrels still run away when I appear but the moment my back is turned, they are instantly like magic at the feeders again. 
I'm feeling happier with how this below, the EPP Lone Star Medallion, is looking.  Colour choices and placement are certainly important for a medallion and, being me, I'm still second guessing where I've placed the darks and lights. One more diamond to stitch...maybe next week that will be a priority. Btw, the three triangles on the tips are actually real red, not this burnt red looking colour showing.
LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week is what would we like in a dream studio. I've moved around a lot and lived in all kinds of accommodations. I've never been one to dream about a space that would be just mine. But if I'd done that I probably would have wanted a space for a little library with big wingback chairs and a nice writing desk. I do wish my present sewing space was big enough to hold a cutting table though. But other than that, I'm pretty happy and grateful for what I have available to me in this house. 

Thursday's Three Free

 Planted Seed Designs is home to Gerri Robinson, a designer for Riley Blake Designs. She has interesting free patterns like this one called Chinese Checkers... It involves something called  a Triangle in a Square block that when aligned together forms stars.

I followed up with this tutorial video showing how to make that block and got lost at the idea of using rulers. But many of you are adept at it.  Emily does make it sound sort of easy in this video. She has lots of other tutorials at her own site, Homemade Emily Jane
You'll find more links to Gerri's books, kits, patterns and fabric lines for Riley Blake there as well. 

I love this pattern called Berry Patch from Laundry Basket Quilts. The free PDF download is found HERE. What a pretty table topper this would make.

I became quite taken with the look of a quilt made up of a block called Clown's Choice. I found free download instructions at Meadow Side Designs Link Here. Very simple geometrics (yes I could sew it!) but the combination gives an interesting overall look to a project. Two basic colours, a light and a dark but they also show how to incorporate a third colour into the design for another "look".

And for my fellow slow stitching friends...Smart Cross Stitch has many pages of free cross stitch designs for special occasions and whimsical topics too. This caught my eye.  A small project that uses cross stitch and pretty Algerian Eyes stitches which look complicated but are easy. 
The sun is shining brilliantly but not warm enough for any melting today alas. But the daylight is lengthening and the quality of the light is changing, definitely brighter. Hope everything's brighter in your world too!