Thursday 27 April 2023

Free Patterns, EPP Scrappy Plus Quilt, Turkeys, First Flowers

The first and only flowers in the garden to open so far are these miniature Daffodils. They popped up in an area full of low growing shrub used for hedges - I don't know the name but may be Juniper. But I think the thick shrub kept them protected somehow during the adverse spring weather. 
The turkeys have been walking through lately and I was quite taken with this male travelling with four females. Wow to all those feathers!
He is surprisingly colourful with blue around his eyes and an interesting red as well. I'll say again I'm astonished by the tiny head in comparison to the large body.
LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week was do we speak another language. Sadly no, but I am taking French lessons still online with Duolingo...I'm up to Unit 8 now going slowly because I am repeating lessons. French is an official language of Canada and I'd love to improve...better late than never. What about you?

In my sewing room I've been working on my orange house. Most of my time has been spent sewing the little block because I'm stitching it by hand. It's just a 6 inch block so it shouldn't take long. 

I've also made great headway with the EPP Scrappy Plus Quilt.It is so boring to show you more of the single pluses. I couldn't resist sewing some together to see how it would look. I'm stitching these at night watching tv so grabbed a photo in there...not a great shot but you can get the idea at least. Love EPP!
Another great way to use up scraps...  This free Scrappy Irish Chain quilt pattern by Jessie Fincham is the perfect choice. Jessie shares how to turn scraps into 18 inch squares to easily create this quilt. I'm going to look more closely at this pattern to see how that works.
Pieces of the Past is running a free BOW starting May 15. It features scrappy (or not) Dresdens and is called Dresden Picnic
 Yarnspirations is an amazing site for free patterns in knitting, crochet, embroidery, sewing, etc. like this really delicate Tea Cup to cross stitch.

I do enjoy Mary's way of explaining feelings. 

“Ten times a day something happens to me like this - some strengthening throb of amazement - some good sweet empathic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.”
― Mary Oliver

Hope your week is ending on a high note!

Tuesday 25 April 2023

Rainbow Purple House, Strawberry Pattern, Gardening Chores

 Inside too there is more green and also white growth. I like how the white Polka Dot plant is becoming more dotty with the longer minutes of light. Like its true self is emerging.  It makes such a difference!

I cleaned several windows outside and liked how the outdoor greens were blending with the greens inside. I use a 3 step stool...don't feel comfortable going any higher these days.
I did get some items on my last Tuesday's To Do list done. I spent a couple of hours also cleaning and tidying the garage. I cleaned the inside of the car at the same time. Sure feels good when these chores are done.
 This week's chores include Ned's vet appointment to get his tick medicine and checkup. That's tomorrow. Great to have that done too as we are officially in tick season. Ugh! On that outing we'll go through a car wash so the outside of the car will match the inside. And pick up some grass seed too. Where the dogs have been playing ball, the grass has taken a bit of a beating. 

Now about the weekend stitching...
I said I'd learn a lot taking part in the Rainbow Neighbourhood QAL. Here is Lesson #2, Accuracy is so important in piecing blocks... I don't have to tell you seasoned quilters this. But me...I need reminders! I'm careless about this aspect of quilting, always wanting to hurry it up. Someone mentioned to me one simple way to improve accuracy was to attach this special seam tape to my machine to help maintain the quarter inch seam. 

Ordered off Amazon and already feel it is helping. It provides a sort of runway up to the needle. I received four rolls from here if you'd like to check it out.

Also reminding myself to not drift off when ending a sewing seam which I have a tendency to do. Ugh!

With that being said here is my purple house.  I had little purple fabric in my stash and was happy to find the piece with the magenta? flowering throughout it.

I did enjoy handling this pretty fabric and the search for a match among my meager solids. That being the pretty magenta/violet colour. Black bears have been sighted -alarmingly!- in the south Ottawa area which made me think of a Bear Claw simple block.
*Thank you to the quilters who've offered to help me and provided tips and suggestions. 💓 I love the supportive community I have found in our little corner of the web!!
 A huge thank you to Sandra of course for hosting this very successful Rainbow Neighbourhood QAL

I will start a little indoor planting this week too. The last spring frost can occur up to May 15 here so pointless to put things in the ground before that time frame. In my eagerness I have been known to start this process too early. I usually sprout marigolds, petunias and begonias for a couple of pots on the veranda.  This year I've got a little help having ordered a heating mat from Amazon...taking good advice from Texas Quilt Gal, Linda.
 Hopefully it will speed up the sprouting and encourage more of the seeds to sprout too.
And for you, when I mentioned Pat Sloan HERE, I had intended and forgot to include one of her free patterns to stitch cute strawberries. 
That's a season we look forward to...fresh strawberries are so good...mouth watering as I write that. The PDF is found at this link...

Anyone planting strawberry plants?  We have a strawberry farm in the nearest town 10 minutes from us so I haven't bothered with trying to grow them.
 It probably would be a challenge with all the wildlife traffic through the garden. Like these herbivorous beauties who stroll through almost daily.
Hope you and yours will have a wonderful week!

Thursday 20 April 2023

Free Patterns, Lucky Thrift Finds, Slow Stitching

 It's an interesting time of year here in the north as we can watch the season change.  Each day brings new growth pushing up through even ice it appears. It is always fascinating how quickly the earth turns green once started. 

I got to go thrift shopping, one of my favourite kind of outings. I'll share two of my thrift finds with you in this post. One is in the middle of the table there and is that bird. I paid $3.99 for it and I think it was a good deal. 

In the photos are Tony and I at our marriage ceremony, us with Murphy in the back yard, and Tony as a little fellow on a bike.

#2 thrift find...I was happy to find this book below; it is in pristine condition complete with all the patterns intact. Shizuko specializes in hand quilting. I paid $3.99 for this too and I checked on Amazon- $24.95. I'll share my other finds another time.
Here is a video of Mypoppetblogs showcasing this book.
LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week has to do with favourite smells or scents. Here are three I love...

Salt water smell when I get back home to Newfoundland. The air in general is cleaner, fresher smelling there. I never appreciated that till I was away for a year and went home...walking from the plane to the little airport it hit me how wonderful the air smelled. But maybe it felt like that because it was home. Though come to think of it, SIL has told me he notices the same thing.

Ned's paws...they smell like corn chips.

Library the stacks amongst the books there is a certain smell to be found there that I love.

What are your favourite smells?

In the sewing room, I've started another house for the Rainbow Neighbourhood QAL. I found a piece of purple fabric that was large enough for the house front. I wonder what lesson I'll learn sewing this one!  Speaking of houses, I've also gotten this far embroidering another Snow Days house. Fun to see this too emerge from snow.

Thursday's Three Free

At Quiltatious there is quite a bank of free patterns- 23 pages of them. I downloaded one called Seaside Serenity. Those sail boats with those wheels appeal to me. I looked through the patterns and I liked how they broke down each block so I think they are also well written.

Quackadoodle Quilts Anna and Sarah have a 2013 post that is still active  featuring 25 Free Quilt Patterns. I'm drawn to the Peppermint quilt and seeing the list also reminded me that I want to make a Bow Tie quilt sometime. Perhaps you'd prefer this scrappy Chevron design.

Bev at Flamingo Toes has a bank of free patterns at her site as well. Included is this pattern which is neat. Her own  Neighbourhood quilt. Window boxes with little French knot appealing in a mini quilt.
Bev offers lots of really cute patterns and tutorials on her site, a great spot for a visit and look about. 

And for us who love hand work, Spruce Crafts has 8 Scandinavian Embroidery Patterns to try. The work of Mollie Johanson and I love them. 
I just saw this pattern for sale at the Posie Gets Cozy site and thought, yeah that's me. :D Any of you identify?

Alicia creates such pretty designs to cross stitch and embroider. Her latest spring designs are gorgeous.
As soon as it warms up outside, I'm off to give the inside of the car a cleaning...hasn't been cleaned since last fall.
Hope you can get outside too and enjoy the day!
 Sharing this post with Alycia QuiltsKathy's Quilts and Quilting Patchwork Applique.

Monday 17 April 2023

Rainbow Neighbourhood QAL Lesson #1, Days Filled With Joy SAL, Online Shopping

These days most of the wetland area is flooded and unwalkable which is too bad as the path winds through neat little treed areas. It was near this spot, I went through the ice and up to my thighs in water back a couple of years ago.  About August, this area will dry out enough to walk without boots. The tree in the middle is a monstrous size, one of the Mother Trees here and I call it a Halloween tree.

The mallards are back on the little pond- I wonder each year if they are the same ducks. I watched them glide up as far as this tree foraging. The photo below was taken from a great distance as they alert very easily.
You'll note the bits of green there. Everyone is talking about how we went from that horrid ice storm to high temperatures...30C and even a humidity warning in the space of one week. We could actually watch our banks of snow melt. So spring is here now and I'm going to ignore that the word snow is in the midweek forecast.
Now then, I had a successful stitching weekend.
First I made a bunch of EPP Plus blocks. Itching to begin stitching these together; I will love that part. These are beiges and neutrals.

Then I stitched another house in the mmm quilts  Rainbow Neighbourhood project- this is the most cutting and piecing I've had to do on a quilt ( except for Farmer's Wife).  I usually choose projects with simple shapes as I have little to no confidence with cutting accurately.  I say I enjoy learning so I think I'll share with you a lesson learned with each house I stitch.
 Using the same pattern certainly has its benefits but each house will teach me something new. This time...
Lesson Learned: Cut all my outer pieces a little larger so I can trim it all back at the very end.
With Ned who enjoys quilting photo shoots so much

and without Ned, LOL
The block on the side is from The Quilt Block Bible book by Rosemary Youngs. I've started another roof and am thinking of  purples for the next one. I will have to dig deep to find anything that colour. I have just a few pieces from old Halloween sewing somewhere. 

Online shopping recently led me to this site...Nature Reflection Jewelry that I thought you might also like.  Since losing what jewelry I owned in my fire, I don't buy much, just for my girls. This has a soft chime with movement that's supposed to be calming. (Not affiliated, just sharing).
For embroidery folks, Australian stitcher, Joy is offering another free SAL. This  Days Filled With Joy is for Spring and is just so lovely.
I did well to calm my mind and thoughts this week. I also upped my exercise level which I hope to continue. For me there is a direct link between movement and feelings, I've no doubt now. 

Also I will be busy continuing cleaning this week...closets, the car, the veranda, etc. Everything needs a clean sweep!

Thursday 13 April 2023

Free Patterns, Lone Star Medallion, Stitching Stars

 I spied this mug among the mark downs at Winners the last time I was there. Still a bit expensive but I recognized the design. Sure enough when I turned it over to look at the maker, it said Rifle Paper Co, a fabric designer I enjoy. I used their Holiday Classics line for a quilting project two years ago. I think that is the same design there in the upper left. Beautiful fabric but costly. The mug is also beautifully made with gold trim.

 I didn't know they produced so many items featuring their marvelous designs- planners, vases, dishes, gift cards and gifts of all kinds including for Mother's Day.  Rifle Paper Co if you'd like to see lovely things.

SIL gave me these tulips for Easter. It's been nice to have a little flowery colour in the house.
LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week is are we a morning or night person? I was never a night person except when work or various deadlines loomed. These days I am a confirmed morning person and usually have my 20 minute walk with Ned done by 8 am. 
This now definitely applies to us. Does it to any of you???
This, the Lone Star Medallion, is now sandwiched and in my floor hoop. Made a mere start last night. Going to be lovely slow stitching- talking about the feeling not necessarily my stitches. That's tulips there in the middle too. I always start in the center or as close as I can get to the center to begin the quilt stitching. A debate raged on one of my Facebook quilting groups about where should the start be made with some saying at one of the edges. What do you think?
I've discovered quilting star, Pat Sloan- I should say rediscovered. I subscribe to her channel and recently began listening to her videos. I realized I like the quilting projects she chooses and she moves them along quickly. But what I've enjoyed most is her upbeat tone and that happy little giggle she has. 

Thursday's Three Free

I've been looking for blocks to use in the house quilt project. It would be good for me to try to improve my machine stitching with whatever I choose. So challenge myself a little. I saw this block called Double Aster and thought it interesting though mesmerising to me in how it could be sewn.
The search led to a free pattern at the Quilters Cache.

From Jessica Dayon comes this beautiful free pattern she calls The Fidelity Quilt. I like how those white spaces work out well both inside and outside the block pieces.

Jessica is running a Block of the Week Scrappy Sampler quilt now. 
Here at Skein and Hook, Jessica's old blog, you can find free cute crochet patterns too.

Fans of Blackbird Designs is a site that features cross stitching stars, Barb and Alma's free cross stitch patterns over the years. Links are there to downloads like this one.
Let me know if any links are not working; I will try my best to connect you.

Well, the sun is shining, snow is melting, chipmunks have left their winter burrows, birds are singing and yesterday the Spring Peepers began their spring song down in the wetland area. All attempts at photographing them have failed so I'll leave you with another photo of the female Cardinal enjoying my seeds. 

Happy Thursday and Happy Stitching!

Monday 10 April 2023

Three Somethings to Enjoy And One Not So Nice

 Are you a jump out of bed, feet on the floor the minute your eyes open in the morning, person?  I'm not and never have been though I don't linger long. I wait a bit and these days I do a little stretching. In particular I've been stretching  my plantar fascia before putting my feet to the floor. A month ago I didn't know this existed! I almost feel like my left foot has let me down because I now have some tightening of the p f there. Not painful but an uncomfortable awareness of it. The good news is just this little bit of massaging in the mornings has made any issue with it almost disappear. However, I will have to keep it up. But it's a sign folks...I'm sporting a 71 year old model here. LOL

Something Beautiful

I've shown Phoebe's watercolours here before. Thought I'd share another work of hers. Lady Winter by Phoebe Wahl...As a hopeful so long to winter 2023.

And here is a video of Phoebe speaking about her life and work. She was "unschooled" as a child, an interesting concept.

Something Stitchy 
I've wanted to make a house quilt forever. And since deciding to construct a Rainbow Neighbourhood, I had to choose the fabrics I want to use for it. I've had this bundle from Laundry Basket Quilts a long time, ever fearful to cut into it. I take it out from time to time and admire it. 
When I looked through it this time, I realized it had fabrics for each of the primary colours so would make up the Rainbow aspect of the QAL. So right, its' time has come! That was the first and easy part.  
Along the way, I found a piece of fabric with butterflies that I've been wanting to use forever.  So a practice house I'm calling the Butterfly House was built because I'm longing for spring. You will have to take my word for it that the colours in the butterflies are the same as the pink reddish front there and also grey of the roof is in there too. I still have to give the appliqued butterfly its antennae. And yes, I know it all together is a bit OTT. And I'm disappointed the beautiful red/pink of that fabric is not showing true to colour. It is so pretty. 
Question: Should I change the door fabric to a solid black or dark brown to tone down the OTT?
This was not easy machine piecing for me. I made at least three mistakes and had to rip out and redo. Always so much to learn! But it was okay enough I will try another one this week. Maybe I'll stitch a star next time or a flower, whatever strikes my fancy. This block is large and I did waffle on the size which is 16 inches, but in the end, stuck with that. Ned says I don't know what the heck we're doing out here but I'll just sit awhile and enjoy this sun.

Something Funny
Something I'm Sick and Tired Of
I'm not going to talk about our recent ice storm as I'm sick and tired of talking about the weather and especially tired of having to deal with it. What freaked me out was thunder and lightening while freezing rain was falling! So bizarre and that went on for hours-have never experienced thunder lasting so long. Okay so I had to say something about it. :D Here's a  photo I took -everything coated in ice. 
Sun is cheering today and we have the promise of well above freezing temperatures all this week. Hallelujah! Top of my To Do list this week is not stressing as much about things out of my hands. Like weather, and all the rest of it. 
Hope you are all calm and relaxed and enjoying your week!

Friday 7 April 2023

Free Patterns, EPP Quilt , Joining A QAL

I'm late posting because we just had a horrible Ice Storm that knocked out power. More about that next time.

My doggy daycare has been going well. Daughter reports her dogs are tired and put themselves to bed early these days which means they are getting their exercise here. These aren't their real beds...I know one sleeps with Robbie and one with the adults every night. LOL

Daughter has been seeing a physiotherapist and finding his advice on exercises working out well. She is finally feeling some improvement from that horrible adductor tear injury, thankfully.

 LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week was what did we get for Easter treats growing up. We always had those straw baskets with flimsy handles and covered with coloured cellophane. I would share the small candy eggs with my sister because she had a sweet tooth. There was always a new Easter outfit with a hat and white gloves to wear to church and a large meal afterwards. It made Easter a special time once the drabness of Good Friday was over. BTW, does anyone remember that t.v. for Good Friday was just movies or shows having to do with Good Friday? Imagine that!

I've stitched a bunch more of the EPP Plus blocks, this time in blues. These are a little addictive and are mounting fast. 

I've also stitched together dark blues for a border for the Wheels quilt.  Since there's definitely enough scrappiness in the colours of the quilt itself, I'm keeping the border simple. 
I mentioned I have purchased the pattern to join Sandra's QAL at mmm quilts. This will be a real test. Can I follow a whole lot of printed instructions involving math and measuring both of which bore and befuddle me? Even those as wonderfully well written as Sandra's. I guess we'll see. I think I can manage the very first part, picking out the fabrics...though that can get muddled as well sometimes. I'll show you some choices on Monday and see what you think.

Thursdays' Three Free

If interested in piecing blocks...

At the Fat Quarter Shop there are the block patterns and tutorials for a 2017 QAL they called the Bella Skill Builder. I should be stitching this one because of all the expert help with accuracy. Hmmm, teals and pinks are pretty.

Moda Blockheads Round 4  Far as I could tell there are patterns at that link for 27 blocks designed by various designers plus bonus blocks found at that link. I liked the block by Jan Patek and it stands out as the only one featuring applique.

And the wonderful AGF site provides many free patterns including this one for a table runner using Hyper Nature fabric by Pat Bravo.  Art Gallery Fabrics

I cannot forget my slow stitching pals, here is the link to Gathered's free Cross Stitch Dog Patterns by Kate Mawdsley. There are 10 of them there including this cute little guy. There are cat patterns there too, btw.

My little camera, the Olympus Tough, that was good for Macro photos, has died. We tried everything, including at the very end, dropping it but nothing has revived it. What's a little bit humorous is when I turn it on, it makes a sad creaking/groaning noise like it's saying, I'm done. It served me well. I'm debating replacing it with the updated version, three versions later now. It's still getting good reviews for macro photography which was why I chose it in the first place.

Hope you are all safe and comfortable whoever is reading this.

Linking with Brian's Home BlogKathy's QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkSmall Quilts and Doll Quilts and Quilting Patchwork Applique.