Wednesday 31 May 2023

Rainbow House, Veranda Stitching, Garden Chat, Free Patterns

My Raven portrait.  He was glowing in the early morning sun. They visit the feeders and front garden and actually let the little red squirrels boss them around. I 'm holding my breath for the day that will not be such wise behaviour on the part of the squirrels.
I've been in the garden a lot lately. It reminded me I need one of those fancy kneeling benches that flips to an actual seat like Karen at Quilts...Etc. showed in one of her spring garden posts. I was very busy with pulling out the surprising amount of weeds and all the old plant debris, etc. from last season. But it is such a good feeling to see the beds cleaned up.
Being in the garden reminds me about areas of the property that are neglected and something should be done about. Like the rock garden for instance. I bet it was beautiful in its day but is just an overgrown mess now with the odd little bloom popping up.  Also the landscaped bed the Smoke Tree and Lilac bush are in.There were more flowers there the first time I saw it just before we bought. The squirrels had fun removing the bulbs I think. But I just don't have the energy or will to do much more with either of these. Each summer season it takes all my gardening time keeping up with weeding what I do have on the go. And playing around with setting a few seeds each year which is the fun stuff. This year, three trays and four pots. 
Meant to share this next bit before now...

Mother's Day was celebrated on the second Sunday in May here in Canada and the United States.  I was curious about quilt blocks with Mother in the name and had found these with a little digging. Featured at the Patchwork Square site. I forgot to share at the time. All such pretty blocks.

                                                   Mother's Choice

                                                    Mother's Own

I realized lately that I am a genuine one stitch at a time stitcher. That is where my real joy in stitching comes from. Whether it is crocheting or knitting, embroidery, applique or cross stitch. It is forming/laying each single stitch that gives me the most satisfaction. Like stitching my tiny bride her wedding dress.
Veranda stitching!
I would love to see this block finished this week and get a start on July which would give me the illusion of being "ahead". And July's block features a sailboat which is fun.

The Green House for my Rainbow Neighbourhood was a bit of a love/hate affair. I waffled on the mottled look of the fabric, the size of the circles in the other fabric, etc. I had only a small amount of that fabric and having those two big circles side by side on the eave was the only way to get the bits I had left into triangles.  Whichever, whatever, it is finished. Funny how each of these houses has elicited different feelings in me. Here is a front veranda photo.
And a close up...
We have been riveted by the last episodes of Succession. Amazing on so many levels.  It's not often you come across a series where each episode is better than the one before. I've been enjoying watching videos of psychiatrists/film technicians and the actors discussing motives, personalities, scene setups, etc.-all of it elaborate and steeped in meaning. Very interesting. 
And while not exactly in awe and also lighter entertainment, we are enjoying the performances in Fatal Attraction. I remember the movie so well. Do you?
Lots of outside chores will fill spare moments this week. I've received some fun mail I'll share next post. Meanwhile, hope you are happily occupied as well. 

Joining the Quilt Schmilt linky party. Also joining Songbird DesignsWendy's Quilts and MoreCreations...Quilts...ArtAlycia QuiltsMy Quilt InfatuationKathy's QuiltsQuilting Patchwork Applique and Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Thursday 25 May 2023

Blue House, June at Hawk Run Hollow, Me at the Spa

I love lilacs and enjoyed several trees at the farm. My lone tree here is a little lacking in blooms though I've tried several interventions to help it. The flowers seem to fade even as the buds are opening.They are such gorgeous colours...this one is a bicolour I wish it were healthier. 

Below is Claude Monet's Resting Under the Lilac Tree. Now that's a lilac tree! His idea of painting people in the early years was to give impressions of people in a picture.
 I have my Rainbow Neighbourhood QAL blue house all finished. One thing I love about taking part in this QAL is it is keeping me motivated to get in the sewing room and stay on track. 
I've been sorting through greens for the next house and working out the featured block. I seem to take the longest time doing that. The dark green material below is ancient and I haven't a clue where it came from. But a house front it will be soon. 
I pulled out this cross stitch project last week and was surprised by two large the blocks are which I had totally forgotten and how vibrant the colours are.
Each block is 92 x 92 stitches.  I'm finishing up the block for June which happens to be a bridal couple. Being a June bride was a real thing when I was young and I know some of you were. Anyway, with June completed, I'm almost halfway through the Year at Hawk Run Hollow by Carriage House Samplings, Marty Barrick designer.
Lana at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week is where we would like to go for a holiday. That's easy for me as I would love to go home to Newfoundland. But it is far away and also any travel is out of the question for me at the moment as life has handed me new responsibilities recently. These require my staying put right here.  I am not particularly sad about this as I am brimful of happy memories of Newfoundland. I feel like I haven't forgotten a thing so it is all very much with me every moment I'm awake and sometimes even in dreams. Grateful for all of it. Where would you like to travel???

Just a heads up...At Quilting Patchwork Applique, kind Frederique has collated and keeps updating all the current QAL's and BOM's, etc.
 Always a few there I didn't know about and interesting to keep up with the modern stitchers too.
 Below is a photo of me taken at the spa, my Mother's Day treat. It always surprises me when I see how white haired I've become and I should be long used to it now. We'd attended a funeral the day before and I felt very, very tired so this was a great distraction. Some of you may remember I gave myself a pixie cut back in January; you can see it for yourself HERE. This is it grown out; I haven't put scissors to it since so my hair must be very slow growing these days. I'm wearing my Olsen blouse from the thrift store. I'm also wearing Mom's charm bracelet. I joked I took her with me. She loved these kind of outings and we shared many together in our younger years. 
Life, it's got a way of just moving on, doesn't it. It seems to be speeding up now at the end which is how I'm feeling about time these days. 

Tuesday 23 May 2023

Tulip Bouquet, Nona QAL, Blueberry Cream Lasagna

The first turtle sighting took place last week. They do seem to wait for sunshine with warmth here. And have disappeared again with the temperatures dropping-overnight frost warnings continue.
Daughter gave us another of her cakes. This one is Blueberry Cream Cheesecake Lasagna. Recipe here  What a delicious mixture!  A wonderful summertime dessert and Tony's favourite  part was that there was a lot of it. 😊
Speaking of blue berries, I have pieces of my next Rainbow Neighbourhood house block cut out and one section sewn. Blue is up next and I thought of adding a little variety by using a more subdued colour and also experimenting with white windows in this one.
I checked out this video from wonderful Teresa Down Under -who wouldn't be curious about a block called Blueberry Pie.  What a neat block! I may end up with some variation of this to make it fit the space. Or I might just find something else entirely. Either way it will be finalized this week.


I was happy to have this photo of my little Tulip Bouquet table topper at older daughter, Amelia's, house. She has the sweetest little house and has an eye for decorating.          Info about this free pattern HERE.
I just read about this QAL being run by Jessica Dayon, The Nona Quilt Along. Really neat block, actually I think it is two different stylings of the same block maybe? that together form a neat design. Love when that happens. The blocks are free with extensive tutorials.
Jessica's link for more information. Thank you Jessica and all the other wonderful designers who generously share their talents with us!

I was sad about the Indiana Barred Owls. The female laid two eggs, was sitting for a while but then abandoned them. The live feed has been turned off and this is the first time in many years this has happened. I miss seeing the cute little owlets grow and fledge. 

I am keeping very busy; I have Petey staying with us for awhile and I like how much play time the two dogs share. Ned is completely enamoured with his larger, more athletic brother. They are getting me up early and keeping me on my toes, both good things.
I'm also getting out and about with my camera...doused in mosquito spray and wearing a warm sweater. It is still cool in shadowy places where I tend to hang out when hoping to spy birds.  
This week I will be cleaning up the garden and thinking about new plantings, etc. 
Now I feel like it is truly spring.

Friday 19 May 2023

Lone Star Medallion, Pink Rainbow House, Free Pretty Patterns

I normally want to cling to my time but have to admit I'm glad this week is almost over. There are some things you just want behind you. But there is always good stuff happening is not static thankfully. I felt off my routine so pushed myself to exercise this morning and jog the trail with Ned. I am better for the fresh air and activity.

Oh the greening up of everything outside is just wonderful to witness. Kitchen window view yesterday. That's the faucet there in the almost middle.

Here is a small Song Sparrow and I was happy with this photo. A reminder to keep up a hobby I enjoy- photography. Look at the new buds on the fir tree.
Tony and his biking buddies had their first ride of the season and enjoyed it very much. He's been riding with some members of the group for many decades. They are very careful and ride back roads during the week days. And have their favourite haunts to stop for lunch. 
Well, in time out is the EPP Lone Star Medallion quilt. Here is the only photo I have on hand and here it is still in the templates. They are all out now.
I've had to unpick hand quilted lines twice, yes twice on this piece. First time after stitching one of the diamonds-that was tough after so much stitching. I didn't like my stitches- too uneven. Second time, it was just hard to stitch through the layers and hurt my fingers. I could see why my stitches were not great. So I dismantled the layers, trimmed more of the seam fabric and am giving myself a little break from it. I am pleased with how it is all holding up with the whole thing being hand stitched though. 
Happily, I had better luck in the sewing room with this-  the pink house sporting  the dresden block has been added to my Rainbow Neighbourhood. Dappled sunlight is so pretty too. Overall so bright!
Definitely the house all the neighbours would be talking about. 

LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week was have we had any close encounters with celebrities. I've seen quite a few singing celebrities over the years  in St.John's. Off the top of my head...The Turtles, Kitty Wells, Nana Mouskouri, Willie Nelson, Gordon Lightfoot, Paul Anka, but never close up. 
 For instance I was one of 20000 women who saw Oprah Winfrey when she did a talking concert here in Ottawa. My husband at the time once saw Paul Newman in a northern Canadian airport. Decades ago and he had four bodyguards with him. He certainly did not need them in that setting so I wonder how many he would need in these times. What shocked then hubby was how short Paul was and how old he looked. 

Little towns around here are often used for shooting the Hallmark Christmas movies. Just this week, one of them, Carleton Place, had their main street taken over by a film crew shooting one called A Christmas Homecoming. Christmas decorations and fake snow all over the place. I'm not sure if any of these actors really count as celebrities as such. What about you...have you had any close encounters with celebrities?

Great Stuff and Free too!

Wonderful Gayle at Sentimental Stitches is offering all the free patterns to make a quilt called Dream Garden. Each block features an appliqued flower with embroidered embellishments. So pretty. Wish I could show you more but you'll have to visit that link to see how simple and sweet the blocks are. Could be interesting too with modern fabrics.

All People Quilt I found this sweet table runner and it seems like an easy quick one too. Full instructions with templates are to be found there. Rhoda Nelson designer.
Amanda Gregory has this lovely cross stitch pattern as a free download at her link...Strawberry Heart. Thank you Amanda for sharing your talents with us. 

Daughter and I did get to the spa for a Mother's Day treat. I'll share a photo soon. Hope everyone reading this has the best weekend ever!

Monday 15 May 2023

Spring Blossoms, EPP Plus Quilt, Sad News

   The spring season is progressing in all its glory. The White Trilliums are in bloom. They are the Ontario provincial flower and the state wildflower of  Ohio. 

And the wild Dog Violets are in bloom too.Very plentiful this year so the rains we had earlier must have helped them.
I now have sewn this project, the EPP Plus quilt below, to the size that I'm happy with minus borders. 42 x 52 . I will really miss stitching these blocks in front of the tv every night.  It's bumpy-still has its' cardboard templates in.

My Rainbow house in pink is taking shape. Hopefully it will be finished this week. Thank you all for the kind comments about my Dresden block. Such a fun little block to stitch. No I didn't have a pattern; I just drew it out myself.
Sad News 
While things have been going along fairly well, we had bad news last week. We received the news of two sudden deaths, one a best friend to older grandson and the other, younger daughter's mother in law. As family do, we have spent our time doing our best to help out daughter with babysitting and dog sitting, etc. In the case of my grandson, there is much for him to absorb and accept and we will continue to support him in any way we can too. 
I don't need to tell you life is both precarious and precious.

 This is a very old piece cross stitched by Mom many years ago. 
She is still and always will be with me in one wonderful way or another. 
Hope you all have a wonderful week enjoying the season in your part of the world.

Thursday 11 May 2023

Applique, Music, Free Patterns, Rainbow Neighbourhood

The sun came out and dried up all the rain...yes that happened last Friday. Glorious sunshine almost every day since. Temps are a bit cool and there are frost warnings at night. It is shivery still in the shade, but the sunshine makes up for it. Daffodils are blooming and the tiny leaves are appearing on trees. Several of the indoor plants are budding. I'm itching to get these outside.

I began stitching this applique block during the Coronation. I thought it a little tiara like. A dresden block for my next Rainbow house, a pink one. 
I'm surprising myself with the bright colours I am using in this Rainbow Neighbourhood QAL. I usually prefer much more subdued tones. But this is fun too.
And here the neighbourhood is coming together. Technically I've stitched 5.5 houses so far if I count my Butterfly test house. These are large at 16 inches.
LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week is what is our favourite music style. I usually listen to classical piano, cello, or violin in the mornings when up early. Often when I'm writing these posts. A couple times a week I ask google to play me old time rock and roll and I dance to it. This always cheers me up no matter what is happening and I know all the words to the old songs. So it's not only good for the body, it's good for memory too. Sometimes I surprise myself by enjoying something modern right out of the blue. Like a very young Chris Martin singing a song he wrote called Yellow which I love. 

 I heard from many of you about taking the no fabric buying pledge, but some of you are qualifying that with perhaps if a new line catches your eye, or you need more neutrals, :D, etc. Yes, that's a hard pledge to keep as the new fabric lines are always more beautiful than the ones before it seems.  

How to control stash...I never thought of this but I read this suggestion for how to cut down/control adding to stash.  Buy quilt kits. More and more of the fabric stores are putting together kits with the fabric and pattern, no need to purchase more. For instance, as long as I've been blogging, I've received the Connecting Threads catalogue and they always have a bank of quilt kits; they go on sale at different times of the year and are quite a good bargain then. 

 Likes and Free Stuff Too

 Sassafras Lane Designs' free pattern section includes this one -Mini Patchwork Orange.

Red Thread Studio has quite a selection of unique stitching items. One is this project for embroiderers designed by the wonderful stitcher Helen Stubbings. This one is called Stitch Therapy 365, a tiny design to stitch quickly for each day of the year.

I found this link to a bank of free patterns by wonderful Kim many lovely designs. Some so simple but creative too. At the ME Quilt Shoppe. I couldn't grab a photo because each links directly to the pattern. I noticed that Kim's borders are all different and it would be a great spot to explore border choices if you need that. 
At Bonnie Sullivan's site All Through the Night, I found lovely free patterns. Take a look around at what Bonnie (sister of Kathy Schmitz) has been creating. Here is just one of the pretty patterns Bonnie is generously offering.

I was so happy to read that the state of Oregon has deployed firefighters to Alberta, Canada to help them fight the fires that have been blazing there for weeks now. Story is here. It is always enheartening to read about cross border alliances between countries. Helping each other as best we can is the way it should be. 
And on that hopeful note, I'll end my post today. Happy Weekend all. 
Happily linking with mmm quiltsKathy's Quilts, Quilting is More Fun Than HouseworkSmall Quilts and Doll Quilts and So Scrappy

Monday 8 May 2023

Quiche, Table Topper, Turquoise House Lesson, A Bee To Embroider

Yes the Coronation was wonderful...our King is crowned! I loved every minute of the t.v. footage and I made my Coronation Quiche for the day.  Daughter gave me this flat of fresh eggs including some duck eggs.

I used four of them for the quiche. My finished quiche was probably the least like the official recipe it could be and still be quiche. For starters I couldn't find broad beans. So I knew then there would have to be substitutions. I  sauted a little onion and some bacon bits to give added flavour. I did add spinach and tarragon like the recipe but I used almond milk instead of cream and I also added tomatoes to the top. I had a block of aged smoky cheddar I'd been saving and decided its' time had come and it did add wonderful flavour.  I backed out of using all butter for the crust..thank you all who advised to be careful with full butter for I used half butter and half Crisco. It made a tasty but slightly crumbly crust. 
We both enjoyed it very much which made me wonder why I rarely make quiche, such an easy meal really. 

So here is my Rainbow Neighbourhood Turquoise Chipper House blowing in the breeze. First I tried to position it to show new leaf growth.

Then against the beautiful fir trees so dark and green.
Outside photo shoots are not easy to pull off even in alight breeze.  And I also
 had a hard time figuring out how to include the whole chipmunk in a block-his tail is so long; just gave up on it in the end and went with this arrangement. I hope you think it looks okay.

Lesson for this one is not just measure twice, measure three or four times, then cut!
Coming up, I'll have to layer the Tulip Bouquet Table Topper- free pattern from Cotton and Joy I stitched last week. Also photographed outside in dappled sunshine.
Found for the backing- a pretty  flowery fabric and will bring it forward to create the binding also.
Still with stitching- the EPP Pluses are almost all stitched together and I hope to finish that part of the quilt this week. I'm keeping it lap size. I realized there is not a scrap of purple/lavender fabric to be seen in it. Which got me thinking....

I only linked with Angela's So Scrappy monthly party once during April...the colour was purple and I think I'm not crazy about that colour. But when I sewed the purple house, I realized it included a particular shade of purple, kind of soft that I actually liked very much. 
Made me rethink my feelings about using more purple in my projects.

 But I'm not going to be purchasing any more fabric in the meantime. I've been housecleaning nooks and crannies. We have too much stuff- why do I always feel like that! Even in the sewing room, things tend to pile up...partly because I don't have proper space to keep things tidy. However,I really should make a pledge to only purchase fabric for a specific project from here on in. What about you? At that stage too?

A couple of free patterns I loved...

At Nautikra, sailor Mallory shares not only her love of crocheting squares, but a bank of free crochet patterns. All lovely. And at that link you'll find detailed instructions to crochet the Hygge Burst Granny Square pattern shown here. 

And World Bee Day is celebrated on May 20th this year. In honour of the special event and to emphasize the importance of bees, the creative folks at DMC introduced this new free pattern to embroider, a real beauty. 
I have finished stitching another Snow Days block and I really don't feel like stitching more snowy scenes right now. Don't want to hear the word s-n-o-w.
I'm sharing this photo of puppy Neddy in spring daffodils two years ago...those same daffodils are open today. Hard to believe he was so tiny! What a wonder growth is!
Hope your week will also be filled with things of wonder!