Thursday 31 August 2023

Autumn Blooms, Hand Quilting, Dogs in Our Pond

 Our summer is surely leading to autumn. Don't need the weather people to tell is cool each morning and there is a certain slant to the light. The angle is different and the sunlight itself is glittery but like it is filtered through the trees first. And of course, it is darkening earlier in the evening..."closing in" as my grandparents would say.  I love autumn too so it's all good.

The Ligularia, such a wonderful perennial, is blooming now in late summer. The very large deep yellow blooms open up as the rest of the flowers are fading. 

Daughter, Beth, has a tiny video on the Adventures of Pete and Abbey channel of them in our little pond here. Both love fetching. Ned not so much.
I've enjoyed rereading Anita Brookner's Hotel du Lac. I say rereading but I remembered very little of it so it was fresh to me. I love Anita's writing and enjoyed the way she introduced her main character, a single older woman named Edith, to us. So deserving of the Booker Prize way back in 1984.  

The RSC So Scrappy colour for September is aqua. I thought I'd have to skip this month because of a lack of aqua fabric and I'm not ordering any new fabric these days.  But when I dug deep I found this lot hiding with the greens on the left. Enough to work out some small project or other. And of course finding a project won't be any hardship at all. But a little disconcerting that I'd forgotten this lot completely!
I'm still doing my best trying to hand quilt the Book Club quilt and now almost finished. When it was draped over the chairs, I saw how the quilting lines showed up in the light so took a photo. I would like to see this all bound and finished this month. Will link to the Elm Street Quilts OMG September party to see if that will keep me on track. 
Thank you for good snack ideas. I too eat almonds and walnuts and baby carrots. And yes occasionally succumb to potato chips or popcorn. Only human, after all. :D Oh and still on that topic I read that a Snickers bar has more protein than some protein bars. But of course, there is the sugar. Sigh


Tuesday 29 August 2023

Hand Quilting, Flowers, Favourite Snack

Walking through the garden this morning, I noted the beautiful Japanese Anemones were alive with bees. My header photo features just that. Someone before me loved these perennials as there are four healthy patches of them here. 

Below is a weed, maybe Fireweed, not sure exactly what, but I do admire the intense pinks lining the pond path. This has tufted tops. 
Here is a close up of Purple Loosestrife which is in a small meadow directly behind the house. It is invasive but has not spread here at all, just a few sprigs here and there each summer. 
Early morning today I had underdressed for my walk. With the season changing, it was 9C and felt cool. But that was okay as it made me move faster. 

Lately I've been getting ads for these and wonder if they'd be a good way to corral certain projects. From Madam Sew...anyone tried them?? 

On the weekend I got further along with my hand quilting on the Book Club quilt. I have eleven of the sixteen blocks finished. Some are easy outline.
And others are  circles for a change so the stitcher doesn't get bored.

Here is a favourite snack of mine, usually eaten mid afternoon when feeling peckish.  Cucumber and hummus, or sometimes with bell pepper strips. I know it isn't for everyone, but I love hummus.
I struggle to find healthy foods that will hit the spot for snacking. Any suggestions???

I came across this little poem and believe the words to be so true. The tiniest of kind gestures from strangers are meaningful.

It was only a sunny smile

And little it cost in the giving

But like morning light, it scattered the night

And made the day worth living.

Credited to F. Scott Fitzgerald

And the world feels like a beleaguered place just now. It needs all the kindness we can muster.  

And where there is loads of kindness to be found is at these linky parties... Songbird DesignsAlycia QuiltsIt's a Small Town LifeConfessions of a Fabric Addict and Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.

Friday 25 August 2023

Two More Thrift Finds, Redwork, Free Patterns

 Old and still beautiful Day Lily and very young Maple tree...

There's a reason cups of tea/coffee are often shown with a backdrop of a cozy quilt/stitching in hoop or/yarn and hook, etc. Our comforts for mind and body are important to us. I honestly don't know what I would do without mine. I also love reading about yours as I think you all know by now.

As you know I also love nothing better than a good poke about in a flea market/thrift store where I challenge myself to see what I can find for $20; have to up that to $25 these days. Recently I found this mug in perfect condition, a Royal Doulton 1815 series, for $3.99. I knew these mugs run from $20 to $25 and I love the blue/green dreamy like colour. It holds a goodly amount of morning coffee and perfectly matches my scrappy hand stitched mug rug. I later read an article about how Royal Doulton achieves the smooth, chip resistant finish but I think I'm the only one with an interest in that. I was actually looking for what name they gave this colour. Apparently, it's blue. :D

At that same time, I found this. I'm  pointing to the bag of threads...DMC perle 8, my favourite, with  another brand I'm not familiar with but the same size. Someone must have had a project requiring a lot of greens. Not at all shopworn and also $3.99.  
And not from a thrift store... on the right...I buy Walker's Milk Chocolate Eclairs when I see them usually in Home Sense or Winners. I'm not a sweets lover, but do like one of these now and then like a little treat.
Here is my progress on Mom's Redwork Embroidery project. I really enjoyed stitching these birds. The Atlantic Puffin on the left is Newfoundland's provincial bird and the Ptarmigan on the right is common in both Labrador and Newfoundland. It is also found in many Canadian provinces and can be a food source. 
Working with the fine threads made me realize how shabby my nails are just now. I keep a file handy as the threads do catch.  I can't keep the gloves on when in the garden and dirt is terribly hard on nails. So it's my own fault.

More Free Patterns for you to check out.

Feedmill Fabrics has a bank of lovely free patterns. I noted one by Anni Downs and the Kim Diehl pattern called Biscuits and Jam is beautiful.

At Angela Pingel's pretty site you'll find several free patterns. I downloaded her pattern called Gift Box as I have quite a lot of strings in my scrap basket. 

I'm wishing you a calm day, one where stress has been kept at bay and you are enjoying the hours moving projects, whatever they may be, forward.

Check out this post at Not Afraid of Color where others are also sharing good stuff this week. Also joining other lovely linky parties at Kathy's Quilts and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Tuesday 22 August 2023

Book Club Quilting, Quiltmania #156, Price Shock

 Early afternoon here and Tony has his tea and biscuit snack. I have to tell you about these biscuits that he likes so much. I was in a dollar store recently looking for dog throw balls and saw these biscuits...several shelves of all the different kinds. And they were a whole dollar cheaper than at the grocery store!

 I don't know how this works...wouldn't the regular grocery store get them at the same wholesale price as a dollar store outlet?  You know where I'll be buying these from now on! 

Happy Quiltmania magazine #156 arrived which is always a treat. And you know I spend a lot of time with the gardening books at this time of year. All I have I inherited from Tony's deceased wife who was quite the amazing gardener in her day. She filled several notebooks each season with what she grew and how it fared. They would have soil delivered by the truck load when she started the vegetable garden. I'm in awe of such commitment!

Below is a small nest found on the ground by the pond shed, no doubt brought down by the high winds we've had at times this summer. Every year Phoebes nest in the end of the structure that has an open attic. It was interesting to see the bits of old insulation the bird had used in the building.
One kind of Coneflower, aging now. Which reminded me of Anna Maria Horner's fabric featuring these wonderful flowers. And I was reminded of that by Karen's post HERE.
It's been a hectic several weeks...last week I had to leave the property almost every day for appointments, meetings, etc. I don't like that and most of it feels like work especially the ones dealing with financial stuff. My eyes glaze over and try as I might, I lose concentration no matter how simply and earnestly the poor young men are explaining things. 

But I'm ending the summer feeling better emotionally and physically than when it began. Inside the house we've settled down and established a routine that works well now.  The daily swim and walks certainly help me.  And of course, it goes without saying how the slow stitching helps calm the mind. 
Here the hand quilting of Book Club quilt has begun. Actually I have three blocks now finished and hope to get better photos soon. Those erasable pencils are working well.
Hope your August month is going well too. Enjoy every minute of all the good things you can pack into it.

Saturday 19 August 2023

Christmas QAL's, Gardening, Cod Fishing

 I have written about how I kept the wild Mullein in the garden because the birds and bees like it. It was interesting to hear from several readers about Mullein in their gardens. I guess there is a movement to protect this valuable plant and it is now being harvested for medicinal uses. A great article on this weed is here... Mighty Mullein, thanks Reg for that link. I also found this plant featured on fabric. I had no idea of the long and ancient history we have with Mullein. 

 I was fortunate to capture a little Downy Woodpecker enjoying my Mullein plants on Friday. It spent ages balancing on its tail moving up and down the length of the plant getting what from it exactly, I'm not sure. Sorry, photo is overexposed by bright sun and the photo adjustments are even less than I had on the former Acer, sigh.

Back inside...While I'm learning about how to quilt Painted Lady and had the batting all spread out, I thought I'd choose another WIP to get layered. I chose this one from a QAL back in 2020...the Book Club Hand Pieced QAL which I enjoyed and wished a similar one could be run again. 

And this morning here it is all sandwiched with its pin puckers. This way if the mood should strike me to work on it, it will be all ready and waiting.
Two Free QAL's for Christmas Stitching
Sherri at A Quilting Life has been generously running free BOM's for a few years now. Her latest is being sewn in reds and greens for Christmas. Very detailed instructions and can also be sewn in other colours of course. In fact I thought of autumn colours. 

Jessica Dayon also has a number of  free QAL's at her site including this one called the Holly Jolly Block of the Week. Loads of instructions too and videos. Thank You, Jessica!

I've been busy! We have Petey staying with us while his family is on their annual trip to Newfoundland. We've started to move wood from the pile down in the meadow up to our veranda for the winter fires. So happy to have older grandson, Jack's, help with that.  And we've been working on reinforcing the fencing in the back yard so the dogs can't get out and wildlife can't get in. 
Meanwhile, here is a happy photo of younger grandson, Robbie, successfully cod fishing in Newfoundland.
While there may not be cod fishing in your weekend, hope it is wonderful too!

Wednesday 16 August 2023

Redwork Stitching, Marking Pencils,Gardening, Movies

 I shared a photo of the vines that grew so well in winter inside the house a while back. Here they are still alive and well outside all summer. I had put a few seeds in soil just to see what would happen knowing that, while I had no success growing pumpkins, I loved the leaves and these, whatever they are, look so pretty. A very tiny critter also loves them as there are little nibbles taken in some of  them.

And the Marigolds are the ones I grew from seeds planted in my garage green house in May. I have three pots of them and they grew well but were late to flower. I also planted a new to me flower- Zinnia seeds at the same time and here below are what remains after another critter raided the plants when I first put them outside. These have surprisingly strong stems and faint quickly without water. This is an annual and I'm going to try to harvest a few seeds for next year. 

Thanks again to Texas Quilt Gal, Linda, for mentioning the heating mats for propagating seeds indoors. I will definitely be adding more next spring. 
Inside, while I've layered two quilting projects, I've spent my evenings in front of the tv stitching 2 more patterns from Mom's redwork project. Here are the Caribou and the Moose, two very common animals at home. 
I ordered these erasable marking pencils from is the link (not affiliated) Amazon Clover Water Soluble Pencils and they came to me all the way from Hong Kong.  Three colours to a pack-white, pink and blue and they are another way to achieve removable marking lines to follow for hand quilting. Work perfectly but wear down fast. You need to keep a sharpener handy.
Jack and I went to see this movie. I enjoyed it very much and learned a lot. I realized I  knew very very little about that whole event. Wonderful performances. I was surprised again by how comfortable movie theater seats have become with the movable head and leg rests, especially good when you are sitting there for almost four hours.

We are hoping to see the Barbie movie this weekend. 

I'm off to make lunch. Daughter gave us a basket of locally grown tomatoes and they are delicious. Hubby loves a white bread tomato sandwich with a little mayo, salt and pepper. How about you?
Hope your week is going well!
Happily linking with Creations, Art, Quilting and Kathy's Quilts

Sunday 13 August 2023

Chocolate Cake, Monarch Applique, Garden Blooms

 It is a surprise each time I step out the front door and look at the flower beds. SO much growing and flowering without me having to lift a finger these days. Summer '23 will be one to note; I could say this summer has been good on flowers, which is phrasing used at home. 

I just have to show you all by itself the Madagascar Jasmine...what is it now, 5 years old maybe and I've never seen anything like this. If I coaxed a flower or two from it before, I rejoiced. But Mother Nature does it better and the bouts of high humidity she provided certainly worked magic on this beautiful vine. I sometimes step out on the veranda just to look at it, such a gift that literally keeps on giving, so gratefully received from Tony's former inlaws. 

Other beautiful things...Beth's cake to us this month is a favourite...dark chocolate with marshmallow frosting. We are all enjoying it very much. Rock Recipes Black and White Cake

From Maude Smith such beautiful tea towels! Also dogs, butterflies, flowers, all the wonderful things, etc. are available.  Like this one...Isn't it gorgeous! I think I'd have to pin this up somewhere rather than use it for dish wiping.

I was following a link Nancy at Joy For Grace gave us in her latest post and went to read more about managing scraps. This article at All People Quilt turned out to be very interesting with a great video helping you discover your scrap saving philosophy and yes, we do all have one apparentlyHow to Organize Scrap Fabric

Today's stitching to share is slow stitching applique, my start on the Monarch project. I'd already picked fabrics and drawn a few shapes and cut out the freezer paper templates. Yes did that. Here are four of the smallest of three sizes. Definitely tropical butterflies at my house. I've been playing around with the shapes a little so they won't be identical.

The air is cooling off making walking much more enjoyable too. Seasons are good.

 Hope you are able to rest and feel the calm you deserve on this mid August Sunday.

Also happy to share this post with Kathy's QuiltsSmall Quilts and Doll Quilts and Songbird Designs

Thursday 10 August 2023

Scrap Busting Quilt, Caramel Popcorn McFlurry, Eye Doc, Rare Find

A most wonderful sighting...This is the Promethea Moth I had the good fortune to spy near the big garage. They've been sighted there in past summers so I do keep watch this time of year. From the kitchen window I spied something on the stones, got a better look with the binoculars and ran out with the camera. I got to take exactly one shot when the battery died. So here it is. What makes this sighting remarkable is this moth will only be alive in this adult stage of its life journey for 24 hours. This one was very large... if I'd gotten the chance I would have shown it to be about the size of my hand.
I think it is a female because of the lighter colouring of the wings.  Nature is awesome!

I hadn't had a McDonald's McFlurry since before the pandemic. We got take out from there recently and I saw they had a new kind of McFlurry, a caramel popcorn one, which caught my attention. I used to enjoy the Skor McFlurry. Anyway, we decided to give it a try. It was good but the popcorn was soggy naturally so I think I would still prefer the Skor choice. Anyone else try the caramel popcorn one?

Machine Stitching is Fast!
Some who have been with me for a while, like years ago now, might remember these scrappy squares I stitched using all scrap bin pieces set around black centers. I'd gotten them to the point of long strips hanging over the sewing room door where they've hung literally in limbo. Back in early June I'd picked out a light cream jelly roll to stitch sashings onto them sometime during this summer's finishing binge. That hadn't happened yet as other projects kept getting priority.  But yesterday afternoon in the sewing room I brushed by the strips and on impulse decided to sit at the machine and get this one done. So a flimsy at last! The finished size fits the dining room table so I think I'll use it as a table topper or maybe a cover for a trunk in one of the bedrooms.  Certainly is super scrappy!
A close be layered up soon!

So far so good with the summer sewing finishing plans.  
I've been busy with appointments and sneaked in one for the eye doctor in the nearest little town. I haven't had such a checkup in years. We get to enjoy one free eye appointment a year with our Canadian health plan but some extras will cost you. There are two scans I was interested in- the Octomap which examines the retina and an Optical Coherence Topography Scan which examines the layers more closely. I thought it a good thing to do these as my DNA profile listed a possibility of late onset macular degeneration. After a very thorough examination of my eyes- my old lady eyes because the doctor looked to be about 13 to me!...never had eye exams like that in my life, all was excellent. The scans showed no sign of MD whatsoever, no cataracts, glaucoma or retinal tears. I was very relieved and feel very fortunate. My eyes and the fingers on my right hand are precious items which I know you can all identify with. 
I hope you are able to take good care of your precious bits too. 

Tuesday 8 August 2023

Free Embroidery Patterns, Blues Courthouse Steps, Pond Views

  I'm always the first one up in the house and most mornings that gets to be my walk Ned first and then go back out alone with my camera, sit by the pond, fingers and toes crossed that some special bird or other critter will appear just for me. That is also my time to mentally count my blessings. That bit makes me think of the lines of the old hymn...Count your blessings, name them one by one, and then it will surprise you what the Lord has done. Anybody else sing that when young?? I remember singing this in a United Church junior choir eons ago and being happy when it was added to the hymn list rather than another of the stodgy, mournful hymns. 

Pond views

SIL mowed the path around the pond...this year's tick count is 4...two bites but all okay- caught early. Having this mowed is a big help. It's such a great spot for a good think. 

This was the first summer in the 7 years I've been here,
I did not have to run a hose to refill this vernal pool/pond. A sure sign of all the extraordinary rainfall this summer. 
It is haying season here in Ontario and I snapped this photo of a nearby field. This is a common sight in our area.
Ned is bored by photo shoots. He moved into the screen just as I took this shot... resting his head awfully close to that bowl of plums and strawberries. I realized I hadn't shown the little tabletopper that got finished last month so here's a final look. 
And here are various sashings for a number of projects in the queue to be completely finished.  The greenish ones, not at all the true colour, actually the darker green as in the photo above, are now in use on the Solidarity quilt. Just goes to show how off the lighting is for photos in the sewing room.
I did not meet my goal  way back in June's OMG at Elm Street Quilts. That was to get the Blue Courthouse Steps blocks all stitched. I did get to add to them but that still makes it only about a third of the way done. I've stitched four more blocks so this is going to take a little more time at this rate but that's all good as I'm still concentrating on the long time WIP's. 
Here I've decided to swap out the lighter yellows and oranges for ones with more oomph. I like the stronger contrast with the blues. 
Cooler temperatures recently and I noticed our wild crab apple tree has a few blooms that have turned. Apple Blossoms are so beautiful. They are the state flower of Arkansas and Michigan. At Turkey Feathers in the side bar you'll find a link to the free download for all 50 State flowers embroidery patterns including, of course, the apple blossom.
Lots to keep me happily busy and I hope it is likewise with you. 

Saturday 5 August 2023

Thrifting, Painted Lady Quilt, Nature's Medicinal Plant, Free Pattern

 Today is the first day in over a week with nothing on the agenda. There have been lots of appointments lately and visiting too. So this rare day stretches before me- I can decide myself when to exercise, read, stitch, roam about with my camera, etc. and up first is getting this blog post finished.

Below, the Day Lilies and my four pots at the further end of the veranda...I'm awed by the wonderful growth. I've let the wild Mullein grow...that's the two tall plants on the right. The leaves, seeds and yellow flowers have amazing nutritional qualities for people but I keep it for the bees and insects to enjoy. The flowers have a staggered opening, providing nectar for bees from early July to frost in the fall. 

Younger daughter Beth and grandson, Robbie, have collaborated to make a Youtube channel named The Adventures of Pete and Abbey. A little summertime in between camps activity for Robbie. They've had fun coming up with the music and ideas they could use. In this one, Petey came in and out of the room about 14 times before finding Beth which we all found hard to believe. 
Being intermittently frugal like I am...I do enjoy searching through thrift stores. Treasures are waiting there to be found has been my experience.  I don't collect as such anymore but if I see something special I will buy it and sometimes for others. Tony has had a number of Dalmatians in his life and the last one, Lacey, was still alive for me to care for at the farm in our early years together. I saw this mug and had to buy it and here it is amongst his little Dalmatian collection, belonging and looking like it was always there.
At Value Village that same day- the very one where I have dropped off books and quilting magazines, I couldn't resist buying ten of these magazines priced at 99cents each.  I'm incorrigible! That colourful scrappy Bear Claw quilt caught my eye and these were/are excellent magazines, still providing a wealth of quilting information in each one. 
Summer Finishing School is not over for me. I have one more project that I want to completely finish before September and it is this one.  A 2018 scrappy wool project called Painted Lady, design by Laura Heine. It is a flimsy and I've been enjoying adding embroidery touches here and there this summer. It would make a wonderfully colourful wall hanging once backed and quilted.  
I had to do repair work on my sewing machine recently. I woefully neglect it and couldn't remember when I'd changed the needle last. It seems like I resent the time spent doing these chores- time taken away from actually stitching. I keep the manual handy and there are a series of excellent videos online dealing with my particular model. So I have no excuse.  I must say my Singer Quantum must be good to keep on stitching the way it does with absolutely zero maintenance, poor thing. 

Free Pattern today is from Laura's Fibre Works site.  Mr. And Mrs. Claus Runner.

Love this adorable Mr. and Mrs!

Hope today allows you time to yourself to do what you love!

Happy to link with Kathy's QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkSongbird DesignsThe Inquiring Quilter and  So Scrappy.