Tuesday 31 October 2023

Video, November OMG, Trail Hazards

Last week ...Flying leaves and raindrops on our big trail. A leafy carpet underfoot. Pretty much over because we had a snowy forecast and light snow on the ground the last two days. Still a light frost overnight so not that freezing. All the flower pots had been moved inside already. It is cold and crisp on my walks these mornings and darker but so enjoyable in the fresh air. Speaking of which, on my afternoon walk with Tony and Ned on Sunday, I lagged behind admiring this branch lying on the side of the walk looking like a little picture.

Then ran fast (for me!) to catch up, stubbed my toe on a rock and nearly went face first into the ground. Just barely managed to stay upright. My heart pounded and I couldn't believe how stupid I was to try that on a woods trail with roots and rocks everywhere. When will I learn!!

Meanwhile, back safely inside and staying upright...I've spent the last two nights sorting fabric scraps in front of the tv. I've bagged them according to colour but no matter which way I sort them, it's still messy to me. I really don't want to waste any more hours sorting bits of cloth. I may be ready to let some just go.
 But I did find several larger pieces that didn't belong with scraps including one that perfectly suits as backing for my latest improv table mat. Unpressed-sorry.
I think I was meant to find it...my reward for doing so much sorting. This, hopefully, will be finished this week. 
While sorting the scraps I also looked through my deep WIP's drawer and made a decision about which one I would choose for my Stories From the Sewing Room November OMG. Settled on this one below to layer up and get started with the hand quilting. A version of Christmas Chinese Coins. I remember how pleased I was to use up lots of scraps in this one and how the neutral strips contrasted well with the colourful blocks. Linking up with finishing school over at So Scrappy.
Besides the difficulty of staying on my feet, here's another sad and a little scary side effect of being out in the garden and on the trails...ticks. I'm up to number 7 found on me with three that were attached. One you may remember I went to the pharmacists and took the medicine to prevent Lyme Disease...it's just two little pills. The other two on me were there for less than 10 hours so probably okay. I haven't counted in this list the one that suddenly appeared on my lap top one morning after I'd just sat down from my walk. Ned takes regular flea and tick medicine.  Tony has only ever had one tick on him in his life. So yes, I'm the tick magnet champion in this house! But I will be getting a break as they usually disappear with colder temperatures so another plus about having changing seasons here living in the woods. 

Do check back again soon as I have found a few more great links for interesting patterns and free designs as the fall season proceeds here in Canada and Christmas is on the horizon.  

Hope your week is going well, you are upright and having fun with your hobbies. 

Happy to link with Confessions of a Fabric AddictFor the Love of GeesePowered by QuiltingCreations, Quilts, Art, Whatever and Alycia Quilts.



Thursday 26 October 2023

Six Things to Love

Six Thursday Things to Love

Finding beauty in Mother Nature's autumn palette
Getting a Special Request
 Recently I was asked by fabric and thread artist, Gwyned Trefethen, if she could use a photo of my Red Squirrel in her art work. Of course I was flattered and more than happy for her to do that. Check out her post HERE where she is bringing Red Squirrel to life with thread and fabric. Amazing!
I'm in awe of folks who can do these kind of art works. Like Mary Anne at Magpie's Mumblings with her beautiful landscape pictorial pieces. And LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color who amazes me with the range of media she uses to successfully explore her creativity. Then there's Melisa at Pinker n Pumpkin Quilting and Stitching who can draw those lovely little designs that she shares so generously. Thankfully, the internet can connect us all.

Having Stitchy Finishes

My 2 in 1 October OMG got finished. Happily linking up with Stories From the Sewing Room. Both were completely hand sewn except for one line of machine sewing on one side of the bindings. Here are the Plus Quilt and the Easy Hexagon Tablerunner, that last finished at 22 x 48. 

My first time hand quilting clam shapes and it went well for the most part. 
Enjoying Slow Stitching on A New Project

I'll settle on November's OMG soon. I have a WIP drawer...it's very deep. There may even be something for Christmas in there to get finished up. Meanwhile, the blanket stitching is going well on the little table topper. My version of Oak leaves to begin with... the background fabric is a Zen Chic fat quarter.

Thrift Store Shopping
One of my latest Thrift Store finds was this $6 folding basket below. I was a bit disappointed it wasn't hand made but I liked how deep it is so can hold a whole project. Photographed this morning so you could see the Geraniums are still blooming. I'm still pinching them back and it is still sending out impressive blooms.
Cooking Something Nutritious From Scratch
Something not very exciting which I cook a lot...I've another pot of chicken soup in the making on the stove. I boil the carcass for broth and usually cook the vegetables separately and then combine. It's a great way to use up a soft tomato or limp spinach and any other vegetable bits that are in the fridge. I'm fond of cabbage in soup too. 
I could continue with many more things to love like my latest enjoyable library dig, a movie I enjoyed this week, and breaking 700 points lately on Lexulous which makes me think my brain might still be working (because you know I worry about that), :D....
 Next time I'll tackle LeeAnna's prompt...have I seen a ghost/had a paranormal experience?!
Hope there are many, many things in your life to love!

Sharing this post with the linky party at Quilting is More Fun Than HouseworkQuilt FabricationThe Inquiring Quilter and Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.

Tuesday 24 October 2023

Pattern Links, Autumn Table Mat, Pink Leaves

 I was aiming at the beautiful pinkish autumn leaves of this tree...the capture was unintended. Can you spy it? He was standing oh so still.

Taken on the wonderful Mississippi River Trail that runs through the entire town of neighbouring Carleton Place. I had only my phone with me which is a very inexpensive one that I use only for emergencies; it surprises me by being able to take photos. I guess they can all do that these days.

I've stitched another of Mom's Redwork blocks...This is Cabot Tower atop the National Historic site, Signal Hill, in St.John's. It is  a structure built in 1901 to commemorate how Marconi sent the first wireless transatlantic signal between North America and Europe. 
Sitting as it does strategically on land jutting into the eastern North Atlantic, the site was manned militarily during the Napoleonic Wars, the American Civil War and also by the Americans during World War II. Wikipedia can tell you more of the interesting history surrounding this hill which overlooks Newfoundland and Labrador's capital city, St. John's. This is Steve Wight's 44 second YouTube video showing where the tower sits.
With my second OMG almost finished, I played around with a little Autumn themed table mat this week.  Honestly, when I chose the background material, I thought it to be a deep brick red and when I took it out to the main area, the light revealed it to be a deep orange instead. The lighting in the sewing room is the worst! But I'm going to make a topper for a little antique  piece of furniture in the foyer.

I drew the simple leaf patterns and played with the arrangement. I'm going to use a simple blanket stitch to secure these, nothing fancy. 
It is orange, right?

Exploring these links that you might also enjoy...
 Susies-Scraps.Com  HERE A virtual treasure trove of scrappy quilts patterns, some antique inspired. Intrigued by the one called Sixteen Across, new to me, which creates a little magic with how the dark coloured blocks get arranged. 
1001 Patterns to crochet, knit and craft. Amazing bank of patterns including 36 Striped Blankets to Crochet.
 My next wool project will be knitting a blanket in a gradient colour scheme. I'm enjoying the searching for a pattern. I may be wanting something not possible though...easy enough to not have to keep counting stitches but interesting enough to keep me knitting. Any ideas?
I'm also exploring the Vintage Christmas Embroidery patterns at Martha's Q is for Quilter wonderful site.
A big thank you to those who commented and emailed me stories of palm readings and fortune telling. The accuracy of some details was so remarkable! It all does make you wonder sometimes. 

It's wonderful to stay engaged with hobbies and to have the internet at our fingertips keeping us all sharing and connected. Hope your week will be a good one!

Thursday 19 October 2023

Palm Readings, Plus Quilt, Blooming Trees

 Yesterday was a middling day with no appointments and drizzling outside making it gloomy inside. My mind was all over the place and I felt like I accomplished only odd bits and pieces here and there all day. Like I played with things rather than getting down to working. Sometimes a blank day is a good thing to have and other times it becomes meandering, missing some drive, so that I get little done. But all that matters less as a retiree as no one is depending on my "work".

However I did have a little sort of work recently. That was sewing his name on both Robbie's hockey jerseys. He's playing hockey in a league again this year and has moved up a level. Hockey is huge here! But this is just for fun with absolutely no pressure which is a good thing. As long as he enjoys it, his parents will support him. 

The Ladybird books were a part of my childhood and I was happy to also share them with my girls. Are they familiar to you? I came across this one in a thrift store and almost bought it and now regret I didn't. I love this cover.
Do you like whimsy?  I really do. And it taps into my sentimentality about things from childhood too. 
This also reminded me that the mushrooms did not fare well here this year. Maybe July's heat and humidity affected them; no idea. Other things were outstanding. Like the Hydrangea that is still sending out blooms and getting tinged with pink by the cooler overnight temperatures. Side view.
LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week has to do with fortune telling like having our palms read.
 I've had mine read three times in my life. 
The first time what stood out was she said I would have two children and a long marriage both of which I did. 34 years with first hubby which I guess is long.

 The second one talked about emotions and health more than anything else. Nothing concrete though more general like I was kind and emotional and creative and might live a long life...I tried to pin her down on what she meant by long but no deal. 

 The third one in San Francisco told me I had many children. I told her that was untrue. She insisted my hand was showing many children...she got a little curt with me in fact. Finally I said I had just two children but I was around kids as a teacher. She said, ahh then you treat your students like they are your children. She also told me I showed my emotions but was secretive about true feelings like, she went on, you are hiding a deep sadness. I welled up as I thought she had struck a chord. Later, when I thought about it, I figured she said that to everyone because perhaps we all have a deep sadness within us. What do you think? I do think she was probably the best of the lot at "reading" people maybe not necessarily palms. 

Anyway, all in good fun. What about you? Have you had your tea leaves read or your palm?? I'd love to hear about it!
My Plus quilt binding is done! I'm going to put it through the wash and have it all ready for a little squishy Christmas gift. 
Pumpkins are neat gifts too!
That reminds me of one of my daughters when she was little not liking Christmas presents that were squishy, assuming they were clothes, :D

Hope you have had a good week and now something fun to look forward to on the weekend!


Tuesday 17 October 2023

Crochet, QAL's, Wool Shopping, Billions

Autumn Marigolds with a little dew, very early morning. Flirting with frost warnings this week.

Through the camera lens, this one looked like it was made of porcelain. 
 Something I saw I wanted...with heating with wood during our winters, there are cold nooks and crannies about the house. I think I need one of these...I was given a short one last winter which I loved so a full length might be even better. I think I'm going to put it on my Christmas gift list for the girls too. Definitely not chic! At Amazon (not affiliated).
Speaking of cold and blankets, I picked up my crochet blanket project again. It got held up as I ran out of several of the colours and I didn't want to make it any scrappier than it already was. At that time too, the weather turned to spring and I lost that work with wool feeling. 

 I ordered four balls of wool, enough to finish, from the Wool Warehouse UK which offers excellent service and has the largest array of my favourite yarn, the Stylecraft Special DK. There is also a wide selection of fabrics, patterns, notions and haberdashery items to be found there.  (also not affiliated)

 I spent an enjoyable time last night crocheting while we watched this. Excellent characters/acting.
I'm going to check out the current QAL's that are on the go. Joining that Rainbow House QAL last spring did make me stay focused in the sewing room and on task, so perhaps joining another just now would be a good thing. I'll be checking out this list to see if anything jumps out at me ...
Thank you Frederique for this wonderful roundup of present QAL's ....Quilting Patchwork Applique 
Any tweaking your interest?
Of course, finishing the bindings on both the Aqua and the Plus quilt will be my focus this week. Almost there!

Before I leave you today, I would invite you to read THIS POST by Gay at Sentimental Stitches. I had no idea of her family's background and affiliation with quilting through many decades. SO much interesting information about this wonderful past time of ours and the amazing collection she has now inherited.

This week, even with a wet weather forecast,  I have to start clearing out the garden. I usually pull out the dead Hosta leaves and tidy up a bit around the beds. I like to leave some leafy debris for the critters and doing that has never affected the next spring's growth. There are two kinds of Hydrangea here, one is the kind that tolerates being cut back now. As well, I'll be spreading some of my composted soil which is working so well. Very happy with the composting.


Friday 13 October 2023

Quilt Binding,Cross Stitch, Animals in the Garden

 I photographed this fellow from my usual lookout spot... the kitchen window. He was checking out the bird feeder area and on high alert all the while. He looked well fed and had a beautifully coloured coat that shone in the autumn sun.

I noticed all the little critters immediately disappeared. The only birds that hung around were the Blue Jays and they kept squawking at him. Then I saw this...a Chipmunk taking cover inside this fir bush. 

It was cute how he kept poking his head in and out (reminded me of that Whack a Mole game) checking if Mr. Fox was gone or not. He stayed safe!

I was complaining to my friend about not sleeping well and she asked if I was reading at night these days as that always made her sleepy. I confessed I've been using audiobooks recently. So I borrowed this ebook from the library, The Last Gentleman, by Walker Percy. It was a National Book Award finalist back in the sixties. I'm enjoying the writing very much and am reading a few "pages" each night before turning in.  I'm also back on the Chamomile tea for after supper sipping. I never tire of reading your suggestions for improving sleep so do keep them coming. 
It's the time of year when the 2023 Christmas Ornaments issue is published by the Just Cross Stitch folks. I have a couple older versions and I think the designs have gotten more elaborate and interesting over the years.
Here CZ does a flip through of the latest issue. Really beautiful designs being chosen these days.
Speaking of great designs, our good friend, Melisa at Pinker n Punkin Quilting & Stitching, has again generously offered a lovely free design to cross stitch- the Halloween one is part of her wonderful Mason Jar series. Halloween Mason Jar Freebie What amazing talent and generous spirit!

The Aqua table runner is getting it's binding chosen today. And my stitching just now is getting the binding sewn onto the Plus Quilt. Going well and I like this green polka dot fabric; I hadn't noticed just how many greens were in the flowery fabrics but there are a lot.  And the Sulky variegated green thread is matching it well. 

I mentioned tidying in the sewing room during which I seem to have misplaced my little autumn runner I'd started as a QAYG piece. It's around here somewhere. 

Just had a UPS fellow drop off our new pool tarp and knocked on the door to let me know a pick up truck had come down our long driveway and left just before him...it struck him as odd. That was nice of him, I thought. A few minutes later, he's back at the door to tell me there were a bunch of people looking for a lost dog out on our main road so that's probably why a strange truck was here. That was really nice of him. I did a run around of our trail but didn't see any dog. Do hope they have found it. Just hate lost pets. Update...the dog didn't get mentioned on the local neighbourhood Facebook page so I'm thinking it was found. 

Hope you are hanging onto all your things and especially your wits. :D

It's the I like party over at Not Afraid of Color. Also joining Kathy's QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkQuilting Patchwork AppliqueSmall Quilts and Doll Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Tuesday 10 October 2023

Canadian Thanksgiving Food, Easy Hexagon Table Runner

Welcome to another post where I share more of the tiny bits that make up my days.

 I was delighted to capture these two juvenile robins taking a bath...perhaps their very  first, in our little pond. First week in October

It was our Canadian Thanksgiving on October 9 and we had the family here for the large meal. All my pots got used at some point in the process. I cooked a turkey, of course, and made mashed potatoes, oven baked sweet potato slices. buttered cabbage, mashed turnip with a little butter and brown sugar, and carrots. Standard Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner fare.
That's a lot of cabbage but it was a good one. And the all important gravy, made the way Mom made hers, was good too.
 I also baked dropped biscuits with cheddar cheese, parsley and chives. They were good but I had omitted any sugar which I think they could have benefitted from. Hopefully, a fact I'll keep in mind next time I make them. The last of them...
Serious Eats has a recipe for Quick and Easy Drop Biscuits similar to the very old recipe I used. 

It was a fun time with some well needed laughs. Ever since I can remember, after a big meal with company, I  enjoy doing the cleanup by myself. I put on music or these days, an audiobook, take my time and get everything in the kitchen cleaned and back to normal. 

On the stitching front...

I am being so good...despite badly wanting to stitch other things, I am beavering away at quilting my Aqua hexagon table runner. Choosing a clam template was easy but then what colour of thread? I auditioned a few and chose the turquoise colour in the end. I figured why not. The piece is already flamboyantly turquoise, teal and aqua. When will I get to use such a bright colour again...not with what I've lined up for autumn stitching, that's for sure.

Gathered has the free clamshell template for a cute project called Panda Pop that I downloaded and am using.

Several of you have asked about the kind of stitch I use for EPP. I enjoy Ladder Stitch, sometimes called Blind Stitch, which, if done correctly, won't show on either side of the material. I try to keep my stitches small and as I've mentioned, I have to take care with my tension as I have a tendency to keep it too tight. Here is a brief video demonstrating how this stitch works. This stitch works especially well for EPP pieces that have material wrapped around templates.
 Below is a close up of my quilting stitches. The challenge with this is to keep those stitches the same size and the same space apart. Here one side is larger than the other. Sigh
I found this pretty fabric below for the backing. It was left over from a pair of pillow cases I took apart about 13 years ago to use in just such as this. I had to sew a white strip onto it to make it fit but it is quite a good quality fabric. 
I've sat around long enough writing this and need to get more fresh air. Drizzling a little but I'm going for a little jog. This week I'm  hoping to visit a farmer's market and a thrift store. Hopefully more about that later.  

I'm so thankful for you who read my blog. And the comments and emails are icing on the cake!!

Linking up with The Inquiring QuilterMy Quilt InfatuationCreations, Quilts, ArtAlycia QuiltsWendy's Quilts and More and Songbird Designs.

Thursday 5 October 2023

Thursdays' Things, Scrappy Strings, Free Pattern

 Reason to Keep the House Clean

I spent Monday afternoon tidying in the sewing room.  That seems to need doing every time I turn around and I thought of some of my quilting blogging friends as I was doing it. Bet they don't get into such a mess in their sewing rooms as I do in mine, I thought, and if one of them should drop in, what would they think! And that made me think of my Javex loving grandmother who was an especially clean freak. We were talking about this issue once and she said her house had to be clean and tidy because she just never knew when the minister might drop in. Cleanliness is next to Godliness. Ahh, our reasons for keeping our houses clean! What about you?

Anyway, for my troubles I found this healthy sized stack of scrappy strings. Many are neutrals so would work well in any number of patterns. 

Good thing I belong to the  Conquering Mount Scrapmore with Brenda group on Facebook. Tons of ideas there as to how to use them.  Only problem is there are not enough hours in my days to accomplish all I would like to do on the stitching front.

One of my most responded to notions I've floated here on the blog...I heard from so many of you about the issue of not being too thin in older age. Thank you all! Many of you have doctors in the family who specifically said it is better to have a little reserve weight should illness happen. I myself carry my reserves on my hips and thighs which I'm looking at with a slightly kinder eye now. Where do you carry yours? :D

A new to me bird...I think it is a Yellow Rumped Warbler, a first to be photographed here at the wooden house. Perhaps someone could confirm or identify it. Thanks in advance.

I think I've mentioned I have a lot of table/desk/furniture tops here in the main open area of this house.  I've counted 17 including the kitchen area island. So I will always have an excuse to stitch a table topper. And imagine if I decided to change them up with the seasons!  

Anyway, that leads me to sharing one of the prettiest free patterns I've come across. From the kind folks and talented Dawn Heese, at Linen Closet Designs, is this piece called The Naturalist.  I downloaded the pattern already.

LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week has to do with herbs. Other than a little oregano, curry powder and parsley, I really don't use many in my cooking. I do buy a different one now and then or have some in those sets but they always dry up before I get to use much of them. Oh now that I think about it, I also like lemon pepper and always use that one up. Any you like that you use all the time?

I've not been sleeping well this week doing my usual thing of waking midway through the night with just about every thought in the world whirling about in this crazy head of mine. Most of them sad or worrisome. Why can't I wake up and not be able to sleep because of happy, positive ones!  

What is very positive are linky parties like So ScappyQuilting Patchwork Applique and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Monday 2 October 2023

Thrift Store Quilt, Monthly Goals, October Plum Crisp

I took this photo of Tony and Ned walking one of the 4 marvelous public walking trails within a few minutes of the house. This is the one where Beth walks Petey and Abbey. We wondered if Ned could smell them. Don't know about his legs, but his nose certainly got a workout!

Speaking of Abbey and Petey, here is a cute brief video Beth took of them. They are definitely lovable Labs.
 This strange orange glowing dessert below is my Plum Crisp in the oven light.  I'd bought a basket of small plums and they were bitter- so disappointing. Has that happened to you? They looked so good in their cute little basket. But anyway, perfect to use in a welcome October crisp.  Tasty with a little ice cream. I used The Seasoned Mom's recipe to work out proportions of flour and oats but of course, I always add extra oats and this is something I will use real butter in too.
I'm ready to set a monthly goal again and join the party at Stories From the Sewing Room. I desperately need borders and bindings on the latest two hand pieced and quilted projects. So a two for one monthly goal is what it will be.  And that will require me to get back to machine stitching, but oh well. Needs must!
A little veranda stitching...yes, afternoon temperatures are quite warm and enjoyable. The latest in the season I've ever been able to do this.
This Plus Quilt is 40in x 42in which is a bit odd as I thought it was square. 😕 I'm now adding lines in the opposite direction. 
And of course I hope to get the layering done and begin quilting the aqua quilt table runner this week. 
 I came across this small quilt below, expertly sewn a long time ago by unknown hands...a happy thrift store purchase.  The very deep greens are batik. Time to display it on one of my surfaces. It photographed well outside on the deck.
It was a deja vu moment; the pattern rang a bell because I've actually shared it before here on the blog.

And Donna also made a video called Fall Leaves Table Runner showing how she stitched it. My unknown stitcher stopped at one leaf to make a table topper.

" As I get older, I just prefer to knit." - Tracey Ullman
Unlike Tracey, the knitter, I am not monogamous. But I can certainly identify with the desire to stitch above all else as I age. HERE is an amusing article about Tracey and knitting. It includes a superstition about knitting I'd never heard before. Have you?

I love reading about your stitchy preferences, btw, and I'm always learning from you. And thanks so much for the kind words you take the time to share with me about my own stitchy endeavors.

My ring fingertip, right hand, that pushes my needle when hand stitching, is feeling a little sore this morning. I punctured it while stitching and the needle seemed to keep finding that one little hole but I didn't have the sense to stop, of course.  Will give it a rest for a day. 

Happy to share this post with Small Quilts and Doll QuiltsThe Inquiring QuilterQuilt FabricationAlycia QuiltsConfessions of a Fabric AddictKathy's Quilts and Songbird Designs.