Monday 27 November 2023

Scrappy Appliqued Needle Book, Monday Music, Recipe Plans

I've had to crack a window in the living area this morning. This at the risk of letting in the below freezing air outside that put frost on my pumpkin this morning. 

But the air inside seemed a little smokey when I came in from my walk certainly in contrast to all the brisk freshness outside. I enjoy everything about my morning ritual of starting the fire in the fireplace stove.

 I also enjoy picking up sticks on my walks, ones just right for stage two of layering up the perfect fire. This is about the only thing I know I could do well if I were a contestant on that show Alone. Tony thinks my biggest challenge would be not getting lost in the woods; he thinks I could make the perfect camp with shelter and fire, etc. But in wandering in the woods, never find my way back to it. I told him one of the contestants had prepared for this issue and as part of her allowed gear, she wore a huge hand knit sweater which she unravelled and used the wool to mark her paths through the woods. So, see, there are ways around everything. And a plus for hand knitting too which will be a necessary post apocalyptic skill, imo.

This morning's music...I like Paul Simon's singing voice though I always think it is tinged with sadness. His words often are.

 "Like a memory, it falls"...Kathy's Song

My mind is all over the place today. I just wrote down that I want to buy puff pastry and use it for meat rolls using ground beef. I used to use this a lot back in the days of dinner parties especially when I made a Beef Wellington type roast. I also used puff pastry in desserts. Somehow it has fallen by the wayside and I haven't even thought of it in ages.  Do you have something like this that you used to cook and have forgotten about?

Anyway here is the recipe, Meat and Veggie Wellington Roll, I plan on using...Taste Great Foodie. I'll let you know how that works out.

Meanwhile, I've been stitching of course. I've been finishing the final side of binding on the Christmas Coins quilt. Going to get that November OMG done!

And I enjoyed finishing the little Winter Needle book that was an aside project as it were. I got a Kick out of sewing the White Snowman and it will be a great place to Keep all my needles for a project in one place. That is instead of stabbed into the cloth like I've been Known to do.

It was fun to get out my button tin, the one inherited from the talented first wife. And to make a button enclosure for this one since it has "pages". 
I added a bigger pocket to the back flap. 
To match the smaller one at the front.
Also Fun to go through my small supply of embroidery wool and edge the "pages" in blanket stitch. I added a heart to the center to symbolize my love of stitching.  Not an original idea. From the talented Ann Wood who makes amazing needle books. Here is the link to Ann's Sweetest Needle book Free Pattern.
But I'm happy to say this whole project was made from scraps and all hand sewn except for these strips on the back. Note about the colours...the reds are showing more orange which they definitely are not. Happy to join Joy's November Tablescraps Party.
 I like keeping a needle book with each of the slow stitching projects...I've accumulated the gear, nothing fancy mind you, now to be able to kit out each one. 
I've a bunch of things to get done, paperwork-ugh, change the bed...Tony has requested flannel sheets now and play with this guy. Another way he keeps me moving...Giving me the eye here just staring at me, signaling let's go. 
So another week begins!


Friday 24 November 2023

Appliqued Needlebook, Music, What Could Have Been?

 I'm not the only one who likes whimsy...We found this little item at the base of a very large tree on one of the public trails back in October. I thought -wish I knew who put this here...perhaps I'm missing out on a friend.

Still enjoying playing around with what I would like to stitch for the Bramble Blooms QAL. I got out several of my books to look through for inspiration and to settle myself down to a colour theme as well. For instance, I love Tilda's Fan Flowers and wonder if I could make my own improv version of them. 
Then I realized I had run out of freezer paper which I never let happen and put in an order to Amazon...I've tried needleturn applique and it isn't for me. I need the paper which arrived promptly the next day.  Of course I put my hand right on the remnants of the last roll as I was storing away the new roll...isn't that always the way!  I'm getting closer to what I will begin with.

And I found this small scrap of winter fabric while scrap sorting and knew it would work perfectly for a little pocket in my winter needlebook. A slightly squished size but I left it like that. 
Early morning is when I listen to music while I'm doing chores. I found this piano rendition of Ed Sheeran's Perfect from The Piano Guys who are wonderful. This is so beautiful and moving. It really revs up at about the 3 minute mark. 

Though so many of you spied it, I'm still getting questions about what was hiding in this photo.  

It was a Blue Heron moving ever so slowly. Taken with my phone which ranks pretty low for quality amongst phones.

A couple of posts ago, I wrote about getting three meals from one ham. Yes, I do like the challenge of using leftovers in food for sure-hate waste and also in my stitching. Tony has said a couple of times that I would have made a good Farmer's wife with my frugal ways, the recycling and especially the gardening and animal interests. I think the first time he said it to me was because I am such an early riser...and he is not. Anyway, those were his notions of what farmers and their partners are like. Considering where I grew up, I could have been a fisherman's wife I suppose. What about you? Is there a path not taken, one where the skills you figured out you had later in life would have been better suited to you than what you wound up doing?

I'm going out to lunch today and looking forward to that. It is quite cool- windchill minus 20C when I walked this morning, but warming up with a sun shining brightly. Counting my blessings this morning including all of you with your kind words of encouragement to me. 💞 

Tuesday 21 November 2023

Most Popular Thanksgiving Recipe, Christmas Coins, Free Pattern

Playing nicely together at the feeder...

 Somebody much younger than I am said recently she felt like each week is now just a couple of days. Time moving faster- I wonder, can it really. I know for sure there's no such thing as time heavy on our hands like the old folks would complain about back in the day. Is it because of all the gadgets we have, those to play with and those that make work easier, I wonder.  
 That last bit came to me this week as I mopped the floors using my Nellie which basically does the scrubbing for me and best of all, no buckets! She has to be charged just like all the other computerly things around here and does a wonderful job on the wooden floors. Tony says to me you love that thing don't you. I sure do. (not affiliated)
Andy,owner of A Bright Corner, has many quilt patterns on her site. One popped up in my feed and I thought it looked so fresh in winter/Christmas fabrics. Whites really help colours shine.  Here is the link to the Pinwheels and Patchwork Free Pattern- Thank you Andy!
I am at the sashing stage with my Christmas Coins. Using more of the cream to match the borders. Note my cosy socks/slippers that have suede bottoms so I can't slip. They were $10 at Giant Tiger and I love them. Have successfully made a journey through the washing machine already...came out perfectly.
Adele Wiseman said  "Pieces of material when they lay around they bother me, because I want them to look like something". That saying about sums up what is happening with my version of the Bramble Blooms QAL. I am still playing with the center blooms. This part is fun but decision time is here. This week, yes.

❗Before I forget again, Gwyned has finished her thread art piece of the little red squirrel from one of my photos. It is interesting to read about her decision making process and the final result is just so  absolutely wonderful! You can check out her post here to see it.

💕Thank you all for the wonderful, thoughtful comments about the issue I mentioned in the last post. I heard from many of you that share the problem or know someone who does. It was comforting to read what your remedies are for it. I have yet to try it all I realize.

I am getting lots of feed these days about the great American Thanksgiving. I was interested in knowing the answer to what is the most popular recipe that gets downloaded from the web.  It is a Green Bean Casserole that uses canned green beans, Campbell's condensed cream of mushroom soup and canned onions. Nostalgia is the reason for its popularity they say. So my American friends, will it be on your table?

And at my table...I'm off to check out how to use a pack of chicken thighs I thawed overnight. I want to make homemade oven fries which I haven't made for a while and since the oven will be on, I can roast the thighs. Something for a sauce????

Have a great week!

Happily sharing with Alycia QuiltsWendy's Quilts and MoreFrom Bolt to BeautyIt's a Small Town Life and Quilting and Learning

Friday 17 November 2023

Three Meals-One Ham, Granny Stripe Afghan and Applique Needlebook

 Hello again, we are finishing off another busy week. I like to take care of maintenance things- for the car, the house and us, before winter sets in and weather and driving becomes an issue. We both were out of the house every day which seems to make the time fly by extra fast. It always feels good to have checkups behind us.

As a result of all that I didn't get in any daytime stitching, but my nights are still my stitching in front of the tv time.

A few more rows have been crocheted onto my Granny Stripe afghan. This will be a Christmas gift which is a good incentive to finish it up. 

 I watched Sandra at Cherry Heart while doing so one night. She has finished her wonderful Leaves & Lace blanket. Inspiring! I learned to crochet hexagons for a project years ago but my centers were not as intricate as these. 
I decided I wanted a winter needlebook. One a little smaller than the last one I sewed. I found the colourful reds in the scraps and decided to applique a little snowman. That plaid piece definitely needed saving. My progress so far and this will be a very quick project.
I mentioned before that I had an appointment with the doctor and my main issue was sleep. I can certainly tell in my body if I've slept well or not. I've always been a person who needed my sleep in order to feel in top shape. I don't usually have a problem falling asleep issue is waking in the night and then my mind's voice turns into a chatterbox.  I worry about everything under the sun. It feels like I can't draw a deep breath, something hurts in my stomach when I try to. 
 What do I worry about...easier to say everything, from the mundane....mice getting inside the car in the garage now that the weather is colder to family stuff to awful thoughts about how the world seems to be changing for the worse. I'm very clear I am not depressed, but I do seem to have anxiety in these nighttime sessions. So doctor and I had a good long chat about all that and the upshot is I came away with a prescription for an anti-anxiety medicine. One that works well with sleep issues and I can take intermittently as required. As I'm sensitive to any OTC drugs, I am going to quarter the pills and try just a little first to see how I react. There is a part of me that is doubtful this is going to work for me though I know I should not be thinking like that. I promise I won't speak of this for a while as I've whined about this so often to you all. Thanks for listening! But I will tell you if it's working. Fingers crossed.

ON to Happier things...eating!

I bought a ham at Costco and did well with the meals I made with it. Even though I don't have the running around with children and working anymore, it is still a win to have meals planned and ready to go. 

 Meal #1 

First I made a traditional meal of baked ham with pineapple rings, corn and scalloped potatoes. I used a can of Cream of Mushroom soup for the potato sauce which I saw on a video. I have only almond milk now in the house so I figured the soup would have more flavour. I used lots of cheese; everything was tasty and enough for leftovers the next night. I didn't get a photo. 

 Meal #2 was a ham and veggie quiche. This time I went back to my usual pastry recipe, one I've shared often here, the Crisco recipe. 

I used all the dough in the very large pie's one of those with a recipe painted on it but fully intended for baking. And the quiche as well lasted for two nights with a veggie salad as a side. 

Meal #3

I love homemade pea soup, something I know isn't for everyone that's for sure. I used my slow cooker which I love,  2 1/2 cups of yellow split peas, some onion and a container of chicken broth and the last of the ham...with added water as needed too. Very easy. Tony loves Skye Flakes crackers.

That's enough about me for this week; I'm off now to read what you all have been up to. Happy Eating, Stitching, Show Watching etc. or as Connie, the Spinster Stitcher, says...doing whatever blows your skirt up!
Sharing this post with wonderful linky parties...Not Afraid of ColorKathy's QuiltsSmall Quilts and Doll Quilts and It's a Small Town Life.

Tuesday 14 November 2023

Quilt Projects Update, Sites to Explore, A Show Too


The autumn pinkish purple Smoke tree was ablaze in the early morning sun which did not stay long.
A little touch of fungus is making interesting patterns on a few of its leaves. 

We are watching a version of D. H. Lawrence's work including Women in Love on Brit Box. It is two very lengthy episodes with a wonderful cast. A little note...there is nudity. 

I'm finished the 10 straight quilt lines on Christmas Coins. I'm happy to be hand quilting more interesting lines now... this design. It's just hand drawn curlicues that I think mimic a vine leafed applique. I settled on the very light green thread as it shows but not too much. All eyes are on the coins still. The marking pencils are working out well, though I find the leads a little soft so you can't press too hard on them. 
 I've continued the Bramble Blooms QAL project. Typical for me, it's taking ages to rest on a particular flower pattern for the center medallion block. I sketched many. I knew I wanted several parts to the bloom itself, just to add interest. But how many parts? Did I want a daisy with 6 petals and a many layered center or a funky tulip look or perhaps the Zinnias I liked so much in the summer? Or perhaps something like this...a hybrid of all of them.
Just how primitive did I want the overall look...Jan Patek or Norma Whaley maybe or do my best to copy our own Audrey's version. Those were the kinds of questions I was thinking of. And then the fabrics...maybe Christmasy or autumn colours or a little bit funky. ??? Part of my problem is that I like it all...I love the repro fabrics and quilts, the '30's fabrics, French General, the Valour colours- red, white and blue, anything primitive looking, some of the modern too, etc., etc. and on it goes. Yes an embarrassment of riches when it comes to my likes, that's for sure. Hopefully, settled on this week!

While playing around in the sewing room,  I realized I haven't shown you a kind of leaders and enders project I've worked on occasionally and was reminded myself of when sorting the scrap bins. I've sewn 6 blocks now of my version of Confetti Blocks and have many tiny sections sewn together. The completed blocks are deceptive in how much sewing time is involved in each simple block...many many seams.  I'll keep plugging away at these sections and hopefully have a few more blocks to show soon. Such a super way to use up scraps though.

Two wonderful links to enjoy exploring...

I love how Robin Pickens offers colour study posts where she presents the same block pattern in a number of colours. HERE is the link to her blog. And she links to free patterns as well. Love Robin's fabric lines too like the beautiful Forest Frolic

I've explored the crochet and knitting banks of free patterns at the Craft Passion site. That link will take you to their post featuring 36 free quilt patterns. And you can find Free Apron Patterns there as well and other crafts too. They've chosen well what to include so I think you will find something that twigs your interest. I found many. 

It's happy hours, isn't it, when we get to spend time like this exploring, connecting and working on what gives us pleasure. It is no small thing to have engaging hobbies.

Next post....what the doctor said about my sleep issue and three meals from one ham. 

Sharing this post with Quilt FabricationConfessions of a Fabric AddictQuilting Patchwork Applique and Alycia Quilts

Thursday 9 November 2023

Redwork, Christmas Coins Quilting, Videos

 For my American friends who are thinking about their Great American Thanksgiving...having a very long neck is very useful.

Speaking of which, I enjoy watching Becky at her Acre Homestead YouTube site. She cooks amazing and easy meals and her Thanksgiving videos, in particular, are wonderful. Here she is with her Mom preparing an incredible Thanksgiving feast. 
Though a project kind of on the side, I've stitched another of Mom's Redwork blocks. This is the provincial flower of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Pitcher Plant. It grows in bogs or fens and the most interesting thing about it is that it is a carnivorous plant. Yes, it eats bugs such as ants and mosquitoes. I wish I had a few growing around here.

It is a treat to come across one as they are a little rare. Pretty reds and burgundies.
I also have been quilting the Christmas Coins quilt...
I used a Christmasy green up and down the seams of the cream strips. I don't necessarily want this to be seen, just wanted a good hold of the three layers. Here is the back where I'm struggling a little to keep the stitches even while getting through the layers. I usually improve at this as I go along.
I plan on hand quilting a fancy pattern up and down those strips when I finish securing it all. 

I've had a busy week which included three health appointments, one of which was my own checkup. We also had our chimney sweep, Rick, here and because of the snow, he cleaned ours from the inside. We were relieved he didn't want to tackle a metal roof with ice and snow on it. He is the most jolly fellow, full of stories about his chicken farm and laughs a lot. Our chimney is good now for a couple of years.
Out my kitchen window this morning...the school buses have been taken off the roads because of the ice which they are calling an Ice Day.
It is cosy and warm here by my fire and I think today I'll indulge in a second cup of coffee before I start more chores. Take care everyone.

Tuesday 7 November 2023

Bramble Blooms QAL, Books, Binding Sewing

I've been on a biography binge lately. I read both these books below many many years ago but enjoyed rereading them. I admire both women's work very much and it is always interesting to see what folks will share in a biography/journal style book. Both write with a similar frankness about their lives and there the similarity ends. Nuala O'Faolain once famously described herself as being "a nobody from a long line of nobodys" and May Sarton- ahh, what to say about May. I carried a line of hers in my head from when time was young for me too..."Now there is Time and Time is young." 
It is interesting for me to compare my present self who now in my seventies is a younger elder ( Tony at 84 is an older elder) to how I thought about the words I read that made an impression on me when I really was young. When I think back on all those days- the people close to me, events, happenings, etc., it was a world that is no more- to quote Frodo. :D But still very much in my mind.

See the miniature African Violet in the picture. They were selling these cute tiny things at Farm Boy and I couldn't resist buying one. They need no watering from the top as the holder unscrews and you put a little water in the bottom. This is clever as there is wide debate about how to water African Violets as in some say never from the top as it may damage the leaves.

I've collected and bagged lots of seeds to save till next spring. That reminded me that Scattering Wildflower Seeds is one of the 52 Favourite Things in Sophie Blackall's sweet book Things To Look Forward To. Love that illustration.
Audrey at Quilty Folk has started an Improv QAL called Bramble Blooms and I'm taking part. This will be a very relaxed process with an emphasis on learning how to embrace improv with lots of applique. Our first step was to find neutral scraps and sew a background block which I have done. So far, so good. Next step is to choose Bloom fabrics which will be fun. 
I may have mentioned I finished the hand quilting on the improv Autumn table mat.  Someone asked...I used DMC 402 for a little contrast.
The border has been pinned; it's a simple one where I brought the backing forward and folded it. I hope to finish this one completely this week.
Another bug in the was a good summer for Western Conifer Bugs. Happily these are harmless. However, they are drawn to sunny windows just like the one where my stitching chair is. They are easy to capture and put outside. I like their interesting markings. This one sat on my notebook for quite a while and I regretted no longer having a camera that can take good macro shots.
We have appointments to keep this week. Though the garden has been more or less put to bed, I have to stow away the wheelbarrows and pots. We got the the winter tires on the car last week just in time for the first snowfalls, none of which stuck.  But freezing overnight now every night so the season has moved along. Hope your week is a great one!

Sharing with Quilt FabricationConfessions of a Fabric AddictAlycia QuiltsKathy's Quilts and Quilting and Learning.


Thursday 2 November 2023

Exploring Two Sites, Applique and Crochet, Family Time Too

Lately one lone younger deer is travelling with the turkeys when they show up at the bird feeders. Curious about why that would be.

This week Robbie turned 10 which had the old folks all shaking their heads wondering how did that happen so fast! As is tradition, we greet him with fanfare when he gets off the school bus. We wonder when he will want that to stop. 

It was a wings and pizza party with a beautiful made by Beth marzipan laden cake with a hidden layer of marshmallow frosting. I indulged myself and ate heartily... felt stuffed and it's been a while since I did that. The food was really tasty or maybe it seemed like that because I didn't have to cook it. 

I timed myself last night and I can crochet one row in 20 minutes. It's going to be a huge blanket!      

And below I've finished the blanket stitch around each of the leaves and have this little autumn table topper layered ready for hand quilting. 

I also want to set a plan for quilting my November OMG this weekend. The days have a way of slipping away from me so I have to make my time count. 

A couple of sites worth exploring...

It looks like this site closed up shop back in 2016 but their bank of free embroidery patterns under 14 categories are still available for personal use... Needlecrafter. I downloaded the Jolly Santa pattern.

The Uk Sewing Studio has collated a bank- 10 pages worth of free quilt projects. I downloaded Santa's Christmas Wall Hanging pattern and noted a few others. 

 LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week is whether we prefer a Corn Maze or a Hayride??? I would choose the hayride but not one of those super scary ones. I would choose that mainly because my sense of direction is ridiculously awful. I wrote a post once about being lost for an hour and half on our property back at the farm. I was at the point of genuine panic when I came to an opening in the thick brush big enough to see where I was. So a corn way! In fact I can feel my adrenalin rise just thinking about it. What about you?

Hope your November is off to a great start! 

Also great to share this post with linky parties at  Kathy's QuiltsQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsSongbird DesignsSew Can DoLife in Pieces and Quilting Patchwork Applique.