Tuesday 30 January 2024

Bramble Blooms, Chookshed Stitchers Challenge, Free Patterns

If the sun is making it higher in the sky each day, we will never know here in our corner of Ontario. Even our weather guy said our usually gloomy winter weather has been unnaturally greyer this year.  It is interesting that this seems to be happening in other countries as well. And it makes me wonder if  greater weather change is afoot- or not.
I'm reading an ebook version of this book below and must say how much I'm enjoying it. It's about a young couple working hard to successfully homestead, work at marriage and create a family in Alaska in the fifties. If you think you'd enjoy an updated take on pioneering, this story is for you. 

As I mentioned a couple of posts back, I've played some more with my Bramble Blooms QAL project. Since I'm digging out scraps for this, I used a pile of squares cut long long ago that were pastel colours. It made a sort of a piano keys kind of border.  My thinking was this first border should not fight for attention with the bright colours of the center block flowers. 
And I've moved along my  #6 in the  Chookshed Stitchers 2024 Challenge. Lonestar Medallion is gradually getting its white corner pieces. I left the templates in the diamonds on the edges so I could hand sew these large white corners easily to it. So I thought...it's been a bit fiddly to keep it smooth and tight while stitching. But I've got just the last one to go and then I'll have a flimsie. I'd had to wait till I got a chance to buy large enough white material as I usually buy fat quarters which are too narrow for this purpose. Anyway, pleased now it is moving along.

A few sites offering lovely free patterns ...
At All People Quilt, the bluework embroidered pin cushions called Darling Duo from Birdbrain Designs really appealed to me. Blue and white so go together well for winter. 

Here is one I've had in my files for a couple of years. Love orange peel designs and this one in cool wintry colours is so pretty. From The Crafty Quilter

Lewis & Irene, the British fabric folks, have a bank of lovely free quilty projects to look through. This one caught my eye. This heart motif design is called Hannah's Flowers

This morning, though not bright, all is calm. I'm going to get back to listening to these soothing instrumentals of classical greats...

 while stitching ...wonderful! 

Friday 26 January 2024

Crossroads Quilt, Flosstube Stars, Cabbage Soup, Games

This is a wonderful time of year for Youtube Flosstube viewers. Most stitchers give a year end review of their finished projects and WIP's and also patterns that they want to buy, etc. Some are true pattern collectors with even into triple digits in their collection. I always learn of new companies or patterns to note. Flosstube has exploded even since I started watching a few years ago. I especially enjoy the stitchers who also quilt or knit or crochet. Like this young woman who does it all so beautifully... Elizabeth Ann Can Stitch

I saw the Resident Chef's Cabbage Soup recipe while visiting Magpie's Mumblings. It sounded delicious and I remembered a large cabbage in the cold room that hadn't made it into New Year's day dinner. It was easy to put together and we both loved the flavours of this very hearty and versatile recipe. The only change I made was less garlic (I'm a little sensitive) and no green beans because I didn't have any in the house. I added a cup of chick peas instead. 
I always make enough for a crowd so I wound up freezing some. Yes, I've purchased Dollar Store freezer containers and am now labeling like a normal person....as so many of you suggested. My year of being better organized is off to a good start- but it is still only January. 

I've continued stitching more Crossroads Quilt Blocks. These are easy...I cut out four at a time and have ready to go beside the machine. I should mention I've opted to use the same colour for the centers; I think the red gives a bright consistent pop esp. for the darker colour combinations. 

On my winter cross stitching project...
.... the words Jour de Neige, snow and all, are finished and I'm working on the branches and berries at the top. 

LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week is what games we played as children. Growing up I got to play street games with the kids on Charles Street in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, and have wonderful memories of that. Inside, we had all the usual games including always a jigsaw puzzle on the go.  Later, with my own family, we played lots of games and I'll share this one that was always fun. Huckle Buckle Beanstalk.  Whenever we had another family over we would play it as all the kids can take part. The premise is simple...hide something in plain sight, and it is totally amazing how often the adults will not spy the item. The simple rules are here... Huckle Buckle Beanstalk.

My list of free patterns is piling up. I'll include a few in a post soon. It is our third day of freezing rain; a rime of ice over everything including the trees which I hate to see. It will mean more broken branches and a clean up on the trails again. I really want to get out in the fresh air but haven't ventured outside...too afraid of slipping about even with the cleats. And my hip is still twinging now and then so can't take the risk.

Hope the weather is wonderful wherever you are and your fingers are flying! Happy Weekend all!

Joining these linky parties....Quilting is More Fun Than HouseworkSmall Quilts and Doll QuiltsSongbird Designs and Kathy's Quilts.

Tuesday 23 January 2024

Thrift Store Finds, Taryn's Tiny 9 Patch Challenge Project

We've been taking our Vitamin D regularly. The lack of sunshine had been appalling most of the fall and it is continuing into winter it seems. Though today a weak sun is trying to peak through the cloud cover. I just read an online report that a multivitamin a day might help slow down dementia. Wouldn't it be wonderful if it did!
Here is a trio of thrift store finds to share with you as promised... I watched as a lady ahead of me picked up this mug and thought-oh no, she's going to want it.
 But she looked at the price tag, $4.99, and put it back (most mugs were $2.99 with a $1 bin too). I had spied it and knew it was a Rifle Paper Co. mug. Online price with gold trim averages $22 US. 
It has a big M on it and even though my initial is not M, I figured I'm forever a Mom and that counts too. 
I also found this brand new, never cracked open book by the wonderful Gwen Marston. I had the thought this might be inspiration for the Bramble Blooms QAL. (I've since had the thought I may own a copy of this-it looked so familiar...haven't checked that out yet. But then again I may have gotten it from the library at some point.)
I was also able to buy this beautiful stain free reversable table cloth with a pretty plaid trim...a thickish kind of material that doesn't need ironing. My thought was the lighter mustard yellow would look good in our wooden house and it is big enough to fit the table with the inserts. And I only have a Christmas and a summer cloth at that size. It's already been through the washing machine and came out great. Our brown Johnson Brothers Winter Village dishes look pretty against it too. So I had a great shop looking about and kept well within my $25 limit per visit. 
  I've been following Taryn, the Repro Quilter, for years. Recently she has been making teeny tiny Nine Patch Quilt Blocks and I became quite enamored with them. Her completed blocks are some ridiculous size like 2 inches! Really? That can't be true. I want to make these little squares too but my fingers cannot mange that small. I experimented on the machine first. I think these were 1.5 in patches.
And then decided to try EPP with a one inch patch which would give a 3 inch block finish, the largest in Taryn's challenge. I can stitch this size fine. My first blocks have been hand stitched EPP but I'm going to try it out at this size on the machine today to see if I can get it to work. These tiny blocks in various colours will work out for another RSC project too. They still have their thin cardboard templates in them so appear bumpier. 
Improved a bit as I went along.
Anyway, Taryn is running a QAL called The Tiny Nine Patch Challenge Project and I signed on. She is basing this project on a beautiful late 19th century quilt in her collection that is made up of 480 of these hand sewn tiny blocks. 

I've played some more with my Bramble Blooms project.  Update next time. 

I work on most of my projects in front of the tv watching/listening to a variety of programs. I prefer this as I feel it is more productive...I'm actually doing two things at once which makes me sound very productive, :D. And in the sewing room, I usually listen to audio books there. Do you feel like you have to be listening/watching something while stitching too?

I'm really loving the projects I'm working on for the start of 2024. Hope it is similar at your house!

Joining linky parties at Quilt Fabrication, Alycia QuiltsA Quiltery, Creations Art QuiltsQuilting Patchwork Applique and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Friday 19 January 2024

Xmas By Quiltmania, Granny Stripe Crochet, Feelings

Hello again, all quiet here at the wooden house. No blowing snow, just dropping temperatures. -22 C on my morning walk and my cheeks felt cold. The warmest clothes, of which there is no shortage here, are being worn inside and out. I love coming in from the cold...it must be one of the best feelings there is. 

The scrappy Granny Stripe Afghan was finished and then I decided to add more to it. Not for size but for strength. With all those colour changes, I thought a scalloped trim around it all would help it with possible fraying or loosening on the sides. So that took a few nights to crochet. Used Stylecraft Special DK yarn.
 The finished size will cover a double bed and has a weight to it too for warmth. Happy to have it finished and it has gone to a good home, LOL. 
I have finished appliqueing all the Quiltmania Xmas blocks that I want to do. Here they are on my ironing board. Can't decide if I want to finish this now but really the Christmas stitching mood is kind of gone. I want to embroider a word or two in that star/flower block lower left.. sometime.  

LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week has to do with whether or not we had an impactful event in 2023 and how we dealt with it. Yes, I had a crisis event that involved close family and I don't mind saying it was stressful and challenging for me. One thing I learned is there is a lot of help to be had if you advocate for it ...which I'm not shy at all about doing for someone else. Kudos to our healthcare system and the wonderful people who showed only care and kindness to us as we moved through the many appointments and meetings. It is a comfort to know the "system" works and is there for us all if needed. The resolution of this event took time- many months, but I'm relieved to say there is a happy ending (for now) to this story.
 Like most folks my age, we have faced down any number of crisis events of varying degrees so we know how strong we can be when we need to be. We know how to put one foot in front of the other and just keep going. And for family especially, we try our best to help. 

Now to the mundane...I have a couple of thrift finds to share next post. 

And a word about comments. First, thanks so much for taking the time to leave me comments whether it be encouragement about the stitching or suggestions/sharing or echoing my thoughts on topics, etc. It is also always a thrill to hear from someone who has been reading me for awhile and just now decides to introduce themselves. Because I do not know who reads this blog unless you comment. And your comments go straight to my gmail account for moderation so are completely private. It is up to me to publish them or not. So please don't hesitate to say hello if you have dropped by. 

Hope your weekend is wonderful!

Sharing this post with Kathy's QuiltsThe Inquiring Quilter and Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.

Wednesday 17 January 2024

Crossroads Quilt, Cross Stitching, Injury Update

 We got a ton of snow from that last windy snowstorm but by the time I was up in the morning, all was calm. Just lots of billowy drifts all over. Two Blue Jays are regular visitors at my feeders. I love Robert Bateman's Snowy Morning Blue Jay and our snow reminded me of it. It must be tricky painting snow.  

I got out a snow day activity, a jigsaw puzzle...this one is the 1000 piece Vintage American Seed Packets I've shown you before. Very interesting little pieces of art in each square. I've been thinking each little square would make a great cross stitch design. And I like how it is stirring thoughts of the garden just now in the dead of winter.
That made me think of Kaffe Fassett's Seed Packet quilt that Kate at the Last Lonely House made. She is stitching a sweet patchwork sewing kit in her latest video.

Ned is sticking closer to Tony these days as he's the one taking him for big walks. Ned is practicing his disappearing act here blending in with our brown furniture. 

A little slow stitching and Jour is almost completed...needs a little more snow. This photo shows how nice and flat and even evenweave fabric is. 
I've been testing a new quilt block pattern in the sewing room. This one is completely machine stitched and very easy. I purchased the pattern, Crossroads, from Treehouse Textiles last summer.  I think this could work as an RSC project too....linking with the So Scrappy Saturday Party. Scraping the bottom of the barrel to find greens here but I'm not purchasing any new fabric. 
The mystery package from the freezer revealed several salmon fillets that I immediately baked in the oven along with roasted smashed potatoes. I don't think freezing fish is good for it (for unknown lengths of time!) but this still tasted fine. It's the most Tony has eaten for awhile as it seems his appetite is fading. But he still loves his dessert, mind you. Thank you for sharing your mystery packages too!
Injury Update
 My injury or whatever it was is doing so well I'm very pleased and so relieved. Down to just a twinge now and then but it may be because I'm still babying myself. And I am still staying off the trails. Tony ran the ski doo over them yesterday late afternoon so they are passable now. I'm missing a great opportunity to try out the snow shoes but will wait a while. I've just been walking up and down the laneway for fresh air and hope to try out a trail tomorrow. Thank you for the concern and suggestions...so many good ideas to help healing!

We have to go to the library today and grocery store for eggs and bacon. I want to make a breakfast for supper meal with waffles tonight. Been a while since I did that. What's on your menu these days?
 I should mention three men died due to cardiac arrest shoveling snow during the latest weather incident. It is no joke that shovelling can be dangerous!
Hope you are keeping cool or keeping warm and well wherever you are in this wide world of ours!

Friday 12 January 2024

2024 Plans, Chookshed Stitcher's Challenge, Minor Injury

Don't you hate it when you lose the power? Ours was out Wednesday for half the day and I moaned so much (in my head) I got annoyed with myself. We had a mini snowstorm that turned to rain and a bit of freezing rain in the middle of it all put out the power. We got out our gear -emergency lamps, radio, and now keep the generator inside the house from way down in the big barn because we lose the power every winter. (It is placed outside on the deck when in actual use). Everything is all ready for the next snowstorm...already announced for this weekend. All the usual wildlife trailed through to get a nibble of bird seed and suet. You can see the ice hanging from the veranda there.

Leeanna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week is what you might want to learn, do, change, etc. for 2024. 

Here is my list...

 I've been getting back to reading more books (instead of using audio) which I want to continue.

 Snowshoeing is on my list to try...since I got those shiny new ones for Christmas...I've never done that before.

  I feel like my cooking/baking is in a bit of rut and could use a boost so try new recipes is on my list.

 I'm determined to keep up the latest organization in the sewing room. Further to that, I received these plastic packets and rings to organize my floss for each cross stitch project. This present one requires 22 colours and by the end of the stitching, this would wind up being quite the mess with my old non system. I'm going to further divide these by colour shades onto two rings.

I'm going to pick a project to sew from one of my quilting books. Like so many of you, I too have a lovely stack of them and while I do look through them fairly often, I seldom stitch from them. 

I'm also wanting to maintain tidiness in the cupboards and freezers. Should get a system for labeling items there too. I always think I'll remember. Speaking of which...here below is a mystery package. Thawing will reveal what it is. Doesn't look like meat. Please tell me I'm not the only one with frozen mysteries in the freezer. Or share how you organize to avoid the suspense. :D

Deana chose #6 to work on this month and I'm ever so pleased that my #6 is the EPP Lonestar Medallion red, white and blue project. using pretty Minick and Simpson fabrics.  It is so close to a finish and I like it so much. Here it is being quilted last spring which all had to be removed later but it's okay. 

Before I forget, several folks asked about the fabric Jour de Neige is being stitched on..the Lugana 28 count. It is an evenweave cloth which means the threads are mostly the exact same width unlike linen which has some fibres larger than others and also has tiny lumps called slubs. That can make the counting a little more challenging and the stitches may not lay quite as neatly. Aida, Evenweave and Linen fabrics all have their positives for stitching. 

 I'm having to coddle something. That made me think of the things I've coddled like babies and children, my pets, of course too. Not sure I could say coddle but definitely spoil my hubby. Have I coddled eggs? Can't remember.  But I don't remember having to coddle myself as much before except maybe after childbirth. I've got a small injury. I've pulled a muscle in a very odd place somewhere in my back and it is affecting my hip and walking. It came completely out of the blue; one minute fine, next minute buckled over in pain. Wow, and I have a high threshold of pain too so it's taken me by complete surprise. This happened after my walk Tuesday when a light dusting of snow hid the bumps on the trails and I complained I found it hard to walk on and worried about turning an ankle. But could something so slight cause this? Anyway, I'm completely pain free till I walk on it and even then if I walk hunched over, I am pain free. So weird. It's only when upright, putting full weight on that leg that it hurts. Odd, heh. So I've taken an Aspirin to combat any inflammation, have the heating pad on it and am hoping for the best.

UPDATE...wrote that last bit on Wednesday. This is Friday and it, whatever it is, is much improved. I'm able to walk upright without pain spasms but moving slowly; overall it is far less painful. I am so relieved and thankful! I'm going to try a tiny walk on the laneway with Tony and Ned this afternoon before the snow starts. I will definitely pace myself but I'm so missing fresh air.  

Well, hope you and your bits are all working well. Be safe and enjoy your weekend stitching or whatever else is on the agenda. 

Besides sharing with the Chookshed party which is now in full swing, I'm also sharing this post with Life in Pieces and The Inquiring Quilter.

Monday 8 January 2024

Bramble Blooms QAL, Quiltmania Xmas, Sweet Gifts

 We dog sat during the holidays while Beth and family spent New Years Eve at a hotel which is their tradition. This is Petey and Ned after the ball playing... panting at me, right in my face. Just don't care at all. :D  You can see the difference in height between the two brothers in this one.

We finished Billions...loved all the many references to sports, books, history, philosophers, politicians, pop culture, etc.; their research team must have had a field day.  I also loved the music that was chosen for each show. We are now watching something much gentler -Season 10 of Doc Martin. As they call it- 10 Surly Seasons now, :D. Those who watch "the Doc" will know what that means.

We really ate well during the holidays and are actually still eating Christmas treats that I froze. Amongst them was this large tray of homemade cookies and squares from family...the snowflake tray is unique and of course, the sweets were delicious. 
How did you fare with the temptation of treats, etc. during the holidays? Do you have a sweet tooth?  Tony certainly does!

I stitched another of the Quiltmania Xmas blocks. Poor tiny mittens are almost thumbless. I still have a little embroidery to do on the trim. 

My Bramble Blooms QAL project is moving along. I really took my time making a decision about this one. It is meant to be improv and I just kept wanting to make the blooms small and neat and to look like actual flowers that I could name. But improv invites you to think differently and throw caution to the wind as it were. 

The very gloomy weather must have been an influence as I gravitated to bold colours. Or it may have been the beautiful Poinsetta we got for Christmas from Tony's former inlaws influencing me.
More later about that lovely Ardisia plant that came with it.
 They are such beauties and I'm determined to keep them alive. I managed to keep a Poinsettia alive for a few years once since moving to this house. Any tips?
  Anyway, back to stitching- I made my cloth blooms really blooming big with overblown sized petals. I didn't draw a thing on paper first either, just went at with scissors on cloth. All from the scrap bags too. I used embroidery and matching perle cotton to stitch them down so they won't blow away and to tame the tattered edges. We are ready for the first borders. My mind is all over the place with that mainly because using up my scraps is my number one aim just now. What fun and a big thank you to Audrey at Quilty Folk for this entertaining QAL.

Speaking of which, our friend, Frederique, has updated her page of current 2024 QAL's here....  Quilting Patchwork Applique. So many wonderful projects! Thank you for sharing!

January can mean fresh starts which certainly feed into the sense of newness that belongs to a brand new year. What are your fresh or new/old reimagined starts?

Have a great week all!

Linking up with Quilting and LearningCreations, Art, Quilts, WhateverAlycia QuiltsConfessions of a Fabric Addict, Quilting Patchwork Applique and The Inquiring Quilter.

Friday 5 January 2024

Quilting and Stitching Updates, Shopping and Reading

A Healthy and Happy New Year to you all! I hope 2024 will be good to us all.

Do you believe in angels? I've read more people believe in angels than God these days. And I've also read over 80% of us believe there are things which science or nature can't explain. Interesting. This was one my ex found in the house we shared and gave it to me this Christmas. 

During the holidays I read Prince Harry's book Spare.
 Since I love the Royals, I thought I owed it to him to read his story. I finished it feeling an enormous sadness for him and his wife. And how sad for Prince William also, to not have the comfort of his only sibling by his side when he eventually must manage the monarchy himself. Regardless of means, relationships in families can get so messed up; I hate to hear of it. 

A little shopping...Online in this case. I've received this 12 pack of  these zippered mesh project bags from Amazon to organize embroidery floss, applique scraps, pattern pieces, etc. I've spent many hours in the sewing room taming all the bits and bobs and am looking forward to putting these to good use.  They're a good size at 16 x 12.5 too. 
 Here is where I finished cross stitching on my Autumn Quakers. This is on the left side and the motif started at the bottom is the last one. What remains to be done should be manageable the next time this one makes an appearance. 

I've chosen Madame La Fee's Jour De Neige -Snowy Day project for my 2024 winter slow stitching. A snow day was such a treat back in my teaching life. You can take a peek at Madame's other beautiful projects here at 123Stitch.Com. I have my eye on Winter's Tale.

Here is my start. This is being stitched on 28 count Ice Blue Lugana fabric which is kind of a greyish pale blue but is bluer than how it shows here. I'm using all DMC threads.
And in sewing I finished a little cabin in the woods for my Quiltmania Xmas project. Stitching houses is fun. 
And my crocheted blanket is all done as well. I'll share a photo next time.

LeeAnna at  Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week has to do with which appetizers you enjoy. At our Christmas Eve gathering, we enjoyed a number of Presiden'ts Choice appetizers that were from the frozen food section of the grocery store. They included wings, cheese tarts, shrimp, and sausage rolls. They were all very tasty. 

Not sure about the masterpiece, but the work in progress bit definitely applies.
 So I'm starting another new year in this new place that, while not home, is beautiful and peaceful. Also so happy to have my little family near and in my daily life. Thankful and grateful always!

Also grateful for the wonderful folks offering these link up parties like Kathy's Quilts, Life in the ScrapatchSmall Quilts and Doll Quilts and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.