Tuesday 27 February 2024

Best Thrift Store Quilty Find Ever!

Last  Monday was Family Day here in Ontario, a day off work to get out with the family and enjoy winter activities. It was very sunny and we could hear the snowmobiles out on the trails. Beckwith County turns one of their forest walking trails into a skateway in winter and it was in top form.  This is one of the four we walk with Ned sometimes. It winds for over a kilometer through thick woods so it would be a unique and fun skating experience. 

I heard my first morning bird song of the season on Saturday morning. It was a cardinal singing so the season is turning or at least the birds think so.

I must get right to the mystery item that gave me such a surprise and thrill to find at a local thrift store on my very first visit to it. 

It is this beautiful quilt below, of Baltimore Album genre, which I have been admiring and examining  ever since it came into my hands. I photographed it in my bedroom which is darkened so sorry about the lighting. Here on my queen sized bed. 

No label or name anywhere. The applique is all hand stitched, as is the quilting. The sashing is machine stitched on the back, folded to the front and hand stitched. It is beautifully sewn with gorgeous batiks used throughout.
When I first put it in the cart, I assumed it was a machine sewn mass produced type item- you know the kind, but lovely and large enough for the spare bedroom double bed.
But no, it is genuinely hand stitched with a number of those beautifully ruched and specially folded flowers.

You can't see it but the tail feathers of this bird has gold threads sewn between them. Could that be a clue as to where it was made? Was that a pattern suggestion for embellishing it maybe?

And this interesting block with two headstones.
The quilt has that overall crinkly kind of feel and look hand quilting gets when washed too. 
And it has been washed a number of times and has some give way in a few seams but overall is in immaculate condition. It feels old to me. 
And here was the price.
How are you feeling about this? At home, seeing what it was with a less than $20 price tag, my heart sank at first. But then in my reading I found out these kinds of quilts are being mass produced with hand stitching too, kind of like knock offs. So maybe this could be that but I don't think so. And especially as it was sitting in a nearby small town, the one where I go just to visit the quilt shop.

I would be so happy to hear your opinions, all of them, not forgetting to please mention which particular pattern is this too. I've looked for that unique block and can't find it anywhere. Thank you in advance! 
Do you believe in fate? Could it be fate that I was meant to find this quilt somehow. Doesn't matter... as you all know, I love it and am delighted to give this beauty a good home. 
Sharing this post with My Quilt InfatuationA Quiltery, Quilts, Art, Whatever, Patchwork and Quilts and Quilt Fabrication.

Friday 23 February 2024

Quilting in Blues and Reds, Favourite Fictional Couple

I can hear the sound of water dripping from the eaves outside...a late March/early April sound in February. And no snow in the foreseeable forecast either... 2024 is dealing out a different winter that's for sure. 
Another week with more appointments...medical checkup for Tony and a hair cut for me. I think it was my second professional haircut in the last five years. Anyway, sadly I'm not impressed; in fact, have been doing a little trimming here and there to even things out. I gave the lady, a single working mom of two little kids, a large tip to make up for all the tips I've not given out for hair cuts in the meantime. And probably won't be for some time to come either. Any thoughts about tipping?

We finished the latest season of All Creatures Great and Small. Enjoyed it very much especially the respect and affection shown for all the animals in their care.

Moving along my Chookshed Stitchers Challenge project for February. #2 The Blue Courthouse steps. I've stitched 8 more of these blocks so far this month and am at a point of checking how many more I will need for a lap quilt. These are being machine stitched using Foundation Paper Piecing. I stitch two or  three at a time which is my limit for an afternoon. I sincerely wish I enjoyed machine stitching more. How I admire you folks who are wizards on your machines. I do like blues and I've read it's the most calming of colours.

I've four more Crossroads blocks also stitched. I've enough now using/featuring reds. And brown is definitely a grounding colour...do you think? I might work more with that colour here and there.
Here is my latest jigsaw puzzle. I couldn't resist ordering another Peter Pauper Press one as they really are great puzzles. I like the pretty dog and the sweet cats in this one. 
LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week is if we have a favourite fictional/tv couple. I do not romanticize real life coupledom that's for sure. But in fiction, I was thrilled when Elizabeth Bennet and her Mr. Darcy finally got together in Jane's Pride and Prejudice. And whenever I watch a movie version, still feel relief and happiness for them. What about you? I would love to hear who you might pick. 

I have two more thrift store buys to share, one that astounded me and I think you will understand why when you see it. So ending this post with a little mystery. I just have to figure out how to photograph it, especially to do it justice.  Have a wonderful weekend where ever you are in this wide world. 

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Cakes, Tiny 9 Patch, Snow Days Embroidery, Free Patterns

I have a male and female cardinal visiting the feeder. They arrive very late, almost dark, getting a little  last minute nourishment before the long night begins. The male is not nearly as bright as he will become very soon. Did you know they mate for life?

I've not shown a lovely cake from Beth in a while...here is the latest. Dark chocolate for Tony and Marshmallow icing for me.

 It is delicious and I've been eating a small piece after supper with a cup of Chamomile. 

I've been working steadily on my EPP Tiny 9 Patch blocks...the 3 inch size.  What a great stitch along! Here are more of the reds and pinks so far. Still in their cardboard/paper templates.

And as I was stitching one of the Crabapple Hill Snow Days blocks it occurred to me, I have the real snowy fir trees right outside my stitching chair. Yes, lightly snowing as I write this. 
A couple of free projects running just now...

Debbie is hosting another free BOW, this one called Summer Picnic. Details here... Piecing the Past. I like all those special blocks.

Another wonderful QAL with a beautiful quilt to stitch...Puducah in Bloom by Emily Cross is being offered by the folks at American Quilter. All the patterns are there at that link to download now. Shown in different colourways including this pretty one...

So I handed in my monitor and had my Stress Test on Saturday. The 86 year old woman who went ahead of me passed and those of us in the waiting area applauded her when she announced it to us all. She was a small, wiry kind of person, full of energy. Oh to be that vibrant at that age! Anyway, I did okay too...everything fine though it was a lot shorter than I had prepared myself for....and that made me wonder... how our minds default to the darker so easily.  What was interesting was the technician was from the Ukraine, here 3 years. We had a good chat and I learned a little more about the crisis there. She is hoping to move to Spain as she finds it expensive here and the weather cold like home. I don't blame her as housing especially is through the roof ( no pun intended) here and of course, winter in Ontario, nothing more to be said about that. And Spain...I had a mental image of oranges growing on trees in February. Ahh... Anyway, my testing is done and next up is to sit down with the cardiologist on the 7th. 

*Several have asked why I put a u in the word colour. Simply put, we use the British way of spelling words in Canada -especially use "ou" in words like colour, neighbourhood, habour, etc.  Whenever I write, Not Afraid of Color, LeeAnna's blog title, I still have to make an effort to write color like that because it feels wrong. 

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Linking this post with Quilt FabricationAlycia QuiltsSo ScrappyQuilting Patchwork Applique, Kathy's Quilts and A Quiltery.

Friday 16 February 2024

February Flowers, Quilting Books, More Crossroads Blocks

 You must be tired of me talking about how much I admire Geraniums. Here, deep in winter, is mine giving out pretty blooms. 

Of course, I try my best to be good to them. I read that Geraniums and most plants enjoy Banana water...just the skins soaked for a day or two in water. I had to try that and now all my plants are getting a drink or two of the egg shell / banana water. I also spritz the leaves regularly and I never overwater. 
After enjoying these books from the library, I wound up buying a copy of them. They are both wonderful additions to a quilting library. Jennifer's book, Everyday Quilting-The Complete Beginners Guide is one of the best quilting books I've read...so clearly written and includes lots of photos as a guide. And I would love to sew every single project of the 20+ she chose to include. Jennifer is The Inquiring Quilter blogger and hosts the popular Wednesday Wait Loss weekly link party. Amazon link is here if you'd like to check her book out.

And Riane Elise's book Quilting By Hand is just so lovely. Pretty pictures and lots of information about hand quilting. I like how she keeps the directions simple and makes hand work like this look so doable.  Seeing her sweet projects made me think about the size of blocks I usually work with and the use of solids in projects too. Amazon link to read more if you'd like to.

Four more of the Crossroads quilt blocks have been sewn. I'm using just scraps for the crosses and you wouldn't believe how many times a scrap will be big enough for three of those crosses but not the fourth. Ugh! My only rule with these is no florals, well, maybe tiny florals though. 

LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week is did you have a crush on someone and when. I remember in junior high liking a boy. Didn't really understand much about it all because we were kept very innocent about boys, etc. in those days. But this boy...there was something about him and his straight black hair; I could spot him in a crowd a mile away. And it seemed to make my day when I did catch sight of him. I never ever spoke to him, just admired him from afar. What about you?? Crush on a star maybe??

I don't want to bore you or upset anyone by including medical bits in my posts so skip the following if you'd rather not read such.

  I had my echocardiogram...took a long time to do- almost an hour and it is an ultrasound so not at all invasive or painful or anything. I heard my heartbeat for the first time in my life and learned that the sound of your heartbeat is unique to you. I never knew that. Did you? Right away the technician said my aortic valve sounded fine. But that was it; I'll have to wait till the cardiologist gets to see the results to learn more. Then I got fitted for the halter monitor and am wearing it till Saturday. The device has a little weight to it and I found the strap annoying around my neck so rigged up a way to pin it on my shoulder. I am feeling surprisingly calm so far (maybe because I'm finally getting something seen to that's nagged me for ages). Thank you all warmly/sincerely/ always for the good wishes. 

Here it must have snowed all night as it's looking like a beautiful winter postcard out there. Goodbye ice!! Have a good weekend!

Sharing this post with Quilting is More Fun Than HouseworkSo Scrappy, Small Quilts and Doll QuiltsSongbird Designs and Inquiring Quilter.

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Bramble Blooms, Answering Reader's Questions

It was a record breaking 10C here on Thursday and the temps have remained above zero, unheard of mid February weather, for a couple of days. The foggy air felt almost balmy and the squirrels and birds seemed to be going mad out there. The melting had uncovered lots of tidbits for them. But back to regular winter days now. 

This is another of Robert Bateman's birds in winter...Varied Thrush. Just lovely colours.

I have these two books from the library and started The Snow Child and realized I'd read it before. 
I went on to Snow Road Station and am really enjoying it. I was surprised to see it is set in Lanark County, Ontario which is where I am living. All the names and sights Elizabeth is describing are very familiar to me. It is interesting to read about it through another person's eyes. 

It hadn't been freezing in the sewing room those warmer winter days. I had no excuse not to hang out in there. I played with Bramble Blooms borders and stitched a plain one to steady everything. Then I stitched a few new rows of flying geese to add to a row I'd found in scraps. Now I'm not so sure as I should have used brighter colours or some of the same fabrics to match the center blooms. Also they seem rather large. They are overwhelming and perhaps might work well for a very outer border.  I think I should do the appliqued border first before stitching these on. Any thoughts? All appreciated.

 I am trying for an overall look that my pot of flowers is in a window, kind of recessed. As with many of my ventures, I have ideas but don't have the skill to execute them. However, it is a good feeling to have total freedom with this and especially no time limit. Thank you Audrey, Quilty Folk, for such a great little QAL.

I found a new to me wonderful stitching channel on Youtube called Sew Tattered. Lots of great quilting and cross stitch. This episode features the annual quilt WIP Parade. Watch it at your risk as you will see something you will want to stitch. 

 Daughter gave me local fresh mushrooms and an acorn squash which I'd put in the cold room,
 Pleased with myself this morning that I remembered them. I've been simmering a chicken carcass and the mushrooms with it should make a good soup. But I have a plan to keep some of the mushrooms to fry out with bacon and maybe an egg and have on toast sometime for a quick supper. I must be hungry as everything is sounding delicious to me. BTW, I never tire of reading about your food and recipes. It is a bonus when one of your posts includes something foody.

Questions from readers...

About the wood we burn for heat...it is a mixture of hardwoods...maple, oak, etc. We use as much as we can from old/fallen trees on our own property.  And our stove insert in the fireplace is an excellent Jotul. 

I was asked why my rabbit I showed was not white now in winter.  Ontario rabbits are smallish cotton tails and only small bits of them turn whiter in winter, like tail and paws. That being said, I've taken winter photos of a few with far more white on them than the one under our veranda this year. 

Also there've been queries about the General's Sketch and Wash pencils shown in this post... Here is a link on Amazon where you can take a look and read more about them.

What is my diet? I don't follow a diet as such, just try to eat meals where I know all the ingredients that went into them. The only real constant is just about every day I eat an apple and an orange shared with Tony; blueberries often too. Yes, I'm still practising intermittent fasting so I basically eat two meals a day...all the more reason to make them as nutritious as I can. 

 I just watched a movie, I think it was The Killer with Tilda Swinton being faced by her killer and he asks her what is she thinking right now. She answers...right now I'm wishing I'd eaten more Hagen D'az (or words to that effect). So I'm thinking there should be more treats; yes to more treats. 

The day in ER was for me not Tony.  Though nothing untoward was found during the testing, they booked me for more tests this week under a cardiologist's care. They want to rule out a heart problem for sure and I'm in agreement with that of course. Yesterday was an annual hour long appointment with my gp reviewing everything history wise, etc. Later today is the first test, an echocardiogram. I will keep you posted. Wish me luck! 

 Sometimes I think what I really need right now is a day on a sunny beach. Anybody else feeling like this just about now, this far through a northern winter? 

Sharing this post with A QuilteryIt's A Small Town Life and Alycia Quilts.

Friday 9 February 2024

Ten Tiny Terrific Things This Week

Ten Tiny Things I enjoyed This Week

1.Finished my 1000 piece jigsaw. Worked on while supper cooked.

A certain someone chewed one piece and I wonder is he responsible for the one piece suspiciously missing near the same spot...!

2..Got myself a new ironing board cover and wondered why did I wait so long to do that.

3.I'm reading this lady's book, a compilation of her work...

 and enjoying certain lines of hers like this one-

"The fridge light is known to have a detrimental effect on the male retina..."

4.Recently, we went out for lunch at an Indian Food Restaurant, Sagar, in the nearest little town. I admired this very large work of art on the wall beside us, 

 and enjoyed a wonderful Butter Chicken meal complete with mango lassies. Is this something that you would like?
We couldn't remember the last time we did this and vow to do it more often. I brought home most of the order of Naan bread to have with a macaroni and cheese casserole I made the next day. 

5.Still very much winter here and needing cozy clothes like these slipper socks which are otherwise known as Sewing Room Thread Catchers.

6.Enjoying progress on my two slow stitching embroidery and cross stitch winter projects. 

7.Researched and ordered this yarn for my next wooly project. Can't wait to share more about that. West Yorkshire Spinners Signature- my first fancier yarn!

8. I received this sweet gift of local honey. Love honey and so happy there are many local aviaries here in Ontario. We've noticed all the honeys taste a little differently.

9. A Canadian winter moment... Robbie came over and showed us his hockey skills on our frozen pond. He enjoyed comparing the pond ice to arena ice and wondering about the difference having a zamboni could make. :D He is working hard to improve his skating.

10. Ahh Neddy, so love this guy...he's wondering here why is this old woman always trying to accost me!
LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week was about Valentines gifts.  As for flowers, I would like miniature carnations but would love any kind of plant instead. And I'm not a huge chocolate alone fan so maybe chocolate with caramel or nuts or marshmallow or some such combination for a treat. What about you? Do you celebrate Valentine''s Day? 
Ending this week feeling especially thankful. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Also terrific to share this post with Kathy's Quilts and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Wednesday 7 February 2024

Chookshed Stitchers, Tiny 9 Patch Challenge, Blue Courthouse Steps, Ups and Downs

We had a rabbit living in the front yard, hiding under the veranda but it has moved on. I think Ned may have caused that because he happened to catch him on the veranda one day and chased him underneath. 

Deana pulled #2 for us to work on this month for the Chookshed Stitchers Challenge .

I had to look back at my original post to see what that would mean for me. It is the Blue Courthouse Steps project and I am thrilled to be working on this one for February. Here is a photo of all the blocks I've sewn to date. It was good to get them out of their box and give them an airing, :D.
My special freezer paper that can be put through the copier machine arrived.
 I've tried it out. I like the way the freezer paper is thinner than the cardboard especially for the Tiny 9 Patch one inch blocks. It will definitely help with eliminating some bulk and thereby -hopefully- aid the accuracy. Taryn suggests stitching 10 a week but that would be on the machine I think. Of course, I'm sewing at my own pace and enjoying the process very much.
Our landscape continues to be an icy one these days. Of course, the cleats are on the boots when walking but I'm not venturing too far about. Yesterday the sun shone beautifully and we walked - very carefully- along the snow banks skirting the pond. Snow is now firm ice...it was pretty and so nice to have sun on my face. 
 I read a distressing article about the rivers of cloth in Asian countries. Our textile production is far exceeding our proper usage and so much of it is ending up in landfills and clogging landscapes. I shy away from cloth items at the thrift store...except if an exceptional blouse is spied or something new with tags. I thought more about this when I remembered how I'd bought Tony a bag of car washing cloths at Winners and realized I could/should have bought the equivalent thing at the thrift store, just never thought of it. 
Oh my, always something to think about. And there are always ups and downs here at home too. I'm late posting this week...we lost a whole day in the local ER which was distressing but ended well...multiple tests throughout the day all negative and the overall treatment was wonderful. We came home exhausted but feeling so thankful for all that.
I hope your week is going well! 

Friday 2 February 2024

Crabapple Hill Snow Days, Crossroads Quilt, Goals and Prompt Chat

 I have my other winter slow stitching project to share in this post. Snow Days by Crabapple Hill Studio Designs.

My Vintage Seeds Packets jigsaw is moving along...loving all the little details in this one-a superior puzzle.

 I finished three of these large Snow Days embroideries last winter and have prepped three more for this new month and would like to see them finished when the snow outside is done too. Photographed here in the back hallway design wall where the lighting is terrible.

I use General's water soluble marking pencils to trace the design. It was the wonderful stitcher, Hilda, at Every Stitch that suggested these years back and I have used them ever since. 
It was sad when Hilda stopped blogging in 2017 but I now follow her on instagram where she shares her marvelous quilts all the time. I trace the designs with the help of the very large light box I inherited from first wife. She used it for her amazing stained glass creations.
The embroidery is easy running stitch in dark brown DMC 610 on Kona Eggshell fabric. 

And in the sewing room, I've stitched four more of the Crossroads Quilt blocks with a nod to red, the So Scrappy's RSC colour for February. I had to check and was relieved to find that yellow square is not crooked like it is showing. Phew! I hope to be able to keep up my goal of four of these each week in February. 

LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week is about friends... that is a tricky topic for me as I have to fight my own innate notion that people disappoint. I prefer to stay to myself generally and if I've been an acquaintance/ friend at some point in the past and then drifted off, that absolutely is all about me, not you. And her other question was what attracts you in a man/partner. I always liked bespeckled, smart guys. My present hubby is one of the smartest people I've known personally. It's a given they would have to be nice...kind, animal lovers, etc. I've read women often answer that question by saying he's got to be able to make them laugh. What about you? Is that what you love about your partner? 

And this is what we are contending with regarding the snow and warming up. Our metal roof is quite slanted and any milder temperatures mean the snow starts sliding down. This is at the back door. 

However, on the plus side- wonderful, almost above zero temperature to walk in today. We were serenaded by the distant whine of snowmobiles on the public trails...super weather for that. What a great Canadian mid winter sound!

Sharing this post with Stories from the Sewing RoomQuilt Fabrication and Sew and Tell.