Monday 29 April 2024

Tempestry Project, Confetti Scraps, Woodpecker Slow Stitching, Friday Nights

 "Into your hands and out of your head"- Kate, The Last Homely House.

She was referring to the comfort and special calm that stitching can bring us. 

Kate was recently a guest lecturer on a Norwegian stitching cruise where she met the lady who is one of the leaders of the Tempestry Project. This is a project where you stitch a temperature chart of the year you were born and one of this year. An easy way to track if the climate has changed much in that area. It would be interesting, wouldn't it?  You can see more about the project, purchase kits, etc. at this link -Tempestry Project. I've seen so many of you making temperature quilts and cross stitch projects that I figured you would be interested.

In between admiring the fjords and villages, Kate taught English Paper Piecing hexagons. It is a lovely video with lots of sights to enjoy. And the food, oh my. 

Last week was a productive one for a retiree. I worked at my fitness, helped Tony with the income taxes which always involves a call to the help line these days, and got in a big shop at the huge Walmart where there is a fascinating international isle. I also finished an online photography course and learned more about the workings of my camera. (I so wish I had taken up this hobby back when much younger!) 

.And of course, stitched. In between the bigger projects I continue to stitch the scraps into Confetti blocks. Info found at Stitched in Color. I try to have them set up ready to go as leaders and enders. More about that yarn later.
Friday nights we've been enjoying going to the arena to watch Robbie play spring hockey. 
It's reminding me of the series Friday Night Lights which we both enjoyed so much. And it helped us understand more about football's place in small town American society. It is still streaming on Crave.
And Robbie has been giving football a try himself. I should say that it is not all about sports with him; he did a pottery course with his mom recently and enjoyed it very much. 
Mystery Meat turned out to be chicken thighs. So YES to those of you who guessed Chicken. I baked them with a butter chicken curry sauce and served with rice. And following so many of you who suggested I bake the Butternut Squash- I did just that. It softened beautifully and was easy to scoop out. Mixed with a tiny bit of brown sugar and butter, it was delicious. We both loved it! 
It's time to get out of my head and into my hands here. Picking this up right now as soon as I leave you.  The Woodpecker, Year in the Woods #9 by Cottage Garden Samplings.
Stitching this one's head. What a beak!
Hope your Monday is going well and your week will be even better!

Friday 26 April 2024

Quilting Updates, Rucking, This Weeks' This and That

A frozen mystery meat is thawing on the counter. It must be meat as it's really heavy. Time will reveal what it is and what I can make for supper with it. Any frozen mystery gems at your house?

LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week is bed and breakfast or luxury hotel? I don't have a preference but I don't think I've ever stayed in a luxury hotel. I'll stay anywhere that looks nice and safe. I spent two March holidays in a condo on a Florida beach and found that to be wonderful. All the amenities, beach almost at the door, surrounded by fellow Canadians also in a holiday mood, but didn't have to talk to anyone unless you wanted to, of course.  When I get my blood pressure checked, I visualize the pelicans (which I'd never seen before and was fascinated with) diving and rising from the sea that I watched while knitting on the beach. The word Bliss comes to mind. Probably some of the most relaxed holiday moments for me ever. What about you? 

I've slow stitched more scrappy Applique Pieced Hourglass blocks. So easy with the 5 inch squares pack all ready to go. This is the first time I've used such precuts. Just realized this is a great RSC super scrappy project too. 

In the sewing room, more work on the Bramble Blooms with three sides sewn on. And two more rows of the Panama Pyramids have been added. One row gave me such grief but I managed to get it done. 
I was disappointed to read that Quiltmania has suddenly, it seems, closed down. As you know I took part in several of their free SAL's and had subscriptions to their magazines at various times over the years. I have a lovely stack of them. They brought a unique world wide perspective to the quilting world that will be missed. 

You are going to shake your head when you hear the latest thing I'm trying out exercise wise. I didn't know it had a name but of course it does. It's called rucking and you can read about it HERE. I've put clothes in the bottom of my backpack and then bar bells to wear on my walks. I'd started light with just 10 pounds which really I hardly feel so I'm going to add more weight. The overall goal is to get back into the shape I achieved during my 69-70 year. That was when I wanted to face age 70 in the best physical shape I could muster. Since then I've experienced stress which can certainly side track personal goals. All is calm presently- well calm-ish- and also, knowing my heart is in good shape means there won't be a better time to resume this goal- fingers crossed. 

I heard from many of you about the Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls recipe I shared in the last post. They are called Buckeyes-such a fun name, in some states and there are slight variations in the ingredients. 

And wow to the news that many folks already knew about that use for castor oil! Thank you, J, for pointing me to THIS SITE that has 6 pages of moisturizing products that contain castor oil! 

Meanwhile, I'm on the hunt for a chocolate bar that is low in gluten. I'm sure some of you will have ideas about this. I've tried several health bar types but they don't taste all that great to me.  I wonder how Kit Kats fare in that department because I like them for a treat now and then. I just found out Cheerios are gluten free (mostly), something I never knew. I guess if you live long enough, you know it all. The tricky part would be what gets remembered. 

Hope your weekend is wonderful and your stitching fingers will be flying!

Happily linking with A QuilteryQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkSmall Quilts and Doll Quilts and Kathy's Quilts.

Tuesday 23 April 2024

Free Patterns, Surprising Beauty Product, Tiny 9 Patches, Peanut Butter Balls

Tony's breakfast...Beth's homemade bread, one slice with peanut butter and the other with marmalade. 

He gets a subscription to Down Home, a Newfoundland magazine, every year for his birthday. He enjoys reading it and doing the puzzle pages. I like to check the recipes. Here's one recently that brought back memories...a very popular sweet back home, Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls. Simple ingredients. Would these be popular where you are??
My Sunday slow stitching was finishing these EPP tiny 3 inch 9 patch blocks. I'd put aside a few yellowish scraps when I was sorting to use for these. I included the ruler this time so you could see the scale which is impossible to gauge in photos. A truly addictive scrappy project.

In my last post I made a promise to share a couple of things....

#1 The first is a common item that folks are using on their skin in general and recently their faces! and claiming good results. Back in the day there was a bottle of this in everyone's home as it was a remedy for a common problem. The item is Castor Oil and I'm sure you older folks would definitely know of its use. I've done some reading and yes, it apparently is packed full of good things. The woman who caught my attention with this-below- used it on her knee replacement scar and it definitely improved the skin texture and overall look. She decided to use it on her face and after several months is very happy with how it seems to be plumping her skin. Even though castor oil is an ingredient in many beauty products- I did not know that!, there is very little science to back it up its claims. There needs to be more testing for sure. Here at WebMB you can read more about it. And here is the fun lady who got me thinking about it. She also shares lots of other interesting things.

And #2 is  two free lovely quilt patterns for you...

The first is from Jera at Quilting in the Rain. A gorgeous Cosy Cabins and Trees design. This is  versatile and can be made for Christmas or any season depending on the fabric choice. Jera also offers different variations to change it up. While there, take a good look around as Jera generously offers free patterns with each of her pretty fabric lines.

And the second called Tiny Beasts is from the folks at Quilting Mayhem. Bear Claw in rainbow colours. How sweet is this. I love it and wonder if I have the sewing skills to make it.
This week I'm hoping to get out shoe shopping. I need a new pair of sneakers/running shoes and I have to try them on so can't order online. Speaking of shoes...did you see this photo of Queen Letizia of Spain sitting instead of standing for the official greeting line with their Netherland guests.  Apparently she has done damage to her feet with wearing high heels so much. Podiatrists must shudder when they see the height of the heels being worn these days. 

Are you still awake?  I've rambled on enough for todays' post. Hope you are taking care of your feet and all the other bodily bits and bobs! And Happy Stitching too!

Thursday 18 April 2024

Wooden House Wonderful Thursday Things

Oh dear, over half way through April already! Time, slow down! 

After days of rain, yesterday was a glorious sunny day and I spent time down by the pond watching the ducks float about. As usual they alarm very easily so this was taken from far away. I wonder if they could be the same ones we see there every year. I identified (with help from some of you) American Black Ducks for the first time visiting us last year. 

This has been a good week on many levels. For instance, I've learned from so many of you how to cook squash and eggplant. Thank you for taking the time to share your ideas with me. Check out the comment section on that post HERE if you'd like some ideas/recipes yourself on how to cook these vegetables.I also got to walk lots in between downpours so feel good about my exercise level. And sewing wise, I've enjoyed moving a number of projects forward by hand and machine.

Panama Pyramids on the ironing board... I sometimes watch/listen to tv in the sewing room if I don't have an audio book.

I'm stitching the Crossroads blocks together too-such nice easy joining, not like those pesky  pyramids. 

 Here is a last look at the yellows all together on the wall. They are a range from semi brights to darks. 
Update on the cross stitching...Here is the beginning of Block 8 of Year at Hawk Run Hallow. This is the August block which features the phrase  dog days of summer beside a beautiful strong tree. 

Each block is 92 x92 and is stitched 2 over 2. Back to pouring rain here this morning and I apologize for the poor lighting. I do not press for photos either as I don't want to crush the stitches any more than they are being pressed during the stitching. Actually at this point with such a large piece, I feel like it has been mauled. 
I finished reading Vinegar Girl by the wonderful Anne Tyler and enjoyed it. Her books have been a boon to me all my adult life. I love how she writes about relationships, especially spousal. I probably read her work looking for answers back in the day. Her writing has often been compared to Jane Austen's, btw.
And I've just started the wonderful book, A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute.  I read this decades ago when living in an isolated community on the coast of Labrador and loved it. It will be interesting to see how it compares to my memory. 
LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt this week is simply chewy or crunchy??? I like both, what about you?  For instance, I find the crunch of celery, apples and almonds enjoyable and also like the chewiness of treats like Rice Krispie squares...writing that makes me want one.  

I've collected more free patterns so promise to share in a post soon.✔ Oh and the daughters and myself have been trying a common ingredient that promises to smooth and plump the face. So I'll share that too.
Going to be raining here for the next three days, but it is not snowing like so many parts of Canada and the US are still experiencing. And the grass is turning green too so all good. Hope things are similarly positive for you too!

Tuesday 16 April 2024

Sensational Recipe, Bramble Blooms, New Spin on Backbasting

My second Odd Bunch box has arrived and I've been very pleased with both of them. For $20 a box, I think they are a good deal. All of the items have been fresh, nothing even close to spoiling or odd.  I am enjoying the variety of items included, a nice selection of vegetables and fruit.

 I got blackberries in the first box, a fruit I never buy so it was neat to try them. It also had a butternut squash in the first and an eggplant in this one. Two things I haven't cooked before.
I cut up the eggplant and roasted it in the oven last night following a recipe online. I didn't find it tasty till I added a little balsamic vinegar which someone suggested. Do you ever cook these things? Any suggestions for the squash? Getting these boxes is making me try new foods which I didn't expect but is a good thing.

But here is a recipe I tried and will definitely cook again. I found it when I was searching for pasta recipes a couple of weeks back and is a Tik Tok sensation apparently. Very simple and very tasty. It all begins with one of those little Boursin Cheeses and a pack of cherry tomatoes. My additions included spinach and extra cheese and penne for the pasta. Tony loved it.
This goes in the oven and I cooked the pasta separately and added it at the end. Here is the video and you can find many variations online. You could type in Boursin Cheese Pasta and find it for sure. 

Into the Sewing Room....First an update on the Bramble Blooms Improv Challenge...I need three one (sewed two last night) more little orange peel block to complete this border. It is always interesting to see what the camera will show as these are small 4 inch blocks but appear larger.

I've been joining my Panama Pyramid rows and needed to find the yellow fabric I'd used for the solid triangles. I searched high and low and got really down on myself because I couldn't put my hand on it. I had a memory of putting it somewhere I could find easily because I knew I would need more of it for the finishing. The next day I went in the sewing room and the very first thing I spotted was this... How did I not see it! With the Crossroads blocks off the wall, it was there all alone in plain view. It's official...I'm losing my mind! Please tell me something similar has happened to you so I won't feel lonely in the world of lost minds!

As promised, I must tell you about the scrappy project that caught my eye on Instagram and had to give a try. I like applique and have always used freezer paper for the shapes. I tried needleturn a couple of times but went back to the freezer paper.  I've never tried back basting till I saw Jeana Kimball's post where she showed how she was using this particular technique to applique a simply shaped quilt block, in this case, an hourglass. It's like a fresh twist on an old method. Jeana Kimball at Foxglove Cottage 
So I set about and stitched two scrappy blocks using Jeana's method. It worked well and I liked how easy it was for this simple block- no precise cutting or piecing. Anything that avoids the machine is good and using scraps is great too of course. The foundations are from a package of 5 inch Bella cream I've had for ages and wondered what to do with. Wonder no more. This could make for a good, on the side kind of project diving into the scrap bags...yes they are sorted into bags now this time round. 

This promises to be another busy (for us)week with tax stuff in the mix(which is loathsome but necessary). I did order some stitchy mail which will be here this week so it's not all doom and gloom. :) Hope your week is going well!

So happy to share this with Songbird DesignsA QuilteryQuilt FabricationAlycia QuiltsGood and Random Fun and The Inquiring Quilter.

Friday 12 April 2024

Three New To Me Sewing Things, Crossroads Quilt Blocks

We have had a pretty good week here at the wooden house. Tony's medical tests were inconclusive and further testing is needed. A bit disappointing but no news is good news in my book. He's most concerned about being tired and not having the energy to do all the things on the property he used to do. He feels defeated to let others do these things, like he's giving up or slacking off. It isn't easy for him to shake that feeling but we are trying to focus on the things he still can do both chore wise and for enjoyment. Any thoughts?...he reads your comments as well. 

We got the last of the fire wood moved up to our veranda. The wood fires have long stopped but we didn't want the wood left on the ground where it was and it looks neat and tidy up here all ready for next fall. 

It is Day 3 of pouring buckets outside...that would be the third day of ten straight with a forecast of rain. So a concern about ground water levels was probably needless. 

Two things I need in the sewing room for sure

This is the best feature of my sewing machine...that little sliding knob.

 Know what it does?  It controls the speed of stitching. It was ages before I discovered it and now is an essential feature as going slower really helps me keep it all straight and accurate. The slower I have this knob setting, the better my stitching looks and even at its slowest mark, it is faster than hand stitching, of course. I smile at that last bit cause I can picture some of you amazing sewists would be driven crazy with that speed. 

Thing #2...These scissors...some of you recommended these to me years back and I ordered them. They are Gingher scissors, kind of weighty and very sharp. 

Then I kept them in their package in the cupboard like I often do with things that are "Good", too good to use everyday or some weird idea like that. ( I come by this trait honestly being from a line of women who "kept things for good" with a line drawn between what could be used every day as opposed to only on Sundays or special occasions). Last week I opened the package and began using them for cutting fabric. Dear me, I can't get over what it feels like cutting with these scissors. So smooth- like cutting butter, as the saying goes. I could kick myself for not using them sooner. My usual scissors now feel like I'm practically hacking the cloth rather than cutting it.
And that's my stack of Crossroads quilt blocks up there...all 56 are finished. Yea!

Then I realized there is a third common item that is new to me. As you can imagine, with all the hand stitching here at the wooden house, I go through a small mountain of spools of thread. I caught sight of this below on a You Tube video and had one of those ah ha moments...yes even late in life, that can happen. So after a tiny bit of investigation, I ordered one from Amazon. I wonder how long will this last me. 

A little catching up to do...I missed LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color's prompt for last week which was answer which would you rather- a day at the beach or the amusement park. That is tough as there is something sublime about being on a beautiful beach. But amusement parks, which around here would be fall fairs with all the rides, are so much fun and in recent years visited with a grandchild so very special. A toss up I guess. What about you?

And the prompt for today is Night Owl or Morning Person? For many years I was a Night Owl mostly because that was my reading time and I would read late into the night. But I've switched in retirement to being more of a Morning Person. What about you?

Next time I'll share a sewing technique I saw on Instagram that I just had to try and is scrap busting too. And also a wonderful and easy pasta recipe I tried that we both loved. Do hope your weekend is great and gives you time to do what you love.

Happily sharing with Quilting Patchwork AppliqueSmall Quilts and Doll Quilts and Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Monday 8 April 2024

Garden Beginnings, Tiny 9 Patches, Cross Stitching, Turkey Pot Pie

 The storm is past and power has been restored for everyone. Then it was really cold like we had dialed back a season back to winter.  However today, spring hopes are revived as it is going up to 15C.  I did pick up my seed packets while out and about yesterday. I found out last year that these are classified seasonal and only available on the shelves for a brief time, so have to get them early. I bought more of the Zinnia packets because I had good luck growing those last year and they stayed in bloom so long. 

I'll be setting up my makeshift green house in the large back room of the garage again this year. A very large window there provides enough light. 

We've eaten our very hearty turkey pot pie I made from the various Easter meal leftovers. Beth took the carcass to make soup. I used the gravy that was left but yet the pie was on the dry side. Perhaps I should have had it on a higher rack in the oven.

It does look a little dry, doesn't it.
 My stove is very old and I've had to add a few degrees to get the recommended temperatures; perhaps the pie didn't need that as it looks a little overdone. I've never had that dry pie problem so I really don't know. It was very tasty though and we gobbled it up.:)

 I've stitched more of the tiny 9 patch, 3 inch squares still alternating sewing methods. Here are a few in various yellows, April's RSC colour. Mostly cheddar it seems.

Took a close up photo so you can see that tiny village on the vintage table cloth, another of my thrift finds. I don't know why, but I always feel nostalgic seeing these kinds of illustrations, etc. That's about the books of my childhood I guess. 

Slow stitching is helping my Pileated Woodpecker grow his beautiful red crest. It gets its name from the Latin word for that crest. The main red is DMC 347 and is an interesting shade, sort of soft red and my eye sees a purplish tinge to it. Officially it is described as a deep salmon colour.  Not possible to see its' true hue in this photo. 

Petey stayed overnight with us recently. He is very loving and much more demonstrative with us than Ned is. That may be because he lives with Abbey and feels he has to compete for human affection. Here he's asking me to close the computer and go play ball. He'd brought the ball to me a minute earlier.
Ned idolizes his brother!
Thank you for remarking on my Second Best Thrift Find post. In particular, I heard from so many people familiar with the Petit Point china set. Though the pattern is discontinued now, it was very popular back in the day. Since cross stitching is having such a revival, perhaps the Royal Albert folks should bring it back. Or develop an updated modern version. 

And thank you, P, for pointing me towards this set, the Royal Winton Grimwades Queen Anne pattern, also very popular and their design depicts the linen lines too which is unique. 

Here is the tea pot. I just love looking at the designs of things. Stitching a tea pot quilt is on my bucket list. I think Kaffe has one. 

Seeing this made me wonder if it was inspiration for the beautiful Tilda Flower Embroidery Pixel Quilt pattern. HERE is the link to the free pattern to stitch this beauty which is labelled EASY, btw.
Meanwhile, next post I will tell you about two small but important things I happily discovered and use in the sewing room. 
Hope your week is off to a great start!

Thursday 4 April 2024

April Snowstorm, Chookshed Challenge, Crochet

 Mother Nature had a surprise in store for us. A winter snowstorm began last night and is continuing this morning. Woke up to this...

Hopefully winter 2024's very last blast. I'm not at all upset as I've been worried about the lack of ground water the very early spring might cause. Perhaps this will help. And we have not lost the power, which they were warning us about, so fingers and toes crossed...

Deanna at Dreamworthy Quilts chose #9 for our Chookshed Stitchers Challenge this month. I was so happy to get out my #9 which is this project, the oldest I think of the WIPs I chose for this QAL. This is my Panama Pyramids.

 I used a marking pencil to outline the triangles and they were all joined by hand. Happy memories of enjoying the process very much and it truly does deserve my attention this month. I have five more strips to join unto those pictured. I began that last night so I'm confident I will work on this one at least to the flimsie stage. And happy to set it as my April OMG over at Anne- Marie's Stories From the Sewing Room blog.

I'm also learning how to crochet a solid granny square. Of all the crocheting I've done, I've never made this particular pattern. YouTube is my friend so often. 

My little corner of the tv room...I enjoy gathering all my projects around me near at hand.

I'm using my Cubii most nights for 20 minutes or so while watching some bit of tv. Year 3 with this. I do believe it is helping to keep my legs strong. 
We watch a lot of BritBox and Masterpiece Theatre. I always like the way tea and a biscuit are offered in their shows no matter, seemingly, the civilized. Tony drinks several cups of tea a day but only has a treat with one. Often I will look for different biscuits like these I found in the international section at the big Walmart. The Fox's Crunch Creams have ginger in them and I like them too. Do you have a favourite small treat like this that goes well with tea or coffee you could recommend?
 Presently, we are working our way through Spooks which features Matthew MacFadyen; he looks so young, like a teenager in this series. Such a good actor and we were happy he won a Golden Globe for his work in Succession

Bad weather always looks worse through a I'm dragging out my parka, retrieving my winter boots from the downstairs cloakroom, hauling on a tuque and Ned and I are heading out in the storm. 

Happy to link with Alycia QuiltsQuilting Patchwork AppliqueIt's a Small Town LifeQuilting is More Fun Than HouseworkSo Scrappy and A Quiltery.

Tuesday 2 April 2024

Second Best Thrift Find, Easter Feast, Spring's First Flower

 I get sad sometimes when I see how many folks have stopped blogging; several I had quite a nice email friendship with so I miss them. I guess Instagram is gradually getting more popular, but to me, it doesn't offer quite the same level of communication or connection. I'm going to carry on blogging for as long as I enjoy it. You, my blogging friends, have become an important part of my life!  And it is good for my brain too keeping up with all the little bits and pieces of writing a blog...the linking up, searching, cutting and pasting as we called it in the old days, etc. 

We had our Easter feast, a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, on Sunday and everything went well. I enjoyed it all...the lead up- getting the house all clean, a spring tablecloth out, planning the meal and the special shop.  And then the food preparations. I still appreciate not having to rush about like in the old days juggling a work life along with these events. 

I used my Royal Albert Petit Point dish set. The perfect dishes for a cross stitcher!
 I shared this set as my best ever thrift store find back a couple of years ago. (Now I consider it my second best with This quilt find  being the very best). I paid $130 with 10 % off at checkout because I was spending more than a hundred dollars. I learned it had come from a nearby farmhouse. Included were all the side dishes including coffee mugs and even sugar still in the sugar dish. Just for reference the gravy boat alone can cost between $40 and $90 American on Etsy with the underplate going for $40. I realized again that my set included two gravy boats which made me imagine similar Easter dinners at a very long farmhouse dining room table.  

For dessert, I made (should say assembled because I didn't actually bake them) the Profiteroles with chocolate sauce and then decided not to make the Ambrosia salad.  As it happened, while in the bakery section of the store, I spied meringue nests and thought those would be a little nod to spring. I filled them with whipped cream topped with fresh fruit salad.

Kind of on the lighter side (though probably not calorie-wise) which I thought suited after a big dinner. And everyone seemed to enjoy it. 

And still in mind with petit point, well not quite... how I admire folks with the eyesight to stitch petit point! But I did slow stitch a fair bit since my last post. Included was making a start on my Pileated Woodpecker piece stitching around the eye. This is going to be so enjoyable to work on as I love stitching on the 28 count Cashel linen. I use a #26 tapestry needle for those who wondered and I enlarge the pattern too. 

Meanwhile on the Shady Branch Trail walk last week, I photographed this flower that was dotting one side of the path for quite a long stretch. It is the first flower I've seen this spring. It is Coltsfoot, an amazing dandelion like flower that appears before any leaves on trees or other foliage. A welcome sight!
Hope all is well in your little corner of planet Earth!
Happy to link with Kathy's Quilts.