Sunday, 30 July 2017

Savouring Summertime Slow Stitching

Slow Stitching this Sunday, one that is pushing us perilously close to the end of July.  Summer days are so precious in my country I want them to go on and on.

My wall of borders for A Patchwork Year keeps growing.  Bout half way there now.


 Also almost finished the stitching for July month, a nest with three little birds which gave me a little pang thinking of the three lost on our veranda.


My cross stitch project grows but not as fast as the quilting ones do.  It is quite large.


Believe it or not, both the items in this photo below were gifts to me from Hubby.  The striped container held the Valentine's orchid he gave me this year.  True to form for a smart but geeky retired engineer, he didn't realize the word LOVE was on the side of the pot when he bought it. LOL

And he was proud of this hand held magnet on the left...he'd heard me complain about losing needles and pins on the floor.  It's wooden and has ridges that a needle will disappear into.  This was just the remedy he figured...a very strong magnet and pulling on the inner lever cleverly releases whatever the magnet has attracted.  I have to smile whenever I use it.



This was a glorious summer day and Murphy had a very relaxing afternoon on the veranda with me; she slept, I stitched.


Hope your week is as relaxed as this!

Happily linking this post with Busy Hands Quilts and other wonderful link parties in the side bar.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

From Cavies to Cabbage!

This is entirely new to me.

  I had no idea guinea pigs could be such rewarding pets.  The poodles my blogging friends, LeeAnna (Not Afraid of Color) and Michele ( 3P & N) have, yes of course, but I'd never have dreamed tiny guinea pigs would also provide such enjoyment.
 I think I'd really only heard of them when a teacher would get one for the class to learn about pets and how to take care of them. The kids would take turns having it at their house for a weekend which they seemed to love doing.
 But I didn't know they could have such engaging personalities. Sally at Crafts, Cavies and Cooking includes the antics of her little pets,Wedgewood and Boadacia, in her posts.  So cute!

Love this pattern from Crabapple Hill Studio... Girls' Getaway.  Are you a luxuriate in the bath kind of person?  I'm not though I do enjoy a hot spa session.

                                  


Did you know Quilting Books, Patterns and Notions site, besides a Discount page has a Gently Used section? They are posting books for as little as $5 US.  This link will take you to what's offered right now.  It changes all the time and is definitely worth checking out...you never know when you might find the very book you have wanted. As Rosie O'Donnell once said on her show, no matter how rich you are, you enjoy a bargain.

This is the wettest summer on record here in the Ottawa area but I've noticed certain flowers are flourishing with the rain.  This is one of them...the black eyed Susans. Last summer they were rather scarce but loads and loads are dotting the property this year.  I like how they are wonderful in bouquets and, unlike other wildflowers, will last in the house.  Such a cheery little flower even in the rain the day I took this shot.


Perhaps it is my Irish roots, but I like cabbage very much and cook it often.  I like how easy it is to saute with a little onion, sprinkled with apple cider vinegar and it is instantly a great healthy side dish.  I fried bacon strips with this (perhaps not so healthy, LOL) and baked potatoes in the microwave, my version of 'fast food'.  I sometimes add peppers or as in this case, cherry tomatoes.



Here is a link to this article below. Though I don't believe it has moon power like the ancient healers did, I do think the somewhat lowly cabbage is a healthy choice (but I do understand there are folks who can't tolerate it).


                            

Well this is annual check up day for the dogs at the vets'.  I really like our veterinarian, Dr. Sue Martin.
 But it is a little bit stressful taking Rex to the clinic.  We have to get the last appt. of the day so he won't inadvertently scare anyone and we scout ahead to be sure there is only staff about.  All women there so there is no problem as he seems to like females. To clarify, in guard dog training apparently he was trained not to bite, just to bark which he does a lot of.  We  just don't want to take any chances; a large German Shepherd even just barking could give someone a good fright.
 Wish us luck.

I will be linking with the colourful Not Afraid of Color and It's a Small Town Life and reading all the great Thursday likes and thankful things.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Now Where Did I Put That?

When it comes to organization and stitching tips, I need all the help I can get...

Hubby had me buy a fishing tackle box when he saw how I kept some of my sewing tools, etc. in multiple little boxes.  The box worked great for a few years till Murphy accidentally leaped on it one day and broke all the trays off. ( I remember it well because it was the same week she chewed a library book which I had to pay a $20 fee for; not the only time she's done that, sigh, but I love her anyway.)

 I've looked for a replacement but only found small boxes with maybe one tray.  I was looking online and found this one at Cabela's and since they just opened a big new store here, I am going to check it out.  Hubby is in seventh heaven because a brand new Princess Auto opened right beside it. (And ladies if you are single and wondering where all the men are, believe me, they are at a Princess Auto store!).
 
Image result for fishing tackle boxes

 My cross stitched Quakers in my Cornwall Cottage Sampler are moving along with a photo for you soon.
This idea below is a big help when working with multiple shades of the same colour, which I usually am. Depending on time of day, amount of light, angle of the sun, old lady eyes, you name it, it can get tricky to tell some of them apart. Rethreading my needles and having them all ready is something I try to do at the end of each stitching session thought they are not often lined up as neatly as this.
  1. Keep your floss colors organized while you cross stitch - label each one with the chart symbol.  No need to keep threading/un-threading!




A friend on Facebook posted the above idea and isn't it great?  With the dogs and hair, I could never let my wool drift along the floor.  A lot of Rex would wind up being worked into whatever I was crocheting!
I saw a similar bowl for the same thing at Wooltyme.  It was a piece of pottery and very expensive, but what a great gift idea for a knitter or crocheter.  Here is a yarn bowl made by Darrielles ClayArt that was available on Etsy but no longer. Of course, I adore the two little birds and there are many more to choose from.  


Another way to keep track of rows when knitting. Nothing fancy here.  A sheet of paper and a paper clip.  This could work for a crochet pattern too.  It was pinned by Teresa on Pinterest.

source Internet

And this last one, as Little Dorrit, the television series, fans, I could not help but show you this vintage type counter.  I guess you could work out something like this with cardboard yourself if you'd a mind to.

                        little-dorrit-row-counter-1

Many of you are visiting beaches these days and I bookmarked this photo to show you.
This idea is from Making it With Danielle and I thought it was easy and genius.

DIY Pocketed BeachTowel

Before I leave you today, I just have to show you this most beautiful quilt.

Image result for danny amazonas quilt patterns

Danny Amazonas created this quilt to celebrate motherhood.  I meant to include this for Mother's Day but forgot. A work of art, really.
Puts my struggle with HST's into perspective, I tell you.

So have you worked out great ideas for keeping track when working through a pattern? Corralling materials? Care to share?

Sunday, 23 July 2017

For the Sake of My Sewing Sanity

I slept well overnight but woke very early at around 4:15 this morning. I decided to take my camera and the dogs out for a walk with me and catch the sunrise scheduled for 4:38 am.  But no sign of the sun with a heavily overcast sky and just a lot of mosquitoes for my trouble. However, two very happy dogs.

I've written how inept I was at the piecing around the Kathy Schmitz project A Year in Patchwork blocks...said piecing is so pretty and adds so much to each block there's no way I can not do it.  I was frustrated with the hand stitching and avoided it for a few days; let my nerves build up to face working at it again while I went about other things.  Then I got back to tackling it just as I knew I would have to.

My plan is one to make sure these stitched blocks don't become orphans like the redworked birds did.  So I've decided to do the patchwork bits around each block before I embroider them knowing full well that for me the embroidered part is pleasurable. The HST on the corner of the flying geese block was what gave me so much trouble, so I decided to not do them for the sake of my sewing sanity.  Since my stitching is my therapy, to lose my mind over that would be sad indeed. LOL

I like to do a project just like the designer has laid out so this is a bit of a departure.  But I know who cares in the end.  Answer: no one!
 So far I have three more blocks sewn by machine and feel pretty good about them.  I think I have this in hand now.


I don't need to be told this, but reminded as the saying goes.  Valerie Nesbitt does an excellent job of reminding me what precision stitching on a machine is all about.  I found this video very helpful.


I tend to like to have one project well along before starting another.  Getting this one moved along as it were with the trickier bits taken care of, will let me happily join in with Jacquelynne Steeves' new free BOM in August which is what is in the back of my mind.

And speaking of sanity...so many of us in the Northern Hemisphere are busy tending gardens these days.  If you have the time, view this calming little video showing time lapse blooming of some of nature's prettiest flowers.  I find anything time lapse so mesmerizing, do you?


Quick Gardening Question


Speaking of flowers, the Yucca is in bloom and I have two spikes of flowers.  According to the gardening expert on radio, this means I could separate this plant to transplant one somewhere else.  Any Yucca experts out there...is this true??



Thursday, 20 July 2017

TimTams Among My Thursday Likes

New To Me

I am friends on Facebook with Robin Anne West, a wonderful quilter.  She mentioned a little tea and biscuit snack called TimTams.  I asked what are TimTams. And kind Robin responded by sending me a package with an assortment of TimTams and Australia's own Vegemite (more about that later).  The TimTams are a big hit in this house...the double coated are especially good so if you can get your hands on them in your neck of the woods, do indulge!



I love movies and going to the theatre to watch one is a favourite outing for me.  I get to do that with older grandson these days which is a bit of fun for me.  Last week we went to see Spiderman: Homecoming; I enjoyed it very much.



I am a person who prefers to focus on the present day.  I'm a little careful with my reminiscing as, like everyone, I've had my share of sad things happen to me.  I wonder if the mind somehow holds the feelings even though consciously trying not to think of the events themselves. Would that account for those rarish days when I feel not myself and a little bit down for no good reason.  Those are times when I need to go in my sewing room and lose myself.  It works for me to keep the morbid thoughts at bay and I can emerge feeling better. Fabric is still cheaper than drugs..LOL.

Speaking of which...do you like this new fabric line called Cottage Charm from Jacquelynne Steeves for  Henry Glass and Company.  I wonder will she use this for her new BOM in August.  I think it is pretty but there are so many around it is hard to choose one over another.

                                         Image result for leanne anderson new fabric

 The garden also helps soothe me too I've noticed.  I don't need a plan in mind...I'm out there bending down and immediately there is something that needs doing...weeding always, and gradually I am settling down inside as I pull out weeds or note what needs transplanting.
I am so grateful for these pastimes that carry me through my weaker hours.

The Balloon plants also benefited from heavy pruning last fall.

Loads of day lilies all around.

And here are flowers worked on wire fences!!
Danielle Clough is a thread artist who likes to work her magic in city places such as parking lots.

                     bird-1.jpg

And also on tiny landscapes as well. The talent all around us  is so wonderful to see.

         
Image result for danielle clough


Here is the link to her web site where there are amazing embroideries to view.

I am happily linking with the lovely Not Afraid of Color blog and will be reading the wonderful Thursday likes posted there, every single one!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Veranda Stitching and Sad Nest News

Most of the sunny days you will find me on the front veranda stitching away and Miss Murphy with me.  Rex is too "on guard" to join us...alerts at every butterfly and bird and doesn't relax.  Since I've sat on porches summertime stitching most of my life, I don't think of it as an elderly pursuit as such.


But summer has arrived and in between showers, I've been enjoying lots of garden and outdoor time.


Below is a flowering bush called "Summer Wine" which has burgundy leaves and an interesting bloom.  The landscapers must have been very fond of it because there are three here which I pruned back hard last fall.  This seems to have led to massive blooming along lovely trailing branches this year.  Or maybe it responds well to lots and lots of rain.


Meanwhile, our resident robin did choose one nest of the thirteen starts, finished it and laid three eggs.  The male and female have been very busy feeding the three hatchlings.




The answer to my multiple nest problem.   



Nests


Q. Is it common for a robin to build more than one nest at a time?
A. This is a question we hadn't been asked before, so we wrote to Len Eiserer, the author of The American Robin: A Backyard Institution. Len answered,

Building multiple nests simultaneously happens every now and again with robins. One started 26 different nests on roof rafters of a garage under construction; another built 8 on successive steps of a fire escape. Support from underneath is the primary site selection factor for the female robin — it's more important than concealment. Because some human structures provide repetitive sites with strong support, the female can get seduced into building multiple nests.

This is an example of "supernormal stimuli" — artificial stimuli that are even more effective than those provided by Mother Nature (tree limbs). Animals have a hard time resisting supernormal stimuli. There are many examples. Your robin will probably settle on one site and just lay eggs in that nest, or else just incubate eggs in that nest after laying, say, one egg in one nest and two in the other. She won't lay two complete sets of eggs and try to incubate both of them at the same time.

Sad News

Something attacked the nest overnight and all three hatchlings have died.  The dogs barked in the night and I got up to look about but didn't see anything.  I just wonder what could have come up on the veranda and gotten up at the nest.  The nest is in pieces on the ground.  

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Embroidery on Wool and Yummy Blueberry Dessert

I have finished the knitting part of  my knitted blanket project. I do like how colourful this is and it will definitely brighten the snowy days next winter. I crocheted three rows of single crochet for an edging.  It is very heavy and warm which is a good thing.

How many dog noses can you see in this picture?
 I know because now I am embroidering decorative stitches around each block and it has to be maneuvered and has to sit on my lap and legs to do so.



This is my "basement" project these days in front of the t.v. where it is cooler.





I'm enjoying this embroidery part very much, working whatever stitches I feel like and also using up a bunch of tapestry and crewel wools I've had hanging around.

I've been eager to share this blueberry recipe with you.. the Heavenly Blueberry and Cream Angel Dessert posted over at Mel's Kitchen Cafe.
I did make it finally and took photos of the process...
There it is...the beginning layers in the large glass bowl.




Angel food cake cubes, cream cheese and sugar mixture and cooked blueberries. It is a very easy recipe to make especially if you use a store bought angel food cake. And a little more economical now that blueberries are in season and the prices have dropped dramatically from back in the winter.



 I forgot to get a photo of the completely finished product probably in my haste to get it into my mouth!
 But Mel's does look better than mine anyway so I'll show hers.

                                         Blueberry Angel Food Cake Dessert

It was so yummy and blueberries and whipped cream just go together beautifully.  ( Well, what doesn't go with whipped cream!) You can Visit Mel's Kitchen Cafe and see the recipe and video for this as well as lots of other great dishes.

 Happy Stitching All!

Happily linking up with all the craftastic ideas at Sew Can Do!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Thread Spools Have Secrets!

Did you know this?  It is new to me.
  The Gutermann thread spools are hiding a secret.  SuperMom No Cape  wrote this wonderful post about the secrets in your thread spools.  And I had to go right to the sewing room and check it out-sure enough, there is a tiny secret compartment in the middle of the spool especially if one end is covered.


What could one hide there?  Needles are obvious, but perhaps a dollar bill or a couple of aspirin. Wouldn't it be interesting to know just what some women hid there.  These Gutermann spools have been around since 1864.
Imagine learning a new thing about something I've been handling for decades!

A surprise package in the mail gives us all pleasure, I think.
This a fat quarter bundle I had bid on awhile back and forgotten about from Massdrop.  Enough of us had entered the 'drop' as they term it, to bring down the price 42%. This is Morning Song by Elizabeth Olwen for Cloud 9, kind of modernish designs with some deep mauves and cool colour combinations.  Good to shake me up a bit.  The  Massdrop quilting and stitching community continues to grow and people are suggesting very interesting items.



I felt lucky to have spied this on the outer garage wall when I went there to give Hubby a hand with the mowing tractor.  I raced to grab my camera and it rewarded me with just a few seconds, long enough to get one shot, before flying away. It is the marvelous Luna Moth, about four inches across and I was lucky since they only live for about a week, do not feed and have to rely on the food they ate as caterpillars. Isn't nature fascinating! They are an interesting border crosser and have been making their way into Ontario from the United States.



I promised to find out more about Japanese embroiderer Kimika Hara and I did.  Along the way I visited some wonderful embroidery blogs and almost lost my way, but eventually found this.
Here is the link to Kimika's blog.  Amazing interesting embroidery in her Etsy store too.

And I'm just as taken with her self portrait as I was with her fox at night piece.


                         kimikahara


Thank you all for the concern about my poor finger.  It is surprisingly quiet...not hurting at all which I don't know if that is a good thing or not.  Have I killed it!!

Be sure to click over to lovely Not Afraid of Color and visit the likes that others are linking. Also linking with the wonderful thankfulness to be found at It's A Small Town Life.







Wednesday, 12 July 2017

What Was In the Chocolate Box? Hint: Not Chocolates


 Going through one of my big totes, I uncovered a flat Laura Secord chocolate box and wondered what was in it. Not a clue.  This set of  twelve embroidered bird blocks was inside.  I'd completely completely forgotten about these.  Yes, hurriedly getting to the stage where I'll be able to hide my own Easter eggs!


So this is another project with the embroidered pieces finished and in need of joining in some fashion!
 I had this one on the go back in the year 2014; I liked to keep it for my bit of handiwork on outings.  I had a little baggie with one square (design already drawn on), the aurifil red thread and a needle and this was so easy to cart about and pull out to lay a few stitches if I was waiting somewhere or sitting around chatting.  I took it on holidays that summer but truthfully, did not sew a stitch.  Things were too hectic and all moments taken up with one thing or another, I simply could not get to it.  However, my fingers became busy once more when I came home.


This project from Crabapple Hill Studio is called Flight of Fancy.  It included the patterns for the twelve birds to be embroidered using redwork and then sewn into a quilt.  The design they used was for large blocks to match the size of the bird blocks so the whole quilt would make an easy to piece together quilt finally measuring about 76in by 76in.




I liked how all the birds are found in our area and some are real favourites of mine.

 The material I used was bought originally for the Susan's Dresdan Garden project, also from Crabapple Hill Studio but in the end I did not like how dull it seemed.  However, I did turn this one block I made into a little mat for a side table.


 I remember searching through my likely background materials and pulling this one out and realizing immediately how it could look like a mottled kind of sky.  I knew the red aurifil thread would be intense enough to stand out against it.  I tried it for the first block and liked it.  The material itself is excellent quality and was expensive so I was so happy to have found a good use for it.


For a while there, I seemed to do every project from Crabapple Hill.  I have at least 10 of them done or the patterns in my files.

Who knows what surprises still await me in the totes I have stored at daughter's house?!

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Liberty Block and A Smashed Finger(!)

Warning:  Smashed finger photo at the end so don't go there if such would upset you!


I hesitate to tell you how long it has taken me to finish these, my first two blocks of the Kathy Schmitz A Patchwork Year project. After a valiant attempt, I could not get the pieces to fit by machine so wound up sewing them by hand.  At least, though much slower, they more or less fit together at the seams and points.  But I love how they look and I'm hoping the imperfections won't be too glaring in the overall end result.



July was the Liberty house, a lovely design to stitch.  And yes I can see that the right upper corner and bottom right need more tweaking and luckily I cut these little blocks with lots of seam allowance to play with.



With those two more or less finished, it was time to get out my light box and trace another pattern.


I use a Micron Pigment pen for tracing and the pale orange is strong enough for these eyes but will get completely covered by the red thread.


Some people don't like this part of the process and I understand if you have a shaky hand it could be frustrating.  I wish I could come to your house and trace for you as I could do this all day! Perhaps you could then do my piecing for me!!



June pattern...More happy relaxing stitching ahead.

Meanwhile....
Some of you know we use wood what with a large stove in the basement and a wood stove insert in the living room fireplace.  We also have a small outdoor wood stove used to heat water.  Yesterday we were hauling wood to stack near it and I had a little mishap.
 I was reaching high over the steel fence and tossing the chunks over.  Towards the end I noticed I was tiring with the continual lifting my arms above my head to reach over.  It was about then a rather large chunk slipped from my right hand and caught my left hand middle finger between it and the iron fence giving the top a good bang.

 I had to get into the house fast as I immediately felt faint.  After a bit of a lie down, I felt fine and tended to my poor squashed finger.  I decided I didn't need medical help, soaked it in tea tree oil and bandaged it.  It was throbbing so I confess I did take some Tylenol.
 I have a high threshold of pain which is certainly helpful being me!



Hubby is so good at pacing himself and taking breaks but as he tells me, I don't know when to stop and always try to do too much at once.   I don't really know why that is the way I work...if there is a job to be done, I want to get on with it and get it over with.  Then with the reward earned as it were, I can relax. Are you like that too?

So what do you think?  Do you think I will lose the fingernail?