Sunday, 19 November 2017

Four Reindeer Later And Unamused Hubby

So I said to Hubby, November will be the month to get a lot of things done...stuff we've been kind of putting off.  On the short list-
                                          flu shots
                                          winter service the cars
                                          put away the patio chairs(definitely not going to be sitting outside                                                          anymore)

       But look at this! We've been caught out on two of these things.
 The view from my Kitchen window, today November 19, as we are experiencing our first winter snowfall. I've enjoyed a long lovely fall so I'm thankful for that and that the snow held off as long as it did...a help to all the little critters.

And another job on the list for inside-strictly mine- clean the oven...we all have ovens so I thought you might be interested in my little experiment.  This, byw, is a job I detest. But I don't like a really dirty oven so needs must!

Perhaps you've seen all the links for cleaning your oven with more natural products, not those awful chemical oven cleaners; they also offer great savings too, I might add.

 I decided to give one of the concoctions a try.  The one I mixed was part baking soda, vinegar and a squirt of dish detergent.  I put the temperature on 200 for about 20 minutes beforehand because  I think I read somewhere that a warm oven is easier to clean.
My oven before

During which I left it for 24 hours. No, I did not scrimp on the mixture.

And After

No not really much cleaner.  The dirt that's gone is what I scrubbed off myself at the end.
 Oh well, I satisfied my own curiosity.  If you know of a cleaner that does not have those harsh fumes and is not so hard on skin, please let me know.

Snack time...sometimes simple is so tasty...cheese and tomato under the broiler in said slightly cleaner oven. (But I must say it smells nice.)
 This goes well with a bowl of soup and especially so on a snowy November day.

I seem to have a lot of hand stitching projects just now.  I usually rotate them day about.  The Scandinavian Christmas blocks are moving right along with two of the four blocks at this stage...
Lynette's reindeer have been so cute to stitch.

Block 2 taking shape. Cross stitching the borders was fun to do. Who would have thought mushrooms would look so at home in a winter scene!

Now I have to bring Block 1 along.  Today's slow stitching will be more reindeer ears and a snowman's scarf.  So appropriate for the weather!

But I confess I've been a bit distracted by this (amongst other things!).  The Crazy Quilting Journal Project  or CQJP for short.  I'd looked closely at this last year when the 2017 project was announced so it is high on my radar for this year.  I love the creativity involved with both the quilting and the surface stitching that make up Crazy Quilting.

Here is the link if you would like to read more about this one block a month project.

Hubby is hard of hearing anyway and presently has an ear plugged.  No speaking in the house.  Here is what I write him at one point. (I'm such a nerd.)

He was not amused.

Lots of slow Sunday stitching to check out at Kathy's Quilts. Caroline at Sew Can She has made a very cute little tote with a tutorial for us as well as hosting a link party. 

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Good Enough and Lily Love

New to Me!

I love these shoes and my feet are thanking me now that I've decided to forego slippers and wear shoes in the house. I am much more sure footed as a result too. I now have a collection of Sketchers for indoor wear.
My constant companion is trying to figure out what are we looking at.

In that photo I'm wearing one of my favourite skirts that has swirly designs in pretty mauves and purples and is an inexpensive Joe Fresh  purchase. I included the link because online there is a Womens Plus section that I think is so sensible to offer. Imagine buying clothes in the grocery store though!  It is almost like we are returning to the old "needle to an anchor" type stores only on a far grander scale.
Anyway, back to the swirls...there is true quilt inspiration there if in the right hands.

Lily Love

I didn't show you any of the day lilies that bloomed last summer.  They came in late because of the rainfalls but the wetness did not dim their beauty. There is a clump or two of just about every colour here.

Knitting News

I really like how the Ticking Stripe Scarf (my knitting project from Purl Soho) is turning out.  I can only get one row knit during an hour long episode of one of my shows... each row being 490 stitches. I also admit I've ignored it the last two weeks in lieu of time spent getting a couple of other projects up and running.  But it's back in my line of vision for this weekend.  This main body part has to measure 20 inches before repeating those pretty coloured stripes again. The wool is very soft which is essential for a scarf.

Good Enough

I really like this little piece made by Christine Kelly and shown at her Gentle Work blog. Her posts are scarcer these days but oh so pretty when they do show up. I love how Christine uses vintage linens in her creations...recycling and reusing with such beautiful results.
 This notion of "good enough" as in -is it good enough has crept into my life from time to my mothering, my food, my teaching, my writing, my stitching, etc etc. etc. good enough?

So pretty and a reminder that our best will be good enough.


Hope all is well and definitely "good enough" in your life!

There are lots of other little things to love, ogle and give a try at Not Afraid of ColorLittle Things Thursday , It's A Small Town Life and Home and Garden Thursday.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Sad News, Autumn's Call and Painted Lady

There is something pleasant about walking in November sunshine.
Maybe because the leaves are now down, nesting is done, frost has brushed the ground several mornings and yet here is a bright crystal clear day with faint warmth on my shoulder.  But there is a tinge of sharpness in the air that makes me walk a little faster, breathe a little deeper and wish I'd remembered to wear gloves.  When the dogs and I come back in the house, Hubby tells me we've brought the cold in with us.

Yes, now we are deep into Autumn here in Canada.
Here is my version of Crabapple Hill Studio's pattern Autumn's Call.  I worked this piece in 2013 using crayon tinting backing the embroidery.

The  2017 International Quilt Festival in Houston mounted a beautiful display of 75 quilts made by Sue Garman to honour her memory.  As I watched the Aurifi+l video I was a little sad but just completely in awe of her wonderful work.  This is the Aurifil Facebook link if you'd like to check it
Here is the last design Sue was working on, Blue Heaven.  BTW, her daughter is continuing the Sue Garman Blog with lots of quilting info.


I was also sad to hear Nancy Zieman's news.  An icon in  the quilting/sewing world, she is retiring due to serious illness.

                         Image result for sewing with nancy

Her personal note to us is here.

 I go way back with Nancy to my years of living in Labrador and when we finally got PBS included in the lineup.  I loved to catch her t.v. show and I've been getting the Nancy's Notions catalogues which she started, for eons.

I'm boiling the kettle as I write this to you btw. And I am also cleaning my oven supposedly as I sit here...more about that later in the week.

I am now keeping a few stitching projects afloat.  So far, so good.  No sinking.  LOL

Today's slow stitching will concentrate on my Painted Lady project.  All the tiny hearts have been blanket stitched since this photo was taken.  It's  ready for the embroidery inside the petals which just couldn't be more relaxing stitching.

I will finish this to the quilting point before Christmas which will be fine for now.
Like so many of you, I have Christmas stitching I really want to work on.

And I'm off to enjoy a mug of tea; this time Earl Grey, which is one of my favourites. 

Hope you get to enjoy a favourite something or other today too!

So grateful to the hosts at Small Quilts and Doll QuiltsThe Needle and Thread NetworkStitch All the ThingsEm's Scrapbag, and The Quilting Room With Mel for giving us sewists lovely places to meet up on the web.  And Kathy at Slow Stitching Sunday has an interesting post on lighting...a topic of much interest to all of us.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Ahh, The LIttle Things One Loves

My world just lately has included these little and great things.  

 As a Nana, I don't take it for granted for a single minute that I can have a grandchild actually trick or treat at my door.  I'm the one who moved away from friends and family to be near them after all.  So this little Spiderman is special to me.

The temperatures are slowly dipping and we have had two mornings now with frost on the ground. So soup simmering season is here.  This one turned out so well I thought I'd share it.  I had a chicken carcass I used for the basis and the rest of the recipe is here.
 It is Ree's recipe; you might know her as the Pioneer Woman.  We both thought it was delicious and so hearty too.
Pioneer Woman's Easy Mulligatawny Soup

Hubby has a tiny problem with hypoglycemia especially if he overexerts himself (he'll smile at that last bit because he feels so little means overexerting these days.)  Anyway, we have found these particular candy to be useful for those moments.  Ginger Chews, an all natural type low glycemic candy we take on outings and seem to do the trick.  And like the line from the very old Irish Spring soap commercial..."I like them too".

I'm always on the look out for birds and was happy to watch this one in the back yard.  A Hairy Woodpecker- that I spied on for ages as it pecked its way up and down this large tree.  Quite noisily too I might add.

And I've been instigating a midnight lights out policy for myself.  Sometimes I need a little help going to sleep so play music videos very softly such as this one. ( Insomnia continues to be an issue for me despite my efforts. )

                                          Image result for rest and be thankful quote

I am thankful to be able to link with Not Afraid of ColorLittle Things Thursday, and It's A Small Town LIfe as we celebrate taking pleasure in small things.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

The One With the Crooked Eye

We are rained in today! After a glorious fall day I spent in the garden yesterday, we are now under a rainfall alert for today. I am so happy I got to muck about in the fresh air yesterday.

You know at times I've lamented finding clothes to suit/fit me?  Someone mentioned to me why not sew your own clothes.  She even gave me a link to a free pattern (thanks Marilyn who doesn't have a blog) and now I'm passing this information along to you.

The pattern is for a full gathered skirt and available from Pattern Runway.  Don't know about you but this would definitely suit my style. I wear a lot of skirts and jumpers because they accommodate my ample hip/thigh region (isn't that a nice way to write about fat thighs!).
I wonder how hard is it to sew your own clothes.  I think of words like interfacing and inset sleeves and get kind of worried.  Zippers would definitely pose a challenge. I'm the one with a crooked eye remember. I've had to unsew a seam when sewing perfectly square Block A to equally perfectly square  Block B.

Amy at  Free Motion Quilting Adventures had a Tunic Challenge with her blogging friend Leah.  I really liked her final tunic and could definitely see myself wearing it.  Amy has some lovely FMQ videos too to check out btw.
She mentioned this book- The Tunic Bible, which claims this one pattern is all you need with interchangeable pieces.  It is available Here on Amazon if you want to give it a look.


And Michele at William Morris in Quilting sewed herself the most beautiful tunic type tops as well. Her April 30th post shows two she made from Ikea fabric. I was so impressed.

So do you sew clothes for yourself?  Care to share about it..

Ok enough daydreaming, back to the real world...
I've been cutting freezer paper templates for the hearts in my Scandinavian Christmas.

And ironed them onto their chosen fabrics...18 on reds and 5 on creams.

 These are honestly such relaxing jobs.  I turned the edges while watching this handsome gent last night.

                                       Image result for george gently

Friday I got out my light box and traced a bunch of stuff.  Also relaxing.

I have the cross stitch edging on Block One traced.  A little bit fiddly.

Now have all the last three months for A Patchwork Year blocks traced and ready for stitching as well. Someone asked...I use a simple back stitch for my redwork.

Today though I will be hand stitching the sashing onto the Tweet Home block and also my Cornwall Cottage Sampler is calling out for some attention too.  So lots of stitching happening on this rainy November day. Actually a perfect slow stitching kind of day.
Hoping something perfect is happening in your day.

Happily linking this post with the very pretty Sew Can She,  BOM's Away at What a Hoot Quilts, Love, Laugh, Quilt and Crazy Mom Quilts sites.  Thank you all for hosting my favourite way to visit fellow stitchers.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Do You Know This?

I bet you know what a group of crows is called but do you know what a group of ravens is??? I thought of this because I have several check out the feeders from time to time.  Immediately all the other bird activity ceases...they are so striking and I've noticed the blackness of them even their legs.  They don't travel in any numbers particularly but even so have a swagger about them just like bad boys on the block.

New to me and I think it is something you might be interested in.  I'm rather sparse on beauty products in general but I have used moisturizer all my life and have tried so many.

 I spied this one, L'Oreal Rosy Tone Daily Moisturizer, in a magazine, and made note of it.  Because of my vitiligo, I have no melanin in my face from the neck up. The dermatologist who diagnosed me said when he first laid eyes on me, my you are very white.  I said something silly like well I am Caucasian because I had no clue at the time I had an actual condition.  So that is a long way to say that I am actually deathly pale and anything that promises to give me some rosiness is welcome.
 I found a jar at Walmart...and on a mark down so am giving it a try.

Well, I can't say it is giving me a rosy glow but it is one of the nicest moisturizers, very creamy and not greasy, that I have ever used. Also not causing any issues with my occasional bouts of rosacea. But maybe it feels good to me because I do have dry skin.   As for reducing lines, I'm a sceptic and really I've earned every line I have so they belong to me.

I took the below picture October 21.  I was so surprised to see an intact rose bloom while all the others have completely withered.  There are two bushes, one each side of the front walkway and they bloom the entire summer.  Another great perennial.

This is Rex, resting but eyes wide open.  He chose this spot because he can keep an eye on me sitting in the Pet Chair.  My Shih Tzus, while totally lovable, were never attentive like this.
Sadly I think he is slowing down and it makes me even more kind and solicitous of him.

On Facebook I've been getting the live feed from the Aurifil folks at the International Quilt Market.  Here is the link to their facebook page  Aurifil on Facebook where you can watch all of them.  It's neat to see the famous designers like Sarah Fielke and Tula Pink sharing sewing tips and chatting about their favourite tools, etc. 

Meanwhile I enjoyed watching this Moda video from a 2016 Quilt Market.  In particular, I liked seeing Anne Sutton here talking about her Sugar Plum fabrics and the new BOM she had designed for it.

Here is a look at that sweet quilt which I may have shown you before.  So Christmasy, heh.

A group of ravens???  An "unkindness" or "conspiracy".  Both certainly suit their rather intimidating demeanor. While I love learning new words such as this,  I am yet to have a conspiracy of ravens in my yard.

So happy to link this post with # 61 of Thursday Likes Posts at Not Afraid of Color , It's A Small Town LifeWilly Nilly Friday and Little Things Thursday.
 How fortunate we are to have such an array of happy things in our lives.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

OMG, A Patchwork Year and Autumn Finale

Before any stitching chat, you must allow me to brag a little about the beauty of my hometown -Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.  But you don't have to take my word for is a video made by my brother and sister- in- law that shows the autumn is beautiful in scenic western Newfoundland.

So a last look at Autumn 2017...

Completely new to me is this idea.  

I've been reading Wendy at The Constant Quilter talking about Potholder Quilting.  Well I just thought she was meaning "quilt as you go" so I admired her work and didn't think much else about it.  Then reading one of her posts it struck me..Potholder quilting is something different. Duh!
 You quilt and bind each block and then sew those completely finished blocks together.  Sort of like sewing potholders together.  What a neat idea!

I realized that my Kathy Schmitz A Patchwork Year Blocks would work perfectly for this technique.  So you know me, I had to give one a try.

Before I show you is the October block which I'd meant to show you last week.  Yet another pumpkin; I know it has been pumpkin overload around here this past month!

I feel a little sentimental about these three little birds (this post will explain why) so this is the first one I've made into a quilt sandwich and begun to quilt.  I intend to sash half the blocks in red and the other half in the cream.

June Block

And a little close up of the hand quilting I'm attempting to do.

So I think for the first time I will link up with the pretty site Elm Street Quilts and join the challenge of meeting a stated One Monthly Goal in quilting.  I've visited the OMG list many times and dropped by some of you I've seen there; these link parties are a wonderful way to meet like-minded stitchers.

My One Monthly Goal for November is completing two of my Patchwork Year blocks the potholder way.
Happily linking with the folks at the Needle and Thread Network and Silly Mama Quilts this week.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Retro Halloween

Is Halloween celebrated in your neck of the woods?  It is traditionally celebrated here in Canada with costumed children going about the neighbourhood, knocking on doors, saying "trick or treat" and being given a treat in the form of candy. It was the highlight of  my growing up years; I think because we were never 'treated' like kids today are. 

Here is my post I wrote about what Halloween was like for me as a girl growing up in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.


I always had a face mask like this and usually it was of an animal.

"They're just too lazy these days," said an old great uncle of mine about 35 years ago.  We were sitting around lamenting the dwindling numbers of children going from door to door trick or treating.  We thought he might have a point but the teachers in the family were hesitant to support the use of the L word.
That comment  certainly did not apply to us when we were young, I can tell you.

Strong in my memory are the Halloweens of my childhood.  Hugely anticipated, we would talk about and think about trick or treating for days leading up to it. Costumes didn't figure heavily in any of this...mostly we wore those rubber or plastic full face masks that cost 39 cents from Stedman's.  They were horrible, smelly things and by the end of the evening your face would be a wet, sweaty mess but we certainly didn't complain.

We loved planning our route beforehand, wondering how far we could get.  The longer you were out and the further you went meant more goodies.  Someone could always remember which houses gave out the best stuff; we all coveted bags of chips especially and there was always a house on Mount Bernard Avenue that gave out  the 5 cent bags of Scotties chips.  I'm sure half the kids in Corner Brook would ring their bell but they never ran out of chips.

Perhaps Halloween was so important to us because treats were rarish in those days.  We got certain things for Christmas and our birthday, but candy and such was just not plentiful around the house, or at least, not in my house.

 The Halloweens of my childhood were innocent, fun-filled affairs; I don't remember ever any talk about the sinister associations some people have made of it these days.

But then it changed.  The costume got to be more involved and important and expensive.  Rumours and stories of razors and needles (eek) in apples made the news and parents became more suspicious of the free treats from strangers' houses.  Children began to get treats more readily not just for special occasions; a few candies didn't hold the same appeal.  Supply and Demand.  Maybe for one or all these reasons the children went out in fewer and fewer numbers.

Some of the subdivisions around here still have a goodly number of trick or treaters, this many years past uncle's remark.  You can almost tell the demographics of your neighbourhood by the number of children coming to your door on Halloween night.

Hubby can't remember the last time a trick or treater came to the door here.  In fact,  for us here deep in the country and fairly isolated, I think someone ringing our doorbell on Halloween night would actually be a scary thing.  Booo  

                                  Image result for vintage halloween images

Happily linking this post with Our World Tuesday where you can read about interesting happenings around our world.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

A Christmas Start

Yes, so with the little Halloween hanging on the wall in time for the 31st, I could think of starting my Christmas project, Scandinavian Christmas, from Lynn Anderson Designs.  I am very happy to be launching into this with what I think are good allowances -time wise.

I started with something I've read a number of you are doing...namely stash shopping.  From my cupboard, I pulled out the appropriate neutral kind of shades in reds, tans and greys.  I did not go to my little box of Christmas fabrics because I know everything there is the brighter Christmasy kind of colours.   Anne, bless her heart, had included in her parcel all her leftover fabrics of the called for line designed by Lynette herself.. I had looked online to buy some of this but could not find it anywhere.  But I think I have enough including some Lynette Anderson for Thimbleberries fabric (where did that come from??) to get by.

So Block One is the one with the stacked reindeer and two chicken.  I love it and working out the freezer paper templates was easy.  A little bit of hand sewing for later in the day.

I proceeded to cutting the little churn dash blocks using the allowances written in the pattern.  It was supposed to finish at 3 inches exactly.  Mine was too big but I knew why.  I'd added seam allowance of 1/4 inch all around each piece (because I couldn't find where it mentions this) and you weren't supposed to.  But I don't care...this was good practice and I have a nice little orphan block which might fit somewhere in the piece anyway.  I suppose this is where if I was really good at measurements I would have known those dimensions would wind up being too big.

I am very pleased with the embroidery that is part of this pattern too... a bit of cross stitch and stem stitch here and there.

This is my second Lynette Anderson project.  I completed her In Full Bloom BOM back in 2013 and loved working on it.
We used it for a winter in front of the fire place at the old house to help stop draughts.  Hubby's very practical idea for the use of quilts other than on a bed. LOL
Did any of you complete this same project?

Lynette seems to enjoy using what I would call somewhat muted colours in her fabrics.

This was when I was still dyeing my hair I see. I can tell from this picture that my face is thinning as I age too, just like Mom. (If only other body parts would thin along with it !!)
 I think I looked like a different person then. LOL

Meanwhile here in 2017, I am listening to and enjoying this audiobook.  Of Jane Eryre's era and a female serial killer!  Those two points don't go together very often. 

                                        Cover image for Jane Steele

  So this is my Sunday plan for today's Slow Stitching and Listening.
 Enjoy your stitching where ever you are and whatever you are up to!

Happily linking this post to Stitch All The Things.  Host Christine has posted her cross stitched piece...Sleepy Hallow Halloween which is beautiful plus it has the most remarkable framing I think I've ever seen.  What a keepsake!
I am also linking with The Quilting Room With Mel.  Mel has a very cute mini quilt that has been chosen for display at the current Houston Quilt Market.  Her quilt consists of 106 half square triangles each only 3/4 in. finished! I am amazed by her precision...award winning in my book!
I am linking up with the rest of the Moving It Forward group at Em's Scrapbag too.
 Em is showing the beautiful Moda fabric line for Christmas called Vintage Holiday by Bonnie and Camille.  I can't wait to see what she will make with it.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

October is About Leaves

I found the title of this post under my feet.  Literally.  I had to get a photo quickly while the reds were still present as they are the first to fade.  The weather has been changing things up this very strange fall by remaining remarkably warm.  But oh so wonderful for walking which I love.

Here is the very pretty L is for Leaves block from The Prairie Schooler Alphabet design (also on my watch list).  Goes without saying I love this.

                               Image result for prairie schooler l is for leaves

Got sidetracked by this when I was hunting for a link for you...their Fall Fields to cross stitch. The only one I haven't seen here on this property is the pheasant.

                                 Fall Fields - Cross Stitch Pattern

Are you like me and would have to live to be 120 to stitch all the things you love!

I usually walk a couple times a day and have caught sight of a Great Blue Heron down at the pond several early mornings.  Frightens easily so no photo.  Twice I've caught its great long legs up in the sky which just looks so odd  till it straightens out.

The walking trails on this property are wonderful for us old folks to toddle around.

Love how the ornamental grasses, which I guess you could say are leaves, are so showy this time of year.
And this about leaves- here is a photo of my Painted Lady hanging with the big leaf motif on one side.  These are such joyful colours to work with.  I'm enjoying the hand stitching too.

I just love this little poem which could have been written for our Canadian autumns.

October, baptize me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse me with split pea soup. October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins. O autumn! O teakettle! O grace!

Hubby would second the candy bars and the teakettle! How about you??

Please check out Not Afraid of Color where LeeAnna is hosting #60 of Thursday Likes.  Where has the time gone!! Happily linking with Good and Random Fun and It's A Small Town Life.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Sew Spooky So Finished!

I waver between thinking I am useless at this to thinking there is hope for me yet.  I am pleased with my individual blocks but putting them together posed problems for me.  I won't bore you with all the second guessing that entailed but there was a lot.
 A couple of  the Sew Spooky blocks before becoming a hanging.

Here is Kitty before getting her whiskers and during the "buttons for eyes" try out.  I found this cat button in my tin.

Here is the sandwich part bristling with pins. Wound up with what looked like empty space on either side at the top and decided to put spiders' webs trailing there to fill it in.

 How to quilt it?? Decisions, decisions. I am far more comfortable with hand stitching but I know I should practise more with the machine.
That involved the darning/embroidery foot going on my machine.  And finding out that somehow I have misplaced my pressure foot holder.  How in the dickens did I do that! I'm now at the point after an exhaustive search(es) of just ordering a new one. Grrr...

I sewed trailing lines for some blocks around the appliques and went to town on circles around Kitty.

 They were fun and scary to do which sums up how I feel about free motion quilting in general.
I was surprisingly happy with the trailing lines I laid down though.
 And actually, my practice piece for pebbles was better than this; by the time I got to the actual block, my hands were tired.  FMQ is all about the hands, I've discovered.
I've deepened the shadows deliberately so you can see the circles.  Thankfully, they are not as prominent as this in normal light.

And finally taking its place in the back rogues gallery of quilt hangings where luckily the 10 foot rule applies. lol

After this week with the machine, I am eager to return to hand work and will be embroidering on my Painted Lady piece today. I am actually working on the butterfly wings which are two shades of blue and so pretty.

Late afternoon, almost sunset...the hydrangea in front of my little (but yet not so little that things can't get lost in it!) sewing room windows.

Hope you and all your belongings, bits and bobs are all accounted for!

So happy to link this post with sewing parties at Crazy Mom QuiltsConfessions of a Fabric AddictLove Laugh Quilt, and Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing. Thank you all for hosting this valuable way to get to know each other.