Thursday, May 26, 2011

I’m still here!

You all are just too much!

Over the last couple of days, I’ve received several emails enquiring about my whereabouts, welfare and absence.  Thank you all for your concern, for keeping tabs on me and for making me accountable.

I have been experiencing some health issues and was not going to mention anything until I absolutely had to but I have had to undergo numerous tests, which will include a CT scan this coming Monday.  We are hoping that what has been found is as a result of a condition that I was diagnosed with about 30 years ago which manifests itself in many different ways when it decides to rear it’s ugly head and take me out of remission for unknown reasons. 

It would mean the world to me if you could please include me in your prayers.

crow divider small

Although I haven’t been doing too much in the studio, I did manage to complete a new design on paper for a quilt which I hope to work on over the summer.  It is my intention at this time to release it either as another free BOM or as a FFF (First Friday Freebie) in September.  Having said that and because I have a lot on my plate and mind at the moment, I will be taking a break from my FFF’s over the summer.  Thank you for understanding.

Sunflowers 1[4]

Today I received just what the doctor ordered…a wonderful surprise in my mailbox from my friend and fellow blogger, Pat.


Our tastes are virtually identical and there’s never been a second thought as to whether we will like what we have made or bought for each other.  Did you notice the funky padded mailing envelope?


It came wrapped and tied up with string….with a card, of course.


How perfect is that?  A pillow/pincushion including three of my favorite stitching styles…wool-on-cotton, button hole stitch appliqué and of course, cross stitch…with my initials and year that it was made.

Thank you so much, Pat.  Your gifts, friendship and kind words never fail to bring a smile to my face and .

Sunflowers 1[4]

Mr. PQ and I have been working like beavers on the grounds and in the gardens around our home and when we call it a day, the only thing I have any energy left for is to shower and read before dozing off to sleep. 

When I mentioned the books that I was reading in my last post, Laurie, in her comment, told me that if I liked those kinds of books then I must read…


The Seamstress by Sara Tuvel Bernstein.  I called our local library right away and they ordered it in for me from another branch and I picked it up yesterday.  Guess what I’ll be doing tonight?  I’m sure that it will be another great read.  Thanks for the heads up, Laurie.

And thank you all for caring. 


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Time to build an ark?

I don’t know how the weather has been where you are living but we’ve had a cold, damp spring here in Nova Scotia.  There was a short reprieve from the rain yesterday and I did manage to get a few more plants into the ground however that was short-lived because…guess what?  It’s raining again today and it’s calling for more of the same over the next two days.  I’m not really complaining because my new plants are thriving with the abundance of natural water.

It’s time to build an ark…just in case!  *wink*

Noah's Ark 2

Apart from the two shrubs and lungwort plants,  all the other perennials in the flower bed on the side of our house are new this spring.  This side of the house gets both early and late afternoon sunlight and is in shade for the rest of the day so I chose plants accordingly.


Look at the chestnut tree in the background.  The flowers are beginning to form and should be in full bloom within the next couple of weeks.

This is also the bed where we dug up some overgrown pines and shrubs.  Along with various perennials, I planted a pink magnolia.  There is still a lot of work to be done in this area but gardens are always a work in progress.


Here’s a close up of the magnolia in the foreground and a pink rhododendron on the corner of the bed in the background.


Just outside our back door and relatively close to the house is where my herb garden will be.  So far we have planted 3 varieties of rhubarb and some raspberry canes.   Just yesterday I put in some onions and I’ll plant the herbs later on this week.  We’re hoping that because they’re so close to the house, the deer won’t venture here.


These guys are waiting patiently to take root in their new surroundings.  It is our goal to have them planted by the end of the week because…


Mr. Painted Quilt is digging me a huge new bed, halfway between the house and barn.  This is the barn that will house our chickens in due course.


I don’t think I’ve ever shown you what we call the back porch.  This room leads into the kitchen and is situated at the back of the house.  From the outside, we enter into a ‘mud room’ and then step up and through another door into this area.

This room was a part of the addition to the original house which took place in 1917.  Directly above this room is Mr. PQ’s office.  There is another porcelain sink with running water however we do turn the water off in the winter.  The outside tap is also connected to the same water line. 


I apologize for the dark picture but the steep steps on the left lead up into Mr. PQ’s office through a trap door.  They certainly had much smaller feet in those days…bodies too it would seem!  Each stair is well worn in the center so they were definitely used and served a purpose at some point.


With all the physical work of digging and planting, I haven’t seen the inside of my studio for the last little while.  All I want to do when I come indoors is to have a shower, have a bite to eat and curl up with a book.

If you are looking for a great read, I definitely recommend this book.


I started it on Thursday and finished it last night.  It was almost impossible to put down.  I promise you a great read.

And the library called on Friday to say that the book that I had reserved was in so I drove into town and picked up…


The latest book in the Elm Creek series called The Union Quilters.  I have read all of Jennifer’s other books in the series and I couldn’t wait for this one.

Guess what I’ll be doing tonight?


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Needlecase Swap

It arrived today!  Woo hoo!


I belong to an on line group called Small Quilt Talk, a forum hosted by Kathleen Tracy, quilt designer and author of several quilting books. 

About a month ago, the gals on the forum decided to have a needlecase swap and without hesitation, I joined in.  I had to satisfy my addiction, of course.   *wink*

The choice was optional as to the kind of needlecase we would make for our partner.  When signing up for the swap we were asked to state our colors of preference and the only stipulation was that we were to use Civil War fabrics.

My swap partner was Susan Menendez.  Susan and I decided collectively that we would surprise each other with what we made.  Here is the huswif that I made and designed for Susan in her favorite colors, pinks and browns which she received last week. 


A huswif is a small sewing kit and they were typically used by Civil War soldiers to mend their uniforms or to hold trinkets and keepsakes from home.


I included a pair of embroidery scissors with a fob that I made.  I also included some needles and novelty buttons with a sewing theme.


I made the huswif in the crazy quilt style and unbeknownst to me, Susan is very interested in crazy quilts.


Today was my lucky day!  Look what Mr. Painted Quilt brought in from our roadside mail box…


An envelope containing a small package wrapped in a red, Civil War fabric fat quarter.  *swoon*


Inside the wrapped package was my huswif made in my favorite colors, red, blue and taupe.  The outside…


And the inside.  Isn’t it to die for?  And look at all the extra goodies…a matching pincushion, a little fox button, some wool thread, three tea bags, a package of needles and a pair of silver stork scissors with a fob.


Thank you Susan, from the bottom of my heart.  I will treasure your gift always.


Friday, May 6, 2011

First Friday Freebie #19

Spring has definitely arrived in Nova Scotia and with the warmer weather, my thoughts and interests have lured me to the outdoors doing yard work and planting new perennial gardens.  I must admit that gardening is another of my many passions.


Having said that, my somewhat soiled hands like to be kept busy in the evenings as well and I did manage to complete this month’s First Friday Freebie with time to spare.  Indulge me by reading about how this design came to fruition.

We have three barns on our property and although we’ve lived in the country before, it never entered our minds to have any animals other than our Westie, Mac…or perhaps a cat somewhere in the future.  One of our new friends who lives nearby and who farms as a hobby was over visiting a while ago and Mr. Painted Quilt took him on a tour of our property which included the barns.  Evidently there is an area set up in one of them as a chicken coop and all that needs doing to the coop area is a bit of cleaning out of ‘stuff’ that was dumped there by the previous owners.  Who knew?

It just so happens that Craig raises laying hens and has almost convinced us to set up the coop to accommodate 6 laying hens and a rooster that he would donate to the cause.  Although we haven’t entirely committed ourselves to this new venture, it is a great way to get the barn cleaned out.  *wink*   And so, the idea for this month’s FFF was hatched born.


“Cocks Crow In The Morn” is a hand appliquéd and hand quilted wool-on-cotton wall hanging.  The rooster and stars are rendered in wool and are appliquéd using the blanket stitch but you can easily substitute cotton in place of the wool and either  machine or hand appliqué as an alternative.

To download the PDF file which includes the photo, line drawings and instructions, please click HERE.


I will try my utmost to continue my FFF’s during the summer months but the outdoors is really beckoning me.  One way or the other, I will keep you informed.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Where has the week gone?

I can’t believe it’s been seven days since I last posted.  Where has the week gone?

I think I mentioned the needlecase swap that I joined in my last post and one of the swap guidelines was that it had to be made from Civil War fabric.  Because I haven’t done much sewing since we moved, I had to sort through several bins in order to locate my CW fabric…which turned out to be a good thing because…

I found my Civil War Bride’s Quilt pattern and blocks! 

For the life of me I couldn’t remember where I had packed them or in which box.  Now I do recall packing them in with my CW fabric because I thought that would be a logical place.  Duh!

The quilt is comprised of 16 blocks and although the original was done in traditional needle turn appliqué, I am doing mine in wool-on-cotton which is my favorite method.  Block 1 is complete…


And the second block is now fused, ready to be stitched.  I love that part!


It’s good to have my ‘long lost friend’ back because until all the spring yard work and planting is done, this is what is going to be keeping my hands busy.


Speaking of yard work, we had a busy week outdoors.  Mr. Painted Quilt and I visited several nurseries in the Annapolis Valley from Berwick to Yarmouth and managed to contribute quite well to the economy in Nova Scotia.  We planted numerous perennials and fruit bushes already but because it turned cold and windy today, we decided to postpone planting the dozen or so that remain.


In the group above are a climbing hydrangea, pink magnolia, lavender, blue columbine, three different varieties of hosta, phlox, three different colors of heather and below are some chives, rhubarb, raspberry canes and lilacs that our neighbor gave us.


It rained for three days during the week so the other plants that we managed to get in just before are doing really well.  Here is the yellow rhododendron now.


The color does not do it justice.  It is absolutely gorgeous!  I also planted another species, a pink one with smaller, darker foliage. 


Can you see the lilac-colored heather to the right and the pinky-orange smaller plant on the right?  These are excellent ground covering spring bloomers and spread quickly.

We decided to name our residence ‘Chestnut Lane Cottage’ because of this huge chestnut tree that graces the area between the wrap around veranda and circular driveway.  See the swing hanging from the lower branch on the right?


The buds that will produce the flowers and eventual chestnuts are getting bigger every day.


The rain and warmer weather that we had over the past week has changed so much of the landscape on our property…which also caused the grass to grow another 4”.  Guess what we did today?


We cut and edged about 3 of the 4 acres because the rest was too wet to mow.  Although it doesn’t really show in the photo, the land slopes gently towards the front of the property and about three quarters of the way up the photo you can see where we stopped because the ground beyond that was squishy wet.


Mac was in his usual supervisory mode.  He just loves being outside with us exploring every nook and cranny on the property.


I don’t think there is one area where he hasn’t left his mark.  *wink*


He’s bound and determined to find that cheeky red squirrel.


Pretty soon all the trees will be covered in leaves…but we’ll still be able to see the ocean beyond.


Remember that this Friday, the 6th of May is the First Friday of the month and another Freebie design will be released on that day. 

I hope to see you then!