Friday, July 25, 2014

This Year's Students Have Arrived!

If you have been a reader of my blog for a long time, you will know that we try to host some Japanese students each summer.  This year is no different.  It is such a great experience!

The girls attend school during the day, to increase their knowledge of the English language and to see the sights in and around the Toronto area.   In the evening they stay with us, to experience what we do in our day-to-day lives here in Canada.  They arrived on Tuesday evening, but I have not posted anything until today because I kept forgetting to take photos.  And you know that I don't like to post anything without a picture.

But last night we took a walk along Lake Ontario out in Ajax and I remembered my camera!   It was already starting to get dark, so please excuse the poor quality of my photos.

We walked along the paved path that goes along the lake.  It's a wonderful area.  Lots of wildlife and birds. We even had a coyote cross our path.  The geese were talking to us from the lake below.  One of my DD's friends met us at the park.  She has a 1-year old daughter who just learned to walk by herself two weeks ago.  The girls loved looking after her.  I had trouble keeping up with them on the walk, so my HD (who came along) and I sat on a bench and enjoyed the nature all around us.  The others continued on the path.

Hopefully I can add some quilty stuff when I do my Japanese student blogs in the future.  But I have not had much time to sew lately.  I hope to find some time today.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Some Works in Progress

Oops, I haven't posted anything for a week.  Not much sewing has been going on, but I have been working on a few things, a little each day.  First are my hexies from The Hexie Blog.  I have appliqued May and June onto a background fabric.  The basket for April is not finished.  I am also experimenting with the sashing.  I think I will do the HST that I sewed between May and June.  I kind of like them.  What do you think?

Then there are my POTC blocks.  I have been working on these when I need to unwind  I cut out the pieces during the day and sew them together while I watch television in the evenings.  

I put a round of white hexies around the first block.  And I discovered something!  The blocks are made up of 24 coloured hexies.  This part goes pretty fast.  But then there are the white hexies.  There are 24 of them too - for each block.  The white doesn't hold my attention as much as the colours do. So I am having to persevere in order to get them sewn on.  I am going to have to set a goal for myself.  Like 12 white hexies before I start a new block.  That way I may get them all done before I run out of steam.  I am also experimenting with the joining squares.  I was going to make them colourful, but I think I will make them all a dark blue in order to save my eyesight.  All those colours are just too much!  

So there you have it!  My summer projects for 2014.  Both are English Paper Pieced.  And I love them both! There will be lots of machine time when the cold weather comes back and I have to stay indoors.  

I am going to link up with Audrey at Glory Be Quilter, who is taking over for Angie this week.  She has a give-away too.  So go there to see some more hexie love and maybe win something.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Zucchini Bliss

My zucchinis are growing like mad.  I went out yesterday, after not seeing any baby zucchinis on my plants on Saturday, and found another 9 huge, fully ripe zucchinis!  My fridge isn't big enough for this!  So I started to look up zucchini recipes, especially ones that can be frozen and I found many.

It was cool and rainy this morning, so I made a batch of zucchini muffins.   They turned out fantastic!  I also grated several cups of additional zucchini to freeze for future muffins.  Right now I have a pot of zucchini soup on the stove and a zucchini bread in the oven.  I think that will be enough for today.  But tomorrow I will make more.

I was able to finish the centre part of the Rosewood Cottage quilt.  Yesterday, while at Walmart I found a piece of light blue fabric that will work for the inner border.  I have already started to applique the outer border, but there still is a lot to do.  This is what I have so far.

And here is another pretty lily from my garden.

It has stopped raining and my cooking is done, so I am going out into the garden.  These wonderful blooms don't look after themselves!  I noticed some red lily beetle larva on this plant and I want to take them off before they eat the whole thing.  The Red Lily Beetle is an interesting bug, but very detrimental to lily plants. I wrote about it here.

Have a good day!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Hexie Flower for June and Some Garden Produce

I put together another flower block for June from the Hexie Blog BOM.   Now it has a straight stem and I am happy with it.

I am going to start appliqueing these blocks onto background fabrics so that I don't get too far behind.  It was also suggested, by Julia, that we start making the sashing.  That way it won't be too overwhelming at the end, when all the blocks are done and it is time to put the quilt together.  So that is what I am working on now..

We had a few rainy days at the beginning of this week.  I did not go outside to work in the garden while it rained, but when the sun came out again, I went out to inspect my crops. That's when I discovered that many of my zucchinis were ready to pick.  I also picked a few cherry tomatoes. (Sorry no pics. I ate them straight off the vines.) They are so delicious!

The largest zucchini is about 8 inches long.  I ate the smallest one raw dipped in a spinach dip. That was the best lunch I have had in a long time!

I am linking to A Quilting Reader's Garden.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

A Busy Weekend in my Garden!

We had lots of visitors this weekend.  And then last night we had a barbeque with my DS, DD and her fiance.  The weather has been perfect - real summer-time temps and sunshine.  Love it!!!

In keeping with the 4th of July weekend, I am posting my July hexie block.  (Happy Belated 4th of July to all of my friends south of the border.)  It's a cherry ice cream cone. Anybody want a lick?  I know that this block was only just posted on The Hexie Blog less than a week ago, but I fell in love with it and wanted to make it right away.

For years I have been seeing the POTC blocks on blogs and other places on the internet.  I wanted to make some.  I finally found the template for it serveral weeks ago and started to cut it out.  Then I put it in a 'safe' place where even I couldn't find it.  But yesterday it was just sitting there in a plastic container.  How did I miss that?  A few of the pieces had already been sewn together, so I finished it last night.  I know the colours are kind of loud, but I guess those are the fabrics that were beside my machine at the time.  I think I will keep the colourful theme going.  I love colour!

I will leave you with a shot of my colourful lily.  Told you I love colour!  I planted this a few of years ago and it keeps surprising me with its beauty.

Hoping everyone is having a great weekend!

I am linking up with Angie at The Quilting Reader's Garden.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Random Acts of Kindness Create Sunshine

I picked up a parcel from the post office yesterday.  I had no idea who it was from or what it was.  Imagine my happy excitement to discover that the package was soft.  It had to contain fabric, that much I was sure of.  Then I realized this package had come from Amy at The Calico Cat.   I could hardly wait to get home and open it!

I sent her an email last night because I was puzzled.  Why did she send me this wonderful fabric?  She said it was just a random act of kindness.  A Random Act of Kindness?  OMG!!!  It was much more than that!  It lifted my spirits.  It brought me joy.  Just to think that someone was thinking about me made me happy.  It was like a ray of sunshine!  If you are reading this, Amy, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I know this fabric will go to good use.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

And in keeping with this jungle and sunshine theme, let me show you some of my garden.  It is like a jungle out there.  We had a very late spring and I was not able to plant anything until the first of June.  My little plants looked so pathetic.  But then it rained and rained and rained some more.  My plants grew quickly and now they look like this.

The plants in front, growing on that trellis-like thing are cucumbers.  You can tell by the bird feeder that they are at least 3 to 4 feet tall.

These are my tomato plants with some bean poles in the back.  I have never had such tall tomato plants at the beginning of July.  There are lots of flowers and even some tiny green tomatoes on these vines.  Can't wait for them to ripen so I can take a huge bite of this delicious fruit!

Sorry, this post is getting longer and longer, but I want to show you some of my sunshine.  These are the yellow flowers that are blooming in my garden at the moment.

Yellow Day Lilies

True Lilies grown from bulbs.  The yellow colour means gaiety.

And these are Rudbeckia in my back garden.

I bought this plant at the beginning of our planting season.  It was sitting on a table with the Echinacea or cone flowers and I thought it was one of those.  I lost several Echinacea plants in our cold winter and I wanted to replace them.  I was very disappointed when I got home and read the tag.  They were Rudbeckia and I had lots of those already.

But this variety is called Iris Eyes and the centre is not black, but green.  The bright yellow flowers really light up that dark spot in my garden.  I am really happy that I made the mistake of picking this plant up and planting it.  It has turned out to be gorgeous!  It is one of my favourite plants at the moment.

There are many more yellow flowers in my garden, but this post is getting too big, so I will stop for today.  Thanks again Amy!  You are terrific!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

I'm In a Jam

My DD went strawberry picking and she brought me a whole basket of berries to make into jam.

That is more jam than I need, so I froze half of the berries.  I will make strawberry milkshakes and other yummy things with them.  Here is the jam I made.  It is low sugar jam.  The only kind my Mom lets me eat.

I also bought some cherries at the market on the weekend.  I made a batch of low sugar cherry jam with them.  Yum!

So guess what I had for lunch yesterday?  Did you guess a peanut butter and jam sandwich?  Well if you did, you are right.  Haven't had one of those in a long time.  It was delicious.