Thursday, May 31, 2018

Different Kind of "Two Step"

I came across a cute quilt pattern named a "two-step."

I assume the name comes from the white squares touching at their points.

My "two step" didn't turn out as well - the white squares overlapped in places. I think my seams are a little wider than conventional quilt piecing seams - which are 1/4 inch wide. My seams are closer to 1/2 an inch.

I modified the squares - by adding an extra row of strips to each side.

A different kind of "two-step"! I wonder if it's noticeable...

I don't feel motivated to move on and finish the quilt right now. Sometimes I need to take a break before deciding what to do next.

The quilt instructor in the video (above) credits her husband with arranging her quilt squares into a pleasing design...

Hmmm. I wonder if I could get Terry to help me with that!

Somehow I doubt it!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Favorite Flowers in Bloom

All my flower beds are green and growing... I've been out weeding, trying to create some order in the chaos!

My main problem continues to be the gout weed: it spreads, covering smaller plants. My weeding consists of pulling out its green and white leaves by the handfuls! It's a bittersweet victory: I know the roots, still in the soil, are tangled with other plant roots! They'll be back!

At the same time, I wonder if I'm accidentally pulling out other plants as well!

Two flowers now in bloom are also spreaders, but these I don't mind! They're not as invasive as the gout weed.

I love the expanding mass of white anemones that blow in the wind.

In the side yard, under a giant pine tree (where very little grows), lovely lily of the valley are also spreading.

I love their fragrance - and the fact that they grow under pines, where very little else manages to grow.

The hostas are opening up as well. I should have divided them, I think... But I wasn't sure where to put new plants.

Two bright yellow Euphorbia plants are also blooming in the front yard. Together with the white anemones, they add splashes of brightness to my flower beds.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Outdoor Summer Seating

On a recent trip to downtown Toronto, I noticed some interesting public summer seating outdoors...

Were these "rooms" made out of plastic crates?!

They seem very close to the street and the bike lanes.

Here is another colorful public sitting area...

Even in the city, once summer is here, everyone wants to sit outdoors!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Fun in the Park

Whenever we go to Toronto, we spend time outdoors - walking or playing in a park.

It's fun to watch a two-year-old gain confidence on play structures...

... play in the sand...

... and have fun on the swings and slides (just as I remember doing as a child!)

Some games are simply timeless!

Another game that never gets old is "hide and seek"...

Except in this case, it was called, "Where's Grandma?!"

Truth be told, Grandma enjoyed being found, as well!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Summer Breakfast

I used to read an interesting blog that featured photos of different breakfasts. It encouraged me to vary my regular eating style.

Nowadays, I try to limit my daily carb consumption (because of type 2 diabetes), so I avoid the delicious breads that used to be part of breakfast. Now I start my day with eggs, cheese, nuts, fruit or yogurt.

A few days ago I made my first rhubarb compote of the season. I've been having it for breakfast, topped with plain yogurt, a sprinkle of granola and a few fresh berries...


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Saturday Adventures

As a child, Terry used to hate "Sunday Drives" - but these days, he's open to Saturday adventures!

(It has taken me years to "train" him!)

I love to get away and explore new places, even if they aren't that far away.

I feel we've made progress because now it's often Terry who suggests we go for a drive.

There may be an ulterior motive - like purchasing a carrot cake from Almonte's Baker Bob.

But I don't mind!

We usually fit in an interesting walk before heading home...

Going for a drive - visiting new places - is my favorite way to relax.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Watching Blue Jays Baseball

I haven't been to a professional baseball game in years - so, when my son suggested the family take in a game, I was all for it.

The day was sunny, so the stadium roof was open.

(After a few hours, I had a slight sunburn!)

It's always a good idea to wear a baseball cap - or a hat with a brim on all sides...

Unfortunately, the Jays lost the game...

But I was still glad to have been there - among their enthusiastic supporters!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Stewed Rhubarb

I used to have a rhubarb plant near our lilac bush. It never was strong, but I managed to stew a little rhubarb every year.

Eventually the plant stopped growing, and my neighbor, Mary, gave me part of her rhubarb plant. She often digs hers up and moves it to a new location in her backyard garden, where it is thriving.

This is the first year I've harvested the rhubarb from this new plant...

I'm looking for a recipe that calls for less sugar - and perhaps uses honey or maple syrup.

In the meantime, I'm simply stewing the stalks in water.

I ended up mixing the unsweetened stewed rhubarb with some stewed sour cherries that I had in the freezer. Delicious!

Next time, I plan to make unsweetened apple sauce and mix the unsweetened stewed rhubarb with that. I find that unsweetened cooked apples have a natural sweetness.

So great to eat fresh rhubarb, harvested and then cooked in less than half an hour! Now, that's fresh!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

How Many More BoHo Bags Should I Make?!

A while back, I started making BoHo shopping bags using three strands of yarn - one of which must be non-stretchy.

The pattern is a perfect way to use up bits of yarn - which most knitters have an abundance of. In addition to having my own stash of leftover yarn, my mother, who was also a knitter - as well as a spinner and weaver - left me several bags of her scrap yarn. The shopping bags would be a great way to use up all these leftovers.

Before too long, I had completed five bags - and was working on a sixth.

My leftover yarn stash was almost gone, and I was pleased...

What are you going to do with all those bags? Terry asked. How many bags do you need?

I don't know! I just want to use up all this yarn - was my reply

Then, I remembered my mother's trunk... The trunk she had bought to take up north with her when she boarded the train for her first year of teaching in a one-room country school in Preston Lake, in Alberta's "Peace River Country." She was 20 years old at the time. That was almost 80 years ago!

She kept the trunk all those years, even bringing it east when she moved to Ottawa 15 years ago...

There wouldn't be any yarn in that,.... would there?! I wondered...
I opened it up and found two small bags - enough yarn, I'd guess, for another two shopping bags.

Should I keep going and use it all up?! I wondered...

(What else could I use it for?!)

How many more bags should I make?!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

"Chocolate" Peppers

I'm always amazed at the variety of fruits and vegetables in grocery stores these days...

When I was young, my family's meals included potatoes, carrots, onions cabbage, apples... And much of that came from our own garden.

Even bananas were a treat...

Nowadays, I don't know what a quarter of the produce in the supermarket tastes like...

These "chocolate" peppers, for example... I don't imagine they taste like chocolate - though I, for one, would be happy if they did!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Lovely Fabric

A few weeks ago, I visited the new Workroom craft and fabric store in Toronto...

Their new space (across the street from the old) is larger, but just as welcoming.

I couldn't resist buying some lovely fat quarters - two fabric designs with matching designs in opposite colors.

I'm not sure what I'll use them for... But they were too cute to pass up!

Also this lovely fabric that mimics a map of Paris, France. (I say "mimics" because it repeats a small area with famous landmarks, not the whole city.)

I thought it would make a lovely wall hanging - or perhaps a pillow.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Wise "To Do" List

An interesting "to do" list is circulating on Facebook these days.

I think I've read it before - but its wisdom never grows old:
Live beneath your means.
Return everything you borrow. 
Stop blaming other people. 
Admit it when you make a mistake. 
Give clothes not worn in 3 years to charity. 
Do something nice and try not to get caught. 
Listen more talk less. 
Every day take a 30 minute walk, 
Strive for excellence, not perfection. 
Be on time. 
Don't make excuses. 
Don't argue. 
Get organized 
Be kind to kind people. 
Be kind to unkind people. 
Let someone cut ahead of you in line. 
Take time to be alone. 
Reread your favorite book. 
Cultivate good manners. 
Be humble. 
Realize and accept that life isn't fair. 
Know when to keep your mouth shut. 
Go an entire day without criticizing anyone. 
Learn from the past. 
Plan for the future. 
Live in the present. 
Don't sweat the small stuff. 
It's all small stuff.

(Is it a quote from one of the "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" books...?) 

I need to remind myself to do these things daily - but what jumps out at me today is the advice to take a 30 minute walk. Spring and fall are my favorite seasons for walking.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

First Farmers Market

Last Saturday, Terry and I drove to Carp, for our first farmers market of the season...

The parking lot was full - and in the food court, line-ups were long.

This queue to buy "bacon on a bun" extended to the front gate!

Why are so many people be here?Terry wondered... There isn't much produce available... Mostly nursery plants...

Why are we here?! It's lovely to be out on a sunny day...

And the food here is great! 

It's a fun, friendly place to be!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Botanical Art Exhibit

A few years ago, my neighbor Mary encouraged me to take a botanical art class with Kerri Weller, a well-known artist and art instructor.

I enjoyed the challenge of learning how to do detailed drawings of fruit, vegetables and flowers.

After taking botanical art classes for a few years, I switched to pottery - another art form I always wanted to learn.

I haven't done any botanical art in years - but the field is flourishing in Ottawa, and Mary has kept at it. She recently invited me to attend the opening of a botanical art exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Agriculture, located at the Ottawa Experimental Farm.

The exhibit features paintings of plants native to our area.

It was fun to again meet up with some of the people I had taken classes with years before - and admire their wonderful art.

Lots of photos were taken...

Here are Mary and our instructor, Kerri, standing next to Mary's art.

I forgot to ask her what kind of native plant she illustrated...

This art exhibit will be up all summer long, and thousands of people are expected to visit it.

I hope it inspires others to try to sketch and paint plant life around them.