Walkabout Wednesday

Last week I shared mostly houses that we’re built around the same time as mine (1907), but also a few that were built in the late 1800s.

The town itself was founded around about 1835, and there are quite a few examples of fine Victoria architecture throughout the town.

Naturally, there are churches. Both of these I’ve shown before. The one on the left has a date of 1873, and is now a house. The one on the right has a date of 1880, and is still a working church. It has a “modern” addition making it much larger (the date of which is 1929). I think it’s interesting to see that while the have a similar style, the newer one is more ornate, despite being only seven years younger.

Like my house, you can see examples of the same styles, even in much older houses. These two are actually side by side. The one on the left appears to be left fairly original, while the one on the right has definitely had a face lift, along with an addition or two.

This one is just down the street from me. The Old Girl has definitely had work done to keep her looking so good. Also… in that “turret” window, if the curtains are open I can see and old treadle sewing machine.

And there are several styles of what I call the very “blocky” style Victorian. All with varying levels of wonderful Victorian detail.

This beauty is hard to see because of the trees.

But someone has paid a lot of love and attention to that gingerbread. The second picture is the view from the alley that runs behind it.

And on this recent walk, I found two more houses “related” to mine.

The one on the left has very old faux brick siding, which I believe was made from asphalt (almost like shingles). I saw it more often when I was a kid, and usually in more economically depressed areas. It’s pretty rare to see it now, and if you do, it’s usually on old cottages/cabins.

The one on the right is true brick, and wonder if it was built with wood like our, and then encased in brick after, or if it was perhaps the predecessor to ours. Built in brick here, and then copied in wood which would have been quicker and more affordable. The brick instantly gives it a more upscale look.

Tiny Needle Tuesday

With the help of some fantastic felines…

I’ve made some really good progress on my stitching.

The little black puffball cat is complete.

And all I have left is the rest of the table legs, and some background beige to fill in.

However, I’m going to set this aside for a little while in favour of knitting. I’d like to make some small baby things to tuck in with each of the three quilts. And, if I want to get them in the mail in good time, I’m going to need to devote every spare hour to it.

This, unfortunately doesn’t have a deadline, so it will have to be abandoned… but not for too long, I hope!

Prep work

Before I went back to work after vacation, I spent Sunday in the studio, getting things ready. Work is looking to be very busy for the foreseeable future, and Dave always has tasks for me around the house. Sneaking in a few hours sewing here and there will be much easier if the pieces are already cut and ready to sew.

First up…. not too long ago, I found out my favourite cousin is getting married. She’s about a decade younger than me, and when I was a teen, I used to babysit her and her older sister a lot, as we lived just two streets apart. So as soon as I found out, I started planning a wedding quilt for her.

Her favourite colour is blue (with purple being a second favourite). I had originally planned on a more traditional blue and white quilt, but couldn’t really find any fabric I liked. So I started toying with the idea of batiks. That’s when Mom sent me pictures of a layer cake she had… as soon as I saw the purple mixed in, I decided it was a sign. I put in an order at the Fat Quarter Shop* for some complimentary yardage, and I’m going to make a Moda Love quilt, adding some borders to make it queen-sized.

Happily, I also have a layer cake of background fabric so I didn’t have to do any cutting to get this one ready to work on. There will be a lot of HST making in my future, but as the blocks are large (9.5 inches), it will go fairly fast once I do have time to work on it.

I mentioned yesterday that my Leader Ender project had reached a stage where it was no longer suitable to be worked as L/Es.

I’d been busy making nine patches for Pat Sloan’s Little Wishes quilt. With those all made it was time to make the star points. Pat did hers as HSTs (and scrappy) but I didn’t think I’d have enough neutral scraps for that, so I decided to do 4-at-a-time geese.

So everything is cut and ready to go for that. I just need the time to sit and sew.

And last, for the month of August, the Rainbow Scrap Challenge colour is orange. I rummaged through the scraps and came up with enough to make my block.

I am stretching it a little on what constitutes orange, but the overall feel is there.

Sigh…. so much to sew… so little time!

* Also part of the FQS order was this fun bit of fabric.

I’ve had an idea for a Hallowe’en quilt for a while, and I really want to bring it to life this year. The jelly roll is all orange and black and white, but I wanted to add a splash of pink, so I got the fun fat quarter bundle beside it. I’m not going tell you more than that.. you’ll have to wait and see…

Lead me on

My Leader Ender project has reached a stage where it is no longer suitable for L/E. So I needed something new.

I took inspiration from one of the blockhead blocks. I saw what someone else had done with it and immediately knew it would be great for a scrappy L/E quilt.

First, you make a whole bunch of these by snowballing either end of a rectangular scrap.

Then you pair two of them together.

Then you pair two of those, rotating one.

Then you pair two of those, and you have your block.

And while that block is pretty cool on it’s own. It’s pure magic when you start pairing it with so many others.

Not my picture

This one is going to be wild!!!!

Sunny days

While none of the sunflower seeds I planted made it (thanks Foxy squirrel), I did get several “volunteers” from the bird feeders.

They aren’t huge – the tallest is only about four feet high.

Naturally they attract pollinators.

We have lots of these little black bees here (I think they are type of a Carpenter Bee). The really seem to love the sunflowers. But they aren’t the only ones.

I found this big spur-throated grasshopper hanging out there the other day.

Eventually, as the seeds ripen they will also attract the finches and squirrels, both of whom love a good sunflower feast.

These aren’t the only “sunny” flowers in the garden.

This beauty is a False Sunflower. At the townhouse, a neighbour had a yellow version of it, and it grew in a wild mass. This one is new to me this year, and the company advertised it as a solid red version of the flower… obviously it’s not. But it’s still pretty. False Sunflower is also a native plant, and should bloom right through fall.

This zinnia I started from seed this year is red…. red as red can be! With more blooms to come.

This Helenium (aka Sneeze Weed) is a lovely mix of red and yellow. It’s another new on this year, and not terribly robust yet, but it promises to get better each year. I have a native solid yellow version of this in the catio – the plant is huge, but it hasn’t bloomed yet. (This one’s name is Sahin’s Early Flowerer… so that’s a good clue why the other one has no flowers yet).

And the black-eyed susans are blooming strong now… always a sign to be that summer is approaching its end.

Still, so many of these beauties bloom right until the first frost, so there’s still months left of garden to enjoy!

Friday felines

There was one other piece of furniture we brought back from Dave’s Grandma’s house, but it wasn’t something for us.

This cute little chaise belonged to Grandma’s Sheltie Ella. Dave’s uncle took in Ella, but he left the chaise behind. I had admired it once, saying I’d love to have something like it for the cats. So Dave’s Mom asked if I would like to take it home.

Naturally, I said yes, because there was a certain kitty I was sure would love it.

When we got it here, I took the cushions off and gave everything a good wash. That said, it must still have smelt a little odd. While Relic was immediatley interested, he seemed a little unsure about using it at first.

But after a day or two, he got more comfortable with it.

MUCH more comfortable.

Fabulous Mr Fox and Friends

For the second baby-to-be, it’s another boy. And the parents are fond of going to the cottage, so I thought fun woodland theme would be appropriate.

I dug in the stash and came up with some leftovers from another quilt. Since they were leftovers, I had to get creative, but Burton and I managed to come up with a layout that worked.

Nothing fancy – just four patch within a four patch, and a few borders. It’s simple, but the fabrics make it really fun.

I’ve got some flannel that, while not from the same line, is pretty close in theme and colours.

It’s going to be just perfect for the back. Now I just have to make one more top, and I’ll schedule a weekend with Mom to get them all quilted.

Walkabout Wednesday

Not long after we moved in here, I noticed something about our little town.

You know how when you walk around a subdivision, there’s usually only a few house styles. People change things up with landscaping and window dressing and such, but you can tell the houses are all the same.

Well, I always assumed it was a relatively modern thing (like 1940s on) but our house was built in 1907, and yet… I see it all over this town.

Over time, people had built additions, built porches, changed colours, added bricks, changed windows, etc., but if you look closely, you can see the original basic house. Just a tall box with two skinny windows on the upper floor, one on the bottom, beside a door. Some have done the changes really well, others rather slapdash.

The pictures above aren’t even remotely all of them. There are dozens throughout the town. Though some you have to look hard to recognize them. Ours is one such.

They didn’t just add on half a house oddly to the side (the lack of and upper window on the left REALLY bothers Dave), but they they completely changed the windows. They put a much bigger window in the lower level, and then changed the upper to one large, horizontal windows.

On the inside, if the light is just right, I can see the outline of where the two windows used to be in the bedroom.

And though our house is over 100 years old… it seems the trend of building the same is even older. Across the street from us is a lovely little brick house the owner told us was built in the 1880s.

And yet it has “twins” all over town too. There aren’t as many, and though some are a little more changed than others.

I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Tiny needle Tuesday

I finally feel like I made some real progress on my sewing kitty.

I finished the top half, with the exception of some background beige. With the machine head complete, it feels like it’s really coming together now. Now I get to work my way towards completing the cute fluffy cat that’s so much like my own.

Black cats look better in the shade

August has rolled in like a hot, fiery dragon. The weekend was horribly hot and humid. Dave and I had plans to check out a nearby car show and swap meet. But after a week of gardening and moving furniture, we both agreed we weren’t up to walking around in the sun and heat, regardless of the promise of pretty cars to look at.

So instead, I stayed inside with Burton.

The poor floofy boy, of all the cats, the heat is the hardest on him. Not only does he have extra floof, but it’s black, so he just can’t take the sun like the other two. While Rupert is content to cook out in the catio, Burton can usually be found sprawled up on the bed, in front of the air conditioner.

Of course, when I opened up the studio doro, he was happy to join me there. The last couple of Blockhead blocks weren’t our cup of tea, so we decided to replace them with a couple more cat blocks.

Because… you can never have enough cats.

Especially in a cat-themed sampler quilt! We’ve now got 20 blocks, and I’m thinking 30 will be an ideal number. So now we wait (inside, out of the heat!) to see what new block come up this week.