First FO of 2023: Gnomes for Christmas

It felt like I just couldn’t find a minute to sit down an finish the binding on my poor Christmas Gnomes. But then Lemmy forced me to stop, and I took advantage of the imposed downtime.

And compared to a quilt, the binding on this wee thing took no time at all!

The kit actually came with plain black fabric for the binding, but when the time came, I couldn’t’ find where I put it. There was a small chunk of polkadots left from Little Wishes, and it was just enough for the binding… so I call it a happy accident. Those dots just up the whimsy of the piece even more in my opinion.

There’s all kinds of fun details in this little wall-hanging. From the bell on one of the hats, do the big wooden noses, and of course, those fluffy beards!

Mom gave me this kit for Christmas 2021. My plan was to have it up for Christmas 2022. It obviously didn’t happen, but now it’s tucked away safely with the rest of the Christmas stuff and ready for Christmas 2023!!!

Things to come

Last weekend I mentioned that I ordered some plants for the garden come spring.

I actually did two orders. One, with Breck’s Bulbs, which I gave you a glimpse of. And another, much larger order with a place on the East Coast of Canada called Vesey’s.

Vesey’s tends to have a better selection and prices than Breck’s (though Breck’s often has unique items) and I might have gone a little over board. It’s a good thing I have a big yard!

You all know how much I love irises. And it doesn’t matter what kind… Bearded, Siberian, or Japanese – I love them all. These three beautiful Siberian Irises (Butter and Cream, Ballerina Dance, and Snow Tree) will be added to the collection come spring. Siberian irises aren’t quite as big and showy as the bearded irises, but they have their own delicate beauty.

Crocosmia is one on the plants I had at the townhouse that didn’t make the move. So I’ve bought these two, Montebretias, and Sunglow. They bloom mid-late summer and do very well on the hot, humid days when other plants are wilting in the heat.

The next three plants are all things I have in the garden, just different variations. The first is Columbine – you will recall I have several Columbine, but it comes in so many colours and styles, I just don’t think you can ever have enough. This one is called Nora Barlow.

The middle is Tickseed (or Coreopsis). I have a couple yellows, but it grows so well, and blooms all summer and fall, it’s one of those flowers you just can’t go wrong with. This lovely orange is called Crazy Cayenne. I think it’s going to be a very hot addition.

And the last is sage (or Salvia). It’s another plant that you just can’t mess up. I have several shades of purple throughout the gardens, and this one, Midnight Model, is suppose to be very blue. Blue is one of those “challenging” colours in the garden – things labelled blue often tend to be purple… so we shall see.

Also in the category of can’t get enough off – Poppies! This one called “Central Park”. I ordered another deep red one called “Heartbeat” from Brecks. I just love big, blousy poppies.

I mentioned that I plan to put in a “woodland” garden under the maple tree. These two will help with that.

The first is Monkshood (also known as Aconite, or Wolfsbane). I have a bi-colour version coming from Brecks, so it should look nice with this solid purple one.

The second, of course, is Lily-of-the-Valley… but PINK!!!!!! I actually bought this once before and tried to grow it at the townhouse, but with no luck. I hope the second time around works better.

I’m also trying Sea Holly again. I’ve tried it several times with no luck. But I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want it so hopefully I can get it going this time!!!

I mentioned I planned to add more sedums this year, and this one is one of them. It’s called Jose Aubergine, and you can see it has lovely dark purple leaves with pink flowers. I think it’s just so striking.

The next three don’t really have a theme but…

First: Did you know the things we North Americans call Geraniums aren’t actually Geraniums. They are Pelargoniums. The first flower above is a Geranium (though the two are related), and this one is called “Katherine Adele.”. I learned about the difference on Gardener’s World, and also learned it’s an essential “Cottage garden” plant so I had to have one.

The middle is Candida Prairie Mallow. As it’s name suggests, it’s a flower native to the prairies, and is related to the Hollyhock. I’ve been eyeing it for a few years and decided to take the plunge.

The last is Culver’s Root. It’s similar to my Speedwell, but bigger. I planted my first one last year, and though it’s still small, it seems to have much potential. I’m excited to add another colour.

And last, I’ve been coveting Astrantia for several years now. Breck’s carried a pale pink one called “Sparkling Stars” but every time I got around to ordering, it was sold out. So I was super excited when Vesey’s listed this mix, which included THREE different colours.

Ok Spring… time to hurry up! I’m ready!

Burton’s Winter Quilt

I had a pile of scraps leftover from the pair of snowflake quilts. And it just felt like it was too much to chop up and toss in the scrap bins… but probably not enough to make another quilt – other than a baby quilt. And as cool as those fabrics are, they just don’t scream “baby quilt” to me.

And then I realized, December is over, but Burton was still using his Christmas quilt on his chaise! The horror!!!!

So I got out the graph paper, did up and quick design, sewed a little and bam!

A quilt top that’s always winter, but never Christmas!!!

Unfortunately, I was going to quilt this at Mom’s this weekend, but weather has prevented me from making the trip. So I’ll probably do some straight line quilting on it today and finish it up for him.

And Burton isn’t picture with this one, because when I sewed it together, he was rather under the weather with an ear infection. But Thursday, we went to the vet. His ears got a good cleaning (which he didn’t appreciate), and they sent us home with some meds and now…

All is right with our world again.

Friday felines

While you know these two are as thick as thieves and have been almost since the day we brought Lemmy in…

Several of you have wondered how well the other two are doing now that it’s evident the interloper is here to stay. And the answer is… pretty well, actually.

Dave thought Rupert was going to be the most resistant, but he’s actually caved pretty quickly.

Rupert loves to chase and be chased and Lemmy is all for that! Their favourite time to rip through the house, making as much noise as possible, is of course, right when we get into bed.

Lemmy is almost as tall as Rupert now, and it won’t take long before he outgrows the older ginger. It’s hard to say how much Rupert will like the game then.

Relic has been a harder nut to crack.

Of course, poor Relic had to deal with over a year-and-a-half of hostility and sneak attacks from Rupert before they became friends, so I think it’s only natural that he’s wary of the newcomer.

Relic isn’t outright hostile to Lemmy – he usually just whine, and leaves whenever he comes around, but Lemmy quickly realized jumping on the gentle giant wasn’t going to get him anywhere.

Since then, he’s been slowly trying to get him to warm up to his presence.

He’s slowly worked his way into getting closer, and closer, usually when Relic is having a nap.

I wouldn’t say Relic “likes” him yet. But he’s certainly learning to tolerate him.

Do you want to build a snowflake?

When I showed the first snowflake quilt, I mentioned that I was pretty sure I could get a second quilt out of the leftover fabric.

A little more sensibly, I made the blocks one over several days instead of all in one day.

On the weekend, I took a day to put the top together.

And there must be something about the batiks, because once again, this one proved very popular with all the cats.

I decided to go a little simpler on the borders with this one.

Lemmy seems to think it was a good decision.

I have a back coming for this one. Yes… I fell off the no-spend wagon again. But it was (mostly) fabric I needed for this and other planned projects.

I’m headed to Mom’s this weekend to quilt. The fabric probably won’t arrive before I go, so it will probably be February before you see this one finished. But I’ll have the first snowflake quilt (as well as a few others) to keep me busy all weekend long. Next week will be a parade of FO posts!

Grey, grey, grey

While I have plenty to keep me inspired with my quilting, I’ve hit a rut with my knitting. I really want to finish Dad’s Christmas sweater, but I just can’t seem to muster up any enthusiasm for it. Maybe because it’s plain, maybe because so big, maybe because it’s grey…

I decide I needed to cast on something new to recharge my knitting juju.

Somthing silky!

Something lacy!

Something beaded!!!!

And apparently…. something also grey! I don’t know why. This silvery Slinky Cat just spoke to me when I went stash diving.

I’m knitting Crimson Blossom. I knit it a few years ago for a coworker’s wedding, an I enjoyed every minute of it.

I had some dark grey beads that were just perfect, and so far it’s been just the thing to get me excited about knitting again. Except for one small thing.

I realized after getting all this done, that I was using a needle that was smaller than the pattern called for. It was going to turn out much to small if I kept going.

So it’s all been ripped back and I’m starting again. But it’s okay… I’m still feeling the love for it!

Tiny Needle Tuesday

Since you haven’t seen an FO post, you may have already an inkling that I didn’t finish my Christmas gnomes before the year ended.

I have decided that I do not like hand-quilting. And a renewed admiration for people who hand-quilt entire quilts. Quilting this little thing was more than enough for me!

I kept it simple, quilting very close the the applique. I wanted just enough to make them puff up a little. After that I took it to the machine.

I quilting in the ditch between the border and the background, and then sewed on the binding.

I still have to sew that binding down, so still not quite finished. But soon it will be.

Cutting red

Since I put the snowflake quilt together so quickly, I felt no guilt whatsoever about starting another quilt. This time one for myself.

Back in December, I bought that set of red and cream fabrics to make myself a nice, big bed quilt. I’d settled on the Jubilee pattern. Mom finished one last month and it turned out just stunning.

I laid out all my fat quarters and paired them up.

You can get two squares out of each pair of fat quarters, so like Mom’s quilt, mine will have 16 squares as well. After pairing up, it was time to get cutting

That’s as far as I got, but this one is ready to go as soon as I have a free hour or two to sew!

A touch of green

I mentioned that just before New Years, the temps shot up, reaching around 10C/50F. And they stayed there for almost a week.

While it’s not warm enough to get me out for very long, it’s warm enough to get the gardens excited. Dave and I came home from lunch the other day, and I noticed a whole lot going on.

It was actually this Sedum that caught my eye first. Such a vibrant green, with bright yellow tops, just tipped with red. It’s even more eye catching in real life.

That brought me in for a closer look.

Bulbs popping up everywhere! Now the temperature has dropped, but that won’t hurt the bulbs. They will do this over and over again until the weather warms up and stays that way.

Unfortunately, I did notice quite a few bits of green popping up in the pathways. I didn’t plant any bulbs in the pathways, so it can only be the dreaded Star of Bethlehem. I dug so much of it out, but it’s not as surprise I missed some. I’ll be battling it for years to come, I’m sure.

It’s not just the bulbs that perked up.

I love the big Sedum when it first starts growing. They look like mini cabbages, or little rosebuds. I will be adding some new Sedums to the garden in spring. They are great for pollinators and add wonderful colour to the fall garden.

It never takes much to get the poppies (left) and Lupins (right) going. Both will bloom by mid-May. And I’ve learned I can keep the Lupins going longer by deadheading. The poppies go dormant in the heat of summer, but sometimes do a second bloom in fall, if you’re lucky!

Even the Butterfly Bush got excited by the brief warm-up! This really surprised me, because normally, the Butterfly Bush is one of the last plants to come back to life. It’s not unusual to no see signs of life until mid-May here!

I didn’t want to poke around too much, and disturb all the little critters sleeping in the leaves, but it was so nice to see these little bits of green.

It’s back to cold now, and of course, there’s still LOTS of winter left.

But smart little me did an order with a couple of my fave bulb suppliers BEFORE January 1st hit. So now I can sit back, dream, and wait for the sun…

… and dream of all the wonderful blooms to come!

It’s all Dave’s fault

No… it’s not a kitten this time. Or even a newt.

No. He pushed me right off the No-Spenduary wagon.

Because New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday, we still had Monday off. We were just supposed to go out and wash my truck (GPS took us down some dark, scary roads on the trip home from Owen Sound), and get a new juice jug (I’d stolen the other one to propagate some large house plants.)

But Dave decided he wanted to go antiquing. He picked out a place about an hour away called the One of A Kind Antique Mall, which is basically an old factory building filled with three full floors of vendors selling all manner of antiques, vintage finds and all kinds of collectibles.

I told him as we entered that there were really only a couple of things I was looking for. A “hen on nest” dish, a cow creamer (and it couldn’t be any cow creamer, it had to be one that really spoke to me), and a Blue Mountain Pottery angelfish (a very particular piece my Mom used to have that’s pretty hard to find). I didn’t really expect to get any of them, because they are all things that can generally be quite pricey. I wouldn’t pay just any price for them – they had to be reasonable.

But within 10 minutes…

I’d found my hen on nest. Though the one I had pictured in my mind was yellow carnival glass, or olive green glass – this one was just so nice looking, and price so right I had to have it. It’s also quite large. Dave asked me what I was going to keep in it, and honestly… probably nothing. But it’s going to look so darn great on Grandma’s pine buffet.

About 10 minutes later, I was handing the chicken over to Dave to hold because…

There was my cow creamer!!! Now it’s quite small as cow creamers go. But it’s a Holstein!!!!! Most cow creamers I’ve see are plain white, jerseys, or Delft blue patterned. This is the first Holstein I’ve seen. I’m partial to Holsteins – I grew up in the country surrounded by dairy farms, and most had Holsteins.

There was lots of Blue Mountain pottery, but no angelfish. And that wasn’t a big surprise. But since I don’t actually collect it,(I just want that one piece) I didn’t buy any.

So that should have been it for me.

But then….

I found two little Corningware sauce pans in my Spice of Life pattern, complete with lids. And they were so reasonably priced that it would have been silly of me to leave them there.

And any Corningware lover also probably has a thing for Pyrex. I’ve been creeping on several sets/partial sets of Pyrex bowls on Facebook Marketplace for a while. But like everything else, a lot of them are so expensive. But wouldn’t you know it…

A full set of Pyrex Cinderella bowls (the handles are also spouts for pouring) in the Woodland brown pattern – reasonably priced with another 15% off. I almost left it behind, but Dave encouraged me to get it. I mean, it does coordinate with my Spice of Life, so how could I argue?

And you would think that would be all… but then I found a booth that had QUILTING FABRIC???? THAT’S JUST NOT FAIR!!!

Most of the fabric was between $10 and $15 a yard, which is good, but not a super steal, so I was able to resist going completely crazy.

I managed to get away with just six yards of this fun cat fabric, which will be perfect for a quilt back.

Now… I’ve managed to not spend a dime out of line since then… and I’m not going to let Dave talk me into going anywhere for the rest of the month!!!