Switching Gears

Good morning everyone! I’m afraid I haven’t managed to accomplish much rug hooking during this quarantine period. I finished the scrub caps. I decided to make a different bouffant cap, one more like a shower cap. I sent them on their way last week. They arrived at the hospital Monday. As far as I know, all is well.

However, since then it’s been recommended Canadians wear face masks when out in public. We have been told not to use the surgical masks or n95 masks, as those are desperately needed for health care workers. So our landlady and I sat down and sewed some trial masks for us.

We tried three different styles and finally settled on one made from a thick tight woven 100% quilters cotton, like batik, with a flannel insert. Results from a US study done in Wisconsin show it to be at least as effective as a surgical mask. Check out http://www.nbcnews/health/health-news/making-your-own-face-masks-some-fabrics-work-better-others-n117966

We are sewing masks for family, friends, and health care workers in Canada. Since starting this weekend we have sewn over fifty masks, mostly using our stashes of elastic, wire, quilting fabric and flannel. My serger has come in handy.

Our goal is to cover supply costs and shipping in this endeavour, not to profit. As such we charge nothing for health care workers, but do ask for them to cover shipping. Our family automatically gets the same deal. If, however, people feel called to contribute, we figure our costs to be about $10 CAD per mask. All payment is by e-transfer at this time. Check it out and, if you need masks contact me through this website‘s Contact page or send an email to <jo6865@gmail.com > . These masks will NOT be posted in my shop for sale because of the limited target client.

Just so you know…

Just so you know…

I haven’t totally dropped off the face of the earth! I’m here and doing fine. The last two weeks I’ve been in self-isolation because I have a cold. I still have a cough, but I’m thinking that’s related to other health issues. For now I’m up and being productive!

I offered to help a relative in the medical field with any sewing, should the hospital she works in need it. After a bit of back and forth a request came in for cloth scrub caps. So the last couple of days I’ve been designing and sewing those. I hope to have a box off to them by Friday.

I’ve also been doing a bit of rug hooking on my South Korean rug since I last posted.  But, to be honest, progress has been stalled with Covid-19 and the scrub caps.

I hope all my readers are well out there. Here in Canada our Prime Minister has invoked the Quarantine Act in an effort to get everyone to stay home and flatten the curve, reducing the burden on health care workers and hospitals. It seems to be working in British Columbia, our westernmost province. We are hoping it works across the rest of Canada.

Covid-19 has kind of messed up our plans for moving this year.  As a result of the quarantine I have postponed kitchen renovations and bathroom renovations at our new house. They are not essential. We don’t even know if it’s okay for the sale to go through. As it stands now, someone needs to go to the bank and get a bank draft to drop at the seller’s lawyer. Plus there’s a final check of the house. Plus we have to see our own lawyer. Both Hubby and I are high risk for developing Covid-19, so I’m not excited about these extra community contacts. I’d much rather we both stayed home. But we can’t live in our friend’s basement forever. While the timing may be bad, it may just be a chance we have to take. 

I’ve also decided to plant a garden this year, even if it’s just a container garden on the deck. I’m not confident about the availability of foodstuff from our local grocers. Hubby and I use online ordering to acquire food these days. They are slow at best, and didn’t have nine items on my list last time! I understand these are stressful times, but we still have to eat. I just wish people would quit hoarding so those of us who don’t can simply eat!

The decision to garden has been impacted by Covid-19 in more ways than that. Apparently everyone else has the same desire to garden this year. The main local seed store, from where I was going to order seed, temporarily shut down it’s online store due to a shortage of product. However, they plan to have it up and running again this coming week. It’s the panic over buying by some people, resulting in these interruptions in the supply chain, that is making Canadians nervous and fuelling more demand. It’s a vicious cycle.

Despite what’s going on in the world with Covid-19, I am seeing a lot of good in people and am thankful for many things. I am thankful for the skills, technology, and ability to help others. I’m thankful to have a roof over my head, food to eat, and clothes to wear. I find it useful for my mental health to look at the positive things around me…like our landlady sharing meals with us, and being able to bake with her. I am thankful that, while we’re on a fixed income, at least we have an income. And I’m thankful that I can contribute, even if in a small way.

As always, I hope this post finds my readers healthy and safe. Take care till next time…Jean

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Hi everyone! We signed for the house, put down our deposit, and are looking forward to closing mid-April. It’s been a long haul. We’ve spent time browsing home building stores. I’m into the home renovation mode. I picked up several countertop and paint samples. We’ve arranged to check out the house again this week for measurements. While there we’ll take a few photos.

We have people lined up to help us move in the first weekend in May. We want to have as much work done on the house as possible before then. That gives us a two week window to renovate. So not doable if we use contractors, so I imagine most of the work will be done by ourselves.

In the home decor department I’ve finished the first cushion cover and am onto the second. I may, or may not, knit a third.

I’ve picked up the appliqué quilt again and am sewing more blocks. I hope to hook more on my South Korea wall hanging, and finish the “Hearts” coasters this week.

I’ve discovered Wayfair.ca this week! I’ve been exploring design options on my iPad. Mostly I’ve been disappointed with apps that advertise “Free” and then have crippled the app unless you buy a monthly subscription after you download it. So right now I’m trying to use Wayfair’s mood board feature. Haven’t figured it out yet, but I have browsed their shop for ideas and garnered a lot for my various rooms.

I have a wood floor lamp my mom turned on a lathe when I was a child. The lampshade sadly needs replacing. I’ve been struggling to find the right size and shape. Wayfair has it. For over $100!!!

A friend suggested I knit a lampshade. There is a design in “Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders” book I have. However it’s for a smaller lampshade. I’m debating it. I have the yarn already. It would take more time, and it would be a lot of texture…depending on the pattern used. I would have to recreate the pattern to fit the old lamp shade. Hmmm…

Lots happening, so keep an eye out on this blog! Hoping to have my studio up and running by Fall at the latest. Only one year late! Sigh. It is what it is.

Week in Review

Week in Review

Hello! I had a fun week this week. I was able to attend a short workshop with Lucy Richards and a friend of mine. It was hosted by Diann McDonald, an Oxford punch certified instructor. It was a great chance to meet Diann and get to know Lucy’s Wooly Mason Dye system. I was picking up my set of cool colourway ProChem dye cards while there. So excited to have my dye jars made and ready to go! Thank you so much Lucy and Diann! The eight value spot dye swatch turned out perfect by the way.

Aside from dyeing fabric I also finished reading Karen Miller’s book “Eyes Open to the World”. It was very interesting and I can hardly wait for her second book to come out. Only one suggestion, and it’s a practical one…Karen, ask your publisher to put a sturdier cover on your next book. I’m afraid I’ve managed to bend this one. Hubby, a retired librarian, and I are contemplating ways to reinforce it so it can withstand the wear and tear I’m going to be giving it. We think our best bet is to head to Staples and see if they can do anything with it. Thank-you for a great read!

I finished the second bed sock now. They’re a bit big, but nice and comfy for bed.

Bed Socks from Ella Rae yarn.

I haven’t had much time for the appliqué quilt this past week. Must get back to that. I would like to have the top finished by summer. I had some wonderful rug hooking friends donate some old freezer paper to the cause. For some reason freezer paper is difficult to find locally. I am doing freezer paper appliqué and will need a fair quantity of it.

We’ve finished house hunting folks! We’ve found a cute little split level with 2 bedrooms up and 1 down. It’s in a nearby community close to Halifax, N.S. It’s an R2000 home, meaning it’s warm. It needs updating in the baths and kitchen, but it’s small enough we can handle it. Other than that, it’s just a case of painting. I’m very happy and we’re excited to get into it…which won’t be until April at the earliest. We’ll see. Lots to do before then anyways!

I’m knitting cushion covers for the new living room furniture. The yarn is Sublime Organic Cotton DK. It’s showing the patterns beautifully! I’m using stitch dictionary books from a used bookstore and a garage sale as guides for ideas: Mon Tricot’s “Knitting Dictionary Stitches Patterns” and Maria Parry-Jones’s “The Knitting Stitch Bible”.

I finished the “Heart” wallhanging and am hooking matching coasters. These are fun pieces for around Valentine’s Day. They probably won’t be ready this year, but they will be ready for next year!

I hope my readers enjoyed reading and have a productive week. Take care!

What I’m Up To

I finished my first bed sock and am almost done the second. They are a bit large, but that’s okay. If I knit myself a real pair for walking I’ll go down one size.

I finished the first eight appliqué quilt blocks and am onto the next eight. Having a hard time finding time to do this, what with other distractions and only being able to do it during daylight hours. My appliqué stitching is a mess after the sun goes down, even with lights on!

I am reading “Eyes Open to the World” by Karen Miller. I’m really enjoying it! I’m halfway through the book now. I’m a slow reader.

I missed rug hooking, so I scrounged around in bins and boxes for some scrap linen backing. I freehand drew some hearts on it, on top of some squares that were already on the backing.

I commandeered Hubby to move boxes of fibre around so I could find the appropriate colours to prepare for hooking. I settled on pink, red, purple, and white. I am using my usual wool, silk, and nylon.

Then I discovered my portable lap frame had cracked during our move. I quickly mentioned it to a friend and she offered to bring one to our group meeting this week for me to borrow. I took my cracked frame to the meeting and asked for advice on fixing or replacing it. I was surprised the answer was try Gorilla Glue! So Hubby went out for some Gorilla Glue and is poised to try and repair my frame.

I hope everyone else is having a productive time. Take care and I’ll try and check in next week.

My hearts wall hanging
Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Today we’re having an “at home” day. The wind outside is howling and blowing snow around. Police are advising people to stay off the roads. There are a lot of snow drifts developing and accidents. We are taking their advice!

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I thought I’d take some time to fill you in on my latest reading:

I finished Meryl Cook’s “One Loop At A Time”. I found it a very interesting way to rug hook, having never heard of chakra colors before. I love the look of her work! I am so glad Meryl decided to pick up the hook and work her way through recovery using rug hooking! This book is the story of how Meryl worked towards wellness and recovery following surgery using rug hooking and her creativity. I find times of sudden illness have been life changing for me as well.

I am finally getting serious about Karen Miller’s book, “Eyes Open To The World”. I am loving her writing style! Both she and Meryl have great writing styles. They don’t waste words and they are very clear in what they say and mean. I like that.

I’ve finished chapter 1 on traveling and really seeing what’s around you. And I agree. It’s too easy to just go, go, go and not really see what’s around you. That’s what happened on our South Korean trip in 2017. Thankfully I captured a lot with my camera on that trip. It definitely helps to be a decent photographer when you travel, or to travel with one!

As one of the featured rug hooking artists in her book, I can see where I have an unusual word cloud of artists and people who’ve inspired me. I think sometimes we’re too narrow in defining which “artists” have inspired us. I have to include my grandmother, a fibre artist long before they were called such. She was an excellent needlewoman, seamstress, quilter, etc. She inspired me to make time for my creative work and to aspire to excellence in technique, as well as interpretation. She inspired me to create works with meaning – something I am still working towards at this time.

I also find my children’s poetry to be inspirational. They were pretty good poets as children – far better than I was! They created a large body of work and have given me permission to use some of it in my rug hooking. I am currently planning a three day retreat for myself in order to put more patterns on backing, color plan, and dye fibre for them. That’s a tall order for three days, but we’ll see how far I get.

Of course I am inspired by the usual Impressionist, Van Gogh, Emily Carr, Group of Seven, Georgia O’Keefe, etc. They all affect how I perceive and interpret what I observe. They teach me, as Karen writes, about light, perspective, and color.

I am also finding inspiration in unusual places. Take for instance, the manhole covers in downtown Vancouver. Don’t laugh! They have great designs I’d love to do a rubbing of some day. Unfortunately it’s rather crowded for that. I settled for snapping quick photos!

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Aside from reading and being inspired by Karen and Meryl, I’ve been busy quilting. The quilt I’m currently working on is from a South Korean quilt book a friend owns. I have no idea who the designer is or the name of the quilt, let alone the book. All I could decipher was the pattern diagram. A friend who used to be a quilt instructor gave me instruction on how much to enlarge it and how to quilt it using the freezer paper appliqué method. So far it’s working great! I have one block I have redesigned, as it requires tricky machine quilting to determine what it is exactly.

I’m hoping to turn it into a queen size quilt for our bed. We still don’t have a quilt for our bed. I’ve made lots of quilts for other people, so now it’s our turn. I have eight blocks completed and need at least forty-two total. That’s another thirty-four blocks! I can appliqué one a day.

I’m also knitting a pair of Merino wool socks from Ella Rae yarn. I was originally planning on making a shawl, but the yarn had breaks in it. In the end I decided to not only make socks, but to make bed socks. It’s cold where we live…especially at night. The breaks won’t matter if I’m just keeping my feet warm at night in them.

This morning I gathered up all my unfinished projects and took them to the upstairs living room, where it’s warmer. I stored them all in the large tote I have of projects I want to do or finish. I’m hoping to make strong headway on emptying that tote this year!

That’s my Weekly Review folks! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

January 2020

I have plans. Big plans. I sat down and went through some unfinished projects I’d like to finish, and some I’d like to start. It’s going to be a busy year!

Finished over the holidays were the following:
~ a soy silk/alpaca drop stitch scarf, modified free Ravelry pattern,
~ a soy silk/alpaca tuque, my own pattern,
~ an alpaca/Merino/bamboo set of wrist warmers, free Ravelry pattern.

In progress are the following:
~ a trip-around-the-world quilt…yes, I’m still working on that.
~ a South Korean appliquéd quilt pattern. I’m gathering supplies for that.
~ a needlepoint cushion cover. Yes, I’m still working on the hydrangeas.
~ the sandpiper crewel embroidery.
~ a hardanger wall hanging that just needs framing and hanging.
~ hardanger Christmas ornaments.

In the wings, waiting to be started:
~ a gold work wall hanging,
~ a robin needlepointing piece,
~ several sketchbooks of patterns to hook into rugs and wall hangings.
~ various scrapbooks from the last 18 years of photos.

This all sounds like a lot. But I have a partner in crime. Someone who can help me by encouraging me and holding me accountable. Not just my readers my friends, but also our current hostess/landlady. Our hostess is a craftswoman herself, and knows how valuable motivation in the form of accountability to someone else can be. She and I have decided to start a quilting challenge on Monday, January 6th. A block a day. That could be difficult for me as I’m starting with an appliqué South Korea quilt. But we shall see. Any forward progress is good progress in my view.

Beginnings and Finishings

I started the planning for 2020 by unpacking my Finished Work binders that contain photos, patterns, and instructions of various craft projects I’ve made over the years. It was a trip down memory lane and filled me with inspiration and anticipation.

I’ve decided this year, 2020, is all about finishing. I have numerous projects I’ve put off working on over the years. We are currently temporarily boarding with a very crafty lady. She and I have decided to embark on a finishing challenge for this coming year.

To that end I’ve pulled out my Trip-Around-The-World quilt again. I started it when I was seventeen, using fabrics leftover from my mother’s and grandmother’s sewing projects. It grew to include fabric from my sisters’ sewing projects. Until finally it grew so large I actually had to go out and buy fabric. It’s my experimental quilt. My first run at hand quilting (the center), AND my first run at machine quilting (the border). I used a mix of cotton and non-cotton fabrics…not the best choice I know now. But when I was piecing it in my late teens I had no idea. The backing is actually a piece of poly/cotton…also not the best choice.

I put a border I did not like on it at the suggestion of another quilter. Our hostess says she thinks it can be fixed with some judicious appliqué. We’ll see. I’m counting on her guidance. She used to teach quilting. I’m really just a beginner/intermediate level.

Aside from that I’ve pulled out the South Korea roof tile end caps rug and have been hooking it. I’m stuck. I want to dye some red-purple wool fabrics and silk for the design. I already spun the red-purple yarn I plan to use. However I have no place to dye fibre here really. It would be a major inconvenience for our hostess and for Hubby. But I’m thinking. I mean…I have a hot plate and drying rack. It’s definitely doable. I’d just have to have Hubby help unpack my dye equipment and supplies…and he is really not keen to do that. Our stuff is piled in boxes high to the ceiling here!

I did finish the Dropped Stitch Scarf from Ravelry. It’s a free pattern. I’ve yet to block it and weave in ends. Again, it’s for lack of space…and supplies. I could use a good drying mat for my knitting.

Other than that I have a needlework pillow top project, hardanger Christmas ornaments, the sandpiper crewel embroidery, another hardanger wall hanging to stitch, and one to frame. I also have a couple of quilts I want to sew…larger ones for our bed. Plus I have some needle painting and embroidery projects. Oh and a goldwork project. That will be it I think. If I finish half of that this year I’ll be doing well I think!

What about you? What are your plans for the year 2020?

Back at it again!

Back at it again!

Hi everyone! I’ve been spinning and knitting away. I managed to finish spinning the red purple and the golden yellow for my current project – the South Korea rug. We’ll see how that hooking project goes. I’ve determined the pattern is too detailed to add my silk fibre strips. The pattern loses definition when I do. This project will definitely be a learning one, but then, what project isn’t? I find I learn something with every project I do.

I’m also knitting more on the silk/alpaca Dropped Stitch Scarf. It’s a free pattern from Ravelry. Almost done. Only about ten inches to go! Looking forward to blocking and wearing it.

Dove of Peace Ornaments

Aside from the fibre activity I’ve been to the local rug hooking guild. They are a very talented group of ladies! They are a huge group! I visited on a day when some of them were selling crafts as well. I bought some beautiful small dove Christmas tree ornaments and took the phone number of a knitter. That reminds me, I must call her. I’m thinking I’ll put in an after New Year’s order. She knits wool socks and shawls.

I’m also reading. I finished reading “Hooked Mats of Newfoundland and Labrador” and was struck by the diversity of design within the region. There is a history of the Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland and Labrador at the beginning of the book. That is followed by many examples of hooked mats from various parts of the region. I found the history of the mats fascinating.

I’m currently reading “Silk Stocking Mats” by Paula Laverty and enjoying the history in that. I’m not a big history fan, but these two books include a lot of visuals to make it interesting and clarify what happened when.

Two days ago I processed the yarn I spun. I’m already noticing the difference between the humidity here and on the Prairies. It’s taken two days to dry instead of one!

Earlier this week we dug out Christmas decorations and decorated a tree and the main floor of the house where we’re staying.

We baked up a storm and hosted a cookie exchange for our landlady, daughters, and our son-in-laws. I hate to tell them, but our cookies are already gone! That’s probably a good thing, and we probably shouldn’t eat any more! However I know I’ll be making chocolates soon. So there will be lots of goodies yet for Hubby and I to share with others.

Cookies for the Cookie Exchange.

Well, it’s time to get going here. Take care everyone. Have a safe holiday season!

We’re Here!

We’re Here!

Our stuff has arrived! We are truly and for good moved to the east coast of North America!

We had a fairly uneventful trip east, aside from Hubby picking up food poisoning in Northern Ontario. We spent an extra night in Thunder Bay before moving on to Sault Ste. Marie. Other than that we made a few visits with relatives along the way.

We stopped in at the rectory in Chelsea, QC. It is home to an artists co-operative involving over 100 different artists! Some very interesting fibre work happening there.

We also stopped in to visit Lucy Richards in her home in Moncton, NB. She is the source of the Woolly Mason Jar system of dyeing fibre. I purchased one of the color card sets and some accessories to try her system next year, when we move into our new place.

We arrived in Halifax area last Monday and just set up our technology today. Too much to do otherwise! We’ve checked in with one child, but not the other. We’ve had a winter storm and Hubby is sick with a cold. We will hopefully see the other next week.

I’ve been to a SCRABBLE night with the ladies and, with their help, came in second in the game I was playing. They are very friendly people.

Our host likes games, so Friday night pizza and games continues! We may switch up the meal part a bit, which is fine by me. I’ve eaten a lot of pizzas in my lifetime!

We’ve been exploring the area where we’ve landed. We’ve discovered a pharmacy not far away, a few grocery stores, and some good restaurants. Our host is a wonderful source of where to buy things cheap! She’s a great recycler/make doer!

We’ve been to the Health Department for new health cards. Next up is to use them. This week is doctor week. I’m stressing over it already.

We’ve also discovered we are next to a beautiful small lake. In fact, we are on a hill and you can see the lake through the trees. Great for walking! Hubby has been on several walks, but I’ve been a bit slower to partake. I’m tired and still have my ‘cough’.

In fibre news, I’ve been spinning a lovely red purple Merino wool for my South Korean rug. I’ve yet to process the yarn, but will take a photo when I do.

I also have some golden yellow and lemon yellow Merino to spin together. I think. I’m not sure. The golden yellow is in the landscape down here in summer and fall (goldenrod). The lemon yellow is more of a stretch for this landscape. I’ll have to think on it before I combine the two.

I found my knitting today and think I’ll work on it as well. I’m still working on that Ravelry Dropped Stitch Scarf from home spun alpaca and silk.

I’m also checking out the rug hooking collection at the nearest library. I have a few books to read the next few week – a couple on silk stocking mats, and Karen Miller’s book.

Well folks, have a great week! Hope all goes well with everyone!

A Busy Time

The house sold and we’re busy preparing for the move and saying good-bye to our many good friends. We will miss you all.

We moved everything back to the house from storage and decided that was enough. We hired a real moving company for the actual move. We were going to do UHaul, but it was just too much work.

I’ve been busy listing items for sale online, and selling them. Hubby has been making trips to the Salvation Army Thrift Store to drop items off. It’s amazing how little you need when faced with paying for a move!

We continue to have our weekly Pizza and Games night with friends. I’m still sick, but it’s only a cold I’ve been told. As long as I don’t laugh too much I’ll be fine. When I laugh I cough.

Creativity these days consists of planning, organizing, and getting things done. Not much. Thankfully my whiteboard is starting to look a little emptier.

In rug hooking news, Karen Miller’s new book is out! I am represented in its pages in the plein air hooking section. I’m looking forward to receiving my copy.

I packed my car bag for the road trip east today. It has knitting in it. I’ll also be spinning some roving into yarn.

Hubby and I were a bit concerned about all the stuff we want to take in the car. So we hauled it all into one room in one pile for a visual assessment. It should be good.

We celebrated a friend’s birthday recently. Baked a cake and had it with ice-cream for dessert. She wanted to learn to make pizza from scratch, so a couple of friends gave her a pizza stone and pizza cutter, while we gave her a couple grocery store gift cards. She and her sister were here visiting about a week ago and I showed them how to do it. They are excited to try.

Well, that’s it. The goal for today is to check the emergency kit in the car and to visit the lawyer to sign the final paperwork for the house sale.

It SOLD!

It SOLD!

Our house sold late Friday evening! We are moving!…end of November…driving across Canada. Are we crazy?! We’ll see.

Since I last posted I caught some wicked cold and have been fighting it off. Yesterday was the first day in a long time that I’ve felt half decent.

We had company arrive on last Friday for a few days, and again last evening. She is an ex-boarder of ours and due to leave the country soon to fly home. We will miss her. We’ve been binging on games, visiting, and watching a movie.

Last Sunday we had a lovely trip to the Qu’Appelle Valley Lumsden and Craven areas. We stopped in Lumsden to take a couple of walks. Then we stopped at 641 Grill & Bar in Craven for a late brunch. It was a delight and we stuffed ourselves. I took my own Korean Honey Citron Tea to keep from coughing all over everyone. The waitress kindly provided copious amounts of hot water in a teapot and a mug.

Last Sunday evening (Canadian Thanksgiving weekend) was eventful. Our basement sewer line backed up…for the second time in 25 years. It was in the line under the house. We live in a 90 year old house, so you can imagine the issues it might have. It was, unfortunately, backed up in the bathroom our company was using. So Monday morning, Canadian Thanksgiving, Hubby called in a plumber to clean it out. They were great! It was cleaned out by the time I was out of bed! Hubby dealt with the whole thing.

Last Monday I woke up feeling much better. We decided we were too full and inactive to justify three regular meals in one day, let alone two regular and one large Thanksgiving meal, so we had just two meals – breakfast and lupper (which is somewhere between lunch and supper). We had a lovely Thanksgiving meal of roasted turkey breast and thigh, cranberry jelly (homemade), baked sweet potato, tossed green salad, pumpkin pie, and apple pie…with whipped cream or ice-cream…or both… Afterwards we decided to go to the mall to walk. It was raining when we left and snowing when we came home!

Nothing creative has been accomplished last week or this. Too sick and too much house stuff going on.

I did find out a dear elderly friend from church passed away this weekend. I will miss her dearly. She always greeted me with a hug, and most everyone else too! She had what I referred to as a hugging ministry! She will be missed by a lot of people.

I hope everyone has a great week. Take care!

Back home again!

Back home again!

A wonderful trip to the Maritimes everyone! We’re back home safe and sound.

I did fit in a bit of rug hooking on the trip. My daughter’s nineteen year old kitchen rug needed a new binding. Thanks to the help of online friends on the Wooly Mason Jar Facebook group I was able to find some Briggs & Little yarn to bind it. My daughter is very happy with the new herringbone edge.

I also was to the Hooked Rug Museum of North America, which I told you about in a previous post. Plus I was able to visit the Belfast Mini Mills to spend some birthday money on dyed roving to spin, or not, for my wall hangings.

Ah! I forgot to tell you my 60th birthday was while I was away. My younger sister, her Husband and daughter went all out. My brother, his wife, her sister, and her husband were also there. As was my eldest daughter and her husband! It was a full table with eleven of us for supper! My sister decided it warranted two birthday cakes: one chocolate and one white. But not just any white cake! My niece made a lemon blueberry pound cake of her own recipe, and glazed it with vanilla frosting. It was to die for! So yummy and moist. Don’t bother to request the recipe – she isn’t sharing.

I was able to reconnect with a cousin I hadn’t seen since childhood. That was cool. Turns out his partner is from a place my eldest sister has visited. We were meeting at my eldest sister’s place. She and my cousin’s partner had a great time talking about her home stomping grounds.

Now we’re home it’s time to get caught up around here. Today is household chores and make appointments day. Have a great rest of the week everyone!

Enjoying Our Break!

We’ve been travelling the Maritimes the last week, and will be for another while. We’re really enjoying thenice weather, beautiful fall scenery, fresh local produce, and friendly people.

We enjoyed a few days in Moncton area. I met up with rug hooker Gwen Dixon at the Moncton Market. It was great meeting you Gwen! I love the colours in Gwen’s work!

My family from Moncton area took us on a walk through some woods near Riverview. The trails had steep hills on them. I was wondering if this out of shape prairie girl could do them! I managed.

We also checked out the Homestead Restaurant for a wonderful meal of local fare. I Had fish cakes with chow, turnips and carrots, coleslaw, and a wild blueberry pie with ice-cream. Yum!

Family took us up the coast to see the Irving Memorial Chapel and Jean Irving Plantation. What a great variety of trees! We also went to walk part of the Bouctouche sand dunes.

Mostly we spent time catching up with family. Same as in Halifax. We made a mad dash to that fair city Sunday afternoon. We only stopped briefly at the very overcrowded and understaffed Masstown Market. The grapenut ice-cream, cheese bagels, and fresh strawberries made up for it though.

We took our adult children on a trip out the South Shore Bridgewater way. We stopped at Peggy’s Cove, the memorial for Swiss Air flight 111, the Hooked Rug Museum of North America, and Lunenburg along the way.

Family deserted me for the beach when we got to the museum! I had a great chat with Linda, the volunteer that day. I bought a lovely Lollipop Flowers rug made by a lady in Ontario. Thank-you!

We headed inland to South Brookfield and then south to Milton and back to Halifax on the main highway.

Part of the purpose of our trip is to scout out various communities and neighbourhoods to see where we might live. We checked in with a realtor the other day and spent over an hour discussing the situation. It could be a busy winter.

Last evening we were doing laundry at one of my daughter’s places. I found an old rug I had hooked on her kitchen floor, sadly in need of repair. The herringbone whipping had finally worn through after nineteen years!

The rug is now in my possession. I spent time today washing it, and pulling the remains of the old whipping off. We also went to Atlantic Fabrics in Dartmouth for some Briggs & Little Heritage yarn to re-whip the edge. I took time to hand wind it into a ball and then started whipping.

Our trip has been pretty busy so far. Hubby wants to sightsee tomorrow. I’m ready for some rest. I really want to finish whipping this rug before I leave. We’ll see what actually transpires!

New Restart Date

Hi everyone! The house did not sell during this summer. We are disappointed, but being realistic. We knew this was a possibility when we listed. The housing market in Regina has been very slow.

As a result Hubby and I are looking at taking the house off the market and doing a few renovations this winter. We have a short list and a longer list, based on priority and how long we plan to stay here. We are actually contemplating not moving at all. Rather, use the money we’d spend on moving on visiting our daughters and family down east annually. The decision, ultimately, will be made by our health.

At any rate, if the house does not sell by the end of the month we will be pulling it off the market, and pulling our stuff out of storage.

At that point my online store will be open for business!

I encourage people to call me after November 1st if you want anything from the shop. I do have supplies not listed online in the shop. Use the contact me form on the contact page to inquire.

Have a great week everyone!

Baking Spree

Baking Spree

Company coming and friends in need of help. So a friend and I spent yesterday afternoon baking.

We made: Saskatoon Lemon Bran Muffins, Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Lemon Tea Loaf, Butter Tarts, Pinwheels, and Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns. Previously I had baked a batch of Oatmeal Cookies. I’ll split all this up between us and our friends.

Aside from the baking, as soon as we finish taking current company to visit their family, and help with our friends, we will be taking a bit of a break.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Fall. We are! Despite the house not selling. We are sorting through options now, trying to decide what to do. Likely this winter will involve some renovations.

Have a great week everyone!

I’m here!

I’m here!

Just a bit busy with extended family stuff. Still going to the gym three times a week.

Lately I’ve been knitting the Drop Stitch Scarf up. I’m over half done. I have several balls of the silk/alpaca left. I’m thinking a hat and fingerless mitts are in order. I’m looking forward to the next project.

I am done spinning half the purple singles for the yarn to hook into the South Korea rug. Need to get to storage for my spinning bobbins.

Have a great day everyone!

My Work Basket

My Work Basket

Today I decided to go through my work basket beside my comfy chair and see what was there that I could work on. I found a lot more than I bargained for! Some of these unfinished projects date back a decade or more ago!!! I’m going to try and work my way through them.

Not much happening these days. We enjoyed the weekend at Wascana Lake watching the Canadian National Championship Dragon Boat Races. We had friends racing in one of the boats.

TeamKorea – Canadian National Dragon Boat Races

I’m still attending a cardiac gym three times a week, which wears me out. However I badly need it.

A few weekends ago we drove up to Last Mountain Lake Wildlife Refuge and watched the various birds and waterfowl. The pelicans, black terns, and red-winged blackbirds were out in force!

We noticed a lot of building construction at the headquarters site. Looks like a new observation tower is going up, as well as a new information kiosk.

Pelicans at Last Mountain Lake Wildlife Refuge.

Two weekends ago we went out to Moose Jaw, SK to walk some of the trails in Wakamow Park, down by the river. Afterwards we stopped in at Grant Hall Hotel Lounge for appetizers, drinks, and dessert. We had a lovely time!

We’ve been enjoying our summer by going to places we’ve never been the entire time we’ve lived in Saskatchewan, or places we’d like to say good-bye to. We’ve been here 24 years now. It’s the longest we’ve ever lived anywhere. Now our children have moved east we have no family here. We are moving closer to family.

If you’ve been reading and made it this far, thank-you. Take care and have a great week!

Summer Living

I’m in the park, waiting for Hubby to get back from taking a young friend to her driving exam. I decided to go for a walk while waiting. There is time to notice lots of design possibilities around me.

Life is good right now. The house hasn’t sold yet, but we’re hopeful. The realtors are all saying it shows very well. But the buyer’s aren’t biting. I figure it’s just a matter of time.

Health-wise I am stable right now. That is good. I have two out of four doctors on board about the move. The other two are not crucial, but would be nice to have their input.

Artistically I haven’t done much. Mostly it’s browsing online for ideas and reading about other artists. I’m really discouraged with everything in storage. I have a knitting project, a needlepoint project, and a Hardanger embroidery project out to work on. I’m frustrated by all of them at the moment. I just want my rug hooking back! Sigh.

I’ve been trying to eat less heavy foods lately. So we’re eating less red meat and more vegetables. It’s nice. I notice higher energy levels.

Having said that, I admit to buying the fixings to make homemade butter pecan ice-cream and strawberry ice-cream. I modified the ingredients list to be more milk and less cream. Also less sugar. Tastes almost like Korean Bingsu. Yum!

I hope this post finds everyone enjoying the summer. Take care.

Monthly (?) Update

Monthly (?) Update

Hi everyone. I haven’t posted for a couple of reasons. 1) I’ve been super busy with the move and medical happenings. 2) I’ve been having website issues. I am not a happy camper on either front because they take me away from my creative activities.

On the medical front…MRI is done. No results yet, but I feel fine…except my back…which was the reason for the MRI. I’ll wait a while and see if I receive a phone call from the doctor’s office in regards to it. No call is a good thing. If I don’t hear anything in about a month’s time I’ll call them just to double check everything is okay.

On the moving front, the house has been up for sale for almost two weeks now. We had three showings the first week and two this week. Kind of hoping for more, but we shall see. Like I said above, I’m waiting for about a month for medical results, so if the house doesn’t sell right away I won’t be disappointed.

The sump pump fix was a waste of money. The seepage was coming in even with it, and it wasn’t kicking in at all. So Hubby, under my direction, re-sloped the land at that corner of the house, away from the house. Then he caulked some thick plastic to the foundation and covered it with red shale. I suggested he redirect the downspout into the alley instead of onto the lawn. We took the opportunity to outline the entire area and the front flower bed it abuts against with lawn edging. That will hopefully keep weeds down.

After that we had a couple afternoons of rain and saw no return of the seepage in the basement. So we had new carpet laid. Then Hubby painted the basement and installed baseboards. It looks positively lovely down there!

Still…some nibbles on the house, but no offers.

As for my blog…grrr! I’ve been trying to set up a system whereby I can post from my cell phone or tablet to my blog. This is supposed to be easy, but is not. I cannot get it to work…at all. It posts to my old blog, but not my current one. Very frustrating. I think I’ll be buying a new laptop in my future, to be able to post to my blog while traveling and before we get internet set up wherever we end up.

Nothing creative happening here. Though I am reading “The Secret Lives of Color” by Kassia St. Claire. It’s a fascinating look at the historical side of color. I’m having fun reading and sharing the stories with people.

Have a great day everyone!

Spring has Sprung

I can’t believe it’s been a whole month since I wrote a blog post! I managed to contract another virus and was sick for all of March as well. April was spent furiously playing catchup.

We picked out new carpet for the basement, had the carpet contractor in, only to discover we had a damp corner in the basement. That is not unusual with a house over 90 years old. So we called in a basement contractor to look at it. They said we need a sump pump and are installing one as I write this.

After the sump pump is installed Hubby has some more wall repair and painting to do before the carpet contractor arrives with the new carpet early May. There should be no problem with that timeline…we hope. Two days after the carpet is laid everything is put into storage. We managed to rent a storage locker already for the beginning of May. Hopefully before the day everything goes into storage we will be taking loads to donation locations across the city.

As for creative projects, nothing has been happening. I have been busy packaging up wool and selling it to people, but that’s about it.

I’ve also been busy watching far too many YouTube videos on moving, selling and buying houses, the area we plan to move to, and budget binders (which we’re going to need due to the higher cost of living where we’re going!). It’s been a very exciting time.

Health-wise things seem to be looking up. I’m feeling much better. Unfortunately the medical system is under a great deal of stress in the area I’m moving to. I will need a family doctor almost immediately and there are none to be found. I have two leads and I hope and pray one of them pans out.

I’m growing weary of living out of boxes. We first packed up last February (2018) and have been living out of them ever since. I can hardly wait to be in a new place with our reduced possessions in their rightful places. I miss having a “home”.

We had a great Easter this year and hope all of you did too. I’ve got to get back to work selling things here. Enjoy spring everyone!

It’s Warming Up!

It’s Warming Up!

Wow! It’s only -5 Celsius out there today! LOL Well I guess it’s all relative. After about a month of -30 Celsius weather, this is downright balmy! Hubby is feeling better and is in the kitchen making Chicken Rice Soup. Yes, he caught that cold/flu bug after me and had it for all of 48 hours. I am soooo jealous! I wish I had short illnesses like that. I am looking forward to the soup tonight.

At any rate, after our two or three weeks of illness, we’re back at doing things around the house. Hubby is renovating and I’m back at the cardiac gym three times a week. We canceled the GoodFood meals. I found them to be great while we were sick and excellent quality and variety. However they are a tad on the expensive side. I can feed us 21 meals for what they were charging for 3 meals.

I made a menu plan and grocery list the other day before heading out grocery shopping. Picked up $120 CAD worth of groceries for about two weeks or more of food for Hubby and I. I found some good deals on meat. Came home and prepped the meat for easy use in meals.

I used to do mega-cooking. That’s where you cook all the meals for a month (or however long you want) at one time (usually over the course of a weekend) and put it in the freezer in meal sized amounts to pull out and reheat as needed. However that takes too much of my energy now. So my plan is to double cook meals. That just means making double batches of meals, eating one, and freezing the leftovers for later.

Hubby is still busy renovating the house. He is silent on when he thinks the house will be ready for sale. We’ll see. For now he is working on the basement, having finished all the upstairs BUT the front entry closet doors, which are an odd size.

I’m back at decluttering and selling used items online. Slowly getting rid of excess. I also had a good friend stop in and give me a sketchbook. An artist can always use one of those! She also brought her celery tops, which she doesn’t eat. As I was making chicken stock at the time, I just tossed them all in. Her timing was excellent!

As far as hooking goes…I have started hooking my South Korea rug and am not happy with it. I want to ‘fix’ it before posting a photo.

I also have not done any scrapbooking because of this illness. I need to have some photos developed first. I’ve temporarily given up on the idea of digital scrapbooking. The Forever program I was looking at requires a PC for full use of the site and I work on an Apple platform. There are work arounds, and I’ll have to look more in-depth at those before making a final decision.

I hope everyone has a great couple of weeks! I will be back then to post more.

Back from the living dead!

Back from the living dead!

I have been sick with a flu/cold/migraine combination this past week. It’s been miserable. On top of that, our vaporizer bit the dust. Hubby, bless his soul, would fill it up, turn it on, and shut the door. The entire room would become filled with acrid smelling fumes, like some damp wood with moss on it trying to burn. Yuck! I unplugged it for the last time yesterday and announced it was time to buy a new one.

During my illness Hubby was super helpful. He made all the meals and brought them to me, did the laundry and dishes, and stood over me looking worried more than he ought to have. Finally, to make the poor man feel better, and myself (he was beginning to have me worried!), I called our local 811 number. That number puts you in contact with a nurse who can help assess the severity of your situation. Basically, she told me to drink warm fluids, and cough up as much phlegm as I could. Nothing new.

Now I’m feeling a bit better I am working on another rug hooking pattern. This has been drawn on backing for over a year. I haven’t touched rug hooking in that long. Partly because of the move and everything being packed. Partly because of Dad’s death and illness, and my illness. And also partly because I needed a break from some of the poor attitudes I was finding in the rug hooking community.

This is not to badmouth or color the whole community, and it is not to point fingers. It is just a comment. I think some people are truly unaware of how they come across and how others react to them. It pays to think with your head and your heart, using a bit of compassion and common sense when dealing with others. I just needed to step back, regroup, and focus on my health for awhile, before continuing. It also helped to take time to work on other projects.

However, now I have picked up my next piece. My South Korean rug. I have sort of color planned it, but not totally. I know what colors I want in it. I’m just not entirely sure exactly where they are going to be in it.

People ask me how I color plan. I usually design from a color photo or series of photos I’ve taken. I print the photo on glossy photo paper and lay it on the floor or the table in natural light on a shady or overcast day. Direct sunlight is too harsh. Then I sort through my stash and pull out options that match colors in the photos. I don’t stop with just one option. In fact, I prefer five or more different types of wool or yarn (textures), depending on the pattern I’m working on.

When I have most, if not all of the colors represented, I package them up in zippered gallon plastic bags (depends on size of the project) and set them aside. That’s stage one done.

Stage two is usually on another day and requires cutting wool strips. I use a mixture of fabric and yarn, wool, silk, and nylon. Right now I do not have a good steady surface to cut wool strips. It was a real struggle to do this yesterday afternoon. We sold our good sturdy dining room table that was just right for the job. I had my Beeline cutter clamped to a wooden TV tray table, and was jamming it into the corner of the room against moving boxes with my foot to stabilize it enough to cut strips. My strips are none too perfect I’m afraid! Sigh.

Stage three is to set up my hooking area and start hooking. Not having hooked in awhile I need to build up wrist strength and agility again. I’m taking it slow for now…no more than an hour a day. I’m trying to make sure my technique is good so I don’t damage my wrist. I am also being cautious because I still have a bad cough, and the dust off the wool fabric is causing me to cough more. Not a lot of hooking done yet.

At any rate, here are some images of what I’m working on so far. I will be posting more on Instagram as my work progresses. I hope everyone has a great week!

Baby it’s cold outside!

Baby it’s cold outside!

Actually, it has warmed up since last night. But for the last two weeks we in Regina have been in a deep freeze of -30 Celsius or lower. I have two winter parkas. My friends laugh. I have the regular parka good to about -25 C, but when it goes lower I pull out my Eddie Bauer goose down parka good to who-knows-how-cold! It never disappoints. I’ve been wearing it the last few days, after finally finding it amongst all our packed items.

Yeah, packed items…about that move…sigh. This past week has been a string of medical appointments that have kind of left me whirling. There are, apparently, more tests to do, more medication to adjust to, and being careful of my stress levels to boot.

Hubby and I are trying to decide the best way to do the move. It is looking more and more like it will be a two stage move. Stage one will see us go into an apartment locally until the medical situation calms down. Then, once that is all settled, we’ll plan the actual move east. It’s a pain to do it this way, but I think it’s what’s best for my health overall. It is also a plan that has the support of my doctors.

Despite that negative news, I am still getting out and about. A friend gave us symphony tickets last weekend and we had a great time listening to a cellist and visiting with friends we hadn’t seen in ages. That resulted in a few invitations being exchanged.

We also went with friends to a local buffet for a Valentine’s Day dinner. We joined our church friends there and had a blast!

Hubby and I also went out Wednesday to a favorite local cafe, Le Macaron, for dessert and tea this week. I try to spell off bad news with good experiences. So I threw as many good experiences into my week as I could this past week!

I also had a haircut done in the home of my delightful hair dresser, mom to a new baby boy. She makes me laugh and is good for my spirits.

We’ve also been over to a friend’s place to visit and play games with her and her 15 year old daughter…quite a few times.

We are still enjoying GoodFood.ca meals. We order three a week. This week the three meals actually fed us five meals. Our appetites aren’t as big as they used to be when we were younger.

This week we are looking forward to our first bread delivery. Jim’s Bread from outside town delivers Surprise Baskets every two weeks to homes who pay up front for the privilege. So for $240CAD we get 5-7 loaves or packages of breadstuff every two weeks for 12 weeks. He includes bread, buns, and sweet dough treats of various sorts…things like cinnamon buns, soft pretzels, etc. Hubby and I couldn’t go through 5-7 loaves of breadstuff in two weeks, so we plan on freezing some to share with company and friends later.

Not much creative happening here. I’ve been sorting photos and memorabilia for the 2003 scrapbook. I’ve been exploring digital scrapbooking, but am not sure I’ll bite the bullet. I think I’ll wait and see.

We continue to sort through my genealogy papers. Hubby is redoing my mother’s family history using strictly primary source documentation…that means official documents. A lot of my mother’s family was done on stories handed down through the generations. Her family is Irish. My brother is in Ireland for awhile now and he and his wife are helping us unearth what we can from that side of the ocean.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries for Valentine’s Day. Yum!