Banff, Alberta 2018

Banff, Alberta 2018

We really enjoyed our time in Banff this past weekend.  We took time to check out the local cuisine, go for walks, check out the Luxton Buffalo Nation Museum, and we even checked out the nearby town of Canmore.

Moving on to Red Deer and Edmonton.  Saw a gorgeous art exhibit in Red Deer by Doris Charest.  It’s upstairs in the Sunworks Home and Garden store, in the Harris Warke Gallery.  There’s a cafe right there for a snack before or after viewing her artwork.

Made it to Edmonton tonight.  Just chilling out and having a good time.

 

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Weekly Review – Just Traveling On

We made the trip to Calgary area one day later than planned.  There was a snowstorm in Calgary Monday and we decided to avoid it.  Or so we thought.  We headed out on the road Tuesday and found the snowstorm between Moose Jaw and Swift Current.  But it was okay.  Only an hour long drive at 80 kph behind a semi-truck before we drove out of it.  Otherwise our trip over was smooth sailing.  Stopped at the Swift Current and Medicine Hat malls to do some shopping and to stretch our legs.  Arrived in Calgary area by suppertime.  Our hosts fed us a wonderful supper and we chatted the evening away, while knitting.

Hubby and I have been busy visiting IKEA in Calgary, checking out their furniture.  When we move we want to leave most of our furniture behind.  We’re checking out what we might replace it with and how much it will cost us.  In case you’re wondering, it works out to about $1500-2000 per room to furnish an entire room. We decided to keep our old Billy bookcases because they are 1.5″ deeper and more stable than the new ones.

We also visited Okotoks and stopped in at the Heartland Cafe for tea and dessert.  I had the best Carrot Cake with Pecans there.  And huge slices!  After snack I headed to Unwind Wool, while Hubby headed to the bike shop.  I found some of the 150th Birthday yarn from Fleece Artist there and purchased enough to make quite a few hats and neck warmers.  I have plans to gift these ones.

Since being here I have finished another homespun hat and started a homespun garter stitch scarf.  Hope to finish it by the time I go home.

I hope everyone has had a good week and will continue to have a great weekend!  Take care and God bless.

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Hi everyone!  Finished my slouch tam hat from the free pattern, Three Way Chunky Hat, on Ravelry.  Had to take off the ribbed edging and reknit it on needles two sizes smaller.  It worked!  Fits like a charm now.  Though one lady did comment the hat was too big for me.

Not much happening here…well…not rug hooking related, unless you count ‘liking’ various rugs on Facebook and Instagram!  I’m loving what I’m seeing from other rug hookers these days.  Lots of variety, and excellent quality work.

I’ve been focused on knitting.  I started the blue Corriedale/BFL (Blue-Faced Leicester) wool hat from handspun yarn.  It is a pattern from Ann Budd’s book “A Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns”, modified of course. I’ve knit the pattern once before for someone, slightly different yet again.  This will take a while to knit as it’s on 4 mm circular needles.  However, it will be a nice, warm, comfy hat.

Aside from that we’ve been busy with friends.  Last night I was out with a friend to a movie called “I Can Only Imagine”.  It was a stunning movie of forgiveness.  A great theme song too.

We’ve had friends in several times for meals and games.  I thoroughly enjoy those times too.

I took a friend out to an art gallery opening reception.  The art was gorgeous.  The people were a bit of a disappointment.  No one greeted us or talked to us the entire time.  Really weird.  Usually gallery staff are right there to answer questions.

We had a gentleman come look at the house, but I suspect no sale yet.  No problem.  We actually were going to hold off putting the house up for sale till next year, due to extenuating circumstances in the extended family.  The only way this man made it through the door to look is because he knew someone who knew Hubby, and well, one thing led to another.  Right now there is far too much work to be done on the house to make it desirable to a buyer.  It’s in a great location, but it definitely is a fixer-upper!  Solid house, just we haven’t been able to keep on top of things over the years, what with everything else going on in our lives.

I’m off to visit relatives the next couple of weeks.  I’ll try to post, but can’t make any promises.  My iPad Mini and iPhone don’t like the Word Press app for posting to blogs.  Frustrating.  We’ll see.  I’ll keep posting to my Facebook page – JLT Studios though.

Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂

Friday Finale – Weekly Review…

Friday Finale – Weekly Review…

Hi everyone!  It’s been a busy week. It started with Easter and all our company.  We had great food (see photo above) and a great time.  Reports back from company indicated they all had a great time too.  We finally called a halt to festivities at midnight and everyone either went home or to bed by 1 AM.

We’ve been dealing with taxes and our accountant this week.  It’s tax season here in Canada!

We’ve also been dealing with our health insurance provider.  Some funny doings happening there that need a little explanation!

We’ve had company twice this week for games nights.  The life of leisure we lead!

I continue to sell excess stuff online…downsizing for our eventual move.

I’ve been preparing a Traveller’s Notebook style bullet journal for the second half of this year.  It’s a bit early, but I have a feeling it could get busy, especially if we sell the house.

I finished knitting my wrist warmers to match the neck warmer and hat.  I loved spinning and knitting the silk/Merino blend.  It is so soft!

I started knitting a slouch tam hat out of some homespun Corriedale wool.  It, too, is soft, but it has more body than the silk/Merino.  We’ll have to see how it turns out.

I’m eyeing up my next homespun wool to knit up.  I’m not sure what I’ll knit with it.  It’s finer than the other two yarns I’ve knit.  I have a lot of hats now, but I do love the blue color.  I think it would make a lovely hat!

Well that’s it for this week!  I hope everyone is enjoying spring, wherever they may be.  We are currently in a deep freeze of -20 C weather.  Sunny, but cold.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Easter Week Post

Easter Week Post

Hi everyone.  You probably won’t hear from me on Friday, so I’m posting mid-week.

  • I’ve spent time working on my new bullet journal, preparing it for the next few months starting Easter Sunday – April 1st.
  • I’ve finished the first fingerless mitt and am about the start the second one.
  • My friend came back from the other city in time to help her daughter at the craft and bake sale Saturday.  I think they had a good time and made some money.  Time will tell if they do it again.
  • I finished reading “Six Hours One Friday” by Max Lucado.

It’s a busy rest of the week and weekend ahead.  We have company coming for Easter.  We have five at the dinner table Saturday evening and ten for an Easter buffet Sunday evening.

Our company is of Ukrainian heritage, so there will be a lot of Ukrainian food.  I hear we will be making perogies (pyrohy) Saturday afternoon. There will also be a traditional Ukrainian Easter basket. Plus some Baked Cottage Cheese.  Company is also bringing fiddleheads and asparagus!!!  We are going to dine well.

As Hubby is of Danish descent we will also make a nod to Danish tradition by having a salmon dish with rodgrod (a raspberry jello/pudding) for dessert on Saturday evening.  And, as some of our guests are Chinese and some Korean, we will incorporate whatever they bring to the feast as well.  I’ve tried to make sure there are some familiar food items available for them.  So it’s roast pork, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.  Everything else will be new I think.

I’ve had a request for my cinnamon buns for Sunday morning breakfast, but need to wait for company to arrive with some frozen pumpkin puree Saturday morning to make them.

Hubby and I spent today finishing packing some boxes that were in the living room, and rearranging things to make room for ten people to sit.  Just general tidying up.  We brought our round drop leaf table and chairs upstairs to help hold the desserts or drinks.  We’ll have to see how it works out.

I’ve packed my iron and sold my ironing board, so the tablecloth will be a bit bedraggled and in need of an ironing job.  But it will be covered with food anyways, so hopefully no one will notice.

This week I have to bake bread yet, and bake a carrot cake birthday cake with cream cheese frosting.  We are celebrating three March birthdays on Sunday too.

Plus there’s the usual Easter services to partake in.  It’s going to be an interesting holiday!

Easter Menus…company arrives before noon Saturday…

Saturday Lunch: leftovers from the previous night and fresh cinnamon buns
Saturday Supper: Salad, asparagus, salmon custard, perogies (pyrohy), brown and wild rice, rodgrod (a raspberry pudding made with cornstarch) and whipping cream.
Sunday Breakfast: Cinnamon buns and fruit.  This is open to adjustment if we feel the need.
Sunday Lunch: contents of the Ukrainian Easter basket – cottage cheese, kobasa (Ukranian sausage), krysanky (dyed hard boiled eggs), beet and horseradish relish (or horseradish), green onions, babka (a bread), paska (another bread), parsley, butter, and any other Ukrainian meat products company can find to bring.
Sunday Supper: Salad, roast pork, sweet potatoes, broccoli, fiddleheads, sauerkraut, baked cottage cheese, perogies (pyrohy), carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, and ice-cream.

 

Weekly Review…a little late

Weekly Review…a little late

Hi everyone.  We’ve been feeling better this week.  I managed to finish knitting the hat to match my neck warmer.  The hat pattern is the Benefaction Hat, a free pattern by Knit Picks.  I modified it, as always.  No stripes for me.  I’ve started on the fingerless mitts now.

It’s been a busy week with lots of people.  We’ve had a lot of company coming and going.  I spent Tuesday baking and hosting a games night for our young friends.

I’ve been mentoring a young lady who is going to be a vendor in a craft and bake sale this weekend.  She is quite excited.  We spent yesterday here baking…she baked, and I coached her.  Truth be told, she knew how to do it.  She just needed the recipes!  She spent today baking at her home.  We are ready to go.  Due to bad weather her mother is stuck in another city.  We offered to help out in this case.  Should be a fun, but long, day tomorrow.  Hopefully her mom will be home before the end of the sale to see her daughter in action.

I sold a couple of big furniture items this past week, which has made for a busy time here.  We’re taking furniture apart, moving it between floors, and then reassembling it.  Slowly, but surely, we’re whittling down the mess in this house.  Suddenly I realize how crowded this house has been.  I don’t know what I’m going to do in the next home.  I simply have to decrease the amount of hobby stuff I have!

We had an in-depth conversation today about how heavy certain items are and whether to sell them or move them.  The old IKEA bookcases came up.  They are heavy and cost a lot to move.  But the new IKEA bookshelves aren’t as sturdy.  This is a tough call, because sometimes the older ones aren’t strong enough for my needs!  If we had to put them in storage as well as move them, well, it just wouldn’t be worth it.  On the other hand, what would we replace them with?

I changed my Instagram account from private to a business account this week.  If you’re looking for more information on my rug hooked items you can check over there.  Also on my Facebook account.  Search for JLT Studios in both places.

Taking a Sick Week

Taking a Sick Week

Sorry folks.  Not much to report here.  Hubby and I have both been sick with colds.  We had company last weekend, company this weekend, and company in-between.  We’re still sick, but slowly getting over it.

My sole creative activity has been setting up my bullet journal for the next three to six months.  I’m starting a new book.  I wish I could afford the Traveller’s Notebook.  I suppose I could, but if push comes to shove, I’d rather spend my money on fibre!

I’ve also been half-heartedly looking for my short lace 4mm knit needle tips for my Addi Clicks.  I cannot remember what project I used them on last.  So frustrating.  I need them to knit the fingerless mitts I want to knit next.  I don’t want to unpack boxes and I don’t want to buy a new needle if I can help it.

I’m hoping I’m better by Monday, so I can do a more thorough search of the house for those needle tips.  If I can’t find them I’ll move onto another pattern.  I still have lots of yarn to knit!

Into a New Week

Into a New Week

I was busy this weekend and knit up a neck warmer, using short rows and an elastic/stretchy bind off – both new techniques to me.  Though I did take a course on Craftsy a long time ago on short rows.  I discovered I couldn’t access my Craftsy courses, which is very discouraging.  I cannot only not remember my password, but I can’t remember which email I had my account under!  Sigh… I’m debating buying the year membership through my new email address…so I have access to everything all year.

In other news…Friday we went to a friend’s place for food and games.  Saturday we had company over all day and overnight.  I made low fat cinnamon buns in the afternoon.  We had a very tough stewing hen for supper, courtesy of me not reading the label.  Had I realized it was a stewing hen I would have cooked it longer and slower in the crockpot.  Ah well.  I cooked it for another four hours after supper, stored it in the fridge overnight, and made a lovely chicken noodle soup for supper Sunday.  Company also brought us some cooked farm fresh bacon.  Sunday morning we feasted on it, scrambled eggs, and toast/cinnamon buns.

Sunday, after company left, we went to a nearby mini multicultural festival in the city.  It’s called Community Connections and happens one afternoon every March.  They give away ethnic food and the kids perform (and some adults too).  Plus there are tables for different organizations and cultural groups to advertise themselves.  It’s all people from that one area of the city.  They also have a lot of really cool door prizes, including two kids bikes.  This year I won a gift basket of beauty products.

We had a slow evening last evening as Hubby is coming down with a cold.  I was plotting my next knitting adventure.  I have to measure my circular needles to make sure I have a 9″ one.  If I do, then it’s on to fingerless mitts to match my neck warmer.  I have lots of yarn left! 🙂

Have a great week everyone!

Jean’s Cinnamon Buns (modified from “The Best of Cooking Light 3”)
Serving Size : 18 large buns

5 teaspoons instant quick rise yeast
1/2 cup hot water
7 cups flour — divided
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree, or fresh
1 cup skim milk, hot
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter — chilled, cut in small pieces
1/2 c. raisins, soaked for 20 minutes

Mix yeast, 6 c. of flour, 2 tbsp. white sugar, and nutmeg.

In separate bowl mix 1/2 c. hot water, pumpkin puree, warm milk, oil, and salt. Mix well to dissolve salt.

Add wet ingredients to dry. Stir. Let sit 10 minutes. Knead approximately 10 minutes till smooth and elastic. Add flour as needed.

Divide dough in half. Roll out to 12″x10″ rectangle.

Combine streusel ingredients: 6 tbsp. white sugar, 6 tbsp. brown sugar, 4 tbsp. flour, 3 tsp. cinnamon and chilled butter pieces. Cut butter in with pastry blender. Sprinkle half of mixture on each rectangle. Sprinkle on the raisins.

Roll tightly, starting with long edge. Press firmly to eliminate air pockets. Cut roll in 1″ slices. Place on greased cooking pan. I line my pans with parchment paper or wax paper to make for easier removal of the buns after cooking.

Let rise till double in size (approximately 45 minutes). Preheat oven to 375 F. Bake 20 minutes until golden.

Cool in pan 15 minutes on wire rack.  Remove carefully and enjoy!

Opt.: Mix 1 ½ c. icing sugar, 2 tbsp. hot water and ½ tsp. vanilla extract to make a glaze to drizzle over buns.

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Pumpkin Puree

To cut the costs of this, I make my own pumpkin puree every fall at Halloween, when pumpkin is cheap.  I cut up the pumpkins – two large ones will give the equivalent of about 20 cans of pumpkin.  I cut them up, clean them out, and put them skin side up on a baking sheet with sides in the oven.  I bake them in a 325 F oven for up to an hour, maybe more.  I scrape the pulp into the food processor and puree it.  Then measure it out in can size amounts into ziploc freezer bags and freeze it till needed.  Instructions courtesy of “Joy of Cooking” (1980 edition).

Another way to make pumpkin puree is to simply poke the outside of an entire pumpkin with a sharp knife or fork, so that steam can escape, and bake in the oven for half an hour to an hour at 325 F.   Take out and let cool.  Cut and scrap strings away, saving seeds to make a pumpkin seed snack.   Then scrape the flesh off the pumpkin, puree, and freeze like above.

A Late Weekly Review

A Late Weekly Review

After sitting around directionless for about a week, I decided to grab what was handy and work on it.  That would be my yarn and knit needles.  I have most of my yarn still accessible in a plastic tote bin.

So this week I knit two hats, or toques, as we Canadians like to call them – one for Hubby and one for myself.  I used the Emergency Rolled Brim Hat pattern in the back of “Knit: a Personal Notebook”.  It’s by Melanie Falick and it’s a quick knit.  Plus the instructions are varied enough to use with my homespun Romney wool yarn.  Hubby and I are both pleased as punch with the results.

I’ve started knitting a neck warmer from an unnamed free pattern off Ravelry.  It’s by Garnstudio DROPS.  There are fingerless mitts to go with it, but I think I’ll use a different pattern for those.  I’m knitting these from some 2 ply silk/Merino wool blend I spun many moons ago.

In fact, I have quite a bit of homespun that needs to be knit up.  I am going to focus on that for now.

Another thing that caught my interest was an email from Craftsy saying classes were under $20USD.  I checked out their site and found several for sale for that, and some for sale for $25USD.  What really got me though was the unlimited access for a year for $150CAD.  I might bite.  We’ll see.  There’s no rug hooking there, but there are some mighty fine short courses.  I’ve taken a few before. I’m just not sure what happens to your classes if you don’t renew your membership after a year or two.  Must ask…

Aside from the knitting I’ve been preparing a new bullet journal for April.  I’ve whizzed through my first official one in three months.  I’m hoping the second one lasts a bit longer.  I’m trying to stick to using it primarily as a planner and place to record health data for the medical profession.  Still, I’m having difficulties keeping it under control.  There are so many things you can do with a bullet journal!  All this free time, now I’m not hooking, is driving me crazy!  I’m thinking once I get my yarn stash under control I just might crack into my rug hooking again…

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Changes happen. All my rug hooking is packed. I am not ruling out unpacking it, seeing as we have postponed the move for a year.  But in the meantime I am finishing up some projects I started last year.  This baby cardigan is one of them.  It still needs buttons, but that can wait. I gave away all my buttons.  I started this cardigan last fall to match a hat and baby mitts.   I made so many mistakes I did not finish it.  Finally I decided to plow on through and add the band. It is done, short of the buttons.

Knitting is not my forte, or strong suit.  But I do like home knit products, especially those from hand spun yarn.  My next knitting project is a winter hat for myself from yarn I’ve spun

It’s been an interesting week   Aside from making the decision to postpone the move, I have been busy organizing trips to visit sick relatives and coordinating visits with and around my siblings.  I am waiting for spring to come and roads to clear up to make a few road trips.  Right now we are waiting for a severe winter storm to pass through Regina this weekend.

I’ve also been dealing with my own health issues  No worries  Just keeping on top of things can take time sometimes.

I finished watching “Art 21”.  Most of it was interesting. I think it depends on your taste in art.  It was primarily about installation art and performance art, neither of which really excites me.  But I have learned a new appreciation as to what goes into those works of art.

I am currently watching the DVD “Understanding Art: the Baroque and Rococo.  I’m on the Baroque.  The narrator is entertaining, even if I don’t appreciate his taste or viewpoint all of the time.  Most of the time he is very good and, really, the worst is I am left with lots of questions and wishing he didn’t have to move so fast through the material.  I wish I could snag him and take him on a trip to Europe with me!  His insight into what I would be seeing would add a whole new dimension to the trip!  As for the Baroque period.  As far as I can tell, it started out good, but degenerated into a sad state.  I’m glad something came along to replace it!

 

 

Move Update

Big news…we have temporarily put off the move.  Why?  We have issues in the extended family that need dealing with first.  We will continue to pack for an eventual move.  Plus we want to be able to empty out the house to refinish floors.  But we are probably not going anywhere this year.  This is a bit frustrating, but my heart is at peace with this decision.  It’s the right one for right now.  Take care everyone, and “talk” to you at the end of the week. 🙂

Fun and Games!

Fun and Games!

We had a great week this week.  From celebrating Lunar New Year last Friday to playing games with friends.  We also have been getting outdoors more, which makes a huge difference in our dispositions.  We’ve had some snowfall cover the icy sidewalks and streets so we can walk on them again, albeit carefully!

I’ve been updating my bullet journal and coming up with more efficient ways to use the paper.  I don’t like wasting paper. I’m in the process of preparing for March.

Creatively, I’ve been doing more colouring in my adult colouring book. I’ve also finished reading Deanne Fitzpatrick’s latest book, “Rug Hooking”, which was excellent, as usual.  And I found the art section of the DVDs in our branch of the library!

Today I watched “Art is a Mirror” – a look at an exhibit originally created and curated by Canadian artist Jeremie Giles.  It is about Canadian artists – who they were/are, and what they contributed to Canada. Most of the 72 paintings were purchased by a couple of teachers who show the paintings on occasion, particularly in school settings.  The DVD was produced in 2007, so things may have changed.  It is a great way to study Canadian history through the eyes of Canadian artists.

The other DVDs I am checking out this week are: Simon Schama’s “Power of Art – Picasso” (episode 7), “Understanding Art – Baroque & Rococo”, and “Art 21 – season 7”. “Art 21” covers a wide range of artists from the USA to Sweden, Germany, and Mexico. Should be fun!  If I can’t hook right now, I can read and immerse myself in art regardless!

 

Weekly Review

Happy Lunar New Year!

Hi all.  Not much creative happening this week.  We’ve been visiting a lot with friends.  We’re still busy packing and selling stuff.  Hubby is repairing the walls and ceiling in the bathroom.  When we had our kitchen renovated in 2014 we had the house leveled.  The result has been the development of cracks in our plaster walls and ceilings.  We want everything fixed for painting and sale of the house.  Current deadline has been shifted to May 21st, when we have a major festival in our neighborhood.  Lots of foot traffic to see a ”For Sale” sign.

I did get out and buy a new waterproof down jacket for myself this week.  It was on sale and the zipper on my previous one bit the dust.  I may have the zipper replaced come spring.  We’ll see.  My previous jacket is light colored and I can’t get some of the dirt out of it, despite three washings in special down wash.  It just may become my ‘about the yard’ jacket for winter.

Today we are preparing to celebrate Lunar New Year with some Asian friends.  Our Chinese boarder is taking me shopping for Chinese ingredients.  Then one of his friends and some Korean friends of ours are coming over to celebrate. I hope everyone has a great weekend!  Talk to you all later… 🙂

Weekly Review – Happenings

Weekly Review – Happenings

Hi everyone!  It’s been a busy week.  We’ve had three rounds of company that we thoroughly enjoyed for three days of the week.  We are getting very good at playing card and board games with people.

I’ve been baking and cleaning.  Plus we’ve been decluttering, listing items online, and selling them.

I’ve also been preparing my bullet journal for the next few months.  I don’t think I’ll have much time in April or May, so I’m setting it up ahead of time.  I also am setting up March now.  I’m keeping it very simple.  The one exception I made was to color the heart design above from an adult coloring book, to tape over a major mistake in my journal.  It’s my one soul creative endeavor this past week.

We revised our plan for moving to extend our time preparing for the move by a month.  We decided that our weather was just too cold to do work in March on the house, and particularly the outside of the house.  So we are currently planning to have the house up for sale by May 21st.  We’ll see if we meet the revised deadline.

Why May 21st?  It’s the beginning of a week long festival that draws thousands of people to our neighborhood on foot and by car.  It would be nice to have a “For Sale” sign on the front lawn during that time.

Hubby is busy patching walls at the moment.  The walls were fine until we had the house leveled before we had the kitchen renovated in 2014.  Since then fine cracks have appeared in the plaster walls in different places.  So there is need for some repair work and painting.  Hubby thinks he can do it all.  I’m a bit nervous about him doing it in a timely fashion, but I know he’ll do an excellent job of it.  If push comes to shove, we’ll call in help to finish up.

We also have a front entry to finish off, and floors to refinish.  That’s the inside.  Not sure what to do about the outside.  We’d like to replace one fence, and redo 75 year old parging on the outside of the foundation, but don’t know if there will be time.

Our weekend plans are to go to a party, and check out the church annual meeting. And sell more stuff. 🙂  Talk to you all next week! 🙂

 

A Typical Week

A Typical Week

NOTE:  Prices on my online website have been reduced.  Hope you enjoy what you see and Happy Shopping!

Hi everyone.  It’s been over a week since I last posted.  Things have been busy.  There’s been a lot of decluttering, cleaning, and packing…not necessarily in that order.  I’ve also been selling a lot of items online.

We’ve been grocery shopping, banking, and buying more boxes.  I don’t like shopping, so we keep that to a minimum.  The liquor stores are stingy about giving out boxes here.  My big decision once everything is decluttered and packed, is whether to keep the storage it came out of, or to sell it and buy new on the other side.  Right now I’m leaning towards keeping it.  A lot of our IKEA furniture is older, with thicker shelves than the newer furniture.

Once a week I have a baking day.  This week I made whole grain bread by hand.  We don’t have a bread machine, nor do we want one.  I also made crepes in the afternoon, after doing some packing.  Late last week I made a Rhubarb Upside-down Cake as well.  We’re well fed around here. 🙂

We also designate one day a week as cleaning and laundry day.  It’s full tilt on decluttering and doing housework with Hubby’s help.  We split the house into zones and deep clean a zone a week.  We vacuum throughout and mop bath and kitchen every week.  Sometimes the bath and kitchen get extra treatment throughout the week.  Our home is split up into six zones.  So over the course of six weeks everything gets deep cleaned, meaning we don’t need to do a spring or fall deep clean.

Then I have a “Me” day every week.  I spend time on an artist date (a la Julie Cameron) and visiting with friends.

I reserve a couple of days each week as crafting days for me, but lately they’ve been more decluttering and packing than anything.  Plus those are active days for online sales.

Sunday is family and friends day.  Meaning I spend time phoning or otherwise catching up with family and friends.  I also  usually go to church that day.

I’m busy, as usual, and I hope everyone else is keeping healthy and doing well too.  Be sure to check out my shop and order before we pack it all away the beginning of March!  At that point the shop will be closed until after we move…

Selling Maven

Selling Maven

Hi everyone!  It’s been a busy week or so.  I’ve been selling items we don’t want to move and things are going fast and furious out the door!  Hubby and I are lightening the load after 23 years in our house.  It’s amazing how much you accumulate in 23 years!

I’ve packed part of the sewing room and called a halt to it because I ran out of smaller boxes for books and magazines.  I know, why move books and magazines?  I gave some away and sold some, but, truth be told, these are my inspiration material – the cream of the crop so to speak.  Plus I tutor on the side and have book material for that.  I want it all packed in small boxes to make it easier on the person who does the actual moving.

Instead we focused on packing up my sunroom rug hooking studio, which is by the front door.  We need the space for the over 200 items we have for sale online.  I’ll keep the product listed on this website for sale accessible, in case there’s an order.  But the rest will be packed away.  Hubby went to U-Haul and bought some large moving boxes for my wool.  I packed it all in clear plastic bags to protect it.  I weighed one box and did some calculations. We figure I have 200 lbs. of fibre in that sunroom!  I don’t think I’ll be buying wool fabric or yarn for some time.  I foresee a lot of hooking in my future, and the sale of more fibre!

Today is my baking day.  I have bread in the oven.  Next up is making yogurt.  And then onto a Rhubarb Coffee Cake.  If I have time I’ll bake some Double Ginger Cookies.  I’m trying to empty out my freezer and cupboards before we put the house up for sale.

Have a great week everyone!

This and That

This and That

As you can see from the photo, my sewing room/studio is slowly being packed into boxes.  I have a long ways to go, but it’s a start.  I sold my large sewing storage unit on the weekend.  It freed up a lot of space in my room, but only because what was on it is now in those boxes!

I haven’t done a single fibre related activity this week.  I may have to break down and just do something!  I can’t go for months without a fibre fix.  Hmm…I think I have some fibre for spinning still unpacked and handy.

I’ve been focusing on people and my bullet journal at the moment.  We’ve had company, and some family members are not well.  I’ve been selling items from the house online every day…meaning I am transacting quite a few sales throughout the course of a week.

A good friend and her teenage daughter brought over half a carrot cake on Saturday.  That was my downfall diet wise for the new year.  Five pieces in about seven hours!  I was feeling a little green around the gills the next morning.  I skipped breakfast and let Hubby have the last piece.

I set up my bullet journal for February already.  I did that because I need to move things forward in my schedule, and because I have February events popping up in my calendar already.

My Dad was in hospital overnight on the weekend.  He’s 87 and fairly fragile health wise.  However they fixed him up and sent him home.  His wife is not in the best health either.  I don’t know how they’re managing.  They are over 9 hours drive away from us.  I’m phoning to check in in a little bit.

That’s my update for now.  Hope everyone is having a good week!

 

 

Progress is Being Made

We worked a lot on decluttering the house last week.  Two carloads of stuff went to the charity shops.  I’ve been selling our old stuff like crazy online.  I’ve had friends come pick through my stuff too.  It feels good to see others get excited about my cast offs and to know they will give them new life.

Saturday we drove up to Saskatoon to pick up my wall hangings and cards from the Saskatchewan Craft Council Fine Craft Boutique.  I am no longer a member of the Craft Council, nor sell my work through them.  From now on anyone wanting a piece of my work will have to purchase through this website.

I’ve been contemplating what to do for creative work these days.  I can’t get into my rug hooking studio, let alone pull a project out to work on.   I am unhappy with a knitting project I worked on last fall, and am procrastinating finishing it as a result.  I do have a needlepoint project I’m thinking of pulling out.  I need a bigger frame than I have to put it on.  Hmm…time to get creative.  I really don’t want to buy anything more specifically for this project.

As well as pondering my creative life at the moment and decluttering for the move ahead, I have been busy trying out Ryder Carroll’s bullet journal system.  So far I’m impressed.  It is meeting my needs.  Thanks for sharing Ryder!  I am specifically figuring out how to tailor the system to a retirement lifestyle and our move.

This week will be more decluttering, as well as company for awhile. Hope everyone has a great week!

Happy New Year!

I’m a little late on the New Year’s thing by about four or five days, but we’ve been busy here.  We had company New Year’s Eve and had great fun.  However, with the holidays over, we went full tilt into seriously decluttering for our upcoming move.

Yes, you read that right!  JLT Studios is moving to the east coast sometime this summer hopefully…depending when the house sells.  I have shut down the business in Saskatchewan as of the end of December.  I will still sell through the website and from the house for now, but expect some disruption of service the closer to the move date we get.

Hubby and I have been decluttering and making trips to charity shops to drop off items.  We’ve also been selling items online.  It all takes time.  On top of that we have been collecting boxes to pack and calling in movers for estimates.  It costs a lot.

Hubby is hoping we can move ourselves.  I think we have way too much stuff.  But we’ll see.  We have issued a challenge to ourselves.  To fit everything we’re going to take comfortably in the top two floors of the house, which amounts to approximately 1450 square feet.  That’s the size a three bedroom townhouse condo might be. It’s also roughly the size of a large three bedroom apartment.

We haven’t decided what type of living accommodations we want yet.  The area we want to move to is currently under a storm warning and has lots of snow.  I’m thinking Hubby isn’t getting any younger and won’t want to shovel all that snow.  Plus, I don’t want to be put in a position where we have to move if anything happens to him.  We’re keeping all options open at this point though.

This may seem like a bit early to pack up for a summer move.  It is.  We need to sell some large pieces of furniture here.  We also need to prepare the house for painting (old plaster walls), refinishing of hardwood floors, and relaying of carpet in the basement.  After 22 years things are looking a little worn and ragged.  It would be nice to put a new fence up too, but we shall see.  Depends on time and expense.  We’ve thought about staging the house, but aren’t sure that might be a bit of overkill.  After all, it is a 1928 house.  I’m not sure staging will help much.  We are hoping to have the house on the market sometime this spring.

Why are we moving?  Well it’s like this folks, we aren’t getting any younger and both our children are down east.  They are quite excited about us moving there.  I also have extended family in the area, as I was originally from the Maritimes.  And what rug hooker can resist the lure of living in Nova Scotia, only a few minutes drive from the Rug Hooking Museum of North America?!

I’m looking forward to meeting new friends, connecting with old friends, and reconnecting with family!

You will probably hear a lot about The Move on the blog for awhile.  My rug hooking is going to be packed up soon, for an extended period of time.  I will miss it terribly, but my main goal for 2018 is to get settled in a new place we absolutely love, that meets all our needs.  I think if I focus on that, and some knitting and smaller handwork (keep an eye on Instagram and Facebook), I will be okay.

 

 

Dyeing – Resources

Dyeing – Resources

There are resources out there to help you in choosing a dye powder and mordant, and that tell you how much to use.  I highly recommend checking them out.  The following are my suggestions and opinions based on what I’ve used in the past 33 years of dying.

One resource is Karen Casselman’s “Craft of the Dyer”, which goes through various mordants for wool and has a handy chart that shows you how much of a mordant to use for one pound of wool.  She focuses on dyeing with lichen, which can be difficult to find in parts of the country.

Another is “Dyeing Wool and Other Protein Fibers: an introduction to acid dyes” by Susan Rex.  The author provides a comparison between the more common dyes and provides formulas for figuring out how much you need of each type to get the color you need.  This is a difficult to find resource and you are more likely to find it on a used book site like Abes Books.

Note:  neither of these books is for the faint of heart or the beginner.  These are detailed dye books for the intermediate to advanced dyer.

For beginner dyers, I recommend Majic Carpet dyes.  These are food grade dyes, but don’t be fooled.  From the distributor of Majic Carpet dyes “My dyes are professional grade acid reactive dyes…Majic Carpet Dyes are for master dyers and beginners and everyone in between.” (please see comment section below for further comments about the dyes from Wanda Kerr).  You still need a mask everyone!  And separate utensils and pots.

While I enjoy using Majic Carpet dyes, and have used them for years, I also have found them to not be as lightfast as other dyes.  However, lightfastness can also be affected by the dyeing process and the mordant you use.  I used to use vinegar, but now use citric acid.

Books using Majic Carpet dyes are: Barbie Baker-Dykens dye books (“Formation of New Formulae” and “Basic Color Theory”), or Susan Logue’s “Past & Present Antique Colors & Spots”, Christine Little and Susan Logue’s “Antique Colors and Spots – Book II”, Christine Little’s “SkyBluePink With a Green Smell – Book I”, and “Seeing Spots Before Your Eyes – Book 1”, available from Encompassing Designs in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia.

If you want to use ProChem dyes there are a multitude of dye books out there too.  I like Gene Shepherd’s “Prepared to Dye”, but I also bought the DVDs for the book to clarify some issues.  If I had to choose between one or the other, I’d buy the DVDs first.

There are a lot of dyeing resources available.  Many more new ones since I started dyeing.  Plus if you search the Internet you can find detailed instructions on different dyeing methods.  Just make sure they are suited to the fibre you are dyeing.

Silk and wool are animal fibers and take up dye differently and use different dyes than cotton or synthetics.  Nylon will dye with the same dyes used on silk and wool, but all three will take up color differently.  I find silk to be the lightest, then wool, and then nylon the darkest.  Also some colors are made up of more than one color pigment, and different fibers prefer to take up different colors.  Meaning you could put nylon, silk, and wool in a medium green dye bath and get a blue green nylon, a light yellow green silk, and a wool closer to the desired green color.  Of course, this also depends on the dye used.

So there’s a few resources for you to work with to get started.  If you have any favorite resources, post them below.  We’d like to know.

Dyeing Tips – General

Dyeing Tips – General

Hi all!  Time for another edition of Dyeing Tips. 🙂  Bear in mind these tips are ones I go by when dyeing the bright colors I prefer to use in my wall hangings.  Whether your color is lightfast or not (lasts a long time) depends a lot on the type of dye and chemical used to set the dye, as well as the methodology used for dyeing.  I hope this helps people.

Depending on the wool, pre-wash it before dyeing.  Because my yarns are not pre-washed, I don’t pre-wash a lot of my fabric.  However, I simmer both yarn and fabric in the dyeing process, so they are ‘fulled’, or partially felted, when they dry out.  Any undyed fabric or commercial fabric is pre-washed (for example, up cycled fabric or fabric I want to use off the bolt).  It should be noted here that I am creating wall hangings, not rugs for the floor.  You may feel more comfortable running everything through the washing machine and dryer before hooking, especially if it is a floor rug made completely from wool fabric.

Soak fibre in water with Synthrapol or DAWN original dishwashing liquid soap overnight before dyeing.  Not doing this can cause the dye to absorb unevenly on wool fabric, leaving the inner part of the wool white and the surface blotched.  When the inner part is left white after dyeing we call it “white core”.  It is not good as the color doesn’t stay on the surface of the wool fabric as long as it normally would.

Squeeze out the soaked wool and rinse before putting in the dye bath.  Some people dye with the Synthrapol in the dye bath.  I find it bothersome as the foam or suds get in the way of seeing how well the color has absorbed.  Plus the dye bath seems to have a greater tendency to boil over.

Never ‘shock’ the wool.  If it’s been sitting in cold water overnight, put it in cold water on the stove and heat up gradually.  It usually takes 15 minutes on my stove to go from cold to simmering.

Dyeing wool should be simmered, not boiled to death!  We’re fulling the wool, not boiling it for a coat.  Also, dyes absorb best at a certain temperature…simmering or just below simmering.

A word about mordants.  A mordant is the agent used to set the dye.  Rug hookers often use vinegar or citric acid, but you can also use dyer’s alum and other chemicals.  Add the mordant according to directions.  You can pre-mordant, simultaneous mordant, and add mordant after the dye stuff is added.  I prefer to add the mordant once the fibre has been in the dye bath and comes to a simmer (approximately 15 minutes on the stovetop).  Be careful not to add too much mordant.  It will make the fabric stiff in some cases (alum) and cause it to disintegrate prematurely.

Vinegar acts as a mordant, but is really a ‘modifier’.  It does not hold color for very long compared to other mordants.  I prefer Citric Acid for this.  Though dyer’s alum is good too.  There are many different types of mordants and before use one needs to research the safety requirements and suitability for the fibres they are dyeing.  A word about alum:  be sure you have dyer’s alum and not regular alum.  Dyer’s alum is a different chemical that gives different colors.

Leave the fibre in the dye bath until all the color has been absorbed.  This usually takes 45 minutes to an hour on my stove.  I suggest ‘cooking’ the fibre for one hour after it comes to a simmer.  Not leaving the wool in the water long enough can also result in white core.  It can also result in the color fading more quickly than it would otherwise.

And last, but not least, keep a record of everything you do.  That way if you have to go back and dye more, at least you have a guideline to go by.  Better to have something in writing than counting on your memory or trying to color match a swatch or stripette (worm) by eye.  Ask me how I know!

There you go!  Those are my general tips for dyeing fibre.  I’ll post another final post on dyeing resources next week.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Christmas Ideas!

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There’s snow on the ground here.  Temperatures are unseasonably warm and the snow is melting, but as of right now, today, we still have snow!  That brings Christmas to the forefront of my mind.  That, and the query by Maggie Bathory of Aspen Rug Hooking about what Christmas themed ideas I might have have for rug hooking!

It’s not too late to embark on quick little projects for the house or the tree.  How about a candle mat?  A tree decoration?  Is your tree already up?  How about a small decoration for around the home? A seasonal themed hot pad for the table?

What kind of patterns might you hook for Christmas?

  • ivy
  • holly
  • reindeer
  • birds
  • toques
  • stars
  • santa
  • sleigh
  • bells
  • nativity scenes
  • wise men
  • baby Jesus
  • evergreen trees
  • Christmas trees, stylized and not
  • ribbons and bows
  • gifts
  • snowy landscapes
  • Frosty, the Snowman
  • snowmen in general
  • chimneys with stockings
  • toys

What types of items can you hook?

  • stockings
  • hot pad for the table
  • tree skirts
  • candle mats
  • home decor
  • table runners
  • table mats
  • coasters
  • seasonal door stopper
  • wall hangings
  • ornaments
  • chair pads

Ideally I start in February thinking about hooking for Christmas…especially when selling in shops or online.  I like to have a variety of items ready for the season and send them off in August or September.

I am only selling at the Saskatchewan Crafts Council Fine Craft Boutique this holiday season, and from my webpage shop.  However, it might be time to revisit some seasonal hooking for myself, my loved ones, and the house.

What kind of Christmas projects are you working on or have you made?

 

Dyeing Tips – Safety

Dyeing Tips – Safety

Someone suggested they would like to hear more about dyeing on my blog.  Often you see I will share photos of dyeing in progress and the finished fibre.  But I rarely share dye formulas or methodology.  There’s a reason for that: there are a lot of variables in dyeing.

Different brands of dye react differently to fibre.  Different fibre respond differently to the dyes. Different chemicals in the water can cause a color to come out differently.  Depending whether you’re in the city on municipal treated water, or country on well water, you can get different colors.  Sometimes in the city different chemicals will be added to the water different times of year, resulting in different results in the dye bath.  Also there’s the question of mordant – what you use to set the dye.  Different mordants give different colors too.  And there are more variables yet.

While dyeing can be a fun experiment, to actually dye a specific color twice can be a challenge.  That is why commercial yarn dyers use dye lots on their balls of yarn.  The best advice I can give in the dye business is to dye more than you think you’ll need for a project.  Better too much than too little.

As for safety in dyeing?  Always wear a mask to protect your airways from breathing in dry dye powder when you mix the dye powder with water before adding it to the dye bath.

Wear rubber/latex gloves to handle the dye powders. Dye powders can make a person very sick, so be cautious!

When mixing the fibre in the dye bath there are special dye gloves you can use that insulate you against simmering water.  These are nice for just picking up fibre and transferring it between pots, sink, etc.  They come in different sizes, like regular rubber gloves and the latex gloves.

Always work in a well ventilated room.  When I dye in winter it is only on warm days when I can open the windows and doors and get a cross breeze flowing through the house.  I keep the fan on in the kitchen at all times.

Protect the surfaces you are working on with newsprint or an old cookie sheet with sides that you are designating specifically for dyeing, or both.  I actually have an old metal cookie sheet with sides that I line with newsprint flyers to set my dyes on and mix them.

It goes without saying whatever touches dye does not touch your mouth or get used for food consumption in any way, shape, or form.  Keep a separate measuring cup and measuring spoons for dyeing.  As well as a separate large wooden spoon, tongs, and dye pot.

Akin to the above rule is “Do NOT eat while you are dyeing fibre”.  There are too many chances for things to go wrong.  If you must eat, do it in another room.  Do not prepare food around the dyeing process either.  You would be surprised how easy it is for dye to spatter or loose powder to get on the countertop without you knowing.  I just don’t risk it.

Have a roll of paper towels/some old dishcloths designated as dye cloths to wipe up spills.   Comet will wipe up stains on laminate countertops.  Not sure about granite and the like.  Wash the dishcloths separately from your other laundry and store them with the dye equipment.

Never leave the dye pot unattended.  It boils over easily in my experience.  Nothing like a dye bath mess to clean up on your stove!

That’s about it for the first post on dyeing.  Catch up with you later for more!