Finishing Old Projects

Finishing Old Projects

Sometimes I find finishing old projects hard. The knit cotton pullover sweater for the cushion covers from Saturday’s post was one such project. Another is this 44 year old quilt top.  It’s made from leftover fabric from my grandmother’s, mother’s, my sisters and my sewing, as well as old cotton sheets from my childhood, Dad’s shirts, and cotton broadcloth from the fabric store.

It was my very first quilt, and because of that there are a lot of mistakes and many learning experiences in it. It is hand pieced and hand quilted, and none too well done I might add!  I’ll have to fix it before moving onto the next project.

Still, for all the mistakes and trials that went into it, it holds a soft place in my heart. The fabrics are like little memory touchstones for me, reminding me of times gone by and people who came before me.

It’s hard for me to finish a piece like this. It’s like I will be putting the past behind me and that I’m leaving my parents and grandparents behind. But I know they are always with me in my memory.  I just have to take that knowledge from my head to my heart. Plus I’ll have the quilt to remind me.

Sigh.  Yes, sometimes it’s hard to finish a project.

 

Oops!  I’m Late!

Oops! I’m Late!

I promised y’all a post on Friday, and here it is Saturday evening!  I’ve been busy and wiped by turn. This past week has been busy.

Those of you who follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook will have seen the cushion covers I finished this week.  I knit the cream coloured ones as the front and back of a pullover sweater for myself. They are from Handcrafter Cotton. I had to resize the sweater to fit, and design my own sleeve pattern. That’s where I stopped many years ago.  So I decided enough is enough. I did not want to finish the sweater and I liked the colour to go in my living room.  Into two cushion covers it went!  A friend gave me some fabric for backing.

What really started me going was the desire to finish the cushion covers from the pieces I knit last January (2020). This yarn is a gorgeous soft bamboo.  I used the same fabric to back these as the previous cushions.

Having finished cushions, I turned my eye towards rug hooking. I watched Tracy Jamar’s retrospective of her work over the last twenty years and really enjoyed it. I also enjoyed my time with Donna Mulholland and the other ladies on Thursday.

I finished “Autumn” while on Zoom with Donna, et al, but I’m not showing it here until I’m satisfied with it. If you want to see it in its current condition you’ll have to check Jean Ottosen Studios on Instagram or Facebook.  I’m not happy with it and plan to change it until I am.

I then turned to home reorganization and decluttering.  A friend came over Friday afternoon and evening to help. She has very good spatial sense. I was impressed. I’ve only had to change a few things since she left.

Today I went for a walk with my walking buddy. We just started walking regularly this week. It’s been very good for me.  I hope it is for her too.

I’ve also been exploring new recipes with my new Instant Pot. It’s been illuminating, and yummy!

Well,, that’s been my week in a nutshell.  I didn’t get everything done I wanted to, but I did finish the cushion project. One baby step at a time!

Monday Meanderings

Monday Meanderings

Hi everyone!  I have made some moves in planning more crafting this weekend. I definitely took a good long break over the holidays. This week I will be off sewing cushion covers with a friend. Time to change up the cushions in my living room and bedroom. I’m also contemplating seat pads in the eating area of our kitchen. Now if I were smart I’d be hooking all these! But I need these, like yesterday, and have more hooking plans on the horizon.

I’ll also be attending Tracy Jamar’s Zoom talk through In The Studio on how she went from there to here in her hooking. I am curious about her work and her transition when she downsized, as I am in that position myself.

I’ll also be attending a show and tell with another group of rug hookers via Zoom. Donna Mulholland will be demonstrating how she finishes or stretches her pieces over a frame. Should be fun!

I received some homework questions from Nadine Flagel for Workshop Week, which is Feb. 1st – 5th. I’m looking forward to getting in the groove again. I’ve signed up for three classes.

I still have two hooked pieces I want to finish – Autumn and my South Korea rug.

As for my reorganization efforts, I finished the spice cabinet.

Then worked on clearing my counter.  Here is a before picture:

Here is an after photo:

Finally! I can see the back of the counter!

Then I emptied my linen closet and moved all my fibre dyeing equipment and supplies, and most of my dye books, into it. I had about $30 CAD worth of help from Dollarama in the form of portable shelving and lidded bins. I’m going try and get decent photos for you. Here it is from two angles – a dye kitchen in a 24” linen closet!

It is a lot of work settling into a new home.  But it’s also very satisfying when you find a good home for the things that matter.  I had hoped to do my dyeing separate from the food kitchen, in my laundry room.  However someone had other plans for the laundry room.  Thankfully I use fairly safe dyes and follow strict dyeing procedures!

Well that’s my current update.  It’s a busy week and I better get at it!  Have a great week everyone!

 

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Well I did not accomplish any crafting this week. I did accomplish a lot of decluttering and reorganizing. Mostly in the kitchen.

Today we ran errands in the morning and had a meeting in the afternoon. Then off to pick up a 2×4 from some friends in our bubble. Of course that meant tea. I love tea with friends!

What did we want with one 2×4? The 2×4 was cut down this evening to make one spice stand in the kitchen cupboard. Tomorrow we’ll do the second one.

This all started when the square glass spice bottles I ordered from ULine arrived today. I spent the evening transferring spices from plastic bags to jars. I often cook with spices, using them instead of salt and pepper in my food. I also cook a wide variety of food. I love cooking! There were close to forty different spices to make room for in that cupboard.

The 2×4 was cut to fit the width of the cupboard and laid flat about an inch from the back of the cupboard. Then another piece was laid flat on top of it, but pushed back to the back of the cupboard. About 2/3 of it resting on the 2×4 piece below. It created a step like situation on which to set spice jars.

This is a very temporary situation until we have our kitchen renovated, which we hope will happen this year. It’s better than the previous situation, which was having a hiking boot box full of spices spilling out onto the countertop!

Here’s to tomorrow. May I get the second shelf done and then work on moving my dye equipment and supplies upstairs!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

May 2021 be a whole sight better than 2020!

We received our second big dump of snow this past weekend. It is melting almost as quickly as it fell.

I took the week between Christmas and New Year’s off.  I spent a lot of time visiting in my five person bubble and talking to family and friends on Zoom, FaceTime, Messenger, WhatsApp and the phone.  What did we ever do before technology?!

I’ve done nothing in regards to rug hooking, or quilting, or sewing.  I’ve had a complete break. However, I am going to have to get back into the swing of things soon.  Workshop Week is coming up the beginning of February, and I’ve signed up for a lot of classes. I have some prep work to do.  I need to pick out a poem for one class. I’ll use one of my children’s poems again.  I’m just not sure which poem yet.

  • I also need to finish binding my quilt and fixing the hand quilting,
  • I want to finish my South Korea rug,
  • I need to finish my nephew’s Grampy gift,
  • I need to finish my “Autumn” wall hanging.  I’m so close!
  • and I need to clean up my studio. It’s a disaster!

On the house front, a friend in our bubble has offered to come help me organize my kitchen a bit better. Hubby and I have been looking for furniture that might help.  We spent a lot of time reorganizing last week.  Of course one thing leads to another, and by the end of our part of the  “kitchen “ reorganization we had worked on every room in the house.  We still will need our friend to come mid-January and help us finish the job.

So, while I have not been hooking or quilting or sewing, I have been rather busy.  I am looking forward to getting the house more organized and making it more livable. May 2021 be a good year for that.

If you’ve been reading, thanks! I’ll check in with you on Friday again.

Merry Christmas !

Merry Christmas !

A busy week visiting within our Covid bubble. Exchanging cookies and gifting a pie to the neighbour. Baking…and baking….

The cookie exchange cookies disappeared quickly. I made Hubby some of my version of the mini brownies from the store – just to keep him out of the cookies! The recipe is from an old website of an old acquaintance. I can’t find it online now. So here is the recipe for Bernadette’s Brownies.

Bernadette’s Brownies

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream the sugar and shortening in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add remaining ingredients and blend till smooth. Either pour into a greased 8×8” pan or divide into 24 mini muffin pans with one side foil cupcake liners. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes.

Bernadette’s Brownies

I made more Danish Butter Cookies. This time I made the Almond-Cherry Cookies. I also made an orange flavoured cookie dipped in semi sweet chocolate. Only I didn’t have any oranges for rind, so I grated up some clementine rind. Now that’s tricky business! Clementine rind is thin!

Chocolate Dipped Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter, unsalted and softened
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons grated orange peel (I used clementines)
  • 1 egg
  • 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl press flour into butter to blend. Okay, this is where I gave up initially. I washed my hands and used my fingers to break up the clumps of butter and mix it with the flour. Much easier and quicker.

Add sugar, orange peel, and egg. Stir until a stiff dough forms. You can refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes at this point if it’s too soft to roll. Otherwise, roll it between two pieces of wax paper to approximately 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 1 x 2” bars. Place 1” apart on baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool. Melt chocolate chips in microwave in 30 second increments. Be sure to stir between microwave sessions. Dip cookies halfway in melted chocolate. Place on wax paper to cool and harden the chocolate completely Makes 30-40 cookies.

Chocolate Dipped Cookies

I also made my Ninety Minute Rolls from “Dining on a Dime” cookbook. Only I use a different method. If you feel brave enough to take on yeast, read on!

Ninety Minute Rolls (modified)

  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons rapid rise yeast (one package)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted

Mix flour and yeast together in big bowl. put sugar, salt, and butter in smaller bowl. Heat water and milk to lukewarm, either on the stove or in the microwave. Add lukewarm water and milk to salt, sugar and butter. Stir with wooden spoon till butter is melted and the salt and sugar have dissolved (doesn’t feel gritty under the spoon).

Stir liquid ingredients into dry. Stir till dough forms. Knead a few seconds till everything holds together. Place a dishtowel over it and let sit 10 minutes. Then knead on oiled or floured surface (depending how tough the dough is) 20 minutes.

Let rise 15 minutes, or till double in size, in a warm draft free place with a dishtowel overtop. Punch down and divide evenly into roll size amounts. This should make 8 or 9 rolls (I often quadruple this recipe). Place formed and pinched rolls into 8×8” lightly greased pan. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.

Ninety Minute Rolls

I wrote on Monday that I’d made tortiere for the Holiday season. We often serve it Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. My recipe makes enough for both days for 4 people. I have modified the recipe by using my ex-sister-on-law’s pastry for the crust.

So here are the recipes for both. As you can see from the size of the pastry recipe, it’s a good idea to set aside a whole day for the pastry and make pies and tortiere at the same time.

Shirley’s Pastry

  • 1 pound vegetable shortening (or lard!)
  • 5 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon salt (this could be cut in half)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar

Sift dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening until smaller than pea size. In a one cup measuring cup mix egg and vinegar. Add cold water to make one cup. Mix into dry ingredients. Shape into balls to roll out between sheets of waxed paper for pie crusts. Makes enough pastry for four double crust pies, or several tortiere!

Tortiere

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs, finely chopped (I use my food processor)
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoons thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • One recipe Shirley’s pastry, or enough pastry for two deep double crust pies.

Put oil in a large pan over low heat. Add all ingredients but pastry. Mix well. Cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 30 minutes. Cool. Line 2 – 8×8” pans with pastry. Divide meat filling between them. Cover with pastry, seal, and prick with a fork to allow steam to escape. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes.

That’s it for my Christmas post everyone! Have a great Holiday Season and Merry Christmas!

Meandering Monday

Meandering Monday

Good morning everyone! It’s a slow meandering kind of day here. It’s overcast and raining off and on. The snow that fell last week will soon be gone.

I slept in this morning. Last evening we had a friend from our Covid 5-person bubble over for a cookie exchange, supper, and game. It was a fun time.

I made tortieres and pies yesterday. The tortieres are in the freezer for the holidays. One of the pies was for dessert last night. I am reserving the other pie for a neighbour who plowed our driveway last week unasked. These guys are the nicest neighbours we’ve ever had. He’s been very good about explaining things to Hubby about the house and the neighbourhood.

This week I am hoping to work more on binding my quilt. Once I’m done that I have to go back and fix the hand quilting. It was originally quilted about forty years ago and, what with all our moves, it has seen better days.

I’m feeling a little tired today, and still have errands to run. Plus I want to fit a walk in between rain showers. I’m off to make a grocery list.

Take care everyone! Have a great week!

Christmas Preparations

Christmas Preparations

Hello all! Christmas preparations are underway here. I am busy cooking for the freezer. Yesterday I had Hubby’s help in making a huge pot of Hearty Salmon Chowder from Anne Lindsay’s “Lighthearted Everyday Cooking”. We had some for supper and froze the rest

Hearty Salmon Chowder

I made cranberry sauce yesterday, using a long time favourite recipe from “From Old Nova Scotia Kitchens”, modified, of course. Cranberry sauce was one of the items requested for Christmas Day dinner and I am happy to oblige.

Homemade Whole Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce (modified)

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Put this all in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes uncovered. Boil hard for 3-5 minutes. Then pour into sterilized cup canning jars. Makes 2-3 cups.

Lemon Tea Loaf

I also made another lemon loaf, just so I could take photos and share the recipe with you, my readers. Well, okay, it was so we could enjoy it too! Here is the slightly modified recipe. The original is from Anne Lindsay’s original “Lighthearted Everyday Cooking”.

Lemon Loaf (modified)

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, unsalted
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Rind of one lemon

Prepare pan by lining sides and bottom with tin foil, shiny side up, and lightly greasing with butter. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cream sugar and butter. Add egg and yogurt and mix well. Add milk and mix well. Combine flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Stir into egg mixture. Add grated rind. Pour into a prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour.

Remove from oven. Leave in pan. Let cool 3-5 minutes. Mix juice of one lemon with 1/4 cup sugar. Spoon over top of loaf evenly. Let sit till until lemon juice and sugar soak in a bit. Then lift from pan, peel off tin foil, slice, and serve.

Aside from that this week has been busy with arranging a safe way to acquire Christmas gifts and devising safe ways to give. Tis the season for online e-gift cards folks!

Talk to you all on Monday!

Monday Morning

Good evening everyone! 🙂 We are in the full swing of Christmas here. Friday night we were at a friend’s place, decorating, enjoying a wonderful lasagna, and playing games.

Saturday we were out for a walk and I was thinking about Christmas cards and gifts. We also got into the last of the Christmas baking – a lemon tea loaf I had in the freezer. I’m not baking anything else till just before Christmas, if then. Hubby and I just like it entirely too much!

Sunday I made a decision. I wrapped a few last minute gifts and mailed a few last minute greeting cards. Yes, I still mail greeting cards. They are ones I’ve had made of my wall hangings. People are so surprised to get them. I like the process of picking a certain design for a certain person, writing the card, and mailing it.

Sunday Hubby mentioned I hadn’t been doing any hooking lately. He’s correct. I’ve been busy with other things. However he’s after a particular wall hanging to go over our electric fireplace after New Year’s. It won’t be ready then, even if I hooked straight through from now to then. I am taking a bit of a break.

During this break I am busy continuing to downsize. I am sorting through items my children might want to give to them.

Today we were at one daughter’s to deliver her Christmas gift. She is working most of Christmas. Then our second daughter dropped by our place for her gift. She, too, is working Christmas. It will be a quiet Christmas, though there are tentative plans to make Zoom calls. But I have a feeling Zoom will be overwhelmed. We’ll see. We may have to make do with a phone call.

Well, that’s it from here. I still have all the sewing, quilting and rug hooking to do…probably after Christmas. Have a great week everyone!

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Well my creative weekly review is short and sweet today. I didn’t do anything creative. I decided to take a break and deal with some things we’ve been putting off since our move. We’re working on organizing finances, rewriting wills, stocking the freezers for winter, and enjoying the season by using technology to visit with friends and family.

The Christmas season is in full swing here. I was helping a friend decorate her Christmas tree Monday, and I’ll be helping the second friend decorate later this afternoon. I mailed my first batch of cards this week, and hope to mail another batch today.

I did bake one batch of Danish butter cookies. I split it into four parts and made two parts Finnish nut logs, one part cherry topped butter cookies, and the last part apricot jam filled butter cookies. I put half in the freezer for our two person cookie exchange, and then Hubby and I ate the rest! Granted it was about 12-18 small cookies, but still! I promised Hubby I’d make him more before Christmas.

Danish Butter Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1-2 tsp. Water, if needed
  • 2 1/2 cup flour

Put everything but water in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Mix until it forms a smooth, pliable dough. If dry, add water. Gather dough into a ball and knead briefly. Can be refrigerated up to one week.

Now for the fun! You can make different types of cookies with this basic dough! I make:

  • Finnish nut logs which are this dough rolled into ropes and dipped in beaten egg before being dipped in a mix 1/4 cup almonds to 2 Tbsp. sugar. Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes.
  • Raspberry Ribbons where you make a rope, press an indentation down the centre, bake 10 minutes, fill with raspberry jam and bake another 5-10 minutes. When cool you drizzle them with 1/2 cup icing sugar to 2 Tbsp. milk.
  • Cherry cookies. Make 1” balls and place on baking sheet. Just cut maraschino cherries in half and push a half into the centre of each cookie. You could also push a whole almond in instead. And you could add 1 tsp. almond extract with the teaspoon of vanilla extract when you make the dough.
  • Apricot cookies. Form 1” balls. Dip in beaten egg, followed by a mixture of 1/4 cup chopped almonds and 2 tablespoons sugar. Press an indentation in the middle of the top with your finger. Bake 10 minutes. Then spoon in apricot jam. Bake another 5 – 10 minutes.
  • There are other options. These are some from “Scandinavian Cooking” by Beatrice Ojakangas, an old cookbook in my possession. I combined several to create the Apricot cookie recipe.

Enjoy the cookies!

Monday Ramblings

Monday Ramblings

The photo attached to this post shows the Tree Decorating Party food. We made two types of chicken wings, vegetable sticks and hummus, homemade brown bread a spinach dip, mini spinach quiche, and shrimp canapés. A friend brought us pumpkin tarts as a surprise. There were four of us and we had a great feed! The food lasted a day or so here. Don’t know about what the others took home. It was a great feed!

I’ve done nothing crafty since Friday, but hopefully this week I’ll finish a few projects. I’m still stopped on the moose cushion cover, the quilt, and my rug hooking. I think it’s the miserable weather. That plus preparations for Christmas.

This past weekend I spent visiting with relatives online. Today I helped a friend decorate her Christmas tree. Tomorrow is errand day and appointment day. At some point I have to do some Christmas baking. Maybe tonight. Plus put in another grocery order for curbside pick up. I may get to my crafting Wednesday. We’ll see.

Here’s hoping my blog finds you all well and enjoying the season as much as possible in this strange year of Covid-19. Thanks for reading!

It’s Looking more Like Christmas!

It’s Looking more Like Christmas!

We had a couple of friends in our small Covid-19 bubble come over to help decorate our home for Christmas. They did a lovely job! I provided some food, as did they, and we went from 3 PM to 7 PM one day working on it. We capped the evening with a challenging but fun game of Scrabble.

I posted some of my Christmas ornaments for sale on Instagram and Facebook. Reach out to me through my contact page here on the website, my Facebook page, or my Instagram account if you’re interested. I’m known as Jean Ottosen Studios on IG and FB. I’ve sold several ornaments and have more to sell.

The 3 1/2” diameter round burgundy and gold ornaments are $15 CAD plus shipping and handling. They are lined with burgundy wool flannel and hung with a gold silk ribbon. They come in a gold star or circle pattern.

The star ornaments are 4” square, lined with quilting cotton, and hang from a red silk ribbon. These stars are a brighter colourway. They are sure to liven up your tree or decor. These are $20 CAD each, plus shipping and handling. There are five different types left, the sixth type, red star on green background, having sold out.

The five types left are:

  • Yellow star on red background,
  • Yellow on green,
  • Green on red,
  • Red on yellow, and
  • Green on yellow.

There are also larger 6” stars designed to be hung on walls or in archways. The ones designed for archways are lined with quilting cotton and have a silk hanging ribbon.

The ones designed for the wall come with a hanging sleeve, dowel and cup hooks with which to hang them. When hung properly the hanging system is hidden behind the wall hanging, giving the feeling that it is floating on the wall. These wall hangings look good hung in groups of three.

If you want them for this Christmas order soon to avoid disappointment!

If you’ve been reading, thanks!  I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  

 

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

I’ve had an enjoyable week with family and friends, albeit most of it long distance due to Covid restrictions. Our area of Nova Scotia is restricted to our five person bubbles right now. We included a couple of friends in our bubble. Wednesday both friends were over and we sewed and visited. It was a great opportunity for me to make headway on some projects.

I’ve had a challenging week with projects. You know how sometimes a project just eats up your time and you feel as if nothing was accomplished at the end of the day? Well the moose cushion cover has been one such project. It should have been a quick and easy project, but it hasn’t been. The machine appliqué stitch I used has been a bear to rip out. It needed ripping because the tension on my sewing machine went wonky last week. I finally sat down and dealt with it. I had also accidentally ripped the Black Watch plaid back of the cushion cover while ripping out the side seam of the cushion cover. I found a suitable patch for that. That is one project I am going to be glad to have finished!

I have also been hand sewing the binding of the Trip-Around-The-World quilt. I’m looking forward to finishing it and enjoying it on our bed.

This past weekend was taken up with other activities. Christmas is fast approaching. We, like a lot of people, are used to more social gatherings this time of year. Covid is putting an interesting twist on things. We are still having a tree decorating party, only this year it’s a house decorating party. I think we’re having at least one other person over. I also have a small cookie exchange plan in progress for closer to Christmas…with the same individual.

I am lamenting the state of my Christmas home decor. It is a mishmash of items that do not coordinate. I don’t know what I was thinking when I packed it to move! I think there will be some serious decisions made this holiday season in regards to what stays, what goes, and what comes into the house.

Well, that’s it for now. If you’ve been reading, thanks! I hope you all have a great week! Till Friday…Jean

Just Motoring Along

Just Motoring Along

Hi everyone!  I had lots of rest this past weekend. Guess I needed it. Today I’m back and eager to get back at things.

I finished sewing on hanging sleeves and Hubby hung the Old Tyme Scrappy quilt on the wall.  I hemmed my jeans. I’m done the face mask order. I’m almost finished Autumn. I’m hand sewing the binding on the Trip-Around-The-World quilt.

The cushion cover is a bear I have to face this week. It’s a mess and I have to rip about one quarter of the blanket stitch out.  I also have to fix the rip in the back.  Sigh.  Have you ever had one of those projects where nothing seems to be going right?  Well this is one of mine.

Once all those are done I want to get back to my South Korea roof tile end caps wall hanging. Hubby already has a place he wants to hang it. I’m a bit miffed with myself that it’s taken a whole year to complete one medium sized wall hanging.  But I have done many things besides it, including a major move in April. While I had it on backing and started in January, I was living in someone else’s home and didn’t want to overtake it with exploding boxes of fibre.  I did for a while anyways, the few days I searched for fibre for the piece, but I quickly packed it all away.   I found my accommodations more suited to knitting and quilting small pieces. I worked on a gorgeous appliqué quilt pattern while there! Which reminds me I still have a couple of knitted cushion covers and the appliqué quilt to finish.

Lots of projects to finish!  Looks like I’m going to get some time to do them.  Nova Scotia’s Covid-19 cases are rising again and we’re limited to our five person bubble.  I’m staying home for the most part, and working on my projects.

If you’ve been reading, thanks! And have a productive week everyone!

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Lots happened this week. We finally received our upright freezer – only four months after ordering it. I now have a small fridge freezer, a small chest freezer, and a medium size upright freezer. That has got to be enough for two people! I started filling and rearranging them this week.

I also finished sewing the hanging sleeves on the quilt. We went shopping for a curtain rod to hang it from. It’s more like a cafe rod. The quilt will be at the top of the bed by tonight.

I’m almost finished “Autumn”. I have just a bit of hooking to do around the letters on one side of the wall hanging. Then it’s onto finishing.

I struggled greatly and have the binding sewn onto one side of the Trip-Around-The-World quilt. I’ve pinned it down the whole way around the other side, ready for hand stitching. The quilt itself is not square, so it looks dreadful from the front. But then I remind myself I was only 17 when I started it, and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. It was a major learning experience.

I almost finished my nephew’s cushion cover when my sewing machine went wonky. The tension is totally whacked. I took the threading out and rethreaded the entire thing. Crossing my fingers it works. Today is the day to try it again. I hope it does work, because I have another face mask order to fill!

If you have been reading, thanks! Have a great weekend everyone!

Running Behind

Running Behind

I’m running a bit behind the last few days. Company on the weekend was great fun! But Monday was time to prepare packages for shipping and prepare for a visit and visit a bank official. Between them and resting up from the weekend my day was shot.

A heads up. I disabled the checkout on my shop. For some reason shipping went wonky and I have no idea how to get it back to normal. Suddenly it was offering free shipping on everything, and I’m certainly NOT getting free shipping from Canada Post!

Anyone who wishes to purchase something can contact me on Facebook at Jean Ottosen Studios or email me at jeanottosenstudios@gmail.com

I did manage to fit in a bit of rug hooking between other activities. I worked on “Autumn” off and on. I’m not sure how well I like it. I’m thinking on it. This week I hope to finish hooking it.

I also have to get back to focusing on sewing. I want the binding added to my hand quilted trip-around-the-world quilt pretty badly. Plus I have jeans to hem, a moose design to appliqué to a cushion cover, and a hanging sleeve for a quilt Hubby wants to hang above our bed. Lots to do! I’ll post my progress Friday!

If you’ve been reading, thanks! Have a great week!

A Busy Weekend

A Busy Weekend

Hi everyone. I’m posting a bit late. We have company from inside the Atlantic Bubble this weekend. Plus one of our daughters and her husband came over Thursday evening for supper and a rousing game of “Terraforming Mars”. We’re still learning, but it’s still fun! Last evening my sister and niece arrived for the weekend. They taught us how to play Settlers of Catan. Tonight we have company coming over to play “Wingspan”. We’re still learning that one too. We’re having a fun weekend of games!

However that means not much rug hooking is being done. I have hooked a bit on “Autumn”, but not much else. Today we’ve been running errands. I’ll check back in on Monday.

A Week of Remembrance

A Week of Remembrance

An update on company first. Our friend from outside the Atlantic Bubble decided to postpone her trip till Covid-19 dies down. Our house is not a good place for quarantine.  It’s too small and the upstairs is open to the downstairs with no door between.

In sewing news I’ve finished on sewing the face masks.  I just have to put the filters inside.

I also sewed the binding for my trip-around-the-world quilt. My sewing machine became jammed while I was attaching it. All sewing has stopped. This time I really do have to take my machine in for cleaning and repairs.

I have my jeans cut and pinned, but I’ve yet to hem them.

I’ve yet to appliqué the moose on my nephew’s cushion cover.

In rug hooking news, I hooked some on “Autumn”.  I’m working on the words in the piece.

I ordered a “new” Red Dot sample from Kevin LeMoine of Punch Needle Rug Hooking in New Brunswick and it arrived.  I tried it out and it’s almost exactly like the old Red Dot I used to use!  I’m put in an order quick like.  I love the thin Red Dot for transferring patterns!

What’s up this week?  I’ll be hooking and entertaining company. I’m taking part in Karen Miller’s Rug Hooking Clinic today. Plus an online hook-in on Thursday.

Plus I’ll be remembering Grampy and all the other war veterans on Remembrance Day. May those who didn’t make it home rest in peace, and those who return find peace.

I’ve been reading in the news that the Poppy campaign by the Canadian Legion is not doing too well this year due to Covid-19 restrictions. The money from the poppy campaign goes to helping veterans and their families. I encourage everyone to get out there and support the poppy campaign.

If you’ve been reading, thanks!  Have a great week!

“The Best Laid Plans…

“The Best Laid Plans…

Of mice and men often go awry.” (Robert Burns, adapted from “To A Mouse”) .

You know I planned all that sewing and rug hooking this week. Well, we had a wee surprise. A good friend out west lost her job and is struggling emotionally right now. She booked a one way ticket to Halifax to visit us without consulting us in advance.

She is not native to Canada and her grasp of English is not great. She has never lost a job before and is down because of it. We explained the Atlantic Bubble and that she’d have to do 2 weeks quarantine in the basement. We had to phone our doctor, the local 811 Covid-19 line, and check a few websites to see what is required.

Out of an abundance of caution my hubby and I have decided to self isolate at the same time as her…just in case. She arrives next weekend.

So instead of sewing and rug hooking I’ve been running around town with Hubby buying stuff to make our basement suitable for self sufficient living. We bought a small freezer because our upright one hasn’t arrived yet. We’re looking at purchasing a mini fridge, microwave and kettle as well. It’s going to be Air BnB status by the time we’re done! 😂

Because there’s no closet in the guest room we spent an entire morning in IKEA trying to find something suitable. Hubby spent yesterday afternoon and this morning building it. Looks great!

I’ve been listing items for sale on Kijiji. I may list elsewhere. I’m getting little to no response there.

To complicate matters we already had company planned for the weekend our friend decided to come. So we quickly talked to them and they, thankfully, adjusted their plans to miss her. We still have a couple of dinner engagements to bow out of during the quarantine time.

We’ll be rearranging our home to make room for her. I won’t have access to my studio for 2 weeks, as it’s in the basement. So my iMac and rug hooking will have to come upstairs. Hubby and I are trying to figure out where to put things.

My other friends and family members are not impressed. But I understand our friend needs a place to heal right now.

In sewing news, I’ve started the face masks. They are looking good. I hope to be finished by Monday.

In rug hooking news, I’ve started hooking the letters in the Autumn wall hanging from Beth Miller’s Workshop Week class. It’s slow going.

That’s it folks! Thanks for reading. 😊 Jean

Monday Musings

Monday Musings

This weekend I worked on my hooked mat from Beth Miller‘s class last week.  Here’s how far I’ve come to date.  I changed the way the words sit on the pattern to make them more readable

Friday we had our new TV installed. We’ve been without a TV for over a year now. I took the opportunity to watch Deanne Fitzpatrick’s Thursday Live You Tube video.  I also watched Textile Talks: Kaffe Fassett and Erin Lee Gafil, A Creative Conversation.  It was wonderful!  I found out about the Textile Talks during Workshop Week last week.  My TV and I will be busy the next while.

I have some sewing that needs doing. I am sewing face masks for some relatives this week.

I am also sewing a gift for my one remaining nephew who didn’t get one yet, from his Grandpy’s LL Bean shirts (see the moose appliqué at the top of this post).  Grampy passed away a couple of years ago and somehow this one nephew fell through the cracks. I managed to sew something for the other 27 people, but this young man was difficult to get ahold of during that time. You can find a video of this project under The Shirt Project May-June 2018 on my YouTube channel – Jean Ottosen.

I also have a quilt I started when I was seventeen to work on.  That was a long time ago.  I was up to a friend’s this morning for her help in cutting off a border that just wasn’t working.  It will make the quilt smaller, but it will still be a memory quilt for me.  I hand quilted 2” squares together in the Trip-Around-The-World pattern from sewing remnants of family dresses, shirts, pyjamas, nightees, etc. While at my friend’s we also prepared and cut the binding for the quilt. I am much happier about the quilt now.  This week I hope to attach the binding to the quilt.

As you can see, the bulk of this week will be sewing.  However, in the rug hooking arena I am going to be watching Nadine Flagel’s In The Studio talk on Wednesday afternoon.  I’m looking forward to hearing her approach to rug hooking.  I’m also going to be exploring some art and rug hooking links online.  I’ll let you know what I find of interest.

This afternoon I had a visitor from the Kingfisher Rug Hooking Guild in Halifax.  We had a great time chatting.  She shared where all the hook-ins normally are in our area.  Covid has shut a lot down for now.  She was very encouraging.  It was great visiting with another hooker!

If you’ve been reading, thanks!  Hit the like button and/or leave a comment.  I know you’re out there.  I can see the stats! 🙂  Take care and have a great week!

Weekly Review – In The Studio Workshop Week

Weekly Review – In The Studio Workshop Week

Hi everyone!  It’s been an exciting week full of learning, struggle, and fun.  I took three very different classes during the In The Studio Workshop Week, and was impressed with all of them.  I took Karen Miller’s Travel Design course and came away with more ideas for my South Korean mats.

I was hesitant to take Beth Miller’s Here and Now Words and Fibre course because I don’t really read poetry, much less write it. But she was very flexible and forgiving.  I wondered if I could use it with my children’s poetry and after her approval I gave it a try. I found a “here and now” image that means a lot to me. It’s the view out our living room window about a week ago, with trees blazing set off against a bright blue sky, and my favourite cup of tea on the table, waiting for me to sit down to surf the Net on my iPad or read a book.  I was surprised by how quickly this piece came together and how fast I was able to hook it.

Yesterday I stretched myself.  I took Meryl Cook’s class.  It was hard but good for me. I am a very practical person.  Meryl’s class caused us to look deep inside ourselves for design ideas.  I have Meryl’s book and I’m working more from it after the class. I was not Meryl’s star student I’m afraid. Sorry Meryl. The class was great for getting me thinking though.  I love learning about the different approaches people take to rug hooking!  It is energizing to be around other rug hookers learning something new.

Wednesday evening was a great hook in with some lovely ladies. Friday night was the final panel discussion.  I loved all the links and resources that came from the week.

I understand Karen Miller will be organizing another Workshop Week in the future.  I plan on being there.  It was a great week ladies!  Thank-you to all the teachers and others who made it possible.

 

It Starts Today!

It Starts Today!

Are you ready? Or more accurately, am I ready?  Today marks the first class in the In My Studio Workshop Week for me. I’m excited to be in Karen Miller’s Travel class. I have several sketches from my South Korea trip to work with, and several photos otherwise. I’m looking forward to learning her process for taking an idea to pattern to finished piece.

I finally finished the centre of the South Korean wall hanging! Now I’m onto the border.  Last Thursday I dyed some fibre with a friend. Last evening I finished off the dye job. Hopefully these colours will work with the rest of the wall hanging.

I also checked in with the local spinning group via Zoom and spent time at my wheel spinning some gorgeous alpaca. This will not be going into a hooked piece. It will be used for knitting. It is spinning up very fine. Just right for some lace knitting.

I hope this finds everyone well and safe, and looking forward to the week. If you have been, thanks for reading. ❤️

 

Studio Makeover

Studio Makeover

Hi everyone!  I thought I’d do an update on the studio makeover. The main part of my studio is ready.  However we are storing stuff in it until the basement guest room cum family room cum classroom is completed.  The paint is drying as I type!

I’ve been working in my new studio, enjoying it for a couple of months now.  It has been a great space to work!  I have projects strewn everywhere. I could wish for improved lighting still.  But the LED overhead lights are a great start.  I wish I had some kind of track lighting to light up my gallery walls.  I have two gallery walls at the moment, and hope to have a third before too long.

Check out my current photos. It’s a bit messy because of all the work going on here, but it functions for me.  That is good!

My current projects are:

  1. an appliquéd moose wall hanging or cushion cover for my nephew, in memory of his grandfather.  I’m not sure which will be better for him.
  2. Fixing a hand quilted quilt I started when I was seventeen.  We won’t say how long ago that was!
  3. Dyeing the border colors for my South Korean roof tile end caps wall hanging,
  4. preparing for Workshop Week next week, and
  5. getting the guest room stuff out of my studio!

Hoping to get considerable movement done on these in the next couple of weeks.

 

Planning…

Planning…

In Friday’s blog post I shared photos of where I’m going on various projects.  Today I’m showing  you how far I’ve come on the South Korean roof tile end caps wall hanging.  This week I’ll be doing some dyeing to have enough fibre to finish the border.  I’m hoping to finish it by the end of the month. 🙂

Aside from the South Korea roof tile rug I have several other South Korean designs to put on backing.  Some of them I’m just a bit unsure of the best format for them.  I’m hoping Karen Miller’s Travel class will help me.

The poetry patterns are calling my name.  I think they will be next for hooking.  They are all on backing and ready to go.

I’m still working through Meryl Cook creativity workbook and designing hooked pieces.

This past weekend was Hubby’s and my anniversary.  We spent a fair bit of time out in nature or driving through it, enjoying the fall colors around us.  It was beautiful and wonderful to get out and about.  I took a fair amount of inspiration photos for future hooked pieces. I’m looking forward to more wall hangings down the road. 😊