The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men…

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men…

…Often go awry!  I thought I had Anne Budd’s book “The Knitter’s Handy Book of Knitting Patterns” out and in my knitting bag, but apparently it has been packed into storage somewhere.  So instead of using one of her hat patterns, I downloaded a free pattern called “His and Her’s Beanie” from Krityum on Ravelry.com.  It knit up kind of square at the top, making for an interesting look.  I’ve also almost finished a neck warmer from the DROPS Design pattern – DROPS Extra 0-903.

Other than that, not much creative happening here.  I did manage to go to a knitting group yesterday at my local library.  There were few people there and I had a good time.  I knit on the neck warmer from Fleece Artist Fundy National Park yarn.

I’m keeping up with my bullet journal.  I have to.  I’m trying to keep track of various issues relating to my health.  I’ve had a lot of medical related appointments, classes, and gym time this past week.  Plus I’ve been out walking more.  I’ve also been using a productivity tracker to track how I’m using my time.  It’s been helpful as well.  It’s interesting to see how I am filling my days with everything in storage!

Hubby and I have spent a lot of time eating out.  The painters are on the main floor of the house now and we have window treatments on our kitchen floor.  Not a good situation for cooking.  The floor refinishers are coming tomorrow morning.  We’ll need them!  The floors are a mess after the painting.  That will, however, mean more eating out, as they have said they need the stove outlet for their big sanding machine.

I’ve spent a fair bit of time the last three days watching videos from The Canadian Financial Summit, trying to familiarize myself with exactly what our financial planner and broker might be up to and thinking.  It’s mostly aimed at Millennials, but there was a fair bit on retirement as well…albeit wealthy retirements.  Some people simply have a lot more money to play with than others.  I did a search for one income retirement in Canada and turned up a bunch of newspaper articles with platitudes and general advice any one income family already knows.  In the process I found some Canadian financial calculators at: Canada.ca .  I also did a search for calculators that take inflation into account.  There’s fewer of them out there.  But there’s one by Sheffar Potter Muchan Inc. out of London, Ontario.  Just type in “retirement planner” and the page should pop up.  The short answer to it is that a one income family can survive retirement, depending on their lifestyle expectations and how much they’ve managed to save.  Not everyone wants to golf, sail, and travel in retirement.

Well, if you’ve been reading, thanks!  Have a great week everyone!

Moving Along

Moving Along

I decided to do some knitting to fill in pockets of time between packing and medical appointments.  To that end I finished knitting a hat, neck warmer, and pair of wrist warmers from Fleece Artist’s Canada’s 150 Birthday yarn in the Sable Island colourway.  The hat is from Anne Budd’s book “The Handy Book of Knitting Patterns”.  The neck warmer and wrist warmers are a free pattern off Ravelry by DROPS design (pattern 0-903).

I have them in a box that is not quite full, to send to the recipient.  I may knit more accessories for other people who live in that household.  We’ll see.  I’ve been trying to get a hold of the Mom with little success.  Our time zone difference and schedules are wacky and not well synced.

We’ve been busy packing the last few days in particular.  We emptied out most of the basement.  We’ll be moving some items and furniture down there for us to use for the month of September.  I’m still not sure how we’ll fit everything we need down there.  My rug hooking store inventory is all there right now though.  That’s a start.  Thankfully that’s not as much as it could be!

In the last two weeks we’ve taken three carloads of stuff to drop off at the Salvation Army Thrift Store.  Online selling has slowed down this month.  I’m thinking we have one piece of furniture we might have picked up by the Salvation Army for their thrift store.  That’s not bad actually.

We also made a stab at cleaning the bathroom since the boarder moved out the end of July.  It was a disaster!  Hubby had to take the pea trap apart and clean it out so the sink would drain properly.  I had to shop for a specific cleaning implement (Mr. Pumie) from Home Hardware to clean out the toilet.  Let me tell you, that product is great!  I’m using Zep to clean the shower stall.  Before long the bathroom will be good as new!  Next up is to work on the funky odor coming from the room the boarder stayed in.  I think we’ll need some serious air freshener there.  Would love to clean the carpet, but we’re just ripping it out in a couple month’s time, so why bother?

I’ve been keeping up-to-date and organized in my bullet journal.  I prepared all the pages I need for September in under an hour.  I’m not one of these people who do fancy spreads.  I am bullet journaling for functionality, not artistic expression.  The fanciest I get is colour coding my productivity chart or my sleep quality chart, and those happen on a day-to-day basis, not all upfront prior to the beginning of the month.  It’s almost time to sit down and transfer all my September appointments to my cell phone though.

Well that’s about it.  I continue to attend the gym.  I’m having issues finding a blood pressure monitor that actually works like it’s supposed to.  Even the top sellers are off when compared to the doctor’s office or gym monitors.  They read really high (and I mean like 20-30 points above where my blood pressure is really at!), which is a problem when you’re trying to keep track of how low your blood pressure is!  We bought a new one that was not up to specs, so we will be returning it and buying something different.  Our current one is two years old and won’t read my blood pressure at all.  Gives me nothing but error messages.  I’ve contacted the company and just got a regurgitation of the instruction manual.  I am very frustrated with them.  Unfortunately that is the company the gym nurse wants me to buy another monitor from.  She is suggesting I pick it up at Costco, so I have a year in which I can return it if it stops working the way it should.  We’ll see.  I wouldn’t buy one at all except the doctor wants me to track my blood pressure every day.

Well, that’s it.  I have to go organize my clothing and decide what to put into storage and what to keep out.  I may just move it lock, stock and barrel to the basement.  September in Regina could mean heat, cold, or even snow.  I just don’t trust the weather here at all.

Life Happens

Life Happens

People who have been reading my blog for a while know that my dad passed away the end of April.  I was totally immersed in dealing with “The Shirt Project” for the two months following his death. “The Shirt Project” was the remaking of about twenty of his old L.L. Bean shirts into mementos for his descendants.  That gave me time to think about Dad and to grieve. My projects received rave reviews from the recipients.  I am glad they like them.

We are still planning on moving to the Halifax area in the future.  But, added to that has been my own health problems.  My old ticker just ain’t what it used to be.  So I’ve been put on medication and had several medical tests.  I’ve joined a gym and am receiving classes on how to take care of my heart.  Hence I’ve decided to not teach rug hooking classes till after things have settled down a bit.

We’ve also been preparing for some interior painting and floor refinishing in our old house.  It’s been a long haul of decluttering, selling stuff, donating stuff, and packing stuff to go into storage.  And we aren’t near finished!  We’ll be working on it throughout the rest of August and beyond.

I’ve done absolutely no handwork to speak of…short of re-spinning some cotton yarn for a friend.  That was an experiment with mixed results.  She decided not to ask me to spin any more of the yarn.  It just was not designed for knitting. When knit up it made a hard surface on the finished project – both spun and unspun.  It was a yarn of six strands, about DK weight, originally intended for crochet, and will be donated to some crocheters.

I have been keeping up with my bullet journalling.  Now the doctors know it exists they are interested in all kinds of records I keep in it.  I’ve switched to using a Traveller’s Notebook style bullet journal, but not the authentic TN…it’s too pricy for me.  I picked up my look alike at Michaels one day while out shopping.  They also had refills for it, much to my delight!  I am finding this less time consuming than using the Lechtturm 1917 journal.  Also cheaper.  The TN style bullet journal allows you to slip four separate notebooks into one cover.  That means information that doesn’t change from month-to-month can go in one notebook, and my day-to-day planner can go in another. I also have a notebook for my trackers for sleep, habits, productivity, weight, water consumption, expenditures/earnings, gratitudes, and blood pressure.  And the final notebook is a food and exercise diary.  It is really convenient to have all that information in one place.  When I finish a notebook, I just slip it out of the cover, put in a new notebook, and continue on.  Not near as much wasted paper as in the Lechtturm, and better organization for me.

Well that’s my post for this week folks!  I’m afraid blog posts will be a bit sparse until I get back to my handwork.  Hope everyone is having a great summer!  Take care!

The Shirt Project

The Shirt Project

I’ve now taken to referring to all this sewing and quilting of Dad’s old L.L. Bean shirts to “The Shirt Project”.  I finished the moose wall hangings Sunday evening.  So far I am a week ahead of my overall schedule for sewing items.  That is good because the quilts may take longer than I expect.  I want to hand stitch those bindings to finish them.

Here are the finished “flying geese” pot holders.  I found a basic flying geese quilt pattern online (just google “flying geese pot holders”) and adapted it to my materials.  Each one of these has two layers of Radiantex (R) in the centre, facing outward on both sides.  That makes both sides suitable to use with hot pots and pans.  These are really designed as hot pads for the table as they have no hanging loop.  However they will serve as both pot holders and hot pads.  They are 8″ square.

And here is the table runner in various stages.  It is roughly three feet long by twelve inches wide.

Next up are four 40″ square toddler quilts.  I have designs drawn in my bullet journal and have cut out the pieces for two and a half of the quilts.  I am waiting for coordinating fabric to arrive in the mail for one of the quilts.  I had a special order for “a puppy quilt”.  Dad didn’t have any puppy shirts, so I am augmenting his shirts with some puppy fabric.  I don’t think I have enough shirt fabric for the final quilt to be similar block style to the others.  I may end up making a form of strip quilt, or something like it.  Something that will use up scraps and still look good.  But first I have to do an assessment tomorrow and see if I have enough fabric left for one hundred 4.5″ squares.

Having a great week and hope to have a better weekend.  Take care 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.

 

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!

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 – 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! 🙂

 

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!

A Brief Distraction

A Brief Distraction

While I’ve been sick with this cold I decided to take a break from dyeing fibre and focus on planning next year. I’m a planner. Anyone who knows me know I like to plan…well in advance…often to the extreme.  I love researching options and alternatives. I like to challenge myself.

Having said that, my big challenge in life is learning to pace myself. I also suffer from periodic bouts of depression. Anyone who has this knows it can be challenging to deal with. On top of that I am an out-of-shape middle-aged woman. So my goal for the rest of this year and next year is to refocus my energies, such as they are, to becoming a healthier me. And I want to enjoy smelling the roses as life goes by.

I have tried many types of planners and day timers in the past. They all worked to a certain degree, but seemed like an awful waste of paper to me. There were a lot of blank spots that didn’t pertain to me, and places I needed spots to write that didn’t exist, which necessitated buying an extra journal or scribbler to find space.

For a long while I was on the journal kick.  I had a journal for everything:  a giving journal, a gratitude journal, a spiritual journal, a daily journal, a work journal…  It was too much.  I ended up not using any of them because, well, I had no time!

So I embarked on a Google search.  I found YouTube bullet journal videos. I wish I could say I was smitten right away, but I wasn’t.  The videos I was watching were more like scrapbooking.  I didn’t have time for that.  Still don’t most days.  I tried it anyways, and lasted one month.  I liked the idea, but it was expensive.  I decided to cut costs and create my own Midori style planner.  It didn’t work as well as I’d hoped.  I let the whole bullet journaling thing rest a year or so.

Then, not long ago someone online mentioned bullet journals again.  Hmmm.  I thought I’d revisit it and checked with my eldest daughter, who is into organised living.  She suggested checking out Ryder Carroll’s bullet journal website.  If you haven’t seen this system before I highly recommend it.

I did away with the fancy scrapbooking style and started with a simple Dollar Store 5″ X 7″ scribbler. I’ve been trialing the system since September.  I’m impressed by the versatility of it. I can combine several journals into one using the collections feature of Carroll’s bullet journaling system. I am not wasting as much paper as my old system of journaling.  I like it.

To give you an idea of how the system might work, check out Ryder Carroll’s website.  Here are a few sample pages from my bullet journal setup in the slide show below.  These are not perfect pages.  They are a first attempt.

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I hope to become better later on.  I sure hope this system continues to work for me, because not much else has in my many years of planning!