Lovin’ My New Kitchen!

Lovin’ My New Kitchen!

Hi everyone!  No rug hooking this week…I’ve been making up for lost time in my new kitchen!  What have I been making?

  • cooking red kidney beans from dried,
  • cooking chickpeas from dried,
  • cooking black beans from dried,
  • baking johnnycake (aka cornbread),
  • baking 2 loaves of French bread,
  • baking a triple batch of whole wheat dinner rolls,
  • making a triple batch of whole wheat tortillas,
  • baking granola,
  • baking granola bars,
  • making Nanaimo bars, and
  • making Raw Energy Balls.

I am attempting to provide healthy snacks for Hubby for his bicycle rides. Though, I admit, the Nanaimo bars are just because they’re his favourite.  I used the recipe on the City of Nanaimo website .

My treat for you is my Raw Energy Ball recipe.  There are many versions of this floating around the Internet.  This is the version we use.

Raw Energy Balls

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground cardamon (optional)
  • 1/4 cup raw almond butter
  • unsweetened shredded coconut

Grind almonds until finely ground to meal in a food processor.  Add everything BUT the coconut.  Process until just smooth enough to shape, but not runny.  Squeeze into 1” diameter balls.  Roll in coconut.  Let sit in fridge to cool and firm up before serving.

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As you can tell, it has been a busy week in the kitchen. This weekend we have company arriving. I may or may not post on Monday. Lots happening!

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

 

Running Late…

Running Late…

Good morning everyone!  This past weekend was busy. The kitchen is mostly done. We have two stubborn parts to it. We want to replace the light fixture over the dining area and stain the wood threshold between the living room and kitchen. The light fixtures we pick are all out of stock, and we are having difficulty matching the stain for the threshold with the existing wood floor. We are waiting for more lighting to come into our area locally, and visiting a local hardware store to talk to their experienced paint staff about stain.

Despite all that, everything has been moved back into the kitchen as of yesterday, and I found a taker for my old stainless steel pots and pans. Yesterday I spent cooking in my new kitchen. It was nice!

In rug hooking, I have not pulled a loop these past few days.  However, I can at least get to my work now!  So work will continue on “Each Step Spells Doom”.

Friday Hubby and I went on a road trip to Amherst to meet up with some visiting relatives. We had a great time walking the town!  We ended up at Dayle’s Grand Market and meeting the owner of Maritime Mosaic, Karen McKinnon. We were greatly impressed by the variety of goods in her shop, and the quality.  A few rug hookers are represented. I highly recommend people stop in on their way through or to Amherst, Nova Scotia.

This week’s plan is to catch up on kitchen activities and start hooking again.  I hope to spend a few hours hooking on “Doom”.

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

 

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Hi everyone!  My kitchen is 95% done!  We need to take the new dining area light fixture back and exchange it for a different one. It was too big and the wrong configuration.

Hubby is fixing some drywall the electricians wrecked.  To be fair to the electricians, they didn’t know there was a double stud right where they needed to move some wires.

We have a couple of screw caps to install.  The IKEA kitchen did not come with enough of them.

We want to buy one more IKEA freestanding kitchen “island” to back up to the wall, next to the first one, to hold dishes and cutlery.  The first one holds the microwave.

Last night I cooked our first meal on the new stove with our new cookware. It was nice. We started moving food and equipment back up. We’re by no means done, but we’re not in a hurry.

The kitchen installer is back Saturday morning to check and make sure everything is done, and to be paid. One of our daughters and her husband are coming Saturday afternoon to help us move everything back into the kitchen.

There are a few points to make about this kitchen.  It will double as a dye kitchen, which majorly affected design and finishes.

  • There is no microwave over the stove, so I can dip dye without banging my knuckles against it.
  • There is a preformed laminate countertop to handle all the excess water involved in dyeing.
  • It is a blotchy granite look laminate, instead of stone, because that resists and hides stains better.
  • The sink is 8” deep and the faucet high, to accommodate big dye pots.
  • We went with a high grade, highly cushioned, sheet linoleum floor to handle any spilled water and to provide comfort for prolonged standing.
  • It is very well lit with LED lights, so I can accurately see colours.

We are very thankful for the help we had in this kitchen renovation.  There are some generous tradespeople out there (as well as some not so generous!).  We appreciate the generous ones more than they know.

Thank-you to everyone!

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Monday Meanderings

Monday Meanderings

It’s a holiday weekend here and the kitchen renovation is humming along  We’re taking advantage of the absence of outside workers to fix some of their mistakes, repair damage, install lighting, and general clean up and prep for the range hood installation.  I made a list of what’s left to do and it’s very short.  However it’s a holiday Monday and the home building and electrical supply stores aren’t open.  We’ll head out tomorrow and look for supplies.

In rug hooking, I started another piece Friday. I think it will be my last in the poetry series. It is a piece about how humankind’s activities have negatively impacted the Earth. It is a response to my youngest daughter’s poem “Each Step Spells Doom” – a very angsty teenage poem about the state of the earth – a bit of a depressing piece actually.

In fact, so much so it might morph into a slightly different design than what’s on backing.  And I might just not add the poem with this one. Normally they are on the label in this series.  We shall see.

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

 

 

The Weave

The Weave

This week I settled down and finally finished hooking “The Weave”. It is one of my children’s poetry series. I have two more of that series to hook and then I’m done!  I am actually reconsidering the remaining two pieces. I’m not sure one of them can be hooked. The design is too detailed for the medium of rug hooking.

In kitchen news…the plumber came and installed the sink, taps and dishwasher. He also fixed our hot water line problem.  Apparently there was a valve issue affecting the hot water flow.

Today the electricians come to install the lights and pull out the wire for the range hood. They may have to extend the wire for the range hood.  We’ll see.

I’m still waiting for the range hood to be installed. We won’t get a quote for that until Tuesday. We were going to have the kitchen installer do it, but the part we need to go through the wall isn’t available in local stores. The electrician who was here said it normally comes with the range hood. It didn’t. I hear the HVAC guys have it though. So, if they can provide it in a reasonable time frame at a reasonable price, the job is theirs.

I am looking forward to getting my kitchen back.  Almost there!  It might be time to start moving items back in there. Maybe this weekend.

If you have been, thanks for reading!  Be safe and have a great Labour Day weekend everyone!

Finishing Up

Finishing Up

Hello everyone!  Our kitchen installer is done for now. He’s gone to build his own cottage for a couple of weeks.

We are working on finishing up a few odds and ends. Hubby will be doing the bulk of the work. Plus hiring a plumber and electrician. Right now, while the flooring, cabinets, and countertops are in, our kitchen is basically unusable.  The range hood is not hooked up, the under cabinet  lights are not in and there is no running water. The job quality is very good…just not finished.  I don’t have time to wait until the installer gets back.  I have other projects on the go this fall, and a vacation of my own to take. Though that might go out the window fast.  So this week’s focus is still the kitchen!

If you have been, thanks for reading. At some point here I’ll return to rug hooking.  I’m looking forward to it!

Weekly Review – renovations

Weekly Review – renovations

Kitchen renovation update:  The flooring is in, the wrong dishwasher was returned, and the new one arrived. I sold the old kitchen cabinets. I gave the dishwasher to our kitchen installer and we recycled our old broken microwave.  I also sold the old stove – the last of the old kitchen.  Installer measured new cabinets to be sure there was room for everything in the kitchen.  There is.  Fridge might be a tad small.  We’ll see.

Turns out the guy who laid our flooring has a construction company.  They renovate bathrooms.  We need a shower in our basement bath.  That will mean digging up the floor for new plumbing, removing the ceiling and walls to rerun electrical wires and enlarge the bathroom.  We have tentatively decided to spring for it…depending on the quote

The contractor and plumber are available, but a quality shower stall is not.  We would have a shower stall professionally tiled. We want the bath done by the end of the first week of October. Company arrives soon after.

If we go ahead with the bathroom renovation, next week Hubby and I will be on the road buying supplies for the job.  We’ll leave the contractor to deal with caulk and grout.  He seems to know what kind he wants.

In rug hooking, nothing has happened.  I’m definitely taking an extended break to get these renovations done in time.  As soon as the kitchen is finished we have to put stuff back in it.  Then we have to clear stuff out of the way in the basement, so the contractor can knock a hole in the wall of my studio to enlarge the bathroom to make room for a vanity.  I think we’ll be busy!

If you have been, thanks for reading.  Hopefully by Monday evening my kitchen will be finished and I can post some after photos for you to see.

 

 

Looking good!

Looking good!

Good morning everyone!  It’s been a busy weekend in the renovation. Saturday the kitchen came out. We still have the stove for sale. The people who bought the old kitchen are coming to pick it up tomorrow. Hubby has filled holes and primed the kitchen walls.  He’s applying the finish coat right now.  The flooring guy comes tomorrow.

One fly in the ointment.  We have the wrong colour stainless steel dishwasher. Apparently there’s regular stainless steel and black stainless steel. I did not know.  So I have to phone IKEA and make arrangements for the right one to be delivered…hopefully by the end of the week.

In other activity, Hubby and I took last evening off and went to visit the Halifax Public Gardens  The dahlias were in bloom and it was just beautiful!

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Also, my peach jam decided to gel after all! Maybe today I’ll fix the labels on the jars from “syrup “ to “jam”.

If you have been, thanks for reading.  Have a great week everyone!

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Good evening everyone!  It’s been a busy week.  I’ve spent it processing food for the winter, emptying out the kitchen and preparing for the kitchen renovation. Tomorrow is the day the old kitchen is dismantled.

First the food processing. I love home canned peaches and prefer them over store bought. So on Monday Hubby and I went on a gorgeous drive up to Wolfville, Nova Scotia to the farm markets – ostensibly to look for peaches. Well, that ended up with us coming back with over $70 worth of goods, including a $45/2 litre jug of maple syrup.  I picked up two huge zucchini for $1 each, a 5 pound basket of green tomatoes, two 5 pound bags of beets, a bag of salad greens, four 2 quart baskets of peaches and a quart of fresh strawberries.

In the end the peaches weren’t ripe enough to can.  I didn’t have time for them to ripen before the kitchen came out, so I decided to try to make peach jam.  I ended up with peach syrup. All’s good. Hubby says it tastes great for pancakes!  I made zucchini relish, pickled beets, green tomato chutney, and chow-chow.

On a whim, after watching a YouTube video on a channel named Frugal Jo, I made a clementine marmalade of 1/4 cup sugar per clementine.  I simmered it for half an hour and was rewarded with a lovely fridge/freezer marmalade.

My goal this week was to sell the stove and give away the microwave. After some back and forth with potential buyers, it appeared that was not going to happen. So we will remove them tomorrow with the cabinets.  The stove is still listed online for sale.  The microwave will be taken to recycling.

We were out buying paint for the kitchen too.  Hubby prepped some of the walls today and is going to do the painting as soon as the old kitchen cabinets are removed.

We’ve spent the last two days emptying out the kitchen.  We have a lot of stuff in there.  I’m culling as I go, and will continue to cull as things go back into the kitchen.

So…nothing happened in rug hooking this week.  Nor anything creative for that matter.  BUT…great strides were made in preparation for the kitchen renovation.  I did spend time organizing the paper mess of recipes and kitchen information on my cookbook shelf.  I’m still not finished with that, but I’m getting there!

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

 

 

Running Late!

Running Late!

Well I totally forgot about posting to my blog yesterday!  A lot happened the last three days.

  • We sold the kitchen…well we met the people buying it and got a deposit on it.  It comes out Saturday and they’re going to pick it up Monday.
  • We sold the big old fridge and it is gone, but not without leaving some battle scars on the house on its way out. Hubby has to repaint the entry anyways.
  • The stove has a pending sale on it
  • The microwave/range hood combo has a broken handle, so we’re giving it away.  It still works and I still use it. It’s just a cosmetic mess.
  • I spent a lot of time canning and processing food for the freezer this weekend. Bread & Butter Pickles, Zucchini Relish, Salsa, Peach Jam, and Clementine Marmalade (really for the fridge/freezer). I also processed green beans. I still have about 2 quarts of peaches ripening in a bag, a basket of green tomatoes, and 4 pounds of beets calling my name.
  • I sprained my foot standing too long?!  Hence I’ve commandeered Hubby’s help with canning. I’m taking a lot of rests and doing as much sitting down as possible.
  • We went on a trip to the farm markets in the Annapolis Valley for fresh produce for preserving.
  •  I spent down time, with my foot up, sorting through cooking magazines, recipes and kitchen notes.

Well that’s it.  Not one loop pulled, but a lot of worthwhile activity here…short of spraining my foot. I hope everyone else is having a productive week!

If you have been reading, thank-you!  Have a great week everyone!

Weekly Review – Ups and Downs

Weekly Review – Ups and Downs

Good morning all!  It’s been busy here.  As with most renovations there are ups and downs.

Downs:

  • Microwave is going to arrive five days later than planned, but that’s okay because…
  • the people buying our old appliances changed their minds and cancelled…soooo…
  • I have to get busy selling this old kitchen and  the appliances.

Ups:

  • However, the new microwave is on its way.
  • We were able to borrow a mini fridge from a friend to use in the basement during the renovation.
  • New fridge, stove and dishwasher arrive today.
  • All the main cabinet carcasses are assembled.
  • Someone is coming this evening to look at the old kitchen and see if they want to buy it.

I’ve also been busy in the kitchen.

  • I cut our chives and started chive vinegar to use in salad dressings.
  • I used up some frozen cranberries by making cranberry juice from scratch.  I’m trying to empty out the fridge and its freezer as much as possible.
  • I also made herbed whole wheat baking powder biscuits and
  • whole wheat dinner rolls for the basement freezer.  They will be to accompany suppers during the renovation.
  • I canned dill beans and froze some string beans for later.
  • Plus I made salmon chowder and other main meals for the freezer to thaw and eat during the renovation.

It’s been a busy week.

In rug hooking news, “The Weave” is almost finished.  Just a few loops to go!

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

 

 

Full Throttle Ahead!

Full Throttle Ahead!

Good morning everyone!  We’re are now going full throttle into kitchen renovations.  It’s almost time to move my rug hooking.

Friday we went to IKEA to find there was only one of the fridges we wanted left and one of the stoves. We bought them. Thankfully there were thirteen of the dishwashers we wanted. We bought one. Everything will be delivered Friday. Hubby is buying half sheets of plywood from the hardware store a few blocks from home and carrying them home to protect our living room engineered hardwood floor. That’s where the new appliances will sit until the renovation is finished.

Yesterday I received a call from a lady interested in purchasing my old fridge, stove and microwave. We arranged for her to look, the price and to pick up.

Yesterday we also went looking for a microwave for the new kitchen. I’m short and I want a countertop model.  We went to Best Buy in the end, and had a great experience there. They didn’t have the microwave we wanted, but they did have the one that was one step up from it. The salesclerk priced matched another store’s price to give us $50 off! We walked away happy. The microwave will be delivered later this week.

I listed our old kitchen for sale.  It is oak cabinets that have been painted and need a new coat of paint.  No takers yet.  Hopefully by the time they come out of the kitchen someone will express an interest.

Meanwhile our kitchen installer has been over building cabinets and giving us tips on how to survive the occasional extreme weather here – usually hurricanes and post tropical storms. We are woefully unprepared. We have no backup power source or backup cooking source. Something else to think about remedying.

Understandably hooking is taking a back seat in my life right now. But I will get back to it once the dust settles from this renovation.

If you have been, thanks for reading. Have a great week everyone!

Weekly Review – sidetracked

Weekly Review – sidetracked

Most people get sidetracked by summer fun this time of year.  Me?  I’m sidetracked by a kitchen renovation and food processing and storage for the coming fall and winter.

Yesterday I was in the basement rearranging the freezers and taking inventory. I actually started the inventory process in the cupboards on Wednesday.  I admit, I’m a bit of an organizing freak.  I like to know what I have and how much. Then I can plan to use it up.

I used to draw up a menu plan and follow it religiously.  Not anymore!  I make the menu plan and pick and choose meals from it depending on how I feel and my time constraints that particular day. It is a lot more relaxing that way.

In kitchen renovation news…the cabinets are half built. The installer will take over the kitchen on the 21st and remove the old kitchen.  Hubby will sand and paint.  The flooring guy will come do his thing. Then the installer comes back.  Then we have to call in a plumber to connect the sink and dishwasher. BUT none of the hookups can happen until we buy and receive appliances!  Rumour has it appliances are hard to acquire right now. We’re off today to check.

In rug hooking news…I’m almost done hooking “The Weave”!  I figure I have another three to four hours of hooking. Then the finishing.  I’m guessing, with everything else going on, it will be a couple of weeks yet.   I’m looking forward to “The Bubble”.

If you have been, thanks for reading.  Have a good weekend everyone!

Thankful Tuesday

Thankful Tuesday

Today is a red letter day!  There is finally a start on our IKEA kitchen renovation!   We’ve been waiting a year.  It took six months to get all the materials and supplies.  We still haven’t bought appliances. We’re buying from IKEA. We were assured they have plenty in stock in their local warehouse.  We shall see.  I’m looking forward to a functional kitchen I can also use for dyeing fibre.

Meanwhile, I took this weekend off. Sunday we travelled to visit family.  It was a long, but nice drive.

My plans for the week?  Finish hooking “The Weave” and colour plan the next poetry wall hanging.  Probably “The Bubble”.

Otherwise?  It’s canning, processing and freezing food time. It’s time to stock up for winter.  This past weekend I made bread and butter pickles, blueberry honey jam, strawberry apple lemon jam and red currant jelly.

I’m busy organizing my cupboards, fridge and freezers. We have two freezers – one small chest freezer and a medium sized upright one. I put in an online order for some wire mesh bins to help organize the upright freezer.  I’m looking forward to having those in hand in a week or so.

Lots to do!

If you have been, thanks for reading! Have a great rest of your week everyone!

Road Trip and Ramblings…

Road Trip and Ramblings…

Good morning everyone!  I had an delightful weekend this past weekend. The border between Nova Scotia and the other Atlantic provinces opened last Wednesday. One of my sisters lost no time coming our way to visit with friends and family – us included. So Friday we hosted a dinner for seven people in our tiny home. I had fun setting it up and cooking. I love to cook.  I took no photos of the event.  I totally forgot about my camera this weekend!  We had a delightful time catching up.

Saturday Hubby and I headed out to Lunenburg for a late lunch and to look around. We browsed the bookstores and I picked up a poetry book that looked good at first glance, but turned later to be a so-so poetry book.  Actually a kind of depressing poetry book.  I’m reading it, but it’s already on the chopping block to be given away.

Afterwards we headed out to Second Peninsula Provincial Park. It is a beautiful park with a few picnic tables. Unfortunately it was raining by the time we arrived, so we didn’t get out to check it out further.  We took a leisurely drive home instead.

Sunday I decided to watch some of the videos for International Nature Journaling Week. I finished all of Day 1 and half of Day 2. There are a lot of extra links to blog posts, websites and podcasts, not to mention YouTube videos related to the day’s theme.  I’m checking those out as I go.

Sunday I was also able to settle down and stitch the loop portion of hook and loop tape onto the back of “Gyeongju”.  I’m waiting for my shellacked oak hanging board to cure before stapling the hook side of the tape to it, mounting it on the wall, and hanging “Gyeongju”.

I’m going so slow it seems. Lots to preoccupy me these days. The kitchen countertop is being cut and we are negotiating pick up, hopefully later this week.  Our kitchen flooring will arrive later this week.  I need to clear out the utility room as it will be our makeshift kitchen.

The landscapers are here working on our front and side yards.  Today they are ripping out what’s there.  They say they’ll be finished in three days.  It’s a busy time.

Well that’s it for now!  If you have been, thanks for reading!  Take care and have a good week.

Finishing Up

Finishing Up

Good evening everyone!  I’ve spent some time working on my pieces from the earlier Workshop Weeks and finishing them up.  I just have the embroidery and beading to do on “Time” now, before finishing it.

The abstract pieces – “Ocean Sunset” and “Poison” are finished, complete with hanging sleeves.


Autumn” needs a good steam pressing and, possibly, some fixing on one edge in the hemming.  Then a hanging sleeve attached.

I also finished the Fraktur chair pad, but feel it’s too small for a chair pad.  It will probably end up on one of my living room tables.

Next it’s onto the South Korean roof tile end caps rug, which I think I will simply call “Gyeongju”.  Gyeongju is the city with the museum where I saw all the ancient designs tile designs.  South Korea was originally an amalgamation of three separate kingdoms.  Gyeongju, historically called Seorabeol, was capital of one of them – the Silla kingdom (57-935 AD).  You can read all about it by googling it.  It’s a fascinating city, nicknamed “The Museum Without Walls” .  It is a National Park filled with reconstructed sites and buildings from the old kingdom.  There are burial mounds of kings and queens, and archeological digs abound.  Plus there is a five building museum.  It’s just fascinating.  We were there one day.  There is no way we had enough time to do it justice.

I have a series of wall hangings I’d like to do on South Korea.  We’ll see if I get to them.  I want to finish some poetry wall hangings first.

Other than that it’s been a busy few days.  I’m trying to at least watch the videos for Sketchbook Revival, which technically ended March 31st. The videos are available until April 16th.  I’m rushing to fit them in, but I doubt I’ll have time to do the projects.

I’m looking forward to spring and summer.  I’m already planning my artist retreats for the year.  IKEA says they’ll email when the kitchen cabinet frames come in.  I’m hoping to work my retreats around the kitchen renovation.

Well that’s it from here.  I hope everyone has a great week!  If you have been, thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Hi everyone! This week has been busy with kitchen renovation stuff. We took delivery of half an IKEA kitchen…the rest being on back order. We had a flooring guy in, who recommended a local plumber. We had the carpenter in to discuss removal, install and countertops. We did not buy an IKEA countertop in the end. It’s been busy on the kitchen front.

As for rug hooking…I finished the hourglass piece three or four times. I’m not sure I’m happy with it yet. I plan to add embellishments come Beth Miller’s embellishment class on March 27th. Hopefully that will lift it from ho-hum to something a bit more lively.  

Here are photos of the last three tries at “Autumn”.  The first attempt had bright orange chains top and bottom on the dark brown border.  Then I tried the greys…too boring.   Then I tried light orange and that just looked weird .  I changed the main link to gold ribbon and added a more rust coloured orange.  I’m happier with it now.  

I also finished “Autumn” finally. I may tweak the letters and the table a bit.  I am not happy with how the shape of the table reads. I had a hard time with the colour of the table in the corner and the placement of the mug of tea. I thinkI finally figured those out  

That leaves the Fraktur chair pad from Susan Feller’s class, Folk Art with Flair, from Workshop Week 2 in February. Plus the design and hooking of three other coordinating chair pads!

There was no fibre dyeing this week, but Monday I will post some blue formulas. So stay tuned for further dye formulas!

Have a great weekend everyone!

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.

 

More Culling and An Offer We Can’t Refuse!

More Culling and An Offer We Can’t Refuse!

It’s amazing how much we collect, both in our personal and business lives. Nothing has shown me that more clearly than this move. I have STUFF! As fast as Charlie puts together IKEA storage units I fill them.

I made a decision. I’m selling all my scrapbooking supplies and going digital and online. I’ve been toying with the idea for a couple of years now. I don’t do much scrapbooking, but when I do I like to attend weekend scrapbook meetings and accomplish something in one fell swoop. I notice hauling around the supplies is getting to be an issue for me. That would be alleviated by going online and doing everything in the comfort of my own home.

I’ve made photo books online before and have had moderate success. I discovered an online business, forever.com, at one of the scrapbook meetings I attended. I’m giving them a try. I’ve seen some of their finished photo books and they’re great! They seem to be using good paper and good ink. Owners of the books claim the books are as good now as when they bought them years ago. I’m ready to try and find out.

I’ve also discovered I have a lot more rug hooking supplies than I thought I had. I’m sorting them out now and preparing to list some for sale online. I’m using my Facebook page – JLT Studios – and the newly formed Rug Hooking Buy n Sell Canada Facebook page. I will also use the local Kijiji and VarageSale.

Charlie and I took a break from working on the house last weekend and headed up beyond Canning, Nova Scotia. It is beautiful country up there. We stopped at Grand Pre National Historic Park on the way. We walked through the woods to the old Acadian church. I really enjoyed all the wild flowers on the way. There is also a great planting of coleus just before the statue of Evangeline of Longfellow fame. The colours were magnificent! I sense another rug coming on…

A friend has offered us the use of her cottage this summer, whenever we want it. We could both use it. I’m thinking of taking an artist retreat out there for about five days. Charlie has been trying to write a book on his laptop. There are trails in the area we could hike. It was very kind of our friend to offer the cottage, and we hope to take some advantage of it.

Happy Monday!

Happy Monday!

Good Monday morning everyone! Charlie finished painting the first studio wall this weekend. It looks wonderful!

I painted 37 year old cabinets and bookcases he’d made for me as a young wife. What a sweetheart! Those cabinets have been used in every home we’ve lived in. It was sad selling four of them for this move, but we had to downsize. They went to a good cause. A teacher wanted them for her classroom. The remaining four will be in our kitchen and my studio.

Bookcase by Charlie. Painting by Jean.
Cupboard made by Charlie. Painting by Jean. It needs to be cleaned up a bit on the hinges yet.

Today’s activities include putting together furniture for the studio wall that is finished, and filling it. That will, hopefully, empty a few boxes, giving us more room in the studio to paint more walls.

Other happenings around the homestead?

We are having the deck stained. Our friends were here Saturday and Sunday to work on it. Today is the last coat and touchups.

After the railing was done. We actually have the first coat on the decking. Looking forward to the second coat today!

I found wild purple violets growing in our backyard. I picked them and tried to make candied violets, but failed. I made a sourdough banana bread from YouTube later in the afternoon and tossed in the candied violets. It was delicious!

Wild purple violet

I’ve been checking out the yard and cleaning up flower beds – both front and back. We have an interesting backyard. There’s some grass, but not much. What we really have is a meadow. There’s wild strawberries, forget-me-nots, wild purple violets, and dandelions. All of these are in amongst moss.

The fringe benefit of not having just grass is that we see a lot of different insects and wildlife. This morning I woke up to a robin and pheasant eyeing each other warily from about ten feet apart in the backyard. Neighbours have reported deer in the area too.

I’ve been checking out the flowerbed situation. It’s quite overgrown. We apparently have a major goutweed problem. I’m sorting through how to deal with that now. If you have any experience please post in the comments below!

The deck garden is coming along fine. Seeds are up. In fact, everything I planted is up. I’m a bit overwhelmed. I had over planted because in the past I’ve had issues with germination and damping off. So far everything is growing quite happily. Hopefully I can get it all transplanted and onto the deck this week.

I have too many squash seedlings, so I’m contemplating planting them near the goutweed in hopes their huge leaves will smother it. But I don’t know if that will work. I think I’ll try several methods in different areas of the yard and see which method is best. Then next year I’ll settle on one method and try and get rid of the stuff.

If you’ve been reading till now, thank-you. I hope you have a great day and productive week! As always, keep an eye on my YouTube channel for more video about the studio renovation. Talk to you later,
Jean O.

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Hi everyone! It’s been a busy week. The IKEA furniture arrived yesterday. The delivery guys would only take it to the front steps. Our son-in-law was here to help us bring it into the house. He also helped my hubby, Charlie, put together the sofa. They also managed a great start on the large 4’x6’ Besta china cabinet/storage unit for the dining area. Charlie and I finished it today. I unpacked quite a few boxes into it.

Charlie also put together a small Billy bookcase. So far I’ve been able to unpack several small book boxes into it. I figure I’ve unpacked about ten boxes today – a fair bit of it glassware and china. So far only one item was chipped. The living room, kitchen, and dining area are looking much better!

We had the pellet stove technician in. He fired up the stove in the studio and gave us the situation. It’s a very noisy older unit and awkward to start. Plus the automatic shut off isn’t working. We have a few choices: leave it and be careful when we use it, don’t use it, replace with a newer model, or just have the thing removed and taken away. I’m leaning towards the last option as it would give me more usable space in the studio.

Right now all sources of heat in this house are electric, which comes in on overhead lines. We’d like to have a backup heat source that isn’t electric. We’ve been investigating solar. We have a wonderful southwest exposure to our roof. Plus there’s a provincial grant for going solar. We’ll see.

The pellet stove technician also works with air exchangers. Ours doesn’t work, but he said he’d do some research to see if he could find a suitable replacement and quote us for it and installation. It would be real nice to have one up and running.

I finished washing and repairing my main studio wall earlier this week. Charlie was down there to wash them again and do touch ups today. Hopefully he can tape it off and start to prime it tomorrow.

I’m excited to be getting the studio underway finally. But first I have a few pieces of furniture to refinish: a small cupboard, a small bookcase that fits on top of it, and an old table. All of them need a serious cleaning and painting before going to live in my studio and dye kitchen.

Well that’s it for this week’s review. I hope everyone has a great weekend. Thanks for reading. Take care everyone!

Just so you know…

Just so you know…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Warming Up!

It’s Warming Up!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back Home Again!

Had a great time in Winnipeg.  My niece beat her personal best times in swimming in all her races.  So proud of her!

While in Winnipeg we saw the Picasso exhibit in the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and the more traditional art exhibit.  Also saw The Manitoba Museum and The Museum of Human Rights.  Stopped in at the Assiniboine Park and down at The Forks.  There was free entertainment every night at The Forks.  We made it down a couple of nights.  Checked into several really good restaurants in town – Kiwa Korean Cuisine and Tuxedo Village Family Restaurant (Greek food) stand out at the moment.

Came home and Monday we had a gas insert installed in our fireplace.  Tuesday we had window cleaners here to clean all the windows in the house.  Today we had a painter come finish the paint job on the house.

Yesterday I went with a friend to a nearby beach town to drop something off and have dinner out.  Today Hubby and I went to Assiniboia to see the Shurniak Art Gallery, have lunch, and check out the library.  We drove home through Ogema and stopped for ice-cream.  Cute little town.

Now I have no excuses.  I have to figure out my website situation.  I can’t post photos and I can’t renew any of the plugins on it.  I will talk with my website developer this week about it.  Apparently my theme is no longer being supported by WooCommerce. 🙁

Have a great week everyone!