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!

Home Sweet Home!

Our new home

We’re finally in our new home! We had hoped to do renovations before moving in, but Covid-19 put a stop to that. For now we’ll have to make do. Hubby and I have been busy unpacking.

The move was eventful, as always. Our moves have never been easy. Last week Thursday Hubby tripped off the outside concrete steps at the landlady’s, carrying Rubbermaid bins to the car to make a trip out to our house. The result was a severely sprained ankle. We postponed the Friday move to Monday. Instead we made a trip to the ER in our new community where Hubby had x-rays and was seen by a doctor. He’s now sporting a walking cast and crutches.

Thankfully it was his left foot. There were a few tense moments as we decided if he could drive the moving truck or not. He did a test drive on Sunday and fared okay. So Monday the move was on!

We had a couple of helpers from the people we’ve been in quarantine with, and our son-in-law, who wore a mask the entire time. I confined myself to the kitchen and providing food for the crew…lots of homemade pizza! Hubby says he didn’t get a piece of the second pizza. I’ll have to make pizza later this week.

Since we moved in it snowed all day yesterday. That is probably a good thing because the yard needs serious work. Also because we have more than enough to do indoors. I’m hoping the snow all melts today so I can rake leaves by tomorrow. We’ll see. Hubby is insisting he rake leaves! Me? I’ll still have plenty to do. I want to have the deck power washed and re-painted before planting a container garden.

The beginnings of a garden. Yes, I know it’s late to start some of these, and I really am going to plant some squashes in containers. 😊 We’ll see what produces. Right now I’m having problem finding decent soil and getting it from point A to our house, thanks to Covid-19!

Today I am going to venture down to my studio and see what I can do down there. It’s full of boxes. Someone has ordered a pattern which I’ve never done before, and I’d like to get it out to them in two weeks. That means getting into boxes of fibre before my studio furniture arrives. Could get to be an interesting mess! First order of business will be to set up a table to work on.

I’m hoping to post more frequently on my blog now we’ve moved. Keep an eye out for more content!

Just so you know…

Just so you know…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Week in Review

Week in Review

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

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

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

Bed Socks from Ella Rae yarn.

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

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

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

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

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

We’re Here!

We’re Here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Busy Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Work Basket

My Work Basket

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

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

TeamKorea – Canadian National Dragon Boat Races

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

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

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

Pelicans at Last Mountain Lake Wildlife Refuge.

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

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

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

Monthly (?) Update

Monthly (?) Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great day everyone!

Spring has Sprung

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Warming Up!

It’s Warming Up!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baby it’s cold outside!

Baby it’s cold outside!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries for Valentine’s Day. Yum!
Moving back upstairs!

Moving back upstairs!

The new finish is on our Red Oak floors!  Painting is almost finished.  Progress is slow, but we finally moved our possessions back into the house from storage today.  We are also moving from the basement to upstairs again.  Unfortunately the movers took off for lunch before moving the old dresser upstairs to the second floor, and didn’t come back afterwards!  Not sure how we’re going to get it upstairs.  Hubby was determined to be sleeping in our own bed tonight and dragged up the mattress toppers, pillows and bedding.  I helped, but truthfully, I’m not much help.  I just don’t have the energy and stamina to be moving furniture, etc. these days.  But I have been hauling up clothes and toiletries from the basement, and helping Hubby put the bed back together again.

I have all my sewing, rug hooking, knitting, spinning, stitching, quilting, and scrapbooking items on the main floor.  My winter goal is to sort through it and our artwork.  We have way too much artwork for a smaller house.  We both have some we’ve grown out of, or that have done their time, and it’s time to pass them onto someone else.  Hubby and I have decided it is another winter of decluttering.  Time to pull out the whiteboard and create a plan again!

In knitting, I finished the Fundy National Park Fleece Artist yarn projects.  I made a hat, a neck warmer, and fingerless mitts.  It’s the third time I’ve knit the neck warmer and fingerless mitts pattern.  I think I’m ready to go onto a different pattern for the neck warmer.  I have a few free patterns from Ravelry.com that I am auditioning.  One is the Sugar Plum Cowl by Leah Michelle Designs. Another is Asbraga cowl by Modish Knits.  The third is the Growing Leaves Cowl by Meghan Macko.   I won’t be knitting fingerless mitts from this last yarn – Fleece Artist’s Greenwich Dunes National Park yarn.  Instead I will do a nice hat and cowl.  If there’s any leftover yarn, as I’m sure there will be, I’ll knit another hat.

Thanks for reading!  Have a great weekend everyone!

Prepping for Knitting

Prepping for Knitting

Hi everyone!  I’ve been busy winding skeins of yarn into balls.  This is Fleece Artist’s Canada’s 150th Birthday National Parks yarn in DK weight.  Great for hats, neck warmers, and fingerless mitts.  I plan to make more hats from Anne Budd’s book “The Handy Book of Knitting Patterns” and the DROPS neck warmer and wrist warmers pattern on Ravelry.  We have a nice little setup in the basement now.  I was able to clamp the ball winder to the table we moved down here.  I don’t own a swift.  Instead I used the back of a chair.  Worked well.  Next up is to find the right sized needles and cast on!

This is a bit more challenging than usual.  We have no sofa down here.  Instead we have three lawn chairs with cushions on them for a bit of padding.  My knitting is in bags underneath the lawn chairs.  I’m going to have to sort through the various bags to see where I managed to put my knit needles.  I don’t think they made it back to their proper place after the last project.

Meanwhile…painters are busy painting the upstairs or second floor of the house.  Hopefully they’ll be done soon and onto the main floor.  I think it’s going to be a tight schedule to finish before the floor refinishers come later this month!  Must check in with the floor refinishers soon.

As for my health, recent tests show I am improving.  However I’ve been told I’m on this medication for the rest of my life.  Sigh.  What a pain.  Still, it’s better than the alternative!!!

Take care everyone, wherever you are.  Talk at you later.  Have a great week!

Hi All – Update

Hi All – Update

Still packing, packing, packing.  Moved most of the stuff downstairs that we need for the month.  Still have to get a small table, 4 chairs, a small cupboard, and the dresser downstairs.  Might not happen tonight.  We’ll see.  I’m waiting for Hubby to finish his packing.  Right now he’s having a well deserved rest.

I haven’t done any handwork this week, but I am thinking about it!  I have some yarn I want to wind into balls for knitting.

One of the things Hubby and I realized today is that, at 170 moving boxes packed, we are too heavy and still have too much stuff for a 2 bedroom apartment!  We talked about some of the changes we’d have to make.  Things such as culling artwork and books further, making tough decisions on hobbies, and getting rid of DVDs and using Netflix instead. Hubby commented it would be a major lifestyle change, and I agree.  But it is one that is long overdue.

Hope everyone had a great Labour Day weekend, and has a great week!

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!

Motoring On

Motoring On

Hi everyone!  I’m back from our little trip.  The trip was a great time to engage other artists about their work.  I was able to attend the Okotoks, Alberta spinning drop in and take my knitting.  It was interesting talking to the ladies and I was able to wind my next ball of yarn there.

I was also able to visit a fantastic fibre artist – Deb Loosely – while in the area, and had a tour of her huge studio!  Deb quilts, spins, knits, and weaves.  Oh, and she sews as well.  Found a wonderful costume book on her bookshelves that I haven’t seen in years!

By the time we made our way to Edmonton, I was in need of another fibre fix.  I met up with an excellent intuitive painter.  She is just on the cusp of deciding whether to go professional or not.  I encouraged it as her work is very good.  When she is ready, and gives the go ahead, I will post some more about her and her work here.

While away I took some time to knit.  I finished the neck warmer to go with the hat I knit.  Next up are the wrist warmers.  They are knit from Fleece Artist’s Canada’s 150th National Parks yarn, in the Sable Island, NS colourway.  The pattern is a free one from DROPS.  I found it through Ravelry.

I’ve also been spinning a bit.  A friend had some very fine stranded yarn given to her.  It’s actually six fine strands laying together to form one strand.  However, because it’s not plied it will probably split easily when knit.  So I plied one ball and we processed it.  It’s hanging to dry.  Once it’s dry I’ll wind it into a ball and we’ll pass it off to our expert knitters to compare with the original yarn, to see which is easier to knit.  If they like the plied ball better, I’ll ply the rest of them. There are a lot of balls.

In-between all that Hubby and I have been packing stuff, selling stuff, and designating stuff for charity.  It’s a time consuming process. But we are managing to whittle things down slowly. We want to be done the process by the end of the month, when the painters come to move most of our stuff into storage before painting the interior of the house.

 

Weekly Review – Just Traveling On

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

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

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

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

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

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂

Friday Finale – Weekly Review…

Friday Finale – Weekly Review…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easter Week Post

Easter Week Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easter Menus…company arrives before noon Saturday…

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

 

Weekly Review…a little late

Weekly Review…a little late

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

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

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

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

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

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