A different sort of Happy Mail . . . and what’s been up with me (sort of) ;-)

IMG_4995[1]There will be more about this quite soon! Nope, I haven’t opened it yet, either . . .


We’ve had a lot of this again over the past few days . . . yesterday down to near -28C with the wind and today it was about -24C (with wind); it sure felt colder than that today, though. I was out today doing a library run (no coffee, though; I’ve decided to tighten my budget a bit and put the savings into my Sealed Pot (if you are interested, see my page with a link to the challenge) and then straight to the grocery store to stock up a bit. I must be feeling the cold a bit; I was easily tempted to buy green split peas and my favourite rice (Lundberg’s Brown Basmati) as well as a fairly large bag of navy beans. The split peas and rice will become a hearty and warming dish of Risi-e-Bisi, which I first learned to make from the original Laurel’s Kitchen; still one of my favourite vegetarian cookbooks. Our whole family loved this one. The link takes you to a recipe for it that is online; it seems to be the one I’ve used for years. My Laurel’s Kitchen is here somewhere, but I don’t have time to search for it tonight. This dish, by the way, is just as good served cold, especially with soy or tamari sauce. Yum!


I was not on the computer much today or yesterday and no, I did not do much of my longer than arm’s length list . . . I had fun, though! My crafty friend picked me up in the morning yesterday. We hit the grocery store for a couple of things for my Mum and also ingredients for supper at their place. Then a trip to the Re-Use-It Centre. I know, I know . . . I do have a few crafty items here and there . . . πŸ˜‰Β  but how could I resist? I don’t have photos of my finds for you just now (I’m on a sort of mission); maybe in a couple of days. I found a not-special dictionary that I won’t mind cutting up so I can use the words on my Day Cards that I’m so sadly behind on. I revere books, if you hadn’t guessed by now, and I don’t write in them or cut them up . . . but this one is fairly new, so I think I can do it. πŸ˜‰Β  I found other things there, too. But I was quite restrained (I thought) and did not go down any of the main aisles; a quick jaunt to the back where I found five pieces of cut cedar ready to paint; another detour into the books and ornaments (where I found two TWO!! glass chimneys for kerosene lamps – I like to have extras on hand; sometimes they get broken). A very fast scan through the fabrics, too, while my friend not only found things for her, but also two bags of stuffing for me. She also found a huge amount of basket making supplies, which I heroically refrained from drooling upon . . . my Mum and I both make baskets. But fair is fair . . .Β  I forgot to mention that I dropped off two bags of books before I went in, so I came out with three bags, leaving me having gained only one bag. I love creative math, don’t you too? This was followed by a trip to the Handy Bakery, a sweet little Portuguese bakery with special coffees and tables to sit and visit at. We didn’t, though. I bought some dessert for our supper and a couple of pieces of fresh pizza for my lunch, also a loaf of bread and some more desserts from the day-old section. More Yum!!Β  πŸ˜‰ Then it was home to my crafty friends’ place. The photo above is the path from their back alley to the patio and the back door. Nice heaps of white stuff, eh?

Inside, I found she had been very busy since I last saw her:

IMG_4975[1]Β Β IMG_4977[1]

I hope you can see the details of this table top: my friend painstakingly glued dozens of old keys in place, then poured several coats of rosin over the surface. It’s just lovely!

Β IMG_4979[1]Β  IMG_4981[1] IMG_4982[1]

Above are pictures of Jenny. Do you remember the pictures I shared of Jed, last autumn, I think? If not, no worries; I’ve included more photos of him below. Jenny is handmade down to her sweet little Mary Jane shoes and her hat with a couple of wild autumn weeds in the band. There are several Jennys and each is unique in expression and some of the detailing. Below is one of the Jeds:

IMG_4988[1]Β  IMG_4984[1]

Aren’t those ears darling? And the freckles . . .

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My friend made Jed’s boots, too, including putting in the grommets for the laces.

Here’s a picture of one of the happy couples:

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The Gentleman Bunny is a work in progress. My friend was making the sage green velveteen vest while we visited. I’ll share more photos of him once he is complete.

IMG_4990[1] IMG_4993[1]

I love his big feet (they remind me of Hobbit feet) and, of course, his gorgeous ears . . .

While my friend stitched and I continued stitching along the front steek of my barn cardi, we watched three movies: the original ‘Heidi’, a life-long favourite, partly for the story and partly for the incredible log hut the Grandfather lives in, high on a Swiss mountainside.

This was followed by ‘Night of the Grizzly’, I think it was, a sort of western from ’66. then came ‘Severed’ . . . about which I won’t say much. Suffice to say it has loggers, hippie protesters and zombies . . .Β  πŸ˜‰

That’s all for now, folks . . . I have to open that box tomorrow quick smart and get going on the mystery project. Wish me luck, won’t you? If all goes well, there should be pictures and an explanation in a couple of days or so. I will leave you with two more photos: the first is a detail of a fern on our sliding glass doors to the balcony. The fern is courtesy of Jack Frost, whose work is amazing in its artistry and detail.



This last photo is the walk at the front of my crafty friends’ house. Pretty, I think.

Have a great weekend, my friends and stay warm or cool as needed.Β  πŸ˜‰


20 thoughts on “A different sort of Happy Mail . . . and what’s been up with me (sort of) ;-)

  1. Your friend is so talented! I absolutely love crafting and my favorite place to shop is a second-hand shop in town. By the way – split pea soup is also one of my favorites! Looks like you’ve been having a good time in spite of this Polar Vortex, Linne. ❀

    • She certainly is, Stacy! Oh, I love second-hand shops, too. And when I first moved to Victoria for uni, there was an area with lots of old-fashioned buildings that housed real ‘junk shops’. Now those are gone, and instead of junk shops anywhere, there are vintage and antique shops. I used to love digging around in a mish-mash of unrelated stuff and finding a treasure. If only I’d had the budget to acquire more of them . . . It was so much fun, anyway.

      When we were young, Mum would buy a real ham, the sort that is the whole upper leg of the pig, not those pressed wee things you get now. And properly smoked, too. We would have it sliced for supper with raisin sauce, sliced on sandwiches for school, sliced and fried with eggs and/or pancakes for Sunday breakfast; then came a hash or two. When it was down to the bone, she would boil that up with a bay leaf or two, some carrots, onions and celery, then in would go the split peas. It was wonderful for supper on a cold winter night, along with slices of home-made bread (all we had in those days, lucky us) or maybe buns. But it was even better the next day . . . My Dad used to ask Mum why she didn’t make her soups and stews the day before . . . πŸ˜‰

      Yes, I’ve sort of adapted to the PV (where did that term come from? I never heard of it ’til this winter . . .) Not going out helps a lot, of course. πŸ™‚

      • Oh – I have happy memories of a ham bone in split pea soup, too.

        Would you believe that schools were canceled today in our neck of the woods? ICE – in Louisiana! ❀

      • By the second day, mine had solidified. I like heating it a bit, then eating it with butter, salt and pepper. It’s all gone now. ;-(

        I’ve been following international weather on the news. It’s been so challenging everywhere. My last winter in Victoria (BC), we had over three feet of snow over Christmas Day night. The city was shut down for three days, with only emergency vehicles allowed on the roads. It was quiet and beautiful, but hard on some people. Fresh food vanished from the stores and on the fourth day, when the first bakery trucks delivered, there were almost riots as people grabbed bread off the trucks in the parking lots. Three days to get to near-riot stage! I was shocked; my friend and I had a full pantry and could have lasted a month or more. Sure made me think . . .

        In some ways, ice is worse, as people WILL drive, even with poor tires and no skills. I’m glad you are staying cosy at home. Evdn with lots of experience, the risks from other drivers isn’t worth it. I hope your pantry is full, too.

  2. No snowman? πŸ˜‰ Can’t wait to see what you are ruminating about ma’am. I have no doubt it will be interesting to say the least :). Sounds like you had a lovely day with your friends and those toys are wonderful aren’t they πŸ™‚ It also sounds like you are full of purpose and are following a wonderful path at the moment. Kudos! πŸ™‚

    • Nope, no snowmen, at least not constructed by moi . . . I did post today, but you shall have to wait a while yet . . . I hope it is interesting; it may be a complete bust. Then I will have to devise a secondary project so as not to have everything go to waste. It was a lovely day, indeed. I didn’t see much of Mr. Crafty; he came home from a long day at work, had supper with us and visited a while, then was off to bed early. But Mrs. Crafty and I had loads of fun. I always seem to get more done over there. Well, not so much during ‘Heidi’, which I love and actually watched. The western was less diverting and then came ‘Severed’ and I did plenty πŸ˜‰ I can figure out what gory things are transpiring just from the soundtrack; I don’t need to see them (besides, images stay with me longest and those aren’t ones I want to have trawling through my head).

      Yes, her dolls are amazing. She’s done all sorts, including Victorian lady dolls with crocheted clothing, hats, etc.

      I do feel full of purpose, thank you, but as usual have let a certain degree of anxiety hobble me a bit. But I’m pushing on . . . in a snail-like fashion. πŸ˜‰

    • See my reply to Wendy . . . πŸ˜‰ I love the waiting, maybe more than the opening . . .
      Thanks for the kind words and I’m sending lots of hugs to you, too. ~ L

  3. I do not understand how you can have a box of happy mail and it is unopened ….. that is impossible!!

    Nor can I conceive of those temperatures – we grizzle here if it goes to minus 3C for a couple of hours overnight and that is considered a pretty severe frost! I don’t believe I would ever go out in it – unless it was in a horse drawn sleigh with bells ……..Your crafty friend is incredibly clever too – The world seems to be full of so many clever people ……. you’d think we would hear a little more about them!

    The tantalising and teasing that is going on with your mystery project is exhausting me – please get on and reveal before I expire from anticipation!


    • See my reply to Wendy, Pauline . . . πŸ˜‰
      When I lived on the coast (Vancouver Island, actually), our winters were much like yours. The first years I was in Victoria we often had roses blooming over Christmas. Every 15 years or so we’d get a huge dump of snow, but if snow lasted even a couple of weeks, we thought it a long time. Many Christmases were ‘green’.

      Funny you should mention the sleigh and bells; my Aunty and Mum tell about their Dad putting the sleigh bells on the horses’ harness in winter. And when I was at my crafty friends’ the other day, watching ‘Heidi’, I loved seeing the sleighs rushing about, all through the town, all with bells on the harness. I think my Mum’s love of bells (she has a nice collection from handbells from schools to sleighbells and jingle bells) probably dates from those rides home from school or over to see their grandparents.

      She is very clever; you wouldn’t believe all the things she does. She gathered round rocks about ten inches or so in diameter and glued them to the foundation of their little house, then pointed between them all. It looks so much nicer than the plain concrete. She can lay tile better than anyone I know (except my Dad). Lots more, too. I think it’s one great thing about the ‘net and the Virtual Villages that form . . . through them we are introduced to people we would never meet otherwise and to their friends. My friends aren’t at all into the ‘net; don’t even have a computer. But now you know a bit about them, anyway. And we know a bit about your family and Narf’s, Rabid’s, Wendy’s, Christi’s . . . so many of us now. It’s something I look forward to; reading about each person’s life, thoughts, family . . . such fun!

      Please don’t expire . . . you’ll miss the great reveal . . . which will happen one day and not too long off. I still have to ‘cook’ up the project, dry it, steam it, do a few more things to it, then possibly embellish it . . . we’ll have to see how it comes out. I can’t tell you why; that would give it all away. Can’t have that . . . so, please, savour the anticipation . . . πŸ˜‰ ❀

  4. Your friend has made some lovely things here πŸ™‚

    “Yuk” again at your snow! I guess you people are used to it but I would be one great misery bag if I moved somewhere with snow like that. I have never been skiing or up the mounts here because I simply don’t think that sort of cold is a fun time.

    Linne, I had Laurel’s Kitchen, in fact I think I have a copy here I bought for old times sake…bought it home and put it somewhere?? Honestly that was my bible way back when, my kids were small and times were tough and I found that in a library..took it out every few weeks so I almost owned it for a couple of years πŸ™‚ It was a comforting book and I have bought several copies since then. I got such a warm feeling reading that, a reminder of days long gone. I never tried this recipe though!

    Do you know what’s in that box? As a avid box shaker, paper feeler… I cannot sit and look at a parcel meant for me lol

    • She’s very talented, isn’t she?

      You know, Wendy, it’s not so much the snow as the cold (well, and the ice). If it was a more reasonable -7C or so, I’d enjoy the refreshing tang and want to go out, instead of hoping that if I keep from looking out, it will magically warm up . . . My two oldest brothers had skis when we were small; they let me take turns, too. We’d go out and slide down the road that ran past our house, then down a hill. But I never really learned to ski. I did hope to learn to snowboard, but it’s probably not going to happen now . . . I skated a few times (ice skating, I mean; I’m too scared of falling on concrete to skateboard. I do have a deck, though . . . a story for another time.) πŸ˜‰

      I love that you have copies of Laurel’s Kitchen. I wasn’t sure when I posted that if anyone would know what I was talking about. It’s one of my all-time favourites! and it was my bible then, too, and since, really. That and an old copy of Joy of Cooking . . . You were so smart, borrowing it like that! I remember when I found out that Frances Hodgeson Burnett had written other books besides “The Secret Garden” . . . I found “The Little Princess” in a bookstore and would go in, sit on the floor in a corner (I wasn’t exactly young then, either!) and read a chapter. Eventually, I finished it. The anticipation lent it something special, I thought. If you try the Risi e Bisi, I’d be interested in your thoughts on it. I posted a bit about mine today, but forgot to mention that I’d intended to add the frozen peas, but got distracted first . . . it was all gone by the time I remembered. They do add something to it, but it’s good either way.

      My boys would have fun with you, if you love to shake packages . . . one year my eldest, then about nine years, bought me one of those notice boards that stick to the fridge with magnets and have a marker attached by a piece of string. It was a Christmas gift and about the size of a piece of notebook paper. He fastened string to two of the corners, then fastened them to opposite corners of a very large box, wrapping it as usual. He thought it so funny that I couldn’t guess, even generally, what was inside . . . We had a lot of fun with Christmas gifts; it made up for not having a huge budget.

      I don’t mind shaking, feeling, whatever . . . but I truly love the anticipation, the savouring of possible delights . . . I can leave gifts unopened for days . . . so we’re not identical twins, then . . .

      • Oh, Secret Garden was my absolute favourite (as a kid πŸ™‚ and I also loved Water Babies when younger….gosh that bought back some memories! I used to read Laurel’s Kitchen when I was just a young solo mum and wish I had friends that would come for coffee and cook πŸ™‚ I feasted on that as much as anything.

        Geeez, no, not twins Linne, no way could I it and look at a parcel…too nosy πŸ™‚

        I have never gone skiing and not ice skating either, but was a keen skater as a kid. I hate the thought of falling off anything or over anything, all my bad dreams are of falling. Maybe it’s because I fell off a table as a baby….who knows!?

        My son’s don’t tease me about parcels, just used to me I guess – yours would drive me nuts lol

      • I love the Secret Garden version where everything is black and white outside the garden and full colour inside . . . I love the Water Babies, too; I have a copy (in storage, I’m sure). I found a paperback copy of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm at the Re-Use-It Centre last time and it’s now very much loved here. I love Pollyanna, too (although it was used as a derogatory adjective for me often when I was young; not my family, but at school. And The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew . . . I still love Phronsie! Oh, there are so many childhood books I still love to re-read (although most are not in the library anymore). The Little Women books and Anne of Green Gables . . . she was like me in so many ways, but far more spirited. I should have inherited my Mum’s lovely Irish Setter red hair . . . thick, it was, too. πŸ™‚

        How nice that you used Laurel’s Kitchen, too. I shared that same dream. Too bad all of us were living so far apart back then. Well, we still do, but at least we know each other now. I would still love to have a friend who came over for coffee and shared cooking. Some of the young people, including my sons’ half-sister, have formed community kitchens; the young mums get together once a month, cook huge batches of things like chili, soups, tomato sauce, etc., share it all out and take it home. One or two of the mums will generally entertain the kidlets. A great idea that I would have loved back then. Well, even now, to be honest. It’s just that food storage here is a problem.

        I’m glad I’m twins with so many of you in other ways. We don’t need to be identical, do we? The adjective is likely ‘sororal’, but that sounds weird. I think it’s time to enrol you and Pauline (and maybe a few others) in Anticipation 101 . . .

        So when you say you were a keen skater as a kid, do you mean skateboarding? If so, my hat’s off to you! I have a deck, but no trucks (wheels, in case the terminology is different over there). I bought it because it was one of a half-dozen that promoted my younger son when he was a pro skater. They were all take-offs on famous movies and I wish I had bought one of each. So far as I know, mine is the only survivor . . . he skated all his to pieces or gave them away. I have stood and balanced on a skateboard, but not really ridden one; too scared of my tailbone making close acquaintance with the concrete. That’s why I’d like to snowboard . . .

        I think it’s entirely possible that your dreams of falling come from an incident when you were a baby. Or maybe a past life event. Who knows? They can be very ‘real’ and scary, can’t they?

        My older son is as much a tease as I am. I get it from growing up in a large family. Teasing is a sort of lubricant that keeps people from killing each other while they air their differences or grievances in many cases. I’m sure my kids would drive you nuts; they drive me nuts sometimes, too. They are so different from me . . . I really related to Lois’ post oh her interview with her son on Living Simply Free.

        If I lived near you, I’d have to hide my parcels while I enjoyed the anticipation . . . so as not to drive you nuts . . . πŸ™‚

      • πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ I have never heard of Phronsie or The Five Little Peppers. When I was around 12 there was an old house pulled down across the road from our railway station. I had loved looking at that old house and one day while waiting for a train I noticed the wreckers were gone, no one there..so I wondered over. I walked over the demolished area, through bits of timber and came across an old cupboard. I opened it and here was a beautiful old book with an inscription inside, it was Little Woman. Oh, my gosh, how I feasted on and treasured that book. I must’ve read it so many times! when I got to the end I would start again. Years later I gave it to my step daughter along with a few others I had collected, but really wish that I hadn’t done that.

        A community kitchen sounds such a lovely idea πŸ™‚ I used to belong to a co-op (way back when!) who did something similar but my shyness then prevented me from participating in much of it, I always really wanted to but couldn’t.

        Anticipation 101…..??

        No, no. I roller skated alot as a kid, way too old for skateboards but my youngest son was a great skateboarder – cap on backwards, spray painted skateboard lol.

        Roger and I both came from large families and both good teasers. Roger does so differently, where I always tease with a smile or laugh he does so with a straight face and all seriousness and catches me out every time! Makes me feel so silly sometimes πŸ™‚

        I very much enjoyed Lois’s interview with her son. I am really fortunate that my kids are very much like their Mum, I haven’t had to go through the more trying times with them, that would be very painful. My stepkids on the other hand….mmmm!!

        Yes, you would have to hide them….I have been known to sit there staring and other people’s gifts saying “Are you going to open it?” and then feel all panicky because it just sits there till I almost yell “Open the b…… thing will ya, you’re driving me crazy!!” Lol.

    • I’d love to send you snow; it would melt on the way and you could have much-needed rain . . . I’m not sending any to England, though . . .
      Aren’t her dolls and bunny darling? I’m going to see if I can sell some for her on Etsy. Soon, I hope.

    • Yes, that table, too! She made a similar table a couple of years ago; her crafty husband sliced pine cones, she glued them on a table she’d rescued from somewhere, then did the rosin-pouring. It was an amazingly lovely accent piece when she was done with it. I admire her very much; she’s one of the best at laying tile that I’ve met and can do so many things. I’m in awe when I visit and she shows me whatever she’s working on.

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I look forward to reading your comments. ~ Linne

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