The Last Two Weeks (but who’s counting?)

That’s right, my friends; last week was pretty busy, so I scrapped the post I’d begun. And now in less than a week I shall be in the air. The changing time zones have me a bit confused at times (pun intended). I do know that when I land in Glasgow sometime close to 9 am on Monday the 14th of May, it will be close to 1 am here in BC.

I’m going to keep this short; I just want to touch base for a few minutes. There may not be any photos; for one thing, I left the battery charger for the camera I’m borrowing) at home, so it was out of energy before we arrived in Princeton and those photos are all of the landscapes on the way down. For another, the cell phone camera was also worn out. I charged it up, then left it in my sister’s car . . .

Catching up: I’ve begun packing up things that will go into my storage unit for six months, in between the various creative activities. Nearly two weeks ago, Cousin S and I went to Vernon and spent close to three hours shifting boxes and bits of furniture in the medium unit so that I could put most of the items from the small unit into it and free up a bit of money. I do wish I’d been able to do it a year ago, but the fire hazard kept us from wanting to breathe deeply or even be outdoors on the bad days. Still, it’s done now. I was quite pleased not to be sore except for the odd twinge here and there, after a couple of years of a very sedentary life.

The three of us went on Sun, Mon & Tues last week and got the job done; a few things had to come here for storage (lawnmower, garbage can, two large pieces of driftwood . . . all hard to pack in a smallish space). So much relief all around. There isn’t much room left in the medium unit, though, so some boxes may end up staying here. I’d hoped to avoid that.

We were in Princeton, BC, for most of three days for our Auntie’s service. It was good to see family again; some I hadn’t seen for over 50 years and some I had heard so many stories about I feel I know them, but we’d never actually met. I am lucky in that I like my out-laws as much as my in-laws! (and I like my in-laws) Most of us met up at the Brown Bridge Pub on the Friday night. I had a glass of dry white wine in honour of my Auntie and a very good bowl of Pad Thai. My Auntie would have loved that evening; she was so outgoing and family-oriented; I like to think she and maybe her siblings, too, were hovering around us that night.

I stayed with my RN sister in her hotel room, so we sat up until 3.30 the first night catching up and talking about a million subjects. That was great!

There was something else great, too: I finally got to meet one of our second cousins from Norway (that means our parents were cousins; in this case, her Dad and my Mum). We hit it off right away; she is so bubbly and energetic and I am quiet and intense most of the time. If I can get to Norway this summer I will definitely be adding a visit with Tove to my list. Even better, I was telling her about the upcoming Great Adventure and when I mentioned a concert in August, she asked about the band. I was SO surprised (and excited) to learn she knows Runrig and one of her close friends from Germany will be at the same concert! Runrig is huge in Germany and Denmark and their concerts sell out quickly in both countries. Anyway Tove is putting me in touch with her friend and perhaps we will be able to meet up.

The service was held in a very small church and it was nearly full, mostly with family, who came from the coast, from Alberta and Saskatchewan, along with Tove from Norway. A few of Auntie’s friends came, too, including the ladies who ate with her at the assisted living place that was her last home. Lunch was provided by the Church Ladies in the traditional fashion; a great variety of sandwiches followed by a marvellous selection of baked goodies. I do love the old ways!

Later we went up to our cousin L’s place to hang out in the house and backyard and later to enjoy a barbeque. More visiting, of course.

The next morning, we were invited back to cousin L’s place for brunch. There was not only plenty of food left from the barbecue, there was an entire Seven-Layer Salad that had been forgotten in one of the grandson’s travel trailer! I’d forgotten how delicious those are.

We left Princeton and Tove came with us as far as Kelowna, where we found a hotel for her not too far from the airport, as she was flying home Sunday morning. the long ride gave us time for more visiting and sharing of stories. Her grandfather Paul was our grandfather’s brother. He and his family also came to Canada, but stayed only a few years; his wife was very homesick and they went back to Norway.

Crafty activities: I’ve been working on the Clover socks every spare chance I’ve had, mostly in the car en route to Vernon or Salmon Arm for shopping. Pictures coming soon (or after I get to Scotland lol). I’m not a fast knitter and now I’m on the ribbing, so that’s even slower. But I’m pretty pleased with them!

Since arriving home on Saturday I have completed the two ends for my moss green Meg shawl, found a pattern for a rectangular panel, made that and joined the three parts. Today I will work on the border for a bit.

There has been much other craftiness going on here, too, but I’ll leave that for another post.

I was very excited to stop in Armstrong on one of our trips to Vernon and pick up some Great Britain Pounds Sterling; I haven’t even taken time to admire them; just packed them up right away. A first for me . . .

I am nearly finished Jon Sayer‘s Batdig and still enjoying it thoroughly. I’ve rationed myself quite strictly, but do want to finish it before I leave. I really need to know how it all turns out! I’ve enjoyed finding an in-joke or two along the way, but I’m not telling you where; you’ll have to read it for yourself. The second book, Kirkenes Blue, will be waiting for me when I return. A side note: my cousin Tove happened to mention Kirkenes during one of our conversations, so I showed her the books.

Well, the last time I began a post and waited to add photos and music, it ended up retiring to my drafts folder, so I am simply going to publish this as is.

I hope to post again before I leave; if not, I shall have time in the evenings, I expect, once I am in Glasgow. All of you are in my thoughts, whether I post or not.

Edit: I just remembered the music I had planned to share once this Auntie was gone. So here it is, as I remember my own Mum, Dad, Aunties and Uncles: Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin singing (in the film A Prairie Home Companion, which I love) Goodbye to my Mama

Have a wonderful May; for many reasons, it’s always been an inspiring month for me.

Gerard Manley Hopkins was one of my earliest favourite poets and I still have the book of his poetry which I bought while I was at Uni back in the mid-60s; it was the first book of poetry I bought for myself. When I think of May, I think of this poem:

Spring

The Dancing Goes On . . .

You’ll need a large cup of tea or whatever you fancy, and possibly something edible, too. This is rather long, even for me . . . my excuse is that I’m making up for the long gap between posts. But even if I posted regularly, I’m not sure I’d be much better at brevity.

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There was a lovely parcel in the mail for me on the 2nd of March and the photo above shows what was in it (along with a lovely note). Back before Christmas, Ms. Snail of The Snail of Happiness blog had a give-away to celebrate her 1000th post. I was one of the winners and this package contains my prize. And what a prize it is!

Of course, it arrived the day after my eye surgery, so it was a while before I could properly appreciate the contents. But I have had a quick browse through the cookbook “Free Food for Rats” (although I still haven’t found an explanation for the title, which I find both endearing and intriguing) and it is SO my sort of thing. Ms. Snail had no way of knowing that I have a small collection of cookbooks of very eclectic sorts and that this will be very treasured and used for the rest of my days. My cookbooks, of course (and 99.9% of my other books), are still in the storage units and likely to remain there for another year, but I am enjoying browsing through this one and planning future feasts. The author is a friend of the Snails and that adds to its appeal for me.

This is my first cookbook with seven recipes whose names begin with ‘X’; there are many Asian (from China, Malaysia & Indonesia) recipes here. Also some family recipes from Germany; along with recipes from France & Spain, Holland and Wales.

I love the anecdotes that accompany the recipes, sharing where the dish was first eaten, who made it for her, or other details that I yearn for, being a person who loves plenty of ‘background’ to anything and everything.

But when I read the recipe for ‘Kota Bharu Special’ and saw that the ingredients included “a large knob of butter,  2 handfuls of dessicated coconut and 1 handful of caster sugar”, I knew this would become one of my favourite cookbooks. This is cooking as my foremothers knew it, more art and less science lab and all the better for it in my opinion.

The other two books are equally special to me; for one thing, they are Mr. Snail’s first two novels, for another, the covers captivated me even before I opened them. On the back of the first book, “Batdig” (whose meaning and origins I have yet to discover) are these words:

Twelve People
Eleven yellow packages
One destination

AT 9.25, EVERYTHING CHANGES

The first twelve chapters introduce us to twelve characters, and each (I’m assuming, as I’m only up to person 3 so far) is given a mysterious package wrapped in yellow plastic and told to deliver it to a destination near St. Paul’s Cathedral at 9.25 am.  I like the cover design very much, as it resembles the yellow packages and includes silhouettes of the Cathedral.

By the time I’d read the first three pages, I was captivated. I’m not the easiest audience to captivate, either, as I’ve read thousands of books in my life and many of those were mysteries or mystery/thrillers. I wish I could read more quickly, but my near vision is not up to the task and I still haven’t located my glasses (well, to be honest, I haven’t put much time into searching; I’ve been busy with other things, as you will see shortly). I am reading two or three pages most days, though, and I have to say that I love Mr. Snail’s style very much. The characters I’ve met are quite real to me already and I’m very eager to discover what happens to them all once I’ve met the rest of the cast.

The second novel I haven’t begun, as I prefer to read an author’s works in the order they are published, as a rule, anyway. It is titled “Kirkenes Blue” and again I have no idea why (yet!). On the back it says:

In the polar night:
A Librarian afraid of the dark
A Policeman afraid of the light
A Hacker who collects kicksleds

Together, they can destroy the Web

Now I don’t know about you, but for me those are nearly irresistible words. Especially ‘kicksleds’ (I haven’t googled that yet). However I am resisting them until I am finished exploring “Batdig”.  I’ll let you know what I learn (well, some, anyway; I don’t like to spoil a good book for a potential reader) at some time in the future. Stay tuned . . .

i have continued to make progress with the first of the red pair of wool socks; it is now above the ankle and I have suspended work while I decide whether or not to add a design next and, if so, what exactly. I have some ideas, though. I am still not too happy with the shape of the toe, but that’s ok; I’ve only recently begun knitting socks again, after a hiatus of some decades. The other thing I’m not happy about are the stitches at the sides of the heel, where I was to pick up both a wrap and the stitch the wrap encircles at the same time. If you have never knitted socks with this technique, just ignore this paragraph. I’m not competent to explain the procedure adequately. I shall likely shape the second sock in the same way, just to keep them similar, and in any case, my feet will be warm and the offending bits should be safely out of sight in my shoes. 🙂

The shawl I plan to wear to the wedding on 18 May is coming right along and I am more than happy with it. But, as usual for me, I am not following the pattern to the letter. I decided that the shawl, for whatever reason, is a bit shorter than I’d thought it would be. So I have taken the second skein of wool and wound it into a ball and have been busy crocheting a second triangle, which will form the other half of the shawl once they are joined together. This way I can continue to increase until I gauge I have enough left to complete the border and the dangly bits. And I am toying with the idea of ordering a third skein, just in case I decide to make it longer than the yarn allows. I could use the leftover yarn to make a pair of fingerless gloves or a small hat or . . .

Our meals here continue to be simple and yet amazingly delicious. These photos are of the pizza we had for dinner several nights a couple of weeks ago. Cousin M and I helped with the veggie chopping and Cousin S put it all together after she made the crust. She is very precise in her work, as you can tell. And the results are lovely as well as tasty.

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We went to Vernon just over a week ago and I loved the sight of these frozen ‘waterfalls’ along the highway. We went again a few days ago and most of them are melted and gone.

These will likely be the last pictures of huge piles of snow, as temperatures have been above freezing in the daytimes and even here in our narrow valley, or whatever it should be called, it’s beginning to feel as though Spring is really on its way. I love the smell of the damp earth as it’s revealed to us again. And in spite of the amount of snow remaining (and it’s entirely possible we shall have more before it’s gone forever), I found myself itching to get out and plant things . . .

The willows are beginning to colour up and we have spotted pussywillows and catkins here and there, too. Spring, indeed! But not yet . . . You can see the puddles in the road just south of our place, and that’s not entirely a good sign. We had minimal flooding here last year, but the year before the car had to be parked out on the road and Cousin S couldn’t get to it for work until she had a new pair of wellies brought to her. a few days later, the water was so deep it was higher than the boots. The water came up to the top of the bottom step of the porch that year, partly thanks to a neighbour a few houses away. A renter, he had filled in the ditch outside his place a year or so earlier (flooding doesn’t happen every year and it never occurred to him that it might happen one day).

All the other residents along this part of the road put in larger culverts under their driveways, but this one owner refused, so when there is a lot of snow, the water backs up and floods properties ‘upstream’ from there. When it floods the road, the highway maintenance people come out and deal with it, but otherwise, it’s every person for themselves, apparently. We are hoping for a gradual melt this year, but are prepared to face whatever comes.

The bottom photo is of Mount Ida, taken on a sunny day from outside our grocery store at the Uptown location.

Cousin M got up on the roof and pushed most of the snow off. When I looked out mu window later, I thought the lumps resembled giant sugarcubes and took these photos to remind me later. They are about a foot and a half on each side.

Baked potato, salad and steak cubes one night, Quinoa, salad and the rest of the steak another night. I’m the only one who eats quinoa here, but I’m using up my supplies of ‘odd foods’ before I go away. Quinoa, brown basmati rice, oat flour (although I use that in my scones now and they are quite delicious, if I do say so myself). I think there is still soem buckwheat and the like to use up, too.

As I was wiping my runners off one day I noticed these lovely astilbe plants in the snow right beside the front porch and took a couple of photos. The silhouettes are so delicate against the snow, aren’t they?

On the second trip to Vernon the cousins were going to shop for a new computer and dropped me off at Fabricland to browse for a bit. I hadn’t been aware there was a rack of remnants quite near to the door, but this time it caught my eye. The pictures at the bottom right are of the first fabric that caught my eye; then I chose several others that co-ordinate quite nicely. And then I saw the black strip with the floral design . . . I have been thinking of what to do with it. I’m reluctant to cut it up and I’m thinking it may make an interesting scarf. I tied it around my neck to see if that might work. Of course, it wouldn’t be worn over the red and black lumberjack shirt . . . 🙂  Serger thread was on sale, so I purchased four spools of that, too. And then I spotted the knitting needles. Double-pointed sock needles in sets of five, my preference. And for only $4.00 CAD with 40% off at the till because I have a membership. Very nice and most irresistible . . . They are already in sue, too, as you will see shortly.

The larger picture above is of an old farmhouse that I love looking at when we go by. Just what I’d love to have (well, one of the types I’d love to have; I have rather eclectic tastes in houses, too). The smaller pictures are of the barn and the farmhouse that are now owned and lived in (the house, not the barn lol) by another cousin, the daughter of my Dad’s oldest brother. We lived across the road in a motel when I was seven and we had just moved up here from the coast. It belonged to another family then. Later, my uncle and aunt bought it and raised their daughter there. I worked for them one summer picking strawberries in the front field. The house has had a couple of rooms and a large porch added across the front, so it took me a while to recognize it when I first returned here. It just didn’t match my memories. In those days it was simple brown shingles outside, similar to the house in the larger picture.

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I have been doing a bunch of small tasks as I prepare for my trip; here you can see the rosemary and lavender that I grew in a large planter last summer. I had sage, too, but we needed sage for the Christmas turkey stuffing, so I offered it up . . . most years Cousin M simply digs some out from under the snow, but this year we’ve had more than usual of the white stuff. Back in late summer, I chopped a good handful of these three and infused them in a mixture of oils to create my own hair oil. I’ve used it on my hair a few times and am more than pleased with the results.

I apply a few teaspoons of the oil to my hair, then sit in a very hot tub for about an hour, after which I wash the oil out using the “No ‘Poo” method, which involves washing the hair with warm water and some baking soda, then rinsing with warm water and a bit of vinegar. This gives hair a lovely soft finish and a bit of shine, too. The oil is meant to give a bit of natural colour, but I haven’t used it enough to say if that works or not. I’m considering making a hair rinse with vinegar and water and some of the above herbs chopped finely into it. If I do, I’ll let you know how it works.

Progress on plans for the trip has been quite satisfying, too. I have now booked two nights in the Tartan Lodge Hostel in Glasgow for my first two nights in Scotland. This will give me a day in between to walk about and see the sights. One thing I really want to see, whether I can see inside it or not, is the Barrowland Ballroom. Some memorable concerts have taken place there, including a few with Runrig, and it’s possible that Cousin M’s Dad might have gone there while he was stationed in Scotland during the war. For the first part of his service he was in a forestry outfit and stationed on a great estate. I don’t remember the name just now, but will find out before I leave.

GLA Tartan Lodge Hostel 01

http://www.tartanlodge.co.uk/pictures.html

That’s the Tartan Lodge Hostel above and the Barrowland Ballroom below.

GLA Barrowland Ballroom 01

I’m including a video from December, 1989, when Runrig played here. At about 2 minutes in, you can see some historic footage of the original Barrowland Ballroom, full of people dancing. (there are some nice shots of the MacDonald brothers, too, runnning in one segment and further on working on a sheep farm along with a lovely Border Collie). There are some interviews with fans, too, including one girl from Germany who says she saw them 27 times, in four countries, that year.

I shall check out early on the 16th of May and catch a train to Edinburgh, about an hour and a half away. If the trains have been held up due to rain, which apparently happens at times, I will have to take a bus. The train would be more comfortable, I think, especially since I will have both a large suitcase and a backpack.

There is a lunch planned for the 16th for all the wedding guests who are coming from overseas and I’m looking forward to that, too. I know the bride’s parents and sister, as well as some of her friends, from when she and I worked together at Lewiscraft in Edmonton.

I shall be staying at the High Street Hostel in Edinburgh for six nights in all, so I shall have time to see a few sights. Apparently the hostel is walking distance from Edinburgh Castle, with Arthur’s Seat next to it, and a few other places of interest, including the statue of Greyfriars Bobby; I read about this faithful dog as a child and since, too, and it will be thrilling to see the statue for myself.

EDI High Street Hostel 01

http://www.highstreethostel.com/

The Royal wedding is on the day after my friends’ wedding, so I will not be in London for that, unfortunately. Still, I have been told that many of the pubs will show it on their tv sets and that there are likely to be street parties that evening. I shall see how rowdy it is, but I may venture out for a bit just to be part of the fun.

Remember I said I’d bought two more sets of sock needles? In size ‘0’, by the way, which is 2mm in size. I read in a post by Ms. Snail that if socks are knitted on smaller needles and also more tightly, they wear better and so won’t need darning as quickly. So here is what those two sets are doing now:

This is the latest in my sock creations and so far the ones I am happiest with. The yarn is Kroy sock yarn, so washable, and the colour is a variegate called “Clover Colours”. I fell in love with the colours back when I ordered the moss green wool for the shawl for the wedding.

The balls are very dis-similar in colour (as you may be able to see from the first photo), so it’s not possible to make a pair of matched socks, well, not exactly, anyway.  I found a way around that, though. What I have done is to pull the yarn from inside to begin one sock and use the yarn from the outside for the second. It’s working out even better than I’d hoped. I found a different pattern to work from, too, so I’m more pleased with the toes. In future, I shall begin with more stitches so as to have a more usual rounded toe instead of the point. I’d forgotten how addictive sock knitting can be; now I see that one day not far off I shall have my own ‘sock drawer’, full of handmade knitted socks.

I’ve saved the best news for last: I now have a ‘home base’ from which to make as many smaller journeys as I can manage. I will be staying with a friend of my friends in Tacoma. He owns property in Surrey, south of London. So I shall likely see more of the ‘Big Smoke’ than I expected, an added bonus.

I will be returning to Canada in late October or early November, not staying for a year or more as I had hoped. One of my incomes would be stopped if I were away over six months and I can’t manage at present without it, so I shall simply have to pack everything in that I possibly can before I have to come back. I find it rather ironic that I must live here even when there is currently a near-zero vacancy rate and what little is offered to rent now has sky-high prices. But that’s how it is, for now. So the long-term plans continue to morph and that’s fine with me.

There is more news about one planned trip, but I shall save that for another post. It’s getting late here and I have to be up early, as I’m having my right eye measured in the morning in preparation for the second surgery. I’m feeling quite positive about this one, as the one week exam showed that I have regained 90% of my sight in the left eye and in early May I shall have laser treatment to remove the remaining cloudiness. So in the end, I shall probably have sight better than I’ve had most of my life.

Now, let’s have a little music, shall we?

Faileas Air An Airigh sung by Rory MacDonald (and the rest of Runrig) with the Glasgow Islay Gaelic Choir. The title translates as “Shadow on the Sheiling”. A Sheiling is a rough hut or shelter used by those herding cattle or sheep in more remote pastures.
The lyrics translated into English:

There’s a shadow on the sheiling
A shadow on the sheiling
The ship is waiting at the head of the bay
Early on a May morning

The sun of our memory is rising
The sun of our memory is rising
Walking the streets of foreign countries
And the cities of another era

The evening is calm and the skies are warm
The sun is in the west, a great ball of gold
The ocean is like a mirror, blue without blemish
And great is my desire to be in Uist with you

We will lift up our voices
We will lift up our voices
Although I am now so far from you
We will never sever

And here are Runrig singing An Ubhal As Airde with the Bethany Choir in Harlem, NY, USA. The title means “The Highest Apple”. Runrig were in New York as part of a charitable concert after 9/11.

The Highest Apple
The garden is well stocked
With mighty trees
With fruit growing for the whole world
Ripe, sweet
And bitter apples
And the one apple
That is beyond reach

The winds will blow
And the sun will shine
From generation to generation
Through the trees of the garden
But the day and the hour
Will surely come
To take the highest apple
From the knowledge tree

Who amongst us
Can exist a single day
Beyond our own time and our own limits
Countless and futile
Are times I’ve climbed
To reach and taste
The forbidden fruit

The winds will blow
And the sun will shine
From generation to generation
Through the trees of the garden
But the day and the hour
Will surely come
To take the highest apple
From the knowledge tree

Last, something different.
One of my favourite violin pieces is this: Bach’s Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins
featuring Pinchas Zuckerman and Itzach Perlman, conducted by Daniel Barenboim
My youngest son played this with his closest friend and it brought tears to the eyes of many in the audience.

Have a wonderful week, everyone! Enjoy the good in the world and know that the rest will pass . . . I think of you all as I knit and first thing in the morning most days, too.

Thinking about Christmas . . .

Christmas wish 02I am posting this a bit early so I can catch those of you who live west of the Date Line and are already in the midst of Christmas Day. I wish you all Joy, Peace, Love and Contentment this Christmas and more of the same in the year to come. May you have music, books and time to create whatever makes your heart sing.

Christmas Norway late 1800s 01

Norwegian Christmas card from the late 1800s; with Nisse!

It’s a mixed bag, Christmas, isn’t it? The ghosts of Christmases Past are more noticeable today, for one thing. I was, like many of you, I expect, remembering some of those days and the people who shared them with me. Family, friends, sometimes acquaintances. And you, here in the Virtual Village, are part of my Christmas now, too. I like that. You come from around the globe, both hemispheres.

 

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Lovely, delicate glass balls like the ones from my childhood

The ghost of Christmas Present is here, too, in the thoughts of all those whose lives have been made more challenging due to political decisions and the like. I’m not in a position to do much where I am, but earlier this year, after the Manchester bombing, I offered to donate a small sum to one of the funds. The person to whom I directed my wish told me there was plenty of help forthcoming and that perhaps I might want to do something more local. I thought that was very good advice and so I have donated twice to local organizations; one that helps our elders and also to the Salvation Army. My parents supported the Sally Ann, so that was partly to honour them.

There is a reason why I only buy Allsorts at Christmas. Well, more than one reason, but the first is that I find them SO tempting. Second, we had these at Christmas when I was young/er. Third, my RN sister J loves them, too, and we have often given or sent them to each other as part of a Christmas gift. I finished off the first bag the other day (it was a rather small bag) and then found these two days ago in a different grocery store. They come from the Netherlands, which is generally a good recommendation. I usually don’t like buying things in bags I can’t see through, but these were the only Allsorts on offer, so oh, well . . . and I am happy to report that these were delicious and just the right chewy-soft texture. You will note that there is more variety in the mix, but still no blue beaded ‘pillows’ It’s not that they taste andy differently, it’s just that I expect them to be there. the plain black sticks are wonderful. I understand that some of you don’t like / eat licorice, so I have eaten your shares already. The rest of you, if you want any, had best get a move on. They are going rather quickly!

I have some good news, too: I finally finished the second tuque (and because ou asked: that’s called various names globally, such as watch cap, beanie, stocking cap and more)

IMG_5901tuque

tyo͞ok/

noun

CANADIAN

 In the picture you can see the tuques with the co-ordinated ends of the pocket scarf, which is still not finished.

I was thinking about the saying “Think Globally, Act Locally” and I think that often I get caught up in the emotional maelstrom that follows large events such as Manchester and I forget how much even a small donation can do at home. My “Act Locally” choices have tended to be rather small, but significant,I think. Re-cycling everything possible; re-using, mending, making do in so many ways. (my bookshelves were a mix of apple boxes stacked on their sides in a chequerboard fashion to allow more room between them, and boards laid across concrete blocks. I gave away the concrete blocks before I moved, but I still have the boards and old wooden locker doors. The apple boxes I haven’t seen for a couple of decades; they are in my storage and likely have dried out a bit and will need some gluing or nailing or both.)

I also ‘save’ things that are being thrown out, if they look at all usable or fixable. It’s not for nothing that I consider the ravens and magpies and their kin to be my close relatives!

Christmas glas baubles 03My parents had a few of these on our trees. They wee so delicate and beautiful! I do love the older ornaments so much. The ones below, too, were lovely.

Christmas glas baubles 01

Well, it’s Christmas Eve here and nothing done yet. So I have a few small things to wrap and a bag from the Cat to the Serfs to put together. Those of you who have cats will surely understand. Spooky rarely makes a sound, but he iwll go to the door to the back room where his food dish is, sit down and look at you. He knows that there is another door he could use that is always open, but no, this is a training session, apparently. And it works . . . he is so cute, still kittenish, but not so much trouble in the making as he was last year.

I’m off to help with supper prep, so once again I wish you all:

christmas wish 03

No time for music linkies now. Next time . . .

Have a wonderful day and I hope your feast is as good as ours.

Love and Light, Hugs and Blessings to you all.  ~ Linne

 

 

Day 20: Æthelflæd . . . was she ready?

Æthelflæd_as_depicted_in_the_cartulary_of_Abingdon_Abbey

Æthrlflæd

 

A thought crossed my mind today, as thoughts do; I was thinking about Christmas and the fact that I am not really ready. The name Æthelred the Unready was the first thought and then I wondered if there was a feminine version of the name, so I looked it up. Ms Google can be an obliging friend at times . . . But I have no idea if Ms Æthelflæd, who succeeded her husband, Æthelred the Unready, was also Unready. Perhaps she was not. She is a very interesting person, though, but I’ll leave it to you to look her up.

I also learned that, in fact, the epithet “Unready” actually meant ‘ill-advised’ and was a pun on his name, which means ‘well-advised’. I knew immediately that you would all be waiting with bated breath to learn these facts, so there they are . . .  Any idea why I am ‘unready’? And no pun intended or existent. Ah, well . . .

So I have spent much of today not preparing for the Day, but rather immersed in one of a series of mysteries, one with  descriptions so realistic that it is often depressing. But I have to know what happened next . . . I used to read non-stop, pretty much; more than a book a day for many years, and over the past months have read hardly anything. Until I discovered e-books, at which I once sneered, as I love the feel of a ‘real’ book in my hands, the older the better; the smell, the look, the touch, it’s all part of reading for me. Sitting hunched over the laptop is not quite the same thing. Still, at least it’s reading. And I have also found out that Amazon has an amazing variety of free e-books for Kindle and an app that lets one read them on a smartphone or PC or laptop. When I found the Amazon books, I spent two days going through the first 400 pages (about a quarter of what’s available in only the section :Classics;) and downloading the books that I’d always meant to read, or re-read in many cases.

an-old-fashioned-girlEverything from ‘Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm’ to Plato.  I  had forgotten what a natural appetite I have for reading and learning. But I haven’t touched any of those except ‘An Old-Fashioned Girl’ by Louisa May Alcott. The rest are waiting until next year. I’ll be sharing my resolutions and plans in a week or two.

In the meantime: I did no baking today, and no preparation of the various cookie doughs that need refrigeration overnight, either. And tomorrow Cousin M and I are going to town to shop. I want to buy some things for their stockings, so will have to give him the slip for a while.

I still have an email to finish composing for my winners (see yesterday’s post) and, of course, music to locate. The music takes me the longest, as I always find myself lured down memory lanes, roads not taken and just plain jaunts cross-country, musically  speaking. A close second to reading, is music . . .

For today, then:

A song that made me intensely homesick for BC all the years I was living in Edmonton: The Hills of Ardmorn by The Corries, whose music I loved long before I came across Runrig. Beautiful voices and harmonies.

kate and anna mcgarrigleCanadians Kate & Anna McGarrigle and friends (Rufus Wainwright – son of Kate -, Emmylou Harris, Mary Black, Karen Matheson, Rod Paterson) perform Stephen Foster’s Hard Times Come Again No More during the Transatlantic Sessions. (If you haven’t heard of the Transatlantic Sessions, do look them up.)

More of my favourite Christmas music: Pete Seeger’s Working Class Christmas Tunes. I like them all, but Ode to Joy on the 5-string banjo, with my favourite lyrics, is wonderful.

Off to write that email now. Much Love and Light to you all. ~ Linne

Book Tag ~ you’re it!

Hi again. (never rains but it pours, right? So here I am again after the long drought of no posts).

I found this wonderful idea here on Marcia Meara’s blog and just couldn’t resist taking part. I love books and reading more than anyone I know and for years read more than a book a day, so this is right down my alley . . . As she suggests, I have copied the questions; the answers are mine.

Do you have a specific place for reading? 

I can read anywhere. For years I carried a bag of handwork and a book or two everywhere I went. I could be found reading in a lineup at the bank, the grocery store, a bus shelter and more. Like Sam in ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ might have said: I can read it in a box, I can read it with a fox, I can read it here or there; I can read it anywhere! You get the idea, I’m sure.

Bookmarks or random pieces of paper? 

Both; Tissues if necessary. Whatever i can lay my hand on in the moment. I love bookmarks, but often they are packed away. I have even bought myself a couple of lovely ones with curved metal bits and danglers of beads, fibre and crystals. Too nice (or, honestly, awkward) to use, although I love the idea of using them and really enjoy looking at them and handling them. I was brought up to know that desecrating books simply was not done, EVER!, and dog-earing the pages definitely came under the heading of desecration.

Can you just stop anywhere or must it be at the end of a chapter? 

IIn theory, anywhere; in practise, sometimes at the end of the chapter. more often, unless fate intervenes, at the end of the book. ONce I’m caught up in the story, I simply HAVE to know what comes next. Even as I dread coming to the end and SO wish to leave something for later or even tomorrow . . .  It isn’t easy being me . . .

Do you eat or drink while reading? 

Yes, sadly, I do, more often than I like to admit. Reaching the end of a meal with little recall as to what, exactly, it was composed of. I think this began once I was living alone and mealtimes were no longer times of conversation and shared communication. I know it’s bad to do this, but I hate sitting at a table alone and looking at my food. Besides, I get more read that way. I do have to say that I’ve learned not to do one thing, though. I used to use finishing a chapter / book as an excuse to eat more, as I could hardly be expected to do anything else while eating, right? But that had consequences I didn’t like much. Now I limit the food intake to meals or tea / coffee and my daily treat and that’s it. I give myself permission to read because I love it so, not just to fill in time while eating. That’s working much better for me. I may need new jeans soon . . . smaller ones 🙂

Music or TV with e reading? 

Yes, most of the time. I grew up in a busy home with eight younger siblings plus assorted friends, and if I hadn’t learned to tune out the excess noise, I’d never have read anything, ever. I can tune out pretty much any distraction, even now. Sometimes music will distract me, but that’s ok. I only play what I love, anyway. Celtic folk and folk-rock, mostly. I can tune out people talking, even when they are talking to me, and have been known to make those acknowledgement noises (mmhmmm, sure, yep, etc.) even while engrossed in a fascinating turn of plot. My family and friends know to be sure they have my full attention and am no longer looking at the book before continuing.

One book at a time or several? 

Several, always. I prefer to keep piles by everyplace I may sit, lie or otherwise pause for a moment or several hours. I never know what I will feel like reading: fiction; non-fiction, various genres of fiction and so on . . . I may be in the mood for something thought-provoking, or a distraction, or a book that is complex and subtle, or not . . . I am currently living with cousins, so do my best to keep the piles in my bedroom, although cousin M is as much of a reader as I am and he would certainly understand. Still, one likes to fit in and not complicate matters too much.

Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?

Both. Everywhere, to be honest. I sleep better if I read first, although if the book is interesting enough, I push on to the end and sleep less . . . You’d think I would have learned by now, but I don’t think that’s likely to happen.

Read out loud or silently? 

i read to my sons nearly every night and often during the day as well. I’m self-conscious about reading to adults, though, so then I sound stilted and awkward, especially when it comes to giving the characters individual voices and expressing moods. For myself, I read silently, as that’s much faster. At my peak I read more than a page a minute, but my eyesight is not what it used to be and now I am much slower. Poetry is a different thing, though. I like to hear the sound of my favourite poems out loud, especially Gerard Manly Hopkins, with his unusual accenting patterns.

 Do you read ahead or skip pages? 

I can’t believe anyone would even ASK that!! NEVER, EVER, do I read ahead! And I would NEVER skip pages either!! The very idea!!! Until recently, I also read anything I started to the (sometimes) bitter end. But now, if it’s too awful, I do put it down without continuing. With a such an extensive feast for the savouring (and with fewer years ahead than behind me, even if I live to 130 haha), I can no longer justify to myself finishing what I’ve begun when it bores me or makes me angry / disgusted.

 Breaking the spine or keeping it like new? 

Another question I find hard to comprehend. Sometimes a spine is so stiff that it breaks on its own, but I would never do it intentionally. When I purchase a book new for myself, I prefer to keep my it as much like new as possible, but most of what I own is older and well-loved and often-read, so not in pristine condition. I admit I rather like the marks left by previous owners; I may never know who they were, but I know there is a story there and I like knowing that. Still, if I were to mark a book, the word ‘desecration’ would once again rear its ugly head . . .

Do you write in your books?

Well, what I’ve said above about ‘desecration’ holds here, too. I have never written in a book, but I have written on a post-it and left that in a book for another time. I don’t know if this question includes turning old books into ‘works of art’. I get the concept, but seeing a lovely antique rendered unreadable strikes a chill to my heart. If they want to do that to modern romances or maybe (maybe, I said!) to old Readers’ Digests, I could (barely) understand that. Better yet, print out your own book and mark THAT up, won’t you? Leave the leather-bound tomes with gold edges for those of us who treasure them beyond measure.

Well, that’s it for me. Sorry about the ranting, but I’d do it again (especially about ‘desecrating’ practises), so I guess that doesn’t count as an apology, does it? 

I hope some of you will follow suit and copy these questions, adding your own responses. If you do, link back to Marcia (link above), whose blog is worth reading, and / or to the originator of this game of Tag, Sarah Brentyn, whose blog, Lemon Shark, is worth checking out, too.

If you leave a comment here for me, I’ll check out your responses as time permits. I may have strong opinions (you think??), but I enjoy other people’s opinions, too, even when vastly different from mine. So rant away, if you like.

Stay warm, those of you south of the equator. And cool, those of you on the up side. Hugs to everyone.  ~ Linne

3 quotes in 3(?) days/periods of time/weeks/???

. . . but hopefully not 3 aeons . . .

I have been nominated by my loving friend, Pauline, The Contented Crafter, which is a good thing, as now I will post ‘something’ at least. I’ve been rather busy with one thing and another lately and most lax about posting and responding to comments. Again, my apologies. And to quote a poster my Mum had up for some time: “if it’s not one thing, it’s your Mother!” Anyway . . .

I don’t know how regular these will be; we have the Celebration of Life for my Aunty this coming Saturday and family members are coming from all over, which is nice, but means I likely won’t see the computer much for a wee bit. When the dust settles . . .

My first quote is from a woman who has inspired me for many years. In the spirit of Gandhi, she owned only  the clothes on her back, a notebook and pencil. No money. She walked across the USA  at least eight times and if you added the partial trips, some say up to thirty times or more. She was flown to Hawai’i and Alaska so she could walk there, too. In 1952 she changed her name to ‘Peace Pilgrim’ and began walking for Peace. She did this until she died nearly thirty years later. She vowed to walk until offered shelter and to fast until offered food and she kept those vows. Her words and writings are available free, thanks to a group of her friends/followers who keep them published. Donations are not necessary, but are accepted with thanks if anyone is moved to help with that mission.

You can read about her here: Peace Pilgrim and her writings are online here: Peace Pilgrim book in seven languages.

One of my favourite quotes from her work is:

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Many of you, no doubt all of you, have your daily life challenges. In the midst of all that, I wish you Peace as it is defined here.

More to come and thank you, Pauline (I think 🙂  No, seriously, thank you!).  ~ Linne

And my favourite Peace song: Let There Be Peace On Earth, and Let It Begin With Me

March, April, May . . . part Two (and a bit of June)

 

Hard to believe this was what we saw on 06 May this year, isn’t it? In 2014 the last snow was on the sixth of May.

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Below is the bus stop when I went out for groceries.

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And here are some pictures of my CAL (Crochet-A-Long) blanket. This is the second of three that I started back in early January. It’s finished now. I did try adding a single row of red along the border, and then I tried adding it just down from the edge, but in the end I decided it really was ‘gilding the lily’ and took it out again. You may notice that there is a band of light mossy green, white and a darker, more bluish green near each end. I thought the light moss colour would work, but then wasn’t happy with it. Rather than undo it, I simply turned the blanket around and began working from the beginning,, creating matching odd bands. I rather like it now, as the odd bit doesn’t stand out so much and looks as though it may have been planned. Oh, well, it will be warm anyway.

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When my CAL group were learning ripple stitch, I was still working on the CAL blankets, so instead of beginning a new blanket, I made a pillow cover for a pillow I already had. I rather like it! I made a fancy edge for the closing (it’s folded and stitched to form an envelope), then realized the dark burgundy wouldn’t stand out at all, so I added the white section. There’s always a solution, isn’t there?

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I love this tree so much! It stands just outside the patio doors and this is what I see from where I sit on the couch. I have now seen it bare of leaf, covered in snow, then covered in blossoms. I have no idea what this tree is, but it’s wonderful to look at. Below are photos of the flowers. They have a nice scent, not too strong and not really perfumed.

IMG_9339 IMG_9338 IMG_9369I chanced upon this photo while looking for something else (and isn’t that always the way?) Turns out these are called ‘lenticular’ clouds. I was particularly interested because I only ever saw them once in my life. It  was the day that we buried my Aunt A and Uncle P’s ashes (in the grave of my uncle’s father. He was my dad’s father, too. My dad and his brother married sisters, so their son is my closest cousin). Later that day, my cousin and his wife, one of my brothers, one of my sisters and her daughter plus myself went for supper at a local restaurant. When we came out, it was just sunset and the sky was full of these. None of us had seen them before and, of course, none of us had a camera along. (That was before smartphones and the like). I hurried to the pharmacy, but they were closed already; the usual thing in small towns. So we simply stood on the street corner and looked for as long as the light allowed. There were seven large ones and a bunch of smaller ones and to me it felt like a message from beyond the veil. One of the most beautiful moments of my life and one I will never forget. I was so pleased to find out there was a name for these clouds, after years of asking people and trying to look them up.

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Does anyone have any idea why a good friend would post this on her Facebook page?

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Lately I have felt that I was receiving messages from the Universe . . . I was so startled when these began appearing on our pancakes once I turned them over. Then, sadly, I figured it out . . . the pattern is caused by the way I pour the batter into the hot pan. They are lovely, though, aren’t they? I just had to share these with you . . .

The smiley one had an actual slit forming the mouth and a day later it looked like this:

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. . . and then I ate it! Mmmmm   these are a variation of the Norske egg pancakes that my sister in New Mexico sent me; we have them a couple of times most weeks. Of course, being me, I had to mess around with the (perfectly good and delicious) original recipe . . . but they are still yummy . . .

IMG_9459 IMG_9458Another sister, the one who lives on BC’s Wet Coast, recommended a book called “You are not your Brain” and I ordered it, and a few more in that vein, from our library. She gets an email called the Brain Bulletin and sent me one of them that had fascinating information about our brains; how if we hold negative thoughts we damage our brains physically and how the scientists think it’s related to some forms of dementia, memory loss, etc. I really needed to hear all that. These books had a cursory glance from me and look quite promising, but I showed them to a friend and now they are at her home for a while. I’ll let you know if I learn anything helpful from them. And if any of you are interested in the Brain Bulletin, let me know in your comment and I can give you a link to sign up for them. Another book that came in is for children with OCD. It’s called “What to do When Your Brain Gets Stuck”. I thought it might have some useful information in it.

IMG_9463I don’t know where this originated, but a good friend sent it to me. I’m working on the lists now because I thought this was good advice, especially for me, as I tend to put off doing the things that make me happy, then feel a bit ‘down’ or discouraged. Crazy, eh?

IMG_9471 IMG_9469I have now cooked up two pots of beans (one pound each of black and pinto) and they are in one-cup bags in the freezer waiting for inspiration to strike me . . . I did eat some cold, right out of the pot . . . It’s so nice to have an second refrigerator; I keep extra veggies in it, as well as extra bread.

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I am still working on the third CAL afghan that I began back in January, but two are finished now. While I’ve been working, I’ve been thinking about possible uses for the leftover yarn; there’s quite a bit of it (this is the yarn I bought so I could use up two balls that I already had; this was back last summer, when I first became excited about the Bavarian afghans). Nothing like downsizing, is there? So I decided to make myself a granny square afghan. Of course I began with what might have been a traditional square, but, as you can see, that didn’t last too long . . . This is what I have done so far. Turns out I’m going to have to make two afghans to use up that yarn; one with these colours and some grey that I think will go well with them, and another with the more vibrant reds and blues, purples and white. When I’m done I will have memory afghans from the times I sat working and chatting with my Aunty, whom I still miss every day.

I made three traditional squares so far from the reds and blues, but don’t have a picture handy to share. Next time , , , one of the squares was begun before my Aunty died and finished the following week, so it will be in the centre, along with one for my Mum and one for me. It may take a while, though.

On a completely different note: I’ve taken on some computer work, formatting pages for a huge contract that my sister here is working on. Her company does a lot of that sort of work and it’s good for me, as I can work from home and fit the time in around my Mum’s schedule. It’s a bit of a learning curve, as I’m using a new laptop and the latest Windows program, where my familiar icons and buttons, etc., are gone and I now have to hunt for much of what I used to use on automatic pilot. A glutton for punishment, I have taken two books out of the library that deal with writing apps for iPhones and iPads, but have only glanced at them so far. I have to say, in my defence, that I ordered them before I knew I’d be working again. Not sure if I’ll do anything in this line, but I was curious.

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Some days I feel like a child again; the sun comes in through our north-facing windows around five am every morning. Child-like, I was holding my hand in front of the light to keep it out of my eyes and I noticed how it made my fingers nearly translucent. Just had to get a photo , , ,IMG_7364[1]

My friends the Crafties have begun bringing me some of the projects I had stored in their attic, as well as a box of yarn from the container on their property north of the city. Yes, more yarn . . . Once I have all the Décor yarn here, I plan to catalogue it by colour and amount of each, then I’m thinking I may be making some of those Cosy blankets that Lucy from Attic 24 makes. She started this whole CAL craze, at least in my world.  Above is my not-quite-finished Bavarian afghan that I call “Violets in the Snow”. It’s here in the condo now and I’ll be back to working on it soon, I hope. The hot pink Barn Cardi will be coming soon, too. Now I just need to plant me a lot of thyme . . .

Have a wonderful week, everyone. the laptop is set up for internet now, so I should be able to catch up on comments soon. (I’m using Mum’s computer for this post, though; it’s easier to type on and I’d already done half this post over the last few days, so thought I’d just finish here). I’ll be dropping in on you in the Virtual Village again, too. I’ve been sort of ‘ghosting’ through, reading as much as I could, clicking ‘like’ to let you know I’d been by, but often not able to leave comments easily. one finger typing on a phone isn’t my favourite thing, really. I’ve been thinking of all of you; those in the midst of winter and those out working in your gardens; and especially everyone who’s been affected by the droughts, storms and flooding. I was speaking with my cousin this week (the one I mentioned above) and where he lives (and where I spent my last few years at home) the temperatures have been up to +35C . . . it wasn’t like that when I lived there, back in the early ’60s. Global warming, indeed . . . Big hugs to all of you.

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My sweet Aunty, patiently modelling the Barn Cardi for me.

And, like Columbo, just ‘one more thing’ . . .

I was lucky to catch this on TV recently, in time to record it: I’d never heard of Brit Floyd,, but they were great! I haven’t listened to much Pink Floyd for many years; what a blast from the past:

Brit Floyd Live at Red Rocks

. . . and that’s all, folks . . .

 

 

 

Living in the Moebius Loop . . .

. . . I wonder if that’s possible . . . some times in life sure feel like it. Maybe that’s what happens when you knit a Moebius scarf? I did, once, and loved it! No photo for you, sorry; it’s in a box ‘somewhere’ . . .

Aunty and I returned from the hospital on the 11th of February. On the 12th I developed a mild but persistent bronchitis, my old response to being stressed and overextended. I’m happy to say it’s only an occasional cough now. The yo-yo weather hasn’t helped, either. Yesterday, we were up to +15C; today, when I had to go out, it was +1C. No such thing as climate change, luckily . . .

20150315-111354.jpg Keira (whom I named); one of the Crafties’ two Teacup Pomeranians.

My next oldest sister came for a short visit, which was very nice, even though we didn’t have much time to visit. She’s an RN, so I was glad to have her here for advice on supporting my Aunty and Mum more effectively. I wish she could have stayed longer, partly because the following week our Mum turned 92 and four days later Aunty turned 95. Their longevity secrets? So far as I can tell, those consist of living a plain life, eating moderate simple meals and being fairly active well into their 80s.

20150315-111817.jpg With Mum’s birthday dinner my youngest sister and I shared these (on my part mostly in honour of my friends from Tassie, Narfie7 and Stevie-boy. The bottlecap collection is small, but growing . . . and I now have collected all but one component for my contribution to their Sanctuary. Quite different from all the lovely buntings that have already arrived, but I hope mine will find a place somewhere, too. Mr. Crafty has volunteered to help me with one bit or it would be a two-year project, for sure . . . remember, my friends, Anticipation 101 😉 😉 😉 . . .

We are still not moved into the condo, due to a combination of Unfortunate Events (I was wondering the other day if my life story was written by Mr. Lemony Snicket; that would explain a lot . . . but in the end things turn out all right.

20150315-114228.jpg Since Mum doesn’t want more ‘stuff’, I usually give her a couple of lotto tickets. This year I was lucky to find a cute card to go with them. Inside, it said:

20150315-114450.jpg Cute, eh?

Anyway, I’ve been going between my Aunty’s and my friends the Crafties. Since I plan ahead and take on small, simple projects (my nose is now longer than Pinocchio’s), I have been working on the CAL (Crochet-A-Long) project with Selma (Eclectic Home & Life) and her group. But, optimist that I am (on alternate Thursdays) I am making THREE blankets! That group is done (but my blankets are not) and now we are on to making a ripple stitch project; mine will be a pillow. But I digress . . . the blankets are the main reason for most of this pile:

20150315-160908.jpg What I take with me: 3 bags of yarn + projects, clothes and laundry (I don’t have a card for the machines here anymore), any food my Aunty won’t eat while I’m gone. The crafting stuff is the biggest deal, though.

20150315-161541.jpg A book belonging to Mr. Crafty that is now on my Want List; very well written.

20150315-161856.jpg Guess who?

20150315-162009.jpg Meet Herbert, snuggling in Mrs. Crafty’s hands. You can’t tell yet, but he’s a Ringnecked Dove. There are two cages of doves in the basement; I loved waking to their soft cooing as they were fed early each morning. Good memories; my sons’ Dad raises a variety of pigeons and doves which end up all over the world.
So . . . about that crafting stuff . . .

20150315-163635.jpg here are the three blankets side by side on the couch, which is over six feet long.
I haven’t begun the ripple pillow yet, but . . .

20150315-163844.jpg Ms. Selma can be most seductive. The pattern is here (scroll down; it’s below one of the bunny photos) and excellent instructions for the Magic Ring are here. These bunnies take only a few minutes to make and are SO cute! This one will adorn the most recent project of all . . . (I can hear you, you know!)

20150315-165009.jpg When my RN sister was here, she brought some yarn for our Aunty to use to knit a tuque for my sister’s first grandson. Unfortunately, Aunty hasn’t been able to knit for the past couple of years, partly due to diminished eyesight, so I volunteered . . . since my pattern books are ‘somewhere’, I am inventing my own pattern. Surprised? Thought you would be . . . 😉
I am going to use the bunny because, to misquote Ol’ Blue Eyes, “you’re no bunny ’til some bunny loves you”.
BTW, if you have too much time on your hands (Narfie!), Selma’s got links to patterns for a variety of Easter bunnies, also knitted Easter baubles, and ALSO the recipes for the treats she makes each week for the CAL class. Sadly, no treats for me and no convivial times with fellow crafters/learners . . . but I’m still having fun!

You may hear from me again before Easter, but in case not, know that you are each in my thoughts and prayers and that I wish you and your families the loveliest of holidays.

Always remember, ‘some bunny’ loves you all and you are each ‘some bunny’ to me ❤

Thanks for all the comments and support. I'm still planning to reply.

Silent on Sunday . . .

Well, nearly silent . . . you know me . . .   🙂

First, I apologize for replying to so few comments. I began with 15 December, but am still not caught up. Partly because you all post such intriguing posts and I am trying to catch up on reading them, too. It won’t likely get better before February. Still, I value each of you so much and appreciate that you take time to read and comment. That said, here’s the (ha!) ‘silent’ Sunday post . . .

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All day yesterday . . . white stuff falling . . .

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. . . last week, when the local news weathergirl said she wanted people to tweet their snow photos and tell her how deep it was at their place, I tweeted the above to her, mentioning that at my Aunty’s place, we had four feet . . . she favourite it, which was generous, I think. Gave me a chuckle, so that was good . . .

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One last pair of slippers underway and then I will felt!

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This is a rather interesting mystery I’ve been reading. I’ve never read so little in my life. Less than a book in two weeks is what I’m averaging now. Used to be more than a book a day, but things change, eh?

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I especially like the cover illustration. But then, ravens and their associated relatives are my symbols or whatever you want to call them. I’m definitely somewhere between raven and magpie, don’t you think? In the book, though, it’s a thrush that is the symbolic ‘murder bird’. I suppose most readers wouldn’t recognize a thrush . . .

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Been busy today packing (also sorting and letting go). I’ve had a cough for over a week (just stress, nothing contagious, but it means lost sleep) and somehow pulled my inner left knee muscle again, so back to wearing the knee support and resting when possible. I bought this lovely arrangement when I worked at the wee antique shop. I’m giving it to the Crafties if they want it. They are coming tomorrow to take all my plants, too, and a few other things, like my dyeing kettles. The new place faces north and has odd long windows in a corner of each bedroom, but the only place for plants is in a corner of the living room where they will need a grow light. So, I’ve decided to give that space to Mum for her plants. She’ll be quite happy to have them accessible again, I’m sure.

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Started this yesterday. It will be for one of the three remaining wee relatives that I want to make something for and will use up at least some of the yarn I bought for the Bavarians. I’ve been in love with My Eclectic Home & Life’s blog for a while, as you may have noticed, and especially her Scandinavian CAL (crochet-a-long) blanket.

Selma got her idea from Lucy at Attic24, and if you are interested, the pattern is here. If you aren’t a blanket addict yet, you will be soon! I promise!! And if blankets seem too daunting, try out some of the smaller projects on both these blogs. Your life will change!

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Here’s a close-up of my fifth row being created. This will not be exactly like the Scandinavian blanket (i.e., a four-row repeat), but was inspired by this new blanket that Selma is using at a teaching class, where she has at least six people taking part.

Update: I just found out I’m to be included in the class!!! even though I will be somewhat delayed by packing and moving . . . no worries, though. I’m only using a 120 stitch chain, so it will be quicker than a single bed size would be.

Have a wonderful week, everyone. (I wasn’t really silent at all, was I? . . . sigh . . .)

Voyage Through the Virtual Village (AKA “Blog Hop Around the World”) :-)


OK, friends, here it is! So fill up those buckets of tea, gather some food and prepare yourselves for a somewhat lengthy stay . . . and big hugs to anyone who makes it through to the end . . . I’ve not written for a while and this is what happens when all that energy is kept pent up . . . some of you may need to come back and read this in sections . . . consider yourselves duly warned . . .

I’m sure you all know by now that everyone in this Village holds their own special place in my heart, each for their own unique self, and it’s been a great privilege to share vicariously in the lives of so many diverse people: gardeners, crafters, artists, writers, parents, travellers, designers, and so on and on . . . we may never meet in person, but in some ways we meet so authentically here in the Village that it makes no never mind to me, as some would say. You are each a treasured part of my HeartFamily and no matter what the future might hold for any of us, you will always be in my thoughts and prayers, in my heart, my mind, my memories . . .  but put that aside for now . . .

Today I want to take you on a trip, a Voyage . . . here we go, off to meet a few of the others in my Village. I hope some  of them come to dwell in your Villages, too . . .

I’ve been following posts by several friends as they participated in this Blog Hop Around the World and now I’ve been invited to join in . . .by Jess, the Rabid Little Hippy. In the beginning of my blogging days, I saw a comment by Jess somewhere and was enchanted by her blogname, being a Rabid Larger (and Older) Hippie myself. Since then, she has become a great friend, supportive and encouraging, not to mention inspiring. In many ways she is the daughter of my heart, just the sort of daughter I might have wished for . . . and maybe more like me than a daughter of the blood would have been . . .

I love everything Jess and her family get up to, although some days I feel I need to lie down and rest after reading about all she accomplishes in a day or a week . . .  😉

. . . and then there all my other new friends that she has led me to . . . this Virtual Village is just what any extreme introvert needs . . .

a new waterlily bloom about to flower more water primrose and I still have my water hawthorn flowering too. I definitely need more plats in there to prevent evaporation and to cover the water surface more though.  Orik's personal race track. He loves doing laps around the garden bed! The area where the bench now sits has had its tyres ripped out, the soil moved into the garden bed and tiles are down now. Todays work with Jas and Eggra as assistants.

 The removed bed is now in the corner here. Once the chooks have done their work the wire will be removed and reo mesh upcycled into trellis for the grapes I'm planting here. They will in turn shade the rest of the bed from the early afternoon sun onwards, providing a micro-climate. Well, that's the plan.  Above are three photos of the Rabid Little Hippy’s backyard garden, where chooks, goats and other lifeforms also reside. Also out there you will often find Martin, her husband, as well as three of the cutest Pint Sized Permies, whose activities are occasionally posted in their own blog. Jess introduced me to hugelkultur and rocket stoves, not to mention a wagonload of information about various ecological issues and more. The Rabid Little Hippy and her entourage dwell in Ballan, Victoria, Australia.

And me attempting to do the same

Here is Jess sporting her Katniss braid . . .

creativity comes in all shapes and sizes, doesn’t it?

From comments on Rabid’s posts, I found myself often on The Road to Serendipity with Narfie and Stevie-boy and the two pups . . . and that led me to so many others that I can’t name them all.

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DSCF7039Above are two photos of the Sanctuary, a HUGE veggie garden completely encased and roofed with fishnetting to keep out various predators. The netting was completely installed  by Narf7 and Steve last year. The bottom photo was taken on a walk with the two ‘pups’, looking across part of the river Tamar to The Road to Serendipity (somewhere in the middle of all that lovely green). Serendipity Farm is in Tasmania, south of Australia. Go visit the Farm and you will learn, love and laugh ’til you fall off your chair . . .

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Creativity takes many forms at Serendipity Farm; music, cooking, renovating, etc. Still, I feel the most creative thing of all  is found in Narf7 and Stevie-boy’s approach to life, love, learning and all that good stuff . . .

My blog-following is most eclectic, like me, and so I decided to invite an eclectic batch of friends and see what happened. I can now tell you that I’m quite over the Super-Moon (which was happening as I typed the draft for this post):

But first . . . My answers to the questions:

  • Why do I create what I do? Wish I knew! I just can’t help it; it’s like reading . . . if I were locked up with only a cereal carton, I’d read every word on it (several times), then I’d write on it (in blood if necessary), then I’d see what I could fashion from it . . .  Honestly, I think creativity is a vital part of each of us, although in some people it’s farther down the list of strengths than it is for others. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t create and the very act of creating has healed me, entertained me, amused me, given me hope and strength, distracted me when I most needed it, oh, and so much more . . . kept people warm and fed, made a home of wherever I happened to be living at the time, filled a gap when the budget didn’t stretch to something I wanted or needed. I learned to be creative with sewing because I am tall, with long arms and legs, and women’s clothing rarely fits me. Many tops have sleeves a couple of inches too short; pants stop above my socks, and so on. In my slightly younger days, I hand-stitched long skirts and dresses and even a couple of pairs of pants. I still have most of them, but they are not available for a photo session. I fell in love with Folkwear Patterns and hand-stitched the Kinsale Cloak from a heathery green fabric of unknown components. I never finished the hood, but I loved that cloak a lot. Fully lined, with topstitching and it was so cosy! Somewhere along the way, it seems to have disappeared, but I still have the pattern and would like to make it again one day; this time from a woollen fabric. More recently I discovered the Sense & Sensibility patterns for days gone by . . . I own most of the Edwardian patterns and some of the crochet and Romantic Era patterns as well. And that’s only the sewing of clothes bit of my creative endeavours . . .

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Some dyeing I did for the Etsy store (closed for a while now)

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My favourite drawing, which is the cartoon for a couple of watercolour paintings.

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A casual drawing of a ‘hobbit home’, done while drawing with children.

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A ‘plain’ shawl that I somehow managed to complexify and bits for two of several knitted bears, something I love to work on when possible.

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A round shawl I made up as I went along . . .

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My favourite shawl; mossy green and also invented as I worked. It has a macramé fringe and a pattern of ‘holes’ worked in just for interest.

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Two of the double-sided crochet bits I’ve made. This is from an easy pattern shared by a bus driving friend and posted here a while back.

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The most creative time of all . . . loving someone small . . .

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A crochet doily with white and ecru-leaved violets; I made this several years ago, when I was still living on the west coast of BC.

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Hexagon flowers for an eventual ‘Bestemor’s Flower Garden’ piece. Bestemor means Grandmother in Norwegian and it is what my grandkidlets call me, in homage to my Mum’s mother, who died years before I was born. I wish I had known her . . .

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Three of the hand-sewn dolls for my grandkidlets . . . from a rough pattern.

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Above, one of my Dad’s stained glass lampshades and on the back of the couch, a quilt made by my Mum, with her quilted pillow in the centre front. They both did so much more . . . I love that creativity has been passed down in my family for many generations.

My parents, with me and the first two of my brothers, back when we lived in a small one-room shack with no power, no indoor plumbing and a wood cookstove that also kept us warm. My creativity began even before that, though . . .

  • How does my creative process work? Well it’s different when you’re not so skilled and also very eclectic. (Do you think there’s a relationship between those two?) If I stuck to one or two creative endeavours, I might have mastered them by now and life would no doubt be quite different. But no such luck. I am inspired by an idea, a photo, a pattern, whatever; I gather materials and I start a project . . . then, “oh, look, a blade of grass!” (that phrase is a family joke among my sisters, often used when we are talking about something and then digress and then digress again [but we always come back to the original topic] ) and I am off learning about something else. Or maybe I had to move and my projects are in storage and I can’t stand the emptiness that comes when I have nothing on the go . . . so I read a bit (if you think I’m being honest with ‘a bit’, think again! LOL) but it’s never enough; I have to make something . . . so off I go on another project and then, there it is, that ‘blade of grass’ and away I go again . . .  In a perfect life, I like to have several things on the go at once, set up and waiting for me. Then I can ‘feel’ what I want to do for the day and pick up where I left off. In reality, I do have several things on the go at once, but practical considerations often determine what I work on at any given time. So, when at my Aunty’s, I need a project that doesn’t require me to read a pattern so that I can pay attention to our chats. One of the major reasons I fell in love with Dani’s Bavarian crochet afghan. I have finished two, have a large one well under way and am in the middle of one I haven’t really mentioned yet. Photos at the bottom of this post, but no peeking!

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The large Bavarian afghan above; two for the grandkids below.

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  • And I have enough yarn now . . . sigh . . . the first Bavarian was meant to use up two oversized balls of acrylic; then I had to buy more so there would be enough afghans for each of the soon-to-be-six grandkidlets to have one of their own and the parents to have one large enough to cuddle under . . . and then there is my other son and his former girlfriend. Like Scarlett, I’ll think about that tomorrow . . . A major part of my creative process is that simple projects somehow become complex and, like objects in the mirror, much larger and nearer than they seem) One reason they become complex is that I am creative with practically everything, and in a rather slap-dash, ‘what-the-hey’ manner. “oh, well” is a mantra heard often in the inner regions . . . but I LOVE it so much!! Why? I ask you . . . I makes me happy and frustrated, often in equal parts, to be creative; to learn and do; to master; to design (a life-long love of mine, designing); to teach . . .

When I can, I love to make things that are more challenging; last year I started my first Fair Isle style ‘barn cardi’; some of you will remember it; not perfect, but it will be warm and cosy, and the lovely hot magenta background is very cheerful. Only the sleeves and buttonbands to go now (and maybe a hood), but it’s on hold at my friends’ place at present. I used traditional Fair Isle motifs, but the cardi itself and the arrangement of the motifs are all my own doing; the shape of the cardi evolved during the knitting . . .. as did the collar . . .

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A favourite quote . . . from Stephen Hunt.

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My Fair Isle style ‘barn cardi’ . . . and that’s my lovely, 94.5 year old, under-five foot Aunty helping out as my photographer’s model . . .

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A Fair Isle style bag I invented, also with traditional motifs.

  • How does my work differ from others of its genre? Well, my friends, if I had a genre, maybe I’d have an answer for you . . . The best I can say is that I am wildly eclectic, with a wide range of creative loves that encompasses language and languages, music, folk art, fine art, design, almost all the arts known to woman including fibre arts of all sorts, traditional skills and current ways, and more. Perhaps what is different at times is that I am a philosophical thinker by nature (my top strength), so things I make often have meaning for me that they don’t have for others. I like to make things by hand. I’ve done a little spinning, some weaving, some dyeing, and so on. I’d hoped to do stamping and free-hand painting on some of the silk scarves, but those plans are on the shelf for now. I designed a Cowichan sweater for my husband a few decades ago, with symbols that are meaningful to him and knitted from unspun yarn in cream with light and dark brown motifs. So far as I know, he still has it. I have a couple of photos of it and will post them here if and when I locate them . . .

I like to combine media, too. I’ve done a little printmaking and the idea of combining that with watercolour and then collaging on top of it all is very exciting to me. I have created a few masks and art dolls. One piece I especially like is a four-foot circle of thin plywood covered in canvas. I fastened three masks of my own face on the front, then painted the entire thing white; it looks like faces emerging from the background.

  • What am I presently working on? Well, the Bavarian crochet afghans, of course, and here is a series of photos of pieces of the latest one, which is my way of being creative with a lovely pattern:

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Does that seem confusing? The large piece is the centre; there will be twelve smaller pieces (below is the photo showing the centre and three of the smaller bits) surrounding it, then there will be several rows all around and all in white. I may throw a row of purple in there somewhere, too; that depends on having enough left to complete the work. I have only one ball of the purple, but have three balls of the white and a good chance of getting more if needed. No chance of more purple; the yarn is different from the same brand now; softer and finer spun. But I do want a purple edge, as it will show wear a bit less.

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Here you can see the centre piece. Each side of it will have two of the purple hearted squares and the four corners will be the white hearted squares. Hope that’s more clear.

Here are the latest photos of this piece, which is turning out even better than I dreamed:

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As you can see, this new piece is now wider than a single bed . . . and still growing . . .  I call it “Violets in the Snow” and it’s my favourite of the Bavarians I’ve made so far.        I think I’ll be keeping this one . . ..

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A detail of the corner as it is today . . .

OK, that’s enough about me . . . 🙂 Four people have been kind enough to allow me to twist their arms ever so gently and have agreed to take part in this Blog Hop Around the World, or, as I like to think of it, this Voyage through the Virtual Village:

(Please note: all photos from participant bloggers are used with permission)

First up is Sarah from the Frühlingskabine Micro-Farm
(pronounced: fruu-lings-cab-ee-na)

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Sarah and her lovely family live in an old California gold rush town. 20130228-195603.jpg

Backyard chickens and so much more . . . but I’ll let Sarah tell you about that . . .

Her creativity is evident not only in her approach to sustainable living, but also in her artwork:

2 Nordic Animal Prints of Hand Drawn Illustration Designs with Rune Poems - Goat, Chicken, Horse, Sheep, Duck

One of Sarah’s Celtic mandala drawings, perfect for using as is or for colouring in.

On the blog are a page for Printables, with excellent resources for small-holding farmers, as well as another page with a variety of DIY projects. Check them out!

Sarah has an Etsy store, the Little Farm Shop, and it was there that I purchased my lovely raven amulet necklace:

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. . . as well as her beautiful ‘Backyard Farm Coloring Book’ for my grandkidlets and for a friend’s children, too. These are a perfect gift, as you can email them to whomever and they can print out as many copies as they like. Children can colour the pictures, then send them to Grandma or . . . all while learning a bit about backyard farming.


23 Thorns tea-towel

The Official Tea Towel of the 23 Thorns household . . .

Next up is . . . Mr. 23 Thorns! I first discovered him via The Road to Serendipity, and he makes me laugh and sometimes cry, often at the same time . . . Writing is one of my favourite forms of creativity, or I should say, reading other people’s writings.

Mr. 23 Thorns  Mrs. 23 Thorns

Mr. and Mrs. 23 Thorns (she has her own blogs: Tracy  Loves History and The Rubbish Collection Day Collection. This woman has the most inspired approach to taking out the trash that I’ve ever heard of; she, too, makes me laugh and sometimes cry. They deserve each other (and I mean that in the nicest of all possible ways)!

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Mrs and Miss 23 Thorns

As you can see, the 23 Thorns children are as creative as their parents . . .

Here are links to a couple of my favourite 23 Thorns posts . . .

  • Jesus died. But now he lives. In Detroit, sort of. This post introduced me to the work of Jesus Rodriguez, a man whose music and approach to life continues to inspire me. If you are intrigued, check it out . . .
  • Parenting for Dummies.  As my parents, and later myself, had quite ‘relaxed’ approaches to parenting, at least when it came to letting kids roam free, climb trees, take risks, etc., I found this post both refreshing and amusing. Don’t let the first line fool you; Mr. 23 Thorns loves his kids as much as any of us; he just doesn’t subscribe to the “wrap ’em in cotton wool ’til they grow up” philosophy.

23 Thorns kids n elephant  23 Thorns kids road trip

As you may have guessed from the photo on the left above, the 23 Thorns do not live in Canada . . . nope, they live in South Africa . . . I hope, if I ever get there, to camp somewhere nearby . . . I dream of hearing the birds, maybe even elephants, at night.

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Fierce Protector of the 23 Thorns household . . .

Mr. 23 Thorns also writes Why Books. That is a link to a wonderful post about WWI.


Getting Stitched on the Farm

Third brave participant is Kristin Nicholas, of Getting Stitched on the Farm. Kristin has her own shop, where you can browse for patterns (I’ve bought a couple), books, kits and more, even wallpaper!

  

Kristin has books of knitting and embroidery patterns in her shop.

One of the wallpaper patterns she painted by hand and which can be purchased.

Color by Kristin is her own brand of yarn. Half wool, a quarter each alpaca and mohair.

You can find these in the Embroidery Supplies section.

Kristin began sewing at age nine and, like me, learned to knit, crochet and much more soon after that. She was lucky to have a German Gran who taught her embroidery.

She sells her own notecards and postcards, too, in sets of assorted or single image.

  

Kristin has written several books, too, including these. I bought the centre one and love it! I will take it along the next time I visit my grandkidlets. My eldest granddaughter taught herself to stitch by age 5 and is still interested at 15.

Kristin lives a couple  of hours from Boston, Massachusetts. If you are going to be in the neighbourhood, you may be able to take in a class or two. This one interests me . . .

See her post on Fabric Printing if it interests you, too . . .

As you can see, Kristin’s creativity has many outlets. I have found her blog more than inspiring. Now if I only had more time . . . note to self, plant thyme next spring . . .


City House Studio

Fourth and final participant will be Michelle of the City House Studio blog. I found her through a couple of sewing and quilting blogs that I follow and was instantly smitten with her work and with her fresh approach to quilt design.

One of Michelle’s gorgeous quilts.

. . . and this is her Farmer’s Wife Quilt, completed in 2011. 90 blocks, to celebrate her grandmother’s 90th birthday! More than impressive, isn’t it? There is a great story behind this quilt; you can read it here. It covers from the 1890s to the 1930s. I love the tradition that is carried on through the stories and by people still making this quilt.

here she is with her Gran and the quilt.

And here’s the back of it . . . equally lovely.

I love her Scrappy Asterisk Block tutorial and it’s on my ever-lengthening list . . . this is the first of Michelle’s quilts that I read about and it caught both my eye and my imagination. I simply adore anything not ‘in-the-box’ when it comes to design.

Michelle has an Etsy store and it should be open again soon. I happen to know she’s extremely busy getting some quilts ready for several fall fairs. Which explains why Michelle’s Blog Hop post will see the light of day in September – watch for it!

You can buy patterns from Michelle’s Craftsy store, too.

See her “Read” Library Tote pattern here or her Bionic Gear Bag Notions tote here.

Now, if you’re into free motion quilting, be sure to visit Michelle’s FMQ Challenge blog. That’s one example in the photo above. And then there is this:

Don’t know if I’ll ever have time for trapunto quilting, but I hope so. At least one piece, maybe a pillow . . . Project lists certainly give us reasons to live, don’t they?

 

Two of Michelle’s ‘Sticks’ quilts. I. Want. More. Time. !!!  🙂

I’m not sure where this Blog Hop began, but I have traced it back a ways for you, in case you, too, are afflicted with terminal curiosity . . .

Rabid Little Hippy

The Road to Serendipity

The Contented Crafter

Boomdeeadda 

One Spoiled Cat

These Days of Mine

A New Day Dawns

Simply Trece

I’m assuming the Hop goes back much further, but have run out of time; if you are interested, I’m sure you can do what I’ve done so far; go to the last blog listed and go back through posts to around June (or earlier, as you go on), then look for the specific post. It’s been lots of fun, just seeing all the different types of blogs that are linked through this Hop. If you read the posts, you will see that there are branches to this hop; as many bloggers have twisted the arms of found three others to ‘volunteer’ to join in.

It wouldn’t be a “post accompli” without a bit of music, would it? Much of it is folky, so if that’s not your thing, no worries. None of us have enough thyme for everything, do we?

Heiland Harry by The Corries, in honour of all the young men who never returned from the various wars they were sent to fight.

Like Janis by Jesus Rodriguez (Sixto Diaz)

Asimbonanga by Johnny Clegg (with Nelson Mandela!)

Hobo’s Lullaby by Arlo Guthrie (written by Woody Guthrie), in honour of all those out of work and homeless . . .

Two songs that link to my childhood now:

The Log Driver’s Waltz by Kate and Anna McGarrigle. My Dad used a peavey like these when managing logs in a boom im a holding pond. I don’t think he ever rode a log through whitewater, though.

The Frozen Logger by The Weavers. My Dad used to sing this all the time. I learned it as a young child and I still love it.

A half hour of Stompin’ Tom Connors, a Canadian icon. I don’t listen to a lot of country, but I still love Stompin’ Tom, who passed away not that long ago. A true, true Canadian!

His The Hockey Song will always be one of my favourites.

and, of course, Runrig, singing The Water is Wide and Steppin’ Down the Glory Road.

. . . performing An Sabhal Aig Neill, followed by the Drums . . . should make you dance!

Last, my favourite rendition of “We Will Rock You!” This one’s for the more rockin’ of my followers.If you want a lot more more rock and a lot less folk, here’s one of my favourites from Woodstock . . . Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed this voyage . . . I sure did. Hope it was worth the wait.

Here we are, home again . . . someone has the kettle on and there are treats ready for our tea . . . too busy now? Come by another time; the door is always on the latch . . .

BTW, the Happy Hibiscus says ‘hello’ to all of you; this is the most recent of an amazing summer of flowering. I think it’s thirteen or fourteen so far and there are another two or three buds coming along. The most I ever had in one year, ever, was three and that was once. Most years there has only been one and occasionally there were none.

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