I’ve been a bit quiet . . .

. . . but up to quite a bit. I finally figured out how to upload the green scarf photos to Picasa, not to Google. I did it the first time with no trouble, then couldn’t remember exactly how. Oh, well, I got it figured out; only took about four or five hours . . .  So, when Pauline gets home, she can choose the one she wants before I put them in the store. I do love the greens; there are five dark green and three light . . . I dyed six dark, then accidently snipped three tiny holes in one while removing the threads for the final rinsing. But all is not lost . . . I’ve got an idea or two on what to do with that one. 🙂

Then I’ve been working on an interesting project for my friend Mrs. Crafty:

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Mrs. C found a few crochet patterns at the Re-Use-It Store recently and only after she had them at home did she realize they were all in Danish! So I have been typing the instructions into a Word document, complete with the special characters, and then using the Word Translator utility to turn them into U.S. English (no option for Canadian English, of course). The translations aren’t finished, though, because some of the words didn’t translate and some were translated into very odd wording. So now I must go over the originals, word by word, and figure out the missing bits. Lots of fun for me, the word/language geek (who is only fluent in English hahaha!); I do love an odd challenge! I have done two of the five so far; the lovely summer hat pattern pictured above and another for a baby set; jacket, bonnet and booties, all in Tunisian crochet.

So what was I listening to while doing this typing? Yep, Runrig, in Gaelic, of course! I’m not sure why it doesn’t distract me from what I’m doing, but it doesn’t. Interesting.

I have just finished a most fascinating book, too:

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This is the true story of a boy diagnosed as autistic at two and a half. His parents, after a fascinating series of events, including a treatment by some shamans (Bushmen of the Kalahari people, whom the dad was helping in their fight for autonomy and to not be evicted from their ancestral homelands) took him to Mongolia to meet with a group of shamans and then a single shaman of the Reindeer People. I won’t tell you the whole thing, but if you haven’t read this yet, you may want to add it to your winter reading list. If you know anyone who has a family member with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, I highly recommend reading this. I learned so much from it and found I couldn’t put it down! What the dad has to say about the boy’s special relationship with animals of all sorts and especially with horses is also fascinating. After they returned from Mongolia, they set up a riding school for both neuro-typical kids and kids with autism, Asperger’s, etc. In addition, the mum is a psychologist teaching at the uni in Austin, Texas. She is a Buddhist and has been developing a study on self-compassion, which she says is much better and more helpful than raising self-esteem. After reading some of her writings,, I have to agree. She has done some TED talks, too, apparently. Her name is Kristin Neff, if you want to google her and learn more.

This is a perfect example of why I’m not in favour of e-books replacing ‘real’ books; As you can see by the sticker on the cover, it was a ‘Staff Pick’, so I happened to spy it sitting on a shelf and immediately knew I had to read it! If I’d had to know the title and then look for it in the ether somewhere, I never would have discovered it. It’s given me so much to think about; I can’t begin to address all that here, at least not just now.

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Oh, yes . . . you know what this is, don’t you? That’s right, a new project! And yes, there are four circular needles in play; I couldn’t find the right size of double-pointed needles for this project and I need to get it done soon, so I’m improvising, as usual . . .

I really needed another project, as you all know . . . I can’t tell you what it is exactly, but all will be revealed one day soon. I can say that (generally speaking) it’s going to be sent to the Snail of Happiness once completed . . .IMG_5744[1]

This is a framed photograph taken by my Dad when he and Mum were on a trip through part of the Yukon. That’s Atlin Lake in the background and my Mum is just visible, coming back from the water with a couple of bucketsful for their camp. The picture is in our living room / lounge and I love to look at it, so thought I’d share it with you.

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In case Christi is reading this, here’s a picture of Dorcas, who has been settling in nicely (it takes a while) and is now producing delicious Kefir for me. Her grains are so BIG!

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While eating supper, I’ve been watching several movies. These pictures are from Les Miserables, the version with Liam Neeson as Jean Valjean. I read the book in school and later, but hadn’t seen any of the movies. This one was good. I especially love the robe the young Cosette is wearing in the second picture. The first picture is her playing with her doll after Valjean pays the horrible greedy caretaker so the girl can have some time to play. This little girl is quite adorable.

Well, I’ll be back soon (not too soon; don’t want to stuff up your Readers 😉  ). Have a wonderful week, all of you.

Oops, nearly forgot: here’s some music for you . . .

Malvina Reynolds, an original Bolshie Little Black Duck, if you don’t mind my saying so, Narfie! Malvina began her songwriting creer in her late 40s. You’ll know her “Little Boxes” and “What Have They Done to the Rain?”

and Tracy Chapman . . . I haven’t heard anything about her for a while, but a friend loved her work and we used to listen to this a lot.

about time . . .

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That’s a.m.! (my nice note from Christi is below – it came with poor Delilah, now deceased). But I think of Christi (and then the rest of you folks by association) whenever I’m in the kitchen . . .

Well, the ceilings have been looked at and discussed again and it’s possible they will wait for the place to be empty before fixing them. We hope!

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That’s our living room (lounge) after quite a bit of work (I’m not showing you the ‘before’ pictures LOL!)

So . . . finally everyone was gone, Mum was making her supper and I sat down at the computer to get some work done.

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I’d created tags for the scarves, but it took me a couple of hours before I finally figured out how to print them on business card blanks . . . and then the printer spoilt three sheets, drawing them in unevenly and also ignoring the margins. Aarrrgggghhhhhhh…………
The last sheet (part of it is seen above) was usable, just. Oh, well . . .

Then . . . I was planning to upload a couple of scarves into the store. I took pictures out on the balcony this afternoon (the Etsy Guidebook says natural light is best). Not for the iPhone, apparently, although I haven’t figured out why . . . All my photos here are taken with the phone. So I tried taking new ones by putting a large piece of cotton fabric on Mum’s bed, then a scarf and photographing it in sections so the detail would be clearer.

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An outdoor pic

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An indoor pic
What to do? I had set today as my deadline to open the store, but had no usable photos.
Woa… is me (I’m one letter away from turning blue . . . 😉 Nothing like a bad pun, eh?

But all is not lost! Last time I was visiting my friends, Mrs. and Mr. Crafty, I photographed her dolls Jenny and Jed. Remember?

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Jenny

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Jed

So . . . a couple more hours were spent invested and finally I had all the information typed up, photos uploaded and the Store Announcement changed . . .

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An adorable couple . . .

. . . and the store was officially open!
Whew!!! But at least I learned a bit . . .

By then it was 2:00 a.m., so Mum went to bed and I made some supper (no, not chocolate; steamed veg and pasta) and watched the last of the director’s commentary on “How to Train Your Dragon”, which I’d viewed over a few days last week. Just what I needed!

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. . . and fell asleep . . .

So, the linkie to the store is coming up soon . . .

Bet you thought I’d forget, eh? 🙂 It’s now after 5:00 am and I’m done for now, so . . .

. . . Go forth, my friends, and, as Jean-Luc Picard would have said (had he been captain of the spaceship ‘Serenity’, “Make it Shiny!!”

Not much new here… but after feeding you all that heavy stuff…

I thought it was time for something lighter and more nutritious . . .

Mum’s been reading in the kitchen all day, so I haven’t wanted to do the dyeing yet. I don’t know if the fumes are toxic or not, but would rather err on the side of caution. So I’ve been on the computer most of the afternoon instead of going out to the store. It’s supposed to warm up to -11C tomorrow, so I’ll go out then. We are nearly out of bread and I’m a bit anxious about using the bread machine after my last fiasco . . . I thought at first I’d make some biscuits, but when Mum didn’t want any, I made this instead and was quite impressed that it turned out . . . PERFECT!!  I love this brown rice (Lundberg’s Brown Basmati), but sometimes it’s had a bit too much water left at the end of the cooking; then I have to cook it some more and wait for it to dry off a bit; somehow it always seems a bit gummy after that (not like that stops me eating it!)  😉

By thee way, the Lundberg family pioneered growing organic rice in the States. They were far ahead of their times.

Four Lundberg Brothers

These are the four Lundberg brothers, Outstanding in Their Field!

But tonight it was everything I wanted; dry, fluffy, slightly chewy but not too much, and just that bit aromatic . . . so I had a bowl with butter, garlic powder and soya sauce while I waited  for the other dish to cook. You know, I think a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid is a great part of the secret . . . and using the correct burner on the stove (I think a couple are a bit old and not heating to the proper temperature when left on the ‘lowest’ setting.

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Now this is what I really started to tell you about (but the amazing rice distracted me):

What was it, you say? Well . . . I’m calling it ‘Mish-Mash’. When my kids were young and at home, I made soup from leftovers and whatever was in the cupboard on a regular basis. I called that soup ‘Cupboard Soup’. I thought this was going to be more like that, but it wasn’t. And it, too, is PERFECT! How unlike me . . .

I found ‘pork bones’ at the grocery the other day – a package for $1.22 and it looked like a fair bit of meat on them, too. Now, I didn’t eat much (or any, sometimes) meat for many years and the only pork I ate for longer than that was bacon as a treat at Christmas. But this was a frugal deal not to pass up.

I dredged the bones in flour with salt, pepper, cayenne and garlic salt in a used bread bag, then  dropped them in my old heavy pot where waiting for them was bacon fat from my breakfast yesterday and as much olive oil, too. I browned them while I chopped half an onion fairly small along with the end of a stalk of celery plus some celery leaves from the new stalk. those were tipped in and stirred around, then I added enough cold water to come a third of the way up the pot, brought it to a boil and let it simmer for several hours. Then it was let to cool and popped into the fridge.

This afternoon I got it out, started it heating and sliced three carrots, unpeeled (I only peel stuff that has skin too hard to eat, like winter squash). After those were added, more water went in, then a cup of the green split peas left over from making the Risi e Bisi. Brought to a boil again, I tasted it, then added a dollop of soya sauce, turned the heat to half-way and left it to simmer away while the rice cooked. After I ate my bowl of rice, I chopped a quarter head of cabbage into squares about an inch or less on each side (no, I didn’t measure them! Really!! But I knew you’d ask . . .)

Since the rice was done, I used that pot’s lid to cover the big pot. Not a perfect fit, so of course some dripping onto the stove top ensued, but hey . . . at least I can improvise as needed. I have a lid somewhere for that pot (it was our soup and popcorn pot lo, these many aeons ago), but have no idea if it’s here in Edmonton at the apartment, in storage here or in storage in BC. Oh, the life of a Gypsy Collector . . .

Anyway, back to the FeedReader and commenting near and far . . . I had the timer going, luckily or I’m sure I’d have had burnt whatever for supper. 😉

What I DID have was this:

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A bit more butter (I filled up the round butter container and this time cut off the corners to make an octagonal shape that wouldn’t smear at the corners, then get on the lid; well, I had to do something with those bits, didn’t I? A shake of salt and pepper, more garlic salt and cayenne, a sprinkle of soya sauce and back to the computer, where the Mish-Mash distracted me mightily from the screen. I think this would be just as good without the meat, if one was vegetarian or vegan (you couldn’t add the butter, then, either). Maybe I’ll try that another time. For now, it was just right for this slightly cool evening (indoors, I mean).

Before I post, I wanted to say that I was sad to hear that Shirley Temple died yesterday evening (10 February) at her home. She was 85. It seemed so strange, hearing that on the news tonight when I was watching ‘Heidi’ only a few days ago with my crafty friend. It’s one of the few films I feel lives up to the original book. I haven’t seen her in ‘Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm’ yet, but now I see that’s on YouTube, too. Also ‘The Little Princess’ . . . nice to have something to anticipate, right?  🙂

If you haven’t seen it, and like old films (this one’s from ’37), it’s on YouTube here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPaNtPbeuWQ  This is the colourized version. It may be posted in the original, too; I didn’t look for it yet. What I love most, I think, is the Grandfather’s hut in the Alps. I’d give a lot for a home like that . . . goats and all.

ShirleyTemple 03 Grandfathers Hut

See what I mean? I want this near the sea, with an orchard and a garden like Narf7‘s.

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Not sure where this one is from, but I think it’s so cute . . .

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Heidi and The Grandfather

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 . . .

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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!

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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 . . . 😉  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. 😉  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 . . .  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!!  😉 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:

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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!

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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:

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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.

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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 . . .  😉

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.

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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.  😉

Quick Update

In case you are wondering, I am not asleep with the bears and other hibernators . . . I have several draft posts partly finished, but not fit ready to upload. I have been busy, though, and there have been some interesting posts to read when I did have a few moments . . . like Mr. 23Thorns’ latest, which had me laughing even while I clenched my fists in rage . . . see it at:
http://23thorns.com/

I dug out a journal I began in early 2007 and have been writing in it daily.

I also found a sketchbook given to me in 2005, with only a few skimpy sketches in it, hidden at the back (don’t ask) and have drawn a word or simple image in it daily.

There are other creative things underway, too, but if I tell you now, what will I have left to say in the next post? (never mind reminding me about those drafts, ok?) 😉

I have made progress with the sorting and packing; some discarding has gone on and a few more things taken to storage. A bigger load is waiting to go to my crafty friends for them to use or pass on.

So I’m pretty pleased with myself in general.

Oh, and I just finished watching “Little Sparrows”, an Aussie film that is well made and provides much food for thought. I watch films instead of reading over meals if the food requires two hands, so it takes a few days to work through some of them . . .

In this one, the Mum has had her cancer come back; her three daughters and her husband are dealing with that, but more with the challenges in each one’s life. The Mum is such a good mother to her adult daughters; I loved watching her and learning from her.

Back soon, my friends! ~ Linne

Another week closer to . . .

Spring!! 🙂

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. . . sorry, just kidding . . . well, I have been saying every day, “one day closer to spring”! but really, I’m feeling better now I’m nearly adjusted to Daylight Savings Time (last Sunday) and what blew in the day before . . .

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All that led to this:

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Also this:

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Since then we’ve had more of the white stuff, but not enough to make it too icy for safety. It is pretty, eh?

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I’ve been knitting away, and the ‘barn cardi’ is now over 27″ long; I have about 4″ to go on the top edge, then I will add a couple of motifs at the bottom, then an edging of some sort. I think this will end up being car coat length or maybe more . . . since I’m tall and heavy, this will be a good length for me, whether I wear it over jeans or my favourite black ankle-length skirt. Here’s where it is right this minute:

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and the steeks for the armscyes (love that word!) are now about 8.5″ deep; they need to be around 12″ for an easy fit.

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This yarn (Astra acrylic) calls for 4mm (US 6) needles, so with the double stranding the fabric is lovely and thick. The cardi is cosy just snuggling on my lap as I work. Here’s a peek at the reverse (inside):

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20131109-191127.jpg A slightly closer look.

In case you were wondering about that gorgeous photo in the beginning, I was watching “Foxfire”, an old favourite with actress Jessica Tandy, her husband Hume Cronyn and John Denver. That house is an actual old homestead home in the Blue Ridge Mountains (Highlands, North Carolina, if I remember correctly) and is one of my dream homes. You can check out the movie on YouTube here:

. . . and, for no particular reason . . . what I’m watching (sort of) on tv while knitting:

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Boston Bruins (who will lose, of course) ;-). vs the Toronto Maple Leafs. Our game, of course . . . 😉

Last, what I saw on my way home with a rolly cart of groceries this afternoon:

20131109-193837.jpg so it’s nice that I can stay in tomorrow, doing some laundry, knitting, of course, with a wee pork roast simmering in the slow cooker. That will be dinner for all three of us.

Hope you all have a lovely, relaxing Sunday (or have already had it) 😉