Just jumping in again . . .

Hello, my friends. Did you think I’d gone into retirement? Nope, still getting adjusted to being home again and also working on plans for this coming year.

I hope you all had a good Christmas or Solstice or whatever you celebrate in December. And I wish you all the very best in this coming year.

I still have not faced up to downloading the photos that remain on the camera, although I did get all the pictures off my old iphone. My youngest sister was going to send me her ‘old’ phone, but there have been glitches. (trying to get a new sim to work in the old phone so I’d have something until the new one arrives. Oh, well . . .)  I love techy stuff when it works and the rest of the time . . .   I think now she is planning to send me something else.


Above is a photo of the Yarndale bus that ran between the train station and the exhibition site. (This year Yarndale was on the 29th and 30th of September and I had a ticket for both days. The first day I walked up through the park – you can see some photos of that walk on Lucy’s Attic24 site. The second day I took this bus, as I was on my feet the entire day both times, except for one short sit-down in the afternoon on the Saturday. There was just SO MUCH to see!) I think the bus picked people up from other locations, too. I loved the bunting on the front and inside there were small mandalas as well, making it all very festive.


You can’t tell from this selfie, but I wore my Runrig Tshirt and jacket to Yarndale. That’s a small crocheted butterfly pinned to the inside of the collar. They were this year’s donations, made by volunteers around the world, and were sold to raise money for this year’s charity, Pioneer Projects. They raised 2,339.94 from selling these! BTW, did you know that the collective noun for a butterflies is a Kaleidoscope of Butterflies? I love that! I chose a green one made in the same way my Mum used to make them (for fridge magnets, in her case) and partly because green was her favourite colour, as it is mine. If you’d like to see the amazing number and variety of butterflies, go to Lucy’s post about Celebrating Yarndale 2018 and scroll down.

I mentioned the Runrig jacket and Tshirt because at least four women stopped me to say they had been at Stirling on that historic weekend, too! It was wonderful to stop for a minute and reminisce with others who felt as I do about the band and their music.

Now I’m going to pick up where I left off in October, more or less . . .  I did make it to Skipton twice more to join in with Lucy’s Knit n Natter group. Such fun! Everyone was lovely to me and the staff at the cafe were, too. In the afternoon, both days, I wandered around Skipton, just drinking things in, then went back to Cooper’s Cafe for a snack and coffee or tea before heading for the train and Heaton. Yummy food they have!!

The first afternoon (02 November 2018) I wandered in and out of a variety of shops, mostly the charity shops, looking for souvenirs. I found Wooleys and had a great chat with the lady there, but they didn’t have what I was looking for; English wool! The wool was all spun in Italy, as I recall. But it was fun connecting.

Then further up the High Street, I found the ginnel (Yorkshire for a passageway with a roof) leading to the Purl & Jane shop! I can highly recommend P&J; Jane has created over 2,000 designs  in the past 20 years, by the way (read her About page for more information) and she carries a gorgeous selection of yarns. I was so happy to finally see some English wools!! (She is an official supporter of The Campaign for Wool) So I bought three balls of variegated green, needles and one of her patterns. And some buttons. The design only calls for one, but I could never have too many buttons!! I got to pet the dog, too  🙂 This yarn is for a special project and I’ll post about that soon, with photos of the buttons. (Anticipation 101, remember . . .)

On my way back to the ginnel, I noticed a small shop that looked interesting; it had some unique items of clothing hanging on a line along the wall. I was SO tempted, but I resisted and went on my way.

Next week, on Friday 09 November, I spent the afternoon a little differently. I made my way back to Purl & Jane to show Jane my progress on the green project. I was so thrilled with her design, I bought some lovely deep rose (close to magenta) in the same yarn. And more buttons! I had my project about half done by then and was very happy with it.

After another chat with Jane, I walked back toward the ginnel and this time I decided to go into the wee shop I’d resisted the week before . . . just to have a quick look, you understand. I have a card somewhere, but can’t locate it just now. I’ve looked up the address and it says now that the shop called “Sophie’s Handbags and Accessories” is permanently closed. However, I don’t know if that’s the shop I was in or an earlier one. I hope it’s an earlier one . . .

Another lovely lady to chat with, and some very unique clothes, handbags and other things, like jewellery . . .  I continued to resist, although I did stop to admire two ivory lace dresses, each with a matching jacket and fully lined, to boot. Luckily, they were a Small and a Medium. I held the medium up and it appeared to be likely to fit, although I haven’t worn a medium for a few years now. It was midi length, too, which I prefer. Resolutely, I put it back . . . and left the store . . . and got through the ginnel . . . all the time thinking of how lovely it was and how much it was my dream dress (I’m not easy to please when it comes to clothing and my life is more suited to jeans and Tshirts in any case). And then I found myself thinking that I’d never have another chance to buy it and I did a quick U-turn and returned to the shop! I’m pretty sure none of you do such things, right? I held it up to myself again and it still seemed like a close enough fit. And it was only £10, which is about $17 Canadian. And I succumbed to temptation then and there!

I noticed a stack of sheer scarves, too, and bought a couple of those as well. Oh, I was happy as I walked away! More on the dress in a bit . . .

I walked up the High Street further and stopped at the Holy Trinity Church of England. I happen to love historical buildings and churches and cathedrals in particular. I found some small items in the gift shop from another lovely woman and had time to light candles for several people, including all my blogging friends. This church was founded in the early 1100s and it was an amazing feeling just to sit in it. The stonework and stained glass were marvellous to view.

After my time in the church I found my way to Skipton Castle next door.

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The castle seen from the air. You can see the church just above it and off to the left a bit is the High Street with the Market set up.


I had been told it was free to visit the castle, but it isn’t anymore. As I’d splurged on the dress, I didn’t want to buy a ticket. I was able to walk into the front bit (where you can see people in the shadows), almost up to the courtyard. And I did get to see some amazing details inside the small room where they sell the tickets, postcards and so on.

I really do have to get on with downloading the photos from my camera, don’t I? I’ll make that a priority this coming week.

In the meantime, once I arrived back at my room in Heaton, I took out the dress and tried it on . . . and it fit! I am still a bit in shock at that, really.

(I was walking so much and eating as well as I do here in BC, but not snacking and it made a big difference. I did put a few pounds back on over Christmas, as I do like the Christmas treats, but it’s coming off again now that life is back to normal and my cousin’s wife and I are walking four or five times a week at the local arena.)

I don’t have a photo of me where you can see the entire dress, but this selfie will give you the basic idea (please forgive the poor quality; it was night and the lighting was a bit dim. Also my hair, as it was the end of a day spent outdoors in the wind):


This is the prettiest dress I have ever owned and I’m looking forward to wearing it this coming summer. And I found a website that carries the exact shoes I’ve been thinking would suit it, too: Pompadour French Court Shoes! The heel height and shape are what I like best in a heel and the lace seems like the perfect finishing touch. The shoes won’t be in the budget for a while, but one day . . .

Well, I’d best stop here and get this posted. I’ll see you again soon . . .

And here’s some music for you:

Mingulay Boat Song by The Corries, who were my favourite group up ’til I came across Runrig. Now first place is shared between them.

Somewhere, featuring Canadian Bruce Guthro (lead singer) and Scottish Julie Fowlis (special guest) on the vocals. The video is beautiful, and the words, too.



Ok, enough waffling around . . . here’s the Big Reveal!! My plans for 2018!

2018 GoalsWell, my friends, you are about to learn a wee bit more about me and I warn you now, you may end up thinking I’ve gone entirely barmy! Or was that way from the beginning . . . Fasten your seatbelts and hang on!

Note: This is the (slightly) shorter version of my story; I did write it out in long form, but will post that to Thought & Memory later on. If you are like me and want to know the background, you will be able to  go and have a long read. I’ll tell you when.

A lot has been happening in my life, but I didn’t want to post until I was really sure of most of it. But the time has come . . .

cat weddng invite 01Last spring, after I returned to stay with my cousins again, I received a wedding invitation for May of this year from a friend, Gen, who worked with me at Lewiscraft in Edmonton back around 2003 or 2004. This is not the actual invitation, but there is a cat theme!

dont wait 01Then I began thinking about really going and wondering what I might add onto the trip if I did, to make the cost and all worth it. And I found an excellent reason and here’s the story:

More on my friend: Gen, who has been my friend since we worked together at Lewiscraft in the early 2000s, wanted to do stand-up comedy (she had us in stitches on a regular basis and once on the bus a lady missed her stop because she was listening to us, mostly Gen, and laughing ’til the tears ran down her cheeks!) Anyway, the  Edmonton audiences weren’t the best for Gen; her family came from England and her humour is more their sort. So, not too long after Lewiscraft closed, Gen moved to London. That’s England, not Ontario!  And then she moved to Edinburgh, where she not only does some stand-up but also started her own business as a photographer. And met a really nice man who loves and appreciates her as she so deserves.

Still, you can see why I was waffling about going, can’t you? I haven’t won the lottery (yet). But I have enough Air Miles to get to Europe and back once. Not enough to get to Australia or New Zealand, sadly, although I should have had. I’ve been collecting for decades, dreaming of travel once I felt free to do so.

I began, as I said, looking at things I might do while overseas in order to take advantage of my One Big Chance. (well, that was my thinking at the time; more on the shift in my thinking in a while). I knew I would love to visit Shetland to see the mill where Jamieson’s of Shetland creates their fabulous yarns. And Fair Isle, where the wonderful patterns I love first were designed. And . . . so I started a sort of ‘bucket list’. Any idea what else went on that list?


Runrig in Bremen

You bet . . . Runrig! Their music has helped me get through the past couple of decades in ways I find hard to explain. I do listen to a wide variety of genres, artists, groups, etc., and always have done. But when the going got tough, it was Runrig I turned to, every time. This song (the first one, An Sabhal Aig Neill, or Neill’s Barn) was my alarm tune those last five weeks when I was staying at the hospital with Mum. It’s still my alarm tune 🙂 It was good to wake up to something up-beat (pun intended) when I was up every two to three hours in the night. You wouldn’t think it, but I have only good feelings when I hear this; it was the soundtrack to all the nights of my last weeks with my mother. And other songs by Runrig make up the rest of that soundtrack. And their music was what kept me going since then. So, on 26 September I checked to see where they might  be playing in 2018; seeing them live has always been on my list, but I honestly never thought it would happen. Still, I’m a dreamer . . . and I’m sure you can imagine my feelings that day when I read this:


On the 26th of September 2017 Runrig announced that after 45 years they would be “pulling the curtain down” on their music careers.

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As Julia Cameron says in The Artist’s Way. I had “Jump . . . and the Net will appear . . .” on my business cards when I was doing contract work from home a few years ago.

Well, that did it! I sat up until 2 am in the morning of the 29th (which was 10 am in the UK), cursor poised over the button that said “tickets on sale soon”, eyes on the digital clock counting down to when the sale would begin. When the clock hit zero, I clicked the button! I didn’t wait for the text to change or anything. Then I ended up in a queue for over six minutes and finally I was in and purchasing my ticket!!! I found out later that 25,000 tickets sold out in under ten minutes.

So I don’t have a seat; I have what is called a ‘standing / camping’ ticket. Awesome, eh? A second concert was added, this on the Friday night, and those tickets sold out in under six hours. My concert is on the Saturday night. The gates open at 8 am on the 17th of August for those of us who are camping.

TLD poster 01Then there is a Ceilidh that evening. I’m sure there is going to be some awesome Scottish musicians there, too. (Runrig will be performing at the additional concert that night) So, I get to camp out that night (not sure how much sleep I’ll get, though lol), do as I wish the next day, and that evening I get to see Runrig! Live!!! And by the way, if you are a fan of amazing lead guitar work, listen to Skye and imagine me getting to hear it live!

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Stirling City Park – an earlier Runrig concert

So now I have well and truly jumped! I still can hardly believe that I actually got a ticket! What were the odds?

As well as Runrig to see, there is Yarndale in Skipton, Yorkshire at the end of September. After music, all things woolly make my heart sing! I don’t have a ticket to Yarndale yet, but soon . . .

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Gratitude Attitude 05.jpgI do have my air fare to Glasgow on the 13th of May . . . the wedding is on the 18th. And I did that on my own, no help from Air Miles.  I was a bit grumpy about that at the time, too, but I’m working on having an ‘attitude of gratitude’ instead of being grumpy when things don’t go my way.

Canadian PassportsI haven’t booked a hostel yet, either. First things first. Like a passport. :-) I will be sending the papers in next week. It took a while to get things organized. We were in Vernon and I got the required photos and not too convict-looking, either.  :-)

Then I had to send the papers to Victoria to a friend to sign and all that. In spite of the Christmas mail rush, all was done in a most timely manner.

My friend in Tacoma gave me a suitcase when I left there, as I had somehow accumulated more yarn and fabric over the winter months. Not sure how that happened . . . 😛 The suitcase has already been to England and I feel it wants to go back for another visit. I’ll take a photo of it and share in another post.

jump 02There’s more to this epic pilgrimage, though. After Mum died, I was in an odd state of being; not crying or anything, just sort of disconnected in a strange way. I’ve done some serious thinking about what to do with whatever time remains to me and after a while of simply resting and recuperating (and binge-watching Netflix), I realized that there is time remaining, no matter how short or long and that my parents wouldn’t thank me to stay mired in that sad fugue state. No, I had to find a way to move forward. But sometimes, a way forward doesn’t appear immediately.

I’ve been here before, though, so I sort of knew what I needed to do. Sort of. I began in my own way. I had been knitting and crocheting since early in the year, which helped more than I’d expected. I really need to create! Through the summer I played with my mini-gardens and got back to basics by helping with the preserving and all. And I started blogging again, slowly at first, then picking up the pace in December.

Now, I’m sure many of you have heard of a book and movie called “The Secret”. I’ve had some interesting experiences using some of the concepts. I’ve shared a couple of those stories, but not all of them. I began reading an e-book called “Playing the Matrix” by Mike Dooley, who sends out inspirational messages called ‘Notes from the Universe’. Playing the Matrix has helped me get back on my figurative horse and start moving forward again. So when I heard of Mike’s new course, called “Love Your Life in 30 days”, I signed up for that, too. In two weeks, I’ve gone from feeling very ‘stuck’ to suddenly having many ideas about where I’m going and how I’m going to get there. And I don’t mean Scotland and WestJet!  🙂

Alba WJ 01

The only downside to this course is that facebook, in it’s ‘wisdom’ has insisted on sending me notifications whenever anyone in the group posts. It took me a while to learn the solution. So if you have emailed me this month and not had a response, I do apologize, I shall continue to delete the unwanted mail as often as time permits.  [Update: I finally got those turned off, but still have plenty of deleting ahead of me]

But, now that I’m on this roll, I’m actually rather busy. Today I made eggnog muffins, also scones, in addition to emptying the closet and the suitcase and organizing the first and sorting through the contents of the other.

fearless dreamer fabric

Fearless Dreamer!

Last spring I also joined a group called “Stitch Upon a Time” it’s a stitching group that mainly uses patterns from the SUAT website. These are designed for cotton fabrics with at least 5% lycra (spandex). People are making their own underwear, as well as dresses and more. Some great kid’s patterns, too. Before I knew I was going away, I bought several patterns from them, as cousin S has a sewing machine and a serger and I will be able to use them. I have fabric, too. Including some stretch fabric with a Disney design on it: Fearless Dreamer! Just what I needed. I have some jade co-ordinating fabric for the exterior of the top, too. If any of you sew and are looking for a great supplier of this sort of fabric, I can highly recommend Purple Seamstress Fabrics.  Great service and prices. Mel is awesome!

gold 500For now, I have knitting to finish as well as the ornaments to make for my lovely winners. I have decided what to send to some of you and I have most of the bits assembled. I’m giving myself a month to get those done.

Well,it’s late (again!) and I shall save some of what’s going on for me for another day,. Wherever you are, I wish you a wonderful day. If you are facing challenges, know that you are not alone; this Village is always there for you.

Passing on the Light 01

Spreading Love and Light . . . that’s what we do!

As for music . . .

If you have housework to do and want some upbeat sounds, here’s 40 minutes of highlights from Runrig’s Party on the Moor.

. . . or how about my favourite Great Big Sea & The Chieftains  video? Love this and it makes me laugh every time.  Lukey’s Boat makes you want to dance!

A great mix of some of The Corries‘ best work.

Figgy Duff singing Henry Martin, another old favourite of mine.

and Pentangle performing Willy o Winsbury with Jacqui Mcshee’s lovely voice.

My favourite of Stan Rogers’ work: Northwest Passage

From Runrig’s 30th Anniversary Concert: An Faileas Air An Airigh

Another upbeat song: Celtic Thunder’s “All God’s Creatures Got a Place in the Choir

I hope your week is going well. See you here soon! Love and Light to you all.  ~ Linne




Day 20: Æthelflæd . . . was she ready?




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

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.


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 . . .


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 . . .


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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 . . .

3dollsProgressOct2012 20121211-220641.jpg Green Hair!  20121211-220649.jpg

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.


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 . . ..


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)


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:


. . . 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)!

Master 23 Thorns  Miss Carmen Miranda

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


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.



It’s been very hot here this afternoon, so I spent some time at the computer listening to music; then realized I could have done a proper post . . . oh, well, a short one isn’t so bad, is it?

We’ve also had a fair bit of smoke coming down from fires in the Northwest Territories; enough to make the sky hazy and I can feel it when walking or hauling stuff up and down stairs. Not too bad, though. Apart from my weight, I’m pretty healthy still.

I have written in my organizer from Pauline! It’s so lovely and she was so kind to make it for me, I can’t bear not to write in it; this is a first for me. I hate to think of how many lovely blank books I have bought and then simply stored, afraid I would ruin them with my handwriting. It’s not too bad, actually, but my Mum’s is still gorgeous; she went to school when you had handwriting practise weekly right through grade 12. In my time, it only went to grade 4. sigh . . .

Too hot to cook and I have resorted to bought cole slaw . . . cold and fast, at least. Also iced bought blended coffee drinks. I know; I swore off coffee a while back, but have not been sleeping so well and found myself dozing off right after breakfast . . . I had a lovely stroke of luck after my PhiloFriend and I (see below) walked around the lake; we went to a fast food outlet for iced drinks; I ordered the coffee one, but the girl got it wrong (darn speakers at the drive-through) and gave me hot coffee with mocha and milk added (no sugar, though). When my friend pointed out the error, they suggested I keep the hot drink rather than them tossing it out, then hurried and made me the cold drink I’d wanted, insisted on not letting me pay for it – I was quite willing, as I’m fairly forgiving of people making errors. And I WAS keeping the hot drink! I put the hot one in the fridge later on and enjoyed it this morning, with, alas, some sugar tossed in. Kept me awake and going all day!

Mr. and Mrs. Crafty took a car load of yarn and ‘boxes’ of projects to their cottage last Friday morning. I’d spent all Thursday getting ready for that. Thursday was lovely and very cool, so I had plenty of energy. I planned to spend the rest of Friday packing, but had no boxes with lids . . . grrrrrrrr  So  after I got back from the bi-Friday library run I kept on sorting and discarding and did get stuff done. Then yesterday (Saturday), my Philosophical friend took me to a liquor store and we filled her trunk and backseat with nested boxes. To thank her and to let us catch up (haven’t had a visit for well over a month), we went for pizza. Not my usual choice, but this was amazingly good! A thin, whole wheat crust and a veggie topping that included artichoke hearts. Mmmmm! And afterwards, we went for a walk around the man-made lake where I walked with another friend year before last. I haven’t been there since and was a bit dismayed to find I wanted to sit four times, just to catch my breath. Of course, it WAS quite hot still . . . but lovely just to be outdoors, hearing birds instead of traffic.

Today I’ve done lots, too. And now that I can see that it isn’t as bad as I’d feared, it’s a bit easier.

There have been other stresses, though; some I can’t post about. One very sad thing for me is that a very dear friend is dying in BC and it’s hard to think that I won’t see him again in this life. I think it’s been six years since I was back and I have always tried to get to Abbotsford to visit him and his wife (they have moved since I was last there). She is my age and he is 20 years older, so this is not exactly unexpected. Still, we always expect these things to happen another day, not today, don’t we? I have known this family for almost 40 years and they are the sort of friends where we don’t email or phone, but when I show up at their door, it’s as though no time has passed . . . we share so many basic beliefs and the whole family is very dear to me. Their four daughters are the sweetest ever; one of them was the first Mum I was ever a doula for. (I think that’s a badly worded sentence, but can’t figure out what I did wrong . . . oh, well, as Churchill famously said: “This is the sort of English up with which I will not put”  . . . but you may have to . . .  🙂  )

So today I got through most of what I have had stored in the long hall storage area and have several boxes nearly full and ready to tape; those will go in the storage unit that Mum and I share. My PhiloFriend will haul them for me once I have a load ready. So I’m making progress. Since I’ve already moved so much into storage, it doesn’t look quite as bad as I first envisioned. I’m learning to take a break when I find myself tossing things into the box without making a decision as to whether I will actually need/use it. That’s helping. So is cold water.

The best thing about going through stuff is finding the things that I knew were ‘somewhere’ . . . including the instructions for the reversible crochet that a few people asked for back when I posted photos of it.

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Ok, I lied about no photos, but these are re-runs, so really they don’t count 🙂

No time to type it out tonight, but soon, I promise. I have it sitting out to remind me . . . It’s very, very easy, so after you have done a couple of Bavarian afghans, you might want to try one of these, too. This is very good for a pram or cot blanket for a wee one. And it looks gorgeous! I was given the pattern by a bus driver back when I was manager for a Lewiscraft store in Sherwood Park (a neighbouring town, about an hour and a half to two hours each way on the bus). I haven’t finished any of these (nothing like ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is there?), but they will go to the Crafty house and be dealt with in due course. After the Bavarian bevy is done. I did find some smaller skeins of white that I think will do, so I can see at least one more child-size afghan in the near future.

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More double-sided crochet pieces. It works best (or so I think) when the two yarns are a good contrast, either in shade or in colour.

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I also found the knitted hood/cowl/whatever thingy that I was free-forming a year or two ago (no photo, sorry) . . . and this shawl that I began when I was first going to my Aunty’s, remember? Those are also going to the Crafty cottage . . .

. . . and a-whey we go . . . (nope, I’m not apologizing for that one  🙂  )

I made a huge amount of kefir cheese, thanks to Christi‘s Diligent Dorcas, who just keeps cranking out the kefir (about a cup a day or so) and gave away four jam jars of whey; two to the Crafty’s for soaking their feet after a long day of whipper-smipping grass on the new acreage; they are clearing where the driveway and the home will go. They are buying a simple garage package, then will do the finishing work themselves, as they are both so handy with finishing carpentry, tiling, whatever needs doing, really. The other two jars went to my PhiloFriend to use in her bath. Once this is done, I’m planning on a long, cool bath myself, with some of that whey; it softens the skin amazingly; I use about a half cup in a tub of water and sit and read for an hour or so. I shower before I fill the tub, so my hair is clean; then I put some of the whey on my hair, pin it up and leave it to dry. Usually by the time I’m out again it’s stopped dripping. The whey acts like a very soft hair gel.(read about it on one of the kefir sites) and I like the bit of extra body it gives.

‘fraid I’ve been pretty lazy of late . . . instead of figuring out what to add to the kefir cheese to make it more appealing, I’ve been buying light cream cheese (I like the garlic and herbs one, also the smoked salmon . . . yum!); I add it to the kefir cheese at about 2 parts kefir cheese, 1 part bought cream cheese. It tastes pretty good on my toasted bagel, but I’m going to try it on steamed veggies and pasta, too, once it’s cool enough to stand cooking again. I add a fair bit of garlic powder to the garlic and herbs variety; nothing extra for the salmon, though. I love smoked salmon . . .

Well, that’s all the news that’s fit to print, as they used to say . . . hope all of you are getting the weather and temperatures you enjoy most, along with some downtime for crafting, reading and general relaxing . . . summer or winter, it’s good to have that . . .

And now for something a wee bit different:

Joan Baez, singing  “Diamonds and Rust

and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

and “Birmingham Sunday

. . . on a lighter note: The Corries singing “The Food Blues

June . . . catching up . . . and still blaming Dani :-)

It’s hard to believe it’s been three weeks since I posted last. Stuff just got away on me. I’m ok, just frustrated in several areas. I’ve been thinking of moving to here, so I could get back to ‘normal’ any time I liked.  😉

It’s only fair to warn you, though: this is a very, very looooonnnnnnngggggggggggggg post and you may want to clear your calendar for the morning, then fill your bucket of tea before commencing reading . . . just sayin’  🙂


Boomdee asked what we liked best about June and I’d have to say the photo above is my answer: deliciously cool. misty. moisty weather! Finally, the spring I have been hoping for for years! I’d nearly forgotten about Steeleye Span until recently, so am enjoying them again. This is an old nursery rhyme that I’ve always liked.

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Ice in May.

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Amazing cloudy skies through June this year . . . sorry, I was going to make them into a slide show, but imported everything and feel too lazy to remove and re-import 🙂


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One morning we woke up to real mist! Was I happy!!

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More amazing skies!!


Just what I needed, eh? I found these for peanuts at a mall table run by a woman from the Philippines and her husband.  The first time I met her, a few years ago, they had a large butter churn, much like the crocks used for making pickles and such, with its wooden dasher intact, along with the lid. I can’t tell you how much I long for that churn. Of course, it wouldn’t do me much good just now; I don’t know anyone with a cow. One day, though. She knows I want it and now it’s kept at her house ‘so it won’t get chipped’; I think she’s waiting for my lotto ship to arrive . . . me, too!  😉

So on the left is a salt spoon, to be used with a salt cellar (usually one was set at each place at the table); in the middle a lovely wee butter knife and on the right an old Gerber baby spoon. So maybe this is a sign that there is a baby in my future?  🙂

So, if you haven’t been here for a while (don’t blame you; I haven’t been here for a while, either!), you may not be aware of the gorgeous Bavarian crochet afghan addiction being fostered by Dani of the Teddy and Tottie blog. Bit me, but good!

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Number two afghan, done and dusted! This took me a week of pretty steady crocheting.


Remember this one? This was number One afghan. It took me about a week and a half.

And now for something completely different . . . (well, maybe not completely different):

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This is number three Bavarian afghan and it’s nowhere near done! It’s a long story and a longer afghan . . . I made the first afghan to use up two huge balls of acrylic yarn I’d given to my Aunty for knitting tuques or scarves, but she’s not knitting anymore and besides, felt the large balls were too intimidating, so she gave them back to me. Of course, once I saw how lovely these afghans are, I decided I’d make one for each of my five and a half grandkidlets. This meant, of course, that I would have to purchase more large balls of yarn. Two for each afghan, in fact. I did have a couple in my stash, which helped, but not the colours I planned for the kidlets . . . so I picked up a few lovely colours over a few visits to The Store I Will Not Name. But they were out of white; No worries, I’m patient. After a few trips I wasn’t quite so patient anymore, though. The second afghan was nearing completion and I had all these colours just begging for white . . . What to do? Well, Mrs. Crafty took me to a larger venue of TSIWNN, where we found only beige, no white . . . Now what? Ok, off we went to The Craft Store I Will Not Name, where we found large balls of white yarn . . . but not quite the size I needed. I bought four balls anyway, thinking it might work. Nope, they don’t! In the meantime, my Mum had found a ball of lovely purple. Now this was the same brand I’d been using up / buying, same label, same gauge, everything, it said . . . except that in fact it was a far lovelier texture and a smaller diameter yarn. Grumble, grumble, grumble . . .

Still, it worked alright with the white yarn that I hadn’t returned, so I began this:


Hard to tell, but that dark colour is a gorgeous purple; much like a dark pansy. I think it may end up being a  ‘keeper’. Like I need more ‘stuff’, right? Oh, well . . . 🙂

And then I started afghan number three (above), using the colours I had in stock, but with the white centre. If I find any white yarn in time, I’ll incorporate a couple of white rounds farther out. So this one, being in the same style, but with such a different colour combination of colours, is going to be much larger and will be a gift to my son and daughter-in-law so that they have one that matches those of the kidlets.

So you see, I am using up my stash . . . I can hear you laughing, you know . . .

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. . . and more amazing skies . . .

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those are all of the Happy Hibiscus, which has borne and lost at least six blossoms to date and still has seven buds and maybe more . . . I’ve had this plant since 1991 and this is the first year I’ve had more than two blossoms . . . maybe my pruning a few weeks ago scared it into trying to be more attractive . . . whatever the reason, I’ve been rejoicing in these lovely blooms, short-lived though they are.


Anyone familiar with the term Honey Moon? No, not the post-wedding variety . . .

Give up? Well, it’s what they call a full moon that occurs on a Friday the 13th. For some reason, Mum’s computer is acting up; the screen going suddenly black, then a message that the drivers failed, or some such, then it returns to ‘normal’ (no, not the town!); ’til the next time, anyway. I thought I wouldn’t be able to give you the link to this, but after I hit it with a rock re-booted it, it resumed working as if it were ‘normal’. Ha! I am not fooled . . .

Anyway, I missed seeing this, thanks to  those clouds I’ve been so thankful for, and I likely won’t be here to see the next one, but this photo gives you a good idea . . .

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Thought we were done with sky photos, did you?  🙂

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Three birdhosues painted and decorated by Mrs. Crafty for her son’s garage. Cute, eh?

On Thursday (the 26th) I spent the day with Mr. and Mrs. Crafty, helping their son and his fiancée to move. They have sold the wee old house that he bought five years ago and has renovated with the help of his talented parents, and they have bought a home in a better neighbourhood, near a small shopping centre and a school. Next year they are getting married and after that plan to begin their family. She’s very crafty, too, and a lovely young lady. We had a long, but productive day with five people, two cars, an open backed pickup with a trailer plus a truck with a canopy. I’m not sure how many trips we made. After seven pm another son in law arrived home and brought his truck to help as well. It was good to have two strong young men when it came time to bring things like the freezer up from the basement . . . I’d forgotten what a 35-year old can do and still have energy for pull-ups from the garage rafters . . .  I was picked up at 8:30 am and got back home just before midnight, but we stopped  for pizza around seven and after that there wasn’t much I could help with. I pulled a muscle in my left knee somehow about three weeks ago and then spent three days flat on my back to give it a chance to heal. It seems to be doing ok now, though. Still, by evening on moving day I needed a hand to get up off the low-slung futon couch . . . I hate that! I couldn’t help remembering back when I had horses and could jump on bareback so easily . . . in fact, once I was teaching a city friend how to do it and of course showing off just a bit . . . I swung up and over and landed flat on my back on the ground on the other side . . . I still get a laugh out of that memory . . . Pride and all that. eh?

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The new place has a huge garden, which I not-so-secretly lust after . . .

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Lovely yellow roses at the new place . . . with the most aromatic lemony scent; I wish I could add ‘smellies’ here sometimes . . .

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The skies were so impressive that evening . . . someone actually asked me if I had just gotten a smartphone, I took so many photos . . . only to share with you, of course 🙂

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Some of you will remember these two when they were much younger . . . two of Mr. and Mrs. Crafty’s grandkidlets; they came to supervise as their parents helped move stuff.


This bench was given to the young man by my mother when he bought the house. It used to be a park bench, I was told, but had been loaned to friends on one ofmy sisters for an indoor bench. Then it was put out in the yard and lost all its varnish and paint. Now the wood is quite weathered. The fiancée plans to do a bit of restoration on it, but sadly it will never be what it once was.

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Lovely young hands . . .

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Oh, my! What are these? 🙂

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I love that blue in the evenings . . .

and the Maxfield Parrish blue that follows, ever so briefly . . .


. . . and a lovely silhouette of a lovely tow and a half year old . . .

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While hauling boxes, somehow I broke my index fingernail in two places, both cracks going right into the quick. After two bandaids were applied and lost in short order, I became resourceful and turned to duct tape. Worked for me . . .

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Not a very clear set of photos, but these were a handful of lilacs picked by the ‘Awesome’ young man who is pictured above. Picked especially for me to take home and share with my Mum. One of my favourite spring blossoms . . .


After a day of taking it easy, today I was packing up my own things, to be moved to the storage unit downtown.  A great deal, but not all, of my current frustration comes from having to deal with a condo board that simply has no care for health and safety, but is very invested in how things look, even if we are the only ones doing the looking . . . Instead of waiting until Mum either dies or moves out to repair all the ceilings that are stained from a series of leaks (the roof had been repaired, but not well; it took several years before the board broke down and had a new roof installed), we have been told that all the ceilings are to be scraped, then new texture applied and after that, paint. This means that we need to move much of our belongings out so as not to impede the workmen. So we are boxing up Mum’s things to go out on the balcony and I will just take my stuff to the storage. Apparently the board chairman has said that we ‘have too much stuff’ in the place. No thought for our situation or that we are willing to be somewhat inconvenienced so as to stay near to my Aunty, who is Mum’s older sister.

It’s not as though we have stacks of rotting newspapers; then I could see the concern. No, we have looms (several, but only one small one set up), supplies for weaving, knitting, crochet, beadwork, painting (fine art and folk art), embroidery, sewing, quilting (including a quilting frame designed and made by my Dad), also Mum’s keepsakes from over 90 years of receiving gifts and collecting things of interest, beauty and usefulness.

Books, of course, and finished items. Some antiques from the days when Mum and Dad bought, refinished, repaired, then sold them on, keeping the things they fancied the most. It’s hard to imagine living a full life and not having anything to show for it.

I asked the landlady to find out from this man exactly how many items we are allowed to have, as ‘too many’ is so vague . . . we don’t think we have too much; and we don’t expect others to have what we have. Each to their own taste, we say.

Well, apparently not . . . so I will be removing nearly all my things and putting on hold my plans to make more items for the store. I’m going to bring back Mum’s things from the storage unit we share, then empty my smaller unit into it, so as to have only one.

I wish some of you lived near to me; I will be giving away  some of my supplies. I gave Mrs. Crafty nearly a full blue recycling bag of fancy yarns on our last visit, but there is much still to part with. It’s quite disheartening, really, but needs must, as they say . . .

I know some will have wondered at my sudden silence through this month. I meant to post an explanation, but simply had no heart for talking about it all. I’m getting over it now, though. just another stage, I think. There was more than my personal stuff, though. I felt very affected by the 70th anniversary of D-Day this year, that same week, three young RCMP officers were shot and killed by a mentally ill young man. I was so incensed by our prime minister’s words at the funeral, where he talked about ‘evil’. This from a man who has removed nearly all the protection we’ve had for our waterways for many decades . . . who has allowed some of our resources to be sold outright to China, who has entered, on our behalf, into a contract with China that we cannot break for many years . . . and so on . . . His lack of compassion for the killer and his parents, who had warned the police and had asked for something to be done to stop their son, but who were told that nothing could be done until he ‘did something’. I can only imagine what they are going through now. I know how I would be feeling if it had been one of my sons and I had been unable to avert the tragedy.

So, all in all, a rather sad and discouraging month for many reasons, yet with the eternal hope of spring and youth breaking through nonetheless. After all . . .

cat that one friend

One positive thing I did this month (after wearing my jeans ’til the side seams were parting company) was to buy several pairs of new jeans and T-shirts to match. Clothes may not make the woman, but I actually enjoyed the shopping once I figured out where stuff was. In, pick things up, go pay, get out . . . my idea of perfection when it comes to clothes. Now, book shopping, or tools, materials, anything like that and I can be in the store for hours . . . 🙂  I’ve been known to get into the bookstore, find a book I can’t afford, sit on the floor in one of the aisles (yes, I know, inconsiderate to other customers, but I’m at the mercy of books at all times) and just get lost in the story . . . When I found out that The Secret Garden wasn’t the only book written by Frances Hodgson Burnett; that The Little Princess was still in print, I visited my favourite bookstore in Victoria (BC) every week and read a chapter each time. The staff were all readers and understanding, so I was never bothered about my odd habit.

6 million people U need one

While packing, I ‘found’ a piece of black fabric with a pattern of small pink roses that I’d meant for a long dress. So while out with Mrs. Crafty looking for white yarn in TSIWNN, I bought two metres of plain black cotton which will become the yoke and perhaps the sleeves, with the rose-patterned fabric forming a collar and cuffs as well. I have some black velvet that was meant for the bodice, but ah hour of searching at the storage unit only yielded a dark purple velvet, so I’m resorting to the cotton. When I find the black velvet, it will be used to make short vesty sort of garment to wear over the dress. While looking for the velvet, I also found a box with some of my patterns in it; that box is now waiting for me in Mr. and Mrs. Crafty’s attic.

4 out of 3 people Math 01 Love this!

I just looked over this post and am a bit appalled to see that the photos are all bunched up and then there’s this long bit with no pictures at all. Sorry about that. No time to fix it properly and if I don’t post tonight, who knows when I’ll get back to it? Besides, there are comments waiting for my attention . . . 🙂

  being an adult not working so me . . . 🙂

In case you are missing the music, here is a link to one of my favourite spring songs:

The Lambs in Springtime, sung, of course, in Scottish Gaelic by my favourite rock band

. . . and a rousing version of An Sabhal Aig Neill, performed at the Hebridean Celtic Festival held in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis on 17 July, 2010. Sung by Runrig and accompanied, then followed by, the Drums. If you love drumming, give it an ear . . .

And, on the subject of challenging days . . .  The Bricklayer’s Song by  The Corries.

Thanks for listening (if you are still with me after all that . . .). I feel better now.  🙂

Sorrow and Gratitude


The Happy Hibiscus this morning.

Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, as I’m sure you are all aware. My Dad wasn’t part of the invasion, as he was with his tank regiment on the way from Italy through France, heading toward the liberation of Holland. Still, every year this day reminds me of him and of all he and his brother (as well as one of my Mum’s brothers, and others in the family) sacrificed for me and for this country.


A Canadian veteran returns to Juno Beach, 70 years after D-Day.

This morning my Aunty and I watched the CBC special on D-Day, which was both inspiring and moving. When I was in Ottawa, the year after the Canadian War Museum opened, the lady I was staying with took me to see it. We were so lucky, as we only had a couple of hours and there was more to see than would fit. An older man heard us talking about how to find the exhibits that meant the most to me and offered his services as a guide. He’d been a docent for some years and was full of information. I got to see a real Sherman tank, just like the one my Dad drove. He was a Trooper (same rank as private in the army) in the Governor-General’s Horse Guards, or the Gee-Gees, as they are commonly known. I also saw a mannequin wearing the same uniform and carrying the rifle and equipment that Dad would have had. I stood in the middle of a landing craft that had been used at Juno Beach on D-Day; as I stepped in, a film began to show in front of me. It was hard to watch. It seemed that young men were rushing past me, with rifles and gear, jumping into the water and trying to make it to the beach. So many were shot down as I watched. This is the only known footage taken from inside one of the LSTs, we were told. I was only glad it was in black and white; the bloody water would have been even more horrific in colour.

Peter Mansbridge, CBC’s premier broadcaster and journalist, shared his experience flying in one of the last two flight-worthy Lancaster bombers; his father flew in one during the war and to honour his Dad (who died a few years ago), Peter took one of his Dad’s medals with him on the flight).

Over the last week, I’ve been listening to this song by Runrig: The Old Boys


Tonight, the Happy Hibiscus is nearly finished with this bloom; to me, it’s a fitting reminder of all those beautiful young, brief lives (over 350 died on Juno Beach alone)

It makes me cry every time. So many young lives sacrificed; so many wounded; so little recognition once they arrived home again.

Dad turned 21 on the day he arrived back in Canada. This July 16th, it will be 70 years since that day. He had spent three years or more overseas, and now was finally legal to drink and vote. We forget that in those days, the ‘men’ we sent to fight were legally only ‘boys’. Like so many, he didn’t talk about his experiences, feeling, no doubt, that if you hadn’t been there, you wouldn’t understand.

I know that he was wounded by an accident; one of his regiment had been out on guard duty and returned to the tent where Dad was sitting at a table, reading. The soldier emptied his knee pockets of the grenades he’d been carrying. They weren’t supposed to carry them there, but many did anyway. As he pulled them out, the safety on one of the firing pins pulled out. Dad caught sight of it from the corner of his eye; he was sitting sideways to the tent entrance. A three-second delay, there wasn’t time for the young man to do anything; the grenade went off, killing him instantly. A piece of shrapnel passed through my Dad’s torso, missing all the vital organs. He had scars on both sides from then on, though.

The Chilliwack Progress had a mention of the wounding in its January 3, 1945 issue. If you scroll most of the way down the page, you will see it:


Yarrow News From The Chilliwack Progress For 1945
The Chilliwack Progress January 3, 1945

There are four photos of H.G. Sukkau’s plumbing and electrical store. Below that is the mention of John Letkemann. Some time later, the final ‘n’ of the surname was dropped by the family.

When the war in Europe ended, the soldiers were told they could only go home soon if they re-enlisted to be sent to the theatre in the East, to help in the fight against Japan. Dad and my Uncle both agreed, but they had no plan to follow through. After years of war, they were ready to forget about it and begin living a normal life. Luckily the war in Asia was over before it became an issue.

I didn’t post anything on Anzac Day, but I spent a lot of time thinking about those young men, too. This song, sung here by The Pogues, says it all: “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda

And when I think of the Second War, I also think of the First, one of the worst and most meaningless wars ever. This song, about that war and sung by the Corries, also makes me cry: The Green Fields of France. My brother in law who worked in radio and had his own show, played this every November 11th, but if you called any radio station and requested it, your request was refused.

I’d like to leave you on a happier note, so here is Day Three, in Aqua:



Sorry I’m behind with comments again. I’ll catch up with you all soon.

Two last images from today’s ceremony:

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Roadblocks and other things . . .

Sorry I’ve not posted for a while, but at least your Readers got a wee rest . . . I haven’t had much to say, really. I still haven’t dyed the cottons, in spite of receiving the dyes for them a few days ago. But there’s a good reason, and it’s not that I’m lollygagging around (well, not much, anyway).

raise your mittens

Winter in Edmonton . . .

The roof on this place used to leak quite a bit, since before we ever moved here, and Mum being on the top floor has had several episodes of leaking in every room except the bathrooms. Now the condo board want to have the ceilings scraped, re-surfaced with that textured stuff, and then painted. If you had seen this place and all my stuff everywhere, not to mention Mum’s own stuff, you’d understand our frustration. Mum suggested they leave it until we either move or she dies (she’s nothing if not hard-headed practical, my Mum), but no, they say it has to be done now (now being a relative term, really; fixing my old apartment took months – I had a bad flood the first week of January that year and it wasn’t rentable again until October). They aren’t happy with our stuff, because painters, etc., just want to come in, race through the work and leave. Other wise they are working for peanuts. But for us it means massive inconvenience, what with moving stuff out of the way, packing up lots of things, especially the fragile things  and all that. Then there is the issue of ‘stuff’ in the air from scraping, surfacing and painting. None of which is good for me to be breathing, but when a person is in their nineties, it’s even worse. And the disruption of our quiet, ‘retired ladies’  routines . . . I worry about dust in the computers, the food, our clothes, and so on . . . Crazy making, for sure.

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It’s enough to drive ME to drink, too . . .

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Someone had a lot of time on their hands, eh?

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snowman on car trunk

Probably my favourite . . .

So I got a phone call on the weekend to let us know that the landlady (who, with her husband, is wonderful and most supportive) will be here Tuesday night along with the condo board chairman, who I have found is not at all empathetic or sympathetic to issues facing older women or, indeed, women who ‘do things’.

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Like read . . .

However, there is nothing in the lease paperwork detailing exactly how many items a tenant is allowed to have, so we’ll be standing up to them on that.

What I’ve been busy with, though, has been sorting and re-packing boxes so they will stack, then placing them behind the couch against the wall. This means we won’t be able to access anything without it being a big deal . . .  but it will free up a bit more space in the middle of the room, so maybe that will help. Who knows?

So here’s some more music:

The Bricklayer’s Song, by The Corries . . . I love their humorous stuff as much as the serious work . . .

Lukey’s Boat, by Great Big Sea and The Chieftains (filmed over three days in an Irish pub) . . . very dancey . . .

one last dancey bit:

The Irish Rover, by The Pogues and The Dubliners (lots of fun watching the old guys try to psych out the young punks . . .)

I added  this next video, then it got ‘lost’ somehow . . . well, here goes again . . .

Crow using tools and solving an 8-step puzzle to get food. I love the whole Crow – Raven family! So intelligent . . .

Silken . . . part 2 ~ the Blues

I have been trying for a long time (try over three hours 😦 ) to edit a post on the new blog. Alas! Something isn’t working. Hope it isn’t Mum’s computer . . . but everything else seems fine.

20140302-023416.jpg An old favourite, ‘though I first read it as an adult. Published in 1906, when my Mum’s mother was fifteen and living in North Dakota; her Dad was sixteen and still in Lillehammer; my Dad’s oldest sister a wee baby living with her parents on a communal farm in Russia.

Anyway, I will share some news here now and edit that post later. I hope 🙂

I have been busy in spite of wanting to curl up in my shawls and read, with hot drinks nearby (I confess, I have done a bit of that, too . . . temps down near -39C with the wind . . . and next week apparently we get several days above freezing)

20140302-023846.jpg Second of four books in a good mystery series. His Lou Boldt series are his best, but he seems to have moved on to other characters. Ridley Pearson often refers to Seattle in winter as being in ‘the rinse cycle’. If you have ever been on the coast in winter anywhere from northern Oregon to Haida Gwai’i, you know what he means. 😉 Mysteries are good for keeping the mind occupied and distracted from compulsively checking the temperature on the iPhone app to see if it’s T-shirt weather yet . . . who, moi?

Ok, back to sharing my busyness:



Yes, that’s a batch of scarves turning blue . . . holding their breath? No, just dyeing . . . 😉

Just before I began with the blues, I poured half of the green dyestock into an old jam jar (Mum likes strawberry jam and for some reason I like the jars and have been squirreling them away; well, now I have a reason 🙂 )

20140302-025007.jpg Why e-books will never replace the real thing . . . On my way to look for more favourites to re-read, I spied this treasure! I would never have known of it if I was unable to browse, letting my eyes do the walking. Such serendipity! I may yet survive ’til spring . . . assuming such a thing exists; on days colder than -30C, my faith is flimsy . . . Non-fiction, this is the story of Ray Bradbury’s months spent near Dublin in 1953, when he was writing the screenplay adaptation of ‘Moby Dick’ for John Huston, who was a genius. After reading the first chapters, though, I could see why he was married five times . . . Written in Bradbury’s unique voice, it is a very different look at Ireland just after the War. The advice he is given on bicycling at night is startling: keep your lights off and ride on the wrong side of the road, so as to avoid accidents. He is a genius himself, Bradbury, well worth re-reading for the joy of his way with words and language, nevermind his stories that take your mind ‘where no mind has gone before’ (well, except Ray’s) 😉

Then I added more green as well as some yellow and cooked it all again. What do you think of the new green?

20140301-234349.jpg Maybe that last picture shows the colour difference better.

Here is the Happy Hibiscus again. I think it’s feeling a bit tentative about opening those buds . . . it’s right next to the frosty glass doors and we keep the temperature down here.

Today those buds looked like this up close:

20140301-235051.jpg That’s not a sky full of clouds behind the HH, it’s the artistic work of one J Frost.

From the kitchen you can see the colour beginning to show . . .

Need a smile?

Listen to The Tortoise

Those are my other favourite singers. Well, two of them, anyway. I have a lot of favourites.

Were you wondering what happened to the silky bits?

20140302-022450.jpg Here they are, cooling off in Mum’s second bedroom and attaching to the last of the dye. As to how they have turned out . . . for now, we’re keeping a lid on it . . .

😉 😉 😉 😉 😉 😉 😉

This song is for . . . you know who you are 😉