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 . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If not on the edge 01

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.

23 Thorns Protector of All

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.



What’s a Walipini? . . . nope, not a new drink . . .

Gardening Walipini 01
A walipini is a greenhouse that is built into the ground to take advantage of the more stable temperatures and thermal mass of the earth. Ranging from simple to… elaborate, these structures allow you to grow all year long, in almost any climate on earth. Build your own, and take control of your food future!
Because . . .
Gardening is defiant 01
so . . .
(not sure where that came from originally; a friend sent it to me)
I finally learned how to make these, so this one’s for my hippie hugeller friends:[Crown]-Keep-Calm-And-Hugel-On
I’ve been waiting, somewhat patiently, for the final shipment of things for my new creative project. I thought I was all set to go last weekend, then found that one essential product I bought is not the correct version (who knew water softeners came in more than one version?), so I placed an online order and it should be here by Friday, which means my weekend will likely be fun. In the meantime I’ve finally beat that tooth infection into submission after a brief, but worrisome, recurrence. Doesn’t pay to get off the wagon too soon, or to lack in a certain amount of humility, either. Oh, well . . . it’s all good now.
This post is short, as I need to be off the computer soon. Not to mention my overflowing FeedReader is bleating at me (silently, but powerfully) to at least skim through some of its harvest. Hope you are all having a great week and staying warmer than our -28C (with windchill) today. Glad we have enough milk in the fridge for another day or two. I’d go out if needed, of course, but I’m glad when I don’t have to.  At least we have noticeably longer days and more sunshine now. (sorry, my southern friends) The sun is coming into the apartment in the late afternoons again, which is very nice, even if it shows up all the dustbunnies . . .
IMG_3720Last Autumn, these were among the last of the wee daisies I love.
I think they might be chamomile, actually.
Just a reminder, here:
. . . every cloud does have a silver lining . . .

A Toast to 2014, inspired by Narf7 . . .

A Little Black Bolshie Duckie Toast . . . to 2014
Here’s to the hippies, the old and the new;
The outcasts, the beatniks, the whole motley crew.                 
And here’s to the bolshie babes, and to their men
Who plant, weed and harvest again and again.
 The hugelkind kulturers, keepers of bees,
The rockers of children, the kissers of knees.
The goatherds, the shepherds, the makers of soap
The cheesemakers, quilters, creators of hope.
Let’s drink to the builders who shelter and mend
The world’s broken places, ‘til on past the bend
of the long weary journey they pause and look back
to see that the rifts are now barely a crack.
Here’s to the village, the virtual realm
The world’s a wee boat now, with you at the helm.
So healing’s begun, creativity’s rife,
Let’s all raise our glass to a good country life
In the city or country, a cottage can be
The source of our sustenance, where we can see
That no matter how humble, the place we love best
Is a home the heart yearns for, where each may find rest
Where frugal’s the watchword, where kindness abounds,
So that all ‘round the globe are heard wondrous sounds
Of planting and healing, of making and more
Of building a world that is good to the core.
Here’s to our friends, our relations, our foes
(without them we wouldn’t have kept on our toes),
We might not have grown so much, opened our minds
Not to mention our hearts, to the knowledge each finds
In the virtual village, where dwell kindred souls
Who walk their own paths to the same central goals
While improving the world in the east and the west,
The north and the south, in each place we love best. 
And here’s to the poets (not me) and the wise
The artists who open our magical eyes.
The writers, the marchers, the builders of cairns
Let’s all raise a glass to our friends and the bairns
Who, nurtured with kindness, will learn what they see
And one day will carry the torch we set free.
We’ll go to our rest, the young will go on . . .
And the world will awake to a lovely new dawn.
Let’s raise a glass of beer or wine, of kombucha or tea;
Let’s raise a glass to what has been and what is yet to be
Let’s drink a toast to those we’ve known, to those who’ve gone before,
To those we’ll meet in days to come, beside an open door.
I drink to the world that is soon to be born, to its faeries, its imps and its elves,
to all of the midwives that welcome it home and to every last one of your selves.
I have loved sharing the journey with each one of you, my readers; I look forward to more of the same in the coming year. Stay strong, keep the faith, look up and ahead . . .  With much love and appreciation, I wish you each joy, strength, hope, inspiration, love, creativity, healing, and so much more. 
A Most Happy New Year to you all!  ~ Linne

Footnote: this was inspired by Narf7 of The Road to Serendipity (Christmas Day post).

I hope those of you who prefer modern verse will forgive my indulgence in some pretty basic rhythm and rhyme; I honestly don’t  have time to do more. Warm hugs to everyone and I’m back to the kitchen . . .  (why didn’t you tell me Christmas was coming? I would have been ready . . .)     ~ L.

Fun with Friends . . .

I was over visiting my Crafty Friends a couple of days ago. They are so kind; picking me up even when I could easily bus to their place. First we took two enormous bags of cash-back recycling to the depot, then on to their place. Last autumn, Mr. CF tore down the old garage he’s been using for a workshop and built a new workshop. City regulations in their area don’t allow for re-building in that spot (too close to the alley), so they had three yards of gravel/sand mix delivered to firm up the surface where they park their cars. It will be nice to get out of a car without sinking into muck . . . but the gravel hadn’t been completely spread, so we each grabbed a snow shovel and set to work:


The pile was pretty wet from the deluge the day before, so we spread about a third and then left it to dry out more. That was fun!

Later, we sat on the front porch, relaxing and enjoying the front yard. I love their front yard; quirky, creative, unique . . . isn’t that ‘windchime’ cute? Their son made it . . . he’s the only one of the four kids who has inherited a love of creative and ‘different’ landscaping from his parents.

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I finally figured out how to create a slideshow!!  😉

. . . and while we were sitting on the porch, one of the daughters came by to drop off the grandbabies for an hour or so. She and her husband had bought a trailerload of ‘stuff’ at an auction (sight unseen) and were transporting the good stuff that they didn’t need to his mother’s, where they are having a garage sale this weekend. Of course, my Crafty Friends and I had a good peek in the back of the truck . . . and in a box of assorted china too recent to interest me, I found this:


It’s a cute little butter dish with a crackled finish and gold around the edge. The motto, also in gold, reads, “Ca canny wi the butter”, which means, in case you aren’t familiar with Scottish dialects, “Go carefully with the butter”. Not so long ago, farmwives would make butter and sell it to bring in a few extra pence. Only a wee bit was reserved for family use, so this motto was a way of reminding everyone to go easy on the butter or there’d be no more until the next churning. I asked if I could buy it and the daughter told me to take it, she wouldn’t get much for it anyway. I didn’t take asking twice!

Then she gave this nearly new bread machine to her mother to give to the son’s fiancee. But the offer was turned down, so my CF offered it to me . . . oh, how lucky I felt! We don’t have room in our tiny ‘kitchen’ to knead bread properly, so we’ve been buying bread forever, it seems. This maker had been used, but looked in good condition. Once I was home, I found the manual online and printed out enough pages to get me started.


Guess what I was doing yesterday . . . 🙂 IMG_3469[1]

that’s all that’s left of a 1.5 pound loaf . . . I made this one 60% whole wheat, but the next will be 100% with a bit of wheat germ, soy protein powder and Engevita nutritional yeast added. That will be done the next week I’m upstairs.

Today, I finally got together with my friend A and we went for a lovely walk around Lake Beaumaris, an easy bus ride for me and a straight north drive for A. We haven’t been there since last autumn, October, I think, as after that it was too darn cold and likely icy. Also in winter here it gets dark at an unearthly hour and we’d been warned not to walk around the lake after dark, as apparently there are gangs who hang out there then . . . and it’s always dark by the time work ends in the winter.

I’m very out of shape, since much of my time now is spent sitting or lying down. I’m getting lots of crafting done, but not exactly increasing my oxygen intake or keeping my heart and muscles in good shape. The Beaumaris walk is 2.5 miles (4 km); last autumn we had it down to less than 40 minutes and were looking forward to being able to do two rounds in less than an hour. But today I had to sit down three times (mind you, it was very hot, so sitting in the shade looking at the amazing view, with a cool wind blowing on our faces, was very appealing. I felt the shaded benches just sucking me into their orbit 😉

. . . here’s another slideshow from parts of that walk today. Note the sweet little ducklings and Canada Geese goslings . . . later on the walk, we came across a patch of wild roses; these are the provincial flower of Alberta, but we have plenty in BC, too. I’ve loved the sweet scent of them since I was a child . . .

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This weekend is a holiday weekend, with Monday off, as it’s Canada Day (formerly Dominion Day, which I still call it at times). When you are retired, days off don’t mean as much, except that the buses are less frequent and many of the stores close earlier. But Canada Day is important to me anyway; I love this country, no matter what I may think of our elected ‘servants’ . . .

Orienting towards Solutions . . .

Lately, I’ve posted links and re-blogged other people’s posts; I realize that staying informed can lead to an increase in fear, which in turn tends to lead us to ‘turn off’.

I feel there are other options, too. Creativity, especially practised daily, can be a powerful antidote to fear and pessimism. By creativity, I mean creating; writing, singing, making music, art, crafting something useful, decorative or both. I like to draw with coloured pencils, especially the aquarelles:

20130528-150647.jpg Nothing special, this, but making it lifted my spirits.

But I was also thinking of creativity in the sense of finding a creative solution to a problem. People all over the earth have been doing this for some time (well, forever, really, but here I’m thinking more of current challenges).

Often I’ve been guilty of saying something should be done about whatever it is that I’m paying attention to at that moment; but I’m only one person, with few resources, I say to myself. So I feel excused from action.

20130528-151648.jpg I like creating folk art designs, too.

Lately, as I think more about grass-roots activism, about positive and peaceful ways of overcoming great challenges, about moving from being problem-oriented to becoming solution-oriented, I am finding some unusual and inspiring stories crossing my path; like this one on “The Power of One”:
We aren’t all called to plant a forest; but now I’m inspired to think more about what I am called to do . . .
I plan to keep sharing links that inform and links that inspire. While I’m thinking about Creative Activism, I’ll continue my personal creative journey and share that, too.

Did I mention that I love making Art Dolls?

20130528-152724.jpg My favourite so far.

And here’s the “plain” garter stitch (well, mostly LOL) shawl as of yesterday afternoon:


20130528-153006.jpg Looks good on my Aunty, doesn’t it? But I’m not done yet . . .

The Word for Wednesday is . . .

. . . Lawns

In my opinion, it’s a bit ridiculous to plant huge areas of our earth with what is essentially a three-foot hay crop; spend time and money, fertiliser and water, trying to make it into a uniformly green ground cover and THEN spend more time cutting it to two or three inches in height! And how often do you see anyone sitting on the front lawn, enjoying it? Oh, I forgot; that’s not why we have lawns, is it?

We apparently have lawns as a visual reassurance to others that we are just like them. Don’t believe me? In many communities there are laws about keeping yards uniform with the neighbours’ yards.

This can be good if it means not going out each day and being confronted by heaps of garbage and rusting hulks.

But what if you want to grow your own? Food, that is . . .

For the past few years, I have been reading stories of people who have created productive food gardens in their front yards and then were forced to destroy them or be fined huge amounts.

Why? With so many going hungry, not just in third world countries, but here in Canada, the USA and other so-called first world countries, why do we not cheer when someone takes steps to grow food, even in a very small way? Why is uniformity, of homes, but even more so, of people, the most valued characteristic, when we know that monocultures are so unhealthy?

Are we really so insecure that we cannot deal with the fact that people make different choices and have different preferences?

What if we choose to observe the choices of others, then examine our own? or are we trying to avoid that? Why?

Back to Lawns . . .

Does anyone ever ask ‘Why lawns’? Does anyone make different choices about the use of the ground around their house?

What would happen if one out of every two or three homes had a food garden in front, instead of a lawn?

Now for the positive . . .

In some communities, people ARE being encouraged to grow food. Some now allow a few chickens. A handful are allowing a milk goat!! I feel joy when I read those stories; may there be more . . . Until growing your osn is so commonplace it’s no longer newsworthy . . .

I know there are lots of other resources out there, but I’m out of time. Feel free to share your links and comments.

Spring or Autumn, enjoy your garden or any garden today!!