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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

Quick Update

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

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

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

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

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

So I’m pretty pleased with myself in general.

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

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

Back soon, my friends! ~ Linne

A Taxing Day . . .

Well, I did it!! All my Income Tax returns have been completed!!!

But I forgot to post the Word for Wednesday . . . I guess this one will be a Word for the Week 🙂 . . . seriously, though, I’m posting it tomorrow; it’s 1:17 am and I’m bushed!!

Other good news: Delicious Delilah continues to thrive and I’m making a smoothie a day! They don’t need maple syrup now, though.

A banana, 5 or 6 small strawberries, 1 tsp nutritional yeast, 1level scoop soya powder; add kefir, top up with apple juice and blend. SO good!!

‘Lost’ and Found

You may remember that I have been going through my supplies and other things here; organizing and compacting. One of the delights has been ‘finding’ things, with all the memories still attached. Here’s a few:

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20130326-100541.jpgThese are from the printmaking portion of ‘Introductory Studio’. It was a first year uni class designed to help young students decide which art stream they were most interested in. I was a returning student and I had the most fun! For this print, we made a collaged self-portrait, inked it and wiped it, then ran it through the press with watercolour paper. You can see that the first one has too much ink left on and the second, while better, still had too much. I liked the third (sadly upside down, I see!) best and by then I was well and truly hooked on printmaking! A couple of years later I took a class with a practising printmaker and this is one of the prints I did there; it’s called “Gleaning the Mourning Tide”. It’s a unique, watercolour print and I love the texture achieved with this technique:

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Surprise coming:

Yesterday I was unexpectedly busy! I had planned to clear out items stored ‘temporarily’ in my bathroom, then scrub both bathrooms. But there is water dripping into an apartment on the 8th floor (Mum and I are on the top, 9th, floor), so all owners were asked to personally check all valves in their suite/s. So the two rooms were dealt with in less than an hour!! Then my Aunty came up to visit; then the wonderful couple who are Mum’s landlords came to inspect all things water; then I went down with my Aunty for a visit and ended up cutting her lovely hair and staying for supper. Was late when I got back (around 9:30), so not much time was spent in the Virtual Village . . .

So, the surprise, you say (and thanks for your patience!) . . .

I can’t tell you yet what it is, but another FO is close to being revealed!!

Also, I found a few more things on Friday to share with you; here’s one:

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When I worked in a tiny antiques store a few years ago (and it was like an alcoholic working in a liquor store, believe me!! I wish my stuff wasn’t all in storage; I know you’d love so much of it; the set of four grapefruit bowls shaped like an open waterlily attached to a lilypad leaf saucer and lustre-glazed in four pastels; pink, green, yellow and blue. But no room for them here, so they slumber on in my dream home . . .) Well, THAT was quite a blade of grass (family saying for being so distracted in the middle of a conversation), wasn’t it?

I was going to say (hope someone is still with me here . . .) that the photo is of the cover of the most amazing book! It came into the store, I fell in love, she went home with me so I would know she was well cared for forever . . . I love that the first lesson is on sewing an apron!

I also found this:

20130324-094025.jpg . . . not the best picture, but my focus was on sorting and organizing that day. This is an antique hexagon-shaped glass dish. I didn’t look to see if it is cut glass or pressed glass, but in any case, it’s gorgeous and I love it!

and here’s the view from my Aunty’s suite on a lower floor at the back of our building, showing the path to the street at the back:

20130324-095834.jpg and a longer view:

20130324-095943.jpg and a close-up showing how deep the snow is:

20130324-100031.jpg I have ordered requested (OK, I begged!) the sun to PLEASE move this snow to much more southerly climes! Get your wellies on, my friends!

The Fabric Cupboards

Here are the cupboards, out on the deck in sub-freezing weather (but not too cold; I didn’t need a jacket). One cupboard is washed, the other about to be…

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…and here they are in the second bedroom, filled with more than half my fabric stash:

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and:

20130226-153254.jpg These were some of the yarn display bins in one of the Lewiscraft stores until the chain closed a few years ago. I bought these and some other units.

. . . and while I’m at it, here’s most of the yarn I kept out of the storage:

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You can’t really tell from the photo, but the shelves extend to the left; I have two IKEA shelving units set up against the long wall; one on either side of a purple wooden cupboard stacked on my favourite old green set of drawers. There is more than yarn on the shelves; there are also two old comforters waiting to be upcycled (nothing special, just generic dept. store covers. Good for practising on, and will give some child a place to play, or curl up with a book . . .

Still organizing . . . and building my stash higher!

I’m nearly 3/4 finished with the re-organizing. So I bought a few quarter-yards of fabric on Sunday to fill in gaps in my stash. I hope that works; I didn’t take any swatches with me to the store, but sorta remembered what colours/values I needed. At least I know for sure that what I bought will blend with the existing stash.

I absolutely LOVE colour! (did I mention that before? once or twice??). So yesterday, I did a library run for Mum and myself and took time to check out the quilting books. I found a couple of great ones (along with a book on how to knit both socks at the same time on one circular needle (this will be handy, ’cause I found my grey-brownish sock yarn stash on the weekend; I’ve been wanting to make myself a pair of socks for some time, but had resisted the urge to buy more sock yarn. There has to be a limit somewhere . . . I think . . .).

I have to change out loads in the dryer now; then back to organizing. Will have to post more about the colour book later. I browsed through it over breakfast and was very impressed; by the book itself, but also by the quilts that were inspired by nature photographs. The same photo often inspired two or three very different quilts.

These are too advanced for my sewing skills, I think; I’m planning to start with the clothing that is half-finished, then go on to make some simpler quilts for practise.

OK, back to work for me!

Moving steadily forward . . .

. . . towards organization. Well, as much of it as will fit in here, anyway! I’ve managed to clear out half the second bedroom between Tuesday and today.

I made a great stew for supper, which we will eat presently, too. I was in a hurry, so didn’t take photos of any of the process. But I do have one of the meat and another of the simmering pot (minus the bones, which were just too large to leave in once I was ready to add the flour and the peas). I’ll post those later.

Back to thoughts of organization. I’m bringing in a couple of cupboards (did I mention this before? – can’t remember) after I give them a good wash on the balcony. They have been out there for a year and are pretty dirty (we live directly above one of the busiest streets in Edmonton). THEN I will have a good photo to post! I’m saying this ‘out loud’, so to speak, so that I won’t be tempted to quit once I’ve eaten and not get this last bit finished. After that step, the process should become easier.

I moved the two warping mills and the loom pieces, too, and vacuumed carpet as each section was exposed. It wasn’t dirty; more dusty. Anyway, now I have a nice clean area just waiting for those cupboards!

The other thing, today, was that when I took a break to drink my water, I checked some of the blogs I follow and was very excited to find a great story of a musician I’ve never heard of before; Jesus Rodriguez. I’ve added the link to that post on the ‘Music’ page, but here it is, too:

http://23thorns.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/jesus-died-but-now-he-lives-in-detroit-sort-of/

Anyone with children (or who has raised children) will likely laugh at this post:

http://23thorns.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/gulag-zen/

. . . not to mention his adventures with gourmet cooking:

http://23thorns.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/gourmet-cooking-with-23thorns/

I won’t spoil any of these for you by giving you details; you have to go read for yourself. but I read the gourmet cooking post first and laughed out loud through the reading. It SO reminded me of when my sons were small. Lots of fun. Oh, did I mention that 23 Thorns was Freshly Pressed? (if you don’t know what that means, it means featured by the WordPress people, so I expect he will have lots of new readers soon)

I think I’m a tortoise . . .

I haven’t reported on anything for a couple of days, but I have been nibbling away at a new organizing challenge; I have a large closet, not deep, but it runs nearly the length of Mum’s apartment hallway. When I first moved up here, I put a 3-drawer dresser in the middle, along the back wall, then a 2-door cupboard on top of that. I filled them with fabric I wanted to work with.

Unfortunately, as I kept moving things up, the space in front was filled with boxes and bags of things to store. Now I couldn’t get at my fabric. Of course, the Fabric Fairy was happy to remind me that there was more out there and took me right to the sales . . . but that’s a story I’ve told before . . .

A couple of days ago, I had a sort of ‘landslide’ in the closet, caused by my opening the accordion door a bit and tossing some large towels on top of the pile. After I closed the door (and thanks be that the door has a strong magnetic closure), I heard the soft sound of slippage . . . but I was scared to open the door again and look. Over the next couple of days the door slowly bulged out a bit into the hall as the landslide continued.

This must have been the slowest slide in history (and I’m grateful for that, too!). Anyway, yesterday, I pulled out most of the offending heap, stacking it in the living room. I washed the floor. Then I took some time to think about how I would put things back again. Overnight I had a sort of Eureka! moment; I realized that I have two yarn cupboards (from the now-defunct Lewiscraft store I once managed) sitting outside on Mum’s balcony.

So here’s what’s going to happen today: I’m going to pull out the rest of the fabric, fill the dresser and cupboard with items that need storing, but which I don’t need to access for some time. Then I’m bringing in the yarn cupboards, washing them down and stacking them in front of the dresser and cupboard.

The fabric can be stored there; I’ll be able to see it when I’m trying to decide what I’m going to make next (I have to be able to look at it because colour is vital to me when I’m designing anything); even more important, I’ll be able to get the fabric OUT and use it! Lately I’ve been thinking of various pieces and wishing I could get at them for a couple of projects I’m planning. And then there’s the red bouclé fabric . . . I bought a 1920s pattern to make a lovely cocoon coat out of this fabric, then couldn’t get to it. It won’t be soon, but at least when I’m ready, there will be nothing to stop me.

I was happy to find some Fat Quarters (FQs) in there that I bought aeons ago; these will be added to the newer stash and something interesting will come out of that, I’m sure. Did I mention the large-format softcover book I found in the library? It’s called “Fast Quilts from Fat Quarters” and it has a plan that I just love for making what I’m thinking of as ‘surprise’ or ‘happy accident’ quilts. I was able to get some crib-size batting the last time I went into the dreaded store, so now all that’s holding me back are the unfinished Christmas sewing projects and now re-organizing the closet.

I wish I could show you what I am doing, but my iPhone refuses to take any more photos, even though I dumped a bunch of them onto a flash drive; I will see what I can do about the rest of the pictures on there later today. Then I should have a lovely fabric arrangement to show you! And Mum will have an emptier living room! Win-Win, as they say. So now I’m off to get on that . . .

Afterthought: were you wondering why I used that caption for this post? ’cause I’m a very slow maker, that’s why; at least I am when I don’t have an organized space in which to work. Maybe I’ll turn into a hare when this is finished . . .

A good day!

I wasn’t too creative today, though I did get some knitting done during the news at 6. But I finally made a start on sorting all the stuff I piled on the floor of Mum’s second bedroom. I sorted 6 or 7 boxes and threw out stuff I meant to discard ages ago.

And then . . .

I made more soup! I meant to take pictures, but I didn’t. Except of my supper tray:

20130130-205747.jpgwhich is upside down here. Oh, well . . .
You can see the soup in the Poppy cup, with avocado alongside and the Artisan bread I made the other day is on the Poppy plate.

The soup is super-easy, based roughly on Frugal Feeding’s yummy recipe for Broccoli, Cauliflower, Leek (and potato) soup. What I did was:

Dice a large parsnip, a medium potato (skin and all), two large carrots and a medium onion, then simmered them with a couple cups of water and two rounded teaspoons of chicken broth powder and a couple shakes of garlic powder until everything was nicely cooked. My lovely stick blender made short work of ‘smooshing’ it up. It looked quite tasty in its lumpy state, but I seem to be on a blended soup kick these days.

So . . . Tomorrow I will get a bit more done on the 2nd bedroom, then I hope to work on the sewing and perhaps start a project that’s been coming together in my mind for a bit. More on that later . . .