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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

Trixe and Flame are all dressed in their costumes and ready for a fun night of Trick-or-Treating. They are a little concerned that their dedication to collecting donations for the charity food drive might slow them down.


I hope Trixie remembers to bring Benjamin Bowser's leash. When the wagon is full of donations he'll have to get out and walk.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Eenie, Meanie and Hermoine

Meet the hard working Panda Tetras that are here to cycle the tank. I've named them Eeny, Meanie, and Hermoine. Watching the 12 second video you might be able to figure out which one is "Meanie".

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Meanie may have to move out when Ben, the Betta, is ready to move in. With Ben's large beautiful fins and prior solitary lifestyle a nipper and chaser might not be a welcome tank mate.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Better Home for Ben

For the past 6 weeks or so I've been caring for my eldest daughter's Betta fish, Ben. That's him hanging out on the leaf near the surface in this 1 gallon vase like tank. Even if the tank's "no-clean" system worked as it was supposed to it still wasn't an ideal home for Ben. It's too small and too cold.



But the no-clean system was clearly not working as it should since even with large daily water changes there was debris building up on the very bottom of the small tank. Even though the water above remained clear looking that build up of waste could not be good for the water quality.  

Initially I only had my daughter's fish so that I could do some much needed tank maintenance for her. But after doing a lot of reading about Betta fish I couldn't shake the feeling that his little tank was too small and too cold for him. I felt bad for the little fish and decided he needed a bigger, warmer, cleaner tank.

Costly decision that!




But after much research and agonizing over various options,


I bought a Fluval Spec 5 gallon tank, a BioOrb 50 watt heater, a few artificial plants, aquarium safe rocks (not as dumb as it sounds apparently), and 10 pounds of gravel. My son will be providing some aquarium treatment and a couple of small hardy fish, possibly ones from his tank, to get the "cycling" started. Once the tank is "stable" Ben will be able to move in.

All links are provided only for your convenience and interest. I receive no compensation for "clicks" or anything else.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Better Than Expected

So the random colours I drew from the bag of crayons for the guild's year end challenge are playing together far better than I expected. Yay!


The 3 colours drawn were Spring Green, Goldenrod, and Brown. They must make up at least 60% of the finished article. I've added in a red-orange for zing and there is an occasional small blip of blue happening when it appears as the second ply in a predominately brown yarn.


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Warp's Wound

The warp is now wound. I might have time later today to get the reed sleyed. I'm looking forward to having grandchildren coming in the evening for dinner and a sleepover so I won't likely have time to get the warp onto the loom.

 3 @ Random Challenge warp wound.

Since these are not colours that look good on me I'm going to weave a cowl and hat set that I can sell later. They are fun to do and seem to sell well.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Stash Diving

I dug through my yarn stash this afternoon with the crayons for the guild challenge in hand. Coming up with a basket of suitable yarns wasn't as tough as I expected and I'm kind of looking forward to getting started.

3 random colours challenge

Initially I thought I'd have to go predominantly with the goldenrod, but after checking my bin of greens I found I had quite a lot of the exact "spring green" I needed. Once I added in a chocolate brown I was able to ditch much of the goldenrod which I didn't really care for. I still have a touch of it though -- challenge rules require it. 

Listening to the comments here and on Ravelry I'm going to add in an orange-red for zing.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Challenging Challenge

This should be interesting, --- challenging even! 😟


Our guild's year end challenge is to make something that passes guild standards and uses three colours we choose blindly from a grab bag of crayons. To pass guild standards an item must be handwoven or hand felted, or if knit or crocheted must be made from handspun yarn.

Some lucky members ended up with 3 colours that went together so well that you'd have thought they were peeking. One got white and two shades of purple. I'd have loved that one! Another had three shades of orange that all went well together. Me? I got brown, spring green, and goldenrod.

Goldenrod and brown aren't exactly colours I'd ever pick on my own. Spring green seems okay, but might be hard to combine with the other two. The rules for the challenge state that the chosen colours have to make up 60% of the article. So I CAN incorporate other colours, but the three colours I drew from the bag must make up more than half of the project. It IS okay, according to the rules, to have only one of those colours represent most of the 60% with only small touches of the others.

Wish me luck? Please?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Naughty Tales!

As we were taking down and packing up the exhibits from the "Fibre Flair" display at the Art Room there was a last minute sale. This lovely young lady was helping with the dismantling of the show and she tried on my "Naughty Tales!" waterfall vest.


It looked fabulous on her and ended up being the item she chose as a birthday gift from her grandmother, who is a member of our guild and one of the members of the art show committee. 


This had been a last minute finish for me, only completed the night before the deadline for jurying of the submitted items. 



I only remembered as it was about to go out the door today that I had never taken the time to photograph it. I like to keep a photographic record of all things I make so I was very happy that she agreed to model it for me.


This is an all cotton vest with travelling inlay and clasped weft patterning. It is sewn in the waterfall style with a hi/lo hemline and the added interest of knotted tails, hence the name, "Naughty Tales".


Monday, October 16, 2017

For Your Safety!

Part of my clutter clearing in my crafting spaces has been picking up projects that have been on hold for some time and working on them. I figure the very act of making some progress on them should clear some of the stuck energy.

In the last few days I've added a couple of textile hobby related quotes to my crafting apron, which is a l-o-n-g term project. I still need ideas for getting knitting, crocheting, and spinning represented.




I work on my cross-stitch picture for about an hour every morning while I have my coffee. It's a large picture with lots of colour changes and it's done on 28 count linen. Progress is very, very slow.

October 16, 2017

I've added to my Sashiko/Boro vest.

Boro/Sashiko

The back is sort of finished for now. I say "sort of" because the intent is for this to be a perpetual project. I'll be adding patches and further embellishment in the Boro style, over the years, as the garment wears and needs further patching.

I've now moved on to the front where I've added a few patches (legitimate ones, over holes and very worn sections of the original shirt),

A little progress on the front.

and a whole lot of stitching.

Sashiko. Komezashi (rice stitch)

The vest is so comfy that between each addition I try to keep it wearable as is.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Year to Clear

Last week, I stumbled across a clutter clearing course called "A Year to Clear What is Holding You Back". It wasn't expensive so, on a whim, and following my intuition, I signed up. Rather than tackling your clutter in an intense and all consuming way and risking burn out and rebound issues it focuses on the "slow drip" method. The idea is to clear a little bit each day forming a habit, while spending time uncovering any deep rooted and personal reasons for clutter, both inside and out, emotional as well as environmental clutter.

Tidying up the sewing room one baby step at a time.

It's amazing how the commitment to clearing just one item, or for just a minute or two each day gains momentum all on its own and without any forcing of it. In only one week I can see improvement, but more importantly I feel it. The energy in the home improves when you take steps towards getting rid of unneeded items and taking care of the items worthy of saving.

Yesterday I started tidying up the sewing room one baby step at a time. I gave the room a high priority since the mess and cramped quarters robs me of the joy I normally find in being creative. First to get under control was a mess of lace and trims saved for crazy quilting. I consider these to be "keepers" but the loose jumble had taken over a small shelf and the mess was an eyesore, a source of aggravation, and not easy or pleasant to use.

This looks and feels so much better! The pretty little basket was one I had on hand but I'll have to replace it with something a bit larger. I know that through my lack of organization in there, and my multiple hobbies, I have more than one "stash pile" of lace, ribbons, and trims and I'd like to combine them all in an organized, compact, and more user friendly way. The 2" x 3" cards (cut from greeting cards) works well but I'll need a bigger container.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Contemporary Cables

One of the benefits of having a long standing blog is that occasionally I am offered books to review. Other than receiving the book for free in return for my honest, unbiased opinion I receive no further compensation. Any links provided here are soley for your convenience.  

Today's review is of "Contemporary Cables" by Jody Long, a soft cover pattern book published by Dover Publications, Inc.  I quite like this one!



This 128 page pattern book is laid out beautifully with large, clear photos that show the details of the 21 knitted articles very well. There are patterns for 9 pullovers, 4 cardigans, a vest, a large wrap, (I'd call that one a lap robe or afghan myself), 2 shrugs, a hat, a scarf, and mittens. They are all nice cabled designs that I'd be happy to knit. The one I'm most likely to knit for myself is the "Grandfather Cardigan". It looks like just the kind of comfy, over-sized sweater I like to wear when I'm feeling chilled.

All of the sweater patterns come in a good range of sizes typically fitting a chest size from 32 to 46" (81.5 - 117cm) with some going as large as to fit a 54" bust. 

Having just received the book I haven't yet knitted any of the patterns, but the format looks good with large, easy to read charts, written instructions, and schematics included.

If I wasn't overwhelmed with the number of fibre arts projects I already have on the go I'd start in on knitting that "Grandfather Cardigan" right now! This is one book that I'll be hanging on to!

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Quietly Busy

I haven't written a lot lately, a blogger's version of writer's block I guess, since I have been plenty busy crafting!

1st place, WIP (unfinished item with essay on excuses for it being incomplete). View the photo full size and you can read the essay.

I've been spending a good chunk of my available crafting time working on a cross-stitch, pictured above, that I entered in the "WIP with essay" category of the fall exhibition. I started it 23 years ago! If you want to read the essay about why it was abandoned click on the picture and it should take you through to Flickr where it can be viewed larger.

I got a blue ribbon for the project at that unfinished stage. Lets see how I do next year with it finished!

I work on this project for about an hour each morning while I have my coffee. It's slow going but very gradually all those mornings are adding up.


The rumpled view above is how far I had come by September 13th. Since then I "climbed" that tree on the left all the way to the top of the pattern and I'm now filling in the back stitches that will bring detail to the cluster of trees before moving on. 

October 1, 2017

I use an adjustable music stand and a magnetic knitting chart holder to keep my chart right next to my chair where I can see it and cross off the stitches I have done.

My system for organizing cross-stitch threads.

The stand has a ledge that is just deep enough to hold my embroidery scissors, a pencil, and a magnetic "needle nanny".

Needle Nanny

All my threads for the project are sorted in numerical order and held on a large binder ring which is hung on the side of the stand. It's a homemade thread wrangling system I came up with decades ago. I think it makes way more sense, and is easier to use, than the "bobbins" I've seen available commercially. Fortunately I taught the system to my mother as well. She loved it and used it for years. When I inherited her thread collection it was already presorted using this method. When I see her hand writing on the cards it gives me a nostalgic feeling just like her handwriting on old recipe cards does.

Here's a little video clip with an explanation of how easily the system works. No need to unwrap the threads or anything and you can pull out one single ply at a time without tangles!

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Misty Morning

Living here in paradise, if we're up before dawn


and out on Cultus Lake by 8 AM, 


we are able to enjoy a quiet hour or so on the lake


before those with noisy power boats and jet skis disturb the peace.


A beautiful way to start the day!


Monday, August 21, 2017

Dappled Eclipse Shadows

During the eclipse this morning I was going about business as usual, which means taking my son's dog Kona for a long walk.

Eclipse Shadows


I didn't expect to see much of a change in the light. It seemed logical to me that sunlight would spill out all around the moon and still illuminate the atmosphere much like when a cloud passes in front of the sun. I was right. The slight decrease in the brightness of the day wasn't all that impressive.

I DID however notice that the shadows under all the trees looked really weird. All the light shinning through the trees made crescent shaped dappling during the height of the eclipse. I guess it worked much like a home made pin hole camera as suggested by NASA.

More eclipse shadows.



Sunday, August 20, 2017

Our 40th Anniversary

We spent our 40th wedding anniversary in a manner that so suits our introverted ways. 


Quietly paddling along Lightning Lake in Manning Park


The weather was perfect! Neither too hot nor too cold.


We saw numerous water fowl and listened to the enchanting song of a loon. 


Lots of fish were jumping all around us, one directly in front of my kayak. 


Beautiful large blue dragonflies flitting everywhere. 
Sorry, wasn't fast enough to photograph jumping fish and flitting dragonflies!
You'll just have to take my word for it.


You'd think from the photos that we spent most of our anniversary far apart, but that wasn't the case. We were often floating together enjoying the beautiful scenery and the quiet tranquility. 
The PERFECT way to spend a major milestone anniversary!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Bobbing Along

With the purchase of a couple of kayaks our stay-cations just got a lot more fun!



We've been "trying out" kayaks from Western Canoe Kayak in Abbotsford annually for a few years now.


Always something came up that made us postpone the purchase.


But we've finally taken the plunge. Well, not literally; no one has been dumped in the water yet. The kayaks are surprisingly stable.


I'm looking forward to the mini-vacations. There are plenty of small "no motor boat" lakes to explore around here. 


We purchased the kayaks yesterday and today we went to Abbotsford's Mill Lake to get them out for their inaugural run. 


Even in the midst of the city it was peaceful just bobbing along out there.




We didn't have to buy expensive, ugly roof racks for my car either! Both kayaks load quickly and securely into the back of my husband's truck and only require a tie down rope.