Sunday, September 25, 2022

A Moat

 Our castle (house) had developed a problem with the drainage around the foundation, which caused water to seep into the house. This isn't really unusual in my neighbourhood, since the houses are about 55 years old. This week, the contractors arrived to fix the problem. This meant digging a trench around the outside at the front of the house. When it started to rain (yet again), I started referring to it as my moat, and started shopping for a sea monster. Turns out, sea monsters are in short supply on the internet, but the trench has been filled and the mess is nearly gone.

While this was going on, the pets and I hid in the family room and sunroom at the back. So we did laundry, read books, knitted, and played games.

I finished these socks. They match about as well as you can manage with a self striping yarn. 

While trying to take a picture of Emme, Mudd decided that I needed help.

He is such a character. You can tell he is asking "Whatcha Doin'?" Photo bombing is one of his specialties.

Meanwhile, Emme is wondering why the begonia she loves to torture is out on the patio. 

Awhile ago, I started taking apart a bag that had become worn around the edges. Today, I finished the job and realized that I had enough prequilted fabric to make 2 zippered pouches. So, I will do that. Maybe they can raise some money for Mudd and Emme's rescue group.

The fabric is some vintage Laurel Burch, no longer available. I think it might be my favourite of all her fabrics. 

Since fall weather is truly here, I think I will go and sit by the fire with my knitting. Looks like we will be getting more rain soon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Tools of the Trade

 And here it is, the middle of September, and this is my first post of the month.

I have lots of good excuses, and these are my best ones.

Look at how big they are getting! Emme is more thoughtful in her activities, and Mudd is into everything.

A friend gave me reason to think of this the other day, so I thought I would blog about it. When sewing (or knitting) there are some things you can "cheap out" on, and heaven knows, tools are expensive, but some things it is worth buying the best.

Scissors are the theme of this discussion. My mother didn't sew, and when I first started sewing, I needed a pair of good sewing shears. My dad, who always equated heft to quality bought me a pair of large, heavy shears. I don't even know where they are now, but I do know that I wore the chrome plating off the handles.  

I bought some lighter shears when I started sewing for my kids and needed sharp shears to cut knit fabrics.

I bought these Fiskars with a scissor sharpener on the sheath. They are safe to carry around and always sharp. I actually have two pair, the second pair doesn't have a sheath.

Recently, with aging joints, I bought these shears. Still Fiskars but much easier on my wrists and fingers.

My first pinking shears came from my grandmother. She didn't sew, either but a lady she knew was giving them away. Perfect for a 16 year old.

They are probably 80 years old and they weigh a lot. They are loose, so the fabric an wrap itself around the blades.  I used them until someone in a class I was taking loaned me hers to try.

I bought my own pair, immediately. Light and easy to use. I have had these for quite awhile now and do not regret buying them.

Lest you think I am stuck on Fiskars, I do have other scissors. These are my sewing snips, that sit next to my machine.

Of course, they are purple.

Last year, in the midst of mask making, I realized it would be easier if I had some applique scissors to cut the filter fabric out of the seam allowance. So, I bought these.

Useful and pretty! My grandson asked if he could try the applique scissors and his grandfather told him not to ever ask that. Nobody touches Nana's scissors!

I may be overly pessimistic in my creating, because, while looking for scissors, I discovered 6 stitch rippers within easy reach of my machine.

I'm pretty sure I have more, in other parts of the house, where I do hand sewing.

The intesting thing is that all of these tools are used to make masks.

Some of my recent mask production for back to school. The scrap pile is dwindling (yeah, right).

The garden thinks it is fall, and the leaves are starting to change, so I leave you with some asters, in my garden.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

A Tiny Squirrel

I am suppose to be making masks for back to school, and I have a bunch of cutting finished. However, I got distracted by a family elder getting a new phone. A new phone would, of course, require a case. I measured the phone, pulled out some fabric and looked at my numbers. The numbers were very close to the size of the hand sanitizer pouches that I make. I had one sitting here, so I tried it, and it was a close fit but a bit pinched at the top.

See the problem? The top right corner is leaning toward the inside. So I pulled out my stitch ripper. and opened up the turning opening.

 Then I turned it inside out and trimmed the seam allowances at the join between the lining and the outside. Turned it back, and presto!

All nice and square now, after a 15 minute repair.  Of course, I'm still behind on the masks but I have time to cut some today.

My garden at the front is looking good with all the rain we have had. 

We have a serious pink theme this year! Sadly, the pots closer to the house have had invaders.

For some reason, the squirrels seem to be digging in the pots. The begonias are not happy. However, someone is happy to see squirrels.

Emme discovered that her yard has squirrels and she is thrilled. The kittens are settling in and decided this is their home. 

Linking up with Sandra for her DrEAMi party. Check out who else got distracted this month.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Where Did August Go?

Suddenly August is half over, and I have little to show for it. So I'll show you what has sort of been keeping me busy.

I started this shawl in early July. Just a little one skein shawl, but somehow, it didn't go as fast as I would have expected. 

It is really long so it was hard to take a picture. The others I have seen finished seem to have the same problem. I used some Stroll Glitter yarn that I had in my stash, and used 104 gm. of yarn (which meant I had to go into another skein).

The lace is quite simple so I don't know why it took so long. The pattern is Trail and Blaze by Jem Arrowsmith and is available free until the end of August.

The other bit of excitement is that we have retired from fostering cats and kittens and adopted our own kitties.

This is Mudd, who has already found a friend in my grandson.

Mudd is about 3 months old.

We also adopted Emme (pronounced Em-me) who is 10 months. She is a bit more cautious, and is currently residing behind the dryer.

Each day she is getting a bit braver, so I am sure she will join us soon. They already have their own Instagram account (@muddandemme) and will soon have more followers than I have. 

With school starting soon, I have masks to make again, so I need to get working on that.

Monday, July 25, 2022

In Praise of Libraries

 I discovered libraries when I was about 8. I loved them. You could go and get books, read them, and take them back to exchange for more books. By the time I was 15, I was spending so much time in the library that they hired me, and I started making $0.90/hr. to hang out at the library! It was a tiny branch, with a staff of 2 at any given time. In our free time, we were expected to read, so I always had a book under the counter. 

I went to university, where libraries became a place of research, or a quiet place to work away from my residence room. 

As an adult, I took my kids to the local library, I volunteered at the library, I even served as a Library Trustee for a brief period. I love libraries.

In these interesting times, I have been ordering lots of ebooks from the library. They are great because they return themselves.

Last week, on another blog, the author mentioned an article in the new issue of McCall's Quilting. My first thought was to try to buy a copy. Silly because I have been recycling all kinds of quilting magazines, lately. So, I decided to see if they had a digital copy at the library.

I now have a digital copy on my tablet, that I can read for three weeks, then it will check itself back in. I can even set a notification so the library app will tell me when they get the next issue. I think my magazine buying days are over!

Meanwhile, the weather has been really hot here (well for Canada). Last week, we got to 30.5 C. Quite a stretch from there to our February -25C. So, I have been knitting.

Baby socks take no thought and go together quickly, and a friend has a new grandbaby. Before long, babies will need wool socks again.

I also bought some yarn for Christmas gifts.

Ancient Arts was having a sale on some misdyed skeins. They look okay to me. I see these as a shawl/scarf and a pair of Border Collie socks.

I disn't post my last minute pretrip sewing.

I made a bunch of hand santizer pouches to give as hostess gifts. I like the Tula Pink teacups. I think I may modify the pattern to make cell phone cases.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

A Trip West

 As I told you last time, we headed west for a gathering of the clan. Lots of pictures were taken and I will share a few.

In Victoria, we stayed in a condo apartment complex. The gardening around the building was wonderful.

The tree on the left is a Dogwood, floral emblem of British Columbia. The one on the right is a California Lilac, a popular hedging plant in Victoria.

I also discovered that Dogwoods come in pink, too.

The condo had a lily pond and it was just getting ready to bloom.

Oddly, although there were lots of benches through the apartment gardens, we never saw anyone sitting on the benches (except us).

It seemed that nearly everywhere we went in the city, we had to go around Mt. Douglas.

I liked the sun shining on it at sunset.

While in Victoria, we did some geocaching. I think we found a total of 10 caches. Our biggest achievement was to climb to the top of  Observatory Hill to find caches.

This is the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. It was opened in 1918. You can read more about it here.

The walk to the top and back was about 4.5 km and the rise in elevation was 167 m. We were fooled by the cache posting that said the cache could be done in about 30 minutes. If you drive to the parking lot inside the fence, that is possible, but we were there on a Sunday when the road is closed to cars. I'm pretty sure I got my steps in that day. We didn't see very many people (mostly nobody) but we did see a couple of bunnies and this lovely.

We saw a second one on the way back down the hill. We were surprised that it looks like the deer we see here except eastern deer have white tails and western deer have black tails.

This was the view from the top, looking down.

We also spent time in Parksville, which is the home of Rathtrevor Beach.

At low tide, the tide goes out a very long way.

You can observe little sea creatures in the tide pools.

You can build sandcastles.

Or, you can enjoy the wonderful views. 

The purpose of the trip, and the gathering of 4 generations was to celebrate a very special event.

It was the 90th birthday of a mother, grandmother and great grandmother. We decided to do it up in style.

On the way home, I was reminded of how vast my country is. While flying east, overnight, I awoke at about 2AM (maybe it was 3) local time, somewhere over the middle part of Canada, to see the sun rising in the north.

How cool is that?

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Travel Adventures


I have been traveling. The last time I travelled anywhere was in October, 2019. Needless to say, this trip was very exciting.

I haven't travelled a whole lot, but having a bi-coastal family means that I've made a fair number of trips within Canada. One thing I know for sure is that one should never expect air travel to go smoothly.

My flying experiences started when I was in university. I was a co-op student and standby plane tickets in those days were about $25. So I used this when flying between my parents home and my co-op placement in Ottawa. On one trip, the plane landed at Peterborough and couldn't take off again. The airline offered a bus for the rest of the trip. (a 20 minute plane ride, 3 hours by bus). Most of the passengers made other arrangements, but the two starving students on the plane were going to be travelling by bus. Fortunately, a couple of businessmen with a private plane offered us a ride. So, I took a 4 seater to Ottawa, arriving about 2 hours after I was suppose to, but on time for work the next day.

A couple of years later, I took a trip to Vancouver to visit a friend who had moved there. The airline decided to go on strike while I was there. I ended up buying a standby ticket back to Toronto via Seattle, Chicago, and Detroit. Again, I arrived in time for work the next day. I now always fly with my passport.

I have had other adventures where getting home has gone less then smoothly. This time, our flight from Victoria to Calgary was going to arrive in Calgary about 2 hours after our flight from Calgary to Ottawa was going to leave. So we took another route home that saw us drinking coffee in Vancouver for a considerable length of time. At least we found reasonable good coffee.

So, what have I learned? Besides the passport, first off, be polite. The passenger agents are likely just as frustrated as you are. Start by asking for help. In this case, I asked if they could get me home. They checked and found that even if they sent us on to Calgary there were no seats to Ottawa on a later flight, or the next day even. So they sent us to Vancouver, where there were seats on the overnight flight to Ottawa. 

Secondly, be flexible in your plans. We have been upgraded by a passenger agent, and I think it was because we were not asking for anything but a flight home.

Finally, Canadian airports are a mess right now. The security people are unhappy and are taking it out on the passengers. If you don't need to fly, stay home. If you do need to fly, try to avoid major centres like Toronto or Montreal. 

I will be hiding in my house for the next while. However, it was worth the aggravation and delays for this:


Two of my favourite men, planning their activities for the morning! More BC pictures, soon.