Sunday, May 12, 2024

Little Joys

It's Mother's Day.  
I know everyone's circumstances are different.
Some are celebrating with, or celebrated by, their families.
Others are alone or grieving.
Yet for others it is just another Sunday.

Whatever your inner world view is at this point in time, I'm sharing some little joys of mine on this day.


Look close...a baby robin peeks out of its nest outside my kitchen window:

Not exactly a "joy," but they are pretty cute...and put an end to my trying to live trap the critters:

Magic in the night sky:



A gray thatcher singing his heart out:

The thatcher's song:

I wish for you a day of little joys.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Lucy Nowlen and Robin's Rules of Wonky...

 After many years of agonizingly overthinking debating linen choices, I finally started - and finished - stitching "Lucy Nowlen."  It is an antique reproduction mourning sampler by Pineberry Lane.

{This is NOT where it will hang. It will be properly pressed and framed...eventually.  I simply tacked it here in order to be able to photograph it without attempting a ladder accident shoot.}

Most traditional mourning samplers have motifs typical of the era - tombstones, angels, willows, urns, etc.  Lucy's, however, is simply verses from an old hymn which was often sung at children's funerals.  The verses - or portions of them - also appeared on tombstones during the early to mid-19th century.
The hymn is attributed to Joel A. Knight and was published in a book of hymns in 1806.


My photos are looking very washed out...In person, the colors are somewhere in between the original and the model photo.  (I did use the called-for floss.)


Nothing is actually known about Lucy.  We can presume, however, that she was a child from the fact that the hymn was a children's song, and that she died prior to 1848 when the sampler was stitched (or finished).  It is also likely that the original sampler was stitched by a family member (I'm thinking a sister?) given the initials 'M.N." on the right side of the sampler.


I stitched mine on 36 count "Wren" by Picture this Plus.  It is worked in a variety of stitches: Algerian eyelet stitches, long-arm cross stitches, and regular cross stiches over 3, over 2, and over 1...a great MANY over 1 (all of the lower case letters from the second verse on are over 1...in addition to some in the first verse as well.

There's your history lesson....Now for Robin's Rules of Wonky....

(Not to be confused with Robert's Rules of Order....


Trust me...you don't want to confuse ANYTHING with that.  As a former elected parliamentarian, I can attest to the tediousness of Robert's Rules of Order.

For those of you lucky enough to never have had to endure membership in a society or organization requiring such antiquated rules of procedure and a parliamentarian to adjudicate the orderly conduct of meetings and business, here's a definition:

parliamentarian
ˌpär-lə-ˌmen-ˈter-ē-ən
NOUN
  1. an adherent of the parliament in opposition to the king during the English Civil War
  2. an expert in the rules and usages of a deliberative assembly (such as a parliament)
  3. a member of a parliament
 
{Hint: I was NOT involved in the English Civil War, nor am I, nor ever was I, a member of a parliament.}

And, yes, yes I do still have my worn copy of Robert's Rules of Order....someplace.)

There's your arcane trivia - and completely uncalled-for digression - for the day.

Anyhow...back to my rules of wonky.

Some of you may remember the battle between my OCD and my fondness for wonkiness while stitching my last large piece ("Grace Bridges" by Stacy Nash).  I ended up spending a great deal of time and energy correcting alphabets, adjusting spaces to suit my sense of symmetry, etc.

So...you may wonder why I would not have done the same with this piece given the numerous instances of wonkiness. The same letters are stitched differently in different words and sometimes in the same word, words in the same line of verse are stitched higher or lower than other words in the line, missed stitches in certain letters, incongruent punctuation, etc.  Most obvious of all are the errors in numbering the verses:  "2rd" (vs. "2nd") and "3th" (vs. "3rd").

And absolutely no tug of war with my OCD...because this is a reproduction of an actual antique sampler versus a sampler that was simply designed to look old.
This is the way that the stitcher - whoever she/he was - stitched it originally 176 years ago, and Wendy (a/k/a Pineberry Lane) took great pains to dissect the original and chart it exactly as it had been stitched so long ago.
I felt obliged to honor both Lucy and the stitcher of her humble sampler by following her needle paths exactly - or at least to the best of my ability.


Not that you asked...but there you have it.  My rules of wonky.

Friday, April 26, 2024

The Keeper of the Tulips...and the Squatters

 

It's been a year and a half since I lost my best friend.
Time has only honed the wound, not softened it.
There are daily reminders of his absence.
Every day...and every night.

Spring is slowly waking here in Nod...but this year there will be no tulips blooming.

Snowdog was a great many things, not the least of which was the Keeper of the Tulips.


Even when age and illness limited his mobility, he would make his rounds making sure other critters in the kingdom of Nod knew he was still there.

And my tulips were safe.


But this year, is the second year spring he is not here, and the rabbits are running rampant.

Big ones:


Little ones:


Strangely patterned ones:


And in-between ones:


What is left of the tulips isn't pretty.


But even worse than the tulips are the "squatters."
As soon as the sun goes down and the dark settles properly in, the "noises" begin.
Loud, running, thumping sounds on top of my basement's tin ceiling that conjures movies like "Aftermath" or "Boy in the Walls," rousing the cats from their beds and bringing them sprinting down the stairs...only to retreat quickly looking thoroughly shaken.

I have had two contractors come over to "investigate" and both have told me that at the time of WWR ("When We Remodeled"), the foundations on the basement additions were not properly sealed - leaving open a literal thoroughfare to critter squatters from the outside.
However, neither contractor could actually fix the problem. 
Apparently it is a MAJOR problem and will involve a great deal of "moving" - of furniture, stuff, landscaping, etc.

I've put peppermint oil, Irish Spring soap, cayenne pepper, and chives around the foundation to no avail. (I had an owl decoy too...but it flew blew away in the last storm.)  Live traps you say? Yes, I tried that too...but for every one caught and released miles away, 2 more appear.

Initially I thought it was red squirrels who were "squatting" in my basement ceiling, but they've been relatively scarce of late, while the rabbits, well, the rabbits have been doing what rabbits do best - multiplying. (See comment above re live traps.)

This is one of the burrows under the porch that is I believe is a port of entry as every morning whatever dirt or stones I've placed there is worked around and the entry reopened and I've seen the adorable little fur things coming and going from it.


Rabbits to me are so stinking adorable....but they are really getting on my very crankiest side.

So there you have it: Another day in a (very) cranky crow's life in the merry ol' land of Nod.

Guess daffodils will have to do this year.


Saturday, April 6, 2024

One-derland....


Last month, precious little Mia turned 1.  
For those of you new here, Mia is my (first and only) granddaughter who was born prematurely, weighing in just over 3 lbs.
At the request of one person (you know who you are), this is a glimpse of her first birthday celebration.

Her birthday theme was a take on Alice in Wonderland (i.e. "Mia in One-derland") and her mum had the house decorated like a virtual wonderland.






Mia's mum works at an extraordinary floral shop and has an amazing gift for details.
Obviously, I was enamored by the floral arrangements and didn't get photos of much else, but she had little arrow signs all over, giant-sized cards hanging from the ceiling and "Wonderland" clocks all over.


Teacups and teapots of every sort were filled with gorgeous blooms.


And, of course, there was cake...


...which the birthday girl enjoyed a little more than she should...


...but she cleans up more than beautifully.

 


As you see, she is well and thriving.  Unfortunately, we learned yesterday that she will need to wear leg braces.  Not permanently, hopefully, but this little fighter has had her share of challenges this past year.  
Thank all of you who have kept her and her parents in your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, March 30, 2024

He Is Risen...

 
{"He Is Risen" - design by Jenny Hoffman of Country Rustic Primitives}

Wishing you a joy-filled Easter.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Three Snows on the Robin's Tail

{Apologies for the amorphous nature of the photos...the blurs are made by falling snow.} 

 The old saying is that it will snow on the robin's tail three times before spring is sprung.  My mum, however, upped the number to 7 being that we live in Nod.
I can't tell you when the robins returned this spring (I wasn't paying attention) but, despite our mild winter, their little tails have been dumped on twice already that I know of.


Early this past Friday morning, we got about 5" of snow and this weekend we received another 11" or a bit more. 


I am grateful, though, that it wasn't the 21" Cathy from Acorn Hollow received.
Little blessings - I'll take 'em.

Regardless, it is a strange sensation to wake to the muffled stillness created by a heavy snowfall and have it pierced by the cacophony of a bobbin of robins descending on the berried trees.


I believe the robins from every corner of Nod visited our crabapple trees and bittersweet vines.


I am glad they have the berries and seeds to tide them over until Spring is brave enough to show her face again and melts this stuff.  

But I do wish I had a barn for them to sit in, poor things.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Slainte

Slainte!

As far as I know, I haven't a lick of Irish blood in me, but I believe I would love that beautiful island of green.
I do not celebrate St. Patrick's Day in any grand way, but I do enjoy cooking a hearty corned beef brisket complete with cabbage (I like mine creamed), parslied baby red potatoes and carrots.

And each year, I stitch some kind of small tuck or such to add to my collection.
This year I actually finished two.
This is "Luck Basket," a free design from Pinker n Punking Quilting & Stitching.
I stitched it on a scrap piece of mystery linen (although I am pretty certain it is 40 ct. "Raw" by Zweigart) and mounted it in this hanging clock case:


It's a bit difficult to see because of the curved outer case, but you get the idea.


I hope to stitch other little seasonal smalls and rotate them in this clock case. 
I haven't found a design yet for Easter, but I am looking.

The second design I finished is "ABC Shamrock Pin Holder" by Nan Lewis  (Threadwork Primitives).  (While Nan no longer blogs, she is on Instagram and has an Etsy shop.)

I stitched this over a year ago, but the finishing of the piece gave me fits and I set it aside more times than I can remember.  


I also struggled with photographing it (have you ever noticed greens are difficult to photograph?) and, despite numerous attempts, never did manage to capture the true colors (which are deeper and richer in person).

{Stitched on 40 ct "Wren" by Picture This Plus using Gentle Arts "Storm Clouds" floss.}

I'll end with one of my favorite poems by the Irish poet, William Butler Yeats.

When You Are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
 And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

*************

Slainte my friends.

 

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Ducks, Pigeons and Squirrels


Actually, I don't have a row. 
I don't even have any ducks.
I have squirrels....and they're EVERYWHERE.

It's been almost a month since my last post and I have little to show for it.
I start something with good intentions and then get distracted by something else.

I've done a little bit of stitching, and even littler hooking....
but way too much reading.

After an embarrassing amount of time, I finally got my Simple Santa mat bound.



It looks a bit off kilter in the photos as it is propped against the curved back of a rocking chair but I was having difficulties getting the lighting anywhere near right. (And there are two other rugs behind it whose bindings are showing. The binding on Santa is just the lighter colored wool.)


Even still, it looks washed out.
Anyways, it is a pattern by Therese Shick. 
And it's done.
Done is good.

I've not made much progress at all on my stag rug.

{Pattern by Homespun Prims by Lori}

In my defense, I ran out of some of the wool and just haven't made it down the lane to get more.  So it was put aside and I picked up my needle instead.

While I didn't make it down the lane, I did manage to leave the house and actually "fun-shopped" a while back.  On somewhat of a whim, I bought this chair-and-a-half. (There's a footstool too....)


Rajah most usually insists on sitting right next to me, whether I am hooking, reading or stitching.  Unfortunately, one or the other of us has gotten larger (it's him...really), and the fit has been tight in our old chair.  So, this solves the issue and he thinks it's the cat's pajamas.

I also finally found (part of) an old metal heart floor mat.  I've wanted one for a long time, but never found one.  So, I splurged.  

I haven't settled on exactly where it will be permanently displayed, but this works for now.

In other news, I have a new granddog.


This is Scout.  She is a 5-month old Siberian Husky/German Shepherd mix rescue.
Yes, she has one blue eye and one brown and one very wonky ear.
And, yes, that is Mia's Doc-a-Tot that she has claimed as her dogbed.

Sometimes I do a great deal of headshaking.

I am also continuing to work on remodeling the lake house.  Hopefully at least the main level will be habitable by the time the weather warms.
These days, decisions are either made on whim (i.e., chair-and-a-half) or (most usually) are laborious and over-thought.  No happy medium it seems.

Well, how's that for a scurry of squirrels??
It's not easy being me.