Saturday, June 13, 2020

Fur, Fin, Feather & Flora

I know it's been a while...or at least it seems like it has been.
Who really knows these days...

There isn't a great deal newsworthy here in Nod (other than they want to use ankle bracelets on COVID "offenders"), so you're stuck with my random thoughts once again.

FUR:

(A new twist on "bowl fillers.")

(...and basket fillers....)

FIN:

I thought that watery wench would be undoing...well, this whale is going to undo what little she left me with.


A little fur and fin:

(Cat is for size reference only. 😉)


FEATHER:


Witch Robin....get it?





FLORA:


The Clematis is doing well...although I originally planted (and repeatedly "replanted") the deep purple "Jackmanii" variety next to this one, this one apparently doesn't care to share its space with Jack.

Salvia

(My little "woodland" area between the house and garage. I love, love, love ferns....)

(Fur and Flora)

So there you have it....a whole lot of nothing.

It's going to be a nippy one tonight. I already have 2 sweatshirts on...may just start a fire.  
Enjoy what's left of the rest of your weekend!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Lights of Lake Nokomis, The Mermaid of Salem Bay & the Tales of Two Whales

Why is it that the moon always seems impossibly large over a body of water?


Well, at least it does to me.


The last photo was taken at around 10 pm....yet the light from that moon lit up the entire sky.

I have a love affair with the moon.

Mermaids, not so much.

But this little wench is finally done (well, except for the framing).

"The Salem of Mermaid Bay" by The Primitive Hare

"Optional" beading was charted, and I debated, but finally added them.  They aren't showing up well in the photos, but I really kind of like them....they remind me of water droplets .


The floss colors still aren't what I thought they would be, but maybe they will grow on me.

I wonder how long I will overthink the framing.

Moving on to the whales.

I mentioned (in a comment? in a prior post? who knows? who cares?) that I was debating a whale of a new hooking project... Well, I took the plunge... and it is a "whale" project in every sense of the word "whale."

It is whale-ishly large...for me anyways...measuring 24" x 55."  I am, therefore, opting to do it in a large...for me anyways...cut (9.5) of which, truth be told, I am not particularly fond. But hey...it means the hooking will go all the faster. (Ha!)


I opted for a dark, dark, blue background...which reads black in most lights.  So, as soon as I am done over-thinking the framing of the sea wench, I will move on to over-thinking my color choices here.

As I must have been on a whale kick, I finally finished up this little needlebook from Stacy Nash's Nantucket Sewing Set:


The inside:


The finishing of this piece is not something I will jump on to repeat unless I find a better way.
Oye!

Well, that's all the fishy tails tales I have for you today.
I have some serious over-thinking to get back to.

Be well and safe.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Woolgathering.....

woolgathering: n. indulgence in aimless thought...

Emphasis on "aimless" in my case.

I have been meaning to put together a blog post for several days now, but the endless chatter in my head that usually provides more than enough fodder for ideas suddenly got very quiet.

So, today you get a bunch of woolgathering...as in aimless thoughts LOL.  (Sorry to disappoint you hookers and wool hoarders....I bet you thought this was going to be about gathering wool.)
😉

So, shall we get started?

Aimless Thought No. 1:  Yesterday, Saundra of Woodland Junction invited hookers to share the rug or mat of which they are most proud. As usual these days, I wasn't paying proper attention because "most proud of" morphed into "favorite" in my cluttered brain.  I commented that my favorite rug was the one I haven't hooked yet and meant that in the generic: i.e., not referring to a specific rug I plan to hook, just one of those "yet to be hooked."

In any event, I told Saundra that one did surface in my thoughts as a favorite and that I would dig it out.  Well, a promise is a promise.  Here you are Saundra:

{"Quilted Cats" design by Pat Cross}

As I said, I am not sure I am most "proud" of this rug...there is no special meaning about it, no fancy or challenging hooking involved, but it is one of my favorites that I have hooked.  It is one of the largest rugs that I've hooked and I had fun hooking it....and best yet, I still love to look at it.

It looks like it is curling because it is hung right now from a quilt hanger which does not sit flush against the wall....and it had been rolled up and stored away until I set myself up with my comment on Saundra's blog LOL.


Next up in the way of woolgathering...Aimless Thought No. 2:  My daffies:


They...and jonquils...were always my father's favorite flowers and I think of him every time I see them.  (Did you know that while all jonquils are daffodils, not all daffodils are jonquils?? Sorry....more woolgathering....) 
Anyways, as Lauren mentioned, the blooms were prolific this year.

I snapped this photo yesterday evening before it started to snow....again.

Another definition of "woolgathering" is absentmindedness. And I have a Robin who has been doing a HECK of a lot of woolgathering this spring.
Aimless Thought No. 3:  When I came back from the lake a few weeks ago, she had started 3 separate nests under the porch eaves of our house, each about a foot and a half away from the other. 
She was going crazy trying to finish all 3 nests....especially since she was skid-ish about her construction efforts whenever anyone was in the living room (which looks out on the porch).  And by "crazy" I mean CRAZY.  When she wasn't working on her 3 nests, she was trying to get in the house....any way she could.  Front door window, back patio door, laundry room window....all 3 are completely marked up with her relentless efforts.

(White marks she made on the front door glass....I had just washed it that afternoon.)

Well, one of the poundings must have knocked at least some sense into her and she finally decided to combine the 3 half-started nests into one.

Then...abandoned it in favor of a new one on this ladder by the garage.


Hello??? And, yes...it IS the same Robin. Remember....I have a LOT of time on my hands....
I have never been so embarrassed by one of my namesakes in my life.

Well, this could go on forever....there are a great many "aimless thoughts" in this head of mine.  So, I better wrap it up....
Aimless Thought No. 4:   Happy Mother's Day...to all women: those with children young or grown, those who have lost children, those who are mothers to four-legged, feathered, or scaled children, those who have had no children, but have or had a mother.  I am sure I am forgetting someone, but that is all a part of woolgathering I suppose.

My mother as a young girl

Oh...and one more aimless thought:


I actually "gathered some wool"...and yarn.  The latter to bind my Gillford runner and the former for one of those rugs I have yet to hook.
😉

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Wrestling With Mermaids

I should have known.

In the wee pre-dawn hours this morning, with my eyes finally blurred with sleep, I leaned over and looked up at the clock: 2:45 a.m.

Yikes.
 That's late even for an insomniac like me.
I rubbed my eyes and shook my head.

I should have known.

{"A Mermaid's Longing"}

Mermaids are nothing but trouble.

Oh, yes....they live up to their legendary reputations of alluring beauty and temptation, but trouble nonetheless.

As a general rule, mermaids (and mermen for that matter) were, historically considered dangerous to man.  Their siren songs have lured many a hapless sailor to his death.  If offended, a mermaid could throw a heck of a temper tantrum (rivaling me in my toddler years):  wreaking havoc in the the form of floods, storms and other disasters.  Their gifts, though beguiling, usually brought misfortune.

{"A Sailor's Delight" by William Holbrook Beard c. 1891}

To see a mermaid on a voyage was an omen of shipwreck.

And when I was enticed to stitch The Mermaid of Salem Bay, I was surely headed for a shipwreck.

Mermaids are not typically my "thing," but how could I resist? This beautiful selkie is called "The Mermaid of Salem Bay" for crying out loud.  (Did I say that already?)  And I have been looking for a few nautical/coastal-ish things for the lake house. How more apropos could it get? How much more of an omen did I need?

But I should have known.
Nothing good can come from a witch of the sea.

It started with this: 

{Sorry for the blurriness, but hey...I'm going on very little sleep here....}

The design is from one of my very favorite (and very trusted) Italian designers, so I assumed the "1 on 2" was just a lingual faux pas and it really meant to be 1 over 2.  
But....1 over 2 on 30 count???
Nonetheless, I dove in.  (Get it, "DOVE" in??)

After a few nights of stitching, I really began to question my assumption as I did not like the coverage of the floss.  So I broke down and messaged the designer.  
She immediately replied and begged my forgiveness and stated the model had actually been stitched 2 over 2.

So...the frogging began.  (Notice a watery theme here??)
An entire stitching night of freakin' frogging.

And then I started over.

I liked the coverage better....BUT, soon ran out of the skein of floss I had started with from my stash for the green portions of her tail: Gentle Arts "Mountain Mist."
NP...I went to my LSN and bought more....
Except that it wasn't the same green....even with all the variations in the variegation, the tones were off....completely off.

So...I ordered more skeins of the floss online...from several different sources...only to encounter even MORE variations, none of which were the same as my original skein.

Heck...I threw caution overboard (ok...I won't say it...) and forged on.
 BUT, after many nights stitching, I began to be dissatisfied with all of the colors of the piece.  They looked (at least to me) NOTHING like the model...and it was the sultry siren of the model after all that had lured me into this. However, I was stitching on a specialty linen that cost a pretty lira...ummm...euro...and could not risk ruining it by ripping everything out.
Besides, I don't have one of those slick lift n' snip things that some stitchers have. 😉

Then I got to the 1/4 ~ 1/2 ~ 3/4 stitches. 


I have been stitching for a long, long, time...and have done complicated specialty stitches in my day...even was proficient at Hardanger...but I have never quite figured out how one knows by the symbols given if something is a "1/4" stitch, a "1/2" stitch or a "3/4" stitch. 
And...why...WHY...would you have two little "x"s representing one in a single square like this...where no backstitching even goes?  
Someone enlighten me please??  I get it when you're sharing a "square" between two different colors...or when you are trying to add definition and shape...but hmmm...I think I missed a memo somewhere along the line.

And then last night (a/k/a this morning to some of you), this happened:


Me thinks my eyes must be permanently damaged because I cannot rightly discern any true difference between the symbol used for the "Freedom" and the one for the"Blueberry" backstitching on the legend.

Sometimes if the siren sings loud enough, the symbol for "Blueberry" looks a smidgeon thicker and/or darker than the one for "Freedom," then I look away from the legend to the actual pattern and those dark lines look all the same.

I should have known: If you wrestle with a mermaid, you're not going to win.




(Anyone in need of any Mountain Mist floss??)

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Weary....Just Weary.....



I know many of us are weary of many a thing of late.
Weary of the same walls around us, weary of being told how far to stand from others, weary of not being able to share a good meal with good friends, weary of not being able to "touch" our loved ones, weary of wondering how long this will last, weary of there being no toilet paper or cleaning supplies when you finally find your bra and go to the store.

And weary of being weary.

Easter morning greeted us with another round of the white stuff....I can't even be sure of the totals...I know it could have been worse...but it certainly couldn't have been at "all" in my book. That, of course, was followed by bitter winds and unseasonable cold (as in single-digit kind of cold).
And, yeah....I'm weary of that too.

Snow Dog, however, seems more than content.


I have no finishes to show you...and trust me when I say my WIPs aren't worth showing right now.
I did splurge on a 9.5 cutter blade for my Townsend cutter....I am seriously considering undertaking a simple, but large (ok, large to ME), hooking project (I can't believe I am thinking of doing this)...and know I will need a very wide cut to even give me the courage to THINK I want to do this.  (I know torn strips would go faster and be more economical but while I love the look of torn strips, there is something about tearing them in less-than-precise widths that rubs my OCD personality the wrong way.) 
 Someone talk me outta this.

I know this may come as shocking to you, but I have not much else to say.
So I will leave you with this photo of my niece and the "new kid on the block."


Doesn't get much cuter than a girl and her goats. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Hermitage Interruptus

I interrupted my hermitage this morning to exercise my great American privilege of voting.  
Our town hall is not far...especially as the crow flies...so there is not much to see along the way.  I neglected to take a photo of the town hall.  I suspect many of you would find it amusing if not charming....all 1 room of it.

But I can never pass this old homestead without a pause.



I know I am not alone wondering what lives were lived here...what memories were made....and why did it end like this? Will the good earth just swallow things up again someday??

(No one even bothered to remove the license plate.  Next time I go by, I will need to look more closely for a year on the plate.)

(These were just two of the many vehicles "resting" here.)

The old "suicide" doors as they were called (like the doors in the car in the above photo) are not much seen these days, although they are making somewhat of a comeback with new safety features of course.
I have always found them intriguing - if only for their namesake.  They actually harken back to the days of horse-drawn carriages and were convenient for the ladies and their large (often hooped) skirts.  They could simply "back into" their seats and easily step out at journey's end. 
They were particularly popular during..and are most usually associated with...the 1930's and the era of the "gangsters."  They were an easy way for rivals and undesirables to be "disposed" of, shall we say?
I also believe that these were the types of doors on the car that President Kennedy was riding in when he was assassinated. 

The doors today that open in this manner are obviously no longer referred to as "suicide" doors...and car manufacturers are chagrin at the reference I am told.  Those bold enough to include them call them "coach doors," "rear-access doors," or "freestyle doors."  And, as I mentioned, there are now safety features. Most won't open unless the front door is opened or if the vehicle is going more than a minimal speed.

Stick with me....you never know what kind of useless information you will pick up LOL and you can never know what to expect with my posts, can you?

How my mind wanders these days.

In any event, I have voted.  I only found two typos in the ballot.  A new low record for our county.

Even with my lollygagging, I was home in time to "finish" finish this little piece.  I punched it years and years ago, but never "did" anything with it after the punching was done.  After I framed it, though, I realized that I was going to do a decorative stitch on the wool around the punched area.  Oh well.  Serves me well for taking so long in the finishing I guess. I love the French knot "flowers" on top of the blooms.

("Night Burglar" by Sean Williams/Threads That BindSean )

Until next time, be well, stay well.




Sunday, March 29, 2020

A Different Kind of Quiet

It's day whatever of the lock-down in Nod.  Yes, the indiscriminate reach of this new plague extends even to places as cold and forlorn as Nod.  When asked how I am tolerating the isolation, I respond that it really isn't much different for me than life was before the Plague.  I am accustomed to spending my time alone...and, specifically, at home alone, so that is nothing new.  I am also easily entertained and amused and, heaven knows, I have enough projects (fun and otherwise) to keep me occupied for several natural (and otherwise) lifetimes.
And life in Nod has always been, for the most part, quiet. 

But even this Quarantined Crow must admit that it is a different kind of quiet.

It is too early for the farmers to be in their fields and, apparently, we don't have too many "essential" workers living out this way because there are few, if any, cars that pass.
It is too cold to do outdoor things and that "ugly" adolescent-ness of spring is upon us so that nothing is green, but nothing is really white anymore as what snow remains seems dirty and used.

It is as if life was suddenly "paused."


We do not have children here that need to be schooled and I imagine life is quite different and not so serene in those homes that do....but that happy chaos does not reach here.

So, I carry on doing what I have been carrying on doing for so long now.... 
No - no closets emptied, no drawers organized; no purging, no downsizing, no tossing....No spring cleaning, no rearranging of furniture, no painting. No. Nope. Nada. 

I am, after all, a creature of habit.

I have not had much inclination to decorate for Easter. 


But a few things have found their way upstairs....

{Wax chicks by the talented Misi from 1890 Gable House Goodes}

{Felted carrots I made years and years ago in one of my favorite bunnies}

My plan to get binding wool to finish my Gillford runner...and perhaps a new hooking pattern and wool...was thwarted by the lock-down.   So, I have continued to stitch until I get up the nerve to pick up my Welcome Cat rug again.  This week I bit the bullet and actually made this stitching into the pinkeep it was supposed to be:


The pattern is from Scattered Seed Samplers and was part of the Birds of a Feather Handworkes club.  It is appropriately entitled Set Free. 

I know many are longing to be "set free" and my heart goes out to those who are much more affected by this pandemic than I:  Those whom the illness has touched directly and/or indirectly, those who have lost their jobs or been laid off indefinitely (including my Little Crow), those who are on the front lines in health care or "essential" job functions, those who have been thrown into uncertainty of having their life savings and retirement accounts reduced to a mere fraction of what they were, and those whom this plague has isolated.  I worry for my mum and those others who are in assisted living facilities, nursing homes and the like and are not allowed visitors. Dementia is cruel as we know, and my mother can be told 100x a day why no one from her family visits her, but she cannot remember.  All she must feel is total and utter abandonment.  Our economy, our country, and our world will not be the same.  But I hope that some of the "difference-ness" that results will be of the good sort.

And despite all the hardships, fear and uncertainty that has accompanied this plague, I hope a little piece of each of us can be grateful that we live in a place where, despite a pandemic of epic proportions, we can be safe and warm in our homes, work and attend school from our homes, communicate (albeit not in person) with loved ones, and have food in our pantries and refrigerators.

  Maybe not toilet paper...but, hey....life's never gonna be perfect.

Rajah Roo practicing "social distancing"

Stay well and stay safe.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Dia Duit

Dia Duit to all my Irish friends....
and top o' the day to all you non-Irish folk.

("Basket O' Luck" from Pineberry Lane's Little Shamrocks)

 There's 3-6" of snow headed our way and I am sick so I will have lots of time to catch up on your blogs....provided I can stay awake for more than 15 minutes at a time.

I hope you are well and safe, and that the day has been good to you. 

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Bit and Bobs

Every now and again, the book I choose to read is by a British author. It seems to happen quite frequently actually.  Among my recent favorites are Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel, both by Daphne Du Maurier.  (Once I like a book, I seem to search out other titles by the same author and read until I am satiated, or get over it.) Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel are not recent books (Rebecca was actually first published in 1938), but well worth the read.  

(Both "Rebecca" and "My Cousin Rachel" have been made into movies....several times)

Anyways...where was I going with this?  Oh, yes....  For some reason, the British version for certain words and phrases resurface in my head at the oddest of times. I find some of their words amusing...like "boot" (a car trunk), child-minder (babysitter), people carrier (minivan), lie-down (nap) (as in "I think I will have a lie-down") and perhaps that is why they get "stuck" up there in my head; but why they come to mind when they do has me nonplussed.  It seems there is a magnet in my mind that attracts the most useless of information.

So, the phrase that got stuck and regurgitated today is "bits and bobs"....and that's exactly what you're getting in this post: Bits and bobs about what's new in Nod.

Nothing.

Absolutely NOTHING is new in Nod LOL.

*************
  We have had several days of mild weather (today I think we are to break 50°) (aren't you impressed I figured out how to make the "°" symbol??).  But mild temps or not, we still have a thick layer of snow on the ground...and it snowed just this past Thursday.

While others look to cheery daffodils and the return of fair-weather birds as the harbinger of spring, here in Nod, we need to manually push ourselves into spring mode.  So, to that end, I did a bit of spring cleaning...and even a bit of rearranging.  
Unlike most of my blog acquaintances, I rarely rearrange because, despite WWR, our house is still quite small, and there are rooms, such as the living room, where furniture only can go one way.  And, when I find a place for my non-furniture junk stuff treasures, they often stay put....for a long, long, time.  Oh, I change things out for the holidays...(ok, I used to change things out for the holidays) but, for the most part, when something lands someplace, it puts down roots and that's where it stays.

I, however, forced myself out of my "box" this weekend.  I have an old horse tricycle that Daddy Crow bought for me when we were first married.  It is, however, awkward to display and landed in the basement.  While there, it acquired some not-so-happy associations (another story perhaps another time) and so where it landed, it stayed...to be moved only to another room in the basement as a result of The Great Flood during WWR.

But, I saw it the other day and decided it was time to try to find the joy in it that I felt when Daddy Crow first gave it to me.


It did not work in the space I originally thought it would so, as part of Plan B, I had to move the treasures stuff junk that had "landed" in the space I decided to put it.  And of course that meant finding new "landing" places for those treasures that stuff that junk.

 (Corner between the bathroom and Little Crow's room the guest bedroom)


I am not particularly ecstatic over the end results, but I do like that it opened up a bit more floor space in both spots.  I will live with it a while and see what I want to change .... in another 10 years.  😮
And please don't ask what happened to the treasures stuff junk that was in this corner.

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

Other than that (and reading too much), I finished the hooking up on my Guillford runner (an Edyth O'Neill design). 


 I haven't located the box I stuffed my whipping wool in don't have any whipping wool, so I will have to wait on the binding of it.  
Please remind me that when I go back to hooking after an unduly long hiatus, NOT to choose a pattern with symmetry involved....particularly when said pattern is not very carefully drawn. Grrrr....

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

I also finished up a few little diddies that have been hanging around in various states of unfinish for far too long.  This little scissors pouch is a design from Teresa's Prim Treasures.  


I must have been on a scissors kick, because I also finished up this scissors block:


Each side has a different design, but I obviously have a bird thing going. Go figure.


I may make some more of these....If I can find where I stashed the other wood blocks I had made. The design is by La-D-Da.

So, that's a wrap on my bits and bobs for the day.
I hope your week ahead is filled with smiles...and a few shenanigans of course.

Cheerie-Bye!