Thursday, April 18, 2019

Has Anyone Seen My Mojo??

As some of you who know me perhaps better than others know me, know that I used to do a lot of things that I no longer do.
And while it is perhaps good that I no longer do some of the things that I no longer do (let's not go there), other things that I no longer do were "good" things....and I miss them.

Hooking was one of those "good" things that I miss.

( "Spring Chicken #2" Pattern by Ginny Glover ~ "Cabin Fever Rugs"....available online at nolahooks.com...I am including the link as it is difficult to find doing a simple Google search....)


I've theorized about what happened.... The blame first fell on WWR ("When We Remodeled") and the Great Flood that occurred during WWR because virtually everything in the teeny, tiny, house in Nod was packed into boxes and put into storage and, of course, I was more than preoccupied with figuring out where outlets needed to be placed.
But WWR and even the Great Flood are long since behind us (although the outlets still aren't every place they should be.)

(Pattern by Cathy Stephan ~ Red Barn Rugs)

The second theory was that, like with most of my pastimes, I tend to become a bit compulsive obsessive... When I read, I READ.... When I stitch, I STITCH.... When I punch, I PUNCH....to the exclusion of everything and anything else.
But I've managed to work back into reading, stitching, and punching (albeit in somewhat "diet" form)...just not hooking.



I even theorized that my long sabbatical from hooking had paralyzed me into thinking that, perhaps, I had forgotten HOW. 
But that was just silly. (Wasn't it?)

So, I have come to the conclusion that I have simply misplaced my hooking mojo.

(Pattern by M. Shaw)

I have looked left and right, and I have looked low and high....
Wait....that's a Dr. Seuss rhyme.
Anyways, you get the gist.
I have yet to find it however.

So, a day or so ago, I forced myself to go down into the maze of rooms known as the basement of the teeny, tiny, house, and go through some of the boxes that have remained untouched since WWR.


(Pattern by Cathy Stephan ~ Red Barn Rugs)
(Chicks are hooked Waldoboro style)

Specifically, the boxes containing my hooked rugs.
(Trust me, it took some digging, but I found them.)
In some ways it was like looking at something from a whole other lifetime.
Some made me smile....some made me wonder what the heck I was thinking when I hooked it, and others I had forgotten I had even hooked.


("Hare Heist" Pattern by Ewe and Eye)

Bunny tails are hooked Waldoboro style - you can see better in the photo below (Guess I was on a Waldoboro kick):


I brought up the ones that I had typically displayed for spring/Easter, and those are what you see here.



Funny, even though the teeny, tiny, house is much larger since WWR, I really don't have more places or space to display my rugs/mats.  I guess that's partly while they remained in boxes.

In any event, I still haven't found my missing mojo.  
Maybe next week, I will tackle another box.
Then, again, maybe not.
In the meantime, if any of you find my mojo, please return it to me asap.


Thursday, April 4, 2019

Child's Play

I don't remember all of my early childhood years vividly...or even remotely clearly, but I remember kindergarten.
Perhaps it is because it was the first time I really was exposed to a much larger, and very different, world than to which I had been exposed in my 5 years up until then.

Oh, I had seen and learned a great deal in those years...but never before had I been in a place that had a round fountain in the bathroom where you could make water for your hands come out by stepping on the floor.
Or a place where you could take a nap every day on your very own, bought-just-for-you, floor mat.
Nor a place where they would dim the lights at nap time and play a phonograph record with a man reading "Peter and the Wolf" in the best story-telling voice I had ever heard.

I have been thinking of that place recently...and it brought back the urge to play with scissors, paper and glue.

(Remember paper dolls?? This one is compliments of Misi from 1890 Gable House Musings)



And something else I learned in Kindergarten:
(The last three baskets are from a pattern by Cinnamon Creek)

Sometimes "simple" soothes the soul more than anything else can.




Monday, March 25, 2019

The Organized Crow and the End of the Great Scavenger Hunt

Well, that might be a bit of an overstatement....in fact, a rather large exaggeration?

But....it's a start.


(Those of you with "studios," craft rooms, and other dedicated creating spaces and those of you who don't stitch or punch might as well move on to the next blog post as you likely won't be able to relate.  But it's ok with me if you stick around for the "duh" factor.)

As I have mentioned before, our nest is modest...and prior to WWR ("When We Remodeled"), it was teeny, tiny.  So, my "craft" supplies were tucked in various multiple closets, crannies, and nooks, in a sundry assortment of boxes, bags, and whatnots.

As a result, every time, the "creative" bug bit me, I would embark on a rather tortured and tedious, multi-level (because yes, things were cached upstairs and downstairs) scavenger hunt to find what I needed.
While this was, at times, amusing as I would find things I had forgotten I ever had, most times it was frustrating as hell heck.

And it was never more frustrating than when the project-to-be was cross stitch, embroidery, or punch work because, as those of you who do fiber arts know, floss and thread come in a dizzying myriad of colors from a menagerie of manufacturers (i.e., Weeks, Gentle Arts, DMC, Valdani, Classic Colorworks (f/ka/ Crescent Colors), The Caron Collection, etc., etc.).

I would stare at the "supplies needed" part of the pattern...and curse mutter.  Especially when the pattern called for a MIX of brands.  I had no clue if I had DMC 3799, Gentle Arts "Endive" or Weeks "Whiskey"... All I knew is that after several hours of searching, I was wishing I had some actual whiskey, and inevitably ended up just purchasing the required floss.
While this was not necessarily a "bad" thing (since, I have the uncanny luck of usually having every color BUT the color called for), it did, on occasion, lead to mass duplication and a compounding of the "storage" mayhem.

So...I finally did it.  I began to organize.
 I started with a journal. I guess there are apps now for keeping track of flosses, etc., but I still like the feeling of a book in my hand. (Nope, don't do Kindle either.)

Now while you will see many fancy and fun stitching (and other) journals out there, I refused to even peek at Pinterest or Flosstube as I knew it would be like falling down a rabbit hole.  Mine is just a simple leather cover with an insert of blank pages made from art/recycled paper.

(I added the charm, etc. to make it a little more personalized.)


Since I didn't quite know where to begin, I started with sections that I knew I wanted: A section containing checklists for the flosses I have so I could just look at the journal to know if I had it or not, a section with "aids" (you know, those things you should know but sometimes forget...like how to calculate the size fabric needed (just in case I am stranded on a desert island that has linen and floss but no access to the slick online calculators 😉), etc.

(I made the little tab dividers using old papers and transparent labels.)

(I also added fun little bits of ephemera related to sewing here and there....)

Then, I scoured every possible place I could remember stashing floss (a several-week process), and began cataloging... 

(A ✔ indicates I have that color...and if I have duplicates/triplicates, etc., they are marked to the right of the name.  That way I know not only IF I have a particular color, I know how many skeins of it I have.)

I have a section for DMC, Weeks, Gentle Arts, and Miscellaneous. I am still working on how I am going to do the Valdani.

Although I hesitated, I also added a WIP section. This one is for cross stitch projects.  I will likely do a separate section for punched projects.

(I may edit the template I made after I know what I want to include.  I only started with current projects.  No WAY I am going to try to "reconstruct" the past.)

Once catalogued, I had to figure out exactly what I was going to DO with the mountain mound of floss I had retrieved from the long, lost, hiding places.  After all, what good would it be to know I had 30 skeins of Gentle Arts "Black Crow," but didn't know where those skeins were?

The DMC was easy... I already had the vast majority of that wound on the little plastic bobbins (I know...causing crinks and bends in the floss, but hey, I am NOT unwinding that $@#*) and organized numerically in two separate plastic cases that are, for now, stored neatly in an old Coats & Clark spool cabinet, along with bags of duplicates.  The "miscellaneous" was also somewhat easy as there wasn't much of it (at least that I found) and it is now stashed in the bottom drawer of the spool cabinet with the DMC.

That left the Weeks, Gentle Arts, and Valdani.
Since I had, by far, more of the Weeks, I sorted them alphabetically, and repurposed this old apothecary cabinet (purchased from one of my favorite haunts, The Farmer's Daughter) into a floss cabinet.



(Each letter of the alphabet also has a separate D-ring that holds duplicate unused skeins)


For now, the Gentle Art collection is stored in a little stack of sewing machine drawers Papa Crow bought me many years ago, and the Valdani...well, since they are balls of floss (vs. skeins) and have the screwiest name/number system you can imagine, I haven't cataloged them yet; nor am sure what I will do with them once they are herded and cataloged.

And since I was on a roll, I also tackled my linen stash:

Each piece is in its own plastic bag, with the count number, linen name and manufacturer, and size of the piece.  They are then arranged by count number from smallest to highest (mine goes from 25ct to 45ct) and stored in two of the drawers of this awesome antique cabinet in my someday-to-be "playroom." 
(And, yes, I know this is not the "proper" way to store linen as it will become creased, etc., but I do not have the space, nor the patience, to convert to a hanging system.)


Ta-DUH!!
I no longer have to hunt aimlessly for floss and linen I may...or may not...have.

And, "Duh" because I should have done this years ago.
(It wasn't worth waiting for, was it? 😉)

I hope your week is off to a great start!



Sunday, March 10, 2019

A Crankier Crow....

You didn't think that possible?
Well, think again: It is, and I am.

It is snowing again....(did that surprise anyone??)
(The road to Nod)


Ok, I am DONE with that subject.

Another reason I am crankier than usual: It's Daylight Saving Time.
I HATE Daylight Saving Time.

I know it's twisted logic and I am in the minority, but I am a night owl crow.  So, when I go to bed at midnight, it's now really 1:00 a.m., and when I get up at 8:30 a.m., it's really 9:30 a.m.  So, I lose a precious hour every night (and, no, not just the FIRST night, because every night I calculate what time it really "should be"), and I'm late by an hour every morning (no, not just the FIRST morning), because I again calculate what time it really "should be" every morning.  (Ever try telling someone you're an hour late because, by your clock, it's only 8:00, not 9:00??? Trust me, it doesn't work.)

I recover from Daylight Saving Time as fast as most people recover from a deadly illness.

The only one I know who likes it is Rajah Roo...and only because he gets to eat an hour earlier.



Sometimes moving to Arizona seems like a very good idea...barely any snow and NO DST.

And Arizona makes me think of cacti...and mountains...and Indians.

And Indians makes me think of what one wise old Indian allegedly said when told of the reason for Daylight Saving Time:

"Only the white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom of a blanket and have a longer blanket." 

And speaking of blankets, I think that's exactly where I'm headed until spring.


Or at least until I can see the road signs.



Monday, February 25, 2019

The Blizzard of Nod

The folk who live in Nod are NOT sissies...
...at least not when it comes to winter.

Those of us who grew up here, have seen snow....LOTS of snow and, in more recent years, ice...and, every year, brutal, take-your-breath-away cold.  What is seen as a crippling storm in other parts of the country is, well, just another day in Nod.  Schools and businesses rarely close due to inclement weather, and while winter storm and snow advisories are an every-other-day event, "blizzard" warnings are somewhat rare because, well, we are NOT sissies and it takes something major to be classified as a "blizzard" here (The 18" of snow we got the Tuesday before last, for example, was not considered a blizzard since the wind gusts were only 20 mph and you could technically still see at least 10 feet in front of your nose.)  In fact, the last time a blizzard warning was issued for Nod was 10 years ago.
So, when they issue a blizzard warning, we take it seriously, and we know it's gonna get ugly.  And it DID get ugly this weekend. 

First, of course, we were glazed over with ice....just to make sure neither man, nor beast nor vehicle would be able to maneuver in a straight line.
Then the snow came.... Not like we needed any more considering we had already gotten over 40" this month.
But came it did regardless.


And it continued to come....


A bit of panic actually overtook both me and Snowdog Sunday morning when I could not open either door to let him out to do his "thing."

The snow eased up late yesterday afternoon.  But then the winds came....55-60 mph winds. (By the way, if any of you find my "Happy Holidays" sign that was by my front door, I will pay postage to have it shipped back to me. Given the direction of the winds, I would think it should be somewhere near Pennsylvania.)

The teeny, tiny, house in Nod shook and groaned in protest, and for a while there, I thought we might be air-borne.
  
Then the cold came... This-hurts-to-breathe kind of cold.

This morning  finally came and I was surprised that I was not any where near Oz or the Emerald City. 
I was still here in Nod....and, unfortunately, so was the snow.

(There's a fireplace under there someplace....)

But, we weathered another storm.  Others who were not so fortunate will try to pick up the pieces the best they can.

Little Crow's carport collapsed:
(His truck was trashed....an estimated $12,000+ worth of damage.)

And, despite efforts to keep it clear, the roof on my niece's barn caved in:

(Poor cows....)

Although we are up to our necks in snow... 
(There's another standing deer under there somewhere....makes you feel sorry for the real ones.)

....we will carry on and shovel out, because more snow is coming tomorrow.

And Snowdog's mountain continues to grow.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Monday Mutterings

Some people post about "Motivational Mondays..."
Some have "Monday Musings..."
Nah Uh....
Not here....
Here we have Monday Mutterings..
(They don't call me The Cranky Crow for nothing.)

Anyways....on to the "mutterings."

I have really had the urge to pick up my hook and start hooking again, even at the risk of shocking some people with two unthinkable events (resuming blogging AND hooking) in less than as many months.  So, today I unearthed my hooking frame, complete with the last project I was working on still (somewhat) on the frame.  (Has it actually been YEARS???)
But, I was at a complete loss as to where the wool went that I started with.
Hence, Muttering Number 1.

After wasting several hours to no avail in the rogue wool department, I convinced myself to move on. (That one multiple personality of mine sometimes wins out.)  In the process of organizing my someday-to-be-playroom, I had actually found that I had the floss and linen and other "necessaries" to complete a few stitching projects I had had plans for prior to WWR, and had started on them a week or so ago. (Remember the heart box and the squirrel problem??)
So, in the absence of wool, I decided to finish them up.

Yeah, I kind of goobered the finish by clipping too closely in one spot near the bottom.
Hence, Muttering Number 2.

So, on to Muttering Number 3:
I made this sweet little needle keep to go with the goobered box.


Because I have a kitten who is a floss thief, a ribbon addict, and overall kleptomaniac who steals anything and everything that is not glued down (and sometimes even that which is glued down), I tucked the wee little keep safely in my project box, under some patterns, scissors, and such with the intention of giving it one final pressing in them morning.  Or safely so I thought. 
I woke up to Monday and to Gone Girl...GONE.
(It is still MIA, but at least I took a photo so I KNOW I wasn't imagining that I made it.)
:-( 
  
So, muttering all the while, I made cookies.
(A LOT of cookies...with a LOT of chips...5 different kinds of chips in fact....)

I figured I can't mutter with my mouth full.

(I want to thank everyone who has stopped by to visit after my long, unexcused, absence, and for some of the sweetest comments ever.  Unfortunately, a few of you are "no-reply bloggers" or have blogs I cannot access, and therefore I cannot respond to you personally.  But to Winnie who asked if I really do like crows, yes...I ADORE them.  I have a "pet" crow of sorts.... I feed him when I can manage the snow and he comes to sit on the pine tree by the end of the drive and caws to me. I always know it's him...even when he brings a friend or two.  I have named him Poe LOL.) 



Thursday, February 14, 2019

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Rest in Piece(s)

Between bouts of -50 to -60 degree windchills, and a bit of freezing rain, it has been snowing here in Nod....
  Snowing a LOT. 
 We had 8" this past Tuesday, another 8+" Thursday, 7-10" today, and an even more "major" storm coming our way tomorrow night with significantly "more" accumulations.  (That's all the farther I looked folks....someone told me, though, there is another one coming later in the week as well...)


My social director  Papa Crow has been in Quebec for the better part of a week now, and although I got out for a bit yesterday, I have been mostly left to my own devices here in the Twilight Zone of Never Never Land (I mean really....I am excited if I see a snowplow go past as it is the ONLY traffic here in Nod these days...and that is a big "if" by the way.)

Except Thursday....in the midst of the storm, a UPS truck stopped in the middle (at least I THINK it was the middle...who knows? It wasn't plowed) of the road outside our house...and honked his horn....

...and HONKED his horn.

After realizing there was, in fact, life in Nod, it slowly dawned on me that this UPS driver was attempting to get my attention.  So, while he continues to HONK his horn, I bundle up.... After all, I wasn't going out there in my pajamas.
After donning my 6 layers of outerwear, I stepped out on the front porch...and froze.
(Not literally, mind you....that hadn't gotten to me quite yet....but figuratively....)
Because you see, with Papa Crow gone, no one had shoveled the walk or plowed the driveway.
The driveway that is made of stamped concrete and that gets incredibly slippery even WITHOUT 2" of ice and 8" of snow.
And because,  just over a year ago, I took a tumble down our staircase and broke my tibia and tore my ACL and VMO (another post, another time), leading to a very unstable knee. 
And because,  my back was deciding whether it wanted to be completely "out" or just partially out, yet still painfully bothersome (yet another post,  yet another time).  In any event, both knees began to quiver...and not from the subartic temperature.

But the UPS man continued to honk.

So, out to the road I ventured slipped and slid....

And the UPS man continued to honk.
(You can't see that I am TRYING to get there? You can't, like, maybe pretend to be a gentleman and meet me halfway????)

I did make it there (and back, thankfully) unscathed.  However, I was not of a sunny disposition when I got there....if you get my "drift" (yes, pun intended).

He said they were working under "EC" ("Emergency Conditions") and, therefore, did not want to chance our driveway. 
Really???

And you know what the real kicker is???
The package wasn't even FOR me.
GAH!!!


Like I said, rest in piece(s)......

(Ok...just kidding....this is NOT really the UPS guy's head.... It's a project I have been meaning to do since several Halloweens ago.... Yeah, you could say I'm a bit stir crazy about now.  ;-) )



Thursday, January 31, 2019

Hearts and Squirrels, Squirrels and Hearts

Well, I think h*!! has finally, really, and truly, frozen over.
How cold can it get in the Cold, Cold, Land of Nod???
REALLY cold....Cold enough that no one got mail, no garbage was picked up, and bars closed.
That's right....BARS CLOSED in WISCONSIN.  Now that is DANG cold.
Temps down to -30's and windchills reaching -60.  
YIKES!
Rumor has it, though, that we will be in the upper 30's soon....
A 90 degree temperature swing in a matter of days.  Gotta love Nod....or NOT.

Ok...enough ranting... Yes, I am going a bit stir crazy (I get nervous when they say exposed skin can be frostbit in a matter of 5 minutes in those temps)....
There are many things I SHOULD be doing, but it seems a herd of squirrels running through the house always manages to distract me.

After spending a few hours sorting through boxes from WWR (yes, there are still boxes) and not finding any treasures like Marly's, I started working on a new project for which I needed a little painted heart box.
So, I painted the box....and the squirrels came again.


I started playing with paper, and well, that led to Valentine-ish things.
I am kinda liking those little dimensional heart things made with old sheet music and journal papers.
I might have to make a few more.
Something tells me the "box" project might be delayed.


But, I did finally finish my heart and hand punchneedle piece.
I had the punching done long, long, time ago, but the hornbook challenged me at every step.
(If you know me and paint, you might understand....)


Hope all is well where you are, and if it's in the Polar Vortex, I hope you are staying warm and cozy.
If you need any squirrels, just let me know.

*******

(PS...I think I did something stupid and enabled Google+ comments?? But I can't disable them?? I hope it doesn't cause anyone problems with leaving a comment.  If so, please try emailing me and I will do some research....And if anyone knows the spell to undo what I did, please let me know!)

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Some Farewells & Some Introductions: The Tale of Four Kitties (and a Snowdog)

I have been gone a good long while and, as I mentioned in my last post, I have some serious catching up to do....and I promised to fill in a few of the missing pieces.
So here we go....and, in this case, the emphasis is on the word "missing."

Yes, Snowdog is still here and doing fine (although a bit preoccupied with the unexpected snow we are getting today).

But this is mostly a cattail cat tale.  In one of my posts before I fell off the face of Blogland this last time, there was a sneak peek at a new addition to the teeny, tiny, house in the cold, cold, land of Nod; but I don't believe I ever got around to formally introducing her.
So, friends, please meet Liza....a/k/a Liza Bean...a/k/a LuciFur (and, trust me, she truly earned that last moniker):

 She came to us as a "rescue" (from my niece's farm where she was found drowning in a pail of water....).

(Hmmm....water seems to be a recurring theme for her.)


 But she did eventually grow into those ears of hers:

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

Then, about a year and a half later, I had to say farewell to my beloved Lizzi....

She left this world too very young, and oh how my heart hurt.

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

An unexpected birthday surprise from my husband a month later, however, brought a smile to my heart again....


How could anyone NOT smile? Those eyes, the purr....the unbelievably soft fur, his snuggles.  I don't know who else could have mended my broken heart like Purrcy....or broken it so swiftly and completely when he died two months later as unexpectedly as he had arrived in my world.


I know there are questions...but his story is yet too sad for me to tell.
He was just too good to be true...and now each birthday will be bittersweet for me.

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

But if my heart was shattered by losing Purrcy, my pain was exacerbated by witnessing that of Liza's.  She did not eat for days...and I would catch her lurking in some of her and Purrcy's favorite "play" spots...waiting...and waiting for her playmate.  You see, those two had bonded beyond anything I ever thought imaginable.  And as surely as you and I have a heart, so does she...and clearly it was broken as completely as mine was.

So, with great reluctance, and quite of bit of trepidation, we welcomed another new kitten to the teeny, tiny, house in the cold, cold, land of Nod: Rajah Roo.

No kitteh could ever replace Purrcy, but Rajah really isn't just any kitteh, and has at least "distracted" us.
I cannot say that Liza Bean has bonded with him as tightly as she did with Purrcy, but Rajah is...well...his own purrson LOL.... 




So...there you have it, 2 years of fur baby history at the teeny, tiny, house in the cold, cold, land of Nod in a nutshell...Ok, a rather "large" and LONG nutshell, but a nutshell nonetheless.

And, yes, I actually started the next part of the WWR Chronicles...but somehow am having some photo issues in that regard.  So, stay tuned...or not!