Friday, October 21, 2022

Walk Slowly

Walk slowly...
 

...And I will follow....

Beloved Snowdog
7/26/2009 - 10/16/2022

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Bibliography of a Witch


As many of you know, I have a direct "ancestral" connection with the Salem Witch Trials and I, therefore, read a great deal about them.
I have a recollection of someone, at some point, asking me for recommendations for books of that genre and me replying that I would put together a list for them.

Dear Someone: I confess that I forgot about that promise...and, yes, even who you are. I hope you will overlook my absent-mindedness of late.

Better late than never they say.  And I'm as good as they get in that regard.
Because I cannot remember precisely to whom I promised this, I am posting a list here in the hopes that you will find it.
This is, obviously, not a comprehensive list...there are more books written about this subject than...well, fill in the blanks, and it seems a new book is written every day.  (Imagine that...330 years later.)
It is not even a complete list of such books in my personal "library" (nor does the photo of the shelf of books show all those books or even all the books in the list below).
But it is a place to start.
The titles with an asterisk before the title are ones that stand out to me as ones I like/found helpful, etc.  It all depends upon how "serious" you want to get.
Francis Hill is a favorite of mine on this subject - even her fictional accounts are historically accurate due to her extensive research and knowledge on the subject.
 



I hope Someone finds some value in this.

(And a Happy and Blessed, albeit belated, Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends and followers.)


Saturday, October 1, 2022

Beloved October

 If I were a month, I am certain I would be October.
Full of contradictions...bittersweet and melancholy...magic and moods,
and carrying color in my pockets.


It happened overnight... Yesterday it was plain ol' September and this morning it was October - the most glorious month of all.
Those green stalks of corn turned brown and dry, and were whisked off the field today.
I will miss them and their secrets.

One would think that since it has been so long between posts I would have a great deal to share...but I don't or at least I don't have the words for it.

I am certain I have accomplished something(s) over the past month, but I would be hard-pressed to quantify them.  There are the "have-to-do's" before the winter that keeping clogging up my to-do list but I am being pulled by the more temptinig "wanna-do's" of fall endeavors.

I did manage to get some tomatoes canned finally.


My back still hasn't forgiven me and Julia puts me completely to shame.

I have not hooked at all; I have stitched a little...but have completely finished nothing.  
The only thing I have to show for the past many weeks in that regard is this little punch needle box:

{Pattern by Teresa's Prim Treasures}

I struggled to get a decent photo - we are losing light so quickly here, but the box is actually a small candle box of sorts with a sliding lid.


I blame the squirrels...I just set my mind to something and it seems squirrels start running rampant and I, of course, have to chase them.

One squirrel safari led me to playing with paper and scissors.  

I had intended on doing stacks of three boxes but have been unable to find the larger ones for the bottom of the stack.
Rats.
So for now, they are stacks of two.
{Black felted acorns}

I have also been working on perfecting the recipe for 2 (and only 2) chocolate chip cookies. (Don't be deceived by the photo, these are MUCH larger and thicker than they look and than a typical cookie.)  Since I don't need to eat an entire batch of cookies by myself, I have been experimenting...but I think I will need to resign myself to making at least 3...these are just a little bit too thick and chewy in the middle. 

I can't believe I just said that.

*******
And, books....there's always room and time for books in my closed-in little world.
As fall settles in and darkens the nights prematurely; and chilly, dreary days bleed into colder and rainier nights, I find it even easier to lose myself in the company of the best friends I've ever had: books.

This is another debut novel by (another) British author (am I getting in a rut, here?)...and I will be reading more of her (well, yes, yes, I am...and I am enjoying the rut at this point in time, thank you very much.) The book was described as a "gothic" novel...but I am not sure why?  Perhaps because of its desolate, isolated, setting...but it's not "gothic" in the way that I think of that term.
Atmospheric, yes. Very.  It's the story of an orphan who comes to live with her new adoptive parents...in a secluded house on the edge of a marsh, all of whom and which hold secrets the young child struggles to understand.
It was good...very good.  And like I said, I will be back for more.

*******

I wish you all a very merrie month of October...Spooking season has officially begun.

Keeping those who suffered the wrath and havoc of Ian in heart and prayers.



Saturday, September 10, 2022

A Rainy Day in Nod


 A positively gloomy, dreary, kind of rainy day in Nod.
And cold.
(Have I mentioned Nod is COLD?!)

There is nothing I have to do that I want to do so
I am procrastinating...
...and looking out windows with Rajah Roo.


In furtherance of my procrastination, I decided I would try to make myself feel less guilty by posting some things I have finally finished.
It's been a while...in many ways and for many reasons - some I stitched so long ago, I would not choose to stitch them now....that's long.
With one exception, I believe these all have been posted previously, but they were not "finally/fully" finished.

{"Winter Woods"...a design by Chessie & Me}

{"Witch Miltida"...a design by Joyce Reed...stitched eons ago...not 1887, but close.}

{"Nantucket Whaling Co."...a design by The Primitive Hare}


{"With Liberty and Justice for All"...a (free) design by Primitive Betty's...again, stitched long, long, time ago, but just fully finished}

I also finally finished hooking "Welcome Cats."


This was almost worse than giving birth, but the "reward" at the end not even close.  I do not wish to bore everyone with the saga of this rug again but, since it is not likely to ever be bound and fully finished, I will tell a brief summary and, hopefully, be done with it. (Hence, why it counts as a "finish.")
This rug is based on an antique rug and I had wanted to hook it from the very first time I saw it.

{Photo of a photo of the original antique}

  I finally located the pattern online and the nightmare journey began.
This was 10+ years ago if not more.... I was still working and had little time to hook...and I am a SLOOOW hooker.
Then WWR ("When We Remodeled") started and the rug was packed away...far, far, away.

I pulled it out years later, after the dust of WWR (somewhat) settled and was completely at a loss as to where to begin again.  It had been put away hurriedly (part of the legacy of WWR) and I had not marked which wool was intended for what.
So, it was, again, exiled to a dark, dark, place.

I finally pulled it out again this past year and was determined to finish it, but even more problems surfaced.
I had wanted to do a somewhat faithful reproduction to the original (because that was what I fell in love with) although I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a purist like Saundra (Woodland Junction is. As I started the second cat, however, I realized the pattern I purchased was far from true to the original. (I'll spare you pointing out the details.)
And, even more troubling, my hooking technique had changed considerably since I started it (and not for the better) so it began to look like two different people had hooked it.
With much muttering, I muddled through and finally finished the hooking....only to realize that, while the color plan probably is closer to the original than any reproductions I had seen, I actually now prefer the warmer, richer, colors of the reproductions of which I had seen so many.

So, I am sorely disappointed...in my inability to pick up on the pattern "issues" sooner, my color choices and, more importantly, my hooking.
About the only things I do like about it are the left cat's "snaggletooth"...


...and the "ghost ball" between the two cats (which is barely visible on the photo I had of the antique and completely MIA from the pattern I purchased, and which I rehooked thrice):


In any event, hopefully, that's the last you'll see or hear of it.

*******

I realize this post is insufferably long already, but I am running far behind on my book "reports" (or have I spent to much time reading?? Don't answer that.)

Anyway, this is another thing I am "finished" with:


It is another historical fiction based on actual events during WWII and if you follow that history at all, you have likely read or seen a version of the story: A woman becomes pregnant while incarcerated in Auschwitz. 
It was ok...I didn't necessarily dislike it and it kept my attention, but I'm finished with this genre for a while.  I think I am more than satiated with the time period and subject matter at this particular point in time.  After a while, the story lines begin to blur and I'm just finished.

*******

Finally, but not leastly, tomorrow is the 21st anniversary of the day our country lost what was left of its innocence.
We will never forget.


PS... To my blog pals from the UK and the realms: My deepest condolences on the loss of your beloved Queen.  What a remarkable woman she was.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

When the Crickets Sing...

{Hollyhocks, Sedum and Beebalm}

When the crickets sing, I know Summer's swan song has begun.
It gives me pause and makes me melancholy (ok melancholier than usual) as it is a bittersweet thing.

{Morning Glories}

It brings me great joy to know that my most beloved of seasons is readying herself for her grand debut;
but Summer is a grand season in its own right and dearly loved as well, as her visits are always brief in the Cold, Cold, Land of Nod.


The changing of the seasons here is so drama-filled it seems...as though nature demands our attention.

And nothing says drama like the latest bloomers (not that kind perverts!) of all: The hibiscus.



 This year some pests have found their leaves particularly appetizing, but the flowers are completed undaunted and unfazed. 


It is difficult to capture in photos how large these blooms are.


I realize I always "overdo" the hibiscus photos each year, 
but indulge me please. 
Have I mentioned Summer is a brief visitor, at best, here?
And a crow can't quite resist those "shiny" objects sometimes.

So, as the days grow shorter, and the cricket's song grows louder and its cadence slower, I drink in these last days of Summer.

{Petunias and Lisianthus}

{Heliopsis ("False Sunflower")

{Lisianthus}


Ok...I'm done with the flower photos.  Can't promise there won't be a few more but knowing our weather/climate, it won't be many.

On to other things...like the cat on my roof.


Well, I thought it was a cat...but then, as I looked at it, I realized there is NO way a cat could possibly get up that high and it was too large for a cat.  (This is the roof of my Little Crow's garage...there is a lift in the building for working on vehicles, so it has a very high roof...(even higher than was needed for the lift...but that's another story for another time.))

Then the cat spoke.
Jiminy Crickets!! (Speaking of crickets...)

That was no cat.
It was an owl...one BIG honking hooting owl!!


While I have no issues with black cats, owls disturb me...especially one so up close and personal.


In my world, owls are generally considered messengers from the spirit world who come to advise or warn one of impending perils.
Some say that they are messengers of witches.
For the record, I was NOT talking to myself.
Long story short: I'd have rather had a black cat miraculously land up there.

*******

I know this post is long enough already, but I am getting way far behind on my book "reports." 
This will be short and to the point:


I picked this book up because I thought the author's name familiar (as though I had read something by her previously and since I didn't associate dislike with the name, assumed it was a good association).
It was not.
I did not like this book...at all.
It is the story of a woman who dies at a too-young age of an incurable disease.
She leaves her husband with a year of monthly letters to help him "transition" to life without her.
Perhaps a good plot in theory, but not in execution.
Totally unrealistic and not in a good way. I find fairy tales more believable.

'Nuff said.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

My Familiars


fa-mil-iar  /fǝ'milyǝr/  noun  plural noun: familiars
1.  a demon supposedly attending and obeying a witch, often said to assume the form of an animal.
"her familiars were her two little griffons nested in her skirts."
2.  a close friend or associate.

While it has, on occasion, been said of me that I keep familiars of the animal kind, this post is not about such gossipry.

{Asiatic "Landini" Lilies...or not. They may be my "Blacklist" Lilies...I confuse those two.}

This is about lilies: Those steadfast perennials that return so faithfully each year and I welcome them as I would an old, familiar, friend whom I haven't seen for a year.

{Hyperion Daylily}

{"Nettie's Pride" Asiatic Lily}

After such a long absence, I confess that I have forgotten how very beautiful they are.

{"Pink Luxury Lace" Daylily}

{Another Hyperion Daylily, albeit smaller. This one almost reminds me of  daffy.}

So many different faces, but all so familiar.
(My "famililies???)

{"Stargazer" Asiatic Lily}

And then there is this wonderful familiar.  He is, indeed, of the animal kind, and he is, indeed, a close friend.
A very, very, close friend.



{Do you see the orb by the tree? It was so solid it gave me pause.  It almost seemed that Snowdog saw it too.}

My precious Snowdog is struggling these days, but today he is celebrating his 13th birthday.  Well, I am celebrating his 13th birthday.
He got a new bunny (one of his very favorite familiars) and lots of snacks...and maybe pizza is on the menu for dinner.

*******

While we are on the subject of familiars, I recently finished up The Familiars by Stacey Halls.


It is a historical novel set in 1612 Lancaster, England amid the all-too-true atrocities of the Pendle witch trials. (Yes, before Salem, there was Pendle.)
While it fits squarely within one of my most loved genres, it was somewhat unique in that the main protagonist, Fleetwood Shuttleworth, and other main characters were real people and the novel does an uncanny job at weaving the story around very factual aspects of their lives.

 (Of course I had to go research the "real" people and places and was surprised at the accuracy of some details.  The fictional details, however, are so very plausible, that it makes one wonder how close to actual history they might be.  It also gave me a glimpse into what may have become of the fictional Fleetwood.)

In short...totally loved it and would definitely recommend it.

*******

Ok, off to see about that pizza.  And maybe a doggie sundae later.

I love that dog.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Playing With Angels...

 

Now that I no longer am baby bird-sitting Bébé, I have more time to do other things.

But...nothing seems to be getting done.
If I wait, however, until something does get done, then no blog posts would get done either.
A Catch-21.
(Not really a Catch-22, but close...very close.)

So, here's a quick recap of what I've been doing...(other than Bébé-sitting).

I finally fully finished Centennial Eagles. Wow - did I drag this out or what?  I started it and stitched one eagle, then left it sit for a long, long, time.
I eventually pulled it back out and finished the other eagle, but then put it aside again as I wasn't sure how I wanted to finish it.
I have limited wall space (too many stupid windows) and was set on a flat finish (3/4ths of a yard of fabric "set on") but then decided that it was really too large for a flat finish.
Thought of just backing it in that fabric I had bought for the flat finish, but wasn't completely convinced I wanted that since, after all that time, I wasn't sure I even liked the fabric I had gotten.
So one rainy Saturday, I decided to do a simple turned-under hem.


The hand stitching (sans counting) was soothing, and.it.is.DONE.
And done is good.
And you will never have to look at it again...I promise.

And since I was (briefly) in a patriotic state of mind, I stitched up (and, actually, also fully finished) this little God Bless America tuck.  It is a modification of a freebie pattern from years ago by The Nebby Needle (Bonny Woomer).

{The two smaller tucks in front are older...}

I also started a large Halloween piece I have been wanting to do for some time - Halloween at Hollowberry Farms by Stacy Nash.

{My apologies for all the wrinkles...I don't have a large frame/hoop and this fabric is a hot wrinkle-prone mess.}

But YIKES...that border about did me in and it isn't even half done.
Talk about monotony.  Edgar, I know know how you can love borders as much as you do LOL.

So that got put aside.
(Can you say "AADD" ??)

From there, I moved on to One For The Crow, a With Thy Needle & Thread design.
(This is actually the smaller of two pinkeeps in the pattern. And, yes, I do intend to do the other...sometime...soon...maybe?)


Now that, too, resides in the unfinished pile.  
(Hey, 2 "out" warrants 2 "in," no?)

And now, Welcome Cats is back on my hooking frame.
(AADD is real...and so is the struggle.)


Frankly, that's all it is: Back on the frame - not much further along since you last saw it.

*******

The one thing I do not seem to have any difficulty finishing is books and I am remiss in my "recent reads report," that it will take me a while (if ever) to catch up. 


I finished this one several weeks ago...and it took some willpower to, in fact, "finish" it.  It was some kind of "intense"...not in the action department, but in the head department.  I was hopelessly out of my element on the geopolitical front here.  
It is the (true) story of Abdel Kader Haidara's (and other dedicated archivists') mission to preserve and rescue tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts first from the trunks and earthen safe rooms of pastoralists and farmers and later from the even more ravaging destruction of war and the rise of Al Qaeda. 

I have to admit that even the tedious Securities & Exchange Commission regulations did not hurt my head as much as this book sometimes did. 
I'm not ashamed to admit that I knew little of this history...or of the geography or culture.  And there is a great deal of detail packed in this book.
I think, though, it was the names that frustrated me the most.  
Everyone has at least 3 unpronounceable names that I struggled to keep straight. 
But...wow...there is a world out there I knew absolutely nothing about. And the beauty of these manuscripts is absolutely amazing. (No, it's not an illustrated book, but I had to do some research you know.)
And, yes, there is a real place called Timbuktu.  At least that part I knew.
Would I recommend it? Ummm...well??  Not unless you are very strange like me.

*******

As for other things I have been doing...well, you know - watching the clouds in the sky, falling in rabbit holes (sometimes literally), and spying on the moon dancing with the fog at 2 in the morning.


Oh and, yeah...I play with angels.