Saturday, June 1, 2019

Welcome June (and Other Stuff....)

Happy, Happy, June!

It's finally lilac season here....one of my absolute, all-time, favorite flowering shrubs.


At this rate, we might have hollyhocks and foxglove by October.  No...wait....By then there will be snow on the ground again.  😬

I considered boycotting planting annuals this year, but made the mistake of stopping by a greenhouse.  EEEK.  They are one of my major weaknesses.


Now I have bunches boxes (and boxes) of plants to plant.
That was my plan for today...except it rained buckets last night and all my planting receptacles are once again waterlogged.
So you get a blog post from me instead.
 Lucky, lucky, you. 😆

There isn't much new here, other than it is, indeed, GREEN here instead of white.  I did go on a little shopping excursion a few weeks ago with my friend/neighbor, Cathy (of Red Barn Rugs fame).  One of our stops was at a favorite store of mine, The 13th Colony & Elizabeth's Woolery, as Cathy sells some of her patterns and gorgeous hand-dyed wool there and they were in need of more wool. (Aren't we all??)

Among other things, I picked up this little applique pattern.
I haven't appliqued for a while, so it was fun getting back to it.

 (The mat is backed in the sweet Moda bee fabric in the background.)

Hopefully it will get me back in practice enough to tackle some of the more "ambitious" applique projects I have been hoarding neglecting saving.

I have also picked up my hook again.

And not just any hook, but this fun one by Hudson Valley Rugs.  (Thanks, Lauren, for the enticement....)

And, yes, I have started a project.  As you all know, my hooking mojo has been MIA for a while.  I left off in the middle of several projects...a Christmas stocking, a Valentine heart, and the largest project, "Welcome Cats" (an antique adaptation).  Although I dislike having too many WIP's of any one genre going at a time, I was finding it difficult to pick up any of the hooking projects mentioned.  The Christmas stocking is very close to being finished, but the finishing is a challenge (to me). I somehow "misplaced" the wool for the heart...and the "Welcome Cats" had some bizarre horizontal hooking going on that I found less than amusing.

So, I decided to start a completely new project.  It's the Guilford Runner by Edyth O'Neill.  

(If you're a hooker and wondering about the long tails of wool on the front side, it is simply to thwart two mischievous kitties who otherwise come up under my hooking frame and unhook things.... This way, I simply fold the fabric over when I need to leave it unattended.) 

I'm not very far, but I have never been, and never will be, a speed hooker. And, hey, I'm ok with that. 

On a sad note:  A little bird made her nest in my fern inside our cornzebo.  She must have thought herself quite clever:  It was protected from the major elements as it was undercover, but was near the birdbath, and she could come and go between the wires of the structure. 


 But, the little bird must have forgotten she lived in Nod. The storms last night that brought the rain unfortunately also brought strong winds (no surprise there).  And the fern, with the little bird's nest, went down.


And broke the eggs that were in the little bird's nest.





It breaks my heart to see the little bird flitting and walking around looking for her eggs.  😢

*********

That's it for now.  Stay safe and kind...and be careful of where you build your nests.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Fruit of the Vine and Something Simpler: A "Maynia" of My Own Making

Those of you in the "stitchy" world are probably very familiar with "Stitch Maynia."
I am not going to define it for you because I am not entirely sure there really is a definition.
It was started several years ago, and, at that point in time, those who participated started a new stitch (or other craft/sewing) project every day for the entire month of May.
Crazy in and of itself if you are me....me who gets a bit "phobic" when I have more than 2 or 3 WIP's going at one time.  (Hey....it took me a long, long, time before I "therapied" (my word and I like it) myself enough to allow myself to have 2 or 3 projects of each type of craft in progress at a given time.)

Now I understand "Stitch Maynia" can really be whatever you want it to be....Start or complete projects... Whatever number you choose....1 each day, 19 for "2019," stitching, hooking, punching or a combination, although it appears the cross-stitchers were the originators of the concept and continue to be the most populous of participants.

I don't participate.  Enough said.  



I'm manic enough if you ask Crow Daddy.

(I had a dickens of a time getting representative colors in the photos....It is, after all, once again raining here in Nod.)

manic:  mental illness marked by periods of great excitement or euphoria, delusions, and overactivity

So, ok...after re-reading the definition, I guess he is, in part, correct.  Not so much in the "euphoria" or "overactivity" departments, but I was, indeed, "greatly excited" to finally finish my "Fruit of the Vine" needle roll.  It is the first project in the "Birds of a Feather Handworke" Club series by Tammy Black of Scattered Seeds Samplers.  It was stitched on 32 count "Country French" Golden Needle linen using the called-for DMC flosses, 1 thread over 2 and, GAH! (read on), 1 over 1.  I had to brush up on my Symrna stitch and stem stitch, but, hey, I remembered.  I was also "greatly excited" that I actually completed it prior to getting the second club installment even.  And, ok, truth be told, I was perhaps a bit "euphoric" that it turned out quite decently if I say so myself.


Ok, ok...it's 99% finished.  See that little triangular pinkeep in the floral fabric that is at the end of the needle roll in the photo?  It is supposed to be actually attached to the bottom of the needle roll and 2 ribbons (matching the needle roll ties) attached to either side.  I, however, couldn't quite decide how best to attach it and as I pondered it, I began to consider that, perhaps, I didn't really want it attached.  Time will tell.


As for the "delusions" part of that definition, I have always admired the beautiful pieces that many do using 1 over 1 (i.e., 1 strand of floss over 1 thread of linen for you non-stitchers who are graciously still with me).  BUT, after doing the little "needle number labels" for the needle sizes 1 over 1, I swore (really SWORE in language that would put any sailor to shame) that I had to be nuts to think I could do 1 over 1 on any large-scale project.

After all that "stress" of 1 over 1, counting endless threads between stitches and to the edges to get a perfect 3//4" seam allowance, and recalling almost-forgotten embroidery stitches, I decided to treat myself to something much simpler.


 This quick and easy stitch is by the talented Tina Woltman ("Early America, The 1815 Shoppe").  This is stitched 2 over 2 on 28 count natural linen.  (I really prefer 2 over 2 for the simple fact that it is so much easier, not to mention quicker, to start a thread.)

So there you have it....a "Maynia" all of my very own making.
Now on to those "delusions of overactivity".... ;-) 

(P.S. An interesting tidbit:  Both of the designers mentioned above, Tammy and Tina, are from Wisconsin.  Hmmmm...methinks some of us make better use of those long, long, winters than others of us.)

(P.S.S.  To those wondering about my missing hooking mojo:  I am getting closer...really I am.) 


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.