Saturday, December 19, 2020

A Different Kind of Christmas....

It truly is....  For many of us, I know.  It seems that the song Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas was written for 2020.

Someday soon we will all be together
If the fates allow
Until then, we'll have to muddle through somehow...

These were the original lyrics of the song written in 1944.  They've been changed up...and several times...since. There were changes to more than the above lines...most changes reflecting the do some comparing if you're curious.  Yet, somehow, it's the original version that is most fitting in these times I think.

Yes, that could be an entire post in itself...but not now, not here.  That's not the kind of "different" I am talking about.

  And it's not even the lack of snow here in Nod....unheard of for this time of year.  No, that's not the kind of "different" I'm talking about either.

(This was last week. We did get a little dusting last night, but this is unheard of in Nod....)

And it's not my complete lack of Christmas spirit.  THAT, unfortunately, is becoming a "norm" it seems.  Once again, no baking here, no Christmas shopping here, no Christmas tree here.  But that isn't the kind of "different" I am talking about either.

There are a great many differences in Christmas this year that I could mutter ramble on post about, but since my decor in Nod is severely lacking this year, I am sharing my "Christmas" (such as it is) at the lake.

There isn't much...and I warn those primitive souls out there that this is truly different from what you expect of me.  But the lake house has a completely different soul than my home in Nod and I have to listen to it.

(I had hoped to add some greens and perhaps some lights to the mantel, but like many things this year, THAT didn't happen.)

(I do have a  tree...wee as it may be...and it has lights!)

(Sign Blocks by Mel and Mark of Back Forty)

(Santa by Lisa Evans of Folk For All Seasons)

And then there's this guy:

And, if you're wondering (I'm sure you are 😉), this is what's on my hoop:

("The First Snowflake" by The Primitive Hare...but with different linen, and different floss...Are ya proud of me Marly??)

I hope to manage a post in the upcoming week.  If not, or until then, keep on muddling through...and have yourself a merry little Christmas.


Saturday, December 5, 2020

Back Forty

Back Forty:  n. a remote and uncultivated or undeveloped piece of land of indefinite size (as on a farm).

Well, that's Merriam-Webster's definition anyways.

Those of us who grew up on a farm know exactly what the "back forty" is. It is the most remote 40 acres of a farm and when a farmer was too far away to be reached, it was usually because they were in the "back forty."
It was also where the best berries grew...and hunting was the best.  

There was also a very good chance you would meet up with creatures you'd rather wolves, lynx, or least in OUR back forty.

If you didn't know the definition, don't worry.  Supposedly the phrase is less popular than 80% of the other words in the English language. In recent years though, the term "back forty" has been used as a sort of metaphor for the second half of one's know...that part that comes after "midlife" when things get "real."

In some ways, life becomes more "predictable" and families, responsibilities, and careers replace the carefree days of "pre-midlife."  Like the back forty of a farm, it can also be scary at times and filled with unknowns.

One can look at it like that...or one can look at it as a completely new beginning full of undiscovered possibilities.  The second "chapter" in your life where things can't help but be richer, fuller, and more appreciated because of all the things you "learned" in the first half and you now know what truly matters.

About a year and a half ago, I stumbled upon a new "back forty" right in my own back yard so to speak.  It is a clever combination of both definitions of the phrase as it is "remote" (it IS in Nod, after all), but oh the fun, playfulness, and possibilities!

This Back Forty is a physical place (it is located at 9290 County Road A, Wausau, WI 54401) but it is also so much more.  The owners are a husband and wife team each of whom is blessed with talent and creativity beyond measure and when they combine their gifts, it becomes something magical.  They offer complete design services - from interior designing to complete remodel projects and everything in between...including some amazing and unique craftsmanship.

Periodically, they do themed "markets" or "sales" where they offer up a virtual feast of "funk" and "junk."  Artistically repurposed finds and handcrafted treasures are curated in the most imaginative ways. The photos in this post are of their current Christmas market, "Four Christmases."  Since this post is already long enough, I will let them speak for themselves.


And, yes....I was just a wee bit....

...but that's a different post for a different day.  😉

 Mel and Mark...the magic behind Back Forty



Thursday, November 19, 2020

When It Rains, It Pours.....

 Ain't that the truth??

But that kind of rain is not what I'm talking about.  I'm actually not even talking about any kind of rain.  I'm talking about salt.  Specifically, "Morton's Salt."
(Yes, I'm bored now that Spooking Season is over.  😞)

Many, many blog seasons ago, I started a series of posts about my collections. 
I forget where exactly I left off, but I know I never finished...because I have many collections.  My philosophy:  If one of something is good, MANY more of them would be better.  But I know I never did "this" collection, because it isn't much of a collection...and it was one of my later-acquired habits.  So here we go:  Collections - Part ????

Anyways...who doesn't know the Morton Salt Girl??? The iconic little girl with the big umbrella holding a package of trailing salt.  But, (here comes your history lesson LOL), she isn't as popular as I thought she would be amongst collectors.

Morton Salt traces its roots back to 1848 (I won't bore you with those details) but "back in the day," people had to deal with salt that clumped together in damp or humid weather.  In 1911, Morton's came up with a genius solution:  Add an anti-caking agent to the salt.... i.e., magnesium carbonate.  (Now most salt has calcium silicate added instead).  The result:  free flowing salt, and the dawn of a new era for cooks and diners alike. The company soon adopted the slogan "When it rains, it pours."

The iconic little girl was not actually added as the company "mascot" until 1914.


There have been seven versions of the Morton Salt Girl since her debut.  The 8-year old (bet you didn't know her age, did ya???) has had curly hair, then straight, then curly again.  She's had pigtails and a bob, and been a blonde as well as a brunette.  Her yellow dress, however, wasn't added until 1941.

No, I don't have all 7 versions, but I do have popcorn salt....does that count???

Oh....and some tenderizer....

Boring I know...but the non-boring stuff in my world these days are things I rather not breathe more life into by putting into words.  And, yes...I am still putting away Halloween.

As for stitching, I want to thank everyone who ventured an opinion on my flower floss.  Whether you're a stitcher or not, each and every input was appreciated and considered.

I felt like Goldilocks and the Three Bears....I kept trying floss, and one would be too dark, one too orange, one too red....but then, I think I found one that was just right (at least I think so).

In the top vine the lightest flower floss (on the right) is the original called-for DMC 436.  To the left of it is one I really liked (DMC 310) but, after studying it a bit, decided it was a bit too "shocking" for the muted, "moody" (thank you Marly...that's the perfect descriptive) colors of the rest of the piece.
So, I ended up with DMC 435 (that's what is on the bottom vine flowers).  Thank you Color Queen for your patience with me in my venture into this unknown and new color-changing world.

As for hooking....There's nothing to discuss.  Sorry Mummy Dearest.

There's so much ugliness in the world right now, I will leave you with this photo of my neglected little plant in my laundry window.  I went to the lake for an extended "unplugging" and came home to these beautiful blooms.

Always remember, there are unexpected and undeserved miracles in this world. I believe in them, but not in coincidences.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

A Marly Dilemma

 I am trying to escape to the lake as I am desperately in need of some unplugging and recharging. BUT, before I leave, I wanted to ask for your help in a kind of Marly-ish dilemma.  
Those who follow Marly (Samplers-and-Santas) know that she just can't follow a cross stitch chart. 
I in no way mean that in a negative sense....In fact, I admire her courage and creativity and her down-right mad talent for changing up the "called-for" linens and flosses of a design.
Me? Not so much.
Actually, me....not at ALL.
I am a slave to whatever the designer calls for and it causes me great angst when I cannot find the called-for linen and/or floss.  (Really and truly.)
I just don't visualize.  When Marly suggests swapping this for that, or "editing" a design, I just screw up my nose and puzzle.
And each and every time (well, at least as far as I can recall),  I am the first to admit that her changes were nothing short of brilliant when I see her final result.

So.....that brings me to Salem Village.
It is a design by Lori Brechlin of Notforgotten Farm which I started years ago.

(Sadly, that's all the clearer the cover photo really is and sadly, the frame is not available.)

When I first saw the design, I decided I had to do it as a tribute to my grandmother (8x removed), Mary Easty, and her sister, my aunt (8x removed), who were hanged as witches in Salem.

And, of course I used the called-for linen and the called-for flosses (all DMC).

I guess I knew from the get-go that I didn't care for the colors palette much...but I, being me, had not the courage to change things up and by the time I realized I did not really care for them at all, I had stitched too much to redo. 
So, it was put aside.

In my (rather long) hiatus from hooking The Beast, I pulled it out again....
Stitching (or hooking/punching/whatever) "in season" (as Edgar would say) appeals to me....and this being a bit "witchy" was somewhat seasonal....especially given that my grandmother was hanged on September 22nd.

And, gee....I like the color scheme even less.  (Sorry Lori!)
But, I will finish it....after all, I only have one more house to go....(please don't look for "ditches" Marly!!)  
However, as I started the bottom "vine" border, it occurred to me that, mayhaps, I could change the color of the "bud" and that might make things more appealing to me. 

(It isn't as "wonky" as it appears here...that's because it is on my frame...really LOL.)

Mind you, it won't be a cakewalk taking the 7 I have already completed given how I wind and bury my beginnings and tails) and I don't possess a Lift-n-Snip type scissors, but it is do-able.  The called for floss is DMC 436 ("Tan")....but it is a real peachy type tan (which I have a phobia of as that was the color of the gross Formica counter in our bathroom prior to WWR).  I suppose it works well with the other strange colors like DMC 734 ("Light Olive Green"), but would a darker, more rust-like color work better to "anchor" things??? Or would that be lost amongst the browns of the stems and vine??

What say ye???  And if ye be a stitcher and think a substitution is advisable, have ye any suggestions????  I have a sizable stash of DMC, WDW and the possibilities could be endless.

I hope you're keeping your sanity out there....Just when we didn't think things could get any nutty crazier, eh??