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Pillows…and peas…

Last night I was so tired, I went to bed at 7:30!

Of course, I didn’t stay there.

There were many trips up and back to get supplies for this…

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Yes, a new project! I was inspired by Jude’s pillow and wanted to make one of my own. I had just seen her pillow project and watched the video when H and I were at Walmart and they had a huge bin of…travel pillows! I have an upcoming trip…another workshop for the field I have entered. Maybe I can get it finished in time to take it along.

I went upstairs and found this beautiful soft rayon fabric I’ve had for ages. I think in its past life it was a thrift store skirt. Anyway, I thought it would make a nice soft base for my pillow project.

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The fabric is so pretty and luxurious, I almost left it like that! Instead, it turned into this:

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And eventually this…

I know I use way to much color. The thing is, I don’t have a lot of plain fabrics. I have always gravitated towards color. I just hope the finished product looks nice. I’m anxious to wash it and see how all those different fabrics make friends. I’m also hoping more of that beautiful fabric underneath will peak through after a wash. We’ll see.

In this week’s chapter of the Duck Chronicles…TG&Y are almost fully feathered out.

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That’s Yoyo at the bottom.

It appears my early assessment that I had two ducks (girls) and a drake (boy) were correct, which is funny because most people really seem to struggle with identifying what genders they’ve got. As it turns out, there are a number of clues to whether you’ve got a duck or a drake:

*Drakes will be a bit bigger than ducks, and Yoyo was always the biggest.

*At around 4 weeks their bills begin to change color. If you compare Yoyo’s bill with Gyrtie’s behind him you will see his bill is a greenish yellow, while hers is slate gray.

*Drakes don’t quack. It takes a while for ducks to develop their quack and when they do they can be quite loud. That’s usually at feed time or when I leave them and they are making the We’re all Alone!!! sound. At this stage, T&G still mostly sound like squeaky toys, but once in a while they can really get going…especially when there are Peas.

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As it turns out, peas are like magic for ducks. While Khaki Campbells are typically skittish by nature, they lose all fear when peas are on the menu. This has worked out very well for transporting them from the duck house (formerly Chicky’s shed…poor Chicky) to their pen across the yard. I just throw a few peas on the ground, they dart all over gobbling them up like little fiends, and they follow me wherever I go. Much to my surprise and pleasure, I discovered yesterday I don’t really need the peas. They followed me around for a long time yesterday and when I sat quietly sipping my tea, they flopped down on the ground, as they do, gently grazing, then snoozing, and when I looked down they were right against my feet. Ah, so cute.

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Peas and water…definitely their two favorite things!

 

Two more weeks…

We had a good laugh last week when one of the DJs H works with announced there would be two more weeks of winter predicted by the groundhog.

Expectedly, he caught a lot of flack for that. This guy has a tendency to not research anything.

I’m actually ok with there being six more weeks, as I have some garden preparations to do. I got started a couple days ago laying out some cardboard and piling on leaves to make my version of raised beds. The weather was beautiful and not winter like at all. My back is still tired and strained from those efforts.

I’m preparing the garden, even though I don’t know if we’ll actually be here. That’s kind of the story of my life. We’re always making plans and keeping things open for possibilities. It’s grown tiresome. And, perhaps, in spite of that tendency of ours to not know where we’re going to be, I purchased these…

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I’m particularly excited about this one…

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Apparently good for making soup stock. I can’t wait!

I also want to get some ducks. I wanted to last year, but it never happened. We paid a guy to make us a chicken coop last year, but that never happened. I’d like to have some chickens, too. We’ll see what happens…

Over the past week I managed to finish a couple of projects – the weaving I had started and a crochet bag.

H was puzzled by the weaving:

what’s that for?…it’s just some weaving…but what’s it going to be? …I don’t know, it’s just some weaving…but what are you going to do with it?…I don’t know, it’s just some weaving…

I guess he is used to most of my creative efforts having purpose. Of course, I envision it going into cloth work some day, like Jude’s beautiful creations, but obviously I’m not there yet.

The crocheted Rondo bag is a free pattern from my favorite free pattern company…Drops. I want to line it, probably will use up some more of that quilting fabric I have. I think I even have colors that would match.

I didn’t get a lot of drawing done last week, but did manage another hand…and then there was class yesterday.

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We worked with charcoal.

And, there was another Prairie Girl.

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Isn’t she lovely…

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I’ve been enjoying the winter cactus blooms.

About five are fully opened. Three more decent sized blooms are on their way. More than half a dozen are just beginning.

It’s wonderful to have a blooming plant in the house again.

On the creative front, there has been drawing practice:

I’m especially fond of the basket drawing. Practicing circles and shading…that’s something I enjoy, too. Things are a bit lopsided, but hopefully that will improve.

Weaving happened yesterday while watching Z: The beginning of everything on Amazon Prime, about Zelda Fitzgerald. I recall reading a biography about her some years ago.

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There has been some heart-felt stitching:

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I’ve a few ideas for backings, but honestly, not a lot of vision is coming through. Instead, I’m merely enjoying the process.

The word cloth grew by two new words…20170130_122235with a little embellishment to boot.

I thought about my grandmother while photographing the winter cactus. I’ve put the one I started from her plant upstairs. I’m hoping the warm days from the sun streaming in and the cool nights from minimum heating will inspire it to bloom. It wasn’t showing any signs of inspiration in my cold dark bathroom, so we’ll see what happens upstairs.

I snapped a couple photos of the blooming cactus, then noticed I had something of my grandmother’s in the shot: the ceramic graduated measuring cups that hung on her kitchen wall during my childhood.

I happened to be there when she passed away and when her belongings were divvied up amongst her children. None of the grands were allowed, which was fine with me. But some cousins were quite concerned I was around…what did I want? what was I trying to get? I think mainly they were all vying for her rocking chair, which was a big part of her daily life. She loved that thing and, if she was sitting, she was bound to be in it.

My mom asked if there was anything I wanted as a keepsake and, if so, she would try to get it.

I wanted these.

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Together with a blooming winter cactus, it is such a fitting reminder of Grandma. If the cactus from her plant blooms, I will place it here and photograph it again in memory of her.

Buggar wasn’t all that interested in the cactus. She kept wondering why I was poking her. (to get her to turn around, of course)

I think this one is my favorite…

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Not a lot going on…

The paw is still mending, so there’s not much progress to report other than it’s feeling a bit better. It’s easier to type now, which is nice. But last night I could hardly play cards it hurt so bad, but it was one more thing H and I could do together before he returned to his work schedule early this morning. By the time he gets home he will have been gone 11 hours. We are both tired of this routine and looking at making changes.

Today is a mild, gray day. This morning we had fog, which I love. I slept a long time, so was unable to capture the fogginess, but here’s what this winter day is looking like.

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It’s warm enough I may go ground a bit. Maybe that’s the boost I need. I’ve been feeling pretty blah all winter so far.

Yesterday, being New Year’s Day, H wanted to go out to eat. I finally relented when I realized I wouldn’t be able to do much at home with this injured hand. Our first stop was the Chinese restaurant where we have celebrated the new year in the past. They always give customers a free calendar, which is a nice tradition. And we usually buy a second. I like to have a calendar here when I’m working on the computer.

Last year was horses. The year before we had beautiful koi fish. This year I liked the rooster.

20170102_151810He must be crowing, because his mouth is open. I loved his colors. And that is such a nice sun.

Our next stop was the grocery store chain where I had $15 in gift certificates to spend. I felt badly for shopping on a holiday and seeing all those glum faces of the employees. Actually, the employee faces are usually glum at this chain. I don’t think this corporation treats its people well. The stores we really like to shop at, Aldi and Costco, were closed for the holiday. Good for them!

Anyway, last month I was eating my favorite store brand chips and bit down on a large pebble. Ouch! I told the company about it, sent photos of the guilty bag, and they apologized and sent me the certificates. I used them to buy these items: a brand new thermos for soup – something I’ve been wanting for quite a while – and some cookie cutters to use as patterns. I was mainly interested in the star shape and the fact it has two traceable sizes, but the tree might be nice, too. Both items were on sale, so that was a bonus!

20170102_133230I might give Santa away. I’m not really into Christmas these days.

Readership on the blog has been slow as molasses. Maybe that’s because of the holidays being busy, or maybe people are not interested in what I have to say or share. Could be some of both. Anyway, I decided I will keep this blog going for at least a year before I decide whether to close it or not. I like the diary aspect of blogging, it’s something I really do enjoy. But there’s only so long a person can talk to themselves.

I do have one finished project I hadn’t shared yet. It’s called Home.

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Here’s how it developed:

I really enjoyed the stitching. I never had a plan for this one, just went right along.

I’ve also been meaning to share the knitted afghan I found at the thrift store for $4. Someone put a lot of time into this only to have it donated, but I am happy to have it. I washed it, found one hole to mend where the thread ends had come apart, and put it on my bed. I like the weight of it, and the colors.

There have been developments on the cat front. I may have mentioned I gave up chasing off the stay cat, who I have named “Bully.” I began calling him that derogatorily because he was aggressive towards my cat. Now I’m using it’s original meaning, “a fine chap.” Chick still avoids him, but I haven’t heard any squalling or scrapping because of his presence, which is a nice change. Each morning I give him a cup of food. So far, it seems to be keeping the peace. He doesn’t run off like he used to, either.

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He’s really a gorgeous boy. Tortoise shell pattern. Maybe someday he’ll want to be petted. I wonder if he once had a home.

Today isn’t the only warm day we’ve had. After a cold spell it warmed up to the 30s and for some reason this little guy surfaced. He kept the little girls entertained for several days. Of course, if the girls hadn’t gotten him the cold probably would have. Note to snakes: it’s not time to come out yet.

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On a final note to catch up on things, I did do a bit of fabric weaving using the Martha Stewart loom I purchased. It was fun and quick. I used silk sari ribbon and some other silk I had cut up from scraps for another project that never got finished. These are what ifs because I have no idea what I’ll use them for.

 

And here is yesterday’s weird sky.

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