Tag Archive | word cloth

Honey dreams…

We were at Costco the other day and guess what they are selling?

Beehive kits!

I told H I really wanted one…he continues to remain in a state of disbelief.

You have cats AND ducks and you want bees, too?

Well, yes, yes I do. (And a dog, in case you forgot!)

Yesterday we were in the backyard and I pointed to the ground.

See, I’ve already started my hive!

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The look of shock on his face was priceless. He’s such a city kid!

In efforts to change my diet, I’ve taken a cue from Cecelia.

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I’m not a huge fan of salads…all that lettuce, dressing, denying myself croutons…

But I am loving this cornucopia of fruits, nuts and veg. Why didn’t I ever think of doing this? I’m on day 3.

I’m hoping to do more stitching today. There’s not a lot else on the agenda and it’s beautiful out.

Here’s a look at the word cloth, stitched when it was, well…

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Look what I did…

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I didn’t mean for it to happen.

I didn’t plan for it to happen.

It just happened

Seriously, it was an innocent trip to Orscheln (pronounced Orsh-lin here because no one knows how to say Orscheln. They simply call it Tractor Supply in Oklahoma!)…Orscheln, the only store in town that just happens to have a giant sign outside that says:

Chick Days!

Upon entering the store, I made a beeline for the seed displays. That is, after all, why I went there…for seeds, yes, for seeds. Really. I probably ignored the peeping sounds coming from the opposite corner of the store, which seemed to bounce off the rafters and fill up every space…for a good 7, well, maybe 5 minutes. Anyway, as long as it takes to pick out half a dozen seed packets.

Finally, I gave up. It wouldn’t hurt to look.

And, I did look…longingly at the chicks…more longingly at the only five ducklings they had, whose breed was simply the mystery of “Hatchery Choice.”

I looked, I left, I went to the cashier, paid for my seeds intending to get in my car and drive away…but started asking questions about the ducklings.

What kind are those? When will you get more? etc…

“I don’t know if we’re going to get any more ducklings in,” the nice lady at the register told me honestly. “We ordered 600…and we got 15. They got here this morning, and ten of them already sold.”

That’s all it took. The thought of going another year without ducklings, of losing my chance to try my hand at duck management… duck mommyhood…whatever…was more than I could bear.

I turned tail and headed back to the chirping section, wrangled three fuzzy brown quackers into a chick box, grabbed feed, watering tray, etc…and brought them home.

H doesn’t even know yet.

I managed to move them into my bathroom last night after he fell asleep. They were out in Chick’s shed (he’s been kicked out, poor thing, but it’s warmer…) but it was way too cold last night for ducklings. I kept checking the temperature, but it would not do. My bathroom is cold, too, although really the nicest place in the house…H says it looks like a hotel, but I think it’s better than that. I really didn’t want ducklings in my bathtub…although wouldn’t it be fun to see them every time I went in there…and wouldn’t they get to know me faster and, perhaps even bond a bit… but, needs must. I snagged a reliable space heater, cranked the house heat to 75, and put the electric blanket underneath their box on High. It worked. They lived through the night.

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It’s not that I’m hiding them from H. I had an upset stomach last night which was a perfectly legitimate – if not totally forthcoming – excuse for me to keep the space heater going all night in my cold, cold bathroom…just in case I had to dash in there, I wanted it to be warm. Well, I did.

By morning it was obviously too warm, so temperatures were lowered and all is well. They’ve even had a bath and played in a tub of water.

I am the first to admit the decision was hasty, and that I had not done my homework when setting up my duckling’s home. I did do a bit of speed reading on a getting started with ducks post on a backyard chickens site. I had to do a fair amount to get them settled and later realized this watering tray was WAY too big for right now, so that’s been changed, too.

H still doesn’t know. I’m guessing I will have to confess when he gets home. Actually, now I’m curious to know how long it will take before he notices something is different

In my own defense, he promised me ducks AND chickens AND a chicken coop last year…and none of it came to fruition. So, I was perfectly justified in taking matters into my own hands. Right?

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Anyway, in other news…I made H homemade scones last night, so if he fusses about the ducks…after all we may be moving…soon…I’m trying not to think about that part…I’ll just remind him how delicious those English cheddar cheese and date scones were…and wouldn’t he like some more? There are leftovers, sweetie. We even have more bacon…

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Also, I scrubbed his toilet and shower this morning. I’ve earned brownie points.

I’ve never made scones before. Or, if I have, it’s been too long ago and I’ve forgotten. Of course, if they’d been this good, I would never have forgotten. I paid $3.50…or some other outrageous fee…for a raspberry scone at an Oklahoma tea shop last weekend and these were hands down waaaaayyyy better. Thanks for the recipe, Cecelia!

Well, I have other things to do, so I can’t stay on here for long. I have a duck tub to clean out and ready for tomorrow, along with some more indoor water adjustments to do…ducks drink a lot of water! I am currently tea dyeing some miscellaneous laces, tattings and fabrics and must tend to them. Also, I really need to get some seedlings started…time is flying.

In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s already…

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Cats and cloth…

Today is mostly about cats…again.

Perhaps it’s that there is a lot to say about them, and perhaps this is indicative of the fact that they take up such a large space in my world.

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This is a rare cuddly moment with Matty. She loves to cuddle, especially first thing in the morning. But now that she is nearly grown up, she is often out the door and more interested in exploring the world outside than snuggling. I am actually ok with that because I have four others waiting for attention. Some days Olive won’t go outside until she’s had some petting. She seems to think when she jumps on a particular kitchen chair that means she will instantly be petted…and usually it does. She’s hard to disappoint. She lands there and looks at me expectantly. I’m here! Ready for petting!

Chicky won’t eat until he’s had a good head scratch. He’s always been like that, probably because when he first came to us he was completely wild (like Olive) and I began petting him while he was distracted by food. It worked. And, anyway, it is adorable and sweet.

Buggar, like Matty, loves the morning petting, which basically involves me holding her on my left shoulder (ugh! she’s heavy!), petting her incessantly for 15 to 20 minutes (I’m not kidding), allowing her to drool all over me- yuck!, coating me in cat hair and then bounding off of me (using claws!) with absolutely no notice, often scratching me or snagging my clothes in the process. After 7 years of this I’ve begun telling her NO…I’m not holding.

This morning, in a rare moment of being only cat as the others were outside, Weanie spotted my empty lap, giggled and came right over. I actually don’t pet Weanie for extended periods of time very often as, in this regard, too, she is high maintenance. She won’t sit still and tends to wiggle and hoist her girth around  – maybe searching for the right spot to be massaged? I don’t know, but it’s really annoying. But, knowing she’s had a rough go of it lately, I humored her and let her coat my new blue velvet jogging suit with a great deal of her plush, although shedding, cat hair. (It’s spring, so they’re all shedding…ugh.) Perhaps I sound unkind, and I’m sure they think that of me, but these are some of the most spoiled cat beasties you will ever meet. Don’t forget, their Dada is around in the evenings for petting, too. They do get plenty of hands-on attention, even if it is just snippets here and there.

However, this morning I loved on Weanie for a good 10 minutes, even holding her in my arms for half of that, until she tried to do her thing and start flipping onto her back to allow me a better angle. (Keep in mind she weighs at least 20 lbs.) I quietly told her no, that’s enough, and set her down beside me and continued to pet her off and on. But these cats are pushy. And a bit of petting is never enough. Finally, I had to make her get down. At which point she nastily wahed! at me. And I was reminded how cats are, by nature, ungrateful.

As if that wasn’t enough drama and I hadn’t been clear enough that I wasn’t petting, five minutes later she started all over again, noticing my empty lap (translation: you’re available for petting) and making a beeline for it. I told her no, go get in your place, and pointed to her bed (their places all have fresh blankies that I keep washed for them on a regular basis – hmph!) on the back of the couch. She went there and last I looked she had her back – and her big rump – defiantly pointed in my direction.

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This was taken yesterday when we were all enjoying the spring green and cool temps together under the flowering bush. H says Buggar has RBF…resting bitch face. And, she does. Although in this photo I think she was mainly squinting as she looked up, but that’s basically it, the RBF. When I wouldn’t pet/hold her for a droolfest this morning, but tried to make it up to her with a little petting, she actually whipped around and hissed/snarled at me. Yep, that’s the thanks I get. And that’s a good shot of Weanie’s backside, the one that was on view just a few minutes ago. Just imagine all that packed into a tight objectionable ball.

Now, Olive, who has the sweetest disposition of all the cats, has become our snake catcher. It started this winter. Now that spring is upon us, it seems there has been a hatch of garter snakes. I found one playing  ‘possum that she’d caught (she loses interest when they don’t wiggle about – a great defensive mechanism! Except of course for that dead one this winter that she kept carrying around – blegh.) I took a stick and hoisted it up on some brush away from Olive’s notice. The next few days we kept seeing it in the yard – H recognized it because it had a tooth mark – and we kept chucking it out, hopefully to safety. It kept coming back.

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Ewwww…

We thought maybe it had a death wish, coming into a yard with so many cats. But later, when Olive found another snake…this one about the size of a large earth worm, we realized the original one was Mama snake…trying to get back to her babies.

Here’s Olive with the baby snake. She also lost interest in this one when it went limp and wouldn’t respond.

I have more Olive stories I will save for a later date, but her garter snake adventures made it onto the word cloth last night. I had a lot of words I was considering for placement on the cloth, but they all centered around the garden…

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It seemed appropriate. And, there were these lovely stitchings from the other day…

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It’s cold again today, and I will have to cover my lettuce starts again. But subsequent days are meant to be warmer, and I am so looking forward to that.

In a few minutes I am off to the thrift store for another look around. It’s not that I need anything, but that I might find something that wants rescuing. You know how that is.

 

Cabins and dreams…

Last night I finished my second log cabin piece, as inspired by Jude’s latest works.

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It’s been fun to put them together. I had enough fabrics from last year’s dyeing efforts to make each swatch a different fabric. The two lightest colored pieces were dyed with mulberries. The others were dyed with Rit. Maybe I will make some more blocks like this as I have lots of dyed fabric and I like how the pieces look together. You can see a bit more detail of the stitching here…Jude’s seam stitching and invisible basting methods used as decorative stitching…(I know, I need to get a good camera!)

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My first moons were pretty messy…but I like their mysterious quality.

I’m not sure exactly how I want to proceed now. I didn’t touch these fabrics for months for fear I would mess them up. Now that I’ve got a couple of quilt pieces put together, I’m afraid I’ll mess those up. I think other stitchers understand the dilemma. That’s one reason I’m doing the word cloth, trying to ease up a bit on the idea of perfection and give myself freedom to explore and experiment. I think it’s working. Here are a couple shots I took yesterday when working outside.

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Here’s an example of an experiment, the cloud. I wasn’t yet stitched in the photo above, simply drawn.

My first stitching efforts on the cloud were ugly and didn’t look cloud-like. I had tried two layers of stitching trying to make this work, so I removed one, left the other, and took out the gray I had been trying to use to make it look more rainy. Using white, I simply stitched over the previous stitching (ala Jude’s wrap stitch) and it worked. Nice and puffy.

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The raindrops are extended French knots. They work, too.

The sun was shining when I got up, now it’s clouded over. I missed the sun for sleeping. I have been so sleep deprived…for years…that I’ve decided if I can sleep, I will. Lately that has meant 10 or so hours each night, sometimes divided up into two sections, sometimes divided by a couple hours of being awake. I have the luxury of time these days, if not money, so I have decided to sleep.

My dreams of late have been wonderful…there have been some beautiful, caring men (sorry, H!), involving lovely encounters. Each night before I sleep, I have been telling my Spirit I want peaceful, calm dreams…and they have been. (Working with your own Spirit REALLY works!)

Last night I was traveling, in England, then I was riding an elephant on a wildlife preserve. I had such a fine view from my perch and the steps of the giant I was upon rocked me gently. There were gazelles and zebras and wide, grassy fields. I stayed quiet as we passed a herd of rhinos, not wanting to provoke the dangerous beasts. When my elephant deposited me safely beside a high fence, I waited until the rhinos were calm and not looking before I dashed to the other side and made my way over a fence and out of the preserve.

Later, I was among a large group of stitchers at some kind of retreat. One very friendly lady approached me. She had her work in her hand, which I recognized from a nature scene piece I had seen on a wall. Her style used large circles of that old fashioned stretch polyester my mother used to make pants out of. The piece she was working on had many brown circles with a larger circle at the bottom in dark orange for the sun. The circles were puffy, as if filled with batting. The lady stitched as she talked…she was open to hearing gossip of any kind or talking about whatever…she babbled on, happily, and was a care-free spirit and good-natured, despite her penchant for gossip.

When I woke, the sun was out, but now it’s gone. But, here it is again…the sun…

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A bit of this and that…

I don’t have much to write about today. I’m mainly sharing pictures.

Why?

Because it’s sunny and gorgeous out, I slept late so I am missing a chunk of the day, and I’m itching to go here and stitch:

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Hey, don’t laugh. It is a very redneck set up, but it works! I made this discovery last spring when I was desperate to be outside but tired of baking in the sun. I kept eyeballing that piece of lattice and thinking…I wonder if it would work? On hotter days I throw an old sheet over it for enhanced shading. Is that called make-do ingenuity? I don’t know, but it works.

That’s my word cloth pictured above. I’ve got a few words to get on there. And my socks are already off in preparation for some grounding. The grass is greener since taking this photo, thanks to all that rain. Earlier I found a ladybug in the kitchen and took it out. I have more gnats than usual and a few moths in the house. I suspect the plants upstairs are hatching things. It’s that time…

Jude has been putting together log cabin blocks. I have admired them for a while now. They look so easy and fun I wanted to try it. It was a good excuse to start using some of that fabric I dyed last year.

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Jude has a video she posted recently where she talks about the stitches she uses on seams. I found her method actually creates a beautiful decorative stitch, so I went with it using perle cotton and some bamboo silk thread, which sews like a dream. The stitches remind me of a Morse code pattern…dot dash….dot dash… After all, we are communicating with fabric and thread…

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I enjoyed putting this block together so much, I started another one. Here I’ve used thicker thread again to make the invisible stitch visible. I like the effect. That magenta thread is soy silk.

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On the drawing front, I showed this sketch to my instructor yesterday.

He helped me understand what was wrong with it…the eyes are off a bit. He explained how eyes need to be level with the tilt of the head. However, he said it was too good a sketch to change anything about it. That was nice to hear.

As far as kitty shenanigans, not much to report. I suspected it wouldn’t be long before Buggar started playing with the little girls. I have been enjoying their antics in the back yard.

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They do love the tall grass that grew in this little garden plot, Buggar especially. She loves to hide in it. That’s her poofy tail on the right and Matty (aka “Noodle”) laying in wait on the left. As Matty grows older it gets harder and harder to tell them apart. They are so alike in coloring…and personality…you’d think they were related.

Everyone has behaved pretty well lately, even Bully, although there has been more chasing of Wienie, which I really dislike. She has always been chased by the other cats. I don’t know what that’s about, but I’m going to look into it. Everyone also came in right away last night, except for Matty. She giggled above my head on the roof for a long time. She loves to get up there. Finally, I directed her to the top of the shed, where she jumped down and then finally ran inside, as if she hadn’t done that by herself a million times. Cats…

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Path…

It feels too early for me to write anything. I’m not sure my brain is working yet.

But I want to spend the bulk of the day stitching and relaxing, although a bath and badly needed hair wash is next on the agenda, so it seems like the best plan is to write now, play later.

Do you ever have those days where you wake up and decide you are going to spend the day in bed? And then you don’t? Or you decide today I’m going to do everything I want to do and ignore the rest? But you don’t? This has been my week, a week of feeling like doing nothing but making myself do as much as I could. There is a lot to DO.

In the meantime, we’ve been going around in circles here.

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Our backyard walking has worn a path in the dry grass.

We like that.

We like seeing what our feet have done, what our determination to walk has created. The cats like it too, will sit on it waiting for us to come round, lay in the middle of the path to make us walk around, stalk us – or the string – as we walk by.

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Yesterday did take a lot of determination to make it around the path 50 times. 50 times is 2 miles. It was all I had in me and I had to do it in two parts. It has been bitterly cold the past few days and energy has been low.

It was 36 degrees out when I took these pictures. To the cats it was nothing. They kept running around playing. I turned the faucet on so it could dribble over my cardboard garden plot. Matty – who is fascinated by water, has a thing about water, is not afraid of water – played in the stream for a long time, drank heavily, and walked in the puddles.

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After finishing an unfinished crochet project – the Drops Rondo bag – I decided if I finish one I can start one. So, yesterday I crocheted a bit. Followed by some stitching on the word cloth. The names of the seeds I purchased this week were so lovely I had to put them on cloth.

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Some days I’m impressed with my own penmanship. And other days I can’t seem to get that running back stitch (or whatever it’s called) to work for me, as was the case with Ukrainian Purple. But I think the lovely  names make up for what the stitching lacks. Rouge Vif D’Etamps is a squash and Ukrainian Purple are tomatoes. I hope they will grow for me.

Last night I made chicken and dumplings. It doesn’t look like much in the photo, but it’s been a favorite since childhood.

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Good ‘ole Betty Crocker. She knew what she was doing.

Have a great weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just. One. Thing.

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I made it up to the sewing room a few nights ago. It’s cold up there in winter, so I have a tendency to work on projects downstairs rather than spending much time there.

I had some items to take up and took a moment to look around. All my unfinished projects were staring me in the face. I have started so many and finished…none.

Why is it so much easier to start rather than finish?

I don’t know. I’ve been blaming the injured paw on not finishing a couple of crochet projects and for slowing me down with the stitching. But that’s not totally fair. My left hand is much better these days. I only wear the brace at night when I sleep, to keep from rolling over it or pinning it under me. It’s still a bit sore and not 100%, but I have yet to pick up a crochet hook and test it. I’ve been more focused on drawing and stitching, anyway. I guess I need to step it up.

Anyway, I was looking around the sewing room and decided, then and there, to Just. Finish. One. Thing. So, I finished this.

It’s not particularly clever or well done. There’s no story, just pieces put together. The only real story is I had a moon-shaped pearl bead in that space where the stitched moon is now, but it was too clunky and I snipped it off. I decided to stitch instead. The part I probably like the most, the twisted fringe at the bottom, is Jude’s technique.

I went to bed thinking the piece lacks magic. How do I incorporate magic into my cloth work? Honestly, I don’t really know. But, maybe I can start with story.

Onto other things…

In drawing class we practiced hands. Hands are hard…

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These are hard to see. Pencil doesn’t hold up all that well to bright light, at least not my tentative strokes.

We had to do four different poses:

Relaxed…

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Closed fist…

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Renaissance…

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And claw…

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I’m happiest with the relaxed pose. It was the first one and I probably spent the most time with it. This week I’ll make a few more attempts at drawing my left hand. Hopefully, I’ll get better.

Two more words made it onto the word cloth before the end of January. I was tired last night, but made myself keep stitching. That’s the goal, get each month’s words in before the month is gone.

Sunshine, because we’ve had some nice days for which I was thankful. And Las Mananitas…the new Mexican restaurant H and I discovered this month. We’ve been there four times already.

There was one casualty this week. I woke up the other morning to find the largest bud on the winter cactus (May Flower per Maria in Brazil…thank you) had been knocked off or, I suppose, had fallen on its own. However, I had not appropriately blocked off access to that portion of the table and there was probably just enough room for a fat cat to squeeze in there in order to peek through the curtain and look outside. Hmph. That’s ok, I’ll enjoy whatever blooms I get.

Noodle’s been in good spirits lately. Still enjoying the string game. Sometimes I’ll put the string down when they seem tired, so as not to wear them out. It does get a little old for me after a while, too. When the string’s not there, and she still wants to chase it, she has begun taking a running jump and pouncing off the backs of my legs. Thanks, Noodle.

She really cracks me up.

I thought about selling the piece above. I don’t even have a real name for it, just “Moth.” If anyone would like to have it, let me know. I will send it to you. For free.

As I spread the word cloth over my legs last night while I stitched, I noticed how soft and light it is. It will make a nice summer blanket. Here’s wishing you all some sunshine and a nice authentic Mexican meal.

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