Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove

Years ago, Bill gave me a hardcover copy of this book for either my birthday or Christmas. I always thought it was one of the best book titles I'd ever seen. The subtitle is A History of American Women Told Through Food, Recipes, and Remembrances. It's just my kind of thing and I loved the book when I read it.
It moved with us once or twice, but, being hardback, it was heavy and so it did not travel with us across the pond.

We were talking about something recently and I mentioned the book. I did not know that Bill looked it up, found a copy, and ordered it. The postman just delivered it. What a great surprise! This one is softcover, so easier to cart around--it's definitely a keeper and I'm so looking forward to reading it again--it's been years since I read it the first time!

I've been trying to cut back a little bit on the number of library books I request, other than needlework/stitching books. I have succumbed to temptation recently and my list is back up to 12, but I am reading some of the books we've accumulated from charity shops and the wee free library. A few of those are keepers, but most are brought home with the intention of reading them and then either giving them to a charity shop or back to the wee free library. We have been doing well lately. In the past week, we've put 5 books in the wee free library with another ready to go today. I'll be heading for the library this afternoon to pick up a book that has arrived--a collection of essays and stories on the topic of knitting, written by various writers. I read the first volume a few years ago and did not know that a second volume had been published until I was scrolling through the results of my search for 'knitting' on the library website. I check back once in a while to see what new stuff comes up. I am often happily surprised.

Hope your day includes some happy surprises too!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Posh Scraps

This morning as I was getting dressed, the doorbell rang. I assumed it was the postman and sure enough, I heard something coming through the mail slot. Deciding it was best not to try to hurry down the stairs on my still-not-normal leg, I continued what I was doing. I heard the mail slot again and realised that he was trying to stuff the roving scraps Bill had found on through the slot. He gave up and left before I was able to get down there.

Knowing that he goes a bit further up this side of the street and then crosses and goes back towards the post office, I unlocked the door, went outside, and when I saw him cross, I walked over to meet him. He still had the packet in his hand and was holding it out to me as I walked up to him. 'Sorry,' I said, 'I didn't make it downstairs in time.' 'Sure, you're alright,' he said with a smile.

I brought my packet home, pushed the button to start the coffee brewing, and opened the packet. I was happily surprised when I pulled out the roving. I expected small pieces of plain roving in various sizes and fibres, but what I did not know until I looked at the invoice was that they are 'posh scraps.'
It is all so beautiful and so soft! I was thrilled when I saw it--I love the multi-colours and the pieces with iridescent threads. I will have so much fun with this! He got these from Heidi Feathers, the same place where he got a kit for me a couple of years ago. I was quite pleased with the quality of the supplies in the kit, as I am with the 'posh scraps.'

I had no idea what the first packet was--the one the postman easily tossed through the slot. I saw that it was from a needlework place, so felt it was safe to assume it was also for me. Bill had picked up a grab bag of 16 count aida cloth scraps and offcuts when the seller was down to her last one. This was another great collection. There are several good-sized pieces of cloth and each is a different colour--off white, navy, light blue, peach, brown, oatmeal, and a couple shades of grey. I'll use this for cross-stitching and huck embroidery.

I wanted to sit right down with my coffee and start stitching, but I had plenty of chores to do first, so I was good and got laundry done, a few groceries purchased, food cooked, and the resulting dirty dishes washed. Then I finished a library book so I can return it tomorrow. Tonight I'll have more coffee and I'll do some stitching with that. Yay!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


The other day, I came across this link from Red Heart. It took me to a pattern for crocheted maple leaves that they strung into a garland. I bookmarked it and then shared it. I decided to try it out using scraps from the blanket I made.
They have you make a loop at the end of the stem so that it can be strung with beads to make the garland. I am not going to make it into a garland so I left the loop off. I will make a few more to hang around the place.

These are quick and easy to make and I like the way the leaf came out! It's just three rounds and a couple of ends to weave in.I have not tried this, but it looks like you could make a few of these in a thinner yarn (I used worsted weight and an H hook) and join as you go in a circle to make a doily. Should work to join at the ends of the stems and at each 'petal' on either side of the stem.

Happy autumn crocheting!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Happy Surprise!

This morning, both Bill and I thought we heard the postman putting something through the mail slot in our front door. I was still upstairs and walked out to the landing to look down the stairs, but I saw nothing on the mat. Bill was downstairs and he went into the entryway to check. We both thought it odd, but went on with the day. Early in the afternoon, there was a knock on the window. It was the postman. Bill went to the door and the postman handed him a packet, saying it wouldn't fit through the mail slot. Mystery solved!

Bill opened it and said, 'It's your book.' I had no idea what he was talking about. He handed me this book, explaining that ever since I'd asked him (months ago now) to keep an eye out for this book, he'd been watching some ebay listings by a charitable organization. They had this one copy left at a good price, so he got it.
I am thrilled! I don't remember where I came across this book, but it was at least a few months ago. As always, I went first to the library website and one library did have it, but they denied my request to have it sent to Moville. After a while, it popped into my head once in a while, but I mostly forgot about it.

It should be a fun read. Usually the books we buy or pick up at the wee free library come into the house with the expectation that we will read them and then pass them on, whether to another person, a charity shop, or the wee free library. I think this one will be a keeper though.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Felted and Found

I felt like felting again this morning, and had a couple of ideas, so I sat down with my second cup of coffee, my roving, and my barbed needles, and created a couple of pieces of felt. The first one went off in an unexpected direction, so after I'd finished it, I set it aside. I am pretty sure I know what I'll do with it, but I have to make a few more bits first and there is still time for it to veer off on another as yet undiscovered path.

Then I started on piece number two--a simple circle in a couple of shades of brown. After that was done, I dragged boxes out from under the bed and the corner shelf so I could have a rummage through various receptacles containing found objects, beach combing finds, and deconstructed jewelry bits. I chose some and started playing around. My original intention was to make a two-sided piece for the window, so one side would be facing out and the other would face us in the room, but I quickly realized that it would work, but it would have to be done by making another piece and sewing them together. I might do that, but for today I completed the piece and it's now hanging on the wall.

While I was sewing stuff onto the felt, Bill was looking at ebay to see if anyone sells roving. I was overjoyed when he said that the woman he got the kit from a couple of years ago sells random grab bags of scraps in various colours and fibres! Since I work as much as possible with orphan materials, this made me irrationally happy. Bill ordered two bags, since shipping is free for the second.

I have already been practically giddy for a while. In addition to all of the things I am continually grateful for, it's finally autumn, the days are not as long or as warm, I've been able to close the windows, October has arrived (and with it my best quarter of the year), we had a few days away in a nice place, and now I learn that I can buy scraps of roving to felt with! Yippee!

I hope you have much to be happy about today, too! 😊

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Needle Felting: Motifs and Toes

This morning as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, I saw some great needle felting. This put me in the mood to do some repetitive stabbing of my own, so I went upstairs and got my box of supplies.

I decided to make a couple of festive seasonal motifs to hang in the front window.
I was messing around with the smile and as I was shaping it, it started to remind me of one of the Grinch's smiles after he becomes a reformed Grinch. I left it like that. I quite enjoy the way things happen in needle felting as things change shape and get a little wonky as I keep on stabbing.

While I was upstairs, I grabbed a pair of socks that I knew had holes in the toes that needed repair.
I pulled out another pair that I knew had holes in the heel, but when I got back downstairs and prepared to fix them, I discovered that I'd already done that pair, so I just had to do the toes today.
At first I was matching the roving to the yarn and then it dawned on me that I could use the odd bits that I pull off of the foam. As I repeatedly stab the roving, small bits of it get stuck to the foam and I periodically pull this off. It's just a ball of fluff, made up of whatever colours I have used. I can't bring myself to just throw it away, so I am glad to have the perfect use for them. These will either be worn as bed socks or inside hiking boots, so it doesn't matter what colour the repair is. To be honest though, even if these toes were going to show, I think I'd do this anyway. I like the idea that the repair is visible. As I keep on repairing them, the socks will take on an abstract look. 👣😊

Wherever you are today, I hope the day is a good one.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Twin Towns Community Garden

Earlier this week, while we were in Stranorlar and Ballybofey, I was looking at a map and saw where the Twin Towns community garden is located. The next day we were in that area, so we went over, found the gate open, and went in. There was a guy there who said hello and told us to have a look around. I mentioned to him that Bill had a plot in the Moville community garden, and he got quite animated, telling us that they'd met some people from the Moville garden in the past. He then proceeded to give us a tour of their very impressive garden.

Turns out he is one of the people that does a great deal of organising and work at and for the gardens. He proudly showed us these little cottages he builds. I was quite smitten. Some are planters and some have bird houses and roosts on the sides. If you covered the roof with twigs, it'd be a thatched cottage.

He was also working on a replica of this wheelbarrow, which was built in the 1800s and was still in use as a wheelbarrow until fairly recently and now has new life as a planter.
I also quite liked these chairs that were in one of the hoop houses.

It was a pretty impressive set-up, especially considering they were flooded a few years ago and had to start over again afterwards. They have a couple of polytunnels with raised beds and one that is for the flower plugs. They do hanging baskets and planters for the towns and he said in the spring they have 33,000 flower plugs in there until they are ready to be planted. He has some plans to build more shelving. He is thinking about other improvements to make to the area near the entrance, which is an arbor. Then you walk into an area with lots of flowers before coming to the vegetable beds, of which there are many.
 There was still some stuff growing and Michael, our tour guide, said that he's just planted his winter cabbage, which should be ready to eat in early January. They have grape vines in one of the polytunnels and this year they got grapes for the first time, although he said they wouldn't ripen because there hasn't been enough sun.

There are some plans to plant some more flowers around the shed as well.

We had a nice time chatting with Michael, having the tour, seeing the plants, and learning about their group and what they do. We wandered in at just the right time!