Tuesday, 28 February 2017


A little progress made. This is going to be a loooong-term project. And I've never spent so much on yarn before. So it better turn out!

Monday, 27 February 2017

Undertaking a new weaving project

So now I'm on to a more ambitious project. I wanted to try doing a tapestry but didn't want to afford an actual tapestry loom. I've come up with my own version which I think will work fairly well, and I can at least practise on it and decide if I like tapestry before putting out money for a professional loom. It's constructed from a sheet of masonite, a dowel, and an old weaving reed that was too damaged to use on my floor loom. I cut it in half to provide spacing guides at each end. I started warping it last night and will finish today.

Behind the warp threads is a pattern I had left from my stained glass days (painted glass, actually. I never did the actual glass cutting). I envision basic, bright colours of weft outlined in black embroidery to make the tapestry end up looking like stained glass.

I just need to decide what to use for the weft. Embroidery floss would be ideal for colour, detail, and ease of pulling through the cotton warp, but it would take a ton to fill the whole picture. Yarn is cheaper, probably, and would fill the space more quickly, but it might be too rough to pull through the warp without tugging the strings out of place. Maybe mercerized cotton would be slicker and tug the warp out of place less. Must go prowl around Michael's and see what my options are.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Record-Setting Weather

It got up to 14 degrees or so today, the warmest it's ever been here in February. The sun was streaming through the windows at work and I just couldn't stay indoors, so at lunch I burst free and went for a walk in Queen's Park. Delicious-scented air, a caressing warm breeze, painfully bright sunshine, and a perfect cloudless sky. I walked beneath the sycamores and listened to my feet crunching the gravel and wished I could just keep on walking forever, right out of the park and across the trans-Canada highway and right on going. It was physically painful to crawl back into my cubicle again.

I have grow lights up and little sprouts starting of various herbs and greens. I open a bag of potting soil and put my face right in and breathe deeply -- that rich, damp fragrant earth is the best smell on the planet. I look out at my garden---currently a sea of mud---and envision beds of vegetables growing. The garlic is two inches high. The asparagus still sleeps under a foot of autumn's rotting leaves. It's too early to uncover it---they're saying we'll be back to just above freezing tomorrow. But the hope is there. The promise is there. Waiting, biding its time. Sending out little teasing whispers... Spring is coming.

How on earth did I end up in a job that keeps me pinned to a desk indoors? It's not where I belong.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Counting My Blessings

Sometimes you just get filled up with so much gratitude that you'll burst if you don't share it. Yesterday I went to the funeral of a friend's twenty-year-old daughter who died suddenly. As I hugged the mom, she whispered, "I just miss her so much!" And then I spent several hours last night with my son and his girlfriend, just talking and laughing and eating together, and I couldn't help but feel so, so lucky and grateful that he's alive and well and happy.

My husband had band practice yesterday and got to play someone's pipes made in the 1850s. His face was lovely to watch as he described it. I have an interesting and generous husband who does so much for other people, and I'm glad he's getting to do something for himself, something he loves.

This morning I woke to birds singing and a fantastic salmon-coloured sky. It's supposed to get to nine degrees today, which is amazing. I am carless today and will have to bus home from church...but think of the glorious weather I'll get to walk home in from the bus station! And there's leftover chicken curry for supper. And best of all, tomorrow is a holiday and I can stay home and play.

Yes, life is good.

Friday, 17 February 2017

What's on the menu?

When I woke up this morning, there was a container of homemade shortbread, biscotti, and oatmeal cookies on the counter, and Son Number 3 had stuck a sticky note to my calendar: "Thursday's menu is hot vichyssoise with purple potato and french bread." Now that is the kind of thing to wake up to! His culinary course has been worth every penny.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Stuart McLean

I heard the sad news tonight that Stuart McLean has died. I feel like I've lost a friend. I spent this evening listening to CDs of The Vinyl Cafe and eating half a bag of red licorice. Sometimes it's the only possible response.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Handwoven tea towels

Fresh off the loom. They have a few faults, but I'm pleased with my first project.

Traveling the world

Ever since I discovered you could walk around far-away places on Google Earth, I've been addicted. Famous places like Rome, Florence, Istanbul, Reykjavik, Cardiff, London... Closer-to-home places like Sudbury, Port Dover, and Pembroke. Places with fun names, like Manitouwadge and Attawapiskat. Intriguing place-names like Bear Rump Island, Pickle Crow, Ravenshoe, and Moose Portage (I wonder, is it necessary to carry your moose there?).

This morning I discovered you can walk around the botanical gardens of Kyoto on screen. Unfortunately, the film crew went during the gray part of autumn, when nothing much was in bloom and there were few leaves on the trees. But you could see the structure and it was still interesting, and probably as close as I'll ever get to actually going. Wouldn't it be amazing to be there during cherry blossom time?

There are so many beautiful places on this earth to check out. I can't live long enough to see them all, nor can I afford to go everywhere I want to see, but thanks to the Google Earth people, I can virtually see just about anywhere. And I can drop by and walk my old childhood street and wave at Mom and Dad's house anytime I want to. A heartfelt thank you to Google!

Friday, 10 February 2017

Celestial Chaos

A friend at church (who has very young children) said her father describes that noisy, messy, happy parenting stage as "celestial chaos." I love the term. I like things orderly. I'm a minimalist at heart, and I love the sight of clear counter tops and neat rows of books. But I also love it when the house reflects who lives there. Clutter usually annoys me, but if it's creative clutter, I have no problem with it. Paintbrushes left by the sink. Balls of yarn on the coffee table. Bags of potting soil tucked by the back door. Sheet music splayed over the couch. Fingerpaintings stuck to the fridge. Signs of life going on. Signs of interesting people being busy.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Small Miracles...(Maybe not so small)

Tonight I was supposed to rush home from work, meet up with a friend, and hurry up to the temple in Brampton to get there for 7:00. As I was coming home, I kept watching the sky, because the news said we were in for snow. The sky kept getting darker and darker, great towering big clouds with the sun shining behind them like something off a Mormon Tabernacle Choir album cover. Beautiful but a bit frightening. You could see hazy sheets falling beneath them as the snow approached.

Now I am not great at night driving, and I'm terrified of driving in icy or snowy conditions. I didn't want to bow out of the planned trip, but on the other hand, I didn't want to be responsible for smashing the car and killing my friend, either. So I flung some pretty desperate prayers skyward asking that the snow hold off until I got home from the temple, around 9:00 p.m. If I was meant to go do this work at the temple, I'd do my part, but I wanted God to do His and keep the weather at bay until we got back home.

When I switched buses at the mall, the sky was right out of a thriller, dark and menacing and promising an amazing storm. Fine snow was beginning to flurry and swirl in the icy air. The storm was arriving. When I got off the second bus at home not five minutes later, the clouds were moving off toward the lake, the blue sky was coming out, the sun was dazzling...and there was absolutely no snow. It was beautiful as a spring day. I watched the sunset in a perfectly clear sky.

And here I am, home from the temple safe and sound, 9:00 p.m., and not a flake has fallen.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

On the News Tonight from Alberta

They said it was -34 degrees today, but watch for severe winter weather coming in from the west. So I guess -34 doesn't count as severe.

There's something both hilarious and frightening about that.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Setting up more grow lights

Got three more light fixtures and full-spectrum lightbulbs to hang over the shelves of seedling trays in the dining room. Lettuce, microgreens, radishes, and basil so far. Sixty dollars worth of light...to grow about fifty cents worth of salad. 😛