"Don't wish me happiness I don't expect to be happy all the time....It's gotten beyond that somehow. Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor. I will need them all." Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Not counted cross stitch

This design I created as I went along. In doing this for the most part I avoided counting. First I outlined a leaf or flower in backstitch and than I filled it in with cross stitch using my chosen colour's. At times I found graph paper helpful as a general guide for the lettering. The source of my inspiration were the morning glory's I grow every year on my back deck and a pillow case embroidered by my great grandmother. On it was a bluebird and I merely copied the shape and added it into my own design. I love this fusing of the old patterns while creating new. The pale blue border on the pillow was a pair of corduroy pants my daughter wore when she was a baby. It was actually kinda tricky to find enough fabric on those itty bitty pants to make this border work. The back has an envelope closure sewn from a creme corduroy dress she wore several years ago. The bible text on the pillow is, "Fill us this morning with your constant love that we may sing and be glad all our life. Give us now as much happiness as the sadness you gave us during our years of misery. Let us your servants, see your mighty deeds; let our descendants see your glorious might. Lord our God, may your blessing be with us. Establish the work of our hands for us - yes, establish the work of our hands." Psalm 90:14-17

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Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Cold

It's been a few years now that the Anna's hummingbird has continued to be a daily visitor to my feeder during the winter months. These little birds are able to survive some cold weather because they eat insects and do not completely rely on flower nectar. This winter like last winter there are two female's and one male. (The picture for this post is a female.) In year's gone by I remember many freezing cold mornings when I would make certain that the feeder was unthawed and filled and than wait for the morning light pensively wondering if they were still alive. Slowly the light would creep into the northern sky and silhouette the maples in the yard and than they would arrive. In my excitement I would dance around the kitchen holding my baby daughter. These day's on these cold winter mornings I am still awed and I still marvel at how they stay warm enough to be alive all day in subzero temperature's (at least at ground level) and through the long, cold nights. (They are absent from the feeder from 4:45 p.m. to 7:45 a.m.) They have an amazing story of survival and in it I find courage.

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Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Taming the towhee

The Rufous sided towhee is a secretive little bird. It spend's it's time scratching amongst the fallen leaves and needles under the shrubs in the yard. In the winter I have suet hanging near some shrubs and typically they come and feed off it when we are inside the cabin. Once we are outside they magically disappear into the bushes only to reappear once we are back inside. But all of this changed when I was cleaning out a cupboard and found some stale peanuts. My daughter shelled them and we began leaving the peanut's by the suet. Towhee's love peanuts and very quickly they were able to associate us with the treats. Unfortunately much of the firewood I paid to get bucked up was cut too long so this winter I have had to saw it down to size in order to get it into my woodstove and I do this with my bucksaw. I do this task on the back porch. The female towhee which is a chocolate brown - (the male's are black) figured out where I was so when she hears the saw she comes looking for a handout. (If it is too windy than she doesn't come because she can not hear me) I toss her a peanut and she picks it up in her beak and hops away into the secret sword fern hideaway for her peanut picnic. For me this has really brightened a necessary task. In a few minute's she is usually back again. All of the towhee's are very tolerant of my four year old who with the upmost enthusiasm delight's in tossing them peanuts. Occasionally they have caught the peanut in mid-air. There is much joy to be found amongst the simple companionship of wild birds.

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Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Solstice

I was outside in my yard today with a small, smouldering fire. Most of the yard debris I burnt in the fall but today to mark solstice after making a wreath for the door I burnt the remaining limbs of the young evergreen tree the recent snow pushed over. Two ravens flew noisily through the yard. They landed in trees and seemed to be discussing something between themselves in great detail. I watched them casting sideways glances at me. Were they concerned I was eavesdropping? "Look mommy," my daughter say's excitedly. This child is like the golden sunshine falling down on me through the tall tree's. In it I feel the gracious love of God and in gratitude I smile too. Merry Christmas!
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Saturday, 17 December 2016

Sewing buttonholes by hand

I decided to make a Christmas bag this year and every year until I have enough to stop using wrapping paper. I am sewing them from my daughter's outgrown christmas dress's. I wanted to use a drawstring closure and I needed a buttonhole for the drawstring opening so I did it by hand. Here are some tips I found useful. 1. I used a tapestry needle and embroidery floss that I ran across a beeswax candle. The wax helped to hold and tighten each stitch. I experimented to find out the suitable needle size and number of strands needed. A small buttonhole on lighter fabric worked well with a 14 count needle and two strands of floss. 2. I used a embroidery hoop and ironed on interfacing on the back side of the fabric. A 1" by 1" piece of interfacing worked wonders at stopping the fabric from fraying and giving the needle a bit more tooth to stitch into. 3. I cut a slit in my fabric a little larger than my cord. I used buttonhole stitch with each stitch placed 1/16" apart. (This is the only stitch I used. ) 4. I stitched practice buttonholes first on the fabric I intended to use. Some fabrics are easier than other's. A tight weave fabric worked well but when I tried it on an open weave fabric this method did not work. I put the unfinished bag aside and several weeks later I talked to an lady in her eighties with a life long history in textiles. She told me in great detail how she was taught to sew buttonholes by hand from her mother. She sewed many buttonholes for years before she got a machine with a buttonhole attachment. Virtually every step she told me is the same with the exception that sewing thread was used instead of floss. Number ten which is equivalent to quilters thread was used for heavy fabrics and number thirty-six was used for light weight or regular fabrics. When I asked her if there is a difference between buttonhole and blanket stitch she told me the stitch is the same except buttonhole is placed very tightly together. If you google this you will find a wide range of opinions with some being very adamant that it is a completely different stitch. She also told me she did not use an embroidery hoop (she did not use one for her embroidery either) as she knew how to hold the fabric tautly with her hands. At the present time she has been busy sewing lounge pants for Christmas presents and a new skirt for herself. I took the unfinished bag out and used a thread colour that was similar to the background fabric and the buttonhole turned out nicely. Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, 10 December 2016

When things go wrong-with parcels

In September I discovered Organic Matters - a company selling affordable organic food in the Nelson B.C. Area. (They offer shipping to any Canadian address.) Every 4 - 6 weeks I have placed an order which I have mailed through Canada Post. It comes to the rural post office on the mainland and than I pay for a water taxi to bring it over and I meet it at the wharf. The box goes in my wheelbarrow and I push it up the hill to my cabin. This arrangement has worked marvellously well. It has meant town days are easier since I am bringing back less to push home and we are eating what I believe is a higher quality food. A week ago I placed another order but things went very wrong because my order was bigger. Unknown to me Canada Post does not send out parcels weighing over 50 pounds to their rural routes. These heavy boxes remain in town and my huge box ended up at the postal/lottery outlet in the mall. It wasn't the huge Christmas line-up that worried me - it was the reality that the box would not fit into a shopping cart and if by chance I did get it in there I wasn't going to get it out. But the box was to heavy to pack out and through the mall and across a parking lot while hanging onto my young daughter's hand. I began praying. Two days later I was able to leave a message for the supervisor in town. He later called me and said he would deliver it himself to the local rural post office that same day. I told him it was a direct answer to prayer. When the post mistress called me just after lunch to tell me that the supervisor had delivered the box she was very surprised and told me that this doesn't happen. I explained to her that it was an answer to prayer. I never told anyone that I was out of flour and having this box means I will be baking fresh bread on Sunday and beginning my Christmas baking. No matter how much ice, cold and snow there is outside my kitchen window (the smaller window beside the red door in the picture) my heart feels the warmth and care of God's love. "My God shall supply ALL your needs." Philippians 4:19

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Sunday, 4 December 2016

Norwegian knit afghan

Two color stranded knitting is called Norwegian and I decided to give it a go for this afghan. This project isn't something I would recommend because I was not knitting in the round. I was flat knitting which means every second row I was purling and the back of the work was facing me. This is quite awkward while following a pattern since I couldn't see what I was doing but I saw it as entertainment and I did enjoy the knit. This afghan will be gifted to a little boy whose life has been touched with the awfulness of divorce. I was a young adult when divorce destroyed my family. It's negative ripples have never finished there destructive result. It rips my heart out that a broken family is a part of the legacy my daughter has inherited. Is there another way? Divine love is about forgiveness, it's undeserved, selfless, it's grace. Divine love is eternal commitment and it is Jesus. Christmas is a beautiful invitation to pray and reflect on Him. May you all be gifted with an abundance of love this holiday season.

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