Friday, March 23, 2012

The Eagles have landed

Every once in awhile something lands in my email inbox that is so special that it almost leaves me speechless.  Yesterday such an email arrived from a on-line friend of mine and even though a similar one circulated this time last year, I was so happy to click the link and see where it led me.

Have you heard of the Decorah Eagles?  The Decorah Eagles are a pair of Bald Headed Eagles that have built their nest somewhere in and around Decorah Iowa.  I'm not sure how it came about, but someone has managed to get a camera close enough to watch the pair as they sit on their nest of eggs.

If you have ever seen where Bald-Headed Eagles nest - you would realize just how special this is.  Their nests are often so high and in such remote areas that they are rarely visible, unless you are looking for them.  To be able to view not only the nest, but the ability to watch the parents as they come and go from the nest, turn the eggs and sit and incubate their young is something more than we mere humans really deserve.

This hatch is expected somewhere between March 23rd (that's today) and March 25th.  We have the opportunity to witness something that our species has never been able to witness before.

I hope we all get to see the offspring of this pair of Bald-Headed Eagles very soon.

www.ustream.tv/decoraheagles

Thank you to the people responsible for this wonderful gift ...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Look What I found!

I have been under the weather all week... yet another of those silly sayings that I should try and research.  Under the weather.... hummm....

I have had a moderate to severe headache since Sunday, and no amount of rest or medication seems to help.  So I stayed home from work today in an effort to get rid of this silly thing.

It was another beautiful day here in Manitoba, so mid afternoon I decided to treat myself to a walk around my yard to inspect my flowerbeds and see if I could see any signs that spring had arrived.

Iris
I found spring in every corner of my yard, and it lifted my spirits so much that I began to feel the headache going away.  For March 22, in Winnipeg Manitoba these next pictures are pretty unbelievable... When I brushed the elm leaves that were covering the ground here is what I found in my yard...
Shasta Daisy


What I didn't find were any "spring" plants such as Tulips, Hyacinths, Snow drops.  I know I have a lot of them in my garden, but none of them are coming up... yet!
I think mother nature is a bit mixed up!

Very puzzling indeed...


Dianthus

Never has my garden looked this way on March 22nd before - I am cautiously optimistic!

I leave you with this gem...


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring is Here!

Happy First Day of Spring!

Now that spring weather is here, I have been thinking about my summer wardrobe.  I would really like some summery items that I could wear both for casual or for work.

As luck would have it I  received the Spring Sale Mary Maxim catalogue in the mail last week but I really had no time over the weekend to page through it.  Truth be known, they come quite frequently and sometimes they never get opened.

There is always something new in them, and I often find things that I like enough to order  - which would be why I still get the catalogues, I imagine.

This issue has the cutest vest/cover up on the front cover. 

So I go to page 17 and the materials with the pattern is only 22.97 - which is really not a bad price - but sizes are small to large....

Over the years I have bought many things from Mary Maxim, but they often show patterns that do not run to the larger sizes. I wonder why this is? Almost every other yarn company has addressed this issue long ago, and is sensitive to the larger woman. 

Why is it you can go on great sites like http://www.crochetpatterncentral.com/ and find FREE patterns from other yarn companies for many things, vests included  and the pattern sizes range from small to 5X? 


I did that, I went there to see if they had a pattern that is similar to this one, and although I did not really find one like it - I did find a couple that I liked just as much, so for this round, MM has lost the earning power of my dollar... sorry  to say.

I already have a very nice light bamboo yarn that has been waiting for a pattern.  I think I will try this one...
http://www.bernat.com/pattern.php?PID=5005&cps=21191

or maybe this one...
http://www.garnstudio.com/lang/en/pattern.php?id=4406&lang=en

If you have the idea to expand you summer wardrobe - there are no shortage of patterns on these sites.

Happy Crocheting!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Knitting 101

One of the young women I work with has asked me to help her learn to knit.  She was in a beginning knitters group I had a couple of years ago when I taught several co-workers to knit over some lunchbreaks.  This particular woman, had learned, but then got busy having babies etc, so she didn't actually do much knitting for a few years.  Now she wants to knit again.

It didn't take her long to catch on to it again.  She started with the basic dishcloth and now has decided to design a pair of leg warmers for her little girl.  I'd say she was hooked.... not many people start to design so early into a new craft but if she can accomplish her task - we may just have a budding new designer in our midst.

I told her about circular needles and suggested she try knitting the leg warmers on them and I gave her a set so she could try it out.  I can't wait to see what she comes up with.  Her excitement with her new craft has been fun to watch and has reminded me how lucky I was to have a mother who kept at me to learn things like knitting and crocheting, even when I was not obviously interested in learning.



I can't imagine what I would do without this knowledge today, as so much of my life is taken up with making and creating things with my hands.  She taught me techniques, but more than that she taught me patience to try and try and try again.  Mom never accepted failure, and I tend not to either.  Yes, we all make mistakes, but all mistakes can be corrected - and that is a concept in life that seems to be missing in a lot of people... Some people call mistakes failure - I call a mistake a mistake.  Failure happens when you choose not to correct the mistake.

Of course this is after all my opinion - not necessarily that of others - this I know.  But,  it's what I believe and it's how I have learned to do so many wonderful things in my life.  Some ask me "Is there anything you don't know how to do?"  This mean it as a compliment, I'm sure.

My answer would be - I still have much to learn, and many mistakes to make and correct.  I plan to do so for the remainder of my life!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thusday's Thoughts!

I love the idea of re purposing items and I applaud those that come up with such ingenious ideas to reuse things that would otherwise end up in our garbage dumps or fire pits.

I seem to be stuck in the "ideas" for my outdoor room mode - I apologize if you are getting tired of this, but just in case you are not - I have found a couple more really neat things that people have come up with.

The first is a tutorial for making a hanging succulent garden.  I am going to try this for some "Live Art"  in my outdoor room. 

http://www.luna-see.com/2010/11/diy-tutorial-vertical-framed-succulent.html


The second is a little side table made from used shutters.  How I wish I'd hung on to the shutters that used to be in our kitchen and bathroom - this is neat...

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/crafts/how-to-build-a-table

BBQ update - we had our first cookout for the season last evening, and the new BBQ is super.  I think we are going to be cooking on this more than anything else for the next few months.  And best of all - no pots and pans to wash!  Yeah!

And - I noticed this morning that the Marigold seeds I planted on Sunday have sprouted... still nothing from the herbs and tomatoes however.  I don't know about you - but I am finding spring pretty exciting this year...

So much so that the needles and hooks have lain idle for over a week... I need to get back to work and finish things so I can concentrate on these other fun projects.

My favorite evening of the week is here - choir practice!!  We are busy working on music for Easter services (4 of them). 
Last week our choir had quite a shock.  One of our tenors had a stroke on the way home from practice on Thursday night.  He was about half way home and was not feeling well so pulled his car over and stopped.  The area he stopped is not the best area to do such a thing, and luckily another car stopped to see if he was okay, and they noticed that he was not.  They called the ambulance and he was rushed to the hospital.  He was lucky - he survived and seems to be doing quite well - but I'm sure he will not be back to choir for some time.  Get better, Al - we are going to miss you in the choir, and look forward to your return when you are healthy again.

Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's BBQ time!

On the weekend we went shopping for a new BBQ .  We didn't just run out and purchase the first one we saw, instead we read reviews on different makes and models before beginning our search.  We looked at several models in several stores, but in the end settled for one in Home Depot. 

The one we bought is big - it has 4 burners and a side burner.  It is much larger than any BBQ we have owned previously, so we were excited to get it home and get it set up on what will soon be (if I have my way) our re-purposed "outdoor room".

Well first, let me tell you the box was so big we couldn't get it into the van... that should have told us something about the size of the BBQ - but we didn't think that far.

The second clue should have been when 2 men were purple-faced carrying it (the box) from the van (with all the seats removed) to the house - we still weren't thinking - apparently!

Reality time hit when the box was opened.  Wow, I was thinking - that's kinda big!

It went together fairly well - by that I mean with only a few well chosen expressions of negativity... and Voila!  Our New BBQ!

The spot I had pictured it standing is too small, so I have had to shuffle the "picture" of my outdoor room just a wee bit in my mind.  Shuffle, shuffle....

Okay - so maybe there's only room for one Shuffle... sheesh!

Well darn - now it's back to re-planning my outdoor room.   

In the meantime - it's BBQ for supper tonight.   Homemade hamburgers for us  - I have had such a craving for one done on the BBQ for such a long time.  YUM!

For the weekend it will be something with mini-porta mushrooms, grilled Crostini, and something else...yet to be decided...

Okay, this isn't good -I am spending wayyyyy too much time thinking about food now...

My next purchase is going to have to be a bicycle!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Planting Inspiration

Now that the snow is disappearing quickly and its looking that spring is actually here, my thoughts have been consumed with the outdoors.  Not the wide open spaces, just my small patio and yard! 
My Patio is very small, and I have done a bunch of different things each year to try and make it a place where we spend lots of time, but really, my efforts have been pretty basic.  So this year I am determined to make that outdoor room that I see in all the magazines and everywhere on the Internet.

To do that I am going to need lots and lots of plants.  I already have perennials galore in the yard, but now I need annuals to fill up the spaces that are boring and bare.  Only trouble is I have a dog that seems to like eating anything green that is in the yard, so I have to hang most of my plants.  I need inspiration so of course, I went to the Internet.

You won't believe what I found....

The over the door shoe rack thingy
http://pinterest.com/pin/76983474849843841/

This planter made from Pallets - now this one I am going to try for sure.  I just need to find some pallets... anyone know where I can get some?

Going to a garage sale?  This is adorable
http://pinterest.com/pin/21603273182020416/

Whoever thought to do this with ordinary Eve troughs... cool!
http://pinterest.com/pin/54746951689744151/

Now this is funny.  Can you just see the people lined up at the fence to chatter about this?
http://pinterest.com/pin/244179611016003211/

I see this and I think of California - not sure why - I've never been to California - but I do have a stucco house.... hmmmm.....
http://pinterest.com/pin/100205160428488441/

So now we have no excuses! 
Thank you to all the creative people on Pinterest.com

Oh BTW the first two pictures are mine - bet you couldn't tell....
I started some seeds indoors on Sunday.  For now I have started some herbs (chives, basil and thyme) a few tomatoes, some Gloriosa Daises,  Marigolds.  As soon as these are up, I'll plant some more varieties.

So now I am off to enjoy the beautiful spring day and check out some more neat ideas in the "net".

Monday, March 12, 2012

ODE TO A DRAIN!

It was a beautiful warm weekend in Winnipeg... so much so that most of the sidewalks and streets in our neighbourhood were flooded yesterday.  It was that typical spring day when neighbours up and down the street met at the sewer hole, or as near to it as they could recall, to try and free up the ice so the water could drain away.

It was a common sight up and down our street and especially in back lanes.  The "old-timers" of the neighbourhood were called to duty because they are the ones that can pin-point exactly where the drains are beneath the snow and ice.

Yes - it was a fun day - prompting me to record the fun day with a poem of sorts.

So here you have it... a beautiful spring day in Manitoba....

Enjoy - as did I!





ODE TO A DRAIN


Meet me at the sewer drain,
My neighbor said to me;
And bring your shovel, pick and axe
And leave behind your keys!

I did as bid, and met them there,
In rubber head to toe;
Prepared to do my yearly deed,
To get the stream to flow.

I donned my gloves and focused hard,
I drew the ice pick high;
The first hit only made a dent,
Just made the ice chips fly.

Again I swung, this time it struck;
A clean break to the ground.
I heard the crack, the pop, the split,
And then I turned around.

My rubbered feet, not well secured,
Slipped sideways to and fro.
I struggled some to right myself,
But then – Oh No! Oh No!

Down I went in wondrous view,
To all who gathered there.
Soaking water as I sat,
Clear to my underwear.

The next time I’m implored to help,
Un-ice a sewer drain;
I’ll think about this day and then,
I’ll think of it again.

2012
Dale Graumann

Friday, March 9, 2012

Beautiful Weather Ahead!

If one can believe the forecast, it sounds like we are in for some very mild temperatures this weekend.  The weather forecasters are saying +7 C for most of the weekend and perhaps warmer still going in to next week.  All great indications that spring is really coming! 

I hope the forecasters have it right, but then I'm thinking I will need to head downstairs and empty the closet at the bottom of the stairs in hopes of finding my rubber ducks.  I'm going to need them if I intend to walk back and forth to church on Sunday!

I have another pair somewhere outside that my Pumpkin Man was wearing.... remember him?  He is sort of in pieces all over my patio.  His head, which has been frozen all winter will have to be tossed this weekend if it thaws, the rest of him (the bags of leaves stuffed in the jeans and shirt) will also have to be tossed.

Gee spring is a lot of work!

We are on the hunt for a new BBQ this weekend.  We tossed our old one away a couple of years ago, and have been without one for that long.  No more of that!  I want to be able to cook outdoors this year, in fact I can almost taste a homemade BBQ'ed hamburger as I  write this... ummmmmmmmmm!

So with that thought in mind - I wish you lovely weather, wherever you may be this weekend - good food, and the company of friends and loved ones all weekend long.   Enjoy the time we have today, because tomorrow... it is gone.

Happy Weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

National Crochet Month!

Did you know it is National Crochet Month?  I didn't until this morning... I read it on another blog that I follow.  Wonder what activities are planned to celebrate this month.  Will have to check into this further and get back to you.  Personally I think it would be a great month to go out and buy a nice new hook and some worsted weight yarn and head to you-tube for some basic crochet instructions.

My advice would be to start with something very basic like a dishcloth - it is useful, but better than that it can be completed fairly quickly by a beginner and my thoughts are you are more likely to pick up that hook again, if you actually finish your very first project.

So many people want to make a masterpiece on their first attempt, and so they start and then when they realize they can't accomplish the masterpiece they give up.
No - don't do that, start simple, and small.
And stick with it.  No one's first efforts are without faults.  So you have a few dishcloths that aren't perfectly straight, or even have a hole or two... so what - wash those dishes with pride, knowing you made that dishcloth, and know that the next one and the next one and the one after that will just get better and better as you master the craft.

You can do, and if you need help  - I am here to help you any way I can.

My new little prototype is done.  I think I am happy with her, and already I have a million ideas on how to change her up.  She is a fairy more than an angel, I'm thinking.  Designed to hang in a window perhaps.  She has glass beads wrapped with copper wire for legs and I added some beads to the wings to when the light hits her she sparkles.  You can't see it in the picture but the material of her dress also shimmers - its a sparkly tulle of some sort that I have lying around.  I have a bag of colours that are very fairy-like that I plan to use up on these little gals.

Hopefully I can get a bunch made and in the totes for my craft sale this fall.  I might even try and sell some on Etsy just to test the market.

Anyway here she is....


 


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Just Winging It!

I am frustrated.  I am trying to design wings for little angels ( a new kind) made from copper wire.  I think part of my problem might be the fact that the needle-nose pliers I am using to twist the wire about are very old, and in poor shape at the tip.  If I am going to make any amount of these little gals, then I will have to invest in some tools.

I am also trying to add the odd light-reflecting glass bead here and there on the wings... yeah this isn't exactly going as planned either....

I am pretty much a fiber artist - beads and wire don't really fall in my realm of expertese - but still they say one should always challenge oneself....

Well I am doing that part, just fine.

So here's what I have so far - I'd say I need lots and lots of practice!

This little angel or fairy or whatever she turns out to be has a long way to go until I am going to be satisfied enough to market her - I'll let you know how it goes!

In the meantime, it's back to the baby blanket that I was working on a month or so ago.   A special Congratulations to Trevor and Andrea on the birth of their little girl yesterday.  Looking forward to meeting the new member of the family very soon.  Also big congratulations to Grandpa Lorne, and Grandma Debbie... 2 grand babies in less than a year - how wonderful is that!

Good thing it's not quite spring here yet - I have a lot of work to do before I can think of gardening!

Have a great day everyone...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

SPECIAL PEOPLE

If you have been reading my posts this past week, you will have already heard about my friend's daughter Sara ,who just last week won a GOLD medal at the Winter Special Olympics in St. Albert, Alberta. 

For a day or so I have been mentioning Sara's win to people everywhere I go, and I have been shocked at some of the responses I have received.  Most people have been very happy for Sara's accomplishment, but the few others that have laughed, or commented about the "Watered down Olympics" have really disgusted me.

Can you imagine a grown "professional" making a comment such as that above about a 15 yr old special needs child, who travelled 800 miles away from home to a strange place, who with hundreds and thousands of people watching her, managed to focus on her task and do it well enough and with enough heart to win a GOLD medal?   Can you imagine how ignorant, and STUPID that grown "Professional" looks and sounds by making an ignorant and stupid comment such as that!

Look at this picture and tell me you can't feel pride for this young woman's achievement.  If you can't - you are pathetic.

It's not the first time I have heard such comments - and sadly I know it won't be the last.  A very dear friend  of mine has a "special" daughter.  This daughter lived with her mother all her life, and now is 72 yrs of age - the mother is 103 yrs old.  The daughter just retired from her position at Safeway, and now lives alone in a seniors apartment complex.  She single-handedly was responsible for her mother's care and well-being  right up until her mother went in to a nursing home at the age of 100 yrs of age -  3 yrs ago.  Think about it - she who, according to many should have been institutionalized at the age of 4, cared for a aging parent and a home and a yard for pretty much all her adult life.  And she did it better than most of us "normal" folks could have, and better yet - she did it with pride, love, and not EVER a word of complaint or regret. 

Look at this picture and tell me you can't feel joy at this woman's achievement.

The mother(wearing black) is 97 yrs old in this picture and was still able to live in her own home, because of the daughter's excellent care. 

There are millions of "Special" people in our world, they quietly make their way through life without mention or acclaim.  We applaud the creators, the teachers, the inventors, the quick-minded, the rich... that's the way of our world.  Maybe that's what's gone wrong with our world as well.


Maybe we are forgetting what is "Special" and what is learned.  Could be there is a huge difference between the two.

I am in awe of the Sara's and the Glenda's of this world; and the parents that nurture these children into committed caring adults are and should be role models for all parents, everywhere.

GOD BLESS "SPECIAL" PEOPLE! 





Monday, March 5, 2012

CONGRATULATIONS TEAM MANITOBA!

How can it be Monday again so quickly?   Once again the weekend seemed to fly by, this time, leaving a good amount of heavy wet snow behind for us to enjoy - or not!  The snow blower was dragged out for the first time this winter, and I noticed boots on feet that have only worn sneakers all winter... how refreshing!

In typical Manitoba fashion, the snow stopped nothing or no one.  Life goes on here, snow or no snow.  Yesterday I trudged to church (twice) on the unploughed/shovelled walks.  It was great exercise and very good for the lungs as well.  Good thing too, as I had 2 services to sing for yesterday, instead of the customary 1 Sunday morning service.

Our choir did a Choral Evensong at 5 pm, and it was beautiful.  The whole service was sung, and the choir sang the Magnificat in B flat, and Nunc dimittis in B flat - which were both awesome.  What a wonderful experience to be able to sing with this wonderful group of singers.

It was a pretty exciting weekend for other Manitoban's elsewhere in the country as well.  Team Manitoba at the Special Winter Olympics in Alberta, really did us proud.   They won 36 Medals and my friend's daughter won the Gold in the 200m snowshoe race - CONGRATULATIONS  SARA! 

http://www.brandonsun.com/breaking-news/team-toba-wins-36-medals-141398423.html

What an inspiration these young Canadians are!


Let's have a great week, everyone!

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Whole Lot of Snow and More Dolls!

It is a snowy day here in Manitoba.  We have had heavy wet snow all night, and this morning everything is covered in a fresh blanket of snow.  It's the kind of morning when you wish you had a very good camera, as the trees and every little thing sticking out of the ground has a blob of snow sticking to it.

Last fall I did not cut back my Sedums, and this morning there was huge pompoms of snow on every branch of the plant.  I will try and get out and take some pictures before the wind blows the snow off of everything, but chances are it will be too dark by the time I get around to it.

It's snowman snow - and we don't usually get that type of snow here in the winter. I imagine there will be snowmen poping up all over the neighbourhood this weekend as the kids get outside to play in the new snow.

As much as we are grumbling about the late-winter snow it is much needed moisture, and I will be much more thankful for it in spring when I see my plants returning to life once again.

I didn't finish my doll tale of last week.  I told you about the Tressy doll I got for Valentine's Day but not about the other 2.  Do you remember Tammy?  How about Pepper, Tammy's little sister?

The first time I ever saw a Tammy doll was about 1965.  My sister-in-law's sister had a Tammy, and a Tammy wardrobe full of unbelievable clothes and accessories, and hangers... real doll hangers!!  She let me play with her Tammy doll, and I was in heaven.

Tammy is a collectible now, as is her sister Pepper.  The Tammy wardrobe is unheard of anymore, but I have my eyes open just in case.  The Tammy I got is in great shape, has an original dress and her sweater with the T on it.  Pepper, is not too bad, although her face has faded quite a bit.  She too has original clothes.

I'll take you back....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GH2JJsFS_74

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrHT5w1ooJ8

And here are my three dolls, Tressy, Tammy and Pepper...



What a great Valentine's Day gift!


Are you a wannabe Doll artist like me?  I ran across this challenge from one of the sites I belong to.  I am trying to decided whether or not to do this.  I really want to, have never done anything like this before - I think it would be fun.  Who wants to join me....

Check it out!

http://www.creationsinfiberinc.com/Gypsy-Challenge.html

Have a great weekend everyone...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chip learning to crochet!

Happy March 1st!  Wow, seems like it was just Christmas, and now we are very close to spring!

I spent some of my evening yesterday trying to edit the movie of Chip and I and sadly, I wasn't very successful at it.  I guess I'll have to stick to crocheting and knitting and such.

One thing I did notice on the video, was that I have my mother's hands.  I never noticed that before... but then one doesn't really notice something like that about oneself.  Watching my hands crochet made me remember Mom's hands as she worked.  I'd think it was her working there, if I wasn't so sure it was me in the video!

I got two more crosses done today at lunch time, so I have 18 more to go.  I should have them completed well before Easter.

So here is our little video... of course Chip is the star of this movie!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGCLohOeeAU