Tuesday, September 29, 2015

LUNAR LUNACY!

Did you catch the Lunar Eclipse on Sunday night?

Out here in the country is was so big and bold, and what was really awesome was that while you stood outside with your camera, all the constellations were just as big and bright as the moon.  It was so beautiful.  I even saw a shooting star as I stood waiting for something to happen.

My only complaint is that the whole event was so poky.  Standing outside in the dark around here can be a bit eerie... I kind of was waiting for something to brush up against my leg.  I could hear dogs barking and kicking up a fuss all over town, which usually means there is a skunk or some critter around but maybe they were sensing the phenomenon in the sky and reacting to it.

My dog was fast asleep on her bed in the nice warm house.  She had had her evening walk, her carrots and she didn't give a hoot what was going on outside the back door.

I managed to catch a few good shots at the beginning of the show, but I was having trouble with my tripod and my lens.  Wouldn't you know an event like this, and the camera wants to act up.

Here are the pictures from the beginning, right after the last picture shown here, my camera said enough.  Too bad, it would be nice to have said I got it all myself.  They are not the clearest pictures, but then again, I don't have the best of lens either.... Oh well...





















While I waited I was fooling around with the camera and kind of liked the look of my garden light in the flower bed.  This picture didn't turn out very well, but you get an idea where my eye was heading...



Because I was using manual settings, I could not see the shot I was getting until I downloaded to the computer, but now that I have seen, I am going to go back out and try this shot again, and hopefully I will get what I want the next time.

Sometimes taking manual pictures on a digital camera can be a little frustrating, and I have a lot to re-learn with manual photography.  I knew it once when an SLR was a SLR - but thanks to technology I have forgotten almost all that in favour of convenience.  Now that I have nothing but time on my hands, I look forward to learning this craft all over again.

And I have a really great advisor in my nephew, Scott.  He is doing some really great work with the camera, and still learning as he goes...a good fella to have handy!

Happy shooting!



Thursday, September 24, 2015

REDISCOVERING OLD SKILLS.

How old were you when you learned to embroider?
If you are my age you would probably say around 10 or 12 yrs of age.

Where did you learn to embroider, who taught you?
I had to learn how to embroider in order to earn a badge in Explorers, and my Mother taught me.  Some might say they learned in 4H, or Girl Guides or Brownies - taught by Mom, Grandma -  an Aunt!

Who teaches little girls to embroider today?  Do I even know any girls who know how to embroider?  I don't think so.

Organizations such as Explorers, CGIT, Brownies, Girl Guides are either no longer around, or are fast dying a slow death, which is sad because many times these groups were where young girls learned some of the fine arts attributed to women for generations and generations.  Not every girl had a Mother or a Grandmother at home to teach these skills, and so they learned them at community clubs, groups, or organizations such as these.

This has been on my mind of late especially since I have taken up the needle and thread and started to do some good old-fashioned embroidery again.  I am not talking about cross-stitch, although that certainly is a embroidery stitch - I am talking about running stitch, french knots, back stitch, laisy daisy stitch, feather stitch, blanket stitch... and on and on I could go.

I have taken on a couple of redwork pieces.  The first one I did was this one.  It was a free download from The Stitching Cow.  You can find it at www.stitchingcow.com

This is so adorable, and after I did this (in only a couple of evenings) I knew I wanted to do more.


There are a lot of patterns for sale on the net, but I decided to look instead to free colouring book pages.

I found this image on a colouring book site, and because I wanted to incorporate it into a small wall hanging, I decided to stitch it with a fall colour, and then embellish it with some crochet flowers, buttons and such.  I am adding a quilted border to add a touch of fun and fall to the hanging.


The stitching is complete on this piece but the quilting around it is in progress.  Isn't it going to be cute?

I am hooked now, and because I want even more of a challenge, I have started looking for even more detailed images in the adult coloring book pages found on the Internet.  By adult, I do not mean adult content - I mean colouring pages that are heavily detailed and much too difficult for young children.

So here's a hint.  If you are wanting to try this, find an image you want to work on, be it a download or a colouring book page.  Print the image and tape it to a window.  Cut your fabric ( should be a thin cotton) and tape it over the image taped on the window.  Make sure your fabric is taped securely so it doesn't move around on you.  I used a very fine tipped pencil, you can use a washable pen if you so desire.

Carefully trace the image on your fabric. Remove it from the window, place it in a frame or an embroidery hoop, and stitch.

The fun here is there are no rules - you can do whatever kind of stitch using what ever kind of colours you want...

Once you are finished your embroidery you can decide how you want to display it.  You can frame it.  You can turn it into a hanging as I am doing on my second one.  If the image is small you can frame it in a card... there is endless possibilities for these pieces.  The choice is yours.  Whatever you do, I guarantee you will have fun doing it!

So - getting back to my first questions... Isn't it sad to think that future generations will no longer do these crafts or learn these skills.  Creativity will cease to exist without knowledge of these basic childhood activities.  It is our duty to see that this does not happen. 

Next: 

I just found a image for my next project.  I am going to do this one in pinks and blacks for my bathroom.

Happy Stitching!



A KITCHEN INSPIRATION!

Moving into a new home has been a lot of work. Luckily for us our home does not need major renovation, but it does need some redecorating to bring it out of the 1980's.

I just completed painting my kitchen.  It was basically all white, except for some very bedroom -suitable wall paper on a couple of the walls.  I went pretty bold with a dark colour, but the results are exactly what I wanted.





This post is not really about my kitchen, although I will share my before and afters - but instead this post is about another kitchen from my memory - a kitchen that was my inspiration for completing mine the way I did.

My earliest memories of a country kitchen are of my Aunt Annie's kitchen in her house on the farm.  At the time of my memories, her home would have been fairly new, built sometime in the late 50's or early 60's, meaning I would have been between 5 and 10 yrs of age.

Any memory associated with my Aunt Annie, brings me so much comfort and pleasure.  She was the sweetest, warmest, kindhearted woman you could ever hope to meet.  She loved me, as she did all the children in her life - and I loved her.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of her kitchen is the smell.  Her home always smelled of milk, and cream - that would be because they raised milk cows and the cream separating process was always completed in the basement of their home.  She always had a pan of milk on the stove, and when you had a glass of her milk - you became the recipient of a real milk mustache - the likes of which you would never experience from store bought milk!

The other aroma of her kitchen was fresh baked bread and other types of baking.  I can almost smell it still... I wish I could go back in time to that one place, that one aroma.  It was pure comfort...

Her kitchen was large, maybe just a little larger than the one I have now.  She had an island... it was attached to her counters, but it was an island none - the-less.  She had a large table set under the window overlooking her farm yard - and a rocking chair in one corner of the kitchen.

I rocked and was rocked in that big wooden rocker many times in my childhood, by her - and also by other Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and probably my older brothers as well.  It was what you did, while waiting for the cookies to come out of the oven, or a meal to be placed on the table.

She had a plate on her wall with a kitchen saying that I always loved to read as I was growing up.  When I got married she presented me with one for a shower gift.  It holds a place of honour on my kitchen wall, not only for the prayer itself, but also because she gave it with love.






I don't have a picture of her kitchen, but I don't really need one - it is forever in my heart.

My kitchen is not her kitchen, but it feels like hers in many ways.  I did not place my kitchen table under the window looking out to the yard, because I have radiators near that wall, but one can still look out the window from any seat at the kitchen table.

There is a rocking chair in the corner, and God willing, perhaps someday some children will take comfort rocking there while they wait for cookies to come out of the oven.




There is no fresh milk being processed in the basement, but I have getting the aroma right while keeping the cookie jar filled with home-made cookies, and the freezer filled with muffins.  Yesterday I made a German Apple Kuchen Recipe much like the one Auntie Annie made.  Of course the real thing can never compare to the memory - but just the same, the Kuchen is pretty darn good! 

I look forward to many happy years in my new kitchen - and I thank a Special Aunt for helping me along this journey with wonderful memories, and divine inspiration.


Before:




After:









Wednesday, September 23, 2015

WELCOME BACK!

It has been many months since I have been able to post here on my blog.  There are a number of reasons for this, but the main one is that due to an email change, my account got severely messed up and I was not able to access Blogger.

This is now fixed and here I am.  Welcome back to me - and hopefully to you too.  Hope all my readers haven't given up on me.

There have been a lot of major changes in my life in the past four months.  Firstly, I have retired from the working world.  There are not enough Yay's in the world to add to that statement.  Secondly we have sold our home and moved to the country... The Yay thing applies here too!

It is a really good thing that Gary and I adapt to change so well - because these major life changes could have had the potential to really mess with us... but in the end... these changes have been the best thing we have ever done for ourselves.

So we are living in a small town in rural Manitoba... and totally loving it.  We love everything there is about living here.  The people are wonderful - friendly, generous...helpful.  The town is quiet, clean, well cared for by it's community, proud and honest.  If this was a TV show, we would be in Everwood, Mayberry, Walton's Mountain...

The home we bought is much larger than we had in the city... and I finally have a studio that has  so much space that I can have my doll collection, crafting area, office space, and soon a library area all in one space.  It is awesome.

The yard is a gardeners paradise.  There is a huge vegetable garden, lots of flower beds... fruit trees, and song birds everywhere.

We have landed in Paradise... and we are so very happy.

We miss our close friends, and of course our son, who has brought someone new into our lives and our family.  Our sacrifices have been many - but sometimes in our lives we are called to make them in order for even better things to happen... this has been one of those times for Gary and I.

So come back often, won't you?    I have a whole lot of new things to run past you..

It sure is good to be back...