Thursday, October 29, 2015

ANOTHER MILESTONE BIRTHDAY!

Today is my Father's 95th Birthday.  Happy Birthday, Dad... hope you have a wonderful day! I won't be with my Dad to share his day, but he will be in my heart, and on my mind.

It is hard for me to imagine him being 95, just as I am sure it is hard for him to imagine his little girl being 60!  The passage of time waits for no one, and pass it does - in the blink of an eye, the years are gone.

While I am mentioning birthdays, there are a couple more.  My niece Alanna, had a birthday yesterday, and my brother Wayne, celebrates his birthday tomorrow.  Happy Birthday to them both!


                                                                      ...

Our shopping trip yesterday was quite successful.  We had a few places to stop, and a lot of items on our lists.  We accomplished almost everything - except the mole trap.  Tomorrow an Ace Hardware store opens here in town, so we will see if they have some traps.

In the meantime, we managed to pick up some more outdoor Christmas lights at Walmart.  Everyone here has been in a light decorating frenzy this past week.  It appears that this town lights up for Christmas big time!  We brought some lights with us from the other house, but not nearly enough for this property, so now we should have enough to make a statement.

In the mail yesterday, were flyer's announcing all the Christmas activities in our town.  Santa arrives on November 20th, during a Christmas Festival which is held at the Arena as a prelude to the Santa Claus Parade!... I did not expect that, for some reason.  They have outlined the parade route and it goes right past our house, so what a treat that will be for us newcomers!

By the way, we are not the newbies in town anymore.  A new couple (our age) moved in last month.  We walk Molly past their home, and noticed a lot of renovation work being done, so we introduced ourselves.  Hopefully we can get to know them in the months to come.

So back to the Christmas activities here - there is a Christmas Craft Sale; Christmas Festival; Santa Claus Parade; Christmas Midnight Madness where the local business stay open for shopping until midnight.  A Christmas Gala - which is a dinner and a social event, catered by the Graduating class of 2017!  There is Free skating at the Arena, and a lighting of the town Memory Star; to name just a few events in November.  And more events in December as well.  For someone like me who is "Christmas 
Crazy" every year, this is wonderful news.  I won't stick out if I go a wee bit overboard with Christmas this year!

I am busy practicing Christmas music on the piano so I can go and play for some Christmas services at the personal care home.  If I am good enough, perhaps they will let me volunteer to play for the residents a few times a month... I would love that.

So that wraps up another week...

Happy Halloween tomorrow, and don't forget to set your clocks back an hour before you go to bed on Saturday night!

Until next week -






Wednesday, October 28, 2015

OFF TO SHOP!

Today we are heading down the highway to Dauphin Manitoba.  They have a Walmart, and I am in severe Walmart withdrawal since moving to the country!

This Walmart however is probably the smallest I have ever seen, it reminds me of the very first Walmart that ever existed.  Can you say, small?   Can you say cramped?  Well you know what I mean!

Never -the -less it is indeed a Walmart and we need to go there.  The nearest Super Walmart is 90 minutes away, this little one is 40 minutes, so we will go to the little one - for now!

I need Halloween candy - seriously, from all accounts we need A LOT of Halloween candy!  We also need Christmas lights, and I need a bird feeder.  Yup, I still need that bird feeder.

I see the birds looking around the yard for one and then flying down the street.  I am missing some awesome photo shoots, so I have to get me a bird feeder.  I should have thought about this much sooner - I could have got some wood and made several, but I left it too long, and now its too cold to be outside in the garage building anything.

I also need to go to Canadian Tire and buy a Mole trap.



  OMG!  That beast is still out there digging tunnels everywhere.  I am way past done with that varmint... he has to go... I am not sure how I will react when I actually have to look at this creepy individual!

Gary and I were discussing just who is going to be the one to remove him from the trap, assuming we do catch him... we haven't come to any agreement on that as yet!

So we are on our way out on a shopping expedition... it is another gloomy day here... Maybe a good day to shop.  We have some pretty long lists... hopefully we will be able to find everything we are looking for.

Wish us luck!

Oh and guess who moved down to the kitchen?  Although they didn't stick around, yesterday was a day for flake spotting in our neck of the woods!

FALL SWAP RESULTS


Last month I was telling you about the red work embroidery I was doing.  I was just finishing up this little piece when a craft group that I belong to decided to have a fall swap, so I started another one... this one...


I decided to make it into a small wall hanging, and this is how it turned out.

  I didn't have a pattern, I just sewed until I had something I liked.  It was a fun project.  It went to Texas and my swap partner loved it.  I am not an expert quilter - I am a wanna be someday quilter.  Small pieces like this give me hope that one day I can tackle something more substantial, but until then the practice on these smaller pieces is fun.

The woman who got my name as her recipient sent me these items.  A set of candy corn hand warmers and a gorgeous cowl - both items that will soon be worn as the mornings get cooler.  I have every intention of copying the cowl pattern and making a few more in a variety of colours.  They would make great gifts  (and she has given me permission to do so).
There are a lot of cowl patterns out there, but I really like this one because it is not as bulky as some I have seen.  You can wear this and still close the neck of your coat or jacket, and that is important here in this climate.

Thank You, Sue - I will get a lot of use from both these items.

So now Sue is organizing our soon to start Christmas swap.  I can't wait.  The ideas are flowing but I will have to wait and see who of my friends name I get before I can make my final decision on what to make.  Always nice to send, always nice to receive.

I have talked about this group of crafters many times before here on my blog.  We have never met, but have known each other for a long time - many years!  We all came together years ago on a forum in the early days of Internet, and we have been close friends ever since.

Over the years we have weathered much together, several members have lost spouses and family members in the time we have known each other; some of us have suffered serious illness, heartache  and we have stuck by one another.  We have also celebrated life's good times together... marriages, graduations - births.  This group means the world to me, and I treasure these friends with every fibre of my being.

More and more now one or more of us mention the idea of trying to get together, even if just for one time to meet in person, which would be an emotional but wonderful thing, if we could pull it off somehow.  We are scattered all across this continent.  It would be difficult - but it would be something none of us would ever forget.

I hope we can make it happen some day...

So - here's to my beloved Craft Buddies...
 Like Carol always says, " Love you to the moon, and back!" 

Monday, October 26, 2015

A RANT AND A RAVE!

It is so ironic how things happen sometimes.  Shortly after I posted my blog yesterday, I was chatting with a friend on Face Book.  After we were done, I went to the news feed and the first thing that popped up was this post.  I had not intended taking yesterday's post any further than what I had written, but this was far too timely... I had to share it with you today.

While this has never happened to me to this extent, I have had many people question and argue with my pricing policies.  Oh how I wish I would have been able to do what this crafter did - I  applaud her nerve, and her conviction in her product.

This is relative to what I was mentioning - many people choose not to recognize a hand- made product as more valuable than a factory- made one.   If you bought a factory-made crochet scarf, and I made you the exact same scarf, I would be willing to bet that while the two scarves looked alike, mine would be better made and last years longer than the one that was factory made.  A mass produced item made by a machine, can never compare to one created by two hands... never...

Cudo's to the crafter in this piece!



Moving on - 

What I was going to write about today was Snow and Men...

It is really starting to feel like snow is just days away here.  The past couple of mornings the frost has been heavy and the days have remained pretty frosty, even when the sun has finally appeared.

It is custom in my home, that once I see a snow flake - doesn't have to stick to the ground, I only have to see it... then snowmen can appear in the house.  Snowmen to me are not a Christmas decoration, but a winter one.

Usually the first snowman to appear after I see a flake, is the snowman cookie jar my son gave me for Christmas when he was very young.  

I don't have a lot of snowmen, but the ones I do have are pretty terrific... including this fellow I made many years ago out of a ply-board shape covered with quilt batting and fleece and dressed with my own hand-made sweater, mitts, hat, and pants.
He is three feet tall, and has been the greeter in our home during the winter season for quite a few years.
I have made many of these as gifts for family and friends, and I was intending to make some to sell this year - but my time has been limited due to our move - so next year I will try and make some of these cheerful fellows once again!


This fellow had become pretty pathetic over the past couple of years and I vowed I would fix him up before this winter... and then we moved.

The move all but destroyed him.  I had taped him into a few garbage bags, so his carrot was all a-twist, he lost his feet somewhere in transit, and his clothes were a mess.  His stuffing had settled over the years until he was a pretty gaunt snow guy, so yesterday I spent the day getting him all put back together - all ready for the sighting of the first flake.

This year he will stand in the kitchen beside my little school desk, and sometime in December I will add a string of white lights in his hands so he can celebrate Christmas.

Until then he has to stay in the craft room with the dolls...waiting... for that first flake!




IT'S A FEELING!

We had a wonderful day yesterday.  A cousin and her husband who live up here in the mountains of our beautiful province, came for a visit and stayed for supper.  It's been quite a while since we saw each other, so we had a lot of catching up to do.  It was a fun afternoon and evening, hopefully we can do it again sometime soon!

But all weekend, prior to their visit, I was in a feeling- like- Christmas, mood!  Don't know what gets into my mind, my heart  - but get me near the end of October, and I get possessed with the Christmas Spirit.  I put on the Christmas tunes, I think, I plan, I plot; and much of that planning is centered around gift giving.

Not gift-giving as in heading out to the malls and spending huge amounts of money on  things that could be and is purchased all through the year.  No my gift-giving obsession begins with what I can make to give as gifts for Christmas.

My library of patterns, craft magazines and books come alive like no other time of the year.  The huge bookcases that I have spent hours and hours organizing, empty out onto the floor in mere minutes.  First I organize piles according to ideas that are floating around my mind based on the type of craft I feel like working on.  Those piles then get sorted again according to supplies I have to work with and then get sorted again according to time I have to get the projects done, and then again according o the recipient's likes and tastes.

And then I get to work...

Before I even start the projects, I have spent hours, sometimes days and maybe weeks, preparing, planing and thinking.

I am sure I am no different than anyone else who gives hand- made gifts for Christmas and I am also sure that it is quite possible that some recipient's have absolutely no idea the time and effort, and thought that goes into each and every gift someone like me gives.

I am not tooting my own horn - just saying!

Anyone can go to a store and buy something, not everyone can make something.   I get that - but if you can't make something you still can choose to shop for your gifts at craft sales or stores that support local artisans and crafters, whatever they make or sell.  You might find exceptional things to buy at these places, and in the process you are showing your support for someones time and creativity instead of lining the pockets of some huge corporation somewhere far removed from our own country.

I saw this on Face Book recently, and it is so true.



Please consider supporting local talents and creative peoples, whatever craft they may promote, whatever medium they may work in.  Don't make hand-made sentiment go by the way-side.....






Thursday, October 22, 2015

SHOULD I - OR SHOULDN'T I?

I can't believe it is Friday already!  I really am finding that the weeks fly by quicker than when I was working full time.  Seriously they do!  When I was working, I always seemed to be waiting for the week to pass, so I could get to the weekend and the days off, I suppose.  The weekend flew by, the the weeks did not - they dragged on and on.  Now it all goes by so quickly.

Someone told me once that when you retire you should always have your days planned, otherwise you would just sit in the chair and waste the day.  I thought that made perfect sense - after all when you work out of the house, your days are structured.  You have to get up at a certain time, you obey a clock all day long.  Your home time- weekends included, are also structured a certain way so that everything you need to get done, gets done.  You pick days for certain tasks.  I always did my laundry on Sundays, my grocery shopping on Friday after work.  It was planned that way for a reason - to have enough clothes to get through the week - to have enough bananas to get through the week.

My friend Corri, used to chuckle at the banana thing, she could never understand why we just didn't go and get fresh bananas during the week when we ran out... I don't know why either - we just didn't!  
While all of this made perfect sense when I was working, it makes no sense to me now.  There is no structure ( well not much) to life now.

If we have appointments somewhere, then that is the only time we obey the clock.  Otherwise we do things like laundry, shopping, even eat and sleep as we wish  - no clock involved!  Yes, we still sleep at night (not all day long), but instead of being in bed by 10:30, we are taking the dog outside for her last business long after 11:00.  We are not up at 5:30 am ( unless the dog has to go out), but breakfast is still a meal we never skip, even if it is eaten a little later in the morning!

Without a schedule and discipline, it is amazing to me, how much we accomplish in a day.  The pressure is off, and we are far more productive than we have ever been...

So I would disagree with the idea that one has to plan one's day in retirement.  I don't even plan the next day before I retire at night.  Maybe that is why since retirement, I sleep so well.  I can go to bed with a totally relaxed mind.  I would highly recommend it - if you can manage it....

I know how scary the thought of retirement can be.  Those of us who have worked all our lives desire retirement so much once we reach a certain age - we are tired of working, tired of the structure... just  plain tired.  But as much as we want to pack it in, there is always someone telling us all the woes of retirement  - usually younger people, have you noticed that?  They tell us you need a lot of money to retire - you can never have enough, you need to have a new car (cause you know you will never ever be able to afford a car ever again).  You need this, you need that.... and on and on it goes.

Don't be afraid.  I was too, and I was pretty much forced into retirement - I wasn't really planning to retire before 60!  Not ever!

But I did - I have, and we are doing great!  We aren't rich, but we weren't rich when we worked either!  We have a car payment - imagine that!  We are affording a new car and we are retired!  Impossible!

What I do know is that we eat better; sleep better; get more exercise; smile more; laugh more; talk more; think deeper.  We aren't complaining or arguing about every little thing, or even every big thing.  We are living every day and enjoying the living part far more than we have ever before!

 I have a huge closet full of clothes that I have no idea if I will ever wear again - talk about money down the drain... a big expense I no longer have... GONE!  Little by little we are getting off the medications we have been on for years - another big expense - GOING!  We are repairing things, instead of tossing and buying new, we are even looking for old things to repair!  Profound!

I am reading a book called "AND I SHALL HAVE SOME PEACE THERE,"  by Margaret Roach.   She was editorial director of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, who chucked it all, retired and moved to a little home in the country.  She tells it like it is, and how it was for her.  Her story is "funny, quirky, humble and uplifting".  It is an easy read, and a good one for anyone who is thinking about retirement or has recently retired.  Try and read it - it is very good!

My parting words:

Don't be afraid to retire... do it!  You won't regret it, and you will never look back!

It seems I have to go now - the cookie jar is empty again!  See you next week!





Wednesday, October 21, 2015

LIQUID GOLD TO THE RESCUE!

I have been side-lined most of this week with a really painful flare up of my good ole Plantar Fascitis.  It hits me once in awhile and I stay off my feet for a bit and it goes away.  Well not this time - I have been pretty much imobile for the past couple of days, and no amount of rest and pain meds seem to be helping.

I am pretty frustrated with it - I have yard work that needs doing before winter, I have dolls to clean and get out of the garage before winter, I have more painting in the house I want to do... I can't even walk the dog at the moment, and she is objecting strongly every chance she gets.  Makes for one crabby woman, I tell you!

So I have been reading; doing some writing, crocheting, stitching, and working on cleaning my new, old spinning wheel.

I actually found a can of Scott's Liquid Gold at a tiny little hardware store over in the next town.



 Do you know about this stuff? Here is the website for it: http://www.scottsliquidgold.com

 My mother used this on her wood furniture for years, in fact up until only a couple of years ago, I still had her can of Liquid Gold ( she has been gone 31 yrs)!  If you have antique furniture or pieces with solid wood, this is the cleaner and protector you want to use.

The wood on the spinning wheel was so dry that it was actually grey!  I was a bit afraid that maybe the wheel was so old and dry it would be brittle and break.

Well - bring out the Liquid Gold - you should see the transformation.

I'll show you the transformation - Lucky for you I work slowly!

I have cleaned the bench portion now starting on the wheel, you can see the difference in the wood already.

Going from Grey to a beautiful red colour.  I know very little about wood, but I think this may be Maple.

Spokes not touched yet.

I am still in the process of cleaning the wood.  The wood is soaking up the Liquid Gold, but also removing the dirt.  The rag is black with dirt removed from the wood, so a new rag will be used for the second coat.  The second coat, will be left on for a few minutes and then I will buff with a clean rag.  From experience I know the wood will just glow.  I have seen it on other pieces I have used this product on.

For now I am taking my time, enjoying getting to know my wheel and feeling very happy and satisfied to bring the wood back to life!  A perfect project for one who can't stand on her feet, don't you think?

There is something to be said for sitting in a sunny room with soft tunes playing, and restoring a piece such as this to it's former glory.  I love this retirement life - my, it is rewarding in a way I never dreamed possible!










ARE YOU A HOARDER - PT2

I just want to take a moment to welcome a new follower to Erndalesnmore.  Welcome Loretta, so glad you have joined us.

So back to the hoarding story...

I had my gloves on, the garbage bag was near, so I decided to organize the piles of dolls that were everywhere.  I started with the nearest pile, and started sorting.  There were dolls of every size, from Barbie-type dolls, to a very large walking doll... which immediately caught my eye., not because it was a walking doll, but because it was a Male walking doll.  Someone had dressed him in a knit pink suit and he wasn't looking very impressed.

As I sorted I noticed a trend - well several of trends, actually.  Firstly, aside from the occasional doll from the 60's most of this Woman's collection were very inexpensive dolls from the 90's and 2000's - none the type that are being collected by serious collectors today and in very rough shape ( most of them).  The second thing I noticed was that 95% of them were vinyl dolls with cloth bodies.
It was instantly apparent that the woman who had been collecting these dolls, was not really a serious doll collector, and that her collection of vinyl/cloth bodied dolls needed to be destroyed.

I am not being a snob, or a know it all - but every doll collector I know from Antique to Vintage to Modern - all have one thing in common... They love their dolls. To that end, they take pride in their dolls' appearance, spending hours and hours and a lot of dollars making their dolls the best they can be.  They clean them regularly, do their hair, dress them in nice outfits, they sit them on shelves or display them in a pleasing way.  They look after the investment they have made, because eventually every collector will sell their dolls  (if they have no one to pass them down to),  and they want to get fair market value for their investment.   Not the case here.

Maybe it had been the case once, but I could see no evidence of that anywhere.  The dolls were beyond dirty, their hair was so badly matted - some of the hair fell out in my hands just with a touch.  If they were lucky to have clothes on - they were dirty, ripped, torn.  There were a few decent outfits on some of the dolls, but they were so stained, with I don't want to know what, that no amount of washing would see them clean.

There were very few dolls that were truly collectible.   There were a some hard plastic dolls - many of them were covered inside and out in black mold.  The 40's and 50's rubber dolls that I collect were few and far between - all in very sad shape with missing fingers, and hair falling out, and cloudy eyes.

After I had filled several large garbage bags, I gave up that activity, and just piled the dolls I had checked out on a huge pile.  I did set aside about 20, mostly small dolls to look at again, and possibly take home.

When I had finished all I could do, I approached the lady working there.  I would never take dolls without paying something - even ones in disrepair - so I showed her the pile I had and asked what she wanted for them.  She gave me a price that suggested she thought them valuable.

I told her that the dolls I was taking might never be saved.  All had so much filth and smell attached, they might very well land in the garbage after hours of anything I could do to restore them.  Some needed complete re-rooting of hair, all needed clothes, and some I would use for parts.  I was prepared to spend hours of my time and my supplies of chemicals and cleaners to try and clean them, and then I would have to dress them.

It broke my heart to tell her that all the other dolls - the ones with the cloth bodies - would have to be disposed of and in my opinion burned.  The dolls were not valuable - and the cloth bodies were stained with animal urine.  The bodies would have to be replaces with new bodies, and the dolls were just not worth that kind of work.  I had to ensure that no child ever touched those dolls - they were that bad - so I told her to burn them all.

 I paid for the dolls I was taking, and headed back home.  I drove home with three windows in the car down, the smell was so bad - and left the box in the garage when I got home, where it still sits.  I only bring a doll in at a time, and already several in the box I bought home have been trashed.

I have accepted a huge challenge in every doll I purchased there.  And after hours of work, I have unearthed several gems.  Only one of the dolls I brought home that day has turned out to be valuable...but he was worth nothing the way he was there.

I have a couple of the dolls done, but restoring these dolls is a painfully slow process, as these dolls need so much.  I am pleased with the ones I have worked on successfully and they now live happily in their own space along with the rest of my collection.

It is very obvious to me that the lady who owned these dolls, did love dolls.  I am sorry that she could not enjoy them the way I know collectors enjoy their dolls.  I am very thankful for the dolls I did rescue from her collection, I shall treasure them, and look after them for a long time to come.

The two story house where these dolls lived was filled to the rafters with things that perhaps had been new or useful at one time, but time and neglect had rendered everything trash.  It was hard to wrap my mind around the waste in that home.  It made me very very sad indeed to see the entire contents of someones home and life, dolls included being rifled through and deposited into black garbage bags to be destroyed.

It  eases my heart knowing that finally this woman is in a place where she can be looked after and cared for... Her home, certainly was not that place.


Answer to my question:  No, I am not a hoarder - I know that now for certain.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

WE ARE HERE - WE ARE STAYING!

Today is our Thirty First Wedding Anniversary.  All those years ago, we never imagined the life journey we would take together.  It has been the best 31 yrs of my life and I look forward to another 31 years with my wonderful husband, and very best friend.

                                              Happy Anniversary, Gary!  I Love You!



We just took yet another life journey together - we retired and moved to the country... it has been an experience like none other -

                                                                     ...

We have been here 3 months already!  Sometimes it seems we have lived here forever.

We are settling - settling into the house - the get up in the morning, spend the day, and go to bed at night kind of settling - no longer are we just visitors in this house.  We have made our mark on its walls with new paint, we have left our smells within it's walls (cookies baking, a turkey in the oven), we have hosted guests to visit it, even to sleep overnight in it.  We are here - we are staying!

We are settling into the yard - you laugh and say, "What's to settle into a yard?"

Plenty - when the yard is in the country.  I have encountered snakes (grass/garter); huge big lumpy toads, who sit like a rock on the ground, until you reach to throw the rock out of your way, and then it moves!  Moles - those unsightly devils that make mountains of dirt all throughout your garden, and devour all your precious earthworms.  Gophers - who dig holes the size of a post hole, big enough for your foot to fall into so that you can give your ankle a real good twist!  I have made up my mind to welcome these critters, embrace them even, because chances are they have been here longer than me, so we will get along - We are here - we are staying!

We have settled into the birds - which has been an absolute treasure and pleasure beyond description.  So many varieties, so many songs,  so many beautiful neighbours just a window away, everywhere you look.  I have plans to include their habits and habitats into my future landscaping plans - We are here - we are staying!

We are settling to the community.  We don't feel like the "new folks" anymore.  People know us by name now.  Good mornings with the locals take 20 minutes now, instead of just a wave and a word!

We are familiar at the grocery store, the diner, the library, the recycle store, the gas station, the clinic, the hardware store, the post office.  We are working on becoming familiar at the church, the community center, the skating rink, the curling rink, and maybe even the senior center.  We are progressing!

We have planned for the winter, and are making many plans for next spring and summer.

We are here - we are staying!

Three months down the road of our new life, and we are settled - and very happy that we took this road to begin with.

We have traded many busy noisy cluttered roads, for a few quiet ones.



We have traded concrete jungles, for mountains.

We have traded obstructed skies, for endless stars and constellations, large and bright enough that you feel you could just reach up and touch them.

We have traded airplanes for Eagles, Hawks and Owls.

We have traded migraines, for nothing much on our minds at all.

Boy - are we here - Definitely YES - We are Staying!


Monday, October 19, 2015

ARE YOU A HOARDER - PT 1

Today is an important day for Canadians... it is a day where we can actually do something about our future as a country.  It is Voting Day - we are about to elect our next Prime Minister of Canada.  Please vote today - it is your chance to have your say, it is your right, it is your duty!  Do it for Yourselves; do it for Canada!

Picture taken last week at Fletcher Park




Are You A Hoarder?


Have you watched the TV series about Hoarders?  Quite frankly, it is not my thing to sit and watch someone's rather sad private life come to pieces on national TV.  I don't consider that in any way entertaining and there is always the thought running around in the back of my mind that perhaps this has been staged for TV, and the money generated from the millions of viewers who enjoy watching that sort of thing is what the program is really about in the end!

As a collector of "Things" - dolls, craft supplies, books, music, etc... I have often been accused from people who know me very well - in a teasing way I hope - that I am a hoarder.

We (my fellow crafters and collectors) have even discussed this issue on craft and collecting forums and sites that I belong to.  We have joked about it - made light of it - and really wondered if we were predisposed for it!

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of having three cousins come to visit.  They had never seen my doll collection, and because I now have them displayed so nicely in their own spot, we ventured upstairs to have a look.  They enjoyed them, which always makes me happy.  Then one of them asked if I was still looking for dolls.

The collector (some would say hoarder) in me said "I am always looking for dolls!"  It's true - I have enough - but I would always consider more, if they were the type I am seriously collecting!

My cousin proceeds to tell me that there is a collector in her town (about 40 minutes away) who has been moved into a nursing home and all her dolls will have to be dealt with because the lady's home is being cleaned out - perhaps I would be interested in taking a look?

I bit like a Jack fish on a Repella!

A week later I was driving through the country-side to look at this collection of dolls.

As if it wasn't exciting enough  - to actually stumble upon a doll collection out here in the country, then the drive there surely made the journey all the more exciting.  The scenery was exceptional - Mother Nature was exploding with colour everywhere I looked.  Farmers were out harvesting all along my route, hawks and eagles were following them, and the sun was heating the day to almost summer temperatures.  It was glorious!

I brought my camera along, not for the scenery but hopeful that the collection would be an event I could record for myself and my fellow collectors!  We love looking at pictures of dolls almost as much as collecting them!

I arrived at the house, grabbed my camera and made my way to the front door. The lady who has been cleaning out the house greeted me at the door and led me into a living room that was straight out of a TV show.

The tiny living room was piled halfway to the ceiling with dolls, stuffed toys, furniture, anything you could imagine - but what overpowered me most, was the stench.  Apparently the owner had dogs and cats that did what they pleased, where they pleased.  The worker explained this to me with apology in her voice and an expression oozing with frustration.  She gestured to the room, said "Have at it," and handed me a pair of surgical gloves.

My first inclination was to turn around and drive home - no actually - my first inclination was to rush outside and breathe fresh air.  My second, third and fourth  - was to weep.

I will never joke about hoarding ever again!

I could tell that the lady working there was beyond her limit.  She had been told that the doll collection was valuable - she was counting on my help to sort through the piles everywhere.  I felt bad for her, she had a momentous job, a dirty job, she was way out of her element - I had to help her!

So I asked for some garbage bags, put on the gloves and got down to work...


Part 2 on Wednesday!











Friday, October 16, 2015

SHEEP MAY SOFTLY GRAZE!

Introducing Archie!

The fellow in my banner who is standing with his skis looking with longing at the hills to the west is Alpine Archie.  He stands prominently at the edge of town on Highway 5 facing the Riding Mountains.  He was built to commemorate the 1979 Canada Winter Games which were held at our own Mount Agassi, just up the mountain from here.  He has since become our town mascot.

From the front he is a whimsical fellow with a welcoming, if not somewhat bemused smile.
From the back: he looks to be waiting.




A few days ago Gary and I were on our walk, and we happened to be on the street behind Archie.  I got a totally different feeling looking at him from this angle.  He seems lonely, maybe even somewhat melancholy... most certainly waiting...  That is what I call my banner picture... WAITING!

Could be he is waiting for Agassi to re-open?   It has been shut down for years, due to a land dispute.   It is every one's wish in this community for it to re-open, the ski hill brought revenue to this town, many things here were developed because of it.   Or, maybe Archie is just waiting for snow...

It's coming Archie - better wax up those skis!

...


So - I mentioned sheep last post.  I have the wheel, and it is in excellent working condition.  It needs a cleaning and a polish and a new drive train string, but otherwise it is good to go.

When I was unwrapping it outside on the lawn, an elderly couple from town just happened to be walking by on the sidewalk.  When they saw the spinning wheel, they stopped to admire it, then learning it was a birthday present, wished me a happy Birthday; then realizing we were one of the new couples in town, welcomed us to the community - and then they asked if I knew where the sheep farm was.

I am sure they got a blank stare from me because I was still in a joyous fog.  "Oh Yes," they said, "We have a sheep farm here, she sells her wool locally and across the country."

Well my heart beat a happy dance.  How was it possible that everything could fall into place so quickly and so well for this craft I have been longing to do for over 40 yrs?  They gave me the name, and I contacted the lady and we are going there this weekend.

And just how perfect is that!

By this time next week, I hope to be spinning on my own wheel.  My friend Elaine, who has spun for years warns that at first I will most likely be making wire, as the novice spinner tends to over twist the wool... I am sure that will be the case with me too... but hopefully it won't take me long to get the correct hand and foot movements going to produce beautiful yarn for Christmas knitting! 

Here's Hoping!

...

NEXT WEEK: - Hoarding Basics...




Thursday, October 15, 2015

Celebrating Six Decades!

I hadn't intended on taking a couple of weeks to return here - but intention or not - here I am, tardy it seems!  Sorry for the delay, but it has been a busy time here in the country.

Gary and I are busy getting the yard ready for winter.  In the city this is a days job - not so here.  We have been trimming trees and bushes, turning the vegetable garden, trying to finish clearing some of the flowerbeds ( I have been working on this since we moved here).  We had everything looking great and then the wind storms hit.  Now the property is littered with pine cones, pieces of trees, branches and leaves, and so we start again... Only now the days for working outside are numbered - snow clouds loom to the West most mornings.  Luckily by noon they have gone elsewhere - so far!

The other events of the past days have been Thanksgiving and my 60th birthday!  Jonathan and Breanne came out for the weekend to help us celebrate both events, and we had such a great time together. Of course moments like these sweep by so quickly, and are gone - but the memories bring smiles to our faces and comments from our lips for weeks and months beyond.

Six decades of life is a celebration for anyone who reaches it, more so when you have fought and won against cancer.  Ten years ago I did not even believe I would reach this point.  Now that I have, I have aspirations to reach seven decades, God willing!

Sixty years is a milestone in itself, but the surprise of my life brought to me from Jon and Breanne made it extra special.

I have been dreaming, hoping, pining even; pretty much all my adult life to one day be able to own a spinning wheel.  It is the one craft I have always wanted to do that stayed at arms length from me - I thought forever.  I dabbled with it a bit when my neighbour from New Zealand moved in and showed me the process, and then let me try one of her wheels  - which was awesome.   But it also made me realize that to spin one needed much more than a wheel... sheep had to be handy as well.  She had totes of raw wool brought along from her homeland, but that wouldn't be the case for me.

So when the kids were making a big production of hauling a sort of gift-wrapped huge weird shape from the car to the back lawn my thoughts were that Jon had had something made for the yard at the wood shop at the school.  They do things like that - they make planters, and garden sheds and yard ornaments....

Okay - so one of the worst pictures of me ever - but so what - I am so ready to explode with joy - I had taken a peek and know whats in there!


I was in shock when I peeked inside and saw a beautiful antique Saxon Spinning Wheel under all that paper and cardboard.

I think I screamed ( actually I know I did - someone has a video of it) and then of course, I bawled like a baby!




That set the tone for the entire weekend... It was just one beautiful surprise after another, it seemed.

On Monday, my cousin and his family showed up with a beautifully decorated cake made by his daughter and her little one, and we celebrated once again.  I had extra special help blowing out my candles that day...  Isn't he adorable?


I received over 100 greetings in emails, phone calls, cards, Face Book and in person.  I am truly overwhelmed and so very grateful for each and every one.  Thank You from the bottom of my heart - you made reaching Six Decades Unforgettable Indeed!

Did I mention sheep?   Till next time!