Friday, May 07, 2021

"Be Productive...Yet Calm"

 Those are the words of Lizzie Kate, one of my very favourite cross-stitch designers and now, reportedly, retired.  Regular followers of this blog might remember that in the last several months I've been working on patterns she designed, the latest being "My To Do List"Last week, I finished this phrase:

"Listen to My Heart"...

And this week?  


"Be Productive...Yet Calm"

Both of these reminders are apt for what's happening around me these days. 

I know that some of my Gentle Readers are in the U.S., and their world has opened up somewhat -- for better or for worse -- even as other countries struggle with the onoing pandemic.  Canada (dare I say it?) "as usual", is somewhere between a Much Better Scenario and...Horrific.  

The latter is probably personified by the dire situation in India, and even though we don't produce our own COVID-19 vaccines here (YET -- a long story), we, being Who We Are, are indeed sending aid to that country, so devastated by this virus and its variants, even as it, itself, has done research and produced some of the vaccines against it.

That said, right now my province is experiencing a Third Wave, and has retrenched into stricter regulations, which -- at last -- are being taken more seriously by Those in Law Enforcement.  

Close to home (as in, within a few blocks), a local truck stop has rebelled over the past few months.  The owner didn't want to keep open only his gas pumps and convenience store.  No.  He wanted to keep open his indoor cafe, and to allow freer movement outdoors on his patio...etc.  He didn't want to enforce mask wearing among his staff (in the kitchen, waiting tables), or among his patrons.  He enlisted support from outside sources (I won't go into this here), some of which had already faced consequences in other provinces, but travelled here to support the "resistance" here.  Sigh.  ("After all, it's just the flu!")

After several months of its patience being tried, Alberta Health Services put its foot down.  In recent weeks, the establishment in question has lost its liquor (beer & wine only) licence and it's operating licence.  Despite this, the owner kept the place open and openly publicized what he was doing.  A few days ago, the AHS had enough.  The locks were changed on the premises and the operation was technically closed.  As of today, a court order confirmed that and pre-empted a planned "protest rally" as a result -- not because Canada bans protests, but because NONE of the participants would be masked or at distance, clearly contravening current public health protocols (no contact info either -- for contact tracing) during a Global Pandemic.

It's called "entitlement" and "my freedom to operate my business trumps  your freedom to stay healthy/alive".

Today, the police showed up and the rally was pre-empted.

"Be Productive...Yet Calm"

Ah yes...thus I've tried to be -- both in the yard/garden and in the studio.

So...what have I been up to?  I'll start with the yard/garden...

My indoor seedlings continue to grow.  Depending on the weather, I've put them out into the sunshine, fresh air and wind on and off for a while now, to get them used to the idea.

I've planted leaf and Bibb lettuce in my raised beds -- and after a brief bit of rain a couple of days ago, they've started to poke through the earth, but are not yet photogenic,  Stay tuned!

I've had no luck whatsoever with the daffs and narcissi I planted on the "East Lawn" last fall...but in recent days -- whoo hoo!  Crocuses!  (Croci??)

Crocus #1!

Crocus #2!

Though #1 was allowed to fade on its own, #2 was attacked and chomped by something -- perhaps a deer (though research before I'd planted said they didn't like croci), but I'm thinking a rabbit.  As a result I've put the lot under cover at night for now...and hope for the best.

To put these tiny blooms in perspective, here's the long view on my "East Lawn":

See what I mean? 
Find the crocus!  ;-)

The other Momentous Thing I did this week was to plant a tree.  I've ordered 3 apple trees and 3 Saskatoon berry bushes from a local nursery, but they're not available just yet.  However, undaunted, I decided it was time to transplant a small spruce, which had planted itself several years ago into a large pot near my garden shed, into a spot on my "East Lawn"...

Preparing the ground to plant -- removing sod


Planted -- side view

In the course of the digging, I found several "treasures"... 😉

There were the dandelion "trees"...

And the ephemera, including rusted metal, 
broken china and glass shards...

...and something my neighbour tells me is probably
left over from an old water pump of some sort...
it's a valve or something...

I'm just happy to have the tree planted, to have cleared the errant grass out of several flower beds, to have the lettuces showing signs of life in the raised continue to pray for rain.  It's been in the forecast for days but hasn't materialized to any extent.

And so...I wait, I water, and I quilt!

I've been joining rows of "Bali Sunrise" blocks (sorry, no new photos), to be sure, but...last weekend I spoke with a friend of mine from university (we were room mates in first year).  She and I were never BFFs, and for several years we lost touch -- but recently reconnected.  She's been chronically unwell for some time now, and I've decided to make her a lap quilt so, since my last post, I've undertaken a 'Disappearing 9-Patch' piece, composed mainly of long-stashed 4" squares -- the kind one could get by subscription in the years before "Charm Squares" were created -- and which I've finished off with borders of 2" squares (1.5" finished):

On the design wall: the central motif with 1 border and bottom border and one side

As of today, I've attached the 3rd side (seen in part on the right of the photo above) and have constructed the 4th...just have to sew it on.  It's not a large piece (44" x 42") but the recipient is also a tiny I am hoping it will make her a bit cozier when she puts it over her lap.

I've also been inspired to make a new art piece.  You already know the extent of my scrap stash (and if you don't, consider yourself blessed! 😉)  Inspired by an artist I very much admire -- Cindy Grisdela -- and an interview she did with art quilter and former SAQA President, Lisa Walton -- I started a new "crumbpilations"* piece -- all in greens, golds/yellows, browns, creams and a touch of dusty blue...

Under construction

Prairie on My Mind - horizontal orientation
22" W x 16" L - before quilting

Prairie on My Mind - Vertical orientation
16" W x 22" L - before quilting

I'm leaning toward the vertical orientation.  It'll be machine quilted with straight lines and less-than-obvious thread, then faced.  So...we'll see how it works out.

I have no inclination to make it larger.

And so...another few weeks have gone by.  I survived my 1st COVID-19 vaccination -- Pfizer -- and the second is booked for mid-August.  I'm not going to push; we have challenges in Canada with the supply, and I'm happy to wait my turn.

For those interested in my knitting, I've almost finished a summer tank top which, truth be told, I want to use as a layering tunic.  I've washed and blocked it, but have yet to finish it because it needs a bit of crochet around the armholes and neck, and the back has an overlap closure that's included in that.  Here it is as it dries on my bedroom floor:

Pattern: "Split Back Tank"
Designer: Allison Griffith
Yarn: Schoeller & Stahl "Micro Cable"
Colour: #08 - Dark Purple

I decided to try a pair of socks for the Ravelry group, Socks from Stash, May Challenge -- knit a pair using at least 2 different colours -- from two different skeins/balls of yarn.  My choice was to try stranded colour-work (yet again) with a new pattern.  Below is the first sock with the first pattern chart completed.  I've now completed 2 charts, the heel and the gusset, and am making my way down the foot of the first sock:

Pattern: "Funfetti"
Designer: General Hogbuffer
Yarns: assorted stash in cream, navy, burgundy and bright gold

It's an adventure...but I'm hoping that by using more stitches than usual and sizing up my needles, I might actually manage a pair of stranded-knitting socks that fit me!

What's up for the next while? Who knows!  I'm hoping for rain for the garden, time to do more quilting ("Grassy Creek has been sitting idle while I work on these other things) and knitting...and when it gets warmer and the wind dies down, I might even get to play outside with fabric and paint.

Meanwhile, the apple trees and berry bushes I've ordered should show up soon...

A gal can hope, eh?

I'm linking this up to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday, wherein this week she dips her toe into the art/not arena...I'm squarely in both about you?

Have a wonderful weekend -- stay well, stay creative, stay safe, stay productive, stay calm! 😊


Gwyned Trefethen said...

You did all this in a single week? I'm blown away, Margaret. So sorry to hear about your local pandemic troubles. The US has similar pockets of my freedom trumps your health and lack of understanding about the meaning of global. It can be very discouraging. Light does come.

Norma Schlager said...

There is a store in Naples, Florida with a similar story. It is a fabulous store, but I said I would never step foot in it again, and I won't. Unfortunately the gov. did not shut him down, but that's Florida for you.
You certainly had a productive week and I love your embroidery!