I've lost count -- but I think we had four long heat waves, interrupted by brief bits of cooler weather (a day or two) and then...BANG! We're in "mid-September". Except that we're only just finishing the third week of August. Not even close to Labour Day. Not. Even. Close.
It's been a tough summer -- especially for those in wildfire areas, such as British Columbia, Oregon and California. To top it off, we're all still in the midst of a global pandemic, making fire, flood, earthquake and tornado rescue even more perilous -- especially for those who insist they won't get vaccinated (even though they're eligible) and "You can't make me!!".
So...all of this noise has been rather dispiriting. It's certainly put a dent in my "Get up and go!" What's a person to do???
I decided on a few options -- all designed to "spark joy" with colour and freshness. It's the only way to go when the skies are grey -- literally and figuratively -- as they often are these days.
- Yard work. We're in a drought here, so my rain barrels are low, but I've managed to carefully, judiciously use my watering cans with my hose to manage the flower/veg beds. (I don't water my lawn; I'm not growing a golf course.) And so...at least some of the plants have come through and produced veggies!
I had leaf lettuce too (now finished -- the photo below was taken 2 months ago...)
So it's been a pretty good year for the garden. (We won't talk about the cherry tomatoes, started from seed in early March, and only just now producing tiny still-green fruit.)
- Long walks. If I've not worked out in the yard (mowing -- which has slowed considerably as the grass isn't growing in the drought), I try to walk 45+ minutes on any given day. During the heat waves, this would be about 6:30 a.m., when it was just daylight enough, and definitely cooler, but nowadays, it's more like mid-to-late afternoon.
- Quilting. Not much of this lately...but I've returned to "Grassy Creek" (the Bonnie Hunter Mystery for 2020)...and am making slow but steady progress in putting the 4 rows together, with all of the complex sashing. (I'm making it approximately 2/3 the size of the original). Here are a couple of shots;
|Last 2 rows on my ironing board
|Close-up of a block/sashing combo
I also finished a small (maybe 30" x 40") quiltlet for charity -- without a home as yet. It was a UFO from a pattern in an almost-forgotten quilt magazine (I found the magazine after I finished the top) and it turned out rather well, considering its chequered past! 😉
|Pattern: "Beautiful Batik Leaves"
Designer: Debby Kratovil
Quick Quilts #52 - 2005
|Quilting detail - photo taken after washing,
so all the quilty goodness shows! 😊
- It's been harder to activate my "art mojo", but I did spend some time playing with paint, stretched canvas, 'canvas paper' and a recycled plastic window blind! I was inspired to do this when Soraya Silvestri, a colleague in the Artists in Canada Art Facebook group posted about "Dip & Squish", a fun technique she was using with acrylic paint and ceramic tiles. (The link is to her YouTube clip about it.) I decided to try it out -- with fabric!
|Here they are on my design wall
|(L) on plastic recycled blind; centre and (R) - on canvas
|(L) on canvas; (R) on plastic recycled blind
|More on the recycled blind
|And on a strip of the blind
- In the embroidery department...I've set aside the little Glasgow roses I was cross-stitching, because I fell in love with a sentiment. It was on a sampler designed by Blackbird Designs especially to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of one of my very favourite stitchery shops: Traditional Stitches, just west of Calgary. I don't do much of this sort of design nowadays, but I couldn't resist; I was smitten with the text:
|Photo from Traditional Stitches
I began to stitch 10 days or so ago, and am farther along than this photo shows, but it gives you an idea. (The fabric is darker in colour than the photo shows.)
- And of course, there's always some knitting! Right now my focus is on the Socks From Stash August Challenge -- "Knit a Free Pattern". I'm making a pair of "Thermal Weasleys" for my daughter (a Harry Potter fan) for Christmas, in a hand-dyed merino-nylon blend from the "odd lots and one-of-a-kind" folks at Gathering Yarn -- sold by my friend and former employer, The Crafty Lady. I've finished the first sock and am well away now on the leg of the second.
|"Velino" hand-dye from Gathering Yarn
|#1 sock finished -- longer leg; no ribbing on the sole!
|Pattern texture close up; easy to memorize!
I'll be happily working on all of these 'fabric, fibre & floss' items over the next little while -- as at last we've had some welcome rain, and I'm lying low indoors with what I hope is only a cold (sore throat, cough, sniffles). A test for What Shall Not Be Named is booked for Tuesday afternoon.