Sunday, August 22, 2021

Slip-sliding Away...

 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 least some of the plants have come through and produced veggies!  

You can (almost) always count on zucchini...

And sometimes you can find beans...

And broccoli...

And even raspberries...
and of course, more zukes!

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.
On these walks I continue to encounter new-to-me wildflowers.  These are a couple of the ones I came across in the last week or so, and need to identify.  Both resemble clusters of tiny daisies -- and I've seen a yellow version of this too:

Whatever they are, their tiny points of colour in the aging grasses is very cheering!

  • 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! 
First, I poured a few colours onto a recycled Styrofoam "plate":

White background, red-orange next, then blue,
then a bit of Jacquard Lumiere in metallic copper.

I then took two 4" x 4" stretched canvases -- one at a time -- and "dipped and squished" them into the paint until I got the 'look' I wanted:

This was fun!  So...I cut up a canvas page from a pad of it I bought a while back, and I cut up a piece of textured, recycled plastic window blind and dipped those (all close to 4" square).  This was a bit tricky because they weren't attached to stretcher bars or any sort of backing I could hold, but I managed:

Here they are on my design wall

And some close-ups:

(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

Except for the pair on stretched canvas -- which I've signed and propped up as home decor, I really have no idea what I'm going to do with these pieces yet.  I have some card stock I could use to mount them; time will tell.  For now, they remain on my design wall, where every time I look at them, they make me smile.

  • 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 had a piece of hand-dyed, 28-count linen from some long-forgotten, never started project, so I ordered the pattern and the hand-dyed cotton threads:

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.)

Working on this is very rhythmic and soothing, especially with some quiet music in the background.

  • 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.

So I'm linking this up with Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday, and wishing you all a good week or two as we slip-slide into September.  Hugs!


Kate said...

The heat has travelled east and we are finding the humidity er unpleasant.
Nice to see all your lovely projects. Mine seem to be on hold at the moment.

Kathie Briggs said...

Sorry about your heatwave. We've had a couple and one is starting up again. Thankfully they've mostly been short lived. I'm impressed with your garden. The dip & squish looks like a lot of fun. It will be interesting to see what you decided to do with them. I know I owe you a nice long letter.

Bethany G said...

Touring your post and I am as always in total awe of your work ethic and all of the beautiful and exciting projects you manage to get underway! Thanks for always sharing these great stories and the beautiful artwork, knitting, paintwork, etc!

Keep up the patient walk through August - it will be over soon, and for some reason, I am feeling fall coming our way! By the first weekend in Sept, we should have some lighter, less humid days...
Miss you - take good care.

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

Such pretty colors in your Grassy Creek!