Wednesday, January 25, 2023

A January Jumble

Jumble (noun) = an untidy collection or pile of things

Jumble (verb) = mix up in a confused or untidy way

BRITISH = articles collected for a jumble sale

Well, "untidy" and "confused" are negative words to me, but this post is certainly a "collection" and a mixture.  So, "jumble" it is!


As most of you know, our last cat, Maggie, crossed the rainbow bridge on September 21, 2020.  I don't miss the dust and the litter boxes, but I do miss the affection that accompanies a loud purr and rubbing on my legs.  So, it has been a joy to interact with several cats this month, including cat-sitting for neighbors vacationing in sunny Florida!


Speaking of critters, it has been a bumper month for trail cam photos - the Bald Eagles have returned to fish for Northern Pike at the lake below our house.  I wrote about this in February 2021, when Golden Eagles joined in the feast as well.



Here is the patch of open water - the "fishing hole".  Last summer, the beaver built a secondary dam below the main dam, which has created this little catchment.  Apparently, the fish are swimming through gaps in the main dam and wind up in shallow water that makes for easy pickings for the raptors.  Bad decision!  The camera is positioned on the other side of the water, so the views you are about to see are looking toward where I am standing to take this picture.  (click on the pictures to make them bigger)

All of this happened in the space of a few minutes.  Later that night, another raptor came to the "restaurant" - an owl!  This is the first time I have ever captured one with my trail cam!

I have been doing a little cooking once a week, to give Head Chef a break.  I didn't take pictures of week 1 - Normandy Pork Casserole - a recipe from Low Carb Diabetic - and I would recommend the dish!  Week 2 was Slow Roasted Salmon, and I am not giving you the link since the spices overwhelmed the salmon.  But I documented my work ...


Speaking of food, Head Chef gave us a New Year's resolution - Eat More Jam!  How many jam/jelly/related jars do you have?

I am joining LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color for I Like Thursday.  The prompt for this week: What are your favorite colors?  Do you wear them or decorate with them?  As I look around the house, I see many shades of brown, augmented with blues and reds.  As we bought furniture over the years, we went for subtle shades and used pillows and blankets to add the color.  If I consider my closet, the base palette is brown and black, but with a rainbow of blouses, scarves and sweaters.  Is there a specific color your family would say is your favorite?  Purple.  My bridesmaids wore purple, and I have a purple suede outfit from the 1980's that Spousal Unit wishes I would wear more often!  Has it changed over the last few years?  Today, my style choices are functional - designed for our active and outdoor lifestyle.  In other words, not much purple and no suede!!!



This week, I am also linking to Rain's Thursday Art and Dinner Date.  Her theme this week is scarves.  I wrote an entire post about scarves on February 10, 2019.  This was one of my favorite collages from that post.

Finally, I leave you with this whimsical fairy house that my neighbors created from a tree stump, lovingly harvested from the property of my Dear Neighbor Friend.  I am so thankful to live here, and to have so many "jumbles" to share with you.

This week, I am also linking to:

Brian's Home for Thankful Thursday.

Eileen for Saturday's Critters.

Mosaic Monday


Wednesday, January 11, 2023


I am having fun.  I am stitching.  Two projects underway, and several in the planning stages.  My fellow stitchers, can you ever have too many ideas or creations that you want to make?

Before I show you the current work, I can finally share the ornaments that I made for the kids as Christmas presents.  I love the process of looking for subjects that are suitable for the recipient, and yet not too big for a tree ornament.  Pinterest is fabulous resource, and the convenience of downloading designs for a minimal price is a far cry from the days of thumbing through racks of cross-stitch books at Michael's!

The fiance made his first trip to the UK in 2022, and since the itinerary included London, this ornament was an easy choice.



 #1 Son is a little more challenging - cats are an obvious choice, but I am reluctant to give him only cat ornaments.  So I took a little bit of an indirect tack this year, and this is all the more appropriate since together we have watched a documentary about how some people still claim the earth is flat!

In this post in December 2021, I wrote about discovering Spanish blackwork.  In December 2022, I finally began my first blackwork piece.  Last year, my oldest sister purchased an RV, and mentioned that she planned to call it "Bloomer".  I scoured Pinterest for cross-stitch designs with that word, or with a pertinent theme.  I was delighted to locate a pattern with many of her favorite colors, and blackwork!  Bingo!  

I will have to add "Bloomer" to the bottom of the design, but that is easy to do.  Over Thanksgiving, I had the opportunity to ask her about the font style she would like.  So, I was all set.  Below are some pictures with current progress.  (I think she will use this a pillow cover.)


During my time in the blogosphere, I have seen many mentions of stitch-a-longs, and viewed creativity in action when my fellow bloggers post pictures.  This year, I finally decided to jump in.   Somebody out there (identify yourself!) introduced me to Loretta Oliver, and I subscribed to her email for access to free cross-stitch patterns.  On December 29, when the Great Big List of Stitchalongs to Join in 2023 popped into my email inbox, I decided to take a look.  Imagine my delight when I found The Steady Thread Botanical Blackwork Stitchalong.  Flowers AND blackwork, a perfect combination for me!!!  And it's free!

The Steady Thread is very thorough, and at first the detail of the instructions seemed overwhelming, but I took it one step at a time.  I chose the circular hexagon pattern, and decided on ivory 14-ct. fabric.  (In hindsight, I think I would have preferred 16- or 18-ct.)  I intend to put the finished project in our guest bathroom, so I had an idea of a preferred color palette.  (Traditional blackwork typically utilizes only black thread, but given the location for this piece and the botanical aspect of it, I wanted to experiment with color.  It may not seem like a big deal to you creative folks out there, but this is a STRETCH for someone who likes pre-made designs and can't cook without a recipe!!!)

The design has 49 hexagons in total, and each Friday the pattern for the next hexagon is released.  The Steady Thread provides a key for the placement of each week's hexagon, and "hexagon paper" that you can print in order to plan your color palette, if needed.  In the picture below you can see most of my "color design", and the two hexagons that I have already completed.

 And a closer look.

I still have a few questions, such as how participants share progress (I think it's on a FaceBook page) and when we are supposed to complete the leafy frame.  Watch this space!


I am joining I Like Thursday at Not Afraid of Color.  You can always find something inspiring among this group.  Check it out.

This week the prompt is "Do you use a calendar?  Is it digital and do you like it?  Is it a wall calendar and who's do you have this year?  Is it a diary type that sits on your desk next to the computer?  Share yours, and if you like it, how did you choose that one?  Do you have another system to remember things?" 

I use a classic Franklin Planner (see above) and it has a flower motif.   Throughout my career, this style served me well and I continued in retirement. I use the month pages to keep track of significant appointments and events.  In between the month pages, there are two pages per week, so there is room to write down daily tasks, but not many.  So, I do find I need a separate sheet of paper to capture my very aspirational list of everything I would like to get done in a day!!!

So, as you can tell, I am a very visual person - I tried a digital calendar and just couldn't SEE enough to make me comfortable.  The closest I get is the "notes" function in my phone - I use it to record ideas when I am away from my Planner and to-do list.


Also linking to Mosaic Monday.  If you like creative photo collages, this is the linky party for you!

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