Black cats look better in the shade

August has rolled in like a hot, fiery dragon. The weekend was horribly hot and humid. Dave and I had plans to check out a nearby car show and swap meet. But after a week of gardening and moving furniture, we both agreed we weren’t up to walking around in the sun and heat, regardless of the promise of pretty cars to look at.

So instead, I stayed inside with Burton.

The poor floofy boy, of all the cats, the heat is the hardest on him. Not only does he have extra floof, but it’s black, so he just can’t take the sun like the other two. While Rupert is content to cook out in the catio, Burton can usually be found sprawled up on the bed, in front of the air conditioner.

Of course, when I opened up the studio do, he was happy to join me there. The last couple of Blockhead blocks weren’t our cup of tea, so we decided to replace them with a couple more cat blocks.

Because… you can never have enough cats.

Especially in a cat-themed sampler quilt! We’ve now got 20 blocks, and I’m thinking 30 will be an ideal number. So now we wait (inside, out of the heat!) to see what new block come up this week.

Home making

While there were lots of little things to do this week, we did have one big task. It involved renting a trailer and heading down to Grandma’s house.

When she gave us the dining table all those years ago, she also promised us a pair of pine hutches that matched it. Now, with the house going up for sale this month, it was time to go down and get them, along with a few other things.

There was also an engine block to get (the orginal from Dave’s Charger) so Dad joined us with his truck. and between us we brought home not one, not two, but three hutches, a dresser, a couple of display cabinets.

Seeing them here now, makes me so glad we bought this house, because there is more than enough room in the dining room for them and the table. I can’t wait until we can finish the walls and floors and really show them off properly.

The third hutch…

Is apparently going to house some of Dave’s models. We’re not 100% sure on where it will go yet, but I’m thinking it will look pretty good in the living room with our other “antiques”.

And you may recall that Dave and I were planning on refinishing my old French Provincial style dressers. Now there is no need. Grandma had a bigger set (albiet in natural wood, not white) that were also in better shape. We were only able to fit the biggest one in, and will go back for the other in a couple of weeks.

Burton and spent the next day emptying mine, moving things around getting the new dresser all set up.

Dave had to help me put the mirror on, as it was too heavy, and Burton was no help (you can see how hard he works in the mirror’s reflection). But I think it looks just great.

And speaking of cats and no help…. Look what Burton made me do…

Five days in and I broke Austere August on grocery day. (Grocery stores should not be allowed to sell anything but food!!!)

But… seriously. How could I walk by that and NOT buy it??? It was $20 for the mat, so tried to make up for it and forgo the $20 I usually spend on lottery tickets at grocery day. Now I will be positively miserly for the rest of the month! I swear!

Welcome to Willow Grove

I can’t say it’s been a very restful vacation. Right from the start it’s been pretty much go go go.

One of the first things I did was tackle the last corner of the yard. It was a low spot, and the plan was to take the soil we removed from behind the shed to fill it. But there was a bunch of junk, including a long run of chicken wire that was half buried in the dirt. That had to be removed before anything was filled. But then of course, life gets in the way, and the next thing you know… that corner was looking like this.

Happily, it didn’t take very long to get it looking like this.

Hopefully, this fall, that fence will be moved to the other side of the maple tree, bringing the side yard into the backyard, but for now, at least, the area is tidy. I put some grass seed down where I filled in the low spot. And then I put some of the new plants I had bought (in July) down the side.

I think it will look quite nice once the grass fills in. Here’s a closer look some of the flowers there.

Green Twister Coneflower, Mellow Yellow Coneflower, Globe Thistle, and Mexican Hat. The latter is a native plant too. I had it at the townhouse years ago, but I decided to move it and it didn’t like that. I’m happy to have it again, as it’s very unique.

With that done, it was time to tackle another part of the yard. It’s a part I’d already started on, but hadn’t been able to finish, and was looking a little shabby.

This is the area I’ve been referring to as Willow Grove. My idea is to build the yard into several garden “rooms” – each unique little garden spaces. Because this one has my three pussywillow bushes along the shed, I named it Willow Grove. It’s no where near “complete”, but after cleaning out the weeds and putting down some mulch, it’s looking a lot more like the idea I had in my mind.

There’s a lilac bush on either end of the bench and once they grow they will create a more enclosed feeling. But even now, it’s a nice little spot to stop and rest and watch the birds… or the squirrels.

Some more of the flowers I got from the nursery went in this corner as as well.

A “green-eyed” Susan, some yellow Yarrow, and some pinkish Chrysanthemum.

And last.. while this is a small thing, it’s one that will make my life a little easier

I tidied up my potting bench and moved it below the clothesline. Here it can do double duty and give me a spot to set my basket as I hang out laundry. It’s in need of a coat of paint, so when we get some cooler weather, I’ll paint it our signature dark green and it will fit right in with the rest of the yard.

Friday felines

Last week, Bridget of the Ravell’d Sleave posted about her newest furry family member Alfie, and how well he’s fit in with the other cats.

And it got me thinking about my boys. Introducing a new cat to a home is always a tricky business. I’ve always been rather lucky in that respect. After a day or two of hissing and general attitude, things settled down and we had no more problems.

That is until this Ginger Mister sauntered in.

At first, it wasn’t a problem . When I adopted him, there was only Peno. She took about a week to tolerate him, and he was really good with our old senior girl. He mostly just wanted to snuggle up with her when she slept, and she decided she could live with that.

Then I brought Burton home. After some hissing and a few swats, Rupert realized he had someone who he could chase around, and he liked that quite a bit. But Burton was a kitten, so I think that made things easier for him.

But then a few months later, Relic started showing up in the backyard. And a few months after that, Dave was letting him in the house. And Rupert was not down with that. Maybe it was that Relic was a full grown cat (and three times Rupert’s size), and maybe because Relic had been “invading” Rupert’s territory (the backyard) for months before we took him in. Whatever it was, Relic was the enemy. And it wasn’t Relic’s fault.

Rupert would sneak attack Relic any chance he got. And it took a full year before Rupert finally accepted his presence and settled down. And even then, there would still be sneak attacks.

It wasn’t until last year that they really started being friends – actually playing with each other. And now… it seems like every time I turn around, this is what I see.

Cats are weird!

Baby boom!

It seems there’s a bit of a baby boom happening in my circle. There are three babies due in the next few months. So I’ve got to get sewing. Happily, I have a well-stocked stash so I don’t have to break Austere August.

On the weekend, Burton and I threw together a top for the first of the babies.

This quilt is meant for the soon-to-be little brother of the little cutie I made the swan princess quilt for. I had a charm pack called Little Ducklings, and it was soft grey, blue, and yellow – it seemed like the perfect compliment to big sister’s pink and grey swans.

We grabbed some nice deep teal (which isn’t quite as dark at the pictures seem, and some delicate blue/beige heart yardage, and threw together and Oh My Stars top.

I’ve said this before, but it’s a great pattern that goes together so quickly.

Now I’ve got two more tops to make, then I can plan a trip to Mom’s to get them quilted and into the mail.

Walkabout Wednesday – Hot Rod edition

One of the things I love about this town, is that the mechanic is walking distance away. With both of us driving rather old vehicles (me an ’08 Ford, Dave an ’04 Buick), we’ve quickly made good friends with the team at the shop. And it’s nice that after I drop Dory off, I can easily walk home.

Dave also loves the fact that they work on REALLY old cars. (A few days after the Charger came home, she went right over there so they could do a brake upgrade). In fact, they also restore them, and sell them at their car lot just down the street.

So the other day, I decided to take my walk over there to get some pictures for you all.

Not only do they have my absolute FAVOURITE classic…. a Ford Galaxie Convertible…

But they also have an old Ford Truck.

It doesn’t matter what year, or what colour. I love old Ford trucks.

If I ever win the lottery, one of the first things I will do is march right over there and buy both these beauties.

And if there’s any money left over, I might just grab this Packard, and the Mustang II.

And don’t tell Dave, but I’d probably buy this z28 Camaro too.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Trans Ams, Firebirds, and Camaros… the first two he agrees with, but he always turns his nose up at the Camaro.

Of course, I haven’t won the lottery, so I have to just look and enjoy. And it looks like there will be more beauties to come, as there are several other vehicles on the lot, awaiting their glow up.

I’m especially looking forward to seeing the restoration of those two Thunderbirds (another favourite!)

Tiny Needle Tuesday

I may have been a little too busy this weekend. By the time the evenings rolled around, I was too tired to do much cross stitching.

I added a little more black work on the machine head, but that’s it. I’m going to make up for it this week though. Hopefully by next tiny needle Tuesday, I’ll have the whole upper portion complete!

P.S. After yesterday’s post, a few of you mentioned that you didn’t know what a chip wagon was. I apolgize. It’s been so much a part of my upbringing that I had no idea it was a Canadian thing (and apparently more of and Eastern Canadian thing than a Western one too!). Chip wagon fries were a HUGE treat when we were kids. And there used to be a lot more Chip Wagons around too. And unless they are serving fresh cut fries, they are not a real chip wagon (then they are just a food truck).

I found this cool article from several years back that explains our fascination. If you haven’t had chip wagon fries, and find yourself in Canada, I whole heatedly recommend find a chip wagon!

Decidedly not sweater weather

Vacation is off to a good start. It’s only been two days, but I’ve been going full steam.

Saturday I did some yard work in the morning and then Dave and I headed off to the dump to get rid of the compost bags. Since it was still fairly early, he decided we should go on a little road trip. We got some chip wagon fries for lunch (a real treat as I haven’t had them in forever), and hit up a little antique shop he’s been wanting to stop at for a while.

And little is the operative word! It really was just a truck trailer. But the prices were quite reasonable and I managed to find something I’ve been looking for forever… a hurricane lamp that not only met my budget (they are often quite expensive, despite being pretty plentiful), but also my decor – I just love the pink base, and it’s perfect for the living room. AND, it was bought firmly in July, not August, so I didn’t break any rules.

Afterwards, we stopped at a new (to me) nursery, and I got some MORE plants for the garden. (Still in July!!!) I’ll share more on them later in the week.

Sunday, I was up bright any early to head to the range to do my safety test. Everything went well, so I now have full privileges at the range. Dave tagged along (and napped in the truck, despite the trap tournament that was happening right beside the parking lot!), so afterwards, we stopped for a late breakfast at a little diner along the way.

This was really special, because we rarely go out for breakfast as Dave doesn’t like crowds (and there’s ALWAYS a crowd for breakfast). Also, it’s the first time we’ve dined in any where since COVID hit. Dave got the Hillbilly Breakfast – three eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, homefries, and toast. I don’t know where he put it all, because I had trouble eating my three pancakes!!!

We came home and I did a little sewing (more on that on Thursday), and then more yard work after dinner.

When I have sat down, I’ve been stitching, of once sort or another.

Despite the hot weather (it’s still hot, though not as humid as it was), I’m trying to make some headway on Dad’s Christmas sweater. I was really excited when I realized I’d completed all the increasing for the yoke…. but then disappointed when I read the next part of the pattern and learned I’d have to knit several more inches straight until before I could split for sleeves an body.

It’s a lot of stitches, so it’s a bit of a slog, but if I keep at, it, I know I’ll get through it!

I want a do-over….

So it turns out that I suck at No-Buy July….

Just call me…

In a month when I wasn’t supposed to spend on anything but necessities, I bought:

  • Garden plants… now technically, these could fall under necessities for the house, but it’s a stretch to say they were actually NEEDED. There’s more than enough in the garden for the moment… but things were on sale (really, they were!) ….and some of them are spring bulbs. They’ve been ordered to arrive in time for fall planting…
  • House plants…. which by ZERO stretch of the imagination could you consider these necessities. The house is already overrun with houseplants. My only defense is they were “clearance” plants and badly neglected… so really I was just rescuing them.
  • Dresses… yes….. on sale. 100% not needed – the closet is already over-flowing. But one was plaid (I adore plaid) one was pink (I adore pink), and one had puffy sleeves (I adore puffy sleeves) and as you can tell, I am very very weak-willed in the face of things I adore.
  • Pajamas. Also on sale. And the only reason I bought them is because they were the same style as my favourite and I only had two. (A nice light, little nightie, perfect for hot summer night sleeping)
  • Fabric…. this one is totally a grey area. My favourite cousin is getting married in November and I wanted to make her a wedding quilt. Technically I could have waited to make the purchase, but I’d already broken No Buy July sooo…. at the same time I also picked up fabric to make a quilt for Sam’s son Ethan… at least I got free shipping!
  • Books… my favourite author (Patricia Briggs) has a new one coming out, and it was 30% off if you pre-ordered. And then two more books (from another favourite – Phillipa Gregory) hopped into the cart so I could get free shipping
  • A pink toolbelt. Possibly a necessity (will be very useful when we get back to indoor renos), but could have waited. But it’s the perfect shade of Barbie pink (see previous note about pink), and in truth, that’s why I bought it.
  • Hot Pink Buckmark hearing protection ear muff. Technically a necessity because I needed ear and eye protection for my range test this morning, but I could have got away with ear plugs (which I already had). I just prefer the muffs (I always borrowed Dad’s pair when I went shooting with him). And these were PINK (I really can’t stress that enough) and made by Browning (the same company as my favourite pistol)

So yes… I have issues with financial fortitude in the face of things I love. But , I’m determined to do better. So with tomorrow the first day of a new month, I am declaring it AUSTERE AUGUST!

For the ENTIRE month, there will be NO purchases unless it’s 100% absolutely necessary. It doesn’t matter if it’s on sale, eventually needed, or even pink. If I don’t need it in that very moment, I don’t buy it.

Think I can do it….? Neither do I, but I’m going to try my darnedest!!!

In the meantime, do you want to see some amazing things my husband has done? I know it takes my mind off my own failures….

First… remember that bench we found on the side of the road?

Well it’s been all fixed up with new paint and wood. (And no… I didn’t keep it pink… that wouldn’t work with our outdoor theme). I think he did and amazing job.

He also put up a real clothesline for me.

My little retractable one was okay. But this one is longer and stronger and can hold two full loads. I just love the smell of laundry fresh off the line, so I’ve been enjoying this immensely.

This week, I’m hoping to get some time to make a bag that can hang on the post and hold all my clothes pins.

With his Charger here, his attention is pretty much gone from my projects to his, but I think I did pretty well while I had it!