Friday Felines

After I finally got the bed frame for the bed, I decided, in addition to needing a bigger quilt, it needed a bed skirt. The quilt is going to take a bit to make, but the bed skirt I could get on right away.

And while I’m happy with how it looks, it does come with one major… unforseen flaw….

Its the perfect landscape for a toe ambush!

If that face doesn’t say “Who me????”, I don’t know what does.

FO: Another Kermit Sweater

Another day, another dog sweater.

As soon as I saw the pics of Kermit in the first sweater, I knew he wasn’t going to fit into it long. So this one is bigger. Same pattern, I just upped the needle-size and added some length. This time around the yarn is some Paton’s Decor in a stylish variegate of grey, white and swampy green.

I’ve got a Christmas present to send to Wren, so I’ll pop this in the mail with it. And now I REALLY will get back to Dad’s Christmas sweater.

Walkabout Wednesday

We haven’t had any more snow since the last dusting melted. Nevertheless, Christmas is fast-approaching. Even more decorations have been put out around town.

The township has changed the petunia planters over to festive greenery.

I love the addition of the Teasel painted silver.

I’m going to keep it in mind for next year, because it’s certainly easy to get in the fields around here. It’s one of those plants that always makes me think of my childhood, because it was plentiful where I grew up.

The town has also switched the Canada flags out to Seasonal banners, and added some star-shaped lighted decorations to the poles in the “downtown”. They look very pretty lit up at night.

The covered-up decoration I showed the other week has now been uncovered. It says Joy, as I suspected, but I didn’t know there was a little nativity scene in the centre.

The Presbyterian church has a nice simple nativity scene too.

And I love the simple directions on those big, beautiful entry doors.

This wireframe snowman is just around the corner from the post-office. I would love to get something like this for our yard.

And last, this sneaky Santa is hiding around the side of a house up the street (the house is on a corner, and this side faces the side-street. It’s not a great picture, but I think it’s a fantastic decoration.

For next week, I hope to have a post of what this town looks like lit up at night!

Gnome for Christmas

Last year, Mom gave me this lovely little wall-hanging quilt for Christmas.

I decided if I wanted to get it up on the wall for this Christmas, I better get moving. It’s all applique, and the pattern called for gluing down all the pieces with white glue before doing blanket stitch around them all. But I decided there was a more efficient way than fiddling with messy white glue… fusible web!

I left the beards, because I didn’t want to melt them with the iron. Now I’ve got some stitching to do, and then I’ll glue the beards on with a more traditional method.

December babies

Saturday morning, Dave and I were up before dawn and on the road to Mom and Dad’s. As you may recall, we are a major December baby family. In just the immediate family, Miss Paisley, my brother, my dad, and I, all have December birthdays.

Since Miss Pee is currently living with Mom and Dad (going to college near by… how in the HECK is she old enough for college???), and has the first birthday of us all, it was a good time to get together and distribute presents.

Dave and I got Miss Pee a CAA membership. It’s not a sexy present, but as she’s on the road a lot now (driving from Niagara to Owen Sound and back again!), it’s certainly a practical one! Her car is in decent condition, but as I told her, within my first few years of driving, I ran out of gas, locked my keys in a car, ran down the battery, and got my car stuck in a farmer’s field. Crap happens, and having CAA makes digging out of it far easier.

And it seems we weren’t the only one with the idea! She immediately texted her Mom, because Jenn had been thinking of getting it for her too! Then Jenn texted back and told her that Uncle Shaun had been contemplating it as well!

For Dad, of course, I had the pile of blow molds from our earlier adventures.

The weather was above freezing, so he took advantage of it and got to work decorating the house.

My birthday isn’t for another week, but I got a whole bag full of goodies!

Mom made me another cross-stich project keeper (with gnomes!!!!), and filled it and the bag will all kinds of cross-stitch and quilting goodies!

For the rest of the day, Mom, Miss Pee and I did a little crafting, while Dave and Dad put snow tires on Miss Pee’s vehicle.

We had left at 6 am, and got home just over 12 hours later. It was a long day, but a good day! I’ll see my brother at Christmas, so he’ll have to wait until then for his present!

New(t) friend

It’s starting to feel like Wild Kingdom around here….

On Tuesday, I was up in the office working away as normal, when I hear Dave coming down the hall. He popped his head in the doorway, and said “Umm… so I was just in the basement… and I found a little lizard…”

WTF???? My mind was racing… because…

1) We don’t have have many native lizards in Ontario. In fact, we only have one. The Common Five-lined Skink. And it certainly isn’t from around here. (and in my 42 years, I’ve never actually see one)

2) How in heck would a lizard even get in our basement???

So he hands me a little plastic takeout dish and l look inside…

Holy crap on a cracker!!! That appears to be a lizard. But how?????

So I do some quick image searching/googling. It’s not a lizard… but a newt! (Which is a type of salamander and an amphibian, of which Ontario has several). But still how did it end up in the basement??**

Sharpie cap for scale… he’s just a wee one.

At that point, it wasn’t the most pressing question. What we really needed to answer was… what the heck were we going to do with it??

I knew that salamanders, like toads and frogs, usually dug in an hibernated over winter. But it was far too cold out to put him back outside. (Another quick google search confirmed this. Temps would have to be consistently above zero).

More googling told me that he was a Red-Spotted Newt, and a juvenile one at that. And that newts are frequently kept as pets. Dave looked at me and said… “We have an aquarium, and a light. He won’t need heat like a tropical lizard, so we don’t need a heater… we just need some ‘decor’ and food… we have all the expensive stuff, so we might as well keep him.”

So after work, I headed into Sarnia to PetSmart… and $140 later (so much for having the expensive stuff…)

We made a nice little set-up for him. Because he’s still a juvenile (what they call and ‘eft’), he’s actually terrestrial. He won’t go back to a mostly aquatic life until he’s an adult. So for now, we just needed to give him a moist, forest-floor type environment. I did it with a layer of fish gravel, a layer of coconut fibre, and a whole bunch of sphagnum moss. I added in some cuttings from a few of my house plants, and spray everything down so it was dripping wet to create the level of humidity he would need.

And while I decorated, Dave gave our new friend a name – Newt Scamander!

I bought him a pile of different freeze dried bugs, but he didn’t seem to have much interest. He did seem happy to be in a nice, damp environment again. I imagine he was pretty dried out in the basement.

Eventually, he buried himself in the moss. The next morning, none of the food was gone. Same with the next day.

I did some more googling… and apparently efts are a little picky…. while the adults will eat freeze-dried insects and pellets, the efts are notorious for only eating live food. So off to the store I went again, and came home with a couple tubs of live meal worms.

It’s been a couple day now. I haven’t actually seen him eat anything, but the worms are disappearing. He is a bit of an anti-social little guy, and it can be really hard to find him in the tank. But the basement was surely a dry death trap for him.

Dave and I talked, and if we can get him through the winter, we’ll probably release him in the spring. But for now any time I see/hear the word newt… this is all I’m thinking…

** To answer how the little guy ended up in our basement…. a little more research told me it’s not that uncommon. As the weather cools, the newts go looking for warm/dark places to hibernate for the winter. Normally, they find old logs, leaf litter, etc.. but every so often they find a basement. It seems good at first, there usually even a good supply of insects for snacking… but basements (even wet ones) usually end up being too dry, and the poor guys dehydrate.

I’ve heard of garter snakes (and other types of snakes) coming into basements for similar reasons, but never thought about newts doing it.

The fact that we only have a partial basement (just under the kitchen), with a crawl space under the majority of the house, makes it even more likely to attract these guys.

Dave is now on newt watch every time he goes down the stairs!

Dozer Dreams

On the weekend, I got to work putting together the rest of the blocks I needed to finish up the Dozer quilt. I only needed five, so it didn’t take long to put them together. And since it was a simple design, it didn’t take to put the whole top together.

I love using gradient fabrics! Sometimes you can make them do all the work

I got the perfect chunk of flannel for the back, and some more of the fabric I used for Dozer for the binding.

I won’t have a chance to quilt it until the New Year, but I’m happy to have it off my to-do list for now!

Walkabout Wednesday

Once again, I’m cheating on Walkabout Wednesday. I haven’t had time for much more than my regular walks to the post office, and there just hasn’t been much interesting happening along my regular route.

So once again, you’re getting a view of the walk by my house…

You see, on Saturday, the weather got up to a balmy 11C/51F, so I decided to take advantage while I could and get my porch decorated for the season.

I know… I’ve said several times, I don’t like to decorate before Dec 1… but the weather really was too good. Plus, this coming weekend is set to be a busy one.

I changed a couple things up this year, but it’s still pretty similar to last year.

As with last year, it’s a base of pine garland, white lights and icicle lights. But last year, where I embellished with gold and green balls, I switched it up for red and silver.

The biggest change, of course, is that I have my planters on the porch now.

I took out the dying mums, and filled them with fresh greens and willow twigs, which was purchased from a local nursery. I had a few silk poinsettias from old decorations at the townhouse, so I added a few of them in for a nice pop of red. And as pretty as it is during the day…

I think it really shines at night!