Better days ahead

This week… it’s been a week.

One of those weeks where everything piles on at once. Work was crazy busy. And that’s normally not a problem. I don’t have much of a social life, or outside commitments.

But this week… we had window guys coming to give quotes, doctors appointments, and then the Buick’s windshield cracked! There was lots of running around, and I felt like I was always behind, even though I never stopped.

But the storm seems to have passed, and other than going out to look at a vehicle with Dave today, I’ll be devoting a good chunk of my weekend to just chilling out!

On Thursday, when things were finally starting to lighten up a little, I popped outside for some fresh air. It was a beautiful sunny day. While there were still some piles of snow on the ground, wherever the sun touched was bare. Naturally, I did some poking around in the gardens, and a wee bit of yellow caught my eye!

Aren’t they just the happiest little blooms? Winter Aconite is one the earliest blooming flowers, and that’s one of the reasons I planted the bulbs last fall. I have just three little clumps so far. I can’t remember if that’s all I have, or if there will be more. I know I planted the bulbs in groups, but I can’t remember how many. They will spread too, so this early show will only get better with each passing year.

Even though it’s just a handful of blooms, these wee petals cheered me up immensely!

As did this guy.

It’s not the best picture, because I took it through my office window. He’s been hanging out in the tree outside my office all week. I’ve also seen several Red-Winged Blackbirds. And last week, a flock of Tundra Swans flew over the house. I didn’t have my camera handy, so no pictures of them unfortunately.

But there’s no denying it – even if Mother Nature sends us more snow…. Spring is Nigh!

Friday felines

Lord Burton Bearbottom and I would like to wish you all a very happy St. Patrick’s Day!

As you can see, we are all about the Green over here! Green room, Green quilt, Green eyes!!! (Even I have Green eyes!!!).

Other than enjoying the Green, we aren’t doing anything special today. It’s another work day for me. They are calling for rain all day today, so Burton will probably be running out, sitting in the rain, then running back in to me, expecting me to dry him off repeatedly! It’s one of his favourite things to do when it rain.

If you are celebrating, we hope you have a wonderful time!

We’d also like to wish a Happy Birthday to Sister-in-Law Jenn! If you’re reading this – your card/present is in the mail. I got busy and didn’t mail it until yesterday! Hope your day is FABULOUS!

Oh my crayons!

Friends of ours have just welcome a second baby boy to their family. My plan was to grab one of the quilts from the shop while at Mom’s and send it off to them. But since I didn’t make it there, I decided to throw together a top just for him.

I’d made a quilt for his big brother back in 2017. In fact, it was one of my first! Boy have I come a long way since then!

Since I wanted to get it done in time to take to Mom’s THIS weekend**, it had to be something quick and easy.

A charm pack and the Oh My Stars pattern to the rescue!

You’ve seen my make this one so many times before. I can throw one together in just a couple hours if I’m motivated.

This one used a charm pack called Colourful Friends, by Crayola.

I’d recently gotten a chunk of crayon fabric in a grab bag, so I knew it would be just perfect for the border

I’ll do plan black binding to balance of the inner black border, and I’ve got a nice chunk of fun animal fabric for the back.

** Sadly, I won’t be quilting it this weekend as planned. Dave wants to look a used car he’s thinking about buying, and he wants my opinion (and help with logistics if he does get it)… so I’m postponing my weekend with Mom once again! It’s a good thing it takes a while for babies to outgrow quilts!

Nailed it!

You might have noticed something different about my hands in my last post.

I am a chronic nail-biter. And at 43, I’ve pretty much given up any hope that I will stop and be able to grow the nice, beautiful nails of my dreams.

I’ve gotten acrylic nails a done a few times. And while I absolutely love them, they are time-consuming to have done, and expensive to up-keep.

So mostly I just deal with having short nails. Given all I do with my hands, my nails can’t be super long anyway. But then last month, someone in my facebook feed showed off their beautiful “press-on” manicure.

I’ve done press-on nails before too, but found them too long to be useful. I even tried children’s press-ons. I have small hands, so they actually fit very well. But they always come with an adhesive on them (not the super-glue type nail glue the adult ones use), and I found they didn’t last very long.

But this site where the facebook friend got her had shorter options. I thought what the heck! I won’t be able to wear them once garden season starts, but I’ve got a few weeks before them to give them a try.

I ordered four sets and they arrived just before the weekend.

There was a bit of a learning curve with getting them on securely. But I am absolutely in love! The look much better than any press-ons I’ve had before. They say they should last about two weeks. But if I get a week out of this first set (since I did mess them up at first), I’ll be happy.

And there are so many fun options.

In addition the cat set I’m wearing, I got a different cat set, a fun mushroom and moon set, and a gorgeous butterfly wing set.

This should keep me going for quite a while!

Tiny Needle Tuesday

Another weekend come and gone – another three nights of stitching with Burton

We didn’t accomplish quite as much this weekend as we did last…

We finished off the ‘f” in ‘fresh’, completed the ‘F’ in ‘Farm’, and got a good start on the ‘A’. All these letters are a bit of a slog – especially in FARM because they are big and thick. But this one doesn’t have a deadline so I can just take my time and enjoy the stitching.

Blue cheese sampler

True to my word, I spent the weekend working on the last round of the Round Robin quilt. When last you saw it, I had made my pinwheels, and one square-in-a-square block. So Saturday, while the boys kept watch over the rest of the quilt…

I got to making seven more square-in-a-square block. It’s actually somewhat of a time-consuming block. Especially since I as actually doing square-in-a-square-in-a-square-in-a-square!

But, it was worth the effort.

It’s such a great looking block. And one I was happy to have more practice on. With them done, it was time to put them all together with the pinwheels into the last round

Once it was on, I decided I wanted another small plain border around it all. I can’t wait to get this one quilted so I can photograph it properly. It’s a touch too big to get a decent picture on top of my bed. It really looks so much better in person.

The SSSS aren’t just on the corners, but in the centre of each row as well.

I haven’t decided on binding yet (I’ve got a couple options) but I have this lovely blue piece for the back. I ordered it from Connecting Threads during my January spend-a-thon.

If all goes as planned, I’ll have this one quilted on the weekend, and ready to show next week!

“Not if I have anything to say about it…”

Hairy Houdini

I’m happy to report, everyone’s favourite ginger kitten is now cone free, and has been for a full day without issue. And let me tell you, he’s happy too!

But, before his little day at the vet last week… he had a couple of… incidents…

“Who??? Me???”

Yeah… you.

It started on one of the super warm days we had back at the end of February. I went out to the catio yard to check on the cats (and enjoy a little sun myself) and there was no sign of Lemmy. I called and called, and nothing. And if you know anything about Lemmy, he’s a talker…. ALL the time. He would answer me if I called.

I left the catio and walked around the rest of yard (front and back), shaking a bag of treats and calling him…. still no sign. When I got back to the catio yard, I noticed Rupert was under the bbq, and staring at the bottom of the outside of the sunporch. I moved the bbq to get a closer look… and sure enough there, between the slats was Lemmy staring back at me. A couple of the boards were rotted on the bottom, and it was just enough for the little turkey to squeeze under.

But of course, not enough for me get my hands under and pull him back out. I tried to entice him out with some treats… but he’d found somewhere new to explore and was being stubborn.

So I went to the garage for a pry bar, because if he wasn’t going to come out on his own, there was only one way to get him out.

Thankfully – by the time I got back with the pry bar, he’d come out on his own. No porch demolition was needed. I blocked up the rotted boards with some bricks and thought that was that.

But then, one day, just a couple weeks ago, Dave and I came home from a lunch outing. Lemmy came out to greet us as he normally does. I noticed he was somewhat wet and muddy. It was after one of our bouts of snow, and I thought maybe he’d been wrestling with one of the other cats in the catio yard. The mess wasn’t bad enough to require a bath, so I left him to take care of it himself and went back to my office to work.

When I came down again around 5, I noticed he still looked wet. I picked him up for a closer inspection and realized it wasn’t water in his fur, but some sort of oil. It had almost a motor oil smell, but not quite. Dave and I search the house high and low for anything oily he could have gotten into, and came up empty.

There was no choice but to give him another bath. But the mystery remained**

Then last Sunday morning, I woke up a couple hours after Dave (as normal), and the his first words to me that morning were “I came down, looked out the studio door, and Lemmy was sitting on the steps.”

Those steps are well outside the fence catio yard!!!! Happily, Dave was able to grab Lemmy quickly and easily, and get him back inside. By the time I got up, he’d already inspected the catio fence, located where he thought the little bum wiggled out (a small space between the house and a downspout, where I was unable to secure the fence – only a few inches wide.) He blocked it up, and we thought that was that!

And we were wrong!!!!

Tuesday morning, I was working away in my office, Dave was in his music studio downstairs, when all of a sudden he yelled up to me…

“Lemmy is out of the catio again!!! He’s stalking a squirrel!”

I ran downstairs, got my boots on, and located the furry jerkface at the fence between the front and back yards. Having been through this with Dave only two days before, he was wise to the game and didn’t want to let me catch him. Eventually, I got him cornered, got him inside, and locked up access to the catio for all cats until I could figure out how he got out!!!

Happily there was snow on the ground, so I just had to follow the foot prints.

The catio fence is mostly a large-grid plastic mesh, with the bottom two-feet overlapped with a more rigid metal grid fencing on the bottom two feet. The company that sells it calls is a “chew guard”. And it’s like that all the way around… with the exception of the catio gate. The gate is an open metal frame covered in the plastic mesh. It’s perfectly secure…. unless that plastic mesh is broken in a couple spots…. which it was!

Now I don’t know if Lemmy actually chewed it, or it broke on its own, or some other reason (an outside animal chewing on it?)…. but whatever the reason, I had to fix it.

Happily, I still have lots of both kinds of fencing. I got the side cutters and cut a piece of the chew guard fencing that would cover the bottom of the gate. A few zip ties secured it, and the catio was open for business again.

You can kind of see where it overlaps the plastic mesh. Lemmy certainly can, and he’s not too thrilled about losing his access to the wider world. Hopefully that’s the last of his escape attempts.

“Don’t look at me. I didn’t bring him home”

** We still haven’t located anything in the house/catio that could have contributed to his oily state. My best guess is that it was his first escape, and he maybe got under Dave’s car, before coming back into the catio before we got home.


Mother Nature is a cruel, cruel mistress.

She gives me sun and warmth… followed by a dumping of snow. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

They say there’s some nonsense about a Polar Vortex and El Nino that means we can expect several more snow dumpings all the way in April.

No early spring for me.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not preparing…

These bulbs came home with me the other day. We had 30 minutes to kill waiting for our Chinese Food order, and Dave suggested we stop in to Peavymart (farm supply/hardware store). My lilly show wasn’t great last year thanks to Asian Lily Beetles, but I’ve got a plan to stay on top of them. It’s going to be lily-mania this year!

This beautiful fairy came from the same store, a few weeks prior. I’d seen her online elsewhere for a ridiculous price, so I was pleasantly surprised to find her for a much more reasonable price in store.

And then I found two more in a similar style on Amazon! There are a couple more in the line, and I’d love to have them all… but we’ll have to see. I can’t go too crazy (though it may already be too late.)

I found this sweet, rustic bird house at a different farm-supply store last week. It was in one of the little towns not too far from us, and we stopped in to get some sidewalk salt on the way home from appointments. If I have to buy winter supplies still, I’m going to console myself with spring decorations!

I’ve wanted an oriole feeder for AGES!!!! And now I finally have one. I bought this back in January, because every year I think about getting one, and then I forget and the oriole migration period is almost over.

But this year I’m prepared! I already have some grape jelly, and I’m going to pick up oranges next week. With any luck, I’ll have oriole pictures for you before April is out!

And these toadstools… are literally stools!!!!! These I found at Canadian Tire when Dave wanted to go get some car stuff. They will go in the woodland garden (when the fence is moved, and it’s all planted up), and provide a nice little place to stop and rest for a while.

Now… I just need Mother Nature to get her sh!t together!!!!!

Friday felines

Lemmy thanks you for your well-wishes for his little… operation.

Everything went well and he was home by afternoon. But, he’s not happy with me…

Not only does he have to get horrible tasting meds for four days. He HAS to wear the cone of shame!!!!! I tried letting him go coneless, but he would NOT STOP LICKING!!!! So cone it is

It also means I had to change my weekend plans. I was already a little worried about Dave’s ability to give Lemmy the meds while I was gone. But Wednesday night, I went outside to take out the garbage, and came back into Lemmy with the cone half off, and stuck in his mouth, and both Dave and Lemmy having a meltdown.

I figured it was just easier to stay home. I’ll try to get to Mom’s next weekend. By then, the meds will be done, and Lemmy will be healed up enough to go coneless.

At least I’ll get some good sewing time in this weekend!

Indoor a-bloom

This time last week, we got another walloping of snow. And they say March is going to have at least a couple more storms like it under her belt.

So as much as I want to get out in my garden, it’s just not going to happen. I have to be content with my indoor flowers.

I have several African violets, but I bought this one not long after Christmas because it was a colour I didn’t have. It has NOT stopped blooming since! I don’t think I’ve ever had one bloom this long. All my others are taking a rest now, but they will probably start blooming as soon as they move out into the catio.

I bought this Anthurium before Christmas. It was a clearance plant and in really rough shape. It’s looking wonderful now and has one big, bold bloom. Anthuriums always intrigue me – that flower just looks so fake! I have a white one and a pink one (both are resting now too) so this red completes my collection

I bought this beautiful Heather plant at the grocery store when I got the African violet. I plan to put it in the garden as soon as it’s warm enough outside. I’ve tried twice to grow Heather (at the townhouse), and both times it died off. I think the soil was too heavy there so I’m hoping the magic soil here will be the difference

As you can see, it’s already sprouting new little leaves, and it’s still in the pot! I think this one is going to be a winner!

And my Hairy Rhipsalis has been blooming on and off since I last showed you. I absolutely adore these little flowers.

I’ve got two orchids with buds. But they are taking forever to actually bloom! The one on the left looks like it’s going to pop any day now though.

A couple weeks ago, I noticed one of the small succulents in my studio was sending up a tall bloom spike. It grew, and grew and grew… and now has these neat long, bell shaped flowers.

It’s a type of aloe, though I’m not 100% on which one (I think Aloe Albifloa). You would not believe how many types of Aloe there are out there!!! Regardless, I didn’t know that ANY of them flowered. So this was a nice surprise!

And though I won’t see tulips in my garden for at least another month, I can still bring them home from the grocery store to enjoy!