Bearbottom blowout!

So…. a crazy thing has happened, and part of me still can’t believe it.

As you know, I recently opened Bearbottom Quilts in an effort to sell some of my beautiful creations.

Well, not long after I opened the shop, I got an email from someone who was interested in buying all the quilts I had in stock (yes, ALL!!!!), to sell at a winter market in the coming months.

At first, I was a little reluctant. 1) It seemed way too good to be true. 2) I just opened the shop and did I really want to sell everything out… it would make it hard to gain a following while I was replenishing the stock.

But, we corresponded back and forth for a bit, and the offer became more real. So now, the shop look likes this…

Sad and empty! But I’m pretty darn happy. As you read this, Mom and I are probably on our way to deliver the quilts (it’s in a town about an hour and a half from us). My quilt ladder is empty, and I have a pile of space back in the studio!

Of course, as soon as I get back from delivering them, I’ll be making more quilts! Got to get that store stocked again!

Friday felines

It’s November, and as usual, it means a fair few cold, rainy days (and occasionally even cold enough for snow).

You’d think, being a stray cat for the first half of his life, that Relic would be more than content to stay in a nice, warm house on those cold, dreary days. But no.

He’d rather go out…

and lay in a ditch, looking sad and pretending still has no home.

I go out in the rain, and call to him, inviting him back into the warmth. But he ignores me. He sits in the ditch until I go back in.

And as soon as I’ve got the door locked, and walk away…

FO: Snowtracks

After casting off the body of Bogatell, I decided to take a wee break from it and knock another gift off the Christmas gift.

Another hat, of course:

This is the Snowtracks cap, a simple aran-weight cabled hat, with a Celtic feel.

Like the Moose hat I finished last week, this one only took a couple evenings. And it has such a nice result. And that’s one less present I have to worry about!


Many of you said knits always go fast when you’ve got stripes, and you’re right!

Despite being fingering weight, this little cardi body just flew off the needles.

It helps that it’s the small size (Rowan is only 12), and that it is cropped. But those stripes definitely helped too. You always want to get through a colour before setting it down.

The twisted ribbing on the bottom was a bit of a slog, but I got through it. And it was well worth it. My tension on 1-1 ribbing is always terribly sloppy. When I do twisted ribbing, it just seems to tidy it up.

Next up, I have the sleeves. And a hood. This one is far from done, but I’m happy with the progress so far. I’m aiming to have it off the needles by the end of November. That will leave me three weeks to make a matching one (different colours) for her sister.

Burton’s blocks

First, thank you for your kind words about Peno. Life without her is going to take some getting used to, but we will manage. I’ve still got the three amigos to keep me company and they are very good at that!

Every Wednesday (or a day or two after), Burton and I have added another block to our Blockhead quilt.

We now have 12 blocks and as you can see, he’s very excited about this! Like our Christmas quilt, we plan on doing chain blocks in between all these. We’ll probably carry on with the Blockheads for at least five more weeks, before making our chain blocks, and sewing this all together. Itshould give is a nice-sized lap quilt!

Princess Jalapeno 2003-2020

I am very sad to announce that our dear sweet Peno is gone. She’d started looking really rough over the last month. On Saturday, she was acting a little off. By Sunday morning, she’d slipped away peacefully in her sleep.

Peno came into my life in 2007, when I first moved out on my own. The first thing I did was go out and adopt a couple of cats. One was Tux. The other was Peno… and I basically adopted her sight unseen. The rescue they came from was closing down. The lady who ran it had found homes for most of her charges, except for a handful of “hard-to-adopt” cats. Tux was one (he had some aggression issues). I knew I wanted two cats, and I already had Tux picked out (well, he picked me). I asked her if there was another cat she knew would be really hard to place.

That was Peno – she was a semi-feral who had been brought to the rescue when she was six months old. Her siblings warmed up to people quickly, and were all adopted out. But Peno never lost her fear, and as a result, spent her first three years at the rescue. Finally, a family decided to take her, but brought her back a couple weeks later, because she wouldn’t stop hiding.

After hearing that, I knew she needed to come home with me. I told the rescue, even if she never came out of shell, she’d always have a safe, warm home with me.

And for the first month, I didn’t see her at all. She spent most of her time under my bed. Eventually, with a little patience, and a lot of treats, she started to come out. Within six months, she was constantly demanding our attention.

She still hid when company came (Mom nicknamed her phantom cat), but otherwise, she was a perfectly happy, well-adjusted cat. And she absolutely adored Dave.

The only thing she loved more than Dave was a good box…

The smaller the better.

She was patient with every new kitten/cat I brought home. Of all of them, I think she liked Rupert the best.

It took a several years for her to get comfortable with going outside, but eventually she got up the courage. She spent many days in the garden with us, munching on grass and soaking up the sun, before going back inside on her own, and having a nap.

We knew the end was coming. In the last year, she had lost her hearing, had occasional balance problems, and lost a lot of weight. I took this picture two days before she died. She was pretty much just bones and fur.

But until the last day, she never lost the spark that made her our purrfect little Princess Peno. She will be very much missed.

Indoor gardens

We had our first hard frost Hallowe’en weekend so there are no more flowers left outside. Not even my little toad lilies. Then of course, the weather warmed up again – it’s supposed to go up to 18C today!

Sadly, that’s no help for the outside plants.

But inside…

My pink Christmas cactus has bloomed! It’s my oldest, and largest Christmas cactus, and its just covered in buds. It’s going to bloom for at least a couple of weeks.

I also have a white one (second oldest), and when the flowers open up entirely, they have pink centres. The yellowy-salmon one is my youngest, and favourite. I found it at Wal-Mart a couple years ago. I’d never seen that colour before and I’ve never seen it since.

Then there’s this neat plant.

It’s a Crossandra (aka Firecracker plant). I found it at Mom’s grocery store one day this summer when I was visiting. I’d never hear of it before and thought I’d give it at try. It had flowers on it when I got it, so I figured they die off pretty quickly, and it would be a while before I saw them again. But within a few weeks it was flowering again.

I figured I wouldn’t see flowers when I brought it in for the winter, but again I was wrong – because there they are, happily blooming away!

And the other day, I finally picked up a plant I’ve been coveting for a while…

A goldfish plant!

I bought one in 2007 as a house warming gift to myself when I first moved out on my own. At the time I had Tux and Rocky, and Rocky was especially hard on plants – the goldfish was one of the few I could have around him with no trouble.

That goldfish plant was spectacular – the flowers were yellow with beautiful red veins. Like this:

I kept it going for many year and when it finally outgrew its pot, I split it up, giving a piece to Mom and a piece to her neighbour. Apparently, it didn’t like that though, as not one of us kept our piece alive after that.

It’s been several years since, and I’ve never seen one like it, though I look every time I’m in a nursery or grocery store. I finally decided to settle of the plain orange one, though if I ever come across another red/yellow one, you can bet I’m scooping it up!

Nuts first

I was out inspecting what remains of the garden the other day, and noticed there were still some fall raspberries hanging in there, despite the cold. I had just put out a fresh serving of peanuts at Squirrelington’s, so I thought they might like a little sweet treat as well.

They seemed intrigued at first, but then….

“Excuse me waiter…. is this some kind of trick?”

Clearly the peanuts were much preferred.

“Tell the cook that they can take those red things right off the menu!”

Even the blue jays weren’t interested and I thought for sure they would be. They take them right off the bush all the time.

It was only when every last peanut was gone that this little guy decided they might make a nice dessert

Clean sweep

After much discussion, Dave and I have decided a move is in our future. I won’t get into all the details, but we’ve been in this little townhouse for seven years and as much as I love my gardens, and the area of the city we live in, the universe is telling us it’s time to move on.

Now, we aren’t moving next week, or even next month… it will most likely be spring or summer 2021 (it’s got to be when I can dig up and bring along some of my garden favourites!), but we are putting the wheels in motion now, so we are ready when the time comes.

One of the big things we are doing is going through all our stuff (for just two people we have an awful lot of stuff!) and getting rid of anything we don’t need. Because, why move it if you don’t use it?

For Dave, it’s a lot of things like computer and electronic parts. For me… it’s definitely clothing and shoes.

While I haven’t been perfect at not buying any new clothes this year (Damn you Old Navy!), I have been better. And I’ve gotten much better at looking at things critically, and objectively and deciding whether I really need it or not. That has meant not much new has come into the house this year, but I needed to turn that new skill to moving some things out.

So… the other day, I emptied the closet and my two dressers and assessed everything down to the last pair of underwear.

Naturally I had a snoopervisor or two to cheer me on. Rupert was mostly wondering why his afternoon nap spot was covered in things that weren’t quilts. But his disdainful stare definitely kept me on task.

Burton wondered why I had so many skirt/pant hangers when I don’t hang my pants, and only have two skirts. I couldn’t give him a good answer, so into the out bin they went!

It took a good couple hours but I’m now happy to say, while I still have more clothes than any one person really needs, my overflowing dressers are no longer overflowing. I can get into my closet, and while there are still too many dresses, they at least have some room to breathe.

The next task was tackling my shoe collection. Those of you who have been around for a few years know just how much I love my shoes. But, since I began working from home, a lot of those beautiful pairs have been neglected. Even before COVID, Dave and I weren’t much for going out, so if I wasn’t going to the office, the shoes weren’t getting much wear.

It was definitely time to take stock… because if you barely leave the house…

Do you really need a pair of sparkly purple stilettos? No matter how pretty they are? And if you don’t need those, you probably don’t need the leopard print stilettos either… or really any stiletto shoe for that matter.

I did keep a couple pairs of sky-high heels – I just couldn’t bear to part with all of them. But I’m happy to say, I managed to half my shoe/boot collection. Instead of needing four shoe racks, I now only need two!

Now… I need to reassess my book collection, but I’ll save that for a rainy day!