Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Warm and fluffies

11Oct26RG1 Rusty and Ginger are 2 years old this week!

They were a Christmas gift from my partner in 2009 - I had asked him for a "cat" - he interpreted that as "kitten" and, even better, thought I had asked for two. Leaving his Christmas shopping typically until the last minute, on the morning of Christmas Eve he asked his office staff if any of them knew where he could get two free kittens! As fate would have it, one of his co-worker’s parents-in-law had two kittens left over unspoken for from a little of eight-week old barn kitties. So her partner drove to his parent’s farm and rounded up the two little furballs and gave them to my fella, who brought them home Christmas Eve.

11Oct27RG3They spent the night huddled under the couch. The next morning I was able to entice Ginger out with a kitty toy - a long piece of faux fur on a wand that she could chase and jump after (and later ate). Rusty was intrigued, but just watched from under the couch. It took him a little longer to venture out.

11Oct27RG4 I wanted a companion for Miao Yin, who had lost all of her friends in 2008. For over a dozen years we were a family of four cats and two adults, moving our household four times, but always with our cats. Then in 2008, my oldest and dearest friend of 22 years, Sid, passed away, not unexpectedly, but then Monkey and Bits followed a few months later at 13 years of age. Miao's best friend was Monkey and she missed him. She was a very social girl and I wanted a companion or two for her so that she wouldn't be alone all day.

11Oct27Rusty 11Oct27RG5 11Oct27RGinger  The kittens loved her, and they stuck to her like glue. I didn't realize at the time that she was sick. She tried to avoid them but Rusty loved his Auntie Miao and ran to her side whenever he saw her. I think that if she hadn't been feeling so ill, she would have loved them back – she started to play with them at least 11Oct27RG6a couple of times and then stopped. Six weeks after they arrived she died of kidney failure.

It's been just the two of them since then, and they're still very close to each other - and to us. They're my babies and I love them, so happy birthday my sweethearts!

11Oct27RG7 There was a New Moon earlier today (Oct. 26) at 3 Scorpio. That means the Moon and Sun are conjunct and an the same degree of the constellation. The Moon is more comfortable in some signs than others. It is not at home in Scorpio, and Scorpio natives have a hard time expressing their feelings. The saying, Still waters run deep describes them to a T.

However, New Moons are still a good time to start new projects. Pluto creates intensity, focus and a good dose of compulsive behaviour. Channel it in a positive way and you can accomplish a lot of work and hone some new skills in the process. It’s also a good time to clean out your stash and get rid of all the stuff that you can’t stand anymore. The sign favours patterns that do not readily reveal themselves; Scorpio colours are red, black and metallic.

Until next time,

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Messy business

11Oct20 This week I’ve been sewing together the Mexican Star blocks. But first I have to finish stripping off the paper foundations. Yikes! What a pain. Tedious and messy, even if the bits of paper do provide endless amusement for Rusty and Ginger.

Ginger comes running now whenever she hears me cutting paper with my scissors because it means that I’m making paper playthings for her! Rusty just scatters the neat piles I’ve created with one swipe of his big paw. Or his tail. Whichever. They are just sooooo helpful.

It was my birthday earlier this week. I spent most of the day sewing and they spent it “helping” me. What are friends for?

Until next time,

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Puddle jumping

11Oct16D We got back from Nanaimo late on Friday. We followed Hwy 99 from Lillooet down to Whistler, Squamish and to the BC Ferries terminal at Horseshoe Bay, spending five hours driving up and down and all around in the shadow of the Coast Chilcotin range of the Coast Mountains.

It’s been years since I've been on Vancouver Island, but my oldest brother and his wife recently moved there after 11 years in Mexico. It was a good visit, but two days is not long enough to juggle a family visit and sightseeing. It was long enough to make us look forward to our next visit. Maybe next11Oct16A time we'll see more of Punkin, their orange tabby, who hid in the closet the entire time we were there. What is it bout male orange tabbys?

I was really looking forward to seeing the Harvest Moon rise up over the ocean as we were sailing to Nanaimo, but it was too overcast and we didn't see even a hint of11Oct16B the moon. I saw it briefly the next night during a quick trip to the local grocery store. It was big and beautiful and orange like Rusty,  hanging in the sky low over the ocean, but I didn't have my camera with me! Linda Hubbard in New Brunswick and Joanne in Manitoba were on the ball and got some nice pictures.

11Oct16sun Wednesday was cool and overcast as we had a look around town, including the Snip and Stitch Sewing Centre . They had lots of beautiful and very tempting sewing machines on display with racks of sewing and quilting accessories, and a great selection of beautiful fabric, though none of it priced and I wasn't in the mood to ask, so I just picked out a few remnants and this cute little paper piecing kit with enough fabric for either a sunflower or coneflower. They had a number of different "mini" designs packaged like this that included fabric, which I thought was a cute idea and might work its way into a Christmas present or two.

11Oct16C Thursday morning started off as overcast, but the sun came out by noon and the rest of the day was gorgeous. We had lunch at The Thirsty Camel Cafe and had a fabulous freshly baked Pita stuffed with falafels, veggies and other good stuff! Just that alone made me wish we could spend m11Oct16Eore time there so  we could go back and try the rest of the menu. I spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the waterfront. Don't ask me why, but people kept asking me for directions! Guess I looked like I knew where I was going - luckily for them, they were asking me to direct them to places where I'd just been.

I love being by the ocean. I grew up on the Great Lakes in Ontario - not exactly ocean, but they were big enough, and Erie certainly had its own distinctive smell. Then I spent a couple of years in Halifax on the east coast in the early 1980s before I moved west and became landlocked. During that time, I visited another brother who was teaching school waaaay up north in what was then called the Northwest Territories, now Nunavit, on Victoria Island (69N07 105W03) where I stuck my rubber-booted toes in the Arctic Ocean. And now I have a home away from home in Nanaimo.

11Oct16F I'm not strictly vegetarian, as I do eat the occasional seafood, and living on either coast offers the best opportunity to find it fresh and plentiful. My brother and sister in law barbecued prawns for us the second night we were there, and it was delicious! Friday we drove back the way we came under sunny skies – it didn’t look like the same highway. We stopped in Squamish for gas and lunch and asked the nice clerks at the Chevron station where their favourite fish and chip shop was. They kindly directed us to the Wigan Pier Restaurant . I haven't had fish and chips like that in years! Hot and crispy in an “Old English” setting. If you're passing through Squamish and have a hankering for fish and chips, fish burgers, fish butties (breaded fish sandwich), crispy chips, poutine (ugh), chowders, savoury pies, etc., I highly recommend this great little restaurant. I know it will be a regular stop for us whenever we pass through Squamish.

11Oct16fabric And I continue to collect fabric. I saw these Laurel Burch designs in Nanaimo but didn't buy them. Yesterday I found them at my LQS (Local Quilt Shop) and purchased some accents for my Christmas projects. But before that, it’s back to work on my current project(s).

Until next time,

Monday, October 10, 2011

Shine on Harvest Moon

11Oct11quilt Some progress made on my Mexican Star. Three more blocks, I think, and then I’ll find a fabric to frame them, and add a border. Will I jinx it if I say I might get this puppy done before Christmas? Touch wood.

Well, it wasn’t as bad as other years, but we still ate too much and had too much fun. No turkey was harmed for this vegetarian’s Thanksgiving, but several turnips, rutabagas and carrots were killed and mashed. Made a tasty pilaf with raisins, cranberries and apples from our backyard tree. Main course was roasted tofu with jerk sauce, and pumpkin pie (of course!) to top it off.

Invited our next door neighbours and friends over. After dinner we got out the playing cards and were having a good time until I noticed that Rusty was nowhere in sight. That was unusual, so we looked all over the house, every nook and cranny and favourite hidey hole of his. Ginger was no help at all. In fact, she seemed quite happy to have that persistent pain in the neck gone. The two of them were born and weaned in a barn two years ago. They’ve been with us ever since, but they’re still somewhat shy, Rusty much more so than Ginger. They both bounced back quickly when Judy came over tonight, but when her husband Stuart came over a short while later, Rusty disappeared like Houdini. We interrupted our card game several times to call him and look for him, remembering how, while still a kitten, he managed to crawl through an air vent and into the duct work. Thankfully, he turned around and came back to the sound of me tapping his food dish.

11Oct11rusty But not this time. He was good and gone. After our friends left, we looked again. I found him right away under the bed downstairs. Where I’d looked several times. He blends in like a chamaeleon, the little snot. So, all is well again and hopefully that will be the extent of our Full Moon adventures.

The Wolf Moon, the Snow Moon, the Worm Moon, the Pink Moon, the Flower Moon, the Strawberry Moon, the Buck Moon, the Sturgeon Moon, the Harvest Moon, the Hunter's Moon, the Beaver Moon, and the Cold Moon.

Everyone recognizes the Harvest Moon - the full moon closest to the fall equinox, thus named because it rises within a half-hour of when the sun sets. And this year’s Harvest Moon is tomorrow night, Tues., Oct. 11, at 18 Aries.

"Corn and grain, corn and grain, All that falls shall rise again."                                - Wiccan Harvest Chant

We’re off to Vancouver Island tomorrow for a few days to visit family. No more quilting until I get back, but I might run into a fabric shop or two.

Until next time,

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Best month of the year

11Oct6square I’ve come to realize over time that pulling out stitches is just part of quilting. Everyone I speak to is an experienced frogger, so named because of the rip-it stitch. I’ve been doing that a lot lately, and the worst part is that it’s my own fault. I’ve been trying to use squares that I’ve cut just a fraction of an inch too small by mistake. And rather than toss them aside and cut some more the proper size, I’ve been trying to persuade them to stretch just that extra hairline. As a result, I have some gaps in my seams where the fabric didn’t meet, big enough to poke my finger through.

11Oct6squares I am combining two paper pieced squares to make one different square, so I am adjusting the size of the cuts as I go along. I was trying to use up the first strips I made, but it’s time to cut the proper size. I hate wasting material about as much as I hate having assorted strips and pieces of fabric lying around with no plans for it, but oh well. I’m happy with the colours, and happy with the shape of the square. Just not the finger-sized gaps.

October is my favourite month. It has three of my favourite holidays - Thanksgiving, my birthday and Hallowe'en. And Rusty and Ginger’s birthday, too. I love the changing colours of the leaves, the dry rustle of them in the wind and the rain that makes everything smell li11Oct6appleske sweet decaying compost. I love being on the receiving end of the neighbourhood bounty – backyard tomatoes and squash and carrots and the end result, pickles, etc. I love seeing the pumpkins and sweet corn still in the field. I love to see all of the excited children in Hallowe'en costumes at my door and the magical nature of the night once the children have all gone home. It’s sad to see the flowers die off and everything turn to brown, but I look forward to Spring with anticipation of seeing them all again.

11Oct6cats Rusty and Ginger enjoying the afternoon sunshine.

Until next time,