Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Oakville on the move

Oakville is moving right along...
It's actually even further along than the picture shows and who knows, today's train trip home may even see it finished (though that may be wishful thinking).

December is usually slower than other months workwise, so I don't think I'll be in the office much more this month (and definitely not between December 21 and January 1st), so though I've got a good start on this, it may be into the new year before this pair gets finished.

But who knows... I may just get ambitious. It is a nice warm colour for these cold snowy days!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Spoiled little birthday girl!

As of today, I have officially made 38 trips around the sun without managing to cause too much irreparable harm to myself! And I'm feeling pretty good... over the last few days, I've been absolutely spoiled.

At the end of November, Dave asked me what I needed for my birthday (he's always so practical). The truth was, other than a car... I don't really need anything. But when the Black Friday buy 2 get 1 free sale popped up on Charmed Aroma, I asked if he wouldn't mind picking out a couple of candles.

If you've never seen them, they are great big scented double wick candles with a piece of jewelry hidden inside. You burn them down until your prize (wrapped in foil) is revealed. Apparently you can win a piece worth up to $5,000 but most of it is just nice sterling silver costume jewelry. They  give you an appraisal code that reveals the "worth" of item. While I think their "appraisals" are highly over-valued, the jewelry is pretty, the candles smell really nice, and it's a heck of a lot of fun! I've spent the last week burning my candles day and night to get my prizes...
I also got a pretty white tear-shaped stone pendant, but it was still in the candle when I took this picture.

Mom wasn't supposed to get me anything else, because she'd already given me some money towards a new dishwasher, but when Burt and I stopped by after his vet appointment on Saturday, she had a gift bag for me.
More of her gorgeous handspun, and some much needed quilting tools!

Yesterday afternoon, I went to the mailbox and there was my prize from the I ❤ Fall KAL!
500 yards of the most divine merino/bamboo I've ever felt, a fun little button and some cute animal bum stitch markers! Thanks so much Vera!

My paperwhite have also started to bloom, just in time for my birthday!
 And they smell so strong! They are the dining room and you can smell them as soon as you get anywhere near the room!

And last, but definitely not least... the best birthday present of all...
Baby Burt is back in business. He's eating on his own again (and bugging me for a little of whatever I'm eating) his energy levels are back up to MAX, and we seem to have put the worst behind us! I couldn't ask for more than that!

And before I forget - time to share some of this love.... the winner of the 10 year blogaversary give away - Jocelyn!!!! I'll email in a little bit to get your details. Congrats!

Monday, December 11, 2017

I like big blocks

Thanks for all your well-wishes for Burton. We had a very rough morning yesterday when I woke up and Burton had completely regressed. In fact, he was worse than before I took him to the vet. I syringe fed him and fretted about whether or not to take him to the emergency vet. But after some food, and a good long sleep, he seemed to bounce back. By late afternoon he was eating on his own  and alert again. Here's hoping it sticks!

Now onto business!

As you know, before I start any new quilting projects, I'm on a quest to assemble all tops for the projects I currently have on the go.

With Chocolate Covered Pinwheels done, and Deep Sea Stars stalled until I can get more fabric, the only ones left were the Bear Paws, and some fall-coloured HSTs I haven't shown you yet.

To be honest, I'd been putting assembling the Bear Paws off. I'd already had some trouble with them. And I'd planned to assemble them on an angle, which made the process seem so much more daunting.  But in the end, I sucked it up, and much to my surprise, it was together in about an hour, with nary a problem!
It helped that the paws are nice and big (about 11" square) and there are only 12 of them. Squaring them up helped even more, though like the stars, they lost a few of their sharp points (though not nearly as badly as the stars.

Since the paws are on point, I'm calling this one Woodland Ballet.  Like the Sea Stars, this one is going to be a queen size quilt, and I want Mom to quilt it. Unlike the Sea Stars, it's much bigger, so it won't require as much sashing. I also have a quite a few coordinating fabrics set aside for this one. So you may see the top done before Christmas, but the finished quilt will have to wait until sometime in the new year

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Worry -Burt

One of my pets names for Burton is Burty-Burt. But this past week, it's been Worry Burt.

All seemed well after the neuter surgery, and as you know, by Monday he was back to his normal, silly, naughty self.

But Thursday, things changed. Actually it was Wednesday night when I first notice, but I told myself I was probably imagining things. It wasn't until Thursday morning, when Dave - who never worries about the cats like I do - said "Is it just me, or is Burton a little lazier than normal?", that I really started paying attention.

And it was true, while not completely lethargic, he definitely wasn't full of his usual spunk. Then he threw up. Just bile. And then it clicked in that he hadn't eaten breakfast with the others. So I spent most of Thursday watching his every move. He was still perky and alert, and would come when called. But he wouldn't play fetch, or chase Rupert or Relic. He was using the litter box fine. And he was drinking water. But he wouldn't eat anything. Not his cat food, not treats,  I couldn't even tempt with some of the roast chicken I had for dinner. He came to bed with us that night as usual, but he didn't keep us up by playing in the curtains, or chasing Dave's feet under the blankets.

And Friday morning, he continued to refuse food of any kind. I called the vet and made and appointment for the next morning.

So Saturday morning, he trotted into the carrier like the good little boy he is, and we were off again on a car ride. If he suffered any trauma from his previous trip, it didn't show. In fact, he fell asleep halfway to the vet's office.

The vet could find no obvious reason for him to stop eating. His incision was healing nicely, there were no issues with his teeth, he had no fever. Other than being a little dehydrated (not surprising), he seemed perfectly healthy. She said it could possibly be a side effect of the vaccinations he received.

She gave him some subcutaneous fluids for the dehydration, an appetite stimulant, and some special food to entice him to eat and sent us home with instructions that if didn't eat on his own, I had to feed him by syringe. And if nothing improved by Monday, he'd have to come back for bloodwork and further diagnostic.
 I bought him a new stuffie to cheer him and we came home. At first he turned his nose up at the new food too. So I gave him some time to rest, then mixed up a slurry of food and water and managed to get one syring in him before he let me know in no uncertain terms, he wasn't going to put up with that!

I decided to give him another break, and not long after, he went to dish on his own and started eating. It wasn't much, but it was huge progress. Then a little while later, he did it again.Then again even later. Then next thing I new, he was in the kitchen eating his regular food.

So hears hoping it sticks, even after the appetite stimulant wears off.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

FO: Tree Delivery cowl

YES!!! At long last!!!! It is complete!
I finished it up Monday night, but blocking took a while because of the double thickness.
As you know, I used the Tree Delivery water bottle cover pattern and turned it into a cowl. The revisions were pretty basic - I cast on three times the amount of stitches (288) worked a couple rows of garter to start, and  then worked the chart three times each round.
The colourwork went fairly quickly, but that decision to add a lining made the project a total slog. That said, adding a lining was the right thing to do... not only does it cover up all the unsightly floats, and protect from the itchiness of the handspun, it makes it doubly thick and doubly warm!

If I was smart, and had thought about the need for a lining when I started, I would have done a provisional cast on to make attaching the two ends easier. In the end, I just picked up stitches on the inside of the first garter border, and did a three needle bind-off between that and the lining stitches.
 It ended up working out quite tidily, if I do say so myself.

It's a good size, long enough to hang loose on warmer days...
 ...and just enough to wrap around twice when the wind is up.
 In the end, it's the perfect cowl!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday Felines

Although he's not going to give up his outdoor privileges, he definitely knows there's an upside to having a warm, dry place to enjoy a waning sunbeam.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Oakville beginnings

First... thanks for all who entered the Blogaversary contest. I'm sorry, you won't get Rupert in the surprise box either!

Now...With the heavy boot socks done and dusted, it was high time to get back to the On the GO designs. On the weekend I caked up a nice skein of red/brown/orange. It was dyed by Miss Paisley, and she called it Mad Hatter.
This stop is Oakville, and I'm using a modified Fir Cone stitch pattern for a nice, simple lacy sock.

I'd like to say this one will fly off the needles... but I don't want to jinx myself!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Three cheers to 10 years

It's hard to beleive, but it has been a decade since I started this blog. That's a lot of cats and craftiness!

To celebrate, let's have a little contest. Just leave a comment on this post  and on Dec 12 (my birthday!) I'll announce a winner, and send them a beautiful box of wonderfulness!
Okay... it won't be Burton! I love him too much to give him away... but I promise, it will be full of all kinds of fantastic surprise goodies.

Good luck!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Getting to the point

With every quilt I learn something. With the Chocolate-covered pinwheels, I learned the importance of squaring up you blocks BEFORE you try to sew them together into a top. The pinwheel top is a little wonky because I didn't do that.

So when I was ready to start working on the batik star quilt top, I was determined to do better. I got them all up and started squaring. But apparently I was drunk when sewing them... they should have all been about  7 inches square. And some were... but some were 7 by 6.75.. and some were 6.5 by 6.75. Don't ask me how I managed it. So I grudging set out to making them all 6.5 inches squares.

Of course this means a lot of the stars lost some of their points. And sewing them together was going to make them lose more. I almost chucked it all in, but I decided to persevere and see what happened.

And what happened wasn't too bad. The stars weren't as pointy, but they didn't look too terrible. I'm quite pleased with the vivid blue green sashing. And squaring up the blocks definitely made it go together much more smoothly.

Of course, this top is far from done. You may recall but this one is a long-overdue wedding present, so I want it to be queen-sized
And as you can see, I've got a long way to go in that department! I won't be making more stars though. These 16 will be a nice centre piece, surrounded by some multi-coloured sashing. Of course, I don't have any fabric for it yet.

I was hoping to get this one done before Christmas, but it won't be happening. Not only do I not have the fabric needed, I will most definitely be farming this one out to Mom for quilting. And she's much too busy to give her that sort of deadline. But it will keep - it's not like fabric goes bad.

And just incase you're wondering, I'm calling this one Deep Sea Stars... now it's time to tackle those Bear Paws. Stay tuned!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Never-ending land

Burton thanks you for all your well-wishes and wants you to know he's back to his usual, silly, sweet self.

There still hasn't been a tonne of time for knitting. But when I have had time, I've been trying to get the lining on the Tree Delivery cowl done.
And as you can see I'm still trying. This lining is NEVER-ENDING!!!! As of writing this, I only have an inch and a half left. Hopefully by the time you read this, I have more done. Maybe even all of it!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Contains no nuts

First - I apologize for the third cat post in at row - I'll have crafty stuff for you tomorrow.
Second - Sorry for the not so great cell phone pics...

Yesterday had an early start for me and Burton. He's seven months old and it was definitely time for the ol' snip snip.

I have to say, over and over again, he proves that he's just the perfect little kitty. As soon as I brought up there carrier, he walked right in and laid down. He didn't make a peep on the drive. Even when we got to the clinic, and other cats were howling... he just watched and waiting.

And when I finally picked him up...
He wasn't thrilled but he just laid in his carrier, and eventually fell asleep on the long drive home. That is until we were about a block from the house when he let out the saddest cry I've ever heard.

But we were soon home. And as he stumbled out of the carrier, it was very apparent he was not thrilled with cone. And of course it took him about a minute-and-a-half to get off. Since he was still a little groggy and wobbly, I decided to leave it off him and keep and eye out for any licking.

He immediately hopped in the litter box, and then went straight for the food dish. Not surprising since he hadn't had any food in 24 hours. He then came and laid on the couch beside me...
He was definitely stoned, and I figured we'd have a quiet night. But I should know better. Not long after, he went and found a fluffy green mouse. A green mouse he refused to play with when I first bought it.
He brought it over  and put it in my slippers. Then he took it out. Then he put it back in.
When I took my slippers back for my feet, he went and found Dave's slippers and started the game all over again.

And when play time was over, he took his mouse in his carrier for a little nap! He really is a special boy!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Going squirrely

The other day, when I took pictures of the boot socks, it was sunny, and pretty mild for the end of November. Relic, of course, was already outside (can't keep an outdoor cat in!), but I decided it was warm enough  for the rest of the crew to enjoy a little fresh air.

It wasn't until I got Burton in his harness, and I was trying to  wrangle his wiggly body so I could get him on his leash, that I noticed a little problem...
The tree is at the very back of the property and as you can see, contained not one, but two frolicking black squirrels.

Burton saw them right away.
And they saw him. They immediately froze. As I sat and watched, I wondered what was going through their little squirrley brains as they noticed not one...
 Not two...
But four! squirrel-eating  monsters just a few dozen feet from their tree. Ok, admittedly, one of them (Peno) has very little interest in chasing squirrels (she's far too old for that crap), so it's really only three.

Eventually Rupert lost interest and found a patch of grass to munch on. Relic soon followed suit, but  he can chase squirrels any time he wants (and I have seen him do so).

The only one who remained focused was Burton. And I'm not sure if he wants to chase them... or be one of them. He certainly has the tail for it!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Thursday, November 30, 2017

FO: Blue boot socks

They are done! I managed to get the leg done on Monday's train ride home. I finished the heel and most of the gusset decreases that night. And then Tuesday I pushed through and finished the foot and toe up in one evening. Admittedly, I did stay up past my bed time to do it, but it was all in a good cause.

These ones are almost exactly like the other pair, except they are an inch longer in the leg because I didn't take my measuring tape with me. But that helps me decide who will get which pair - these ones will go to the taller of the two!

The yarn is Drops Big Fabel, sadly now discontinued. It's a nice, hard-wearing worsted sock yarn (has nylon for extra strength). Dad's got a couple pairs that are a couple of years old and are still going strong.

Just like the previous pair, I started both ball from the centre. And just like the previous pair, the stripe sequence was reversed on the second ball.
Not the end of the world, just a little bit of an annoyance.

But they are done and I couldn't be happier! It's time to get back to some Wandering Cat yarn, and another  pair of On the GO socks!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Spinning my wheels

With the green quilt done, I was all excited to move one of my other quilts-on-the-go along. I've got four that have all the blocks done and just need assembling.

I decided to tackle the smallest one first, since some of the blocks and sashing were already assembled and, being the smallest, I should be able to throw it together quickly.

Famous last words...

I've never had a seam-ripper out so many times on one project. And I don't know why... I'm only sewing straight lines.

But... I'm happy to say after two days of sewing and ripping and ripping and sewing...
I have a finished top! I'm calling this one "Chocolate-Covered Pinwheels". 

I've got a nice piece of pink flannel from the backing (bought forever ago for pajama pants or something). And there's plenty of the greenish-cream  left from the cornerstones and stripes for binding, so it will all tie together nicely.

This one will be a couch quilt as it matches the colours I'm using in the living room, so it's the perfect size for just one person.

But you won't see this one finished for a while. I'm going to try to sweet-talk Mom into quilting it for me, and she won't have time for that until after Christmas.

Now to decide which one to work on next... stars, or paws, or HSTs, oh my!?!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

FO: Spearmint Sticks quilt

Like the name I gave to it? It's all I can think of when I look at it. As I mentioned yesterday, work has been crazy busy lately. But by Friday, I'd gotten it all squared away, and found myself with nothing to do but keep an eye on my email. With the American Thanksgiving last week, that meant my emails were quiet too. So, I kept my phone handy, but swiveled my work chair over to the vintage Singer and finished quilting that last row of blocks. I didn't do anything fancy with the quilting, just sewed around the inside of each block the width of the presser foot.

Saturday, I sewed the binding on, and spent the better part of an afternoon and most of the evening tacking it down on the back by hand.
I was a little unsure of the binding. I'd bought it from the remnant bin at Lens, and hadn't brought the quilt top with me to match it up. When I got it home, I thought it might be a little too minty... but once  I got it on there, I decided it actually worked quite well. There's so many shades of green in the quilt, it continues the theme of  "scrappy-but-coordinated". And it's such a thin band around the edge of the quilt, that it doesn't jump out at you like I was worried it might.
And of course, the backing is another shade of green entirely! I didn't take measurements, but it covered the top of my Queen size bed without falling over the edge, so it should be just perfect for a Double bed.

This quilt was definitely a learning experience. It's far from perfect - intersections don't line up, and there's quite a few puckers. But it's some good experience under my belt for the next one.
And of course, it's still a fully functioning blanket!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Sock slog

Look! Knitting!!!!
I have to admit, the last few weeks have not seen much needle clicking. It started with my trip to NOTL. I didn't have a chance  to knit a stitch there, and when I got home my workload was so high, that when I wasn't working, I didn't have the energy to knit. When I was even remotely motivated to work on something, it involved fabric, not yarn.

But things finally  slowed down on Friday, and I powered through, finishing the first sock of the second pair of Christmas boot socks. These shouldn't feel like a slog - but they do. It makes no sense. It's nice, mindless stocknit. It's worsted, with only 48 stitches to a round, so those rounds add up quick. But it still feels like its taking forever.

I'm hoping I can get through the leg of the second on my train commute home today.  If I could finish this pair before the month is out, I'd feel a whole lot better!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

In bloom

The frost has done it's work, and there are no more blooms left in the garden...

But that's okay, because things are flowering inside.
I put my Peace Lily outside this summer and the leaves got a little too much sun, but she doesn't seem to mind too much - just look at that big beautiful bloom!
 And there's a second on coming too.

The Christmas cactus also spent the summer in yard, and not long after I brought her back in she started to bud up.
Those buds should start bursting into blooms any day now, right on time.

Those who've been around for  a couple years know a while back, I went a little crazy with Phalaenopsis orchids. I managed to kill them all but one. At the start of the summer, I took it to the office where I have a big north-facing window.
She's so happy there, she started blooming again! Love that pretty dark pink.

And last, but no least, the grocery store had a big display of Amaryllis and Paperwhite kits, and I just couldn't resist.
It will be a little while before they bloom..
Probably just in time for Christmas!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Twenty-five things

Dee said we must participate, so her wish is my command...

Twenty-five things about me...

1.  What is your middle name?   
Rose… so  now it’s easy to understand my love of these beauties, eh?

2.  What was your favorite subject in school?  
Art and History. Though I think school could do a MUCH better job of teaching history.

3.  What is your favorite drink?  
 Alcoholic: Mimosa  
Non-alcoholic: Coca Cola

4.  What is your favorite song at the moment?  
Hmmm. That’s tough… I’ve really been enjoying the band The Dead South lately, so let’s go with this one:

5.  What is your favorite food?  
 Another tough one… but I’m really craving Egg Rolls, so  let’s go with that.

6.  What is the last thing you bought?  
 Some new tights, including a sparkley purple pair!

7.  Favorite book of all time?
 Another tough one… can’t say I have one favourite, but the whole Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones) is right up there

8.  Favorite color?
 Green, though I love red and pink almost as much.

9.  Do you have any pets?
 You know it!

10. Favorite perfume?
 I don’t really wear perfume any more, but when I did, I love Dior’s Poison.

11.  Favorite holiday?
Hallowe’en. I love the dressing up, the costumes, the candy, and the general time of year!

12.  Are you married?


13.  Have you ever been out of the country? How many times?
I’ve been to the U.S. a handful of times. I really want to go to Britain though.

14.  Do you speak any other language?
I can muddle my way through speaking French. Here in Canada, we start learning it in about Grade 4. We have the option to continue in High School, which I did. I was very good at it, but after that I never used it, and now my skills are VERY rusty. I’m happy to say though, my work is sending me back to school (and paying for it!) to learn (starting in January) because being bilingual will help immensely in my role.

15.  How many siblings do you have?
Just one. A big brother.

 16.  What is your favorite shop?
 All these favourites… so hard to pick just one. Looking at my credit card statement lately, it’s gotta be Old Navy and Missouri Star Quilts!

17.  Favorite restaurant?
 Now this one is easy! Swiss Chalet! I get the same thing EVERY time I go. Quarter Chicken dinner (white meat), with fries and a Shirley Temple to drink.

18.  When was the last time your cried?
 Watching a documentary last week on a guy who rehabilitates European Lynxes and releases them to the wild.

19.  Favorite blog?
Now I definitely can’t pick a favourite there. Just look through my blog roll and you’ll see why.

20.  Favorite movie?
 The six-part Pride and Prejudice from the early ‘90s. Yes, the one with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. You know it’s good because even Dave will sit down and watch all six hours.

21.  Favorite TV show?
So many good ones out in the last few year… my top 5 – Game of Thrones, The Last Kingdom, Downton Abbey, Ripper Street, and Peaky Blinders

22.  PC or Mac?
I’ve used both and like them both about the same.

23.  What phone do you have?
I have two – my personal is a cheap (ie: free) Android. And work gave me an iPhone 6S.

24.  How tall are you?
5' 7.5"

25.  Can you cook?
I can. I won’t claim to be a great cook. My needs and skills are pretty basic. I’m better at baking, but I think that’s just because I love sweet stuff so much more.