Saturday 28 November 2020

Countdown - 27

I'm going to be one of "those" annoying people who will remind you each time I post how many more days there are until Christmas.  It's in my title!  I'm a bit of Christmas geek if you couldn't tell.

When I left off last week I'd mentioned I was working on a little snowman while watching television.  I finished that on Sunday, finished Eli's sweater on Monday, and worked on a pair of slippers for D and my cross-stitching for the rest of the week.  (I'm trying to insert these photos without a lot of white space, Blogger isn't being helpful 
at all!

I was quite annoyed when I pulled the pattern I used the last time I made her slippers because the pattern was no longer free.  I know that the creators deserve to earn from their designs, but it meant I had to look for another free pattern because the price of the first was more than I was willing to pay. These are called Cloud 9, because they're made from chunky blanket wool, and are incredibly soft.  I did modify the pattern to add a second sole.  D is hard on slippers, and wears through them quickly. I made the last pair in May of this year - hopefully this pair will last as long.

I did my grocery order through Walmart this week and while I'd prefer to use our local Co-op or Safeway they don't offer curbside pick-up.  One substitution was made, which I agreed to, and although I'd indicated I'd bring my own bags, everything came out in Walmart bags again.  Since this was a larger order, I've got more than enough for whatever purpose I can find. Perhaps I'll have to learn out to make a rug out of them!

After Walmart I stopped at Michaels (across the parking lot).  They started their Black Friday deals early, so I was able to pick up a number of items at 50-60% off.  In addition to ribbon, a ball of yarn, scrapbook paper, and some glue, I found a frame with a mat for a photo I took this fall and had printed a few weeks ago.  It's now hanging above my couch, and I love it even more (if that's possible).  

On the way home I stopped at Co-op to get meat as it's better quality than Walmart and though a little more pricey, it's worth it.  I must say, the best part of shopping on-line is that I don't wander the aisles and impulse shop.  Thursday I ran out to Pet Valu for cat litter - it was senior's day so it gives me a 10% discount, and I ended up picking up more bird seed there as well.  There was a bit of sticker shock with the latter, but with the discount it was a little better.  

Also on Thursday, I tackled another Christmas craft.  I had picked up a small sled at Value Village last week. This is it before I began working on it.  It's cute, but definitely not what I wanted.  

I removed the twine hanger, sanded it down a bit to get rid of any residue and then painted most of it with my gray chalk paint.  After that had dried I measured and cut a piece of scrap book paper to fit on the sled seat and the curved area above.  

With Modge-Podge (a glue) I added the paper, allowed that to dry, and then added another coat of the Modge-Podge on top to seal the paper.  Again, I allowed that to dry before adding the little berry garland to the edge of the base.  Finally, I replaced the twine and this piece now hangs in my main bathroom. I've decorated with blue, white, and red in there (towels, candles, a stuffed snowman, and a festive shower curtain with kittens in Santa hats).  This piece fits right in! 

Friday morning, I was up at 5 a.m., no particular reason why, just wide awake and ready to go.  C left for work about 6:30 and after a bit of blog reading, a chat with D, and an episode of NCIS New Orleans, I got busy.  I pulled out all the Christmas presents in the house (including one from D to Eli) and got almost everything wrapped. I haven't yet picked up the gift cards for my niece and nephew - I'll likely pick those up next week and finish wrapping then.  I also need to finish weaving in the ends of the yarn on my daughter's blanket.  I'll do that in the next few days while I'm watching television.  I have a storage room in the basement off the laundry room that Eli has never been in, so all the gifts have been hidden there. I'm not expecting he and D to visit before Christmas, but just in case they need to make a trip to the city for any reason, he won't likely find them.

I even got a start on the Christmas baking this week.  It helps I'm making less and fewer amounts.  First up is a cranberry lemon bar (with coconut). I always cut the edges of the pan before cutting into squares, so I know that it tastes delicious!  I also made 2 dozen sugar cookies to decorate.  I'll probably send these to work with C on the 24th to share with his co-workers, decorated of course.  I've stored these in the sun room because there is no room in the fridge freezer and wouldn't you know it, the temperatures are just above freezing for a few days!  The ambient temp in there is just on the cool side, but the floor is still cold, so I've tucked the goodies in a dark corner on the floor. I know they'll freeze again overnight.

Today has been a write-off.  I had some tummy issues last night, something I ate disagreed with me, so it was late before I was able to get to sleep and I was up several times in the night.  The cats woke me around 6:30 so I got up and fed them, before going back to bed.  D woke me at 7:30 when she called, we chatted for a bit, I went out and fed the birds, before lying down on the couch and sleeping again until 11:30.  I've been up for three hours now and still feel as though I've been pulled through a wringer washer backward.  Since I'm certain that is more information than you wanted, I'll sign off for the week with a photo my brother sent me of this morning's sunrise.

Have a great week everyone, take care and stay well!

Saturday 21 November 2020

Brightening up the mundane

 My dad had a saying, "another day, another dollar".  There may not be another dollar at the end of the day (just my pension once a month), I can attest to another day, day after day.  All this to say that the days move from one to another, and though I always have something to do, they often seem to fade into one another.  I do keep notes on a calendar in an effort to recall what's happened, but more often than not I need to check my FitBit to know what day of the week it is.  Small problems to have, I know.

A little housework, some television watching, checking social media, chatting with my daughter, my brother, or a friend or two on the phone, some knitting or crocheting, or crafting and the days are filled.  This week I added in some decorating for Christmas - just to change things up.

I haven't been walking as much, not even indoors.  But Wednesday was an absolutely beautiful day (6C/43F) so I put on my winter boots, a coat and gloves and scarf just in case.  The wind was a bit cool but oh, it felt so nice to be out in the fresh air.

I was surprised and pleased to see the walking paths had been cleared.  I'll be honest, I've never walked there in the winter and now I know it's an option for warmer day.  While I was walking back from the bridge (it's to left and not visible on this photo), I walked down to the creek.  I was really surprised to see two ducks feeding in a bit of open water.  Hopefully they head south soon; it's only going to get colder.

The path wasn't as clear by the pond especially in the shade.  I noted the water level is even lower now and there were open places where one can see the gravel or dirt.  No geese or ducks were seen.

Here's my street, not nearly as pretty.  I live about six houses down on the right side. We never see a plow on our street all winter, so we have to rely on those with trucks and SUV's to pack it down.  This year with the number of delivery vehicles, it'll be packed down even more.  

My son laughed at me when I told I was putting up the Christmas tree.  But as I said to him, I would prefer to spend the next six weeks looking at pretty sparkling things than the snow outside.  The snow may look pretty when the sun is shining or even when it is falling, but not so much when the day is gray and overcast.

Last year I got rid of the big tree I had, and opted for this little pre-lit four foot tree.  It sits on top of a small table, is much easier for me to manage to carry upstairs and uses fewer decorations.  This is the first year I've added ribbon to the tree and I really like the look.  Not sure if you can see but on the bottom left is a bell.  I hang the bell on the lowest branch of the tree because it lets me know if a certain cat (Saku) has decided to nap there.  Not yet this year!

This display sits on top of my china cabinet, sort of out of the reach of little fingers.  However, I know that Eli can get the stool from the kitchen and get what he wants if he chooses to do so.  The little wire trees I picked up at the dollar store, and wound the battery operated fairy lights (also a dollar store purchase).  It's a simple thing folks, but it pleases me to have the extra sparkle.  There are two cat figurines that are always part of the display, I added the scarves and a toque that I knitted a few years ago to add a festive touch.

This is a wreath I've made for my daughter this week.  I bought most of the pieces at the dollar store, including the Peace that was part of an ornament, while the little red and white ornaments were picked up at 50% off at Michaels. All told I probably spent less than $15 for the materials. It took me a day or so to figure how to put the garland onto the frame - I'm a little slow on the uptake - but once it was in the place the rest of it went to together quickly.  

I've dressed up the kitchen table with a table cloth and runner and then covered most of that up with my placemats.  What can I say, I'm lazy and don't want to have to wash the linens every week.  Do you remember the spoons that D and I painted a month or so ago?  I attached to some ribbon and hung them above the sink. It's a lousy picture but you get the idea.  I thought it was appropriate to hang them in the kitchen.  

Besides the decorating I've been working on Eli's sweater and my cross stitching. I've just got to sew the seams and finish the neck ribbing and it will be ready to take to him in early December.  The cross stitching is going a little more slowly; the last motif has a plaid scarf which needs color changes every few stitches it seems.  But I will persevere and finish it before Christmas.  There is a little knitted snowman started as well - this is something I can do in the evening while watching television that doesn't require a lot of thought. I seem to be obsessed with snowmen this year!

I did an on-line for groceries this week from Walmart.  It all went well, with the exception that everything came in separate bags!  I use the bags for cat litter disposal so I'll use them but I was certainly surprised by the volume.  The one thing they didn't have and should be available this upcoming week is birdseed.  As a result I ended up shopping at Canadian Tire, where I found birdseed and a few other things. Eli has been a little hard on the Christmas decorations this year and I found a container of shatterproof ornaments on sale.  I sent a photo to D, she readily agreed so I picked them up for her.  On the way to the checkout I noticed they had sheets on sale too and since I know D was looking for sheets for my Christmas gift, I sent her another picture and with her approval, picked them up. Yes, I know it won't be a surprise but it's what I really wanted.  

On Friday, I went out to Value Village and the Salvation Army thrift stores.  Since I had no luck finding the materials for my table centerpiece elsewhere I thought I'd see what they had.  I got lucky at V.V. picking up stems and greens for $4.  With the materials I have at home I should be set.  At Sally Ann I found some Christmas ribbon and a oven safe bowl.  Not sure what happened to the one I had - I may have donated it at some point.

Today I woke up to our coldest temperature yet, 17C/1F.  Brrr! I bundled up well to feed the birds and they started feeding almost as soon as I left the back yard.  It's a good day to stay indoors.  At the moment the 2018 Grey Cup is being replayed (this would have been Grey Cup weekend), there are NCIS re-runs to watch, the sweater to finish, and the chicken for tonight's dinner is marinating in the fridge.  All is good in my world.

Take care everyone, stay well and have a great week!


Saturday 14 November 2020

Nothing to see here

I've nothing exciting to share and quite frankly, I'm okay with that.  These days routine is good. It was a week of a bit of this, some of that, and enough curling to end the week to keep me a very happy woman.  

This was my son's week to work as well, though of course, he had Wednesday off for Remembrance Day.  As I usually do, I watched the ceremony held in Ottawa.  In 2007, I actually attended the Remembrance Day ceremony with a friend and former co-worker who lived in the city. Since I've very few photos from this week, I'll share a couple from that visit. 

In comparison to this year's ceremony there was a huge crowd. I recall we parked about a half mile from the Cenotaph and walked to Parliament Hill.  As we are both vertically challenged we stood up on the hill to see what was happening.

I remember being annoyed during the two minutes of silence, as there were people still talking! 
My favorite part of the event was the march by the various forces including the RCMP, military and most touching were the veterans.
I'm glad I got to experience it once in my lifetime - it truly was a special day!

There was a ceremony at our city's Cenotaph as well that was live streamed on local television, but I forgot about it until it was nearly. My brother R watched with his family - they normally would attend - and said that the vocalist who was to sing "God Save the Queen" forgot the words and had to start over three times before he got it right.  Oops, I'm sure he felt horrible.

On Monday, I bundled up and walked over to the nearby school to vote in our municipal election.  It was -19C (-2F) but not overly windy.  I was grateful for my face mask!  I voted for mayor, ward councillor, and area school board trustee.  For the first time ever, all of the three candidates I voted for were successful in their run for office.  We have a new mayor and half of the council are new as several incumbents lost their seats.  It definitely appears that our city is ready for a change from the current same old, same old.

I did my shopping on Tuesday, picking up some groceries as well as cat food and cat litter.  In addition, I found some really cute Christmas items at Walmart. I picked up these two placemats that I turned into pillows for the couch.  Using a stitch ripper, I opened up about a 5-6 inch opening on one end and stuffed them with fiber-fill, and finished the ends by top stitching them closed.  Easy peasy, and I paid $2.50 for each place mat, and used fiber-fill I had on hand. 
I also, finally, finished the sweater shrug for my niece.  As I was working on last weekend, I realized I'd missed a stitch way back near the beginning.  I ripped it back and started almost from scratch.  I'm happy with the way it turned out and I'm hopeful she will like it too. 
Basically, it is simply a large rectangle, the ends are folded in and seamed for about 5 1/2 inches.  I'm not sure she'll know what it is, because when it's folded it is simply a square.  So I'll print this photo and  put it in with the gift. I've tried it on, and oh is it cozy and warm!

Speaking of finishes, I had completed Eli's sweater, including the hood but when I put it together I was so disappointed with how it looked, I took it apart and started again.  After a chat with D, I convinced her a pullover would work as well as a cardigan or hoodie.  I've got the back nearly finished and expect I'll have the sweater finished early next week.

On Thursday I made a run out to Costco to pick up a Christmas present for D (for Eli).  I almost turned around and went home, as it was a zoo in there.  But everyone was wearing masks, and I was generally able to keep my distance.  I did sigh with relief when I returned to my car.  Since I was out, I did stop at Michaels on the way home as they had florals on sale. I want to make a centerpiece for my table and needed a few more pieces.  I could not find any greens that were a decent price, so I'll probably raid my evergreen later in December for fresh greens. If it turns out as I hope, I'll share a photo.

The curling started Thursday evening, and continues through the weekend.  In addition to Facebook and Youtube, CBC is also live streaming some of the curling.  There are two men's events, one in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the second in Penticton, BC.  The timing was almost perfect with a game ending in Halifax, just in time for me to catch the next in Penticton.  There was also a women's event in Okotoks, Alberta but after one draw, the event was called off.  The province announced new restriction requiring the event to end.  

Cases of the virus are increasing by leaps and bounds in many provinces across Canada. Even here in Saskatchewan, we have almost 1500 active cases in the province, and nearly 300 in the city I live in.  Those numbers are low in comparison to many other provinces but still too high for my liking.  I'm glad I've got my gift purchases nearly complete, just two gift cards needed, as I plan to stick close to home as much as possible.  I think I'll try curbside pick up again, until the numbers start coming down again.  Sadly there have been a couple of long term care homes in the province who have announced outbreaks and I fear there will be several families who will without loved ones this year during the holiday season.  On a positive note, there seems to be very good potential we'll see an effective vaccine or vaccines in the first quarter of 2021, and I've read that our federal government has ordered ten doses for every Canadian.  I assume this is to ensure an adequate supply since some might be ready before others, plus to allow for a second booster if it is needed. Better to be prepared.

Today I've been puttering around in between curling games. I finished another craft project, worked on Eli's sweater, fed the birds and cats, and chatted with my daughter.  It's simply more of the same.  I'll take it.

Take care everyone, stay well and have a good week!

Saturday 7 November 2020

Time after time

 I'm doing one of those shake of the heads things again today.  It's Thursday as I start this and it was just Saturday a minute ago.  I know I'm on the down slope of life, but seriously I can't believe how quickly time is passing by.  

On a happier note, we had a nice visit with D and Eli on Sunday, and Monday morning.  The three of us went out walking both days as the weather was perfect.  Eli loves to see the geese and the ducks on the pond though was a bit confused when I told there were no babies now.  He made me laugh, at one point D and I were going back and forth as to whether a bit of white on the pond was snow or a piece of plastic when Eli turned to us and said, "that's enough you two".  

On the way home each day we stopped at the nearby park.  On Monday, the workers were busy replacing the wooden retaining walls with concrete blocks.  Eli didn't mind that he couldn't play on the equipment.  Instead, he ran around on the small hill, eventually rolling down it when it was time to leave.  I didn't get a video of the roll but here's one of the little guy doing what he does best on the top of the hill, running, spinning and chattering to himself.

Oh, and earlier at the house I wanted to try the new mittens I'd made on him, and I mentioned to D that I hadn't yet made the idiot string.  Eli turns to me and says, "I'm not an idiot."  No baby, you sure aren't!  It amazes me that he has an understanding of what idiot means and knows darn well it doesn't apply to him. 

While they were here, D and I made a run to Costco to pick up a few things, while Eli hung out with Uncle C.  Those two enjoy each other's company so much.  At one point, C had a Baby Shark Halloween cartoon playing on his computer and the two were cuddled in the chair watching it.  Eli also helped me make C's birthday cake (a box of browning mix), and after it was iced, we put enough sprinkles on it that it was difficult to cut!  Eli helped sing Happy Birthday too and while birthdays are not a big deal to C, I'm sure he enjoyed it.

On Tuesday, after doing some tidying, my walk, and some knitting I settled in to watch the results as they came in on the U.S. elections.  I actually stayed awake until 2:30 a.m. before I finally said enough. There was obviously not going to be winner that evening, despite Trump's assertion that he'd won.  Yes, I know I'm Canadian and have no real stake in the results, but there are consequences for our country as well regardless of who is elected.  And who would have thought that four days later there will still be no called decision. 

I thought I'd be ready for a nap mid-day on Wednesday but I didn't.  No walk was taken, but I got a few things done around the house and caught up on some PVR'ed television programs while knitting or stitching.  I was excited when my early Christmas present to me showed up!

I've been wanting a rug for the living room for a long time but had never found anything I liked.  On one of the home renovations shows I watched, I spotted one I thought would work, and although I found it through the marvels of the interweb, the cost was prohibitive.  But after scrolling several options I found this one and I love it! The rug is a low pile, but so soft and nice on the feet.  There is no insulation in the basement ceiling in this portion of house so the floor often feels cold in winter.  I rarely wear socks in the house so the rug is a welcome addition.

The mess on the side table to the left of the couch are the three projects I'm working on and in front of the chair is my little table that I pull out to put the laptop.  The latter gets put away behind my chair when it isn't needed.  Saku is loving the ottoman beside the chair and has spent hours napping there...which he didn't do before. Although he's difficult to make out, Sasha is sleeping in his spot on the right hand side of the couch.

I walked again on Thursday, no photos this time, and enjoyed the sun and warmth.  I know it isn't going to last and Friday was definitely cooler. I did get my walk in by walking inside the house, and spent a good part of the day working on my projects watching curling!  Between Facebook Live and You-tube I managed to catch 3 games.  I did a bit of knitting, a bit of cross-stitching and some crocheting. Perhaps it is time to focus on one and get it done. 

Today it is colder still and to be honest I'm hoping it gets even colder.  We are forecast for freezing rain on Sunday before the snow starts falling later in the day.  That will leave a layer of ice on our roads and sidewalks that won't disappear until spring unless we get some mild weather over the next few weeks.  The main roads will be taken care of by the city but our residential areas rarely, if ever, see a snow plow.  Even the year we had over a foot of snow pack on the street - during the spring melt the ruts were deeper than my rubber boots, it took several calls to the city to convince them to come out and clear it.  

I've no big plans for today, just more of the same - a bit of housework, watching curling, working on projects, and walking in between.  It's still a wonder how time goes by so quickly when I'm in such a slug mode.

On that note, I'll leave you with a photo of last night's sunset out at the farm that my brother R sent me.

Take care everyone, stay well and have a great week!

Tuesday 3 November 2020

A Brief Reprieve

The cool weather moved out and we're enjoying a few days of absolutely gorgeous weather.  D, Eli and I walked on Sunday and Monday, and I headed out this morning.  I had my camera with me today, and have some photos to share.

I think this rabbit thought he was hidden in the shade.  Sorry, buddy you won't be hidden until the snow flies.  Just the other day, the rabbits I saw were still mostly brown, but they're obviously changing fast.

I was surprised to find geese at the creek.  Two were standing guard while the others fed.

There were ducks too, enjoying a feed.

Over at the pond, the geese were flying in and landing.  These four chose to land on the ice.  I laughed as they skidded about 3 to 4 feet!

We had a high temperature yesterday of 20C (72F).  Even with the warm temperatures the ice on the pond didn't entirely melt.  The water level is dropping significantly - with the sand bar in the background.  I'm guessing this is being done by the city though I don't recall it this way last year.

These geese took the more traditional option of landing in the open water.

The thistles have dry remnants of themselves.  I thought about clipping a few and bringing them home but I'm sure they'd just fall apart.

Finally, from Sunday evening a couple of photos of the eastern sky over the neighbour's homes.

The sky was so pretty, and I lucked out as the show lasted just mere minutes.  D went out with her phone when I came back in and missed it entirely.

The nice weather will be with us through Thursday, then we'll see the temperatures drop back to just above the freezing mark on Friday and even colder over the weekend.  Along with the cold, we may get as much as 25-30 cm (10-12 inches) of snow!  I'm definitely going to enjoy this lovely weather while it lasts.

Take care everyone!