Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Swing Coat

Oh, I'm so happy that this project is finally done... just in time for the last of the cool spring rain and fog! I've been knitting away (slowly) at this beautiful Diamond merino since last September, and in spite of the endless garter stitching and careful counting, I am SO glad I stuck with it. Now I match the lilac bush at the bottom of the garden, to boot.

My list of UFOs (un-finished objects) is steadily shrinking... and family and friends have several new pieces to wear and enjoy. Currently, I'm still working away at the hot pink bolero, and have picked up two new projects: a ripple scarf made of lightweight ribbon, and a short-sleeved cotton pull-over in a beautiful pastel stripe... Let's just see if I can get THOSE finished before Christmas, shall we???!

Yay, me!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

This is the Day

This Is The Day

composed for The Royal Wedding, by John Rutter,
and performed by The Choir of Westminster Abbey

This is the day, the day which the Lord hath made,
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
This is the day, the day which the Lord hath made,
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
This is the day.

O praise the Lord of Heaven,
Praise Him in the highest!
Praise Him all ye angels of His,
Praise Him all ye souls!
Praise Him sun and moon,
Praise Him all ye stars and light!
Let them praise the name of the Lord.

For he shall give his angels charge over thee,
To keep thee in all thy ways.
The Lord Himself is my keeper,
The Lord is my defense upon my right hand,
So that the sun shall not hurt thee by day,
Neither the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil,
Yea, it is even He that shall keep thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in
From this time forth, forever more.
He shall defend thee under his wings.

Be strong,
And He shall comfort thine heart.
In Whom shall I trust?
I trust in the Lord.

Put thou thy trust in the Lord.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Would you believe that while making my rounds of the blog-o-sphere, "DREARS" was the little code word I was required to type in order to make a comment on my own blog this morning??

Fitting, I must say.

For dear readers, it has been RAINING here. With a vengeance. Heck, I think that even VANCOUVER has had it better in the weather department than we have had here, in my little corner of Ontario.

I complain... while being mindful that in a matter of just a few short weeks, I expect that my garden will be overheated and parched, baking under a summer sun. My rain barrel will likely be empty by then, and I'll be lying on the crunchy, brown grass out back, straining up at the sky in the hopes of seeing one fluffy, promising little cloud.

I only wish that I could send some of our current weather conditions over to the good people of Northern Alberta this week... There, wildfires burn out of control, destroying everything in their path. While evacuees are apparently safe in shelters, I can only imagine the anxious agony they are feeling today, as they await news of whether they have any homes to return to. Several summers ago, I had the good fortune to be the guest of one of my best friend's parents at their beautiful log home, three hours north of Edmonton. The area is one of the best kept secrets in our country-- it was nothing short of heaven to relax for ten days with some of the finest people of my acquaintance, in the beautiful lake district, at the enormous log cabin and garden that they designed and built themselves. Today, I'm praying for them, as eighty forest firefighters depart Ontario to join the team battling the blazes out West.

In the meantime, I'm making the very best of my own time. The game room in the basement has been completely renovated, during this period of being forced indoors. I've stripped ancient, textured wallpaper off of walls, and had to re-plaster and sand down the works. In spite of wearing all manner of protective masks, goggles and clothing, the dust that somehow accumulated in my hair was so thick, I had to book an appointment with my hairdresser. She dutifully scrubbed at the gook and rinsed it all out for nearly half an hour, to get me back to my regular appearance. Disgusting, yes. But the head massage was much appreciated!! Once the painting was done, I stripped and refinished the dark wood wainscotting on the lower part of the room. Even the fireplace surround was refurbished, and the whole effect is such an improvement, it hardly looks like the same place. The three solid weeks of hard slog was so worth it. The room was probably last decorated when the basement was renovated in the late 1980's, and I fancy that I've managed to drag it into the new millennium!

Last fall, I spent the first two weeks of September teaching myself the art of upholstery, in order to ease the pangs I felt when my children returned to school (and I did not). We had an old Sterns and Foster pull-out couch that we acquired with the house, since it was so heavy, it could not be lifted and manouvered up the basement stairs when the former residents moved out. This old couch was comfortable, functional, but pathetically ugly. (So ugly, I couldn't even bring myself to take "before" pictures.) Suffice it to say that it was striped in the shades of several very badly-made pea soups. Disgusting. When I was home in Stratford at the end of last summer, I lucked-out and purchased about a dozen yards of rather lovely velvet upholstery fabric in a muted colour... The whole project turned out remarkably well. Upholstery isn't very difficult, as it turns out. The most challenging part is removing the old fabric carefully enough that it can be used as a template for the new pattern pieces. Once this is done, pretty much everything else can be managed with the help of a good, sturdy nail gun. (Those of you who have been reading awhile will remember my great love of power tools...) The "new" couch cost me approximately $70, including nails, new batting, and decorative tacks.

I've also managed to sew a new cover for my old futon, which is a sofa/bed that I bought twenty five years ago, and is still so comfortable to relax and sleep on, I can't bring myself to part with it. Once again, the fabric store in Stratford held a treasure in the form of this mill-end of fabric. The finished effect is quite satisfactory, and the sitting area is now nearly complete.

This week, new curtains and cushions are running off of my ancient Janome sewing machine. I've spray painted old lamps, and made them seem new again. And best of all, the art work I'm using for the walls has all come from my own camera-- every photograph holds a family memory. They are all framed in black (inexpensively purchased at Walmart and Michael's craft store), and arranged in groups, so that viewers can sit or stand and gaze at them for as long as they like. Over the years, it has been so easy to snap literally thousands of photos, and then download them onto a hard drive. As a result, my photos have been filed away, seldom printed, and almost never viewed. It has been very rewarding to spend chunks of these rainy days poring over these memories, and seeing the happy development of my girlies. Now, the best of the bunch are finally up on the walls for all to see.

The downstairs hallway and the game room are fresh and bright and comfortable... If this rain keeps up much longer, I'm going to be forced to face the final fronteer in this house: the guest bedroom, which doubles as my craft and fabric storage area. Yeek. It desperately needs a good cleaning and sorting-out... But, hopefully THAT can wait until the dog days of summer are upon us, and it's just too darned hot to go outside.

It IS May, believe it or not... and sooner or later, the sun will shine, and those knee-high weeds outside will be ripe and ready for yanking out of the ground. The rain and chill has kept me from being tempted to visit my favourite garden centre and blow the wad on bedding plants that would only die of cold, if I were to violate my mother's strict guideline, "NOTHING before the end of May!!" When that time finally comes, the dirt will fly, let me tell you!

But for now, I will continue to fiddle with fabric and pins, the hum of the sewing machine will join the music of the rain on the roof, and the purring of contented cats.

Web Analytics