Category Archives: Hobbies

The Curse of the Camisoles

My mother-in-law had a box of my novels delivered to her place  while I was away in Montana. When I got home, I got the Captain to collect it and bring it home.

I was looking for scraps of paper to start a fire in the woodstove and noticed some tissue paper on the box of books. Might as well burn that. It would be perfect for starting the kindling.

That evening, m-i-l phoned and said she had sent two camisoles over for me to fix for her.

“Oh? I didn’t see any camisoles,” I told her. 

“They were wrapped in tissue paper.”

A heat wave swept over me, hotter than the fire I had made with the tissue paper. Could I really have burned those camisoles? Wouldn’t I have noticed that something was inside the paper?  I looked all over the house for camisoles wrapped in tissue paper and finally phoned m-i-l back. 

“I must have made a fire with them when I was burning papers. But I don’t know how I wouldn’t have noticed them.”

“Well … they’re very thin …,” she said. “But don’t worry about it.”

About a week later, my m-i-l phoned. “Guess what I found? Wrapped in tissue paper between two blouses in my dresser drawer.” 

We both laughed with relief. She’s nearly 97 and is allowed to have a senior moment now and then. But my laughing stopped short when I realized, Oh no. Now I still have to do the sewing repairs. 

Okay, well bring them over when you come for supper next time. DON’T wrap them in tissue paper. Just throw them into a plastic bag. Then I won’t try to make a fire with them.”

And that is what she did. She put them in a plastic bag and I had them in my hand the day she came over for supper.  I was very busy getting the meal on the table and putting food  away into the fridge.

The next day, the cursed camisoles were nowhere to be found.

I searched the house thoroughly three times from top to bottom. No camisoles anywhere and I had no excuse to have a senior moment.

Two days ago,  I took my m-i-l shopping, and bought her two new camisoles.

This morning, the Captain was making a sandwich and called out to me, “ANNELI! Guess what I found.”

“No idea. What?”

“I was looking for lettuce to put on my sandwich, and you know how you always wrap it in a paper towel and put it in a plastic bag? Well, just come and see.”

One bag has lettuce in it, and the other has … you guessed it … two camisoles.

And as much as I was relieved to find the cursed things, the next thought that popped into my mind was, Arrrgh…. Now I have to repair them after all.

I have decided to do that, and then quietly put them into m-i-l’s Christmas stocking (wrapped in tissue paper, the way she likes it).

Mom’s Mums

These chrysanthemums haven’t had the benefit of any fertilizers for all of their life. I guess I should have paid more attention. But every time I looked at them, I felt a bit sad and walked away. Why?

Over 36 years ago, these mums were in a hanging basket in my mother’s back porch. In 1982, when she died, I brought the hanging basket home to my house. I didn’t expect them to come back the next year and bloom, and when they did, the feeling was always bittersweet.

I took more care the next winter to cover them with a patio chair or some kind of loose plastic to keep the worst of the cold off them. It didn’t occur to me to add fertilizer even after I repotted them when they got too big for the hanging basket.

Now, after blooming for the 36th time since they came to live with me, I have finally come to my senses and have decided to give them some fertilizer next spring.

I am grateful for this plant’s tribute to my mother each year, and have been shamed into taking better care of it. Do you think it’s too late for me to get it together?

Casino

Are you a gambler?

Driving past a collection of houses, many of them uninhabited, I noticed the sign on one of the buildings: Lone Tree Casino.

Gambling casinos are typical of the businesses you find nowadays on  Reserves. Some of these establishments are huge monstrosities, looking out of place on the undeveloped land. This one is unpretentious. At first I thought it was a derelict building, no longer in use, but on reflection, I may be wrong.

It seems to be a desolate town, and for those who regularly visit this establishment, a sad way to spend the time in this windowless building. But that’s just my humble opinion.

There has been improvement though. No longer should it be called Lone Tree Casino. I see many trees in the area now.

Montana Fields

We try to get out to Montana every year in October for some bird hunting and photography and hiking. This year, we arrived to about an inch of snow. While it is beautiful, it is quite chilly. The good thing about it is that rattlesnakes don’t like cold weather so I didn’t have to worry as much about Emma and Ruby getting bitten.

You may remember Emma as a puppy four years ago. We had great hopes that she would someday become a good flusher and retriever of game birds.

She hasn’t disappointed us. In spite of being quite small, this English field cocker spaniel is full of energy and her cuddly nature takes a back seat when it comes to finding birds. Nothing gets away from her.

If you thought the prairies were only boring grassy fields, you couldn’t be more wrong. The coulees are full of prickly shrubs, birds, and small animals. A fat hare came tearing out of the shrubs here and just as I was about to snap a photo, my battery died.

But later I caught this mule deer running away from all the commotion. I traipsed along behind the Captain and Emma as they did their pheasant hunting thing, hoping for something interesting to photograph, and I saw something the deer had left behind last year — an antler shed. It was only the second time I had ever found one and I was quite happy about stumbling across it.

After the snow from the day before, the mostly clay ground was “wettish,” and while we had heavy clods of mud on our boots, Emma’s feet were getting harder and harder for her to pick up. Besides collecting many burrs in her fur, she had huge clumps of clay on her feet. Here she is getting them soaked off, just before I took the comb and scissors to her curly ears to remove the burrs.

She is usually so energetic, we weren’t sure this was our Emma flaked out on the couch after the day’s outing.

It was Ruby’s turn to go out today, but she is sick. We think she drank some bad water. This has happened one other year and we have given her some meds that we hope will fix her up in a day or two.

PS Now, two days later, Ruby is feeling much better. We are so relieved.

 

Place mats

Recently, my nephew got married and I had no idea what to do for a wedding gift. He had been living with his partner (now wife) for several years so they really didn’t need more gifts.

I finally came up with the idea of place mats, because that  you can always use extras or switch them around for a different look.

These are from a pattern called Take Four, probably because it uses four different fabrics and makes four different place mats. I made eight altogether so there are two of each pattern.

For the back of the place mats I used a solid piece of each of the fabrics used on the front, so the place mats are reversible. If you spill something on one side, you can quickly flip it over to use the other side.

It’s not a difficult pattern, but you have to pay attention to the different colour sequences so you will end up with the intended look.

It was a fun project and I thought of the newlyweds a lot as I sewed.

I hope they will always have enough food to serve on these place mats.

Sawing Logs

Two years ago at a quilting retreat, I had finished my planned small projects and had time left over to mess around a bit.  I sewed a few left over odds and ends together, making a square in the log cabin pattern.

The strips of fabric are like logs of all different lengths,  stacked into a “log cabin” of sorts. I made 14 of these squares with the shortest “log” being 1 inch and the longest, 9 inches. I thought it was a good way to use up scraps of fabric that would otherwise not be good for much.

Then I had a brainwave: I could put the squares together and make a quilt!

Okay. How many squares would I need? I had a quilt at home with a different design of squares. It was  10 squares across and 11 down, but was a tiny bit small for the bed.

I could do the same thing and add a border.

Great idea. So how many squares would I need to make? 10 times 11 = 110.

I had 14 done (and it had taken me some time).

Only 96 more to go. Eeeeeeee!!! What was I thinking?

But I had already made 14 and I had the “logs” cut out for many more. Too late to abandon the plan.

…. Last night, almost two years later,  I finished the monstrosity. Now, if I snore, I can say I’m sawing logs.

Blackberries

I love the taste of blackberries, but I hate picking them. This plant defends itself rather aggressively. The thorns are vicious and you either get your arms and legs scratched up or your clothing torn.  Add to that, the wasps that claim the ripe berries and resent you reaching in to steal them, and spiders that hide behind the leaves and scurry over your fingers as you touch their webs. Shudders! I let the Captain do the picking if he’s home, or his 96-year-old mother (pictured below, picking last year’s berries), if he’s not. They both love picking blackberries. Go figure!

But I think I have found a solution. Take a close look at the vines on these  blackberries below. What do you see? More importantly, what do you NOT see? Thorns! Also, the blackberries are growing on my garden fence so the tangles and spider hiding places are not as many.

Yes, thornless blackberries. Domestic, of course, but I like the idea of no thorns. The berries have a slightly different flavour, but they’re pretty good, and I don’t have to get stung or touch spiders, or tear up my arms and legs to get a few berries. Whoever developed this thornless variety deserves a medal.

These berries are not quite ready, but they seem to be fairly early this year. It won’t be long now before they’re ready to pick.