October 28, 2017

A Story

Many years ago, I wrote this very story for my son, Jesse.  Since it's nearly Hallowe'en and it's a story set at Hollowe'en, I ask him if I could share it.

Let me say that John, or Johnny is a great name, but people do have preferences and when my son was young (perhaps 6 or 7) with a mind of his own, he said what you will read as the last sentence in the story, but not in this context. 

If your name is John or Johnny, or you know someone who's name is John, please do not take offense and send me an email. When it comes to names, we all have our preferences, especially an opinionated 6 or 7 year old boy whose own name was often misspelled with an ie, which he found tedious.  He still does. :)

                                                                  Not Johnny

    He had decided earlier that afternoon to go out trick or treating.  His mother said that he wasn’t too

 old to go, but he felt old—old because at ten and a half he was just an eighth of an inch shy of five 

feet eleven inches. He considered his height a curse, but the ungainliness it had brought with it

was the worse.  Lately he kept crashing into tables, chairs, electric poles, closed doors, and various

 other things that, although he tried hard to avoid, always seemed to be in his way.

      He had stared at his mother when she said he wasn't too old to go, and, of course, she was right. 

 But what she neglected to mention was his height. She knew, although she hoped and prayed that it

 wouldn’t happen, that distant neighbours would say to her son, when they opened the door to greet 

his cry of trick or treat, “You’re too big for this!  How old are you, anyway? And when he truthfully 

answered ten and a half he’d hear a resounding, “Yeah right!”

               Tonight he would be what? All he knew was that he wasn't going to wear that stupid pony 

mask his mother had bought him. There had to be something in the closet. As he dug around on the 

floor he thought about being a cowboy, but he couldn’t find his cowboy hat in the rubble, though he

 kept pawing through baseballs, bats, soccer balls, hockey gear, and two pairs of skates and old 

running shoes that gave off aromas of places he had been and wished to be again.

               Finally he gave up the search and sat down on the edge of the bed and looked out 

 the window at the old oak tree that was tenaciously holding onto its leaves. Upon reflection he felt

 that biggest curse about being tall was that everyone expected him to be perfect. He couldn't

 horse around like other boys, couldn't get away with a thing.  Everywhere he went someone was 

always yelling,  "You're too big to act like that."  So to stay out of trouble, he tried to act like an adult,

but under cover he sported his youth.

   Being tall made his life difficult in so many ways. Why even his bicycle had betrayed him by 

shrinking into a contraption that bruised his knees. So while his friends talked about and couldn’t 

wait to be grown-up, he spent a lot of time, laying on his captain's bed with his feet dangling 

over the edge, day dreaming about being a kid.  

     And being a tall daydreamer didn't help either. “It’s damn ridiculous to be this tall at ten and a 

half,” he’d yelled at the top of his lungs when he banged his head for the third time. 

His mother said many things as she patched up his skull. Although he knew better, he had half 

heartily listened just in case there was a point. What was the point?  The point was that his mother 

just didn't get that he was too damn tall. He eyed her suspiciously. He wondered if she had 

heard anything he had said because she just kept blathering on about swearing, about having all of his

limbs, a roof over his head, good health, and had rounded it off, while he looked at his big toe poking

of his nearly new sneaker, that she and his father worked very hard to put food on the table. And if

that wasn't enough, she added in a strained voice, “Young man, go to your room, and don’t come

downstairs until you write down a hundred things that you are grateful for.”  As he stomped up the

stairs, he promised  himself he would never, ever, say anything remotely like that to one of his


               He pulled the chair out from under his desk, turned it sideways, sat down, stretched out

his long legs, slipped a notebook out of the drawer and scribbled: What am I grateful for in a

bumpy graphite script that he underlined in red ink before tucking the pen behind his left ear. Clearly,

he would be grateful if he had a larger chair, but he decided against jotting that down.

 What was his mother going on about anyway? Of course he was grateful; he wasn't a total wash

out.  But a half an hour later the empty page was still glaring back at him, and then, without warning,

inspiration struck, flooding his brain like sunshine.  With his brow in a buckle and his eyes dancing

with intensity, he slowly printed in bold letters:   

 1 – 100.  

                             Always fun at Pumpkin Inferno. Apparently,  you can do a lot with pumpkins.

                                 While these carvings are all miraculous, I especially admire the Girl  with  the Pearl Earring.


                                                                                                 * * *

                              I'm slowly adding autumn leaves to my hawthorn berry painting. 

Enjoy Hallowe'en!

'Til Next time...                                                    Cultivate your dreams.

October 07, 2017

Swallowtail Shawl

I recently finished the Swallowtail shawl. I love the ease of Evelyn Clark's clear and concise patterns. A definite must for a fun knit.  If you'd like to knit this shawl, the pattern is free, and can be found either on Evelyn's website or on Raverly.

Because of the two ply yarn and a small needle, 3.5mm, the shawl is small, but that's exactly what I wanted. For this shawl, I used Brooklyn Tweed's Vale. I was a little worried about 2 play yarn, but  this yarn has loft. What a lovely, soft yarn!

A few of you wondered about the nupps. They are a design element from Estonian lace knitting and do add special texture to a knitted garment.  In an earlier post, I mentioned that the nupps were difficult to pick up on the purl side, especially if, like me, you knit tight. This pattern had 5 strands to pick up, but you can also have 7 or 9.


 After a twenty minute bath in lukewarm soapy water and then on to a a good rinse, you roll the shawl in a towel and trod on it to squeeze out the excess water, and then it's on to the blocking mat.    Since I still don't own blocking wires, I thread yarn through the top loops, pull it tight and wrap it around t-pins on either side. It makes a nice straight edge. Because I am out of practice, I had to keep shifting the pins.

I haven't decided what to knit next. There's so many stunning patterns to choose from, and that's part of the fun, beauty, and peaceful quality of knitting.  Hopefully, I'll decide soon; I really do miss knitting a few rows each night.

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends and to my family many miles away.

Enjoy the week...                      

      Cultivate your dreams.

September 26, 2017

Different Directions

Hello lovely people!

 I hope you all had a great week. 

Sometimes people talk about the weather when there's not much to talk about. But the current temperatures are amazing and worth a few words.  30 C-33C, or 86F-91F.  The trees must be confused, but they are turning and many have already lost their leaves because of the cold nights.  Of course, these temps won't last but while they do hurray. But, then, when I think about it, it must be difficult for the kids at school. So it's probably better that temps return to normal soon.

Because they are available, I've been out buying pumpkins.

And this dapper foxy fellow dressed for fall was too cute to pass up.

* * *
Off road.

In case you don't know, dragon flies are accommodating. This one was flying around like mad, so I sweetly said, could you just stay still so I can take your picture and it did! My son just 👀 at me. 😉

Bee cause she's a worker. 

* * *
A little art.

 Mixed media on a wood panel.

* * * 

Lately, I've been doing a little work on my cross stitch Shepherdess Sampler.
 One of these years it will be finished.
I've almost finished the large tree on this detailed final section.

 Enjoy the week. 
Cultivate a dream.

September 19, 2017

A few things

Hi everyone!

Painted by the best painter.

Crab Apples

 Time to harvest the lemon balm on the left that I grew from seed.  It makes lovely tea. My smiling bee buddy, a flea market find for a tuppence ~ 25 cents.

* * *
Finished the bookmarks that I had a pic of in the last post. This is the back.  Definitely a trial run because I had a problem with the laminating sheets. Overnight the backing fell off, so I attached     another sticky side to the back, but it was hard to cut out properly.  Obviously, a laminating machine would work better.

Darker ink would help too, I reckon. Perhaps a heavier 005 Micron pen instead of the finer point, or, better yet, a Rapidograph pen.  Black ink does show up better than my favourite blue. 
*Squinting eyes.*

A fit? Not sure but a lot of tea does go well with a good book.

 * * *

Shawl progress. . . finished the nupps section.  In a you tube video, I recently saw someone use a crochet hook to pick up the five stands of the nupp on the knit side. The pattern says to pick the nupps up on the purl side. I found that a smaller needle worked well for that.  For you knitters out there, in hindsight, if you haven't made nupps before, I am sure the crochet hook method on the knit side would have been easier.

 * * *

Slowly putting my container gardens to bed, although, luckily, there are thriving bright spots left.

Pretty Verbena


Elegant Fuchsias

Begonia. Absolutely love this colour!

Mixing paint to match the begonia. I think the pink is straight from the tube. It's difficult to see colour correctly, so an easier way is to fashion a cut out 1/2 inch and a 1 inch frame out of heavy paper to hold against the flower, or even a photograph so that you can isolate the colour. ( Not sure where I saw that, but it's from those who know.)


After I said that there wasn't a bird in sight, a flock of Starlings arrived to feast on seeds in the trees. I was trying to follow them and I missed so the video trails off in the end. Do forgive.

Have a lovely week...

Cultivate a Dream

September 12, 2017

Stepping into September


Kissed by the frost.  Fall changes are happening slowly.


The birds aren't singing and I don't see very many out there.  It reminds me of the title of Farley Mowat's book And No Birds Sang.  Already, I miss and long for their songs.
If you stand very still in the woods you may hear a peep here and there. They are molting and resting for their journey south where they will have many stories to tell and songs to sing.

Squatters on the turtles' deck. 

My Chrysanthemum has come into its own. It loves the cool nights and cooler sunny days. 

* * *

Besides enjoying nature, I've been throwing acrylic paints about and loving it. 

Cool Blues
And the brights
I finished this painting in August. They both will t be sealed with Krylon spray varnish.  I'll need to go to the great outdoors for that...ventilation and plenty of it is essential.

The annual autumn leaf pick-up has begun, although there are only a few "pretty" leafs just now. I'm thinking of adding leaves and seeds to my hawthorn berry painting that I painted last year. 

Using Arches watercolour block and Senellier paints for bookmarks.  For the front, I'll use the Jane Davenport paints. Unfortunately the paper for the colour coding is, for me, too slick for proper graduations, but nevertheless, as you can see, her colours are bright, beautiful, and transparent. What a lovely mix!

Laminated bookmarks would be nice, but the machines are expensive, so I'll try self-laminating sheets.  Ooooo. We will see what happens with that. I have visions of being stuck to the sheets. :)
Experimenting with different pens to see what works.

 It's difficult to say this but I know a few readers may have been in the path of the hurricanes, the earthquake, or the wild fires. I do hope you are all safe! Of course, I wish safety for everyone affected, and I do hope people are getting the help and relief that they so desperately need. My heart goes out to everyone.

'Til next time . . .

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