Pages

Friday, July 25, 2014

Into the Tobiatic, Day 1


How silly of me to worry about having time
to spend on my new sewing machine.
Our weather hasn't been the greatest!
This morning, it's 68 degrees and raining.  Oh, darn!
I'll have to stay in and practice my FMQing.



But lookie where I've been
when a stretch of nice weather was in the forecast!
It was my pleasure and delight
(ticks be damned!)
to have had the unique opportunity to do a little wilderness camping
in the SW interior of Cape Breton.
We were rained on a little,
but it was all just part of the adventure.


The Tobiatic Wilderness Area,
protected under the Wilderness Areas Protection Act
and designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve,
 encompasses over 257,000 acres of ultimate beauty.
Included in the Biosphere Reserve is Kejimkujik National Park,
the darker green area on the map,
with an area of 156 square miles.
(So yes, I had to do the math for the Tobiatic.  
257,000 acres equals 401.5 square miles.)



I hardly know where to begin,
or just what to say.
I was totally entranced.

The area is rife with landscapes influenced by glaciation-
outwash plains, eskers, kames, drumlins, and moraine ridges.
the last glacier passing through a mere 10,000 years ago.
These massive boulders, known as erratics, 
are strewn about everywhere,





including in the middle of the lake.

Evidence of inhabitants occupying the area 
date back more than 5000 years.
The Mi'kmaq Indians were present 400 years ago
when the first Europeans appeared.


Perhaps they pulled their canoes up into this very same spot.
Hope they watched out for the frogs!

Pickerel Frog
(Rana palustrus)
Green Frog
(Rana  clamitans melanota)

During our 13 miles of paddling
over two days,
there were little distractions around every bend,



We came across an active beaver's dam.

In the middle of one night, I was awakened by a loud
and mighty slap, splash, 
when a beaver felt threatened by something
lurking in the darkness,
and slapped the water's surface with his might tail
as a warning.
It was quite the awakening!
And even thought I didn't 'see' it,
it was exciting to hear.
Anyway, all along the shore of the lake were areas
showing slides in the mud 
used by the beavers to slip into the water.
So cool.


The Ranger waited patiently while I spent 
what must have seemed like forever


floating among the waterlilies
enraptured by all the dragon- and damselflies.


They don't mind sharing space.

Seeing a bear on an old logging road is one thing,


but being able to observe one REALLY in nature,
foraging along the shore,
was a whole new experience.
One more bear sighting, and I'll be able to declare 2014
as The Year of the Bear!

But at the moment,
it's The Day of FMQ,
so off to my new machine I go.

Have a great day
in your little corner of the world.
xo,
karen


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Housewarming Giftie


I was so excited to receive


that, as soon as I downloaded it, I couldn't resist making one.

I didn't even stop what I was doing!
I just dug out my 1-1/2" strip bag,
dumped it onto the floor,
chose and cut my strips to length,
and fed the project right in with the block I was already chain piecing.
In no time at all, I had a finished block, 
and an almost finished house!

The possibilities are endless.
They scream to be fun and fanciful,
but my friend is a serious, no-nonsense gal,
from the prairies of western Canada,
who just bought a house overlooking the harbor.



So, I made her a fun, no-nonsense Housewarming Giftie!
The back is a pocket, perfect for tucking a card.

This, despite the distractions outside my sliding glass door.

Female Hairy Woodpecker-check out that tongue!

I also couldn't resist Stephanie's Prairie Tote any longer,


and it's next up at my sewing machine!
I'm auditioning fabrics now.
I love Stephanie's patterns and have purchased and made
so many of her 'creations' over the years,
that she has her own notebook on my crafts bookshelf!



A big thank you to Stephanie for keeping them coming!!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Crossing the Line


Time for a new post, eh?
(That's Canada speak!)

The good news is that summer has finally decided
to make an appearance.
Whew!!


The bad news is that the weather decided to change 
just when I picked up my new....


...Janome Horizon 8200!!


It's kind of difficult to stay indoors to play
when opportunities like this beg to be taken advantage of!

But I spent a few minutes each evening
getting my new machine set up and ready to go.
Now I'm practicing my FMQing so I can start my first quilt.
It'll be a small one!

I'm finding that I do great when I'm just working
on a simple sandwich,
but when I try to quilt something pieced,
my FMQ foot bogs down at the seam allowances,
making for some pretty jerky movements.
Aren't I supposed to be able to 'cross the line'?
I'll figure it out sooner or later.
Update:  A screw on the FMQ foot itself?
Who knew?

I always keep a project on the work table
so I can pass by, sit for a minute, and take a stitch or two.
Here are a couple of For Pink's Sake blocks
I constructed,


compliments of 

The Crafty Quilter

Between paddling and working in the yard,
it took me four days to put them together,
but they were so worth the wait!!
I love them and
I look forward to making them in a different color.

Four more owl pillows
sit patiently upon the craft counter


waiting to be stuffed.
Once completed, that makes 7.
Only 5 more to go.


This Mourning Cloak
(Nymphalis antiopa)
has been keeping me company most mornings
while I enjoy my coffee in the early morning sun,
contemplating my day's activities.
It's so rich and velvety looking.

I hope you are enjoying some rich and velvety
summer days!
~karen


Saturday, June 21, 2014

For Pink's Sake


I became aware of this project
when visiting
this morning.


Another great blog hop,
this one in support of Breast Cancer Awareness.
This is something we've all been effected by
one way or another.

I just happen to have an extra pink block
to donate to the cause.


and will be slipping it into the mail
when Monday rolls around.
(There are no mail services in Nova Scotia on Saturdays)

Any block 4" or larger would be greatly appreciated.
Mine is 8.5" unfinished.
I think I'll include a couple of strips of pink
in case she wants to make it bigger
by adding a border.

Read more about how you can donate HERE!

I haven't been doing very much sewing,
but did start a summer long service project of my own.


One day a week, I am going to work on Owlivia pillows -
no pressure, no stress.
My goal is to complete a dozen pillows
before I migrate South in the fall,
then donate them to our local RCMP Hdqtrs.
so they will have something in their patrol cars
when a call involves a child or two.
Here are my first 3.

My "to go" project has gotten too big
to go, so the few evenings I sit with a movie,
I've been working on this afghan.


Here's my neat little pile that sits at the foot of the couch.


This is for my friend, The Ranger, who DOESN'T 
migrate south for the winter months.
I couldn't find any coordinating yarn that pleased me,
so just went with brown.
I think it turned out okay.

Lastly, here is a UFO that I've committed to finish.


I'm trying very hard not to start anything new.

Hope you have a nice weekend!
Send me some sunshine, please.
~karen



Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Bear-y Good Day

 
Whenever there is a break in the weather,
we try to go somewhere for a hike
or a paddle.
 
A few days ago, we headed to a mature hardwood forest.
As soon as I got out of the truck,
 I heard the ethereal song of a hermit thrush.
 
 
I remember the very first time I ever heard one sing.
It was so beautiful,
it stopped me dead in my tracks.
 
Have a listen!
 


 
 
   I had always been a backyard birder,
 but this was the defining moment
that turned me into a
birder-at-large!
 
As we were driving into this forested area,
The Ranger was telling me how,
the last time he was there, he saw a bear.
As he was relating his story to me,
I was watching along the edge of the forest,
looking for birds, of course,
and thought I could see the outline of a bear.
But the trees were so thick, I was sure my eyes
were just playing tricks on me.
 
He parked the truck a few minutes later,
and when we looked up,
what do you think we saw?
 
First one stepped out of the forest's edge, then another....
 
Black Bear
 
....not 75-100 yards in front of us.
Pictured here is the second one, a bit larger than the first.
Probably the mom; the other, perhaps, a two year old.
 
She did turn and face us,
but by the time I felt confident enough to quietly open the truck door
without scaring her off so I could step out to take a clear picture,
she was already ambling away, unconcerned.
 
My other photos, taken through the windshield,
didn't come out very clearly.
 
So, off we went, into the forest.
And exactly where I thought I saw the bear through the trees,
was sign that they had,
indeed,
just been there...
 
 

...foraging for a tasty treat.
Grubs, most likely.
 
We spend a lot of time in the forests all around Nova Scotia,
and this is a first for me!!
 
We also came across a lovely beaver dam.
 
 
The water level was right up to the top!
It was easily 3 or 4 feet high.
 
Birdsong filled the air and
spring flowers littered the forest floor,
with the promise of more to come.
 
It was, indeed, a bear-y good day in the forest.
 
Hope you've had the opportunity
to get out and enjoy a little of
Mother Nature's blessings!
~karen
 
 
 

 
 
 
 


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Ten Reasons Why

 
Pictured here are ten of the reasons why
I've returned to Nova Scotia, Canada
for my 12th summer in a row.
 
Camping at Dover, NS after a long paddle

Relaxing on my front deck - back when
I had short hair.

Getting ready to paddle
with Little Sister at Gabarus, CB
 
A bird's eye view at Gabarus, CB
 
Pileated Woodpecker tree - my favorite

Looking out over Margaree Valley, CB

Black Brook Falls, a rain forest in Cape Breton!

Primordial Forest in Guysborough County, NS
This tree is so big, you can barely see me nestled into the bottom!

Stopping for lunch in the bog at Baleine, CB

An oil painting version of me at a stop-over
in Bras d'Or Lake, CB.
It's kind of cool!  I like it!
Bras d'Or Lake practically divides CB in half,
it's so big.






It was difficult to narrow it down to just ten! 
Cape Breton is a great place to be,
despite the man-made threats to the environment,
fueled by greed,
that grow in number every day,
just like every place else in the world.
 
(This is for you, Kathie!)
 
Thanks for stopping by today!
~Karen
 




Friday, May 30, 2014

Finally Spring!

 
I must have done something right in a previous life,
because despite working very hard to mess this one up,
I am a lucky girl in so many ways.
 
Take spring, for instance.
I get to welcome spring to S. Texas,
 
Texas Bluebonnets
 
then to Massachusetts,

Marsh-marigold
 
next in Maine,


Leatherleaf
 
and FINALLY, Siberia Cape Breton,

May 29th, 2014
Cape Breton interior

where I thought spring would
never show it's pretty face.

Spring-Beauties, first of the forest flowers

 
But there you have it!
Not many ephemeral flowers were in bloom
in the Cape Breton woods,
maybe in another week.
It's been a longgggggg winter.
 
Haven't cranked up the sewing machine, yet,
but it has been professionally serviced,
and is raring to go!
 
First up is to finish this very old UFO.
 
 
About 4 or 5 or 6 years ago,
when the Disappearing 9-patch became popular,
I thought to increase the size of the squares to 6.5"
so I could include these Colorado Blocks in the mix.
It's a wedding gift for my niece,
who's ONLY been married almost that long!!
I think she's waited long enough for her quilt.
 
However,
I foolishly thought it was time to strip, sand, and paint
the bathroom cabinets.
I'm SO sorry I started THAT project!
But, it comes first, because I know me....
....as soon as I fire up that machine,
all I'll want to do is.....
SEW!
 
Hope you are looking forward to
a wonderful weekend!
xo,
karen