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hunt

In early November, on a mild day, the last few bees are still out. Their search for flowers is harder now, but I’m happy to provide them with a few remaining marigolds that may just have some pollen for them.

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zigzag

I don’t think I have ever bought ric rac, yet it seems to have found a way into my house. You can’t see it, but there are SIX unopened packaged of green in three different sizes.  It looks like I need to find some project which requires generous amounts of the stuff.

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autumn

The leaves are late to change here this year. We are finally getting the brilliant yellows and reds in the maple and dogwood trees. The oak trees  went straight to brown, are furiously shedding their leaves,  and are raining acorns. Sometimes they are helped when a squirrel will drop one down on your head if you linger too long under him.

These are the leaves meant to be walked through. The ones that make the crisp, crackling, satisfying crunch. The ones so thick you can no longer see the ground. You may look up to admire the colors in the other showy trees, but the sturdy oak provides the sound track of autumn.

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dsc_1004

I’m not sure where this week went. It’s been hectic here, but that meant looking through my vacation photos from years gone by was good therapy.

I often lie on the ground and take pictures up through the branches of trees. Sometimes the branches are bare. Sometimes it is the dark green of an evergreen against a brilliant blue sky.  There aren’t any palm trees where I live, so seeing them always means I am somewhere far from home and warm.

This was taken in 2013 in Puerto Rico.

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dsc_0460

I had a hard time with this challenge. Courage is one thing I feel as though I lack. This year has been especially hard, and I’m afraid I put my head in the sand rather than facing things.

In pondering this prompt, I thought about my great grandmother, and my father-in-law. Both faced amazing challenges and uncertainty, and still boarded  boats to make their way to America and created new lives. Not easy lives, at least at first, but they persevered in the face of adversity.

The Wizard of Oz has a character, the Cowardly Lion, who is looking for courage. In the end, he…along with his mates, find they already had what they were seeking all along. May we all discover this.

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C wheel

The Catherine Wheel crochet stitch, for the longest time, eluded me. I don’t know if I had a mental block on it, had psyched myself out over it, or was just looking at oddly-written patterns, but I could not get the hang of it. I asked my crochet instructor to include it in this semester’s syllabus, and she taught it this week.

I ended up ripping out more often that I usually do, and as you can see in the sample swatch, a few wheels do look like they might have hit a large pot hole. Regardless of the errors, I finally feel as though I have an understanding of the construction of the stitch.

While it is amazing to live during a time when there are so many instructions and tutorials available online, sometimes getting some help or guidance from a more experienced crafter in person can’t be beat. Some of the newer crocheters in the class constantly apologize when they ask for help with something. Perhaps that comes with learning a skill as an adult. I don’t think children think twice about asking questions.

What I have found, through my years of trying new things, is that most people are gracious in sharing their crafts and skills. It’s the way these things were passed on for many years before the internet came along. It’s being part of a crafting community.

 

Last summer I rescued this bag of yoyos at a used fabric sale.

yo yos

The price was right

I came across it again when I broke out my scrap fabric bin determined to do some sewing. I cut some pieces. did a seam or two, but was not feeling the love. Still, I was determined to do something with fabric so I pulled out this bag to see what was in there.

Once I finally got a look, I realized these would not be something I could build on. They were all sorts of odd fabrics–polyesters and nylons, a few cottons–and the person who had sewn them did not cinch them as tightly as I like leaving  large holes in the centers. I figured I could still use them for something, and put together this wreath.

Wreath

It is just secured with straight pins for now. Once it comes off the door, I may disassemble it, but it did satisfy my need to make something with fabric, and use something in my stash.

Carpenter bee trap

I’ve had a hard time deciding to make this since carpenter bees are beneficial pollinators, but are also very destructive when it comes to the wooden parts of a house.

When we moved into our house, one of the things we knew we needed to repair was our garage. Almost every board in it has been replaced, there was a point when we used a truck to pull the back wall back to (almost) plumb, and a new roof was installed. In order to get rid of the old lumber, I cut it into smaller pieces and with each cut I found holes. These were big holes, about a half inch in diameter, and they had been made by carpenter bees. Some of the boards resembled Swiss cheese and I was surprised they had any structural integrity left.

Last year, I found the carpenter bee had returned. There were holes in the wood braces over our back door. I plugged them with steel wool and that seemed to prevent them from returning.

Hole

Bee hole plugged with steel wool

Last week we had a warm spell, and the bees were back. I am normally an advocate of outdoor insects, but with all the work we have done, I don’t want these guys to start building housing developments in our house or garage.

I decided to try making a carpenter bee trap. There are several versions of instructions on the internet, but I chose this one since it used a single 4×4 piece of wood rather than building a box.  A hole is drilled up the center, then holes along the side are made at a 45 degree angle. The idea is that after the bees crawl in, the upward angle prevents them from seeing light to get back out, so they move downward and into the glass jar.

We’ll see if it works.

 

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I’ve been working through my yarn stash over the past year, and have gotten it down to a manageable size for storage. I have one bin for unusual yarns and one for more of the everyday type. What I haven’t made much of a dent on is my fabric stash.

Because I’ve been sewing much longer than I have been crocheting, it has had many more years to accumulate. I thought I had gotten it sorted and organized last year.

Over the weekend, we were tearing apart the house looking for a document we needed. It was one of those searches where you look in all the places it should be. Then you look in all of the places you might have tucked it. Then you relook in all the places it should be again. Finally, you go room by room looking in any possible place something could hide. This included opening kitchen cabinets, going through bins of off-season clothes, and searching every drawer and closet in the house.

In the back of the closet in my craft room I saw this large bag. I thought it was a bag of clothes that were slated for donation, but when I pulled it out, it was full of fabric. It took me a moment to remember that a friend had given it to me when she was purging her own fabric stash.

I need to pull it all out and sort it, and then…then I really need to maybe start sewing. Or get another bin.

C2C

Sometimes it is hard to choose between all of the worthwhile charities and organizations that exist. Other times, you have a connection with one, and that makes the choice easier. I have a friend who donated a kidney to her father a few years ago. As a result, she is very involved with the Gift of Life Donor Program which is a local chapter or the national transplant organization. When I saw that they had a program called ‘Wrapped in Hugs‘ where they give out hand knitted or crocheted wraps to donor families, I knew I wanted to participate.

The wraps need to be 30″x 60″, and I have a record of making pieces either way too large, or way too small, so I decided to start a corner-to-corner wrap. This will make it easy for me to judge exactly how wide it will be.  I’m almost to the 30 inch mark, and will be able to start working on the length soon.

The yarn is a variegated worsted-weight acrylic by Caron in the color Peacock. I like the way the blue, purple, and green work together.