Thursday, December 31, 2015

Out with the Old, In with the "New"

Back in 2005, I joined the cell phone generation, having bought a flip phone to take on a trip to Saskatchewan and Alberta. Our kids wanted us to have a phone, so they could contact us on our trip, without having to figure out where we were each day.

The trip was fabulous, we saw family, and mountains, and a salt lake in the middle of Saskatchewan (who knew). The phone proved its worth and it has been my companion ever since.

In the last ten years, I have become very adept at sending text messages composed using only the 9 keys with letters on the phone. We eventually got a phone for my husband, and humorously, he never managed to get the knack of sending texts from the telephone key pad.

Friends of ours recently discovered that we didn't have smart phones, not because we were opposed to them in principle, but because we have a "if it's not broke, don't replace it" philosophy. So, a couple of weeks ago, they gave us some new-to-us smart phones. Welcome to 2012!

Note that I immediately set my wallpaper to a kitten!

We had a blizzard this week, so I happily spent the cold, blowy, snowy day playing in my sewing room, making cases for the phones.

I pulled some fabric from my scraps, measured the phones, and made a couple of slip cases. Even the batting was scraps.

This is the last piece of this fabric I have. Just enough to make the case. I would have liked some Laurel Burch fabric for the binding, too, but I don't seem to have any left. Of course, I will have to make a new purse, to go with it.

Doesn't that just scream "My wife is a quilter, and she wanted to make sure I never lost this."?

Now, all we have to do is remember to take them with us!

I was going to take the pictures, last night but my photo assistant didn't like the lighting.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Day After the Day After Christmas

Things are quiet around here today. Doug keeps hoping that a delivery truck will arrive with another parcel. We tell him there won't be any more, but he is still hopeful. The frig is full of leftovers. No meal planning required, today.  It snowed last night, and there is more on the way. It is a good day to do nothing.

A few pictures of what it looks like, today.

I bought my nativity set for our first house, many years ago. I found it at a craft fair. Over the years, a few animals have joined the scene. If you look closely, you will see 2 extra sheep, a bear and an elephant. I was thinking I need to add a sheep dog and a cat. I just need to find a couple on the right scale.

These guys share the shelf with the nativity. Three of them are electronic and sing and dance. One even has flashing lights. They were gifts from my kids, when they were younger and more full of wonder. They say something about how mature my children think I am.

I was sitting looking at the angel, this morning. I think maybe she had too much sherry, last night. As the mother of two boys, I wanted a very "girlie" tree topper, so she came home from the post Christmas clearances one year. The boys all approved.

I think the kittens may have OD'ed on turkey. I love the feet up in the air.

Meanwhile, I like to call this my "Catmas Cookie".

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Quilts of Christmas Past

Heather, at Books and Quilts, invited me to attend her Virtual Christmas Party.

So I poured myself a cup of coffee.

Of course, there is a cat on my mug!

I put on a party manicure.

It looks a bit better on my left hand, since I am right handed.

I decided to show you some Christmas Quilts I have made. I realize that I haven't actually show these on the blog before.

Under Cupcake is the Glad Tidings Nativity Quilt, by Nancy Halvorsen, of Art to Heart. One of my first quilted creations, you don't need to see any more of it!

This is "Road to Bethlehem" by Dilys Fronks. The pattern was in a Quiltmaker magazine, and as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to do it.

Of course, my home needs this one. It is called Waiting for Santa, and is also by Dilys Fronks.

I have the materials to make a third one of these, but I haven't managed to get it together, yet.

Because this comes from my house, to yours, you need to see my tree.

The tree is decorated with plastic balls and stuffed toys, because this is what happens. See the feet at the bottom. This isn't this year's cats, they haven't been caught yet.

Hope you enjoyed my bit of Christmas. From all of us at Arts and Socks, Merry Christmas.

Thanks for hosting, Heather. Cheryl, pass the cookies!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Ready or Not!

I tried to keep the number of things I wanted to get done before Christmas to a doable amount, but life has a way of messing that up.

Social commitments, while enjoyable, cut into crafting time. I also had friends who needed help and I found myself unable to say no. Add to that the normal activities of the week, and I am fast running out of time.

The socks are finished!

It is amazing how much longer it takes to knit a pair of men's socks, then it does to knit a ladies' pair. However, I like how they turned out, and they need to get into the mail yesterday.

I got some baking done, though not as much as I had hoped.

Fruitcake hermit cookies, my own spin on a Canadian Living recipe.

Grand Marnier Pound Cake, a recipe from the early eighties. It needs to age for about a week, so it is right on time.

And my wreck of a dining room table.

That is my advent calendar, a gift from my kids. Lindt chocolate, they know me! The Advent candles, only one more to go! The rest of the table is covered with gifts, waiting to be wrapped. The dining room is the only place safe from kittens, since they haven't figured out how to get the doors open, yet.

I plan to bake more cookies, tonight, as well as make something for tomorrow's pot luck. Not sure what I am making yet.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


I am hoping this year that I have set myself manageable amounts of sewing and knitting for Christmas presents. No guarantees, though, because I tend to add things as Christmas gets closer.

I have a finish from last week, that I want to show. One of the most flattering things a quilter can hear is when another quilter friend asks if you will make her something. I was asked this awhile ago, and I figured she was kidding. My friend is an excellent quilter, why would she want one of my bags? She asked again, recently, so I decided to make it for her birthday.

She was asking for a tablet case. I make them free form, using scraps, stitching and flipping, without a particular plan. Occasionally, I have to remove a strip, because it isn't working. I have fun, using up bits and pieces that tend to accumulate in my sewing room.

Lots of cat fabrics, and other odds and ends (like dogs wearing shoes).

Today, I finished the pillowcases, that I started at my quilt retreat. I find pillowcases make great gift bags, and nobody needs to store them until next Christmas. Just put them on a pillow and use them.  I also used up 6 metres of fabric from my stash!

Not a great picture, it is a really dull day. However, there are six cases, all ready to wrap presents. I use a method similar to the one found here.

I finished the first sock and started on the second sock.
These will be the younger, bigger siblings of the ones I made for myself. The black foot sort of tones down the striped yarn. Since these socks need to travel to their new owner, the push is on to get them finished.

I have a couple more little things, and some baking. No need to panic, yet.

Linking to the Needle and Thread Network WIP Wednesday.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Finally Friday

It has been one of those weeks, where I get to glance at my sewing machine, as I rush past to appointments, and other commitments.  I am convinced I spent more time in my car this week than I did in the whole month of November.

However, I managed to keep up with my advent scarf.

I think it is going to be gorgeous.

My morning smile. The kittens had gone for their after breakfast nap.

Bunk Beds!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Advent is the season of the church, beginning the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Advent is a time of waiting, and time of preparation. Of course, for the artist and crafter, it is a time to make things like mad!

I completed an Advent Calendar for my local grandcat. I made one for my Maritime grandkitties, a couple of years ago.
Same panel!

I love the fabric I found for the back.
It was lounging in my stash, just waiting for this project, I think.  I have some LED lights I plan to add to this calendar, since it is going to the wired household.

Last year, I discovered a wonderful Advent scarf project on Ravelry. A few rows are posted every day, and at the end of the 24 days, you have a lovely lace scarf. My Ravelry project page is here.

The pattern writer is in Germany, so with the difference in time zones, I got to download the first clue last night. 
I am making this scarf for me! Note the lovely purple yarn. It will look great with my grey ski jacket and purple gloves.
If you want to join the fun, the pattern is here.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanks for the Suggestion

I knit in public all the time. I am not good at waiting, so taking my knitting with me helps keep me calm and makes the time pass. I have knit the foot of a sock, in a doctors waiting room, while others are ready to start a riot, because the doctor is running so late. I knit at meetings, because it helps me censor my thoughts, before they come out of my mouth. I knit when I am a passenger in a car, train, plane. I knit at parties, which oddly makes me more interesting.  Afterwards I have something beautiful and useful to give away or keep for myself.

Because I knit, people think that I must have a lot of spare time. Obviously, if I have time to knit, I don't have any other life. Never mind that we are all together doing the same waiting, but because I am doing something useful with my wait, I need more things to do.

So, they make suggestions. Did I see that article in the paper, where the group needs neck warmers for giraffes? I should make some of those, because I can knit, and the speaker is really into helping giraffes. They don't plan to do anything themselves except point out to me that this is something that would make them feel better.

Alternately, they ask if I will make one of the item I am knitting for them. They say they will pay me. I tell them they can't afford it. Even knitting in waiting rooms and the like, it still takes about 3 weeks to make a pair of socks. Yarn is expensive, so is my time.

I am not a selfish knitter. I regularly knit for causes that is important to me.

I seem to be on a charity hat kick, this year.

I also make gifts for Christmas, birthdays, new babies, etc. I think I have project plans for many months ahead.

I am glad that you would like to support a cause. If you would like to learn to knit, so you can make that neckwarmer, I am happy to help.

However, I get to decide how I will use my time, and my other resources. I really don't need any suggestions from strangers.
BTW if knitting neckwarmers for giraffes is a real thing, I hope I didn't offend the giraffes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


With Christmas just a month away, I have had a week of starts.

I pieced together some fabric scraps, as the start to a bag. I will cut the bag out next.

I started a sock (but the lighting wasn't good).

I started a hat.

The youth minister at church asked me to hem this tree skirt for the Sunday School tree.

I bought more hardware for wristlet bags.

Now the question is, can I get it all done in a month? We will have to see.

I am told there hasn't been a kitten update, lately. If you aren't a cat fan, you can stop here.

Angus is helping himself to a can of cat food. I guess he wasn't fond of the kind that was already down. I will worry if he figures out how to get the can open.

Fergus, just chilling.

Hamish and Angus, discussing whose turn it is to play in the box.

They are so much bigger then when they arrived. I expect they are going to make some families very happy this Christmas. They will be leaving me, soon.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


On Monday, at my quilting group, the other ladies were playing the "What is It?" game, with my knitting project.

I think it should be obvious.

Yoga socks, made for a special friend.

For the last couple of years, a group of friends have gotten together to practice yoga, on Wednesday afternoon. In the summer, we meet in the park, and in the winter, in the community room of a local housing co-op. Our leader, Lucy, is leaving us, to move to a new community. So, I made her socks, with my warm wishes knit in.

In yoga, the heel and ball of the foot need to contact the mat, for stability. So the socks warm the ankles and the arches. I make them in a lace pattern, so it can accomodate most ankles and feet. The yarn is a fancy, antimicrobial fiber, mixed with cotton and wool.

And I polished my nails, in a suitable colour, for the "photo shoot".

Since I am a bag lady, the socks will be wrapped in a brick bag, that I made in the summer. I realized, when I opened it, that the lining matches the socks. It will look like I planned it!

The card has a picture, drawn by my friend Cheryl. She gave me permission to use it on the card.

Namaste, Lucy. Go in Peace.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Animals in War

As you may be aware, here at Arts and Socks, animals play an important roll. Over the years there have been 156 foster cats and 4 of our own dogs, leaving their paw prints on our hearts.

This morning, we were watching the Remembrance Day Ceremony from the National War Memorial, and Dolly asked if there was a war memorial for the animals.

So, we checked with Google and found out that there is not one, but two National Memorials to animals that served in war.

The first is in the Peace Tower in the Parliament Buildings.

It is a tympanum. In architecture, a tympanum  is the semi-circular or triangular decorative wall surface over an entrance, bounded by a lintel and arch. It often contains sculpture or other imagery or ornaments.

This one is over the door to the Memorial Chamber, where the Books of Remembrance are kept.
More information can be found here.

The other is in Confederation Park, near the National War Memorial.

More information about it is here.

We also found out about the Dickin Medal.

It has been given 65 times, since 1943, for outstanding acts of bravery or devotion by animals while serving in military conflict. It has been awarded to 32 pigeons, 29 dogs, 3 horses and 1 cat. As well, in 2014, an honourary Dickin Medal was given to Warrior, a Canadian horse, representing all the animals who served in World War I. Warrior was the horse in the play and movie "War Horse".

Dolly says she is glad that she could remember the animals. Perhaps we will go visit the Memorial in Confederation Park. She would like that. I think I would, too.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Because Boring Socks Are Not An Option

Winter around here is about 4 months too long. Since we have snow from November to April, usually, winter wears out its welcome in about mid-January. The best way to cope, I think, is bright accessories.

These are my new boot socks.

The yarn is by TurtlePurl, in New Brunswick, and the colourway is Angry Birds. I knit them in a sort of spiral rib, K6 YO K2Tog. It makes an interesting pattern in the striped yarn.

The socks are suppose to be identical twins, because of the way the yarn is dyed. They look pretty good.

However, I forgot to take notes, when making the first sock and I seem to be off by about one round.

Which ends up as 3 rounds at the tip of the sock. Whoops.

They are lovely warm socks (despite the eyelets). I took the pictures and then had to take them off.  On this lovely fall day, they got too warm within 5 minutes of putting them on.

I think I have enough yarn left over to make another pair, by adding some solid black yarn.