Sunday, January 31, 2016

January's Last Day

Although Winter is long from over, it certainly feels like it is today.  After several weeks of bitter cold with on-and-off snow, today is a warm and breezy 60 degrees F. Nice enough to trim down some dead branches from the pine trees and free up some grape vines.  I am filling the birdfeeders, refreshing the suet blocks and heated water bowls...all those lovely little outdoor projects that I dread when it's below freezing.  I know the wildlife appreciate my effort.  A few new "visitor" cats have been spotted around the neighborhood. I just can't bring myself to label them as stray or feral.  The are visiting me and I will show them the kindness and hospitality they deserve.  These two striped boys have been down at the neighbors house recently


  I know I've seen these same cats (or similar ones) around my yard too.  The black and white boy who's been named Oreo has allowed me to pet him!  I know the little girl across the street cares for him and feeds him.  So do several other neighbors.  He lives in the barn that used to belong to the former owners of my house.  When the land was all divided up in the 1970s the barn is now part of the across-the-street neighbors property.  Oreo still makes his weekly visit to my house for a little petting but I refrain from giving him treats or food. Not to be cruel, but to encourage him to NOT cross the street.

On the stitching/crafting/sewing there has been limited action.  I am very into felt crafts lately, especially little sweets in the Japanese style.  Not that the sweets themselves are necessarily all Japanese, but it seems that most of the good books and patterns published on this topic are from Japan. I made this cake from a papier mache bax for my mother's 81st Birthday.  It is covered with little Andes mint candies, her favorite flavor.

My sewing addiction involves fashion doll clothes based on the outfits seen on "Downton Abbey"  As the show progresses through it's final season circa 1925/26, my style favorites still linger in the very early 20s.  Here is a collection that Lady Mary or Lady Edith might wear.

My lovely cats continue to be my loyal companions.  We miss our walks outside in the field, but everyone has found an indoor occupation to keep them busy  Simon has inherited a little play mat from the neighbor cat, Houdini.
 It makes a crunchy sound and has feathers attached to the corners.  Mel has discovered that the space heater under the sink has added benefits besides keeping the pipes from freezing.
The last two weekends have been totally taken up by gymnastics competitions of marathon proportion.  Looking forward to the next two weekends of peaceful pursuits and enjoying the paycheck well-earned from the past weeks. Many good results for my girls this season on all levels.
I've prematurely invested a bit of my money in a stash of sock yarn.  Knit Picks "Stroll" sock yarn was 20% off for the entire month of January.  I bought quite a bit and started my first more complex sock.  Most of my socks are of the "vanilla" variety...which I have learned in the vocabulary of trendy sock knitters means PLAIN!  So I upgraded myself to a basic basket weave pattern of knit 4, purl 4 for 4 rows and then the reverse for the next 4 rows.  I am pretty pleased with my results in this Hawthorne yarn called "Nob Hill".
Looking forward to catching up on all the PBS shows I've missed. Of course I can never get enough "Downton Abbey" and watch the re-runs over and over.  The new Civil War drama  "Mercy Street" is pretty good too.  PBS has been running last season of "Mr. Selfridge" so I hope this is leading towards a Season 4 very soon.

Happy February!