In The Midst Of Winter

In The Midst Of Winter is actually the title of a recent book by Isabel Allende, but it’s apropos for today – snowing quite heavily right now, has been snowing all day. Expected to turn to rain during the night – the roads tomorrow will be horrendous, I’m sure. And I just checked – I have nothing on my calendar for the day so I can stay home and work on the quilt.

“In The Midst Of Winter”

18 blocks embroidered/quilted yesterday, 25 completed this afternoon. That leaves 20 for tomorrow. Then I will need to stitch the narrow border and embroider the wide border – who knows, I might get all of that done by afternoon.

I tested a number of decorative stitches for the narrow border – I’ve decided to use # 8.4.29 on my Pfaff Creative Icon – modified to 20mm width, 55mm length – that should complement the overall embroidery design – because the narrow border is pale I think I will use a variegated light grey thread (Aurifil 4060) which won’t show much. The pink variegated thread I’m using for the quilting would stand out too obviously.

Stitch for Narrow Border

Yesterday, I dropped into one of my local sewing/quilting shops. At the counter there was a clay magnetic tool holder in the shape of a flower – I thought about buying one, but I knew I had a number of rare earth magnets on my fridge at home so I decided to see what I could create.

Wearable Magnetic Tool Holder

Wearable Magnetic Tool Holder – II

When I’m quilting I use three tools – small scissors, fine tweezers, and a self-threading needle (for burying thread ends at the start and finish of each embroidery). While I’ve always kept them close at hand on the sewing table – actually having them on my person means not having to look/feel for them at beside the machine. I’ve been wearing my improvised tool holder today while I worked – definitely useful. The holder isn’t large, but an adequate size and strong enough to hold my tweezers and small scissors. The padding allows me to store the needle while I’m working so I don’t have to hunt for it among the other stuff beside the machine!

Construction: I started by cutting out a 6″ square of fabric and batting, a circle from the lid of a plastic kitchen container. I taped one rare-earth magnet to one side of the plastic disc, then cut the fabric out in a circle (3/4″ larger than the plastic disc), stitched a running thread around the edge, pulled it taught and finished off with another smaller covering circle tacked over the back of the padded one. Then I embedded the second magnet between two pieces of clear plastic, taped it in place, cut out a circle of fabric and stitched the edge together. The second magnet is slipped under whatever I’m wearing to connect with the magnet on the larger, padded disc which gets worn on the outside.

So back to work on the quilt tomorrow.

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Peggy’s Cove

Went to Peggy’s Cove a couple of days ago with a friend visiting from BC. It’s been a while since I’ve been there and couldn’t get over how built up the Prospect Road to the cove has become.

Peggy’s Lighthouse

We ventured out onto the rocks. It was a calm day, but we were still cautious and stayed back from the edge – the ocean there is very unpredictable and hazardous so although it appeared calm large waves can arrive unexpectedly.

Couldn’t resist taking another classic photo of the lighthouse – what you see on the horizon is the St.Margaret’s Bay shore along the Aspotogan Peninsula.

The Terrain Around Peggy’s

The terrain around Peggy’s Cove is abruptly different as you approach the cove. The land here was scoured bare by glaciers and granite erratics are everywhere left by the receding ice. All that manages to grow here, even after 12,000 years, are creeping and low bush shrubs.

The Swiss Air Memorial

One half of the Swiss Air Flight 111 Memorial is located just outside of the cove. The second half is located in Bayswater on the other side of the bay. The sighting lines cut into the standing rock on each site triangulates the actual point of the crash. The site is peaceful and yet disturbing. I feel it every time I stop there and look through the cuts in the rock.

Signting The Precise Location Of The Crash

The point on the horizon visible through the cuts is the actual location of the crash. It’s impossible not to think about the victims of the disaster when you’re standing there.

It really was a lovely day. The tourist season hasn’t yet begun so there were very few people around. We shared a lobster roll for lunch at the Sou’wester – noticed a woman nearby enjoying the classic gingerbread with ice-cream.

The Truth About Spring in Nova Scotia

I’ve heard nothing but griping about winter for the past week. I’m not among the gripers. That’s because I’ve been keeping records for 30+ years on the first appearance of Forsythia and Coltsfoot in Halifax.

We’re still in the grips of winter – two snow storms in the past ten days. Strong winds, freezing rain. I understand that the time has changed and the calendar has passed March 21 but guess what — we can expect at least another month of “winter” here!

First Coltsfoot – April 27 2016

When I started keeping track more than 30 years ago, the first Forsythia – those bright yellow shrub flowers, the first we see in spring in Halifax didn’t show up until close to the 20 of May – the earliest I recorded Forsythia up to 1992 was May 16. From 1997 to last year that date slowly shifted – from May 12 to around May 2. In 2015 I recorded some Coltsfoot and Forsythia on May 2. Last year I actually saw some Coltsfoot and Forsythia on April 27. That’s still a month to go.

First Dandelions – May 31 2016

We can’t expect to see Dandelions in bloom until around May 24 in Nova Scotia.

So there’s no point in griping – enjoy what sunshine we’re getting. Be sure to put on a warm jacket. The calendar may say “spring” but Spring won’t arrive in Nova Scotia until the very END of April – even with the changing climate.

In Mourning…

All day I’ve been feeling like someone close to me has died. It started, of course, around midnight last night when it was becoming obvious Trump would likely win the election. I went to bed, fell asleep actually, but woke around 3:00 am to go to the bathroom and on my way back to bed I took a look at 538.com on my phone and although Trump hadn’t quite got all the electoral college votes he needed he was almost there, with Clinton having no chance. I couldn’t fall asleep so I watched a movie on Netflix until 5:00 am dozed off and got up about 8:00 this morning (having made sure I wouldn’t hear the 8:00 am news with Trump making his acceptance speech) feeling such a sense of loss.

I’m Canadian – I didn’t, couldn’t, vote in the election but that didn’t mean I didn’t have a personal stake in it. Like everyone else around the world I will be personally affected by decisions this president-elect will make and there is no reason to believe he will make a 180° turn now.

David Remnick said what I was feeling and fearing:

All along, Trump seemed like a twisted caricature of every rotten reflex of the radical right. That he has prevailed, that he has won this election, is a crushing blow to the spirit; it is an event that will likely cast the country into a period of economic, political, and social uncertainty that we cannot yet imagine. That the electorate has, in its plurality, decided to live in Trump’s world of vanity, hate, arrogance, untruth, and recklessness, his disdain for democratic norms, is a fact that will lead, inevitably, to all manner of national decline and suffering.

Thomas Friedman was also direct:

Donald Trump cannot be a winner unless he undergoes a radical change in personality and politics and becomes everything he was not in this campaign. He has to become a healer instead of a divider; a compulsive truth-teller rather than a compulsive liar; someone ready to study problems and make decisions based on evidence, not someone who just shoots from the hip; someone who tells people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear; and someone who appreciates that an interdependent world can thrive only on win-win relationships, not zero-sum ones.

I can only hope that he does. Because if he doesn’t, all of you who voted for him — overlooking all of his obvious flaws — because you wanted radical, disruptive change, well, you’re going to get it.

And I just got an email from a Canadian friend who got the following from a Canadian friend of hers:

This morning I feel like the  loss you feel after losing a family member in an horrific accident.   I guess we have.  Careful reflection will be needed in the grieving process to be sure it is not instead a fatal epidemic. 

Feel free to pass on the message and to join me in this time honored expression of grief. 

Jane

jane

So I’m passing on her message and while I may not wear a black armband I’m certainly feeling the loss.

Replacing Zipper Pulls…

I told you about making zippers for the small wallet using the “make-a-zipper” tape. I described running out of zipper pulls and improvising with the pulls from the old, original wallet.

Well, I ordered some more make-a-zipper tape (5 1/2″ yds with 12 pulls – nowhere near enough pulls) and some extra pulls from Nancy’s Notions. The stuff arrived today, so I opened the bag of pulls and realized I had no idea how to get them on the tape!

I googled “attaching zipper pulls to a zipper tape” and found a wonderful source: “The Zipper Lady“. She sells zippers and has a collection of videos about all kinds of zipper related issues, among them replacing the pull. Her instructions are very clear, and they worked – I was able to add a bunch of pulls to my zipper tape (the navy ones) without a lot of fuss.

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The secret is to put the zipper pull on from the front end, after opening the end of the zipper tape, cutting one side about 1/2″ shorter (the right side if you’re right handed, the left side if you’re left handed – who knew!), feeding the front of the zipper onto the longer tape until it’s about 1/2″ from the end, then feeding the shorter end into the pull until you hear a click (and meet resistance). Now the secret is to fold the two tapes back and hold in one hand then wiggle the pull until it closes the zipper – it really works easily.

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Now I need to order a bunch of assorted pulls from her so I can use the leftover tape I have – it’s great on all size bags. Oh, and by the way I do believe this size zipper is a standard #3 coil! Her best video is this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZ8srHfJ-aM. Watch it!