Saturday, March 28, 2020

Always a Work In Progress

At the moment, Jackie and I are enjoying A Wrinkle In Time. I read the book a little while ago and truly enjoyed it. I was browsing my options of things to watch as I work on my sweater.

This Is Morag Pullover designed by Elly Doyle. I love the way the cables move. I am currently working on the back which doesn’t have the cable pattern so I can afford to have my mind do a little multi-tasking.

I was quite productive this morning. After I arrived home from work, I started my laundry, (I am in need of more scrubs for work or I’ll end up sporting my pajamas), baked some cookies and did the prep work for lunch.

The cookie recipe, which is my go-to recipe, is super simple!
A box of cake mix, doesn’t matter what kind.
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
3 eggs, though the recipe calls for only 2. I just the added oomph the extra egg adds.
Lastly, add in whatever your heart desires for the extra tastiness!
For this batch, I added mini marshmallows and salted caramel bits.

This particular batch yielded a rough 2 dozen. I say rough because my cookies are never uniform in size.

I’ve done a little bit of painting as well.

These are all watercolours inspired by photos I found on Unsplash.

I think my laundry is just about dry.
I hope you are well and doing the social distancing and self isolation. It’s important! We need to keep the distance to protect the members of our communities.
Be safe, do those projects you’ve been putting off and enjoy the vastness of the Internet! All sorts of worlds to discover without ever having to leave your home!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Just Calm

Today was a video game day.
I booked off last night because I was tired.
I work in a nursing home.
Before the Corona Virus was upon us, we were already short staffed. Now, well. Now it’s getting interesting.
With the epidemic, we can’t train new people. Our residents are of the vulnerable population. So we have to exercise extra caution.
Last night, I took time for me. I haven’t slept very well for quite some time.
Despite all my bravado, I do get quite anxious about the situation. It’s not for me though. It’s s for the people I’m in close contact with on a regular basis. If something happens to them that could be prevented, well, it would be too horrible to imagine.
On the lighter side, I have been enjoying playing Witcher 3 on PS4. Lovely game. It has a great storyline. I love how you can level up the character and find and craft all these different weapons. Also, it has a huge area to explore. I’ve always loved these games. These role playing games. RPGs. Does anyone have other recommendations for games along this similar thread? I would love to hear about them!

Jackie has been a wonderful cheerleader throughout our epic game playing. She always has Mr. Monkey or The Moose close by.

She actually does seem to follow along.

I hope you are all keeping well and most importantly, keeping safe.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Good Morning!

The world is a scary place at the moment. People, trying to avoid fear, uncertainty, start to commit actions just to stay busy. Unfortunately, this only helps the person in motion. We need to just stop for a moment. Breathe. Gather our thoughts and do what is best for our society.
These thoughts of mine were sparked by seeing pictures of people lining up to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. We need only to look to Italy to see how this is going to affect us in the long run. Their country has been devastated by the virus. They have lost countless loved ones because of being unprepared and not following the directions strongly suggested by their medical experts.
To be fair, unless you’ve experienced this sort of virus before, how can you truly understand how to act, behave, protect? At the moment, we are to told to practice social distancing. Some of us are experts in this field. I happen to be one of them. For the rest who are unfamiliar with this sort of practice, remember. It’s not forever. We are doing this to protect our more vulnerable population. These are our older people. Our people with compromised immune system. Folks who are already being ravaged by illness. Remember, we are social distancing ourselves for this little amount of time for the greater good.
We can do this! We can help others. We can do the right thing and reduce our social outings, look after out vulnerable, and be a better community at the end of this all.
Be careful. Be safe. Be smart.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Happy 2020!

It feels very weird to write that number. My brain has a difficult time to process it, which is weird since it's just one number repeated.
I hope you all survived the holidays. If you're reading this, well done. I know for some of you it is not the easiest of times to get through. I struggle a fair bit myself during this time. For me, it's hard to pinpoint exactly why. I feel like a fraud. I paste on my happy smile and go through the motions but inside, I'm not really feeling it. I have moments of actual joy. Those are nice. I try to savour them. Most of the time I can hardly wait for the festive season to be over.

We did erect our Christmas tree.

Note the protective force around the tree.
Jackie was on a mission to take all the presents from around the bottom of the tree and redistribute them to more appropriate locations around the house, like in front of the patio doors to go out to the backyard and the in the shower. I'm sure she had her reasons.

Little Man is not so little anymore. He celebrated his 17th birthday!

Yes. He is counting all the candles. There were 17 on the cake!

I surprised both of us with his Cherry Chocolate Cheesecake.

That was quite the adventure in the kitchen.
Jo helped me out with some of the technical parts.
It's in situations like these, where the differences between us really shine.
I'm more of an, eyeball it, approximate to the best of my ability.
Jo is really, exact measurements, follow instructions to a T.
Either way, it works for us.
I found the recipe here on The First Year blog.
It was a bit tricky. That could just be my lack of experience.
This cake was worth the hardship.
I tried my best to follow the recipe. The only difference was I had frozen cherries on hand.
They did not seem to compromise the taste.

We visited with my parents for New Years. I can't believe I never attempted this before but, I made more of an effort to photograph the regions of Quebec and Ontario from the vehicle as we drove along.
I managed to capture some wonderful images.

While visiting with my parents, we did enjoy the squirrel antics.

This time they were joined by Doves and Blue Jays.

Back at home, we enjoy our feathery daily visitors.
They actually come pretty close to the back patio doors to let me know when their feed is empty.

To get over the winter blues, Jackie and I try to get out as often as possible. The last few weeks however, have been trying. We had a few ice storms and today, lots of snow. that did not stop Jackie from exploring our local nature trail.

It was just us and the ducks today. With all the snow, our walk was incredibly peaceful and calming. We both needed that.

We recently acquired a new family member!
This is Little Man's kitten, Luna!

With all the attention Napoleon pays her, you would think Luna was actually Napoleon's cat.

It always surprised me how maternal Napoleon can be. He was the same when we welcomed Rorschach into the fold. Constantly monitoring their every action. Making sure they go to the litter box. Ensuring they eat and drink properly. He really is quite the marvel in his old age.

Jackie is not really sure what to make of the little one. She is quite hesitant to approach Luna. She does regularly inspect her but, it's not at all how she was like with Rorschach when he was a kitten. We suspect it's because Luna is female.

Finally, I have been knitting.
I completed a pair of Basketwork Socks designed by Mone Drager.

The only modification I made was not to continue the basketwork at the back of the sock. I just found it too tight.

I also just started working on Rainbow Wave Socks, designed by Christina Danaee.

Oooh. That photo came out darker than I intended.
The only modification I am making on this pair is not having a contrasting colour. I just can't seem to locate that particular ball of yarn and I really do not want to tear up the house looking for it! I am actually okay with just the variant sock choice.

I think I covered everything.
If there is a photo that you would like to use as a reference, feel free. Just please, show me how it turns out. I would love to see your efforts!
I hope everything is going well with you.
Happy 2020!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

High Winds, Heavy Rains, Down Trees, Snow

Just another day in Quebec if you will.
Sorry for being so quiet. I haven't been posting consistently in a while.
My most recent adversary was 80-120 Nano-meters long. The dreaded Flu virus.
I have been on and off again, for a week. Almost beating it!
Then I got whammied.

Before I was out for the count, I did have a few adventures.
We managed to celebrate Halloween on the actual Halloween Day!
There were moments of uncertainty for a lot of the surrounding towns.
Many were concerned because of the upcoming inclement weather.
We were due to have heavy rains and very high winds.

Our town soldiered on as planned.
So I decorated as best I could, planning for the worse, hoping for the best!
Creatures were doubly secured, tied down, duct taped and strung in tightly!

I think some of those "decorations" really enjoyed it!

My little minions and I waiting for the first batch of Trick or Treators!

Jackie and I trying to look dignified.

Poor little Rorschach wakes up from his nap wondering what the heck happened to his mother!

He spent the rest of the evening under the love seat and would not come out for love or treat. Not even his favourite person, the Daddy, could coax him out.

It was a very heavy rain that came down. I was surprised to find so many drowned little demons at our door.
Every single one of them however, was in great spirits!

After the festivities died down, the wind picked up. I mean a lot.
All I could think of, is that if the town went along with the surrounding communities and postponed Halloween to the following night, there would have been a lot of airborne princesses and demons flying around out there.

Thinking nothing really of it, we continued on our Friday as normal. We ran our errands.
We never realized until we reached the next town, that we were on rolling black outs.
It was almost like something out of a disaster movie, except more peaceful and calm.
We really noticed at the grocery store.
The lights were dimmed.
There were no background music.
I really loved that part. I had no idea how invasive that sound could be until it was no longer there.
The store employees had placed large sheets of cardboard over the freezer and refrigerated items to try and keep them cool longer.
It was a scavenger hunt trying to find certain products.
The other thing we noticed was the number of Anglophones in the store. English was the only language I was hearing.
I'm trying to figure out how to phrase this next bit, so bare with me.
Since arriving in the Belle Province, there are definitely, different cultures at play. Anglo Quebec and Anglo Ontario are very different.
Franco Quebec and Franco Ontario are also, very different. And of course, all four of these groups are remarkably different from the other.
The Anglos in Quebec I have notice, be they native or import, all do have some things in common not shared with their counterparts, (from my own observation and opinion). Please and Thank you are more commonly heard among Anglos than our French neighbours. I'm not exactly sure why. For me, it is just natural to hold the door open for the next person. Or say thank you, when it's held open for me. I have no problem waiting my turn and will gladly help out someone who is obviously struggling with whatever they've got going on. It's not big deal to me. When I was in Ontario, that was just the way it was. Everyone shared in the same practice. In our beautiful province of Quebec, it's like, they are afraid something will taken from them if they extend a courtesy. It's the best way I can think to describe it. It was just more noticeable that day in the supermarket for me. Everyone was helping the next person find whatever they need. There were issues with the payment methods. No one was freaking out. Everyone was just laid back, waiting their turn, chatting up the event. It was all a really great adventure!
When we spoke with some of our Franco neighbours, it was a completely different story. They were angry, frustrated, and not to be calmed. It was a great injustice. All very negative. That being said, this is not the case for each and every person. Just the ones we interacted with. There is just a noticeable difference among the French and the English.

After our apocalyptic grocery sprint, we arrived home to some more excitement.
As we pulled in the driveway, we noticed a lot of open space in the backyard.
We didn't really think anything at the moment. Just kind of, oh, that seems odd, kind of thing.
We started putting away groceries. Then Jackie needed to go outside.
Then we noticed the difference!
In our backyard, we had nine trees clustered together at the very edge.
They were no longer clustered together.

I'm hoping this last picture helps me explain. After living with these bunch of trees since we purchased this house, we really had no idea what type of tree of it was. We just assumed it was some sort of shallow root farmer tree. Turns out it was a cluster of Silver Maples. The giveaway is the red streaking through the inside. That was not available to the outer bark, so we really had no clue.

Jackie is very annoyed that her favourite hiding place has now been leveled. I believe she suspects we are the culprits.

Here is the other remarkable thing!

You will have to look closely. If you can enlarge it, it may help.
Our tiny little Honey Crisp Apple Tree survived!
Now that is what I call a miracle!
All those nine trees that fell, all missed, just barely mind you, the sturdy little Apple Tree!
Even our neighbour noticed!
If it helps, the Apple tree is wrapped in white plastic sheath to help protect it from animals that like to nibble on newly grown buds and twigs.
Now how on Earth was that managed?
Whatever the reason, we are grateful.

Then the real adventure began!
We had a total power failure for over a day.
Sort of felt like Little House on the Prairie. Some of you may have to go Google that reference.
Go ahead. I'll wait. I'm moving too swiftly at the moment.
On hour 17, Hubs decided to borrow his Mom's generator to pump a bit of heat into the house.
Imagine my surprise when I woke up the next morning to a bunch of electric noises!
I thought wow! Hubs hooked up the genny!
No. Hydro Quebec came through.
It really is nice to have coffee come out of the coffee maker.
That feeling was short lived. We were on rolling black outs for the next day or so.
It was quite the game to try and decide how to cook dinner.
Should we try the oven? Risk being cooked only partway? Or go the sure route and fire up the BBQ?
By the time evening had rolled on, the power was somewhat stable.
I was able to watch my Leafs play. I was very hopeful.
I was not quite sleepy so I thought I'd watch a movie.
Then whoosh!
The lights flashed.
Jackie was not happy.

We decided not to risk it and just go to bed.

Jackie and I also had a few road trips to try and snap a few photos for references.

By all means, if you see an image here you like, feel free to use it as a reference for your own works of art. I figure, you have read until this point, you are due a reward. I only ask, you share an image of your artwork with me, so I can see what my photographs have become. Thank you.
I just love the fall colours. They can be so vibrant or subdued. It just depends on the angles of the sun.

Since hockey is back on, I have embarked on another knitting project.

A little, "Do-It-Yourself" if you will.
The pattern is Cumberland Knit Yoke Sweater.
It is coming along nicely. The sweater is knit from the collar down. The repeats in the yoke feel natural, so the fairisle knits rather quickly.

As you can see, Rorschach finds it delightfully cozy.

And lastly, I have been creative with my pens, pencils and paints as well!
Here are some of my latest!
This was done quickly in pastels. I thought they were Popular trees, but I now know they are Birch trees. I would like to do this again, in my shop in oils when I feel a bit stronger.

This is still sitting on my table. It is a bit abstract and a bit based on a photo I took this summer while walking Jackie. I'm not sure where this is going. We'll find out when we get there.

This is my postcard titled, Sleepy Kitty, that I mailed in for the Twitter Art Exhibit.

This year they are supporting Horry County Disabilities and Special Needs. Each year TAE chooses a different charity to support and in turn, artists of all kinds, I do mean all kinds, donate a postcard to the cause. It's wonderful fun. Give it a go if you can. It costs postage and time. I've contributed the last three years and have no regrets whatsoever. You also do manage to interact with other artists. That was a bonus I never even thought of until last year when I noticed my social media accounts had a lot more artist I was following and being followed by. It's kind of cool!

This is my last little piece of art until that tiny, yet so powerful microbe brought me down.
Little Blue Butterfly. It is done in ink and watercolour.

Just a fun little sketch based on a photo from Unsplash. Now that is a great source of reference material if you are in need. They have everything there you can think of. I do mean everything. Try to think of something really obscure. It will be there. Or a version of it will be.

Now that snow has covered the ground, we have a whole new assortment of feathery neighbours. The cats are delighted. Especially Rorschach. Every time a bird comes near the patio door, he makes these interesting little chirping sounds. I wish I could describe it more effectively. It's sort of like when you roll your tongue, or the R sounds, but with a twirl. He's the only cat I've ever had do that.

Right now I can identify The Northern Cardinal, male, a very bright red and the female a tamer brown with red as well, Blue Jays, The Dark Eyed Junco, who comes super close to the patio door and is therefore a favourite of our resident bird watcher, Rorschach, Chickadees, and or course various Finches and Sparrows. We try to keep our feeders well topped. These birds are quite the favourite for all of us in our home.

Well, I have been upright, surprisingly for quite a while.
The cats have settled down,

I'm quite proud of myself.
This is the longest I've been upright in three days.
I'm going to see if toast stays down.
Hope you are all well.
Share with me please some of your artworks and needle projects.
I'd love to see them.
I'm also on Twitter @Jocelynn13
and on Instagram @jocelynnkershaw
and I'm new to Tumblr @jocelynk