Spare Time Crafting Stories – Knitting

My mom was a knitter. She knit in her spare time – but she could knit in ‘unspare’ time too. By that, I mean she was a multitasker long before that term became popular. She could knit and watch TV. She could knit and enjoy the scenery on long road trips. She could knit and have conversations with friends. She probably could have knit and played bridge if Dad had built some sort of card holder for her.

green wool

My children are knitters too. Eldest daughter likes to knit in her spare time. Wander over to her blog, The Good Life List and you will see a photo of this lovely project when it was finished.

pink wool

Middle daughter likes to knit too. She takes her knitting on road trips (like her grandma). Last I heard she couldn’t multitask – she has to watch the progress of each and every stitch very carefully. If she doesn’t, she ‘drops stitches’ which is a knitters term that means a stitch got lost about 6 rows ago.

dog scarf

Youngest daughter knits, though I don’t think she has as much passion for that as she does for making lampwork glass beads (Beadlejuice Beads). The dog is a good model for knitted scarves, but not so good for glass bead necklaces and bracelets.

pantyhose craft
Me? If the love of knitting is passed down from generation to generation, it skipped mine. I don’t remember my mom even trying to teach me to knit. That task, which must have been an incredible challenge, was given to a no nonsense family friend, Norrie. Norrie tried to teach me European knitting and how to make Scottish Shortbread Cakes.

To Norrie’s and my credit, I did knit several sweaters. Bob, in the photo above, is wearing the first one I ever completed. I made it for The Car Guy while we were still dating. Bob has had the sweater on for just over an hour now, and that is the longest it has ever been worn. Enough said.

purple wool needles

knitting http://www.savagechickens.com/Over the years I did knit a few other things, but I can’t claim to enjoy it much. I like to buy wool, though. Sometimes I roll it into balls. Sometimes I even find a pattern and some needles. I might even think about knitting, but that is as far as I usually get!

Have you ever tried knitting? What do you like to do in your spare time?

This week’s WordPress.com photo Challenge is Spare.

Wishing for Weather – I Said Rain – not Snow!

Towards the end of our stay in Arizona, I saw a TV commercial that made me long for a rainy day. An off road vehicle was driving up a winding mountain road. A light rain was falling. I remembered how fresh the air could feel and how wonderful the forest could smell after a rain!  In contrast, Phoenix Arizona was dry desert heat that could possibly fry an egg on the hood of the neighbour’s car.

gnarled trees blue sky

A few days later, we were on our way back to Alberta. Our first stop was the Grand Canyon. We arrived late in the afternoon, and spent several hours walking along the rim taking pictures.

storm clouds

Dark clouds to both the east and west hinted that a storm was brewing. My rainy day was very near!

I woke the next morning (my birthday) to a steady drizzle. I marveled that The Car Guy was able to deliver such a great present on my birthday. As we drove back to the Grand Canyon, I got whiffs of fresh air and fragrant forest.

We parked the car, put on rain coats, and walked quickly over to the rim.  Surprise! The Canyon was, for all intents and purposes, gone… I was really glad I had got my vista pictures the previous day.

snow blizzard

There was no reason to stay at the Canyon, so we drove east along the rim road. The rain turned to snow. As we dropped in elevation, the snow became rain. Eventually the rain stopped for a while – then we drove through a heavy hail storm. Apparently my birthday present was a gift of all the weather I had NOT had in Arizona for several months!

snow pink flower

The QuipperyDays later in Alberta, we were greeted with an early blooming season thanks to a warm, dry spring. I threw caution to the wind, and did a rain dance…  We got snow.

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Wish.

A rainy day – do you carry an umbrella? Do you put up the hood of your rain jacket? Do you just get wet, because, after all, rain won’t make you melt into the puddle.

Macro Photos – Vaguely Familiar Abstracts

Can you guess what these ‘abstract photos’ are – from the hints in the quotations below the photo?

Arizona golden barrel cactus

There was a rough stone age and a smooth stone age and a bronze age, and many years afterward a cut-glass age. In the cut-glass age, when young ladies had persuaded young men with long, curly mustaches to marry them, they sat down several months afterward and wrote thank-you notes for all sorts of cut-glass presents…
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Cut-Glass Bowl –

hood side vents

…we live on the edge of the abstract all the time. Look at something solid in the known world: an automobile. Separate the fender, the hood, the roof, lie them on the garage floor, walk around them. Let go of the urge to reassemble the car or to pronounce fender, hood, roof. Look at them as curve, line, form.
― Natalie Goldberg, Living Color: Painting, Writing, and the Bones of Seeing –

 Spruce Needles Snow

The pine stays green in winter… wisdom in hardship.
– Norman Douglas –

Spruce Sap

Deciding whether or not to trust a person is like deciding whether or not to climb a tree because you might get a wonderful view from the highest branch or you might simply get covered in sap and for this reason many people choose to spend their time alone and indoors where it is harder to get a splinter.
― Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril –

Here are what the photos are:
The first is a close up look at a cut-glass bowl.
The second is the side of the hood of a 1934 Ford custom roadster – sold at Barrett-Jackson in 2016 for $60,500.
The third is a close up of spruce tree needles peeking out of the snow.
The last is a drop of spruce resin (sap).

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge – Abstract

Utah – Calf Creek Overlook – Highway 12

537 - Utah landscape-1

Utah Highway

Calf Creek Overlook on  Scenic Byway 12, south of Boulder, Utah.

Unique panorama photos of this area are at Don Bain’s Panoramas.

In 2002, State Route 12 was designated an “All-American Road.” Spanning 122 miles, and connecting Capitol Reef National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park, it took almost 40 years (from the ’40s to the ’80s) to complete construction. The scenic byway crosses some of the most magnificent scenery on the Colorado Plateau: red-rock desert, mesas, buttes, cliffs, and even lush mountain forests.
– Matador Network –

Utah has the largest open-pit mine in the world. Visible from outer space, the Kennecott Copper Mine is nearly a mile deep and 2.5 miles wide. The mind is still in production and it takes trucks more than two hours to drive from the bottom to the top.
– National Geographic –

In the Fishlake National Forest in Utah, a giant has lived quietly for the past 80,000 years. The Trembling Giant, or Pando, is a enormous grove of quaking aspens that takes the “forest as a single organism” metaphor and literalizes it: the grove really is a single organism. Each of the approximately 47,000 or so trees in the grove is genetically identical and all the trees share a single root system.
– Atlas Obscura –

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Landscape.

Half Moon and Sunrises

moon Mar 31 2016
The photo challenge this week is Half-Light. At sunrise this morning, the moon appeared to be Half too!

The sun does not abandon the moon to darkness.
― Brian A. McBride, Dominion –

sunrise moon Arizona

Same time, same sunrise, same moon (that tiny white dot near the top right of the photo.

The sky is that beautiful old parchment in which the sun and the moon keep their diary.
– Alfred Kreymborg –

sunrise clouds Arizona

In Alberta, these clouds would probably mean rain. Here in Arizona, at this time of the year, dark clouds are just dark clouds.

The latest authority among men of science says that little is known of the causes which balance the clouds in the air. They are formed of water, and water, however minutely divided or blown into bubbles, is always heavier than the air. And yet these flying fountains of all the rivers of earth, these armed and thundering legions of the storm, that beat down the forests with hail and bury the mountains in snow, and flood the plains with water, go floating over us at vast heights with all their mighty magazines when all our philosophy would require them to sink to the earth.
– Daniel March, “The Balancings of the Clouds,” Our Father’s House, or the Unwritten Word, 1869 –

sunrise Arizona

Without clouds, sunrises aren’t nearly so dramatic!

There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.
– G.K. Chesterton –

What common phrases do you think of when you hear the word ‘Half’?

This weeks WordPress Photo Challenge is Half-Light.

Weather – Pondering Alberta’s Four Seasons

I’m in Arizona this morning. It is springtime here and the first blooms have appeared on a few bushes. By this evening I will be back in Alberta. It has been a mild winter, but if anything in my yard has been fooled into thinking it is spring, it is sadly mistaken!

I’ve chosen the Mountain Ash tree at The Red House to show you the seasons in Alberta – which are summed up as follows:

In Canada we have: Six months of winter, and six months of poor sledding. These can be broken down into: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction season. To be more specific, the four seasons are: June, July, August and Winter.
– Author Unknown –

Here are the photos and quotes that explain the seasons:


Mountain Ash – late spring

The principal function of March is to use up the winter weather that wouldn’t fit into February.
– Doug Larson –


Mountain Ash – Late Summer

Summers always fly – winters walk.
– Charles M. Schulz –


Mountain Ash – Fall Colors

Autumn is a season followed immediately by looking forward to spring.
– Doug Larson –


Mountain Ash – Early Winter

The problem with winter sports is that – follow me closely here – they generally take place in winter.
– Dave Barry –

What season are you enjoying (or not enjoying) right now? Do you have a favourite season?

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Seasons.

Sunflowers – Life Imitates Art

I love big, bold Sunflowers. Here I’ve asked one of them to Imitate works of Art.

“Like when the Orchids in the ditch pretended to be the “Old Masters“, my sunflower asked?

“Yes”, I replied. “Much like The Mona Orchid by Margio da Antelope Street and Someone’s Mother by Margy (a Whistling Bird is nearby). Pose for me, sunflower, and I will use some digital magic!

The Sunflower if painted by a pointillist artist working in cube shapes.

The Sunflower if painted in the style of Georgia O’Keeffe’s Sunflower New Mexico

The Sunflower as photographed against dark clouds.

So, do you think my Sunflower looks like a piece of art?

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Life Imitates Art

Time and My Clock Walls – So Late So Soon

The QuipperyHow time has changed!  When I was young, a clock had hands and you learned how to ‘tell time’. We had only a few clocks in our house. One was in the kitchen, and I suppose there was an alarm clock for my parental units (but I don’t remember ever hearing it ring.) I didn’t really pay attention to what time is was. Grown-ups did that for me. I just did what they told me to do when they told me to do it – mostly. If no one was telling me where to be or what to do, I let the sun and a rumble in my stomach guide me.

Today we are surrounded by clocks. They reside in every conceivable appliance. This has a cost though – a microwave oven can consume more electricity powering its digital clock than it does heating food! Of course, most wall clocks are battery powered – but  how much do you spend on batteries in a year?

How many clocks do you have to reset when Daylight Saving’s Time rolls around? The Car Guy says we have more than 20 clocks at The Red House! I’ve been making it easier for him to find many of those clocks. I’ve gathered them up and put them onto “Clock Walls”. The only downside to this is that Segal’s Law comes into play – Margy with one clock thinks she knows what time it is. Margy with two clocks is not quite sure.

There are fast clocks, there are slow clocks, there is one clock that is broken and it is only right twice a day…

This wall of clocks is ‘Memories Time’ – one clock is a gift from a daughter, one that The Car Guy’s dad made, one from the Middle East, one we saved from the flood at the cabin, one from a good friend, and one that a craftsman made from a slab of wood.

This week, the WordPress Photo Challenge is Time.

Vibrant Willys Coupe at Barrett-Jackson

Willys-Overland Motors produced the Willys Americar from 1937 to 1942 – either as sedans, coupes, station wagons or pickup trucks.

The coupe version is very popular with the hot rod set, and this beautiful 1941 Willys Custom Coupe wears vibrant metallic pearl and royal ruby pearl paint. With extensive chroming from front to back, this car sparkled under the lights at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale in January 2016.

Willys-Overland’s biggest claim to fame is the famous 4×4 “Willys” which was chosen by the War Department as its light utility vehicle of choice. The “Jeep”, as it would become known, was based on the original Bantam design of the Willys company.

A Willys Americar would have cost about $630 in the early 1940’s. As a hot rod, this one sold in 2016 for $80,300. In 2015, the same car sold at Barrett Jackson in Las Vegas for $110,000. What goes up, must come down, they say…

Have you ever taken a big ‘hit’ when you sold a car?

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Vibrant