Welcome to my blog

If you enjoy finding a lot of different outlets for your creativity, then we may just be kindred spirits.
This blog is an outlet for my interest in miniatures, crochet, plastic canvas, and many other various arts and crafts.

I also love walking, taking digital photos, and most recently, have rediscovered an old love...bike riding! I purchased an amazing new bike, a comfy Townie by Electra this summer, and have been having a grand time exploring the area as though for the first time. It's like being a kid again!

If you enjoy any of these things too, pour a cup of coffee and tea, sit down, and join me.

Take care!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Hand Feeding Chickadees!

I love feeding the birds and have 3 feeders that I fill all winter long.  I don't stop until the snow is gone and the grass and buds are growing in spring. 

Cute chickadee eating seeds out of my  hand

 My friend Al knows this and invited me to feed the chickadees with him on Whitefish Island a few weeks ago. I thought I had blogged about it and didn't realize until today that I hadn't.  I had such a great time!

At first, the chickadees were shy with me and they preferred Albert.  He told me it's because he was holding the food bag, lol.  I think it was because I kept squealing, "OMG, they're sooooo cute!" and was scaring them away from me.  When I finally shut up, they came to me. It was like a dream!

Me hand feeding a chickadee

Albert offered to take a few photos of me feeding the birds with my camera, so I finally have some decent pictures of myself, lol. 

Me feeding the chickadees.
OK, this pic is more humorous than decent, lol. 

Albert feeding the chickadees
 I snapped lots of photos of Al feeding them, but my good camera was stolen and the cheap one I bought to replace it is very slow between shots so I missed the photos of the birds sitting on his hat.
Albert with two birds in the palm of his hand
Me feeding the chickadees
There was only a bit of snow that day, but we have a ton now; over a foot and a half fell overnight.  We had whiteout conditions last night, and today is a snow day here in town; everything but the Walmart is closed.
Hand feeding the chickadees
 The chickadees were so sweet!  At one point, I had 3 on my hand, and two on my arm, lining up.  They were very patient and took turns. Then a few minutes later two new chickadees landed and started fighting, in my hand.  It was so cute, lol.

 We stayed for quite awhile, but had to leave just as the sun was starting to set.  There are no lights on Whitefish Island so we had to cross over the little bridge back to the Locks .
Albert on the trail, Whitefish Island.
 I rode my bike quite a bit on Whitefish Island this summer and fall, so it was nice to visit in winter. I'll definitely have to go back.

Leaving the Soo Locks
International Bridge

Friday, December 9, 2016

Cardinal and Black Squirrel came for a Visit!

 I looked out the window today and was thrilled to see a bright red cardinal at the bird feeders!  I ran to get my camera and snapped some photos of him.  They aren't very clear because they were taken through the living room window.  Doesn't the red really stand out?  So beautiful!

 As I snapped photos, a black squirrel bounded into view. 
 It climbed onto a branch directly opposite me and peered into the house at me.  So cute!
 It was almost like the sweet little guy or gal was posing for me!

 It finally dawned on me that it was trying to tell me something, and I went outside and discovered an entire family of black squirrels.  My friend in the tree leaped onto the roof and climbed to the very top of the house.
 One of his friends was hanging upside down, eating the seeds from the big feeder, which was almost empty. I think the squirrel in the window wanted me to come out to refill the big feeder, lol.
I refilled it with sunflower seeds, and also put a handful out peanuts out for them. They sure are cute!
I love watching all of the birds and animals at the feeder. 

Virtual Bike Rides via Youtube

Well, I'm slowly getting used to my new exercise bike.  It runs nicely; very smooth  pedal motion, and quiet movements (actually, it makes no sound at all).
The back rest is nice, but the seat is super large and the leg cut outs aren't cut out enough for my thighs; maybe that will change as I lose weight?  I don't know, all I know is i have to sit with a memory foam pillow under me and a regular pillow on the back rest in order to move my body forward enough to not be in too much pain. Maybe I just need to play around with the seat adjustments more; I"m not sure.
My Townie hurt my butt at first too, but I was able to get a gel seat cover that took care of the problem.  There is only one seat cover that I've found that will cover the huge exerpeutic seat, and it's 50 US, or 80 something Canadian, and the bike was only 162 at the Walmart, so I hate to go that route. For now the pillows are working well enough.  I may just need to get used to it, but so far 20 minutes is all I can manage because of the seat.

I've found so many cool virtual bike rides on Youtube.  Some have music but my favorites are the ones with natural sound. So far I've gone on two short rides,  the first through Amsterdam, and the second in Manhattan! 

 The first one is a virtual hike, not a bike ride, but it worked well for me and the scenery was breathtaking. Isn't it gorgeous?

The second is an actual bike ride, in New York. It's a guy commuting to work, and I liked the natural sounds and the fact that I could see his hands on the handle bars.  He rides much faster than I do and I found myself trying to speed up when he did.  He flew through a narrow overpass, something I would never do because I'd be terrified of hitting the sides at that speed, lol.  I'd never ride in New York so it's nice that I get to do it vicariously from my livingroom.

Both videos are just under 20 minutes, which was perfect for me. I meant to take a photo of my set up but I forgot and already put everything back so I'll do it tomorrow.  Basically, I just put a tv table in front of the exercise bike, stick my laptop on it, and then put my fan near the bike so I can feel the wind in my hair.  I get on the bike first, then start the video, and it sort of feels like I'm riding somewhere, even though I'm in my livingroom.  It would be so much nicer with virtual reality, or even on the big screen TV.  I may buy a cord so I can attach my computer to the TV and watch on the big screen; that would be cool.

So, that's it.  Hopefully I'll be able to go for longer periods of time with practice.  My inner thigh is just killing me right now so I"m really hoping things will improve with time.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

My New Exercise Bike Arrived!

I ordered an exercise bike from Walmart.ca on Dec. 3rd, and it arrived today, Dec. 7th, at 7:30 PM, after I had waited all day long and given up on it.  I was sure they wouldn't deliver after 6 and thought it would come tomorrow instead, so it was a pleasant surprise.

 The box was huge but it wasn't too difficult to move because I was able to slide it on the floor.
 Everything was packaged nicely, and nothing was damaged.
 I took all of the pieces out and then unwrapped them. That took a long time because they were wrapped in plastic, cardboard, and taped up tightly.
 The photos above and below show all of the parts, unwrapped.  There were so many I couldn't fit them into one photo.

 I was thrilled to discover they sent all of the tools needed, along with batteries for the computer.  The instructions were clear and easy to understand.
 It took me almost 2 hours to unpack everything and put it together to the stage show in the photo above.  I had to ask my Dad to help after that point because I needed him to hold the seat while i connected the wires.  After he did that, he finished the rest of the bike by himself while I read the instructions. He didn't need the instructions and just knew where things should go by looking at them.
Dad putting my exercise bike together
 Thanks Dad!
Dad putting the pedals on my exercise bike

 The finished bike looks great, is comfy, and feels great to ride.  I only tried it for 10 minutes because it was 11 PM after I finished cleaning up, and I have to get up early to take Benji to the vet.
I'm looking forward to going for a nice virtual ride tomorrow.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Crocheting Fingerless Gloves as Christmas Gifts

So, after a long, long detour into bike riding, I'm back with a crochet post, finally.

Crocheted fingerless gloves
I found an amazing pattern on Ravelry
for these amazing Lacy Fingerless Gloves, and I immediately had to try them.

I made violet, purple, and blue ones first.
Variegated lacy finger-less gloves.

They're nice and warm and cozy, and can be worn as is, or over those little dollar store gloves. 
I liked the first pair so much I made more in cream, grey, and red.  Right now I'm working on a pair in variegated black, grey, and white yarn.  I plan on making 6 more pairs of these pretty lacy gloves, so I can give them out as Christmas gifts to my Mom, aunt Judy, cousin Linda, to Laurie and her girls, and to my nieces, Lexie and Claire.  I'm also going to make a pair of mittens for my nephew, Chris.

 It's a great pattern, completely free, and after the first pair I had the pattern memorized so I could crochet while watching Netflix.

I think they'll make lovely, unique gifts.  I'm going to make some hot chocolate and get to work.
Hope you all have a nice evening!

Bike Ride 26, the Last Ride of the Season

 For my last ride of the season, I went up Korah Road to the duck pond, and then for the first time, went past it and up the hill.  Of course, I had to get off and walk because my asthma is too bad to allow me to bike up a hill.  I made it to the top, caught my breath, kept going, and found another hill!  I only went to the base of the second hill. I had enough energy to keep going and it was a nice day, not too hot, but I was concerned there'd be a third hill to climb (I drove the route later and it's a good thing I stopped because Moss Road is SUPER hilly.  It was a nice ride though, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I don't get the benefit of cruising down hill because I'm terrified I"ll fall if I'm going too fast so I constantly hit the brakes.  It was still easier than going up though, lol. 
 Cycling up Korah Road.
 Cute inflatable pumpkins and ghosts under brilliant foliage.
 I stopped to snap photos of the pond here.  That's Moss Road, stretching out ahead.  I usually go the other way, down Korah Road to the end, but that day, I wanted something new.
My bike at Garson's Pond

 The ducks were mad at me once again.  I really must remember to bring them some food next time.

 My trusty bike is in the garage, waiting for spring.  I miss her!  I still have to name her, although I call her Coral so much, she may as well just have that name, lol.

 The top of the first hill on Moss Road.
 Pretty countryside.
 It's hard to tell in the photo above, but the little runoff ditch must have flooded, and the side of the road was completely eroded. 
 The geese were practicing their flying formations, honking loudly, getting ready for their long trip South. 

 When I got back to the pond, I turned and did my normal route, to the end of Korah Road, and went to check on the abandoned house.  
 I was surprised to find someone had been there.  The long grass on the driveway had been cut back quite a bit.  Maybe someone still owns the place?
 My imagination always goes wild when I'm in this spot.  It sort of looks like a sad Little House on the Prairie scene.

 I decided to turn around and ride down this road (can't remember the name of it).  I love this farm.  It's for sale; if only I had the money I'd buy it.
 When my friend Laurie and I were little we walked alongside this little creek and felt like explorers.  I think that is why I love biking beside these flood prevention creeks so much now.
 This little creek was really high, and the water was rushing away on it's journey to the St. Mary's river.
 The trees were such brilliant shades of orange and red that they looked like they were on fire when the sun hit them.

 I hate the graffiti, but it makes a cool backdrop for a photo, lol.
 This is the farm that was for sale.  I'd love to own land like that, with a little creek running through it.  I'd rather have a waterfront home though, since I'm dreaming may as well go for it, lol.  In reality I'm still waiting to get a geared to income apartment.
So that was it, my last bike ride of the season. When I added the kilometers of all 26 rides together, I discovered I was 2 km away from hitting the 200 km point.  So, I biked 198 km from mid July to late October. 

That is nothing to a "real" cyclist, but I just started out, have severe, chronic asthma, and am carrying  a LOT of extra weight.  God willing, I'll lose a lot of weight and get to ride a lot more next year.