April Showers

We’ve had such lovely weather in March but now it seems that the old April showers trope is true. Luckily I got quite a lot of the garden dug and ready before the rains hit. The peas and spinach are coming up now and I’ve been harvesting kale buds, corn salad (mache) and chives. In the greenhouse the baby seedlings are waiting until they are a little bigger before being transplanted into the garden. The tiny Japanese indigo plants are still being brought in every night since it’s warmer under the grow lights.

They won’t be going out into their bed for awhile yet. Neither will the coreopsis, marigolds or sulphur cosmos.

The cosmos (the very similar looking plants in the back) are new for me this year. I’m testing to see how well they do in my garden and also how well they do in the dyepot. A yellow to orange dye, depending on pH., similar to the dyer’s coreopsis. They can grow quite large and need sun so it remains to be seen if I can give them what they need. Nowhere in my yard gets full sun all day anymore thanks to all the big trees but most things do OK with less. We shall see, won’t we? At least they don’t need a lot of water or fertilizer.

The rest of the biannual and perennial dyeplants are already perking up in the garden. The madder seems to have survived being dug up, root-pruned and divided into a different part of the dye garden. So did the rhubarb. I keep digging out part of the clump of dyer’s chamomile but it keeps looking just as large. I have a couple of volunteer weld plants which I’ll probably allow to go to seed this year just to freshen up my seed supply. Though I don’t need more than one or two plants a year anyway for the small amount of dyeing I do with weld. It’s a large plant! And very easy to grow just about anywhere.

It’s kind of nice to have a bit of a break from the digging. Though I’m especially happy to be finished with days and weeks of sorting out all the stuff for the craft supplies sale tomorrow. I have books, magazines, a bit of yarn, some sewing patterns (uncut), and beads-beads-beads. I only packaged up about 2/3 of the bead stash and there’s still lots left. For this go-round I concentrated on the beading, doll-making, paper arts, and embellishment stuff. I didn’t even go through the fabrics or fibres at all. Plus there’s still plenty of sewing, knitting, spinning, dyeing, crochet, weaving and braiding books and mags left! So I think I’m all ready now. Maybe. I have way too much stuff for a single table (18 boxes full!) but that’s all the sale space I’ve got to work with. And this was just the first pass through the stash too. Yikes. I’m certainly going to be very aware of anything new that comes into this house in future. Remind me of this when I get antsy to buy any new stuff, won’t you?

Uh-oh. Glad we already loaded up the van in the garage with the sale boxes during an earlier dry period because now it’s raining quite hard! If this continues tomorrow it’s going to be equally exciting unloading without getting vulnerable books wet. I am so not looking forward to this. Wish me luck finding new homes for it all! Or at least some of it.

Stuff & More Stuff

Baby plants catching some rays

Hello! It’s been awhile, huh? I’ve been alternating digging in the garden, planting and repotting wee little seedlings, and sorting bead supplies. It’s all very tedious! Present Me is wondering what the heck Past Me was thinking when I bought all those beads. (Although to be fair I was teaching classes at the time.) Now I’m just trying to figure out how to get rid of most of the collection in a reasonable way. These are just the 11/0 seed beads and not even all of them at that!


And there’s more. A lot more. I decided to keep the larger seed beads that could conceivably be used in knitting and I’m definitely getting rid of the tiniest ones that I know I will never ever use. But I had trouble deciding what to do with this most common but still pretty small size. I might need them for something? Call it Dragon-On-Her-Hoard Syndrome! So I dreamed (literally!) up a solution that will work for now – keeping a little packet of each colour and letting the rest go. This will reduce the stash to about a quarter of its former size. Hopefully it will then actually fit into the Chest of Many Drawers along with all the other bead supplies that I’m not quite ready to part with. We shall see.

So I only have one more week to fuss about before the sale that I’m involved in. (Reminder: “Bargains in the Basement” at the Silk Purse, West Vancouver, April 6, noon-4pm.) Where I’m hoping to unload at least some of this stuff on people who might actually make use of it. I have no idea how it will go and I’m a bit anxious about it. I only have a single table and way too much to get rid of. I’ve never been to this particular sale before so it’s all a complete unknown. Team Introvert here! Not good at selling. At least Thom promises to assist as he is able. Plus I am acquainted with at least 3 of the other sale participants so it’s not a totally strange experience for me.

Unfortunately I haven’t had any time or energy left to knit or sew. However my biggest Grandbeastie came over while she was on her spring break and I helped to get her familiar with her new sewing machine which now temporarily resides in my studio. She immediately went to town creating a mermaid costume completely on her own! Lucky girl gets to use all my equipment including the big table and rotary cutters and pattern paper to work with. No commercial pattern for her! It’s all in her imagination. She brought a pair of leggings to trace and some black french terry and by the end of the afternoon had what looked like one-legged tights. Next she plans to embellish it by hand with scales and fins. I can’t wait to see how it ends up! Of course Bad Granny didn’t take any photos of the process. I’m sure she’ll be back soon for more though. That was her first time coming by herself on public transit all the way from Port Moody. Now that she’s taller than me I forget that she’s only 14.

Otherwise not much else has been happening around Damselfly’s Pond. Spring has been sprunging up like crazy now that the weather has improved. The cherry blossoms are coming out, the dandelions are flowering and the birds are starting to nest. We have another Anna’s hummingbird nest in the arborvitae just outside our living room window. So tiny! Thom has a sore knee so I’ve been doing most of the gardening right now. So far I managed to get 3 veggie beds dug and the peas and spinach planted. Yay, me! And I need one more done very soon for the majority of those baby mustard greens up there to go in. I’m trying not to push it too hard because I definitely don’t want to strain anything. We official Little Old Lady types have to take care of ourselves, right? Unlike Little Old Man who ouchied his knee doing who-knows-what.

Trash or Treasure

I’ve just begun a rather difficult reassessment of all my crafty stashes. This is not going to be done quickly or without pain – both kinds: physical (books and magazines are heavy!) and emotional (that item reminds me of a special time/place/person and I had plans for it!). No, I haven’t gotten on the Kondo bandwagon. I’m not going by “it sparks joy” but more like “will I use it, ever”. Some of this stuff has been lurking about here for 40 years! Also needs and tastes change. Honestly, I only have just so long left in my life even if I consider the best-case scenario. How many projects can I finish before I’m incapable of finishing them?

So here’s part of the first lot sorted off the shelves:

Yes, I’ve read every single one!

Some has already found new homes. This bunch represents crafts that I think are exciting and inspiring and all, but I don’t want to do them myself anymore. These books and magazines are mostly from the early 2000’s – kind of the heyday of publishing before the Internet stole it all. Showing off these types of embellished creations are what Instagram and Pinterest are perfect for and all you need to see them is a device and an online connection. Since that is considerably cheaper for most people, bye-bye paper magazines. If you’re into perusing through them though, a lot of the lovely stuff in these publications remains relevant today. But I’m ready to move them on to someone who hopefully can appreciate them. I’ve already booked a table at a one-day craft supply sale in April (at the Silk Purse, West Vancouver, BC, noon-4pm). We’ll see how that goes. I hate selling. Just sayin’. Mostly I’ll probably just be giving it away.

And I’m not finished sorting yet! I’m kind of stalled on the beadwork shelves. Actually I would love to do what I did with my lacemaking supplies – find someone who belongs to an interest group and let them have it all to distribute in whatever way works for them. Know any local-to-me beaders? I used to years ago but interests change. Another thing that is stalling me is that my oldest granddaughter is becoming interested in making jewelry as an adjunct to her cosplay makes. She needs a chance to tell me what she would like to use before I sell anything. And then there’s the beads that will fit on my knitting yarns that I’d like to keep. And Thom doesn’t want me to get rid of the wire stuff quite yet. Ummm…it’s complicated.

Which is why I haven’t already done this job in any major way before now! I’m (mostly) ready to do it but it’s obviously going to be an ongoing project for awhile as I make multiple passes through everything. The good news is I’m getting a chance to look more carefully at it all and remember what I actually already have. That should prevent me from adding very much to the collection(s). Notice I’m not saying that I’m never going to buy any crafty stuff ever again? That would just be mean, wouldn’t it? Especially with Fibres West coming up very soon!