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JLT Studios by Jean Ottosen - 1M ago

I can’t believe it’s been a whole month since I wrote a blog post! I managed to contract another virus and was sick for all of March as well. April was spent furiously playing catchup.

We picked out new carpet for the basement, had the carpet contractor in, only to discover we had a damp corner in the basement. That is not unusual with a house over 90 years old. So we called in a basement contractor to look at it. They said we need a sump pump and are installing one as I write this.

After the sump pump is installed Hubby has some more wall repair and painting to do before the carpet contractor arrives with the new carpet early May. There should be no problem with that timeline…we hope. Two days after the carpet is laid everything is put into storage. We managed to rent a storage locker already for the beginning of May. Hopefully before the day everything goes into storage we will be taking loads to donation locations across the city.

As for creative projects, nothing has been happening. I have been busy packaging up wool and selling it to people, but that’s about it.

I’ve also been busy watching far too many YouTube videos on moving, selling and buying houses, the area we plan to move to, and budget binders (which we’re going to need due to the higher cost of living where we’re going!). It’s been a very exciting time.

Health-wise things seem to be looking up. I’m feeling much better. Unfortunately the medical system is under a great deal of stress in the area I’m moving to. I will need a family doctor almost immediately and there are none to be found. I have two leads and I hope and pray one of them pans out.

I’m growing weary of living out of boxes. We first packed up last February (2018) and have been living out of them ever since. I can hardly wait to be in a new place with our reduced possessions in their rightful places. I miss having a “home”.

We had a great Easter this year and hope all of you did too. I’ve got to get back to work selling things here. Enjoy spring everyone!

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JLT Studios by Jean Ottosen - 2M ago

Wow! It’s only -5 Celsius out there today! LOL Well I guess it’s all relative. After about a month of -30 Celsius weather, this is downright balmy! Hubby is feeling better and is in the kitchen making Chicken Rice Soup. Yes, he caught that cold/flu bug after me and had it for all of 48 hours. I am soooo jealous! I wish I had short illnesses like that. I am looking forward to the soup tonight.

At any rate, after our two or three weeks of illness, we’re back at doing things around the house. Hubby is renovating and I’m back at the cardiac gym three times a week. We canceled the GoodFood meals. I found them to be great while we were sick and excellent quality and variety. However they are a tad on the expensive side. I can feed us 21 meals for what they were charging for 3 meals.

I made a menu plan and grocery list the other day before heading out grocery shopping. Picked up $120 CAD worth of groceries for about two weeks or more of food for Hubby and I. I found some good deals on meat. Came home and prepped the meat for easy use in meals.

I used to do mega-cooking. That’s where you cook all the meals for a month (or however long you want) at one time (usually over the course of a weekend) and put it in the freezer in meal sized amounts to pull out and reheat as needed. However that takes too much of my energy now. So my plan is to double cook meals. That just means making double batches of meals, eating one, and freezing the leftovers for later.

Hubby is still busy renovating the house. He is silent on when he thinks the house will be ready for sale. We’ll see. For now he is working on the basement, having finished all the upstairs BUT the front entry closet doors, which are an odd size.

I’m back at decluttering and selling used items online. Slowly getting rid of excess. I also had a good friend stop in and give me a sketchbook. An artist can always use one of those! She also brought her celery tops, which she doesn’t eat. As I was making chicken stock at the time, I just tossed them all in. Her timing was excellent!

As far as hooking goes…I have started hooking my South Korea rug and am not happy with it. I want to ‘fix’ it before posting a photo.

I also have not done any scrapbooking because of this illness. I need to have some photos developed first. I’ve temporarily given up on the idea of digital scrapbooking. The Forever program I was looking at requires a PC for full use of the site and I work on an Apple platform. There are work arounds, and I’ll have to look more in-depth at those before making a final decision.

I hope everyone has a great couple of weeks! I will be back then to post more.

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JLT Studios by Jean Ottosen - 3M ago

I have been sick with a flu/cold/migraine combination this past week. It’s been miserable. On top of that, our vaporizer bit the dust. Hubby, bless his soul, would fill it up, turn it on, and shut the door. The entire room would become filled with acrid smelling fumes, like some damp wood with moss on it trying to burn. Yuck! I unplugged it for the last time yesterday and announced it was time to buy a new one.

During my illness Hubby was super helpful. He made all the meals and brought them to me, did the laundry and dishes, and stood over me looking worried more than he ought to have. Finally, to make the poor man feel better, and myself (he was beginning to have me worried!), I called our local 811 number. That number puts you in contact with a nurse who can help assess the severity of your situation. Basically, she told me to drink warm fluids, and cough up as much phlegm as I could. Nothing new.

Now I’m feeling a bit better I am working on another rug hooking pattern. This has been drawn on backing for over a year. I haven’t touched rug hooking in that long. Partly because of the move and everything being packed. Partly because of Dad’s death and illness, and my illness. And also partly because I needed a break from some of the poor attitudes I was finding in the rug hooking community.

This is not to badmouth or color the whole community, and it is not to point fingers. It is just a comment. I think some people are truly unaware of how they come across and how others react to them. It pays to think with your head and your heart, using a bit of compassion and common sense when dealing with others. I just needed to step back, regroup, and focus on my health for awhile, before continuing. It also helped to take time to work on other projects.

However, now I have picked up my next piece. My South Korean rug. I have sort of color planned it, but not totally. I know what colors I want in it. I’m just not entirely sure exactly where they are going to be in it.

People ask me how I color plan. I usually design from a color photo or series of photos I’ve taken. I print the photo on glossy photo paper and lay it on the floor or the table in natural light on a shady or overcast day. Direct sunlight is too harsh. Then I sort through my stash and pull out options that match colors in the photos. I don’t stop with just one option. In fact, I prefer five or more different types of wool or yarn (textures), depending on the pattern I’m working on.

When I have most, if not all of the colors represented, I package them up in zippered gallon plastic bags (depends on size of the project) and set them aside. That’s stage one done.

Stage two is usually on another day and requires cutting wool strips. I use a mixture of fabric and yarn, wool, silk, and nylon. Right now I do not have a good steady surface to cut wool strips. It was a real struggle to do this yesterday afternoon. We sold our good sturdy dining room table that was just right for the job. I had my Beeline cutter clamped to a wooden TV tray table, and was jamming it into the corner of the room against moving boxes with my foot to stabilize it enough to cut strips. My strips are none too perfect I’m afraid! Sigh.

Stage three is to set up my hooking area and start hooking. Not having hooked in awhile I need to build up wrist strength and agility again. I’m taking it slow for now…no more than an hour a day. I’m trying to make sure my technique is good so I don’t damage my wrist. I am also being cautious because I still have a bad cough, and the dust off the wool fabric is causing me to cough more. Not a lot of hooking done yet.

At any rate, here are some images of what I’m working on so far. I will be posting more on Instagram as my work progresses. I hope everyone has a great week!

  • Copyright Jean Ottosen 2017
  • The beginning
  • Not sure I’m liking this. We’ll see.
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JLT Studios by Jean Ottosen - 3M ago

Actually, it has warmed up since last night. But for the last two weeks we in Regina have been in a deep freeze of -30 Celsius or lower. I have two winter parkas. My friends laugh. I have the regular parka good to about -25 C, but when it goes lower I pull out my Eddie Bauer goose down parka good to who-knows-how-cold! It never disappoints. I’ve been wearing it the last few days, after finally finding it amongst all our packed items.

Yeah, packed items…about that move…sigh. This past week has been a string of medical appointments that have kind of left me whirling. There are, apparently, more tests to do, more medication to adjust to, and being careful of my stress levels to boot.

Hubby and I are trying to decide the best way to do the move. It is looking more and more like it will be a two stage move. Stage one will see us go into an apartment locally until the medical situation calms down. Then, once that is all settled, we’ll plan the actual move east. It’s a pain to do it this way, but I think it’s what’s best for my health overall. It is also a plan that has the support of my doctors.

Despite that negative news, I am still getting out and about. A friend gave us symphony tickets last weekend and we had a great time listening to a cellist and visiting with friends we hadn’t seen in ages. That resulted in a few invitations being exchanged.

We also went with friends to a local buffet for a Valentine’s Day dinner. We joined our church friends there and had a blast!

Hubby and I also went out Wednesday to a favorite local cafe, Le Macaron, for dessert and tea this week. I try to spell off bad news with good experiences. So I threw as many good experiences into my week as I could this past week!

I also had a haircut done in the home of my delightful hair dresser, mom to a new baby boy. She makes me laugh and is good for my spirits.

We’ve also been over to a friend’s place to visit and play games with her and her 15 year old daughter…quite a few times.

We are still enjoying GoodFood.ca meals. We order three a week. This week the three meals actually fed us five meals. Our appetites aren’t as big as they used to be when we were younger.

This week we are looking forward to our first bread delivery. Jim’s Bread from outside town delivers Surprise Baskets every two weeks to homes who pay up front for the privilege. So for $240CAD we get 5-7 loaves or packages of breadstuff every two weeks for 12 weeks. He includes bread, buns, and sweet dough treats of various sorts…things like cinnamon buns, soft pretzels, etc. Hubby and I couldn’t go through 5-7 loaves of breadstuff in two weeks, so we plan on freezing some to share with company and friends later.

Not much creative happening here. I’ve been sorting photos and memorabilia for the 2003 scrapbook. I’ve been exploring digital scrapbooking, but am not sure I’ll bite the bullet. I think I’ll wait and see.

We continue to sort through my genealogy papers. Hubby is redoing my mother’s family history using strictly primary source documentation…that means official documents. A lot of my mother’s family was done on stories handed down through the generations. Her family is Irish. My brother is in Ireland for awhile now and he and his wife are helping us unearth what we can from that side of the ocean.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries for Valentine’s Day. Yum!
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JLT Studios by Jean Ottosen - 4M ago

Sorry for taking so long between posts folks. I’ve been sidetracked onto clearing an 18 year backlog of mementos destined for family scrapbooks. Tomorrow is my second Scrap Meet of 2019. I hope to finish scrapbooking 2001, which takes 1 1/2 scrapbooks.

I love these Scrap Meets! We are a group of ladies who meet at a local church hall and scrapbook from 9 AM to 9 PM…or until you can stand it! I’m taking a cushion this time so my back won’t send me home early.

Each Scrap Meet is $25 and another $20 for the food. The food includes a morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and supper prepared by a 4-star chef. It’s excellent!

The lady who organizes these Scrap Meets – Wanda MacDonald – has supplies on hand if you run out or want to buy anything, but she is not a pushy seller. I really appreciate that! If you want anything in particular it’s best to let her know ahead of time. She is a Creative Memories consultant.

People at the Scrap Meet work on either traditional or digital scrapbooks. It doesn’t matter. I’m working on traditional flat scrapbooking. Some people do beautiful pages with lots of embellishment. I’m not one of those. With 18 years to catch up on, I’m am going as fast as I can!

Other than that, there has been a death in the family and we were out of province for a week to attend a funeral and visit with family.

One of those family members was my big brother, who has suddenly developed an interest in our family history. In an effort to appease his curiosity I took a box full of my mother’s family history files over to his place. We spent a day going through them before he sent them all through his high speed scanner to distribute to other members of the family. I hear he wants to start in on the three or four boxes of my father’s family next. That’s at least 3-4 solid days work.

The only really creative thing I’ve done lately is knit on a scarf made of home spun alpaca and silk yarn. It’s the free Ravelry Drop Stitch Scarf Pattern. I made it a bit wider than the pattern called for and wish I hadn’t. Hopefully when I block it everything will work out fine. I’m half done.

That’s it from here. I hope everyone had a good month. Talk to you all later!

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JLT Studios by Jean Ottosen - 4M ago

A belated Happy New Year everyone! I guess I almost made it for Ukrainian Christmas? A little late for that too… Maybe I can be early for saying Happy New Year to my Asian friends? Lunar New Year is early February this year.

At any rate, we had a wonderful holiday season filled with lots of company. I enjoyed talking to family far away, and I also enjoyed playing many games with people near. Both Hubby and I took last weekend to just rest up. We are feeling a little older. It takes a while to recuperate.

I haven’t done much creative. I prepared my bullet journal for 2019. For those of you who don’t know, a bullet journal is an organization tool/planner. Google “Ryder Carroll”, or just “bullet journal”, and you’ll see plenty to feast your eyes. If it seems overwhelming, type in “minimalist bullet journaling” and see what you get.

I had an email pop into my inbox the other day advertising a Scrap Meet for scrapbookers this weekend. I sat on the fence about it for a while, and then thought about the boxes of memorabilia and photos, etc. I am moving. I decided to bite the bullet, spend the money, and do up some albums before I go east. That should help with decluttering a bit.

This is a big project to take on. I have 18 years of scrapbooking to do! Needless to say, I’m hoping to get a few years into each scrapbook. The photo at the top of this post only scratches the surface of what’s here. I’m looking at a couple of bankers boxes full of memorabilia, plus stacks of planners, boxes of journals/diaries to sort through.

To that end the last 48 hours has been pulling things together. I spent time culling duplicate photos (should have done that long ago!), and creating a timeline for the first year I have to work on – 2002. I haven’t finished 2001 yet, but I didn’t discover that until late this afternoon. It can wait until I finish with 2002.

The good news is these Scrap Meets are held every month. So as long as I can pony up $50/mth. for admission and food, and another $50 for an album and supplies, I can spend up to 12 hours working on an album. Not bad.

Yarn to be Knit

I am still looking at yarn to knit, fibre to make into bundles for sale, and a rug to hook. I unpacked my wool cutter the other day. Now I just have to figure if it will clamp on the table edge for cutting. I’m a bit concerned it won’t. If not, then I have some cubbies I could clamp it to.

I’m thinking of carrying #6 cut wool strips in my shop, but am not sure. Is there a market for such among rug hookers? I see some for sale occasionally by various vendors. I had a lady drop in one day and buy my scraps off me because she was just starting out and didn’t have a cutter. I’m just not sure if it’s better to leave the wool uncut or cut it for my customers. Any feedback from cyberland?

Well, that’s my post for this week. Hope everyone has a good rest of the week and weekend. Take care!

South Korea inspired tile end cap rug. My next rug hooking project.
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Hi everyone.  I’ve been busy this week with a lot of medical stuff.  However I was able to finish knitting the His and Hers Beanie from Ravelry.com using Fleece Artist Grassland National Parks Chinook yarn.  I’m currently knitting matching wrist warmers from the free DROPS pattern on Ravelry.  My plan of who to give all this finished knitting to is in a state of flux.  I’m not sure what I’ll do with them.  I may end up donating it all.

I was to the Open Fibre Night for the Regina Weavers and Spinners Guild this week.  Had a blast with about nine other people in attendance.  There were three of us newcomers.  Though truthfully I’m not entirely new.  I was there once last year, before my Dad became really sick and I started having health issues.  Hopefully I’ll have time to make it from now on.  Met one of my followers on Facebook. Always such a surprise and delight to meet someone who takes the time to follow me.  Thank-you to everyone who does.

Today I’m off to a local knitting group.  I want to work on those wrist warmers.  I also want to get into the boxes of rug hooking fibre and see what I can conjure up in the way of fibre bundles to sell on my website.  I have lots of fibre, it’s just getting at it right now is problematic.  But it sure would be nice to organize and sell some of it before we move.

I’ve been exploring some interesting facets of bullet journaling this week.  Ryder Carroll, the originator of the system, released his first book on the subject last Monday.  It’s called “The Bullet Journal Method” and it is very good as an introduction to the system.  I haven’t finished the book yet, but there is promise of it having material for seasoned bullet journalists too.

Meanwhile I am in the Minimalist Bullet Journal group on Facebook.  There another member has posted a video explaining what he refers to as his “Frankinlog”.  It really condenses a lot of information into a few pages…well…actually a double page spread with a couple of Dutch doors.  Dutch doors are pages where part of the page (top or bottom) has been cut off, giving you a shorter page in-between two full size pages to write more notes.  The advantage is you can see the top (or bottom) of a page (say a calendar) and still have oodles of pages below it to write task lists.  I’m going to try it starting January.  I’ll post a photo then to show you how it works.

I hope everyone enjoys a lovely fall (or spring) weekend.  Take care my friends.

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