Monday, February 4, 2013

The Short List of Things to Do

Another morning of undecided weather--the sun peeked through and then skulked away not to reappear.
There are always the necessary things to do which don't change much from day to day: simple meals to prepare, kitchen clean-up after meals, laundry, pet care, mail.

I had in mind to go downstairs and sew when J. inquired if I would like to clean the harness which he acquired with the vintage buggy.
I made noises indicating a lack of enthusiasm, but within moments he reappeared laden with an armload of leather straps of varying lengths and widths, held together with a confusion of buckles.  This unwieldy heap was deposited with a clatter on the living room floor.  A brief rummage produced a variety of leather cleaners which he lined up encouragingly.
Seeing that my help had been assumed, I spread newspapers atop an old tablecloth and pulled a section of harness free from the tangle on the floor.
While I fetched a pile of soft rags Bobby leaped to the table and settled himself in a circle of leather.

Cleaning the harness wasn't strenuous work.
I made a mug of green tea which I set within reach.
The leather straps were fairly supple and I quickly established a pattern for working the leather dressing in with a soft brush, one side then the other; a swipe with the cloth and the cleaned piece could be draped over the chair and the next section brought to the table.

Over the years I've been drafted into various of J.'s 'projects.'
Quite often this has meant hand sanding of some object, painting, clearing up behind the men at a house construction site, or doing detail work which required a steady hand.
As I rubbed at the leather straps I decided that the scent of beeswax, lanolin and other oils in the leather dressing was preferable to the harsh odor of paint, polyurethane and various solvents such as mineral spirits or paint thinner.
My hands were grubby when I finished my task and my nails needed the scrub brush, but after a good lathering with soap and warm water, I realized that my hands were soft and smooth and smelled faintly of the leather cleaner--as did the room where I had been working.
I should have had a paste for shining the buckles and clasps--that will have to wait for another time.

I brought my quilt blocks upstairs and spread them on the table.
The colors of this fabric line are lovely.
None of the block patterns have been difficult, but it has been a fiddly process as the component pieces are cut for one block at a time, thus stream-lined assembly is not possible.
There are a lot of short seams to press and line up with the adjacent blocks.
This will be a true 'sampler quilt' when finished and more of a display piece than a bed cover.
I'm feeling ready to do something more traditional, something with a timeless appeal.

By the time I had caught up with a few chores, it didn't seem worth while to build a fire downstairs for an hour or two of sewing.
I was pleased with my progress on Sunday afternoon, having divided my time between the quilt and a bit of genealogy research undertaken for a friend of my sister, M.
The list of quilting projects that appeal to me, turn over in my head.
I am haunted by notebooks full of genealogy 'research' which needs to be sorted and typed.
Wrestling with bank statements and income tax is a looming chore which I dread.

Today I have been fascinated with many articles on-line dealing with the discovery of the bones of Richard III. I've had a least a vague grasp of the succession of dynasties in England, although I've read more historical fiction than solid biographical and historical works.
I was loaned Josephine Tey's "Daughter of Time' not long before leaving Wyoming and the reading of that reminded me of the mystery of Richard's nephews in the tower and the suspicion that he had been responsible for their disappearance.
After supper I wallowed through a long and poorly organized article in wikipedia re the Plantaganet families. I confess to nodding off several times.
I seem never to run short of things-I-want-to-do or things-that-must-be done.  Surely there is a third rather blurred category--things-that-ought-to be done!
I've never managed to juggle it all as well as I'd like!
Pondering aside, I need to give the kitchen one last tidy or be greeted with a mess in the morning.
Tomorrow is another day--and the list will be reworked, a few tasks ticked off with ever more queing up for attention.


  1. I have ben fascinated with the discovery of Richard's bones as well, and the fact that it was a Canadian family that provided the necessary proof that these were truly the bones of the King - villain though he may be.. I remember that particular book of Josephine Tey's, - and, I have a particular fondness for things-that-I-shall-do because it makes me feel I have some choice in the matter!!!!!!

  2. I'm sure 'J' appreciated your cleaning the leather and how nice that your hands were soft after doing that bit of work.

    Your quilt blocks are wonderful and will make a lovely piece when all put together. You amaze me how you just keep creating these blocks, different shapes, different colors. They are works of art.

    Have a lovely day today whatever comes your way.


  3. I had to chuckle at the pile of harness on the living room floor along with containers of cleaner. Your husband knows how to get things done, but it sounds as though you got your own share of pleasure from doing it.

    I love the colors in the quilt blocks.

  4. I love your sampler quilt. WOW. I love the mix of blocks and colors. Timeless indeed.
    Cleaning and normal house chores here also. Sounds like we are in the crosshairs for a snow storm/blizzard this weekend? Won't know until about Wed or Thurs. If there is a blizzard warning on Wed, we will get hit. I am hoping for the other which they may predict, mostly a rain/mix.
    I remember a number of years ago, I watched a program about the kings and on castles, and they mentioned the nephews of Richard, many, many years later, workmen doing some renovation work on his castle came across bones of two young children behind a wall, and these were the bones of the nephews they feared were killed. I cannot remember the name of the program though, but it was a long time ago.
    Take care, and enjoy your week.

  5. I love your sampler blocks. I particularly like the red with the blue.
    I was very excited to hear that the bones of Richard 111 have been unearthed. There is talk of them being reburied at York with a state funeral.

  6. Bobby seems to approve of the leather cleaning project. Now that's something we don't do every day.

  7. Cleaning leather harness strikes me as a rather satisfying sort of job, the smell of leather is one I really like. As for RICHARD 111 I've long considered him to have had a thorough hatchet job done on him by Tudor propaganda. I'm so glad he's been found and hopefully will eventually have his good reputation restored. As Duke of York he was well liked and respected and considered an able and just administrator - quite unlike the character Shakespeare created. The reconstruction of his face makes him look like the kind of man I've always thought him to be. The Richard 111 Society have a website that would give you a good bit of information about him

  8. Another lovely post with your wonderful way with words which makes me feel as if I've there in the midst of these projects. Love that kitty found the circle of leather somehow comforting. My farm cats would also manage to squeeze into my farm baskets and make themselves at home. Love the quilt squares. Do you knit as well? I'm trying to piece together 35 knitted squares and it's not my strong suit for sure! Next time, I will knit one solid piece blanket! Enjoy your Sunday...


  9. Cant wait to see your 'sampler' quilt complete will be amazing your harness cleaning helper too.
    I, like you, am fascinated by the Richard III discovery and am reading all the reports. I find it amazing that most of us non historians believed him to be evil and ineffectual and it pobably was all Tudor lies.

  10. Ah - these lists of "fings to do" - I have them too!

    Wish I could have been "tack cleaning" with you (it's one of my favourite jobs).

    The quilt is going to be SO beautiful. I am working on various craft projects at present, but mainly crocheting a throw for Gabby and Jason right now. It's nice and mindless and I can do it by the FIRE!

    As for Richard III - shall I blow your mind by saying that the Lloyd family from OUR house were part of the Tudor Army (the supporters were gathered up from all around the Towy Valley by the Lord from Dinefwr - another link) which marched to Bosworth, which is WHY their son and heir was made Esquire to the Body of Edward VII . . .

  11. rain-dead - should have written Henry VII!!!