Growing up in the great outdoors gave me an appreciation for all things . . . outdoors-y.
IE: horses. But sadly, instilled in me a complete ignorance of the finer points of creating a beautiful home. IE: embroidery. My Mom ran a very efficient home. She cooked, cleaned and organized. Gardened. And even, on occasion, helped in the barnyard when the need arose. With all of that, somehow, she also found time for the pretty things in life. She embroidered pillowcases and tablecloths. Runners and handkerchiefs. Even tea towels. And did them beautifully. Unfortunately, the urge to 'pretty' things up had been left out of my makeup. Or so I thought. It was merely dormant. After the birth of my first baby, I was suddenly bitten by the sewing bug. I had to sew. A lot. I started out simply: overalls, pants and shirts for my boy. Then moved on to more complex: dresses for me. And blue jeans. But that is not what this story is about . . . From sewing practical, functional garments, my next logical progression was to the finer stitching. My Mom would be so proud. I got hooked, quite literally, on counted cross stitch. Pictures. Wall hangings. I loved it. Whenever there was a break in the day's routine . . . and even when there wasn't . . . I was back on the couch. Stitching. I should point out, here, that I had always been a 'night owl'. Preferring the hours after my kids were in bed, to indulge in whatever pursuit was currently consuming me. Usually reading. Occasionally watching TV. Now, my staying-up-in-the-evening time was taken up with those fine little needles and yards and yards of cotton floss. I made dozens of beautiful pictures and hangings. Working far into the night to complete some intricate piece. It was a peaceful moment in time. Until one evening. Allow me to describe . . . It was quiet there in the night. Everyone in the household was asleep. All the lights - save the one that snared me and my comfy armchair in a noose of gold - were off. I worked silently away. Consulted my pattern. Switched colours. Continued on. Then I started to feel . . . creepy. Like someone was watching me. I lifted my head. Peered intently into the shadows of the kitchen and hallway. No one. Weird. I went back to my stitching. Again, that feeling came over me. Eyes. Again, I looked. Nothing. I was really starting to get spooked. I tried to concentrate on my work. I had only put in one stitch when I was nearly overwhelmed by the feeling that someone, somewhere, was silently watching. I dropped my sewing into my lap and peered toward the kitchen. Then I turned and looked the other way, into the living room. And nearly died. Two eyes were indeed staring at me. From about two inches away. I screamed and pressed one hand to my suddenly hammering heart. It was then I realized that the two large, staring eyes belonged to my son's Bopo the Clown which was standing directly behind my chair. The eyes didn't blink or move. They didn't have to. Just the sight of them staring at me out of the dim light was enough to totally shatter my night. I did what any normal person would have done. I 'bopped' Bopo in his large bulbous, red nose. “Honk.” I hit him again. “Honk.” Sigh. I felt marginally better. But it was definitely time for bed . . . The next evening found me back in my chair. Needle firmly in hand. And with Bopo turned forcefully to the wall. Beauty definitely doesn't need a beast.
Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .