Author Archives: Nicola

About Nicola

Long-time vegan, whole-food plant-based enthusiast and educator.

So relaxed!

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Day 4 of a block of five consecutive days off between shifts. I don’t know what I did to deserve that, but I’m loving it.

Today I did one of my favourite things, which was tidy up my craft room as I had dumped yarn all over the place. I also updated my stash pages on Ravelry. I have acquired extra skeins from a couple of friends who were clearing out either their own stuff or someone else’s. There were some knitted pieces, two of which I darned in the ends on and will donate to the SPCA and the other two I unravelled.

Tai Chi Man and I had a pleasant walk along the waterfront this afternoon. It was raining but we had our new Costco waterproof jackets on so we were comfortable. Treated ourselves to some good tea from our favourite tea shop (and a cookie – oops!).

Friday I took myself off to the ski hill for some snowboarding on my own. I’ve never done that before but the boys weren’t bothered so I went. The drive started out rainy and ended up snowy. The road between the highway and the resort is about 20km and the second part was very slushy and slippery. Bit of zigzagging and tire spinning going on, and when I parked in the parking lot I just knew that I was going to have trouble getting out again, winter tires notwithstanding.

I had a free lift pass so that was great, but I had to rent a board and boots as usual. I have my own helmet (that’s saved me from many a potential concussion)! I did a couple of runs – first one always feels like I’ve forgotten everything. Second one was better. Snow was quite soft and deep in places and caught the board a fair few times. Got to the top of the quad chair and was pushing my way to the spot to anchor my right foot back in when someone asked me if I’d lost a binding. Oh great, the ankle binding had come off as a screw had come out and got lost in the snow. Told the lift guy who radioed down. Not sure why it took so long, but had to wait over half an hour before a snowmobile appeared to take me down the hill. I did get to warm up inside the hut at the top of the chairlift and chat to lift guy for a while.

The snowmobile guy was a fellow Brit and very nice and I enjoyed my ride down the mountain back to the village centre. Never been on a skidoo before, but it’s a lot of fun. Asked the girl at the rental place if there was any chance of a refund as had lost 50 minutes of boarding time out of my limited afternoon session and was told yes, and I could still get my binding fixed and do more runs first if I wanted. Did a couple more runs and then got a FULL refund (would have been satisfied with half) so was very chuffed!

As anticipated, car was bogged down in snow in parking lot, tires were spinning and I was going nowhere. Nice young man appeared in front of my car and pushed a few times while I was attempting to reverse and got me out. Drive back to highway was again rather hairy – nearly sideswiped a van coming the other way as I went around a bend. A pretty eventful day that could have turned out badly but thankfully all I had were a few sore muscles the next day.

And finally after all that blabbing I can show you a bit of yarn…

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Sorry for the fuzzy nighttime shot – I was very limited in what I could do as the iPad is plugged into the laptop, syncing and backing up. I decided to carry on with this baby cardi and trust that I will have enough yarn. Cross fingers! One front done.

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This is a finished gift. I bought some handmade soaps at the indoor farmers and crafters market yesterday and decided to give one to a friend. The mesh bag is Tunisian crochet, the washcloth just a basic granny square. The yarn is Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK.

The poncho has been neglected but not forgotten, as I have the skeins of Stylecraft Special DK lined up in front of the coffee table so I know which order to use them in. Thank goodness we don’t have any small children or curious pets in this house.

And finally, I almost forgot, the caterpillar set (book, blanket, cocoon and hat) which I mailed off to the UK weeks ago has arrived safely and the new parents-to-be love it. Yay!

I hope your weekend was wonderful. Have a peaceful and productive week and I’ll talk to you again soon.

WIP: not a sweater

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The Stylecraft DK Coast Pack that was supposed to become a sweater is now going to be a poncho!

I have this poncho already that I knitted years ago…

It’s just a rectangle with one end sewn to the side of the other end, if you know what I mean. It’s quite a practical shape, actually, as in the car you can wear it with the V at the front which keeps your lap warm without bulk at the back, and when out walking you can wear it with the V at the back.

The project-that-was-going-to-be-a-sweater-but-I-wasn’t-happy-with-it sat in its bag for a week or three while I did other things and let my brain mull things over in the background. Whilst this looks like procrastination, it can be quite an effective way of making decisions!!

So, here’s the progress so far…

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That’s a pretty big square with a separate V stitch panel which is currently 12.5″ deep, to give you an idea of scale. Once my V stitch section gets to be about 35″ long, I’ll have to think about the next step which will be joining and bordering the whole thing. I am keeping the Peacock colour aside for that.

I’m feeling happier about this project now that a decision has been made, and I added about seven rows while watching Crafternoon Treats’ latest podcast this evening.

In other news, my piano lessons have been cancelled for the rest of the Spring. My teacher is going in for a hip replacement operation soon and won’t be back in action until after the summer months. The last tune she had us learning was Londonderry Air, which is quite tricky. I really will have to practice lots over the summer so that when we start again in the fall I haven’t forgotten everything!

Spring has finally Sprung here in British Columbia’s southern interior. The street sweeping trucks have been around the neighbourhood, vacuuming up the grit from the snowploughs/plows, the husband has pruned the apricot and cherry trees, signs of life can be seen from the bulbs in the garden, and we were down to our T shirts on Sunday afternoon in the sunshine. I still intend to hit the slopes again before the end of the ski season though.

 

Stash Enhancement eXpedition

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S.E.X. = more yarn for me!

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Michaels have a pretty good sale on right now and I went there today with a couple of coupons. As it turned out, the yarn that caught my eye was on sale (from $13 down to $6) so I didn’t need the coupons, and the yarn fumes might have gone to my head a bit. I bought eight 200gram skeins, two of each colour.

No specific plans for them – just tucking them into stash with the thought that they might make nice scarves.

What would you make with these?

WIP: Nash’s Sweater

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Hello crafty peeps

I didn’t want to leave you in the lurch so despite spending quite a chunk of time posting to my other site today (a chunk of time that was an unexpected gift because work was quiet today and I was asked if I wanted to go home early) I thought I’d update you on the current knitting project.

First I’d like to show you the cute project I made from this pattern before. It’s a really sweet design with the simple closure at the front. After I made the hat last week, I hoped I’d have enough of the Euro Baby Maypole yarn to make a matching vest using this pattern. (Both of those links are to my Ravelry project pages.)

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I think we can all see that this is a game of yarn chicken right here. I have used nearly a whole ball and I’m not even up to the armpits. The partial on the left is what’s left over from the hat. What are the odds that I’ll actually finish this vest before the yarn runs out?

I just thought – if I really do need more, I could go back to that yarn shop in May and get some more. Heck, I’ll be going there anyway. Who can resist a yarn shop when on holiday, eh! It won’t be the same dye lot, but that probably doesn’t matter, considering the self-striping nature of this yarn.

Potential problem solved! In fact, I’ll email my sister and ask her what the name of the shop is. Maybe she will even be willing to take a drive over there to see if they still stock it. It’s a small island, it’s not far.

Good night all, and talk to you again soon.

 

New venture

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I do apologise if this blog gets a little quieter in future. However I have been working on setting up a brand new website/blog all about the benefits of a Whole Food Plant Based diet.

Having been vegan for thirty years, and getting more and more interested and informed on the plethora of scientific evidence that this is the way of the future, I wanted to start putting my money where my mouth was, as it were. Actually, I have, for now, set up a free WordPress blog, so no financial investment at this time. However since graduating from the Centre for Nutrition Studies Plant-based nutrition course at eCornell, and even before that, I have wanted to do something concrete to help get the word out.

I know there are many resources out there, but each website, book or documentary adds a little more to the mix, and different approaches appeal to different people. Even if only a handful of people get the message via my new blog, and it makes a difference in their lives, then it is worth doing.

The yarn has been lying dormant for a couple of days while I played with Squarespace (professional but even though it is supposedly user-friendly I found it frustrating to set up), considered my options (do I want to commit to a monthly fee for a site which won’t be generating income, at least initially), investigated the WordPress options (from free up to $30 a month, depending) and just dived in to a regular basic blog because I just wanted to get started already!

Setting up the blog took a bit of time, getting the first two posts published, creating a new Facebook page, opening up a new Twitter account, and I needed to get out for a walk in the evening to burn off some of the tension of all that laptop time.

I’d love it if you were to check out my new website, Grains, Greens, Berries & Beans. Long name but I like the alliteration and the other options I considered were already taken. My youngest son helped with the logo that appears on my Facebook and Twitter profiles. I gave him my idea on paper and he translated it into digital!

I have so much information to share that it will take a long time to publish just what I already have planned, and of course new things are appearing on the web all the time. I hope to create a comprehensive resource for all things related to the Whole Food Plant Based lifestyle. I’m excited to get on with it.

Thanks for visiting.

 

FO: Maypole Hat

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Well, WordPress is trying to confuse me. They’ve done some sort of update or rehash of their site and now all the tools that were on the left are on the right. Sometimes  I feel like saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

Anyhoo, here’s the hat that was a WIP last time I posted. The diameter is about 16 inches, which I think is probably a 6 month old baby size. I still have part of one skein left plus a second, so it would be nice to make something else to match. I just haven’t decided what yet. I did a Ravelry search and didn’t come up with anything, except for one possibility, and it’s a little sweater I’ve made before from a library book, so I have placed a hold on it again. It’s Nash’s sweater and I could make it with or without the sleeves.

As I said before, this is Euro Baby Maypole, 100% polyester, and just in the knitting of the hat it’s already gone a little fuzzy so I don’t know how durable it is. Pretty colours, though. The ribbing was done with 5mm needles, and the stockinette with 5.5mm.

This was our view this morning –

The neighbour was out clearing snow off her car. Mine lives under our carport, not that I had to drive anywhere today anyway.

Yup, it snowed all day yesterday while I was at work (and I had to brush three inches of snow off the car so that I could see to drive home) and it was snowing this morning when I got up too. It didn’t last, though – by dinnertime, the sun had melted off quite a bit of it.

I had one of those lovely days today when my kitchen diary was completely blank  – no work, no appointments, no outside commitments – so I had a very sedentary morning (sorry, Fitbit)! This afternoon, though, I made up for it, doing multiple loads of laundry, cleaning bathrooms, the kitchen, the front entryway, and cooking scalloped potatoes, nut roast and date squares for dinner. Now that I have work some days, I appreciate the days when I’m home and can make more of an effort in putting a decent meal together.

Tonight, Tai Chi Man fancied a change of scene so booked us a couple of tickets to go to the movies. We are going to see The Ballerina, an animated movie which I’m sure will be cute and funny. My husband isn’t one for loud and violent films.

I hope Spring is springing in your part of the world. No sign of it here yet but we are supposed to see double digits (Celsius) next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FO: psychedelic hat, WIP: Maypole hat

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Hello everyone. How is it in your corner of the world? We are still entrenched in winter here. We had more fresh snow today. Everyone else is complaining that winter is going on too long but I’m happy as I want to go snowboarding a few more times before the end of the season.

This is the state of my car…

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I did take it through a carwash a month ago, but since then it’s worked hard. Last Saturday ds2 and I headed off to the nearest ski resort for some belated boarding time. If you look carefully, those are icicles hanging off the bottom of my car. The winter wheels are on, which aren’t as sexy as the summer ones with the nice hubcaps. I was certainly grateful for good tires on Saturday, as a very impatient person passed us on a bendy road and absolutely covered my windshield with slush. It only took a second to activate the brakes and wipers, but a moment later and I would have crashed into the back of Mr Impatient as he had to stop for the car in front to turn left. Too close for comfort!

I am currently pro-croche-nating (procrastinating with my crocheted sweater) which means there are subconscious doubts about it. So I made this super bulky hat for some quick Finished Object satisfaction (I may remove the pompom, it takes it too far over the top for my liking).

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Here’s the link to my Ravelry project page if you want more specs.

And there’s another hat in the works. A knitted one, if you can believe it. I was feeling the itch to knit something, and this Euro Baby Maypole yarn had been sitting in my stash since my UK holiday last summer. It’s 100% polyester, and an interesting texture – sort of unspun and with a thread twisted around it.

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The orange, white and blue feels nautical to me. I cast on a random amount of stitches – whatever the tail of the long tail cast on made – but making sure it was an even number so that the 1 x 1 rib worked out. The ribbing was done with US8 (5mm) needle tips on my Knitpicks interchangeables, and the stockinette is being knitted with US9 (5.5mm) tips. I’m getting a gauge of about 4 stitches to the inch, which for a bulky yarn is quite tight, but I like the texture.  I have no specific recipient in mind for this hat. I feel like it is more boy-ish than girl-ish. What do you think?

My Fitbit is telling me that I haven’t even hit 5000 steps today so I should get out for a walk as my target is 10,000 per day. So I’d better sign off here. Talk to you again soon.