Category Archives: daily life

Thursday’s threads, therapy and thankfulness

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Hello, lovely people. How are you today? I had a very pleasant day. My appointment with my hand therapist went well. I was only with her for 15 minutes so she could check how my wrist is coming along. She measured my flexibility (with her angle measurer thingy) and my grip strength and it’s all improving. She said to keep doing what I’m doing, and to be honest I haven’t been too diligent on the hand stretches but I’ve been knitting and crocheting like mad, and even sewing too. It all helps, I think.

So I’m thankful that my wrist is getting better, with only the occasional ache and twinge, and I’m determined that by the time my holiday comes around in August that I will be 100%.

After my appointment, I had tea with Tai Chi Man. Today I had Assam TGFOP. I know the OP stands for orange pekoe, in other words good old black tea, but the rest I have forgotten. I have it with a little plain soymilk, no sweetener. Tai Chi Man had his usual Extreme Green. And after a sit and a knit and a chat with him, he went back to work and I took a tea to my friend at her office and we sat outside on a sunny bench for half an hour.

This is my knitting project…

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It’s the yarn I bought at my LYS last year and took to Maui in December. I started crocheting a ripple scarf but didn’t like all the cut ends and couldn’t see myself finishing it. So after a long rest in its bag for five months I took it out, unravelled it, and found a new project for it. This is the Pool Party Cowl and I found it, of course, through Ravelry. It starts out with a kind of broken seed stitch in colour A, in my case the variegated, and then starts on the woven pattern, where you knit two rows with A and then weave two rows with B, the green solid. (Edited to add that this yarn is Cascade Sunseeker, a cotton acrylic blend with a touch of metallic.)

I can’t tell you how happy I am with this cowl. I definitely did the right thing unravelling the scarf.

So, now to the threads mentioned in the title. I had an idea fermenting in the back of my mind after watching the Smells Like Yarn podcast. Ross keeps showing off a WIP in the Rocko bag made by his friend, DarnYarnMN. It is a zippered pouch with a clear vinyl window at the front. I wanted to try making one (or three) and I have lots of pieces of cotton fabric in my stash. I bought some iron-on interfacing, zippers and clear vinyl from work the other day and dove in.

Whilst I did watch a basic bag tutorial on You Tube, it didn’t include the clear window, so I basically made it up. I’m mostly happy with this bag, except for the fact that the raw ends of the zipper aren’t enclosed within the lining, and neither are my seam allowances, because I couldn’t figure out how to do that with the window in the front of the bag. Anyway, this was just my first effort, and there will be more versions in the future, I’m sure. (The size of this is about 10″ square.)

floral window bag

The second bag I made is a drawstring bag, and the instructions come from a book I own, Weekend Sewing. I’ve made this bag before in a smaller size. The cut size of the back piece was 15 x 12″, so that’ll give you an idea of the finished size. The front is made from two panels of fabric and one of vinyl. I’m learning some new things, what with having to use a special machine needle to sew vinyl, and how to feed it through so that the stitches stay even. I did cut the ribbon too short because I forgot that each piece has to go all around the top of the bag, not just across one side.

green window bag

I’m not sure whether there is a way to avoid the vinyl crunching up and getting little dings in it when turning the bag right side out, or if there’s a way to smooth it out once you’ve done that. I bought the medium weight one. Maybe others use the thinnest kind.

We’ve had some hot days already and it feels like summer has arrived. The thermometer has exceeded 30 degrees a couple of times. I have to say I prefer mid-twenties for comfort. We don’t have (and don’t want) air conditioning at home, though I do have it in my car and I’m very thankful for it. This evening, we have all the windows open and there’s quite a wind blowing through, the wind chimes are clanging, and it feels very comfortable.

Enough waffling, I think. Have a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day!

S is for Saturday, sunhats, single crochet and stash

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G’day! How’s it going? If you’re in Canada, I hope you’re having a wonderful long weekend. Mine is somewhat interrupted, as I will be working tomorrow. But not Monday.

My wrist has been pushed to the limit today. I seem to be in frenzied crocheting mode. Maybe I’m trying to make up for lost time. I have started the project pictured above, which I am hoping will turn out to be a wearable brimmed sunhat made with Hemp for Knitting’s Allhemp 6. It’s a DK weight yarn and I’m trying a 3.75mm hook with it. No pattern. After all, I’ve made a billion hats. (Tai Chi Man says I should be in the Guinness Book of World Records for making so many hats. He just doesn’t understand hyperbole, obviously.)

Anyway, that was yesterday, but I could only do a small bit of the crown before my wrist complained. That hemp yarn is STIFF! So I moved over to dishcloth cotton. I already made these earlier in the week…

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…two of which I sent off to my father-in-law with the two hats. One, I kept.

So last night I started a pink dishcloth, as I had three balls of Bernat Handicrafter in the stash from I-don’t-know-where, and today I took the bag of yarn and the 6mm hook with me while on errands and crocheted while Tai Chi Man drove. I also crocheted while walking around Lee Valley (Canadian store, not an actual valley) and at our fave tea shop. And now I have these…

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I am finding these very satisfying. Basic single crochet with an sc border. Twenty stitches wide and as many rows as it takes to make a square. If I didn’t think my wrist would seize up completely, I’d be starting another scrappy one right now to use up the leftovers.

Surprisingly, after dinner I felt quite energetic and decided that as long as I didn’t sit on the couch and get settled in I would be quite amenable to going to the gym. So we went. Definitely better to spend an hour (treadmill, weights machines) at the gym than veg on the couch the whole night. Our busy Saturday is drawing to an end and I feel like I achieved a lot. (I am seriously wondering whether I could manage to crochet while on the treadmill.)

Today’s tea shop experience was Lavender Lady Grey as a latte with almond milk and agave. What’s your fave tea?

 

 

T is for Tuesday, Tea, Tablet-stand and Thermometer

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T is for Tuesday, Tea, Tablet-stand and Thermometer

Hello! I’ve finished another quick project. It’s a tablet- or phone-stand and I used this pattern. Now and then, I like to have my iPad Mini in portrait mode but my Smartcover, which apparently ain’t so smart, only holds it in landscape.

So I thought this would be a bit of fun. It took just a few days and I used Red Heart Super Saver Ombre in Scuba (left over from the baby blanket). (FO photos follow further down.)

I worked all weekend, and the weather got pretty warm. The thermometer in my car has hit 29 degrees the last couple of days. Yesterday I hit the gym in the morning, and bought groceries in the afternoon, followed by a cool treat in the evening – visiting a friend at her condo where we crocheted/knitted by the pool and followed that up with a leisurely swim.

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we like the same colours, evidently

 

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the view from her balcony over to the pool

After the swim, we found it a bit cool, so went back to her apartment to dry off and drink tea.

Today I blitzed the kitchen and bathrooms and considered myself done with housework for now, and then I went to meet my friend for more tea at our favourite tea shop downtown (vanilla honeybush latte with almond milk…mmm…)

My project didn’t take long to finish…

Link to my Ravelry project page here if you’d like to peek.

Tonight our Four Agreements book study group will be meeting around the same pool, because it’s another hot day today and it makes a nice change from being at a coffee shop.

It’s the same every year. Spring seems to be here for a month at most, then summer temperatures hit and we all start having to find a shady spot to park the car so it doesn’t turn into an oven. From being too cold to hike, it gets too hot. From having the furnace on, through a short time of having the windows open and airing the house out, to having to close them up and shut the blinds to keep the heat out. The shoulder seasons are definitely too short here.

FO: Cakeholes

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I’ve called these bags “cakeholes” because, well, they hold cakes. Of yarn. And I like to think of the phrase, “Shut yer cake’ole” (meaning shut your mouth) with a Yorkshire accent in my head!

I used about two thirds of the skein of Red Heart With Love in cornsilk. After all those single crochet stitches, I’d had enough of it, though. The smaller bag with the Lion Brand Mandala inside is about 4.5″ across and 6″ tall, and the other fits a cake of Bernat Pop inside and is about 5.5″ across and 7.5″ tall.

We have had some gorgeous weather lately but last night had a rain storm hit us. I woke up around 2.15am to the sounds of rain, wind and rattling windchimes. I quickly went and made sure that the windows weren’t open too wide because the south side of the house gets the brunt of the weather and we could have had rain blowing in. I noticed that the boys’ bedroom lights were still on. A few minutes later, I was back in bed when ds3 knocked on our door and said something which I didn’t catch (my good ear was on the pillow), Tai Chi Man jumped out of bed and left the room, and my sharp Spidey senses told me that something was up!

Turns out there was water leaking through our son’s bedroom light fixture. Not good! We made sure to turn the light off and put out bowls on his bed and floor to catch the drips. He ended up sleeping on the couch in the living room which meant that those of us who went to work before he needed to get up for his own shift had to tiptoe around. No smoothie for me today as it would have meant running the Vitamix. If you have one of those you’ll know how loud they are.

This morning, there was more heavy rain, but no wind, and no more dripping coming from the ceiling. Tai Chi Man called the roofers first thing – we actually asked them for an estimate nine months ago and if all had gone to plan the roof would have been done last fall. However the snow arrived and it was delayed until spring – which turns out to be a bad thing! We are now on the Urgent list and I hope we don’t have to wait too much longer.

It did look lovely and green outside today, after the rain. The walnut trees are leafing out, the grass has greened up, we have our potatoes planted in the vegetable garden. At one point the cloud was so low I couldn’t see past my neighbour’s house.

It’s rather a shame that we have this short window of green before everything crisps up in the scorching heat of summer.

My brain is starting to give out – it was a long day at work after my disturbed night and my train of thought is derailing. Wishing you all a great day tomorrow.

 

 

WIP: Bill’s hat update

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Hello all. How are you? Despite my slow progress, the hat for my father-in-law has reached 4.75″ tall and there’s only an inch to go until I start the crown decreases. The pattern is Vanilla Hat and is a basic DK weight hat that has a folded hem at the brim and four sets of decreases at the crown. Very simple.

I’m using Lion Brand Mandala in the colourway Chimera. Because this is quite a small project, I have been trying to figure out how many of the colour changes will appear in the hat. I actually cut out a fair amount of both the mid-green and the yellow-green, only giving the yellow-green a half inch of exposure before going into the yellow. I really hope I get some orange and red in there too, maybe with some fudging.

After finishing the blanket last Friday, I did no knitting or crochet for two whole days! At my Monday night Hygge group I planned to knit on the hat, but was sidetracked by my friend’s blanket which was damaged. She brought it to me to fix. Her cast on was tight and it had actually broken and there was a ragged bit about four inches long. So I picked out the cast on edge, got the work back on the needles about two or three rows down, unravelled the damaged bits to the point where all was well, and reknit a row. She is planning to add a bit more length to the blanket so I left it on the needles so she can knit some more rows then bind off.

I took the hat to work with me on Tuesday so I could do a row or two. Yes, I’m back at work. Mixed feelings about that 😛 It’s nice to be back socialising with my co-workers and chatting with the customers. Because I’m not ready to cut fabric or lift bolts yet, I’m on the till. There’s a big sale this weekend and I’m scheduled for Saturday AND Sunday.

First day back, my wrist did ok, but second day was a little more challenging. Maybe a rest day between shifts would have been a good idea, but I didn’t think to ask.

Today I went hiking with a friend. It felt really hot.  I don’t know what the official high temperature was, but it felt like mid-20s Celsius. The sun was shining and we were walking for about 3 hours; well, a bit less than that if you don’t count the short break halfway for a sit and a snack. I am so glad I set aside my vanity and wore my $3 dollar store sunhat, because I think I’d have felt a lot hotter and been sunburned by the end of it, without the shade. Last time we hiked there, my family and friends were invaded by ticks. I think we managed to catch them all before they embedded themselves, but I was wary this time. After sitting in the grass to have our snack, I found a tick on my hand, so I flicked it off and we did a clothing check. When I got home, I stripped off in the bathroom and showered, running my hands through my hair to be sure I had no hitchhikers.

So I’m grateful for friends, sunshine, spring and smoothies. What are you grateful for?

 

FO: Scuba baby blanket

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FO: Scuba baby blanket

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I called this the Scuba blanket purely because that’s the colourway of the Red Heart Super Saver Ombre, but now that it’s finished and has been adorned with an appliqued orange elephant perhaps it deserves a better name. The “Mandarin Pachyderm” blanket, maybe? Here’s a link to my Ravelry project page so you can see which patterns I referenced.

I started this after my shopping spree at Michaels last Thursday with a plan to get the blanket done in nine days. Crocheting is uncomfortable, even left handed, so I’ve had to pace myself, but I think it’s big enough to be a respectable baby blanket. I did measure it when it was laid out for the photo but can’t remember both dimensions now, and it’s currently in the washer. The length is 33 inches. The little elephant applique is made with some Stylecraft Special Aran in the colour Spice from my stash.

I’m going to schedule this to publish tomorrow. I don’t think that my friend (who’s having the baby) reads my blog, but I’d rather not risk it. The baby shower is tomorrow so once it’s underway my blog post can be released to the world!

Another friend knitted a matching hat, plus she sewed a gift bag made from vinyl (oilcloth) which will make a practical gift as it can be used for so many things.

I am adding an elephant lovey to the bag that I made some time ago. I have been waiting for the opportunity to give it to someone. Hmmm, I seem to have an elephant theme going on.

I added to my button stash this week.

Found these at a dollar store for $2.75 a pack. Way cheaper than the same brand at the store where I work!

Spring has finally arrived here. Yesterday was a glorious day during which I abandoned the To Do list, changed into a strappy top and denim shorts, and set myself up on the back deck in the sunshine with a book, an iPad, tea, the Herrschner’s paper catalogue and notebook and pen.

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I haven’t ordered more yarn…yet! I do have a few tabs open on my laptop though, as I’m thinking of buying some Premier Wool-free Sock Yarn and getting back into sock knitting, or even sock crocheting. And thinking ahead to my international travel in the summer, having a couple of small skeins of thin yarn with lots of yardage will take up less space in the backpack!

Well, I’d better get that blanket into the dryer. Have a great weekend!

Brightening up my life

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Wow, what a great day I’ve had so far. My dear friend Jeanette came and picked me up this morning and took me south to the little town on the lake which we love to visit. It’s only 15 minutes’ drive away but you always feel like you’re on vacation when you go there. We had lunch at the cafe there (well, it was actually coffee and cake but who’s counting) and then had a look around the small shops nearby.

I tend to favour cheap and cheerful stuff and balk at spending mega bucks on an item of clothing, or really even spending anything on myself at all. But the third store we went into, I came across a cute backpack-style bag that was just so “me” that I had to look closer. The turquoise colour and the floral embellishments drew me in, but the “we are vegan” tag sold me!

I had no idea that there was a company called ESPE (www.espe.ca) that makes all-vegan bags and wallets. A Canadian company! A vegan product! OMG!

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Can you see why I had to have it? Huh? It’s a bit smaller than my regular backpack-type Adidas bag, but SO much prettier.

Then of course I saw some wallets by the same company. Unfortunately there weren’t any in the turquoise but I like lime green too so…

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As if that wasn’t enough, I (ahem) saw another item that I fell in love with too, and my grabby little hands couldn’t leave this behind…

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The funny thing is that this is the first time I’ve ever seen these products, and yet on the drive home we stopped at a garden centre so I could prettify my dining room table with these…

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…and what should I see but more products by the same company (thankfully the wallet I looked at was a bit more expensive at the garden centre, or I might have been a bit miffed).

Now I’m home and on a sugar-retail-therapy-induced high. Gratitude to my lovely friend for taking me out today, to the weather for being sunny and bright, and to companies with a strong vegan ethic.

FO: Left-handed therapy cowl

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Hello again. I am excited to announce the conclusion of the cowl, crocheted with a 10mm hook and Loops & Threads Facets. I think Michaels have discontinued this yarn now as some of the balls I have were marked down.

At the point I decided to finish it, it was a bit long to seam the ends together for a cowl, but too short for a scarf, so I overlapped the ends and added three buttons along the top edge. The buttons were in my stash, found at work ages ago in the discontinued basket. With C2C there are naturally lots of buttonhole options, so I could probably get inventive and button it a number of different ways.

The last week has seen a couple of major events in my extended family. My mum celebrated her 85th birthday and of course seeing the photos of the party with the whole family there gave me a twinge of sadness that I was so far away. Even my cousins from England had flown over to the island for the weekend.

The other event is the death of my aunt, my mum’s older sister. She was just one week shy of her 93rd birthday. She hadn’t been very well for a long time and had been living in care homes for years, but it’s still a jolt when it happens.

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This incredibly hairy doll is the Princess Poppy doll which I am making into the Paper Bag Princess. I had made great progress on this in February, and was up to the point where I had crocheted the hair cap and starting attaching the strands of hair. Well, that was scuppered when I broke my wrist. However having finished the aforementioned therapy cowl I felt ready to tackle this project again. I’m using a teeny 3.25mm hook, and my left hand, but there’s still a lot of support work done by the right hand and after adding quite a lot of hair to the doll this afternoon my wrist was quite painful. In case you’re wondering, the strand of cream yarn coming out of her face is a guide I put in for her centre parting.

I think she still needs a bit more volume on top of her head and then she’ll get a haircut so it’s all the same length. She’s not supposed to look too “put together” really, as in the book the Paper Bag Princess has just survived having all the clothes scorched off her by a large dragon!

This typing is killing my wrist too. The wrist brace is off and I can type properly with both hands again, but OMG it hurts. I think I shall have to return to my library book (Strangers by Dean Koontz, nearly 700 page paperback, of which I have read three-quarters in two days).

We are definitely on the cusp between two seasons here. It snowed lightly today. However we have also had a huge amount of rain this week (a really great rainstorm that came along with a wind that lashed it against the back of the house) and already in some places there is talk of flooding. Spring melt plus rain equals swollen creeks. Apparently the snowpack is even deeper than last year and is likely to cause even more problems as the level of the lake rises over the spring. I guess there could be a lot of people pumping out their houses along the lakeshore again this year.

Cool fabric

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Cool fabric

Hello friends! How are you? I hope you’re enjoying signs of spring in your part of the world (or fall if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere).

I haven’t been outside yet but it’s a pretty mellow-looking day. Cloudy, no wind. The snow is almost gone from the garden. Our temperature the last week or two has been in the single digits, I think, warmer in the sunshine, still cold in the shade.

I have my wrist brace off to type this because I want to get my flexibility back. My right wrist is still a little puffy on top but the underneath is cleaner looking now. There is still a lot of yellow bruising up the arm.

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I mixed some coconut oil with some lavender, geranium and frankincense essential oils and I’m applying it three times a day to keep the skin soft and minimise scarring. I love being able to take the brace off when I want to bathe, but leave it on when doing daily tasks or sleeping so I don’t hurt it accidentally.

Some major milestones (or as  I like to call them, “smilestones”) for this week: wearing jeans as I can now do up the button and belt, crocheting (albeit slowly and left-handed), a gentle workout at the gym (treadmill, core, legs, and some one-armed biceps/triceps), and today I had a bath all by myself (no Tai Chi Man there to wash my hair or scrub my back and I even managed to hack through the undergrowth on my legs)!

So all in all, good progress!

I have to show you this fabric I saw at Fabricland when I went in there with my friend the other day. We were there for her to buy stuff to make a bag, so I wandered around with her and chatted to my co-workers. Well, this new quilting cotton jumped out at me and I just had to grab a metre of it to add to the stash!

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Isn’t it awesome? Kind of a vintage “caravans at the seaside” vibe.

Have a great day and talk to you again soon.

Halfway there

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One week with this splint and dressing…


One week to go. Thankfully I have only needed one pain pill on each of the last couple of days. It’s more uncomfortable than anything, especially when my arm swells up.

The weather went from snow on Monday to beautiful sunshine on Tuesday, and today we are having diffuse sun. I have enjoyed a neighbourhood walk the last two days which adds a bit of variety, exercise and fresh air. All my menfolk have been out working every day  this week so I’ve had a few days of alone time. This is fine as long as I can feed myself one-handed! Whilst I can do a little tidying and laundry, I can’t do vacuuming or complicated meal prep. 

Lunch today was a turmeric miso noodle soup, the recipe for which turned up in my email inbox from The Garden Grazer. 

I sat outside for a bit while the house aired. Took my giant cup of tea and kitchen stool out on the deck.


The calendar and temperature may say Spring but there’s still a lot of snow around. The clocks go forward this weekend.

Well, it’s back to my photo files. I’ve made good progress on the DVDs that we had backed up (although we did lose some photos thanks to lack of self-discipline) and I have made a mental promise to myself to treat myself to something nice when the job is done! Dangling that carrot…