Category Archives: daily life

Has it really been that long?

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Usually when I plan to write a blog post, I take a quick look at my previous post to see what I talked about so that I don’t repeat myself. Well, holy yarn, Batman, it’s been nearly two weeks! You must have thought I’d died. If you even noticed, that is 😀

So, what have I been up to. Firstly, this…

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This is the beautiful Winter Sun Square by Pam at Hooks and Hills. She was asking for testers a while back so I quickly volunteered. I made it with the Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK and I happened to have similar colours to the ones she used in hers. I whipped it up in an evening and gave her a little feedback on her pattern along with my photos. She has published the pattern now, and that’s where the link above will take you.

Secondly, I brought home the cutest 100% cotton fabric remnant from work. It’s a full metre and of course being a remnant from the end of the bolt I got it at 75% off.

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Yes, even skunks are sometimes cute.

Thirdly, I have AT LAST finished the four squares for the Kanata Kerchief Tank. I need to block them now. These used a teensy bit over six 50 gram balls of the Scheepjes Linen Soft – I have one ball left for the shoulder straps which had better be enough.

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I had to rip back in a few places where my stitch count was off, but by the last square I was just desperate to finish and I did fudge a corner rather than rip out a whole round.

As for my plans to keep on top of all the things I want to do, the meditation has fallen by the wayside. I think a better plan would be to schedule an hour of crochet a day, but WITHOUT Netflix or other distractions. This would work like a moving meditation in which I could calm my thoughts while doing something with my hands at the same time.

French and German….well, Duolingo has been a bit neglected but I have watched a lot of German With Jenny’s You Tube Channel and also checked some children’s books out of the library in German to practise reading and comprehension.

My other blog, Grains Greens Berries & Beans, has a short new post inspired by a video I saw online  yesterday. I think what tends to make me procrastinate is that I want that blog to have long educational posts with lots of links and a pretty picture, AND I want to share on Facebook and Twitter, which all needs a solid chunk of time. If I lower my expectations a bit, I will probably blog more.

Exercise….I did make it to the gym last week, and had a long flat cycle ride with a friend this week. A Monday afternoon walk with Tai Chi Man was very pleasant followed by a cup of tea at our favourite little independent tea shop. When it’s this hot, the thought of getting even more sweaty is not appealing, though, and I am hoping that tomorrow’s forecast for a cooler day with RAIN actually pans out. Today is the 44th day without rain, which matches 2003 for drought. That year, we had the biggest baddest wildfire ever which burned for weeks,  across the mountains on the other side of the lake from us, and then started in on the houses at the south end of the city. Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes. This year, there have been hundreds of fires around the province, but thankfully the ones around here were relatively small and dealt with quickly.

Well, I think we are all caught up. I need to go out this afternoon to register for a class in the fall. I’ve decided not to go back to piano lessons for now, but I am going to join in with a class that some friends are presenting about Food and Health. They have asked me to do my presentation on one of the days, so I’m going to go for the whole six weeks. Plus I find it rather nice to have a predictable day off each week for getting things done.

Happy crafting and see you again soon.

WIP: Kanata Kerchief Tank

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The glass table on my deck is my favourite place to photograph WIPs and FOs right now because the light out there is good, especially in the mornings before the sun comes around and makes it too bright and hot.

The Kanata Kerchief Tank is made up of four squares of lacy crochet which are then joined and added to to make the shoulder straps. So far I have just crocheted up the balls of yarn until they are done and then started another one. The squares aren’t big enough yet – they need to be 20″ square after blocking. This linen blend yarn really will need a good blocking. It’s looking pretty crumpled, having been stuffed into my Wool Warehouse organza bag.

I had a lovely parcel from a fellow Ravelry member this week. I had admired her project in a group I moderate (Crafternoon Treats) and she said she didn’t like working with the yarn and was unlikely to use the last skein. When I said how much I loved the colours she offered to mail me the yarn all the way from England. How lovely of her! It came with a pretty card and a stitch/placemarker too.

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There was an extra little bit of yarn enclosed so I had a play with it last night, following a C2C (corner to corner) tutorial on You Tube.

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We had a beautiful visitor to our backyard this week.

He spent hours just sitting in the shade at the bottom of the garden, had a little walk around under the apricot tree and found some fallen fruit, then nibbled on some wild rose leaves and the juniper. Even though he headed right towards our potatoes he left them alone. After another rest, something spooked him and he trotted off around the side of the house and across the road. I hope he found his family safely.

It’s been mid-30s Celsius this week and there’s talk of it hitting 40. Eeek! There have been more fires – one on a small mountain in the north end of town (the official story is that it was started deliberately) and more right on the side of the highway through the city caused by a nutcase walking along with a blowtorch setting light to the landscaping in front of the stores. It’s bad enough when fires start accidentally, but when crazy people with blowtorches, illegal campfires and carelessly discarded cigarettes are added in, it’s even more worrying.

I’m having a home day today and have lots to keep me busy. I did start the day with a one hour meditation, and that is my goal for every day now. As usual, I found that after a bunch of brain activity, I was starting to settle into a quiet period and the timer went off! I had so much going on in my head the other night that I couldn’t go to sleep so I got up again and grabbed a notebook and pen and made lists of all the things that I wanted to pay attention to. This includes things like

  • blogging (two blogs)
  • friends who I want to meet up with regularly
  • sewing projects I want to make
  • yarny projects
  • working on my Wholistic Nutrition slideshow and presentation
  • meditation
  • exercise
  • learning French and German
  • checking in to Ravelry every day, not just for my own benefit but to moderate the Crafternoon Treats group and post Kathryn’s latest podcast info to the group
  • and an item added by my husband which I shall coyly refer to as “paying him more attention” 😀

Talking of my presentation, two friends of mine are leading a class for seniors in the fall all about food and health. They did the same course last year and this time have more sessions and I have been asked to fill one of those sessions by doing my slideshow and talk. I have decided to be more proactive in sharing the benefits of a whole-food plant-based diet so this is the perfect opportunity. I will also be open  to talking to other small groups. It should get easier the more I do it.

It’s time to get off this couch and hang out some towels to dry. Have an awesome week and talk to you again soon. Remember, I love to receive your comments and I appreciate all Likes and Shares too.

 

 

Fabulous Friday

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Let’s see, what do I have to share with you today? I probably should have got out of bed earlier this morning. I was up at about 7, and had to be at work by 9.15. So the first thing was to grab my lemon water and cup of tea, and then get on with making a pot of chili. It took about an hour to get everything going in the pressure cooker but it was a great way to use up the beans in the fridge and freezer, some spinach, Swiss chard, a couple of mushrooms, some grated carrot, a partial can of diced tomatoes and so on.

We used to have “refrigerator soup” most Fridays before I started working at Fabricland, because we always did our weekly shop on Saturdays and it was nice to clear out the wilting vegetables. Our routine is not so set in stone any more, because my shifts are all over the place. This week my only shifts were a five hour stretch last night plus an eight hour one today. I had a busy morning but because we are open until 9pm on Fridays we have more staff arriving at lunchtime to see us through to closing, and a couple of us were able to leave early today. So I’ve only actually earned ten hours worth of pay this week.

So to get back to the chili, and the fact that I put in a couple of loads of laundry and hung one load outside on the line, and had to eat breakfast and make a lunch, I didn’t have time to meditate this morning. And I actually missed it! It’s only Day 4 but I already feel it’s something I want to keep doing. So when I was told I could go home early if I wanted, I jumped at the chance (as usual) and fitted in my 35 minute session before dinner.

Awesome!

I also had time to review the slideshow that I have put together for a presentation I’m making tomorrow night. This presentation, which I’m calling Wholistic Nutrition, has been scheduled for months and I had started writing things down and mulling over how it was all going to come together back in May or June. With the deadline looming, I discovered Google Slides, which is a free Powerpoint type tool which is easy to use. Using the material I wrote weeks ago, plus some text from my blog posts on Grains, Greens, Berries and Beans (my whole-food plant-based blog), plus some nifty photos from Pixabay (free Creative Commons pictures), I found that doing a slideshow was a better way to get my thoughts in order and present everything attractively.

I sound like an advertisement, don’t I!

I ended up putting the whole thing together in a day, with a couple of tweaks since, and I even had to get a bit of advice from my techie sons about changing my display to incorporate two screens, as my laptop will hook up to a projector. I feel a bit nervous about relying heavily on technology, and just in case my speaker notes aren’t visible while the slideshow is playing I will be printing them out.

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I do actually have two WIPs to show you. I have finished and joined Parts 1 to 5 of the Everything is Cool and Groovyghan CAL 2016. Part 6 is a long strip that attaches to this piece, and I had to wonder why it was made separately when I could just work it straight onto the piece I already had. So what I did was crochet a row of sc along the edge of the joined blocks (after I took this photo) instead of making a row of foundation sc, and whilst I have a few extra stitches I think it will be okay (famous last words) as I think the pattern repeat for part 6 is a multiple of 5 plus 2, and I have 172 stitches. This is only five more than the pattern calls for so I think I’m good.

Good grief, that photo makes the blocks look so wonky. There’s going to have to be some serious blocking when all the parts are joined.

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This is my other WIP. It’s the Kanata Kerchief Tank, available as a free Ravelry download. It’s a pretty top, made quite simply with four large squares, partially joined and finished to make the shoulder straps. It calls for a DK yarn so I’m using a new yarn to me, Scheepjes Linen Soft, and a 6mm hook.

I figured that this top should be the priority, so that I can wear it this summer, and then I’ll probably follow that up with the toddler dress with the pink Linen Soft. I’m really looking forward to making that.

I also managed to binge watch Season Six of ‘Suits’ on Netflix this week. There are only 10 episodes and I’m 99% sure there won’t be another season, considering how it ended, but I could be wrong. (Who, me?)

Wishing you all a happy sunny weekend. Have fun, stay healthy, be happy!

 

 

Ooooh, new yarn!

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I’m so happy to announce my new arrival – yarn in the mail from Wool Warehouse!

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It’s Scheepjes (my first ever Scheepjes) Linen Soft which is a DK weight blend of 27% linen, 47% cotton and 26% acrylic. The silver grey colourway is called Heron and the pink is Hummingbird. These are 50 gram balls and I should have enough of the grey to make myself the top that I linked to in my last post, and enough of the pink for the baby dress.

I just love the organza bags that WW sends their yarn in too.

Along with the yarn, I ordered two shade cards, one for Stylecraft Special DK and one for Scheepjes Colour Crafter. It’s helpful to have actual samples of the yarn instead of working off a computer screen, especially a PC!

I’m sure these will come in useful for future project planning.

I have a non-yarny FO for this week. The curtains for my sewing room are finished and hung.

It’s a colourful flowery print on a black background which adds a nice bit of colour to my boring sewing room!

The temperature has been cooler today but the valley is filled with smoke again. The sun has an orange tint to it. I’m not sure where the smoke is blowing in from this time but there are plenty of suspects.

Last night we had a pleasant evening down at the beach with our boys and the senior couple I call their local grandparents. It was windy, which made for a comfortable temperature, and we found a picnic bench under a tree to eat lots of food followed by some frisbee and bocce in the field across the road.

Have a happy crafting week!

FOs: Elephant toy and cowl

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This elephant is a spontaneous little project that grew out of (a) my wanting a sewing project to do downstairs where it’s cooler and (b) an idea from the print of the flannelette I was hemming to make burp cloths for my great-niece.

We’ve had a run of hot weather, by which I mean in the 30s Celsius, and whilst we do most of our living upstairs in our bi-level it can get uncomfortably hot indoors – like 29 degrees hot. We don’t have air conditioning so the best way to get cooler is either take a shower, go for a swim in the lake, or retreat down to the basement where I have my craft room.

Last night I went down there and found some pretty fabric that I bought when it was selling out at the store and I really wanted some before it was all gone. I have three metres of it so decided it would make pretty curtains for my craft room. So far I have cut the panels and hemmed them, but I need ruffle tape for the tops, so if I can get a reasonable photo later on I can show you them.

I also hemmed the aforementioned flannelette, and went through my other stash fabric to see if my inspiration would be jump-started.

I made a list of things I want from the fabric store where I work, including the quantities for two skirts that I want to make. One is a wraparound skirt from the book Weekend Sewing and the other is another tiered skirt using the same Burda pattern as I used last time.

I was doing some trawling around Ravelry yesterday doing an elephant search, and also searching Pinterest, and came across the sewn elephant toy. It’s on a site called Sewandso.co.uk. I found the instructions to be a bit basic and they wouldn’t work well for a beginner who needed to have every step spelled out for them. I had three colours in the same print from a long ago purchase so made the body red, the ears and tail green, and the inner legs blue.

This elephant has no eyes and I don’t plan to add any. Having made this little guy, I’m not sure whether I will make another, but if I do I will do a better job!

To add to the heat we have had lots of smoke in the valley the last few days. Smoke from various wildfires is being blown in. A state of emergency has been declared in British Columbia because there are so many fires burning in different spots. I don’t know how the firefighters manage to deal with them all – their resources must be spread thinly. It’s another windy evening here, which is nice when all the windows can be opened at night and the air moves through, but wind has a dark side in that it whips up fires. Also, there is no rain in the forecast, but sometimes we will get hopeful about some clouds only to have a thunderstorm that just starts more fires.

Now that inventory is over with at work, things will be back to normal. I had a much-needed day off today, part of which I spent at the beach with a friend. I had a very brief dip in the lake but mostly I was sunbathing. It felt good.

Not much point showing you the crochet blanket progress because it’s pathetic how little I’ve achieved since last time. So I will finish with a photo of the Tunisian simple stitch cowl which my co-worker loved and appreciated so much.

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WIP: Everything is Cool and Groovyghan ctd

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So last time I wrote, I showed you Parts 1 and 2 of the Groovyghan. Part 1 was the Tri-tonal traditional granny square, except I did it with five colours, not three. Part 2 was the Hot-Butter Popcorn panel.

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Part 3 involves two blocks named On the Groovy Waves which are about 10 inches square. I’m not paying too much attention to my gauge. I’m going to make all the parts and if I need to fudge it to get them all to fit later, then so be it.

This also was supposed to have three colours – mine has six.

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In keeping with the plan to tie the whole thing together with greens, this block has two of my greens: the minty one in the third band from the bottom and the khaki in the middle. This one will need a good blocking as it’s not sitting very flat at the moment.

One down, one to go.

In other news, I had a lovely evening out at a concert given by The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, which apparently was first formed in 1956 and has been going continuously since then. No, the musicians are not the originals from 1956!

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The conductor was also the male vocalist, and they occasionally brought on a female vocalist for some numbers. They looked like they were having fun, and the audience was too. I think the average age of the audience was 80. We were all familiar with the tunes, like Pennsylvania 65000, Chattanooga Choo Choo and Moonlight Serenade. I always tear up when listening to live music and this was no exception. I remember listening to Glenn Miller records (yes, vinyl ones) as a child on mum and dad’s record player.

The band was introduced gradually over the course of the evening – their names and home towns – and they apparently tour for 48 weeks a year playing multiple times a week. If these guys have families, they must not see them very often.

I’m limping a bit today. I managed to knock a small saucepan off the counter last night and it hit my foot. I screamed, my husband probably thought I was overreacting, I swore, he saw the blood welling out of a hole in the top of my foot, and maybe he changed his mind a bit! He had to grab some tissues and a Band Aid as the blood was making a small puddle on the floor. It’s beyond me how the curved rim of a saucepan can puncture skin, but there you go! It’s going a bit black from the bruising but at least the bleeding stopped quickly.

Temperatures are staying in the 30s Celsius this week (90 plus). We are about to go out for a Canada Day event at someone’s house, so hopefully I will be able to find some shade.

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian readers, eh! Have an awesome weekend.

 

WIP: Everything is Cool and Groovyghan

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I’m only a year and a half ‘late’ on doing this Crochet-along. It actually started in January 2016 and all the parts were published, done and dusted long ago. However it fitted my criteria for a summer blanket project. It’s modular which means I  can work on small pieces without being swamped in yarn on hot summer evenings. I can use multiple colours and get a scrappy look because, hey, it’s a Groovyghan and it’s supposed to be a bit wacky.

It’s coming along quite quickly. I’m using my stash of DK yarn, which is combination of Stylecraft Special, Deramores Studio and Mark & Kattens Carolina. I’ve had that Carolina for so long that it’s now discontinued and it was annoying me that it was still hanging around. I invested a lot of money in greens and browns, thinking I’d make this gorgeous cardigan, an adult version of a pattern I had with fiddlehead ferns embroidered on it. Nope, that stalled, as did the other projects I tried with it.

I see most people use a 4mm hook with DK, even a 3.5mm, but I’m using my Addi Swing 4.5mm because (a) it’s an awesomely comfortable hook, (b) I tend to crochet tightly, and (c) I don’t want my blanket coming out too small.

Here’s the pile of stash, sorted by colour:

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And here’s my progress:

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One strip of granny squares is finished (though I haven’t woven in all the ends yet). To control the colours somewhat, all the centres are yellow, and all the second and fifth rounds are shades of green (I have a lot of greens). That was part 1 of the CAL. Then part 2 is the popcorn blocks, where I chose to use the same purple for the background on both blocks and two of the greens for the popcorns to tie things in with the grannies.

The Ravelry link for the CAL is here. And the page on the Keep Calm and Crochet On UK website where it all comes together is here. Whilst I’m not crocheting along with other people, I have the benefit of working at my own pace, which means I’m not waiting around for the next part to be published, or rushing to finish a section and feeling pressured.

As you can see, this is not a portable project. I have three large bags/baskets of yarn and I’m choosing colours as I go. So I needed a small project which would fit into a project bag for taking to work and other places. This is one which I have worked on solely in my lunchbreaks the last three days:

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It’s a nice bit of comforting Tunisian crochet in simple stitch using a bulky yarn from Michaels and an 8mm hook. This will probably end up being another co-worker gift. No rush to finish this one either.

So that’s that! Summer has officially hit here, with temperatures into the 30s, though I think maybe it will be mid-20s for the next few days. The over-full lake has started to recede, and hopefully the beaches will all be open again soon (that’s if they are usable, considering the debris, dead grass etc all over the place). I have started an exercise routine as I need to firm things up for MAUI! Yes, we have booked a week in Maui for our 30th wedding anniversary in December. I’ve been wanting to go there for a long time and see for myself if all the rumours are true – that it’s an amazing place!

Tai Chi Man has sadly been given extra work around the house that he really didn’t need. He has the week off and already has a “honey-do” list as long as his arm, but we’re having trouble with the plumbing. The water pressure is triple what it should be which of course we discovered just before the weekend, the extra pressure is making the toilets and dishwasher quite unhappy, and he has had to phone around for parts and make numerous trips to the hardware store. I guess the pressure valve on the pipe coming into the house failed (no cold water tank like we used to have in the UK, just a direct line). What a nuisance! Old houses are always giving you little surprises. Nasty ones. Sometimes expensive ones.

I’d better go and get started on straightening up around here. The water is off so I can’t clean the bathrooms but I can certainly vacuum, and hem curtains, and get some things crossed off MY to-do list.

Happy crafting!