Category Archives: family

Marvellous Monday

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It is most definitely a marvellous Monday! The mail carrier brought yarn!

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These beauties are Lion Brand Mandala which I ordered online from Herrschners.ca. I wish Canada Post wasn’t so darned slow but I suppose it makes for more excitement when something fun does come in the mail. They are BIG. One hundred and fifty grams each. I couldn’t tell you what the colourways are – I have already recycled the packing slip and filed the yarn away in my sewing room.  But they are pretty!

I blitzed the house today. Tai Chi Man is off work this week (I think they call it a staycation, though he has so many jobs to do around the house that it’s not much of a rest)! Ds1 was at work and the other two went off to catch the bus for their afternoon job skills course, so it was an exceedingly rare few hours when the husband and I were home alone…together. And he was doing exciting things like fixing toilets and I was vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms and overhauling my sewing room.

My sewing room was a mess. I’ve been sewing curtains this week. The bedrooms finally have curtains, as does the kitchen. I still have to customise some clearance panels I bought from work, as they need a different header to fit the Ikea tracks, but when those are done the rooms downstairs will all be curtained too.

I had a complete review of everything, pulled it all out, made a pile of craft books to donate, a huge bag of upholstery odds and ends to take to a thrift store for rags, a bag full of projects that I finished and don’t want to keep. A partially completed afghan had the tails woven in and will go to the SPCA.

This week, I do have an FO. A market bag for a friend. I like the stitch pattern but I underestimated the stretch!

The stitch pattern is called Marielle and is from a book that I own, The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet. Very easy one row repeat. Unfortunately when I put some local Glohaven peaches and Sunrise apples into the bag as part of the gift, it stretched WAAAAY too much. Lesson learned!

There was one tiny celebration this week too. My Birthday! Sort of a milestone – 55 years young. It was pretty low key. I considered organising a party for myself, but decided I’d rather be alone at home during the day with my sewing machine. I did attempt a bit of sunbathing in the back garden but it was just too hot. Dinner was simple – a pasta salad for the whole family followed by banana splits. Let me tell you, cake has nothing on banana splits. Bananas, fresh peaches, cashew-based ice cream, coconut whipped cream, walnuts, chocolate chips and berry sauce. Awesome!

Maybe the party would have been a good idea. I do like a BIT of fuss to be made. I still love having birthdays and it’s so low key in this household that if you blink, you miss it! A few Facebook friends sent messages, Tai Chi Man send me a Jacqui Lawson e-card, I got to add $50 to my birthday money fund (and another 100 pounds from my dear mum), and ds1 gave me a bar of chocolate and $20 to “fuel my yarn addiction.”

The Groovyghan WIP is still sitting across the living room from me, waiting patiently for me to give it some attention. If it didn’t take up three large bags, I could have taken it out with me this morning. Ds3 had a dentist appointment. Instead I took my colourful Katia yarn that a lovely Raveler in the UK sent me, and started a Tunisian Simple Stitch scarf. Haven’t taken any photos yet.

Have a great week, friends, and talk to you again soon.

 

Crochet kits

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I don’t have a lot to show for this week. There were actually a couple of days when I didn’t pick up hook or needles until I realised that my mild anxiety over my upcoming holiday would be smoothed out by making something simple. I pulled out some Bernat Handicrafter last night and crocheted a dishcloth and felt better.

However I do want to show you these kits…

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I work at a fabric store which also stocks a small amount of yarn. Every now and then, some boxes arrive which must be part of some sort of buy-out. I once bought a dozen facecloths, really smooshy ones, for about 40 cents each. This time, it was these kits. My boss showed me the kits and I thought, well, those are going to be expensive, maybe $30 each, so I doubt I’ll get one. Then she looked up the retail price on them and it was……$3.40!!! OMG! Less my staff discount, I picked up these three kits for less than ten bucks. (Those kits were gone, mostly to staff, within 24 hours!)

They have yarn, pattern, crochet hook, darning needle, toy stuffing, safety eyes – basically everything you need.  I don’t know how great the acrylic yarn is, or how strong the plastic hook will be considering it’s a 3mm, but I have metal hooks so that’s not an issue.

The monkey and the rabbit came in larger boxes but the monster was in a smaller one, and I was amused to open the monster kit and find it all vacuum packed within an inch of its life.

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I cut those packets open to let everything puff up back to normal.

So yes, my holiday starts Monday and it involves three flights, one of which is about 9 hours long, across the Atlantic. DS1 is coming with me. Of course packing is easy, as we keep it light to avoid baggage check-in and waiting at the carousels, and the biggest decision is my travel knitting/crochet.

After a lot of Ravelry browsing, I was inspired by a colour change cowl and had a lightbulb moment. I am therefore taking eight colours of my Deramores Studio DK and my sets of interchangeable Knitpicks needles and Denise hooks. The plan is to start knitting a cowl or scarf in the round, casting on after going through airport security here, and change colour for each leg of the journey. There’s always so much waiting around at airports, knitting opportunities in planes and cabs and during one’s holiday, that I should be able to finish a project in the two weeks I’m away. And if I need more yarn, I can pick some up over there.

This weekend involves some last minute shopping, bread baking, laundry and cleaning. The Plant-Based Nutrition presentation that I was going to do tonight has been postponed so that’s freed up about five hours, if you count travelling time, so I am less pressured. Tomorrow we have a potluck lunch at someone else’s house.

We have had an abnormally wet spring here in the Central Okanagan (BC, Canada) and with the milder temperatures, the melting snowpack and the rain have caused the creeks to burst their banks in many places and the lake to rise quickly. It is managed at the south end by a dam, but it’s rising faster than it can be released. We’ve had flooding in a number of areas on both sides of the lake, and people evacuated or on alert. Thankfully we are high and dry here, away from the lake and any creeks, and the lawn is about a foot deep in new green growth, the trees have leafed out and the lilac has blossomed. Tai Chi Man says he’s going to mow the lawn this weekend, which is a shame in a way, but it does look tidier when it’s all one length, even if it IS a mixture of grass, yarrow, weeds, and bulbs.

Well this turned into a long spiel so I shall sign off. If things are quiet around here, you’ll know why. I’ll be having too much fun with my mum, my sister, her daughter-in-law and the new baby! This holiday is all about the women!

 

Happy Hallowe’en?

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I’m sitting here in my favourite spot tonight; in my living room at my end of the couch (the other end belongs to Tai Chi Man but he’s out this evening). I don’t expect anyone to ring the doorbell because we have only ever given out candy once or twice in the 20 years we’ve lived here. We are the Scrooges of Hallowe’en. Keep the door shut, maybe even dim the lights and pretend to be out or deaf!

Being vegan, and raising vegan kids, meant that going out trick or treating never really appealed that much. The one time we did it, we had to pull out a lot of the candy and give it away. And I am not going to buy crap that I wouldn’t feed to my own children just to hand it out at the door.

When the boys were younger, we did carve pumpkins, but to be honest that has lost its appeal too. So much effort and mess for such a short-lived result, not to mention that my conscience is pricked when I think of our culture using food purely as decoration when they are so many people who are lacking enough to eat.

Well, that’s enough of my whining, now for some crochet. I have links! The coat that I mentioned in my last post is a free pattern based on one worn by some celeb or other who I probably have never heard of (did I say I don’t watch TV and that the celeb magazines at the store leave me cold)? The original cost over $1,000. Well, mine is going to be less than $50.

Coatigan in Grannies is the name, and here is the Ravelry link, and here is the Red Heart link. I’m not sure how realistic the gauge is, when you consider that I am using Stylecraft Special Aran, which is thinner than Super Saver, and a 5mm hook rather than the suggested 6mm for the size of square I need. I am aiming for the middle size and my squares should be 6.5″ but there are closer to 6.75″. And I usually go UP a hook size to meet gauge.

Here are the first nine squares:

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The pattern uses a smaller, more coordinated, range of colours but I have a lot of this yarn to use up. I rejected lemon yellow, white, cream and fondant pink as I felt they would stand out too much. The lightest colours in these squares are parchment, camel, silver grey, and I am using them in the second round of each square. The centres can be brighter, but from the third round out I’m trying to keep things fairly sober. The last two rounds of each are black.

I’m not going to stress too much about how they look at this point. I am just going to crochet a bunch of them (I need 62 for the coat) and lay them out and if one just looks like a glaring mistake I’ll make a different one to replace it.

And now to pick up my hook. I found Leonardo di Caprio’s film, Before the Flood, available for free on You Tube today, so assuming it is still available I am going to watch it while I crochet.

Happy crocheting! Boo!!

 

 

 

FO: Crochet water bottle holder

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Greetings! I just took a look at my last blog post and realised I hadn’t told you about this project yet. After a lot of browsing to find one more item to make for my surprise swap partner, I decided on a water bottle holder, but not the one that I designed a couple of years ago. No, I’m using someone else’s pattern! Favecrafts, here. Also on Ravelry, here.

This one is made out of Stylecraft Cotton Classique DK, from the kit that I won in a draw. It only used small amounts of six of the colours, and more of the green that I used for the handle and centre openwork part.

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Right now, it’s blocking. I washed it and put it back on this water bottle and hung it to dry, figuring that would keep it in the right shape. The pattern directions are for a very small holder. The width is okay but I added 6 rounds to the length. Those stripes above the green section are two rounds each to match what I did at the bottom. I also made the strap about 20 rows longer per side.

I really hope my swap partner likes this item – I wanted to add some colour to the parcel, seeing as the group that’s organising it is called Colourful KALs and CALs. I now have everything for the parcel and just have to write a note, bundle it all up and mail it.

In other news, the cold is gradually receding. Still a little bit of nose-blowing and coughing, but not enough to stop me going out and doing what I need to do. We had a lovely evening last night at a local beach, having a picnic with some friends. Good food, good company, great weather and swimming. It’s always lovely to watch the sun go down and leave late.

Ah well, that’s it for another post. Tomorrow when the dishcloth and water bottle holder are dry, I’ll get another photo of the parcel contents and pack ’em up. See you then!

 

 

 

 

Neat Ripple Blanket WIP

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I’ve been making rather slow progress on the Neat Ripple. I was thinking I’d wait to show you a photo once I’d done a stripe in each colour, but you’d have been waiting too long!

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However, I’m actually pleased with the look of the stripes and colours so far, so it’s a good thing I persevered to find the best project.

It’s been a busy week, I’ve had extra shifts, and we’ve weighed and counted every darn thing in the store. We’re still in the middle of putting everything back to rights – many bolts of fabric are still horizontal instead of vertical, but that’s what happens when you’re trying to do the job while the store is open and with constant interruptions.

I have the next couple of days off, thank goodness, because home stuff is calling me.

Ds3 has been dropped off at the ferry for summer camp this week – you know they’re getting older when instead of being a student they are an assistant to the organisers! I’m sure he’ll have lots of fun. I think the work part of it is minimal.

It’s a beautiful evening and I must go outside on the deck and make the most of it before it gets dark. Happy crafting!

Yarnbombing

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It’s been a beautiful weekend here, with the temperature hitting 22°C on Saturday afternoon, which drove me outside in a tank top and skirt to absorb some rays on the back deck.

Today it was less sunny, but still 18, and all five of us (Tai Chi Man, me and all three of our man-boys) went out, after a lunch of sandwiches and birthday cake, for a hike in nature with a wonderful view of the lake. (Ds1 turns 24 this week.)

We saw a huge bald eagle perched at the top of a dead-looking tree. And a chipmunk or two. It was a reasonably strenuous hike, about two hours long, and it felt very good to burn off some calories and get the heart and lungs working. It felt good, too, to stop at a coffee shop afterwards, and I only had a green tea rather than the calorific chai latte that I could have had.

Whilst out, I attached three little yarn doodles to posts along our route, just for fun. My family just rolled their eyes!

Crochet on the dashboard

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I feel like that title would be great as a blog name, don’t you? I have more ‘crochet on the dashboard’ shots, as today we returned from the coast. I always love looking at the distant mountains with their snowcaps. Last night, we were travelling north through Vancouver and were able to see the floodlit ski runs at the top of Grouse mountain. There’s not that much snow up there right now, nothing like we have closer to home.

I have added about ten more rows to the Road Trip Scarf since Saturday. Of course, progress always seems so fast at first, but the rows get longer and longer. I am almost finished with one 5oz skein and suspect that when it’s finished it will take at least two.

We celebrated Chinese New Year this weekend, seeing in the Year of the Monkey. I learned how to say Happy New Year in Mandarin (in pinyin, it looks like this: xin nian kuai le) and the word for monkey is ‘houzi.’

I had a chance to practice other words and phrases that we have learned in Mandarin class too, though the Taiwanese have a slightly different way of pronouncing things.

One of the highlights of our weekend was playing archery tag. Tai Chi Man and I joined our two boys and a group of other twenty-somethings at a place in Richmond where they have an indoor ‘beach’ where you can go to play volleyball or archery tag. It was a lot of fun and my team won the first few games. Thankfully I didn’t get hit too often with the arrows, which were tipped with large marshmallow-type ends. I am certainly a little sore today from the exertion, but in a good way!
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Happy to be home on my own couch now, with a cup of Yorkshire tea and my crochet blankets. We will sleep well tonight in our own beds.

Happy New Year!

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January 1st 2016. A new year to remember when writing the date multiple times at work. I wonder how often I will write 2015 and have to change it?!

My shifts were switched so I didn’t have to work today, but the big sale is on for two days so tomorrow I will have from 9 to 5 to enjoy some retail frenzy! I always set my intentions on the short drive to the store – happy satisfied customers, friendly co-workers and a good day all around. We will have lots of staff on again tomorrow, and I guess I will have to approach it as fun rather than something to get nervous about.

This has been quite a week so far. Monday, Wednesday and today (Friday) we were up at the ski hill. We don’t normally go so often, but with ds2 (the keener) being on break from college, I decided to make the most of  my non-work days. He has thoroughly tested out his new board and boots, and also ds1’s GoPro. Ds1 came along for two of the days and today set up the GoPro on his brother’s helmet.

Ds3 didn’t bother getting out of bed for any of it!

Tuesday and Thursday I was working, and also tomorrow and Sunday. So I decided not to snowboard today, but instead to spend the time in the lodge with my iPad (Ravelry browsing and Netflix [Orange is the New Black]) and crochet.

We have seen an enormous amount of snow (for us) over Christmas. (The view below is from my back door.)

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This is the progress so far on the Boho Cozy Wrap. The ends are mostly woven in.

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When the size of the second half matches the first half, it will be done!

Wishing you all a very happy New Year and I hope 2016 brings lots of love, light and joy to you.

Christmas is done for another year

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Well, it’s all over. We pulled it all together on Christmas Eve. I had done the shopping, we had sorted the kids gifts, but there were no decorations up. Ds1 found free trees at Superstore and brought one over in the afternoon, by which time Tai Chi Man was home from work and I had started prepping food.

Most of the work was done by two of the boys. The tree was decorated and strings of lights were put up everywhere. A LOT of lights! Just for fun, ds1 attached his GoPro to the window and took a time lapse film of the proceedings.

The food was mostly yummy, though the steamed veg was probably a little firm. Better for you that way, eh! I referred to my new cookbook from Silver Hills and made cashew rice loaves, scalloped potatoes (thinly sliced and baked in a cheesy sauce), veg and salad. Dessert was apple crumble and vanilla soy ice cream though there was also fruit cake and mince pies available for scoffing.

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That’s non-alcoholic sparkling fruit juice in the bottle but we still get out the fancy wine glasses.

Today we had a brunch that incorporated more Silver Hills recipes, like granola, waffles and muffins. I made a fruit salad with pink grapefruit, oranges and kiwis. I made pear cream and whipped coconut cream and also put out coconut yogurt, and blueberry sauce for the waffles.

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We walked off our brunch in the snow and even saw a bit of sunshine.

This evening, after a grab-it-yourself kind of supper, we went to see the new Star Wars movie, which we all enjoyed.

Tomorrow I have to work so that’s that! There is still some fruit cake left, and some mincemeat in the fridge to use up, so the carb-loading will undoubtedly continue. Plus we have an event to go to on Sunday. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (those of you who celebrate it). And I almost forgot to say that my day ended on a yarny note. I was browsing the Deramores sale earlier today and had put some items in my cart, when the server got overwhelmed and threw me out. Obviously I wasn’t the only one spending Christmas money! Tonight I was able to place the order and I will be sure to show you everything when it arrives. I have ventured into DK territory in a big way. Usually I like worsted/aran or thicker but all the yarn I ordered today is DK. Which of course meant I had to get a new 4.5mm Addi Swing crochet hook too. 🙂

Skylark Scarf

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I started this scarf this week because I was itching to use this yarn. I had two full balls plus a partial one of the Lion Brand Unique (Garden colourway), and if I need more I can move on to the Stylecraft Harlequin, which I blogged about last week.

The Skylark scarf is asymmetrical and crocheted in rows that are staggered. Each row is always 90 stitches long but they are offset by 5 stitches every other row. The pattern was written for Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable, which is worsted weight, but I’m using bulky yarn with a 6.5mm/K hook. I don’t know how big it will end up – right now it’s about 48″ long, and 8″ at its widest point

I worked 8 hours yesterday and 6 today, so I’m looking forward to a couple of days of homebody stuff. I’m covering someone else’s shift on Wednesday so will get a few extra dollars in my paycheque this week. Tai Chi Man and I have decided how to use our week’s vacation in December. We’ll be going to a vegan spa-type retreat for a whole week, right here in BC. Maui can wait!