Category Archives: family

2018 – a review

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2018 – a review

One of the things I love to do at the end of the year is to look back through my Ravelry project pages and count how many Finished Objects there were. It is such a good way to record everything you make, what yarn you used, how much yarn, which patterns, and so on. I do sometimes make something more than once and it’s helpful to have a record of the hook or needle size I used with a particular project or yarn.

I just made a list of everything and here’s the final rundown:

  • Hats 20
  • Cowls/scarves/shawls 8
  • Dishcloths 8
  • Yarn ball holders 5
  • Phone/giftcard cosies 4
  • Blankets 3
  • Sweaters 3
  • Mini Christmas stockings 3
  • Mittens/fingerless mitts 3 prs
  • Cup cosies 3
  • Mini keychain backpacks 3
  • Earrings 2 prs
  • Afghan blocks 2
  • Rat sweaters 2
  • Doll and clothes 1
  • iPad stand 1
  • Mini cup and saucer 1
  • Crystal cosy 1
  • Nosewarmer 1

That makes 74 FOs for 2018 which means it was one of my more productive years. Amazing, considering I was out of action for part of the year after my snowboarding accident.

My favourite project of the year has to be my Groovyghan (pictured at the top of this post). 

My favourite hat? The one I just finished in two days flat and gave to one of my co-workers. Not only am I happy with the FO but I also had the satisfaction of giving it to her and seeing her reaction!

This was made with Red Heart With Love in Daffodil with extra touches of Holly Berry, Black and Eggshell. For more info, see my project page here.

I also finished the crocheted Candy Cane hat that I showed you as a WIP last time, and a brown slouchy beanie with some old stash yarn – James C Brett Marble Chunky.

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One of my current goals is to make beanies with the older acrylic in my stash and donate them.

Looking back on 2018, there have been some definite highs and lows. 

January: I set a goal to make 12 sweaters and sew 12 garments in 12 months. Well, the sewing was a bust. But I was going great guns on the knitting and crochet until…

February: Any and all plans were called off as I broke my wrist while snowboarding on Family Day, February 12th. I had a fetching pink cast applied to my right arm. img_7227

February 28th I had surgery for my distal radius fracture which involved acquiring a piece of titanium screwed to the bone, which will stay in indefinitely. I traded in my pink cast for a huge splinted dressing. Life was interesting, to say the least, with some pain and discomfort, and learning how to wash and dress with one hand.

March:  I was off work for nine weeks in all, so this month was all about recovery and not being able to drive, as my car is a manual/stick shift. I was so desperate to knit or crochet that I learned how to crochet left-handed with an adapted style. Knitting was too painful.

April: I was visiting rehab regularly to get my healing progress checked and finally returned to work. I also managed to get the Paper Bag Princess finished after a long hiatus for my grand-niece.

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May: I was back at the gym and doing all my usual activities. I was back into knitting – this hat was for my father-in-law and was my first knitting project after the break – and I was also sewing up project bags for fun.

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June: More project bag sewing, and some yarn stash organisation with my new yarn ball winder.

July: This was the peak of forest fire season, and we had multiple fires burning at once in our valley. fire

August: Tai Chi Man and I had an awesome vacation in Switzerland, spending time in the mountains near the Italian border and in the Bernese Oberland. We had a wonderful time, visiting his cousins and meeting up with other family members, and having some couple time for the last few days.

September: This was the month of the Groovyghan. It took almost exactly a month to make. It was a very addictive project.

October: In full swing, churning out lots of FOs.

November: Back to the hospital, this time to have a stapedectomy (replacement of the stapes with a prosthesis) in my right ear. This fixed the hearing loss that I had as a result of otosclerosis, a hereditary calcification and fusing of the bones in the inner ear. Now I am the proud owner of not one, not two, but THREE pieces of titanium (one in each ear and one in my wrist). Recovery from this surgery was painless and, thanks to a different drug, easy, without the insane vertigo that I experienced in 2015 when I had my left ear done.

December: We had a beautiful few days at one of our favourite retreats for our 31st wedding anniversary. There was a little scare with one of our sons suddenly having a partially collapsed lung. Chest pain led him to call 911 and he was taken to the hospital by ambulance (we were away at the time) and sent home in the morning with a pump in his side to draw out air and fluid from around the lung. Thankfully it was only needed for three days at which time they removed it and he seems to be fine now.

The lead-up to Christmas was pleasant, and we enjoyed lots of good eating including mountains of home-made fruit cake. I still have a fruit cake in the freezer. I ended up making four, two with wheat flour and two gluten-free. Cake #1 was scoffed by Tai Chi Man and me over about three days before Christmas. Cake #2 went with us to our friends on Christmas Day, where we had a lovely time playing games, exchanging gifts, eating too many calories and having a singalong around the piano. The remains came back and were demolished. Cake #3 went to work with me on Boxing Day and everyone seemed to enjoy that. Cake #4 will be defrosted later this week when I hope to get some of my friends together in one place for a belated Christmas cuppa.

I just remembered that, of the four jars of mincemeat I made, I still have one in the fridge, so there will have to be some more mince pies in the near future. The store where I work has a big sale every New Year’s so I had work today and will be going in tomorrow, but then I have five days off in a row. That will give me time to actually clean my house (rather overdue) and do some more baking. I hopped on the scale at the gym the other day and it wasn’t showing an upward trend so I think I’m OK!! We did go gymming every day for four days up until Christmas, and dragged the boys out for a long walk on Christmas Day, so the exercise has not been neglected.

What a year! I am looking forward to seeing what 2019 has in store. I hope you all have a wonderful year – you know it’s going to speed by and before we know it it’ll be Christmas again! Make the most of it!

 

Deep dark December

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Deep dark December

I love December. I love that we have the Solstice, with its shortest day (8 hours and 5 minutes here on the 21st), and the long dark nights, and gloomy days, and sunny days, and cold weather that makes you want to wear all your winter knitted/crocheted accessories.

I love that it’s our wedding anniversary on the 10th (31 years so far) and we get to go on a retreat most years to just be the two of us, without anyone else around. This year it was a cabin we’ve visited a few times before, about 1.5 hours drive away, with a woodstove and a private hot tub. It also has underfloor heating in the bathroom and baseboard heating, so not TOO rustic, and it gets warm enough that we can actually open the window, regardless of how cold it is outside. It is close to some cross country (Nordic) ski trails with snowshoe trails marked out, and we tromped through deep snow for nearly 2.5 hours one day. Seeing moose tracks was my favourite part of that!

As usual, the month has whizzed by with leisure activities and work commitments and our three night retreat. While we were away, ds2 gave us a scare. Messaged us to say he had spent the night in the emergency room with chest pains. He was in enough pain that he called 911 and an ambulance came and took him in. Turns out it was a partially collapsed lung, the treatment of which involved having a tube inserted between his ribs into his chest cavity to drain fluid into a plastic container, which he had to manually empty every day. He was sent home in the morning, and in his message to us said he was fine and we didn’t need to come home early. Thankfully after three days and follow up X rays he had the tube removed and now seems back to normal, but that was a worrying experience.

And now it’s time for Christmas baking. We are not buying gifts for each other this year. We had our tree and lights set up in the living room on December 1st, and our celebrations will simply involve fancier family meals, and a visit with friends on Christmas Day. My work outfit this week included Christmas light earrings and leggings, and a string of battery-operated lights around my neck adorned with some Christmas ornaments!!

Today I baked two fruit cakes (I completely forgot I was going to make them gluten-free, and dumped regular wholewheat flour in with the dried fruit, apple juice and oil before I realised what I’d done). I also baked two dozen mince pies using my own  mincemeat, which I made four weeks ago and tucked away in the fridge.  I will have to bake more fruit cakes using the GF flour so I can share with friends and co-workers.

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The meals have been planned for the next few days, I have done my last Costco shop (amazing that I actually found a parking spot on my first try) and now I have lots of cooking and eating to look forward to. (Of course, we will be going to the gym now and then to try to burn off some of the extra calories. We had a great yoga class at 8.30 this morning; different teacher, different style.)

There has been some knitting and crochet. I took the garter stitch wrap with me to the cabin…

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I played around with a knitted rat sweater and a crochet version too…

 

I made a Secret Santa gift for work’s Christmas party (sadly I didn’t get a photo of the nosewarmer with its white pompom as it was an afterthought)…

 

I bought some clearance yarn at Michaels (whoops)…

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(Caron Cupcakes)

I sewed a quick tube skirt out of some sweater fleece in my stash so that I could show off my Christmas light leggings…

 

And I’ve been making a toque similar to the Joyful and Bright Slouch Hat that I made last year…

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(Using the Candy Cane colourway of Bernat Pop, left over from the knitted Fair Isle toque I made recently.)

What a picture-heavy post this is, but it has been a while since my last update. I didn’t think I’d done much, so hadn’t posted because I didn’t think I had anything to show you.

Here’s wishing you all a very Merry Solstice/Yule/Christmas/whatever.

 

Where did December go?

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Last time I blogged, it was early December and I was about to go on holiday to Maui with Tai Chi Man to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. Well, it was lovely. The weather was warm and mostly sunny and we swam in the ocean every day but one. There were some showers and for a couple of days it was very windy. We were in Kihei on the west coast which is fairly well sheltered from the prevailing winds, and dryer than other areas of the island. The beaches are gorgeous, the sand is soft, and the water was warm but refreshing.

The main highlight would have to be the helicopter flight around the island, which included going over 10,000 feet up to circle the crater at the top of the extinct volcano, Haleakala, Maui’s highest point. Beats driving for hours! And we saw a lot of scenery and waterfalls that we wouldn’t have been able to see from the road to Hana.

We had a condo, so were able to make our own meals (important when you don’t eat the Standard American Diet) and a rental car (Ford Escape), and found some nice places, like the Maui Quilt Shop, Down to Earth vegetarian health food store, and the banyan tree park at Lahaina. We went underwater in a submarine to see fish and sharks, but the only turtle we came across was a lone guy in the middle of the bay on our last day. Tai Chi Man is braver than I, and was swimming out beyond the breakers, and got a close-up look at a turtle. That made his day. I was floating around in the surf, so I didn’t see it (and to be honest am somewhat phobic about being in the water with seaweed or sea creatures so it’s probably just as well. Though I should say there was no seaweed as far as I could tell.)

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So what else is new? The gym has been neglected for a couple of weeks. We did go the day after we got home from vacation, but then we had work, and Christmas shopping, and then I had to bake fruit cake ‘n stuff, and before I knew it Christmas Eve had arrived. We had a simple dinner followed by our gift-giving spree, which was very abundant this year.

I had suggested that we all make a wish list this year and actually make an effort to give each other a gift. Not just parents giving stuff to sons, but each of us giving something to the other four. I sewed flannelette stockings with white fleece cuffs and bought applique letters to put on each one. We never did get around to buying hangers for them so they were put under the tree, and they got so full that the gifts were piled up under the tree. I found myself getting quite excited about Christmas!

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I was happy to receive some of the things on my wishlist, such as weight training gloves, the How Not to Die Cookbook, and lots of chocolate! And some things that weren’t on my wishlist too. However there was no yarn in there, nor any gift cards for yarn, so I am feeling like treating myself. I do, after all, have some Christmas money from my mum to add to the running balance in my birthday fund.

I was looking through an old magazine in my sewing room and I really like this sweater (photo on left). It’s a simple rib pattern worked with four strands of aran weight yarn. Should be simple to find yarn for it, right? Not! I have spent maybe three evenings so far looking at different yarn websites and all sorts of yarn, trying to find just the right one. Ideally it needs to be a heavy worsted that knits up at 16 sts/4 inches, and I will need to buy a circ or pair of needle tips that are a US19/15mm.

I like the heathered or tweedy greys but the best yarn for weight, yardage and price so far doesn’t have that option, so I may have to go for off-white or some other colour. I haven’t given up yet.

I didn’t pick up needles or hook for a week after my holiday. This usually happens because I’m feeling some kind of dissatisfaction with my current project(s). These are my WIPs:

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Lanesplitter skirt out of Bernat Pop. Having second thoughts and now wishing I’d striped it with black. I have a ton of Stylecraft Special Aran in black.

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Ripple scarf out of Cascade Sunseeker. Seemed appropriate for holiday crochet. Actually made very little progress while away. Nice cotton/acrylic with a touch of metallic, but cutting yarn every two rows is annoying and I don’t know if I have the perseverance required to finish a whole scarf.

Dishcloth in Bernat Handicrafter. Found it on clearance at Michaels, bought four balls in bright colours. This will at least get finished.

Gee, not much of excitement in the yarny department, is there!

So, work has been quiet, I have been eating too much (well, it’s Christmas and I do love my fruit cake) and the world outside my window is buried in snow. The day we came back from Maui we had the joy of horizontal snow and freezing temperatures, and it’s been mostly below freezing since. Then we had a bunch more snow so we have powder on top of ice. Sure makes for interesting times. Haven’t been out walking because it’s so slippery, and driving even the short commute to work and back was quite tense. We could have gone to the gym tonight but even Tai Chi Man, who is a confident and able driver, decided that once he was home from work he wasn’t going back out again.

I think we are all up to date. I hope you had a wonderful December, with lots of light and enjoyable festivities to brighten this darkest time of the year, and that 2018 brings you everything you wish for and more. Happy New Year!

 

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.