Category Archives: family

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!

Yarn twins

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Stylecraft Harlequin Chunky

Stylecraft Harlequin Chunky

Lion Brand Unique

Lion Brand Unique

I had a feeling when my yarn order arrived the other day that the Stylecraft Harlequin Chunky looked very familiar.

Just now I went downstairs to dig out some Lion Brand Unique and my suspicions were confirmed. I have a couple of skeins of the Unique which I had on display at the market last summer as part of Learn to Knit or Crochet Kits. The two skeins in the photo above are, believe it or not, the same colourway – Garden. It changes from green/orange to purple/turquoise in the same ball, and these two are just wound differently.

Looking at the Harlequin (Flame/Forest colourway) and digging out the colours in the centre, I think I am right in saying it’s exactly the same yarn, just packaged for two different companies.  They are both 100 grams but the Harlequin claims to have 5 metres/yards extra length.

Interesting!

It’s a beautiful day today. After a cloudy morning, the sun came out, the breeze strengthened, and now that the extreme heat of summer seems to have given way to fall coolness, especially at night, I am enjoying having all the windows open and getting my housework done. Tai Chi Man mowed the lawn and trimmed the edges today, and now that the house is sufficiently clean and tidy I really should be getting started on dinner. To me, this really feels like the last day of summer, because it’s Labour Day, a public holiday, and it’s back to school for many, including my middle son. Not sure what the youngest is doing for his grade 12 year yet.

Have a fabulous week!

Wild play

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First, I have to confess. I wrote a post yesterday and failed to publish it. I clicked ‘preview’ and then my brain must have thought I’d published because it looks just like a new post. Only today, when I looked at my blog, did I realise that it was still a draft! Anyway, that’s all fixed now. (That’s my ‘yarn’ post – go check it out.)

So here are some photos from Wild Play today. Tai Chi Man took a few with his phone, but mostly you have to make sure that everything is secured away, because you don’t want to drop it 50 feet to the ground from the little platform you’re standing on!

Wild Play is fun, scary, sometimes strenuous especially on the last part (Monkido Aerial Adventure, with optional extreme extension). How many times today did I say, “Whose idea was this?!”

You wear a harness with two safety clips and a pulley and you get a little training run at the start to make sure you understand to ALWAYS be attached by at least one clip at all times. I wish they’d explained the importance of the untwisted cord on the pulley, because on one fast zipline towards the end I turned around and instead of hitting the pad feet first I hit it with my back and scraped my head on the metal cable. Ouch!

Chickening out was not an option. There was nowhere to go but onwards once we started, plus as the only female in our family (husband and three young men to compete with) I couldn’t let the side down. There were a few moments when I felt I had bitten off more than I could chew, but I made it.

We celebrated with a stop at a tea shop afterwards (kids had bubble tea) and then went and bought ice cream to take home.  We found the cashew-based salted caramel one and I bought four, because they seem to fly off the shelves and it’s the most awesome non-dairy ice cream I have ever tasted.

Dinner was nut roast with home-grown roast potatoes, gravy, peas and broccoli. And the day was nicely rounded off with a bit of Netflix and some crochet. I’m almost finished using up the Lion Brand Homespun on a homely large granny square, which I think will make an excellent pet blanket. Hoping to give it away once it’s done, if someone local will adopt it.

Now that my new yarn is here, I feel more motivated to use up some old stuff.

I suspect I will be sore tomorrow in places that I forgot I had muscles! Hope I can get out of bed without creaking too much!

Road trip

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I set my alarm for 6am again this Monday morning. Trying to achieve a new habit of “early to bed, early to rise.” For a person who has mostly been a night owl rather than an early bird, this is a challenge.

It’s been over a week since I had to get up at 5 for work (inventory day) and every day since then I have pushed myself out of bed at 5 or 6am. At least it’s the coolest time of the day, so that’s one benefit.

It also means that I can sit and wake up slowly with my lemon water, Yorkshire tea and iPad, checking email, Facebook and Ravelry. That’s my morning routine and it is a flexible thing that can take a short time or a long time, depending on how far I go through my Facebook news feed or how many threads I delve into in the Ravelry forums.

I have some sore muscles today. Saturday morning we were up and out the door by 8am. Tai Chi Man and ds2 and I had to be on the road by 8am, with the plan to catch the ferry to the Sunshine Coast at 1.35. We packed, closed up the windows and doors, loaded the car, and at the last minute I emptied the compost bucket from the kitchen. On the way back up the garden, my sandal caught the edge of the concrete pad outside the back door and I fell forward, landing on my hands and knees. Thankfully there were no holes in my capris, so I brushed myself down and carried on. The next day I was complaining about a painful shoulder and Tai Chi Man pointed out that I probably wrenched it when I fell. (Nice bruises on my knees too.)

Anyway, four hours in the car and we made it to the ferry. It’s a beautiful scenic crossing from Horseshoe Bay, north of Vancouver, BC, to Langdale on the Sunshine Coast. It helped that the sun was shining and the sea was calm.

Our motel was a short drive from the ferry terminal in Gibsons. The room and en suite bathroom were spacious, if a little under-lit, but the kitchenette was teeny. A sink, stovetop with two burners and a strip of countertop that was maybe four inches wide, with a fridge underneath and a cupboard above.

Our afternoon was spent discovering the local IGA supermarket and then Soames Hill Park. This park was maybe ten minutes drive from our motel and is a beautiful shady old growth forest. The trails varied from easy to challenging – we chose to take the steep route right to the top of the hill, about a 700ft elevation, to enjoy the view out to sea.

My calves are still sore, two days later, but it was worth the climb.

I had a dip in the pool when we got back to the motel, which just happened to be a few feet from our door. Perfect!

Dinner was basic but edible. I made some tortillas with flour/baking powder/salt that I’d mixed at home. Of course I had nowhere to roll them out and even if I had, I had no rolling pin, so they were very smaller and thicker than usual. Still, they worked okay with the refried beans, avocado and tomatoes.

Ds2 looked settled in for the evening after dinner, with his bag of tortilla chips, TV and iPod to hand. Tai Chi Man and I went out to find a sunset. Having checked the map, we found a road that led to the ocean, where we enjoyed a gentle walk followed by a rest on the natural seating at the top of the beach (aka driftwood). There we watched and waited while the sun set.

The beauty of it was that we were both just sitting there, enjoying the present moment, nowhere else we needed to be, nothing else we needed to do. No iPads, books or even crocheting to distract us!

Sunday we had a slow start to the day, but had to be checked out by 11, which worked perfectly for going to pick up ds3 from summer camp. That was a short drive away in Roberts Creek. He’d had a great time, just like last year.

We drove back to the ferry and had to wait, of course. They had an unseasonably hot weekend on the coast and we were parked in full sun for an hour. Thankfully we could get out of the car and go to the washrooms or stand in the shade for a bit.

On the ferry, ds3 met up with some of his camp buddies again and they ganged up and circuited the ship numerous times.

We had plans to do some shopping in Richmond at some Asian stores so that added about three hours to our drive. (Tai Chi Man drove over 800kms in two days.) Unfortunately the last store was closed, with it being a Sunday ‘n all.

We made it home safely at almost 9pm and even though we were only gone for a weekend it felt longer. I feel we must return for a longer stay one day though.

There was crocheting on the road, of course, in between the snacking, reading and navigating. I am making a pair of bobwilson123’s Granny stitch slippers again – and I had a big DOH moment when packing a project on Saturday that for ages now I’ve had these plans to make lots of slippers and instead I used up a bunch of scraps on hats instead. Hmmm! Silly me.

I could easily have finished the pair this weekend, maybe even two pairs, but I don’t seem to have the concentration required when on the road to crochet constantly. I have one and a half slippers done and it won’t take long to finish the second one.
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I’m so glad I don’t have work today. In fact I have the next few days off, and I know that today is going to include lots of laundry. We all know that road trips = laundry, right?

I probably should throw the first load in now.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Happy magnificent Monday!

Sorry for the silence

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I have no excuse, other than that I didn’t feel that I was doing anything interesting enough to blog about! 

Our house guests came and went. They ate my cooking without complaint: with compliments, in fact. It was certainly different having my father-in-law here without my mother-in-law. She died last December and he is still in that early phase of grief, trying to get used to doing things without her. My aunt and uncle in law also visited for about ten days and I enjoyed having them here more than I expected.  We took them out and about as much as we could, bearing in mind our work and social commitments. 

Now the sofa beds are folded back up again, the bedding and towels washed, and family life is back to normal. Youngest son just turned 17. It was a low key birthday but I made sure to bake goodies for the occasion. Cinnamon rolls in the morning and carrot cake in the evening…

   THAT was a sugar rush and a half!

Actually there is still some cake left. We have been sensible about pacing ourselves.

Lots of work this week, with extra hours to look forward to in July. The fabric store is getting ready for inventory – one day for fabrics, one day for notions. One of my work days starts at 7am!

So as I alluded to at the beginning, not much excitement to report in the crochet department. The Apache Tears scarf is moving along…

  
(Note: Hello Kitty pyjamas)

One more row of yellow and green, and maybe three of black, and I’m calling this done. It was an experiment but this isn’t my favourite yarn to work with (especially the black)! As you can see, the back is quite plain in comparison. 

 Fifty six squares done out of a probable 180 on the blanket. It struck me how I always have something to do with my hands when we had our visitors here. They had no craft to work on, no books to read, not even a pen and notepad. How could they survive a ten hour flight each way, waiting at various airports, and downtime during their holiday without something creative to do? Ah Muggles! Every evening that I was at home, I’d pick up my crochet hook, and add another square or three. I’d have taught them how if they’d asked! 

The weather has been hot and sunny and dry and we’ve already had smoke drift into the valley from a large forest fire to the west, between here and Vancouver. I’ve swum in the lake on two separate occasions, the first being numbingly cold and the second being refreshing and pleasant. The lake is warming up fast.

And now it’s time to pull the laundry out of the machine. I think you’re all updated so I’ll say good night for now (and hope that this post publishes successfully as the photos are taking absolutely ages to upload).

Dad’s slippers

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My father-in-law is arriving next week for a three week stay. He’s 80 now but likes to be kept busy and will probably do some painting while he is here. He’s actually flying across the Atlantic with his brother and sister, Tai Chi Man’s uncle and aunt, but the two of them are spending some time in the Vancouver area for a while then catching a Greyhound to us a bit later. 

We have had to think about where to accommodate them. Thankfully we have plenty of rooms, so with a little folding up of weights equipment and setting up of a bed we will have a downstairs room ready for FIL quite easily. Auntie will be put up in my craft room, once we have moved one of the sofa beds in there from the family room.  And uncle will be in the family room. It’ll be interesting for a week! 

We bought three ‘bed in a bag’ sets yesterday so they will all have new comforters, sheets and pillowcases. And there is a full bathroom downstairs for them so we won’t be fighting for space. 

Anyway, the point I’m getting to is that I will be making sure they have blankets on their beds, as the basement is cold in the shoulder seasons. The upstairs gets the sun and warms up nicely, so the heat is off, and the basement is chilly. I decided they needed slippers in case they don’t bring their own, so to that end I have spent the last two evenings designing these slippers ‘on the hook.’

  
I used two strands of Red Heart Soft Touch in olive green (frogged cardigan), one strand of bright green Carolina DK and one strand of what I can only call Mystery Turquoise (a yarn which is probably sport weight that I acquired in a garage sale lot). And a 6.5mm hook. Now that I’ve made these for dad, I’m going to switch the colours for a second pair for auntie, and then I’ll need to make a larger pair for uncle. 

I am off to root around in my stash for something a bit more girly!