Category Archives: gardening

Crocheting along, fa la la la la



The CAL continues…

The Creative Crochet Workshop Scrapsrific Rainbow Blanket CAL (OMG, that is a lot to type) is in week 3. I have added two rounds to the above motif which will eventually be a 12″ square.


These four 6″ squares are also in part 3. Obviously I will, at some point, have to pin my squares out and steam them to make it easier to join them, as currently they are wonky!

I have also completed a quick bulky beanie. It’s called the Spin Cycle Hat, which is a very compact, one page pdf, clearly written, in three sizes. I made the medium without swatching for gauge (ooh, er) and the hat fits my Sally Styro head perfectly but is too small for me. Not that it was for me anyway, but I shall have to find someone with a small head to give it to.

Whilst I am happy with the pattern, the yarn is another story. This is Loops & Threads Facets, a bulky, underspun, very soft yarn. Let me tell you, all those YO, K2togs were a nightmare with such a splitty yarn. Yes, it’s pretty, but don’t be fooled, it’s not worth the hassle. It’ll pill quickly too. I’m using up what I have in the stash but I won’t be buying this or anything like it in future.

Now, I had a lovely draft all ready to Publish with a simple pattern for this…


…but left it in an open tab on my laptop for a few days. I am also knitting one, and wanted to publish both at the same time. Well, something went wrong, and it’s gone. Can’t find a saved draft anywhere. At least I do still have my text document in Google Docs to fall back on, so I don’t have to start from scratch. So that will probably be finalised mid-week, as I have a run of three days off starting tomorrow.

I hope you all enjoyed a lovely Easter weekend. We had a mini road trip  Saturday to visit a plant nursery and buy plants for our garden. We ended up with a Chi Chi Gingko tree (max height 16 feet), two mock oranges (native plants so should do well) and some  hostas and other ground cover for the patch by the front door where we recently took out the messy evergreens. We meant to get some kinnikinnick but forgot, so we may have to try and find it locally, or drive south again for it.

I am off to work shortly, so will sign off for today. Have a great day!


Swap parcel is ready to go



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I’m happy to announce that my swap parcel is sealed up and just needs to be mailed. The water bottle holder looked so nice this morning. It dried overnight and looked so neat and even, having slept on its water bottle overnight.

Everything fitted perfectly in the 5.5″ cube box I bought from the post office. I added in a note (on a different card, as the postcard I originally bought was too big).

We are  having a cloudy Sunday, which is nice after the hot week we’ve had. Tai Chi Man and  I were out in the garden earlier, picking apricots, green beans, potatoes and mint. And now it’s showering, so we timed it well. The garden  needs the rain, especially as the underground sprinklers haven’t been running as often as we thought.

We have a lot of potatoes growing in the garden (and the variety is called Nicola, and was ordered from Winnipeg if I recall correctly) but the one we dug today was a rogue one from a bag of organic supermarket potatoes that had sprouted so crazily in the bag that we planted it apart from the rest to see how it would do. Well, that one potato turned into lots of potatoes, enough for a meal for four! I am impressed. (My husband often says I’m easily impressed!)

I shall wait to see if the weather changes later – we had an idea to get the kayaks on the water today, they have been hosed down and made ready, but the brackets still need to be fitted to my roof rack. It would be a pleasant way to spend a Sunday evening.

I hope your weekend is a happy one!

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In my happy place


I have a day off work today, though I did pop in to the store after picking the majority of the apricots off our tree. They are very nearly ripe and seem to like dropping on the ground before I get to them. I now have six bowls full downstairs and I’m not yet sure what I’m going to do with them all! I delivered a box full to work so that got rid of those!!!

This morning, I had to return books and magazines to the library, so of course I collected my held item and found three more. I think someone (maybe my mum) recommended the Isabel Allende novel. As you can see, I also indulged in a little treat from the health food store.


I stopped in at the dreaded Wal-mart (aka Stuffmart, Wally World) for a pair of shoes, as my runners are getting worn out and aren’t suitable for work any longer. When I was cleaning up the house yesterday, I actually pulled out my shoes from the general melee downstairs by the back door and set up another rack for them. There were still a few pairs of winter footwear down there, so those were thrown into the under-the-stairs cupboard. The rest of the family’s shoes were placed on the racks where they belong and…hey presto…tidier utility room. That was easy!

I was tempted by not one, but two pairs of shoes. It takes me very little time to shop for shoes. The grey ones with the turquoise laces were practically the first ones I saw, and the white ones will, I think, work with my maxi skirts (have to have toes covered at work).


I took the time, as I was on my own and therefore not in a hurry, to wander around the rest of the store, and the craft section held some temptations too…


The buttons are mine, all mine, and the cotton Handicrafter is partly for a dishcloth for a surprise swap that I’m participating in through a Ravelry group. When my swap parcel items are all amassed, I will show you a photo.

And so to the happy place – playing with colour. My button stash definitely looked like it needed more…


Lots of gaps there, eh. Definitely room for improvement. Hence these…


I sat outside on my deck, blissfully alone but surrounded by the noises of my neighbourhood, temperature very reasonable for the time of year, and sorted buttons.


Much better!

In the crochet side of things, I have one WIP, the ripple blanket, and you’ll have to take my word for it that it’s growing. However today I had a request for a phone cosy, plus I’d like to make a little heart or some type of amigurumi for  a co-worker, and a laptop bag for me, and a toy to match my blanket, and…and…suddenly I have a long To Do list.

It’s the good kind of To Do list, though. 🙂


Spring Bag and general waffling



This is the finished Spring Bag from Lily/Sugar ‘n Cream that I was challenged to make by the Calling All Crocheters group on Ravelry. It’s pretty, especially in the Loops & Threads Chameleon yarn from  Michaels. I used almost the whole 100 gram ball and the colour changes were mostly different all the way through. I think I shall have to  make something next with the rest of the yarn and my new Tunisian hooks, something really simple that just shows off the yarn itself.

The yarn is 100% acrylic, soft and a little fluffy, and a bit thicker in places, and I only found one knot which thankfully was in one strand, not both, so the colour change wasn’t too obvious.

I didn’t have any beads so used a couple of large buttons instead.

This photo was taken this morning outside (it’s cloudy today) and the difference between this and the ones I took  last night in artificial light is huge. Much better colour definition.

We had clouds all day yesterday, but it was still in the 20s, and the forecast is for a few days of clouds and some rain. We are always grateful for rain here, as we live in what’s basically a desert. I know it doesn’t look like it, with our huge lake and numerous trees, but the non-irrigated parts are brown and dry every summer. We pay per litre for the water we use, so if Mother Nature sees fit to water my garden and I can turn off my underground sprinklers, then I’m thankful for that. We water as  minimally as we can, and at night as per the city rules (which of course make sense, as otherwise it would all evaporate too quickly).

We have had to be satisfied with a less than perfect lawn, which doesn’t bother me, but if it’s too dry then it affects fruit production in our apricot and cherry trees. Tai Chi Man recently attended a xeriscaping workshop, which teaches you which plants to landscape with that can survive without irrigation. Obviously, indigenous plants fare better than ones that have been brought in just because they look nice!

Our potatoes, beans and beets have been shooting out of the ground in the last week. We tried some bird scarer tape (shiny) around the vegetable patch but it didn’t keep the quails off. So now we have some added protection with a bit of chicken wire as well, as the quails like to run through the soil, dustbathing and pecking our fresh leaves down to the ground. I realise it’s a trade-off, as I’m sure the birds eat bugs that could also eat our plants, but when armies of quail babies meet tender green leaves the result is dead plants!

As I seem to be venturing into non-crochet territory this week, one of the lowlights of my week was that my car was broken into. I went walking in a fairly remote place with a friend. I parked my car without a thought and off we went for four hours (if you’d like to Google it, it’s the famous Kettle Valley trail, which runs, I believe, from Midway to Hope, BC). There is an access into Myra Canyon off McCullough Road. It involves a rather bumpy ride of about 10km on an unpaved road. I had no problem driving it with my Toyota Matrix so you don’t need a 4WD.

The hike itself is flat, because it used to be a railway. There are no rails  there any more, but there are many trestles to cross, which have been restored by dedicated volunteers to make them safe for hikers and bikers. It’s so peaceful there, as no motorised vehicles are allowed, and the air is fresh because you’re way out of town. In places you can see the city of Kelowna 3000 feet below. We went in the morning before it got too hot.

Unfortunately, because the parking lot is deserted much of the time, opportunists come and see what the pickings are. I found this out the hard way. When we returned to the car, we got in, had a snack and some coconut water, and as I was sitting there in the drivers seat it suddenly dawned on me that my dashcam was missing. I had the thought that maybe I’d forgotten to lock the car. I also wondered if my husband had taken it out of the car because I couldn’t remember whether it had been there on the drive up. Gradually the evidence came together – I found damage on the driver’s side showing that someone had inserted something metal around the edge of the door to reach the electronic lock button. A $10 bill was also missing from the little cash drawer.

It was interesting to note my reaction to all this. I felt a little disturbed that a stranger had been rummaging through my car. I felt a little bit invaded, and a little bit sorry for my car! But not too attached to the dashcam going missing. It would have probably been a different story if I’d left my wallet and iPad Mini in the car, as that would have created considerably more issues. There have been times when I have gone walking with just a water bottle, car keys and cellphone, and left the rest in the car. Just a couple of weeks ago in fact. I won’t be doing that again!

Well, I’ve probably waffled on enough for now. Time to get on with my day. I hope your day is wonderful. 🙂





Yarn twins

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.


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!

The Garden


I just ran the WordPress update that came through tonight which claims to fix the photo uploading/crashing problems, so I am optimistic that this is going to work!
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Tai Chi Man and I went outside this evening to separate and replant some cucumbers and water the vegetable patch. We have potatoes, beans, lettuces (pathetically small ones that are our second attempt because the quails got the first batch, and it’s been so hot they are not growing much) and, thanks to my husband’s hard work (he dug out a load of grass and weeds to reclaim the bed just behind the house), we now have a squash garden. Six different kinds of squash/zucchini (courgettes to those on the other side of the pond). I expect them to run rampant over the concrete and the lawn and that’s fine with me.

(Well, my app just crashed again so I’m over here on Safari, copy pasting into this new post window!)

It’s now 9pm and I think I will retreat downstairs and play a yoga DVD. It’s cooler down there at least.


Evening gardening


After dinner and kitchen cleanup, I noticed the sun was off the garden and decided to get out there and do some weeding. In fact, there wasn’t much hoeing to do, but there were about 56 tomato plants that needed bamboo supports and twine ties. It went surprisingly fast and despite a few suspected mosquito bites I loved my evening of gardening.

The scarlet runners are doing brilliantly, the bush beans (French or wax beans) are also doing well, we have baby zucchini (courgettes) and cucumbers, and Tai Chi Man found and ate a monster radish, which was pretty spicy!

I gave it all a bit of water and then noticed a few extra bonus apricots on the tree so just had to pick those and bring them in.









I’ll be the first to admit I’m not an avid gardener. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it when I’m doing it – I’m just lazy and tend to prefer other activities.

However the days were slipping by and when the end of May loomed and there was nothing in the vegetable patch, I was getting a bit keen to get out there! Tai Chi Man had done his bit – rototilling and hoeing and stuff – but he can only get out in the garden on weekends. And he is head gardener and would prefer to supervise me rather than let me run amok. 🙂

Today was the day. Despite the weather alternating between sun and showers (the temperature was quite pleasant) we spent a couple of hours sowing rows and rows of seeds. We also made a couple of tepees for scarlet runner beans (pretty red flowers) and sowed some other seeds in pots. It feels so good to have spent that time out there, getting good honest dirt under the fingernails (and toenails, for that matter).

And now to wait for those little seeds of possibility to turn into actual plants. Oh yes, and weed now and then.



the best food…


…is the food you get by walking out to your garden, picking it, and eating it immediately or almost immediately. No nasty sprays, no bland fruits picked green and trucked for thousands of miles, no limp wilted colourless  tasteless stuff.

This week, we’ve enjoyed lettuce, tomatoes, apricots, French beans and peas out of our garden. I’ve given a lot of apricots away, as well as frozen bags full of quartered ones for later use.

My morning smoothies are extra special with the cherries that came off my tree last month.

apricots and multicoloured french beans

purple, green and yellow beans

peas in their pods

shelled peas

Yesterday, I cooked the beans for a few minutes and we had them with bulgur and a dressing made with olive oil, lemon juice and fresh herbs (also from the garden). Today, the peas went into a curry with cauliflower, parsnips and coconut milk.