Category Archives: holiday

Maui

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79177087_3663593460318240_1518541689579372544_oTwo years ago, Tai Chi Man and I went to Maui for the first time. We timed it to coincide with our 30th wedding anniversary. This year, we decided to go again. We went for a week, and did our best to come back with a tan without getting burned, and we succeeded!

It’s a 5.5 hour (or so) flight from Vancouver, and the time difference is only 2 hours behind our local time, so it’s not as tiring as going to Europe. Unfortunately Westjet doesn’t have fancy in-seat video screens like Air Canada does, so if you want to watch movies you have to download an app before you get on the plane, and my iPad Mini is too old. It’s still running iOS9.

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I received lots of compliments on the hair colour!

Tai Chi Man has a good camera and is our official photographer, though I took my basic phone out with me most days to grab a photo here and there, because if it’s on my phone I can upload it to Instagram.

We stayed at the Aston Ka’anapali Shores, which is north of Lahaina on the west coast.  It’s a big resort with many rooms curving around a central area with pools and hot tubs and a grassy area for sunbathing. And it’s right on the beach too.

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Christmas and hot weather just don’t seem to go together!

We explored new areas this time, driving around the north-west coast road (very winding and windy and narrow in places), also up along the north coast to Pa’ia and Haiku, and inland to Kula to visit the botanical gardens there.

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We also revisited Kihei, as the swimming is a little more friendly. The ocean has quite a swell, and in places is so rough that only the bravest surfers can manage it. One day, we found a beach that seemed to be dedicated to the kitesurfers and windsurfers.

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Lots of crabs were running over the rocks at sunset in Kihei

We mostly self-catered, though Down to Earth in Kahalui is one of the best health food stores we’ve found, with groceries and a hot bar and a salad bar and many other food options made to order. The last day we ate lunch and dinner there because it’s so close to the airport. And there’s Fork & Salad in Kihei, where you can build your own salad (it’s huge and very reasonably priced) depending on your dietary preferences.

We enjoyed seeing some of the local wildlife, including a resting Hawaiian monk seal on the beach near our resort, turtles at a couple of different beaches, sleeping on the sand, a humpback whale one morning out in the bay just before we started our open-air yoga class. (We did three yoga classes – Monday, Wednesday, Friday – and two Qi Gong/Tai Chi classes – Tuesday, Thursday.)

We also revisited Ono Gelato in Lahaina, which has non-dairy options and also sells tea and coffee.

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It’s a beautiful place. The temperature at this time of the year is pretty steady – in the 80s most days – though it did drop to low 70s when we drove upcountry to Kula. And we had wall-to-wall sunshine except for the last evening, when the clouds rolled in and brought a bit of rain.

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And now we’re back to cold and snow and warm clothing.

Yarndale and other holiday fun

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Yarndale and other holiday fun

I have been on holiday! I only had my old iPad Mini with me, and no phone, so I was only spending minimal amounts of time on t’internet, hence the gap between blog posts.

I had a lovely time. It was quite the whirlwind – the itinerary involved flying from Canada to London, England, driving down to see my cousins on the south coast, driving up to Yorkshire to spend a few days enjoying the area, including Yarndale, driving back to London, flying over to Jersey, a few days with the close family, then flying back to London, then flying home.

Kudos to Tai Chi Man who drove about 750 miles while we were in England. And motorway driving is NOT fun.

Highlights of the trip:

Yarndale, of course…

I was excited to meet Kathryn from CrafternoonTreats. We had been in touch prior to the day, because I have been helping to moderate her Ravelry group for a long time now and I just had to make sure we met up. She was a vendor, so she couldn’t avoid me, LOL. All of the yarn she dyes is wool, but knowing I am vegan she and her friend Helen had dyed up some natural coloured Stylecraft Classique Cotton with Procion dyes as a gift. So lovely!

Sorry, my photos aren’t great. iPad in poor light.

A few other souvenirs…

Being vegan helps me be disciplined in my yarn buying! Most of the yarn on sale at Yarndale is wool. So all I bought was this Louisa Harding Giardino (though it was pretty expensive)! And of course I had to get a Yarndale bag.

I was fan-girly about Lucy from Attic24, whose blog I have been reading for years. She is one of the organisers. I saw her, but didn’t talk to her, in the Knit ‘n Natter room. And I also spotted Tatsiana from Lilla Bjorn in the Scheepjes booth.

My travel knitting was a simple pattern from DROPS called Rascal. A two-row pattern repeat, it was just knitting back and forth until I felt the shawl was big enough. And I wanted to give it to my sister when it was done, so I had to finish it before I came home.

I forgot to get daylight shots before giving it away.

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It’s made with Lion Brand Mandala in Phoenix.

Other notable mentions…

Met up with my English cousins (one I haven’t seen since 1988) for a lovely day of hiking and lunching and catching up.

Took the tube around London, including Camden Market, Regent’s Park and Tower Bridge. Went up inside the bridge and got a funny feeling in my tummy looking down through the glass floor.

Seven hour drive north to Ilkley in Yorkshire where we had a lovely cosy Airbnb. Hiked around Bolton Abbey, saw some of the cycling world championships, got absolutely soaked on a three hour hike up on Ilkley  Moor. After Yarndale, a 5.75 hour drive back south to Gatwick airport.

The island of Jersey in the Channel Islands (close to France) is where most of our family lives and I stayed with my mum and Tai Chi Man stayed with his dad. That gave us the most time with our respective parents. And one day was spent almost entirely with my sister, including lunch at a vegan restaurant and a walk on the beach with her dog.

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A successful trip, all went to plan, with the only travel hiccup being a three hour delay getting out of Jersey. But as we had split up the three flights home with a stay at a Heathrow hotel this time it wasn’t a problem.

We were happy to see so many vegan options in many places. Supermarkets and restaurants are now offering so much more than they used to, so finding food is easier than it ever was. We still mostly self-cater when travelling, but it’s good to know we won’t starve if we have to rely on outside sources. There was a lovely cafe in Ilkley called The Veggie, the Sinful Vegan in Jersey, tons of vegan places in Camden Market, and I can’t forget Ransom’s Garden Centre in Jersey which has so many vegan mains and desserts that it’s hard to choose. (I had the coffee walnut cake, which was so rich I couldn’t finish it all in one go and had to save some for the evening.)

So we’re back to our regular scheduled programming. We arrived home Saturday evening, and Tai Chi Man had Sunday in which to recover somewhat from the jetlag and was back to work Monday. Thankfully my schedule meant that I am not back to work until tomorrow, Wednesday, so I’ve had time to blitz the house and do some grocery shopping. I haven’t quite had the energy to get to the gym yet though.

I’m back to crocheting the Party Cardi (a video tutorial on The Secret Yarnery’s YouTube channel) now that I have had a delivery of two more cakes of yarn. My stashbusting for September was pathetic, with the only outage being some tiny pumpkins, and then of course the incoming yarn from Yarndale. However I have blanket plans, because there’s nothing better than a blanket project when the weather gets cold. What are your favourite blanket patterns? I have some Red Heart With Love (which will probably become a giant granny square) but also a tonne of random worsted and DK to use up. I need ideas!

 

A sock in progress

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My basic sock from the Ann Budd Handy Book of Patterns has grown a little since my last post. I’m still decreasing for the gusset and there’s a few decrease rounds yet to complete. This Perfect Pair yarn from Loops & Threads is pretty, but at 9st/inch the knitting doesn’t grow very fast.

The Frank Mandala that I was testing for Pam at Hooks and Hills is finished and blocked, but the only place I have a photo is on my Ravelry project page and I am having trouble getting a copy saved, so I shall send you to this link instead if you want to see it.

I did finish another project this week. It took three days to make some fingerless mitts from a pattern in a magazine that I bought. I don’t usually buy magazines, as I tend to flick through them in the store and then decide that they’re not worth the money. However this issue of Colorful Crochet (Fall 2018) was all about self-striping and cake yarns and has 40 patterns in it, some of which I like the look of.

So I crocheted up the Favori Mitts, which you can see here (another link to my Ravelry project page – my laptop isn’t playing nice today). I used Lion Brand Mandala, two cakes, so that I could get the mitts to look somewhat alike. I cut a little blue out so that the turquoise would appear for a reasonable part of the project. I learned how to do esc (elongated or extended single crochet).

Two of my WIPs have been relegated to the “Hibernating” pile, because they have not been worked on for ages and I don’t like having too many WIPs at the top of my Ravelry project summary. The March sweater that was put on hold when I broke my wrist will have to get finished, because I wove in a tonne of ends, though I don’t really love it.

I am leaving for a vacation in Switzerland today with Tai Chi Man. The three young men at home will be free of parental supervision for a couple of weeks but they are all capable intelligent adults and as long as the house is relatively clean when I get back they can do whatever they like. (No, there won’t be any parties!)

The remainder of the LB Mandala yarn is coming with me so that I can make a hat and possibly also a cowl to match the fingerless mitts, as is a cake of Red Heart It’s a Wrap with a printed pattern that I bought recently from Hannah at the Cozy Cottage Crochet podcast, Key Largo Lace Wrap. I love her podcast and even though I rarely buy patterns I felt like I wanted to support her a little bit. It’s a fingering/light fingering weight wrap and the cake of yarn has 1000 metres in it, which is a LOT of vacation crochet in a small space!

We always travel light, with cabin-sized backpacks and NO check-in luggage, so we have to be picky about what we take.

If I am absent for a couple of weeks, then, don’t be surprised, though if the old WordPress app on my old iPad Mini lets me I might be able to do some short blog posts. I am really looking forward to some cool clean Swiss mountain air. We have been under a pall of smoke for too long now and it’s been so hot. There have been a couple of rumbles of thunder today and some big fat raindrops, but not enough to make a difference.

Well, time to sign off and switch off. Have a great weekend, everyone.

 

 

 

Wednesday WIP and Wonderful Walks

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Those few days whizzed by, didn’t they! I blogged on Saturday and now it’s Wednesday.

To finish off my report of the weekend away, Sunday was a pleasant day, and I spent two hours in the morning walking along a nature trail beside the lake/wetlands/nature reserve. I took a sweater, a rain jacket, a bottle of kombucha and a sandwich, but I could have left it all behind. But you know how it is. I didn’t know how long I’d be out for, whether the sun would shine or if it would cloud up and rain on me, and I do like to be prepared.

It’s a very beautiful place.

And so much greener than the valley where I live.

So, I showed you my shawl and my sunflower. Well after this walk on Sunday I spent literally hours crocheting and started a bag for my laptop. I have been meaning to do this ever since I bought the laptop, which is I think a couple of years ago now. I had all my Stylecraft Special Aran with me, and all my hooks, and I decided to use the C2C technique. It’s a great choice, being fairly dense and thick with the aran weight yarn, so will protect my laptop on the odd occasion when it leaves the house.

The colours go dark/medium/light across the work, with three rows of each colour.

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After finishing a rectangle that would wrap around my laptop, with a bit extra for a buttoned flap, I single crocheted all around it in navy, then folded it and single crocheted the sides together.

Pretty wild, huh!

It just needs buttons and of course even though I have a button stash I couldn’t find a combination I was happy with, so I have picked out some discontinued buttons from a basket at work and will bring them home tomorrow.

I also made this peace square.

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That link will take you to Ravelry. The pattern page has a further link to a video tutorial which I followed without even looking at the written pattern. It’s very thorough which is good, because you’ll probably have to do what I did and replay bits of round 2 because there’s a lot of messing about with crocheting in the back and front loops of stitches, plus the colour changes. Once that’s out of the way though it’s all quite simple.

One thing I dislike is on the vertical upper part of the lavender peace sign in my square you can see little dots of blue encroaching on the lavender. That’s because, while I changed colour to slipstitch for the end of the round, it would have been better to finish the previous stitch with the lavender and then slipstitch. I’ll know what to do if I make any more.

Monday evening was my Hygge group which this time was a happy group of five. There was much laughter, knitting and tea drinking.

And Tuesday was a day off too, so I made the most of the beautiful day by walking for a an hour on a nature trail alongside a creek followed by going out for tea and a vegan cookie with a friend. Today was a work day, as is tomorrow.

Enough chat. The day is winding down and if I want to get some crochet done I should revisit those Ravelry links I was researching this morning for leaves to add to my fall wreath. Talk to you later!

 

A weekend retreat

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Tai Chi Man and I are away for the weekend, leaving the three young men at home to eat, sleep and play unhindered! They are all adults now and can fend for themselves. Husband has classes, so I’m seeing him for short bursts of time in between. When I am alone, I am bingeing on Netflix (latest TV series watched is The Five), crocheting, computering, and this morning I hit the gym and the pool right here in the hotel. Gosh, it’s a tough life! I’ve also been out for a few short walks.

The view from our hotel room is very lovely and very changeable. The weather yesterday was low 20s (Celsius) and sunny, today it’s low teens and showery.

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That last one is today’s. Please excuse the dirty window. Nothing I can do about that!

I’m pleased to have a Ta Dah moment for the Spill Shawl. It’s not blocked, as I just finished it last night. I did try taking photos at the time, but a dimly lit hotel room is definitely not the ideal location so I took it out with me this afternoon. I found a nice stretch of beach to walk along and an interesting bit of fallen tree to drape the shawl on.

The last couple of rows are not the Lion Brand Mandala yarn, they are Deramores Studio DK in Jade. It was big enough by the end of the skein (and 67 rows) to call it quits but I thought a brighter/darker colour than the grey would finish it off better.

The other FO I have to show you is one I started and finished this morning, while drinking tea after my workout.

The pattern is from the book in the photos. It’s a sunflower to add to the pumpkin wreath in my kitchen. I used Stylecraft Special Aran in copper for the centre and lemon for the petals. It’s got great texture from all the popcorns.

I had checked Google Maps for getting a bead on the area and how to get to where I needed, but after the beach my aim was to find the large supermarket beside the Trans Canada highway. I did find it, just by a somewhat roundabout route. We have a small two-burner stovetop in our hotel room, and yesterday I threw together a very simple dinner from a can of kidney beans, a can of tomatoes, part of a bag of frozen vegetables, some salt and some chipotle flakes. OMG, I love chipotle. Smoked jalapeno, for those who don’t know, and I have the powder at home but forgot to bring any condiments or seasonings with me. So when I found the jar of flakes at the supermarket yesterday I just had to buy it.

Tonight I think we’ll have avocado and tomato on toast, and tomorrow night it’ll be pasta with olives, artichokes, tomatoes, peppers – and maybe some more of those chipotle flakes!

Brrr! I actually had to put a sweater on.

Hope your weekend is awesome. Bye for now!

 

 

 

 

FO: Travel cowl

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Ds1 and I arrived home yesterday from our holiday, tired, happy to have had lots of family time, but glad to be home.

We had had to drag ourselves out of bed really early, 4.30am early, which is just inhumane in my not-so-humble opinion, to get showered and dressed, pack the last few items in our bags, and get a ride to the airport for 6am.

The first flight out from the island was due to leave at 7.05 but we sat on the tarmac for a bit as Air Traffic Control was being extra careful because of the descending fog. Still, we made it out okay, which is more than I can say for my poor nephew who was supposed to be flying to the same airport on a different airline and then catch a connecting flight to Milan for a three-day getaway.

The fog worsened and he had to cancel his trip. One of the hazards of living on an island.

We were expecting heightened security at the London airports following the Manchester suicide bombing, plus possible extra issues following British Airways’ computer glitches which caused absolute chaos on Sunday. Many people had flights cancelled and/or were left standing around at Heathrow.

However, Gatwick was fine, with only a minor police presence as we left in our cab to drive to Heathrow. (I am really looking forward to Air Canada flying direct to Gatwick, which is rumoured to be happening later this year.)

Heathrow was fine – after having to deal with queues to get our boarding passes printed, security was no problem and the departures hall was only moderately busy. We found a place to have a coffee and before long it was time to walk to the gate. The flight to Calgary left on time and the time didn’t drag too badly, what with knitting, movies, eating and puzzles. There was another wait for the last flight home, but I watched another bit of the Crafternoon Treats podcast and then we were off. The last stripe on the cowl was added while flying over the Rockies at 20,000 feet.

Tai Chi Man picked us up and we came home to a meal cooked by ds3 who has apparently been rather good at getting meals made while I’ve been away. He did message me a fair bit with questions about how I made certain recipes, and last night’s dinner of nut roast, mashed potatoes and apple crumble was all very good. I unpacked, but I didn’t last long until I had to go to bed, as we’d been up for 24 hours.

I was wide awake at 5.30 this morning, and have had a quiet day at home, baking bread, doing laundry, making dinner and vegging on the couch. Oh, and finishing the cowl. The top two photos are after binding off, and I decided that I wanted the “wrong side” to be the “right side” as I preferred the colour transitions that way.

Seventeen stripes in the end…I didn’t knit every day, but travel days I did more than one stripe as I changed for each leg of the journey.

The yarn is Deramores Studio DK, 8 shades from the 12-colour Gemstones pack, with 6mm needles. I think I cast on 130 stitches, purely because that was what the tail of the yarn allowed and it was a workable number to go around the cable. It’s a good circumference and height and it was a great choice for my travel knitting as I could pick it up and put it down easily (though there were multiple balls to carry for the different colour stripes). I could have left the rest of the needle set at home, as I didn’t use them, or any crochet hooks or other equipment at all. I just broke the yarn with my hands when it was time to change colour.

My new Stylecraft Special DK is now getting acquainted with the rest of the SSDK in the big bag in my craft room. It will probably languish there for a bit as my niece has asked me to make her a VW camper van bag, for which I probably don’t need a pattern. There’s a few VW patterns on Ravelry, from bags to cushion covers to stuffed vans, which I can use for inspiration, but for now I’m waiting to see what colour she’s thinking of.

It’s 7.20pm now, I have work tomorrow, and I’m hoping to stay awake for a bit longer before I go to bed. Crossing my fingers for another good night’s sleep. Ah, jetlag!

 

 

Souvenir yarn

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Because a holiday isn’t complete without new yarn!

Colours in the above photo, in order from left to right, are clematis, duck egg, parma  violet, lobelia and sage.


I bought these from Country Wools here in the island of Jersey.  They have a good range of yarns including, you guessed it, Stylecraft. I made sure to buy colours that I don’t already have and that I can add to my bag of Special DK when I get home. 

It was a hot sunny day today and ds1 and I enjoyed some shady valley walking, a picnic in the park, and some exploring of an old fort. If we’d have had swimsuits with us, we’d have gone in the sea too. Actually he did, later in the day, after I’d dropped him off back at his granddad’s and I returned to my mum’s to cook dinner. Bet that sea was cold!

We’re nearing the end of our holiday now and it’s been great to spend time with family and see more of the island where I grew up. 

Happy crafting!

The cowl grows

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The cowl is getting bigger. That red stripe was unexpectedly wide for a spot of evening knitting on the sofa. It’s nice to have some mindless knitting in the round to do. No pattern to juggle.
The room at my mum’s is very bright and attractive, upstairs with a sloping roof. Very modern too, as she bought the house only a few years ago, brand new, in a 55+ development.

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Yesterday was fun – I joined in with a fundraiser for Autism Jersey where we lined up with our hands in gloves glued to pipes that had metal scaffolding poles through them, and played human table football (foosball)! Some of the guys kicked the ball hard and high and I ended up with a few bruises but avoided a smashed in face so I suppose I should be grateful 🙂

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My hair and T shirt coordinate quite well.

I expect I will have to eat super clean when I get home because I’m eating a lot of things I don’t usually have these days. Decadent cakes, sweet potato fries, cookies…must keep walking.

iPad is playing up again so ta ta for now.

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!

 

Cabin love

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It’s such a wonderful time, recharging one’s batteries away from the usual work and home commitments. Everything is simplified, especially the meals. The snowshoeing at Larch Hills Nordic ski area was lovely and peaceful. The snow was pretty crispy and compacted but it was still nice to have a couple of hours tromping through the woods.

We also drove up to Salmon Arm, which is the nearest sizeable town, for a cup of tea. My favourite corner of town is the one where Hudson and McLeod intersect. You have Intwined Fibre Arts yarn store on one side, across the road is Culinary Inspirations who make a decent inexpensive cup of tea or coffee as well as selling kitchen stuff and gourmet foods, and across from that is the Saga public art gallery.

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Can’t beat waking up to that view in the mornings.

And the specs on the latest arm knit – Loops & Threads Chunky (REALLY chunky, actually super-bulky, 27 yards to 5.2oz) in the colourway Stonewashed. I bought two skeins and used part of the second because it wasn’t quite long enough to double around the neck with only one.

This is a gift for a friend. It’s fun to play with yarn in different colours than I usually use. The colours in this are natural neutrals and work well together.