Tag Archives: snow

Activities and acquisitions

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Activities and acquisitions

Hi all. Another Sunday has rolled around and I’m glad to say I didn’t have a shift today. It’s been a beautiful sunny day and Tai Chi Man and I were able to walk along the city waterfront with just sweaters, no coats required. My car’s thermometer read 12 degrees Celsius in the sunshine.

We followed up our walk with a long sit at our favourite tea shop. I brought crochet with me, of course, and before leaving home I picked out a pretty ball of Loops & Threads Facets in Light Azore to take with me. My plan worked out. While drinking two delicious Cowboy Fogs (tea lattes) I made a cowl and was able to give it to the owner of the tea shop before we left. She loved it and put it on immediately.

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It was just simple double crochet in the round, using a 9mm hook, with a row of shells along the edge before fastening off. The sewn bag in the photo is one I made last year. It’s designed to hold a ball of yarn and you thread the yarn through the hole in the top flap. It worked well! The only downside to something like this is that there are no extra pockets for hooks and things, or anywhere to put a project-in-progress. However the hanging loop was handy for attaching it to my handbag with a carabiner.

There was much excitement this week when my Wool Warehouse order arrived. Here it is!

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A box of gorgeousness! Scheepjes Stonewashed and Riverwashed XL (aran weight), 15 gram balls in all 50 shades. No specific plans for this yet. And…

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Five 50 gram balls of the Stonewashed in Moon Stone as a neutral, should I decide to use it with the colours in the box. It rounded my order nicely up to 1000 grams of yarn. And the bonus was, it only took 15 days to arrive.

My friend went to Vancouver Island last week and we met up for a cup of tea afterwards. She bought me this lovely stuff.

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Universal Yarn Bamboo Pop in the colour Ocean. She knows me so well! Fifty percent bamboo, 50% cotton, so it fits in with my 2019 goal of more natural plant fibres.

My heel is no better, though wearing the shoes all the time means it (mostly) doesn’t hurt. However last night we went to a friend’s house for a potluck and our hands were full with food going in, so I left my gym shoes with the special insoles in the car. By the time I had been sitting at the dining table for a while and got up to walk back to the kitchen, the pain was back and I was limping.

I did 45 minutes on the elliptical at the gym yesterday morning, while Tai Chi Man did weights, and today we are going back for more weights. I am alternating weights/cardio as I have four days off and if I am good and go every day then I need to mix things up.

My weight loss program, started about nine days ago, involves pretty much eating half of what I usually do. It worked well the first week with a 4lb loss. Last night’s potluck meant a lot of calories going on so I’m being extra careful today and eating just fruit and vegetables.

Finally, we had a big dump of wet snow this week, which looked lovely but left our road axle deep in snow. We are third level (out of three) priority for the graders, but as long as we clear our driveway we only have about 100 metres to drive to get to the clearer road.

I am grateful that Tai Chi Man did the clearing because my right wrist would have complained bitterly at shifting all that wet snow.

It’s almost time to get changed for the gym so I’ll say Auf Wiedersehen for now. Talk to you again soon.

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.

 

FO: Maypole Hat

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Well, WordPress is trying to confuse me. They’ve done some sort of update or rehash of their site and now all the tools that were on the left are on the right. Sometimes  I feel like saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

Anyhoo, here’s the hat that was a WIP last time I posted. The diameter is about 16 inches, which I think is probably a 6 month old baby size. I still have part of one skein left plus a second, so it would be nice to make something else to match. I just haven’t decided what yet. I did a Ravelry search and didn’t come up with anything, except for one possibility, and it’s a little sweater I’ve made before from a library book, so I have placed a hold on it again. It’s Nash’s sweater and I could make it with or without the sleeves.

As I said before, this is Euro Baby Maypole, 100% polyester, and just in the knitting of the hat it’s already gone a little fuzzy so I don’t know how durable it is. Pretty colours, though. The ribbing was done with 5mm needles, and the stockinette with 5.5mm.

This was our view this morning –

The neighbour was out clearing snow off her car. Mine lives under our carport, not that I had to drive anywhere today anyway.

Yup, it snowed all day yesterday while I was at work (and I had to brush three inches of snow off the car so that I could see to drive home) and it was snowing this morning when I got up too. It didn’t last, though – by dinnertime, the sun had melted off quite a bit of it.

I had one of those lovely days today when my kitchen diary was completely blank  – no work, no appointments, no outside commitments – so I had a very sedentary morning (sorry, Fitbit)! This afternoon, though, I made up for it, doing multiple loads of laundry, cleaning bathrooms, the kitchen, the front entryway, and cooking scalloped potatoes, nut roast and date squares for dinner. Now that I have work some days, I appreciate the days when I’m home and can make more of an effort in putting a decent meal together.

Tonight, Tai Chi Man fancied a change of scene so booked us a couple of tickets to go to the movies. We are going to see The Ballerina, an animated movie which I’m sure will be cute and funny. My husband isn’t one for loud and violent films.

I hope Spring is springing in your part of the world. No sign of it here yet but we are supposed to see double digits (Celsius) next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A hatty sort of week

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The little stack of hats for Swaziland has now grown from four to fourteen.

I think I should just stick to the regular hat shape if I make more of these, because the square ones are sort of naff!

Since the BIG project was finished, it’s been a relaxing time of churning out these little hats each time I picked up a hook.

And there’s been another hat – an adult-sized one for a co-worker’s husband.

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This is a very manly hat using James C Brett Marble Chunky in MC59. Shades of brown and grey. The pattern is my Adjustable Crochet Hat (crochet hat recipe) pattern without any embellishments, and with an sc round at the end, and a 6mm hook.

We’ve had quite the snow build-up this week. Today it’s milder so we’ve had some melting, but for a few days it was shovel, slither and slide.

Yesterday I had a plan to go to a friend’s house for some energy healing, and I wanted to do some errands, like Costco, that I plan for when I go across the lake, but I did wonder whether I should just stay home. However I did venture out, and as long as I was careful not to accelerate or brake too sharply I mostly maintained my traction!

I’m having a blissful day at home today – a friend came over and we drank scads of Yorkshire tea and got out our knitting and crochet and put the world to rights (well, at least our corner of it). Now I should probably get off my arse and go and bake a pineapple upside-down cake, because it’s on the meal plan, and leaving it until the last minute is not a good idea if we want to eat it for dinner. Probably should prep the shepherd’s pie too.

I hope you’re staying cosy in your part of the world. Happy crafting!

The big freeze

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Yes, Winter Solstice is nearly here and we have been enjoying some delightfully cold temperatures. Last night was predicted to hit minus 17C and tonight is -20C (-4F). I’m sure the furnace is getting a good workout, keeping the house at +15 overnight.

The snow that fell is now ice. We have to drive carefully on the side roads, but the highway is mostly dry now. It was beautifully sunny today, and I enjoyed my weekly piano lesson followed by 20 lengths of the local pool. I also stopped in at work and picked up some mesh wrap in silver and turquoise to add to our Christmas/Solstice/Pagan/whatever tree!

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There’s also a couple of metres of turquoise organza with silver snowflakes on around the base.  Seems like the bottom of the tree could do with a bit of pruning as a couple of branches are looking a little out of place.

I had an enjoyable weekend. Saturday Tai Chi Man and I took the boys out to a vegan restaurant downtown that we’ve never tried before. They are heavy on the faux meats but the food was good. The boys had “burgers” and we had pulled “pork” sandwiches, all with fries. And OMG, I had the BEST hot chocolate complete with whipped coconut cream and a vegan marshmallow on top.

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We followed this up with the movie Moana at the big theatre not far from our house. It was fun and when we came out it was snowing heavily.

Sunday Tai Chi Man and I went to the Holistic Market, a regular gathering of energy workers and vendors, and had some Tesla treatment done. This apparently heals at a cellular level. I certainly noticed some effects, and it took a while to ‘ground’ myself again afterwards.

In the evening, I had the work Christmas dinner to attend. Eating out at a non-vegan restaurant can be tough, not just for finding tasty vegan food  but also from the perspective that I’m surrounded by people eating meat and fish, which I can find disturbing. This time, I made a conscious decision not to let it get to me. I love my group of co-workers – there were 18 of us there Sunday, which is almost all the staff, except for a couple who couldn’t make it. We sat at a long wooden table and I plunked myself down right in the middle of one side. The food was okay – I’m sure this place prides itself on its food, but it’s very meat-centric and expensive. My plate of roasted vegetables was $21!

The managers handed out gift certificates for part of the meal, gift certificates for the store, and gift bags which were totally unexpected and welcome. Mine of course had yarn in it, plus a few other nifty things. My friend across the table received a ball of yarn and a pompom (same kit as the one I used to knit the hat I showed you last time) but she doesn’t knit so she gave them to me. Next day, they were already transformed into this…

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This is my Gio hat pattern, minus the peak, with a crab stitch edging (reverse single crochet).

There is a new WIP in my life and it is a girly Santa hat. The plan is to make it in hot pink Red Heart With Love (crocheted) with a knitted Astrakan brim. The brim is more than half done and then I shall see how easy (or not) it is to crochet along the edge and work the body of the hat up from there.

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Not using a pattern. Just winging it as usual. I can’t believe how much knitting I’ve done in the last couple of weeks. Maybe my knitting mojo is coming back. I did try crocheting the brim but the first row convinced me that knitting it would be easier. It really is impossible to see your stitches with this loopy stuff. But it’s perfect for a Santa hat.

Brrr, I’m feeling a little chilly. Must be the thought of that -20 temperature outside. Stay warm, people! Talk to you again soon.

 

 

Snow! And more yarny projects

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We woke up to snow this morning and it has continued all day. Tai Chi Man has cleared the drive a few times to make sure it doesn’t get icy when we take the car out. We were planning to go to a friend’s house this morning and were on the road by 8.30am for a potentially 40 minute drive, but the traffic on the highway was crawling along so slowly that we decided to turn back.

I took the opportunity to start studying my new course – it’s an online course with eCornell all about plant-based nutrition. I’m just on the first module but by the end of January I will have a certificate to say I’m up to date on all the science and the reasons why a whole-food plant-based diet is the way to go. Just confirms what I’ve already known for years, of course, but I’m still learning new stuff from this course and it gives me some extra ammo when sharing with people why this is the healthiest way to eat. It may even become a career for me later on.

I also frogged the partially completed toque (hat) that I started a week ago and restarted it on bigger needles and with two fewer stitches. The pattern tells you to knit for 7″ before decreasing, but at 6″ I put in a lifeline and then tried out the decreases. I had enough yarn that I decided to rip back again, knit two more rows, then decrease again. I actually could have done at least two more rows, looking at the amount of yarn I had left, but no way was I going to frog for a third time. This process also included un-knitting a row because I had all my knits and purls the wrong way round!

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The fisherman’s rib would look tidier in a less bulky yarn, but I’m just glad this one is done. I’ll take it to work and put it on a mannequin head for a bit, then I know exactly who I’m going to give it to. (Yarn is Dynasty hat yarn, Fabricland’s house brand.)

Another small project I finished yesterday is this Dumpling Kitty, who I have named Custard. This is a free pattern, only available as a Ravelry download, hence the Rav link.

This cute kitty is made with Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK and a 3.75mm hook. I happened to have the perfect colours and I know exactly who this one is for too.

I now only have one WIP and that is the caterpillar blanket. I have made a start on it and will give it a separate post of its own soon. Have a great day!

 

Getting in the mood for…

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…Christmas/Yule/Solstice or whatever you like to celebrate in December!

Woke up to this this morning…

  We have seen snow at higher elevations before now, but last night it snowed on us!

I am not good at planning far ahead for December festivities as we don’t make a huge deal of them, but one of the things I do like to eat around Christmas is mince pies. The last couple of years, I haven’t bothered to make mincemeat, but this year I decided it was time to make the effort again. You may be aware that a lot of commercial mincemeat is made with added suet (animal fat) unless you buy a specifically vegetarian brand, and even then, it’s so easy to make one’s own, why not just do that? Then you know what went into it.

  
The recipe I have says to make it four to six weeks ahead, and I’m just squeaking in on time, what with Christmas being only a month away. 

I don’t remember where I found the recipe as it was years ago, but it’s vegan, fat-free, and divine. 

Mincemeat recipe

3 cups currants 

1.5 cups golden raisins or sultanas 

1.5 cups Thompson raisins

(I think you can use any combination of your favourite dried fruits; I usually use dried cranberries in the mix too)

1lb chopped apples (say 3 good-sized ones or 4 small)

2.5 cups sugar (it’s tempting to cut back on the sugar but it is probably there for preservation properties)

1 teaspoon allspice 

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Juice of 2 lemons (and zest if organic)

0.75 cup fruit juice (please, not from concentrate)

Mix all together in a large bowl, cover and leave in fridge overnight. Pack into sterilized  jars with lids (no need to heat or vacuum seal), refrigerate for 4 – 6 weeks. 

This is really delicious used in tarts (small or large) for a traditional taste of a British Christmas.