Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday wonders - S

S is for Squares.
There are lots of square things around but I've chosen my checkers rug.  This is my favorite rug  and I'm happy to have it in front of me every day.  The squares are neat and precise yet soft to touch. 

It is a working checkerboard.  The checkers were made by my older son and Anne who cut , sanded and stained them.  The bag is made from the same wool that I used to hook the border.  It hangs on the handle of the chest ready for anyone who wants to play. 

I chose Aesop's Tortoise and Hare fable as a theme because it's the one I can remember best - having heard the story many times since I was a very little girl. 

An  piece of plaid over-dyed with green seemed very tortoise-like  - even more so when it was hooked up.  A felted fawn-colored sweater made a soft hare.  You know how some things that you make continue to please you?  I always get a little thrill each time I look at it.  

This rug could also have been a Square Deal for someone as it was offered up for sale soon after completion.  Lucky me - I got cold feet and removed it before someone snapped it up!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday scene

Looking back a bit...

This cormorant was found resting by the ferry dock at one of the Gulf islands last fall.  They're quite common here on the coast.  Cormorants can often be seen standing with their wings outstretched - drying them in the sun. 

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tag - I'm IT!

I've never been tagged before.  I've seen others 'tagged' posts and had some fear that it might happen to me.  Fear mixed with hope, I think, because it's always fun to do some navel-gazing.

So, now it's happened.  Catherine has tagged me with High Five.  I am supposed to share the top five happenings of the past year.  At first, I thought it was going to be a snap.  Then, I got stuck.  And finally, unstuck.  Here they are, in no particular order.  Except for the first one.

By far, the best thing that happened last year was our trip to Ireland.  I still feel it, think about it and dream of going back again.  I am not the most enthusiastic traveler but I would definitely get back on a plane for this destination.  And another, longer visit with Mimi.

Our house was transformed with a new coat of paint.  This was a big deal because I was so tired of the color it had been for almost 10 years.

Our Christmas ceilidh.  What else can I say?  This was the best way to celebrate Christmas.

My older grand-daughter started school in September.  This was a high point in her life, I know.  But it was also a  milestone in mine. I remember so well how eagerly awaited was that first school day. It doesn't matter if it was mine, my own children or my grandkids.  It's one of the most exciting things to happen in life.  All that stuff to learn and do...the universe awaits.

I became the president of our local seniors' association.  This has taken me to places I might not have thought to visit, introduced me to people I never thought to meet and given me a much greater appreciation of what the seniors in our community contribute each and every day.

This was an interesting task for me as I'm not much good at looking back - I'd far rather be looking forward.  I'm always wondering what's around that next corner...

I have to tag some others to be IT . Don't feel obligated to participate - I'm just sharing the fun -

MimiJoannaWendy,  and  hipchick

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ready or not...

Here come the spring flowers! 

This hellebore is right on time.  Winter is when these plants show their colors.  Sometimes called  Lenten Roses,  they are happy in cold weather.   This one is named "Ivory Prince" and he has a sister plant called "Hot Flash".  She has decided that this is not her year to perform and she's just leafy.

There's a tiny visitor, some kind of caterpillar,  in this bloom.  He was encouraged to go elsewhere.

There are crocuses  - these are always the earliest....

the snowdrops have opened...

and this lively arrangement of fungi looks just like a  flamenco dancer's skirts to me.  I'm not sure why they grow on some parts of the tree and not others.  And it's probably not a good thing...but aren't they pretty?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


This morning I read that Steve Fonyo has been stripped of his Order of Canada.  This just seems so wrong to me.  How can this special honor be taken away?

Admittedly,  Steve Fonyo has had some troubles in his life since his successful run across Canada which raised millions of dollars for cancer research.  These troubles have been largely of his own making.

But, should anyone lose an award that they have earned - no matter what they do with their life afterwards?  I think not. 

The award was to mark an achievement which was important to Canada and Canadians.  If we take the award away, does this undo all that was achieved?  Can we really unring that bell?

Give the Order of Canada back to Steve about kicking a guy when he's down!

Photo from


Isn't it nice when someone sends you a gift?  Yesterday, I received an award  from Mimi who has been my blog friend for almost a year. Really?  That long?  Wow!  She has given me a 'slice of Irish life ', a lot of smiles and a few tears.  Thank you, Mimi,  for sharing your award with me!

Now, I get to pass it on.  I think there is a requirement that the blogger be 'new' - I'm interpreting that as 'new to me'.  These bloggers have added to my days...

Nature at my Doorstep - April has wonderful photography in a part of my own country that I've never visited

A Photoblog by Lindy MacDuff -  great photos with interesting perspectives

Holmespunfun - photos and stories of life on the East Coast

Let Your Light Shine - I enjoy Ginny's look at life in all its oddities

Coloring with Light - beautiful photography in Ontario

Thank you all for sharing your thoughts, photos, and days with me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ruby Tuesday

Looking through the photo archive, I was amazed at how much red there is in so many pictures.  Sometimes, it's just a flash but others are almost completely red.  Here's one that we took last fall at a local nursery...

Here's the information just in case you want one for your own garden. 

Click here to see more favorite red photos.  Thanks to Mary T for hosting.

Monday, January 25, 2010

MYM - A warning?

Or maybe just a curiosity...
There are not usually traffic-type signs to be seen along a dike.  It is possible, I suppose to find another dike with a cow crossing sign.  But I think this is the only place where you would see this particular one. 

The farmer, Mr Steves, has his barn on one side of the dike and pastures his cows on the other so they can graze the marsh grass.  At least twice a day, he closes the path with gates made from branches and barbed wire and moves his cows one way or the other.  The community  of Steveston is named for his family.  His is an isolated farm right  on the edge of a residential - really quite urban - neighborhood.

Someone, maybe him, has amended the sign to reflect the cows who live here:  the Belted Galloways, sometimes called Oreo cows.  Aren't they a rough and sturdy-looking cow?

Mellow Yellow can be found here.   Thanks, Squirrel Queen!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday wonders - R

R is for Recreation...
Yesterday, we enjoyed a spring-ish day with the kids...

We had our binoculars....

We saw a Northern Harrier hawk as it flew over the marsh looking for a treat to eat...

We saw a bald eagle perched atop a tall tree.  It was watching for a meal, too.

Time for a water break...

More searching for birds with those binoculars.  It's amazing how you can make people look so big - and so small!

We even had a picnic.  But first, the hot chocolate!  And one of us had a snooze while lunch was being set out.

This green-wing teal was finding lots to eat in the marsh pond and the red-wing blackbirds sang to us while we ate.

And at the end of a perfect day, a rainbow.  Recreation doesn't get much better.  I'm ready for another week now.

Friday, January 22, 2010


The critter never came back.  I spent a bit of time tidying up and looking for clues but saw nothing at all.

What I did see was a black squirrel racing along the back fence ( the squirrels' superhighway) with a big wad of last fall's oak leaves in its mouth.  It tumbled through the magnlia, leapt to a low cedar branch and raced up to the top.  Presumably, it was carrying nest material.

The crows have been scrounging about in the trees, ripping twigs off and carrying them to their nest.  I hope it's not too nearby...they're quite noisy and ferocious with anything that passes beneath the nest tree.  I found a pair of towhees in the quince which is sprouting madly.

El Nino is encouraging the snowdrops and primroses to bloom.  The clematis is also pushing out shoots;  the butterfly bush has huge leaves sprouting everywhere.  Both of these will need to be pruned back soon and I'm hoping it doesn't get cold again.  Although, it's so warm that I was walking around in shirt sleeves earlier. Too bad for the ski hills nearby with the snow melting rapidly in the sun.

And I guess I won't be needing this until next fall.  That's just fine with me.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Long career

This morning, while reading the paper,  I noticed that  the soundtrack for the latest Alvin & the Chipmunks movie was number 6 on the music chart.   They were above Taylor Swift but not so high as Mary J Blige. 

Since I remember when the Chipmunks first began to perform, this seemed a very long career indeed.  After 50 plus years most human voices have begun to show signs of wear and tear.  Not so these chipmunks! 

A quick trip to Wikipedia showed that they began in 1958 with David Seville (aka Ross Bagdasarian Sr).  Remember him from "Witch Doctor"?   Alvin and his brothers have outlived the first David and are now 'working with' his son.  I see the cast is much bigger for the latest movie.

I'm not saying that I'll rush out to see this movie but it's comforting to know that everything from my childhood is not so olden days! Although, Alvin does seem to have become tougher-looking and edgier , he still sings the same. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wild things

In the early morning, I woke up to a sound that didn't belong.   I listened hard and knew the sound was right outside the bedroom window.  I really, really wanted to get up and see what it was but figured if I made any move at all it would disappear.

So, my mind scurried through the mental file drawers trying to find a sound like what I was hearing.  Was it something pushing the drain pipe?  It had a metallic sound.  Was it a bear?  Surely not...I was hoping that they were all tucked up in their dens right now.  Although, our spring seems to be coming early and I don't know if they sense that weather change.

Was it raccoons?   I thought not because they usually chirp to each other.  Raccoons are quite chatty and the parents are always nagging at the young 'uns.  Maybe a skunk?  They're usually silent and stately as they parade down the side garden and along the back fence.  I sure wasn't chancing spooking a skunk by throwing open the window and shining a light.

I realized as I lay there, barely breathing and listening intently that the wild thing was doing the same thing.  Its noise stopped when it heard me - I thought I was quiet - and went back to rustling about when all seemed safe again.  You know how your cat always knows when you've woken up?  Even when you haven't opened your eyes or made any waking-up kinds of sound.  The cat knows.

It could have been squirrels but they aren't usually awake at night.  At least I've never seen any after daylight  is gone.  You're right, I wouldn't see them in the dark, would I?  I'm sticking to the bigger critters because it was a biggish sound. But maybe that's because it was so quiet at 3 am.  

I did look about when it was light and it appears they were having a recce of the bikes stored under a tarp.    No evidence was left for the forensics team to ID the visitor. 

Wonder if they will come back tonight.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ruby Tuesday

Ah, a summer memory...

...getting ready to open in Knights Town, County Kerry, Ireland.

The Ruby Tuesday meme is hosted by Mary T right here.  Check it out.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mellow Yellow Monday

It's Monday again!  Wow, that week went by so fast.

Practicing tai chi on the beach at Tofino, BC.  It was a cold day in December and mittens were a must. 

For more Mellow Yellow posts, click here.  Thanks to Drowsy Monkey for continuing this meme.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday wonders - Q

Q is for Quotes.

Some of my favorite hooked rugs have been created to display a quote that I especially liked.

"Use it up, wear it out, make it do" was seen on an old WW2 poster.  It seemed an appropriate motto for a rug hooked from recycled wool fabrics.  With luck, the rugs made from these wool strips willl last another hundred years.  That's a pretty good life extension for an old sweater or coat.

"By sowing frugality we reap liberty, a golden harvest" .- Agesilaus, the Great  
I came across this quote one day and thought how perfect it is for so many of us with bulging houses.  The liberty that we feel when we edit our belongings and have that lightness - for a while.  I expect that that is not what Agesilaus had in mind. 

Both rugs helped me to use up some of my rug hooking stash.   That's progress.

Friday, January 15, 2010


I've finally decided on some projects for my gift yarns...

I didn't really want to make socks with the lovely, soft  Mini Mochi and I've been wondering what I could do.  Inspiration popped as I was trolling the Ravelry pattern database.   I found a lovely scarf pattern which I thought could be effective in this richly dyed yarn.  Thanks to Bonnie Sennott and her Falling Water pattern.

And I've cast on the sock yarn, too.  I was looking for a pattern that had enough to keep my interest and yet was easy to remember.  This is it -  Spring Forward by Linda Welch.

Both patterns are free on Ravelry.  If you knit and you haven't signed up it! It's fun and helpful. 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

So busy

Busy, yes!  I am having fun, though it may not be what everyone would call fun.  I've been spending lots of hours planning a planning session for our seniors' association board .  That's done and now I'm dealing with all the results of our planning.     It is all very good stuff...the year ahead looks like it could be really exciting.  But even the most exciting project has a lot of prep work before it wows the world.

I have found some time to knit - it helps me think!  All the gloves are now finished...I have this pattern memorized now.  Well, maybe not the cabled part (that's not intuitive at all) but the glove part, for sure.  And it's not that I didn't enjoy making them, I did.  But it's time for something different.  And some of those gift yarns - lacework, yes!

I took a couple of pictures but the last pair of gloves were packed up before I could get their picture taken.  Shy, they were.   The ones on the right are made with alpaca  and silk.  They are soft and warm and so-o light.  The shy gloves are exactly like the gray ones on the left - think light blue yarn. 

So, I have a couple more meetings and a few more piles of paper to get through.  Then I'll be back.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ruby Tuesday

Lots to do tomorrow...Ruby Tuesday starts early.

Mary T, our host, challenged us to red books this week.  I looked at the one I was reading and it was not red.  Anne's was, though.

So, I give you books past, present and future.  I have just finished A Ricepaper Airplane which is an interesting account of the Koreans who emigrated to Hawaii after WW1.   In progress, on Anne's table is the Patterson.  And, on my table, waiting in the pile is a mystery which is set, I hope, in Martha's Vineyard.

For more books, and other ruby things, look here.

Mellow Yellow Monday

People riding up an escalator usually look straight ahead and pretend they're all alone.

I like the friendliness in this photo.  It must be all that yellow around making them so mellow. 
Thanks to Drowsy Monkey for hosting this meme.  You can visit here and see more yellow today.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday wonder - P

P is for Premature...

Give the garden a week of mild weather and  it begins to think that spring is on the way.

Go back to your leafy blankets.

Stay down...the slugs are about.  Too late - this garlic has been lunched upon.

These buds could soon be gone if the freezing temps return which is our usual pattern here in Vancouver.  The promise of an early spring can be shattered by some pretty deep cold spells before spring really arrives.  Much as I want to see the early blooms, I fear for these too-eager upstarts.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Tea cosy pattern

Whew!  That almost took longer to write up than it did to knit!

Then I spent a long time yesterday trying to figure out how to embed the document - it is possible.  I just don't have quite enough  time smarts to re-size the blog template to accommodate the file.  Oh, it's such a steep climb.

Anyway, I have finished writing up the pattern.  It is available in either a PDF or a  Word file.  If you would like to have this pattern, please contact me by email.  You can find the link on my profile. I'll send the pattern out as soon as you ask.

If you detect any errors, please let me know.  Be sure to post some photos of your cosies - I'd love to see them.

Here's to happy knitting and hot tea!


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