Thursday, March 31, 2011

"The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley" -  Robert Burns

The princess tests the cake batter

"Do we have to wait?"

Over the last five days we've been looking after the grandkids while Mom & Dad had some well-deserved R&R.  We had lots of plans for things to do - and we crossed a lot of things off that list.  It was the technological side of planning that didn't go so well.  Or was it the human?

We drew pictures in the sand

Since we were going off to their house for this adventure and I knew we would have masses of photo opportunities, of course the camera went in the bag. And the netbook so I could blog while we were away from home.  We had an iPhone for checking the email plus an alternate email as a back-up. 

Making a pile of throwing sticks

The first casualty was the blog.  We couldn't share any of the great fun we were having because we'd left the memory card sitting in the reader at home.  That's the only way we had to download pics from the camera.  Oh, wait!  There's still the iPhone...we'll just take pictures with that.  Second casualty:  emails sent from iPhone to netbook aren't being received.  No idea why.


OK.  Moving on to Plan C now.  We'll just take photos with the camera until the memory runs out.  I'm just sharing highlights now.  Take my word for it - we had a great time.  We think the kids had a little bit of fun.

My favorite flower

And Grammy saw her first dandelion.  Spring is officially here...although it was cold, cold at the beach.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday wonders - Z

Z is for ZZZZ

This is how we all felt after a day doing this:

Sewing roller skate buttons onto a sweater - it's finally finished.  Hurray! says Becky.

Swirling our rainbow flyers...

Who has the biggest bubble?

Or this one?

Maybe this one?

We even got some lettuce and spinach seeds planted in the garden.  Salad days are a-comin'.

This is the end of this alphabet round.  On Friday, I'm joining Karen G's A-Z Challenge.  Every day during the month of April, my blog will be dedicated to one letter of the alphabet. So I'll just wind this whole alphabet up with a fast finish round.  There are over 600 people participating in this challenge.  You can too.  Just hop over to the link and sign in.  Maybe the real challenge is getting around to all the bloggers playing.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Chain of events

They say that every journey begins with one small step.  Ten days ago, I had no clue I was going to be doing this.  My friend Teresa gave me a pattern.  For socks.

It's a beautiful pattern and has an intriguing sideways cable, don't you think?  They are called Winding Road Socks and are designed by Erin Walker.  I wanted to make them but having no appropriate yarn I put them off for later.

These socks would not wait.  On a visit to the thrift store, I found a ball of wool for 75 cents.  It looked to be the right weight for socks so I brought it home.  A closer look showed me that it had been wound with two strands - not plied - just two held together.  So, the first thing is to take it apart.

Two piles of string on either side of me.  Time for the niddy-noddy.  A few minutes of winding delivered two skeins with about 250 m of yarn in each.  But, oh, this is too plain.  We need some color.

Reach for the dye pot.  I couldn't decide on a color and for some reason had pink in my brain.  I put the yarn to soak while I brewed up a lovely rich orchid shade.  My plan was to have some tonal thing going on and I  lowered the skeins in gradually.

But this yarn took the dye so well that it's quite uniform.  That's kind of rare for me.

Here's one sock half knit.  They'll make lovely bright boot socks.  Perfect for spring hiking.

I seem to enjoy doing things the hard way.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Second time round

The vest is finished...just in time for wearing out in the garden.  I think it's going to be perfect.

It has pockets.  That makes any garment perfect for puttering around the yard.  Holding bits of string, gloves, a seed packet or two.  Oh, yes, pockets are very handy.

I named this vest Rusticity because the yarn was so, er, homespun looking.  It was the dye-job not the spinning.  Definitely not a prfessional bit of work - note the uneven tones.  But it is fun,  And there's not another one like it.  I frogged a gold sweater from a thrift shop.   Now I'm wondering if that yarn had ever been frogged before.  That's a thing to set the mind many sweaters have there been knit before with this yarn?

And just because my brain works in weird ways, I started thinking that the name looked like 'rusty city' which is very appropriate for this rainy climate under to the North Shore mountains.  This is where moss grows way better than grass - suits me - and anything metal left outside even overnight is well on its way to rust. 

The photo shoot was all of five minutes - the sun came out and I wanted to take advantage! The sun is still here this morning.  It doesn't rain here all the time.  Really!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ruby Tuesday

I promised to share a red car today...

Can't get any redder than this fire-fighting vehicle.  A child's imagination is definitely needed to turn this  car into a hook and ladder truck!  I would have gladly given it a try  - a few decades ago!

Stop by Mary T's place to see what else is red in the world today.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mellow Yellow Monday

I used to be jealous of kids who had these kiddie cars.  I don't think I ever saw one with flames, though.  Or one this sleek and fast-looking.

This is in beautiful shape.  It's outside an antique store but, really, it looks so new.  Except for that huge chain, it's ready to drive off the lot.

For more mellow yellow this morning, visit Drowsey Monkey

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Wonder - Y

Y is for Yesterday.

For several years, we've had a mystery sapling growing near the raspberry patch.  It was once so small that it defied any odds it would ever grow to be a tree.  But, we've had some interesting trees come from these little volunteer seedlings and so, each year, we left it to grow.  And every year we tried to figure out what it was. 

Yesterday, we discovered its true nature.  It's a willow.  Specifically, one that gives us pussy willow branches for the house.  Now, I don't want to ever get rid of it.  Pussy willows are the softest of spring signs.  Isn't it wonderful to have one in your yard?  Unfortunately, keeping it will mean moving it.  The raspberries need the space. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Housing market

Here on the North Shore, the housing is plentiful and cheap.

If you're a chickadee, that is.  They fly in....

Show an interest...

Then get really serious about looking.

This one even hopped right inside and had a good look at all the furnishings and appliances.  Then, with a piece of nutshell in its beak, flew away.  We'd read that putting some nut husks gave them some nesting materials. 
So, we have a furnished home to let.  But when they fly off with the bedroom suite, or the dishwasher - what are we supposed to think?  Is it not what they want and they're getting rid before they move in?  Or are they stealing the furnishings for a nest in a more upscale home down the road?

Ah, well.  We'll learn soon enough.  Last year it took ages for them to settle in to the house.  And now that  we have two houses on the wall, they're concentrating on the newer one.   We're still hoping for two families.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St Patrick's Day

St Patrick's Day greetings to my blogging friends in Ireland:  Mimi and Catherine!  And to all the rest of my blogging friends wherever you are and whatever your heritage, I hope that you enjoy the festivities today.  It's a great day  to party.  Lots of danceable music, a few pints (or a wee glass) and green everywhere makes us all Irish for a day.

My Irish heritage was hidden from me until only a few years ago.  And then I had to discover it for myself.   I believe that for my parents there was some kind of stigma attached to being Irish.  I know that, as a child in school,  I was emphatically instructed there would be no "wearin' o' the green" for me on March 17.  I just thought I was all Scottish and German heritage as I had always been told.  The maternal grandparents didn't figure very large in family histories back then.    It's not an old Irish heritage - as these things go - and, no doubt, the family was English before moving to Ireland.  I always longed to be Irish...did you know that not wearing green got you a pinch?  And this seemed to be the best fun of the day for some kids. 

But I know now.  And we will be eating a lovely soda bread with our soup tonight.  This is a new recipe for me and I wanted to test it before making it for the seniors'  lunch next Monday: lamb stew, soda bread and a Bailey's cheesecake for dessert.  The bread recipe was passed on by a woman (from Ireland) who has made it so often she just jotted down the ingredients from memory.  I love these kind of recipes.  They leave out so much of the technique.  I mean, doesn't everyone know these little details?  It's a keeper, though.  Already out of the oven and taste-tested.  Yum!

Now for the soup. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Are we there yet?

Not quite.  But this yarn has been softly whispering to me every time I walk by it's hiding place.  I bought it over a month ago and it's been on my mind ever since.  I wanted to see what the colors looked like when knit up.  And I wanted to know if the reviews of this yarn were true.  Mostly, they weren't.  There are some inconsistencies in the spinning but there are no places that are dangerously thin.  The yarn is soft and has nice stitch definition.  It has a slight splittiness but that was easily overcome once I got used to the yarn's character. I couldn't wait to finish to show it off.

While I'm knitting, I almost always daydream.  Sometimes, I'm doing some real-life problem-solving.  Sometimes, I'm imagining a design or trying to find the best use for some of my stash.  While I've been knitting this pattern:  Blackrose Socks designed by Suzi Anvin,  my mind has been on what this pattern says to me.  I've named mine - isn't it great how Ravelry encourages us to give our projects names? - Mountain Lake Socks.

The lace panel is only on one side of the sock.  Easy to figure out which sock goes on which foot!  But, I digress.  The gorgeous purples, dark greens and turquoise make me think of some of the tiny lakes in the Rockies.  The mountains, trees are reflected in the still waters of the lake.  A bit of wind ripples the water but only on one side.  Everywhere else is still serene.  The sun is shining making the glacial water show it's bright blue-green color.  I can imagine myself hiking a trail around this peaceful lake.  See why I love knitting?  It takes me to wonderful places. 

This will be a beautiful pair of socks.  Maybe I'll take them for a nice long walk in the woods.  When they're finished.  Back to the needles!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Meet Me on Monday

Gee whiz!  Monday sure rolls around quick!  It's time for Java to ask her Famous Five questions.  Here's today's revealing answers:

1.  Do you have a fireplace in your home?

Yes.  It began life as wood-burning but we converted to gas a few years ago.  Oddly, we used it a lot more when it was wood.  But it does have a great  raised hearth that I can sit on.  Very handy when you have to talk to a pony.

2.  Can you drive a stick shift?

Ye-e-es.  Even though I learned to drive in an automatic, I was forced to learn how to drive a stick shift many years ago.  It seemed that all the cars we could afford were gearshift vehicles. But, now that I'm old (er), I've allowed myself to not work so hard.  The knee, you know. And I probably would have some re-learning to do.
I really don't miss the panicky seconds on a steep hill.  My first experiences with this were not in a car with a hand brake.  Oh, no!  How do I get my two feet to do a three-foot job?  It was tricky and made me look for the flattest routes.  Hand brakes made a huge difference to the scare factor.

3.  How many computers are in your home?

Two desk-top, one net book.  Does the iPhone count?  Then, it's four.

4.  Are your taxes done yet?  Do you do them yourself?

No. And, are you kidding?  That would be a huge mistake.

5.  What is your favorite meal of the day?

That's a hard question.  I think I really don't have a favorite.  I don't actually like proper meals.  I like to eat when I'm hungry.  I spent too many years making  meals for the family.    Sporadic cooking when the culinary spirits move me and grazing are more my style.

Hop around to Java's  place, Never Growing Old,  and visit with lots more folks.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday wonders - X

X is for Xing.

Many years ago,  after university exams,  I went on a great adventure - a road trip to California with a friend.  We drove her VW beetle and even slept in it.  I can still remember the dunes of Oregon and the coolness of the morning at a campground as I emerged from the car. I also remember how awkward sleeping in that car was.

One thing always reminds of that time: a PED XING sign.  As we drove through the many little towns along the Coast Highway, I kept seeing them.  I could not figure out what they meant.   But I was young and hadn't travelled much.  Where I come from, we call them 'crosswalks'.  It just never occurred to me that others might have a different word.  I'd never seen an X as a short way of writing 'cross'' or I might have twigged sooner. 

We were in California before I saw one that had a graphic attached.  That was my aha! moment.  I have lots and lots of great - and a few not so great - memories of that excellent adventure.   But learning about Xings was iconic.  Funny the things that stick in your mind forever. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011


We ran out this morning, through the raindrops, to see a new exhibition at a local gallery.  There were about 60 hand-hooked rugs arranged around the gallery.  They were all so bright and beautiful and the hookers are very talented.  Looking at them  made me realize how long it's been since I actually held the hook in my hand.  It's just too hard right now to get to it.

When I hook, I need a lot of hours in a row.  I can't just pick it up like knitting a sock.  It's not particularly social, either.  So, I go off into a room for hours at a time with CBC playing classical music to me.  But, lately, my time is all accounted for.  Or, maybe I'm just too lazy to work it in to my life schedule. 

But I miss it and I will get back to it.. And an exhibit like this makes me really want to.  Isn't that a cheeky chick?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hard times

It just seems so wrong to carry on with plans for lunches, dinners and festivity right now.  It certainly won't help anyone if we don't carry on with our plans to give seniors an opportunity to socialize.  But, it's difficult to concentrate on it.

So many earthquakes all at the same time; so soon after the devastation in New Zealand.   And, we have the added concern that we, on the west coast, are also in this earthquake zone
I know that those who are experienced in helping will do so.  Our nations are all offering help as needed and appropriate.   We'll continue with our lives keeping those affected in our thoughts.. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Nature's Art

Just a few more photos from our walk on the wild side.  Art that is created by nature seems to be always transient...

The Indian plum is one of the first spring blossoms in our woodlands.  Soon those glittery raindrops will have dried and the leaves will have pushed out a bit more.  In a couple of days,  white blooms will be hanging from the branches.  But the camera captures this state forever.

This old tree trunk is probably a remnant from a log boom that washed up in a stormy high tide.  Now, its color changes and fades with the wind, rain and sun. 

The grain has such wonderful patterns.

The seagulls have played their part by dropping a shell making the composition that much better.  I can see a similarity between the worn patterns on the big knot and some Haida carving designs. 

The gull also leaves its footprints in the mud.  Soon to be washed away with tide.

And watching it all is Driftwood Woman.   She only appears from this angle.  Walk past and she's gone. 

I wonder what will be on display next time we visit?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Meet Me on Monday

Here's the five questions for this week:

1. What is your favorite way to eat potatoes?

Baked.  With the skin all crispy.  Butter, salt and pepper.  That's perfect.

2. What was the last package delivered to your house?

A long  - and heavy - box containing a portable canopy.

3.What is your favorite scent that you love to smell?

Living in a scented garden would be heaven.  But my favorite scent of all is lavender.  Especially when the scent ambushes you as you walk by.

4. Do you smoke?    No.

5.  Are your parents married or divorced?

They've both passed on now but were always married.  This is one of the few photos of them together.   One of them was usually behind the camera.  Don't you love the stylish outfits for a fishing trip?

Hop on over and visit Java at Never Growing Old.  You'll find lots of other Monday meeters and greeters.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin