Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday wonders - X

X always marks the spot on a treasure map.   I would put some of my X's on...

my happy home...and everything that goes with it.

another beautiful grand-daughter (a quick iPhone photo)...gotta capture that smile!

the memory of how the sun reflected through the hole in this cave in Monument Valley...this was a huge rock formation and we could hear voices of people talking in the cave as though they were beside us. 

the beauty of where I live - even in the fall and winter when it rains and the leaves fall.

the most welcome cup of tea ever...enjoyed at a little table right on the pavement by a busy Dublin street.  I was so overwhelmed with all the things I'd seen, hot and getting just a teensy bit cranky.

and my Dad's primroses that are some of the first bloomers of spring.

A very few of my treasures -my map is covered in X's.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday Stash

It's Saturday - again!  Can't quite believe that it's here already.  What have I got off the needles this week?

Little this pretty cabled hat.  I thought the original pattern looked kind of plain so I put a tassel on it.

Of course, there's really plain - no pattern at all but just the right amount of this emerald green yarn.

A pattern that needed to be made a little smaller.  Not because of yarn running out, though.  No, it was the needle issue.  I didn't have a circular OR double points that were really big enough.  So, on with the show.  I just used what I had and got a smaller size!

I had a tiny scrap of the orange left so, I thought a cute little pumpkin would do.  There wasn't enough for the original pattern so I just made it smaller...less than 2 inches high!  I was taking photos on the front step (only dry place with light yesterday) when the postman caught me and my little pumpkin.  And the hats all lined up on the steps, too. There was one more hat but I forgot to take a photo before I shipped it off to the shop.  Dumb, huh?  I may be able to sneak in with my camera this week. I'll take pictures anywhere.

And, yay!   I finished my Walkin' the Line socks.  Now to get the pattern written up and on Ravelry. They'll be delivered to Maria this morning.  I don't get to keep them...that was just for the photo op. 

The really good news is that all those hats in the last couple of weeks has made a serious drop in the tide line of my stash.  They were all bulky yarns and took up space.  It looked a lot better until I frogged a red pullover that doesn't fit me anymore.  I have ideas for a replacement, but not quite yet.

Needles ready?  The next week has begun!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Last roses

The other day I looked out the kitchen window and I saw a red, red rose bravely blooming in the fall rain.

It was among some bracken and reminded me of a rose for the groom's buttonhole.

When I got closer, I could see that it was a little raggedy from the cold and wet.  A pretty bright memory of summer.

These roses hadn't fared as well but I think they look lovely in their youthful old age.

I like how the sun and shadow play on the faded colors and tattered petals. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Oh, I love fiber.  Yarn, fleece, fabric and wool for hooking rugs.  I love the feel of it...just having a pat of an exotic fiber is a treat.  And I love the taste, too.

Yes, I like to eat fiber.  Not the ones above but all kinds of high-fiber foods.  I credit them with enabling me to shrink from a 2X to a size 12 in a year.  I credit them with lowering my blood pressure.  I just feel a whole lot better with fruit, veg, nuts and seedy stuff.

My favorite way to start the day is with a bowl of All-Bran.  Yes, I do love the taste and the chewiness.  I add flax-seed, sliced almonds, a generous shake of cinnamon (mmm....cinnamon) and fresh fruit.  Right now the Bartlett pears are just perfect.  Or maybe  some raisins if I'm too lazy to cut up the fruit.  Occasionally pumpkin seeds  if I have them.  But right now I have a bone to pick with Kellogg's.

Maybe several bones.  One:  why don't they make economy sizes of this product?  You can buy anything else in warehouse-sized boxes.  So, why not?   Two:  what's with the stupid inner bag that I can't ever open without tearing it and leaving ragged edges which don't pour well?  I have opened a lot of bags of cereal in my life and this product is consistent.  It's impossible.  And, three:  why do we have to have almost 4 times the amount of salt added here in Canada?  Trust me, it doesn't help with the taste.  In fact, it would be better on all counts if it weren't there at all.  But maybe some is needed for preservation or something.  But if the US product can manage with .65g per 100g - why do we have to have 2.15g?  Just sayin'.

That's my rant.  I know I can get jumbo-sized boxes of the buds and flakes but I don't like them.  So there.  I could probably store my cereal in some plastic container so it was easy to pour but why should I have to do that?  And, salty as it is, I still love the fiber.  I guess I'm one of those captive consumers.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Front porch chattin'

It's the day for avsiit with Patrice and her friends on the front porch.  Sure hope it's not raining at her house. I don't have a nice front porch where I can hear and see the rain but not get wet.  A porch would be just the thing.  I'm sitting in my favorite chair on her porch, my knitting in hand, and I'm ready for today's questions.  Here they come...

1.  Barbie asks: What's your favorite coffee drink?  I only drink tea.  Over ten years ago, I tried to drink my morning coffee and it tasted like mud.  The same kind of coffee I'd always had.  So, I switched to tea and I've been here ever since.  When I was drinking coffee, my favorite was a cappuccino - with cinnamon.

2. Dreaming asks: What's the chore you hate the most that you wish Blogger would come do?  Clean my bathroom.  I'm actually quite fussy about a clean bathroom yet I hate doing it.  You can see this as a recipe for disaster.  So, if blogger wants to come do this, I'm up for it.

 3.  Farm Girl asks: Why did you decide to start a blog? I think the real answer is: because I could.  I actually had something going back in 2007, but apparently blogger doesn't think it worthy because I can't find it anymore.  So my posts start a year later - in a pretty tentative way. I have always just shared what I'm doing: knitting, hooking, garden stuff , family...whatever.   Still writing about it, too.  I have met some really great people and I know that in my small way, I have contributed to a few bloggers success. 

4.  Suzanne asks: Who's your most famous relative? I can't think of any famous relatives. 

5.  Cathy Kennedy asks: Have you ever given yourself a home perm? Oh, no, never.  I have naturally curly hair.  I have ironed my hair to be straight, though.  So, I guess that's kind of the same thing.  Ironing doesn't last as long as a perm, though, and I never thought if it in the same way until just now.

Come join us on the porch at Everyday Rurality. Every week there's new folks to meet.  Thanks for hosting, Patrice.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hooking rugs

Maybe it's because it's a bit chillier in the mornings.  Or maybe it's because I keep expecting to see frost instead of dew in the morning.  I'm thinking about hooked rugs.

Some new followers may have been wondering why I have Hookin' in my blog title.  Well, there was a time when I hooked rugs as much as I knit.  Not so much now.  In fact I haven't hooked anything for a couple of years.  At least.  And I don't really want to think too hard about it.  I know that my couple of years is probably more like five!

But sometimes, I get a little jump start.  And the giveaway from Courtney at  Sassafras and Winterberry got me to thinking I'd like to make some wool strips and get that hook working.  Check out what she's offering: hand-dyed wool and yarn - right up my street. 

I have a rug already drawn and waiting for the 'GO'.  I've been concentrating on the knitting but I could just as easily hook, couldn't I?   When I look in the cupboards with drawers full of lovely wool to hook up, my fingers itch.  But then they itch when they see beautiful quilt designs or lovely sewing patterns, too.  Itchy fingers don't get the job done, apparently.

My excuse has been that my volunteer commitments have taken my time.  And that's true.  It's been easier - and more relaxing - to get at the knitting.  I am hoping that one of my bigger commitments will end this spring.  Maybe I should get in a bit of practice for then. Or clear some more stash to make room :)
Hope I win the giveaway...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday wonders - W

W is for Wish.

Have you ever wished on a star?

Or made a wish as you blew out  the candle(s) on your birthday cake?

Only for kids, you say?  I don't believe it.  I still make wishes - and I believe they will come true.   Mostly they maybe I make very realistic wishes?  I think of the wish...and then I think: how silly.  And then, I think: well,  could happen.  You just never know, do you? 

My mother always told me that if I stopped believing - in Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, whatever...then the magic would cease.  I took that to mean the goodies wouldn't be there any more.  I'm sure her real intent was to keep me from disillusioning the younger kids, but it has had a life-long effect on me.  I'm still making wishes!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday Stash

Really late getting here this morning because I was trying to finish up one of the baby hats.  I hope you didn't mind waiting.

I found some chunky yarn in the chest and decided that baby hats would be a quick project to use it up.  And they are always good sellers at the seniors craft corner.  The purple one is a pattern called Chunky Dean Street.  Very easy.  The dark pink one is kind of a riff on the same pattern.  I just changed it up to make it more fun to knit. I'm not too happy making the exact same pattern again - not even once more. 

And I have finished up the leftover pumpkin-colored wool lurking in my stash.  I think these are perfect for Hallowe'en.  It gets cold taking those trick-or-treaters around the houses.

And these are such cute little owls easily made by manipulating 2-stitch cables!  The pattern is called Owlings...the beads are optional but I thought they added to Hallowe'en theme.

I used a bit more of the pink to make this cute, very warm and a fun, easy knit.  It stays on your head so snugly.  With the mohair blend yarn it is very cozy and soft.  This is Grantham - perfect for the inner aviator. 

And, last, a scarf in the same pumpkin wool.  Guaranteed to keep someone's neck really warm in the winter winds.  This is one of those scarf patterns that looks pretty good on the reverse, too.  I used the ScWiNoNa pattern.  As you might be able to tell, I liked the pattern enough to repeat it in the pink baby hat.  It is VERY easy to memorize and adapt to almost anything.  Think I'll try in socks one of these days.  I love bias designs.

That's it for this week.  I haven't crossed of a lot of inventory but I've added to the lot that is going to the craft corner for sale.  Nor is that stash pile getting much smaller.  I think I'll have to work on a biggish project to do that.  Hmm...what could I knit next?

Friday, October 21, 2011


Who's this?

 I opened the front door - and there she was!

Apparently, she followed Anne home from the thrift shop and decided to settle down in the front garden.  Her beautiful purple wings flutter in the breeze and her head nods.

I love these kinds of surprises...I went around with a big grin all day.  She's still there,  bringing that grin back whenever I see her. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Front porch chattin'

Got my knitting? Check.  A carrot for Wendell?  Check.  I'm ready to head off to Patrice's front porch to chat with her company today.  Wonder what we're talking about today?  Let's have a look...

1. What kind of camera do you use?  I take all my photos with a Fuji S2000HD.  It has a fabulous macro lens - I'm all about those super close-ups.

2. What will you have for Thanksgiving dinner? If not in the US, tell us about a special meal, please.  Since Thanksgiving has come and gone here, I will share a fabulous dinner that I had in the restaurant at Mesa Verde resort.  Pork medallions dusted with cinnamon and chili powder, grilled portabello mushroom, red chili polenta and a chipotle cream sauce.  THAT was delicious!

3.  What's the biggest vehicle you've driven?  A 15-seat school bus.  Pretty easy when the seats are empty.

4.  Have you ever been on a train? This can be a commuter train or the chugga-chugga-choo-choo kind.:)  I have been on all of those kinds of trains.  One of my 'bucket list' entries was to take a train across Canada...specifically to see the Prairies.  I learned a lot on that trip - mostly that all train travel on the Prairies seems to be done at night!  We also took trains exclusively while travelling in Ireland.  

5.  What question would you like to ask the people visiting on my porch next week?   What is your favorite addition to peanut butter in a sandwich? 

If you want to visit too, just come on over to Everyday Rurality...right here.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011


How do you pack for a trip by air?

Waiting for a train in Cobh, Ireland
I have always tried to pack as small as possible since I hate to wait for the baggage to get from the plane to the carousel.  So, carry-on luggage is the goal.  Not always possible, though, so the big cases have to get pressed into service.

This last time, however, we felt that the message from the airlines is that carry-on luggage is preferred.  And darn little of that.  We would have to pay a surcharge for each checked bag - AND wait at a carousel.  Double dose of annoyance factor.  So, being thrifty people we managed two weeks with carry-on luggage.  Fortunately, we went to a warm place with no heavy clothes required.  Shorts and T-shirts don't take up much space.  My hiking boots, however, took up a LOT of space.

Anyway, this is what I was actually wondering:  if everyone thinks the way we do , there will be a lot of empty space in the baggage hold(?), area (?).  How will the airlines use this space?  Will they solicit commercial cargo to supplement their revenue from each flight?  More frightening important is: what are the consequences of having empty baggage whatevers?  Does it create an imbalance?  How important is that?

 Oh, my faith in flying is being severely tested with these thoughts.  Must put them out of my mind. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fruit Cocktail

The other night, I was watching a cooking show on TV.  No, that's not the news.  I am hopelessly addicted to cooking shows.  Not that I especially like to cook  but  I love to watch the various chefs' techniques.  I have learned tons of interesting things from these shows. Not all in the cooking category, either.

So what's that got to do with fruit cocktail, you say?  OK, here's the point: one of the chefs said that fruit cocktail was "disgusting".  Now, I get that this is not a very chef-ish ingredient.  But, disgusting?  No way.

Fruit cocktail was a special treat when I was a child.  There were pieces of peaches, pears, pineapples and green grapes.  If I was really lucky, I might get half a cherry.  Yes, nowadays, I can look at this canned concoction and say that the fruit was often mushy.  But then?  It was exotic to have pineapple at all.  It was a thrill to have all the fruits in one bowl - in the winter.  And I was, and still am, crazy about maraschino cherries.  Even those pale, soggy half-pieces.  The grapes I have to admit didn't tickle my youthful taste  buds.  I used to tell myself that they were gooseberries.  I'd only ever seen a picture of that fruit and I imagined that this was it.  It certainly wasn't a grape!

But, far from being disgusted, I looked forward to a treat dessert of fruit cocktail - and maybe some ice cream that I could swirl into the juice.  See, even as a child, I was using ingredients my own way.  Not sure the chefs did anything more creative with this ingredient.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Wonders - V

V is for Vessels.  The ones that float on water - not the ones that hold it.  That's a whole different post.

Living in a city on the ocean, it's pretty hard not to see vessels - of all kinds.  People just get in their boats and go for a (what would you call it?) the way motorists go for a Sunday drive. 

In fact, when I was looking for photos to illustrate, I realized that one walk had produced all the vessels one could wish for.   There were huge cruise ships getting provisioned to sail to Alaska...

And rowers out practicing among the fishing boats and other marine traffic...

Float planes, inflatables and a paddle-wheeler...

 and a tugboat all work and play on this busy waterfront.

On a summer day. you can find smaller vessels on a river just waiting to take you on a scenic paddle.

Or, if pirates are your thing.  Check out the movie ship that's brought some pirates to town.

And, if you live here on the West Coast, you become way too familiar with our ferries.  I've done an awful lot of knitting on board a few of these big ones.  Of course, there's nothing quite like the ocean wind in your face while enjoying a brisk walk around the deck. 

No walking on the deck of one these little cuties.  I love how they bob around in our inner harbors and as vessels go, they are definitely on the humbler side.  All of these vessels are vital to our economy and I have enormous respect for all those who spend their lives on the water.  Nice to have all this in my front yard - sort of.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Saturday Stash

I have noticed that as Saturday gets closer, I start to knit faster.  I really want to have something to show in this stash reduction project.  So, not too many things because I was madly working on this:

I call it Wildberry Mousse and I used Deborah Newton's pattern,  Buttercream Jacket.  Mine turned out not  as jacket-ish so I can wear it for a pick-up sweater anytime.  My yarn, which is an acrylic/mohair blend is very light.  It was hard to find buttons which wouldn't be too heavy for the fabric. I do like all the crunchy textures which aren't lost in the mohair halo.   The shawl collar was a bit fiddly but not hard at all and turned out well, I think.  Probably, it'll mostly be worn unbuttoned. 

I bought the yarn at a garage sale a few years ago.  I  made a cardi for oldest gd, Becky, just after I bought it.  Being made of this indestructible and quite washable yarn, I'm sure will last through all the other girls, too.  I must have had around 20 balls - I'm down to eight and a half now.  I dreamed that I would use it all up.  There's a whole other sweater in the stash still.

And, last weekend, when I was enduring enjoying all the ferry travel back and forth to Vancouver Island, I took along a sock to knit.  What else?  I found this fun striped yarn in the stash chest and cast on.  This is another made-up pattern to make those stripes not so, um, stripe-y.  I call it 'Walking the Line' because it reminded me of walking along railroad tracks.  It's a very simple lace and slip-stitch pattern.  I'll be writing it up for ravelry later this month. I think it gives some extra dimension to those plain rings of color which will be so happy-making to wear on a gloomy winter day.  Not sure why I can't stop buying the striped yarn...maybe I just do it to challenge myself to make them different?

Today, I'm going to experiment with felting swatches to make a few more pairs of those clog slippers. Since some wool yarns felt better than others,  I have to try them out in the hot water first.  I might even try the pink mohair.  Can't hurt - and it might work.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Many people from my generation have boxes of slides in the attic, the basement, the storage unit. And no one wants to get out the slide projector and screen - assuming they are still around and haven't been flogged at a garage sale long ago.

Slides were a little like the digital camera - a little.  Since processing was included it was cheaper than printing the photos.  With digital, we can snap and delete as much as we want in the effort to get the perfect photo.  Print film made us much less trigger-happy.  But, with slides, there was a little more leeway.  In any event, over the years the slide boxes multiplied.  Then we all moved on to digital and left the slides to gather dust.

I don't know anyone who doesn't like to look at old photo albums.  A few of the slides were printed at the time so there was something to put in the album but there were more that have been forgotten.  And, now, our family slides are being scanned and stored in a more accessible form.  This is a huge project, takes lots of patience and my ex is doing it all.  Of course, he also took most of the photos.

The other day I was searching for Thanksgiving pics and came across this one.  Love it.  It says so much to me.  Some day, historians will look at these kinds of photos and wonder at the fashion sense of the 70's.  Really.  Have you ever seen anything uglier?    My daughter is too young to notice then...I'm sure she's averting her eyes now LOL  This dress was strictly for home- it never saw the outdoors.  Does that help at all?

What else do I see?  Well, clearly, I have inherited my mother's (this was taken at my parents') ability to use every horizontal surface for not-so-temporary storage.  It's pretty obvious that my daughter is trying to escape eating that horrible-looking glop in the jar.  And, if you can mentally crop out the background, her dad did a lovely job of composing this photo. I'm glad of the background, though, for the depth of information it holds. 

I'm enjoying looking at the digital photo album that he's creating.  Ah, memories.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Front porch chattin'

I'm sure glad we get to head on over to Patrice's front porch this morning.  Here, it's raining and looks like fall.  But the view from her porch is always sunny.  I'm bringing a few carrots for Wendell...he specifically requested a donation today. 

Today's conversation starters get right to the heart of things in a hurry...are you ready?

1.  Did you have a way to earn money as a child or teen?  As a child I was captive to the chores for a weekly allowance cycle.  When I was around twelve, my brother and I shared a morning paper route.  It was hard sometimes to get up and schlep those papers around in the rain.  And not a little spooky sometimes out on the dark, lonely roads. I think we did this for a couple of years.  In high school, I worked at a diner: cooking and serving.   I also worked in the blueberry fields: picking and sorting but that was just in the summer during high school.  

2.  Does your body run hot or cold? (Are you in a sweater/jumper when everyone else is in short sleeves or do you wear a sweatshirt when everyone has on parkas?)  Well, I would say no.  But all the kids say that they need long underwear when they come to visit.  Apparently, it's like a trip to the high Arctic.  Of course, being a knitter, I believe in sweaters.  Being thrifty, I also believe in turning down the thermostat.  I admit to feeling the cold more as I get older.  

3. What's your level of computer savvy?  There's a level to be achieved?  Oh, don't tell me that...I'm so competitive.  I can do what I need to do on my computer.  That's where I'm at.  Remember, I am the Luddite who scorned the iPhone.  'Nuf said.

4.  When you have pasta, do you prefer a red sauce (marinara type) or a white sauce (fettuccine type)?  Red sauce.  My very favorite pasta sauce is a white wine clam sauce - no cream.  I'm not a big fan of creamy anything.

5.  What's your favorite thing to put in brownies?  I like my brownies plain.  I have a recipe that makes a really fudgy brownie.  I don't think additions are necessary.  But that's pretty selfish since I'm  not making (or eating)  brownies much any more.  So, if others want the nuts, I'm happy to throw 'em in the batter.  

So, come on over and visit for a while.   Just point yourself towards Everyday Rurality.  Did I mention that there's chai tea on the menu today?  And, of course, you must meet Wendell - he's the nicest horse.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Times change

And yet they remain somehow the same.  Yesterday was the annual gathering for Thanksgiving at my brother's home. 
I found myself a backseat passenger with my BIL in a car driven by my younger son    I vividly remember practicing his driving techniques with him - not that long ago.  Given the instructions we were throwing over to the front seat,   I'm sure he would say that we were back-seat drivers not passengers.  We were heading oft to this party that has been going on for many years now.  It's always different each year as new people come into the family and loved ones pass from our lives. 

Grampa and first generation of kids

 On the way home, we reflected on our status as passengers and how the wheel has turned. It doesn't seem all that long ago that our kids were kids and they needed to be driven everywhere.   And the Thanksgiving celebration evolved too, over those years, from a houseful of boisterous kids and teenagers to a kind of sedate adult-ish group.   

Becky gets the party started
The arrival of grandkids changed everything and now there are five youngsters in the next generation.  Yesterday was an afternoon of happy noise:  people laughing, talking, crying, running, cooking and finally eating some yummy food. Much, much too busy to take any photos.  I couldn't juggle a camera and cuddle the newest baby, too.  Guess no one else could either. 


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