Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saturday Stash

This is the last Stash report for 2011!  I have been knitting from my stored pile of yarn for the last six months and what do I have to show for it?

I have knitted just under 50 projects using stash yarn.  I was curious about the amount of yarn my needles had knit because the level in the chest didn't go down dramatically.  A quick calculation  says - and I don't know why the chest isn't empty! - I have knit 16.7 kilometers (just over ten miles) of yarn in stash projects alone.  That seems like such a huge amount of yarn but there's so much still to be knit.

One batch of yarn that I thought I would finish is the lovely pink that makes such pretty little sweaters.  I have finished the Stealth Cardi for Becky.  Again with the eccentric buttons - hope she approves. Those white-looking ones are actually mauve.   Can't buy new buttons either with jars and jars full in the sewing room.  I still have enough for one more hat, or a pair of gloves, or...?

My Snowberry sock traveled a lot in December.  I was always packing it up for those times when I had to sit and be social.  Socks are great for that but for some reason, I didn't pull this sock out too often.  I like to be prepared, though, so it will continue to be my travellin' knitting.

I have started the Midnight Rose pullover with the recycled and re-dyed wool.  Maria has approved the color so then I could wind up the balls and cast on.  That's about all I've managed, though.  So, it will be my New Year's starter project.  I always like to begin the New Year with something fresh on the needles.  I'm not sure when I stared this tradition of mine but it's been a LOT of years.

And, remember that book of crocheted edgings?  It was put to use as my daughter finished a Christmas gift for Gabby.  She figured she was keeping another tradition alive by having a Christmas gift flying toward the finish line on Christmas Eve.  Obviously, she learned well.  A-a-anyway...the little blanket was looking kind of plain around the edges.  So she leafed through and found an edging.  I supplied a hook and off she went, round and round.  I think it turned out beautifully, don't you?  The side showing is the reverse but you get the idea.  How did that foot get there?

One of the most satisfying results was actually having a sock pattern published.  I had some sock yarn that needed to be useful.  I was very happy with my Windwalker socks and decided to share their pattern.  To my surprise, a number of knitters queued them up.  And, surprise! two Ravelers have actually made them up.  That is the most fun part:  to see what other knitters do with your pattern.  Check them out here if you're curious.

Thus ends the Pledge Project.  I've had so much fun challenging myself to use (and reuse) my stash yarns.  I've had an excuse to troll Ravelry for patterns.  I've found some really great ones and I've been able to make up patterns that I've admired but couldn't use at the time.  And I've donated more than twenty items to our seniors' craft corner. 

However, I'm not quite ready to abandon the Pledge altogether.  I want to be a little less restricted about buying yarn.  It's been torture kind of hard to have to pass up all the great yarns and bargains that came my way last year.  So I'm going to try to continue the good work of reducing the stash while giving myself permission to acquire some new yarn - it could be thrift shop, online or just a great find.  I think I will try to always have a pattern and a use in mind.  I will try.  I will try.  I will try.

 Thanks for sharing my Pledge be continued.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chattin' at the farmhouse

OK, OK.  I'm here.  I've been getting a few comments on not blogging this week - mostly from my family!  I just took a little holiday.  It feels weird to kind of sneak back into blogland, though.  So, this morning I've come to visit with some friendly folks at Patrice's place.  Today is the day to visit Wendell - I have carrots - and bring my knitting and share in the conversation.

As usual, I'm a little late and it's in full swing.  Let's jump in...

Who makes the best cookies in your family?  The best cookies I had this Christmas were baked by my grandkids.  They - with Mom's help - made the Honey Cookies and they were delicious.  I doubt they'll be around long enough to mellow.  I didn't bake one cookie this year!   I don't think I'd want to judge who is the best cookie maker: we're all pretty much the same goodness. 

What was the most satisfying or pleasing thing about Christmas 2011?  I think one of the most satisfying things I did this year was play some (very simple) Christmas carols on the piano while my daughter played her flute along with me.  She is so much more skilled than I but managed to make me feel as though I had made some very pretty music.   
The most pleasing was that my son and his family took on the annual Boxing Day gathering.  This has been my event for the past - gosh! is it almost 30? - years.  This year the baton was passed...they did a great job.  We had such a nice time.   I'm looking forward to next year already.

How many photo did you take while your family was together for Christmas? Tons? A few? What pictures?

I didn't take nearly as many photos as I usually do.  My camera seemed to be making sporadic out-of-focus trips and even the few I took weren't always good.  The one above tells the whole story of  one of the more interesting gifts to my grandkids.  I'll let you guess who actually gave them the gift :)

Do you have a fireplace, wood stove, or pellet stove?  We have a gas fireplace but we hardly ever use it.  It so rarely gets cold enough.

What time did you get up on Christmas morning? Well, just being two adults for Christmas morning it was more or less the usual 6.30 am.  In fact, it was very like most Sunday mornings except that we had some stockings to open.  And the Christmas tree lights were on.

Thanks, Patrice, for hosting a chat so soon after Christmas.  Nice to visit with everyone again...I'm off to see what everyone else has to say.  If you'd like to come visiting, too, hop over to Everyday Rurality.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Saturday Stash

The needles have been a little busier this week with other events quietening down.  I've finished one, started another and I've had fun with the dye pot. 

These socks look like pink granite to me.  I love the yarn and it was such fun to knit this pattern again.  They're already on the feet as you can see.  In fact, I think they'll be travellin' socks at Christmas time.

And I've started what I'm calling the Stealth Sweater.  Yes, if that yarn looks familiar, it should.  It's the pink Geisha that I had so much of and I think I'm nearing the bottom of the barrel now.  My gd had the first cardi made with this yarn - about two years ago.  Now it's getting small but, in true kid style, she declares it fits well still.  So, I'm trying to make one that is similar but bigger.  I've chosen this pattern as the replacement.  The first sweater was my own improvisation on a vintage pattern.  I couldn't make another exactly the same if I wanted to.  I'm sure Becky won't be fooled but she might like it just as much.

And my last venture was with the re-recycled yarn.  This was a bit like repainting a dark wall white - lots of coats necessary to cover.  So, after two baths in blue-black and two baths in black this is the result.  I quite like it.  It reminds me of a raven's black wings.  When you look at them in the light you can see all sorts of colors which look black from a distance.  I haven't managed to cover all the shades but I like the tonal effect.  It has life. Sort of like having your hair colored in tones rather than a flat shade.   Of course, Maria has to like it, too.  So, it may be headed for another bath.  We'll wait and see. 

And now I wish all of you, my blogging friends, a very happy Christmas!  "May your days be merry and bright" even if your Christmas isn't white - it'll be rain here on the West Coast.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Garden sweets

Everything outside was sprinkled with frost yesterday. 

I thought it made the leaves look as though they had been coated with sugar crystals.

Even though it  is cold for most of the garden, there are some spots of color like the winter jasmine

And the cyclamen which is getting a bit tattered now.  These plants wait for the cold weather before they decide to flower. 

Just another shot of's the season for it.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Two things

Yesterday, we delivered a bin of cleaned-up babies and another bin of small toys to the thrift shop in time for today's last open day before Christmas.  I'm always astonished at the amount of stuff that people donate.  And the wonderful variety.

I was just idly glancing over at the books - not that I need another book - and I recognized a Nicky Epstein book.  Now the prices here are insanely cheap very reasonable so, even though I don't actually need another 'needle' book, I couldn't help popping it in my bag.  As you can see, it's in great condition...I had to give it a home.  A closer look showed that it is crochet rather than knitting.  This morning, I sat down and looked through it and was blown away by all the different patterns.  I used to do a lot of crochet - I could be tempted again.  Some pretty nice stuff in here. 

This morning I began the next step in the reclamation process for my beautiful painted yarn.  It really looks so pretty when skeined.  But, unfortunately, it's not all that great when worked alone.  That was why I had alternated it with plain blue in its former life.  So, while it's pretty, it's not useful - into the dye pot it will go.  I'm still deciding what color will work best.  Right now I'm leaning towards a dark blue/purple.  It may take a couple of tries to cover the colors, though.

I'm going back to my niddy-noddy now. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Something special today for the chat on the front porch.

It's kind of cold for the porch and Patrice has invited us right into her living room.  No, really.  She made a little video and showed us her favorite ornamnets and her beautiful Christmas tree.  Best of all, I could see her and hear her. And, now let's join in the chat...

Via video, Patrice asks: What is your favorite Christmas tradition? That would be the stockings.  I think the idea of filling up a stocking with small gifts for someone is what Christmas is all about.  This tradition  has evolved over the years but is always present.  No matter how small a celebration we have, there are always stockings.  

Big  question that everybody seems to be asking this year:  Are you ready for Christmas? Not quite...I still have some gifts to buy.  There's grocery shopping to do and some goodies to make.  Not a lot since all the big dinners and parties will be at other homes this year.  But still, just a little fun.

And the last:  What would you like to talk about if you were over at her house?  Well, that's kind of funny because  I really felt like I was at Patrice's house today.  But I get it.  I think I'd like to talk about the farm.  I live in a city and I know I don't appreciate what it's like to live and work on a farm.  Of course, I'd want a tour to meet all the animals - especially Wendell.  

Why don't you hop over and have a visit with Patrice at Everyday Rurality

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A serious question

Yesterday, there was a discussion at our house.  Discussions happen fairly often lot but usually we come to a consensus quite quickly.  As of last night we're agreeing to disagree.

As most of you know, we volunteer at a thrift shop.  Me with my hundreds of dolls to clean and dress while Anne plays with toys, Legos and other interesting items to research, price and sell. I love the idea of recycling and reducing waste.  Most are restored to almost new condition and quickly find new homes with people who  also want to reduce our consumer footprint. You can't always find what you want in a thrift store but you usually want something that you find. 

So, the discussion revolved around thrift shops and food banks and whether donating money is better than donating stuff.  Institutions like the food bank (and I hate that it's an institution) ask for food donations because that's how people can be encouraged to give - every little bit helps.  But, money is far more useful and goes farther.   The idea that caused the ruckus was that of the thrift shop giving out gift certificates to needy families.  The recipient could go in and buy anything up to the value of the gift card.  It's part of the 'money is better' concept.

My issue revolves around choices and who makes them.  If we choose to buy from a thrift store, then it's exactly that: a choice.  I am fortunate to have many opportunities.  There are people with fewer options and by confining them to a thrift store I've limited them.  They can only buy used  because that's all I'm giving.  After all, it's better than going without.

To me , that's somewhat offensive.  What do you think of the idea? 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday wonders - E

E is for Excitement.

Two days ago, I wasn't feeling all that Christmassy.  Then I got out the boxes.  The big party isn't at our house this year, so we're being somewhat minimalist.  I put out a line of small far, so good.

Then, those Santas which made me smile.  And remember.  This collection started many years ago and each one has a story. 

As did the three nativity sets that I've put out.  I remember kids playing with the wooden scene.  The pink ceramic are so delicate and lady-like.  And I love the bright colors on the three tiny panels. 

Add our little tree, Dougie, and suddenly it's Christmas.  I'm pretty sure the excitement will grow more during the week as I make a few more preparations.  

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Saturday Stash

What have I done this week?  Not much in stash-busting - again.  In fact, I'm growing my stash.  But more on that in a minute. 

I did finish the lovely poinsettia-red socks.  I love the cable and rib and I will write up the pattern.  After Christmas. 

I loved the design so much that I'm using it again in this week's socks - yet another request.  But this is not a surprise gift...and I have specific instructions.  The pattern must stop for the foot which should make them knit up faster.  I've been so busy this past week, that I fell asleep in the middle of a round last night.  I also changed it up a bit with a 2x2 rib which flows right into the cable/rib design.  And I've changed the toe as well.  I've kept the heel-flap and made a traditional toe to match. 

When I tire of knitting at my sock, I frog.  This is was my Big Warm Sweater.  It was the fourth attempt to work up my hand-painted hand-spun yarn with a blue hand-dyed yarn.  But now the Big part is way too big.  I wanted to save the yarn and perhaps over-dye it to make something fresh and new. 

The two yarns alternate every two rows so that is a pain to unravel.  But doable and I was getting in a little rhythm.  Had almost the whole back taken apart.  Then...I hit the ribbing.  I can't figure out what kind of stitch was used and I'll have to go back to the pattern.  The yarns are wound around each other in a way that makes everything horribly tangled.  I don't want to lose any of the yarn so I will keep at it.

Whose idea was this anyhow?   I'd definitely rather be knitting. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

By request

The other day I mentioned some of my favorite Christmas cookies.  And I got requests for the recipes.  I'm sorry I didn't include them at the time but it does require a bit of searching.  'Cuz I don't actually make these delights any more.  But I did find them and I'm ready to share.

As I said these are recipes that my mother and grandmother used and I thought it would be fun to present them to you exactly as I have used the recipes for the past forty years that I've been making them. I think that they are quite clear in the photos.  The Nanaimo Bars are from an old church cookbook (c 1954) that came to me after my mother passed away.  You can see that this recipe has been made - a lot.  For some reason, back then, this treat was called a London Smog Bar.  Given that it uses Bird's custard powder, I would think that the bar has its origins in England.

However, the world knows it as a Nanaimo Bar.  Not sure why since the city of Nanaimo is way across the world from London .  Strange how that happened, isn't it?  A Google search shows many recipes for Nanaimo Bars.  There are even boxes of mix that you can buy but these are way too sweet for me. The photo isn't mine but this is almost exactly what my mom's would have looked like. 

The next recipe is for Honey Cookies.  This is what we call the cookies that my Grammy made.  I'm told that she called them Jam-jams and always sandwiched them with jam.  My preference is to leave them plain.  Oh, and if they last until New Year's, they just get better and better.  I think it's the honey that helps them mellow.    My mother wrote this recipe out for me more than thirty years ago on a piece of yellow foolscap.  Her writing is so clear that I doubt anyone would have trouble reading it.  And, yes, it's had a lot of use, too.

If you make them...enjoy!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My gadgets

No matter what we do there is a gadget to help us do it.  Knitters  have to carry around the weirdest bunch of little helpers.  Madeleine over at Knit Purls of Wisdom  asks the question:  'What do you use?' to hold all  your special tools.

Over the years I've answered that question with: 'Whatever is handy'. Mostly I was wanting something that I could take with me for my travel knitting.   For almost four years I've been using my Domino Gadget Bag which I used for practice knitting up those mitered squares designed by Vivian Hoxbro. I used remnants of sock yarn and added an attached I-cord binding and a red zipper - I love red!  I discovered that the flannel lining that I used is perfect for storing my sewing-up needles, too.

As you can see, it isn't as tidy looking as it was for its first photo -  taken before I actually used it.  I've added the usual lozenge tin to hold all those thousands of  many small things that get lost in the bottom of any bag no matter how small.  There's room for pencils, stitch holders of all sizes and extra sock needles.  Apparently, I have two pairs of scissors in there today...not sure how that happened.  My tape used to be in a tidy proper container but somebody pulled it out too hard, too many times and now it just snakes around things.  We're frugal...we cope. 

I love my gadget bag and I think it's very useful.  Small enough to go in any of my  bags and big enough to hold anything that I could possibly need while away from home.  In fact, this is with me all the time.  It's the home bag, too. 

This is a blog hop, you can visit Madeleine and  take a look at what other folks are using.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I think we're abandoning the chats on  porch at Patrice's farmhouse for a while.  The air is a little too fresh right now.  Abandoning the porch, I mean, not the chats. 

Right now I'm heading off to chat with whoever shows up.  Actually, I think most everybody has already arrived.  Let's see what they're all talking about today...

Where is your favorite place to think, reflect, or pray?  My best thinking place is the shower.  Some folks sing - I just think.  Sometimes, I have really great ideas but mostly casual and unimportant thoughts just swim through my brain.  It's not long enough to untangle a really knotty problem but I might have set myself on the right path by the time I turn off the water. 

 Did you believe in Santa as a kid?  Oh yes, I did.  I think I was probably seven before I heard even a hint that Santa wasn't real.  Even in school, my friends all believed too.  And when I did become aware, my mother cautioned me that lack of belief caused Santa to stop bringing gifts.  This may have been my first experience with cynicism. 

What's your favorite kind of Christmas cookie? You can add a recipe if you have time.  When I was a kid, my mother only made Nanaimo bars at Christmas so these were something eagerly awaited.  My Grammy always made honey cookies but my only experience with them was her recipe which my mother used.  I never tasted my Grammy's but I liked my mom's.  And I have always loved anything with ginger in it.  Chewy gingersnaps were another of my mother's great  recipes. These recipes were were usually only made at Christmas time because they used expensive ingredients or took a lot of time to make - or both. 

Did you grow up around any of your grandparents? No. My family moved out west when I was small so there was a whole country between me and any other family.  I actually never met my mother's parents and only saw my father's once before I was an adult.  

What's your favorite winter sport-skiing, skating,sledding, other(?) ? If you are in a warm place, what is your favorite winter sport to watch when the Winter Olympics are televised?  When I was a kid the best winter sport was sledding.  We'd haul our sleds over to the golf course and slide down any hill we could find.  Most were broad and easy but there was one I remember that was really crazy dangerous.  Of course, that's the one we all wanted to be on.  But it was policed by the older kids who kept smaller ones away and safe.  No adults ever were around that I remember...sledding was for kids.

My favorite - and only - Winter Olympic sports to watch are the skating events.  Both the figure skating and the speed skating are so graceful.  Neither looks like the hard work that they are.  

Well, that's it for this week.  Great questions, Patrice.And thanks to you - and Wendell - for the great job hosting.  If you want to join in the chat, just click on Everyday Rurality.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday wonders - D

D is for Daisy. 

When it's cold outside, it's nice to remember that spring will come again.  And with it will come the tiny English daisies whose blooms cover the grass in a park by the beach.

It's good to know that summer will return and bring the bright sun and the bright colors of our Painted Daisies. 

And when the days are gray, I can imagine the hot summer blue sky and the stands of Shasta daisies that will be glowing white in the sunshine. 

I like daisies of all kinds but I especially love the big white flowers with their bright yellow eyes.  The white seems so immaculate and precise like a starched white Elizabethan ruff. The flowers stand so stiff and straight on their stalks daring the chewing bugs to come nibble at their perfection.  Somehow those bugs don't bother them.  Only a heavy  rain can defeat a daisy.  But since this is a summer memory, there is no rain in sight.  My daisies are safe. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saturday Stash

So, what have I been doing this week?  Well, I haven't been doing a whole lot of knitting, it seems.  There have been a lot of meetings this week...some weeks are just like that.  Yesterday, we catered a lunch for the seniors with baked ham, scalloped potatoes and salad with mince tarts and shortbread to finish.  And, yes, for those who remember my loss of last years' tarts to the crows, I did manage to get them to the event!

Since it was my birthday, I got to give some gifts, too.  The youngest sisters have received their pink cardigans.  Fishergirl, Katie, was happy to try hers on and wear it the rest of the visit.  And even though her Mom and I measured carefully, I swear she's grown since then.  She will outgrow this one pretty quickly.  I hope she wears it everyday until then.  I have plans for the rest of the pink yarn and I'm determined to use it up before the end of December.

I have been knitting some request socks.  They don't really belong in the stash report because they are new yarn but I'd have nothing to show for the week if not here.  These are for a Christmas gift but that person won't see this so I can share.  I'm particularly happy with the red socks.  The pattern is my own and the red is almost the color of a poinsettia.  Very seasonal to get me in the mood.

And here is a new purchase which will help with the stash-busting.  For a while now I have been wanting a new lamp where I knit.  I tried new light bulbs but they made no real difference.  I know, it's that birthday - everything was fine before that.   I've been thinking of an Ottlight because the daylight fluorescent light works well for me but not seriously shopping for one.  Then you know how you find the perfect item that you're not really looking for but the time is right?  The time was right:  I bought the lamp above.  It required a major bit of furniture-moving to find the right place.  Now I can see my work - every stitch shows up.  Hurrah!  It does look a bit like a cobra peering over my shoulder, though.

And last, I started a new scarf because I needed some easy lace in my life.  This is very simple and requires little thought.  But with those colors, I would only have been working in daylight!  More hurrahs! I took my photos outside because I liked the look of the old branches and leaves against the knit.  But did you notice the little green buds below the scarf?  They really should go back to sleep...the winter hasn't really come yet.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The morning after

Thank you all for the birthday wishes!  It was a lovely day which started out in the most ordinary way and ended with a pop-up party!

Photo taken by Jiji
I arrived home from my piano lesson to find my younger son waiting for me.  After a nice long visit, he went off to work.  I settled back to some work at the computer.  OK, that's what I call it when I'm playing.  There was an elfin knock at the front door.  Now, when I hear that kind of tapping, I just know that it is these little people who are calling.

They had brought Mom & Dad and they had brought a party.  The banner, the balloons and a beautifully colored picture.  I was too busy holding little Gabby and they were too busy frosting the cupcakes to take photos then.  So these are morning-after pics.  Unfortunately back-lit banners don't show up as well.

These are what remains of the cupcakes.  This was a bit of fun that Anne found and she managed to get them baked without me discovering them.  She also made a birthday party with ice cream, cake and good old hot dogs.  Plus a bunch of other good stuff.  And all right under my nose.  I had no clue it was going to happen.  Things were hidden in out of the way corners - but remember in this house it's not hard to hide. 

We had a lovely time, lots of laughing and silliness.  Words were made on the fridge with the Scrabble letters.  Dolls were dressed and undressed and the play food was strewn around the living room.  So good. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Winter has finally driven us in from the front porch.  But Patrice has a warm room and warmer hospitality.

 There's a lot of folks here already so let's see what the chat's about today...

Have you ever had a blog slump? Oh my, yes.  Sometimes, it's because I'm too busy and some times because I'm not busy enough. When I'm too busy, it's hard to settle down and write  - or - read blogs.  When I'm not busy enough I sometimes have trouble finding stuff that I want to write about.  These slumps usually disappear in a couple of days, though.  I've never had one last for longer.  Yet.  

What's your favorite way to serve hot chocolate (cocoa)? Marshmallows on top? Whipped Cream? A cinnamon stick?  I haven't had hot chocolate for many years.  I think I stopped drinking it when i stopped drinking coffee.   Not sure that there's any real connection but who knows?  But, if I were to try again I think the cinnamon would be my first choice.  I like cinnamon a lot!

How do you handle it when you see someone you think you know, but cannot place? Do you approach them and ask, shy away, or just go home and hope you don't think of it at 2am?  I'm pretty sure that would  never happen.  I've got an excellent recall for faces and names.  But knowing myself  if I did have such an experience, I would assume that this person was not someone I really knew and pass by.  I once walked by a TV anchor in a shopping  mall and there was definitely that feeling of "I should know you".  It did take me a minute to place him mostly because he was so much shorter than I had imagined!  And,no, I didn't say anything to him at all.  I was pretty sure he wouldn't remember me from all the 6 pm newscasts.

What was your position in your family? Were you the oldest, a middle child, the youngest or an only child?  I was the oldest of five.  Mostly that was a great place to be but sometimes the responsibility was more than I wanted - or felt I deserved.  I always felt that I deserved the privileges, though.  And you can be sure that I wasn't above lording over the younger ones - especially my brother!  Now, with our parents both gone, it's strange to think that I am the 'head' of this particular branch of the family.  Good thing we don't really do that matriarch thing in our family- that would be just way too responsibility for me. 

How do you handle accumulated possessions (stuff)? Are you a pack-rat, a minimalist, or somewhere in between?   I admire minimalism.  I really, really do.  It's just not a very practical way to live for me.  There's always so much going on and things to do.  'Out of sight, out of mind'  should be my motto.  Everybody knows I have trunks of yarn.  Did you also know I have cupboards full of wool fabric for hooking?  And sharing those cupboards are the boxes of quilt fabric.  All are sorted into colors so it's not just a jumble. I don;t think these stashes make me a pack rat exactly.  But I do admit to never letting a horizontal surface remain bare. 

And, now, since today is my birthday, I'm going to share an question with you all.  I was asked this the other day:  What was your favorite birthday?

I'm not sure I had a favorite but it did start me thinking.  What I thought was that we spend a lot of time when we're kids waiting for that milestone birthday.  Like when the single digits become two or when we turn sixteen and can learn to drive.  I remember being very impatient to be twenty-one and finally considered an adult.  After that other people made more fuss about the passing years than I did.  Thirty, forty, fifty - even sixty...I was still me.  But, now at sixty-five, I've hit another milestone. Although it's kind of a reverse turn in the road. Apparently,  I'm no longer quite as adult as I was.  At least in the government's eyes.  I have crossed the last threshold to the land of discounts (OK, I've been here for a while), free ferries and cheaper bus passes.  But, I am learning to be gracious and accept all these gifts.  I'm still me...and in my mind I'm not a day over twenty-one!

It's a good day. Thanks, Patrice, for hosting the chat today.  If you want to join in, visit her at Everyday Rurality.  There's always room.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunday Wonders - C

C is for Christmas.  I'm so predictable.

This past week has been all about Christmas preparations and celebrations of the coming season for the community.  The lovely heritage house where our seniors' meet gets the party started with lighting up the house.  This year the kids were paying close attention to the elf who makes balloon shapes.

We wait outside for the lights to be turned on...

This is part of the 'gingerbread house' theme.  And the lights are on!

The next day, our Coronation Street gang welcomed the royal wedding party to our potluck lunch.  Yes, one of our members knit all the figures - including two corgis.  Our theme was British food with yummy pub fare:  sharp cheddar, Melton Mowbray pie and pickled onions.   And, of course, there were some Christmas-sy goodies to share like mince tarts and shortbread.

Yesterday, we decorated our tree in the Village Square.  About thirty trees will be lit up this evening and stay lit until after New Year's.  The community gets to vote on their favorite trees.  It's a fundraiser so the only prize is bragging rights.  It was pretty cold tying stuff on the tree but a cup of hot chai afterwards warmed my hands.  And I felt good inside too.  Something about working with a team  adds to my festive spirit.

PS.  None of these photos are mine.  Thanks to the photographers - you know who you are!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Saturday Stash

Here I am at Saturday again.  Man, that came quick!  You would think that I would have lots and lots of little gifty things to share today.  Not at all.  It's been very busy with meetings and other fun stuff. 

What I do have is this sweet cardi which is for Littlest Sister, Gabby.  This completes the trilogy of cardis for the three sisters.   I used this pattern by Carole Barenys.  So easy and fun - no seaming - I might make a few more.  As you can see, I am once again button-challenged.  I have a Mason jar full of pink buttons in every shade you can imagine.  Yet only three matching ones that were the right color.  The flower is a bit of continuity since biggest sister has some on her sweater.  The hippo I found after rummaging through a cupboard.  I just KNEW there were more buttons somewhere.  But, alas, there was only the one.  Isn't she a cute hippo? 

I also have two different socks on the needles  but they are gifts I can't post about until after Christmas.  As far as the stash reduction success goes...not a lot.  The pink yarn is still from the humongous lot I got for $5.  It goes such a long way and I feel sometimes that this never-ending yarn is all I've knit up. And yet I'm not tired of the color.  Or the yarn.  It's amazingly versatile and I'm wondering what pattern or technique I can make it do next.  There's enough to make another adult item:  I'm thinking.  And it's always a good excuse to get out all the pattern books for a good search.  A nice job for a rainy day.

But since the day is dry, I shall enjoy the outdoors instead. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Opening Doors

When the kids have all grown up and left the nest, things change.  To me, Christmas is when it is most noticeable.  It's not a sad change for me but sometimes, just sometimes, it would be nice to bring back those times.

One of the Christmas traditions at our house was the Advent calendars.  These would be - usually - gifts to the younger kids with little doors that they could open each day.  All that was inside was a small picture but it seemed to be enough to keep them waiting for the next day's offering.

When I first learned to quilt, I made a pieced tree that we hung an ornament on each day.  This photo isn't it - it sort of looked like this.  But I don't seem to have any photos and it's not around any more.  I'm pretty sure it went to one of the kids.  In any case, we don't put one up because, well, we're not kids, are we?

The other day, as the first of December approached, I was thinking about those calendars and I just had a wish that I could have some kids around so I could have a calendar.  One of those fleeting thoughts that doesn't usually take up residence.  This one seemed to have very strong vibes to send out into the universe. 

Because shortly after I was thinking about an Advent calendar an email pops into my inbox that a good friend has sent me a Advent e-calendar.  I jumped right into action and clicked and installed.  Then I had to wait.  I was worse than my kids ever were for impatience.  Then, right on schedule the first door was unlocked.  And, each day I look forward to adding another bit of fun to my village.  Wasn't it wonderful that my fleeting thought got all the way to my friend?  Thank you, Penny, for reading my mind.

Then, on the first day of December, another gift arrived.  Cindy began an A-Z of Christmas in her blog.  Each day, she blogs about Christmas memories, crafts and recipes that make her Christmas season special.  It's like opening a little door, too - and finding the treat inside.  Thanks to both of you for letting me feel like a kid again. 


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