Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday wonders - Q

Q is for Quiet. Wherever - and however - you find it.

Hush.  All is peaceful.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fifty Fridays #13

This photo is a lot like last week's.

But while #12 was an informal snap which was posed, this one is very formal.  I recall that a professional photographer came to our house to take a family portrait.  I don't remember why it was taken.  There was never another one.  And, of course, there are a few more faces here.  That baby girl now has pigtails. 

We all had to dress up - even my younger brother is wearing his best overalls.  I remember that they were yellow.  It's too bad that there was never another portrait taken because there is one person hidden from view.  My mother's smock should be a giveaway that another little one will soon be joining the family.  Another little sister for me to baby.  And until I left home, she was like my baby to take care of and keep happy.  My younger brother had a lot of health problems and took up much of my mother's time.  So, I learned a lot about child care in those years.

The photo is taken in the living room of that house that I mentioned a while ago.  If I close my eyes, I can imagine the photo in color.  A lot of creams and greens with brown and gold.  These earth tones were my mother's favorites.  Can you guess?  I absolutely hated those colors.  Still do except in very small doses.  In fact, I know that we were all pretty color-coded. The male jackets are navy.   My dress is a dark green, my mother's top is green, my sister's plaid skirt is also green and blue.  All is harmony.  For the picture.   

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Wonders - P

P is for Paper Dolls.

Before there was Barbie for little fashionistas to dress, there were paper dolls. This box has been languishing in a forgotten corner of a cupboard for a few years now.

 I found the dolls in a magazine one day and decided that I had to color them.  I had some nifty felt pens and I went right to work.  Took me hours and hours.  I'm not sure what I thought I would be doing with them.  I just knew that I had to pay homage to my childhood love of paper dolls.

I colored and cut out the large ones but seem to have stalled on the smaller ones.  They did all get colored, though.  I have them saved for my grand-daughter now.  I'm not sure that they are as interesting to her as they were to me. 

The first paper dolls I ever had (I was about 6) were of Lucille Ball (long before she was I Love Lucy) modelling some of the most fabulous clothes.  I don't have them any more and the photo above is courtesy of Google.  I remember that hey were very much like this.  I think - no, I know - that my mother was fascinated by Lucille Ball.  She bought me the paper dolls as well as at least one LB coloring book - another thing I loved to do.  So did my mother.  That was an awful lot to buy in the way of movie star stuff for those times.  I'm sure it reflected my mother's youth and, perhaps, her loneliness at being so far from family and friends.  And she was at home with two small children every day in a house well outside the town center. 

The best thing about paper dolls is how easy it was to create new fashions for your dolls.  My mother indulged her love of fashion and color  and put her considerable design and drawing skills to work making my dolls new dresses and costumes.  It was heaven to me...I believe it was to her as well. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday Stash

Hmmm...I seem to have missed a Saturday.  Now where did that one go?  I have been knitting.  Honest.

I  don't have much to show since I forgot to take photos of the last two soaker bibs for Gabby.  Just for the record, the wicking effect of a wool bib is not a myth.  it actually works.  So, if you know a teething baby, this would be a great gift.  Washable wool sock yarn held double works really well with Elaine Fitzpatrick's patterns.  You can find oodles of these cute little critter bibs on her blog, Down Cloverlaine.  Ooh!  I just visited to get the link and she's created the cutest little dog - with a waggly tail.  Take a look.

And here's half a pair of socks.  These are Finchy Feet...can you see the colors of the pretty house finch?  They will be for my grand-daughter who commented that she had outgrown all her Grammy socks.  And winter is coming, you know.  The patterned part is in Feather and Fan which I think is perfect for feet that fly like those finches. 

And youngest grand-daughter needed a new sweater.  She's growing, growing, growing.  So, this is still in the bits and pieces stage.  Just working on the hood now.  Later, I'm going through the stash to find some fancy yarn to give this a bit of oomph!  A little too plain for me. 

Back to knitting...I  have more unfinished stuff, I know.  There are at least three projects that I'm not even talking about that sit quietly on the table and sigh with exaggerated patience.  Soon, my dears, soon.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fifty Fridays #12

This is getting to be a habit...just dropping by my own blog for the weekend, I mean.  But that pesky newsletter is finished and I have anther six weeks to think about the next one.  That's all I'm going to do:  think about it!

My photo this week is one of those ordinary snaps that all families have in the shoebox.  A posed photo of the children in some semi-formal setting but not professionally done.  Isn't that clear from the unfortunate angle of the photo? 

This is my brother and I and our baby sister.  She was a lovely baby and is today a lovely person.  We're visiting some family friends who lived in what I thought was a rich house.  They were an older couple who had no children and we enjoyed going to visit them as they made a  fuss over us kids.  Mister had a huge budgerigar cage in the back yard.  I was fascinated by all the colored birds but confess that I never wanted to go in the cage or let them touch me.  Missus had porcelain ornaments around the living room.  I had never seen anything this delicate before and I was blown away.  Imagine a lacy crinoline made out of clay!  Or those beautiful little flower-decorated bowls.  I'd never have them in my house now but they were very entrancing when I was ten. 

The furniture reflects both the times and the age of the house decorator.  The upholstery had a swirling design carved into the velour.  I think it was a brown-ish green.  We see these lamps in the thrift shops all the time still so I guess it was modern when the picture was taken.

The three pins that I am wearing on my jumper were very special to me.  There's a little cowboy hat, a boot and a horse.  Each pin is decorated with tiny colored 'jewels' and the set was given to me by my black sheep uncle who lived with us for a few months.  This was just when I was becoming interested in horses.   I wonder whatever happened to those pins? 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday Wonders - O

O is for Optimist.

An optimist is one who puts off for tomorrow what she could do today because there is always enough time.

An optimist always thinks the candle is meant to burn at both ends.

An optimist really believes that she is a faster typist than she is.

An optimist always has time for knitting and reading. 

An optimist's glass is always half-full...

My name is Stephanie and I am an Optimist.  Today I am chained to the newsletter desk.   Or I should be.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fifty Fridays #11

This is getting to be a habit.  I must slow the world down a little - but not just yet.  In the meantime, it spins me round to the weekend before I know it.  And that's when I have the most to post. 

Today I've selected a photo that I may have used before.  It's one of my favorites.  This was probably snapped in 1945 either before my parents were married or just after.  It says a whole lot about both of these young people.

My mother was a country girl who went to the big city.  She had been living and working in Montreal - a pretty uptown place then and now - as a secretary.    As you all know, my mother was very style-conscious.  However, I'm not sure that even in those more formal days, this would have been appropriate fishing attire.

My dad was a small-town guy just back from the war where he had seen a whole lot more of the world that he ever thought to.  I remember him being very happy to have the opportunity to hunt and fish.  He loved to have a dog to take with him.  I also remember going fishing with my father.  OK...I wasn't that much into it.  It wasn't the worm or the hook or even the awfulness of actually catching the fish.  It was the boredom.  Just sitting on a rock for hours waiting for the fish wasn't this girl's idea of a good time.  After my first try, I always brought a book.  Now that I'm older and wiser, I can see the need that my dad probably had for a quiet afternoon by the river.  He was probably glad I brought a book.  

I'm always amazed at how young they look.  My dad would have been about twenty-one.  He had already been overseas, taken his place in the fighter planes and yet he still has the face of a boy. This new start must have been an exciting time for them both. 

And I wonder who took the photo? 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunday wonders - N

N is for Necessity.  One of my mother's favorite sayings was that  "Necessity is the mother of invention".  This was usually said with a smug smile as she made do with what she had.  There is something very satisfying about making do.  So today, I am, of necessity, making this post 'do' for Saturday Stash as well as Sunday's usual alphabetical offering. 

We spent so much time worrying about the weather at the beginning of the growing season.  Fretting that the tomatoes would never ripen.  Covering the tender plants like babies against all the June rain and cold.  And they come on gangbusters.  We've had such a lovely run of sunshine - more than two months - with no cold, rainy days at all.  And there are tomatoes.  Red ones, yellow  ones, gold and bergundy shades and many still green.  It's hard to imagine when you're anxiously waiting for them to ripen, but it is possible to get tired of eating fresh tomatoes.  Yes, it is. 

This is our solution to bring the sunshine into the winter when it will be most needed.  The tomatoes are cut in half and roasted in the oven with olive oil, rosemary, thyme and lots of garlic from the garden.  Then they go in the freezer.  The house smells delicious with this kind of processing.  The tomatoes taste delicious.  They make winter something to look forward to.  Sort of.

On the stash report, necessity played its part as well.  I have two wool bibs for my granddaughter, Gabby, who is growing some teeth at the moment.  So she drools.  If you make a bib from washable wool it will wick away the moisture...that's the theory.  And we are about to put it to the test.   While I couldn't find the right weight in superwash wool in the chest, I do have LOTS of sock yarn.  Almost every sock I knit yields,  on average, about 90 yards of leftover yarn.  Held double that is exactly the right amount for a soaker-type bib.  And I can use those cute patterns created by Elaine Fitzpatrick

There is also a cotton bib made with the second ball that I bought on sale two weeks ago.  Love the trucks. 

And here is my Cappuccino Hoodie made from a couple of balls of lovely soft yarn - also bought from the clearance basket.  I have folded the hood down to make a big collar but there is a hood there if baby needs warm ears.  The necessity for this?  My need to make something fun with pretty yarn.  I'm especially pleased with the buttons.  I had almost given up finding anything suitable in the jars when I remembered some on cards.  Et  voila. 

And, now, I'll wish all my Canadian blog pals a Happy Thanksgiving...have a great weekend! 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fifty Fridays #10

Friday again!  Whew...that was a mad whirl this week.  Meetings,meetings and more meetings.  But I did have a chance to take my granddaughter to her Scottish dancing class.  That was fun!  And I had time to stay and play some games with the other grands afterwards.  Nice day in the middle of the busy-ness.

For my photo today, I have chosen one that my mother would probably not thank me for if she were here today.  I love this photo as a snapshot of life in the early 50's for a Maritime transplant to a rural community on the West Coast. 

This picture for me is all about my mom.  She is wearing a house dress and I'm pretty sure her hair is in pin curls under that turban.  She is not, however, working at home.  No, she is visiting.  Probably the neighbor across the street - they were very good friends.  These neighbors had more of a farm with a pig and a necessary outhouse.  This was a wonderful place for me with all sorts of stuff that was new to me.  They also had Queenie, the collie who was the mother of our dog Rex.  We loved her.

So, we're actually a bit more dressed up than we would normally have been on a stay-at-home day.  We have white socks which I know were just for special.  Notice that my brother has the ever-present car! And don't you love my mother's dress? It's so nice that I can't imagine doing the spring cleaning in it but I'll bet she did.  Just throw an apron over it and you're good to go.  I never saw my mother in anything but a skirt or dress when I was a kid.  It simply wasn't done. 

This photo was probably taken on the road or near it.  This was in Abbotsford which is nowhere near being rural any more.  It's a suburb of Vancouver now even though you have to drive for an hour - or more in traffic - to get to it.  It was a great place for kids then.

Thursday, October 4, 2012



I'm beginning to wonder what my over-active brain has gotten me into.  This is the beginning of a sock that has been taking shape in my imagination.  But, it's much easier to knit in my mind.  I have four cables (one on each needle) opening into diamonds which are filled with color.  This means a combination of intarsia and stranded knitting. 

It's taking longer to untangle the five strands than it is to actually knit. And I'm only halfway through the first diamond section.  For some reason, the leftover sock yarns that I chose were both single ply and they stick together like mad.  Yikes!  But I have a vision and I'll soldier on.


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