Interesting Times . . .

Greetings, everyone!  I’ve been doing a lot of resting, napping and binge-watching series on netflix and I’m beginning to feel better and ready to begin focusing on plans for whatever is left of my life. Along with making plans and designing a daily routine that will take me beyond cocooning and into renewed creativity, I have spent time just thinking about world events and the like. Now that I’m in Tacoma for a while, the likely changes that will come to pass after 20 January have occupied my mind more than a little.

I remember as a child being told that an ancient Chinese Curse was: “May you live in interesting times”. As it turns out, this is an English saying and no-one has ever traced it back to China. But either way . . . I think we are now living in VERY interesting times. And, as usual, even if it’s too late to do much about what’s happening (and I’m not sure it is too late, at least for everythig), we always have the choice about how we respond to these times.

I’ve been catching up with various Villagers and was interested to see in a comment on one post that heroin sales have skyrocketed in Pennsylvania due to the lack of available work. So that’s one response, I guess. I also read that a city in Florida (Miami? I should have taken notes, eh?) is proposing to build up all of their roads so that the rising of the sea level over the next decades won’t affect them. Short-sighted, but maybe better than nothing. What do you think?

As I said, I have been thinking (one of my favourite things to do) about possible responses to current political situations and working out a strategy for dealing with the stress I feel about some of them. I’m focusing on creating a response that is healthy for me and for those around me, but that doesn’t sugar-coat the issues or just ignore them.

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So . . . what makes a tree grow and bloom? If we look at the naked stick that itis in mid-winter and decide to withhold sunshine, water and food until it gets it together and starts doing what it’s supposed to do, is it likely we will see leaves and blossoms and eventually fruit? Nope, not so much.

 

And when a baby begins learning to walk and falls down . . .first-steps

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. . . do we scold them? Tell them they are hopeless and don’t deserve to walk, let alone run? Do we ridicule, shame or punish them? Of course not. We know that nurture and love, along with some teaching, will work wonders as children grow and develop. The same is true for adults, too, isn’t it?

So I have decided that when a politician worries me or threatens to do dreadful things, the healthy response for me is to surround that person or persons with love and light; to bless them, even as I sign petitions, join boycotts, and so on. And that leaves me in a happier place. It will be interesting to see the results. One thing I know, this approach will leave me happier and healthier in the long run, for me at least.

Creativity

I have to confess that I haven’t done much creating for these past months. My considerable stashes of yarn, fabric, art paper, etc. are all in storage in Vernon, BC. I did bring my knitting needles, though, and some crochet hooks.I started teaching my friend J to knit. She had done some as a child, but needed a refresher course, so I threw her in at the deep end with a tubular scarf with a Scandinavian pattern created with two-stranded knitting. Most of it will be plain knitting, though, so that will be easier for her to manage. After all, it’s only two circular needles . . .

J has been ill for three weeks, but is now feeling better, so tomorrow we are going back toJo-Ann’s to purchase a crochet hook and some cotton yarn for her to use making dishcloths / bath scrubbies. We were there over three weeks ago and I found a lovely teal cotton remnant; tomorrow I’ll be looking for a complementary piece and some batting. Then I plan to get on with finally making a tea cosy using Kym’s directions: Tea cosy design. I’ve been talking about doing this for several years now, and it’s finally time to act!

I did bring my Fair Isle style ‘barn cardi’ with me, but haven’t gotten back to working on it, although while at my cousins’ in September and early October I did work on one sleeve so that they are now nearly at the same point in the design.

Christmas

The past few years I’ve done little to nothing for Christmas and this year will probably be similar. Christmas boxes are simply too expensive to ship anymore. More than fifteen years ago I sent a box to my older son’s family. It held a selection of home-made cookies (biscuits) that I used to make when the boys were young, plus a book for each grandchild and a small gift for each parent. The postage was over $50!  I felt they could have used the money more, so for a few Christmases I sent a money order. However, that never feels christmassy to me; I enjoy finding the perfect thing for each person, then wrapping each gift creatively and ecologically.

Some years I used brown paper for the gift wrap; some years it was white tissue paper. I used green and red yarn instead of ribbon and tucked in a small cluster of seasonal greens: cedar, holly, sometimes a cinnamon stick or two. Inexpensive and lovely, at least we thought so.

I was thinking the other day about the first Christmas I shared with my husband and two sons. We lived in a very old house in Victoria that hasd a bay window. We were able to find a tree that reached nearly to the ceiling, but the budget was tight. We could afford gifts for the boys or ornaments for the tree, but not both. Of course we opted for the gifts.

For ornaments, I got really creative. I ‘borrowed’ small squares of plywood that the boys used for building blocks, wrapped the in white tissue and tied them with red and green yarn to resemble tiny presents. I used some veriegated yarn; some red and white, some green and white, to crochet a couple of dozen wee stockings. Those were hung on the tree with co-ordinating loops of yarn. Tiny candy canes were shaped from red, green and white pipe cleaners and we found a few dozen of the real thing at a nbargain price; just two inches long, they fit in perfectly.

Inspired by my favourite childhood books, I popped bowls of popcorn and we began threading onto heavy cotton thread. I like to string three or five kernels, then one cranberry and repeat until I have a string about four feet long. We made so many of these that I lost count! Then I tied the ends together carefully as I hung them on the tree.

The only other bought ornaments were some strings of tiny white lights that were on sale shortly before Christmas Day and some tinfoil icicles, which I hung one by one from the popcorn strings, spacing them as carefully as I could. I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to a Christmas tree.

The angel I made myself and I still think she was beautiful.

We used those decorations every year from then on, adding a few each time and they are in my storage unit now. I hope they have survived their long hibernation; if not I will simply have to make more.

Often I would wrap cookies in cellophane and hang them, too. The popcorn strings were left on the tree after the other bits were packed away and the tree was set up outside as a feast for the birds. This was always after the first week in January.  That, I’ll explain about in another post . . .  🙂

For some excellent Christmas baking and other recipes, and for more ideas for yuletide decorations, including a knit pattern for a wine box cover, check out Selma’s blog here: Eclectic Home & Life She lives in England, but hails from Norway and I love her traditional recipes. You may remember y post about making her Mocha Roulade for my Mum and myself on Mother’s Day in 2015. Light and scrumptious, it was the perfect dessert!

I hope you are all enjoying the run-up to Christmas, taking time to enjoy the music, colour, lights, etc. Do try not to stress. It’s a good time for gratitude and I have to say again that I am grateful for each one of you, my Virtual Village neighbours.

Here, to help keep you in the mood, is a set of Christmas songs by Sissel, one of Norway’s great singers: Christmas songs by Sissel

Some of you may be familiar with Newfoundland’s group Great Big Sea.Here are some of their Christmas songs: Great Big Sea Christmas songs

And what is a post from me without a song from Funrig?

Silent Night

These are by Bruce Guthro, lead singer for Runrig and a Canadian from Cape Breton Island:

Christmas songs by Bruce Guthro

And, again by Bruce, a video in the true spirit of Christmas, featuring footage from the Christmas Truce of 1914. Christmas at the Front, 1914

And finally, a mixed bag, beginning with one of my own favourites:

Let There Be Peace on Earth and more

 

 

Life is what happens while . . .

. . . you’re busy making other plans . . . (John Lennon)

So there’s been a lot of life going on here, but first, thanks to everyone who has offered support and sent warm energy over the past weeks. I’m so sorry I haven’t replied to comments and, in some cases, emails. I’m still hoping to catch up soon, but a post is long overdue, so I’m doing that first. I think it may be a rather long one, so get your tea now 🙂

IMG_2522I was at the hospital a few days ago to bring cookies to the unit and on my way back through the courtyard, I saw that the Healing Tipi had been set up for summer use.

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The Nurse Practitioner who was the recipient of the cookies has become a friend; he told me about a Sound Healing – Tibetan Crystal Bowls event that was coming up. It was held in the Bikram Yoga Centre some distance west and south of where we live. It was an amazing experience; I’m very introverted and a bit awkward with groups of people I don’t know, so I went in, laid out the yoga mat I’d been given, and lay down to prepare for meditation. Matt Welke, one of the organizers of these weekly events, gave a brief introduction to the use of the bowls. We were invited to play one if we liked, but I chose instead to spend the hour in meditation and prayer for those I love and also for those who have requested it.

In 1997 I walked a labyrinth for the first time (not to be confused with a maze – you can get lost in a maze; a labyrinth has only one path; you walk to the centre and then back to the starting point). After I’d been ‘there and back again’, I sat nearby and meditated until all of the group had walked. I had an extremely intense experience of energy in my hands, to the point where they felt so swollen I thought the discomfort came from the pressure of the touching fingers. When I opened my eyes, though, my hands appeared normal and the feeling receded. On closing my eyes and resuming the meditation, the feeling returned, as strongly as in the beginning.  I was told later that I should consider studying Reiki.

I’m  sharing this experience because a similar thing happened while I was listening to the Singing Bowls and it was strongest when the largest bowls or a combination of bowls including one or two of the largest, were played.If this is something that interests you, I highly recommend attending a session. I can’t vouch for the healing effects, but my knees were much more flexible after I stood up and walking was easier. The trouble with attributing effects is that I’m currently using more than one approach. Still, the Bowls were pretty impressive. . .

IMG_2540 . . . as is this uniquely Canadian item. Who recognizes this?

I’m still not ready for the move; it won’t happen at the end of June; most likely now is the end of July. And it won’t be to the Crafties’ basement; I am moving back to southern BC, to Chilliwack where the oldest of my sisters lives. Or at least somewhere close to her. Anywhere from Abbotsford through Yarrow to Chilliwack will be just fine by me. I will be…

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Wan to see where I’m going?  Click here!

The first hospital in Abbotsford was built in 1922 and is where I was born some years later.  The town wasn’t called Abbotsford then; at least my birth certificate says ‘Matsqui’ on it. A lovely name, I think. Abbotsford was named after the home of Sir Walter Scott in the Lowlands of Scotland The hospital was replaced in the early ’50s and then again in 2009. I looked for a photo or two online, but couldn’t find one.

Anyway, the new plan is to find somewhere to live and so I’ve reached out to a couple of old friends who’ve lived in Abbotsford, then Chilliwack for over 30 years.

My plan always was to go ‘home’ to BC, but I didn’t expect to be able to go this year. So amidst all the re-structuring of my daily life, there is some joy, too. And that’s a good thing. I knew the decision was the right one for me as soon as I made it; a huge feeling of peace and relief came over me and the dark clouds began to lift. I’m not done working through the sadness, but it’s become easier now that I feel a sense of hope again.

Once settled, too, I’ll be able to visit my sons and their families, as well as some old friends in Vancouver and Victoria. I have’t been to the coast for over seven and a half years and that’s a long time.

In preparation for this move I went with the Crafties to their property where my container sits with some of my stuff. Boy, have they done a lot of work since I was last there (over a year): I should have taken more photos . . .

Their son has a small two storey cabin half finished:IMG_2543

This 16 foot square shed is nearly done, too, and is already in use for storage. On the south side (away from you)  will be a porch for sitting in the shade and taking a break.

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The outhouse was one of the first structures to be put up; here’s the view from outside and in . . . it’s all boards that have been salvaged from here and there.

Three views: the picnic area, the squirrel grove and the garden. The painted tires each hold a fruit tree. All the fruit trees and a sweet little weeping willow have survived the winter.

Before we had our cookout (using the barrel behind the table to contain the flames), Mrs. Crafty brought out some lovely hand-made soap for washing our hands. That’s it there; the round cake just left of the hand towel.

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Mrs. Crafty loves folk art and painting garden ornaments. Here are some she’s brought from home and a panther they found in a discard heap and rescued. It will be painted soon, too, and the other items will be placed in her gardens and along some of the deer trails, which are wide enough to walk on..

Behind this cute picket fence grows an assortment of flowers, domestic and wild, and above the garden hangs a hummingbird feeder. Bird and squirrel feeders are in several places here and it’s so lovely to watch the birds and critters that the feeders attract. The gate was made by Mrs Crafty from twisted branches she cut from small trees they were felling for firewood. The birdbath is a clay saucer I gave her when I realized I was not likely to have my dream garden, with a fountain at each corner.

The other three, and most of my clay pots, are going to a friend who used to be my manager when I worked at her Lewiscraft store. Later she encouraged me to take on the Assistant Manager position and after that, to move up to Manager. I loved so much about working in a craft store; ordering unique colours of yarn, teaching clients to knit and crochet while we stood in the niddle of the store, especially figuring out where a pattern had gone wrong for the more experienced knitters and crocheters.  When Mum was in the hospital before Christmas, she had a room-mate whose daughter remembered me from over a decade ago. She had knitted a sweater, arms and body, to the yoke in six months. Then, for over three years she struggled to complete the patterned yoke. In despair she brought it to the store; we went over each stitch together and found where the pattern was wrong! It was quite gratifying to find that all her family knew the story and knew who I was, just from that one day.

Can you tell that old wooden chairs minus their seats were used as part of the frames for these garden beds? The right hand bed is full of strawberry plants.

We have no idea what this plant is, but my sister thinks it may be cowslip:

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We were out there for over eight hours and besides taking a tour of the property, Mrs. Crafty and I went through over a third of the boxes in the container. The container has settled at the back, so some of the boxes had fallen and others had been placed with heavy boxes on top of half=full or light boxes, so the lower ones had collapsed somewhat. We are re=packing those into stronger boxes and organizing them near the front for easy loading come moving day. I am giving the container to the Crafties and they will store some of my things that are not sensitive to moisture for a couple more years. They will be able to store some of their tools and equipment in it, so it’s a good deal all around. Below you can see how much the container is listing . . . The bottom photo shows some of my boxes. The old bed frames and other things at the front belong to the Crafties. I remembered there being a lot more boxes, so seeing them was a good thing. Much more manageable that I’d expected. It’s helping, too, that I’m giving some of my things to Mrs. Crafty, like the yarns for afghans that are mostly or all acrylic. I’ve decided I’m switching to natural materials, or mostly so, from now on.

If I had a piece of property, I think I’d place two of these 40 foot long containers side by side, but about 30 or 40 feet apart, then roof over the space and the containers and build walls with large windows at the back and front of the large space. A large set of patio doors at each end and a floor would make it complete (and a wood-burning fireplace, of course). It would be easy to fit one container out with a bathroom and two bedrooms and the other with a kitchen, pantry and storage space. The central room would be workspace, gathering room, etc.Using salvaged materials for most of it, I think one could have a great cottae / workshop for about $10,000. I’d extend beams from the roof supports, too, to create a porch on either side. Solar panels could be set up nearby to power lights, etc. The neighbour has several set up next to where he lives and can run a washer and dryer, cookstove, small refrigerator and lights as well as his power tools. Very nice, I think.

The driveway out to the gravel road . . .

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. . . but we didn’t go back to town immediately. Because, in spite of my parents’ being sure that I would grow out of it, my love for horses is as strong as ever and I simply had to see the neighbour’s herd, or two of them, anyway . . . These are quarter horses and I was sorely tempted to hop on the grey and ride home . . . but common sense prevailed . . .

Now, the other news: I have been unable to find my ‘toe-up’ sock that is still sitting at the first toe/ But I have been busy going through boxes and packing (and down-sizing for the first of what I think will be several times). While doing that, I found six skeins of this amazing mohair/wool blend with a little nylon for added strength:

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The colour reminds me of piles of autumn leaves and is more beautiful than the photos.

I have had this yarn for ten years, waiting to be inspired and finally inspiration struck! I decided to make a Pi Shawl. The pattern for this shawl was first created by Elizabeth Zimmerman and is loosely based on the mathematical Pi. You begin with 9 stitches on three double pointed needles, knit two rows, then usising yarn overs you double the stitches to 18. The next section is 4 rows of knitting. The next row you double the stitches again, to 36, then knit 8 rows . . . see how easy? It’s good to keep track of your rows with a stitch counter, though, especially with mohair or other fuzzy yarns. I haven’t located any  of my own counters, so I’m making marks on recipe cards, four verticals and one horizontal to  tie them into a group of five. So far, that’s working just fine. I am now up to 288 stitches and have finished 10 of the 64 rows called for in this section. I have seen this shawl knitted from smooth yarns and some knitters have done patterned knitting in each section between the increase rows. Those are stunning! Now, if I were truly ambitious, I would be considering knitting one using the Fair Isle patterns I love so much. Maybe one day, when I’m spending more time in a rocker by the fire . . . Here’s the work to date:

In the left hand photo, I’d hung the piece on a hook in the hallway, but the light wasn’t good enough. In the other two photos the work is flattened and the pictures were taken under different lights; I think the right hand one is closest to the actual colour. I’m using a circular needle now, so the work has assumed the shape of a bag or maybe a Rasta beanie… Soon I will put half the stitches onto another circular needle and the work will continue to go easily. I’m not sure how large this shawl will be, but I’ve only just begun on the third of the six balls and if I fold the work, it comes nearly to my elbows.

By the end of each day, we are generally tired and partly that’s from the emotional side of . through our mother’s things. Other factors come into it, too, but I won’t be posting about those. So we make our supper and watch some Netflix movie or tv series and I knit. Then it’s off to bed. A good distraction when I just want to turn off my busy mind for a while.

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These are not particularly healthy, although the recipe could be adapted. Our youngest sister found it and I made it up just as Mum used to do for Christmas. This is a double batch and made eight dozen, with some dough left over. No idea what happened to that…

I loved using my favourite bowl (which matches a larger one of Mum’s), Mum’s wooden spoon and my Aunty’s potholders. I felt as though they were just in the other room.

If anyone would like the recipe, let me know in a comment below and I will post it. It’s quite quick and easy to make; the longest part for me was chopping the nuts with a knife. If one had a nut chopper, it would go very fast. These were a great hit and the hospital bag of a couple dozen cookies apparently lasted less than an hour. Made me happy . . .

So . . . my day out in the country with no sounds but those of nature was most refreshing and renewing. I hadn’t realized how much i’d missed it until I was out there again. We had lovely weather, warm but not too hot (although while in the container we were both sweating heavily), with a light breeze to cool us off.  Jtust what I needed, that day . . .

I’m not sure when I’ll get to post again and it likely won’t be so long next time, but I’ll keep you updated on the move and settling in wherever I land.I wish you all a wonderful week / month / year. I’ve been reading your posts as often as possible, but have not been able to comment from my phone (forgot my password . . . again!). I’m still getting used to the laptop, but eventually it will behave itself and then we’ll see . . . Lots of big hugs to all of you in the Virtual Village.  ❤

 

Better late than never, right?

Well, I know it’s late, but still I wish you all a very Happy New Year! May it bring you joy, contentment, inspiration and more . . .

I started a draft of my annual bit of doggerel, but it’s not finished yet. I’m hoping to have it done before it ends up being posted for the end of this coming December . . .

Our Mum came home from hospital after more than four months and we are all glad to have her here again. She is not out of the woods yet (but really, when are any of us completely out of the woods?) and with my RN sister here to take charge of medical issues, things are slowly settling into a loose routine. And I am very slowly beginning to catch up with blog post reading.

Knit Ridge Teapot Cozy

I haven’t done much crafting since last spring, really, but this week has seen me take up the knitting needles again to make a lovely ridged tea cosy for my sister (see picture above). I gave her my Aunty’s old Brown Betty teapot, as my sister drinks tea daily and for me it’s more occasional. I shall post photos once the two finished pieces are sewn together and the loop at the top added. The pattern is a tried-ad-true one from Sugar ‘n Cream cotton yarn. I had two balls of  this yarn in a lovely dark forest green that will fit perfectly, my sister tells me, in the ‘garden room’ she is planning to create once she is home in BC again. That room will house, among other things, a lovely round dining table with patented twin pedestals and two extra boards that convert it from round to a long oval. She also has an antique wardrobe that once belonged to our parents and it will grace the garden room as well. The colours will be mostly greens and browns, so having the green yarn on hand was quite serendipitous. On one of my trips to the Re-Use-It store with my friends the Crafties, I snagged a bag of Sugar ‘n Cream in various colours. I have already completed two potholders for our kitchen, as I want to retire the three made by my Aunty before they are worn out. I used the Idiot’s Dishcloth Pattern and made the pieces a bit smaller . . . and managed to create a few errors even in this simple piece . . .  oh, well . . .

I’m not sure now how I ended up at the Susie’s Knitting blog, but she had just the pattern I was looking for! You can find it here:  https://susiesknitting.wordpress.com/pattern-links/dishcloths/idiots-dishcloth/

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I borrowed this image from her to show you what I mean.

I am hoping to add an original touch to the cosies (did I mention that, because I made the one for my sister a bit smaller to fit the teapot, I have enough yarn left, I think, to make a second one for myself? And if it isn’t quite enough, I have a creative solution waiting in the wings . . . I’m not telling, though . . . I think we are back to ‘Anticipation 301’  🙂

If you remember my Barn Cardi (so called so that I would not feel concerned about achieving perfection):

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The picture on the left is my Aunty, who was always happy to model whatever I was working on. I miss her a lot.

I hadn’t felt like resuming work on it for a while, but today I dug out the project box with the cardi, the pattern book and some of the yarns. I’m planning  to resume work on the sleeves later this week, but first I need to complete the cosies . . .

So my friends, life is changed, but goes on down the new path, with a few dips and hummocks, as in all lives. I am finding small pleasures and great joys again and am once more listening to music nearly every day.

My brother in law who passed away in late 2014 introduced me to Sissel Kyrkjo, a Norwegian soprano. Here are two videos of her singing with the Welsh tenor Bryn Terfel:

And for the opera lovers among you, my sister introduced me to a self-taught young lady who will likely knock your socks off . . .

All the best to each of you and your friends and families. I expect to be back soon and hope to begin catching up with comments here and also with your blog posts.
Big hugs and much love to  you all . . .  ~ Linne

March, April, May . . . part Two (and a bit of June)

 

Hard to believe this was what we saw on 06 May this year, isn’t it? In 2014 the last snow was on the sixth of May.

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Below is the bus stop when I went out for groceries.

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And here are some pictures of my CAL (Crochet-A-Long) blanket. This is the second of three that I started back in early January. It’s finished now. I did try adding a single row of red along the border, and then I tried adding it just down from the edge, but in the end I decided it really was ‘gilding the lily’ and took it out again. You may notice that there is a band of light mossy green, white and a darker, more bluish green near each end. I thought the light moss colour would work, but then wasn’t happy with it. Rather than undo it, I simply turned the blanket around and began working from the beginning,, creating matching odd bands. I rather like it now, as the odd bit doesn’t stand out so much and looks as though it may have been planned. Oh, well, it will be warm anyway.

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When my CAL group were learning ripple stitch, I was still working on the CAL blankets, so instead of beginning a new blanket, I made a pillow cover for a pillow I already had. I rather like it! I made a fancy edge for the closing (it’s folded and stitched to form an envelope), then realized the dark burgundy wouldn’t stand out at all, so I added the white section. There’s always a solution, isn’t there?

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I love this tree so much! It stands just outside the patio doors and this is what I see from where I sit on the couch. I have now seen it bare of leaf, covered in snow, then covered in blossoms. I have no idea what this tree is, but it’s wonderful to look at. Below are photos of the flowers. They have a nice scent, not too strong and not really perfumed.

IMG_9339 IMG_9338 IMG_9369I chanced upon this photo while looking for something else (and isn’t that always the way?) Turns out these are called ‘lenticular’ clouds. I was particularly interested because I only ever saw them once in my life. It  was the day that we buried my Aunt A and Uncle P’s ashes (in the grave of my uncle’s father. He was my dad’s father, too. My dad and his brother married sisters, so their son is my closest cousin). Later that day, my cousin and his wife, one of my brothers, one of my sisters and her daughter plus myself went for supper at a local restaurant. When we came out, it was just sunset and the sky was full of these. None of us had seen them before and, of course, none of us had a camera along. (That was before smartphones and the like). I hurried to the pharmacy, but they were closed already; the usual thing in small towns. So we simply stood on the street corner and looked for as long as the light allowed. There were seven large ones and a bunch of smaller ones and to me it felt like a message from beyond the veil. One of the most beautiful moments of my life and one I will never forget. I was so pleased to find out there was a name for these clouds, after years of asking people and trying to look them up.

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Does anyone have any idea why a good friend would post this on her Facebook page?

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Lately I have felt that I was receiving messages from the Universe . . . I was so startled when these began appearing on our pancakes once I turned them over. Then, sadly, I figured it out . . . the pattern is caused by the way I pour the batter into the hot pan. They are lovely, though, aren’t they? I just had to share these with you . . .

The smiley one had an actual slit forming the mouth and a day later it looked like this:

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. . . and then I ate it! Mmmmm   these are a variation of the Norske egg pancakes that my sister in New Mexico sent me; we have them a couple of times most weeks. Of course, being me, I had to mess around with the (perfectly good and delicious) original recipe . . . but they are still yummy . . .

IMG_9459 IMG_9458Another sister, the one who lives on BC’s Wet Coast, recommended a book called “You are not your Brain” and I ordered it, and a few more in that vein, from our library. She gets an email called the Brain Bulletin and sent me one of them that had fascinating information about our brains; how if we hold negative thoughts we damage our brains physically and how the scientists think it’s related to some forms of dementia, memory loss, etc. I really needed to hear all that. These books had a cursory glance from me and look quite promising, but I showed them to a friend and now they are at her home for a while. I’ll let you know if I learn anything helpful from them. And if any of you are interested in the Brain Bulletin, let me know in your comment and I can give you a link to sign up for them. Another book that came in is for children with OCD. It’s called “What to do When Your Brain Gets Stuck”. I thought it might have some useful information in it.

IMG_9463I don’t know where this originated, but a good friend sent it to me. I’m working on the lists now because I thought this was good advice, especially for me, as I tend to put off doing the things that make me happy, then feel a bit ‘down’ or discouraged. Crazy, eh?

IMG_9471 IMG_9469I have now cooked up two pots of beans (one pound each of black and pinto) and they are in one-cup bags in the freezer waiting for inspiration to strike me . . . I did eat some cold, right out of the pot . . . It’s so nice to have an second refrigerator; I keep extra veggies in it, as well as extra bread.

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I am still working on the third CAL afghan that I began back in January, but two are finished now. While I’ve been working, I’ve been thinking about possible uses for the leftover yarn; there’s quite a bit of it (this is the yarn I bought so I could use up two balls that I already had; this was back last summer, when I first became excited about the Bavarian afghans). Nothing like downsizing, is there? So I decided to make myself a granny square afghan. Of course I began with what might have been a traditional square, but, as you can see, that didn’t last too long . . . This is what I have done so far. Turns out I’m going to have to make two afghans to use up that yarn; one with these colours and some grey that I think will go well with them, and another with the more vibrant reds and blues, purples and white. When I’m done I will have memory afghans from the times I sat working and chatting with my Aunty, whom I still miss every day.

I made three traditional squares so far from the reds and blues, but don’t have a picture handy to share. Next time , , , one of the squares was begun before my Aunty died and finished the following week, so it will be in the centre, along with one for my Mum and one for me. It may take a while, though.

On a completely different note: I’ve taken on some computer work, formatting pages for a huge contract that my sister here is working on. Her company does a lot of that sort of work and it’s good for me, as I can work from home and fit the time in around my Mum’s schedule. It’s a bit of a learning curve, as I’m using a new laptop and the latest Windows program, where my familiar icons and buttons, etc., are gone and I now have to hunt for much of what I used to use on automatic pilot. A glutton for punishment, I have taken two books out of the library that deal with writing apps for iPhones and iPads, but have only glanced at them so far. I have to say, in my defence, that I ordered them before I knew I’d be working again. Not sure if I’ll do anything in this line, but I was curious.

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Some days I feel like a child again; the sun comes in through our north-facing windows around five am every morning. Child-like, I was holding my hand in front of the light to keep it out of my eyes and I noticed how it made my fingers nearly translucent. Just had to get a photo , , ,IMG_7364[1]

My friends the Crafties have begun bringing me some of the projects I had stored in their attic, as well as a box of yarn from the container on their property north of the city. Yes, more yarn . . . Once I have all the Décor yarn here, I plan to catalogue it by colour and amount of each, then I’m thinking I may be making some of those Cosy blankets that Lucy from Attic 24 makes. She started this whole CAL craze, at least in my world.  Above is my not-quite-finished Bavarian afghan that I call “Violets in the Snow”. It’s here in the condo now and I’ll be back to working on it soon, I hope. The hot pink Barn Cardi will be coming soon, too. Now I just need to plant me a lot of thyme . . .

Have a wonderful week, everyone. the laptop is set up for internet now, so I should be able to catch up on comments soon. (I’m using Mum’s computer for this post, though; it’s easier to type on and I’d already done half this post over the last few days, so thought I’d just finish here). I’ll be dropping in on you in the Virtual Village again, too. I’ve been sort of ‘ghosting’ through, reading as much as I could, clicking ‘like’ to let you know I’d been by, but often not able to leave comments easily. one finger typing on a phone isn’t my favourite thing, really. I’ve been thinking of all of you; those in the midst of winter and those out working in your gardens; and especially everyone who’s been affected by the droughts, storms and flooding. I was speaking with my cousin this week (the one I mentioned above) and where he lives (and where I spent my last few years at home) the temperatures have been up to +35C . . . it wasn’t like that when I lived there, back in the early ’60s. Global warming, indeed . . . Big hugs to all of you.

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My sweet Aunty, patiently modelling the Barn Cardi for me.

And, like Columbo, just ‘one more thing’ . . .

I was lucky to catch this on TV recently, in time to record it: I’d never heard of Brit Floyd,, but they were great! I haven’t listened to much Pink Floyd for many years; what a blast from the past:

Brit Floyd Live at Red Rocks

. . . and that’s all, folks . . .

 

 

 

March, April, May . . . part One

Wow, do I have a lot of catching up to do . . . but Mum’s computer is hooked up now and I can use it when it’s free, so here goes . . .

First of all, thanks to all my lovely readers for your comments, especially on the death of my much-loved Aunty. A loss is always difficult, even when expected. We seem to expect death to come; just not ‘today’ . . . I’ll catch up with replies to comments soon, now that things are settling down to some degree.

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Can’t remember if I posted a picture of this sweet bunny. I think I did, but he’s cute enough to share twice. Selma from the Eclectic Home and Life blog posted the pattern. Very quick and easy, they make lovely ornaments, bunting, etc. This one will be attached to the project in the following photo. I haven’t done any more on that project, ’cause it won’t be used ’til next winter . . . and you know, I’m all about the deadlines . . .

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While I was staying with the Crafties back in February, March and half of April, I ‘appropriated’ this cup for my morning coffee. Here it is, sitting on the coffee table while I work on one of the CAL blankets. I was struck by the colours of the cup, scissors and the table, as seen in the morning sunshine.

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Mrs. Crafty scored a huge box of assorted dollies and every day there would be a few sitting in the sink for  a bath and shampoo. Quite fetching, aren’t they?

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Below is the hand of the youngest Crafty granddaughter, busy working on something for me, to be part of my project that will travel far from here. More on that once I have the rest of the makings . . . Young Miss C was helped by her lovely big brother Master Z. The creativity seems to have skipped a generation, but is alive and thriving in the grandchildren. Wonderful to see!

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I finally finished CAL #1, and here is the second row of the edging just being finished.

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The third row of edging . . .

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This wee Scotty dog sits on a small table outside the room that I slept in at the Crafties’. I took the picture to share with Selma after she posted a pattern for a sweet little Scotty brooch. Isn’t he cute?

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This is a gallon jar, probably once holding pickles or mayonnaise; sometime later it was decorated by a talented folk artist. It found its way to the Re-Use-It Centre, and leapt off the shelf into Mrs. Crafty’s welcoming hands . . . For now it sits on a shelf at the foot of the bed I slept in. It’s so nice to be surrounded by handmade, home-made items. I can just feel the love, can’t you?

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Below you can see how I finished off CAL #1 – with a lovely hot pink ruffle!

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I rather like it and I do hope the little girl who will receive it likes it, too. It’s large enough to use on her bed even into her teens. She’s not very tall, so that was easy.

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Above, the house where Doc Martin and the lovely Louisa were to spend their honeymoon; I’m SO tempted to move to Cornwall and take over this place! It reminds me in some ways of a couple of the homes I lived in as a child.

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I borrowed this from a friend’s post on FaceBook; nice to know I’m safe 🙂

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One of the middle Crafty granddaughters; this is the girl I was teaching to knit. She’s been doing quite well with it and her piece was quite a bit longer when she left for home the next day.

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In the last couple of weeks I stayed with the Crafties I interrupted my  work on the three CAL blankets to follow the project that Selma’s class had moved on to: a ripple stitch item; for some, it was a blanket, but a couple of us chose to make a pillow. Mine is actually a pillow cover, for the pillow I used behind my back when I sat in the old recliner at my Aunty’s place. I ended it with a border of my own design, then realized the border wouldn’t show up once the piece was folded and stitched. So I added the white rows at the other end and now the border stands out just right. I’ll have to take a picture of the finished pillow; I rather like it.

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Two of the  antique dishes owned by the Crafties’ son and his fiancée. The brown lustre dish is meant to hold develled eggs around the edge and I assume a bowl of something in the centre (or crackers? or ???). The clear glass is a beautiful dish, probably meant to hold sweet treats at a ladies’ tea.

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A bottle of root beer, whose cap (and another) I have saved for Narfie7’s wall for Stevie-Boy. I hope root beer counts as a ‘beer’ . . .

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Thanks to Jess the Rabid Little Hippy for this section. She shared a picture of a waffle pattern baby blanket she had made (I think it was her first ever crochet project, too!); She kindly included a link to the pattern site and I just couldn’t resist . . . So this is part of one of the CAL blankets now.

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My Mum found this gorgeous towel in her things when she moved here after staying with my youngest sister for two and a half months. It looks rather old, but not antique. I’m planning to write out the pattern, once I find myself with more thyme . . . Thank heavens for spring and summer, eh?

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Some of the best banana bread I ever made! (and I’m not exaggerating, either!) I used a recipe from my Mum’s old Women’s Institute Cookbook, published back in the ’50s to celebrate British Columbia’s 100th anniversary. Most of the recipes have the ingredients in no particular order, so I missed something important when I started mixing things up; I saw ‘3-4 bananas’ at the end of the list, and rejoiced because I had exactly four that badly needed using up. So I mashed ’em and smashed ’em and mixed them with sugar and all the other good things. I had the wet items mixed and the dry items stirred and before I began melding them, I decided to go over the ingredient list one item at a time, just to be sure I hadn’t missed anything . . . and there in the middle was ‘one cup mashed ripe bananas’.

Oops!! Now what? I definitely had more than one cup; still, undeterred by fate, I mixed it all together, then added another half cup of flour or so, plus a spoonful more of baking powder. When I took them out of the oven I turned them out on a rack, as you can see by the clever pattern of indentations on the tops. Once cool, I cut into them, buttered the slices (no law against gilding the lily, is there?) and both Mum and I declared them the best ever!  If anyone is interested, I would be happy to post the recipe. Just let me know.

I’m going to stop here, as I have quite a bit more to go and I really don’t want to leave you all exhausted by such a huge post after the long months of drought . . .

Much Love and many Blessings to each of you; you are always in my heart and mind. More soon . . .

Living in the Moebius Loop . . .

. . . I wonder if that’s possible . . . some times in life sure feel like it. Maybe that’s what happens when you knit a Moebius scarf? I did, once, and loved it! No photo for you, sorry; it’s in a box ‘somewhere’ . . .

Aunty and I returned from the hospital on the 11th of February. On the 12th I developed a mild but persistent bronchitis, my old response to being stressed and overextended. I’m happy to say it’s only an occasional cough now. The yo-yo weather hasn’t helped, either. Yesterday, we were up to +15C; today, when I had to go out, it was +1C. No such thing as climate change, luckily . . .

20150315-111354.jpg Keira (whom I named); one of the Crafties’ two Teacup Pomeranians.

My next oldest sister came for a short visit, which was very nice, even though we didn’t have much time to visit. She’s an RN, so I was glad to have her here for advice on supporting my Aunty and Mum more effectively. I wish she could have stayed longer, partly because the following week our Mum turned 92 and four days later Aunty turned 95. Their longevity secrets? So far as I can tell, those consist of living a plain life, eating moderate simple meals and being fairly active well into their 80s.

20150315-111817.jpg With Mum’s birthday dinner my youngest sister and I shared these (on my part mostly in honour of my friends from Tassie, Narfie7 and Stevie-boy. The bottlecap collection is small, but growing . . . and I now have collected all but one component for my contribution to their Sanctuary. Quite different from all the lovely buntings that have already arrived, but I hope mine will find a place somewhere, too. Mr. Crafty has volunteered to help me with one bit or it would be a two-year project, for sure . . . remember, my friends, Anticipation 101 😉 😉 😉 . . .

We are still not moved into the condo, due to a combination of Unfortunate Events (I was wondering the other day if my life story was written by Mr. Lemony Snicket; that would explain a lot . . . but in the end things turn out all right.

20150315-114228.jpg Since Mum doesn’t want more ‘stuff’, I usually give her a couple of lotto tickets. This year I was lucky to find a cute card to go with them. Inside, it said:

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Anyway, I’ve been going between my Aunty’s and my friends the Crafties. Since I plan ahead and take on small, simple projects (my nose is now longer than Pinocchio’s), I have been working on the CAL (Crochet-A-Long) project with Selma (Eclectic Home & Life) and her group. But, optimist that I am (on alternate Thursdays) I am making THREE blankets! That group is done (but my blankets are not) and now we are on to making a ripple stitch project; mine will be a pillow. But I digress . . . the blankets are the main reason for most of this pile:

20150315-160908.jpg What I take with me: 3 bags of yarn + projects, clothes and laundry (I don’t have a card for the machines here anymore), any food my Aunty won’t eat while I’m gone. The crafting stuff is the biggest deal, though.

20150315-161541.jpg A book belonging to Mr. Crafty that is now on my Want List; very well written.

20150315-161856.jpg Guess who?

20150315-162009.jpg Meet Herbert, snuggling in Mrs. Crafty’s hands. You can’t tell yet, but he’s a Ringnecked Dove. There are two cages of doves in the basement; I loved waking to their soft cooing as they were fed early each morning. Good memories; my sons’ Dad raises a variety of pigeons and doves which end up all over the world.
So . . . about that crafting stuff . . .

20150315-163635.jpg here are the three blankets side by side on the couch, which is over six feet long.
I haven’t begun the ripple pillow yet, but . . .

20150315-163844.jpg Ms. Selma can be most seductive. The pattern is here (scroll down; it’s below one of the bunny photos) and excellent instructions for the Magic Ring are here. These bunnies take only a few minutes to make and are SO cute! This one will adorn the most recent project of all . . . (I can hear you, you know!)

20150315-165009.jpg When my RN sister was here, she brought some yarn for our Aunty to use to knit a tuque for my sister’s first grandson. Unfortunately, Aunty hasn’t been able to knit for the past couple of years, partly due to diminished eyesight, so I volunteered . . . since my pattern books are ‘somewhere’, I am inventing my own pattern. Surprised? Thought you would be . . . 😉
I am going to use the bunny because, to misquote Ol’ Blue Eyes, “you’re no bunny ’til some bunny loves you”.
BTW, if you have too much time on your hands (Narfie!), Selma’s got links to patterns for a variety of Easter bunnies, also knitted Easter baubles, and ALSO the recipes for the treats she makes each week for the CAL class. Sadly, no treats for me and no convivial times with fellow crafters/learners . . . but I’m still having fun!

You may hear from me again before Easter, but in case not, know that you are each in my thoughts and prayers and that I wish you and your families the loveliest of holidays.

Always remember, ‘some bunny’ loves you all and you are each ‘some bunny’ to me ❤

Thanks for all the comments and support. I'm still planning to reply.

Did you wonder where they went?

Well, after rwo weeks of silence, now you get two posts!

I’ve had less than three hours sleep but am restless (my knee, not an intended pun 😉 ), so have been on my phone. And guess what?

I checked Facebook and found that the other Grandmother, D, got over to SSIsland on Saturday . . .

Here’s my oldest granddaughter, T, now growing towards 16! She’s a beauty, like her Mother . . .

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and here’s the newest granddaughter, S, born just last September.

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Apoarently more photos will follow . . . and I’ll share . . .