Three Things / Thankful on Thursday

Thankful on Thursday

I have been sitting here and contemplating what to write about tonight. There are things in the works that I’m not ready to share yet and things I planned and haven’t been able to begin. Still, there is much to be grateful for.

One: I am grateful for the skills that my mother started me on when I was a wee child; hand-stitching from the age of two or so, for one. Knitting and crochet and embroidery for more. I feel so deeply happy when I knit and crochet; I feel connected to such a long line of women in my family who all did the same, either to keep their family warm and cosy or to be creative or, in most cases, both. Last winter i crocheted an enormous throw for my friends in Tacoma. Out of cotton yarn. It began as an idea for a light (ha!) summer wrap, something to keep  one’s back warm when sitting by an evening campfire. And it morphed into this:

crochet spread teal white mango 01

I used two yarns; one teal and the other a variegate with teal, mandarin orange and white. I started in the centre, crocheted once around, then joined the second yarn. I just kept alternating yarns in a lovely spiral. I changed the pattern a couple of times, too, but now I wish I’d written down what I did. I would like to try this again one day, but with three yarn colours. I did find at first that the variegate interfered with the clarity of the pattern. Next time I will choose solid colours only. AS you can see, it’s five feet across or more. I’m still amazed that I created this in about two months, in the midst of other handwork and with only two to four hours a day, some days not at all, too.

The second thing I’m grateful for is my renewed love of sock making.  When I was in my twenties, my lovely mother in law gave me a pair of work boots for Christmas. I was living with my oldest son and his dad on one of the Gulf Islands and we walked everywhere. They were wonderful boots that fit me exactly and I have never forgotten her thoughtfulness. But I needed some warm socks to go with them. I didn’t than have the patience for knitting with fin yarns and I had some pure wool rug yarn, so I took a men’s dress sock pattern and did the math. The resulting pattern was a perfect fit and I had those socks for many years.

A few weeks ago my cousin and I were driving to Vernon for some of the weekly sales shopping and he kindly took me to Armstrong along the way. Armstrong is a small town about twenty minutes from here, not far off the main highway. We went to The Twisted Purl Yarn Studio and I bought some Jamieson & Smith pure wool two ply jumper yarn in five colours: black, burgundy, red, pink and a sort of sage green. I had not stopped to think what I might make, so gave the colour selection less thought than usual,; the selection was small for my taste and I simply picked colours that I thought I could use successfully in Fair Isle type stranded knitting. A few days later I decided I needed a pair of wool socks and the adventure began. The colours aren’t quite what I like, but I think they are working out fairly well. In any case, they will keep my feet toasty warm.

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AS you can see, I’ve successfully turned the heel and am about to begin knitting my way up the leg. The other sock is ready to have its heel created, too. There are a few errors in the knitting; While doing the hearts motif I was listening to Runrig on my headphones and lost track of the counting, so some of the hearts aren’t quite right. By the time I noticed it was too late for frogging. And while doing the heel, the pattern required using short rows with a wrapped stitch at the beginning and then picking up the wrap with the stitch and knitting or purling them together. Sounds easy, right? Well, try doing that with black yarn in the late evening and under rather dim lighting. Not to mention that my eyesight is not too good at present. However, I got through rather well, I think and the heel looks fine to me.

Today, with snow coming tonight for the firs time this autumn, we went to Vernon again so that I could buy a pair of thick work socks, some heavy work gloves for shovelling snow and the like and some more candied ginger. My cousin is a very kind man and made time to take me to the Twisted Purl again, where I put in an order for a few colours I feel I need before I begin the next pair of socks and another ball of the black for this pair. The Purl was out of the black but ready to make another order, so I asked for not only the black but also a medium green, a slightly golden yellow and I think another colour. And as long as I was in the store . . . I bought these:

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Two balls of dark green, one of a light blue, one of  a darker blue and one each of the three reds I’m already using in the current socks. We were in a bit of a rush to get all the shopping done and get home before dark, so I didn’t want to take time over the colours and order more. I think I can make these work, though. I have a happy pattern in mind for the legs of the next pair and I’ll share that with you all once I get to that. It’s all part of the plan for next year . . .

The third thing I’m grateful for today is my odd knack for baking ‘on the fly’; adapting recipes that I’ve never made before I make them and then having it all work out so well. Usually, anyway. Yesterday my cousin’s wife, Cousin S, gave me five bananas she had brought home from her work as a school custodian. They had black spots on the skins but were still firm. She mentioned that she had been thinking of banana bread and had Googled for a recipe, finding one for Chocolate Banana Bread. I offered to whip that up, as she rarely has time for baking and after lunch I set to. I added chopped walnuts, whole wheat flour and wheat germ to the original recipe (I like to maximize nutrition as much as possible). I doubled the recipe so that I could use all the bananas and when I found the batter a bit dry I added some yoghurt. In the end, we got twenty four muffins out of the recipe. I chose to do muffins instead of a loaf as it makes it easier to pack one for lunch and, wrapped individually, they keep very well in the fridge. They turned out scrumptious, especially hot from the oven with butter after I split them open. The chocolate chips didn’t hurt, either; they formed wee volcanoes of deliciousness that I’m sure you can imagine.

I will share the recipe here, likely tomorrow. It was very easy and well worth it.


Chocolate Banana Muffins 

INGREDIENTS for a single recipe: makes 12 muffins or one loaf.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4  cup wheat germ

1/2 cup cocoa, preferably not processed with alkali

1 tsp baking soda rounded slightly

1/2 tsp salt (less if you like) The original recipe called for sea salt, but we don’t have that, so I used regular table salt.

3 large brown bananas – 1.5 cups mashed

(I find there is a more pleasant and mild banana flavour if the bananas aren’t too ripe, but I abhor waste, so use whatever you have)  🙂

1/4 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/4 cup oil (I used safflower)

Note: you can use all butter, all oil or cut it back and substitute yoghurt or milk for part of the liquid.

3/4 cup packed brown sugar (if you measure the oil and butter first, then the brown sugar in the same cup, you will waste less oil/butter). This will work with less sugar.

1 large egg at room temperature (I didn’t see this recipe in time to take one out, so I used a cold egg. You could use 2 smaller eggs if you don’t have large.)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 to 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 to 1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 to 1 cup raisins (large are great and for special occasions, you can soak them in rum or brandy first; the alcohol is eliminated during baking, leaving only the flavour)

Optional for topping: chop some chocolate chips and walnuts together. You would need a few tablespoons of the chopped mix.

Optional (if needed): plain or vanilla yoghurt OR milk

INGREDIENTS for a double recipe: makes 24 muffins or two loaves.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2  cup wheat germ

1 cup cocoa, preferably not processed with alkali. I used a couple of heaping tablespoons more; we like chocolate around here.

2 tsp baking soda rounded slightly

1 tsp salt (less if you like) The original recipe called for sea salt, but we don’t have that, so I used regular table salt.

5 – 6 large brown bananas – 3 cups mashed. I confess I didn’t measure them. Hence the yoghurt added at the end.

(I find there is a more pleasant and mild banana flavour if the bananas aren’t too ripe, but I abhor waste, so use whatever you have)  🙂

1/2 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/2 cup oil (I used safflower)

Note: you can use all butter, all oil or cut it back and substitute yoghurt or milk for part of the liquid.

1.5 cups packed brown sugar (if you measure the oil and butter first, then the brown sugar in the same cup, you will waste less oil/butter) This will work with less sugar.

2 large eggs at room temperature (I didn’t see this recipe in time to take them out, so I used cold eggs. You could use 3 – 4 smaller eggs if you don’t have large.)

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 to 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 to 2  cups chopped walnuts

1 to 2 cups raisins (large are great and for special occasions, you can soak them in rum or brandy first; the alcohol is eliminated during baking, leaving only the flavour). I didn’t use raisins this time; cousin M has requested them for next timre, as he loves the large raisins we buy.

Optional for topping: chop some chocolate chips and walnuts together. You would need a few tablespoons of the chopped mix.

Optional (if needed): plain or vanilla yoghurt OR milk

Variation: I think these would be wonderful made with chocolate chips and chopped candied ginger, too. But I love candied ginger! lol

METHOD:

Heat oven to 350 F

Grease one or two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans or one or two 12 hole muffin pans, I use a non-hydrogenated margarine made with olive oil. Safflower oil would likely work, too. I like the margarine because it isn’t absorbed so much by the muffins / loaves.

In a medium sized bowl mix the flours, wheat germ, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl mash the peeled bananas with a fork or a pastry cutter.Add the butter and oil. Stir until well mixed.stir in the brown sugar, egg and vanilla extract. Beat well with a wooden spoon until smooth.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, folding in carefully. I usually add the dry mix in three portions; it makes the folding in easier. Don’t overmix.

IF the mixture seems too dry, add a few heaping tblsp of plain or vanilla yoghurt. Milk can also be used. Use your judgement; less is more sometimes.

Fold in the chocolate chips, walnuts and raisins.

Using a large serving spoon or a tablespoon (a small metal measuring cup would also work, I think), spoon the batter into the muffin cups or the loaf pans.

Optional: Spoon a little of the topping mix onto each muffin or top the loaves with it, if using. I didn’t and they were fine without it. It’s my idea, not from the original recipe; I just thought it would fancy them up for a special occasion.

If making a loaf, the original recipe calls for baking it for 50 – 65 minutes. I’d test them from about 30 minutes on, using a toothpick or table knife. When it comes out clean, remove from the oven, let cool for 5 – 10 minutes, then remove to a rack.

If making muffins, bake for about 15 – 20 minutes and then test to see if they need more time. Every oven is different. I had mine in a 400 F oven for 25 minutes and it was a wee bit too long; the chocolate didn’t burn, but it would have if I’d not checked them.

These muffins are fantastic eaten hot, split open and buttered. You may want to make tea, coffee or your favourite hot drink to enjoy along with them.


I have more to tell you, but it will have to wait. It’s well after midnight now and bed is calling me . . .

Correction:

I didn’t link to The Twisted Yarn’s Three Things on Thursday post. And a good thing, too! I was doing my best to get back to more timely posting and typed that from memory. Actually, the Thankful on Thursday posts belong to Mrs. Snail. My apologies to both ladies.

It’s too dark for me to type properly as it is. I’ll add that tomorrow, too. In the meantime, do share your Three Things / Thankful in the comments, if you feel inspired to do so. Love and warm hugs to each of you. I hope you are all doing well.

A final addition: This is what I woke up to today:

And, as to my Peace Poppies for Kendal; they arrived in time. In this photo you can see two of them quite clearly (the ones with the red bit around their black centre):

The second photo shows the WWI medical tent over which the poppies were draped after being fastened together by some wonderful volunteers.

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Update on the Poppies

Good evening, my friends! Much has been going on here, what with Canadian Thanksgiving and all that. But I have managed to complete eleven poppies and will be airmailing them to Kendal tomorrow (see my last post for more details); fingers crossed that they arrive in time for the display! These are for the display planned by the group called Kendal Wool Gathering, to commemorate WWI anniversaries. They have a facebook page, if you are interested. It’s a bit late now to be making poppies for them (due date for arrival in Kendal is 30th of October) but you may wish to make a few poppies for your own community. Any poppies sent to Kendal with pins on the back are being sold as brooches to raise money for the Royal British Legion. I suggest we all think a bout making some for next year, when we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ending of the First World War. I am hoping our Women’s Institute will have some events planned, but have not contacted them yet to find out.

11 poppies lg

I made eleven because, as I’m sure you know, the Armistice was signed at 11.00 am on the 11th day of the 11th month.

There is some symbolism in these for me personally, too, as there were my parents and nine children in our family; the three red poppies are for my Dad and his brother and one of Mum’s brothers, all of whom served in WWII. The group as a whole is to honour the man I worked for in the late 1980s, Mr. Brown; he served during WWI, but was stationed in the Caribbean Sea in case of attack. He saw no action, fortunately. However, his brother was one of the 3,598 Canadians who died at Vimy Ridge between the ninth and the twelfth of April, 1917.

If I have time, I want to make a poppy scarf using mostly the white Peace Poppies and a few red traditional poppies. If not this year, then next year for sure, which will mark 100 years since the end of WWI.

I have permission to link to the pattern for these poppies. The designer is Emma Leith, of Emma Leith Atelier, who has been more than kind in taking time to respond to my emails. That link will take you to her site and to the poppy pattern that she designed and offers for free.

With her permission, I have adapted that pattern to make my own Peace Poppies. Remember that they are white with a black centre? I tried that, but it looked like this:

White Peace Poppy

I felt it needed something, so I tried this:

Peace Poppy 01

I like this one much better. I still used Emma’s pattern, but I used white for the last two rows, leaving the second row red. For me, this honours those who shed their blood, or at lest offered to do so, while still holding to the thought of Peace on this earth in our time. I haven’t written up my version for Ravelry yet, but I will do so. It will be linked to Emma’s pattern and will also be free.

Oh, one other change I made and it’s certainly optional for anyone else: I used Judy’s Magic Cast On. It gives the option of a tighter centre, but also means that the petals can become a bit more ruffled. In part, for me, that may be due to my using a rather ‘hard’ acrylic yarn. With a softer yarn, the result may be quite different.

Well, my friends, I’m going to keep this short. I’ve been up to rather a lot lately, which is why you haven;t heard from me as often as I’d hoped. Lots of creating going on here and more about to begin! Not to mention that, in honour of ‘Anticipation 301’ I’m giving advance notice of a HUGE PROJECT in the works for next year. Hints to come and then the Great Reveal!! I’m so excited! It’s lovely to be happy and excited again; it seems as though it’s been forever.

before I go, though, one last thing. I know that some of you have been facing great challenges in one form or another. You are all in my thoughts and prayers; in particular anyone near the horrific fires in California. I still haven’t unpacked my ‘go-bag’ from our fires here. I know how so many must be feeling, living with the uncertainty. I can only imagine how it is for those who have lost their homes or, worse, family members. I wish you strength and courage for the coming days and months.

I have been saddened by the Las Vegas shootings, too, and I hope none of you have been directly affected. One of my daughters-in-law had a business trip scheduled for Vegas two days after the shooting, but in the end was unable to go. In light of all the challenges out there, including the political facings-off, with Tom Petty’s death, I was reminded of one of my favourite songs that he did (the background to this song is on YouTube under the video and well worth reading):

Good night, dear friends. I shall attempt to respond to comments before too long. (But I do have a couple more posts to write, so those may come first). Warm hugs from rapidly-cooling BC.

Poppy Project/s

I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, “Mother, what was war?” ~Eve Merriam.

Hello, my friends! Now (as of today) it’s officially autumn. Attention is shifting from gardening, harvesting and ‘putting by’ to crafting.  At least mine is . . .

Yesterday I saw a post on fb about the Kendal Poppies project to honour those who served in WWI. Apparently similar projects are happening in other towns, too.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/KendalPoppies/

If you don;t do facebook, you can read about it here:

http://www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk/news/15530088.Poppy_pop_up_art_installation_to_be_created_for_Kendal_Wool_Gathering/

Sara Last, who is mentioned in the article, has created a group on fb for anyone interested in taking part.

I have made two poppies already today:my first two poppies

Luckily, I had bought some red and black yarn yesterday (inexpensive acrylic) for making some Christmas items I hope to sell. After reading about the meaning of the different coloured poppies, I went back today and picked up a skein of white, too. Inspired by Mother Teresa, I am no longer anti-war; I am pro-peace, so most of my poppies will be white. with a black centre; I plan to try out a black centre, narrow red band surrounding that, then white petals. To learn more about the various colours, go to

http://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-england-37798965/red-white-purple-black-choosing-a-remembrance-day-poppy

I am using a pattern that was posted to the group and have asked the designer for permission to post it here. I’m sure she won’t mind, but am waiting for confirmation.

If any of you knitters and crocheters out there would like to take part, your contributions will be most welcome. They are hoping to cover a WWI medical tent by spreading camouflage netting over it and attaching the poppies to that.  The initial display will be on 20 October, I think, so that gives us time, especially for those of us who don’t live in England. The poppies will be used for Remembrance Day, too, (and I think some may be sold), then donated to Wonderwool Wales for their curtain.

http://www.wonderwoolwales.co.uk/show-events/curtain-of-poppies.html

There are patterns for both knitted and crocheted poppies in the group, so likely online, too. If you don’t do either, but want to take part, they will accept other forms of crafted poppies. Felt, woven, stitched, etc.

Well, back to crochet for me! I’ll update this post later with my creations.

Oh, one more thing: I am contacting a local yarn shop or two and the local Women’s Institute (Mum was a member for years and I was, too, but not for as long) to see if anything is planned here that I might contribute to. You might want to do the same where you are. Love and Light to each of you. I wish you all Inner Peace. ~ Linne

 

Getting back on the horse . . .

Well, my friends, it’s time . . . to get back to regular posting, I mean, as I finally caught up with your kind and thoughtful comments!  I wonder if others find it hard to know where to begin, too? I’ve been thinking about what I want to share and so on, then decided I would simply upload images from my time in Tacoma (part One), then add notes and probably some of my thoughts along the way. I hope that works for all of us.

I took literally thousands of photos after I left Edmonton late last September, so there were plenty to choose from.  I think I will write above the photos (just so you know what I’m going on about . . .).

This is a long post, so don’t worry if you can’t get through it all, and don’t feel obliged to comment on all, or any, of it. I totally understand about that.

Here is a photo from my friends’ back porch in Langford, BC, where I stayed while waiting to get new ID suitable for entering the USA. That took longer than I’d imagined, partly due to the fact that I had only my birth certificates with me; all else is in storage ‘somewhere’. Anyway, the autumn colours were lovely and I especially liked this view through the latticing.

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We kept busy, ,y friends and I, as I waited. One trip we took was to a small country market and I couldn’t resist taking this photo of the pumpkin / squash display. I have a painting planned, based on this sumptuous collection of colours and shapes.IMG_5599

Once I arrived in the wee Varda (travel trailer; I like the original gypsy word, VArdo, but liked to think of Varda as a feminine form), I adjusted my diet to fit my food prep options. I have never cooked in a microwave, but really didn’t want to have the propane hooked up, so I quickly learned to make simple and delicious meals. More about that in a separate post, I think. Below is the glass dish I used for cooking everything from morning oatmeal to pasta and veggies.IMG_5710

It wasn’t long before I got back into crochet and knitting. More on that later, but I couldn’t resist sharing this cute photo. So true, isn’t it?

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I had fun taking photos in the Varda, too. Some of my oranges were especially interesting in shape and I liked the composition of this one sitting on my unmade bed one morning.

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My friends have a lovely upright piano that belonged to Mr. R’s mother. They loanded me a book for adult learners and I had a lot of fun any time they were both out, just noodling around and working my way almost to the middle of the book. I used to attend all my younger son;s lessons (violin, viola, piano, etc.) and had always wanted to play myself. Music is very healing, at least for me. There is a wonderful book called “Music as the Bridge” that gave me a different outlook on the place of music in the world and in my life.IMG_5834

AS I think I’ve mentioned, <rs. R was not well for most of the first month that I was there. Once she was feeling better, we had some fun making Christmas gifts for her grandchildren. Each received a fleece blanket, which was made by putting two pieces of fleece back to back, cutting slits along the sides (we used masking tape so that the slits would be even in length), then knotting eacch pair of ‘tabs’.IMG_5949

This is the back of the blanket pictured above.IMG_5950

THEN, we got more serious about creativity. Before I went south, my friend J (Mrs. R) had asked me to teach her to knit and crochet again (she’d learned as a child, then not done any for some years). You may be appalled to know that I pretty much threw her in at the deep end when it came to the knitting. we decided that she would make a scarf for her husband for Christmas and chose patterns that reflected their individual heritages.

The scarf is made of Classic Wool on two sets of circular needles, so the pattern is always facing the knitter (easier for the knitter and making any errors simple to spot and correct.

In the end, though, J found the loose ends of the unused circular needle were too distracting for her, so I knit the pattern bits. She did most of the plain knitting, though. Here is the first end once the patterns were completed. The row counter is there mostly to mark the beginning of the raven pattern segment.IMG_5960

At the bottom is a row of Fair Isle hearts; J’s grandmother was from Oban and apparently liked to tease her husband about his being only a Lowlander.IMG_5962

Mr. R’s grandparents, like my maternal ones, came from Norway,, so we chose to include two ravens, one on each end of the scarf. They were considered to be Odin’s birds, Hugin and Munin (Thought and Memory), who flew all over the world each day, bringing back news to Odin. This pattern came from a book I had from the library a few years ago. The book is called Selbuvotter (Mittens/Gloves of Selbu); it has many lovely patterns for gloves and mitts traditional in Selbu, Norway.IMG_5963

The upper pattern band is also from the Fair Isle tradition. It has Os and Xs for Hugs and Kisses, with Crosses in between for blessings.IMG_5964

This is the ‘back’ side of the scarf.IMG_5965

J gave me two lovely rayon tops from Holy Clothing, a company selling ethically made clothing. This photo shows the embroidery around the neckline of my favourite piece.IMG_6089

In January, J drove up to victoria to visit her son and his family, so I went along and while I was in Langford again my friend L trimmed my hair. The longest parts were finally down to my waist, after many years of wanting it to all be that long, but it was looking quite ragged, so I bowed to necessity. I don’t care for it this short, but it looks neater, so that’s ok. Besides, it should grow in again. IMG_6102

WE left late in the afternoon, taking a ferry to Port Angeles, WA. These are poor photos of lovely views from the ferry; James Bay (Victoria) in the last light of the sun.IMG_6120

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reativity!  While in Tacoma, J and I began going to Hobby Lobby and Jo-Ann stores; occasionally to Michaels as well. To start her off with crochet, we had purchased a small ball of variegated khaki Sugar n Cream cotton yarn.  With an eye to the future and savings (ha!), and knowing that J loves turquoise and teal, I talked her into buying these two cones of cotton (also Sugar n Cream).

But then, one evening as I was sitting with her while she worked on a square dishcloth in the khaki, I asked if she’d mind if I started a ‘small’ piece using these two colours. You see, I’d had an idea . . . what if one was to create a circle using both colours in concentric spirals?  Of course she said yes and so it began . . . You can see the beginning below. I never wrote down what I did, so if you feel inspired to make your own version of this, ou will have to do as I did, make it up as  you go along. IMG_6246

After a while, I switched to treble (US double) crochet, with a chain in between, which you can see in the first photo. Then, for a change, I began working in the back stitches, creating a lovely ripple as if there were waves washing up along coral and white outcrops. The piece grew like Topsy and I bought two more cones and two more cones and one final cone of the turquoise. so, seven cones in all. At one point, I found myself creating interesting ‘petals’ in the variegated yarn, but they vanished in the next row. I remembered them, however, and re-created them as I came to the ends of the piece. By that time, it measured around seven feet across, I think. The final photo here is of the centre. I do have photos of the completed piece, but I’ll have to look for them.  spread out over a recliner chair, it covered it and hung down the back!  I’m rather proud of this piece. I think it’s the larges I’ve ever made; certainly it’s the most creative in terms of stitches and overall design. Not many things make me as happy as pure creativity, making things up as I go along. (although it doesn’t always work out so well, I have to admit). I’ll post the photos of the finished piece next time, assuming I can find the photos.

In the meantime, I am thinking of each one of you out there in the Virtual Village; those for whom things are going well and those facing a challenge or ten. Take care of yourselves, will you? I’ll be dropping by to visit soon.

And here’s my newest favourite album; it was the first recorded by Runrig, back when there were only four members. It’s not so much rock and, while it’s in Scottish Gaelic, I find it hauntingly beautiful. I find myself hearing it in my dreams and often waking to it in the mornings. i hope you enjoy it at least half as much as I do.

Love and Light to each of you.  ~ 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.