Catching up a bit . . .

Well, after more than a year, I’m back! Much has happened during that time. I stayed with my cousins until early January 2020, then returned to Edmonton, AB, to stay with my youngest sister. The original plan was to get my last things from the container on my friends’ property and bring it all back to BC to live with the rest of my things (still in storage).

But then came the COVID-19 . . . unlike for many of you, life didn’t change much for me. I began going out only once a month, to shop for basic supplies, wearing a mask, of course. I was lucky that one of the ladies in my crochet group began making them, so I obtained some for me and some for my cousins and a friend of theirs. I never thought I’d see the day, but to me it’s worth it, just a small thing I can do to help others stay safe.

I began a blanket while at my sister’s; unusually for me, it’s black, grey and white. You may remember how much I love colour, but that’s what was available when I was shopping. I only went to the one store, so there weren’t many options. I completed the main body of the blanket, then bought more yarn so I would be sure to have enough to make a wide border. This time, there was a lovely red on offer, so it went home with me! I added a narrow stripe of red on both ends and then began on the border. I’ve not finished that yet, but soon . . . it’s just been too hot here (I returned to BC to my cousins’ in early July) – up to 98.6 F / 37 C on a couple of occasions.

More on the blanket in a bit . . .

When I returned to BC, I drove back with a friend from the crochet group and so was able to bring a few things with me. The rest went into a storage box at the U-Haul in Edmonton for now. And my friends who have been storing my things all this time have offered to store them for a while longer.

I stayed with my friend who brought me back for almost three weeks, just to be on the safe side, and continued wearing a mask when shopping and not doing much of that, either. When living in a ‘tinny home’ as it’s been called, one doesn’t need much; mainly food . . .

I’m living in the motorhome now, since 30 July (MH for now; still haven’t decided on a name for her), which is basically a tin can on wheels, so quite warm, let’s say, at present. And soon to be quite cold, too. The electrical system here won’t support heating on the scale I would need (the breakers blow), so I will be making other plans for the winter. There’s a good chance I’ll be house and pet sitting for at least a couple of months then, possibly more. The same place where I was self-isolating, so the animals know me and it’s truly a lovely home, with a fantastic view of the Enderby Cliffs.

Back to yarny things . . .

I ended up having enough yarn to make a second blanket, which I ought to be working on today. Well, actually, I should be finishing up that border on blanket number one, right?

The blanket uses three of the stitches I love from “Attic24”; Dahlia, Hydrangea and Sweet Pea. The arrangement is all mine.

I began this a couple of weeks ago, then the laptop began acting up after another ‘update’ . . . So, back again, this time typing one-fingered on a tablet. <sigh>

Tomorrow I’ll see if I can add some photos; then I can post this.

Hope you are all doing ok out there and maybe getting stuck into some hobby or other.

Since writing the above, I have almost finished a scarf for the coming winter. I used one skein for each half; last step is to join them with Kitchener Stitch. Once I find my yarn needles . . .

Here’s a photo of the halves:

I’m not fond of artificial fibres, due to their impact on our waterways and the oceans. I really have to get myself a Guppy Friend laundry bag.

The scarf is a simple design (my own) and is over 15″ wide. It will look nice with the new winter jacket and snowpants, both black. The yarn is Lion Brand ‘Scarfie’ and super-soft and snuggly. It’s 20% wool, which I love. I have a third skein and will make a matching touque and possibly a pair of mitts, too.

You know, I like the yarn so much, I’m thinking of making myself a cardi. That would be in the dark green / black mix, though.

On other fronts . . .

Hello, my friends! I am sorry I’ve been so neglectful, but life has been full and happy since I last posted. And busy! I’ll be continuing to post about my creative endeavours and all the usual ‘random harvest’ of thoughts and events and activities.

However, I have finally gotten a travel blog up and running. I had great plans (aren’t plans easy? Compared to executing them . . .) and wanted to have two blogs for my travels, one for family and friends and another for my grandchildren and other young people who might be interested. It’s taken me a while to get used to the tablet, though, and to figure out how to handle getting my photos uploaded without doing so one at a time. The tablet’s storage space is small and the little external drive I bought, which worked well with the laptop at home, just won’t talk to the tablet! Grumpy-making, for sure. But I have settled for only uploading the photos I use in a post and not all the photos. Those I am backing up to a 64gig flash drive. These are memories I really don’t want to lose! Anyway . . .

The new travel blog, which has two contributors, Flora (a mini sheep) and Bestemor (me, because that’s what my grandchildren call me). Feel free to visit when you have time and see what I’ve been up to. I’ve only three posts up so far, but will be adding more as time allows. I’m dating in the titles so you will know when stuff was happening, as the posts are not going to be in sequence by time experienced.

If you are interested, go here:  Gypsies: Flora and Bestemor [Another Great Adventure]

I had a marvellous time in Alba (Scotland) and the wedding was perfect! I wore my Meg shawl, too, although it still doesn’t have the finishing touches added. I absolutely love it!

The wedding was in Edinburgh on 18 May and I was able to watch the Royal Wedding the following day on my tablet at the hostel. Posts about all my adventures in Scotland and since then in England will follow.

I have been busy knitting since I arrived (with a little help from wee Flora):

Remember the Clover Colours socks? Well, here they are today:

Yes, they are done (and the yarn ends neatly darned in, too; I refused to allow myself to wear them until that was taken care of. I’m doing my best to mend some of my errant ways). They are SO comfy and I simply love them! No turning back for me, now.

I am beyond grateful to Ms. Snail for her recommendation of using the smallest dpns (2 mm or size zero are what I used) to achieve a dense, cushiony fabric that will wear well and so require darning further into the future. I’ll let you know when I have to make the first mend, but don’t hold your breath . . . for one thing, I’m wearing my cotton socks to work in t stable or field and even around the house if the days are warm.

Because of her recommendation, and after seeing the lovely results (and comparing the socks with the Fair Isle style ones that are still on the needles, I made the drastic decision to do this . . .

. . . yes, on 11 June I frogged the whole sock (well, half a sock, really, as it was just past the heel). And then I picked up my new favourite dpns and . . .

. . . began again. And now, as you can see, both socks are nearly up to the beginning of the heel. I think I have another ten rows or so to knit. And I am on my way to creating a Sock Drawer of my very own.

Another project that I began some years ago began as one of my ‘make it up as you go along’ creations. I had read about a jumper that was begun at one sleeve cuff and knitted across horizontally to the other cuff, increasing and decreasing and leaving openings as one went along. Sounded like fun to me . . . But I was using the yarn I had and it proved to be a bit heavy, considering that I was also working a Fair Isle style design into the sleeve. So in the end I changed my goal and decided this would make an excellent, if unique, knitted bag. The straps are different, as the less decorative one (small upper picture) is meant to be worn next to the body, with the other strap (large picture) worn facing outward.

The spiral piece is crocheted and was created to fill the hole at the bottom of the bag, once the place for a hand to pass through. Yesterday and today I have been:

joining the circle to the opening, using a crochet hook and slipstitches. It’s worked out rather well, I think. When I created the spiral piece I worked alternately with the pink and blue, switching to only pink for the last two rounds. Those two rounds I did not use any increase stitches, so the spiral took on a very shallow basket shape and its ‘wall’ is what I joined to the cast-on row of the former sleeve. I have yet to work in the yarn ends and I still have to decide if I am going to use a button and loop to fasten the two straps together. And what sort of button. And what colour . . . oh, the decisions . . .

And in the meantime . . .

This is young Cassie, a yearling filly and a miniature Gypsy cob. She looks rather wild with her mane blowing about, but is gentle, yet spirited. She is in a field with an older mare, a Thoroughbred and I am lucky in that I am allowed to feed them every morning (I prepare the food in the evenings unless my friend Veronica has already done it. I also get to groom Cassie as well as the two Gypsy cobs and two rescue donkeys in the adjoining field. When I was twelve or thirteen I was as horse-crazy as any young girl and begged for a horse of my own. Not a practical thing for a large family. My parents were sure I would grow out of it. I wonder when that will happen . . .

I also put out cat food for the feral cat here and it has shown itself to me twice  before today.

There is a big adventure (for me, that is) planned for Monday (tomorrow) and I shall have photos and a story to share. When I put out feed for any animal I always make a distinctive sound so that they come to know me and become friendly. With the horses it’s a two-note low whistle. For the cat it’s more of a ps, ps, psss sound. Today it came just after I filled the dish and called it.  And it allowed me to come quite close before retreating to its den under a thick mass of tree branches and shrubbery. But I got a photo first . . .

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This is one of my favourite colourings for cats and I adore long-hairs . . . I hope I get to pet this one before I have to leave.

I’ll be back soon; there is so much more to share with you all. In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful week from Chota Farm:

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Oh, I forgot to mention . . . I’m on Instagram and have been posting a few photos there, if you are interested. Search for Another_Great_Adventure, ask to follow me and I shall grant you entrance! I had some odd people wanting to follow me, so have kept the account private for now. But any of you, my friends, are more than welcome.

It’s too late to search for music, sorry. Maybe next time.

Instagram: Another_Great_Adventure

Travel blog

The Dancing Goes On . . .

You’ll need a large cup of tea or whatever you fancy, and possibly something edible, too. This is rather long, even for me . . . my excuse is that I’m making up for the long gap between posts. But even if I posted regularly, I’m not sure I’d be much better at brevity.

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There was a lovely parcel in the mail for me on the 2nd of March and the photo above shows what was in it (along with a lovely note). Back before Christmas, Ms. Snail of The Snail of Happiness blog had a give-away to celebrate her 1000th post. I was one of the winners and this package contains my prize. And what a prize it is!

Of course, it arrived the day after my eye surgery, so it was a while before I could properly appreciate the contents. But I have had a quick browse through the cookbook “Free Food for Rats” (although I still haven’t found an explanation for the title, which I find both endearing and intriguing) and it is SO my sort of thing. Ms. Snail had no way of knowing that I have a small collection of cookbooks of very eclectic sorts and that this will be very treasured and used for the rest of my days. My cookbooks, of course (and 99.9% of my other books), are still in the storage units and likely to remain there for another year, but I am enjoying browsing through this one and planning future feasts. The author is a friend of the Snails and that adds to its appeal for me.

This is my first cookbook with seven recipes whose names begin with ‘X’; there are many Asian (from China, Malaysia & Indonesia) recipes here. Also some family recipes from Germany; along with recipes from France & Spain, Holland and Wales.

I love the anecdotes that accompany the recipes, sharing where the dish was first eaten, who made it for her, or other details that I yearn for, being a person who loves plenty of ‘background’ to anything and everything.

But when I read the recipe for ‘Kota Bharu Special’ and saw that the ingredients included “a large knob of butter,  2 handfuls of dessicated coconut and 1 handful of caster sugar”, I knew this would become one of my favourite cookbooks. This is cooking as my foremothers knew it, more art and less science lab and all the better for it in my opinion.

The other two books are equally special to me; for one thing, they are Mr. Snail’s first two novels, for another, the covers captivated me even before I opened them. On the back of the first book, “Batdig” (whose meaning and origins I have yet to discover) are these words:

Twelve People
Eleven yellow packages
One destination

AT 9.25, EVERYTHING CHANGES

The first twelve chapters introduce us to twelve characters, and each (I’m assuming, as I’m only up to person 3 so far) is given a mysterious package wrapped in yellow plastic and told to deliver it to a destination near St. Paul’s Cathedral at 9.25 am.  I like the cover design very much, as it resembles the yellow packages and includes silhouettes of the Cathedral.

By the time I’d read the first three pages, I was captivated. I’m not the easiest audience to captivate, either, as I’ve read thousands of books in my life and many of those were mysteries or mystery/thrillers. I wish I could read more quickly, but my near vision is not up to the task and I still haven’t located my glasses (well, to be honest, I haven’t put much time into searching; I’ve been busy with other things, as you will see shortly). I am reading two or three pages most days, though, and I have to say that I love Mr. Snail’s style very much. The characters I’ve met are quite real to me already and I’m very eager to discover what happens to them all once I’ve met the rest of the cast.

The second novel I haven’t begun, as I prefer to read an author’s works in the order they are published, as a rule, anyway. It is titled “Kirkenes Blue” and again I have no idea why (yet!). On the back it says:

In the polar night:
A Librarian afraid of the dark
A Policeman afraid of the light
A Hacker who collects kicksleds

Together, they can destroy the Web

Now I don’t know about you, but for me those are nearly irresistible words. Especially ‘kicksleds’ (I haven’t googled that yet). However I am resisting them until I am finished exploring “Batdig”.  I’ll let you know what I learn (well, some, anyway; I don’t like to spoil a good book for a potential reader) at some time in the future. Stay tuned . . .

i have continued to make progress with the first of the red pair of wool socks; it is now above the ankle and I have suspended work while I decide whether or not to add a design next and, if so, what exactly. I have some ideas, though. I am still not too happy with the shape of the toe, but that’s ok; I’ve only recently begun knitting socks again, after a hiatus of some decades. The other thing I’m not happy about are the stitches at the sides of the heel, where I was to pick up both a wrap and the stitch the wrap encircles at the same time. If you have never knitted socks with this technique, just ignore this paragraph. I’m not competent to explain the procedure adequately. I shall likely shape the second sock in the same way, just to keep them similar, and in any case, my feet will be warm and the offending bits should be safely out of sight in my shoes. 🙂

The shawl I plan to wear to the wedding on 18 May is coming right along and I am more than happy with it. But, as usual for me, I am not following the pattern to the letter. I decided that the shawl, for whatever reason, is a bit shorter than I’d thought it would be. So I have taken the second skein of wool and wound it into a ball and have been busy crocheting a second triangle, which will form the other half of the shawl once they are joined together. This way I can continue to increase until I gauge I have enough left to complete the border and the dangly bits. And I am toying with the idea of ordering a third skein, just in case I decide to make it longer than the yarn allows. I could use the leftover yarn to make a pair of fingerless gloves or a small hat or . . .

Our meals here continue to be simple and yet amazingly delicious. These photos are of the pizza we had for dinner several nights a couple of weeks ago. Cousin M and I helped with the veggie chopping and Cousin S put it all together after she made the crust. She is very precise in her work, as you can tell. And the results are lovely as well as tasty.

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We went to Vernon just over a week ago and I loved the sight of these frozen ‘waterfalls’ along the highway. We went again a few days ago and most of them are melted and gone.

These will likely be the last pictures of huge piles of snow, as temperatures have been above freezing in the daytimes and even here in our narrow valley, or whatever it should be called, it’s beginning to feel as though Spring is really on its way. I love the smell of the damp earth as it’s revealed to us again. And in spite of the amount of snow remaining (and it’s entirely possible we shall have more before it’s gone forever), I found myself itching to get out and plant things . . .

The willows are beginning to colour up and we have spotted pussywillows and catkins here and there, too. Spring, indeed! But not yet . . . You can see the puddles in the road just south of our place, and that’s not entirely a good sign. We had minimal flooding here last year, but the year before the car had to be parked out on the road and Cousin S couldn’t get to it for work until she had a new pair of wellies brought to her. a few days later, the water was so deep it was higher than the boots. The water came up to the top of the bottom step of the porch that year, partly thanks to a neighbour a few houses away. A renter, he had filled in the ditch outside his place a year or so earlier (flooding doesn’t happen every year and it never occurred to him that it might happen one day).

All the other residents along this part of the road put in larger culverts under their driveways, but this one owner refused, so when there is a lot of snow, the water backs up and floods properties ‘upstream’ from there. When it floods the road, the highway maintenance people come out and deal with it, but otherwise, it’s every person for themselves, apparently. We are hoping for a gradual melt this year, but are prepared to face whatever comes.

The bottom photo is of Mount Ida, taken on a sunny day from outside our grocery store at the Uptown location.

Cousin M got up on the roof and pushed most of the snow off. When I looked out mu window later, I thought the lumps resembled giant sugarcubes and took these photos to remind me later. They are about a foot and a half on each side.

Baked potato, salad and steak cubes one night, Quinoa, salad and the rest of the steak another night. I’m the only one who eats quinoa here, but I’m using up my supplies of ‘odd foods’ before I go away. Quinoa, brown basmati rice, oat flour (although I use that in my scones now and they are quite delicious, if I do say so myself). I think there is still soem buckwheat and the like to use up, too.

As I was wiping my runners off one day I noticed these lovely astilbe plants in the snow right beside the front porch and took a couple of photos. The silhouettes are so delicate against the snow, aren’t they?

On the second trip to Vernon the cousins were going to shop for a new computer and dropped me off at Fabricland to browse for a bit. I hadn’t been aware there was a rack of remnants quite near to the door, but this time it caught my eye. The pictures at the bottom right are of the first fabric that caught my eye; then I chose several others that co-ordinate quite nicely. And then I saw the black strip with the floral design . . . I have been thinking of what to do with it. I’m reluctant to cut it up and I’m thinking it may make an interesting scarf. I tied it around my neck to see if that might work. Of course, it wouldn’t be worn over the red and black lumberjack shirt . . . 🙂  Serger thread was on sale, so I purchased four spools of that, too. And then I spotted the knitting needles. Double-pointed sock needles in sets of five, my preference. And for only $4.00 CAD with 40% off at the till because I have a membership. Very nice and most irresistible . . . They are already in sue, too, as you will see shortly.

The larger picture above is of an old farmhouse that I love looking at when we go by. Just what I’d love to have (well, one of the types I’d love to have; I have rather eclectic tastes in houses, too). The smaller pictures are of the barn and the farmhouse that are now owned and lived in (the house, not the barn lol) by another cousin, the daughter of my Dad’s oldest brother. We lived across the road in a motel when I was seven and we had just moved up here from the coast. It belonged to another family then. Later, my uncle and aunt bought it and raised their daughter there. I worked for them one summer picking strawberries in the front field. The house has had a couple of rooms and a large porch added across the front, so it took me a while to recognize it when I first returned here. It just didn’t match my memories. In those days it was simple brown shingles outside, similar to the house in the larger picture.

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I have been doing a bunch of small tasks as I prepare for my trip; here you can see the rosemary and lavender that I grew in a large planter last summer. I had sage, too, but we needed sage for the Christmas turkey stuffing, so I offered it up . . . most years Cousin M simply digs some out from under the snow, but this year we’ve had more than usual of the white stuff. Back in late summer, I chopped a good handful of these three and infused them in a mixture of oils to create my own hair oil. I’ve used it on my hair a few times and am more than pleased with the results.

I apply a few teaspoons of the oil to my hair, then sit in a very hot tub for about an hour, after which I wash the oil out using the “No ‘Poo” method, which involves washing the hair with warm water and some baking soda, then rinsing with warm water and a bit of vinegar. This gives hair a lovely soft finish and a bit of shine, too. The oil is meant to give a bit of natural colour, but I haven’t used it enough to say if that works or not. I’m considering making a hair rinse with vinegar and water and some of the above herbs chopped finely into it. If I do, I’ll let you know how it works.

Progress on plans for the trip has been quite satisfying, too. I have now booked two nights in the Tartan Lodge Hostel in Glasgow for my first two nights in Scotland. This will give me a day in between to walk about and see the sights. One thing I really want to see, whether I can see inside it or not, is the Barrowland Ballroom. Some memorable concerts have taken place there, including a few with Runrig, and it’s possible that Cousin M’s Dad might have gone there while he was stationed in Scotland during the war. For the first part of his service he was in a forestry outfit and stationed on a great estate. I don’t remember the name just now, but will find out before I leave.

GLA Tartan Lodge Hostel 01

http://www.tartanlodge.co.uk/pictures.html

That’s the Tartan Lodge Hostel above and the Barrowland Ballroom below.

GLA Barrowland Ballroom 01

I’m including a video from December, 1989, when Runrig played here. At about 2 minutes in, you can see some historic footage of the original Barrowland Ballroom, full of people dancing. (there are some nice shots of the MacDonald brothers, too, runnning in one segment and further on working on a sheep farm along with a lovely Border Collie). There are some interviews with fans, too, including one girl from Germany who says she saw them 27 times, in four countries, that year.

I shall check out early on the 16th of May and catch a train to Edinburgh, about an hour and a half away. If the trains have been held up due to rain, which apparently happens at times, I will have to take a bus. The train would be more comfortable, I think, especially since I will have both a large suitcase and a backpack.

There is a lunch planned for the 16th for all the wedding guests who are coming from overseas and I’m looking forward to that, too. I know the bride’s parents and sister, as well as some of her friends, from when she and I worked together at Lewiscraft in Edmonton.

I shall be staying at the High Street Hostel in Edinburgh for six nights in all, so I shall have time to see a few sights. Apparently the hostel is walking distance from Edinburgh Castle, with Arthur’s Seat next to it, and a few other places of interest, including the statue of Greyfriars Bobby; I read about this faithful dog as a child and since, too, and it will be thrilling to see the statue for myself.

EDI High Street Hostel 01

http://www.highstreethostel.com/

The Royal wedding is on the day after my friends’ wedding, so I will not be in London for that, unfortunately. Still, I have been told that many of the pubs will show it on their tv sets and that there are likely to be street parties that evening. I shall see how rowdy it is, but I may venture out for a bit just to be part of the fun.

Remember I said I’d bought two more sets of sock needles? In size ‘0’, by the way, which is 2mm in size. I read in a post by Ms. Snail that if socks are knitted on smaller needles and also more tightly, they wear better and so won’t need darning as quickly. So here is what those two sets are doing now:

This is the latest in my sock creations and so far the ones I am happiest with. The yarn is Kroy sock yarn, so washable, and the colour is a variegate called “Clover Colours”. I fell in love with the colours back when I ordered the moss green wool for the shawl for the wedding.

The balls are very dis-similar in colour (as you may be able to see from the first photo), so it’s not possible to make a pair of matched socks, well, not exactly, anyway.  I found a way around that, though. What I have done is to pull the yarn from inside to begin one sock and use the yarn from the outside for the second. It’s working out even better than I’d hoped. I found a different pattern to work from, too, so I’m more pleased with the toes. In future, I shall begin with more stitches so as to have a more usual rounded toe instead of the point. I’d forgotten how addictive sock knitting can be; now I see that one day not far off I shall have my own ‘sock drawer’, full of handmade knitted socks.

I’ve saved the best news for last: I now have a ‘home base’ from which to make as many smaller journeys as I can manage. I will be staying with a friend of my friends in Tacoma. He owns property in Surrey, south of London. So I shall likely see more of the ‘Big Smoke’ than I expected, an added bonus.

I will be returning to Canada in late October or early November, not staying for a year or more as I had hoped. One of my incomes would be stopped if I were away over six months and I can’t manage at present without it, so I shall simply have to pack everything in that I possibly can before I have to come back. I find it rather ironic that I must live here even when there is currently a near-zero vacancy rate and what little is offered to rent now has sky-high prices. But that’s how it is, for now. So the long-term plans continue to morph and that’s fine with me.

There is more news about one planned trip, but I shall save that for another post. It’s getting late here and I have to be up early, as I’m having my right eye measured in the morning in preparation for the second surgery. I’m feeling quite positive about this one, as the one week exam showed that I have regained 90% of my sight in the left eye and in early May I shall have laser treatment to remove the remaining cloudiness. So in the end, I shall probably have sight better than I’ve had most of my life.

Now, let’s have a little music, shall we?

Faileas Air An Airigh sung by Rory MacDonald (and the rest of Runrig) with the Glasgow Islay Gaelic Choir. The title translates as “Shadow on the Sheiling”. A Sheiling is a rough hut or shelter used by those herding cattle or sheep in more remote pastures.
The lyrics translated into English:

There’s a shadow on the sheiling
A shadow on the sheiling
The ship is waiting at the head of the bay
Early on a May morning

The sun of our memory is rising
The sun of our memory is rising
Walking the streets of foreign countries
And the cities of another era

The evening is calm and the skies are warm
The sun is in the west, a great ball of gold
The ocean is like a mirror, blue without blemish
And great is my desire to be in Uist with you

We will lift up our voices
We will lift up our voices
Although I am now so far from you
We will never sever

And here are Runrig singing An Ubhal As Airde with the Bethany Choir in Harlem, NY, USA. The title means “The Highest Apple”. Runrig were in New York as part of a charitable concert after 9/11.

The Highest Apple
The garden is well stocked
With mighty trees
With fruit growing for the whole world
Ripe, sweet
And bitter apples
And the one apple
That is beyond reach

The winds will blow
And the sun will shine
From generation to generation
Through the trees of the garden
But the day and the hour
Will surely come
To take the highest apple
From the knowledge tree

Who amongst us
Can exist a single day
Beyond our own time and our own limits
Countless and futile
Are times I’ve climbed
To reach and taste
The forbidden fruit

The winds will blow
And the sun will shine
From generation to generation
Through the trees of the garden
But the day and the hour
Will surely come
To take the highest apple
From the knowledge tree

Last, something different.
One of my favourite violin pieces is this: Bach’s Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins
featuring Pinchas Zuckerman and Itzach Perlman, conducted by Daniel Barenboim
My youngest son played this with his closest friend and it brought tears to the eyes of many in the audience.

Have a wonderful week, everyone! Enjoy the good in the world and know that the rest will pass . . . I think of you all as I knit and first thing in the morning most days, too.

Happy Dances!

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Hello, my friends! I do hope February  is treating you well so far; not too cold (or hot) and all that. And I also hope you are finding consolation and joy in the indoor time, with  handcrafts to do and with cooking and baking keeping your home warm and cosy (and smelling delectable!). We’ve had all that and more; as you can see from the photo, there was a birthday here (not mine) and Cousin S and I made the birthday boy smile with our creative approach . . .

That’s certainly the case here, with the snow still coming and the snow-blower piling it up in great heaps.

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But I have been quite happy being indoors. Yesterday I finally !! finished darning in the yarn ends on the two tuques and then I handwashed and sort of blocked them. I say ‘sort of’ because the yarn is acrylic (I know!!) and doesn’t block well. But I think I worked out the larger part of the ‘ruffling’ at the crown. For now I have given up on finishing the matching scarf for my sister. I have run into or created challenge after challenge and what began as a rather fun thing is now more cumbersome than anything. I’ll finish it; just not sure when.

And so, finally! I have sent off the tuques to my sister, along with a birthday card and a wee gift. I didn’t take a photo of it, but I’ve shared that before here: it’s the dark green tea cosy I knitted when we were in Edmonton the summer of 2016.

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Knitted Tea Cosy

The cosy will cover our Aunty’s teapot, which I gave to my sister. We were both close to our Aunties and this sister has Aunty’s medium sized Brown Betty teapot.  Her birthday was in January, but I think she’ll enjoy receiving a package even when it’s a bit late.

I left the tuques unwrapped so she could see them herself and then wrap them, so I included some wrapping  paper and red yarn. They are a gift from both of us, after all.

I was on a bit of a high after getting the tuques done, so today I (also finally !!!)  finished the patterned end of the five foot long scarf I was completing for my friend in Tacoma. It was meant to be a Christmas present for her husband in 2016. Today I not only finished the pattern and end, I closed off the end with Kitchener stitch. You knitters will know what I mean. For the rest of you , Kitchener Stitch is a way of joining two pieces of ‘live’ knitting (i.e., still on the needles) by using a yarn needle and the tail end of the yarn to create a row of ‘knitting’ between them, making them seem to be one continuous piece of knitting. I have pictures to show how it looks: the top right photo shows the end of the scarf. I still have to  join the other end, the one where I began. It feels good to have the pattern section finished! My friend J knitted nearly all of the middle section and I did the patterns, so it’s been a joint project. When I put the scarf around my neck, it hangs down just past my waist on both sides, and I’m quite tall.

Saturday, 17 February

My, how the time has flown! I am still busy, but enjoying it, too. I have always been rather ‘all or nothing’ in some ways, which is probably not the best thing to be. Still . . . the two groups I am participating in on facebook have been very helpful in getting me back on track in regard to working on myself and changing my life. It might have been a bit crazy to volunteer to post the daily exercises for the first group, but I found it such a helpful focal point when someone else did it in January and I was hoping that ‘someone’ would do it for those of us who continued through February. And I’ve always said that if you think ‘someone’ should do something, the best place to find them is in the mirror . . . and then I signed up for this week’s sewing group . . . Well, that is a good thing, I think. But everything is taking longer than usual, with glare bothering my eyes  at times. And the worktable that I use is shared with the cousins. They are planning to replace the carpet in the addition with laminate flooring, so Cousin M has been packing up his lovely collections of antiques and family pieces in preparation. But he only needs the table at times, so I’ve been able to use it, too.I cut out two sets of pieces for the cute little Gnome jacket a couple of days ago, then realized that I had cut out the pieces for the outers, but not the lining pieces. The jacket can be reversible, but I have decided to make it one-way. I’m using cotton fabric for the outer and flannelette for the inner. Nice for a 3 month old, don’t you think? I shall have to make a 6 month size, too; I am expecting another grandchild in April and I doubt that a jacket will be used much before autumn. I won’t post photos that aren’t mine, so here is a link if you’d like to see some pictures of this cute Gnome Jacket.

Yesterday I printed out the pattern pages for the Shirtzie for myself and got them taped in the right sequence. PDF patterns are great, but they are taking me a bit to get used to! I am using patterns from Stitch Upon A Time and I’ve been buying them for a while but this is the first I’ve actually done anything with so far. I was going to make the Brazi with a long waist, but finally realized the Shirtzie would be similar, but with sleeves. I still haven’t decided which length I want. You can see photos of the Shirtzie if you click on the link.

I will be adapting the top, though. I don’t like having a contrasting band, so I will use the same material and extend the band downward to make a longer waist, similar to the yellow top of one of the dresses.  Then I can wear it with jeans as well as the skirt. I will have longer sleeves, too; it’s going to be cool for much of the time I’m away. The skirt will be as close to a circle skirt as I can manage with two metres of this fabric:

I have ordered some more stretch knit fabric from Purple Seamstress Fabrics in California. I think I told you another time about the ‘Fearless Dreamer’ fabric I bought from her with the co-ordinating Jade solid for the outer layer.

fearless dreamer fabric

Fearless Dreamer fabric!

Mel is wonderful and I love the service! I ordered the Evergreen colour this time, as I need something that will work with the floral that is destined to become a circle skirt or as close to that as I can manage. I wanted it too set off the Meg shawl as well. And I ordered some power mesh; it will make the top more flattering for someone my age. Mel lets customers start a ‘pile’ and will hold it for up to two weeks, which gives one time to add a little something else. Now who would do that?  🙂

Getting ready to cut out the Gnome pieces, I pulled all the cotton pieces out of the closet and was surprised (I’m not sure why; this is nothing new for me, trust me!) to see what  a large pile of fabrics I’d amassed since I returned here last May. I was planning to make some dolls, but circumstances and working conditions weren’t easy to fit together and I tend to be easily discouraged by some things. Or I used to be; not so much these days!

The top left corner picture is the newest, flannelette, fabrics; the photo in the bottom right corner is the older fabrics, some of which I bought in Tacoma, but most of which I accumulated here. I think there are still some dolls in my future . . . and several Gnomes.

I’m in a bit of a hurry to get the first two Gnomes stitched up, but the skirt and top can wait a bit; I have finally gotten a date for the surgery on my left eye (to remove the cataract) and it’s set for 01 March. Less than two weeks away now! I’m not happy about having to have a fixed lens, but the ophthalmologist doesn’t recommend the new flexible ones and besides, they cost over a thousand dollars at present. So I shall see how my vision is after the surgery and may opt to put off surgery on the right eye. I’ve been using some alternative treatments, but the left eye cataract is the hardest the doctor had ever seen, he said, so maybe I should have begun some time ago. But it wasn’t possible earlier. Still, it isn’t the end of the world.

Today I cut out the inner parts for the two Gnomes and it took me about two hours. I’m slow with the new rotary cutter, but I can tell I’m getting more comfortable with it all the time. The thought of cutting into the knit fabrics is still a bit daunting, but I can practise on the XXL Tshirts, so it should be all right in the end. (yes, I know . . . if it isn’t all right, then it isn’t the end . . . LOL)

Tomorrow (actually later today; it’s after midnight on the morning of the 17th) I shall pack up the tuques with a note about the patterns, the tea cosy I made for my sister to use on our Aunty in Edmonton’s teapot. I gave her the teapot because she drinks tea and I more often drink coffee, and I have the antique coffeepot that belonged to Aunty as well. We both loved her and I thought my sister should have the pot. I was making the cosy for fun for myself and I offered to make my sister one in blue, her (and Aunty’s) favourite colour (this one is dark green, a favourite for our Mum and myself), but she liked the green one, so it will be on its way, too. And a birthday card; she had her birthday toward the end of January.

gold-500

Now, in the midst of all this finishing up of old projects and beginning of new ones, you are probably wondering what has happened to the ornaments project for the winners on my 500th blog post contest? Quite understandable, really. Well, I have to tell you, I have begun and scrapped three sets of ideas and now have settled on the PERFECT one! It’s based on an idea that’s been percolating  around in my brain for a couple of years, just waiting to be brought forth into the world. I think you will like it when you see it. I have not bought anything new for this; it’s a scrap-happy project, which I love.

I am not going to post this just now. For one thing, I haven’t added pictures and I have plenty to add! For another, it takes me  time to find the right music and I do love to do that. And, lastly, I want to get to bed and get up early tomorrow. I had begun getting up at 6.30 am because I am back to my morning routine after quite a long time of hit and miss practise; mostly ‘miss’ and occasionally ‘hit’. I did well with the new programme for a while, then one night was up too late, up in the night for long periods, then slept in. That took me right back to where I had been for so long. But the early stages of learning to walk is mostly composed of falling down, so no worries; I’m simply resolved to succeed and will be out of bed early again tomorrow morning. I keep reminding myself that in less than three months I will be getting up just after midnight here, because Scotland is eight hours ahead of us. So. back on all of my various wagons . . .

Gypsy 002

Especially this one! LOL

23 February 2018

Sorry this has taken me so long; life continues to be a bit busy.

Updates:

I tried stitching the Gnomes, but have not succeeded yet.  Cousin S’ machine has several new features (to me) and I needed help getting the bobbins threaded and then the needle. Then the thread pulled out of the needle three times and I needed her to thread it for me each time. Quite frustrating for someone who is used to doing for herself and for others.  So I’m planning to pick up my glasses from the Vernon storage next time we go. Tomorrow if weather permits, but it’s been snowing even more and that may continue through the weekend. below you can see the gradual buildup of snow on the porch roof just outside my bedroom window. The first photo was taken last November, the last one this morning.

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In the meantime, though, I have continued to get pieces ready for the ‘500’ prizes; assembly may have to wait until after the surgery a week from today. I’m hoping that seeing things like sewing machine needles will be easier then.

However, I have two more pieces of news:

I have finally begun the Meg shawl! Here are images of the first skein after I opened it up, the label, the first ball of yarn wound, then the shawl in its various stages to date. I added two close-ups, as the colour in my photos isn’t true. The darker colour is more what it looks like in real life; the lighter shows off the stitches a bit more. I did have to frog it back a few times, until I got the hang of it. Counting the DTRs  (UK terms) accurately has made a great deal of difference, of course.

LOL I am loving this pattern SO much! The finished shawl is meant to be about 9.5 feet from end to end. I am a quarter of the way now and it’s measuring 18 inches, which means it will come to 6 feet. Possibly due to the fact that I am using a smaller hook than called for; I crochet fairly loosely and it looks better now. Still, there is a border and I expect the shawl will stretch a bit. I’m considering ordering another skein and using the leftover yarn to make a matching tuque or maybe fingerless gloves.

And now, a news flash: my wonderful package has arrived!

There is a story behind this package . . . I ordered some yarn back at the end of October. I had planned to enter a contest for a crocheted square based on a faerytale of my choice. I knew just the one and spent some time selecting colours I thought would work. I placed my order. Then I went back to look at the contest rules and realized I’d missed an essential step: the colour range was given! And not many I had ordered were in that range. Oh, well . . . I decided to go ahead and simply design my own entire blanket, documenting each step so that, if it turned out as planned, I might offer the pattern for sale.

But the package took a very long time to arrive . . . no worries, though. I hadn’t asked for it to be sent Express Post or any other expensive route and I’m patient as a rule, AND I did have a few other things to do in the meantime. but by January I began to wonder . . . so I emailed Wool Warehouse and enquired as to when I might expect my order. They were very glad to hear from me as they’d had a computer glitch that resulted in some orders’ payment being accepted, but the orders themselves not finding their way to the warehouse. Hence they were not picked and mailed. I worked as Promotions Manager for a warehouse back in the day, so I understood very well. Unfortunately, they were out of one of the colours so I opted to wait until they could send the entire order. As I said, I had other things to do in the meantime.

Cousin M brought it home and, without telling me, simply put it on the dinig table where I sit at meals. What a wonderful surprise! I was so excited to see what was inside; choosing colours is most important to me and choosing from a laptop screen isn’t as satisfactory to me as choosing something I can see and hold in my hand. But I trusted Lucy of Attic24’s recommendation of the yarn itself and I ordered a colour chart for future reference as well. This link is not to Lucy’s latest blanket, whose CAL just finished, but to a previous blanket, which I am completely in love with. Scroll down about 2/3 of the way to see the finished blanket with its borders. It’s the colourwash effect that has captured my hooky heart forever!

Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I do have to confess that this yarn is acrylic.  I am not a fan of plastics; quite the opposite, in fact, and I am slowly switching over to natural fibres only. But this much wool is not in my budget at present. So in my tutorial I shall include information about the GuppyFriend bags that Ms. Snail has posted about. Here is her report after she tested the bags for herself.

I don’t have a Guppy friend yet and all my things except for items I’ve made using acrylic are natural fibres. But I shall have to buy one for the Faerytale Duet Blanket once I am ready to launder it.

If you have made it this far, I expect you are as curious as I was to see the contents of that bag.  There was the aforementioned Colour Card and a roll of the sweetest label tape, which I shall sew into everything I make from now on. I’ve included a picture of the handwritten note at the bottom of my invoice, too. I will certainly be sharing photos with the company!

Aren’t those colours inspiring? Want to know which ones I chose?

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I can hardly wait to begin this project, but wait I must . . . sigh . . .

And here’s the very best part (well, the yarn is the best, of course, but this . . .)

The yarn did NOT arrive packaged in a plastic bag, which is what I’d expected. No, it came in THIS:

. . . a gorgeous organza bag tied with ribbon that has the Wool Warehouse logo imprinted on it. I love the bag nearly as much as I love those colours! Ant the bag will go with me on my travels this year, holding my nightie and the like. So feminine!

I finlly took a photo of my suitcase, which was a gift from my friend J in Tacoma. She took it with her to England the last time they went and I feel it is quite excited about going on a trip with me next.

The first three photos are of the big suitcase; the last two are my backpack, which is carry-on size and has wheels and a pull handle. I’m hoping it’s within the allowable size to take with me. On econo flights one is not allowed the usual ‘personal’ item, so I am taking my Peacekeepers jacket and using its pockets for my food, etc.

And one last thing, as Columbo would say . . . last week I sent in my passport application! AND I was checking out Yarndale and saw that their tickets were finally available for purchase, so I have one of those, too. NOW I’m getting excited!!

Well, that’s it for Happy News today, my friends; I shall be back soon, I expect. I’m not sure how long after the surgery I will be permitted to use the computer; I do know that I shall have to spend a couple of days at least just resting. I have been lining up some things online that I can simply listen to without watching; some Abraham Hicks tapes, thank you, Marlene! and Downton Abbey on netflix) (again; lol!) I’m familiar enough with it that I can see it in my mind’s eye and happily follow along.

I wish for you all the very best of weekends and weather. It’s still snowing here . . .

Love and Light to each of you; you make my life so much richer! I’ll be over to visit soon, so do have the kettle on the hob, will you? And maybe a plate of bikkies . . .

And there MUST be music! Especially if you have survived this even-longer-than-usual post . . .

Sissel and Russell Watson with Bridge Over Troubled Waters from the 2002 concert

Sissel Kyrkjebo singing In Dreams

. . . which brought me to this: Roy Orbison and the Travelling Wilburys rehearsing “You Got It. A short clip bit cool, with Tom Petty’s commentary at the beginning and end. I hadn’t seen this before.

. . . and this: a short clip, also, this time of rehearsals for the Concert For George.

Eric Clapton, unplugged, with Change the World

I’ll leave you with part of Runrig’s Year of the Flood concert at Borlum Farm at Drumnadrochit,  Loch Ness on 18 August 2017, exactly 11 years to the day before the concert I will see.  But I expect sunshine and gentle breezes for this final gig.

Happy New Year, my friends!

For some of you I know the first day has come and gone and it’s business as usual again. but I am still up and it’s not yet midnight on the first, so I’m sort of still on time.

I hope you all had a good Christmas; it’s different for everyone and it’s different every year, but still . . .

IMG_5930Our tree, an artificial one, which the cousins bought two years ago after Spooky had moved in. A real tree would prove too much temptation, was the idea. This year the tree was not on the dining table, but next to the tv. It went up on Christmas morning and was put away at the end of Boxing Day, after Spooky had managed to get up and knock off one of the ornaments and was looking seriously like he wanted to climb the tree.

Below is a very poor shot of the table decoration cousin M made by putting a string of faery lights inside a huge ;brandy snifter’ made of  strawberry glass. It’s so lovely, but the photo doesn’t do it justice., really.IMG_5924

Our Christmas was good; quiet, but the usual feast. I found stockings at a dollar store and used them as ‘carriers’ for a couple of small gifts for the cousins (and myself), including a chocolate ‘orange’ in the toe.

And the cat instructed me to wrap and deliver three packages of nuts to ‘the staff’ as he likes to think of us.

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The Lord and Master of the House

We also had more of this between Christmas and New Year’s Eve:

And I received this as a sort of joke gift, but I really like it:

It’s an alarm clock with two features I need: (a) the sound changes every few seconds, becoming more and more insistent and (b) if set correctly, it will roll off the table and ‘run away’ if you don’t shut it off promptly . . . and ‘hide’. Of course I don’t use the ‘run away and hide’ option! I shot a couple of short videos of it ‘running’ but can’t share them here. Too bad. 🙂

I don’t know if anyone will remember when I was on a basket-making binge early in the summer, but I finally dug out the largest one; it’s meant to be a workbasket so I can take my projects with me in the car and not have the needles poking through the plastic (and the annoying rustle of plastic bags). Besides, I’m working away from using plastic whenever possible. Anyway, the large photo is of the basket body and the other two are the straps, which will cross over the centre of the bottom and be held in place by a third piece (not shown ’cause I forgot to take a photo). They will let me carry the bag slung over one shoulder.

I haven’t finished stitching on the handles yet, but am telling you to increase the ‘guilt factor’ I’m SO good at beginning things, not so good at the final steps.

And in the meantime, I had another “great idea” I thought I’d make some popcorn and cranberry strings, but quickly realized I didn’t have enough time and there was nowhere to hang them. So the idea morphed into just feeding the birds . . . with bird balls.  So I popped a LOT of popcorn, added both bags of cranberries and melted a pound of lard and poured it over the lot. Mixed it will by hand, then realized it wasn’t going to form nice tidy balls, so I packed it firmly into my spare yoghurt containers, with the string in the middle (see the photo of the strings). WE shall put them in a box on the back porch tomorrow to freeze, then decant them one at a time into a mesh bag to be hung in one of the trees. I only hope the birds like them, as cousin M is not enthralled with the idea. He has read up on bird feeding and has his own ways. I, on the other hand, leapt before I looked, as they say. Oh, well, as I say . . .

They do look rather pretty, though, don’t they? We have been feasting, too, did I mention that? I was too slow to get a photo of the bird and the side dishes. But I did take pictures of the baking . . .

The first three pictures are the shortbread I made on the 31st. I had another bright idea, this one a success: I melted two squares of unsweetened dark baking chocolate and the same amount of semi-sweet; this in a mug. I had to add a bit of milk to make it soft enough to dip the shortbread into. In the end, cousin S simply used a table knife and frosted them while I phoned my Auntie. She made the cute face on a couple, too; only this one remained by the time I had the camera out. 🙂 The next picture and the last two are of the same ‘tart’ in the old-fashioned sense. In it are some of the last of the Macintosh apples from the tree here. There is one more tart in our future, I think and then we shall have to resort to frozen cherries, also from our tree. It’s a hard life we lead here, believe me. 🙂  The remaining two pictures are of some of the butter tarts I made from a recipe my sister J sent to us. I like it best of all I’ve ever eaten. These are the first I’ve made and it was surprisingly easy.  It’s a pity I’m giving up sugar on the 8th, isn’t it?  but I know I’ll be healthier and my food won;t ‘go to waist’ as much in future.

Cousin M loves old things as much as I do, although his are less of a sentimental nature and more of an investment. Still . . . I thought I’d share these photos of a lamp with cast iron work that dates to the 1880s. I’m sorry the pictures are poor; my camera phone is an old one and not the clearest or best for photography. Its reservoir is also strawberry glass, more lovely than you can tell here, even with the light behind it.

I have pretty much finished one side of the pocket scarf but can’t remember if I shared this photo or not. The other two pictures are of the knitted tea cosy, which I have been stitching up the sides. I won’t finish that, as I want it to fit the teapot my sister has; it used to belong to my Aunty in Edmonton and, since I have her wee coffee percolator, I wanted my sister to have the teapot. she prefers tea and I mostly drink coffee.  Or at least I used to. I don’t know if you can tell, but the cosy is of green cotton like the yarn used for dishcloths. I took a close-up to show you the stitching; it makes ridges down the sides.

We had to go to Vernon just after Christmas and the cousins needed to stop off in Armstrong on the way back. The landscape pictures show how misty it was that day.

They dropped me at my LYS and I was so careful watching my step as I entered that I missed the sign on the door saying they were closed for inventory until the New Year.  However, they recognized me and remembered that I was not local, so offered to let me buy the yarn I had on hold. I was waiting for an order to come from Scotland, but that may take more weeks, and, as I was in the neighbourhood . . . so now I have the dark chocolate brown I need to complete the pair of Fair Isle style socks, if you remember.

. . . and two balls of green, dark and light, which I had meant for a pair of rather special socks. I’m now deciding if I still want to do that or if I’d rather have a nice waistcoat to keep me warm.  I do like the paper bags they pack the yarn in, don’t you?

I’ll stop here. I’ll need more to write about in a few days. I haven’t finished the post I’d intended for today, nor the Big News post, so you shall just have to keep on Anticipating.

And for those of you on the other side of the equator, here’s what I woke up to this morning, on the first morning of a new year . . .

So lovely, but it can go away now, any time soon will do . . . I’m not quite ready for spring, but spring like weather would be rather nice. It went to -18 C last night, but warmed up a bit today.

This is the purple poinsettia we gave to our Auntie in Princeton. I sent my cousin there some money to pick up a blue one, but those had sold out, so she chose this instead.

Auntie M Poinsettia Christmas 2017

I wish you all the very best in the coming year; whatever that may be for you.

Much love from here and may this be a year when we share the Light between ourselves and with others.   ~ Linne

Passing on the Light 01

Thinking about Christmas . . .

Christmas wish 02I am posting this a bit early so I can catch those of you who live west of the Date Line and are already in the midst of Christmas Day. I wish you all Joy, Peace, Love and Contentment this Christmas and more of the same in the year to come. May you have music, books and time to create whatever makes your heart sing.

Christmas Norway late 1800s 01

Norwegian Christmas card from the late 1800s; with Nisse!

It’s a mixed bag, Christmas, isn’t it? The ghosts of Christmases Past are more noticeable today, for one thing. I was, like many of you, I expect, remembering some of those days and the people who shared them with me. Family, friends, sometimes acquaintances. And you, here in the Virtual Village, are part of my Christmas now, too. I like that. You come from around the globe, both hemispheres.

 

Christmas glas baubles 02

Lovely, delicate glass balls like the ones from my childhood

The ghost of Christmas Present is here, too, in the thoughts of all those whose lives have been made more challenging due to political decisions and the like. I’m not in a position to do much where I am, but earlier this year, after the Manchester bombing, I offered to donate a small sum to one of the funds. The person to whom I directed my wish told me there was plenty of help forthcoming and that perhaps I might want to do something more local. I thought that was very good advice and so I have donated twice to local organizations; one that helps our elders and also to the Salvation Army. My parents supported the Sally Ann, so that was partly to honour them.

There is a reason why I only buy Allsorts at Christmas. Well, more than one reason, but the first is that I find them SO tempting. Second, we had these at Christmas when I was young/er. Third, my RN sister J loves them, too, and we have often given or sent them to each other as part of a Christmas gift. I finished off the first bag the other day (it was a rather small bag) and then found these two days ago in a different grocery store. They come from the Netherlands, which is generally a good recommendation. I usually don’t like buying things in bags I can’t see through, but these were the only Allsorts on offer, so oh, well . . . and I am happy to report that these were delicious and just the right chewy-soft texture. You will note that there is more variety in the mix, but still no blue beaded ‘pillows’ It’s not that they taste andy differently, it’s just that I expect them to be there. the plain black sticks are wonderful. I understand that some of you don’t like / eat licorice, so I have eaten your shares already. The rest of you, if you want any, had best get a move on. They are going rather quickly!

I have some good news, too: I finally finished the second tuque (and because ou asked: that’s called various names globally, such as watch cap, beanie, stocking cap and more)

IMG_5901tuque

tyo͞ok/

noun

CANADIAN

 In the picture you can see the tuques with the co-ordinated ends of the pocket scarf, which is still not finished.

I was thinking about the saying “Think Globally, Act Locally” and I think that often I get caught up in the emotional maelstrom that follows large events such as Manchester and I forget how much even a small donation can do at home. My “Act Locally” choices have tended to be rather small, but significant,I think. Re-cycling everything possible; re-using, mending, making do in so many ways. (my bookshelves were a mix of apple boxes stacked on their sides in a chequerboard fashion to allow more room between them, and boards laid across concrete blocks. I gave away the concrete blocks before I moved, but I still have the boards and old wooden locker doors. The apple boxes I haven’t seen for a couple of decades; they are in my storage and likely have dried out a bit and will need some gluing or nailing or both.)

I also ‘save’ things that are being thrown out, if they look at all usable or fixable. It’s not for nothing that I consider the ravens and magpies and their kin to be my close relatives!

Christmas glas baubles 03My parents had a few of these on our trees. They wee so delicate and beautiful! I do love the older ornaments so much. The ones below, too, were lovely.

Christmas glas baubles 01

Well, it’s Christmas Eve here and nothing done yet. So I have a few small things to wrap and a bag from the Cat to the Serfs to put together. Those of you who have cats will surely understand. Spooky rarely makes a sound, but he iwll go to the door to the back room where his food dish is, sit down and look at you. He knows that there is another door he could use that is always open, but no, this is a training session, apparently. And it works . . . he is so cute, still kittenish, but not so much trouble in the making as he was last year.

I’m off to help with supper prep, so once again I wish you all:

christmas wish 03

No time for music linkies now. Next time . . .

Have a wonderful day and I hope your feast is as good as ours.

Love and Light, Hugs and Blessings to you all.  ~ Linne

 

 

Notes on my day and some good music

I didn’t write anything last night and found I missed it. I do know most of you are busy getting ready for Christmas, so it’s fine if you don’t see this until after the holidays.

IMG_5844The allsorts are pretty good, but the package contents have certainly changed; only one triple-decker (the white piece; technically, I suppose it has five layers, but I was counting the non-licorice parts), only one other piece that was not pink and/or black (the yellow one). Where are the round pillow shapes with blue beads? Lots of pink ones, but still . . .IMG_5881

We have had more snow and the trees looked particularly lovely today as we drove to town.

 

I took the Hvite Pepperkaker dough out of the fridge tonight.

It was denser than I expected, so instead of trying to roll it out and cut shapes from it, I simply sliced it thinly and baked. The results were similar to shortbread, which I had not expected.

I have finally picked up all the stitches from when I frogged the smaller tuque back to just above the pattern, unpicked one more row to make sure the stitches are facing the same direction and have begun (again!) to knit the crown. I do hope that this time it lies flat, well, rounded, but not ruffly as it did the first time:

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Have a lovely day, my friends; I’ll be back soon. ~ Linne

Right . . . music! What was I thinking?

The Peace Poem and Last Night I had the Strangest Dream – with John Denver. Thanks to my RN sister and her husband, we were fortunate enough to see him in concert twice. I still miss his work.

Peace Train by Yusuf Islam (stage name = Cat Stevens)

From the award-winning documentary, “Playing For Change: Peace Through Music“, comes an incredible rendition of the legendary Bob Marley song “One Love” with Keb’ Mo’ and Manu Chao. This is the third video from the documentary and a follow up to the classic “Stand By Me” and the incredible “Don’t Worry.”  (notes from youtube)

 

 

Day 19: Winners!

I was busy today again and did begin baking. Not Selma’s goodies yet, but I did get two batches of shortbread made.

The first was a fairly common recipe that I made especially  for cousin S, as she is on her last week of work before retiring and is tired.

IMG_5751 These were the ones with white flour, granulated sugar and butter, plus a bit of vanilla. Very good, indeed! As you can see, that recipe made four dozen, although there are a few less now. 🙂

And then I made the Scottish oat flour ones I shared the recipe for recently. But I doubled the oat flour and halved the rice flour. They are also very good, delicious, in fact, but the oat flour has made them a bit too textured for us. So I shall ‘have’ to make another batch and go back to the recipe and follow instructions. How hard can that be?

 

But I know what you really want to hear: who has won a small ornament? Well, that was easy, as it turned out . . . only five people left comments, so each of you is a Winner! But we knew that already . . .

And the winners are:

Marlene of “In Search of it All” I’ve been reading Marlene’s posts for several years now, and have learned much from her, especially when it comes to facing the challenges of life. Her positive attitude inspires me every time I visit. Marlene’s interest in books and stitching are only some of the things that make me feel connected to her.

Jessie of “Twinny Acres” and “Rabid Little Hippy” Jessie’s been too busy to post for some time now, but her past posts are well worth reading. I connected with Jessie years ago, too, and am grateful for my introduction to permaculture via her posts. She led me on to other blogs where I continue to learn about this and more. Jessie crochets, too, and has learned to do things I dream of learning, like making cheese and soap and all that.

Jan of “The Snail of Happiness” Jan is another inspiring writer and makes me think about the impact of some of my choices. I have been thinking about choices and consequences for decades now, but there is always more to think about and new choices to be made. I was doubly delighted to see her name come up, as I earlier won a prize from her! Soup, Socks and Baking are a few of the things we have in common.  Also, Jan’s Thankful on Thursday posts have inspired me at times to write my own.

Selma from “Eclectic Home & Life” I have been following Selma for years, too. A few years ago, 2014, I think it was, she held a series of crochet classes in her home and invited anyone online who wished to join in. I was the only online participant and it was so much fun (except tat I never once got to taste any of her delightful Norwegian treats. Selma made one of these for each week’s participants. We have Norwegian backgrounds in common (Selma is from Norway, but lives in England), also crochet,  knits, loves traditions, baking and more.

and last, but not least,

Jon of “Writing House” I connected with Jon’s blog years ago, too; then, as my life became more complex, I stopped visiting many of the blogs i was following and his was one of those. Not a conscious choice, by any means. Jon has a knack for wordplay that I enjoy very much. He is an author, but I have yet to read any of his works. One day, when I am reading print books again.

 

Runners-Up:

There were two people who ‘liked’ my post but did not leave a comment. So I have decided to make them a wee something, too. They are:

Sue Dreamwalker from “Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary“, “A Dreamwalker’s Thoughts”  and “Dreamwalker’s Garden” I have followed Sue for years, too, although sometimes I have forgotten to get over and read her posts. I especially like the Sanctuary posts and feel that I have much in common with Sue. Her latest post on a holiday to Oban with her husband really resonated with me.

and

Ina Vucik of “Croatia, the War and the Future” Ina has been an activist for some years now. I have known people who had to leave Croatia because of the war and the poor economy. Ina’s blog is very informative, if you have an interest in that area of the world, its history and its future.

I have email addresses for all of you lovely readers except for Jon and Sue, so if you could drop me a line at maelinne (at) hotmail (dot) com, I’ll have a few questions for you. You may put “Winner” in the subject line; it will help me to find them in the midst of all the daily mail.

As to the rest of you, I’ll be sending an email either tomorrow or the next day. Now, I DO know it’s nearly Christmas, so there is no rush on responding. I do understand.

Your gifts will be created after Christmas and I will post when I mail them, as well as emailing each of you. I’m quite excited about doing this, more than I expected, but I am wondering why I chose a time so close to Christmas . . . oh, right, it was the 500th post!

Thanks to everyone for leaving a comment; I so appreciate your taking part.!

I am re-posting a photo of the pocket scarf, as Jill from “Nice Piece of Work” has said she isn’t getting them where she lives. That may be due to them being a larger pixel size or whatever you call it . . .

On the right is the front, showing how I am working in the new colour; on the left is the back, with an extra skein of yarn stuffed in the opening so you can see the pocket. The bottoms have yet to be finished, as I’ve decided to do a few rows of the new colour and then stitch them closed. I do envy people who live lives of simplicity <sigh>  🙂

All right, music . . .

Christmas in Vienna 1999 by The Three Tenors

Duelling Banjos with Joe Brown and Richard Collins

and a little-known Canadian group, Shanneyganock, from St. John’s, Newfoundland, singing “Grey Foggy Day

Wishing you sunshine and harmony today. Love ~ Linne

 

Day 17: Shopping on Saturday, Sharing on Sunday

A last reminder: remember to add a comment on the Day 5 post so your name will go into the hat. You have until midnight tomorrow (my time; PST)

Today was pretty busy; the cousins and I went to Vernon for a few things, including my baking supplies. We had lunch at the Red Robin, as we often do. They have a great loyalty programme and even better food. The best fish and chips I’ve ever had, and I’m from the coast!  But I don’t order that very often; I like my veggies too much. Today I had the “Avo-Cobb-O Salad”; just what it sounds like – a Cobb salad with avocado chunks. I should have taken a photo. It has plenty of salad for the base; a mixed garden salad, I guess  you’d call it. Then there is a hard-boiled egg, half a tomato, chopped, bacon, half a chicken breast broiled perfectly, half an avocado, and a very generous portion of crumbled bleu cheese. I t think that’s it, but there may have been more. I had a side of those wonderful fries, too. There was a sale on, a buy one, get one half off, but at the end, the server gave us half off on both the burgers, so it was a very good deal. We older people like our good deals! And he got a good tip in return. Servers like their tips!

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Spooky napping atop a high bookshelf

Then we went to a store I am not fond off, but the prices are good. The Great Canadian Super-Store. In a way they are good; there is a large variety of goods, for one thing, but the store is just too large and it’s hard to find things unless you shop there regularly. There is a sheet of paper in a plastic sleeve at the end of each long aisle, listing the things to be found in that aisle, but the print is too small for me to read. Luckily, the cousins helped me find what I needed. One good thing: in the Asian section we found a large package of cardamom for about half the price of a small bottle of the spice. I am planning to begin Christmas baking tomorrow, using some of cousin S’ recipes, some of my own and some of Selma’s. That link will take you to all her recipes that use cardamom; I am considering the cardamom cake with coffee drizzle, but it’s a rather large item for just the three of us (when I’ll be baking cookies and all  that); perhaps I will leave that for when we have company or go visiting. The chocolate and cardamom cookies (farther down the page), on the other hand, are calling my name . . .

IMG_5724There

 

was a very small selection of cookie cutters, too, but I did buy four. You will see two hearts in there; that is so I can use one for baking and one for crafts. The teddy bear is not Christmas y to me, but I have an idea.

IMG_5723 This set of three I chose because I do like to have a Santa shape. The reindeer I’ve never seen before, at least not as only a head. And the one in the middle is definitely not a candy cane. I think it might be a gift with a bow on top.

IMG_5725And I did want a star, but this was the only one available:   I can’t imagine using it so much taht I will need the cushioned edge.  To me, this is a good example of useless waste. More plastic and all that. But I did want a star . . .

Now, I do have a lovely collection of old cookie cutters, one set stored in the metal container used by the friend I inherited them from. But, as with everything else, they are ‘somewhere in the storage’ and not accessible.

i an’t tell you how much I look forward to the day when I unpack all my things, discard what I no longer need and finally get to enjoy the rest.

In the meantime, I simply buy replacements and try not to think about it too much. I may get to share these with someone else once I have my own again.

IMG_5726 Our next stop was a dollar store where I hoped to find some hair gel. Nope, nothing. But I did find a bath brush, some red buttons  and these:

I can use these for biscuits, which was my first thought. And I mean savoury biscuits, not English biscuits or cookies. But they will also be handy for cookies. I plan to make the traditional sugar cookies and some I will cut into round shapes, sprinkling  them with sugar on top and pushing a single raisin into the centre. I tend to cut donw on sugar except at Christmas, and usually would not add it on top, but in this case I will be doing it to honour my great-grandmother whom I never knew. My Mum and all her siblings remembered those cookies well and I want to revive the tradition. Great-Grandma made them on a regular basis and because raisins were expensive, I think that is why she only put one on each cookie.

I will also use pairs of these to form wreaths and then decorate them with a little icing.

Remember the pocket scarf? It’s been growing, but slowly. I frogged the top back a couple of times, but I think I like it like this. I had to buy another skein of yarn to use up the two leftover bits of grey-blue, dark and light. But the colour isn’t an exact match, so I had to think how best to join them. I am doing this for now:

You can see my solution in the bottom right picture. I will continue until the light colour runs out, then continue with the new colour and the same on the other side. Once the sides are long enough, I’ll graft them together at the back of the neck.  But I still want to bring the colour down to the pocket level, so I’m thinking I will then pick up stitches along the bottom and knit a few rows before I sew up the bottom to form the pockets. And perhaps I’ll crochet around the top of the pocket, then up both sides to where the new colour goes solo. That’s what I get for being an idea person; never-ending projects . . .

So, that’s it for Sunday. Music for today:

Feeling stressed? listen to Bobby McFerrin singing ‘Don’t Worry – Be Happy‘ Robin Williams is in the video, too.

Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole of Hawai’i singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow

I hope to have baking photos to share next time. Have a beautiful Sunday, everyone.

Warm hugs ~ Linne

Day 9: Christmas Eve traditions

Today, well, earlier today, when today still meant Friday, my cousin M took me to Vernon to have my photo taken and to do some errands. On the way there and back I mostly knitted on one side of my sister’s scarf, working up from the darker pocket. I chose to use moss stitch for a nicer finish to both front and back. This is K2, P2 for 2 rows, then P2, K2 for 2 rows. It went fairly smoothly; until I noticed a section where I had .that I had just done six rows without changing the beginning. Oh, well, it has now become a ‘design element’ in the best tradition of knitters everywhere. There is no way I am frogging anymore unless I really make a mess of it!

And while I was knitting, I was thinking about a few things, including some of my own family’s traditions, especially for Christmas Eve.

In 1975 I learned of an old house that was being torn down soon and that people were welcome to salvage whatever they could. I was lucky enough to gIt was oveet a complete built-in dining room buffet, complete with drawers, glass doors, and more. Friends helped me take it apart. But the big score was an old Chesterfield, likely from the 1920s or 1930s. It was over  six feet between the arms and on Christmas Eve it was perfect for all of us to sit on; sometimes up to four adults and four children.

I have a pretty old-fashioned approach to some things: food and holidays are two of them. So on Christmas Eve I tried to make something special for dinner; after that, any last-minute preparations for the big day were taken care of; then we sat on the big couch with hot chocolate and some of the Christmas baking and admired our tree, full of hand-made ornaments. No tv and only rarely did we have batteries for the little transistor radio. When we did, Christmas music was lovely in the background. But the best part was when it began to get late. We would all hang our woolen work sock stockings near the fireplace (in Victoria) or the old Franklin stove (in the old log house) and then we would read the original Christmas story from the Bible, followed by The Night Before Christmas poem. Last of all, the boys put out a plate of Christmas baking and a glass of milk for Santa. One year they left carrots for the reindeer, too. In the morning, there would be only crumbs on the plate and a milky glass next to it.

Finally the boys were tucked up in their beds and our fun began! Into each stocking went a Christmas orange, a handful of nuts in the shell (therefore stretching out the fun of eating them), another handful of hard candy and licorice (one of my favourites) Some years there was chocolate, too. But the part I liked best was taking the small gifts out from their hiding place and wrapping each individually. I am a savouring sort of person myself, so I like to extend enjoyment for others, too. In the basement floor of two of our department stores was a section much like the dime stores of old and the dollar stores of today. I would have bought several small items there, things like Silly Putty and crayons, balsa wood airplane kits, perhaps a small top or other toy. I usually bought a magazine like Owl for each of them, too, rolling the book and then wrapping it. Small rubber balls were always a favourite, too. One year there were wooden recorders; another year it was friction cars; do you remember them? You would roll them back and forth to wind them up, then let them sail across the linoleum, often making a siren noise as they went. Very popular with small boys!

Often last-minute wrapping followed, especially of the gifts that were from Santa. I remember the first Christmas with my husband; he bought a ride-on horse with springs suspending it from the frame for the youngest, who was three at the time.  That was hard to hide! We kept it in the studio and one day the wee boy got in and we heard him bouncing away on the horse. He was soon removed and the door kept locked until Christmas Eve.

The last of Christmas Eve we spent quietly on that old Chesterfield, talking and making plans for the future. My husband would get out his guitar and sing, I grew up with home-made music and it was so nice to have it in our own home. This is when I liked to have the first of the eggnog with a little rum or brandy to spike it and the shortbread I made with oat flour. So good!

Simple traditions, really, but I loved them. I hope one day to be able to repeat some with my grandchildren.

Did you have a tradition that you loved on Christmas Eve? Was it from the family you grew up in or did you make your own?

Well, it’s late and I’m ready for bed, so no pictures today, either, sorry. But there must be music:

My Favourite Time of Year by The Florin Street Band This is a group new to me. I like their voices very much.

I wish you some time for reflection and remembrance today. Love to you all. ~ Linne