Thanks to Kym . . . finally! and mittens, tea and blankets

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This is mostly a long-overdue Thank You to Kym. I promised her (some years ago, I have to admit) that I was going to use her pattern to make myself a tea cosy. And then life happened and I never … Continue reading

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Hello, my friends. The latter part of the summer was quite stressful and I didn’t get back here as planned. But things are better now (not as I’d have liked, but still, it’s all good).

My cousins turned the new sewing/computer room back into a spare room for me, and without asking me (I would have turned it down if they’d asked; she deserves the long-awaited room of her own), so I am back in the house again for the winter. I was up to eight layers of bedding in the MH by the beginning of October, as it was slowly growing cooler. I’m hoping to create a better solution for next winter, though.

In the meantime, we have gotten back to our former routines and it’s all good.

I did finish the scarf. I couldn’t locate my yarn needles and refused to buy more, so I used my crochet hook and followed the instructions for Kitchener Stitch, only backwards, if that makes any sense. I was dragging the yarn through,not pushing it, as with a needle. But it worked!

This is the two halves of the scarf. I still have to decide what to do with the points once I weave in the bit of yarn that you see dangling here: leave as is, add tassels, or ???

I was deeply saddened to learn that Pauline, of The Contented Crafter, had passed away suddenly on her birthday, just a few days before mine. One of her friends, Alys, gently informed all of us, but it was still such a shock. Somehow, I always expect my world to go on, unchanged . . . Alys wrote a lovely tribute and you can read it here.

Creative Pursuits

I’ve mentioned above that I finished the scarf. I sort of finished the blanket, too, but then decided to add some more at each end before creating the border. I attached the yarn, hooked for a couple of days, then got busy and put it aside. It’s under my bed now (in a bag), waiting for me to complete it.

  

 

I used three of the flower stitches from Attic24, the Dahlia, the Sweet Pea / Trellis, and the Hydrangea. All these patterns are on the blog forever and you will find them listed on the left side of the page, down below the blogs she loves. You can see the detail in the close-up above.

Also under the bed is my much-loved and also much-neglected ‘Barn Cardi’. I’ll be knitting again soon . . . but first . . .

I posted this photo back in August of 2014; hard to believe it’s been that long . . . I’ve done a little work on the sleeves since then, but not much. That’s one of my beloved Aunties modelling it for me up at Mum’s apartment. She was under five foot tall, so it came almost to her ankles; on me it’s just above my knees.

You may remember that I call the ‘blogoverse’ my Virtual Village (partly because I dislike the word ‘blog’; it doesn’t sound friendly somehow). Most of my closest friends I’ve met here in the Village. But I’ve also met a few in other online places. Facebook brought me a special friendship. We both belong to Winwick Mum’s Knit and Natter group. One day I noticed that someone had posted about her new loom and I commented, offering to help if needed, as I have some weaving experience. We began replying to each other, discovering a host of shared interests besides knitting and other yarnwork. So I created a private page and we have met there happily most days ever since. Sometimes, when things are challenging, we don’t need someone to fix things, or us. We just need a listening ear and an understanding heart. And that is what we both have discovered. I haven’t posted much since my Mum died, as my life changed overnight and then continued changing. My friend’s support has meant a lot to me. She was going through various challenges herself and she has told me that my support was helpfut to her, too.

Anyway, when I was trying to figure out a solution to my housing situation, I slowly became more discouraged and ‘down’, even though I know that staying positive is far more helpful. I felt I couldn’t post because it would just sound like whining and complaining. And I couldn’t seem to write with hope and positivity at the time. That seemed fake. Ah, well . . .

One thing we share a love of is Attic24 and Lucy’s designs, which are free and will remain available on her blog forever. I was so lucky to actually meet Lucy when I went to Yarndale at the end of September, 2018 and later, in early November when I was able to join her crochet group twice in Skipton, Yorkshire. Lucy is a quiet, unassuming and thoroughly delightful person and I shall always remember my time there and our short chats. So I was delighted when my friend began crocheting and then bought some of Lucy’s kits. I was excited to see her blankets develop, even as I was working on my own black, white, grey and red one. If you remember, the stitches I chose were all from Lucy’s patterns.

So . . . one day, my friend asked which kit I would choose if I were to buy one. And I told her The Summer Harmony. The next day I had a message saying that she’d be pleased if I would accept that kit as a gift. I knew she meant it and I was overjoyed to accept. As it turned out, there is no specific kit for the Summer Harmony; the kit that was ordered is the original Harmony blanket, which I think of as the Spring Harmony, as the colours remind me of Easter eggs, spring flowers, etc. They are beautiful, colourful but not overbearing, and the joining yarn is three skeins of a pale grey with a tinge of violet, appropriately named Parma Violet.

The kit arrived on 23 September, but I didn’t begin for a few days. We also both belong to the Fans of Attic24 group on facebook. Someone in the group had posted about organizing the yarns for the granny square blankets. So this is what I did:

I purchased some Large size ziplok bags and labelled them. I snipped a tiny bit off one corner to aloow yarn to pass through. I put one bag of yarn into its ziplok bag. I have a special cloth bag from Yarndale; it pays homage to the film, Babe, with the quote on the front: Baa, Ram, Ewe. (really, you have to watch this film to appreciate the bag. Itfourteen colourss often billed as a children’s film, but, like Charlotte’s Web, there’s a lot in it for adults, too. And I fell in love with the farmer from the beginning.) But back to the kit:

Lucy has included in the pattern a chart of all the squares and their placement in the finished blanket. There is also a list of the fourteen squares and the colours to use for each. So I chose the bags containing the colours needed for the A Squares and proceded to make all nine of them, round by round. When I finished a round, if I had to put the work aside for some time, the squares went into the bag containing the next colour, along with two hooks and a small pair of embrouidery scissors.

Eventually I had 126 squares, all in neat piles nine high.

I laid the piles in order, A to N, on a whiteboard covered with a small towel to keep them from slipping. Above you can see the final squares just waiting to form the last row.

Then came the joining. I’d heard that Lucy’s Join As You Go (JAYG) method had caused trouble for some people, so decided to try it and, if it was not working out, to use a different method. The only trouble it caused for me was that sometimes my mind would wander off and begin thinking about some issue or other and my hands don’t do so well without a certain amount of supervision . . . but crochet is fairly easy to frog back and re-do, thank heaven. I had to do that on a few of the squares, too, including one that was frogged back two rounds, as I’d completely messed up a corner and forgotten to do the usual visual check before proceeding.

A close-up of the JAYG . . .

Above is the first row, joined and laid out along the back of the futon couch which is also my bed at night.

I figured out another trick to make the joining go more smoothly (and to prevent me from getting the fourteen squares in a strip mixed up). I have the piles of squares laid out on a small whiteboard now, in order from A to N. I choose the squares for a strip, beginning with the final one and with the first one on top. Then I use a folded piece of scrap yarn, drawing it up through the centre holes with my hook. This way I know that the top of the pile, with the next squate on top, is the right one (just in case the pile gets joggled and turns topsy-turvey). If I have to put the work aside, I tie the tails and the loop into a neat bow and then I can put the stack on top of the loose squares.

The other day I passed the exact half-way mark of the joining. I’ve completed six strips now and have only three to do.

Then it will be on to the eight rows of border . . . and after that I intend to work on the blanket I created this summer, as well as completing the sleeves for the Barn Cardi and adding the button and buttonhole bands to the front. I shall have to choose suitable buttons for it, too. I have such fond memories of showing this work to my Mum as it progressed and of my Aunty modelling it for me. It will be a joy to wear . . .

My birthday was just a few days after Pauline’s, so my friend and I considered the kit to be a birthday gift. A few days ago, inspired by my progress and wanting to share the joy she’s having working on her own blankets, my friend informed me that she and her husband wanted to send me another kit, this one for Christmas! Again, she asked me my preference and again I chose the Summer Harmony. This time I looked up the pattern and discovered that the yarn is sold in a set named the Original Pack. The pattern is the same as what I have already; only the colours are different. It should go even faster, as now I have this down. I am so, so grateful to have these lovely blankets to work on! But I did tell my friend they should be the last, as she doesn’t need to keep feeding my yarn habit. Besides, I have another black, white, grey and red blanket to make, along with all the other projects waiting for my attention.

Almost finished . . .

Ta-Dah!! Now only the border to add. 

The border called for eight rows, each a different colour. I did that (and for once, I had followed the instructions throughout the project! A rare thing, if you recall . . .) But somehow it did not look quite finished to me. There was yarn left in all the skeins, so I chose three more colours and added those. You can see the results above. These colours give me so much joy! I sit at the laptop and turn my head ot the left and there they are . . .

It can be very easy to give; it’s not so easy to receive. It’s a lesson I’ve learned over my lifetime. I remember reading a story once, written by a young woman. She said that her mother was the kindest, most generous woman, not only to her, but to all she encountered. The Mum was the sort, that, if you came to visit and admired something of hers, would thrust it into your hands as you were leaving. But she wouldn’t accept anything from others. Finally one day, frustrated, her daughter told her she was being selfish. The Mum was astounded, as she gave without reserve. But her daughter told her that she (the mum) received so much joy and satisfaction from giving, yet denied others the chance to experience the same by giving to her. I was happy to read that the Mum ‘got it’ and changed her ways and I began adopting the same attitude.

I still find it easier to give, but I’ve also learned to receive with gratitude and joy. I think that receiving gracefully is a gift we give to others when they seek to bless us. So soon I shall have two of Lucy’s blankets adorning the back of the futon couch where I sleep. Spring and Summer, so delightful! And if my friend and I ever manage to meet in person, we can wrapup in our ‘virtual hugs’ as we sit together, chatting over handwork and a cuppa. And surely some biscuits and chocolate . . .

Here is the Summer Harmony makings on the day the package arrived. It still looks the same, but now it lives under my desk. I’ve been very good about not peeking at all; I will open it on Christmas Day, when my friend and I plan to do a Zoom or Skype call so we can share the excitement. I’ll be sharing photos with you all here, too, as I go along. I did get the additional ziplok bags ready to hold the new colours (some are the same as the first blanket, so those bags will be used again), but this time it will take longer to finish; I have a very exciting new project, just begun, which is a thank-you to my friend and her husband (she knows about it, but I won’t be sharing photos until they have received the gift).

And, in honour of the blanket being a ‘Harmony’, I’ve been listening to plenty of music as I hook . . . from nine year old Amira singing “O Mio Babbino Caro” (conducted by Andre Rieu), to Bach (the 1/4 Goldberg Variations by Canadian pianist Glen Gould) to music from my childhood and youth (too many to name) to, of course, a wide variety of Runrig concerts and singles. No surprise there, eh? So this blanket will be infused, not only with the harmonies of a lasting friendship, but also a variety of the musical harmonies from my life.

Sorry this has taken me so long to complete; I still haven’t solved the issues of uploading photos, but did find a workaround at least. 

Hope you are all doing well and staying busy and creative as we head into winter.

More to come soon . . . 

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

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.

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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.

 

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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:

IMG_5450

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!

IMG_5553

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 7: Progress & Three Things on Thursday (a short post)

Well, my friends, I was up late this morning, but after I ate, I knited until supper, called my Auntie (the brightest spot in most of my days) and then knitted some more. And here is the result:

The pocket scarf for my sister J, backs (left) and fronts (right).

The most challenging knitting is done; now to finish the upper parts and, of course, stitch up the bottoms of the pockets.

I have been valiantly resisting starting any of the other projects I have in mind; if you are a ‘starter’, you will know what I mean . . . and I still have the smaller tuque’s crown to re-knit.

Before I go, though, here are Three Things for which I am grateful this Thursday:

  1. All the musicians, old and new, who bring light into this world through their work and through their personal example.
  2. My own great health, in  a world where so may are facing very difficult challenges.
  3. This Virtual Village, where I have been privileged to meet so many kindred spirits; sometimes we share one interest, other times a wide and varied range. My life is richer for having ‘met’ all of you.  Bless you!

Thanks to Ms Snail, who got me started on this, although some weeks I forget to share . . . it’s good to be grateful!

So I am going to keep this one short, drop in on a few of you, then it’s off to bed early for a change.  But first, there must be music . . .

Peter, Paul & Mary’s “Light One Candle” always inspires me to go on when things seem darkest.

I hope your day was a good one. See you tomorrow. Love ~ Linne

Day 6: Little Christmas

Back when my youngest son was about three and a half, we had a rather epic Christmas and not in a good way. His brother, then eight and a half, had been so excited at the thought of Christmas and Santa coming that the wee one got all excited, too. That Christmas morning they emptied their stockings and played with the toys they found there, eating their orange and nuts and candy all the while. We had breakfast and then I got the turkey stuffed and into the oven, after which we opened our gifts. There wasn’t a huge pile that year, so it was all over rather quickly. The poor baby, already tired from staying up late, too excited to sleep, suddenly had a meltdown. He cried off and on for the rest of the day, it seemed. It was our first Christmas with my husband, the boys’ stepfather and he was concerned, as was I. We sat up late after the boys had finally gone to sleep and thought about what might have caused the reaction and what we could do to make things better the next year.

I had read about Little Christmas, which is celebrated by many Christians as the anniversary of the coming of the Magi, with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. At the time I wasn’t aware that many Mennonites and Lutherans (my family heritage by way of my parents, you may recall) mark that day, some with church-going, all with a special time with family and friends.

Christmas gifts of the Magi 01

Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh

We decided to make that a part of our own family tradition and it worked out very well. In fact, my older son and his wife and six children still celebrate Little Christmas yearly. Not sure if the younger son and his family do or not.

What we did was to hold back one gift for each of us, plus all the gifts for family and friends who lived close enough to join us. The boys’ Dad, his wife and their two children always came, and my sister J when she was still in training to be an RN and several other friends as well. Sometimes we invited friends who had no family or not much budget for holidays. We didn’t have much, but always made sure there was a gift under the tree for everyone we expected and sometimes a couple of extra gifts for the unexpected, too.Once I began making Christmas cakes from my own recipe, the gift was often a small cake, as I baked a variety of sizes. More on the cakes another day . . .

A note on those cakes, though: Mine were dark like the one at the bottom above and as full of fruits and nuts as the two on the right, even a little bit fuller. I added the top left photo because I saw it and immediately thought what fun it would be to make a few of these and put the names of my =Virtual Village friends on each little house front. One thing . . . I never iced my cakes or added marzipan. They were plenty rich all on their own . . .

Back to Little Christmas . . .

Each year I would make a complete traditional Christmas turkey dinner again (we loved leftovers and with two growing boys those never lasted long. Also it let us send home small care packages with those of our friends who didn’t make their own dinners, and so had no leftovers to enjoy.

People came in the early afternoon and we had oranges, nuts, candies, and all the Christmas baking I could manage and I somehow managed a lot.That will be another post, too. There was always eggnog (my own recipe, of course) and sometimes mulled wine (glogg in Norway, I know now and sorry, I don’t know how to insert the special letter o with the line through it)

We opened gifts one at a time, passing each from hand to hand to be admired. When it had returned to the recipient, one of the smaller children fetched the next package and my husband read out the To and From information and it  was then duly delivered to the next person. The boys’ other parents and their children always brought gifts and so did others who came, so this took a while.

Then the women (it was the olden days, ok? and I love this tradition in any case) would get the last of the dinner preparations underway and the men usually took all the excited kids for a long walk. In Beacon Hill park when we lived in James Bay, Victoria and down our country road once we had moved to the rented house in the country further north of the city. The Caleb Pike House was built in 1883 by hand.

Caleb Pike house 01

This is how the house looked a few years ago; it is now a community heritage site. It looked a bit different in our time there. The front door was red, for one thing and there were trees and huge lilacs around it. I was married in this house and I have many good memories of our years on this property.

After dinner we sat around visiting and sometimes my husband would play his guitar. Later, once dinner had settled a bit, there would be more cookies and cake and, of course, more eggnog.

The advantage, we found, to celebrating Little Christmas was that by the time it had come and gone, the boys had had nearly three weeks of Christmas activities and excitement and were ready to move on. Never another meltdown! And it gave us a special tradition with the other parents, as they were very busy on Christmas Day, visiting each of their own parents separately (all were divorced), not to mention other relatives. And on Christmas night, the fun was not over; there was much to look forward to still. Also for gifts I was making, there was time to finish the ones that needed more work.

I will resume this Christmas tradition once I am settled again, even if only for friends.  I forgot to mention that we always celebrated Little Christmas on the 6th of January, which is why I chose today to write about it. It’s only a month away!

Music for today:

Some Jazz Christmas instrumentals

Some Classical Instrumentals

and The Pogues’ classic from their days with Kirsty MacColl:

Fairytale of New York for Jon of WritingHouse  🙂 (by the way, did you know that Shane McGowan turns 60 this Christmas Day?) Terry Woods was a favourite of mine long before he joined The Pogues (that’s him playing the cithern, I think it is)

IMG_5616Are you ready for Christmas yet? I’m not, but today I did make progress on the second end for my sister’s pocket scarf (that’s it on the left):

Oh, look! Guess what I bought today? At the dollar store and it’s for an upcoming project. More on that once we’re done with the holiday postings. IMG_5617 And I forgot to share with you what I baked yesterday: Cinnamon Rolls with my own special tweaking, of course. I used half whole wheat flour, half white, then added a cup of wheat germ. Turned out we were out of raisins except for a measly 20 or so, so I scattered them evenly along the inner edge of the dough to be ‘surprises’ for the lucky ones who bit into them. Nothing like planning ahead, is there? Here’s a before baking and after icing (I made runny lemon icing this time)  pair of pictures:

Wish I could share the with you; they are scrumptious! It helps to let the dough rise twice before turning it out to form the rolls, I find, at least with whole wheat flour in.

IMG_5613Our lovely Mount Ida as seen around noon today:

I hope you all had a most productive day today, assuming that’s what you would like, of course. I’ll see you tomorrow. If you weren’t around yesterday, do pop back to the Day 5 post and enter the giveaway!

Much love to each of you  ~ Linne