Wednesday, April 23, 2008

April 23, 2008

Today is my granddaughter’s 4th birthday. Today, my ex-mother-in-law died.

Aaltje Stolte, formerly Den Uyl, nee Westerhuis, born on April 11, 1911, in the Netherlands, was 97 years old and lived on her own until about two weeks ago.

She was a strong woman, a woman who made her own way through life. Her way was the only way, the right way, and no one could tell her otherwise. She was, at times, my nemesis and my inspiration. She was a part of my daily life for about 25 years.

To her, a clean home was the most important part of being a wife and mother. There were times I hated her and, at the same time I wished I could have been more like her. She was married twice, first to the father of her only child, my ex-husband. He died when my ex was just a small child. She married again when he was about 16 years old, emigrating to Canada to marry her second husband. She never expected to see grandchildren of her own and was grateful to have three of them. She loved them dearly and babysat them every week for a lot of years. At her death, she even had six great grandchildren.

There are stories I could tell about her, but none of it is important now. She was courageous; she was strong; she was stubborn; she was hardworking; she loved on her own terms. She was my mother-in-law.

April 23, 2008, Trinity Eliana Renee’s 4th Birthday and Aaltje Stolte’s last day on this earth. She is at rest in the arms of her God; I’m thankful she died a peaceful death. And I’m thankful I knew her.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like ... Christmas?????




This is what we woke up to today... April 19!!! Snow!!! Apparently an arctic cold front swept down and dropped this on us. And to think that earlier this week, I walked home from work in short sleeves!

Knitting this week has been minimal again, but with the snow may come the urge to work on something cozy again.

Yesterday was a strange day; at least, it was for John. On his bike ride to work, he fell. It seems he cracked a rib, hit his knee pretty hard and skinned the knuckles on one hand. He'll be alright, but is in more pain than he usually is. I'm thankful he wasn't more seriously hurt.

After he got home, he went across the street to the grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner. He came home with the fixings for our feast (potato, broccoli and steak) for under $5.

Why am I telling you about our dinner? Well, someone made a mistake... check this out.


That's how much steak was in the package. Two lovely top sirloin steaks. John said that other packages with a similar amount of steak were up to $16.


$3.00! This was, apparently, the only package priced wrong and, of course, they have to give it to you for the labelled price. And, in all honesty, there's enough steak there for two meals for us. I like steak, but I didn't even eat half of mine! All for $3.00!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Melons, Melons, Who's Got Melons?

That title is a little misleading, perhaps. The melons I'm referring to are these...


I decided to test some of the thrift store yarn I picked up last week and, after some careful consideration, chose to try the Melon Scarf pattern from Victorian Lace Today. As I've already written, I have no idea what this yarn is other than the fact that it's wool. And how do I know that? Well, I did the burn test.

What's that, you ask? Well, you take a little piece of the yarn and burn it. If it melts and doesn't flame, it's acrylic. If it burns (in this case, quickly!) and smells like burnt hair, it's wool. This burned very quickly (had to drop it into the sink because it would have burned my fingers) and smelled like burnt hair, so it's wool.

I'm using 3.5 mm needles (no idea what that is in US sizing). This wool isn't the softest, but I'm hoping it will soften up during the washing/blocking process. Originally, I just wanted to see how this yarn worked up, but I really like the stitch pattern with the yarn and the colour, so I'll keep going with it. I'm in no rush to finish it, so if I don't feel like working on it for weeks at a time, that's okay. No pressure.

Sunday, April 13, 2008



This is what I did yesterday. From left to right, Apricot Oatmeal Drops, Lemonade Drops, and Ginger Cookies.

Because Kristen (my daughter) said they sounded good, here are all three recipes for your enjoyment. (And John loved coming home to fresh baked cookies)

Apricot Oatmeal Drops

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 tbsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

Heat oven to 325F. Lightly grease cookie sheets. In large bowl, beat brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add water, vanilla, and egg; blend well. Stir in oats, flour, baking soda and salt; mix well. Fold in apricots and nuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake at 325F for 10-15 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheets. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

Lemonade Drops

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed, reserving 3 tbsp.

In large bowl, combine sugar, butter, shortening and eggs; beat well. In small bowl, combine flour, soda and salt. Alternately add dry ingredients and lemonade concentrate to sugar mixture, mixing well after each addition. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake at 375F for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove cookies from cookie sheets; place on wire racks. Brush with reserved lemonade concentrate and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Cool. Makes about 5 dozen.

(These cookies are somewhat "cakey" in texture.)

Ginger Cookies

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups butter
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs
4 1/2 cups flour
3 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg

In large bowl, beat sugar, butter, molasses and eggs until light and fluffy. Stir in flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until set. (Cookies will puff up and flatten during baking.) Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets. Makes about 10 dozen.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

And Here in the Okanagan...'s a gorgeous day! The sun is shining; the girls are out in their mini dresses; it could be summer. At least, that's how it is today; it's supposed to get chilly again this coming week. That's ok, I'm enjoying it while it's here.

So what am I doing? Baking cookies. Some way to enjoy a nice sunny day, isn't it? I don't mind, though. I haven't baked in a long time and when the urge hits, you go with it. John will be happy. (Me, I don't eat much in the way of sweets.. I'd rather sit down with a bag of potato chips or Cheetos.)

Knitting has been minimal this past week. I guess with me recuperating from the cold I had last weekend is to blame. One night, I even fell asleep on the sofa by 8:00 p.m. Yikes! I did work on Ene's scarf a little bit. I'm on Chart 3 now and just realized this morning that I'll be working that chart a total of five times. And here I thought I was about half way! Silly me!


I still haven't got that part of the pattern memorized, even though it isn't difficult. I'm very happy with how it's turning out; the alpaca is so lovely to work with.

This week, though little knitting was accomplished, my stash grew somewhat. Robbyn (her blog can be found here) dyed some KnitPicks Alpaca laceweight in a colour called Pigeon's Blood. Sounds appetizing, doesn't it? The colour, though, is incredible! Well, she decided that the yarn had my name written all over it and gifted me with it. I'm thrilled and grateful; it truly is a gorgeous colour and the picture doesn't do it justice.


I didn't do too badly in photographing the yarn, but the colour is a little deeper, darker and the blue in it really sets it off. Now, I need to find a pattern that screams for this yarn. I want the yarn and the pattern to be perfect for each other. In the meantime, I'll just keep fondling the yarn.

As well, I dropped in at the thrift store that's in the same complex as the print shop I work in. It's rare that I find any yarn that I like, but this time was different. Someone had dropped off a bunch of lace weight odds and ends, probably left over from machine knitting. Here's some of what I bought...


The rest is at work. I didn't want John to be overwhelmed by my yarn purchase. All told, I spent about $10 and probably have another basket full of odds and ends. It was all in separate bags, each marked at $1 to $1.75. In all, I think there are about eight different colours. I'm thinking of re-doing the Icelandic Shawl with a variety of colours. It could be quite effective, don't you think? (Incidentally, see the basket? I made it; it's the only basket I've ever made and I love it!)

The clock is telling me that the dough for the ginger cookies is ready to be rolled into balls and baked now, so I'm off again. Enjoy your weekend! I hope it's as nice where you are as it is here.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Never Nothing On My Needles

So, the Drops shawl is finished and is being enjoyed by both John and myself. Because the needle was empty, I had to cast on for another lacy project. There's one project that has been a challenge to me from the first time I saw it.

Ene's Scarf from Scarf Style.

I've cast on for it a few times. 375 stitches. I've frogged it as many times. For some reason, I could NOT get the beginning to work. I put the book away.

This week, I've been home sick for two days with a cold (and a reaction to the meds I was taking.. ugh! I am getting better, don't you worry!) and I decided to cast on (again) for Ene's Scarf. I'm using Drops Alpaca, a lovely soft yarn, in a natural brown shade. I got the stitch count correct. I did Row 1... correctly. Row 2 went just fine. Then, on Row 3, something didn't work. I couldn't figure out what was going on, so I frogged it and started again.

After casting on and frogging twice, I decided to take the chart and knit it up in another yarn, exactly as charted, with no repeats of the pattern, just to see if I could figure out how it all fit together.


I got the entire chart 1 finished and I knew what I'd been doing wrong. See the arrows? Those are double decreases. On the chart, each repeat starts with a double decrease. In my drug induced haze, I didn't realize that each double decrease takes a stitch from either side of a center stitch. The center stitch was the first stitch of the repeat, not the first of the three stitches used in a center decrease. Make sense??

Incidentally, the mini shawl will be completed as just that, a mini shawl. I may as well make something for the LPP (Little Plastic Person... see a couple of posts back), right?

Once I got that figured out, the rest was simple!


This is after Row 2, with markers marking each center stitch of the double decreases. After a while, they were so recognizable that I no longer needed them and they were removed. This morning, I finished Chart 1. Here's how it looks so far...


This yarn, like the alpaca I used for the Drops shawl is a joy to work with. It's so soft and warm, positively cuddly! I'm using 4.0 mm (US 6?) Knitpicks circs. The pattern calls for a knitted cast on using a double strand of yarn, but I used a crochet cast on with a single strand. I just like how it looks, more like a cast off edge, with enough stretch for blocking the points.

I'm having fun with this shawl; everything else I should be finishing has been pushed aside. As I said earlier, this is one pattern I've wanted to do for a long time; now is the right time apparently.