Friday, July 30, 2010

Summer Time!

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Summer 2010 018 Summer 2010 019 Summer 2010 130

Are we having fun, or what?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Time Off

I am off for the rest of the week and with Monday being a statutory holiday here (BC day), I don’t go back to work until Tuesday. Other than needing the break, there’s a good reason for taking the time off. My daughter and her two little ones will be arriving here sometime this afternoon and I’m excited! I’m really looking forward to seeing them.

I think I have the house as 19-month-old-boy-proof as I can get it, which I’m sure probably isn’t terribly toddler-proof.

Yesterday, when I got home from work, I noticed a monarch butterfly hovering around the little stand of Echinacea. According to J, it had been around those particular flowers for most of the afternoon. Given such an opportunity, I took my camera outside and started taking pictures.

Echinacea MonarchAs always, if you click on the picture, you’ll see the bigger picture. This picture has become the background image on my computer monitor for now. The more I use my little camera, the more impressed I am with it. I didn’t use any zoom on this picture, just moved the camera in as close as I could without disturbing the butterfly.

And speaking of things in the garden, this week we had the first peaches of the season. There’s a tree in the neighbour’s yard that overhangs the fence so John picked a couple of them. They were perfectly ripe and incredibly delicious!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

When It’s Hot Outside…

…you find a way of getting refreshed. That’s what we did yesterday. John worked most of the day and by the time he got home, he was feeling the heat. It’s been hovering around 30ºC (about 90ºF) for the last few days; the house hasn’t been too hot seeing as it’s a ground level suite with ceramic tile throughout and I keep the doors and windows closed as much as possible (it sometimes feels as if it’s air conditioned!), but outside is another matter.

All along the waterfront, in the urban areas, there are small beach accesses and we went exploring yesterday to find “our” spot. I made sure I had the camera with me.

Lake Okanagan This is not “our” spot. There’s a fence on either side of this access, which is about the width of a city lot. Legally speaking, anything up to the high water mark is supposed to be accessible to all. Both property owners on either side of this spot put up fences that go well into the lake, thereby ensuring that no one can access “their” beach. Oh well, there are other beach accesses.

Lake Okanagan 2Here’s “our” spot. It’s right next to a sailing club, where the sailboat of choice seems to be Hobie Cats. We’ve come here a few times now and have never seen more than three or four people here at any given time. It’s a large enough area that you don’t feel as if you’re sitting right on top of anyone else who might be there. There’s a lovely strip of grass above the sand, so you can put down a blanket and know it won’t be covered with sand when it’s time to leave. John swam nearly out to the end of that dock and was still able to stand;  the water on this side of the lake is quite shallow, even though Lake Okanagan is a deep lake.

We checked out four different beach accesses yesterday and this one, the closest to our home (a two minute drive), is our favourite. I think we’ll be frequenting this spot quite a bit if the weather stays this hot.

Hobie Beach

Saturday, July 24, 2010

And Here We Go

This past week, I was asked to put together a video clip or two of things around the shop where I work. Part of yesterday was spent taking pictures and video clips and this morning, I put it all together. The intention is that this video will be uploaded to the company website.

As you’ll very quickly see, it has absolutely nothing to do with knitting or crafting or even cooking. This is where I work.

The F.O. Revisited

In an earlier post, I wrote about the Folded Brim Cloche being a finished object. Well, the knitting was finished; it hadn’t been felted yet. Now it is truly a finished object.


It was felted this week and turned out pretty darned well, if I do say so myself.


It even fits well. John says I need to grow my hair now, just so the hat looks good on, but I kind of like it as short as it is at the moment (the shortest I’ve had it in years!). Besides, in the winter, when I’m wearing a winter coat and scarf, who cares if my hair shows or not? I grew up knowing that in the winter you dress for warmth, not for style.

In other things, this weekend will be spent preparing for company. My daughter and her two kids will be arriving sometime on Wednesday and staying for almost a week and I’m off work for three days (well, off for three workdays… then there’s the weekend and the following Monday is a statutory holiday, so I’ll actually have almost a week off). I am SO looking forward to meeting this little character…

ethanI have a feeling he’ll be keeping all of us on our toes; it’s a good thing we have a large yard! I’ll also have to make sure I have some yarn and needles for little Miss Trinity (who’s not so little anymore; she starts Grade 1 in September). I’m sure one of the first things she’ll ask about is knitting.

Back to work now; there are floors to be cleaned, laundry to be done, buns to bake, a video to produce (it’s work-related, but I’ll share it with you when it’s done), relaxation to be fitted in… you get the picture, right?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Instruments of Mass Torture


Cherries. Fresh-picked cherries. How, you ask, could they possibly be instruments of torture? Well, I react to many kinds of raw fresh fruit (including bananas and apples), some vegetables (carrots are pretty bad), and nuts (hazelnuts… aka filberts) and cherries are one of the worst. One cherry and my tongue starts to itch. Four or five and I have welts in my mouth and the itching spreads into my throat and my ears.

You tell me, instruments of torture? In part, the torture is that I can’t eat them. I love them but I can’t eat them. *Sigh*

Monday, July 19, 2010


I love small projects. You know what I mean, right? I have a number of larger projects on the go (when do I not?) and even socks, though a small project, still take time.

Yesterday, I wanted a quick fix, an FO (finished object) and I knew  just what I was going to do. Shortly after Ethan was born (he's a year and a half already), I visited my daughter and we stopped in at the local yarn shop where I picked up two skeins of Cascade 220 Heathers. Already then, I had a project in mind, but without our own washing machine, I had no intention of starting.

Now, with a washer and dryer in the suite, I can once again consider felting projects, which is just what this little project is.


This is the Folded Brim Cloche from Maggie Pace’s book “Felt It!”. I knew from the first moment I saw this hat that I wanted to make it and yesterday was my opportunity. The picture, obviously, is pre-felting. I didn’t have time for that yesterday, but I’m hoping to do it this evening, after work. Incidentally, the way I have it on in the picture does not show the true size. I can actually pull it right down over my face, but it’s a little difficult to take a picture when you can’t see what you’re focussing on.

Details? 2 skeins of Cascade 220 Heathers, one 6.0 mm 24” circular needle, one set of 6.0 mm double pointed needles.

Result? One quick project that matches my winter jacket quite well and another FO.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Messing Up Sucks!


See that lovely ball of yarn? See the pattern below it? Well, somehow, after not having worked on it for a while, I messed up; I really wasn’t sure which row I was on. And I dropped a stitch. Dropping a stitch when you’re working with 100% silk yarn is not a good thing.

I need to remember to make notes… and use lifelines. Lessons learned.

I will cast on again, but not until I can sit down and concentrate on it. Right now, there’s just way too much going on around the house and knitting is anything but a priority.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Those Were the Days

Things from the past fascinate me; I’m not a collector of old things per se, but I do like having things from previous days around me. John seems to be the same. I think I’ve posted a picture or two of our ‘museum’, haven’t I?

007Some of this stuff I had (the tins, the train), some of it John had (the teddy bear, the shoes and a couple other things) and some of it we’ve found over the years we’ve been together. Most of it doesn’t make it’s way into the house; we’ve been using it as outdoor decor for a few years, when we’ve had the opportunity.

This week, one of the guys who come around quite a bit (The Other Mike) was asking about some of the stuff, especially the pop bottles.

Haruni 022Apparently, when he’s out and about in the back country or old homestead areas, he likes to hunt for old bottles. According to him, he has some that are actually worth something. Very cool!

Anyway (that was all background), when we got home from work yesterday, there was a box on a small bench we have by the front door. It wasn’t a big box and it had no address on it, so it hadn’t come through the mail. I wasn’t even sure it was for us until I pulled back one of the flaps to see what was in the box.


What a nice surprise! It could only have come from The Other Mike. This is an interesting collection of bottles from days past. The large brown bottle (the shorter one) is a Javex bleach bottle. The tall brown bottle has only ‘P F Heering’ on it. I’ll be doing some research on that one. There are two medicine bottles in the bottom left hand corner of the picture, one of which is still corked. Whatever was inside it has evaporated, but it still has it’s cork.

There’s even a bottle that once held McCulloch’s Aerated Water, bottled locally in Vernon, BC. I think the thing that amazes me the most about the bottles, especially the drink bottles, is their weight. For their size, these bottles are heavy! We, today, are so used to pop cans and plastic bottles that are light. These bottles are made of good strong glass.

As far as I’m concerned, we’d be wise to go back to glass. It can be easily recycled, reused and, as far as I’m concerned, are much more aesthetically pleasing to the eye and the hand.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Just Stuff

On Friday evening, John and I made our way over to the other side of the house and shared a few drinks with the guys. In a case of beer they had, they discovered this…

005Yes, a can of Bud with no printing, just the white base coat. Strange. They’re wondering if it’s worth anything. For their benefit, I catalogued the anomaly. I doubt anything will come of it, but they seemed to think it was pretty special. Men!

It’s been a very warm weekend here, and it doesn’t seem that today will be any different. I was up fairly early this morning (7ish) and, while the coffee was brewing, took the camera outside.

As you can see by the picture below, the chives are blooming and they’re really pretty. I never realized their blooms were that intense a shade of purple. They’re also very attractive to the bees. The stand of chives was virtually abuzz with them. As always, if you click on the picture, you’ll see the larger, more detailed, version.


And the final thing that caught my eye this morning…

013I just happened to see this as I glanced out the kitchen window. Something on the upstairs “deck” (it’s no more than a landing for the stairs) was reflecting on to the workshop, directly above a hoe leaning against the wall. It was kind of magical and made me think of movies like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, or some kind of magical sceptre.

Oh, the things that capture my fancy!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I’m not complaining, but it’s HOT!

I hate to say it, but there hasn’t been much knitting happening this week. The temperatures have soared (mid 30’s C… or near 100F) and knitting just hasn’t been up there on my list of things to do in the heat.

The suite, I must say, stays relatively cool, being a basement suite with ceramic tile floors. At night, I close the blinds at the back of the house, where the sun first puts in it’s appearance and leave everything open at the front, where we’re shaded by large pine trees (former Christmas trees, apparently). Later in the day, when the sun moves to the front of the house, I open things up at the back and close windows and curtains at the front. It seems to work, as long as I can get John to keep the doors closed.

There is one thing that’s been taking up some of my knitting time. I’ve downloaded a program onto the laptop, Page Plus x4, a desktop publishing program. It’s like the poor man’s version of Adobe InDesign and I’m really enjoying the learning process. Because we work with the Adobe Creative Suite at work, I’m familiar with a lot of the principles, but because it’s a program I’ve never worked with before, there’s a learning curve. On a hot day, when working with wool isn’t the most comfortable, working on my computer comes a close second.

Another thing I’ve been doing is taking pictures around the yard. I’m really having fun with the little camera and getting (in my very humble opinion) some pretty decent pictures.


The chives are in full bloom right now as are the sunflowers, Michaelmas daisies, lavender, poppies (almost finished) and clover (it’s everywhere!).

Monday, July 05, 2010

Mindless Knitting

Saturday was Sit & Stitch; this time, we met at a different location. After meeting at the Rotary Center for the Arts for WWKIP (World Wide Knit In Public) Day, we decided that, for the summer, we’d meet there instead of our usual coffee shop. There’s a nice, grassy area, shade for those who want it, and a coffee shop (and washrooms) in the Center.

Because I really didn’t have much on the needles in the way of mindless knitting, I cast on another pair of socks for John.

This time, the yarn is Lana Grossa Meilenweit Bosco, 80% wool, 20% polyamide. The yarn is nice to knit with and I’m quite pleased with how it’s looking. As usual, I’m knitting on 2.25 mm needles with a 72 stitch cast on.

021 There are two small changes from my usual “pattern”. I’m using a different cast on, Nancy Bush’s Estonian Cast on (you can find the video here) and, as per her suggestion in the video, after the cast on, I knit one round then purled one round before starting the k1, p1 ribbing. The other change I’ll be making, when I get that far, is to make the heel flap a little shorter than the 3” I usually do for John’s socks. I was observing him one day and realized that the heel flaps on the socks he was wearing were a little baggy. That tells me they’re too long. If I shorten the heel flap by about 1/2”, they should fit better. We’ll see.

I’ve also been working on the Haruni shawl some more. I’ve now finished 3 repeats of the pattern and it’s looking, and feeling, really good. Finally, this yarn is playing nice!

023 The Shetland Christening Dress has also seen a small measure of progress this past weekend. It’s coming along slowly, unfortunately. Even though the first skirt is now in the garter stitch section, it’s so fine that I have to pay close attention to what I’m doing, and that is not the definition of mindless knitting. The second skirt hasn’t progressed at all; I’m in the final lace section, but with the move and the subsequent chaos, it’s been moved to the back burner. There’s no way it will be ready for this year’s Armstrong Fair, but there’s always next year, right?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

A Little Bit of Everything

When I posted the pictures of John’s socks, I forgot to show how much yarn I had left over. While knitting the feet of both socks, I was a teeny bit concerned that I might not have enough yarn to finish the socks but, as you can see, I had more than enough.


That was a relief, but now I have two small balls of yarn that I really can’t do much with. What do you do with little bits of yarn like this? Keep them? Toss them?

Yesterday was a productive day of getting things done around here. All the boxes have been sorted out; things that we’re keeping have found homes and things that are garbage have been disposed of. What’s left will become garage sale fodder when we’re ready for a sale. All that remains now is for me to sort through my crafting stuff and decide what I want to keep and what I can get rid of… one way or another. That is for another day, though.

By last evening, we had one more small chore John wanted to look after.

017The raspberries are in full production mode at the moment. There are two short rows of berries in the garden and they really needed to be picked. We got two cookie sheets full and there will be many more by tomorrow. We’ve decided that we’ll pick them, freeze them, put them in ziploc bags and then share them with the couple upstairs (after all, J did plant them and does the gardening).

I have to say, though, that picking the berries brought back a lot of memories, none of them pleasant. Berry-picking is no fun when you have to do it for at least eight hours a day, every summer, no matter what the weather’s like (well, if it was pouring rain, we didn’t have to pick but we did pick in blistering hot sun with no shade). Is it any wonder I couldn’t stand raspberries for a long time? Even yesterday, John kept encouraging me to taste the berries but I simply couldn’t.

Enough of that! We have berries in the freezer for the first time in a long time. That’s a good thing!

For your perusing pleasure, some photos taken around the yard and house yesterday.


Kitty… yes, that’s really her name. Mike’s cat, rescued from a burning house by J, who was a forest-fire fighter the year Kelowna had the fires (2003, I think it was).


Part of our outdoor decorating. The boxes are old apple crates. John calls this our “museum”. It’s kind of fun and funky! We definitely don’t live in a cookie-cutter house.


More and more sunflowers are showing their sunny faces. I love it! They’re such a cheerful flower, aren’t they?


Michaelmas Daisies. There’s a nice, big stand of these daisies in the front garden and they’re just coming into bloom now. And there are a LOT of buds!

Friday, July 02, 2010

I Couldn’t Help It

If you’re a knitter, you’ll understand what I mean when I tell you that a specific skein of yarn spoke to me this weekend. If you don’t knit, you may think I’ve lost it; trust me, I haven’t. Yarn speaks to knitters all the time.

A number of years ago, I ordered some yarn online. I wound one of the skeins into a ball and tried several times to knit with it, but every time I did, the pattern and yarn just did not play well together. This past weekend, I was reading one of the forums on Ravelry and the Haruni shawl came up; being unfamiliar with it, I looked it up. Well, it turns out that it’s a free pattern and as soon as I saw it, I could hear the yarn calling, telling me that this was the ONE.

My Haruni will be knit on much finer needles than I’ve used for shawl knitting so far; I’m using a 2.5 mm Addi Lace circular. That means this shawl will not be a quick knit. So far, though (not quite one repeat in), I’m liking the look and feel of it and it’s an easy pattern to memorize.

Haruni 001

The yarn is Handmaiden Fine Yarns Silk Floss, 100% lace weight silk yarn. There are 500 m/50 grams and I have two skeins of this lovely yarn. The colourway I’m using is called Moss Garden, and that really is what it reminds me of.

The pattern, as I’ve already written, is a free pattern that can be found on Ravelry. If you’re a Ravelry member, check it out. If you knit and you’re not on Ravelry, get over there and join; it’s an invaluable resource for anyone who knits or crochets!

In other things, because yesterday was Canada Day and today is Friday, and likely a very quiet day at work, I took the day off, giving me a four day weekend. I can’t remember the last time I had that much time off in a row; it feels good! Yesterday, we did very little but I did make granola (which didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped) and Yorkshire puddings to go with the roast John made for dinner (again, they didn’t turn out as well as they have in the past; I think this oven is hotter than the last one).

This morning, I’ve been busy with laundry, cleaning and cooking/baking. While browsing over at the Tasty Kitchen, I found a recipe for hush puppies that sounded really good. I made them and they ARE really good! I’ve never had hush puppies before, but I’ll definitely be making them again. I may even add a thing or two to the recipe, like hot sauce. Just a thought.

cooking 001 I also made a batch of dinner buns. Again, it’s a recipe I found over at the Tasty Kitchen. They’re my go-to dinner bun recipe. I definitely have to get used to this oven, though. The buns didn’t turn out quite as well as they have when I made them at the apartment. The bottom crust is a little thick and almost a touch burned, even though I turned the oven down by 25 degrees. Perhaps it would be a good idea to invest in an oven thermometer, just to see how much it really is out.

cooking 002

They still taste good, though. And, really, that’s what counts, doesn’t it?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

A UFO Becomes an FO…finally!

I’m being careful; really, I am! However, I can’t sit around doing nothing but drinking wine. That’s just not good for anyone no matter how enjoyable it might be. So, I’ve been working on John’s socks a little bit at a time. By this morning, I was down to the toe (seeing as they’re cuff down socks) on both socks.

So, I finished them. John now has a new pair of socks, which I’m sure he’d be wearing already if he wasn’t snoring away in the recliner about 8 feet away from me.


Details? Well, I don’t remember what yarn it is, but I think it’s Trekking XXL. The colours sure make me think it’s Trekking. They’re a generic 72 stitch sock, with 2x2 ribbing on the cuff and stocking stitch feet. They’re made with the standard heel flap and gusset and I used 2.25 mm needles.

socks4John2Now the big question is… what do I work on now? I’d love to start a new project, but I have too many unfinished projects at the moment. Maybe I should just dig into the bag of ufo’s and pick one.

By the way, I realize this is the third blog post today. Can I help it that I finally have something to write about?

A Quick Note

I’ve removed some of the recipe links that have been in my sidebar for a while. Having switched internet providers, the links were no longer valid. I will repost them at some point, and will add recipes as well.

Hmm, maybe I should just start a recipe blog. Any thoughts on that?


You know I love baking and being in the kitchen. You can assume that I love cookbooks almost as much as I love knitting books… you’d be correct in that assumption. I also love cooking websites. I have three favourites at the moment: Recipezaar, the Pioneer Woman Cooks, and it’s sister site, the Tasty Kitchen. The last one has been an interesting and inspiring find.

There’s one category that has really intrigued me… Homemade Ingredients. There, I found a recipe for this:

cooking 002 What, you ask, is that? Well, it’s cottage cheese. Yes, cottage cheese. And it’s incredibly easy to make! When I saw the recipe, I simply HAD to try it!

cooking 001 The recipe, which can be found here, uses one quart of milk, which is four cups; I halved that and used two cups of milk. Basically, all you do is add a bit of cultured buttermilk to the milk (I used 2%), allow it to sit in a warm spot until the mixture has thickened, heat it to separate the curds and whey, strain out the whey, add salt to taste and refrigerate it. That’s it!

I love cottage cheese, so I have a feeling that I’ll be making this often. I just have to keep buttermilk in the house (which I also love!).