Thursday, May 21, 2015

Celebrate!

 This  Sunday we celebrated Mom's 80th birthday. All the grandkids and great grandkids were there. We are 39 when all counted, just from Mom and her 4 daughters.
 There were new friends and old. Photos were strung to get the stories going.
 Mom loves flowers and butterflies. These were the most amazing cupcakes.
 Sugared johnny jump ups that matched the pansies on the tables.
 Mr. Hockin was one of our first friends when we arrived in BC in October 1966. We grew up with his kids, in and out of his house.
 Paw with his oldest grandchild. We had lots of time to visit and laugh.
 D piped for my godson who can still do the sword dance. He also learned Road to the Isles, Mom's favourite piping tune.
 Did I mention we laughed?  Everyone pitched in to set up the old Riding Club Hall, bring their families and join in the fun.
 The kids table was full of building and colouring. My youth group friends were hired to do a few hours of babysitting the four kids who were 5 and 6 and the 2 toddlers.
 He looks just like his dad.
 We pitched in for a sing along. Favourites songs from our own childhood and my niece Caroline, who owns electrictree yarns, joined me on guitar. My older sisters and daughter joined us for "Que Sera", a song Mom used to sing to us.
 Emily played lyric tunes on her trumpet and actually got her brother to accompany her on piano. He hasn't played for a few years and it warmed my heart.
 And a feast.
 Our niece brought her photo booth, so there was an outlet for silliness.
 There were crayons on the paper covered tables.

And my nephew brought his band, the Basements. Just the best dance band. We danced into the early hours of the evening and had the hall cleaned up by 10. Our kind of party all afternoon. I had dancing blisters on my feet! Mom was satisfied with the event and we can truly call it a celebration.
There was no knitting.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Run Away!

 DH and I snuck away for a week in the desert. This is a big change from the rain forest. I love flowers that bloom in the desert!
 We needed some rest. His work and my "not at work" have been really busy and stressful. Plus we are in a choir and pipe band. We desire to live in community, but sometimes it is overwhelming. Just go off by ourselves. Sedona is a tonic. So warm and welcoming and relaxing.

We were blessed to go to a Taize service at this chapel built into the red rocks.
 Sunsets and picnics and taking photographs. Truly delightful.

Two days at the Grand Canyon knocked our socks off. Sunset and sunrise as well as exploring National Park Ranger stations. It was everything as advertised.
Right next to the foot path, we were close to young elk several times.

 Along the easter route of the south rim there were lovely areas to park and take photos.
 Loved this homage to Hopi architecture. You could walk three stories up to the roof top for views. Inside is painted in sacred images.
 Loved seeing this in the gift shops. I read it in grade 4 or 5 along with all her other horse books.
 On the way home we stopped at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff for lectures and tours. Such a great community of scientists who want to share their work. This is where Pluto was discovered! Poor Pluto.
 There were also opportunities to view the ruins of the First Nations who migrated through the Sedona region. Tuzigoot National Monument was nicely displayed and you could walk around the ruins.
 We stopped at the Verde River for a picnic. We had a picnic every day!!!!! And then I made D go back to the pool to rest. His cough is getting better, but it has hung on a long time and I was clear that this was a resting trip.

 There was knitting. I finished the Messalina shawl. My back up project was the Frost Flowers crochet scarf which I worked on in the plane on the way home. I also took time to do cross stitch on D's Christmas Stocking. Hopefully I have found my stride. There are actual jingle bells now, and a recorder.
 Jerome is a ghost town of a mining town way up on the side of a mountain. It was a nice drive and there was a nice park for picnic. Didn't buy any art. Didn't see anything better that our own local artists.
 Rex joined us for tea time. Auto correct called it Yea time. I'm OK with that. We were lucky to be staying within walking distance of great restaurants and shops. Our accommodations were wonderful. Very much like our Intrawest Resort in Whistler, we were able to exchange for a Hyatt Residence. Now I'm looking at the ones on Maui and in Carmel.
But we will probably return to Sedona and the Red Rocks some day. Love to run away. But we love being home as well. Especially when the trip was actually restful!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fresh and New



Everything is coming up blossoms here in the Fraser Valley. We are spending time in the garden, but I don't call it gardening because it's spreading bark mulch or edging: that's landscaping. Making everything tidy for us sit next to the blossoms and enjoy.
 My Handbrake cowl finished up quickly and very successfully. I knit it as part of the Gratitude KAL with The Fat Squirrel Speaks and it was a delight. The colour, the soft single merino yarn, and the pattern were all a pleasure.

 I am delighted by the fungi that show up in our garden. With a north facing back yard, lined by fir trees, poplars and cedars, we get our share of the rain forest ambience.
 Finished another Waffles blanket. I had already knit an ivory one for this baby, but I couldn't resist breaking out the blue stash when they announced they are having a boy. This is one lucky baby to have such a sweet nurse as its mom. Not due till August, but I couldn't resist.
 Another of my favourite things? The soft as a kitten's paw new growth on the evergreen trees.
 One of our knitters is spear heading a cat blanket drive for the SPCA. I used some of my FIL's yarn he needed for rug hooking and practiced crocheting in the round. I like crochet, but it hurts my right hand. There are subtleties I need to explore. When I read Attic 24's blog, I am drawn to ripple blankets.
 This is the beautiful and perfect Rosalie. She was born just 4 days before this picture. Her mom is one of my favourite people and knitters. I got to give a bath demonstration. Can't tell you how happy that makes me. I started as a paediatric nurse and I gave the bath demo both times I was in hospital having my own babies. But there is no post artem in hospital now. We had such a fun knitting baby shower for these two, and I won the baby pool- which is yarn!

 Over the moon about my lilacs. They seem so early. At their feet, I have planted lily of the valley. And a duck, apparently.
 This is for Rosalie. She has another shower this week. I couldn't resist. I have had this yarn and patten for almost 3 years. A new tack in my stash down is to just knit those things I have planned. It doesn't matter if they go in the gift drawer or turn out to be something for me. All the indecisions around what to cast on need to be calmed down. I am enjoying carving into my queue.
 My trail is glorious. The poplars have baby leaves and they offer greater privacy now that I can see people using the trail from my sun room/lab.
 One of my favourite flowers. The dog wood is British Columbia's provincial flower. This tree is really giving it her all this year.
Jean thought it would be a good idea to use up some of the donated yarn to make blanket squares. I was hoping for a bigger response. But I have to thank her, and two of the Barbs for joining me in knitting 12 inch squares. It's not the prettiest blanket, but it is soft and warm. The blocks are now sewn together (only took one evening) and I'm crocheting around the edge until I run out of the blue fuzzy yarn. I think it was from my sister's stash. This blanket, with the other blue one, will be donated to the local youth shelter.
And we are off again on a trip. Carly's health has levelled out. We are headed to Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Can you say bucket list? I am taking my Melassina shawl in a soft bamboo silk blend and the neglected cross stitch Christmas stocking for D. Not sure how that will work out, but I shall pack my good intentions with the sunscreen and warm weather gear.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Easter Weekend



 Preparations for Easter feast began even before Lent. My nephew has moved home from Brazil and his partner has not experienced Canadian beers. Well, my kids are experts at craft beers and enjoy all the variety in locally made beers of Victoria. We decided to celebrate the fact that our babies are now young adults and very good at having fun. There were big batches of cookies. (while watching Stockinette Zombies).
There was a huge ham and potato salad and other salads. Very picnic. My favourite kind of food. I had my parents and a sister, lots of nephews and their spouses, and even my BFF and her son, my honorary nephew, home from Oxford for a visit.
 The Chilliwack Common Threads Knitting Circle wanted to thank my church for sharing a space for our community every Tuesday evening from 7-9 pm, so I got to present a gift of 41 hand made dish cloths.
 My kids came home! This means there is serious grilled cheese, lots of trumpet music and cozy pizza and video night.
 We went out to dinner with D's parents.
 I was there, too.
 Our tradition is to celebrate Sunrise Service on Easter morning at our rustic country cemetery. It is a time of joy and we have guests we don't see otherwise.
 D does the trumpeting, even when he still has a nasty cold from Mexico. My good news is that my back is mostly better and I was able to play the bass drum at practice last night. Still not going back.
 One of our favourite parts of the Easter feast: devilled eggs. I made 2 dozen and there weren't many left. There wasn't  much food left over at all.
 My nephew brought his new puppy, Max, and she was very good. Carly was a grumpy old lady and growled at her, so we kept them apart. Carly got the house.
 When cousins come over, there are always board games!
 Jean made Victoria Sponge with her own lemon curd. I was all on fire to make this after watching Kay on the Bakery Bears. It was just as good as it looks.
 Also from Bakery Bears is a new cowl pattern called Handbrake. I bought it the moment it came out because all proceeds go to Cancer Research and obiwanknitter, Dan, is a Cancer survivor. As a nurse, I don't get to see the happy results of successful treatment very often. And the way they have told their story fills me with hope (very Easter).
 The yarn I chose (from my stash) happens to match the jelly beans that mom brought as a hostess gift. It is done and blocking now because it is very simple and addicting to knit. I have two skeins queued for gift knitting. It is certainly a great pattern to knit for men.
Gardens are blooming all over here. The only snow we have is from blossoms falling. I hope that spring comes soon to those who have battled the weather all winter.
 For next winter, I have finished the Sockhead hat. This will be a gift. Such lovely Mountain Colours yarn and good manly colours. It was a divine travelling companion.
 Did I say I am happy to be home?
 Also finished the Declan hat after a false start. This yarn is thicker than it first seemed. So I knit the smallest size and, after blocking, it is still big enough for even my Paw's head. Astounding! Still stash diving. I am torn about starting the Messulina shawl. The only yarn I have that is suitable was actually donated to the knitting circle. I shall call the donator and ask if I can substitute another yarn for donation. Everything is coming up dk and I have worsted, fingering and lace weight. Enough yarn that I shouldn't be buying more. Perhaps when we are in Sedona, I can find some dk. Or some cashmere for the 3 colour cashmere cowl. Instead I should be stashing down harder.
My kids and their silly dog. Emily bathed and brushed her so nicely. The dog was so happy to have her kids at home. After a scare last month, we wanted to get pictures with her before they went back to Vancouver Island to their work and study.
Such a lovely weekend with family and friends. We are called to celebrate and live in the good parts of our lives.