Thursday, 31 May 2007
This pink/purple concoction is a scarf that I made as a distraction from the endless rounds of the Pi Shawl! It was a fun knit and I gave it away to a friend's daughter when it was done.
This is the Pi Shawl, being blocked. Yes, it's amazing, I actually blocked something. As I don't use wool (being vegan) I rarely need to block anything. However, this shawl is partly natural fibre - 50% cotton, 50% acrylic - so I washed it and stretched it and pinned it out on a towel on the living room carpet (in a low-traffic area). I hoped that the pins wouldn't start to rust overnight and make a mess of the edges! Considering the temperatures we've been having (33 degrees today) it dried quickly.
I was pleased with how it turned out. When I took out the pins, there was a small amount of springback - here it is on a circular table on my deck.
And here is my 8 (nearly 9) year old modelling it so you can get an idea of the size. I will be giving this shawl, and the baby surprise jacket that I made a while back, to a friend who will shortly be a grandmother.
Wednesday, 30 May 2007
Gardening is so much more fun with a helper, even when that helper gets distracted and goes off taking pictures of ladybugs and newly hatched spiders. (Do you say hatched for spiders or is there a better word? Can you ask J please, Katherine?) Anyway here is a batch to get started with, these ones will be used in soap, shampoo, hair rinses and skin balm. The boys are going to learn to make soap and since our lavender is almost ready it seems like a good time to learn.
Tuesday, 29 May 2007
What a difference two months can make in a garden. Two months ago there was not much going on. Now we have been eating radish, rhubarb and lettuce. The spinach is almost ready. We have been using parsley and oregano in our cooking . I have enough dill in the freezer already to last for the year. Yesterday we had our first pot of lemon balm, chamomile and mint tea. I'm thinking W needs to get that solar dryer finished so that I can start drying herbs to tuck away into jars for the winter.
Here is another quote I like by Gertrude Jekyll.
"The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies."
Now if you had tried to convince me of that when I was little and it was my job to dig up all the potatoes with my brother I would have thought you were crazy, but now I think it is true. It is one of the reasons that I include my boys in all our gardening, I want them to have a love( and awe, really) of gardening to see them through their adult lives.
Monday, 28 May 2007
And the after picture:
Friday, 25 May 2007
Thursday, 24 May 2007
When I see this logo I assume that it means the item was grown in a B.C greenhouse. But, this is not necessarily so. Three weeks ago I was taking the sticker off the cucumber I had purchased and noticed that beneath the BC Hot House line it said Produce of Mexico. How can that be, I thought, it is a BC Hot House product. I didn't get a chance to look into it and then when I was at the lake last week my mom gave me a copy of this article. It is a short article and worth the time to read it. During the winter months of B.C, when there is not enough light to grow the cukes and tomatoes here, they are brought in from Mexico. To me it is just another example of how on-the-ball consumers have to be. Companies know that we don't always have time to read every bit of information on a package and actually there isn't room on every item to give all the product information, so we have come to rely on easily identifiable logos to tell us what we need.
We see all kinds or different logos and we think we know what they mean. But do we? Do we know what they mean or is there a false sense of trust that we put into companies, are we foolish to take things at face value? I find this frustrating because when people want to "do right" in purchasing their food, I would like it to be easy for us to do so. I don't want to have to be second guessing all the time. Grrrr!!
Wednesday, 23 May 2007
Tuesday, 22 May 2007
Anyway we had a great time and, as always, I did bring home a few goodies that I want to share pictures of, although without hubby's truck I had to really prioritize the things I wanted to bring back.
This is a solar food dryer that my Dad and oldest son W built out of all recycled materials. The window was salvaged from the roadside - at the lake there is always an assortment of "good stuff" on offer from people who are making their "cabins" into "lake houses". We took out two glass panels, one is used on the food dryer. Two were left in the frame and the next time my folks come down they will bring it for me to use as a cold frame over my garden beds next spring. One panel of glass I will use as a weed burner in my garden pathways. The wood is from the old deck on my folk's home. The dryer will be used for my cherries, apples, apricots, plums, grapes, currants and peaches and store-bought bananas. I will likely try it with some herbs and veggie bits too. I was pleased to hear W come up with some make-do solutions for using parts that we had while building this.
Have to post about a garage sale find that I know Katherine will understand how excited I am about. The lake that we go to has an annual garage sale at the senior's centre where several years ago I scored this for $1. It actually worked at that time ( until I brought it home to kids and pets).
This year I got this for $1, a sewing kit full of all kinds of goodies. I will never again need to buy sewing needles (nor will any of my friends). There are two sock darners, although I have no intention of ever wearing out my knitted socks ( after how long it takes me to knit them they had better not wear out!).
and also this for $1. A conch shell for E. For the last few years he has joined in a Maui Conch shell band to salute the sunset and now is lucky enough to have his own shell instead of having to use a snorkel. This one already has the blow hole cut into it and came with a hand carved wooden stand. It sounds lovely.
Those are my kind of bargains. Now if only I could figure out what these are and how they work. There is a whole bag of them. I think they are some kind of attachment to make all kinds of stitches on the sewing machine, I am just not sure if they will fit on my machine. It would be a nice bit of luck if they did and since I am a big fan of serendipity I am going to believe that they will fit my machine until Katherine tells me otherwise. ;-)
Sunday, 20 May 2007
And finally, a bit of fun knitting with some yarn I bought ages ago on sale. I have already made two scarves as gifts out of this thick and thin yarn (NoBo), one wide and shorter, one long and skinny. I was tidying out my yarn storage drawers the other day, detangling things, sorting like yarns into bags, and throwing out some things I know I won't use. I picked out this fun yarn and needles and cast on 12 stitches. The needles were made for my kids using a dowel and clay for the knobs on the end.
I decided on a challenge to shake myself out of the knitting doldrums and taught myself how to knit garter stitch without turning the work. In other words, I knitted across the row as usual, then knitted backwards to work the next row. Certainly gets your brain working! It was just like being a beginner again, as I found that stitches were mysteriously appearing or going missing. It was fun anyway.
The stir fry is garlic, ginger, onions, carrots and broccoli, to which I added a can of pineapple, some agave nectar for sweetening, some rice vinegar, tamari and chili paste. It was thickened with arrowroot starch.
My children prefer rice noodles to rice, so I cooked some and offered a peanut sauce on the side.
The smaller kids were suspicious of the green stuff in the spring rolls (funny how they've never asked what's in the ones at the Taiwanese restaurant!) so the next day I made some more with leftover rice noodles and tiny tofu cubes with tamari. They preferred those!
Wednesday, 16 May 2007
Wednesdays are homeschool support group days. It's been (I think) 8 years since the group started up, so some of us have known each other for a long time and watched each other's kids grow up. Many have come and gone, some have come and stayed.
Today the thermometer hit 28 degrees and we sat on blankets in the hazy sun until we got too hot and moved into the shade of a tree. The children rode their bikes on the BMX track and chugged gallons of water.
We four bloggers and Anne are a tightly knit group (pun intended) who don't just wait for Wednesdays to meet. We have girls nights where we knit or walk or watch movies or drink margaritas (that's at Heather's) and debate very important matters (Alan Rickman versus Colin Firth, for example).
Today, we enjoyed lemon cookies and chocolate cake while Anne opened her birthday gifts. I won't divulge how many candles should be on her cake!
Now if I can only learn to embroider them as easily as I grow them.....
Tuesday, 15 May 2007
The fabric on the far left is 100% linen, but the rest are cottons. So I merrily began filling my arms with these beauties, but soon realized I really needed a basket to manage my finds. So off to the front of the store for the basket and that's when I saw this sign 50% off all fabrics and wool... Okay, now you can understand what happened to this fabricaholic today.
These went into the basket.
Yep, I turned more than a few heads and probably offended a few fellow sewers who were so unlucky as to be looking for cottons after I got there first. The really exciting bit is that I bought approximately 26m of fabric for just over $20. Not bad. (PS. If you click on any of the above photos you will get to see the fabrics enlarged). Oh, I did look through for some yarn since it was on sale, but there wasn't anything to tempt me. Of course that may be because I'd already filled up on fabric...