Monday, March 28, 2016

A Short Long Weekend

The Easter long weekend has come and gone. Well, sort of come and gone. Today is Easter Monday, and I always find it a bit confusing. In Canada it is one of those semi-holidays. Schools, libraries, the post office and government offices are closed, but for everyone else it seems to be a regular day.

Rebekah, Anton and Ella were out for an overnight, and we had so much fun watching Ella explore.

This was her first experience with grass. Or, more accurately in the case of our lawn, moss, clover and buttercups.

Ella had her first trip up Teapot Hill. She seemed to enjoy the experience, but then again, who wouldn't if they got carried all the way up?

While Rebekah was here she kindly agreed to take some pictures of a couple of my finished knitting projects.

This is my Buchanan sweater, which is a Kate Davies design. I started this last August but then put it aside for a "few weeks" and cast on something else. Then another something else, etc., etc. The end result is those few weeks morphed into a few months, and now that I've finally finished it the weather has turned too warm to wear it. I fall into the crafter's category of Slow Learner.

I'm curious. Is today a holiday in your neck of the woods?

Friday, March 18, 2016

Settling In

:: I've just returned from another trip to Spokane, and I'm happy to report that my mom is back in her apartment and doing well. One of the things I miss the most about the area I grew up in is the amazing sunsets. This picture was taken from the back deck at my brother's home.

:: My apologies for the previous blog header. I knew it looked a bit blurry, but thought that might be because my reading glasses weren't strong enough. In between trips to Spokane I went to the eye doctor and got stronger reading glasses, and glasses for driving as my distance vision has also deteriorated. I was appalled when I put on the new glasses and saw the header was still blurry, but didn't have a chance to fix it until I got home.

:: This article about a man being attacked by a lion in Kenya caught my attention this morning, not because of the attack itself, but, rather, due to the fact it referred to the man as being elderly. He was 63. My eyes might be going downhill, but I hardly feel like I will be elderly in four more years. I would like to have a word or two with the young punk who wrote that article.

:: Jay asked me why I didn't have a picture of his cat Emily in my side bar. I told him his fondness for Emily reminded me of Hagrid's love for his pet dragon Norbert. He is totally blind to Emily's flaws. She once swiped Karsten with her paw and the infection that set in was so bad he had to go on a course of antibiotics. Her latest bad habit has been scratching the wood post at the top of the stairs. And in this picture she has been partying in a bag of CDs Jay checked out of the library, and has scattered the library tickets all over the floor. (Okay, honesty forces me to admit Fergus may have also been involved, but at least I am willing to own up to the flaws in my own pet.)

:: Fergus was at the vet last week for his vaccinations and a check-up. Apparently he is about two pounds over his ideal weight, so I've now got him on a strict diet. In his case this basically means keeping him from snacking on the cat's food all day long.

:: Ella Gordon has been named the Shetland Wool Week patron for 2016. I met Ella that wonderful day I visited the Jamieson & Smith shop, and I'm sure she'll do a terrific job in her role as patron. Today she released her Croofthouse Hat pattern, which I'm sure will be on many heads come this September.

:: The Edinburgh Yarn Festival is happening this weekend, and I'm feeling quite sorry for myself that I'm not attending. It feels like everyone else is there but me, but then I remind myself that actually most people don't even know what the Edinburgh Yarn Festival is. In fact, I'm guessing there are quite a few people who don't even know where Edinburgh is. If, like me, you feel like you are missing out on all the excitement, you can buy the Wool Tribe magazine which has six knitting patterns in it.

:: I have a finished knitting project to show you, and a finished sewing project. However, having fired my in-house photographer the pictures will follow at a later date. Selfies are okay for socks, hats and mitts, but not so great for sweaters and tunics.

:: In lieu of a finished project picture I am posting this one of Lucy, texted to me last week. This is the Wowligan I knit her for Christmas. There's something special about seeing the handknits you've made being worn out in the wild.

:: I bought some chestnut flour because I kept seeing it pop up in gluten-free recipes, especially recipes out of the UK. Of course, now that I have the flour I can't remember which recipes I had been looking at that inspired me to buy it. If you have any good recipes using chestnut flour I would really appreciate it if you left a comment.

:: The sun is shining and I plan to hike Teapot Hill again today. I never get tired of the way the light filters through the trees. 

:: Apologies for being absent from your blogs over much of the past month. I really need to start using Bloglovin because my current system of blog reading does not work on the iPad, which is what I use when I'm away from home. 

:: Have a great weekend!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Between Weathers

The arrival of March has me wondering if there is an expression similar to "in like a lion, out like a lamb" that applies to "in like a monsoon." Having lived here for almost three years now I fear the second half of that phrase might be "out like a monsoon." I keep reminding myself this is the price to pay for living here, and also how appropriate it is that my street name has the word mossy in it.

Most of this past week has been spent recovering from the nasty bug I picked up while in Spokane, stocking up an empty fridge, and taking care of other jobs that need doing before I go back down towards the end of the week. I've managed to walk every day in between storms. They have been slow walks, but I have enjoyed every minute of them. There's nothing like being away from home for a couple of weeks to give you a new appreciation for surroundings you mostly take for granted. 

One of the advantages of traveling by car rather than by plane is the ability to pack multiple knitting projects. I took several WIPs along to work on in the evenings, including the Chinook Mitts I was making as part of the Knit British Nature's Shades Along. I finished knitting them while I was away, and when I got home I wove in all the ends.

It has been so nice to be able to cook again. Maybe a little bit too nice. I have been on a comfort food binge this week. Nigella's leek pasta bake was amazing. It's from her newest cookbook, Simply Nigella.  I really do try to cook healthy things most of the time, but every once in awhile I think it's nice to make something for no other reason than it tastes good. Nigella's recipes seem to mostly fall into that latter category. Oh, and I should add that I subbed gluten free flour and pasta and it still came out great. Sadly this isn't always the case when making those substitutions.

My great disappointment when I was in Wales a few years ago was not being able to enjoy eating Welsh cakes. This year I decided to celebrate St. David's Day by trying a gluten free recipe for Welsh cakes and they turned out great! Part of the reason they tasted so good might be the fact I splurged and used Kerrygold butter from Ireland when I made them. Oh my. Some people claim nicotine is one of the most addictive substances on the planet. Others say heroin. They are wrong. There's something in that Irish butter that once consumed can never be forgotten.

I'm trying to fight off the urge to bake chocolate chip cookies, which might just be the ultimate comfort food. I'm also trying not to think about what they would taste like if I made them with some Kerrygold.