Monday, August 29, 2011

Another Majestic Moose

Well, the 60th celebrations keep on going. Yesterday, we had a delicious brunch at my sister's cottage with Nancy and Bill and my niece Meredith and her hubby Eli. And a new moose was added to the family.

Meet Manfred. He is a metal moose, crafted by an artist in Elora and a gift from my Nancy and Bill.
Isn't he handsome!

Since he can be outdoors, after I took this picture of him, I wandered around with him, looking for the perfect spot. Somewhere where he would have a great view and we would have a great view of him. And I found it.

Near the lower deck, there is a flat rock that has been waiting for him for centuries. Till now, it has basically been collecting water and pine needles and has been a place that needs to be cleaned out all the time to avoid becoming mosquito heaven. It is perfectly flat and gives him a great view of the water. And since he is not far from the walkway down to the water, he is easy to spot from just about everywhere.

Turns out that Nancy already had another gift for me when she found Manfred. In fact, she had knit me a vest! (Or as she will tell it, she had knit herself a vest, which I promptly declared I HAD to have.) A beautiful lace vest that will be fantastic for the cooler days ahead. It is a perfect denim blue colour that will go with everything I own. I tried to take a picture of me wearing it, but to no avail.

To give you an idea of what it looks like on, here's a picture from the pattern displays on Ravelry. It's great for over a cami in the summer, but perfect over a long-sleeved t when things cool down.

This was definitely the birthday of gifts "made from the heart". I love things made for me more than any other gift, so this birthday was extra special. If Elaine will give me permission to show her creation, I will get a picture to share with you. It's a prototype of a scarf she would like to make and sell, so I don't want to give anything away. But I can tell you it is black and white and gorgeous. And the day she gave it to me, I happened to be wearing a black and white striped t that went with it perfectly.

Jennifer's gifts were themed to "birds of a feather", since we seem to be in synch on just about everything. She gave me a beautiful feather charm for my Pandora necklace and a handmade "Bookhou" feather pouch for my hooks.

So far I'd say that 60 is pretty darn fantastic, wouldn't you?

Monday, August 22, 2011

60 Ways to Turn 60

Well it happened - yesterday. The Big 6-0! As birthdays tend to do, it actually started a while ago, and will continue a while longer, but yesterday was the actual calendar day.

No big fanfare. The kids drove up on Saturday (in the rain - worst weekend of the summer). and we had a lovely dinner at a nearby resort on Saturday night.  They had to drive back to TO yesterday (in the rain - a 4.5 hour trip that usually takes 2).

Rick had already given me my Stand Up Paddleboard, I had a great visit with Elaine and Jennifer (including lunch at the oh-so-swanky Rosseau Marriott) last Saturday, so I was already cozying into the whole 6-0 thing.

My kids had something else in mind. They gave me "60 things you will love, need or want" to celebrate your big 6-0. And let me tell you, there were some pretty creative items in the big container full of goodies.

It started with the Birthday Sash, which I promptly donned.

It continued with the unwrapping of all the items, cleverly stored in a large "wool-holding" bin. After I unwrapped each item and made a bouquet of the tissue flowers, I put everything back and took this picture. I should have taken the picture first - duh!

I made them write down each one as I opened it, so here's the list:

Bin (it definitely counts as a good gift)
Sash (oh so Miss-Something-or-Other-ish)
Birthday Girl Rosette (totally re-usable for many birthdays to come)
60 decor on box and special coaster (to be inflicted on the next 6-0 person)
Umpteem emery boards (which I am always losing)
Almond Biscotti for with my coffee
Skor bits (Skor bars are my favourite)
Canned Clams (the most unusual thing in the bin - for my linguine with clam sauce)
Chocolate-covered toffees (need I say anything else?)
Magnetic note clips for the fridge and metal studio door
Wine tumblers for the boat (ssshhh)
Beauty mask
Foot scrub
Crazy cake erasers (functional and calorie free)
Skor bar (vs. Skor bits)
LCBO gift card (will magically turn into a bottle of Scotch)
6 Different flavours of Excel gum (since I always am out and borrowing from Laura)
STRUT wine - a new red with long set of "gams"on the label
Post-it notes with different "All out of" check off options, including Mojo
Vanilla bath salts - I tried them for a b'day soak - yummy
Chatelaine magazine
Food and Wine magazine
Canadian Living magazine
Gardening Gloves
Chocolate "Moose" lollipop
Boost (don't laugh, it works for an in-car breakfast or lunch on the run)
Nestle Noir chocolates
Trivia Calendar for 2012 (so I can challenge my son with his trivia beginning with "Did you know...")
Water Bottle - good plastic, non-metal
Trail Mix
Werthers Candies
Lip Gloss
Eatmore bar (did you notice a lot of chocolate in this list?)
Egg "Boiley" (a cute little thing for eggs in the microwave, which I will try this morning)
Sudoku book
Bread Recipe book
Commitments DVD
The Full Monty DVD
Beaches DVD
White Squall DVD
Flight of the Navigator DVD (my kids go crazy for their childhood movies on DVD - we have them all)
Mr. Holland's Opus DVD
Pepper Grinder (to replace the Ikea one whose top is ALWAYS coming off)
A silver frame embossed with "angels" with two hilarious, non-angelic baby pictures of them

Let's face it, it's pretty hard to come up with 60 things - I had a hard time trying to do 30 for Rick for our Anniversary, so I was blown away. They said that they had a master list they were using, but kept finding other things and were constantly texting or calling one another in the past couple of weeks with the latest "eureka".

How lucky am I to have such creative and dedicated kids!!! And it made the day.

I suggested that they had better start planning now for 100. They just laughed and said this was definitely a one-time deal.

Rick did not keep his promise of no more gifts and gave me two more Pandora charms. Even my necklace is nearly full now.

I had lots of wonderfully funny cards and many cyber well wishes. It was a pretty awesome day, albeit quiet. I didn't feel a day over 59 yesterday LOL. And today, I don't feel much different either.

But I'm sure after this, my next birthday is sure to be a bit of a dullard.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

No Hookin' but lots of Swimmin' and Cookin' and Stitchin'

It's been so long since I've pulled a loop, it's crazy. Must be a record. These nice summer days have been filled with water time and stand up paddle board time and the very best things about summer.

Actually, I pulled a few loops to show some guests how hooking's done. Also showed them punch needle and pulled out lots of projects for a big "show and tell". And demonstrated the Bolivar. It's always fun to do that. And both the husband and wife are big fans of rug hooking in general - and of mine in particular (probably because I'm the only hooker they know ha ha)

The trickle of guests has also had big rewards in the kitchen. It's just much more fun to do great food for company than for just the two of us.The eating occasions are more enjoyable too. I've discovered a new Corn and Black Bean salad that uses a spicy corn relish as the dressing - yumm. And I've made it twice and served it with blackened chicken.

Here's a picture of the salad and the recipe card - and here's a link to the recipe. The jar was a little pricey at our local fresh produce market, but I'm sure you could make your own if you wanted.

Here are a few more things I've been doing instead of starting a new hooking project:

I embroidered this patch for a favourite grey t-shirt. Underneath the patch is a funny little thing that the kids and I did for Rick's post-renovation celebration and mine ran in the wash. But I did want to save the shirt, so voila. Here's the patch with some fancy stitches and here's the shirt.

I can tell you that the many hours of needlework far exceeds the value of the sad little grey 't', but what the heck. At least now I can wear it.

At the same time, I was finishing a baktus scarf that is cotton and linen and coincidentally the colours are the same. How odd is that! (the colour representation in this picture is the most realistic)

And while the second zig zag baby blanket is in the works, I cast on yet another knitting project - following Jennifer Manuell's lead with this sweet light weight sweater, Alga. There's just something about getting a new pattern plus getting yummy yarn that breaks down my resistance every time.

Don't you just love the little pleating in the midriff?  The wool we are both using is Madeline Tosh Merino Light - and the colourways are amazing.Jenn is knitting hers in a beautiful teal/green/blue/black mix (called Baltic) and mine is variegated dark blue denim.

So, certainly no lack of projects.

I'm sure that come September, and cooler days and fewer guests, I'll cook and eat less and hook more. I'll have to keep swimming to wear off all that great eating.

Monday, August 8, 2011

All Done But the Blocking

Here is a picture of the Bulky Baby Blanket finished.  I took some other pictures, but the colour was awful on the iphone camera. This is a much better representation of the apple green and robin's egg blue. I love the combination and they are favourites of the mom-to-be. As a shower gift, I gave her some receiving blankets with these colours as well.

I love how the mitred edging finishes the blanket, but I will really have to do some blocking when I wash it. The sides are a little "ruffly" and no amount of adjusting seemed to help. I was tempted to take it all out and start again, but then hit my self over the head to remind me that it's a "baby" blanket. I doubt the baby will care that it may not be completely flat.

Berrocco has a really cute free sweater pattern on their website that I might just do to go with it. I think it would be adorable in these same colours. Here's the pattern:

I have the time. And I think these colours will work equally as well for a boy or girl baby.  And baby sweaters go sooooo quickly.

This baby is due mid-September and the next one isn't due till October. So if everyone stays on track, I can too LOL.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Bra Project in the Press

I heard from a couple of people yesterday that there was a feature article in the Toronto Star about The Bra Project.

This bra is titled "Bobby Orr" and was created
by a bra artista in Parry Sound.
Here's the link to the article which talks about the history of the project as well as the upcoming display at the CNE in Toronto. If you are planning on going to the CNE, stop in at the Arts, Crafts and Hobbies Pavilion and see 60 of art bras on display.

Hope you get there. The display is incredible. If not, go online for a virtual visit.

P.S. Our little community raised all of the $650,000 required for the digital mammography machine, but it's not too late to create your own masterpiece and be part of the project.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Baby Blanket Back Up

Here is the baby blanket that I am close to finishing for my next baby gift, due in September. Isn't this the cutest picture ever??? (The blanket does not come with the baby - you have to provide your own LOL)

The pattern is available for free on Purl Bee and it is incredibly quick to knit. The yarn that is specified in the pattern was a little too rich for my liking, so I substituted and got the gauge required. I am making mine a little longer - this one is square - because I had the yarn.

I love the mitred border, which is knit double-stranded in a contrasting colour and looks like the edging on a real blanket. And if you pay attention to the directions, it is easy to do also. After I finished my increases, I realized that I had increased only half of what I was supposed to - luckily I noticed the (8 increased stitches) before I got completely done - actually I noticed it on the (8 decreased stitches) which shows how far into it I was.

Hence the title for this post. A big back up was required. And when you are holding a gazillion stitches, with markers, on a humungous circular needle, the backing up is slow going. At least for me it was, because I did it row by row, so as not to lose the markers.

It's funny that we all think we can read - for the most part. And as a veteran knitter, I think I can read a pattern - I have even trained myself to read through from start to finish before I begin, because I have been caught too many times by that crazy "at the same time" stuff. This should have been a cake walk - I was just not paying attention. But I am back on track again.

The other thing that this blanket taught me is to knit with it sitting on a table or counter in front of me - to keep the weight off in the hot weather. And to knit early in the morning or late at night.

Anyway, I am back to knitting again and should have a picture to share in a day or so.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Welcome Loretta and Hooked On The Lake

I got an email yesterday from my friend Loretta, telling me that she has a new blog. Since I was in the Big Smoke yesterday, I waited until I was back to take a look. It is great! Her blog is Hooked On The Lake.

This is Mr. Wieeeener, one of your many playful patterns.

Her lake is near Westport, Ontario, north of Kingston and both her lake and her "hottage"(technical term for home that was previously a cottage) are incredible.  I was there a couple of years ago for a workshop weekend with Bea Grant. It was awesome!

At the time, Loretta was not yet there full time, but was commuting from Montreal with her husband Gord. Now she is living there and enjoying every single day. Like me, she relishes simple things like having coffee on the deck every morning.

Loretta's blog is on wordpress and she has mutliple pages and an online store as well as a blog. It's more like a website. She is one of the best primitive pattern designers and hookers that I know and she is already sharing dye recipes.

Go and see for yourself how incredible it is.

Welcome Loretta. I'll be following along for sure.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Some Big Numbers Need Big Gifts

Yesterday was Rick and my "30th" Anniversary!! It seems nearly impossible to believe that this many celebrations have gone by, but I guess having two kids - 28 and 25 on Thursday -  is proof that the number is what it is.

Since another bigger number is just around the corner, my husband decided to get me a genuine stand up paddle board, instead of the "jiggly giggly" dead windsurfer that has been substituting till now. And he decided to get it far enough ahead so that I could enjoy it - good thinking.

Instead of sharing a picture of me on "Peter Pan" (the actual name on the paddle board), here is a picture of Laura. You can just imagine me 32 years older and several pounds heavier LOL.

The irony of the name of the board is that I was named Wendie after Wendy in Peter Pan, and now many many many years later, of all the boards in the world, we end up with Peter Pan. I think that is kismet for sure.

If you aren't familiar with this new sport, it is catching on like wild fire. Boards are becoming difficult to find and the marina where we bought PP had sold out two orders - we got the last one this size - and weren't getting any more this year.

Using your balance to stay on the board, you paddle on either side of the board, changing sides every three or four strokes. This board is 10'4" long and as you can see, shaped like a surfboard, with a scooped front. In places where there is surf, they paddle out to the waves and surf back in. There is some kind of clip that attaches the paddle to the board while you ride the wave. (That will never be an issue here on Salmon Lake.)

It is one heck of a work out - for all parts of the body. My arms have never been so toned from the paddling and every muscle in the core and lower body is engaged - to keep from falling off. But I am totally in love with it. I think I have been on for at least an hour every day since we brought it home.

Yesterday, to celebrate the big 3-0, I paddled to the end of the lake, which is about 4 km return trip. That was my longest trek thus far. The only parts of me that were really feeling it were my feet - from gripping.  Our lake is the perfect size and calmness to make this fun (you can see how still the water is in front of Laura).

Laura is a bit of a gym junkie and she said that it's a really good workout - even for her. So that makes me feel good in so many ways. Fun and fit - a good combo for all the big numbers.

Cozy Evvie is Complete - well at least the hooking part.

Here she is. She is all hooked. She has the "best saying ever" on her shirt - printed on fabric, since it was way too small to h...