Friday, 25 January 2008

Home at last!

It is so good to be home and in my own bed! I think I realise just how much of a home-bird I am. It's funny really when I look back I can imagine the idea of a couple of nights away from home when the children were all young and demanding would have been very attractive but right now it is a bit of a wrench in all sorts of ways.

It was very soothing to come back and go on the computer and link up with all you lovely crafty people and to see what you have been up to. Very soothing in fact, to pick up the gentle arts again and to peek through the windows of so many delightful bloggers and pick up the threads of their doings over the week - a new pattern here, a new discovery there, a recommended recipe or some musings on a beloved book.

This weekend I have to go away again!!!, for a course I am doing, so more packing of little suitcase and trying to remember all the things I will need over the course of two and half days. I am back on Sunday after lunch though so will have just a little time at home again before Monday and next week I am going to try travelling to the job there and back every day!!

This is not a very good picture of the scarf I have almost finished now for daughter no.3. It is a very pretty wool. I have taken up a subscription for Let's Knit magazine - just for three months - as I have enjoyed the last two issues and they aren't always easy to find in the local newsagents.

So, onwards and upwards to finish the packing and some housework! Hope you all have a great weekend and manage to get lots of projects finished or started or selected for your 'I would like to do in 2008' list. (I think I might just pack those socks I have started - you never know if there might just be a moment when you need to just do a few rows!)

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Signs of Life

Snowdrops! Don't you love them? Here they are in bud just outside the front door. They are such a delicate flower and yet they pioneer the way by being first to open in the garden after what seems like such a long time without colour anywhere.
And in the back garden there are signs of life too! Tulips, daffodils and crocus are all bursting out of the sodden earth, spreading their shoots up towards the light. There is hope in the air - hope of Spring. I am reminded of the book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, where it was always Winter and never Spring. Imagine that!

So the new job has begun but the travel lodging was dismal. So I am trying something different this week and hope it will be better. As for the socks - well I took them down three times but I think I have finally got it! They will be coming with me again this week, as will a new scarf in jewell tones for daughter no.3 this time. We took some time out on Friday this week and discovered a C&H fabric store with some nice yarn in and she choose some Sirdar Juniper which looks lovely. Also I have been teaching daughter no.4 to knit again (she learnt a couple of years ago but abandoned it a few months later). I think every fashion designer ought at least to know how to knit and I think if she gets going she could be very good at it. So, some Rowan biggy yarn and some large needles and away we go. That's all for now but I'll be back soon. I don't have the computer with me while I am away so it won't be before Wednesday but I hope you are all in good heart and have lots of fun projects to be whiling away these winter evenings with.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

The Beret and the socks

Here is a finished picture of the beret I made for daughter no.2 on a combination of 7mm and 20mm needles using Rowan big wool. She phoned me to say she had received it in the post and loved it so I was very pleased.

I have wanted to knit some socks for daughter no.4 and last weekend I found a knitting shop unexpectedly while hubby and I were checking out cars in a Vauxhall garage. The lady was so kind and when I told her I was interested in sock knitting she asked if I had time for a quick demo (which I did, of course!) and there and then she went through the basics. She sent me off with "the easiest sock pattern she has come across" and some wool, dpns and even some free stitch markers. Back home I was excited to have a go asap and managed a few rows of the ribbing. However it didn't look quite right. So lo and behold we had to go back to the garage to test drive another car so I took the opportunity to pop into the wool shop. Sure enough I hadn't done it quite right so we took it down and started again and this time I do believe I am on track. Guess what? This sock is coming with me on the train tomorrow and will be around for my solo evenings in a travel lodge!!

New Slippers and Change!

I bought a new pair of slippers well before Christmas but they stayed in the bag until this week. When they first arrived I opened them up and tried them on for fit (they were very similar to ones I had had before from Lands End) and although they fitted fine, they felt strange and not so comfortable so I put them back in the bag and carried on wearing my worn out ones!! Until last week when I thought this was rather silly really, looking at the state of the ones I was wearing and having spent the money on new ones, I should be wearing those. So I got them out of the bag and put them on again. Same feeling, not as comfy as my old ones, kept slipping off, just not the same etc etc. But I decided to persevere and carried on wearing them all morning. During the late afternoon I realised that they no longer felt strange, uncomfortable or were slipping off - they had moulded to my feet more by now I guess and I saw an analogy with change! So often we put off doing something different or in a different way because it feels uncomfortable, strange, awkward, not like it usually does etc and change more often than not feels like this initially. We have to go through the discomfort and awkwardness to get to the more comfortable in time. We mustn't be put off by these feelings as they too will pass. So often we resist at this point and run back to the familiar (in my case the old slippers!) It was interesting to ponder and to be reminded of all the change-management stuff I have done in the past, particularly as tomorrow begins a change of occupation for me!

Monday, 7 January 2008

The Trip to Fabric-Land and Lens Mills

I have promised to let you see my stash from Fabric Land in Toronto! The shop was closing down so had a 50 - 70% sale on and I bought some Christmas fabric which is soooooo expensive here in the UK. I had a look in John Lewis just before Christmas and it was £14 a metre.

My friend and I are making a quilt together, that is we are both making the same quilt using 12inch blocks and she is doing one set of colours and I am doing another set. So far I have done two blocks of green and my other colours are red and purple so we shopped for some fabric that would do just nicely for our quilts - on sale at 50% off of course!

This photo doesn't really do the colours justice - they are gorgeous.

And as I love hearts so much and saw this fabric - well - I just had to make a small purchase!
So I am a lucky gal and now all I have to do is decide how I am going to use all this wonderful fabric. If you have any ideas do let me know.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Burnt offerings and distraction!

Over the last couple of days I have burnt dinner and a set of muffins because I was completely distracted with the internet!!! A dangerous sign don't you think at the beginning of the year! I have now promised myself that I will look out my timer and use it!
However progress has been made these last few days and I have begun lists of things that need attention this year - house, garden, crafting projects (knitting, crochet and quilting initially) plus I have put all the necessary dates and anniversaries, birthdays etc into my new diary. Only a week to go before I start a new day job taking me far away from home three days a week and at least one night!!! Must have a knitting or crochet project for the journeys - public transport you understand not driving!! Hubby and I have also sat down and looked at the schedule of people staying, weekends away for work or other purposes, conferences and the like and these are all now in the diary.
So how about some more Canada photos. Let's see if I can get this working.....
The house we stayed at just outside of Toronto.
The weaver at Blackcreek Pioneer Village
The Cheese Boutique!!! Every conceivable cheese from everywhere in the world. How about cheese made with (top layer) morning goat's milk, (bottom layer) evening Goat's milk with a layer of mountain ash inside? Actually it was very tasty!
Another picture of Niagra on the Lake Village at dusk.
The falls at night.
And because blogger is taking sooooooo long to load photos just now I will have to leave it at that for today I think. More from fabric land coming soon.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Back in time to miss minus 17 degrees!

Yes, we are back safe and sound and have had a wonderful trip to our friends in Toronto. It was a very busy 10 days in all with 9 of around the table most of the time but a few days when there were 13. So lots of time in the kitchen helping my friend to cook meals and to clear up but also some fun trips. Somehow my camera didn't want to come out all that much - maybe because it was soooo cold and I need my glasses to take the photos so that means a bit of a carry-on getting them out of the bag etc. Hubby took about 400 photos and they are really good ones but I don' t have them on this computer yet. So I'll have to keep you in suspense!

Some trips we made:

Blackcreek Pioneer Village - a recreated village set up as it would have been in pioneer days with real workers e.g a Cooper making barrels, a Blacksmith making horsehoe irons, a lady sewing on a very old treadle sewing machine and lots more. Each building was decorated as it would have been back then, lots of dried fruit, pine, fir and red bows. We had some lunch in the restaurant there - corn chowder served in tin bowls and coffee in tin mugs with waitresses in long skirts and home baked corn bread - mmmmm delicious. No photo yet but soon.

Niagra on the lake - lovely village outside of the falls with wooden houses all lit up for Christmas with tasteful decorations and shops like the Rocky Road Chocolate Shop.
Now blogger seems to be unable to load my other photos...... so.... maybe this will just have to be text.
We got to the falls when it was dark so saw all the different coloured lights like blue, green and red being shone on them. But it was soooooooooo cold we had to dive into a restaurant for a hot chocolate.

Well maybe that is all for now - more in the next few days about my trip to Fabric-land - what a name! It says it all and boy did I have a good time there as it was 50-70% off all fabric because they were closing down!!! Now I do have some photos of this!

And I actually managed to make a scarf for daughter no. 2 while I was there using very nice Rowan chunky knit in a pale aqua and she wore it home on the plane!

I'll be back with more tales and hopefully some photos.