Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Chunky Monkey Hand pampering swap

I got my package!
It was such a warm sunny day, we were outdoors almost the whole day.  The perfect ending to a perfect day was to find a package for me in the mail box.  It was from Dianna in B.C. who is my partner in the Chunky Monkey hand pampering swap on Ravelry.  Chunky Monkey is a group we are both in for those of us who love to knit with chunky yarn.  I have discovered that almost every member in that group is both younger than me, and is a far superior knitter (from what I can tell).  But they are a lively bunch, and seem to have a lot of fun there.  I like a fun bunch of people.

So, I couldn't wait to get home to open my package.  This time, I was able to open it all by myself - without anyone trying to steal my new treasures.  Why is that?  The boys were both outside in the sand box, pretending to be Sandman from the movie Spiderman 3.  This means burying themselves as much as possible, including sand in the hair, then quickly standing up and proclaiming, "I AM SANDMAN!!!" and watching all the sand and dust fly off.  They stayed out there for an hour doing this!  :)  
You should have seen all the sand in my carpet, not to mention all the sand on the bathroom floor during bath time.

So while my boys were occupied in the sand, I happily opened my package, wondering if my partner had gotten hers yet and if she'd like everything. When I'm in a swap,  I always wonder if my partner will like what I've sent.  So far, my packages have been well received.  I guess it's good that there are questionaires so you can't go too wrong in getting what people ask for, right?  But I'm sure there are people out there who don't like what they've gotten, and I'd hate to be the sender of a bad swap package.  I wasn't too thrilled when I got a 4 out of 5 rating on a recent Swap-bot event.  But of course, there was no real questionaire to go by, so I'll let it go.  Can't please everyone.  As it turns out, my partner did get her package, and blogged all about it before I had logged in to Ravelry to see if she had gotten it.  I'm so glad she liked it!  She even took photos for her blog!

I love being spoiled.  I have been spoiled in every swap I've been in so far, and this was no exception - completely spoiled!  First, there's the gorgeous spring fetchings that I'm wearing right now.  Such a beautiful pattern on them!  I have no idea how to describe them, or what the pattern might be called, but I love them!  If that were the only thing in the package, I'd be happy enough.  But there was more;  Clover bamboo circular knitting needles, in size 15/10mm.  How awesome is that?  And as I was thinking to myself, "I wonder what I will knit with these?  I can't wait to find out"... out comes a ball of yarn.  Not just any yarn, but Alpaca wool by Sirdar Peru.  I've never even touched Alpaca wool before, so this was wonderful!  I kept squishing it in my hands, feeling it next to my cheek, looking at the gorgeous dark blue shade.  Welcome to my stash!  2 skeins of it, whatever shall I do?  :)
Then there's the hand lotions - Dove night cream, Time & Again lavender therapy cream (perfect size for my purse, and smells lovely!), and 3 bottles of luxurious lotions by Got2b in2spa:  silk works, smoothie, and hand shake. Each one is different from the next, so I will have lots to choose from!  I was given cute little souvenirs from Prince Rupert, like a moose key chain and a crab key chain (that was hand made with beads - so cute).  The funniest thing of all was the moose droppings that came in a brown paper bag.  I looked at it and laughed.  Then I opened up the bag (it said they were chocolate rosebuds) and took out the plastic wrapper containing warm, squishy, melted brown stuff.  I had to laugh!  The parcel was in the end compartment of the super box all day, with the sun beating down on the metal to warm it up.  So it very much resembled what I imagine fresh hot moose droppings would look like, not like rosebuds.  This was hilarious!  It has now cooled down to a solid brick of chocolate.  Every one in my family thought it was a priceless moment.  Too funny!

So that's all for now!  I'm going to Ravelry later today to see what patterns I can find for my new bamboo circs! 

Monday, 12 May 2008

Spring Fling Coffee Swap Package

Firstly, let me say sorry to Lizet and everyone else for delaying this post for a whole week.  I expected to post it first thing when arriving home, only to become terribly sick on our return.  My clients were so nice in giving me time off work to recover, and I'm so happy to be myself again!  

Thank you Lizet for such a great package!  I've never seen so many wonderful flavours of coffee all at once!  They all look so nicely displayed together!  My 4 year old likes to help me pick out which one I shall try next, though I haven't tried any yet.  I thought I would make sure this was properly posted before indulging in them, and I can't wait!  We are going to go shopping for a new coffee maker for me tonight (a Mother's day gift) so I can set a timer for the coffee machine to start in the morning.  

On to the photos...
Here is the group photo, with the mug missing in action.
My partner for this swap is from England, and must know how much I love souvenirs, especially from England.  I'm always delighted to get trinkets from where my swap pal may live. She was so kind to send me these seeds, playing cards, and clicking pen.  The pen is now in my little knitting bag with a WIP, the playing cards have been played with, and the seeds are safely hiding from my children.  We are going to plant some this week in our little garden in the front, and perhaps make some more room in the backyard for a some more flowers.
I couldn't wait to tell my mother about this one!  It's a Tea for Two set, complete with a bonus honey dipper!  When I was a little girl, I often played with my mother's tea balls not knowing what they were used for.  Now I have my very own, and I know how to use them!
Here is the fine selection of coffee that Lizet sent me.  I really have no idea how she was able to fit all these things into that little box - she's very good a packing!  They were buried inside those little peanut shaped packing pieces, so you put your hand in the box not knowing just how many delicious surprises were to be found!  Right when I would expect there to be no more, I was wrong!  My little boy had a blast helping me to unpack them;  he was certain it was Christmas!  He is going through a phase right now when every time he may get something or ask for something, it must be due to Christmas.  He knows his days of the week, but a month or several months is just too inconceivable to him right now.  It sure is fun to observe his enthusiasm for Christmas, though!
Here is my little boy trying to sort the coffee packages in various orders.  If you line them up, they almost look like little houses in a village.  Use your imagination!
Here is the yarn she sent me.  Isn't it so Spring!  I keep holding it and pondering about what I might do with it!  So many possibilities!  Something for me.  Call me selfish, but when I get yarn from a swap I just can't seem to part with it by making things for other people.  I simply have to make something for myself to enjoy!  Also, there is a great guage/needle size tool that was with the yarn, and for some reason I didn't get an extra photo of it, but it's in the group shot above, just behind the hand cream.

See the adorable lady bugs on my new mug?  Every angle has a little something different going on with the lady bugs of this adorable mug.  Definitely Spring!

Here is the little project bag, or sock bag as some people call them.  The picture just doesn't do it justice.  It looks like shiny glass marbles all adorned in spring colours!  And I can bring it anywhere to do my knitting!  It will fit inside my purse nicely, and even has a belt loop so you can walk while you knit or to keep it securely by your side.

Wow!  This was my first time trying organic Hispanola chocolate.  It says "plain chocolate" but I'm convinced it tastes like dark chocolate.  Organic food always seems to have more flavour in it.  I have hidden it away and sneak little nibbles of it when I am craving chocolate.
Aren't these so fun?  I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but those are googly eyes on the ladybug socks.  My friend says she can't believe how much fun I'm having with them.  They are a huge hit here.  You can't wear them and not feel cheery.
My son was convinced that this was sent specifically for him.  By this point, it was impossible to convince him that this was NOT Christmas.  You can't get all these toys without it being Christmas, don't cha know?  This tape measure is so cute!  The ladybug is knitted on, though I can't imagine just how difficult it must be to make one of these!  I finally have a retractable tape measure - whoo hoo!  Now that I have one, I can also see why knitters with kids keep several of them, as they are quite the comodity.  I'm always being asked by the children if they may borrow it, or if I can make them one.  I don't think my skills are anywhere ready for that yet, but it would be something fun to do when I have learned a few more techniques.
Lastly, here is the soothing hand cream Lizet sent me.  This Helping Hands cream is from the Lush company in England, where they make fresh handmade cosmetics with natural ingredients.  I can't tell you how impressed I am with this product.  I had no idea there was such a thing as handmade cosmetics, so I especially want to thank Lizet for sending me this.  I love it!

I love everything in my swap package!  I hope you had fun shopping for me, and thanks for everything!

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Weekend Retreat

This is my 4 year old and the chef in residence statue.  He likes it, but tells me that they are not buddies.

Next is a photo of my mother and I.  There was too much light behind us for you to see the nice landscape out the window.

These photos are taken at the Avalon Clearview Bed & Breakfast near Collingwood, Ontario. My mother, my sisters and their families all joined us here for the weekend. We have the whole place to ourselves! This is a great place to go, with a gorgeous view! I can't believe I left my camera at home, but I took a few shots with my computer's camera. My sisters took shots with their cameras, and will send me a link to them after they get home and download. I might edit some better photos in later. But for today, I've been chasing around everyone with my laptop and taking photos. "Here, look at my computer and say cheese!"

My 11 year old, and my husband, liked to block their pictures being taken just for fun.  They will remain anonymous.

This is me and my husband.

This is my sister, her husband, and their darling baby playing the piano.

We had a lot of fun playing duets that I haven't played since elementary school.  I finally found that key I had missing in the Waltz.  

The view overlooks Devil's Glenn, which is a well known ski hill over here. There is also a pond in the back yard. Funny how I was just blogging about a day outdoors with trees and grass, and all that. And here I am! I didn't spend too much time outside, as there has been so much rain here today, but I did get to take a nice walk and explore the grounds. You can't tell from the photos, but down by the edge of trees, there is a little tiny stream that you can hear rippling by. So serene. In the afternoon, we enjoyed watching the fog roll up the hills nearby; making everything but the closest edge of grass disappear.  

Keep in mind, my camera for some reason flipped the photos like a mirror image.  The pond is actually supposed to be way over on the right side.  And that's glare from the window you are seeing over the grass.

I did the smallest bit of knitting today (so far). I have only about an inch to go on my coffee mug cozy. Then I will try to make one in wool, to see how it feels as this one was in cotton. I'm so happy that I can now knit in the round; it's not as hard as I thought it would be.

If it weren't for the deck being wet from all the rain going off and on, I would take a chair and sit outside and knit for awhile.  Maybe tomorrow.

I took this picture of the coo-coo clock because I think they are cool.  I used to love seeing these go coo-coo when I was little.  I love all the little cottage nick-nacks that were all around.  The french doors were made of stained glass, the kitchen had barn animal tiles, and there were ceramic chickens here and there.  

Oh!  And did you know that wild turkeys roam this property?  I'm not sure where they went off to when I took my walk, but I couldn't find them once I went outside.  But now and then you see them through the window strutting their stuff straight across the yard.  There was a telescope set up in the living room for us to get a better view of the turkeys.  Once was enough for me though, they aren't too pleasant to look at compared to other wild life.

just a quick note...

I'm going to a beautiful Bed and Breakfast up north in Collingwood this weekend. I wonder if there is a yarn store up there?

They have wifi there, so I'll be bringing my notebook to post an update. I got a marvelous swap package in the mail, and can't wait to tell you all about it!!! I tried to blog about it last night, and the photos weren't going the way I wanted them to so I saved the draft till I get to our destination spot and then sort it out properly.

Stay tuned for more..