Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The Real To Do List

I saw this posted in the hallway at my child's school, and thought it had to be shared:

1. Sing
2. Smile at strangers
3. Keep Learning
4. Notice Kindness
5. Eat Ice Cream
6. Hope
7. Count Your Blessings
8. Laugh
9. Love
10. Love Some More

Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Monday, 9 April 2012

Easter Nesting

Emma really liked carrying around the big Easter basket.  She put her tiny little chocolate foil eggs in the bottom of the green paper shredded grass.  Then she decided that she had a better idea for the grass...

Emma decided to make a little nest in the corner of the front hallway for her eggs.  
The furnace vent is right there by the corner, so in theory it would be 
a great place to hatch eggs -- if they weren't made of chocolate.
I explained to her about the chocolate eggs melting,  and asked her to put them back into the basket.
She did, but Emma had other plans for the grass...
What would make more sense than for Emma to make mommy (me) an 
indoor garden with all the indoor grass she had from her basket?
She informed me that the parts of the floor where there is no grass, is the beach.

After we cleaned it all up, Emma gave me a hug and asked if we were ready
to go 'Trick or Tweeting" for Halloween.  I'm not sure how that idea got into her head,
but she has twice since then said, "Happy Halloween!"
What do you think of my garden? 

Nanna's 95th Birthday

This weekend we celebrated my Nanna's 95th birthday.  And her sense of humour is just as fresh as it was several years ago.  It was impressive just how many people showed up.  It was great to see relatives I haven't seen for ages.

My sisters and I arranged to have a special greetings certificate from the Prime Minister of Canada's office.  They'll do this at your request, when people reach the age of 90 or 95.  We have to wait for her to reach 100 before the Queen will send one. 

I had decided to mark this occasion by making something special for Nanna, as I've been improving in my knitting skills.  I decided to knit her a Miami Beach Shawl.  I had carefully planned out how many rows per day I needed, but didn't pay attention to the pattern when it read, "repeat row 50 until..."

Although I spent many nights staying up late to work on this shawl, it didn't help that I fell asleep knitting it, and made mistakes by knitting past the short row turning point (a few times).  It was at least 3 times I had to frog back and try again.

I was so disappointed to show up without a completed shawl, especially after I had told some of my relatives I was making her one.  They didn't look impressed when I showed them the shawl in my bag, still on the needles.  I promised to come and visit my Nanna soon, to deliver her shawl. 

Guess how close I actually came to finishing it?  I even worked on it during the car ride to the restaurant, as I knew it would be a close call.  I ended up being only 6 rows away from finishing!  I wish I could have stayed up longer the night before, but once you start to fall asleep at the needles, bad things happen. 

But on the bright side, I can finish it properly and block it.  So it will hopefully look stunning when I go to present the finished shawl.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Spring Scavenger Hunt Swap

Our ravelry group, Happy Blue Year, is in the midst of an awesome Spring Scavenger Hunt.
I'm just about to mail my partner's parcel off to her, as I've finished her hand-knit item.  Don't worry, it's not on my project page yet, so there's no peeking.

To my surprise, my parcel came in the mail this week!  Beverley mailed if early, as it was coming here from England.  What good timing, it arrived here just before Easter, and right when I needed some really good chocolate.  I'd been having a slightly stressful week, partly because I was anxious about my knitting deadline (to get that shawl done in time for Nanna's birthday, which sadly I did not complete in time for the party), and partly due to my daughter going through a Curious George phase.  She's three, and gets into more mischief than both my boys put together, or any of my daycare clients.  For example, she wants to be helpful by feeding the fish.  She'll construct things to climb on to get at the fish food, but takes the lid off and shakes it all over the room.  I can handle a bit of fish flakes, but too much really bothers my nose.  I have a suspicion that I might be allergic to this flake fish food stuff, so I wash my hands whenever I'm done feeding the fish.  I had to hold my breath as I vacuumed fish flakes off the bed covers and floor, then laundered the sheets.  She also draws on the walls, and puts pretty stickers on the floor.  Standard toddler things, but there are days when she pulls stunt after stunt.  Then she bats her eyes and gives that cute little smile that says, "I'm too cute to get in trouble".  It's soooo hard to keep my poker face on as I put her on time out.  But I have to say, her behaviour improved right after a time out.  If I let her go with too many almost time-outs (when you say 'next time' there'll be a time-out) she is sure to test me to that promise very soon.  This is a girl who likes to know where her boundaries are.

Here is Emma, delighted to help me see what is in our parcel from Snazzyb.  She's holding onto the little silver notions bag that says Jennifer on it. 

Wow!  I got spoiled!
Not shown above are the gummy bears (they were soooo good) and the chocolate orange.
Snazzyb wrote me a nice note about the local things in my parcel.
To the right of the card, is some of the wonderful Cappuccino chocolates that were included.
I hid them very carefully, in my knitting bag. 
See the beautifully hand-spun yarn?
Beverley also gave me this pattern for using small bits of yarn to make a cool scarf!
I was pleased to learn that she designed this pattern herself.  I've been thinking how neat it would be to be able to make something with all my little bits after a project is done.  This is such a great idea!
I was also given a great starter kit for learning to make my own stitch markers,
which I've been interested in doing for quite some time.
And she also made me some stitch markers to use right away :)
Here is the blue yarn - I haven't decided what it will soon be, but it's so soft and squishy that I'm sure it will be a delight to knit with.  
I'll start a project page for it on ravelry, so it will be ready to go when I cast-on.
And there's the rest of my chocolates, which I'm holding off on opening.  Saving for a chocolate emergency, when they will be fully appreciated.  The blue box is a neat little thing; a sliding pencil case with knitting tools inside such as a mini ruler, some stitch holders, and more chocolate!
Thanks again Beverley, you really spoiled me!  I love it all!

New Swaps, New Updates

Has it really been this long?  It feels like Spring is bursting with action this year!  Not in my garden, anyway, but on Ravelry.  As I took a bit of time off swapping during January and February, I was quite ready come March to get going again.

Magic Yarn Ball Update:
Here is a photo of the gorgeous fingerless mitts I made with this yarn.  The pattern is called Filigree, and it's an open lacework pattern.  I still haven't uncovered a mystery item yet, though some are poking through.  I'm going to make it my goal to knit the rest of it this month, to become either a scarf or another wonderful pair of fetchings.  Probably in a new pattern, or maybe in my favourite Palm Readers pattern.

What's on my needles right now:
Miami Beach Shawl, using Cascade Ultra Pima Cotton.  I've been knitting it for my Nanna's 95th birthday.  This yarn is like butter, so smooth, and slips nicely off my needles, which is why I don't put them down for a split second without their handy little rubber sock protectors.
This was my first time doing SL2-K1-PSSO's, as well as having to learn how to do short rows.
I have to say, short rows isn't nearly as difficult as I first thought.  I found some handy videos on You Tube, which were so helpful.  I did make a mistake that put me back in my time deadline, which was when I miscounted the stitches to the middle before doing my short rows.  I noticed after a few rows of garter short rows that the shawl was off-centre, then frogged back and double checked the correct spot to start the short rows.  The author of this pattern was also nice enough to post a discussion group on ravelry, as well as a knit-along.  There were several helpful hints on there, which I was happy to read.

Then I joined a beginner shawl group on ravelry, as well as a lace knitting group, that were both suggested to me by one of the members of the techniques discussion board when I was asking for help on reading the instructions for short rows in this pattern.  It makes perfect sense, now that I know what I'm doing.  :)

And here is a photo of my kids, when they realized we have gotten a parcel from Snazzyb in England.  It's been awhile since we've had parcels, so they were thrilled!
My boys LOVE Terry's Chocolate Oranges.  It was so funny, watching them act so silly as soon as they saw the orange box.  Burk took the box and was holding it up high, and Evan was trying so hard to jump high enough to get it.  After a few minutes of teasing and wrestling, and laughs (it was all in good fun), Burk shared the Terry's orange with everyone.  He saved the rest for later, as he knows how rare they are to be here.  Thank you so much, Beverley! 
More about my new goodies in the next post...