Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just going for a Walk

I did something today that I haven't done in a really long time.  I went for a walk.  By myself.  For no reason than to walk.  I know that doesn't sound all that special so let me explain.  First, I'm not a couch potato.  I don't want you to think that.  Although there are moments when I can be a couch potato, a very content couch potato but I'm not thinking of those moments.  I run but I don't call myself a runner.  We go for family hikes and the boys and I will walk to the playground and around the neighbourhood.  But since our family of two expanded to three and then four, walks by myself have been with a purpose -- to go to the grocery store,    so the baby can have a nap, to get the mail, to get some much needed exercise.  This morning, after bringing the boys to school, I decided to go for a walk just to go for a walk.  I walked slow.  I stopped.  I stood still.  Here are some of the things I saw.

I love when trees and plants grow from somewhere other than the ground, like this old post.  And when I peeked down the rotten hole of the post, I found these guys keeping that little maple tree company.

Next time I'm going to try to capture a falling leaf on film.  Not on my tongue.

Sailor's Delight

The view from my back door last night.  I was not able to capture the red glow that just encompassed our little corner of the world last but I tried.  The lucky little men spent the evening scootering around the neighbourhood while I did the dishes.  In K's famous words:  "Yeesh."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Enter the Magic

I love the felting process.  First you knit a slipper.  What you have looks vaguely familiar but really funny because it is so huge . At this point in the process, it amuses me to try the oversized slipper on -- every time.  Can't help it.  It cracks me up.  Then comes the magic.  A washing machine, hot water and a little detergent.  Oh yeah, and a pair of old jeans and a tennis ball for extra agitation.  It's not for the faint of heart.  Add the knitted item and then you wait.  It is a little nerve wracking because you have just thrown a woolen item into a washing machine.  Crazy!  (I lead a very crazy life, I tell ya.)  But the end product is wonderful.  The fabric is thick and dense.  Warm and cozy.  Structured and durable.

These plum slippers will be in the shop later today.

Here's a little felted bowl I made several months ago.  It was in the shop but I liked it too much.  Now it houses our pine cone collection.  I'm the boss.  I'm allowed to do that.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

There is a Season . . . Turn, turn, turn

In some ways, fall sneaks up on us.  The quality of daylight changes even when the sun is shining.  The sun's light doesn't seem to have the same intensity or power.   The days shorten; the nights lengthen.  These aren't bad changes, they are just changes.  Changes that I think most of us welcome after a busy, busy summer.  These changes let us know that it will be okay to let things move a little slower in the weeks and months to come.

And then there are the leaves.

Suddenly the trees are no longer the lush green trees of summer.  They are dotted with splashes of yellow, orange and red.  Throughout our landscape of green, fall is letting its presence be known.  Kind of like my gray hairs.  I can go months without noticing them.  One, two . . . pluck.  But last night as I was getting ready for bed, I happened to notice that my gray hairs have become more a part of my hair's landscape.  They don't look out of place.  They kind of look like they belong.  Now don't think I'm bemoaning my gray hair.  I knew it was going to happen.  I decided years ago that I was just going to let it happen.  It's just, hmm.  I'm going to be forty in a few months.  Crap.  I mean, bring it on.

I went for a walk in a rain storm this morning so you may see raindrops and fog in the photos.  That last photo?  It's a result of fog, rain, cold hands and trying to hold up my umbrella at the same time I was trying to focus.  That didn't work out so well but I still like the picture.  I'm now warming up with several cups of hot coffee.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Weekend Crafting: Covered Stone

With the arrival of fall, I'm finding the time to squeeze in a little extra crafting time on Saturday afternoon.  But I haven't been doing my usual knitting -- socks, mittens, slippers -- you know, useful stuff.  Instead I have been wanting to make something that is pretty, something that makes my husband ask, "What are you going to do with it?"  My answer:  "Look at it.  May be pick it up and touch it every now and then."  I'm hoping that each Monday I will be able to share my weekend craft with you here.

Several months ago I discovered Margaret Oomen's beautiful covered stones.  She has a wonderful blog full of inspiring projects and photos.  I finally found the time this past weekend to sort through my rock collection and pick a stone to cover with crochet.

I added a piece of sea glass from my collection to this photo.

The two other rocks in this photo came all the way from Prince Edward Island courtesy of my father.  You can even see some of that famous PEI red dirt in the crevices.  Driftwood is from the shores of Lake Huron collected by Keegan.

The tutorial I used can be found at The Purl Bee .  This won't be the last stone I cover.  I love it!  By the way, he did ask, "And what are you going to do with it?"

Friday, September 24, 2010

Meet Stewie

Quinn and I spent the morning getting to know Stewie the goat at Dutch Mill Country Market.  I have always enjoyed goats wherever we happen to run into them which makes it sound like we just meet goats around the neighbourhood.  We don't.  I mean at petting zoos and farms.  I can only wish it was around the neighbourhood.   They jump, they head butt, they eat food out of your hands.  Very cute and then you leave.  (As an aside, as a child, my husband was butted by a goat and has a bit of a phobia.  He would never admit it.  I don't know how he did in the first place.  Oh wait, yes, I do.  His brother told me.  We have been teasing Mike for at least 15 years.  We think it's hilarious, Mike does not.  Back to Stewie ...)  Stewie is not one of those crazy little  goats.  Stewie is one of those goats that makes you want to have a pet goat.  He's quiet.  He likes to be petted, truly petted.  He follows you around the yard.  We fell in love with Stewie.  Interestingly, Stewie is the mascot for one of the local Santa Claus parades and leads the parade through town . . . until he gets tired.

Here are a few more pictures from our morning.

I think this chicken is so pretty but she did not really want me to take a picture of her.  (If this is a rooster, I won't be embarassed if you let me know.)  Then I spied her asleep on the ground by the bunny hatch.  Here was my chance or so I thought.  She heard me and did not seem at all pleased with me.  I'm actually kind of glad she woke up before I took her picture because she kind of looked like she was dead and then I would have looked like the person who takes pictures of dead animals.  I'm not.

An outing wouldn't be complete without a baked good treat, in this case, a yummy butter tart.

 We will be returning tomorrow but with Keegan.  I think he's going to like Stewie too.

And finally, I'm working on a pair of felted slippers.  i love felting wool.  It turns knitted fabric into the most amazing fabric.  They don't look like much now but just wait until next week sometime.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Grandmother's Squares

Hello Dolly squares -- layers of graham cracker crumbs, butter, coconut, chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk.  I can't make these squares without thinking of my grandmother.  Homemade bread also makes me think of her.  It's funny how you can forget the name of someone you met yesterday but you don't forget a really good cookie or the person who made it for you, especially when that person was part of your world.

Today both of my little men are in school.  Upon waking, Keegan asked if it was the weekend yet.  And Quinn, well, to say that Quinn was reluctant to walk through the gate at school would be an exaggeration.  He just did not want to go today.  I haven't stopped thinking about him all day and the way he tried to walk away from his teacher, thinking she might not notice.  I didn't leave quickly, afraid that he would turn around and see that I had left.  I also didn't want him to turn around and see me, afraid that he would see that I wanted him to run to me.  So I watched him go in his classroom.  Then I came home and baked Hello Dolly squares.  Packed into each square is how much I missed them today.  I think a day of hookie for the three of us may be in the near future.

Close your eyes and maybe you can smell the chocolate chips too.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blueberries and Beads

On this dreary, wet and muggy day, Quinn and I decided we would like to make blueberry muffins.  Yogurt instead of milk with a healthy sprinkling of sugar before they go in the oven.  Quinn was in charge of sprinkling the sugar.  He did a great job as any four year old would who is allowed to sprinkle sugar.  Keegan also appreciated the muffin after a long day at school.

While the muffins were in the oven, Quinn and I then decided to make a bead buddy from the new wooden beads we bought this morning.  Here he is . . .

Introducing Long Hair Man.  I think he gets his naming skills from me.  I remember being quite proud of myself for naming one of my stuffies Ted Edward Bear.  Get it?  yeah, I thought you might.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Little Spontaneous Needle Felting

I had focus this morning.  Make coffee and finish these mittens (one right, one left, by the way).  Simple mittens made from 100% Peruvian wool in a beautiful shade of aquamarine.  I love these mittens but as I was knitting them, I couldn't get it out of my head how good they would look with a little bit of natural white somewhere on the mitten.  But where?  This is the part where the spontaneous needle felting occurred.  ( Spontaneous needle felting?  Did I really write that?  Yep.  I need to get out more.)  I embellished each mitten with a little swirl and a couple of spots of green, just because I also love blue and green together.   They should be in the shop soon.

I came back from yesterday's walk with a little treasure too.  Some acorn caps, one of which I used to make this little ornament which will be included with a pair of mittens that just sold.  Mike gave me a look like he thinks I'm insane when I asked him to drill holes in the acorn cap but I don't think the requested surprised him that much.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Like A Chipmunk's Cheeks

So many acorns, so little pocket space.  On our walk this morning, Quinn collected acorns -- big ones, small ones, green ones, brown ones.  Caps on the acorns were optional but an intact cap (no nut) was quite a find.  The only issue was a definite lack of storage space, on  my part anyways.  He didn't want to use his pockets. Perhaps he foresaw the deposit of sand at the bottom of the pocket.  He jammed those acorns into my pockets instead.  At the end of our walk, he described my pocket as looking "like a chipmunk's cheeks".  It was an accurate description.  My lip balm was in the same pocket.  It's now a little gritty.

Have you heard the beat of a swan's wings in flight?  We were lucky enough to hear it twice today.

What better way to end an adventure than with a with a new collection --  a 34 piece collection, to be exact.   The request for a knitted squirrel has already been made.  After all, if you have acorns, it only makes sense that you would have a squirrel, right?

Working on a new  pair of mittens for the shop.  I should be closer to completion than this.  Last night, at 10:30, just as I was starting to shape the top of the second mitten, I realized I had just knit two right-handed mittens.  Mike found this much funnier than I think he should have.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Books, Coffee and a Cookie

Yesterday's adventure was a family trip.  Today was mine, all mine.  It was the annual Eden Mill's Writers Festival.  This was the backdrop for the day.  The village of Eden Mills in southwestern Ontario hosts the most amazing writer's festival each fall.  The village is closed down to all vehicles as people mill about from one site to the next to listen to some of Canada's best authors read from their work.  All sites are outdoors, often in a resident's backyard.  There are books, books and more books.

 It is truly the one day of the year that I am completely selfish.  Usually I do share it with my mom but she wasn't able to go this year. So I decided to go by myself.  I can't remember the last time I did something of this magnitude all by myself.  It was a beautiful afternoon.  I had no schedule.  I was responsible for no one but myself.  Selfish?  Yes, I admit it.And I'm okay with that.

Oh yeah.  There was also coffee.  And cookies.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Exploring Crawford Lake

Today we explored Crawford Lake on the Niagara Escarpment near Milton, Ontario.   This beautiful deep lake is near a reconstructed native Iroquoian village.  We arrive and the boys just run.

They explore long houses, sweat lodges, archaeological digs and the forest floor.  The Big Guy was fascinated with the pine needles and the mound that he could build with them.  We left the mound thinking that a little rabbit may just make his home there tonight.

While they snacked, I did a little exploring by myself.  These funeral pyres are in a large meadow away from the long houses.  Each time I visit the village, something draws me to them.  May be not surprising that I also live across from a cemetery.

Then, upon insistence from the little people, we explored the visitor's centre with its crafts, displays and gift shop.  (We can't forget the gift shop.  I think Keegan has a built-in radar for gift shops.)  Finally, we dragged these poor little monkeys for a hike around the lake.  Every visit, we seem to have to convince them to go for a hike and by the time we reach the lake, we are running to keep up with them, fearful that one of them is going to end up in the lake head first.

Near the end of the hike, we spied this old guy in the lake.  I don't know if you can see it in the picture but there appears to be algae growing on his shell.  And what did the boys christen him?  Mr Algae, of course.

After all that exploring, we had worked up quite an appetite.  We stopped for burgers and fries, too many fries.  I have to stop eating Quinnie's leftovers.

I managed to squeeze in a little bit of knitting on the drive home.  I'm working on a new slouchy hat for the shop.  Hope to have it listed in a couple of days.