Thursday, December 13, 2012

Look Who's Coming to Town

I bet you thought I was talking about Santa !  Well, for some of you who have little ones this is important news, but I do believe Santa has been in town  and in full action for several weeks now, but I'm not talking about him.   I'm talking about The Minimalist.   I've been reading their blog off and on for the last 6 months and really enjoy their writing and insights.    I found out they had been in Vancouver in the summer and was disappointed in the not getting to see them, but now I found out in  plenty of notice they will be on tour in December in Vancouver.    I thought it would be fun to go and listen to them speak and share in their journey.   Passing this along to any of you who may live in the area and may be interested in having an interesting, inspirational evening out. 

Alice xox

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Creamy Totato Soup

I had been looking at the very large bowl in the fridge of the leftover tomatoe juice that I did not  use when canning the tomatoes on the weekend.   I had removed all the tomatoes and now I had all this liquid.    I had told myself I  would do something with it.   So I decided I would make tomato soup.  A first for me on that too.   I make lots of soup  just not tomatoe.  Not sure why, must be something about having the canned stuff when I was younger.

Today I searched for a recipe and found a Martha Stewart Creamy Tomato Soup and then checked Joy the Baker and found she  used the same recipe. So I knew this was the one I wanted.  Plus I didn't want to go shopping for any ingredients.   


Here is Creamy Tomato Soup, from Joy the Baker

Creamy Tomato Soup
adapted from Martha Stewart
serves 6

4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, finely diced
course sea salt and fresh black pepper
splash of red wine vinegar (just over 1 Tablespoon)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 dried bay leaf
2 cans (14 1/2-ounces each) low sodium chicken broth
2 cans (28-ounces each) whole peeled tomatoes in juice (with basil if available)
1/2- 3/4 cup whole milk or cream

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven melt butter over medium heat. Add oil, carrot and onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is translucent and the carrots are well on their way to softening, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the splash of vinegar at stir until cooked off.

Turn flame to low and add flour. Incorporate into the onion and carrots. Add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute to distribute the paste and cook off the flour taste.

Add chicken broth and bay leaf.  With clean hands add the tomatoes to the pot, breaking the whole tomatoes up with your hands as you add the tomatoes and the juice. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat. Using an emulsion blender, puree soup in pot until you’ve reached the desired consistency. Maybe you like more chunks than some folks! If you don’t have an emulsion blender, let the soup cool for about 30 minutes and, working in two or three batches, puree some of the soup in a conventional blender until smooth. Place pureed soup in a bowl and puree the remainder in the pot.

Return pureed soup to the pot and stir in milk or cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Let cool to room temperature before dividing among airtight containers or jars (leaving 1 inch of space at the top) and freeze.



I have to say that my recipe is also adapted.   I probably had 6 cups of the liquid from the tomatoes, so I did not add canned tomatoes or the broth as the recipe called for. I also added my own tomatoe paste I made from here.    Somehow I felt it need some rice.  So I added about 1/2 cup of brown rice (uncooked).   I  let the soup cook for at least 1 hour to make sure the rice well cooked.

You can adapt this recipe to whatever you have around in your kitchen that you want to use up.make it yours.


Delicous !!!  


I`m very proud of how many home grown ingredients went into this soup.  There was the onions, carrots, tomatoes, and the thyme.  Now how can the soup possibly go wrong.

Alice

Monday, October 1, 2012

September Review

Just the other day I looked at the date on my last post here and realized that it was the end of September and I didn`t post once in the month.
These are a few things I did in September.

Starting first with some canning.  I had received from mother-in-law who did a lot of canning over many years, her canning equipment.  


We bought 20lbs worth of peaches and decided to give it a go.  My husband gave me a hand and it was definetely a two man job.   I had followed instructions as per my mother-in-law, as well checked out some websites.   The first time it seems like you have so many pots and equipment going on at the same time, but I could see this being enjoyable once you know what you are doing.
We blanched the peaches and removed the skins packed them in the sterilized jars and then poured a syrup in the jars (2 cups of sugar to 4 cups of water)  I put my syrup in a kettle on the stove, it made it much easier to pour into the jars.  We used pint sized jars,  as it suited  our needs better.   We made approximately 18 jars in total.  Which I`m sure  will be sharing.

We had planted  approximately 12 tomatoe plants in the garden this year.   We had a couple cherry tomatoe plants as well that gave us lots of tomatoes (all at once of course), but the regular tomatoes took a long time to blossom and then to ripen.  We brought all of them in recently and put them in a box covered with newpaper.  Also lined our kitchen window with some that were nearly ripened.
This Sunday I decided to give canning a try..   After checking out some sites on canning, I found that it was recommended after removing the tomatoe peels to put the tomatoes in a pot and bring them to a 5 min boil.   Since I had never canned tomatoes before this is what I did.    We put as many  tomatoes we could in a jar along with some hot tomatoe juice and lemon juice, it was starting to look more like tomate sauce.     Next time I will cook down the tomatoes and make tomato sauce.   Ideally the best tomatoes would have been Roma tomatoes for this, but that is not what we had.

All in all I`m very happy at how much we made.  Not sure how many pounds we had, maybe 8-10 lbs.  
Onto some knitting.   This is Current.  I have had this pattern for awhile and once I had the right yarn I decided to make this for the summer.  It`s a super light summer weight  and the only thing I can say about it, is that I have to stop knitting cardigans in light blue colours in Madelinetosh yarn. This one looks so similar to this one.  


This is one pattern that I had made many times.  This I made for my nephew`s  5 year old daughter`s birthday this summer.  I had made her mom one and then her oldest sister, so it seemed  right that she would get one too.  These bright colours were exactly what  she liked.   I found one skein of yarn that had them all !!!    The family was so impressed that I had all her favourite colours in that one beret.   Here are my notes.    

I could have shared all this with you in one month instead of fitting it all on day, but like they say `better late than never`   Today is the first of October so I`m starting my month in a good way.   My first post.

Alice



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Most People

 

Most people don't care enough to make a difference.
Most people aren't going to buy that new thing you're selling.
Most people are afraid to take action.
Most people are too self-involved to do the generous work you're hoping for.
Most people think they can't afford it.
Most people won't talk about it.
Most people aren't going to read what you wrote.
Fortunately, you're not most people. Neither are your best customers.

by Seth Godin


Once in a while I read Seth Godin's Blog.  He writes from a marketing/business point of view but alot of what he says is easily applied to every day life.

I like this particular piece he wrote , whether we are thinking of creating something to sell or just to see who do you really want to be anyways.   Because  most people or  "average" person  will probably not be the one  would appreciate that beautiful Cladonia Shawl  Or those  crazy stripped socks.   Be prepared to not get the reaction from the ├áverage`person, that you might expect because most people just won`t get it.

Remember  those people who will pay a hefty price for a piece of art, because they can recognize when a piece of art has been created from passion.

Something to think about.

Alice

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Nice Word For Hoarding

After reading this article it made me think of the fact that I never considered myself a very organized person.  My most common thing to do with   clutter which I discovered bugs me more than I ever remember, I revert to trying to tidy it and put it a nice basket or box and off it goes till a look at it again in a couple of years. When you have a house and  only 2 people living in it, it`s easy to do this.   I now think I`m organized again.  But why am I putting  things in  an attractive container to say I`m an organized person, when I should really look at why I still have it around in my life. 

These guys have really made an impact over the last months on my relationship to stuff in my life and my buying habits.  Most importantly was the fact that I defined who I was by what I owned instead of what I did and my experiences. 


This essay was written by The Minimalist :



We need to start thinking of organizing as a dirty word. It is, in fact, a sneaky little profanity—a pernicious little booger—who keeps us from simplifying our lives.

Our televisions would have us believe that there’s a battle being fought on the consumption continuum, a battle between the organizers and the hoarders. And from our couches it’s hard to see who’s winning.

We’d like to posit to you, however, that these two sides are working together, colluding to achieve the same thing: the accumulation of more stuff. One side—the hoarders—does so overtly, leaving everything out in the open, making them easy targets to sneer at. But the other side—the sneaky organizers—are more covert, more systematic, more devious when it comes to the accumulation of stuff. Ultimately, though, organizing is nothing more than well-planned hoarding.

Sure, both sides go about their hoarding differently, but the end result is not appreciably different. Whether our homes are strewn with wall-to-wall material possessions or we have a complex ordinal item-dispersal system, color-coded and alphabetized, we’re still not dealing with the real problem.

No matter how organized we are, we must continue to care for the stuff we organize, cleaning and sorting our methodically structured belongings. When we get rid of the superfluous stuff, however, we can focus on life’s more important aspects. Said another way: We can spend the day focusing on our health, on our relationships, on pursuing what we’re passionate about. Or we could, of course, reorganize our basement again.

Once the excess stuff is out of the way, staying organized is much easier anyway.


Alice

Monday, August 6, 2012

Listen




Listen
To the dream within you.
It’s there
In whatever
Puts stars in your eyes
And makes your heart sing.
Listen
To your feelings,
And you will hear
Who you are
And what you must do.
Listen
To your needs,
And you will know
Where to find
What you are looking for.
Listen
To the wisdom within.
It is trying to lead you
To your destiny.
Listen
To the song in you,
And your life
Will be one of harmony.
You will be
Who you were meant to be.
You will be complete
And at peace
And happier than you’ve ever been,
If only you will
Listen
To the dream within you.



Alice

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Race

Hello all.  To update you on the status of the shawls they have been finally opened and everyone apparently loved them and I have been told that I will receive a picture of everyone with their shawls.  Exciting !

I saw this link appear on my facebook this morning and wanted to share it not only for you but so that I could reference it for myself on a daily basis.    This post was writen by a very young man (early 20`s)  I`m blown away by the insight of this generation has on life.  More excitement !

Enjoy the read !



The Race - by Tynan

There's a race going on, but it's not an ordinary marathon. First of all, it's not a mere twenty six point two miles long. We don't know how long it is because we can't see that far; no one has been to the end of the course yet. And, really, it's more of a relay race than a marathon. The entire history of mankind has been running it, passing the baton to future generations. And now the baton has been passed to us, and we're on the course.

Even though we're all entered into the race-- every single one of us-- not all of us are running. Some people are sitting on the side of the road. As you run by, you can see them, staring at the sky with a glazed over look, completely oblivious of the honor that has been passed down to them.

Other people are on the road, but they're walking. They're zigzagging all over the road, but going in the right direction. They'll never make it to the end of the road. Neither will anyone else, but the irony is that the walkers are the only group who DOES think that they'll make it to the end. They have no idea how long the road actually is, so they figure they've got all the time in the world. Walk a bit this way, walk a bit that way, sit down with the sitters for a few minutes, start walking again.

Along the road, also, are joggers. They're mostly running in packs. Whenever one of them starts to get ahead of the group, the rest of them yell at him and he slows down and rejoins the pack. The packs of joggers are like soldiers, plodding away as a big unit. They won't make it to the end either. They know it, but they've accepted it. Just keep jogging, stick with your pack, make it as far as you can.

And then there are the runners. I'm a runner. Most of my friends are runners, but we don't run together. We're all screaming down the road as fast as we can, lungs gasping, legs aching, ankles threatening to give. But we keep running. Sometimes I'll pass a friend, and I'll smile at him and taunt him and whoop out loud, begging him to come run with me, like wild horses on a plain. Sometimes he'll run with me and even pass me. Other times he'll shrug and let me go past. My friends pass me, too. I always try to keep up with them, and maybe get ahead of them, but a lot of times they're faster than me. Sometimes we run alone, other times we clump together by chance. We never stop moving.

As we progress down the road, the scenery becomes more and more beautiful. We pass beaches with cool refreshing oceans lined with comfortable beach chairs. They're mostly empty, inviting us to sit down. There are stunning green fields punctuated with wildflowers. Picnics are laid out for us. How refreshing would it be to sit under the sun, quench our thirst, and get fat? The temptations become more and more enticing as we go farther. The determination we began with is threatened more severely with each mile. Occasionally another runner will slow down and exit the road, looking back at us, begging for understanding.

We don't stop running. We can't stop running. We know that we'll never ever get to the end of the path, and we've accepted that. We know that others are thousands of miles ahead of us, and that no amount of running will ever close that gap. Winning the race isn't even something to be considered. Instead, one day, our bodies will fail us and we'll fall onto the road, never to move again. As we fall, we will plant our batons in the ground, offering them to the next generation, hoping that whoever picks it up will understand what we've done, and will run and not stop. And if whoever picks up our baton won't run, we hope he will enjoy the scenery we've brought him to.

The running never gets easy. Those who have stopped at various points in the road give the appearance of happiness. They're wearing fresh clothes, drinking pure water, and eating delicious food. Meanwhile, our bodies and clothes are covered with sweat and blood and dirt. We are thirsty and hungry and tired. The only reason we believe comfort even exists is because we can see other people enjoying it on the side of the road.

Why do we run? Those from the sidelines, the ones who never ran to begin with, don't understand. They think we're fools, running a race that we can't possibly win. Our ancestors have already gotten us a thousand times farther than we can run by ourselves. Why kill yourself just to move, relatively speaking, a smidge farther? The walkers don't understand, either. We'll all get there eventually, they think, so why such a rush? The joggers figure that it's too dangerous to run by yourself, and that by staying in a pack they'll at least get somewhere, and don't have to worry about being abandoned.

We run because there's road ahead of us, and because we have legs. We run because someday someone will find the baton that we've left, and we owe it not to them, but to the descendants of their descendants, to move the baton forward. We run because we love to run.

from  http://tynan.com/

Alice

Friday, July 6, 2012

And Then There Was Six

Here we are  July 7th and have not shared the finished shawls that will be going to my family in Portugal on July 11th . 

I was originally going to knit one shawl for  my Aunt as I had many memories of her wearing  shawls .  This is the process that things unfolded:  


1.   This is Terra by Jared Flood. This shawl I saw at the my local yarn store, and it was done in that exact colour and yarn.  I knew that`s what I wanted to make this for  my aunt. but after it was finished I thought she would like something heavier and more neutral in colour.  Then I had the idea to make this one:



2.  Milk Run by Cat Wong   It`s my second one.  Made the very first one for my mother-in-law and she loved it`s warmth and size.  

No, that yarn in the background is not mine, I took the picture at my local yarn store.

Shortly thereafter I decided I could not just do one but was going for 6.  One for each of my cousins wives (4) and one for my female cousin.  
For each person I was making, I would reflect on their personality, but at the same time wanted to offer something that was fun, original and the yarn had to to be special.


3.   This is Cladonia.   Each time I finished the shawl, I would say ``This is my favourite one``.   I was enjoying the process of making these shawls, as my heart was involved with each one I made   But really..this one was so much fun and the colours of the stripe was so vibrant and complimented each other so well.   And the lace on the bottom was so pretty. 


4.  This is Henslowe.    I started knitting this pattern with a lavender colour but then I came to a point where I just didn`t like the way it looked and I knew I have to rip it out.  This was a huge setback as I had been flying along with the other ones and I knew I want to knit this pattern again.  So I putted it aside, and had to start something else.  This shawl was knitted back in February for myself and I never wore it, so I had the brilliant idea to include it as part of the 6 shawls.  It is such a beautiful shawl and it that red colour is so striking. 


5.  This is Terra.   This was the second one I made in the exact same yarn but just different colour.  If I could have knit 6 shawls this is probably the pattern I would have picked.  A very simple but lovely shawl, that can be worn so many ways.


6.  This is another Cladonia.   The pale colour yarn in this shawl was the one I had started on the  Henslowe but ended ripping it out and this is where I used it.   The combination of the pale purple against the deep blue was very striking.    So impressed with this one too.

At the end of it all I knit the shawls with people in mind, but when I was wrapping them up I decided to leave the shawls unmarked and let each person pick the one they were attracted to. 

I can honestly say this was a labour of love. I had no idea I could have knitted such beautiful shawls in such a short time. My knitting skills were also improving with each one. With the right motivation we can accomplish whatever we want.

 A little piece of me goes in each shawl.  That was my intention all along for making them.

Alice







Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Oh My It`s Apple Pie

Yesterday morning I was in a pie making mode.  Or more like I had told my husband that I would make one (first mistake) and the second (mistake) was that I bought everything for it.

This is the only pie recipe I make or have tempted to make with outstanding results.  I don't even make the crust.   After been told by  this person that shared the recipe  that she uses store bought crust, I figure I can do it too.  I use the frozen crust at the local grocery store. This is such a fantastic quick yummy dessert, that it`s really all about the apples and not about the crust.    Not even sure if I``ve ever made a pie crust before, pies are not my thing, but this one is so good.

On a side not, I have finished my last shawl this week.  Felt a little weepy wrapping them up, but I know they will be going to good homes. Will post some pictures shortly.

So get your pie plate out and your apples ready and make yourself and family this great recipe:

Sour Cream Apple Pie
Topping
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 c. plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 t. cinnamon
2 tablespoons flour
Filling
1 1/3 c. sour cream
2/3 c. sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 or 5 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

Pie crust (you can make your own, or use a pre-made one from the refrigerator section of the grocery store — I always do) fitted into a deep-dish 9" or 10" pie plate and chilled

To make the topping, in a bowl blend the butter, sugar, cinnamon, and flour until the mixture is combined well. Cover and chill the topping.

To make the filling, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs, and flour until the mixture is smooth. Add the peeled, cored, and thinly sliced apples and stir the filling and apples together.

Spoon the filling into the chilled shell and crumble the topping evenly over it. Bake the pie on a baking sheet in the middle of a pre-heated 350-degree oven, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. (You might need to put a bit of tinfoil on top of the pie during the last 15 minutes to prevent the top from burning.) Transfer it to a rack and let it cool completely.

This is my pie.  So dang proud ot it.

Enjoy yours.

Alice




Friday, June 22, 2012

How To Navigate Change

Maybe I'm boring some of you with these links to some awesome, insightful (at least to me)   reading,  but you never know when someone  needs to read the exact thing.

Lately my reading blogs have changed so dramatically, which is usually for me a sign of growth, onto a new area of  experiences..which is a great thing.
A few of these blogs I have been reading lately are related in one way or another..and frequently they share each other's writings. 

I just read this  today and it touched on some really practical processes for navigating through change.   We can certainly relate to that.   So here is Married With Luggage.


Be in touch soon,

Alice

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Terra 2


This is Terra.   The first one I made was  so awesome I wanted to make another one in the same yarn, and in this colour.   This a pattern by Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed, first time doing a shawl of his.   Will definitely be checking out more of his designs.   Great patterns to follow.

I began knitting shawls for gifts for my family on May 21, and it will be exactly one month tomorrow.  I started working on shawl # 6 yesterday, the last one.   I was aiming to have them completed for Father's Day weekend,   as per this post,  but  I have had my time extended to completing them till the first weekend in July.    I'm so close to finishing them, that I don't want to start anything for  myself till they are all done.    It's been a very rewarding experience to challenge myself to this, I didn't expect to achieve as much as I have.

As far as this picture, I have to say it was totally (sort of) spontaneous.   I had not planned on taking a picture of myself with it, as I have never modeled my own shawls.   But after dinner I looked out in the front lawn and had a flash of this pose.   Sitting on the lawn barefoot with jeans and the shawl wrapped around like that.  I didn't even think of the fact that I needed to do my hair or  makeup, I just went as I was.

Of course I could see it  in my head what I wanted, now that trick was to get my husband to cooperate with the camera.    We took 6 pictures and I was so pleased at how well a couple of them turned.  It was rather fun.


It was tricky capturing the lace.  It's a very simple pattern, but even in this picture it looks flimsy and it's not. 




I know this picture has shadows in it but that's why I liked it so much.


Till next time.

Alice xox






Thursday, June 14, 2012

Impress Yourself

Hello friends, hope all is well in your life.

I have turned into a knitting machine in the last couple of weeks.   I am knitting gifts (shawls) for   my family overseas.   I have an uncle going there in July and he will take them for me.   I thought I had plenty of time till I found out he's  coming to visit his daughter in town for father's day and that was a great opportunity to give it to him personally instead of mailing it out of town.  So I have been aiming for 6 shawls in total..but I think I can only do 4-5 realistically.

One thing I have learned is self-disciplined through all of this. I keep telling myself " Alice get knitting !! "  I have discovered an  appreciation of hard work.    Knitting is a craft that takes a lot hours and dedication to do good work.  

I can show you one of the completed I just finished.  As well I wanted to share this really excellent article I just read. You are not impressing me.

These pictures are of Thunderstorm Cladonia.  Love this one..I'll have to make for myself.




I will share more when  I have more time and everything is finished.

See you soon,

Alice xox

Monday, June 4, 2012

Gaslighting

I found this blog through a link I followed and took me by total surprise how I felt upon reading it.      This article was originally written by a man.

So get yourself comfortable, maybe grab  a cup of tea and start reading Gaslighting.

Let me know what you think.

Be well,

Alice

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pink Beauty

I walked by this rhododedron recently and knew that I wanted to capture the blossoms when they were in bloom.  It is such an unusual shade of pale pink.  Most of our rhododedrons are either fuchsia or red.  

With the sun full bright and cooperating this weekend I was lucky enough to get a few shots of this beauty. 


Isn't this exquisite !!!

This is the time of year when you want to have your camera handy as the gardens are bounty with gorgeous blossoms from the trees and shrubs.

What's next ?

Alice

Thursday, May 17, 2012

To Be of Use

At my local yarn store there is a picture that I love of a set hands knitting, There is something so right about that picture.  It looks so beautiful to see hands creating.   I've been thinking about taking a picture of my own hands while I'm knitting, so I can frame it and see it all that time.

Not long after I was thinking of hands  knitting I read this  To Be of Use , it's from a different perspective than knitting but it's all the same really.   I was going to just share the write up but the pictures convey so much meaning.   Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Alice

Monday, April 30, 2012

You Are Not Missing Out



I have been having so much fun reading totally different websites/blogs than I normally do.  Learning so much from them and applying them to myself.    I have come across this one lately that I love so many of his posts and have not even read 1/3 of them.    The exciting thing of these is that they are written by young men (normally the blogs I read were written by women) so I'm shifting my perception which is a very good thing !!!

Excerpt from Zenhabits:

April 30) is my 39th Un-un-birthday, and as usual, the day is a good day to pause and reflect.
Last year I wrote 38 Life Lessons I’ve Learned in 38 Years, and people seemed to find some use in it.
This year, I thought I’d share an additional lesson I’ve learned:
You’re not missing out.
Our lives are often ruled by the Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO. (Never heard of FOMO? You’re missing out.)
Some ways we let the fear of missing out rule us:
  1. We check email, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks often, in case we’re missing something important.
  2. We try and do the most exciting things, and are constantly in search of exciting things, because we’re worried we might miss out on the fun that others are having.
  3. We constantly read about what other people are doing, and try to emulate them, because it sounds like they’re doing something great that we’re not.
  4. We often want to travel the world, because it seems that other people are living amazing lives by traveling all the time.
  5. We miss what we don’t have, miss places and people who we aren’t with.
  6. We work constantly, because we think if we don’t, we might miss out on opportunities other people will get.
  7. We feel like our own lives are poor in comparison with the great lives others are leading, and so feel bad about ourselves.
I could go on and on, but I have a birthday breakfast to eat (Eva and the kids are baking something delicious), so I’ll stop there.
We fear missing out, but why?

The truth is, we could run around trying to do everything exciting, and travel around the world, and always stay in touch with our iPhones and Crackberries, and work and party all day long without sleep … but we could never do it all. We will always be missing something.
And so, if we cannot help missing out, what is a saner alternative than letting this fear drive us? Let go of it, and realize you have everything right now.

The best in life isn’t somewhere else. It’s right where you are, at this moment. There is nothing better than exactly that.
Pause for just 10 seconds, and notice where you are, what you’re doing, who you are, at this very moment. Notice that you are breathing, and how lovely that is. Notice that you can smile, and feel the joy in that. Notice the good things around you. Give thanks for the people you’ve seen today. Celebrate the perhaps not altogether insignificant fact that you are alive.
This moment, and who you are, is absolutely perfect.

You are missing nothing, because there is nothing better.
You can breathe, and let go of all that fear of missing out, and be happy with what you have. Be grateful, and each moment think not about what you’re missing, but what you’ve been given.

This past year has been my best ever, because each day I have celebrated my Un-birthday with a smile and warmth in my heart. Today, I celebrate my non-un-birthday, and it is perfect. This moment I have spent talking to you is a gift. Thank you, my friends.

 
 Alice

Thursday, April 26, 2012

When Everything is Your Favourite Thing

Ok, I can't help wanting to share this one as it just goes against what our society teaches us that "we are what we own". I have seen these websites being shared on facebook lately and have been reading them.   Now I know that clearing our clutter is good is for the soul but this takes it to another level. 

Here is the link to the site..remember to keep an open mind:

"The Minimalist"

Alice



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Transformation Deep Down


Yesterday I received a newsletter that I subscribe to and spent some time actually reading it !   I so enjoyed this write up on gardening and it's analogy to our lives.  Enjoy !

In the preparations, in the turning of the soil, the planting, the tending, and yes, the waiting, for many there comes a sense of peace, of oneness, that often is lacking in other parts of our lives. These small steps (and not so small, if there is much to be done to prepare the garden!) give space for the mind to roam, for seeds of thoughts perhaps long since planted to germinate and start to grow as well. Something about the fresh air, the sunlight, the immersion in nature seems to invite introspection

We each have our own seeds, ideas or thoughts that we’ve gathered along the way, perhaps a teaching we’ve read, something we wanted to learn, or change about ourselves, perhaps something less well defined, a way of seeing the world, or a new perspective to contemplate. These seeds, too, need to be given the care and patience that we give to those in our gardens.

Consider what a seed requires to germinate and take root. The right environment, a place that is fertile and that can provide a safe home for the seed, someplace for roots to sink down, a place where nourishment can be drawn up those roots. It requires warmth and light, which encourage the new seedling to the surface, to break through the darkness and, firmly anchored, to grow. And time, because while some seeds can be forced, most will emerge only when they are ready.

How much of the above can be applied to ourselves, when new seeds have been planted in our minds? If we are receptive and ready, we provide that nurturing environment, and slowly roots form, and those seeds, of teachings, of new experiences, of new ways of looking at the world or of being within it, slowly grow and come into the light. Often that happens without us ever thinking about it. The transformation occurs deep down, and until the seedlings break through, we may not have an awareness of what has been growing within until suddenly it is simply there. Other times, though, we know that seed has been planted, and, like the seeds sown in our freshly turned gardens, we want so much to see the growth right away. The hardest thing to do is to wait for it to grow in its own time.

It may be that, in the joyous return of spring, in nature and in the work that we can choose to see as drudgery or as a gift of time, within a place of calm and peace, we can find the inspiration that will make it possible to nurture and welcome those seeds that have been planted deep within, while we eagerly anticipate the new growth bringing beauty and fullness to our gardens.
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Cori Dusmann is a writer and educator living in Victoria, BC. She is a regular contributor to Quill and Quire Magazine, and her pieces have also been published in the Globe and Mail, The National Post and the Vancouver Sun.
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I hope you are tending to the garden of your own life !

Alice

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Latest


This is my most recent finished project.  I was trying to remember if I even had knitted booties, but I know I have never done anything like this one.  They are like "boots" not a sock, which I saw lots of patterns for, They are even cuter in real life !     The pattern is Christine`s Stay-on-baby-booties.   The yarn I used was from my stash, it is Cascade Fixation, which is a cotton with a small percentage of elastic.  I heard that they have now discontinued this yarn, such a shame.


As you can see the booties needed a little hat to go with them.  This is Rolled Brim Baby Hat very straight forward pattern.  I did struggle with the sizing at the beginning.  I casted on with the needle size the pattern recommend and it looked rather big for a new baby,  So I went down a needle size as I seem to need to do most of the time.   I decided to make a flower too, and as it turned out I couldn't find my handout for it and remembered that I had blogged about it  here.  Saved the day !

The gift was given to my husband's co-worker who's wife had a baby girl about a month ago.     I'll ask for a picture !

If you have any babies to knit for this is such a perfect little set. 

Alice



Friday, March 9, 2012

In the City

It's been a long time since a post..sorry about that.    Hope your life has been flowing in a positive way.

I have been knitting, but not taking pictures or writing my work down.  But it doesn't seem like I needed since I have been knitting the same  pattern 3x back to back.  You would think I could this pattern with my eyes closed, and not have mistakes, but not the case.  I was still making the same mistakes on the third hat.    CHECK WHAT YOU`VE DONE..do you like it !!!    

Nice details

I not typically a hat person, but I have been wearing this almost everyday.  Love it !

 
This is the pattern for the Brambles Beret.   So, I made the first one to give as a gift, then I thought I stretched it out too much when I blocked it, and kept it for myself.  With the second one I did it is a dark grey, with this yarn.   It's 70% alpaca and 30% merino.   It's been a very enjoyable and quick project.  I have now packaged and send the second it out.  Hope to get a picture.

 Then upon wearing mine one night a very sweet daughter of my cousin like tit and so I offered to make her one.  She liked the colour on mine so back to working with the same colour again.   You can make one these hats with not even a full ball of this yarn.   I need to digress back to the conversation of this beret with my cousin's daughter.  She had mentioned seeing this style of beret in the stores for $40, we'll I didn't want to pop her bubble by saying that would be easy what I would have charged for this hat.  I don't think what they were selling at the store was alpaca and merino.   But sometimes you need to let people know why things cost what they do.     No, I am not charging her for any of my costs to this, it's totally made from the heart.  But I did say, I wanted a picture of her with it.

This week I went on a very exceptionally sunny winter day to visit a market  in city.  Hope you enjoy it.

Isn't the area beautiful !

Where people live and play

Mode of transportation

The Locals

Vendors in the market

Fresh veggies and fruit

Beauty everywhere

Quaint shops

Love these colours

Goodbye, come back soon.   I took a picture (bad me) while driving verrrry slowly.

Have a super weekend everyone !

Alice xox






Monday, February 20, 2012

Sweet Shawl

Here is my completed Cladonia shawl.   My notes are here.

This shawl was a total pleasure to knit.  I must admit that at the beginning there was a question on how to do a provisional cast on, I know the term but how never actually done one.  I decided to do the directions from the Milk Run Shawl by Cat Wong instead as it was practically the same.

The body of this pattern is done in stripes every 2 rows alternating.  But I found the variegated pinks against the red  to be too busy and loud.  So I am quite happy with the way it tuned out using just the one colour  (pinks) for the body.   I wasn't sure if I was going to use the red for the lace part as it once again seemed to be such a loud contrast and I wanted to soften the colours down    I was half way in the body of the shawl when I met a fellow knitter at the local yarn store who kindly gave me a pale grey skein of the same yarn and it matched perfectly.   It was a perfect compliment to doing the lace portion.  It soften and highlighted the pinks with out standing out too much.   It's good to have fellow knitters who know what your making as they just seem to help you out along the way.



The picot edging bind off on this pattern had me stumped .   I did it over and over and it never looked the same as in the pattern   or some of the other projects.  So I finally took it in to the yarn store to see if I was missed something.   Apparently I was doing it right.  The ones on the project page on Ravelry  had more of an opening in the center, but no matter what I did I still could see the legs of the some of the stitches, so I just left it that way.  I think it turned very pretty.

The best part of all this is that I am actually wearing this shaw ! I  tuckit  inside my winter coat,It's  soft and warm and colourful.

I have found and started another shawl that I am using the red that I talked about in this shawl.  Will talk about it soon.

Alice xox







Thursday, February 2, 2012

Colour Therapy


Doesn't this remind you of a field of tulips ?   It does to me.  

I typically don't work with pinks and roses but I am now.   I am making  a Cladonia Shawl in Madelnitosh sock weight, in a varigated yarn called "foxglove".  Foxglove is a combination of grey/green, cream, and a soft pink and raspberry pink.   It is such  cheerful colours to work with right now, while there is no colours like these to be seen outdoors where I live.   So glad I went with something different.



Up close on the needles.  Doesn't it just put a smile on your face?


I found these tulips today at the store and it reminded me so much of that yarn.    Pink is such a soothing and cheery colour...Colour Therapy I call it.

Sending  some brightness your way.

Alice









Thursday, January 26, 2012

Great Reminder

Once we have begun to accept life's flow, and to avoid pointless efforts, we are letting go of our need to exert control -- a much overvalued commodity, although one very much in tune with the temper of the times. We could choose instead to have acceptance. This is not so much to do with fatalism; rather it is a matter of working happily with, rather than stubbornly against, the grain of nature.
          To "let go" is to fear less and love more.

 Redandgold11280

Hope your having a lovely week.

Alice

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Humour


It took awhile to even know who this person was..in case you don't know it's Ryan Gossling.  I have to admit I enjoyed him in "The Notebook" but aside from that I found this quite humorous.  I could think of different males that I would prefer in this add but will leave it at that for now.  This is such a great way to  get a movement of an idea going by the masses, especially when it uses someone we know.  Now this is what came to my mind when I saw this:

  • Who is he?
  • Does he knit?
  • He does look cold
  • If you didn't know how to knit, you would be inspired to learn
  • Great way to change the knitting image
  • I wonder if he would like a scarf instead?
  • I wonder what size he takes?


I hope your Monday is going well.  Off to finish the button band on my Tart Cardi.

Alice xox

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ripping and Starting

I have been someone who has never given too much priorities to her knitting, but over the last couple of years my perception and relationship to knitting has changed.   There is more respect and appreciation for what I make with my hands, more maturity.   So after reading this post and this one on starting the new year and how that reflects on your unfinished projects this is one that came to mind.


This was  Dragonfly Wrap .   I think I had started this almost 2 yrs ago, and honestly did not know where I was on the pattern anymore. It has now been officially ripped apart.   I still really like the yarn, so no loss there.


Things I want to knit now for 2012..I'm sure there will be more:

1.   I love my 2 pairs of socks I have made, and really need more.  So this is next Monkey Socks.

2.  I have never made myself a hat/beret so this Brambles Beret.  I even have the yarn for this too.

3.  Seen this worn at my local yarn store -  Cable Pullover in Vogue Knitting.  Will be pushing for a         Madelinetosh yarn on this one.  It looks way better in person that in the picture.

4.  And another Cable pullover. from Knitty.  I have a thing for cables and pullovers !!

I do have other projects in my stash picked out from a previous yarn sale, but that's not what I want to start first.  


Keep your needles ablazing.

"Never let your sense of morals keep you from doing what is right"  - Isaac Assinov

Alice xox