Saturday, July 25, 2015

Officially Two!

It's official. Lucy is now two years old. She's at that wonderful age when blowing out candles on a cupcake is even better than the presents. (Either that, or she has inherited the fire bug genes from her dad's side of the family.) 

Two is when you want to be Nana's helper. Watering the garden is a treat rather than a chore.

Two is when you discover the joy of picking and eating blueberries, fresh off the bushes.

Two-year-olds are also big enough to swim in the pool, and at the lake. They can pick vegetables out of the garden, and they fit perfectly into a play house. 

Two-year-olds can make your heart melt by reaching out to hold your hand, giving hugs, or sweetly singing along to a song from Frozen when you're driving home from the zoo. And they are even old enough to enjoy some time on Nana's front porch. Happy Birthday Lucy!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Four Cuppa Day

Today has been the perfect temperature, both inside the cottage and out. I love these kinds of days because it's cool enough to have a mid-morning and mid-afternoon cup of tea (added to my two early morning cups!), but warm enough to sit out on the front porch to drink them.

Today is also momentous in its own sort of way, because it was exactly two years ago we moved here. Here's the post I wrote just a few days after arriving, and the one I wrote a year ago. So much has happened in the past two years, much of it wonderful, and, as life tends to go, some of it quite difficult. Our family has added Lucy, and soon there will be another grandchild added to the mix. Of all the special things that have happened since we moved here, this tops the list. Being a grandparent is pure joy.

There are so many other good things that have happened since we moved here - getting two books published, the trip to the UK in 2013, that crazy 80th birthday for my mom in Las Vegas last year, and friends and family coming to visit are the things that stand out in my mind. There are also some sad things such as losing my friend to cancer, and two marriages in our family, both extended and immediate, that have ended. These things have left me feeling a great sense of loss, and I'm still working my way through them emotionally.

But the thing that remains constant, the thing that keeps me grounded and brings me back to a sense of equilibrium no matter what else is going on in my life is this place. And by place I don't mean the actual cottage we live in. I mean the mountains standing guard over our home, the sound of the wind blowing through the trees, the smell of the forest, the beauty of each season as it unfolds. It's the trails I walk and the way the light falls on the lake at various times of the day. It's the feeling of contentment as I sit on my front porch, drinking it all in right along with my cup of tea.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Two Wee Sweaters

After almost three weeks of heat we finally have a cool day. The world feels and smells fresh again. Now we just need some rain to come along and give everything a good soak. Of course, the first day we are forecast to have rain is Sunday, which also happens to be the day Rebekah and Anton are bringing his parents and aunt out to visit. His parents live in Toronto, and his aunt lives in Siberia. I had several things planned to do with them the day they are here, but am now scrambling to come up with some alternate activities in case it's wet outside. It's all made a bit more complicated due to the fact his aunt only speaks Russian. I anticipate lots of smiling, head nodding and hand gestures.

I've talked about the little kimono I was knitting for Rebekah's baby, and I finally have a picture to show you. It's actually been done for a couple weeks, but I didn't get the project up on Ravelry until today. Rebekah had requested this pattern, and she chose the yarn, so I'm pretty sure she's going to be happy with it.

Seamless Kimono

This next sweater I'm not so sure about. In fact, when we were looking at potential baby patterns on Ravelry a few months ago I think she might have actually vetoed this one. It is so small I'm quite sure it will only fit for about three minutes after the baby is born, and it has a name that leaves a bit to be desired. But I thought it was cute as a button, which is why I have renamed it Button Button on my Ravelry project page.

Puerperium Cardigan

The best part of making this wee cardigan was choosing the buttons. My friend and neighbour Lynda has a button collection and invited me to come have a look. We had a blast sifting through hundreds of buttons, coming up with just the right colours. There might have been a glass of wine involved at some point as well.

Picture credit to Lynda

Now I'm down to Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Sweater On Two Needles. Karen from Pumpkin Sunrise very kindly came to my rescue and sent some expanded instructions, so I now have high hopes of it actually getting completed, and having it resemble a sweater for a human baby instead of something from the animal kingdom. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sunday News

Three letters perfectly sum up things from my little corner of the planet. HOT. Hot as in day after day of record breaking heat. Also record breaking lack of rain. The only rain we have seen in weeks happened one morning early last week, and by the time that day was over I could see what a mistake the weather gods had made with that decision. The rain lasted about a half hour, and didn't really cool things down. What it did do as the day wore on was turn the outdoors into a steam bath.

Today has made the last couple of weeks look like child's play. It is 35 degrees Centigrade ( 95 Fahrenheit) as I sit here writing this post. It's too hot to think, too hot to do anything, and ironically, it's even too hot to walk down to the lake to go for a swim and try to cool off. I tried that a few days ago, and by the time I walked back home all the goodness of the swim had been cancelled out by the hot walk back.

My current strategy is to get up early and do everything that needs to be done in the morning. Today I went out to the blueberry farm and picked 13 pounds of berries. Then I came home and went for a walk. Next up was trying to figure out the instructions to Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Sweater on Two Needles. She's known for her pithy instructions, but I would say she's outdone herself for pithiness with this little sweater. There's a very good chance it might end up with three sleeves. Or worse yet, no sleeves, by the time I finish.

In fact, I was still working on this sweater this afternoon, but due to the heat and not being able to think properly, I made a mistake in one of the lace rows. By the time I fixed that I decided I might have better luck blogging than knitting.

So on this extremely hot day, the hottest day on record for Cultus Lake, I have a finished project to share with you. A blanket. Yes, I know I showed you the Hudson's Bay baby blanket I knit in my last post, but there's another baby blanket I've made, and I have to say I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.

I saw the instructions for this over at the SeeKateSew blog, and instantly fell in love with it. Now, I'm not a quilter. And I'm rubbish at sewing. But this quilt had the word yarn in its name, and I have lots of yarn, so I figured it was meant to be. That just left the fabric, batting and thread to buy and I would be all set. Oh, and the help of my kind knitting/quilting neighbour Lynda, who supplied the expertise.

I think this new little grandchild will have lots of fun pointing to all of the animals and making the accompanying noises, and probably her parents will too.

I also think with two blankets I can now rest assured that this baby won't get cold. Not that there would be any danger of that right now, but before we know it the cool, damp weather will have returned. And before we know it this new baby will have arrived. She's due in about four weeks!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

About the Blanket

When I put up my new blog header last week I suddenly realized I had never posted about the blanket that's in the middle of the collage. To be honest, I'm not much of a blanket knitter. There are dozens of socks and sweaters and vests to be found in my home, but not a single handknit blanket. Still, a new baby needs a new blanket, so with the upcoming birth of Rebekah and Anton's first child I cast on.

It can be a bit overwhelming trying to pick out a baby blanket pattern. I wanted one that wasn't too fussy. It needed to look like it would stand up to not just babyhood, but could also be used down the road to build blanket forts, snuggle up with while watching a movie, or simply using on a bed without having it look babyish.

That took the Ravelry search down from over 13,000 to a more manageable number in the low hundreds, but that was still a lot of patterns to choose from. It wasn't until I started thinking about this baby, and how she will be the first one in their family to be born in Canada, that I knew which blanket I needed to knit. Here's my version of the Hudson Bay Inspired Crib Blanket.

I used Rowan's Pure Wool Worsted yarn to knit the blanket. It has become my "go to" yarn when I want to knit with superwash yarn. In general I'm not a fan of superwash, but let's face it. What new mom wants to hand wash a baby blanket? And even if she did, I could see disaster in the making the first time Anton did a load of baby clothes.

I was surprised at how big it was once I cast off and spread it out on the floor. Definitely big enough for a blanket fort at some future date!

I have to confess that I was more than a little bit tired of garter stitch by the time I finished. And the bigger the blanket grew, the hotter and more unwieldy it became to work with. But I'm really happy with the finished project, and hope the parents to be are as well. I told myself I couldn't cast on any baby sweaters until I got this off the needles, so the minute this was finished a baby kimono was cast on. More on that next time...

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Joining in with Annie to share some of my own Happenings.

Looking at the jars of pickled garlic scapes and jalapeƱo raspberry jam (trust me, it tastes great!) sitting on my counter.

Smelling the fresh morning air, with hints of forest and garden and flowers and a recent rain all mixed together.

Waiting impatiently for my raspberry shrub to be ready to drink.

Anticipating a weekend with nothing on the calendar.

Knitting a wee baby kimono.

Reading Black House by Peter May and The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks.

Making a batch of kale and pistachio pesto.

Eating the first raspberries and cherries of the season.

Watching ITV's Home Fires series on my Slingplayer.

Missing this little girl after a short trip over to Victoria to see her earlier this week.

How about you? Do you have any Happenings you would like to share?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Family Gathering

The past week has flown by in a wonderful mix of family, hiking, kayaking, card games, food and laughter. My brother John and niece Corinne flew out to Spokane from Chicago, picked up my mom, then made the long drive up to Canada for a visit.

We hiked to Lindeman Lake, one of my all-time favourite places.

Of course, I had to take them up Teapot Hill! There was a bumper crop of teapots. We spotted 30 by the time we finished our hike.

The weather was hot and dry while they were here, which was perfect for kayaking.

It was nice for Corinne and my kids to have some cousin time together. She has just graduated from university and is interviewing for jobs, so it was great she was able to make the trip out while she had the chance. I think the best thing of all was my mom getting to spend time with so many of her grandchildren at once. And after they left our place they went over to Victoria for to see Lucy, so there was some great grandchild time for her as well.

It's a rare thing, well, at least in the life of the Hammond family, for things to go exactly as planned. We had perfect weather, there were no disasters, nobody got sick, there was enough food, and we all had a great time. It just doesn't get any better than that. Now it's back to reality. There's laundry to be done, groceries to be purchased, blog reading to catch up on, and some rather important knitting to finish. A close look at some of the pictures should give you a clue as to what that knitting is for!