Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Moving Day

Last Sunday (April 30th), we drove to Guelph to help with our son's fourth annual Moving Day. Keys for their new place were to be available for pick up after 12 p.m. We arrived just after 11:30 a.m.  

The moving crew this year included three young men (our son and his roommates) and two sets of parents including us. For vehicles they had a pickup truck (borrowed), a van, our Santa Fe and our son's hatchback. 
We were pleasantly surprised to see packing was well underway when we arrived. Box springs were already loaded and ready to go. 
We filled the bins and boxes we had brought then helped load up the van and the hatchback before making our first trip over to their new place.
I rode with our son and his dog. Ajax sat in his bed, but seemed a little unsettled with all the chaos of Moving Day.
"Smile boys." OK never mind ... not a lot of enthusiasm for Mom taking photos on Moving Day.
I took one photo of the kitchen then set to work carrying things upstairs and downstairs as directed. Mostly I kept Ajax company while everybody else made multiple trips back and forth. Moves involving three strong young men are so much easier ... they do all the heavy lifting.

It took all afternoon to move everything. They were lucky with the weather. The rain held off until after the last boxes were unloaded. By then, everybody was hungry. We met at Fionn MacCool's for a yummy dinner before heading for home, leaving the boys to set up their bedrooms and finish unpacking.

Although I didn't take more pictures of their new place, I will tell you it is a three bedroom townhouse condo with a three piece bathroom upstairs, a two piece downstairs, a fenced patio out back and an unfinished basement with laundry and plenty of storage. The whole place has been freshly renovated - new carpet, linoleum, kitchen cabinets, appliances, bathroom fixtures, paint - everything is shiny and new. 

Their new place is slightly smaller than their last place, but the central location with better bus service more than makes up for that. Besides one less bathroom to clean is probably a good thing. They were missing curtain rods on the newly patched and painted walls, but my son tells me they have already installed rods on all but the kitchen window.

My son shared a couple photos taken at their new place. They look happy.
With Moving Day done, we wish them all another great year in Guelph.  

You can read about last year's move here if you missed it.

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Monday, 8 May 2017

Little Lamb for Liam

After making two blankets for our grandson due in August, I decided he should have his very own hand-made toy too. I finished this Little Lamb for Liam on Sunday. Isn't it absolutely adorable?

I love this Little Lamb with it's bumpy, bobbly textured head and body ... perfect for little hands to grab, cuddle, squish and toss about.

This Little Lamb posed for photos on Sunday while the sun shone. It has been raining non-stop for a week, so sunshine was much appreciated.
If you would like to make a cute Little Lamb just like this one, you can find the free pattern here designed by blogger Ashleigh at Sewrella

I used yarn from my ever-growing stash for this project. A couple friends gifted yarn to me recently, enough to cover a table in our dining room. There are various odds and ends not identified with ball bands. I am not really sure what any of it is, but have sorted it by colour and plan to make more toys since gauge is not important.

I wonder how many toys I can make from this pile? I should gather all my yarn to see how much I have altogether. I expect there is enough to keep me crocheting for a long, long time - years even. I must say that thought appeals to my sensible, frugal side.

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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Rainbow Cloud Ripple Stripe Blanket

 
On Saturday I finished another blanket for our grandson due to arrive in August. This "Rainbow Cloud Ripple Stripe Blanket" was made using yarn left over from my Granny Stripe Rainbow Cloud Blanket. You can read all about that blanket and the "rainbow cloud" naming reference here
I spent the morning sitting on the floor in front of my laptop sipping on cappuccinos and darning in yarn ends for all those stripes before starting on the border. I mention "sitting on the floor" because I crocheted both of these blankets almost entirely from the floor. 

You may have heard me talk about floor-sitting before. Over a year ago, I discovered Katy Bowman and her theories regarding more natural movement. I wrote about healthy floor-sitting hereI thought crocheting while floor-sitting would be impossible for me. I was wrong. It took almost a year of practicing floor-sitting at home, but finally I can sit comfortably and crochet too. Persistence pays off.

I was happy to see the weather had cleared by the time I finished the border. I stretched out the blanket and took a few photos while the sun was still shining then went for a nice long walk to stretch out my legs.
I love the ripples of rainbow cloud colours randomly arranged to create this Rainbow Cloud Ripple Stripe Blanket. 
I spread out both blankets for comparison. You can see this ripple stripe blanket is smaller and more colourful than the Granny Stripe Rainbow Cloud Blanket. I tried to mimic the rainbow clouds concentrating all the colours at one end with bands of each colour appearing among the white and grey ripples at the other. 
I can't pick a favourite ... love them both. I especially love how these Rainbow Cloud blankets coordinate so well together.
Both blankets are folded, packaged and ready to go when we visit in September. It seems a long way off ... four months to be exact. Yes I'm counting. Anticipating a new baby in our family is very exciting indeed.
To make this blanket, I followed instructions provided by blogger Lucy at Attic24 called "Ripple Blanket Know-how".

Technical details for this Rainbow Cloud Ripple Stripe Blanket are listed below for the crocheters out there who might like to make one too. 

Starting Chain - 143
Finished Size - 34"x43" (multi-use size blanket)
47 stripes
94 rows
Border - 3 rounds
Time to Complete - Approximately 18 hours (10 mins per row + border)
Hook size - 4 mm

Yarn Used (Light #3 weight):
  • Patons Beehive Baby Sport (100 g/3.5 oz)
    • Baby Grey (1 ball)
    • Vintage Lace 
    • Angel White (1 ball)
  • Bernat Softee Baby (140 g/5 oz)
    • Soft Fern 
    • Aqua 
    • Soft Red 
  • Red Heart Baby Hugs (127 g/4.5 oz)
    • Lilac 
I made this blanket using yarn left over from my last project - the Granny Stripe Rainbow Cloud Blanket - adding 1 more ball of Baby Grey and 1 ball of Angel White (brighter white than Vintage Lace) to the mix.   


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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Magnificent Magnolias

Our magnolia tree is absolutely chock-full of pretty pink blossoms this week. My husband used his good camera to snap a few photos on Sunday. 

I searched for a word to properly describe the beauty of these blooms ... beautiful, lovely, spectacular, splendid, marvelous, magnificent? 

That's it, "Magnificent Magnolias". 

Our magnolia tree blossoms are truly magnificent this year. Thanks to my husband for capturing their beauty in these photos. I love them.
  
 

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Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Granny Stripe Rainbow Cloud Blanket

I was thrilled to hear our daughter is expecting a baby due August 17th. After a miscarriage in October plus facing challenges with this pregnancy, she waited longer than usual to make the announcement. 

Our daughter was encouraged by the appearance of a beautiful iridescent rainbow cloud on the day she announced she was expecting her 'rainbow baby'. She took it as a good omen.
I immediately started to think about what sort of blanket I could make for this baby. I thought this little one should have something extra special. 
When she sent me this photo of her iridescent rainbow cloud, I decided to incorporate the colours into my design. I chose yarn to mirror the colours in the clouds: aqua, light fern, lilac, soft red, vintage lace, and baby grey.
Our daughter likes neutral greys and whites. I love colour. This blanket is a compromise. The base is neutral soft grey incorporating a colourful stripe spaced every 6" plus a colourful rainbow-striped border. 
 

I love the finished look. A special Granny Stripe Rainbow Cloud Blanket for a special new addition to our family.
The blanket is folded and ready to go. We will take it with us when we visit Boulder this September to meet our new grandchild. 

To make this blanket, I followed free instructions for a Granny Stripe Blanket posted by blogger Lucy at Attic24. I love Lucy's colourful crochet blankets. Her brilliant colour combinations continue to inspire me.

For this blanket, I wanted to make a granny stripe with a different sort of look. Instead of changing colours every second row, I worked 15 rows in grey with one row in colour; essentially creating grey bands separated by pops of colour.

I designed the border to represent a cloud surrounded by rainbow stripes. 
  • For Round 1 (use Vintage Lace yarn), I followed Lucy's instructions for her border base on her Granny Stripe Blanket.
  • Round 2 (use Soft Red yarn) - single crochet back loop only (sc-blo) around, 3 sc-blo in each corner space, finish off and weave in ends
  • Round 3 (use Lilac yarn) - sc-blo around, 3 sc-blo in each corner stitch (2nd of 3 sc-blo in each corner space from R2), finish off and weave in ends
  • Round 4 (use Soft Fern yarn) - repeat R3
  • Round 5 (use Aqua yarn) - repeat R3 
Technical details for this Granny Stripe Rainbow Cloud Blanket are listed below for the crocheters out there who might like to make one too. 

Starting Chain - 163
Finished Size - 44"x62" (large crib blanket)
162 rows
Border - 5 rounds
Time to Complete - Approximately 30 hours (10 mins per row + border)
Hook size - 4 mm

Yarn Used (Light #3 weight):
  • Patons Beehive Baby Sport (100 g/3.5 oz)
    • Baby Grey (7 balls)
    • Vintage Lace (1 ball)
  • Bernat Softee Baby (140 g/5 oz)
    • Soft Fern (1 ball)
    • Aqua (1 ball)
    • Soft Red (1 ball)
  • Red Heart Baby Hugs (127 g/4.5 oz)
    • Lilac (1 ball)
Using yarn left over from this project, I have started on a smaller, more colourful blanket suitable for a stroller or car seat. As always, I will be sure to share photos when finished. 


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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Spring Break Family Visit

Our daughter and family decided to visit the last week in March for Spring Break. Five months had passed since their last visit in October. I was super excited and looking forward to seeing everybody again. 

We borrowed my husband's parents' van for the usual pick up at Detroit airport. Our grandson gave us big hugs while our granddaughter scooted down in the stroller to hide. Although a bit shy at first, it didn't take long before she was hugging and chatting happily.
On the drive home, we stopped for dinner at Tio Gordos Cocina a Mexican restaurant in Port Huron. We sat at the bar rather than wait for a table. 
Dinner was delicious. We gobbled it up then headed for home. Everybody was tired after a long day of travel and looking forward to resting.
This trip was all about 'visiting'. The kids spent quality time visiting with us and their grandparents doing fun things close to home. They even stopped by my husband's office where they toured the Ministry of Environment laboratory ... so many interesting dead bugs and microbes.

We enjoyed some favourite family meals. My Dad's lasagna recipe was delicious as always served with Caesar salad.
Our grandchildren decorated my parents' Easter tree ...  so pretty.
The kids played all sorts of games - badminton and soccer were fun outdoor activities. Peg board pictures and lego were fun to do inside.
Our hot tub was popular with the kids. They went in almost every day.
The kids also loved reading. I had picked up extra books at the library, so there were lots of good stories available.
On Sunday, the day before their departure, we hosted an early family Easter dinner. We called it "Feaster" for fun. Our Feaster day started with a chocolate egg hunt for the kids. The kids loved it so much, they took turns hiding and hunting for eggs all day.

Our Feaster dinner included all our favourite Easter foods - spiral cut ham, scalloped potatoes, baked broccoli with cheese, sweet kale salad, dinner rolls and two kinds of cake. It was tight, but we managed to fit all sixeen of us around two tables in the dining room.
Before dessert, we played 'crack the egg'. Everybody selects a decorated hard-boiled egg then challenges their neighbour to a friendly egg 'tap'. The last egg left intact with no cracks wins the contest. Our sister-in-law introduced this game to our family years ago - so much fun.
This year, our niece's husband won the contest. Way to go James!
My Mother-In-Law brought dessert (chocolate mousse cake and lemon layer cake) ... both delicious.
After dinner, our grandson took the eggs outside to finish them off.
Our granddaughter loved her new bunny ears and other Feaster treats.
Is it an Easter Bunny? No, it's "Ajax Rabbit". Our son's service pup-in-training, Ajax dressed for a fun Feaster photo too. 
The very next day, it was time to pack up, say final good-byes and head back to the airport. For a change of pace, we took the Bluewater Ferry across the river at Sombra. Luckily it was a hit with the kids. 
One more meal before dropping them off at the airport - we dined at bd's Mongolian Grill in Royal Oak near the Detroit Zoo. This restaurant was also a hit with the kids. The fellow with the beard in the photo below was very energetic and entertaining.
It was great to see the kids again. Our daughter is expecting another baby in August. We plan to drive to Boulder in September ... five months from now. Thank goodness for social media. We love to see photos and videos documenting their activities and growth. I am always amazed at how much they grow and change in between our visits. 

In the meantime, I am busy making things for the new baby. So far, I have finished one blanket and started another. I promise to share photos soon.

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