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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Monday, 10 April 2017

Porch Parties

My Dad's birthday is today. We celebrated as a family on Saturday taking our parents out for dinner. Today Dad celebrated with neighbours gathering on their porch for drinks and snacks after work. 

An impromptu Porch Party ... so much fun.
After dinner, their neighbours returned with cake and ice cream plus candles, birthday plates, napkins and a knife ... so nice.
Porch Parties with such great neighbours are the best. Cheers and Happy Birthday Dad. I wish you a summer full of fun Porch Parties.

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Sunday, 9 April 2017

Dining Out to Celebrate

My Mum-In-Law's birthday was yesterday. My Dad's birthday is tomorrow. Usually, we have our parents over for dinner to celebrate. This year we decided to change things up a bit by inviting them out for dinner. 

We selected one of our favourite Vietnamese restaurants Tamarine by Quynh Nhi. The ambiance was perfect for the occasion and the food was delicious as always. Dining Out to Celebrate April birthdays was fun. 
Afterwards, we headed back to our house for a yummy, sensibly-sized carrot cake from Sobeys and cappuccinos.
Cake and candles are a crucial part of birthday celebrations in our family. 
Happy Birthday to my Mum-In-Law and Dad. We wish you both a year full of love and happiness.

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