Friday, January 27, 2012

Afterglow is...

...the title of a poem found in my father's wallet after his death.

Here is what it says:
I'd like the memory of me
To be a happy one
I'd like to leave an afterglow
Of smiles when day is done.
I'd like to leave an echo
Whispering softly down the ways
Of happy times and laughing times
And bright and sunny days
I'd like the tears of those who grieve
To dry before the sun
Of happy memories I leave behind
When day is done.
Helen Lowrie Marshall
I can only guess that my father was touched by the words in this poem, which is why he kept this newspaper clipping in his was yellowed and a bit torn, so it probably was there for a few years.
After a search on google, I was able to find the name of the author.

A few weeks after this discovery, I was on Etsy looking for some hand dyed fiber to spin. I found myself in the Etsy shop of wildhare. Would you believe that I came across a polwarth wool top named Afterglow! I knew I had to purchase this fiber, no matter what.

Picture from the Etsy shop of wildhare

It took me longer than usual to spin this just because I had told myself that I would spin it only when I was in the right frame of mind to remember all those wonderful moments with my father and what a very very special person he was. I spent many wonderful afternoons, spinning in the autumn sun just remembering and knowing that my father had indeed left us with a wonderful afterglow of memories.

From this fiber, I knitted a cowl and a pair of mittens.

Pattern: Ripple cowl (free from Bernat)
Needles: 4.5mm
Yarn: handspun from Afterglow polworth wool fiber from wildhare shop
Modifications: I did only three repeats of the pattern because I ran out of yarn. But it still measures 9'' wide by 40'' long. Lot's to wrap twice around my neck.

Pattern: Top down mittens (free from Ravelry)
Needles: 3.5mm
Yarn: handspun from Afterglow polworth wool fiber from wildhare shop
Modifications: none
I love knitting mittens from the top down to the cuff!

Every time I take the cowl and mittens out of the drawer and wear them, my thoughts go to father.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Alpaca joy

Today, winter offered us one of the best winter days. Sun, blue skies, cool temperatures and lots of snow on the ground.

Alpacas don't care for deep snow. They don't like to venture out in it much. We noticed that all they do now is walk to the water  and back to the feeders. The snow is just too deep for them. In the picture below, the trails on the alpaca side are minimal.

Our llama is now with the two crias (being weaned from their pregnant moms). The llama will walk around his pasture. With the long legs he has, this is easier for him.

So hubby decided to do some plowing for them. This green beast will do the job easily. So the animals were brought into the barn so that the work could be done.

A nice wide trail was plowed from the barn to the heated water.

Water is very important, especially now that the animals are eating dry hay, containing little or no moisture.

Once the deed was done, the barn door were opened and out they came to inspect the work.
Will they like it or not?

They walked down one way, then the next.

And then, they started running as if saying: FINALLY, some room to run!

They zoomed back and forth in front of me, just going as fast as their legs would go.

Sometimes, kicking their feet was wonderful to see them having so much fun.

Here they come again!

 ...and back down the other way.


On the llama and cria side, things were a lot more calm...

Well, this was our saturday, I hope yours brought you joy too!

Saturday, January 14, 2012


What do you do when you haven't seen the sun for almost a week?
You bring a little bit of sunshine in the house by making marmalade.
This is the second time I make this recipe and we just love it so much.
It all starts like any other marmelade...with lemons and oranges.
But this marmalade has a little something unexpected.
3 cups of grated carrots!
This adds so much colour to the marmalade.

The recipe can be found on the Canadian Living Magazine website.

All done and ready to be put on toast.
Go ahead and try'll add sunshine to your day!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Happy blues!

Our daughter invited us for dinner one night just before New Year's Eve.  We always look forward to getting together. Our son also joined us, so the whole gang was there. Our grand daughter is growing so fast (she's 2 now) and it's so much fun to listen to her talk non-stop.
When we arrived, our daughter stepped out of the kitchen with a blue bow on the front of her shirt.
I immediately knew what that meant and started jumping up and down (screaming and laughing). Dear hubby thought the bow was a funny looking thing to put on the front of your shirt and could not understand why I was so excited about it.
As you might know, I basically had to spell it out for him...our pregnant daughter had just found out that our next grandchild would be a boy!!
A little grandson for the end of May. A little brother for bb O.
Well, last night, I came across a pattern for tiny little mittens. With leftover sock yarn, I casted on and completed a pair. No pinks and purples for this little one...we're going blues and greens.

Designer: Kathy Broughton (Check out her other patterns here)
Yarn: leftover Berocco SOX yarn

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Work in Progress

winter = long evenings=knitting =movie watching

That pretty much sums up what is happening around here lately. I have a few knitting projects on the go at the moment.
Let me show you.
The knitters guild I belong to has challenged us to try a new technique in the new year. That was just the push I needed to get going on learning to knit 2-at-a-time socks.
I had this wonderful sock blank in 50% mohair, 50% wool from Wellington Fibers just for this.

And I had the 2-at-a-time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes to teach me just that!
I must admit that this is not an easy method to master at the beginning but I'm happy I stuck with it because after the first inch or so is knitted, it gets much easier. I have a feeling that I will be knitting my socks this way from now on. It will be nice to have both socks done at the same time.

Also on the needles for a few weeks now is a cardigan kit I bought last fall at the K-W Knitter's Fair in Kitchener-Waterloo. The pattern is called Whisper. Designer is Linda Benne.

It will be a very lightweight cardigan, great for spring. The green stitches you see will become a sleeve once I'm done with the back and front piece.

When I knit projects that are done on small needles and are going to take some time to knit, I usually need something fast to give me a feeling of accomplishment, so I found a great cowl to cast on with a worsted weight handspun yarn I had. This was a two evenings worth of knitting...very satisfying!
It's a very loose cabled cowl, knitted sideways then kitchenered stitch. The green stitches you see on the end is the provisional cast-on that will be taken apart to give me the live stitches needed to do the kitchener stitch when I'm done.
As soon as I'm done, I be back with info on the pattern and there's a story that goes with this handspun...

Before I let you go, I have to show you what I've found!
I used to travel a lot to Toronto for meeting and conferences. I loved it when our meetings were downtown because I could then take a nice walk in the evenings to the Eaton Center and other shops in that area.
There was a Fossil store in the mall that had the most beautiful purses. But I would never pay the $200 to $300 they were asking for these. But I still loved to go in and look.

Most of the purses that caught my eye had a combination of leather and fabric...beautiful fabrics.
Imagine my excitement when I found such a purse in a recycling / reuse operation called Rebuilt Resources!!!

Isn't too cute? This bag will be a project bag. It might be a summer bag too. I have no idea how old it is or the $value. It's in mint condition. I paid $3 for it.
Had my hubby been with me you would have heard me yell: Start the car! when I left the store.
Love those kind of finds!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

All about Mia

Have you met Mia yet?Being a houseful of dogs, they are the ones we talk about the most but our cat Mia deserves a bit of attention once in a while...and believe me she insists on a bit of attention!
Mia is about 3 years old. I think this sweet cat is quite confused because she act much more like a dog that anything else. She follows me around the house and will wait for me. She plays with the dogs and loves their company.
Mia is Miss Personality with a capital P.
She loves to read with me! She knows there's no room on my lap when I'm sitting at the kitchen counter drinking my morning coffee and reading my emails or blogs, so the next best thing is to jump on the chair's back and rest on my shoulders.

And how about getting a little closer...Mia has figured out a way to crawl on my back and wrap herself around my neck! I don't assist her at all, she does it on her own...and I wonder why I have neck issues!!! But there is something quite nice about having a cat purr sweet nothings in your ear!

Then there are those moments that are just too she is sprawled out on her back on the ottoman. Life must be so good when you can relax to that extent!

And then there are those moments when she wants to cool off by lying on the back of chairs or sofas with all four legs dangling on either sides.

Her favorite position on our kitchen stools.

We can say she's quite entertaining.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Mantra

Read this on Sheep Thrills Yarn's blog and loved it...thought I would share it with you here as it's a good way to start the new year...

May we break boundaries, tear down walls, and build on the foundation of goodness inside each of us.
May we look past differences, gain understanding, and embrace acceptance.
May we reach out to each other, rather than resist.
May we be better stewards of the earth, protecting, nurturing, and replenishing the beauties of nature.
May we practice gratitude for all we have, rather than complain about our needs.
May we seek cures for the sick, help for the hungry, and love for the lonely.
May we share our talents, give our time, and teach our children.
May we hold hope for the future very tenderly in our hearts and do all we can to build for a brighter tomorrow.
And may we love with our whole hearts, for that's the only way to love.....

My 2012 resolution remains the same as last healthier. I'm keeping it for another year not because I didn't accomplish this in 2011 but because I believe being healthy is an ongoing process, there is always something more you can do to live a healthy lifestyle. So keep eating well, keep being active, keep meditating and being positive. I should add, to keep learning. It's a good thing to always stimulate our brains with new stuff. It's good to challenge ourself with a new technique and feel great about it when we master it.

About the babies...
Pups are thriving and keeping us is super great with them.
They are now 1 week old. (you will count 11 pups as one did not make it the first 24 hours)

I revamped our kennel's website last week. Have a look if you are interested in learning more about our dogs.

I wish you a wonderful 2012 with good health and peace in your heart.
Thank you to all my readers, those that read and leave comments as well as those quiet readers. I appreciate your presence more than words can tell.