Thursday, December 29, 2011

Beloved Sophie

It was with a very sad heart that we said goodbye to Sophie on December 9th.  She took a turn for the worse and was unable to stand on her own and was refusing to eat.  We knew the day was coming but it still hit us by surprise.

Sophie had been a rescue dog that we got in June of 2000.  I was working a night shift when a police officer brought in this little puppy who he had taken off a drug dealer in the downtown area.  She was exhausted and had been pulled around with a choke chain. She slept in a basket for the remainder of the night, barely raising her head at all.  She was only about 8 weeks old.  Somehow I got talked into "adopting" her and took her home with me in the morning.  It was the day after father's day and when I arrived at home with this little bundle still in the basket, I woke up Greg and told him I had a late father's day present for him.  He was a bit put off at first and couldn't believe I would do this without even asking him.  He took off for work and by the time he got home had changed his mind and said we could keep her.  We actually had to wait a week before we knew for sure she would be ours.  The original "owner" had a week to claim her and prove he was capable of looking after her.  He never did and Sophie became part of the family.

We already had our cat Baxter who was about 14 lbs of bossy feline.  Sophie also weighed about 14 lbs and it was clear from day 1 who the boss was.  Even though Sophie eventually weighed about 65 lbs, the 14 lb Baxter could still instill fear in her and she would usually go out of her way to avoid walking past the cat.  We never saw them fight at all. 

Feeling sorry for Sophie and wanting her to have a playmate, we eventually got "Hunter", a loveable grey and white cat.  Sophie and Hunter were friends immediately and would rough house and chase each other all the time.  Hunter and Baxter loved each other as well and Hunter was the glue who brought them all together (well, he never actually got Sophie and Baxter together..but everyone seemed happy)

Unfortunately Hunter only made it to his 4th year when he developed kidney failure and we had to let him go. All of us, fur babies included missed him terribly and we still do.

Baxter and Hunter were always cuddled up like this...

This was an attempt on our part to try and get Baxter and Sophie was a very short lived event.

Sophie was the sweetest, gentlest dog I've ever known.  She loved everyone and I still expect to hear her come into a room looking for some lovin'

She wasn't without her faults though.  The first year she was with us, she ate pretty well all the wood baseboards in the living room and kitchen - not just chewed - ATE.  The following year, we replaced our kitchen floor with ceramic tile, and put in ceramic baseboards.  The living room got new baseboards and luckily for us Sophie "seemed" to be out of her chewing and eating phase.

She also at 3 pairs of my prescription glasses...frames, glass...everything....The vet told us this wasn't a first and she'd heard of lots of dogs that ate their owners glasses....What the????

If you go back a few posts, you'll see what she did to my needlepoint.

She also once ate a whole box of Quality Street Chocolates.  She was sick for about 2-3 days after this - not sure if it was the chocolate or the foil wrappers which made her ill.  Pepto Bismol seemed to help.  At first I'd blamed Greg for eating all the chocolates and not even saving me any, but it was evident very shortly that Sophie was the culprit.

Oh well, we still loved could you not????

Sunday, December 4, 2011

ANOTHER Finish - and I LOVE it

I finished my Clarus Shawl and I absolutely LOVE it....
It all just came together so easily and only took me about 3 weeks from start to finish..
This shawl was knit using "Lavish", 100% Alpaca fingering weight yarn from a company called Interamerica.  I bought it on ebay years ago and it is soft and squishy and feels wonderful.  I used 3.5 - 50 gram balls (about 200 meters on each ball)....

I've already started on the next one which is made in lace weight Cashmere that I've had in my stash for years (I just didn't know what I wanted to do with it).  I bought it from Colourmart in England and it's a little different as the yarn is still on the cone and doesn't feel like much just yet as it's still "oiled" and needs to be washed when it's finished to make the yarn "bloom".  I did do a small swatch to see what it feels like after it's bloomed and it is like a little piece of heaven....more to come on this one later.

Right now I have to get busy on a cross stitch square I'm stitching for a special project which involves 19 other stitchers.  A few months ago a dear friend of mine, Chelsea Umbach Yates,  passed away.  She was part of an on-line group of cross stitchers I belong to and is very very missed by all in the group.  Wanting to do something special to remember her but not knowing what, a bunch of us decided that we would start this project.  Chelsea loved Heaven and Earth designs and artwork from Hannah Lynn.  She had commissioned Hannah Lynn to do a special painting for her.  Heaven and Earth charted the design and what we decided to do was divide the chart into 20 squares (identical in size) and have each of us stitch a square.  The chart is called "Chelsea's Gift" (clickable).  Chelsea had undergone a double lung and heart transplant from a very special person (donor).  This gift made it possible for Chelsea to live for another 18 months as a healthy person before complications took her from us.  When completed all the squares will be sent to me and I'll be making it into a patchwork quilt (to be hung on a wall) and we will be gifting it to Chelsea's mother.  We hope she loves it and knows how much we all love Chelsea.  If you look closely at the design you'll see that the mermaid is being handed a heart and two lungs from the octopus.  Chelsea was a scuba diver (as is  her mother) and I believe her nickname was little mermaid.  Sadly she hadn't been able to dive for a long time because of her illness but it didn't stop her from loving the ocean and all the magic it holds...

Now off to stitch.... Love you Chelsea

Friday, November 25, 2011

Some Finishes, some Beginnings

Just a Quick Update

Well I finished knitting up my two Skywalker shawls and here they are as they are drying on the blocking boards.

My first was knit using JoJoland Melody wool.  Sadly the color is no longer available.  It had been in my stash for quite a long time...

This is my second Skywalker shawl.  It was knit in a fingering weight 100% Alpaca yarn that I bought on ebay a few years ago.  It is absolutely wonderful wool and I loved working with it.  I believe the manufacturer is no longer in business as I've been unable to locate them anywhere.  Luckily I bought a lot of it a few years ago and have lots left.

And here is my newest project.  It's another shawl, this one is called Clarus by Laura Nelkin.  It is the second design in the course I'm taking through
This one is also in 100% Alpaca fingering weight wool and it is a joy to knit with.  This shows it at line 40....I'm now at line 125 of the chart and only have about 35 more rows to go before I start the border...then another 20+ rows and I'll be done....shouldn't be too much longer.

Have I told you how much fun this course is????  I'm going to learn to knit socks next.  Is there no stopping me????

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Knit one Purl one

Like most things I ever get into..I get totally absorbed for awhile and this seems to the same for the lace knitting that I'm now obsessed with...I have finished one small shawl and I'm just waiting for my blocking boards and T-pins to arrive by mail (should be here tomorrow).  In the meantime I started another one with the same pattern (I want to make sure I'm doing it right) and it's coming along wonderfully, in fact better than the first one.  I'll put a picture in soon.

I've been on the search for a shawl to make with some beautiful wool I purchased's a lace weight alpaca in a blue multi color and I just love it..I'll take a picture and show shortly.  I found a lovely chart for free and lo and behold the person who's blog it is on is also having a yarn give-away on her blog...Check it out at 

Now back to knitting..

Edited to add some pictures as promised

Here's my new wool...I LOVE it...the colors are so pretty..  It's nice and fine

and Here's my second shawl..same as the first one, I'm just trying to perfect it...It'll look much better once it's finished, off the needles and blocked....

Friday, October 28, 2011

Some Progress

I've managed to finish another page on Gypsy Firefly and all suicidal thoughts from the disaster are gone....  4 Pages Plus a start on the 5th Page

I've got a bit more done on my knitting as well and I'm so pleased with it....

I've got so excited about knitting again (It's been years and years) that I've treated myself and ordered a set of wood circular knitting needles from "Knit Picks"...I can hardly wait for them to arrive.  Aren't they pretty???

Last night Greg and I took my step brother and his wife out for dinner.  They were visiting Vancouver from Mexico where they live.  We had a wonderful 9 course dinner at a fabulous restaurant downtown called "C" (we had 4 Groupon coupons and it was an excellent deal).  The wine was flowing and we had an excellent time...Time for a trip to Mexico I think.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Learning to Knit Lace - Becoming a Lace Master

I used to knit.  Not much, but I know how to knit and purl and read a chart...sort of.  I love lace.  I've never knit lace, but I've always wanted to.  I have always felt that I could have lived in England sometime in the 1800's wearing long flowing gowns with lace collars and lacy shawls with my hair done up on the top of my head.  You wouldn't probably believe that this is how I'd like to dress if you saw me as I'm rarely out of my jeans.

I signed up last week to take an on-line lace knitting course with;jsessionid=B10274830040E4E733D2E75DAD9E05C8.vedder 
It's called "Mastering Lace Shawls" and what a GREAT class.  I entered the contest that this link takes you to and after registering and becoming a member of craftsy, I was sent an email saying I could take one of their courses for $25.00 (amost half price) I figured why not....

As of today here is where I am in my "Skywalker" Shawl....

It's being stitched in a fingering weight wool called Melody by JoJoland on 3.75mm circular needles.  The wool is hand dyed and is lovely shades of green, greenish yellow and light mauve...very subdued.

The class is excellent.  I can access it anytime, pause stop, go back and ask questions if I don't understand anything.

When this shawl is finished, there is another one....two for the price of one...I'll be an expert in no time....

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Disaster averted - Fabric Fixed

Whew, I managed to fix the fabric and all is well

The area that was fixed is ALL outside of the area that will be stitched.  How considerate of my dog to not put one tooth mark in the stitching area.

I am a happy camper..or should I say "Caravaner" and have learned my lesson.  Stitching will now be put away every time that I'm NOT stitching....

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


My lovely dog is in the proverbial dog house today.  I woke up to find my needlework on the floor in the living room.  I had placed it on a small table that I keep near the sofa with all my stitching supplies on it for while I'm stitching.  She must have dragged it off and then proceded to have a bit of a snack.

Here's what it looks like now

The top is salvageable as it's far enough away from the stitching, and even going down towards the bottom there is enough "good" fabric to get it all in, but I'll only have 1" of fabric at the side and along the bottom...

I can't believe she did this?  Is she becoming senile?  Will this happen to me as I age?  Will I go around eating unedible items and think they taste good?  Will it make me sick?  I feel sick right now....

Monday, October 17, 2011

Some Gypsy Progress and Thoughts on travelling in a caravan of sorts

I've been making a some progress on Gypsy and I've now got 3 pages finished.....
I'm loving the sky and the colours in the caravan...Hope you do too.

Today my step-son and his girlfriend are flying off to Japan to visit with her family.  He's never met them, although they got introduced via Skype last week.  Technology - isn't it grand.  They'll be gone almost 3 months and plan on travelling around a bit.  Makes me wish I was young again.
or older...
Hubby and I have been mulling around the thought of buying some sort of travelling caravan (though not like the one in my needlework) when he retires next year.  I'm thinking it would be a nice way to travel around for a few months and yet have our precious belongings with us without having to haul suitcases into strange hotels and worry about whether the bed will be comfortable or not.  I think it could be fun...stay tuned..

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October is here and with it Rain Rain Rain

September was so nice this year - well some of it.  It changed mid month and it was a sure sign that Fall was coming.  It's been raining and grey for a couple of weeks now.....The warm weather from September has gone.  But on a good note, the trees look beautiful as their leaves take on the red and gold colors that I love so much.  Fall on the west coast of Canada isn't as spectacular as back east, but it's still pretty.

It's been great stitching weather. I've managed to complete two pages from my Heaven and Earth chart "Gypsy Firefly" and the colors are wonderful. They may not be fall colors, but they feel good.

The picture doesn't do it justice and it looks so much better "in person".  I'm pleased with the results.

My sister was visiting at the end of September from Ontario and we had a good time as usual.  We travelled up to Hope, B.C. and went to the Othello Tunnels. Luckily my son Richard was able to come with us.  These tunnels were built in 1914.  In the Coquihalla Gorge - the river cut a 300 foot deep channel of solid granite.  A straight line of tunnels were built through it .    There are a series of 5 tunnels and they were in operation till the 1950's.  The train tracks are gone, but walkways have been built so you can walk through them.  The river can be seen below as it presses through the gorge.  We were lucky enough to see some salmon trying to make it up the churning treacherous river to spawn. 

If any of this looks slightly familiar it's because this area is where the first Rambo movie was filmed.

We left the tunnels and went to Harrison Hot Springs where we spent 2 nights and days laying around in hot pools and taking it easy.....oh yeah, we also ate and drank way too much.  Sadly, I forgot to take any pictures.....But here's some pictures from 2 years ago to give you an idea what it is like

As for my diet....I kind of took a hiatus till now, but I'm back on my RVL Monavie Diet and I will lose that last 20 lbs now.  The good news is that with summer, visitors,
BBQ's and lots of eating and drinking, I didn't gain any weight back, so while I may not have lost any for 2 months, I didn't gain either and that's a good thing.

Till next time....

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The summer may be Gone, but it's Hot here

Summer was really slow in arriving on the West Coast of Canada, but the last week has been beautifully warm....unseasonably warm for September with temperatures around 30 Celsius.  I LOVE it.  My husband and I love going up to a small lake that is only a 10 minute drive from our home and if we don't go during the summer, it seems like summer didn't exist for us.  We almost didn't make it this year, but on Wednesday we packed up our floaty chairs and headed to the lake for a gorgeous afternoon of just floating around in the water.  Heaven.

Last weekend we were up in Whistler, B.C. It's about a 2 hour drive from our home, but when you're there you feel like you are in a different world. I was lucky enough to score a Groupon coupon for a 3 night stay in a suite for $208.00. This is an unheard of price for Whistler. Since neither of us ski, summer seems like the best time for us to enjoy this gorgeous spot.

View of Whistler Mountain from our suite

View of Blackcomb Mountain from our Suite

The front of our Hotel - The Cascade Lodge (Highly recommend)...our room was right above the entranceway and yes, it stretched across the whole thing....the Balcony was HUGE

The Pool - a little cool but once you got in, it was fine...

Street Entertainers on the stroll in Whistler Village - a 5 minute walk from the hotel

In the summer Mountain Bikes take over Whistler Mountain.  There are bikes everywhere...this was the view from the restaurant where we had lunch.  The first picture, for some strange reason the biker in the front reminds me of a gopher who has just popped up out of his hole to see what is going on....

enjoying the sunshine and some Smirnoff Ice - awwwww, life is good...

Leftover from the Olympics - Future Olympic Hopefuls playing in the rings (not our children)

Happy Couple

The morning we were leaving I woke up early and went out onto the balcony to enjoy the solitude.  The sun was just coming up and to my surprise a large Black Bear popped out of the bushes across the street, looked both ways and then crossed the street and came onto the property of our hotel.  I ran in to get my camera, but he'd already disappeared when I got back.  Bears are a common sight in Whistler, but I've never been lucky enough to see one until now.  I think it's very nice of them to share their home with us, but I don't think I'll ask to give him a hug or to shake his hand....and I definitely won't feed him.  That can be a death sentence for a bear as they become a dangerous nuisance and why would you want to put these magnificent creatures in harm's way?

Stitching Update

I've finished the top 12 rows on Leo now - that light blue background was a challenge - boring.  I can't decide whether I just hate stitching light colours or really enjoy confetti stitching, but all I know is I'm really glad the "sky" is finished.

Leo is going for a nap now as I start something new

Here is my latest project.  I fell in love with it as soon as it was released....NOTE that there is no light colors..YEAHHHHHHHH
It's Called "Gypsy Firefly" and is another Heaven and Earth Design (these are pretty well the only designs I stitch now).  The artwork is from the brilliantly talented Aimee Stewart.

This is just the start of the first page.  I'm stitching it on light Beige 25 count Laguna and doing my usual "tent" stitch (half cross stitch) using 2 threads over 1.  The picture doesn't do justice to all the lovely blues, teals and greens and also it looks like you can see a lot of fabric showing through.  In "person" it doesn't look so obvious and from a distance (like hanging on a wall when framed) you won't even see the fabric at all.  I think I'm going to love this design - lots of confetti to be had and no boring blocks of light colors.....Even my hubby loves this one....and not a fairy to be seen...

Till next time