Monday, December 26, 2011

December Lights

In December, I really enjoy the lights.  Here are some photos that I took this month around Graz, Austria.  Yes, a very merry Christmas, I am together with my son and DH this year!

This is one of our favorite shop windows - filled with beautiful glass ornaments. 

The little shops that set up in the town square for December.

 This is a little "train" that you can take along the decorated streets to see the lights.  We do this early December before it gets too crowded!  That is my son and DH walking along it - we are on our way UP a hill to the ice skating rink.

I am always a little sad when all the lights come down and then we just have long, cold winter days where it gets dark early.  This December was fairly warm so we went out for after dark walks to see the lights a fair bit.  It was really nice!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Socks

Really, I have very little time for crafting right now.  Earlier this year I made ONE sock with this yarn.  I packed that one sock and the remaining yarn and hoped that I would be able to knit a second sock by Christmas.  Mission accomplished.  This pair of socks is for my mother-in-law, a very talented knitter in her day, but she no longer knits because it bothers her shoulder.  I know she will appreciate them!  Oh - and now I just looked at my photo and see that you can only see 1 sock, but there are really 2 - they are stacked on top of each other!
The yarn is Lana Gatto Tollegno (made in Italy).  It is 80% wool and 20% cashmere.  It was on clearance at a LYS in the baby section.  So soft!  I am not sure though - I cast on using size 2 needles and only 52 stitches - that is what I always use for myself because I have thin legs.  Now I am thinking that I should have cast on  60 for my MIL.  Ah well, it is K2, P2 for the rib and then I did K3, P1 all the way down to the toe - I think it has enough stretch.  If not, she can always give them back to me and I will knit her another pair.
One great thing about being in Austria - the stores (even the grocery stores!), often have wonderful sock yarn.  It won't be hard for me to find yarn to start a second pair, if needed.  However, I doubt that I will find wool/cashmere blend.  OK - fingers crossed that these will have a wide enough cuff for her.

Monday, December 05, 2011

2nd Week of Advent

I think we have an especially pretty Advent wreath this year.  Last night was the 2nd Sunday of Advent so we got to light the 2nd candle.  
And today is the Eve of St. Nicholas's feast.  I have my son's little bag all ready for when he gets back home from school.  It is filled with the traditional treats of peanuts, oranges and chocolates.  Usually people put figs in there too, but he does not eat those so I didn't buy any.
See that smaller chocolate in the front - it is a devilish figure known as Krampus that comes with St. Nicholas.  Good and evil - they are a pair, you know?  If you are a good child you get the treats, if you are bad, you get hit by Krampus with his switch.  He is a very scary figure with big horns, wears animal skins and is usually dripping with blood.  Last week was the Krampus parade.

The parade goes on and on with so many different Krampuses, all making tons of noise, some pulling fire pits, some lighting off fireworks and smoke bombs.  Scary stuff!  But the children stoically endure the Krampus parade to see their beloved St. Nicholas...
And that is my take on St. Nicholas Day and Krampus from Austria!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Checking In

I can not even begin to tell you how busy life has been lately, but I am coming up for a bit of air tonight to post a few recent photos.  Guess where I am?  Austria!  Yes, re-united with my sweet boy and DH once again, at least for the time being.  Look at this huge door!  Many of the old buildings have these huge doors.  I am pretty tall, but feel tiny when I have to reach up over my shoulder to reach the door handle!  Ha - that must what it feels like all the time to little kids.

A floor tile on a stair landing in an old building.  This mosaic was on each level and there were quite a few!

On Sunday my friend was in a concert - she plays the violin.  She got us tickets and this is a photo of where the concert was before it started.  It was very nice.
I know it is Thanksgiving in the US so I won't even post the Christmas lights photos, but they are coming in another post soon!  We did not cook a Thanksgiving dinner, but I am very thankful that my little family is once again together.  Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, I think it is a good day to at least stop and be thankful for what you have.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My Hanging Baskets

I have lots of hanging baskets and they all are different.  I keep thinking they have hit their peak, take photos and then they get prettier.  So, here are some photos I took a few weeks ago.
Hard to believe I brought all these plants home - little, itty bitty things the end of May.
I got them all planted in my baskets and had to keep them in the back kitchen patio until the last week of June.  I had to bring them in EVERY night.  June was just plain rainy and cold, it was 8C most days.  

It wasn't until the 1st week of July that I hung them out front, facing the Bay of Fundy winds and left them out overnight.  Here is a photo of them from July 4.  I have geraniums and upright petunias in the middle that are now full and bushy!  I also like to put begonias in my baskets - they add alot of greenery!
Well, I just wanted to say - that I really enjoy my hanging flower baskets and they are worth the effort.  I have been right out straight, busy this summer.  B-U-S-Y!  Enjoying having my family though and making extra time to squeeze it all in.
Here are some photos from my summer album.
Low tide
 Day fishing off the dock.
 Mackerel - good eating!  The kids can catch 5-6 at a time with their mackerel jigs when the fish are running!  These were caught by another boy on the dock - he shared some with my son who then shared his with 2 of our neighbors.  Plenty to share and share!
 Got to share with the eagle who has a bum foot and can't fish for himself.
Night fishing off the dock.
I have tons more photos, but will leave it at that for those of you who can't handle tons of photos all at once.  Let's just say - I have a son that loves to fish!  We are having a good summer!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Re-United At Last!

Finally, finally, finally!  I've got my sweet boy back in my arms!

Friday I made the long trek up all up through New Brunswick to Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Now, I like New Brunswick just fine - but Nova Scotia - not so much.  First of all - look at the traffic.  As soon as you cross into Nova Scotia (and you have to pay a $4 toll to get in and out) there is traffic.  And hot.  By golly - it was hot.  31C.  Along the Bay of Fundy - we have nature's biggest air conditioner - for example it is 17C today and I am wearing a fleece jacket.  I left home at 8:45 am and made it to the airport at 5:15 pm.  Because the 2 flights into Halifax was $1000 cheaper than New Brunswick - so I drove.  Because the flights were expensive enough without adding another $1000.
I arrived right on time - but their flight was delayed 2 hours.  So, I had to wait a little bit more.  Just a little bit more.

And finally, DH and School Boy come out of the gate!  Yeah!!!  And look here - look how tall my 8 year old boy is getting - and I am  5'8" myself.  So, he is tall!  Then I turned around and drove us back into New Brunswick because the hotels are 2X more expensive in Nova Scotia.  We got up the next morning at 3 am to finish our trip.
Someone is very happy to be almost back home!
My tired traveler.  Once he woke up - he has been talking and chattering away non-stop.  Oh yes, I am absolutely thrilled to have my family back together again at long last!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Young Eagle

Down at the pier there is a young eagle.  He doesn't appear to have any parents and the fishermen have been throwing him fish.  One of my friends saw him trying to land in a tree and said he sort-ov crash lands and hugs the tree.  

Here he is on top of a weir driver.  That is a good place for him.  He also likes to sit on the back of the fishermen's pick-up trucks and will hop along the bed railings.  Unfortunately, he also will sit "shiny" cars - and if he sees his reflection he scratches and pecks the car and does a fair amount of damage.  
Here is a photo of a weir driver in use, just in case you are curious.
We all think this is a young bald eagle.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A New Hat For School

I am out of sock yarn.  I do have a few skeins on order, but in the meantime, I can't knit socks - my very favorite, quick and easy, no thinking required project.  But a hat is always fun to make. Talk about quick - I had this done in a few hours!  It is Paton's Chunky (75% acrylic/25% wool).  Cast on 64 stitches on size 6 mm needles, knit 7", start decreasing in sets of 8 (k6, k2tog) 1st row, K 1 row, then the next row I think was in sets of 6, K 1 row, then 4... etc.   4" i'cord to make a hanging loop for the hook at school.  Yes, it is for my son.  Don't you just love the hanging loop - I got up to the tippy top and I thought - why not?  
I started the 1st stripe after 10 rows - next time around I think I will start at around row 15 so it doesn't get lost in the brim.  But then again - once you have it on - it does seem to stretch out a bit so I think it is fine.
Don't ask me why I am in the mood to knit a wool hat on the hottest day of summer.  Oh - I know why, knitting gives me an excuse to sit down and put my feet up!  Here is a photo of the hat on an adult head (mine!). I hope it is long enough to cover my son's ears.  Anyway, I like it and I think he will too.  Maybe I will cast on another - but after 10 rows I will add 5 rows of k2, p2 rib and then start the decreasing after knitting 7.5 - 8" - that should be long enough to cover MY ears!  Yeah, I think I will try that.
Edited to add:  Here is a very good tutorial for a very similar hat if you are having a hard time figuring it out... it seems like it would be a little big circumference wise - I cast on fewer stitches and used a smaller needle, but the idea is about the same.  And don't bind off if you want the i-cord - just keep knitting that!  But I like the idea of a pom pom too!

Friday, July 01, 2011

June Wrap-Up

Seems to me like the seasons fly bye.  I've been busy all of June, so very busy.  But - I usually have my camera with me and have snapped some photos along the way that I will share.  First, my lupine field.  It is just the empty back field - in the spring I have it cut down with a big mower deck on the tractor and then let the lupines come and go before mowing again.  I am contemplating putting in fruit bushes back here.  Those thornless blackberries, raspberries, elderberry...  Wouldn't that be lovely?  I am sure the deer and birds would just love them too!
June is also the month when fiddleheads show up in the grocery store.  Front and center here.  Fiddlehead quiche, fiddlehead soup, just plain fiddleheads.  Mmmmm.  A neighbor caught me snapping this photo and thought I was funny!
This bush is popular with the bees!  I am not much of a gardener, but I do try to plant bushes and perennials where-ever I live.  This one was supposed to be a mini (like the one next to it), but obviously it isn't so next year maybe I will move it out of this planter and put it in the front of the house.

For sure I always plant peonies because they remind me of my Nana.  Here is one of the 1st ones of the season, which I promptly picked and brought over to my neighbor.
This is Coonie - my ever wild, stray cat.  3 years and he still hisses at me in the morning when I feed him, but I think that just may be his way of talking.  He is a fighter and if I give him milk I can get close enough to put neo-sporn on his wounds.  Because of my travel schedule I would never get a pet, but this one found me and I couldn't really let him starve, now could I?  I actually pay someone to come feed him all winter.  This summer he is scheduled for a trip to the vet for his needles and to be fixed and hopefully that will put an end to some of his fights.  Then again - we had that scheduled for last summer too but they only take ferral cats 1 day a month and you have to be able to CATCH the CAT to get him here.  Humph!
Lobster season is over in Canada.  All the traps had to be out of the water by last night.  All week long the pier has been a parade of one pick-up truck after another loaded like this hauling the traps home.  I call it the lobster trap parade.  Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of traps all stacked along the pier.  I watched one boat come in and they told me they had 1200 pounds of lobster on that run.
NOT much going on in the way of sewing, but last night I did manage to make 1 little block.  The directions are on Bonnie's blog at - click on June 2011 and you will find it.  Been too busy with work, renovations, plants. etc.  And waiting and waiting and waiting to see my DH and son again.  The schools in Austria sure don't give much of a summer vacation - he is still in school!!!  But they will be coming along soon enough and that will be one happy day!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Still wool-sock weather

I don't always blog about the socks I am knitting - here are some of the pairs I knit over the winter.  The bottom ones (purple) my friend knit for me.  All of these are my favorite socks.  I also knit 2 pairs for my son, 1 pair for my DH, 1 pair for a gift this coming Christmas and I currently am working on a brown pair as another gift. 
Happy Feet yarn - so warm, soft, cushiony!  I highly recommend it!  That is the dark pair on the top left.  The cuff has a fancier than usual twisted stitch and I ribbed K2, P2 down to the toe.
Kroy yarn - well, it is Kroy.  I have always thought Kroy was the best until I tried Happy Feet.  Kroy feels a bit more like you are wearing wool socks.  You feel it - but just a tiny bit.  Kroy socks are the blue/teal stripped ones and the autumn-y, subtle stripped ones.  My favorite rib - K3, P1.  Works up much faster than K2, P2.  Again, I ribbed down to the toe.
The solid brown pair I think is Reynolds yarn.  Love, love this yarn, so nice to work with!  Except the skeins run a bit on the small size hence the shorter leg on this pair.  What was I thinking when I started K1, P1 and kept that up for the entire sock - ribbing down to the toe, I have no idea!
The purple pair that my friend knit for me as a gift - Opal yarn.  I really think Opal is the itchiest out of all these pairs, but it is a nice warm pair of socks.  My friend ribs just the top and then switches to a knit stitch all the way around.
So here it is almost July 1 and I am STILL wearing wool socks most days.  Yes, the temperature has been staying in the mid-50's.  Brrrr. Just TRY growing tomato plants in this weather.  Well, that is my excuse and I am sticking with it!  Only just yesterday did it start to warm up. And today it is even warmer so I have on my summer socks.  Can I dare hope that the coming days are going to be warmer than the weather we have been having?  Well, in anycase, I think I am pretty well prepared in the warm sock department!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quilt Group Day

I really enjoy my quilt group and try to get to the Thursday morning meetings, as my schedule allows.  This past Thursday alot of members were working on making squares for our new group quilt.  It is just a 6" square sliced in 1/2 diagonally and the narrow strip is a 1 1/2" strip.  We are alternating light and dark center strips to get that lattice effect.  I really like this one!  We are making this quilt to raffle to help support our quilting group.  We donate money to the church where we meet to help pay the utilities, etc.   There are other expenses as well.  Last year we made a 9 patch and made over $300 on the tickets.  Next year will be our bi-annual quilt show and that always helps raise funds too.
I didn't sew.  I brought my knitting and am working on another pair of socks.  It is more like a quilt, knitting, handwork group.  It doesn't really matter what you are working on - the thing that we like is getting together to visit.  We have snack and coffee after a while too.  There are some mighty good cooks in our group!
I have to share this recent finish of a fellow quilter!  There are another 2-3 rows you can't see, but this should give you an idea.  These blocks were sewn by the quilter's sister many, many years ago.  This is all hand appliqued and hand quilted - as so many quilts in my area still are.  Beautiful!  And this is a lucky quilt because a few weeks ago where it was in the basement sewing area - the sump pump failed during a heavy rain storm.  The basement was flooded.  We were all worried about this quilt - down in that flooded basement still on the frame.  But look - it was not damaged.  Phew!