California Crochet

After finishing Mina’s afghan I had a request to make Kwazii for Volker. Kwazii is a former pirate in the show The Octonauts. I bought a pattern from Etsy and started. But I didn’t get it finished before leaving for California. I dutifully packed all the necessary parts into my carry-on luggage, intending to work on it on the plane.

First thing I discovered – I’d brought the wrong crochet hook! I have previously travelled with my case of crochet hooks, but I also almost lost them in security at the airport, or it felt like I almost lost them. Some of my hooks came from my Grandma Roth and I do not want to lose them, so I don’t take them anymore. So no crocheting on the plane.

Trina did not have a 4mm hook, so I had to buy a new hook. In the US Amazon is really amazing; I decided to buy a set of hooks, 2mm – 6mm, for less than $10 with the exchange! a really good deal.

Once I had the right hook, it didn’t take me long to finish Kwazii. I redid his whiskers as I didn’t like the first set. Volker was pleased.Volker with KwaziiLieutenant Kwazii Mina wanted a toy too. So I crocheted another character from a pattern book that Trina had purchased. This is Tweak: IMG_0896IMG_0895Then Trina decided to try crocheting a toy while I was there to help. She chose a Vegimal, Tunip (also from the Octonauts), to start. She caught on quickly and decided to make more. Volker is quite in love with the Vegimals.IMG_0911 It’s hard to hang onto all your friends and climb around on the playground equipment too!

Mina also wanted a Vegimal, so I made one with a different yarn and smaller hookIMG_0907This is the size difference, my Codish and Trina’s Tunip:IMG_0908And here are my two favourite children

IMG_0904How I do love them!

Beautification Project

Our gardening committee is working hard trying to make this place look better. It is slow work, but it is happening.

Here is a view of the south-west corner of the property before we began our efforts:IMG_1658Sue, Gina and I have been working at getting all the hawthorn roots out of the ground:

These old hawthorn roots have to come out of the ground so we can plant something nicer.

Today we transplanted hostas: IMG_0790DSCF5695 Now doesn’t that look a lot better?

Making Mermaids

A few days ago I got a message from Trina:

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 4.44.29 PMI’ve booked my tickets for September — I will be in California for the wee girl’s 6th (!) birthday. This could be a good birthday present. Being too cheap to buy a pattern, I looked online and found this free one: YARNutopia By Nadia Fuad – mermaidafghan3sizes.pdf. I’ll use it as a guide to make my own.

This past weekend my friend Sandy went to the Southampton Market. There she found Benat’s Jacquards yarn in a variegated green, purple, aqua and white, three skeins for $8. I thought these colours would look good on a mermaid’s tail.IMG_0574This week all the First Mennonite Church pastors are away at the Mennonite World Conference Assembly in Harrisburg, PA, so it has been very quiet in the church office. Consequently, I have taken my project to work and have been able to get a good start on it.

The afghan part of it is a simple shell stitch. I am using a 6.0mm hook. This is going to make a rather heavy afghan, I think, especially for California. I wonder if using a larger hook would have made a difference? I started with a chain 121 stitches long. That now seems wider than it would need to be for a child, but I will wait until it is finish to judge for sure.

IMG_0577 IMG_0578I’m looking forward to getting it done.

More berries

This has been an amazing berry year. I don’t know where all the birds are, but they are not stripping the bushes and trees.

On the neighbouring property there are three weeping mulberry bushes that are loaded with berries. IMG_0454Thursday evening my favourite man helped me collect two berry boxes of black mulberries. So sweet! mulberries

I made mulberry “jam” – not real jam because I added less than 1 cup of sugar, the berries didn’t need more sweetness than that. IMG_0449I was surprised to find that the fruit did not become mush. I think next time I will use a hand blender to mash the cooked berries before putting them in jars. This time it is basically putting mulberries on your toast, but that is delicious too!

On Friday afternoon, before leaving work I went outside and collected as many Saskatoon berries as I could reach. This tree is at First Mennonite Church, but most of the berries are out of reach.IMG_0473…which is really a shame, because the tree is loaded!IMG_0477I got about 1.5 cups of berries,IMG_0452so I used half in a dozen muffins (my favourite recipe from “More with Less Cookbook“) DSCF5381and put the other three-quarter cup into the freezer for another time.

On Saturday afternoon, after walking by the blackberry bushes again,IMG_0456I decided to leave Billie inside and take the berry boxes outside. Another box of blackberries.IMG_0459I really wanted to be able to share some of this bounty with my mother, but she has trouble eating these kinds of fruit because the little seeds get under her dentures and cause discomfort. Looking on the internet I found a recipe for Blackberry Coulis (syrup) for which you strain out the seeds. It took a little more effort, but it is definitely worth the results!IMG_0480And one of the wonderful things about all these berries — they were free.


Blackberries grow wild along the treeline in the park behind my building. And they are just now getting ripe.

ImageThis afternoon I sprayed myself with insect repellant and braved the hordes of mosquitoes (the bush is very swampy and with all the rain this past month the mosquitoes are having a great time!) to pick a few.

Image 1Those brambles really grab onto your clothes and skin. But, oh, the result is so tasty! I cooked these berries with just a little maple syrup and thickened them with tapioca starch. Then I treated myself to chocolate frozen yogurt with blackberry sauce. Delicious!

Image 2The joy of summer.