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There And Back

We’re back home from our travels and are more or less or settled in.  With the start of a fresh new year; like most everyone; I’ve embraced the idea of a clean slate providing a launchpad for brand new ideas and a renewed focus.

Kabini SunriseOver the next few days, I will share the projects I have finished but didn’t get a chance to blog about before 2013 drew to a close.  But today, some snapshots of our recent holiday to India (some of these pictures have been pinched off Vineet’s Facebook page, I’m sure he won’t mind, lol!) 

Wild Gaur

It was exciting and adventuresome and a whirlwind of travel to so many places all squeezed into 3 short weeks.  We always seem to do vacations this way… at breakneck speed!

So Many Choices

Transatlantic winter travel always poses a threat for delays and our flight was no exception.  We didn’t make our connection in Frankfurt and as a result we ended up having to do two stops instead of one before we reached our destination.  With all of the re-routing, our luggage was lost in transit.  Hah!  We did get our stuff after a couple days but it was a strange feeling to have to go shopping straight from the airport!


Vineet’s sister and her husband flew in from Tennessee too and so we had ourselves a mini family reunion over the holidays.  We went to Chennai, Cochin, Bangalore, Mysore and Kabini and enjoyed Christmas with family in India during this trip.  See, I told you it was a whirlwind!

Flatbread How I Heart You

I have to share this sight… these men hard at work on that unsafe looking fishing boat, no life vests, no navigation system, I think there was a motor but I didn’t hear it running!

Bringing home the bacon

They were on that boat in the middle of this


Here’s the amazing part, they hauled out two huge nets bursting with fish!  Bravo, three men whom I do not know!

We took a few days to unwind before we headed back home and we picked the middle of the jungle to relax and rejuvenate.

I Can Get Used To This

It was definitely a great choice because we were spoiled by the beauty of our surroundings and majestic wildlife.

Snooze Fest

I will never tire of seeing elephants and we saw a whole lot of them this time.

So Lovable

We would have loved to have spotted one of the big cats but they were quite elusive.  We heard one of them calling though and that sound was so thrilling and so heart-stopping at the same time.  The deer were on high alert too.


The kids looked everywhere for fallen peacock feathers but there were none to be found even though there were peacocks everywhere.  Wrong season maybe?

Jungle Peacock

All holidays must come to an end and now we’re back.  It does feel great to be home 🙂

Aww The Babies

I’m excited to share the plans I’ve envisioned for my creative focus for the year ahead. Watch this space!

Gentle Giant

Posted in Family, Rambling, Travel, Vacation | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Merry And Bright

Warmest Christmas wishes coming to you from the other side of the globe! We are visiting family in India at the moment which accounts for my radio silence on this blog. I will be back with a post real soon.


Have a wonderful, joy-filled holiday season with your loved ones!


Posted in Rambling | Tagged | 4 Comments

Pulling Off The Impossible

I’m sure I’ll be knitting my latest project till the last minute, maybe even blocking on the road and this is why…

One of my cousins is getting married in 2 weeks.  She’s pretty local, lives on Vancouver Island actually.  I’ve picked out a dress to wear but for obvious reasons unless I grow some kind of thermal skin, I’m going to become an icicle.

So, what do you wear with a dress that’s got no arms, or shoulders that’s not a winter coat but still is elegant and provides a teensy bit of warmth?

Fragile Heart 1

A shawl!  Yes folks, I am knitting a shawl!!!

That’s not all. This shawl is knit using laceweight yarn.  I don’t know when I knit something with laceweight last, but it is going very slowly!

And since I’m continuing with the impossible theme here, this shawl pattern has…



I have to say that I’m done with the stockinette section.  So, I’m sort of half way there. I’ve got the lace section, the lace border and the picot bind off left :: all done with beads, aaahhhh!  Yup, certified glutton for punishment!

Beads 2

The wedding is on December 14.  Can I pull off the impossible?

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A Hat For A Knitter

My mom has this really lovely friend, Jane.  She is always so well put together.  Imagine a taller, Audrey Hepburn, that’s Jane.  Although, she’s lived in Canada most of her adult life, she is still very British.  That accent… love it!!!  Her sense of humor is charmingly tongue-in-cheek too.  An exceptional woman!

New Rikke 5

Jane is a knitter.  I found this out when she saw my son’s modified Rikke hat that I knit him a while ago and she could just “read the pattern” by looking at it!!  She loved it, the texture, the yarn and the crown decreases and said that she’d like to knit one just like it.

New Rikke 1

So, I emailed her the link for the Rikke hat and gave her the details for the yarn and some possible substitutions.  I also pointed her to Ravelry… enabler that I am 😉

New Rikke 3

Jane hasn’t been able to knit very much lately, her hands have been too shaky to hold the needles still.  You see, Jane was recently diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease.

New Rikke 4

From one knitter to another, a handknit hat.

New Rikke 2

Rikke #2 ** (my Ravelry notes) 
Pattern: Rikke Hat by Sarah Young
Yarn: Mirasol Qina in “Purple Haze”
Needles: Size US 5 & 7 / 3.75 & 4.5 mm

** The hat is being modelled by my 6-year-old that’s why it looks extra, extra slouchy

Posted in Accessories, Finished Knits, Gifts, Hats | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Leafy Mug Rugs

Outside our kitchen window is a star magnolia tree and it provides us with plenty to look at year round.  Delicate scented white flowers in the early spring, lush green foliage all summer and when the leaves turn in the fall, they are a beautiful orangey yellow.

Doozy 3

The leaves continue to fall and soon the branches will be bare.  These bare branches give us hours of winter entertainment watching our own backyard bird channel.  Right now, the ground is a carpet of gold under this tree!

At the neighborhood coffee hangout, chilled cups with straws and clinking ice are replaced with steaming mugs of various delicious concoctions.  My friend who is a coffee lover, put in a request for a set of mug rugs.  Her only requirement was that I incorporate some sort of leaf element into the design.  I had free reign with the rest.

Changing Seasons

Inspired by our magnolia tree, I picked out some coordinating fabric, some linen and was all set to begin.  I cut out a few leaf shapes and fused them onto the linen, then did some free motion sewing around each leaf to secure it.  The rest was just standard sew-baste-bind.

Leaf Rugs 4

Ever have a project that you have in your head and everything goes according to plan? I’ve never ever had that happen to me, and this time was no exception!  I was adding the binding to the last piece and realized that I didn’t have anymore of the red fabric left.  I was shy of just three inches, arrrgh!  I went back to the shop where I purchased this fabric and they didn’t have any in stock either, arrrrgh again!!  I was on  a deadline and so I didn’t have time to re-bind all of them using a different fabric.

Leaf Rugs 3

Plan B.  I decided to add an accent fabric to make the binding strip longer and so I added it to the top part of the last little mug rug which meant that I had to cut the red bit shorter.  There was no going back once I cut!

Leaf Rugs 2

I folded the binding over the raw edge of each mug rug and hand sewed it to the back. They looked great except that stripey bit!

Leaf Rugs 1

The finished mug rugs were handed over to my friend with me fumbling over the words to explain my binding dilemma. 

Leaf Rugs 5

She loved the set and said this was exactly what she wanted.  Guess which one is her favorite?  The one with the scrappy binding 🙂

Posted in Sewing, Sewn Finishes | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Knit City 2013

Vancouver’s annual fiber festival, Knit City, took place this past weekend.  It was bigger and better this year. Thank you Amanda & Fiona!  Two days filled with yarny fun and this time we even had the pleasure of listening to a lecture by the Yarn Harlot herself. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me and so all I have is this blurry instagramed picture of her standing behind the podium. And yes, she is that pint-sized IRL!

Ze Yarn Harlot! #yarnharlot #knitcity2013 #stephaniepearlmcphee

It was such a hoot, she had us roaring with laughter the entire time.  The vendors outdid themselves and I can say for certain that the yarnaholics of our city went home satisfied.

I was very restrained this year with my yarn purchases and also, I bought only one pattern. Self pat on the back I think!

Knit City Haul

From left to right…

Sweet Merino Lite from talented local yarnista, Sweet Fiber.  This colorway is called Teal and it reminds me so much of the Pacific Ocean in the summer.

Organically grown cotton and bamboo from the dyepots of my Knit Night buddy, Heidi, the genius behind Vegan Yarn.  The colorway is called Thrift Store.  Verrrah nice!

I couldn’t resist some madelinetosh and so it had to be Tosh Prairie in Spectrum with Japanese seed beads in Rainbow Cobalt to make a… wait for it…. shawl!

Gonna wind the yarn for the shawl after I’ve narrowed down my pattern choices on Ravelry. Yeah, who am I kidding, this could take a while!!!

Cant Get Enough 2

We’ve had a crazy phenomenon the past few weeks with much of the Pacific Northwest shrouded in a blanket of thick fog.

Fogtober 1

What made it crazy was the temperature inversion :: cold in the city where we’re at sea level and warm on the ski slopes where they are already set for ski season!  The fog lifted in time for Knit City but it was super cool and so eerie while it lasted.

Fogtober 2

Fall glorious fall

Cant Get Enough 1

Soon it will be time for woolly hats and Deck the halls.  Can you believe that 2013 is racing to the finish line? 56 days till Christmas, ahhh!!

Posted in Canada, Yarn | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Doodle Stitchery

My son, Prithvi, is a delightful, talented soul.  He is the quiet one in our family and has always been drawn to creating things with his hands.  I’ve saved pages and pages of his kiddie art which first began during his superhero fixation days… Batman, Superman, not forgetting good old Spidey!  His art has definitely matured over the years and I think he does some real good work now (even though I’m a biased Mama :))

Prithvi Art

A while ago, he doodled this drawing in my “list notebook” that I have sitting on my desk (my lists are long, don’t judge!).

Jar Doodle

I ripped out the page and was going to keep it safe when I thought that it would make a really nice stitchery.  I immediately knew what I wanted :: the stitchery had to be done using red embroidery floss on linen.

Jar Stitchery 1

Having no clue about how I could transfer the design onto fabric, I drew over his drawing using a Sharpie, taped both the drawing and fabric onto my bedroom window and “traced” the design using a sharp pencil.  Very technical, haha 😉

Jar Stitchery 2

The embroidered result was exactly what I envisioned it and seemed very fitting to make something that could be used in the kitchen.  I Pinterested “potholders” and the inspiration was… wow!  I made a coordinating mate without any stitchery but finished with lines of straight stitch quilting.

Jar Stitchery 5

They’ve been insulated using Insul-Bright for protection.  The edges are bound with bias tape the ends of which I twisted into loops for hanging before sewing shut.

Jar Stitchery 4

Such a satisfying and useful finish.

Jar Stitchery 3

They’ve gone to my friend and her hubby who recently bought a new home. She tells me that she has them hanging on her kitchen wall and they make her smile. I’ll take that as a success!

Posted in Family, Gifts, Sewn Finishes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Canning Season

So, I’ve never canned anything before.  That is, before yesterday!

Apples 11

By the way, we did have a great day at the pumpkin patch and I’ll share pictures of that soon.  However, we also went apple picking :: which was a first for us and good fun too.

Apples 2

Jonagold apples are in season and although, they’re no Honeycrisp (my favorite!), they are deliciously juicy especially straight off the tree!

Apples 3

Off we went to the Taves Family Farm in the valley to pick some deliciousness.

Apples 1

Some of us aimed high

Apples 4

managing to get the best ones right on top of the trees.

Apples 5

and some others ate nothing but apples the whole day!

Apples 6

oh, and some old-fashioned rock candy too 🙂

Apples 7

What do you do when you come home with all of these apples?

Apples 8

I went through my go-to recipe place, Tasty Kitchen and decided that the easiest thing would be to make a batch of apple butter.  We love apple butter!

I used my apple slicer to core 5 lbs of apples in less than 10 minutes, easy peasy. Into the crockpot went all the ingredients.  Our house smelled so much like fall yesterday with the sweet aroma of apples cooking and cinnamon, oh my!

Apples 9

I drastically reduced the quantity of sugar that the recipe calls for, using just a tad under 2 cups and I’m glad I did because what resulted is a perfect balance of tart and sweet.

Apples 10

Another thing I would do differently the next time is not run the cooked pulp through the blender but rather use a sieve.  Even though I whizzed it for barely 3 seconds, I lost the grainy texture.  Thankfully, the taste wasn’t altered in any way and my toast is thrilled 🙂

Apples 12

Yum, yum, yum! Apple Butter… it’s a good thing!

Posted in Family, Food, Kids, Rambling | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Pumpkin Day

I have been thinking a lot about traditions lately.  Come October, my kids never miss out on reminding me that Pumpkin Day is almost here.  What began as a bit of fun picking out pumpkins at the patch, has become a family tradition and I love the fact that my kids have embraced this.

Punkins 1

We have our favorite list of things to do during each celebratory season.  Springtime definitely means Bike The Blossoms.  Christmas is jam-packed with traditions – the Vancouver Christmas Market, Festival of Lights at Van Dusen Gardens, the Santa Claus Parade. October means a trip to the Laity Pumpkin Patch :: our Thanksgiving family tradition!

Punkins 2

The second Monday in October, is Thanksgiving Day (the Canadian one).  Our family usually has a thanksgiving meal on Sunday complete with turkey and trimmings. So, Monday is left for us to enjoy a trip to the local pumpkin patch.  Nothing better than mucking about in soggy mud, picking out the perfect pumpkins to bring back with us.  Of course, I could ditch the rain boots and buy a few pumpkins from the grocery store, but where’s the fun in that!

Punkins 4

This year, I’m going to attempt making pumpkin pie from scratch!  Do any of you lovely people have a favorite pumpkin related recipe to share?  The guys in my household won’t touch pumpkin pie with a 10-foot pole.  I’m  hoping homemade pie will sway them to the other side 🙂

Punkins 3

The mini pumpkins in all of these pictures are from a bag I spotted at Costco.  I had to have them, how cute are they!  I don’t know if these are fake or real.  The bag had a warning in large print that read something like…

“Not for consumption.  Meant purely for decoration.”

I won’t be cutting into them to find out 😉

A recent, re-organization of my yarn bins revealed these long forgotten orangey-terracotta skeins.  A sweater quantity of Malabrigo Sock in a colorway aptly named, “Terracotta”.

Malabrigo Sock Terracota

I shoved them right back into the bin because I’m determined to finish my Twigs and Willows first.  Trying to stay on track here and be monogamous with my sweater!

Punkins 5

Embracing the tradition of Pumpkin Day 🙂

Posted in Canada, Family, Rambling | Tagged | 6 Comments