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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Canada Day 2010


Thursday, July 1st, 2010 is Canada Day. 

Canada Day (French: Fête du Canada), formerly Dominion Day (French: Le Jour de la Confédération), is Canada's national day, a federal statutory holiday celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act (today called the Constitution Act, 1867), which united two British colonies and a province of the British Empire into a single country called Canada. Canada Day celebrations take place throughout Canada as well as internationally.

Canada Day is often referred to as "Canada's birthday".  The occasion marks the joining of the British North American colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada into a federation of four provinces (the Province of Canada being divided, in the process, into Ontario and Quebec) on July 1, 1867. Canada became a kingdom in its own right on that date, but the British Parliament kept limited rights of political control over the new country that were shed by stages over the years until the county's Constitution was repatriated in 1982.  The Queen of England was here to mark that occasion. 


The monarch is here again today in Canada to celebrate the country's 143 birthday. She is not travelling to western Canada on this trip but I was fortunate enough to see her many years ago. Here she is in Ottawa earlier today.

Photo credit: National Post, July 1st, 2010, Reuters/Blair Gable
Read here about how I spent last year's Canada Day.  This year I plan to stay home and have a nice, quiet, relaxing time.

HAPPY CANADA DAY


On a personal note, I got the breast cancer diagnostic results Wednesday. After testing over a period of a year (involving x-rays, biopsy, ultrasound) I am cancer free. Yeah! This news is a great Canada Day gift.

I don't have to get checked again for another year and after that, every two years, if all is well. I am especially thankful given my aunt just had a recurrence of breast cancer and a full mastectomy last Friday. Her surgery seems to have gone well and she is recovering nicely.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Slippers in My World

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Yesterday I was practising knitting a sleeping sock to wear instead of slippers.  But I got frustrated. No matter what I did, I kept goofing on my rib stitch pattern. After many tries, I gave up for the time being. I need to be able to concentrate on the stitches more so will wait until I am better rested.  This photo shows my progress to a certain point n the sock, but I've since unravelled it all and will try again another day.


Today I tried a new pattern for slippers rather than socks. This one requires me to cast on stitches in the middle of a project so I had to figure out how to do that. It took me awhile to find a satisfactory method and I can now do it! Yeah! But I will have to work on the actual knitting with more care. I made a model of it just so I know how the whole thing goes together.

Next, I will now focus on making this slipper and making the purled seams properly as well as the ribbing at the toe. This is a great little slipper; a classic pattern and once I get the hang of it, I can make it in several different sizes for the Kenyan orphans with the Missions of Hope.

Blue Doily, Blue Monday & Socks

I've been making doilies this past week. I finished the second one a few days ago and I simply love the turquoise blue colour. Though this pattern is called Pineapple Blossom and pineapples are yellow/gold when ripe, I think the turquoise thread really brings out the pattern nicely. If you would like, you can see my first doily here.

Next thing I am working on is my first pair of knitted socks. It seems like a simple pattern but I've started over and over again because I'm not used to knitting a rib stitch. I'm working it in a 2x2 knit and purl rib stitch (or at least the first part of it) and I keep goofing. Unravelling the stitches and picking them up again took a little getting used to and I don't unravel all my mistakes. If I can make the first sock, the next one will be much easier. That is always how it goes for me.

I'm hoping to make some of these socks as sleeping socks (instead of slippers) for some of the orphan children near Kericho, Kenya. Many of them don't have adequate blankets and I think the socks will help to keep them warm at night, especially in their winter months.  Socks are easier to ship than afghans or quilts, especially when you want to send a lot.  If I have funds, I prefer to wire funds so that blankets and mattresses can be purchased there by the leadership.  This helps the local economy and also saves a fortune on shipping costs.

If you would like to help with these needs by sending funds or hand made goods, please let me know.  Perhaps you even have a group of women you know who would be pleased to get together to make things and raise funds to ship them to Kenya. I'd be happy to put you in touch with the leadership.

For more blue Monday, click here.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Shoes, Shoes

Not a day goes by when I don't think about Kenya. My hopes and dreams are for the lives of the men, women and children of Kenya to be improved, even in small ways. I am especially focussed on Chepkurbet, Kenya where I have personal contacts. You never know how touching someone's life, even in a small way, can impact them in a huge way.

Today I leave you with one photo and link to a story which you can read here.


Can you imagine needing shoes? I know that in times past here in Canada even there were many who were too poor to buy shoes. That was long ago and today I have never see anyone going bare foot because they have no shoes.

Shoes. They are such a simple thing to us and one I hope we don't take for granted.

If you would like to know more about how you can help these Kenyan children get shoes, please contact me (kerichoyjoy[at]gmail.com).

Have a wonderful day wherever you may be in the world.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Taking Stock

If you are like me I'm sure you often wonder where the day goes.  More often than not, I ask myself, "what did I accomplish today?"  I sometimes need to reflect on this question so that I can feel I didn't waste my day. This is a little hold over from my working days. Though I am now retired, I still like to make progress on tasks, especially since I'd like to get organized for my bright future, and I have a list of goals for 2010.

Today was a day for taking stock and assessing what I did. I started my day with coffee and a sandwich on healthy ancient grain bread (no breakfast today). I also had several glasses of water and a few cookies from yesterday's baking batch. I spent some time responding to blog comments and visiting other blogs. This was great since I haven't had enough time for visiting blogs and leaving comments for several weeks.

I then filled and started the dishwasher and put in a load of whites for the laundry while I watched some television and turned the hose on to water the garden. I also filled some buckets of water to water where the hose doesn't always reach and to water the containers.  Later, I had a shower and collected my mail box keys and cloth shopping bags and headed to the grocery store and post office. I also took in my recyclable bottles to the bottle depot where I made $1.15 for the Snowflake Jar (see the column to the right).


My container garden.

After returning home I began making dinner (grilled pork kebabs and mushrooms, a vegetable salad and home made dressing as well as some boiled red potatoes). I took my medicine and cleaned the refrigerator of rotting produce (this is food that was wasted when I went out of town) after eating. I washed the vegetable crispers and lined them with clean paper towels before putting in all my fresh fruits and vegetables.

Next, I vacuumed the kitchen and the master bathroom. White ceramic tiles show everything! I then folded my load of laundry though the towels and night clothes are sitting in the front room waiting to be put away.

I am making my second crochet doily right now. I wanted to make it in navy blue for a friend but the thread is too thick so I am making it in aqua instead. It looks lovely so far.

I spent some time on-line researching the differences in crochet thread and looking for free crochet patterns. My research confirmed what I've learned from the experience of using a particular brand of cotton thread. I'm thinking of ordering cotton thread on line in future and perhaps that way I can get more selection in colours and quality.  I also learned there are so many free patterns on line so I quickly downloaded some patterns I may want to make in future.  I hope I an find them when I need them.

Late in the evening I gently hand washed my first Pineapple Blossom doily and laid it to dry overnight on a towel and gently stretching it into shape. The instruction book said this was blocking but other crochet booklets I've read call for blocking with commercial starch (and even a sugar and water solution) and pinning the doily into shape using rust proof pins. If I find the doily needs more body I will get some starch and re-do the blocking.

After reflecting on my day, my only issue is not enough hours in the day to do so many projects as I'd like in crochet, knitting, quilting, photography, web design, etc. I like this problem though. It is a much better problem to have than not having enough  enjoyable things to do. I'm thankful I have a long list of things to do.  More than that, I'm thankful that I am making progress on the things on my list.

How did your day go?

(Graphic credit: Mike Paul's blog )

Before and After Doily ~ My World Tuesday, June 22, 2010


My World today is not an outdoor view but an indoor view of a quiet indoor activity. I've been working on a crocheted doily this week and I finished it in the wee hours of this morning. I should have finished it earlier in the day but wasn't up to much crochet until I had a nap. I picked it up around midnight and played with it off and on.

This is a photo taken about half way through the doily pattern.


I am not 100% sure if I followed the pattern correctly as it seems I had to do a little improvising on the last row but it looks fine to me with the minor changes. You might be able to see there are 6 large and 6 small pineapple motifs in this Pineapple Blossom pattern.  I chose to make this pattern out of the printed patterns I have because it is a larger than normal doily. Here is the book I got the pattern from if you'd like to make it yourself.  If you would like an easier Pineapple Blossom pattern, I found a free one here.

These photos taken after completion.


Now I will wash and block the doily and hopefully that process will flatten out the ruffles. I will update this blog post by adding a photo of the blocked doily when it is ready.

Please click here to see more wonderful people, places and things from around the world.

Update:

Here is a photo of the blocked doily drying on a towel.  The colour looks different from the doily in the photos above but this latest shot is the true colour. I'm happy to report that after washing and gently stretching the doily into shape, the ruffles in the doily are largely gone and the doily measures exactly 18 inches in diameter. That means my tension was perfect as indicated in the pattern.  My second doily in the same pattern is going much smoother now that I am somewhat familiar with the design.

Monday, June 21, 2010

National Aboriginal Day

Today, June 21, 2010 is National Aboriginal Day in Canada. Do you know what that is?

It isn't a national holiday yet but is a day set aside  as a way of recognizing and celebrating the Aboriginal People's of Canada, the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.  National Aboriginal Day is now part of a series of Celebrate Canada days, beginning with National Aboriginal Day, and followed by St-Jean Baptiste Day on June 24, Canadian Multiculturalism Day on June 27, and concluding with Canada Day on July 1.

Here is a young Aboriginal boy dressed in his regalia and competing at a Calgary stampede. I'm providing the photo to give you an idea what young people might wear when sharing their culture on National Aboriginal Day. This regalia would be worn by plains or prairie First Nations.

 [Photo credit: efkaw from webshots]
[Photo credit: Maple Creek News]
The above photo is of 3 young Metis girls. They are wearing the traditional sashes (two woven ones and one beaded one in centre).  It looks like the two in the blue tops are wearing what prairie farm women would have worn in the days of homesteading and the young woman on the far left is wearing a white ribbon shirt with the Metis emblem of infinity design on the front. I did not upload photos of Inuit clothing as the server was not permitting this function at this time. Perhaps later.


In Vancouver where I live, I've often attended the celebrations which are usually held downtown on the grounds of the Vancouver Art Galley, at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Center and at Trout Lake Community Centre in the city's eastside (Victoria Drive just south of 12th Avenue).  It is usually a fun time alone or with friends to soak in the music and the sharing of the culture from many tribes. Usually there are guest artists (singers, dancers, story tellers and crafts people) from other parts of the country who participate here as well.

This year due to variable weather and feeling under the weather, I opted to stay home but I did catch much of a 3 hour Aboriginal concert on the nation's Aboriginal Television Network.  Today I'm just lazing around as I've had a very busy week since returning home a week ago.  I'm baking cookies as I have a sweet tooth and I'm finishing my crochet doily. My plans for the swimming lessons fell through this morning as my friend who is taking them with me fell ill this weekend. I will now have my first lesson on Friday. It will be good to get going with the lessons.  I hope you're having a nice start to your week.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

All Things Crochet

I started this doily the other day and I wanted to make progress on it this weekend.

The first photo shows my progress after struggle to read the pattern and crochet the first four rounds.


I did a few more rounds yesterday and about 12 rounds today to get the product in this second photo.



This doily is called "Pineapple Blossom". You can't really see the pineapples yet. The pattern says the doily will ruffle slightly. Perhaps mine is slightly more ruffled then it should be as I lost the smaller crochet hook after the first day and a half and I continued with a crochet hook that is .25 mm larger.

Once the doily is completed I will wash and block it. This process will hopefully flatten it out properly. I can post another photo after this process is done.


Coupled with not having worked with thread for so long and a difficult to read pattern, I found the doily quite the struggle. I am just happy I've made it this far *smile and now feel I can complete it.

I will make another similar doily soon after finishing the first one. That way I can better learn the pattern. Stay tuned.

If any of you are crocheters, I'd love to hear whether you follow patterns and how often you find the patterns poorly written. Do any of you look at the pictures that come with patterns to help you decipher the instructions? Have any of you ever made anything larger than a doily (say like a bedspread or a table cloth). I've always wondered how long these projects take. They seem so daunting.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Assembling a Small Gift

I meet my friend for brunch today and before she leaves I wanted to give her a small parting gift.

It has always been more meaningful for me to give handmade gifts whenever possible and I think a wash cloth would make the perfect gift.  It is small enough that it won't take up much room  amongst the many things my friend has to move to her new temporary home out of town. It is also practical and she is a very practical person.

First I have selected a white knitted dishcloth with specks of light green and teal blue accent colours.


This is a close up view of the cloth.  I quite like this yarn and I should have bought more skeins of it but I only bought one.

 I added a nice smelling box of Dove soap.  This one is a green colour with a fresh scent.

 For ribbon I used a contrasting and complementary teal blue yarn to wrap the face cloth around the soap.


I hope she likes it.

Though I often don't give gifts anymore, from time to time I do like to remember someone with a gift. Thank goodness our Heavenly Father is not as inconsistent as I am when it comes to giving gifts and remembering us.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
James 1:17


Update:


My friend loved the gift. She shrieked with glee when she realized it was a washcloth and said she has been using only slivers of soap the last few days so the gift is handy right at this moment.  It gladdened my heart to know it was something she can use right now and that it is helpful to her.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Today I am Thankful

Stephanie at her blog post here asked what is it that we are joyful about today. This blog exists because of my desire to be joyful each and every day over the small things. Today I will give a short list of things on my mind right now to be joyful about:

1.  I am happy that though my mother is not well physically she is still here on planet earth. Whenever it is her time to go I will miss her terribly and so I do what I can right now to visit with her and be there for her despite the challenges. No photo of my mama is posted here as she wouldn't like that.

2.  I am grateful that I connected with an old friend I haven't seen in ages. She is retiring early and leaving the city and I am sad about that but we will get together for brunch tomorrow before she moves into the next chapter of her new life.

3.  I am happy I have a new hobby, knitting. I am so glad I have finally learned how to knit and I am on my 3rd pattern for dishcloths. I hit a snag with trying this new pattern but I believe I've figured it out and will try it out over the next week.  I made 6 dishcloths while I was away. I still have to weave in all the ends so they are not quite finished but here they are.


4. I am happy that I am going to take swimming lessons. I have a real fear of water after almost having drowned 3x. I have taken lessons previously and have learned a little but haven't been in the water for a long, long time. I start my lessons on Tuesday. I need to get to the store tomorrow to buy some plastic thongs so I don't slip.

5. One of my goals for 2010 is to crochet a doily which I haven't done for many years. I started a new pattern the day before yesterday and I hit some snags getting going but at last I think I've got it, lol! I hope to make some progress on it this weekend.


6. I am grateful that while I was away recently my brother tried to plant the rest of my garden. He didn't do a good job, lol but at least he tried.  I hope the strawberries and the corn do come up. If they do I will post pictures later.

7.  I am happy to be seeing the nurse practitioner today. She will help me with dietary issues and give me a glucose monitor as I've very recently been diagnosed with diabetes.

8. I am happy I finished reading the book "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society" and will get to start a new book soon. So many possibilities.  I think I will be reading "The Shack".


9. I am happy to see my small garden growing; that is those things I planted before I went out of town. It has been raining an awful lot and it is just nice to see something growing and blooming rather than being drowned in all the rain.

 

10. I am happy I have such nice blogging friends.

Give thanks in all things. Life is short and choosing to be happy and grateful makes us realize how much we really do have. God bless you all.

Update:  My friend Jan requested I post this blog to Simple Joys Saturday in case you are confused about why it is posted on a day other than Saturday *smile.  Please join Jan and others here and  let us know what gives you joy.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Blue Monday, June 14, 2010


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Due to travels and busyness, I am late with my Blue Monday submission. I hope you like the flowers. If you look closely enough you can see a bumble bee.  Gotta love them too since they make the wonderful honey.

For more Blue Monday photos see here

Friday, June 11, 2010

Skies Over Kamloops ~ June 11 , 2010

Such a beautiful sky.


Wait.
Look again.

Looks like a storm rolling in.


I tried to capture the sun as it was peeking through the massive cloud cover.


Have a look at more sky photos here.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Blue Monday on June 7, 2010



This restaurant called Senor Froggy's has lovely teal blue topped tables and wonderful wall plates with various shades of blue. The food is not bad either!  The food is Mexican themed and there are several types of salsa of which you can have as much as you want.


Drop in at Smiling Sally's blog and have a look at more beautiful blues.

New Library


For some time now I have been eagerly awaiting the completion of the new library on the North Shore of the City of Kamloops where I often visit.  I like to use the library when I come to the city and the old library had few spaces to sit and read.  It also had a long line of people to use the out of date computers to access the internet.

Last time I visited was in April and at that time I read that the library was scheduled to re-open in it's new location on April 18, 2010. I had an opportunity yesterday (Friday) to have a quick peek at the new premises.

Here are the comfy leather chairs and fireplace that are in the front area, just to your right as you enter the library.

Here is a view of the entryway to the library.  The check out desk is just beyond the seating area to the upper right as you view the photo.

 I love the sense of space in this new library. There are rows and rows (or stacks and stacks) of books.


 Here is a lengthwise view of the new space.


Last but not least, here is a photo (a rather poor one) of the computer area. Compared to the old library which only had 6 computers for public use, this new library is a dream.  There are now 20 computer stations. The computers are brand new so they have USB ports for file sticks, etc. They have also increased the time for use of the computers from 30 to 60 minutes once per day.  There may also be wifi access if you bring your laptop as most of the province's new libraries have that feature but I didn't enquire yet about this aspect of service.


I was taking surreptitious photos in the library as a lot of public places here do not like you to take photos. However as I left the library, one of the librarians was asking me if I was taking photos. I said of the fireplace. I thought she was going to chastise me. Instead she said she didn't want to get in the way as she was re-shelving books. That was a nice change!

I love libraries because I love books and reading. I also love using the internet. Until recently I did not have a wireless stick to use with my laptop so the library was the only place I could catch up on my email. Wifi has only been available on this side of town relatively recently and I really can't get out much once I am visiting mom anyway so it is more convenient to use the wireless stick. The library internet access will come in handy when I have more photos to upload and more time to get out to the library. Otherwise it is nice to have back up access to the computer. As you can probably guess, there isn't any computer access in my mother's apartment.

Please drop by Jan's new meme, Simple Joy Saturday by clicking here and tell us about your simple joys.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Under a Vancouver Sky: Skywatch Friday ~ June 4, 2010

The following photos were all taken within a few minutes on my walk to a small hospital for laboratory tests.  It always amazes me how quickly the weather can turn to something dramatically different. It really rained that evening and it has been doing a lot of raining since.

 
 
 

Click here
to have a look at more wonderful sky photos from around the world.

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