It's Friday!

I really haven't been up to a whole lot but the days just seem to whiz by. I am spending my time trying to keep warm, bake and run a few errands. We have another snowfall warning for tonight but I think most of it will fall overnight so I don't have an updated photo of what it looks like.  The photo below is one taken after yesterday's snowfall. You can see the sky is quite gray.

 
Here's me all bundled in my Russian hat and my down parka. I don't have much opportunity to wear the hat. In fact it was the first time during this year. I got several compliments on it as I did errands at the post office and delivered a book to the neighbourhood library.  In this photo my hat looks like a bushy hairdo, lol.

 


On my way, I stopped off at the health food store to purchase a new bottle of Aloe Vera gel. I stopped taking it for some time while I have been taking some heavy duty vitamins.  However I found that Aloe Vera gel seems to help some small rashes that appeared on my arms some time ago and never went away. I have no idea what caused the rashes but they were clearing in patches by drinking a tablespoon of aloe vera gel in a glass of water daily.  Since I stopped drinking it a few weeks ago there has been no further reduction in the rashes so time to start drinking it again and hope for the best. I don't like the taste of the gel so I dilute it with a lot of water.  I also have some topical gel but for some reason can't get into using it.


When I stopped at the post office I found these books I ordered from Christianbooks.com

These will help me when I study the Bible.
My long time readers will know that I very seldom buy books but this month I purchased 5. That is a record for me.

~~~~~

Last but not least are these lovely exotic birds from the Bloedel Conservatory in Vancouver.
They add some colour to the otherwise gray days here.

I think this is a Common Chaffinch
 
Gouldian Finch

Blue & Gold Macaw


Joining with 



and 



Thanks for stopping by.
Have a great weekend!

Cocooning

It snowed two nights ago and it also got very cold.  After running errands on Sunday I didn't venture too far today.


In fact I feel very tired and quite cold.  I've got  the heat turned up high and am just taking things easy.
I even cancelled a hair appointment for tomorrow but hope to run a few errands later this week and possibly  take in a workshop on Friday. It really depends on  how much snow we get because more snow is forecast for a few more times this week.  It's highly unusual for us at this time of the year.

 In the meantime, I'm cocooning by reading cosy books, making slow dinners, watching small apartment decor videos and organizing videos, watching movies and once again making some bread.  I seldom really learn anything from the You Tube videos where everyone seems to want to show how they have decorated and show you ever single thing they own and where they put it. I do love to see how others live in their spaces but I do not like hearing the word "random" over and over again in the same video or hearing about every single area or item in one's home.  A nice overview will do and then perhaps draw audience attention to a few specific highlights or design ideas. 
But that's just me. I'm sure others like all the detail and additional information

~~~~~~

Have any of you see the old movie called "Black Narcissus" with Deborah Kerr?
It's a psychological drama about the emotional tensions of jealousy and longing within a convent of nuns in an isolated valley in the Himalayas.
I saw it once or twice before and I enjoyed watching it again on the weekend. 
Somehow the ill wind in the Himalayas seemed apropos for the weather and feelings it brought over the past few days. I'm talking literal weather now, not psychological.  Thank heavens.
~~~~ 
Speaking of movies, my brother and I went to see the Black Panther movie on Friday which was opening night.  We went early to avoid dealing with the sell out crowds.
It was a terrific movie and I highly recommend it if you haven't seen it yet. It will be an especially important movie for young black (not just North Americans but also in other countries) kids and youth.  It enables them to see a good movie with their own kind playing the leading roles.  The plot was decent for a movie based on comic book characters and  the special effects were great.
I always like to see a good, clean movie with no gratuitous sex scenes.  In fact, there were no sex scenes at all in this movie though it wasn't devoid of romantic relationships which are a normal part of life.
~~~~
On the home making front, the cushions I am remaking are not all done.  New stuffing has been added to the 3 cushions I remade (and the outer liners taken apart and washed 3 times).  Then they've been stuffed into the newly purchased, newly washed store bought cushion covers.  All except for the very large cushion (in ivory muslin) for which I'll probably have to sew up a cover.  I think I need to make 2 more cushions from scratch so I can use all my new cushion covers.
I'm sharing a hurriedly shot photo of one decor option featuring one of the recently made afghans and some of the new cushions.  My apologies for the poor lighting but it is difficult to get enough light at this time of year.
I also can't take a full on photo so it is a bit of a weird angle to view things but it will have to do.
I've moved one of my large photos from above the sofa and replaced it with the floral one to coordinate with the gold cushions. The floral photo used to be above my fire place so I've simply switched out photos for now rather than buy completely new wall art.
If I had to buy a new piece I'd have to store all my other ones because they won't coordinate.
I don't want to spend the additional money. Nor do I want to add things to my dusty storage area.


Here is one decor option with my new cushions and one of the afghans.

This is my cosy read of the moment. It's lovely to see all the cottages.


In the bread making department I'm sharing the recipe I used I've made this one several times.  It always turns out good.  It's from the Robin Hood  website and I doubled the recipe so I could make some buns and some cinnamon rolls. I'm all out of raisins so this time it will just be cinnamon and brown sugar in the buns. 

The cinnamon buns are super small after forming and shaping a dozen medium sized buns.  I didn't put any cream cheese frosting on them. I usually prefer them without frosting.



Ingredients:

1 tsp (5 mL) sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) water, warm
1 envelope (8 g) active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp/11 mL)
1 cup (250 mL) milk
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter or margarine
2 tbsp (30 mL) sugar
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) water, warm
5 1/2 cups (1375 mL) white flour

 

 

Directions:

1. DISSOLVE 1 teaspoon (5 mL) sugar in 1/2 cup (125 mL) warm water in large bowl. Sprinkle in yeast. Let stand 10 minutes, then stir well.
2. HEAT milk to lukewarm. Stir in butter, 2 tablespoons (30 mL) sugar, salt and 1/2 cup (125 mL) warm water. Add milk mixture and 2 cups (500 mL) white flour to dissolved yeast mixture. Beat with wooden spoon or electric mixer until smooth and elastic.
3. STIR IN 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) of remaining flour gradually. If necessary, add more flour to make a soft dough which leaves sides of bowl. Turn out on floured board. Round up into a ball.
4. KNEAD dough, adding more flour as necessary, until dough is smooth, elastic and no longer sticky (about 10 minutes).
5. PLACE in lightly greased bowl. Turn dough to greased top. Cover with greased waxed paper and tea towel.
6. LET RISE in warm place (75°-85°F/24°-29°C) until doubled (45-60 minutes).
7. PUNCH DOWN. Turn out onto lightly floured board and divide into 2 equal portions. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
8. SHAPE each portion into a loaf. Place seam side down in 2 greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 2 3/4" (1.5 L) loaf pans. Cover with tea towel.
9. LET RISE in warm place until dough rises 1 1/2" (3 cm) above top of pan in centre and corners are filled (45 to 60 minutes).
10. BAKE at 400°F (200°C) on lower oven rack for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from pans immediately. Brush top crust with butter if a soft crust is desired. Cool on wire racks.
11. QUICK NOTE: This recipe makes 2 loaves.




I used my Kitchen Aid Mixer to mix up all the dough but once it is mixed I knead it by hand for a few minutes. 
I don't knead it for 10 minutes like recipes usually recommend due to arthritis.  
I've only really made bread in this fashion after trying a bread machine many years ago but not liking it much. 
There are many people who do use a bread machine and they like it just fine. 
Home made bread, whichever method you use to make it is a real treat.

Joining in with Our World Tuesday this week. 
Have an awesome week ahead.

Friday

Hi friends,

I've had a busy few days. Not a lot of exciting things as such but I'm very happy.  It's because after a long period of time I'm finally making progress on a number of outstanding "to dos".  I'm also making progress on a few new things.

First up are my new projects.  Some of you will know that I started off the new year making crocheted afghans.  I had a long standing cold (which is still not fully gone!) so I had a lot of indoor time. I made two afghans in a new to me pattern in the month of January. The first one is a combination of colours (ivory, gray, gold) that is much more subdued than I usually gravitate towards. I enjoyed making the afghan and wanted to make another one so I could hopefully remember the pattern better.  for the second one I decided on a very bright combination of colours (burgundy, teal blue, mustard yellow, gray and orange).  These yarns are made by Caron in a variety of variegated colourways and I'm not too familiar with them. I was trying to figure out which one I might like!



 Can you see the 4 colours? The one on top is the first afghan I made. The green at the bottom is the last.

Once I made a second afghan I decided to gift one to a cousin who celebrates a her 60 th birthday this month. She plans to visit at the end of the month so I will gift it to her then.  In the meantime I've described the afghan colours to her and given her a choice between the two. She chose the brightly coloured one though she hasn't actually seen it yet. She wants to be surprised.  Then she said she might want to buy one or she might know someone who wants to  buy one so I made two more.

A cushion project is one that's been around for awhile. I've had several large cushions which do not have cushion covers. They are only covered in muslin and the kapok stuffing cannot be washed.

I could never decide on the style or colour of cushions covers I wanted and dithered about it for some time.  Since the stuffing needs refreshing I opened them up again and washed the outer part. It is a messy job because the stuffing gets all over the place.

Kapok is a natural material which comes from the Kapok tree. Kapok is also called Java cotton.  The Kapok tree is native to west Africa and was transported to Asia where it is cultivated for its fibre or floss.  The tree can grow up to 4 metres (13 feet) per year and reaches about 50 metres maximum. The kapok fibre comes from the trees pods which open and are then dispersed by the wind before harvesting. 

The stuffing is used in pillows, mattresses, upholstery and insulation but with the availability of foam, plastics and synthetic fibres, kapok's use has declined. Personally I have used kapok for a  few decades and I prefer it to foam and other unnatural fillers.

The kapok tree

Kapok from 3 large cushions.


I went to Ikea and purchased 5 different but complementary cushion covers. It's feels so good to get that niggling job out of the way. I very seldom get to Ikea. I don't really like going there because of it's enormous size and maze of rooms you must make your way through to find what you want. But if one has time and energy it is fun looking at all the things one can possibly need for one's home. It is also very inexpensive to shop there unlike some other places and I find the quality is good or comparable to other places.

Another item I needed from Ikea is a large majestic palm. I have gone without large plants in my living room for quite some time simply because it is very drafty and cold along the window wall.  Now I've decided to try again.

Majestic palms are not that easy to grow at the best of times since most of us tend to over water them or improperly water them .  They need to be almost dried out before they are watered well and drained so that the bottom of the planter is not sitting in a pool of water.  I'm hoping I can keep this one alive for awhile.  I  plan on putting up some drapes over my window blinds too. Normally I do not like drapery but I have grown tired of looking at beige blinds.  I also want to see if some simple drapes will help minimize the draft.


I haven't been out to take any nice photos so I'm sharing some I took at the waterfront at English Bay Beach in October 2017. 






Linking with Friday Foto Friends 

and 


Have a lovely weekend.

Saturday's Critters ~ February 10, 2018

Gift from a friend.  A blue glass bird. I love it!

A friendly old dog patiently waiting for his master at the Park's canteen.

A small ant working hard to climb to the top.

An energetic dog fetching ball.

A black fly enjoying the pretty petals.  I don't know if black flies eat nectar like bees do.
(It will be easier to see the ant and the fly if you click on the photos to enlarge them).
I've been busy crocheting another afghan.
My cousin who lives in Edmonton will visit briefly in about 2 weeks. 
I want to gift her with an afghan for her 60th birthday.
I will unveil new afghans soon.

I also have to get started on making some clothing. I began cutting out the fabric a few weeks ago but have much more to do. I also need to return some clothing I bought without trying them on.
The store is not so far away so that will be good exercise.
I'm hoping to do a little reading, cleaning, etc.

I hope you are all enjoying your weekend.

Joining in with Eileen at Saturday's Critters.

The Skies Were Blue Today

The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The sky was blue today,
I wanted to go out and play












I took my good camera with me but forgot the memory card in my computer!
Thank goodness for phone cameras.

I snapped these few pics on the way to meet a friend I haven't seen for long.
We exchanged Christmas gifts. Yes, you read that right.
We don't get together so often but we pray for one another a lot.
She gave me a wonderful book on alternative health remedies.  She also gave me a pretty glass bird which had a mottled blue colour inside.
I will try to take a picture and add it here later. The gifts were perfect.




I gave her a few hand knitted dishcloths in her favourite colour (variegated yarn in red)
and a personal alarm device.  The latter she can can use when she is travelling alone at night from her ministry at the old folks home.

Linking with Skywatch Friday

and

Light & Lasagna

Hi friends,

I hope you've all had a wonderful weekend.

I had a mostly indoors weekend though I did get out for a short time on Saturday mostly to post mail and pick up some milk.  I also spent a lot of time online pricing and looking for various light bulbs. It seems all of a sudden my hallway lights, oven light, dining room lights and bathroom lights, including a heat lamp bulb, all needed replacing. Most of the bulbs I needed were found at Walmart but they had an even better selection at Canadian Tire.

My oh my, bulbs can certainly be expensive. I haven't had to buy any for awhile because I usually buy ahead and store some but needed to replenish my stock. Personally I've found that even if I buy more expensive bulbs they don't seem to last any longer so I'd rather buy less expensive ones.

About one third of the bulbs purchased.


Now I know energy consumption and conservation are issues and I do take them seriously. I minimize the power usage as best I can. Lights are not kept on very often. Only when necessary. Whether to turn lights off when you leave the room depends very much on the type of light bulb you are using.  If you are interested you can read more about it here.

Also I use the lowest wattage possible especially when a fixture requires more than one bulb. Not only does it consume too much energy to use a higher wattage but the bulbs also throw a lot of heat.  I  buy flood lights for the hallways and for my floor lamps which are LED lights.  I detest the light provided by the flood lights. Even though they are the "right" wattage and lumens, the light they give is so minimal and so cold looking.  To be honest I can barely see in my bedroom hallway.  But I use them anyway because it is actually difficult at times to find just the right bulbs and I will make do with what I have. Maybe there is a different brand that is better but when I've looked in stores these kind of bulbs are usually only made by 2 different manufacturers (GE and NOMA).


It rained heavily but today (Sunday) the sky broke for a bit and I managed to get some lovely sky shots.

The sky looks like there is light behind the clouds.

I made lasagna for dinner.  I'm hungry and look forward to eating since I'm hungry.  I've only ever made lasagna about 3 times in my life as it isn't something I crave very often. I just had it a few days ago as part of a buffet in a restaurant. The lasagna was not good at all. It was so dry and tasteless.  But I didn't go to the restaurant for lasagna, that was just a side thing I decided to try. I was mainly there for the BBQ ribs and salad bar which were delicious. They also had a lot of beautiful desserts but I was so full after salad, soup and main course dishes that I had very little room left for dessert.

Lasagna before baking.

I don't have a recipe to share for the lasagna. I cobbled together a few recipes from on line as I didn't have exactly everything for one particular recipe. There are some simpler recipes that don't call for ricotta or cottage cheese but I wanted cottage cheese in mine.  I also wanted to use some fresh spinach I have since I won't be making salad today. I might just cut up some English cucumber slices and have some grape tomatoes on the side.  I used no boil lasagna noodles though I know some ladies use the regular noodles and they add a bit of water in the pan before the dish goes into the oven.  The water helps the noodles cook. The lasagna was very delicious and there is a lot left over for freezing and future meals.

The finished product.

I tried and failed to get a good macro shot of a slice of lasagna.
I'm not sure why but since I had my eye surgery I find it difficult to get good indoor macro shots.  Maybe it's just the night shots in winter. I'll have to see how things progress.

That lack of clarity in taking photos is the only real change I've noticed since I had lens implants.
Has anyone else experienced this issue?
I am continuing with the Systane Balance and thanks to Eileen I checked into the prices at Walmart.
I'm happy to say the price is much better there and I can get two in one box so that keeps me from running low too quickly.

~~~~~~~

The weeks ahead


I've got plans to see friends I haven't seen in a long while, get several doctor and dentist appointments out of the way and hopefully participate in a workshop or two.

If you caught my last post here you'll see I've also got a lot of reading (and I've added more books!), crafting, paperwork and so on. I don't expect I will get a lot of these things done this coming week but I have enough on my plate to keep me busy with fun things in February. Well, mostly fun things. I don't enjoy the paperwork largely related to financial matters.

 ~~~

The Black Panther, the new Marvel Comics movie is being released on February 16th and my brother and I are looking forward to it.  We don't do so many things together but we do like to go to Marvel Comic movies together. We also like to see Star Wars and Star Trek movies when we can but we also try and take our niece and nephew when it works out. We are all fans of these movies.
I still haven't seen the latest Star Wars movie because I had hoped to see it with my niece.
Then I delayed my travel due to illness. I won't be able to travel soon so I may end up having to see it as a rental. I prefer to see it on the big screen.

~~~
Wishing you an awesome week ahead.

Fresh Snow

Happy February everyone!
 I hope this new month finds you well.
I think I am finally over the bug I've had but am still trying to take it easy.

Last weekend we had another dusting of snow on the mountains.

 I thought it looked very pretty despite the heavy cloud cover.  
We've had a  lot of rain over this winter and it seems few sunny days but if we can have at least a break in the rain and one or two days of sunshine every few weeks I can handle it.
That is part of the price of living on the beautiful west coast and in these days of unpredictable weather you never know what you are going to get.


I love the mountains when they are outlined in snow. I also don't mind the high rise to the right I think it helps me that there are green trees planted at the top. Can you see the bird flying high in the air (you might need to click the photo to enlarge) ?


If you will notice my header doesn't feature the high rise. That's because the header was made 2 years ago and the high rise has gone up over the last year or so. The building development isn't quite finished but it is in the last stages and work is progressing rapidly.
When I first discovered a high rise was going to be on my horizon I wasn't very happy but I'm glad to see my view is still very good. I thank God and I hope it remains this way for awhile now.


I spent some time watching the flock of birds flying and swooping back and forth across the great expanse of sky.
They fly so fast that it is hard to get clear photos.






Very soon the weather will be much warmer and the sun will shine far more often.
In fact on Tuesday this week I felt the change in the air.

Avid gardeners will start preparing their gardens.  I tend not to do much until the month of May no matter my fantasy.  I just can't seem to get things all organized before then.

I'm keeping busy in other ways. I'm ahead in my reading and crochet goals for the year as a result of not being well enough to go out as often. 
Right now I'm taking a break from crochet work.  My eyes have been too dry and strained.
 If interested in what I've made so far you can check out my January posts
here  and here.

Currently I am reading these books but I've slowed down as to how much I read each day due to the eye issues once again.

I read "The Girl on Train". I thought this one was equally good.
Beautiful pictorials. I drool over each one.

About a woman I never heard about until this book. Very interesting.

A very impactful book. It touched my spirit so much.

A classic. It is estimated to take 34 hours to read.
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~

I went to the eye doctor for my last visit today. The eyes have healed well and completely.
Now I need to work on the dryness. I notice my eyes only respond to drops with lipid based eye drops.
I wore contacts for so many years and in some ways they protected my eyes but in other ways they helped to dry out my eyes.
Before I returned home, I went to buy some Systane Balance and will be using them 4x daily until my eyes are back to health.

 ~~~~

I had a head start on grocery shopping this month.
It helps me start the month off well and manage the budget.
I will be doing some meal (2 weeks at a time) planning this month.
~~~~~~~

Has anyone out there seen the movie, The Shape of Water? What did you think of it?
Is anyone out there waiting to see The Black Panther?

I hope you are coping well with winter or summer wherever you live in the world.


Linking up with



and



Thanksgiving 2019

Hi friends, It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada so I'm popping in to wish my Canadian readers a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiv...