Friday, April 18, 2014

Granny Squares On A Friday

          I will be the first to admit that I am a wee bit obsessed with knitting these little Granny Squares of late- more commonly known as the humble dish cloth- the Granny Square is tradition of church craft sales across this great nation. Insanely useful and utilitarian and usually equally basic and boring. What started the whole thing was a skein of beautiful linen that I was gifted for my birthday- from there I found a fantastic bit of blue silk- yes silk- left over from a project last year- not much left but just enough for a Granny Square!

         These little squares are beyond easy- I knit up about five in the past couple of weeks- mindless knitting- perfect for car trips or sitting on the couch with sick kids. So much prettier and softer than a conventional dish cloth- and because of the long sturdy fibres these home knit dish clothes will likely outlast a cheap store bought version. The golden rule I have adapted for my own life "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful" William Morris- the golden rule now extends to the kitchen sink.

         Here are the most basic directions I came across- all you really need are two sticks ( size 5 or 6 needles) and yarn- your choice of yarn is entirely personal- I happened to have used linen (and silk) because it was on hand and also because it is a sturdy fibre that has a lower impact on the earth. Cotton yarn is the most common choice for this project.

Cast on 4 stitches
Row 1: knit the row
Row 2: knit, 2 YO, knit to the end of the row
Repeat row 2 until there are 44 stitches
    - or your dish cloth measures your desired specifications
Next row: knit 1, knit 2tog, YO, knit 2tog, knit to the end of the row
Continue decreasing until you have 4 stitches left and cast off
weave in ends

          Friends it is Good Friday today- I love Easter weekend- it feels like Spring is officially here- our city is in full bloom and the air is warming up- truly a season of renewal. We are excited to be celebrating Easter in our own home this year- which for us is rare- we are usually at our parent's homes during most holidays- we are going to cook a special dinner and just spend lots of quiet family time together. Hope your weekends are full of love and chocolate Friends- Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Urban Homesteader On The Eighth Floor

             One of my favourite spots to visit in the Okanagan is Swan Lake Nursary- they are also a fruit and vegetable stand as well- but my main interest is usually whats going on outside- especially at this time of year! This past weekend we paid a quick visit to stock up on a few essentials- mainly strawberries- but also a few herbs that caught my eye and some bamboo poles for our beans. I was happily surprised at the number of organic seedlings Swan Lake had on offer- I managed to score the last dozen organic Strawberry plants- apparently they are quite the hot commodity! Score one for our mini Urban Homestead!

        I feel like our little garden is slowly starting to come together- we have our seedlings gong strong in our window- it's still a bit cool at night to transplant them all outside- but hardier plants like the Strawberries, beans and kale are all snug in their homes outside. Living in the city it can be tricky figuring out what food grows well and what doesn't- we have lived in our current apartment for just over three years and it has taken me this long to establish that tomatoes do not do well on our deck. So our little homestead in the city has a lot of herbs, leafy greens and the aforementioned Strawberries! This year we are also trying Fava beans and onions which I have never grown in a container before- it will be exciting to see how they turn out!.

        With in my body beats the heart of a country girl through and through- I long for a piece of land to call my own- but until that day comes I just have to try my best and make due where I can- loosely termed Urban Homesteading. Its interesting to me how this moniker Urban Homesteader  has become such a buzz word over the past year or so- referring to anyone who participates in traditional activities relating to the home- growing food, raising chickens, making yogurt, baking bread. I love the groundswell of this movement- how more and more people desire to live in a more environmentally friendly manner. What started out not too long ago as a return to understanding our food source has evolved into something beautiful that we all benefit from- weather we chose to participate or not.

      I used to get so frustrated that we were unable to grow the majority of our food- I was frustrated that we didn't have land- these feelings very much prevented me from seeing what our potential was. Living in the city it's easy to have a pot of herbs sitting in the window sill- clipping fresh thyme or rosemary year round instead of buying a plastic clam shell of herbs from the grocery store saves resources and provides a feeling of satisfaction in having grown something. Weather a family does a little or a lot is up to each family- no one can judge- everyone wins. So from my mini Urban Homestead on the eighth floor I will try and remember it's the little drops that all add up to form an ocean- and an ocean of change is exactly what this world needs!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Peek At Our Weekend

           This weekend was and wasn't completely perfect- the weather was flawless- our visit was fantastic but The Boy- well he had the stomach flu. So we did what we could to keep him comfortable and in between bouts of sickness the rest of the family had a quiet weekend enjoying the sunshine. Miss Lo thoroughly enjoyed having her Poppa's undivided attention- no brother or cousins to interfere- they went on an adventure just the two of them.

      My Mom and I had ample opportunity to visit- touring the garden and checking to see what is coming along- Peachland is several weeks behind Vancouver so while we have had our Spring bulbs blooming at the coast they are only just starting in the Okanagan. In patches along the side of the road my perennial favourite- Arnica- are starting to bloom- those bright yellow daisy type flowers- often called Black Eyed Susans. The lawn is full of shy violets. Sitting with my Mom in the sunshine on the back patio- sipping wine- listening to a neighbour's jam session- talking about my Grandma was the best part of my weekend.

         The Boy was upset that he had missed out on all the fun- being sick is no fun at all- he missed out on hot dogs and going to the park- he missed out on playing in the yard- OK well mostly he was sad that he missed out on digging in the dirt. We have plenty more of these weekends planned- school is almost over- it's almost time to hit the road.

        I think if having kids has taught me anything it's how to be flexible. We had planned on going up the valley to Vernon to visit the Mr.'s family on Saturday- but with The Boy literally out for the count and unable to move we just had to adapt our plan. Once he was feeling better we did manage to get a visit in with the Mr.'s Mom, Sister, Niece & Partner and our Great Niece- who is turning 1- nothing like a wee babe to make people smile!

       At any rate yesterday afternoon we reluctantly packed up the van and turned into the sun as we headed West towards the ocean- home. I know I have said it so often here but I belong to two places- my adopted city that I love so much- full of my life and friends- and the Okanagan- my home- full of my history- my family and the lake that holds my heart. The wonderful thing about trips like this is that either way I am always coming home.

Friday, April 11, 2014


          This morning I woke up under a snazzy patch work quilt in my parent's basement- I'm feeling lazy and quiet- the sunshine is slanting in through the blinds- I just want to stay in my pajamas. We are in the Okanagan to celebrate my Grandma Shirley- to say goodby- it's happy and it's sad. It's one of those perfect Okanagan days.

         One of my favourite things about coming home is the familiarity- coming off the highway and seeing the lights of Peachland- still able to know who lives in what house- good memories at every turn in the road. The .Mr and I were speculating last night how many times we have made this trip- downtown Vancouver one moment and in quiet Peachland the next- it is on average a 4 hour trip but often it feels like the blink of an eye. Relief is found at the end of the trail when we unfold our bodies out of the car and relax with a glass of fine boxed wine.

     Friends it is Friday again- one more day to enter the draw for a signed copy of Rebecca Chaperon's beautiful book Eerie Dearies! I'm going to soak up as much time in the sun with my sister- nieces and even Great Niece! May you have sun on your shoulders and peace in your heart-happy Friday dear Friends!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spelt Muffins

      With the arrival of warm weather I am also feeling the return to health for our entire family- while we haven't been too badly ill the persistent runny noses and coughing have left us all feeling a tad drained. I have finally returned to my regular yoga practice and have started running again- I'm feeling strong. With this feeling of good health it is only natural that I want to fill our tummies with good fuel- not too much sugar- but still something that passes as a treat- enter in this yummy Spelt muffin recipe that is our new go- to snack.

The Goods:

2 cups Spelt flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
A pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 cup Maple Syrup
4 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Vanilla

Alternatively add in

- 1 cup of diced apple
- 1 cup blue berries
-1 cup chocolate chips

The Deal:

-Set oven at 350 for baking- line muffin tins with paper cups or set up silicon baking cups
-Combine dry ingredients in one bowl
-Combine wet ingredients in another bowl- once well mixed add into dry mixture
-Once muffin mixture is well combined add in your choice of extras- blueberries are my favourite at this time of year!
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned on top

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Peek At Our Weekend

        Some weekends are just too lazy to even talk about- weekends that are decadent with the sleeping in, doing nothing and large amounts of coffee. Puttering about if you will. That is exactly what this weekend was to us- we played with friends, read books, built a huge blanket fort out in the hallway- and ate hot dogs outside- it was exactly what we needed. Small projects were wrapped up- bed rooms  cleaned out- preparations for a much busier time were begun.

      You see looking at the calender it is clear that the next few months- through well into July- will be jam packed with travel, parties and other such goodness. Camping season is right around the corner which means busy weekends where we just need to grab our camping gear and go. Beach days are also right around the corner- goggles must be located and swim trunks must be tried on. Birthday season- yeah it never ends but just gets busier- the Birthday box needs to be sorted and restocked. If all these easy tasks are taken care of now- our lives will be so much smoother when it's crunch time! Now is that time.

    So in preparation for this busy time we spent this one last weekend sticking close to home- getting these little projects sorted out- taking care of business if you will. Lots of extra stuff that we have outgrown is now in the give away pile- my Littles are mid growth spurt again- some toys broken or forgotten about- I have too many magazines than I do time to read- The Mr is a gerbil with his paper collection- all this needed to go. Living in a small space with four people- and struggling to make it work has given us all a new appreciation of less is more. As my word for the year clearly states- we are making our life SIMPLE!

    I love the quiet time of winter- tucking in while the rain lashes against the windows- the Littles happily indulging in hours of Lego- hot coffee in my hand- knitting at my side- I love those times. Now is the time when not only is the earth waking up but so too is my creative soul- I am getting itchy to create again- I am excited to watch my garden grow- I am excited to stretch our legs at the beach. So I enjoyed this past- final- quiet weekend- enjoyed the hours of coffee with a book in my hand. I will hold the memory of our first outside meal of this year close as we spend more and more of our time outside on the porch. Goodbye quiet times- Hello Spring!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

An Eerie Dearie Giveaway!

          Recently Miss Lo and I met with our dear friend Rebecca Chaperon at one of our favourite Gastown spots- Nelson The Seagull- purveyors of fine hot chocolate and coffee. We sat down for a little catch up and chat- it was inevitable that our shared love of art would come up in conversation- mainly Rebecca's exciting new alphabet book- Eerie Dearies- 26 Ways To Miss School. It is so fantastic to see a friend do so well and watch her project come to fruition over the past couple of years- from drawings and paintings to finished product.

         I have long been a huge fan of Rebecca's work- her early robots on deserted islands stand out as some of my all time favourites. Her new work is no exception- her use of colour is haunting- her subject matter walking the fine line between innocence and slightly dodgy- wayward excuses to be absent from school. Rebecca has been kind enough to offer a signed copy of her beautiful collection of 26 illustrations- to one lucky Weekdays From Scratch reader. A handful of other goodies - postcards and two signed letter prints will accompany Eerie Dearies- what a special bundle!

         Rebecca's website is also a treat- pop on over to have a look through her wonderful online shop- full of wee ice bergs- and her blog to follow what other special things she is up to- including a look at her wonderful new works! To enter into the draw simply click on the rafflecopter below and enter as many times as you can- be sure to follow Rebecca on Twitter for an easy entry!

a Rafflecopter giveaway