Sunday, 26 July 2015

Bit if a bumper blog

As promised, no more holiday snaps as I am sure I have bored you enough.

Do you, as I do when planning a holiday, allow suitcase space for a small project that you can play with while away?  This year I took some knitting that was on the go, and some hexigons to make this, and just before I left I saw this little beauty. So I decided to slip in a few Perle threads ( there is a pattern  here)  but as I didn't have any internet right then and there, and needed the pattern right NOW, I had to just make it up as I went along.  I sat in our hotel room at Gatwick and made a start.

The colours are not quite right ...the white is actually cream.
Not a bad start, but have to say the 'sewing up' took almost as long as making these (approx) 1" squares.   I did get to finish it, but need to adjust the edging.

Finished and more like the actual colours

 Once in Canada my grandson asked if I could make him some fingerless gloves for when he goes fishing in the winter, so off to 'Michael's' for the yarn, pattern off the internet and ready to go.  They didn't take long, then the orders came in......

Mr C's completed

Pair for daughter-in-law, and garter st pair for Miss A
 I also started on my Spring Basket,

So neat.

Planning in progress
happy with the result

Its actually quite big

Once home we were given the instructions for our next Mini Mania Challenge, which  is paper pieces as well, the pattern comes from here and Felice gave us permission to play together.  Before I show you any of that I should show you my completed quilt for June. 

This one does not have binding because I am planning on sewing them altogether at the end of the year

Mug Rug size
 If you would like to see them all my friend over here has photos of them all.

This is the beginning of July's challenge, but it wont be revealed until the end of the month.

The squares are just 1" so all pretty small
At Yarndale, last year, my daughter bought a patten and yarn for some fingerless gloves, but after battleing with the pattern decided to get me to make them.

Lace weight yarn and tiny tiny needles
I have completed one mitt, but after a visit to Fiber East will they be put on the back burner?????  Oh No I really should not have bought, but it was fun.

Lots of shopping
We went back to this stand about 5 times... umming and aahing!!!
and this was my final haul! 
Can you see that tiny circular needle...I am going to have a go at making some socks with it!  A lot of the ladies at the exhibition were using them instead of  Double ponted needles and all said they much preferred the circle, so I can't wait to have a go.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Busy Day and the last of the hols.

I have had a really good day today.  You know you wake up, do normal things but you just feel you have achieved a lot.....well today was one of those days.  Do you want to know more.....well I am going to tell you anyway.  I woke stripped the bed and put that washing in the machine, caught up with my pile of ironing, then had a go in the garden.  The garden has been signed over to Mr.D since his retirement, but I wanted to get the patio jet washed (that usually falls to me as I love the power of that machine), and as it was a nice sunny day I went out and within a couple of hours we had a nice clean patio, pots tidied, lawn mowed, and I had even managed to get my bed linen dried and ironed, all before lunch - that's what I call a bonus!!!.  I'm bushed now so I thought I would share the last week of our Canadian holiday .

Just before we went to San Francisco we had a trip up to Squamish where they have recently opened the Sea to Sky Gondola. The ride takes about 10 minutes but you can, of course, hike up the mountain. However that involves ropes and effort!
If you look closely you can see one of the ropes by the side of the big rock

foot path...I think not!
but these folk obviously decided to be mountain goats

Not sure how long it would have taken them
This is the way we travelled 

and once at the top the views were breath taking

another suspension bridge 
Miss A, Mr D and I had another trip into Vancouver and Stanley park.  We came prepared this time to stop off at English bay and have a swim, with a few handstands thrown in.   

I don't know how she does it. (no they are not my legs!!)
then we noticed that paddle boards were for hire  Dudum!!!!  I have wanted to play on one of these for a while and as we could hire for just one hour it seemed meant to be.  I have to tell you that we forgot that English Bay water is not as calm as 'the cove' and those little waves soon threw me off.

:Little Miss is confident 

But I did manage to stand for a while
We did have fun and it was well worth the dunking.  I have much more regard for the folk you see paddling around 'the cove' making it look so easy.

On our last evening we went to the night market at Lonsdale Key (where you would catch the Sea Bus to the city).  It was another beautiful evening, and the market had lots of different food and craft stalls.  Unfortunately C had to work (well someone has to! ) so he couldn't come with us 

Some very interesting stalls 

Vancouver in the background.

Our holiday in Deep Cove is another one for the memory box, we had such a great time.

Next time I will get back to some craft work I promise.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Are you ready for the trip to San Francisco?

San Francisco here we come.......early start for us.  In fact all the info. told us to be at the station one hour before the bus needed to leave, but foreign passport holders should arrive at least one and a half hour early, so like the obedient folk we are we left home at 3.30 (poor Neil had to take us) arrived at the station as requested only to find the station didn't open for another hour.......not impressed!! But I was impressed with the beautiful building so had to have a photo shot.

It looked even more beautiful in the moonlight.

actually the station did open after only 30 mins, so we made our way inside thinking that passport control would process us at the station rather than the American road border, but NO we just got on the bus and had to deal with border guards at the border road crossing. It all did not go smoothly there either,  we hadn't got our 'ESTA'   ( we were told we didn't need it for the train), but after completing the documents and handing them back to the stern looking border guards  (no one questions the border guards!), we were back on the bus with the next stop Seattle train station. I am not sure what this looked like from the outside as we just rushed in to make sure we were not late for the train, but just look at the inside..... it was all pristine and white with wonderful decorated plaster ceilings and walls.

Shame you can't see the detail

Our train was waiting all shiny silver and looking very smart. Once on board the steward introduced himself and told us where everything was and the next step of our holiday began.

Double decker train with big picture windows.

What a wonderful way to travel and see some of the huge land areas of America.

You can just see the snow capped moutain
riding through the 22 tunnels that cut into  Oregon's Cascade Mountains that are surrounded by millions and millions of pine trees....just breathtaking.

You just can't get the vastness in the photo

At meal times we were told that the train had limited space so we would be seated with other folk - so why not be friendly and chat with your table companions - and that we did! We met some very nice and friendly people, some travelling as we were, some working and choosing the train over the plane, and some visiting family.  It truly is a great way to relax, see the country and meet new people.  The Parlour Car had a bar which offered wine tasting, internet and even movies for those that tire of the view.......who would do that?????

Relaxing in The Parlour Car,
Our hotel in San Francisco had a similar friendly feel and to make it more friendly each evening all guests were invited to the lounge for wine and canapes. Such a change from most hotels where everyone rushes to their room or if they do sit in the lounge where eye contact and chatting is very rare.

San Francisco is a fantastic place to visit and it seems we were very fortunate with warm weather.  We did the 'Hop on - Hop off' bus which gave us a good idea of things that we really wanted to see.  We enjoyed the famous bridge and the wind that whips across it.

We had a fun time at Fisherman's wharf, and of course had to indulge in the famous Chowder in Soda Bread

Chowder or Beer first..... Big decision.

and China Town was very interesting, with many shops packed with curios.

Walked up and down the hilly streets

and finally called in  for a foot massage after all the miles we walked

We needed this.
We didn't manage to ride the famous cable cars, they were much too crowded, but did manage a photo of one that was not in service.

We spent our final day looking around Grace Cathedral, the cable car museum which was fascinating, and finally looking around the famous stores like Maces, Sacs of Fifth Avenue and Tiffany's.

Union Square surrounded by famous shops

We caught the train back to Seattle and once again had a wonderful journey.  We feel it's the perfect way to travel.


As you probably gather I loved this journey and am so pleased we did it. 

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The holiday saga begins...

Hi there, long time no see.

As you may know we went off to Canada to see our son and family.  Our granddaughter was graduating from High School, so the trip was planned a little earlier in the month than we would normally travel, but Canada was kind to us and the sun shone.  Our trip began with friends taking us to the station and we caught the train down to Gatwick.  We have never taken the train before, but have to say it was so much less stressful than the journey by road.  Our flight was early in the morning so we splashed out and spent the night in a hotel at the airport and in the morning just walked across to the check in....what a pleasure!  I had taken the pills, and the journey was uneventful... Hoo Ray!!!

We arrived in Vancouver to some beautiful sunshine and just wonderful to see the family.  Our first few days were quite lazy really, but we did  take a trip into Vancouver with 'A' and she took us to the ' 'Flight across Canada' It was a bit like an 'IMAX' theatre, but a bit more surround screen and sound and we were strapped into our seats which vibrated and gave the effect you would get if you were actually flying.  It was quite an experience and one I would highly recommend.

We also spent a few hours in the garden watching the humming birds.  You cannot believe just how much noise the birds make as they beat their wings, I now know why they are called 'humming' birds.

One of the main reasons we came to Canada at this time of year was to see our granddaughter graduate from high school, but first we had the 'Night of recognition' which recognises all the students that have made some sort of achievement through the school year, and both our grandchildren gained awards, which was great to see and made us feel very proud of them both.

'C' receiving his awards
'A' receiving her awards

The main event was 'A's' graduation, and we were given clear instruction as to the best seating, so we made sure we were early in the queue and low and behold I think we had the best seating in the whole hall,  ( it did get a bit hard on the bum after a few hours!) but was it worth it .........oh yes!  Miss A gained 9 awards/ scholarships and the most coveted  'Academic award of Excellence 2010 - 2015' which was awarded to her and the top boy ....she was thrilled and we again were very proud of her achievements.

'A' with the headmaster of the school

Both awarded the 'Academic award of Excellence 2010- 2015'

The golf course called Mr. D along with 'M' and a couple of her friends.  I walked the course  with them, giving them tips along the way ( I have never held a golf club so not so sure they appreciated my advice). It was a beautiful evening to walk the course and gave me a chance to admire the scenery and the weird things you find on the golf course which happens to be quite a few miles from the sea.

Wonderful evening 

Yep! a Star Fish, don't think he walked here
'M's' friend offered Mr. D and I the loan of her kayaks and we made very good use of them, spending quite a few hours each week on the water.  It is so peaceful out in the cove, just us and a few seals, and not too many motor boats, just wonderful!

Ready for the off.

Stanley Park was another 'must' for us.  M dropped us at the Sea bus and we made our way through to Coal Harbour for breakfast.  We hired bikes and set off around the sea wall.  Most of the trip is in shade and that was needed as the temperature was in the mid to high 20's C.

Vancouver sky line in the distance

I just love the way that tree has grown on the rock

Some wonderful sculptures just outside the Park

After returning the bikes we headed into town as we had never walked around the main City centre. The shopping area is very nice, but you need plenty of money for the designer shops so we just window shopped, and this is where we waited for the bus to take us back to the cove.

There are lots of water features around the city