Sunday, November 08, 2009

Update - Speed Skate Kamloops

We spent our day yesterday at the Speed Skate meet in Kamloops. Both boys skated a 333 (333M - or 3 laps), a 500M (4 1/2 laps), a 222 (222M) and a 111. I've placed here, for your viewing enjoyment, both of their last races...the 111. First, youngest:

Not his best race of the day, but certainly his best 1 lap time ever. He started in position 4 for this race, on the far outside and came in 3rd. He had a great start, and we've learned that this is one of his strengths. His best race of the day was his first...

And Oldest's last race. Also a 111:

He is the one in Green - out in front. Best time ever for him, best race ever. Funny though, when he saw the video, he said, " I could have been lower...."

What a great day.

Here are the warriors, pre-races with their armor on:



Sunday, October 18, 2009

Surprise guests

A little Sunday morning "where's Waldo" exercise...can you find 3 deer in this picture?

(*HINT*) They're all leaving....

This is the only one that really came out of the weeds so that we could take a picture of it yesterday. So pretty. They came up quite close to the house. We usually see their footprints, and their -ehm - droppings, but not themselves - except on the road!

After it was dark out last night, we were sitting in the living room together. SOMETHING BIG walked into one of our picture windows...I could see some light and dark shapes, but couldn't make out what it was. I turned on the outside lights to find that it was one of our neighbour's cows! He was here with several of his closest friends, probably quite disappointed that we don't have much around here by way of grass. They didn't seem to like the light on, and didn't hang around long.
Other wildlife here? Youngest and I saw a brown bear with two cubs in the last week or two, heading up toward our area from the road down below. We haven't seen too much evidence of them in the yard, but I haven't gone down the hiking trail in a while, either. We've had some bear poops up at the top of the driveway, but no fresh tracks around the house.

There's a flock? gaggle? murder? of wild turkeys that is often on the side of the road as I head up the valley to work in the morning. I almost hit one a few days before Thanksgiving weekend...we joked that I could just wrap it in tin foil and put it on the manifold to cook it up for dinner! In all honesty, though, I'm as afraid of hitting the darn turkeys with my van as I am the deer. I don't think it would cause as much damage to the vehicle, but I don't want to stand in for the grim reaper with any critter, no matter how big or small.

No elk sightings yet this fall, but there is evidence on the south side of the property that we're still on their daily path. I'm surprised that our big dog has not ensured that they find a new route.

Happy fall weekend,

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Apple pie filling

My Mom and Dad shared their apple bounty with me - THANKS!

I spent a couple hours last night and this morning making Christmas gifts of canned apple pie filling (be forwarned, family and friends) and thought I'd share the recipe...

4.5 C white sugar
1 C cornstarch
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp salt
10 C water

Combine in a large pot, mixing well. Cook until thick and bubbly. Remove from the heat and add

3 Tbs lemon juice.


Peel, core and slice
6 lbs apples ( I used about 8 lbs for each 7 L of finished filling, but many of the apples were small)
I put mine into a sink full of cold lemon-water as I worked so that they didn't get too brown.

Pack 1 L jars with apples, leaving about 1/2" head space.

Fill the jars with the hot syrup and gently remove air bubbles with a knife.

Put lids on and process in a hot water bath canner for 20 minutes.


I made a pie from the leftover bits of yesterday's jars and this morning's jars using a pre-made pie shell.

If you wanted to do this with pre-made shells (from the grocery store freezer section), make sure you buy a 2 shell, deep dish box.

Let the two shells thaw on the counter for at least 15 minutes, then pour the contents of one jar into one of the shells. Unmold the other shell onto the counter top so that it flattens out a bit.
Place the flattened shell on the pie , pinching all around the edges. Cut a few vent holes in the top, and bake in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees, then bake another 25-35 minutes, until the pie is lightly browned on top and the crust is flaky.

Let it rest for 15 minutes or so before cutting into it...serve with ice cream, or cheddar - or, with my dad in mind, BOTH!

Happy Sunday,


Friday, September 25, 2009

Back to school, on a couple of levels...

I got a job!

I've been working in an on-call capacity since the beginning of the school year, but was not caled very often...that is until last Thursday. On call last week for Thursday, Friday, Monday and Tuesday at the same school. Tuesday afternoon I learned that I obtained the position I was substituting in! Wednesday, I went to work in my new position - same as what I'd been doing since the previous week. Hooray! I'd applied for 5 positions, but this was the one that I wanted!
It's an elementary school, and I'm in the position of Education Assistant. I love this work.

Life is good.

In that nailbiting 2 week period of NOT having any work, I put the wheels in motion to start my next year of schooling - online through the College of the Rockies. If I were to go there, it would look like this:

But instead, because it's all online, it will look like this:

Yep, I'm in school as a teacher, and as a learner.

The courses I'm taking online right now are about crisis intervention and conflict resolution. Very timely considering some of the issues I've already come across on the playground!

Life is good, is busy.

(Doesn't she look so incredibly hip? How much hairspray does that really take?)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

More knit love

My Mom-in-law recently finished a gorgeous aran knit sweater for my DH. In the parcel she mailed us, she included the 3 skeins of yarn that she had not used for it...and surprise, surprise...I had a project in mind that takes exactly that much yarn!

The project is from the Fall issue of Interweave Knits, and it's called the Every Way Wrap by Okmin Park. If you click on the link in the name, you'll see several pictures of the model for the magazine...something to notice is that the cabled area is actually reversible! I'm learning how to do a cabled area that can be enjoyed from either side.

Also, this is the first knit I've done using the technique that has no cable needle - in all honesty, I don't think I'll ever go back. No way. This is just too slick. I can cable MUCH faster this way than I ever could before.

Anyhoo, that's what's got me busy in the evenings right now. That, and looking for renters for our house in Nakusp.



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Summer green, finally finished

It's been moved from place to place, unfolded, refolded, moved again...and now it's finally finished.

I posted a picture of this sweater back in July, when I was still actively knitting it. Sadly, it has been shuffled about, claspless, until last night.

The main thing was that I thought I'd need to reinforce the front bands with ribbon, but, after trying to sew one on last night with no real success I thought, "finished is better than perfect" - and just put the pesky clasps in place.

I love it.

I loved the yarn to begin with (Ella Rae wool from Romania? I think?)

I spend a silly amount of time just enjoying the weight and texture of the sweater. This is done on 4mm needles, much smaller than the leftovers vest of a previous post. Somehow this needle/yarn combination just hits that textural 'sweet spot' that can be so elusive.

Hopefully I'll get called into work so that I can wear it out! Classrooms can be chilly, you know, and shorter sleeves ensures that I don't drag them through a student's (or my own) work.

And it fits.


The little clasps are from Fabricland (which a friend of mine not-so-affectionately calls "the F store")... *blush*



Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Change - long (photo heavy)

For a while now - about a year - I've been contemplating a big change for the blog. It is not what it began as, and has been bothering me that I've not changed it to reflect that.

This blog began as a way to connect with people in the quilting industry, to be part of that network, and to let my customers (at the time) know that I was working on things for them, and to announce things that were coming up within my career as a professional quilter. I've been very lucky to have met many, many lovely people through this strange media, most of them connected with quilting or crafting in some way.

We lived very rurally (in a way we are more rural now, but have greater access to services) in a small community, and this blog gave me a way to connect with others of similar interest in a place where few shared my passion with the same intensity.

Now, life is very different. I spent last year completing a certificate program in Classroom and Community Support Work through Selkirk in the garage...building the house. Now that we are in the house, the children are back at school and we have all the conveniences that modern life can afford us, I've had a little bit of time to look back and reflect on just how much our lives have changed.

It's pretty dramatic, really.

So, this is the post that will mark the transition between a blog that has been written as much for work as for pleasure to one that is a little more personal in nature. I didn't want to lose the name of 'Lisa quilts', as I still hope to do that in my life, but wanted the header to reflect a little more of what I do in other aspects of my life.

The sunflower in the header is the only one we have left that has survived the elk that wander through...probably because it is about 11 feet tall. All the leaves have been stripped off up as high as I can reach! Oh, well. We've been promising ourselves that NEXT year we'll landscape (and put up fences). This year is for building. It's tremendously hard for me to focus like that.

Because of our life in the garage, I've become reacquainted with my love of knitting. This is partly due to it's tremendous portability, the lovely textural sensation and technical challenge that knitting can be.

I've come to love the look of a well stacked firewood pile - and the stacking itself! Living here has necessitated my being more active outside, something that I love more and more.

Our boys are settling (after a year at this property) into what living out here is like. When we want to, we can go to the city - but we can stay home, make forts with friends and jump on the trampoline, too. They are happy to have room of their own now, and to have rediscovered all the possessions that they had that had languished in storage for a year. Moving into their rooms was like Christmas and Birthdays all rolled together. It was a gift for me, as their Mom, watching them create spaces that are as distinct as each of their characters.

In all honesty I feel a little at sea this fall. I'm ready to launch into the next phase in my life, but unsure what it will be at this time. Right now, I have one on-call position (which is not keeping me busy), and have just applied for another. I don't know what role I'm in unless all the family is at home in the evening and I know that I'm Wife and Mom. I miss being Student - that was a lot of fun and challenge. I look forward to having that role again, but know it will be after I've spent some time sharing the title of Breadwinner with my fella.

Our property is really to our tastes. My fella gets to drive his tractor, we get to build and explore, to dream and grow. We had the most wonderful experience on the labour day weekend of family arriving to help us with building a roof for our 10' X 40' tractor shed...we are truly blessed with love and willing hands.

We are closer to my parents, now. Among many little favours, they did us the tremendous favour of taking our boys to their house for the week that I was in an Autism course at the end of August. We get to see and play with them more often than we did when we were in Nakusp and I love the relationship that's growing between our boys and my parents. My sister and her family, while not physically closer, cross paths with us much more often - another lovely gift. Our boys love to be with their cousins, and it is a joy to me to have a caring relationship with my neice and nephews as they grow.

Life is finding a rythm again. There's a little more room in this rythm for contemplation and personal writing, for socializing and other things that feed our souls.

I feel like we're at a confluence point right now - a place where the path of our lives and relationships from Nakusp come together with the friends and experiences of the past year to create a much larger river. Our lives are richer for the experience, though at times it has been very hard. The joys have been as intense as the difficulties, and we strive to find balance in life each day.

It's a gift to be here, in this moment, looking forward and looking back.

I can't imagine what will happen next.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Knit love...

I'm waiting for some wool to come in. While I do, I've been using up odd skeins that have been hanging around...

This is 'Leftovers' from Knitty. My modifications include the fact that I didn't realize there were any body increases - whatsoever - and had to 'make up' the neck decreases and armhole shaping! It's not blocked yet, and there are a few ends to weave in, but it's pretty much ready for going back to school/work next week.

My winter coat will be Heroine, in red plum colour. Currently I'm biding my time waiting for the wool by making a Lucy bag. Chances are I'll have to make something else, too...there's got to be some sock yarn around here somewhere...


Monday, July 20, 2009

Fully fulled - ready for winter...

Perhaps blogger and I just plain disagree on how photos should be presented.
Perhaps something fundamental has changed in the software since I was a regular blogger.
Perhaps I just have lost my 'touch' for these things.
Regardless, here is the story of fulling my slippers (shown in last post) in reverse order:


It's a good thing that I looked into the washing machine when I did, as the slippers were fully fulled to fit my foot. There is absolutely no stitch definition left, and they have a delightfully squishy, nubbly texture. I had given up hope on them by the time I'd thrown them in the washer with a bunch of pairs of jeans for agitation.

The photo above is the penultimate desperation point, when I gave up on being gentle and just went for it with the plunger and HOT water in our bathtub. The slippers were seeming to just stretch at this stage, so I thought I could put them in the washing machine as I had nothing to lose by it.

Here is the cold shock I gave them, hoping to make them start to lose stitch definition - or SOMETHING.

The photo above shows how gently I started. The bucket is filled with crazily hot water and a little bit of mild soap. Having accidently shrunken knitwear before, I thought it best to start with caution. Somehow the idea of abandoning the slippers to the front loader seemed a bit too rash...

At this stage I was still thinking it might be safe to throw DH's new sweater into the washer (these slips are using up a couple of the last skeins from that project). Now I know that would be disasterous.

And this, last and first photo, shows how big they were in proportion to my feet before I started the fulling process. I love the not knowing part, the excitement and anticipation that's all part of projects like these.

Now I'm ready for winter. Which is only 3 months away...



Thursday, July 16, 2009

No, I really do still make small stuff, too....

I've been knitting a little over the past month since school let out. I started with these socks just around exam time - they're going to take a while. I'm actually further along on them than the photo records as I would work on them during breaks at work. I was calling them my 'grad socks', but I think they're more like my 'lunch break socks'.

While DH was away on a five day motorcycle trip over the Canada Day week, I knit a skirt:

And before that, I tried my hand at knitting a shrug:

Right now I'm working on these slippers (they'll be fulled down to size) using the leftover wool from the sweater I finally finished for DH. I put the book in there for size reference. These badboys are knit on 7mm needles - I feel like I'm knitting with cordwood!

My main project, though, has been this little 3/4 length sleeve cardigan. I really started the slippers as a break from the seed stitch (don't enjoy doing it, but love the way it looks once done). I'm in love with the colour, and with the texture of this particular knitted fabric. It's knit top down based on this pattern. I've made quite a few mods, though, and will probably pick out the cast on row at the neckline and do something different there. We'll see, I haven't decided.

What do they say...idle hands are the devil's..what? Idle hands don't get sore? Idle hands still have nice fingernails? Hm.
I just can't remember.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pole Barn action....

(Please note, these photos are all out of order - blogger and I are disagreeing about things this morning)

Because we just don't have enough to do inside on our house, we thought we'd build a pole barn. Well, DH actually wanted to build it, and last year.

In order to build a pole barn, you need several things: a shovel, level, a chainsaw, a tractor, logs that you cut the year before, gigantic bolts, adoring fans, ready help, a good head for problem solving, and a lot of brute strength.

Optional things to have include:
a chair, a stack of wood to build the barn around, a drawknife and a beer.

We've been having the most amazing loads of firewood delivered. It's salvaged from an area that I wrote about here. The logs are huge, some a little burned, and all 2 years seasoned.

What you cannot see from the photos here are all the times spent, with DH and I sitting, looking at this - trying to figure out how to get the big*** tractor between the two buildings in a way that would not damage anything, that would be reasonably easy to navigate, that we'd be able to get it out again (I say 'we' but the tractor is driven by 'he'. I've not learned that particular trick yet).

DH built the front side with a bit of help (I emphasize 'BIT') from me on Sunday, then half of the back on his own on Monday. Apparently we started at the toughest corner to negotiate...a good thing, I guess, as everything after that is more straightforward.

DH dug the holes by hand, and we placed each of the poles in their posthole by hand... sounds easy, right? DH had the herculean job of lifting the log, and I had the job of guiding the end into the posthole (without allowing the hole to be filled by bumping the log against the sides too much). I felt VERY left-footed about the whole thing. I know there are places in my life where I have strengths, but this is not one of them!

Funny - although the photos didn't come out in the order I wanted, one thing did work. The photo I wanted to end with is here at the end:


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Oldest finishes Elementary School

We had the celebration yesterday! Today the boys' school ended and they are as happy as can be. Summer looks lovely and bright.

I've finished school now - OFFICIALLY - and am so relieved. And happy. I've been working since May, but now am done again for the summer. I lucked out by getting an on-call position in the district I wanted, and now am a school district employee.

I'll post more pics as the week unfolds.

We're living in the house now, but still finishing it. The kitchen's not quite to where I can use it yet, so expect updates on how that is going, too.

I've missed blogland. It's good to be back.



Tuesday, May 12, 2009

On a lighter note....

Yesterday, Dude the dog ate my glasses.  Now, I realize that's not all that funny - in fact, I had a few choice words for him (uttered at high volume) when I discovered him happily munching on my favorite - and only - pair of glasses.

Today he issued a video apology, in the style of YouTube:

So there you have it.  He's sorry.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Still here

I'm still around, just in school a whole bunch. I've been so lucky to have this opportunity, to re-connect with the whole 'school' thing...
I forgot how much I enjoy writing and learning.
Part of what we are doing in the Health and Wellness piece of what I'm doing involves doing ART each class! After not having access to any of my visual art supplies for a few months it was a lovely surprise to find that we were going to be spending time doing drawing and collage as part of the self-exploratory part of our class. I love, too, that the art is presented as an avenue anyone can participate in to find their own quiet inner space or to explore things in their own lives. The classroom teacher treats it all very respectfully and is aware that things can get emotional for people as they are moving through their own 'stuff'.

I'm moving into exam time soon, finishing one practicum and preparing to begin another.

I guess I'll have to keep doing art to keep my inner equilibrium! Aw, shucks. Well, anything for school....

On the house front:
We're getting closer. I need to post photos of progress, I know. My DH is building our interior stairs out of maple - and they are absolutely beautiful. So classic, so strong, so beautiful. He'll be building all of the window and door moldings, baseboards...anything out of wood. I can't wait to see what it looks like all finished!

Almost all our lighting fixtures are in. One of our bathrooms is fully functional. All the little parts of civilized lifestyle are coming together bit by bit.

I admit that I do love the challenges and lifestyle that comes with our circumstances, but there are days when I'd like to have easy access to an oven, and hot running water in a kitchen setting.
Don't think I'm complaining, though - our family may never live so close to each other (in the same room like this) ever again, and with our boys moving toward adolescence, I try to treasure every day.


Monday, February 09, 2009

Catching up

I can hardly believe how quickly time is flying. We're already this far into February and I've not updated about life!

School is going well.
It's given me opportunities that I could not have imagined before, and new ways of looking at the world. This year, between our move, our build, change of lifestyle and going back to school I've learned a lot about myself and how I react to, deal with and cope with change. To be cliche, it's been very character building. Pretty soon we're going to have to build another outbuilding just to house my big character!

The weather is still quite cold, and we have tremendously deep snowpiles on the property. I wish the photos had turned out, but about 2 weeks ago I came home from school to find that the boys had built inukshuks out of snow (s'nukshuks) all the way down the driveway - it was like coming home to a cheering crowd. They were so pleased! Their most recent project has been building snow caves and caverns in the big, deep piles. Our sweetheart neighbour gave the boys each smaller versions of real snow shovels, and they've been digging up a storm ever since.

I wouldn't mind if they were motivated to dig out the path to the outhouse now and then.....sigh.

The house is progressing - I'm writing this from what will become DH and my room, once all is done.

Yes, we have wifi. No, we have no indoor plumbing.

We have priorities, you see!

As of tomorrow, we'll have a functioning shower. I won't go into the saga of how the shower got built...considering it's square footage, it's got more story than it deserves. Our plumber is coming tomorrow to put in the faucet and shower head, the sink and toilet in this bathroom. While this sounds sooooo promising, I'm learning not to do the happy dance until everything is actually in place and functioning - LIKE OUR WASHER AND DRYER!

We installed them last night after the tilers left, and I've not let them sit idle for long since then.

In the time since August that we've been living here, I've been doing my laundry nearby in Castlegar, at a lovely laundromat called "Soap 'n' Suds". It's been my connection to clean clothes for the family, and my connection to the internet.
It would normally take me at least 3 hours to do my laundry there, not including the 20 minute drive either way.
I can not tell you how extatic I am to be able to fold my underwear in the privacy of my own home!

We had our kitchen cabinets built through Rona. I designed the kitchen( so anything that goes wrong is my fault). So far, things seem to be going into place without toooooo many adjustments for size....
I love the cabinets. I can't wait to get in there and tile that countertop and backsplash.

Our main floor is concrete, with in-floor heating. It was a bit of a gamble for us to go with this heat, but - let me tell you - it's so worth it! There is nothing like taking off your shoes and having a warm floor underneath your tootsies, even when it's -20 outside.

We had our concrete floors stained, and at right is a picture of the compass that we had etched into the floor. Once the sealant is completely cured (another week or so) I'll grout all the scribed lines with a black grout, then reseal the floor. Right now, the floor is just dirty as all hell with all of us and the tradespeople traipsing in and out all the time.

The photo on the right is of the entryway when I came in this evening. Yep. I'll be resealing the floor before we move any furniture in!
On the left is a photo of our hallway (looking back toward the entry). Although the floor is a bit dirty, it gives a good idea of what we had done and what the colours are.

The whole main floor has a jade green 8" border stained into the floor around a nice coffee brown. We were a little worried that the green was going to come out turquoise, but it came out exactly the colour we had hoped.

We have a long way to go yet before we are moved in, but each day brings us a step closer. DH and I were saying last night how it always seems like everything happens at once - but really, without all the preparation, things would not come together at all.

Each convenience is such a gift. One of our family traditions is to say what we are thankful for when we sit down to a meal together. It's been really wonderful to hear our boys' excitement as we move toward this goal as a family, and how they appreciate all the little things that so many of us take for granted in this culture.

Tonight I'm thankful for the challenges and successes that have come my way over the past 9 months, for my family being around me and nearby...
and for clean laundry.


Monday, January 05, 2009

More... of the same....

It's been cold enough for long enough that we've been able to build a pretty big skating rink out next to the garage. It's about 20' X 40', and was first skated on in the picture above on Dec 23. The boys are much stronger on their skates than they were in that pic - they whizz around there like lightning now...I can hardly catch them when we're playing tag. The snow banks around the rink are much, much higher now, too, and the boys can skate at full speed down the ice and crash right into the drifts (they're about as high as my shoulder).

Here's an early morning view of our land to the south-west. We've had some truly lovely sunny days in between the deluges of snow.

Oh, and though we have no oven (I cook either on the bbq, on a hot plate, or in the slow cooker), we had to make a gingerbread house. Those pesky kits at the store are not half bad. The boys built the whole thing themselves this year...times, they are a changin'.



Happy New Year!

My oh my.

It's been a long time since I've written. I'm kind of embarrassed, really, but there wasn't a whole lot I could do about it. I didn't realize just how much I took for granted this whole 'internet'-thingy until I didn't have it anymore.

And I still don't have it. Not at home, anyway. No, this post comes to you thanks to a monumental scheduling misunderstanding which has put me at school with enough time to answer all my emails AND post a blog before my first class of '09 starts. Yikes.

So the above photo is of our house with the roof on and the windows in. The one below is the one I sent out with our Christmas letter. The house looks about the same right now, just with about 2 1/2 more feet of snow on the roof - you probably think I'm kidding - but I'm not

It's been a bumper year for snow, and if it were a cash crop, we'd all be rich.
Our living conditions are much the same as last time I wrote. We're living in the garage, happily using our outhouse and fantasizing about the conveniences of hot running water and indoor plumbing.
The progress on the house has been consistent in speed, and now all the changes that happen are on the inside. The painter is there now, and the inside is slowly changing into a lovely, lovely colour. The kitchen should arrive mid-month, and the lovely couple that are staining our floor will be here in the 3rd week of Jan.

And because everything is so back logged, photo-wise, I had to post a pic of my boys TWO months ago...

Boy it's good to be back.