Monday, December 28, 2009

Just in time

Normally Christmas is easy and cosy with just us and our doggie to please. This year, however, has been busy and all because we wanted to replace the kitchen floor before Christmas.

It was after we ripped up the old floor we realised that it was not going to be a simple removal task because the old floor was glued down.

We managed to put the new floor down just in time for Christmas. Poppy had already decided the best spot to keep an eye on the oven and to wait for dinner.
After a few days of helping my husband doing home improvement I was glad to pick up my needle and thread again and worked on my cross-stitch.
Before I end this post I just want to wish everyone a Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pocket for my Calendar

This is my 2009 calendar and I keep it in the kitchen. I purchased this because I like the pocket design. It can hold pens, appointment cards, birthday cards to send…etc a very useful organiser for me. My husband likes it too because he can always find a pen in the pocket when he needs one.
I keep meaning to go to a bookshop and buy a 2010 calendar but just have not got round to do it. Then two weeks ago when I went grocery shopping at a Chinese supermarket they gave me a 2010 calendar for free. It is a lovely one too showing both the Chinese and the western dates. The only thing is – it does not have a pocket.
I have been busy this week sorting out Christmas presents and cards. That’s all done now. Sooooo…today I set to work and made a pocket for the new calendar.
I kept it simple, using a fish appliqué design from SummerPond by FatCatPatterns and just quilted the background with two curvy lines to suggest water. Now I have a pocket again to hold my pens and all those little things.

Monday, December 14, 2009


I have three younger sisters. This year for the first time I have knitted something for each one of us for Christmas. A gnome for each sister and the gnomes are named after our husbands.

I just finished the last gnome. It has blue eyes and blonde hair - Mike gnome -this one is for me to keep.

I took some group pictures of the gnomes before shipping them away.
The tallest gnome is at the back and the height of the men are in the order too.

Friday, December 11, 2009

銀杏 Ginkgo Biloba

I love Ginkgo trees. The Chinese name for Ginkgo is 銀杏 and in strict translation it means silver almond. Pretty name and its leaves are pretty too with very unique shapes.

Here is a picture of the leaves from one of my two baby Ginkgo trees.
As a young child I was confused by my mother when she used ginkgo nuts for a Chinese vegetarian dish but she called it white nut. It is not white. Now I know why: it’s white when it still has its shell but yellow when it’s cooked.
So when I came across a crochet pattern for ginkgo leaf and nut, I simply could not resist.
I am going to make more of these then decide what to do with them.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Delray Christmas Tree

Delray Beach Downtown is very pretty this time of the year, especially in the evening.

I remembered my camera when we walked Poppy down the Avenue last night.
A 100’ man-made tree: children can go inside the tree to visit Santa.
All the palm trees are decorated too. The City also put up a small outdoor ice skating ring next to the tree. So even though we don’t have snow, young children can still do a little ice skating. Isn't that sweet?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Alan Gnome

We have bad weather lately. The rain was so heavy this morning it actally woke me up. It is very dark outside and looks like it is going to rain some more. You can see how dark it is outside from these pictures I took earlier.

This gnome is for my sister #1.
He is sitting on a fallen Royal Palm frond.
Keeping dry in the tangerine tree...can you see the tangerines? They are still green at the moment.
OK, I am off now to work on my fourth gnome - the last one for this Christmas. Talk about Christmas, they have turned on the light on the 100' Christmas tree at downtown. If I remember to take my camera with me I will post some pictures to show you. Till then, take care and have a great weekend.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Few More Patchwork Flowers

I was so good. I visited a JoAnn Super-Centre (a fabric and craft store) and could easily spend hours and a lot of money in there but I was there for less than 40 minutes and only purchased items that I really need for my current project – the hexagon patchwork. An added bonus was that everything was on sales, what a bargain.
I cut the new fabric into hexagon shapes already and made a few more flowers.
It is cold today, woke up to 48ºf / 9ºc this morning. Not having my first cup of tea sitting outside with Poppy as I normally do; it’s just too cold.

Well, stay warm and have a great day.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Half & Half Sweater

I finished the sweater before we went away for our mini vacation at Fort Myers but didn’t get round to wash and press it until now.

The front panel has a tendency to roll up together. I made it stays “open” after using a hot iron on it. I used the heat setting for pure wool and iron the sides but avoiding the actual cables.
I love the low neckline, just need to wait for the weather to turn cold, hopefully around Christmas. It is still too hot to wear woolly jumper right now.
Pattern: Sirdar Ribby Yoke Jumper published in The Knitter magazine Issue One January 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fort Myers, Florida

My husband took a few days off work and we decided to spend a long weekend at Fort Myers in the west coast of Florida.

The hotel receptionist was so good. She told us that most tourist beaches do not allow dogs, but Poppy can visit City beaches. She gave us map, written directions and marked out all the dog allowed places.

We headed towards a City beach in Sanibel Island and it was not crowded at all.
Poppy just couldn’t wait; she dived right into the water and swam way out.
I was walking slowly, taking in the scenery, was surprised to see so many different kind of sea birds, and there was something else…this fish smell. I was wondering what it was or where it came from. Poppy found it first. The whole shore line has a band of sea shells, mixed with a few dead fish and dead crabs, sea weeds…all baking in the sun.
When we were back at the hotel, hubby wanted to watch the games (American football), Poppy was tired and went straight to bed, and I was happy to work on my patchwork.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Poppy's Snow Shoes

I want to tell you about Poppy’s snow shoes. I bought them a few years ago when we were living in New Hampshire. They were to protect Poppy from getting ice balls in between her toes. The first time that happened I thought Poppy was injured.

It was early winter and the yard was covered with a foot deep of snow. Poppy went out to play. She was fine at first, then I noticed that she was slowing down. Soon after she was limping, and by the time I got to her she was not able to walk.

The snow had been melted by her body heat and had formed into ice ball between her toes and her paw pad, one ice ball in each paw. They were rock hard and painful for Poppy if I tried to pull it because the ice was compacted and had fused with the sensitive hairs on the underside of her paws.
After that experience, Poppy always wore her shoes when we went out to play with fresh snow.
We live in Florida now and even though it doesn’t snow here Poppy still wears her snow shoes sometimes. This year Poppy had a few episodes of skin problem due to insect bites. Small areas of her skin would become inflamed and sometimes infected.

In our effort to think of ways to stop Poppy from scratching the inflamed areas with her legs, my husband has one of his “think outside the box” moments and said to me “Snow Shoes”.

Here is a picture of Poppy I took back in April. She has an area just behind her right ear that was troubling her. With the snow shoe on her back leg, she could itch herself to get some relief but not able to do any damage. We were able to care for Poppy by applying medication on the infected area and the skin healed very quickly.
Poppy is all better now and has her long coat again.
Poppy's shoes are made by Ruffwear. The soles of the shoes are made of rubber material, have great traction and they really give good protection to her paws.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Half & Half

The mailman delivered a small parcel yesterday. My sister sent me two balls of yarn with a small hand-made note and some little metal charms. I am so delighted. My stash of yarn is well stocked now to make lots and lots of toys.
The Hayfield Bonus Double Knitting Flesh Tone is considered by some knitters as the best colour for making toy faces. 100% acrylic and it is priced at around £1.30 to £1.65 back in the UK, that’s about $2 to $2.60. However, they are like gold dust over here in the US. Shops are selling them from $9 each.

Anyway, my Ribby Yoke Jumper is coming along. I did this last Sunday.
I did the back and the two sleeves using the chunky knitting machine. I have jointed the pieces together and am going to knit the yoke in the rounds by hands.
I think I should call this my Half & Half Jumper: half hand-knitting and half machine-knitting.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Easy like Sunday morning

The clock has gone back an hour, but Poppy and I kept to our routine. We woke up early and sat outside in the backyard and enjoyed the morning sun.

This morning I had a cup of tea and the knitting with me and cast-on the front of the Ribby Yoke Jumper.
Quiet and peaceful, even the mosquitoes have left us alone. Moments like these, the lyrics of the Three Little Birds song always come to mind…“Rise up this mornin', Smiled with the risin' sun…
…Don't worry 'bout a thing, 'Cause every little thing gonna be all right."
Take it easy and have a great Sunday.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Simon Gnome

This is my second Yuletide Gnome toy. It will catch a plane next month going over to the UK to live with my sister number 3.
Sister #3 said that her husband likes all earthy colours like brown, beige, sand, pale blues, navy, grey..etc So this little gnome is wearing Simon’s favourite colour.
I think I got the hat right this time. I turned the hat in such a way that it has a rolled up edge which is how it was in the pattern.
I used double knitting wool and alpaca yarn. This second gnome is softer to the touch than the first one.
Hope your week is going well so far.

* * * * *
Pattern: This is available online from Alan Dart - the toy designer's website. See side bar for the link.
The knitting pattern gives you instruction to knit flat with two needles. I adapted the pattern and knitted the gnome all in the rounds. If interested, you can see how I did it by going to the sidebar and click on a post folder called “Yuletide Gnome in the Rounds”.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Knitting Weather

We had a cold spell a week ago. It went down to 55ºf/13ºc overnight for a couple of days. Nice. As soon as the weather man said that be sure to take a sweater with you when you go out at night... that was it; time to dig out my bags of wool and start a few knitting projects.

I am working out the tension squares for this Ribby Yoke Jumper. I am nearly there with the hand-knitting square, just need to check out the knitting machine square then I am good to go.
I have started knitting for a few Christmas presents too. This little gnome is almost done. I am using the magic loops method to knit it in the rounds this time. Hopefully I can show you the finished toy in the next post.
Till next time, have a great week.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thanksgiving Turkey and Christmas Duck

I finally get round to finish the two toys I started back in September: a Thanksgiving Turkey and a Christmas Duck. We have roast duck at Christmas rather than turkey dinner, hence Christmas Duck.
The little duck is just over 6 inches tall in a sitting position.The turkey is about 8¼ inches tall.
I made some accessories for them: the placards and the head gears. My hubby said that these two are militant protesters.
Double Knitting white and peach yarn, Sport weight red and black yarn, and I handspun the brown yarn for the turkey
I found it very helpful to use a small amount of glue to attach the turkey feet to the body and then have a curve needle to sew them together. I used Fabri-Tac Permanent Adhesive.
Crochet hook size: 3.50mm
* The Duck pattern is free. It is called The Ugly Duckling by Michele Wilcox. You can find it in You would need to register before you can download the pattern.
* The Turkey pattern is an out of print pattern from 1983 Annie's Pattern Club. It is called Godfrey Gobbler by Betty Blount.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Our niece's Hello Kitty

When Sarah had booked her tickets to come over to see us, I suggested in an email that I could show her how to knit or to crochet during her stay with us if she was interested.

Sure enough she checked with my sister Frances before coming over and Frances gave her a selection of amigurumi crochet patterns.

Even though we have been busy during the 3 weeks of Sarah’s visit, we found time to crochet.

Here, Sarah cast on her first chain foundation stitches. She started the project towards the end of week 1 at our home in Florida.
This was now week 3 in a hotel when we were visiting Washington DC; Sarah was focusing on her project.Sarah finished her Hello Kitty before flying back home. Isn't it cute?
Her first ever crochet project. Here is a side view.
Sarah is such a quick learner. I have only showed her how to cast on and how to increase, she figured out how to decrease and how to shape the toy all by herself. So proud of Sarah’s achievement.