Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Spun Up

Here's half a pound of merino all spun up into three skeins of varying yardages in 2-ply--227 yds, 195 yds, and 103 yds according to my niddy noddy. It was such a dream to spin up this fibre that I'm actually sad to have a break until I dye up my next 8 ounces. The colours turned out great after plying even though I kept having mixed feelings about the colours as I was spinning it up into singles. Here's what the dyed roving looked like.

A Day at the Fair

What is summer without visiting the PNE (Pacific National Exhibition) at least once in Vancouver? We spent our past Sunday afternoon at the fair with hopes of fitting in as much fun as we possibly could with D and R. One of my favourite attractions at the PNE is the Farm Country building where the petting farm and country store is located. We hit this attraction first, as we had time to kill before the start of the motocross show that D wanted to see. Here, the boys learned about cows and various other farm animals, including a llama. D took interest in some of the goats and the cute llama, but R seemed most interested in learning how to milk a cow by squeezing the teats on a teaching display! Look how serious he was about it! The other thing that R seemed most interested in was climbing the rocks throughout the petting farm area. I don't think R even noticed the animals!

The first chance I got, I beelined it to the country store to look over the fibre being offered by Shades of Narnia from Chilliwack. I exhibited some great restraint by buying only one bag of soft, sprinkle-dyed mohair to play with at home on the wheel.

The rest of Sunday afternoon included watching a highly anticipated motocross competition (a show I enjoyed more than I expected with some heartstopping moments), playing some causeway games (D won two leopards--one that he gave to R, by skillfully popping four balloons using six darts!) driving remote-controlled cars on a race track, and eating cotton candy. There was a lot to do at the PNE, but just not enough time to do it all. We didn't make it to Playland, the Superdogs show, the Hi-5 show, or to the kids CBC display. I guess it was just too much to expect from a toddler and a preschooler who needed naps and meals at different times. After a Chinese dinner in the Italian garden where R napped for awhile, we enjoyed the garden while D ran around and looked at the funny relief sculptures. R eventually woke up, ate his dinner at the garden, but then managed to work in a tantrum at the Marketplace by rolling around on the floor in the path of many other fairgoers to end our day at the PNE. We were lucky the tantrum didn't escalate into any hair pulling or face scratching, but we quickly decided that we didn't need another mop or sweeper of any kind to bring home. Oh well, the fair still runs another week. We'll see if we're brave enough to try this outing again soon...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Incorporating Goodness

So what do you do to incorporate goodness into the active toddler/preschooler diet when they don't like to eat? You serve them smoothies! If you have kids like mine who don't particularly eat much and are very particular, you have to be sneaky about serving their required nutrients...and it's been working! The boys like the smoothies! Lately, I've been experimenting with smoothies, adding and changing the different fruits that go into one. I also add either skim milk powder and/or flax oil and/or a natural powdered supplement. Sometimes I add yogurt for a calcium boost. I usually involve my kids in making and blending the drink, so that they're interested in drinking it. Here they are drinking a Peach Smoothie. The recipe: 1 frozen banana, 2 small containers of fruit yogurt, 2 peaches stoned, peeled and cut, 3/4 cup water, and 1 tablespoon skim milk powder. This recipe makes enough for my two little guys and a small serving for mom too. I've also tried lychee, pineapple, mango and blueberries in the smoothies. So far, I think the favourite is still the strawberry, banana combo (without the yogurt). I have yet to try avocado in a smoothie, but I hear it thickens one right up with a rich, creamy texture while adding some very good fat into it. Other ideas we've tried, just to add a little more nutrition into my boys' diet, include adding ground flax seed into Rice Krispie treats and oatmeal, almond butter into sandwiches, and simply a variety of different foods served in different ways. For example, D loves cambozola cheese spread on sliced baguette and R loves turkey sausages, cut up of course, and served using toothpicks. Does anyone know other clever ways of incorporating healthy foods into the diet of hard-to-please children? I need as much help as possible.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Weekend Weeding

I can't say I have much productive spinning or knitting to show for this past weekend, but I did receive Paula Simmons' reprinted book, Spinning for Softness and Speed in the mail. It was a very speedy transaction from start to finish. I wrote and mailed my request along with my cheque to Paula (Simmons)Green on Tuesday and I received the book in my mailbox on Friday! So far, the photos detailing how to position the hands for spinning using her technique are very helpful.

What I did accomplish this Sunday was to start some weeding in my poorly maintained garden and to undertake a major clean up of one of the garden beds. Now that Leeanne's garlic have all been dug up, it was a good time to start in on some of those invasive buttercup weeds that seem to send runners out in all directions of available ground space. I really shouldn't let the garden get so out of control!!! That's probably why I didn't have the motivation to even plant green beans this year. I really have to do better next year, especially when I once considered myself a gardener. Well, I'll leave you with a photo of me hard at work, taken by D. Not bad for a snap-happy four-year old, eh? Notice in the background, I did plant tomatoes.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Neglected Sock

My untouched knitting bag and sock...hmmm.....will just have to wait. I just don't seem to have any interest in my sock knitting lately. I love the Trekking XXL that I'm using for the first time, but spinning and dyeing has completely taken over. I've even thought about taking the Spinning and Dyeing course offered at Place des Arts in the fall, but unfortunately, the teacher that was going to be teaching the course is now booked up with private students. I might take the Intermediate Spinning course at my LYS, Birkeland Bros. in November instead, which would be a lot closer to home. We'll have to see if the schedules jive with work and life.

Here is what I'm spinning now--the 64ct "house" merino from Paradise Fibres that is super dreamy to spin. (no VM at all!) I've got to purchase some more! As you can see, I mixed up some black Lanaset dye to try for the first time with my CIBA dyes. It turned out lighter than what I expected on my roving, but the black dye will come in handy for toning down my other colours for future colour mixing.

Look what I found at the library yesterday, a new book! (Sorry for the glare on the pic.) There are such great craft books for kids today! Has anyone tried making the cool pipe loom made from plumbing parts as per instructions given in this book by Sarah Swett? Please let me know if you have. The book gives credit to a weaver named Archie Brennan who thought up the original concept for this type of loom. I'm so tempted to visit the Home Depot today.