Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Yarn Along - Going around the bend

As often is the case in spring, after a winter of knitting, I get bitten by the crochet bug.  So out came the bag of old t-shirts for 'spinning' into spaghetti yarn.  This is my second attempt at a oval rug and it seems to be progressing in a fairly pleasing oval shape.   I don't quite recall how I did the increases on the previous mat but this time I'm working the 'bend' at each end much as one would when working in the round, i.e
2 tr in the same stitch, 1 tr in the next stitch (x3)
2 tr in same stitch, 1 tr in next 2 stitches (x3)
2 tr in same stitch, 1 tr in next 3 stitches (x3) etc etc
Obviously the difference in thickness of each t-shirt distorts the shape a little but with a good blocking at the end I think it will make a presentable oval.

We've had snow here again.  I need some color, all this white is getting a little tiring on the eyes.  These little flowers are instant brightness.  They're very easy to do and work up so quickly.  Bunting here we come!

My ripple is still alive and kicking and is approximately 16,400 stitches in size - not even at the half way mark yet! See the metal/plastic crochet hook? turns out it's much less appetizing than my bamboo one, keeping a close eye on my other two projects though.
On the reading front, I'm two chapters into A Long Retreat - the eight year spiritual journey of Andrew Krivak into the Jesuits Order, to the Dominican Republic, Central Europe, Moscow and the Bronx before finally leaving the priesthood for married life and fatherhood.
Linking up with Ginny today, what are you creating and reading this week?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Richi's photo shoot - What ever will they think of next!

Richard just received the pictures from his recent photo shoot.  It was an advertising spot for a mountain bike holiday on snow!!!
He claims he was hired for his dashing good looks and not for his ability to hold the 'pose' until the light conditions were just so!!  Turns out the whole thing was wrapped up pretty quickly, "owing to the extreme professionalism of the photographer and his subject" - (quote Richard)  
Nice pictures, not to sure about the product though. Call me an old traditionalist if you will, but I like skis on snow!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Slow Living Essentials - February 2014

la moraine d'Argentiere - cross country ski track
March 1st - St Davids Day
February has been a snowy month.  In general it always is but this year even more so.  By mid month I was getting seriously fed up of the stuff and the constant heavy snow filled skies that accompanied it.  But this last week or so, to the delight of the tourists and locals alike, the weather has been playing ball - heavy snow fall in the night and blue skies and sunshine in the day time.  Now thats better!!
So it with lifted spirits that I'm joining in with Christine for Slow Living Essentials Monthly 9 Link up.

We've pretty much depleted everything from the garden (with the exception of jams and chutneys) so I've been turning to store bough to make this fantastic Butternut Squash Casserole, featured the last issue of Taproot magazine.  It's so adaptable - this particular time I added some left over spinach.

I also tried my hand at gluten free bread with a store bough mix that was so foul even the fowl wouldn't touch it!
We have a great organic supermarket down the valley which stocks a varied array of products but it has a very limited choice of flours. Thus i'm having difficulty getting my hands on the raw ingredients to make my own homemade gluten free bread.  The solution, you might be thinking, is the internet, but here's the problem with that...

... heavy goods traffic!  It's polluting our pure alpine air.  And it's only by choosing what we buy that we can ever hope to have some control over this flow of traffic.  The Mont Blanc Tunnel goes from Chamonix, France to Courmayer in Italy, and, as it's name implies, passes under, the Mont Blanc mountain range (you need crampons and ice-axes to go over it!).  It's mighty handy for popping over the border for a cup of very fine tasting coffee, but also for criss-crossing Europe with strawberries grown in southern spain and enjoyed in the alps at the height of winter!!!
While I'm up here on my soap box let me give you another example of utter stupidity - potatoes that are grown in Belgium are brought to France to be peeled and cut into french fries before returning 'home ' to be consumed!!  So, the hidden cost of buying things on-line for me is that I increase this already saturated traffic problem.
A protest march was organized at the beginning of the month to draw public attention to the problem, and I proudly carried a banner along side my father-in-law, my son's school teacher and about a 1000 concerned others.  The local Mayer is actively engaged in the combat as are most of the Doctors from the entire region, and many alternatives to decrease the heavy goods traffic have been proposed, so fingers crossed that the powers that be are listening.  If they are not we may have to get LOUD!

For this last month I've been busy with a Mystery KAL, while the boys have been playing with paper and wood

Despite recently buying a freezer with the intention of grocery shopping only every two weeks I'm sill only managing 7-10 days without a trip to the shops.
Still don't have the sense to prepare double helpings of meals to freeze either!  I really need to work on this one as in the long run it will save me time in the kitchen.

Organic or Local? - that is the question.  Local organic is the solution but unfortunately, rarely an option. With the need to reduce the goods traffic in the valley I've been buying local (ish).  The red flag with white cross means that the produce is from the Savoie region - we are in the Haute Savoie.  It's most definitely not a guarantee of organic goods but is often promoted as 'reasonable agriculture' - meaning as little pesticide as possible has been used.

Finally converted Richard to home made deodorant!!   After putting it to the cross-county ski-ing sweaty test he reported back that it 'really does work'!!

Managed to keep two basil plants alive all winter (so far), they are still producing leaves but they don't have much of a smell.  Didn't have the same success with a  Grow Your Own Bonsai Tree Kit -  couldn't get a single seed to sprout?

A few changes at the Chamonix Ladies Book Club - from this month on, not only will we be exchanging books but collectively reading the same book.  The chosen novel for march is Animal Farm.  I'm not a fan of dystopian tales but I think I will give it a go all the same.

Celebrated my birthday at a local hotel with Richard and the boys.  Tino visited the desert buffet more times than was healthy before wiping his chocolaty chops in the table cloth!!!

birthday gifts from my loved ones - Thank you all.
Richard's planning this winter has afforded him much more time with the family, so we've enjoyed lunch dates, ski outings and my firm favorite - sunday morning pancakes.
even more tasty when hubby makes them!
March 1st - St Davids Day - ski-ing at Les Choselets
sunny afternoons
How was your month?