A cozy shrug for winter

LogoWith winter just around the corner, it will soon be time to snuggle up in cozy, warm sweaters again and I have a brand new one that is very special!

My daughter is very creative. She didn’t learn to knit and crochet from me, but she can make almost anything from yarn. Last spring she posted photos of herself wearing a shrug/sweater that she’d just finished making for herself.

When I commented on how much I liked it, she asked me what colour I wanted mine to be! I suggested a dark blue and she chose a colour called Sapphire. I absolutely love it!

Though Melaina often knits and crochets items of her own creation, she used a pattern for this one. You can find it here. The ribbed cuffs are knitted and the remainder of the sweater is crocheted. It feels like I’m wearing a hug and I know that this is one item that will get lots of use as the days get shorter and colder!

To see more of Melaina’s creations, visit her Hooked on Crochet Facebook page.

A day on False Creek

On our final day in Vancouver, the rain had finally stopped and we decided to spend the day playing tourist.

Vancouver has two inner harbours. Burrard Inlet, the fjord that separates the north shore with its coastal mountains from the city proper, is the main port and welcomes ocean going freighters and cruise ships. To the south of downtown is the smaller inlet known as False Creek. False Creek is home to a vast array of pleasure crafts, some houseboats, and the little False Creek ferries that shuttle passengers between Granville Island and eight other stops along its shores. 


We parked beside the Vancouver Aquatic Centre ($14 for a full day). Ferries between the Aquatic Centre and Granville Island run every five minutes, so we had only a few minutes to wait before beginning our adventure. Climbing aboard the little blue ferry, we purchased day passes which would allow us to hop on and off wherever we wanted all day long ($14 each for children and seniors, $16 for adults).   

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Granville Island which is really a peninsula, is home to a Public Market and many interesting shops. We decided to leave it for later in the day so that if we bought anything, we wouldn’t have to carry our purchases with us for the rest of the day. We had to switch ferries at the Island stop and wait for one of the boats that travels the red route #3 on the map. They run every 15 minutes all day long. 

Our first destination was David Lam Park. After disembarking, we first walked along the seawall to nearby George Wainborn Park, then back to David Lam enjoying the sights. 



We had planned on getting back on the ferry to ride to the next stop at Yaletown, but soon realized that we had walked most of the way! Continuing on foot, we soon came across a delightful art installation known as The Proud Youth. 


I first read about the gigantic 5.5 metre high (18 feet) boy with the mischievous grin back in March when Vancouver blogger, Frances Sprout of Materfamilias Writes, published this post. The whimsical sculpture by Chinese artist, Chen Wenling, is meant to encourage us to live a carefree life in a world of strife; to embrace our inner child and have some fun! What a perfect message in the midst of a worldwide pandemic!  


The sculpture is so big that it can be easily seen from the other side of False Creek as seen in this photo taken later in the day. 


Still walking, we admired the many sailboats and yachts in one of many marinas along False Creek. If you look closely, you can see the top of a gigantic super yacht towering above the others in the right hand side of the photo. That’s the 46 metre long (152 feet) After Eight, owned by the Don Wheaton family. 


Further along our walk we came across another interesting art installation, the Time Top by Jerry Perkins, looking like it had just arrived from outer space! 


After strolling around the trendy Yaletown area a bit and enjoying lunch in one of it’s many restaurants, we boarded another one of the little ferries and rode it to the final Village/Science World stop.  



The giant “golf ball” that houses Science World was originally built as the signature building for Expo 86. Today, the sparkling structure is an iconic part of the Vancouver skyline. 

Our next stop was at Stamps Landing where we again went for a walk and enjoyed some of the sights. Though it had been cloudy most of the day, the sun was beginning to come out and I love the way the sky is reflected on the water in this final photo. 


Returning to Granville Island, we wandered through the market and browsed a few shops. By this time it was late afternoon, so we crossed the water one last time back to the Aquatic Centre where we’d left the vehicle several hours earlier. 

If you’re ever in Vancouver and wondering what to do, I’d highly recommend a day on False Creek. Though I didn’t get photos, we even saw a couple of harbour seals and, at a distance, a giant sea lion! 

Two rainforest hikes

I’ve been living out of a suitcase for the past two and a half weeks which hasn’t inspired a fashion post for today. Instead, I’m going to begin sharing some highlights from our trip.

Two full years had passed since our last real visit with our son and his family and my brother at Vancouver. I’m not counting the four days that we spent at the coast at the beginning of December 2019 helping my father settle into long term care and dealing with the contents of the assisted living suite that had been his home for several years or the return trip three months later when he passed away. Those trips were all about doing what needed to be done and left little time for anything else.

Though Covid still made traveling somewhat of a concern and we were extra cautious due to the clinical vulnerability of some of the family members that we’d be visiting, we felt that we couldn’t wait any longer. Grandchildren change so much in two years! 

One of the things that we had hoped to do while we were at the coast was hike. In spite of several days of heavy rain (6 inches in one 48 hour period!) we managed to enjoy two wonderful hikes in the coastal rainforest; so different from our prairie hikes close to home. 

Cypress Falls, West Vancouver

We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday, October 11. While our daughter-in-law was preparing a delicious turkey dinner, hubby and I joined our son and his youngest for a hike to Cypress Falls in West Vancouver. 


Just a short distance from the highway, Cypress Hills Park is easy to access. Though we were never far from civilization, this was definitely a wilderness park. The first part of the 2.7 km out and back trail was easy, as shown in the photo above, but it became somewhat steeper and more rugged further on.


Mist from the water thundering over the lower falls hung in the trees above and provided a perfect environment for lush ferns and mosses. 



Many varieties of mushrooms grew on the forest floor. I particularly liked these little splashes of colour. 


Continuing on through stands of old growth Red Cedar and Douglas Fir, we reached the impressive upper falls at the end of the trail.


Lynn Canyon, North Vancouver

The following Sunday, after days of rain, the weather cleared enough for us to enjoy a second hike, this time with the entire family.  Lynn Canyon Park, which is home to several beautiful trails, is located within walking distance of our son’s house as well as my teenage home. We hiked from the north entrance of the park, across Pipe Bridge and down to the very popular 30-Foot pool. Leaves from the park’s many maple trees formed a wet, but beautiful carpet.


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Never have we seen the creek and the pool so full!


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Toward the end of our hike, we crossed the 40 metre (130 foot) long suspension bridge that hangs 50 metres (160 feet) above the canyon. For much of my life, an extreme fear of heights kept me from crossing the bridge and enjoying the trails on the far side of the creek. Several years ago, however, I conquered that fear and this time I was able to stop and take photos from the middle of the bridge! 

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These are just two of the many beautiful places to hike on Vancouver’s beautiful north shore. In my next post I’ll share another one of our adventures, but this time in the heart of the city. 

Kids these days!

I wasn’t actually planning to write a Fashion Friday post today, but this young lad showed up at our dining table this evening and I was inspired!


So, where does a ten year old boy acquire a suit like that? What do you think it cost? Well, perhaps you’re in for a surprise! This is my grandson, Nate, who like me, is a frugal fashionista!


The suit didn’t cost him a cent! During the current pandemic, a number of Facebook Buy Nothing groups have sprung up, so when he decided that he wanted a suit, his mom posted an “ask” to her neighbourhood group. Within a couple of days, his wish was fulfilled! The top hat was his gift from Santa last Christmas and he’s had fun with it ever since.

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Not only did Nate inspire this short post, he and his brother, Sam, helped me write it! Thank you, gentlemen!


One woman’s cast-off is another woman’s treasure

LogoIf you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you’re already fully aware of the fact that I love thrift store shopping. Although I often come up empty-handed, every visit to one of our local second-hand stores is like a treasure hunt. 

After doing the seasonal wardrobe switch that I wrote about last week, there were things to drop off and as always, I also had to look around. I figure that as long as I come home with less than I take, I’m doing well! Sure enough, I found two items that I’m in love with!


The tunic/dress is soft and cozy with just the right amount of stretch. It’s perfect for relaxing at home on a cool autumn day, but dressy enough to go out for lunch, pick up groceries, or stop by the library. I love the pockets and the 3/4 length sleeves and it was even made in Canada!

Then there are the booties! Here’s a closer look. 


Aren’t they cute? They’re not something I’d walk a long way in, but they sure dress up an outfit. They were made in France and look almost new. The bare ankle with bootie look won’t work for very long in our climate. In mid winter it would mean almost instant frostbite, but it’s a fun look for fall. 


While we were busy taking photos, our beautiful next door kitty came over to see what we were doing and had to get in on the action! Sophie considers us some of her people and is always curious about what we’re up to. The photo gives you another close-up of the booties as well as a look at the colourful beaded bracelet that I wore with the outfit. 

We live in a small rural community and often when I wear something from one of our local thrift stores, I wonder if the original owner will notice and what they’ll think of how I style their cast-off. Interestingly though, in spite of the number of things that I’ve donated over the years, I’ve never seen anyone wearing one of them. I hope whoever wears my cast-offs next are as happy with them as I am with my new treasures. 


Thoughts on turning 69

It seems that every woman has a birthday she dreads; an age that she has trouble accepting. For me, that age was 60. The whole time I was 59, I dreaded turning 60. It was such a big number and sounded so old, but then the day came and nothing really changed. It was just another day, another new beginning, and I’d wasted an entire year worrying about it!

Now, nine more years have passed and tomorrow I turn 69! My 60s have not been easy. They brought three different cancer diagnoses, relationship trauma, the death of both my parents, and now a worldwide pandemic, but through it all, I learned endurance, perseverance, and resilience. I also learned to live one day at a time.

Learning not to count on the future, but to see every day as a gift and a blessing, was a very valuable lesson. When I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer shortly before my 61st birthday, I really didn’t expect that I’d still be alive today. Four years later, I threw myself a “still alive at 65” birthday party and now, just one year short of 70, I’m still here and still going strong!

One thing I know that I won’t be doing when I’m 69 is wasting time worrying about turning 70. Instead, as long as God gives me life, I’m going to be busy living it to the fullest and doing my best to accomplish whatever it is that He is keeping me here to do!


Transitioning to fall

LogoHow do you dress for this golden shoulder season known as autumn? I saw a headline this week that read, “It’s wear a sweater in the morning and regret it in the afternoon weather!” That pretty much sums up fall in my part of the world. When we get up in the morning, the temperature is generally hovering just above 0°C (32°F) and there might be frost on the ground, but by afternoon it has warmed up to anywhere between 18° and 25°C (64° and 77°F).

While running errands early one afternoon this week, I decided to take note of what other people were wearing. A man, sitting in front of the post office reading his mail, was wearing shorts, sandals, and a heavy fleece vest over his t-shirt! That kind of incongruous outfit isn’t as unusual as you might think. I also saw one woman wearing a quilted coat and a toque while another was working in her yard in shorts and a t-shirt!

In spite of this confusion, I decided that it was time to begin my seasonal wardrobe switch this week. Since I found myself reaching for the warmer items in my closet every morning and the true hot weather pieces were no longer seeing the light of day, I knew it was time to put most of those away and bring out my fall/winter pieces.

If you live where the weather is more uniform year round, you probably don’t have to go through this twice a year ritual, and I guess if I had a bigger closet I might not have to either. As it is, however, it’s much easier to have only one season’s clothes to choose from every morning and these seasonal switchovers are an excellent time to evaluate and decide what to keep and what to get rid of.

So, how do I go about doing that? Unlike some who advise getting rid of anything that hasn’t been worn during the current season or in the past year, I sometimes hang onto items that are excellent quality or that I love even if I haven’t worn them for quite awhile. Over the years, I’ve occasionally enjoyed resurrecting some of those items and have even shared a few of them here on the blog. This time, however, I knew that there were things in my summer closet that simply had to go. This required discipline because some were pieces that I really liked, but they were too worn out to keep or to pass on to anyone else. Others that don’t fit well or that I no longer enjoy wearing are destined for the second-hand store.

As I put the new season’s clothes into the closet, I turn all the hangers around. Then, when I wear an item, I turn it’s hanger back the right way. At the end of the season, if an item is still hanging backwards, it’s a clear signal that I need to consider whether or not to keep it.

There are, of course, some items that stay in my closet year round including sleeveless tops that can be worn alone in summer or under sweaters and jackets when the weather is cooler. This time, I also left a couple of pairs of favourite capri pants for those 25° afternoons. They won’t stay there all winter, but for now, we’re still transitioning!