A Blogging Break

Dear Readers,

As you know, I am currently following a course to improve my teaching of French as a Second Language. I have enjoyed the sessions so far and have managed thus far to keep up with blogging. Deadlines are now looming, however, and I find myself switching on my computer to work on my assignment and presentation. In order to create more time to work on the deadlines, I have decided to take a blogging break until my course is done at the end of March, or until I have completed the work I need to do.

I shall miss the writing and the communication I have with you. Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in the day.

Your fellow blogger,


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Winter Nostalgia

Winter in Toronto makes me homesick. The icy winds, the trudges in the slush and the treacherous ice remind me of the place I grew up in where daytime temperatures are above zero. On the days that I don’t feel warm outside no matter how many layers I put on, I long for the winter sun of my birthplace.

Winter also makes me nostalgic for family.

The short, cold winter days encourage me to think of the loved ones I left behind in South Africa. I remember the visits to family and friends: the conversations and meals we had together outside – winter or summer. I remember fondly the braais (barbecues), the games, and the conversations long into the night.

Winter is difficult on so many levels: the temperatures, the grey days, and the lack of family. The advent of spring brings not only warmer weather, but also the desire to go out and visit places – a desire that helps to fill the void left by the lack of close family nearby.

Five-Minute-Friday-badgeWhat nostalgia do you experience during winter?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(This post is linked to Five Minute Friday. The prompt is: visit)

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Grateful for Soup

These past weeks have been extremely cold with temperatures plummeting to as low as -41c. On days such as these, I am always grateful to step into the warmth of the indoors. Dinner is a time to add to one’s warmth and I do this on many evenings by making a large pot of soup.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Vegetable soup. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

My family and I enjoy eating vegetable soup. To make this, I put any vegetable I have into the pot: potato, parsnips, carrots, beans. If I have fresh coriander or parsley, that goes in as well when it is almost time to eat. When we have vegetable soup, I visit the supermarket and get a loaf of freshly baked bread at the bakery section: a favourite choice is a crispy baguette. My girls enjoy dipping their bread into the soup and allowing the bread to soak up all the juices. Delicious! The heat of the soup warms us from inside and makes us forget, for a moment, the freezing temperatures outside.

My favourite soup, however, is lentil soup. To make black lentil soup, I need half a day to cook the lentils until it becomes a creamy texture. Red lentils, however, cook faster. Last night I made a pot when I got home and by the time we ate, it was cooked to perfection. With this soup, no bread is required. Sometimes a little rice can be added – but often a large bowl is enough to fill a tummy.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Red Lentil Soup. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

This week I am grateful that I know how to make a variety of soups. The knowledge definitely comes in handy on cold, winter days.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(Join me and share something that you have been grateful for in the past week. Link up with my post and feel free to use the badge my daughter created. )

I enjoy reading what others are grateful for – the posts make me think of other things I am happy to have in my life. Please remember to send me a pingback so that I know you have participated. 

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Mystery Afghan 2015 – Clue 2

This weekend I worked on the Mystery Afghan in order to complete the second clue before the next step is emailed out. The challenge this past week was to crochet a cross onto the granny square. (You can download the second clue here). Working on this clue, I learnt a new stitch: the front post single crochet. I watched Mikey’s video a few times in order to understand what I had to do – and I even crocheted along with him:

The first square took me a while to do as I stopped and started the video often.

I eventually understood the pattern and, after doing a few squares, I no longer needed to refer to the drawing I had printed out.

This clue was quick to do and I am curious to see what the next step is. When I get home this afternoon, I will be checking my email to see what it is!


Previous posts on the Mystery Afghan 2015

Yarn Choice

Clue 1

What do you think the next step will be?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

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Mystery Afghan 2015 – Clue 1

During the past week I worked on the first clue for the Mystery Afghan 2015. (If you want to join in, you can get the first clue here). The clue is to make 20 basic granny squares of 4 rows in the main contrast colour (contrast A).

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Working on clue #1 © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

I was pleased to see that the clue contained a drawing for me to follow (the written instructions are on the first page) as I find it easier to read and understand the drawings as opposed to the written instructions. My main contrast colour is white and so I began my squares with this basic colour.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Clue #1 completed. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

If you wish to participate in the Crochet Along but are unsure of how to create a granny square, Michael Sellick’s video is helpful:


This week I completed clue #1 and am now ready to begin on the second clue. I am a little behind schedule but that is to be expected as I am doing my crocheting in between my work for the course I am following.


Previous posts on the Mystery Afghan 2015

Yarn Choice

If you are doing this crochet along, feel free to post your work in the comments below. 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Posted in Crochet Projects | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

The Changing Seasons: February 2015

Last month I shared some pictures of our local park – a park that I walk by everyday to and from my place of work. The scene during the month of February has changed and become white as we have had a few snowfalls this month. The pictures below were taken on 4 February at 3:45pm.

The bicycle racks always capture my attention as they become covered with snow. I wonder whether they will be in working order in the spring, or whether they will be too rusted to move.

Not many children play in the park this year. Not because it is too cold for the children (they are well protected in the snow pants) but because parents and caregivers do not want to stand outside in the chilly weather. It is a pity, though, as the park looks beautiful at this time of year.

The Changing Seasons posts for 2015:

January 2015

thechangingseasons challengeDo you visit snow-covered parks?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(This post is inspired by Cardinal Guzman’s Monthly Challenge: The Changing Seasons)

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Grateful for Indoors

Last week the temperature began to plummet leading to indoor recess at the schools. We were thankful for the long weekend as that meant we could stay indoors and avoid going out. On Saturday, the cold eased away a little giving the false hope that temperatures were on the rise. However, Sunday was frigid: the thermometer dropped to -41c with the wind chill. Our windows froze shut and frost played gleefully on our windows.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Frosted Windows. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

It is still cold outside and I am grateful as soon as I step indoors. I am thankful that I have a shelter that keeps me warm, and for the electricity that keeps the warmth in our home.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(Join me and share something that you have been grateful for in the past week. Link up with my post and feel free to use the badge my daughter created. )

I enjoy reading what others are grateful for – the posts make me think of other things I am happy to have in my life. Please remember to send me a pingback so that I know you have participated. 

Posted in My Gratitude Project | Tagged , , , , | 28 Comments

Mystery Afghan 2015

Late last year I discovered The Crochet Crowd on Facebook. I have grown to love the community for the projects that everyone shares, the positive comments and feedback, and the advice that the host, Michael Sellick (Mikey), shares. During the month of January, I watched as people posted photos of their attempts at the January challenge. It was interesting to see the different colour combinations as well as how people extended the challenge.

kitimage-crochetThis month the people at The Crochet Crowd are crocheting a Mystery Afghan – and I have decided to join in. The Afghan was created by the designers of Yarnspirations and Mikey is leading the way. After I signed up (in order to receive the clues), I had to go shopping for yarn. I looked at the suggested colours but the colour combinations did not suit my tastes. I decided instead to choose my own and hope that the colours will be suitable for the final result.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Colour combination for the Mystery Afghan 2015. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

I decided to use the recommended yarn: Caron Simply Soft, 170 g / 6 oz Balls, 288 meters / 315 yards. This yarn can be washed and dried in the machine. I bought the following:

  • Contrast A – 4 Balls (white).
  • Contrast B – 2 Balls (purple)
  • Contrast C – 2 Balls (cerise)
  • Contrast D – 2 Balls (lilac)

Contrast A is the main colour of the afghan and will be the dominant colour. In addition to the yarn, I need a size 5.0mm or H/8 Crochet Hook which I already have in my drawer. I look forward to unravelling the mystery as I crochet along with many people around the world.

Have you made a Mystery Afghan?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

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Copyright B.W. Beacham

Copyright B.W. Beacham

Little did they know when the photographer took their picture that they would find themselves trapped in a painting. For eternity, they would play the same refrain of their favourite jazz piece. The artist looked at the musicians in admiration as he hung them up on the wall. Whenever he looked at them, the man would remember that pleasant day and the exact moment when Clarisse accepted his marriage proposal. She did not yet know the extent of his ability – and did not realise that if he ever took her picture and painted it, she would remain forever his. He looked at the rest of his collection: of events and people trapped forever in a moment of time. He guarded them well, making sure that they could not escape into the present. They were his. Forever.

mondays-finish-the-storyWho else do you think the photographer has trapped in a moment of time?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(This post is linked to Mondays Finish the Story)

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Winter Lines

The lines in winter seem to stand out in stark contrast to the white snow that surrounds them.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Winter Lines. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

The empty park benches create horizontal lines that remain unbroken as are the vertical lines of branches that reach for the skies.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Winter park benches. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

The lines of the playground remain untouched by small hands.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Lines at a park. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

The spaces amongst the trees are left empty.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Lines of trees. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

As the sun sinks lower, the winter lines become darker and can be seen more clearly against the freshly fallen snow.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

A snowscape. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

The harsh winter lines that I see everyday will be softened in a few months with the advent of spring. Beauty can be found in winter lines but I do admit to preferring those of a warm spring.

Paula's B&W SundayDo you enjoy winter lines?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(This post is linked to Paula’s Black & White Sunday. The prompt this week is lines)

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