Monday, April 30, 2007

Popple Gets a Tan

The sun stopped by again this past weekend, much to the delight of my daughters who enjoyed a turn or two around my parents backyard. It is lovely to get out and take in the sun, even the popple got a little fresh air. Not sure how my parents feel about having their home littered with toys, but I like the fact that my girls are enjoying some of my old favourites.

My diaper bag is dubbing quite nicely as a knitting carryall, bringing new meaning to the name "mothership". As you can see from the photo I made very little progress on the Knit Cafe Bath Robe it carried to my parents' this week-end—only about 10 rows. At this rate I may finish it before my second daughter turns five.

This week-end taught me some more things-I-know-because-I-knit. I learned that knitting and driving (as a passenger) makes me a little carsick, and that my childhood hate-on for purl rows is coming back to me. Am I the only one who has this preference to knit rather than purl?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

It was a Beautiful Weekend

Over 50 people fed, 5 dozen cupcakes baked, watching my kids get icing all over their faces—priceless.

Last year, on earth day, I woke up in labour. I got my hair done, dragged Kristin along in case I couldn't drive home, called my parents to come look after daughter one (while the hubby and I were gone), and waited for the arrival of daughter two. When she came out—very quickly—I got to hold her while she was still attached (between my legs after standing to deliver her) because the second midwife hadn't had time to get to the hospital before she debuted. She was tough and strong and beautiful.

Now she walks, talks (I can understand her) she climbs, and falls, and finds herself quite funny. She is tough and strong and cuddly, and every bit as sweet as daughter one.

I am lucky, very lucky.

Her birthday weekend was beautiful, warm and sunny. Everyone enjoyed being able to sit out after so much cold, wet weather.

Enjoy a virtual cupcake from the party! Coconut, morning glory and black bottom, yum!

I should also point out that I do shower or bathe almost everyday. Not sure if I made myself clear in my last post, it was late when I wrote it and I was a bit loopy. Hope I didn't scare too many of you away ;—) Not that I stay clean after a day spent with the girls. I usually wear most of their meals by days end.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Earth Day Birthday

Some ideas start small, but what if we could do something huge? My husband, who ordinarily is not interested in the blog-o-sphere actually asked me to find out what people think of an idea he has.

We were watching 20/20's episode about the environment and he was inspired by an idea. What if we had an international or—is it even possible?— a worldwide don't-take-a-shower-day? How much water could be saved in that one day? I reasoned that I already have those days, but he insisted it had to be on a much larger scale, still I try to do my part.

Furthermore, what if we had a do-not-drive-your-car-day? We decided that these days would have to fall on a week-end, say earth day, maybe even the two actions could happen simultaneously. We could all be government sanctioned to stay home in our pajamas that day. He is arguing that a try-not-to-drive day would be easier to accomplish, but everyone will think their reason for driving anyway is valid. Also we are tossing around all the fun sayings like, "two and out" and the ever popular "If its yellow let it mellow..." (you may know the rest).

So, let me know what you all think. Look at how many people celebrate St. Patrick's Day? That has me thinking, maybe there needs to be a wine, beer or spirit involved? How about a do-not-shower/try-not-to-drive day Appletini? (30 ml vanilla vodka, 10 ml Sourze Apple)

Stir with ice and strain into an ice cold cocktail glass.
Decorate with an apple slice.

Or maybe a Gin Fizz? (60 ml gin, 40 ml lemon juice, sugar, club soda to top with. Shake all ingredients except the club soda in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a rocks glass. Top off with a small dash of club soda just to add the fizz. Decorate with a slice of lemon and a maraschino cherry.

Well, happy earth day everyone!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

You Can Keep My Tea Warm Any Day

And the tea cozy winner is...

...The Felted Tea Cozy. Too fun! I will cast on soon. I was so inspired by the designer's wool blanket cozy (pictured in the same article) that I started a temporary cozy similar to it with some fleece I had on hand. (Sorry no photo yet.)

I was a bit limited in colour choice since I bought the fleece this year for Halloween costumes. Daughter 1 wanted to be a blue animal!? (thank god for birds), daughter 2 got to be a pile of autumn leaves.

Did I mention I need a new kitchen? That is my portable dishwasher in the background. Useful, but pretty U-G-L-Y

It is hard to tell, but the hat has a green leaf on the top

I am up to my eyeballs with schedules in order to get everything ready in time for Saturday (about 26 ppl) and Sunday (about 30 ppl). Not sure how I will get it all done in time, then again it always goes well in the end. Miraculously there is always time for blogging (thank you for reading). Hope you all enjoy your week-end! The weather here is finally spring-like. Yay.

Tidbit #3: I, like Sabrina, also went to art school. So there was lots of (nude) figure drawing—we were so, a-hem, mature that my friends and I could never keep a straight face in these classes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Birthday Anticipation

We (I mean me dragging the kids around town buying this and that) are busy preparing for a big week-end. My baby turns one! It isn't that I can't believe it, it is just that it happened in a flash.

Saturday is a get-together with friends, Sunday will be a family gathering. Don't get me wrong, I love parties, but it is a lot of work to get them to go smoothly so I am gearing up for all the hours on my feet in the kitchen.

What is on the menu? Saturday will offer roasted chicken, roasted red pepper and goat cheese sarnies, macaroni and cheese (for the children, of course), sun dried tomato dip with veggies for munching, and a roasted garlic white bean dip with toasts. For dessert, CUPCAKES! I am going to make coconut cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and black bottom cupcakes with chocolate frosting, and fruit with yogurt dip.

Sunday will offer chicken kebab, pork loin roast, turkey burger (sticks), red pepper rice pilaf, some green veg of some sort, roasted potatoes, hummus, green salad with vinaigrette, some sort of pasta, birthday cake (which I haven't decided to buy or make yet) but if I make it it will be carrot cake, and fruit.

Why am I telling you all this? Well I really need to keep it in my head. I need to see it written to know it is enough food because our families will eat it if it is on the table and I am always afraid of running out as a result. Believe it or not, last year we did run out, not even my butcher saw that coming. Also, it will explain why I am not going to be writing about knitting until this week-end is over.

I will leave you with a tidbit and a recipe to share a taste of what we are having.

Roasted Garlic White Bean dip

1 head garlic, roasted or 2 clove raw garlic
1 19-oz can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed or 2 cups cooked beans
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin)
1/2 tsp hot red pepper sauce
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
salt to taste

Place beans in a food processor. Squeeze garlic out of skins and add to beans. Blend.
Blend in lemon juice, oil, hot pepper sauce, cumin, and pepper.
Taste and add salt or more lemon juice if necessary.

Tidbit #2: I am itching to get a food processor, a new kitchen, and I have a school girl crush on chef Gordon Ramsay (ala Kitchen Nightmares and Hell's Kitchen).

Friday, April 13, 2007

Bag 'O Yarn

Yesterday I purchased a whole whack of yarn for two new projects--neither one started mind you. My daughter picked Nashua Cilantro for her bathrobe(she had help choosing the brand) in aqua with fuchsia for the trim. As a purist, I feel a little guilty buying a blended fibre (cotton, polyester), but it makes it very washable. I may change my mind before it is knitted we'll see.

For my slouchy cardigan from Greetings from the Knit Cafe, I chose Berroco Ultra Alpaca in denim.

The consensus among my blog friends is that a tea cozy is, in fact, not lame! So I am searching for a pattern. The Knit 2 Together pattern is an option. But I found this one while searching which made me laugh. The illustration is something else. The contenders are this one from and this one will catch Kristin's attention, the pentafold tea cozy, A lace cozy and a cabled cozy. It would seem there are no shortage of patterns available on the web.

O.k. so this one is for Sabrina over at So Much Fun, which by the way is also a really cool store for clothes and accessories. My something new that you don't know about me is that I am a foofer. I like to fix tags sticking out of peoples shirts, I flick fluff from their shoulders--I can't help it. So when I worked as a hostess at a restaurant in university I sat a very nice couple at a table one night. Immediately after seating them I saw it--a long hair coming out of the gentleman's collar. Without thinking I move to foof it away. I am not sure how long it took me to realize, but it seemed like forever, that the hair was ATTACHED!!! It must have been three inches long! But I was so mortified I didn't let go right away. His wife kindly said "He's hairy, I call him my hairy man". Hairy is right! you could have braided his chest hair. I finally released the hair and apologized profusely and secretly hoped I would never have to see them again. So embarrassing.

And with that, good night!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Finishing Details and What Next?

I thought, how hard could it be? Well, apparently, finishing takes a bit of practice (sorry Kristin's baby, you get to be my guinea pig for this bolero.) I have taken away valuable lessons for future projects so I suppose that is an upside. It should get better from here, right?

This photo was taken on the week-end. The bolero is now drying after a wash and I am dog tired and not photographing it today. It looks great from the outside, a little slapdash (a term from a kids book, Pish and Posh Wish for Fairy Wings my daughter absolutely loves which loosely translated means sloppy—or silly, we're not quite sure but we like how it sounds) from the inside.

Now I am itching to buy wool for my next project. Is it lame to want to knit a tea cozy? I have a great tea pot that needs some lovin'. I would also like to do a head band, and comfy pants for the kids. I still want to knit the bath robe from the Greetings from the Knit Cafe book, but I am scared of the yarn. What to do, what to do?

If you have ever been fascinated with the thought of dyeing yarn, check out Scout's Swag Site today for a demo of Scout's Ghetto Warping Board. She makes it look easy. I have been tempted since reading the Knitty article about kool aid dyeing. The colours are really vibrant. However, this doesn't give me the urge to want to drink the stuff.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Spring has Sprung!?

So this was the scene on Easter morning here. Can you believe it? Ordinarily, Easter weather is bright and at least on the warmer side of 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). Of course this weather did not put a damper on the egg hunting, which went something like this: Daughter number one finding eggs, excitedly putting them in a basket. Daughter two finding eggs, excitedly showing mom and dad, daughter one saying "thank you" and taking the eggs from daughter two, then putting them in a basket. It was quite entertaining. I was up late finishing the baby bolero and hiding eggs was the last thing I did before bed at 1 a.m. Not very wise considering as soon as daughter one woke she was very eager to "hunt".

I did manage to scrape up enough energy to boil our breakfast eggs in three fun colours for extra oomph to a staple meal around here. Lots of photos for you to enjoy. I thought the eggs looked neat bubbling along with the colours and some oil for speckling.

The baby bolero is finished, hear the heavenly music playing? It took a lot of ripping out, and frustration, but it continues to shape up as I sew in more loose threads. Better get back to it while I can.

Hope you all had a great week-end!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Things I Know Because I Knit

I know that the term "knitting", for me, means more time ripping out work to fix a mistake, then actual knitting.

That sewing fabric and sewing knitted work are two very different things yielding very different results. I have spent the last week sewing, and re-sewing the knitted sleeve of the baby bolero, despite the very appreciated help from Leslie.

That sewing on the second sleeve goes much faster than sewing the first.

Knitting requires patience—I am getting better at that one...slowly.

In addition to being a design snob, am now also a yarn snob.

My LYS is closed at 4 p.m. on Saturday! Closed on Sundays AND Mondays! What mother can work within those hours? I need another LYS.

Did you know you can crave a yarn much like craving chocolate. I have been pretty itchy to buy lately! Dear Cadbury's, please understand I am not saying yarn is better than chocolate! Sincerely, your devoted fan.

I can knit my own hat! And because of this I also know I can knit my own socks, mitts, pants, blankets — anything. This knowledge is very empowering even if I don't take advantage of all the possibilities (or know how to sew them properly.)

I would love to hear what you know now because of knitting.

Monday, April 02, 2007

More Yarn I Admire

What an original blog post title.

Looking for Canadian content for this next round of this topic I was getting discouraged. I suppose I am a design snob, so let's just say that there were a lot of sites I entered and exited really quickly.

For those of you who like a really down to earth feel Nature Song Yarn are a good bet. Think subtle and relaxing.

I started to get excited when I found Ocean Wind Knits. In addition to some really beautiful colourways they have fun patterns too.

I started to salivate when I found Sweet Georgia Yarns. This was exactly what I had been searching for. With names like honey fig, afterglow, libertine, boheme, the colours are a promise delivered—vibrant, modern and fun! Now for the bad news—HIATUS—that's right no Sweet Georgia for at least six months starting April 15. Bummer, I just found her and poof! she's gone.

Can't go to bed until I mention Handmaiden a division of Fleece Artist. Great colours and, as with all of the previous options, a worthy blog too.