Saturday, December 31, 2005

Hot diggity dog!

So, this doesn't really have anything to do with my usual subjects of knitting or Ruby, but it's been on my mind ever since I've been here in Calgary. Calgary, has not one, but two all hot dog restaurants. There's the hipster-oriented Tubby Dog (which also serves beer and is open til 4 a.m.) and the more yuppie Chien Chaud. I've been obsessed with Tubby's since arriving here and have had the chance to eat their Cheetah dog, which features the best sauerkraut I've had in my life. I don't even think Toronto has one all hot dog restaurant (though, if any of you out there know of one, please let me know). We're heading home tomorrow, and I've got to eat at least one more dog before we go. Tubby's offers a menu item that's a hot dog, wrapped in bacon, deep fried and then topped with ham, chilli and a fried egg. I don't think I'm willing to go that far, but man, I could sure enjoy another Cheetah.

On a side note, Aaron and I went to see Brokeback Mountain yesterday. Oh my... I still can't stop thinking about it. I think it's one of the saddest and most emotionally complex Hollywood films I've ever seen. If I ever run into Heath Ledger on the street, I'm going to have to give him a big hug.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The happiest of holidays

All of our photos are locked in the camera, so nothing visual to share right now, but I would like to send a big Boxing Day shout-out to all of you. Our Christmas was lovely -- Ruby had a very nice first Xmas and everyone very graciously took our luggage allotment into consideration and didn't spoil the little thing with huge toys. She did, however, get a load of gorgeous handmade gifts: a knit sweater, a knit dress, and some hats from her Nana, a couple of amazing hand stenciled clothing items from Auntie Erin and, best of all, a hand stitched doll that Auntie Daniella constructed from her old punk rock t-shirts. The doll especially brought more than a few tears to my eye. I'll post some pics for all you crafty types once we get back to Toronto next week.

As for me, Santa left me a sewing machine, so I can branch off into some non-knit projects. I've also been hard at work on my Fairly Easy Fair Isle sweater. I love knitting with the Lamb's Pride. I forgot how hard bulky-sized needles are on the wrists though. Luckily, I'm scheduled for a 90 minute (!) massage on Thursday, so I can get all the kinks out of my sore mommy muscles.

Monday, December 19, 2005


So, the holiday party went off with nary a hitch (except for the fact that Miss Ruby refused to have a nap and got pretty cranky with some of the other babies). The food was delicious, the guests gracious, the punch punchy... and the real life dolls loved their gifts. For real. I was gifted much wine and chocolate, so Aaron and I are getting an early start to the holidays tonight with some red wine and dark cocoa. Yum!

Now, those dolls were fun to make, but I did miss the simple pleasure of knitting -- the knit pieces are so tiny, it's really more of a seaming project than pure knitting. So, to keep my idle fingers busy, I whipped up this little hat. I used a pattern from the headhuggers website, which is a site dedicated to producing caps for chemo patients. Yes, I greedily made one for myself. Anyway, it was one of those "use any worsted weight yarn and see how big it turns out pattern," but it turns out I've become a tight knitter since giving birth and mine was tiny, so I had to make some adjustments. It doesn't look anything like the picture, but it'll do. Once I have time, I promise I'll do one for a cancer fighter.

Anyway, the posting may be light (or pictureless) over the next few weeks, since we're taking Ruby out west to hang out with her grandparents. So, happy holidays to all!

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Well, with a day to spare, I've finished the dolls! Now, I'm not totally happy with Lauren -- her hair isn't right and she has no neck (in real life, she does indeed have a neck. A very nice one). Also, Scott's head is a little small in comparison to his lovely Laur. But, they're dolls, so I think the recipients will understand that they're not supposed to be perfect replicas. I'm happiest with the Jo doll by far -- I think she'll love it. Lauren is very polite, so even if she's secretly thinking "does Elizabeth really think I have no neck?," she'll be gracious as can be.

And, you'll all be happy to know that I've seriously chilled out after freaking out last week because I didn't get anything done with Ruby's illness and the crap weather. Today I made the last treat for our holiday party (yummy fudge!) and bought the ingredients for the punch (champagne and cranberry juice!), so I'm feeling pretty good. And if we have to get Ruby's passport done in Calgary, so be it. It's not the end of the world.

Friday, December 16, 2005


Now that the dolls are almost done (though it's been slow going, I've been too exhausted to finish Scott with Ruby being sick and all) it's time to move on to the next project. Since I'm going to be in the company of my family (who will gladly pass around Ruby) for the next two weeks, I trotted down to my LYS (Knitomatic) today to prep for my knitting holiday. And what, pray tell, did I purchase? A whole load of Lamb's Pride.

I bought enough bulky to finally do SNBN's Fairly Easy Fair Isle and some worsted to do a yet to be determined Jess Hutch toy (my booklet came today! Hooray!) -- maybe the square pillow. It's the first time I've spent a big chunk on yarn in 10 months (my Clap only cost abou $30), so I'm feeling pretty giddy.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Everyone needs a Brad to love them

Scruffy hair... Gentle smirk... If that ain't Brad Davis, I don't know who the hell it is! My dear Joanne no longer has to walk this earth alone, her husband has been completed. The hair has been a giant pain -- the yellow lion brand I sprung for the either day is pretty kinky, especially when cut into bang-length pieces. I also had a hard time with the face -- his head wasn't knitted on very straight (bad stitch picking up on my part). It kind of looks like he has a big of a facial deformity, but I prefer to think of it as a mischievous smirk. Yeah, that works.

Anyway, it's been another tough weekend in my world -- on Saturday night we were sitting with Ruby at the dinner table when the jar of apricots that she'd eaten about an hour previously came flying out of her mouth. She wasn't acting sick or anything, and seemed as surprised as we did about the whole thing. About an hour later, the pasta she'd had just prior to the apricots came flying onto the carpet (yes, tomato sauce and all). Then some more came out. And some more. And then the dry heaving began. A call to telehealth confirmed that she just had a little tummy bug (what we used to call stomach flu before the influenza shot became all the rage and doctors insisted that "flu" be used as a more technical term). She seems fine now, though I've been paranoid about dehydration and she still isn't eating much more than breast milk and toast. We spent all day yesterday doing laundry (all of our sheets and clothes reeked of baby barf), though I did manage to whip off a batch of almond shortbread and four dozen rum balls. Between you me, by the end of the day, I needed the rum.

Friday, December 09, 2005


What you see here is the completed Joanne doll! Well, almost complete -- I'm going to make her a tiny replica of the scarf I made her for Christmas last year, but I haven't had time to dig around for the yarn. Still though, isn't she cute? If you don't actually know Joanne, the effect isn't as profound, but believe me, it does actually kind of look like her.

I've also made the executive decision to scrap the Erin and Daniella dolls, mostly due to the fact that I'm burnt out beyond belief and need to relieve some pressure. Also, Erin is an amazing artist and I don't really know her all that well yet, and I'm a little nervous to unleash my very primitive folk art on her. Maybe in a few years I'll be able to make her a goofy present, but I'm still a little intimidated.

As for the other three, I did Brad's hair tonight (boys' hair is harder than girls') and I'll just press on through the weekend, with the lucky recipients receiving their gifts next weekend. I'm a little nervous about Lauren's curly hair, I may have to splurge and buy some kind of boucle yarn.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Thinking ahead...

So, I looked at the new Knitty today (I'm not sure how long it's been up) and it's got me thinking about what to do once I've finished these darn dolls. The answer? More dolls! I've become obsessed with Jess Hutchison's simple but lovely stuffed toys after Mamaloo turned me on to them and she has a sweet little stuffed cat up on Knitty. I think Ruby would like it. I'm also on the wait list for her booklet (pictured here) which is full of great stuff. I'm just so addicted to my dpns, I can't stop with the dolls.

As for the rest of Knitty, there wasn't much that piqued my interest. Stephanie Japel's Forecast was especially disappointing. Oh well, there's so much in the archives that I want to try, Knitty is always a source of inspiration.

So, other than the cat, what will I knit next? I never really dug into SNB Nation after I got it for Xmas last year (due to the appearance of Ruby on February 1) and I would like to tackle Fairly Easy Fair Isle and Poster Boy (with a picture of Aaron on it -- yes, I'm a dork). I also need to make myself a toque, some stuff for Ruby, and I do like the shawl that Stephanie Japel posted on her site last month. Where to start? Any suggestions?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

C is for cookie

Today was a very family-oriented weekend in my home, and it made me really reflect on my weird desire for domestic domination. It used to be that all I did was go out, see bands, drink booze, flirt with boys and such. Now my interests tend to be more along the lines of cooking baby food, knitting, learning how to sew, making meatloaf and baking cookies. Now, necessity (i.e. Ruby) can be blamed for much of this, but it goes beyond just straight mothering.

Yesterday we went over to an amazing home craft sale hosted by our friends Sam and Jay, featuring bags, softies and ornaments made by Sam and some artwork by Jay. Ruby had a blast playing with her buddy Sadie and Aaron and I enjoyed the company of the other parents there. Jay brought out his gum portrait of Avril Lavigne (he makes the most amazing pictures out of chewing gum -- check them out here) and I couldn't help but thinking that it wasn't long ago that I was riding in a limo with Avril or bumping into her at fancy parties. Now I'm sitting in the living room of someone I met through a mother's group, looking at her portrait. It felt good though -- the gum Avril didn't make me miss being in the realm of the real Avril as much as it made me thankful that we've managed to meet so many cool moms and dads in the past 10 months. While I do run into the occasional Stepford wife in the park (and my friend Kim almost got into a fight at a recent Doodlebops concert in Mississauga -- but that's a different story), the moms from my moms group are all incredibly smart and interesting women. Women who live right in my neighbourhood, but I probably never would have met if it weren't for our lovely little babies.

Either way, the whole having to be home by 8 so that Ruby can be in bed thing, plus my drive to become a super housewife while still continuing some kind of writing career from home, isn't necessarily a bad thing. I may have less celebrity encounters and open bars in my life, but when I looked around my home today and saw my daughter laughing, cookies baking in the oven and my husband putting up Christmas lights, there was no where I'd rather have been.

So, enough of the sappy mom reflections. I'm a torso, two arms and a leg into the Scott doll, but I spent most of today baking cookies for our upcoming holiday party. So, enjoy these photos of my peppermint double chocolate chip and gingerbread cookies. Yes, I'm using the Family Circle holiday issue as a crutch.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Divine Miss L

I'm still a stress case over all this Xmas stuff -- Aaron keeps telling me to scale down, but I just can't do this stuff half-assed. I have to make at least some of the gifts, because we can't afford nice presents this year, and I just can't be happy giving people I love something like a CD that they barely even want. And I send out about 150 cards every year, but we're so isolated here in Toronto, it's my only way of feeling like I'm in touch with my family and friends in the weeks leading up to the holidays. As for the cookies and the open house, I really want to establish traditions for Ruby so that she loves Christmas as much as I do.

We did manage to have some fun this week though. We went and saw Santa on Tuesday. Ruby screamed as soon as he got a hold of her and she's all bleary-eyed in the photo, but it's super cute. Then we had a great visit with Leanne and Sean and Kieran (and Joanne, though she didn't come all the way from Hamilton) on Wednesday. Leanne gave me some awesome knitted wash cloths as a housewarming gift and they're very scrubby and very pretty. Thanks!

What you see here is the nearly completed Lauren doll. I ran out of the pink Cascade that I used for the skin tones for the Brad and Jo dolls, so I picked up some Ivory coloured yarn at Dollarama for a whole dollar. It's called Phentex Merit -- I've never heard of it before. Then I used Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece for her legs (do you like the mary jane shoes?). Problem is, while the gauge was matching up with the other dolls horizontally, Miss L was all off vertically -- her legs were as long as Brad's! Of course, it would have been a waste of time to swatch for such tiny pieces, so I've done a lot of frogging. So far I've frogged: Jo's arms, Jo's legs, Brad's legs, Lauren's legs, Jo's head and Scott's torso. Either way, three down, three more to go.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

What, me worry?

So, there's been a tremendous lack of progress on the doll making front. I could make excuses (and they're all legit): both Ruby and I are still sick and not sleeping well, I've got a stack of Xmas cards to get out, we're throwing a holiday party and I have to make cookies, I'm out of home-made baby food and have to spend a couple of nights doing that... all in all, the dolls aren't looking like they're going to get made any time soon. I have completed the Lauren doll (without stuffing or details), but I can't see myself moving on to her husband Scott until next week. Daniella and Erin will come after that. And then I still have to do the details and final construction of all six dolls.

But it's not all panic and worry on my end. Leanne of Momcast fame and her husband Sean are coming up from Hamilton today with their son Kieran to pay a visit. I haven't seen them since their wedding in the summer, so it'll be good. Now if that Ruby would only take a nap...

Friday, November 25, 2005

Clapotis? Clap For Me!

Since this blog is pretty new and thus far completely free of FO pics, I thought I'd post a shot of the only major thing I've completed in the past 10 months... the much fawned over Clapotis. I started my Clappy back in June and finally finished it about a month ago -- conveniently, shortly after Miss Ruby learned how to go to sleep at 8 p.m. rather than 11. Here's a picture of the final product, with R using it to play peek-a-boo.

The yarn I used was Estelle 100% silk, as recommended and packaged by Hayley at Knitomatic. I bought it because she'd calculated the perfect amount for the Clapotis, and also because it was waaay on sale. I must say, I was skeptical about the raw silk -- it doesn't knit up very evenly and I was afraid that the nubby-ness would look a little on the hippie side. Plus, it wasn't that fun to knit with. In the end though, it turned out lovely and rather soft. If I knit the Clapotis again (which I may -- it's a long knit but I do so enjoy those drop stitches) I'll probably go for something warmer and softer and I think I'd also choose a variegated yarn to make it more interesting (I love watching the patterns that form. It's mesmerizing).

No real update on the dolls for now. I've moved on to Lauren and other kinds of yarn in my stash. It's been a slow go. Let's just say I've learned a lot about gauge in the last couple of days.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Comrade Ruby

I figured it was time to post another gratuitous Ruby picture for her legions of fans. Here's the Rubester trying to enjoy the Santa Claus parade on Sunday, yet not really knowing what's going on. I think she looks like a Russian leader from the '50s.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Man and wife

I didn't get much doll knitting done over the weekend -- the whole family has been feeling a bit under the weather and then we took Ruby to the Santa Claus parade. On top of that, it's been slow going because I've been too lazy to make adjustments to the dolls before I just start knitting, so I've had to frog a fair bit to get the dolls looking like their intended recipients. What you see here is the nearly finished Brad, awaiting to be stuffed and embroidered and what I thought was the nearly finished Joanne.

But don't her legs look too short? Well, they are. When I took another look at the original Joan Jett pattern, I realized I'd missed about 10 rows (to be fair, it's a pretty muddy pattern, since the three dolls in the book are pretty drastically different). Also, since I cracked open a fresh skein of blue Brown Sheep Nature Spun to make Brad's jeans, I figured I could spare Jo from having to wear self-striping red heart pants. So, tonight I finish the legs. And then I go to bed early. I swear.

Friday, November 18, 2005


Just the other day I was asking Leena what new moms do when they're really sick. Well, this week Ruby and I found out. Ruby was under the weather on Tuesday -- still not sure exactly what was wrong, but she had a low-grade fever, stuffy nose and just wanted to sleep and sleep all day (though, next to me, not in her crib). By Wednesday she was better, but yesterday I came down with a cold/flu kind of thing that knocked me out. Aaron wasn't able to come home from work, so I just lay on the floor while she did her best to play on her own.

The bad part came during the night when Ruby, who I guess was feeling ignored during the day, woke up every two hours, foiling my plan to go to bed at 9 p.m. Things were complicated when I came into the living room after putting her down after her 10 p.m. wake-up and I saw a mouse running across the floor. Now, I'm completely rodent-phobic, so that kept me up for at least another hour, giving me only 60 minutes of sleep until Ruby's midnight wake-up. Thankfully Aaron stayed home from work this morning and I got to sleep in.

Needless to say, I didn't get any knitting done over the past couple days. I'm starting to feel the pressure and it's freaking me out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Do do that voodoo

So, as previously explained, I'm a new homeowner and a new parent, so I have zero dollars for xmas gifts this year. Regardless of my cash flow I like to handmake as many things as I can, but there's no way I could shell out for luxe yarns to make scarves and hats this year. And I have too much pride to make clothing items out of Red Heart or other non-yummy acrylic fibres. So, I decided to try my hand at a few dolls.

What you see here is my friend Joanne, or the beginnings of a voodoo-like Joanne doll. I'm using the Joan Jett doll from Stitch 'n' Bitch nation as a template, tweaking as I go to personalize. It's been a bit hit and miss, since I'm using whatever scraps I can dig out of my stash. Jo's head and arms are made out of Cascade 220 (leftover from a bag I made), her body is Lamb's Pride worsted and her legs are a bit of dreaded acrylic that I picked up early in my knitting career. I'm purposely not going for perfection here, trying to go for a folk art kind of quality.

I'm moving on to Jo's husband Brad now (using the Joey Ramone doll as a template) who had a front and back body and a pair of arms. Next up will be my friends Lauren and Scott, then Aaron's sister Daniella and her girlfriend Erin. I think I'll stuff them and embroider the hair and faces all in one go. After that, I'll have to think of other things for family members like my sister-in-law Brandi, who would not appreciate the kitsch factor of a doll effigy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Dig your own hole

So, I haven't been doing very much on the knitting front the last couple of days. We had a few lovely house guests last week -- our friend Mark (who makes amazing music under the name Woodpigeon -- please look him up) was here for a few days to hang out with us and get to know Ruby. Then Aaron's mum, Leena, flew in from Calgary to spend some time with her granddaughter. As if that wasn't busy enough, when I went downstairs to take our guest towels out of the wash before Leena arrived last Wednesday, I noticed a bad smell. At the bottom of the stairs I could see a mess and I immediately thought that an animal had gotten into the house and left turds around. When I turned on the light, I realized that those weren't animal turds... they were my own (and Aaron's, I suppose). Our sewer had backed up.

Now, I won't go into the details, but one plumber came by the next day and basically swindled me out of about $500 (again, I won't get into the details -- they're fairly boring and really upsetting) and then quoted me $6,000 to repair the problem. After some searching (and much swearing), Aaron found a much more honest plumbing company who quoted us between $2,000 and $4,000, which seemed at least a little more manageable. The next day a couple of guys had dug a seven foot deep hole in our front yard and replaced the pipe, which was completely crumbled and hadn't been touched for 100 years. The hole has now been neatly covered and they figure we can probably squeeze about $1500 out of the city to cover some of the costs.

Thankfully, Ruby has enough Santas in her life (Leena already filled our home with new toys on her visit) so our financial ruin probably won't destroy our Christmas. Aaron and I are sticking to under $20 for each other, because we're considering our house our gift to each other this year (Merry Christmas, baby -- I got you a $4,000 sewer pipe!). As for everyone else, I still haven't figured out what to get for our family and I'm trying to make stuff for our friends out of stashed yarn. I'll post some pics and details tomorrow.

Monday, November 14, 2005

I say hello

Well, after much deliberating and a little inspiration from my friend Sam, I have decided to go ahead and join the growing army of blog people. I'm not entirely sure what will end up here -- probably lots of knitting fodder (Sam swears that her production rate has gone through the roof thanks to the pressure of her blog) and a lot of talk of my darling daughter, Ruby. That's pretty much all that takes up my life these days (and, um, a little too much TV), but hopefully that will change as beautiful Ruby grows older and more independent. Right?