Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Mmm... Cheeze

Okay, guilty pleasure time. Does anyone else out there like MacLaren's Imperial cheese product? For those who haven't had the pleasure, it's basically a hoitier and toitier version of Cheeze Whiz. It's crumbly and tangy and ultimately pretty gross. For some reason though, I feel compelled to buy it every couple of years or so, though I never eat the whole tub. We'd get it around Christmastime when I was a kid. For some reason, in the 70s, smoked oysters and MacLaren's Imperial made for a pretty classy treat. Maybe it was the goat cheese of it's time. Or, the synthetic oil-based goat cheese of it's time, at least.

And yes, all of this is a smokescreen to distract you from the fact that the end of the month falls this week and I've yet to even turn the heel of my second Project Spectrum sock. Unless I knit at a crazy speed during the next two nights of Rockstar Supernova, for the first time in six months, it looks like I'll fail to reach the finish line, which is a shame, because this month is one of the easiest patterns I've done yet. I was looking good, but then I went to a dear friend's wedding on Saturday and stayed out (sans Ruby, of course) until about 2 a.m. and drank a whole bottle of wine. The problem with going out without your kid is that unless you have the foresight to leave them with their grandparents overnight, you're going to have to get up with them at 6:30 the next morning (unfortunately, Aaron followed my cue and hit the bottle). Going to bed at 9:30 every night since hasn't afforded me much knitting time. Oh well, it was all worth it.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Self Portrait Challenge -- Enclose Me

I've been super delinquent with the SPC this summer, but I decided that if I treat it too much like a homework assignment it'd become a real drag. And really, do you all need to look at my face every week -- especially when the posts have hardly been coming fast and furious over the summer months? So, I still contribute to the site and do the self-portraits when the mood strikes me.

Here I am in my shower. It's an enclosed space (as this month's assignment dictates), but it actually feels very liberating and free in there, because there's a full sized window right in the shower. Now, to me a bathroom is rarely a deal breaker when it comes to buying a house. We don't have enough money to be perfectionists when it comes to our home, so I've never had a bathroom (or a kitchen, for that matter) that I'd consider ideal. But the one thing that I've always coveted in a loo is a window in the shower. Nothing feels better than standing under the tap and looking into the garden. Especially our crazy garden full of lawn ornaments.

So, here I am. Enclosed, but free. Nice, eh?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

With A Cherry On Top

So, what did you do this weekend? My life has weirdly exploded into a parade of social engagements, which I'm finding wonderful, but strange. I actually had to turn down an invitation to go rollerskating tonight because I'm going out dancing. It's like I'm 21 and childless all over again!

Well, not quite, but I have been having fun. On Friday, after we last spoke, Aaron took me out to a chic new pizzeria for my birthday dinner. I was surprised to find a table full of my friends waiting for me -- surprising because Aaron pulled the same gracious stunt last year and he hasn't traditionally been a huge birthday planner. It was a great time and I was plied with gifts of desserts, which I spent the rest of the weekend eating. Then on Sunday my friend Jenaya hosted a huge front yard consignment sale, which I provided some clothes for and spent the day hanging out at. While the sale was super fun, we were all a little disappointed that despite Jenaya's efforts at handing out about a zillion handbills, we didn't attract many hipsters. It was mostly just the average garage sailors, who weren't willing to shell out for our consignment store prices. It was too bad because there was so many awesome items to be snapped up.

I myself chose a gorgeous green vintage coat and a poly dress with a lovely cherry print. Aaron can't get behind the dress -- he's calling it too '80s retro, which is a fashion trend that neither he or I can really pull off. Granted, the belt and gathered neckline and cuffs does evoke a certain red Avon lipstick/tan hose/menthol cigarette swirl that reminds me of the 30-year-old version of my mother, but I love the dress and plan to wear it with the coat and a pair of red heels to many a Christmas party this winter. Minus the Avon lipstick, tan hose and menthol smokes (I find all smoking gross, but menthols take the cake) of course.

So, tonight I'm off dancing (for a bachelorette party no less), I have a girls movie night on Friday, a wedding Saturday and my dad's birthday Sunday. If this isn't enough to lift me out of the "I miss Toronto" blues, I don't know what is.

Friday, August 18, 2006

WIP Friday

When Fiona instituted WIP Friday, she asked crafters (who tend to work on tables, not from an easy chair) to capture pictures of their desks. Since I, for the first time since I've lived with Aaron, actually have a work room of my own these days, I've been storing my knitting on my desk, rather than various baskets and magazine racks shoved into Ruby-proofed corners of the living room. So here is my messy desk (note that the room itself is still a WIP).

What am I working on these days. Well, I have dozens of projects in my head and even have acquired supplies for some of them (including Hillary Lang's adorable Stichette kit) but my main project on the go is my final pair of Project Spectrum socks, pictured above. I'm doing a simple rib from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks in a black and white striped Opal sock yarn. I'm also still working on Jess Hutch's Squarey, but he's been pushed back behind the backburner.

Also on my desk you see some Noro Kureyon, which is intended to become the children's ribbed scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I'm not sure who it'll be gifted to, but I liked the idea of working with Kureyon, which I've amazingly never tried out before. This pattern really maximized the weirdness of Kureyon's colourways and should be easy-peasy. Also on the desk is a book called Supernatural by Graham Hancock that Aaron's uncle lent him. I'm not going to go into it.

Thanks to everyone who sent their birthday wishes via the blog or otherwise. I had a great birthday and was more than spoiled by my loved ones. Hooray.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Warmin' Up The Wrists

Hey, how about a FO that isn't a pair of socks? Okay, wrist warmers aren't that far out of the sock family (mind you they're much much easier to whip up on a moment's notice), but I personally am quite pleased that for once this summer, I've veered away from my own feet. What you see here is the hand-knitted gift that I whipped up for my One Skein secret pal. Here are the deets:

Hand/Wrist Warmers from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: Malabrigo kettle dyed pure merino wool in "lettuce"
Needle: U.S. 8 DPNs
Mods: Decreased stitch count due to larger needle/thicker wool
Comments: After doing six pairs of socks on U.S. #1s, I was shocked that I managed these over the course of two evenings in front of the TV. I love the diagonal rib pattern and the luxurious practicality of these accessories. Most of all though, I've gotta give props to the wool. My goodness, is it soft. The finished product is warm and lovely and I hope my pal gets good use out of them.

On a side note, this is my last day as a 30-year-old. As of tomorrow, I'm 31. Weird. (Also, do I look pregnant in the body shot? If so I'm not, I'm just doing a weird belly-stick-out).

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

Well, our little family has just returned from an exciting week and a half on B.C.'s Sunshine Coast. For those not in the know, the Sunshine Coast is a little area just north of Vancouver. While it's on the mainland, it's separated from the city by an inlet and the mountains, so you have to take a ferry to get there, which gives the whole area an isolated island kind of feel. We were there to hang with Aaron's aunt and uncle and their two young daughters, who visit every two years from the U.K. It was actually pretty amazing -- Aaron's mother has two younger sisters and a much younger brother and they're all incredibly interesting and articulate people. Ruby got to hang with her (second) cousins and it was amazing to see all these blonde kids playing together. Physically Ruby seems to have snagged a lot of Leena's Finnish genes, so it was pretty cool to see her romping with family members who actually look like her.

Here, in no particular order, are some of the things I did on my summer vacation: played on the beach, paddled a canoe, tasted blue cheese ice cream (not good), found a knitting store and didn't even buy anything, visited a place called Ruby Lake, collected stones, watched the sun set, ate too much, drank Pimms almost every evening, read a book, realized that straight stockinette knitting is pretty boring when you don't have the TV, listened to music, had great conversations with a 13-year-old, played cards, drew with crayons, went on a hike, drank coffee, wrote a mini-novel about the family in my head...

Aaron uploaded the vacation pictures onto his laptop, so all I have for you here is a peek at some of the fantastic books we found at the various coast thrift shops. In addition to the 18 volumes of Creative Hands (circa 1968) that Leena found and purchased at a place called the Bargain Barn (neither of us had room to bring them back, so they're currently living with Aaron's sister in Vancouver), I found some old Family Circle Illustrated Library Of Cooking books, plus a Scandinavian cooking book that's part of some ethnic culinary encyclopedia set. My fave recipe in the Family Circle editions is the hot dog tiara -- a ring of wieners surrounding some stove-top stuffing jazzed up with orange juice and green olives. I want to make some of these gooey old recipes, sort of as an homage to the always entertaining My House Is Cuter Than Yours.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Gone Fishin' -- Again

I was going to post a picture of the wristwarmers that I just whipped up for my secret pal out of the most divine yarn ever, but our camera was being a brat, so no pics. Either way, I'm taking a break for a couple weeks, so you'll all have to wait. We're off on vacation -- I'll see you mid-August.