Thursday, April 26, 2007


Just wanted to let you all know that I'll be taking a break for the next week or so... I'll be out of town for a few days next week and I'm generally feeling too tired and busy to get much crafting done -- hence not much to blog about.

I have been reading a bit lately -- mostly the new How Sassy Changed My Life book by Kara Jesella and Marisa Meltzer. To be honest, it's gotten me a little obsessed with Sassy... like I need to get my hands on some old issues and I'm willing to pay for them. It's stupid -- when I was about 17 or 18 I chucked out all of my old Sassys. I had all of them, beginning at issue #1 and going though to about the end of 1991 or so. Then I decided teen mags were for babies and started subscribing only to music magazines. Oh, the regret.

So, I'll be in NYC for a few days next week and it's the first time Aaron and I have been there with enough money to buy more than a hot dog for dinner. NYC-ers, please bring forth your suggestions for delicious places to eat and fun places to shop. We're staying mid-town Manhattan, but we're willing to roam in the name of good food.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Pumpkin Head

Here's a teaser for the baby gift that I'll be giving my very first niece or nephew, who is due to be born in early June. Keen readers will already know that I've been spending the last four months working on a blanket for the little sucker, a blanket that needs to be blocked, but has been sitting in a ball on my work shelf for the past two weeks. Anyhow, I did manage to whip up this little hat to match and here are the specs:

Little Pumpkin from Susan B. Anderson's Itty Bitty Hats
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Worsted in "Pumpkin"
Needle: US #6 DPNs
Mods: Obviously a yarn substitution and since I was using a worsted (albeit a slim worsted) rather than the recommended DK I knit the newborn size even though I'm guessing this fits more like 0-6 mos.

Okay, I should have read the Itty Bitty errata page before today, because I now realize that the instructions for the stem are botched, but I think it still looks okay in garter even though it should be stockinette. I'm not totally crazy about how the stem/leaf looks, but that's got to do with my cruddy finishing skills. A details woman, I am not. I like these cute hats, but I think I may also make them a good old umbilical cord hat for more everyday use once we find out the sex of the baby.

And apologies for the lack of a great picture. The Misti Alpaca is so soft and lovely, there was no way this hat would take a good picture without a model to fill it out. And since Ruby's head is too big and her baby dolls' heads are to small, this Care Monkey (he came with a real name, but we call him Leon) had to step in, even though his football-shaped head kind of distorts the hat. But you get the idea.

Friday, April 20, 2007

W.I.P. Friday: A Whole Lot Of A Little

With Ruby's new nap routine (she goes into bed; she refuses to sleep; she gets very tired; she gets very cranky; she still refuses to sleep; she falls asleep in my arms as I comfort her) I'm not getting a whole lot done. But there is a lot of a little. I've resurrected my interest in the crochet blanket (though only a trained eye would notice a difference) and I did finish the baby blanket, which I swear I'll show you once it's blocked. Above is the accompanying hat -- the Lil' Pumpkin Hat from Itty Bitty Hats. Naturally, I'm not going to spend $14 on green yarn to match the body of the hat so I can make the stem, so I've been experimenting with stashed yarns, none of which are doing the trick. I think I have some Brown Sheep Nature Spun somewhere that should work, I just have to find it.

Next up, I've finally started my first embroidery from my long ago purchased Jenny Hart kit. This shall be a tea towel. Again, much more exciting once it's finished.

And, finally, there's a new crafter in the house. This little bag, with feathers glued on by Miss Ruby is full of beans. It's a shaker she made in her new music class. She and the other kids were marching around the room shouting Go, Flames, Go! I second that sentiment -- not usually a hockey fan, but the boys have been showing a lot of heart the last couple of games. Thank heavens for the Kipper!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Taking The Cake

Not a lot going on in these parts: the weather has turned cruddy again and I've been feeling a bit ugh. Yesterday Ruby was off at Nana's house and I spent most of the day in the kitchen. I made the cake you see here, a delicious orange carrot bundt, from a recent issue of Canadian Living. I also made homemade pizza (dough and all), but it didn't last long enough for a picture.

In the interest of keeping some content up here before I get around to blocking and photographing my Stars And Hearts Blanket (it's done, it's done!) and it's accompanying baby hat, here's a little meme, as seen over at Hula Seventy. I don't usually do these things, but I felt like sharing.

james brown or marvin gaye?
Marvin Gaye. Though I was sad to see James go.

chinese or indian takeout? Indian all the way. At least once a week, thank you.

fleece or knitted blanket? Knitted. I have a prejudice against fleece -- probably because fleece jackets became so popular when I was in high school and I associate them with mean girls.

girls with makeup or without? I would take no make-up over too much make-up, but my preference is in-between. I love products, but only when applied with restraint.

costco or whole foods? I'd say Whole Foods, because I think I'd shop there if we had it in Canada. I don't have a Costco membership, but I do ask my parents to pick me up bulk boxes of organic mac 'n' cheese once in a while.

wildflowers or arrangements? any flowers would be welcome.

tradition or shakeups? Tradition. I resist change at all cost.

cello or trumpet? I like the cello better as an instrument, but I prefer jazz to classical.

watch-wearing or no? Never. Though I'm always desperate to know what time it is.

salt water or fresh (for swimming)? Neither. I can't swim. As for wading, I find lakes a little slimy and though I love the ocean, I'm terrified of sharks.

pants or shorts? Never shorts. Never. I wear jeans out of necessity in the winter, but skirts make up my warm weather uniform.

chatspeak or absolutely NOT? No. I'm a writer. I write in English. It bothers me even when I see "nite" or "cheeze" written out in public, so I'm not behind the lols and such.

digital camera or old-school? I love old-school but exclusively use digital.

wireless or plugged in? wireless for computer, plugged in for phone.

waltz or tango? waltz.

brian williams or anderson cooper? Peter Mansbridge.

time or newsweek? In our house its The Economist.

waterbed or mattress? Mattress!

cream and sugar or not? A little bit of skim milk, please.

CNN or BBC News? CBC. Though I have been watching CNN this week for obvious reasons.

iTunes or something else? CDs.

scented candles or unscented? neither. I don't have time to worry about candles.

prairie or mountain? I live on the cusp of both.

socks or barefoot? Barefoot. I make a lot of socks, but only wear them when I leave the house.

matt damon or ben affleck? Neither.

brass or pewter? Uh, neither.

wool or cotton? Wool to knit with, cotton to wear. Explains why I don't make a lot of adult clothing.

willow tree or pine? Willow.

gerald ford or jimmy carter? Jimmy!

france or italy? France in theory, Italy in practice. I like both kinds of food equally, though.

electric or gas stove? I prefer gas, but own electric.

thrift store or outlet? Thrift. But I do love Winners.

japanese garden or english garden? English.

sophia loren or liz taylor? Elizabeth Taylor. Forever.

Monday, April 16, 2007

W Is For Weekend

Ahh, the sun is shining and Ruby and I have just come in after having a snack of watermelon on the front porch. And I'm feeling relatively recharged — everyone slept through the night last night, myself included and Roo even had a short nap today. Plus we had an awesome weekend. We: slept in on Saturday morning (well, me, not the rest of the fam); actually got some writing done (again, me -- Aaron and Ruby went to the mall); celebrated our friend Annabelle's first birthday; went out for a fancy, but very bizarre Italian dinner (Roo stayed home with my parents); took a road trip an hour North to go thrifting; ate chocolates and watched movies.

The thrifting was actually Aaron's idea (I think he wanted a spring drive) and we picked up this cute little coffee service. I especially love the creamer and sugar bowl.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Feeling Friday

With Easter and spring break and everything, all of Ruby's city and library programs have been on hold. We're all about structure here, so the last couple of weeks have been tough -- I feel like I'm free-falling. My excitement and need to escape to a parents-only trip to New York (in a few short weeks) isn't helping. So, here are a couple of uplifting pictures to help usher in the weekend.

Above, the fruits of a shoe shopping expedition yesterday. Did you know that they make a version of those fun Keds ballet flats for toddlers? They do. Keds also make a pair of amazing toddler sneakers covered in tiny rainbows, which we also picked up. Aaron's calling them Ruby's pride sneakers, as Ruby proudly supports everyone's right to love freely.

And here's a placemat for Ruby that I ordered with my last Superbuzzy fabric splurge. I don't know why, but it really makes me smile.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Waiting By The Mailbox

Ooh, it's been a stressful week so far. Lots of work (good, but leaves me with anxiety), a girl who is a little frightened of her big girl bed and a husband full of anxiousness about his own projects is leaving me a little frazzled. With the holiday and all I haven't been feeling much love from my mailman, but today he came through big.

In addition to the newest issue of Amy's Mailorder (complete with a pattern for a Raggedy Ann-ish doll!!) and a Super Buzzy order, I got a nice Swapbot package. I joined Swapbot in a fit of lack-of-mail depression and then kind of regretted it, thinking it may not be for me. I'm still not sure how many swaps I'll participate in, but the first one is turning out better than I could have dreamed. It's a newbies swap, involving little craft supplies and stationary, but my first partner, a lovely woman named Derry, really went above and beyond.

The loot is pictured up top: a nice letter, a notepad, some candy, a pen, loads of beautiful cards and stickers and a recipe for some seriously delicious looking brownies. Much more than she was obligated to send. After reading the blog, Derry also threw in these amazing doll patterns that she originally bought for her then-2-year-old daughter, who is now in her mid-20s. A Care Bear and a Blueberry Muffin, to make for Ruby. I can hardly wait to stitch them up. Thank you so much Derry, for such a thoughtful package -- I'm really touched that you took so much time to put it together.

Monday, April 09, 2007

King Of The Castle

I hope everyone who chose to celebrate Easter/Spring had a great holiday. Ours was filled with good food and playing children (plus a bit of chocolate) and was quite lovely.

I have been crafting a bit as of late, mainly trying to whip up a few gifts here and there. I've been playing with this shape for a softie for a while now. I don't know why, but I've been sketching this little crown character for well over a decade and I figured he'd make a cute little pillow/toy. I had one on the go made out of a thick upholstery fabric that I scored at the thrift store, but he was a little too off to give away as a gift. So I grabbed some of the leftover linen from the throw pillows I made last month to make this little Crowny.

It's a birthday present for a friend of mine whose last name happens to be King and not coincidentally collects crown images. I added a little embroidery message on the butt (and pretty much stole the face from the Wee Wonderfuls Original Wee pattern) and voila, perfect present. I hope she likes him.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


Happy (secular) Easter! Guess where my little bunny slept last night.

We've officially moved to the realm of the big girl bed. It was a little dicey after the first hour (it probably didn't help that Aaron and I were watching Children Of Men at full volume in the next room and scarfing down delicious Indian take-out), but in the end she stayed in there for a full 10 hours. It may take Mummy a little longer than Ruby to get used to the idea of growing out of the crib though...

Happy long weekend to all. Hopefully yours won't involve as much assembly of Ikea furniture as ours has.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

For The Love Of Socks

I present to you: Roza's Socks. I know, I haven't been talking much about these babies here on the blog, probably because they knit up so darn quick and caused me so little stress. What a lovely pattern. Before I get to into it, here are the specs:

Roza's Socks by Grumperina from the Spring 2007 issue of Interweave Knits
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Sassy Stripe
Needle: U.S. #1 DPNs
Mods: I used a larger needle size (I never gauge for socks) because I found the last Grumperina pattern I tried (Jaywalkers) fit too tightly and I have another ribbed pair of socks in Shepherd Sock that fit perfectly with this size needle. I also shortened the leg by an inch, because wool socks tend to roast my legs no matter how cold it is outside. Finally, I only did one round of purl between the cuff and the leg because I'm bad with instructions. Oops.

This is, I believe, my eighth pair of handknit socks, and I think I can say they're my favourite. The brioche stitch pattern was easy, but not mind-numbing and the pattern looks great. Shepherd Sock is always lovely to work with (and as the pair that are currently on my feet will attest to, wears really really well), though the short stripe segments do make for a fair bit of wacky-ness. These were a huge success and if I may say, I do prefer these to Grumperina's Jaywalkers (though the Jays do still have a place in my heart).

So, what do I plan to do with my new favourite socks? Send them away. By this afternoon these will be on their way to Vancouver as a birthday gift to my sister-in-law's girlfriend, Erin. (How does that work -- is the spouse of your spouse's sibling still your in-law? Or would she just be Aaron's in-law? I'm not sure). They're going to be hard to part with, but seeing as my first pair of Shepherd Sock Stripe socks were intended for her and I ended up keeping them, it's only fair. Plus, they're totally her colours and since I love her like a sister, I can't think of a more worthy recipient. So, I bid you adieu fair socks. You will be missed.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge: Body Parts Week #1

Oh my, what a weekend. I often complain about feeling isolated in my role as mummy, but I actually feel like I oversocialized this weekend. Lots of great conversation and good times: we attended a wedding (Ruby stayed with her Grandma) on Saturday night and saw loads of good people; Sunday morning we had a two-year-old's birthday party; Sunday evening it was the Juno Party. By the time we got home last night, I was ready to fall apart. So, today I'm hiding. Behind my fingers.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

This Year's Model

Okay, it's not a perfect photo, but friends, I got the kid to wear the sweater! We're going to a little party tonight (to watch the Juno Awards -- dorky, I know) and I think I'm going to keep it on her so I can show off my wares. As you can see, it fits, albeit a little snugly, though that may be because she's wearing a heavy jumper underneath it. So it should be fine over a little t-shirt. She's now convinced that it's not too small or uncomfortable or whatever, it may become a wardrobe regular. Hooray!