Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Time For A Bath

Oh, I'd love to take a bath, thank you, but I'm talking about my little fair isle cardigan. Yes, the knitting is done. Against the advice of the ladies down at Fair Isle February I went ahead and seamed the sucker before blocking. I don't have a proper blocking board and for some reason I just felt in my gut that my pieces would fit together better if I seamed first, especially seeing as it wouldn't be hard to match the fair isle stitch for stitch. Anyway, she's seamed, all ends are woven in, and she's ready to go. I tried the sweater on Ruby last night and it barely just fits pre-blocking, so once that crinkly fabric is smoothed out, it should be good well into the spring. Hoorah!

As for my other knitting, I'm feeling pretty productive these days. The Hearts and Stars blanket is chugging along, the crochet afghan continues to grow and I've started a wee Dolly for yet another cousin's baby. I'll do a WIP update on Friday for those of you who are more interested in knitting than random pictures of myself or used crockery.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge: B&W Week #4

What a wonderful weekend we had, doing all sorts of things that are out of our ordinary weekend routine (i.e. housework, trips to Canadian tire, doing anything possible to avoid having to make dinner). We: went to a car show (culture shock!), talked on the phone with a dear friend in Germany (new baby!), ate burgers at a drive-in (and milkshakes!), went skating (well, daddy and daughter, I stayed home and relaxed), watched Marie Antoinette (thumbs down), saw some old friends play music on national TV (SNL!), computer chatted with a dear friend in L.A., had brunch with a dear friend here at home and best of all, went to an Oscar party.

Speaking of Oscars -- they're like Christmas to me, I love them. And while the actual show was pretty blah this year (even the dresses were boring) I had so much fun actually getting to watch them with friends again this year. Ruby attended and made it all the way to the Best Actress award before she pooped out and had to go home (we were taping it at home, so nothing was missed — don't you worry). Best of all, I not only won in my Oscar wager against my Dad, earning me a very fancy dinner out, but I also won the party pool! Hello $35! Thank you to The Departed!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Pyrex It To Me!

I don't know why, but I've had the itch for Pyrex lately. Now, I'm not a huge thrifter. I loooove thrift store finds and I'm always envious when I go into the home of a hard-core thrifter, but I've never had the patience to really really get into it. But, maybe it was my sister-in-law Erin's recent gift of some milk-glass mugs, or perhaps it was our trip to her house when I basked in her own Pyrex shrine (she easily has 100 pieces -- no kidding) that has given me a huge urge to accumulate stuff. Either way, I've been meaning to get out there thrifting and today I finally got around to it and hit gold!

Before we moved, Leena found a couple of awesome Butterfly Gold Pyrex mixing bowls for me, which I love and use daily. Today at the Interfaith I snagged two Butterfly Gold teacups and a oval covered casserole! So matchy! I was really out for some solid refrigerator boxes, but I'm always up for adding to a set.

So, thrifting. I think I'm up for resuming a solid garage sale regimen come spring. Anybody with me?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge: B&W Week #3

Wow, I've been neglecting the old SPC lately. Maybe it's because I've been feeling a little rotten lately, physically speaking and am not feeling like sharing my cold-stricken, norwalk suffering self. Or maybe I'm just not so sure that my loyal readership are that into seeing a picture of me every week. Either way, I decided to go for it this week, but it was hard. Is it just me, or am I starting to look old?

I originally wanted to do this shot early in the morning without make-up, but after the initial few shots, I couldn't bear the bags under my eyes and general puffy lines around my face, so I slapped on some make-up. Maybe it's the dry weather or my ill health (damn those germy little kids!), but I feel like I've aged five years in the last few months. I've always felt fairly young-looking for my age (31 for those of you who are snoopy), but I know it's catching up on me. I spent most of last week with a terrible pain in my leg that I was convinced was a blood clot. A trip to the doctor confirmed it was... varicose veins. That, coupled with a recent trip to a rock club populated by 19-year-olds has made me feel, finally, like I'm an actual grown-up. But, besides that nagging pain in my calf and a few vanity attacks, I don't mind it. Life is good. Now if I could only get rid of those bags under my eyes, I'd be invincible!

Monday, February 19, 2007


Again, I'm posting about things that other people knit. But this one is just too good not to share. Check out this dress -- a beautiful fingerling-weight wool yarn in a pale green (though the colour is more intense in real life than I could capture in a photo) knitted into a gorgeous child's swing dress. The whole thing is in a diamond seed-stitch pattern that is simple, yet really interesting looking. I love this dress, it's so classic but contemporary looking.

Now, would you believe me if I told you that it's almost 60 years old?

This gem of a knit was crafted in about 1949 by Aaron's maternal grandmother for Aaron's mother Leena, who was a toddler. Can you believe it? The family is pretty meticulous in taking care of their treasures, but this thing is in great shape. Plus the design looks like something I'd knit now (though I don't think I'd have the patience to knit a full dress like this out of sock yarn). Leena gave it to me a few weeks ago with the request that I take a few photos of Ruby in it so that she could send them to her mother. We tried to do a photo shoot this morning (the dress fits perfectly), but Ruby protested to much for Aaron to capture a good shot. So, here is the dress, without Ruby. Feel free to bask in its glory.

Friday, February 16, 2007

W.I.P. Friday: Pile O' Fair Isle

Not much to share this week, but since I use this blog as a motivation to get stuff done, I thought I'd post my progress. Because, friends, there has been progress, just nothing that translates into a shiny finished garment. Here's my child's Fair Isle Cardigan basking in the sunshine (the cold weather finally broke -- Ruby and I were running around in jean jackets yesterday). I'm working on the last piece -- sleeve #2. After that, I've got a few more ends to weave in (though I've been a good girl, all the body pieces are woven) and the collar and the finishing on the pocket. Then we'll block 'er and sew her together. I was hoping to finish by the end of February, since I'm participating in the Fair Isle February KAL, but who knows. I've been distracted. Largely by this:

After realizing that I was not in fact doing a double crochet, but some weird half double hybrid, I pulled out my Happy Hooker book and reviewed my technique. Since I'm using a hook that's far too big for most of the leftover yarn in this blanket, a proper double crochet is just too loose for my liking (plus I think crochet is kind of ugly when it's too open), so I switched to a properly done half double crochet. At least I think I'm doing it properly -- I don't really care at this point because I like the way it looks. Anyway, I've got about eight inches done -- only a million more to go. But, I'm guessing my obsession will soon fade, so I'm giving myself until Christmas to get this baby done.

Have a great weekend! It's a long one here and the weather is going to be good. Hooray!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Love And Stuff

Happy V-Day! Like many I have a love/hate relationship with February the 14th -- I love the hearts and lace and flowers and candy, but I hate the disappointment and feeling like I've set myself up for heartache. I tend to make a big deal about things and since I was in junior high school, I've always dreamed of a big frilly heart shaped box full of bon bons. I have a perfect picture of it in my mind. Unfortunately, in all my years of dating, I've never actually dated a mind reader. Fancy that. But I think the man that I've chosen as my permanent Valentine has come as close as any mind reader ever could by treating me with....

Stinky cheese! This morning my sweetest of the sweet presented me with a lovely chocolate heart filled with Bernard Callebaut chocolates plus two blocks of Janice Beaton cheese! For those of you who don't live in Calgary, this is foodie heaven -- Callebaut is a world famous chocolate wizard and Janice Beaton is the queen of snobby cheese. In fact, urban legend has it that the two of them once dated! Can you imagine? Anyway, it takes a special man to give blue cheese as a romantic gift. I couldn't be happier. God only knows what I'd be without you, A.B.

The postman was also kind to me this morning -- look, another card from my Flickr swap, this one from Wendy. Thanks Wendy, this is beyond beautiful and I cherish it.

Finally, my first Superbuzzy order arrived. Two yards of amazing canvas. I especially adore the stacking dolls. I'm almost 100 percent sure these will turn into bags. I feel an addiction coming on.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Committment Phobic

I think I've been pretty good with my knitting lately. Since Ruby was born, I haven't had the time (or money) to piddle around with my projects -- I've been sticking to small items and for the most part, one at a time. But suddenly, with the pressure of holiday knitting long gone, I've become a full-fledged yarn harlot (apologies to Stephanie). Seriously, I'm not going to have another F.O. under my belt by the end of the year at the rate I'm going.

As faithful readers know, I've already got the stupidly fussy Fair Isle Cardigan and the ridiculously huge Hearts And Stars baby blanket on the go. So, what did I do on Saturday night? I took about two minutes to finally teach myself how to properly crochet and I dove in to the vintage stripe blanket as featured over at Bella Dia. I know this thing, if I ever finish it, will look a little off since I'm learning to crochet as I go (and boy, is my first chain ever TIGHT), but I'm addicted to it. I can't stop. Help me.

In happier news, the first card from my Flickr V-Day Postcard Swap finally arrived. Here it is on my fridge (the clown clip is just holding it, not part of the card). I love mail!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Winter White

This is our world this week. Brr.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Granny Sweater

You don't generally see a lot of acrylic blue and pink variegated baby sweaters on the knitting blogs. Most hipster knitters -- and I'll put myself in that category -- won't touch the stuff with a ten foot pole. But somehow, it seems like a right of passage for a little one to receive and cherish a sweater like this knitted by a loving grandmother.

Now, my mother doesn't knit (she crochets and made Ruby a couple of little baby things in the early days) and Aaron's mum tends to use the same kinds of natural fibres that I'm drawn to, so Ruby doesn't have a granny to knit these kinds of sweaters for her. She has three living great-grandmothers, but their fingers are all too arthritis-stricken to knit anymore. But incredibly, she's got two very generous great-great-aunts (that's right, Aaron's great-aunts) who have made her beautiful sweaters. Last year Auntie Kaye crafted Ruby a sweater for her birthday and Aaron's amazing great-aunt Betty sent in this little number for birthday #2.

I love it. It fits perfectly and reminds me that there are generations of women in our family who were crafting long before Lorna's Laces became all the rage. Betty sent the yarn band with the sweater (Aaron threw it out before I could get a picture) and the yarn is a brand from The Bay, who I don't think even make yarn anymore. Thank you Betty, for keeping my little one warm over the winter.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Message In A Bottle

In a bout of creative insanity, I joined a Valentine's Postcard Swap on Flickr. I've been feeling a little intimidated because I'm not really a visual artist -- I'm not even a scrapbooker (and I admit, I despise the fact that "scrapbook" has become a verb -- but I like cutting and pasting things and with my knitting being kind of long-term and boring these days, I felt the need to explore another side of my creativity. Plus, I loooove Valentine's Day and since Aaron isn't the most willing participant, I had to get the lace doilies and hearts out of my system somehow, right?

So, I stuck to a couple of themes: old romance novels and vintage '70s Valentine cards (comb your dollar stores people -- you can still find the punch outs you had as a kid if you're lucky). Since I'm new to this kind of thing, there was a lot of trial and error, but I had a lot of fun.

I still have a couple more to make -- I think they'll be in the same style as the purple tissue paper/old valentine card ones. I mailed my first batch off yesterday -- I can hardly wait to see what comes my way in the following week or so. Hooray for swaps!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Dessert Sunday

Duh. Birthday cake!

Now, originally, dating back to last year, my plan was to make Ruby the same birthday cake every year of her life: my mom's fudge ribbon cake (the ribbon being a layer of cream cheese mixture). But last year's cake was a total bust (flat and flavourless) and it's a lot of work making a less than standard cake when you have a toddler at your feet. So, I turned to Aaron's mum, Leena, who makes one of the most delicious and simple cakes imaginable. Hence, Ruby will get this cake every year of her life from this point on.

I'm not going to give a recipe or spill any Booth secrets: lets just say that the cake is beyond simple (ahem, like, just add eggs and some oil and water simple) and the icing is a very standard recipe with some extra somthin' thrown in (ahem, an egg yolk and more butter than you want to ever think about in your life). I didn't get it totally perfected and as Aaron privately pointed out after the party I could have layered a lot more of the leftover icing between the two cakes, but all in all it was a rousing success. Operation delicious!

So, what did you have for dessert this week?