Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May Days

Hey again- it seems we're finally getting some warmer weather. It does feel more like May now, although we're almost in June.  Can you believe it?

We had a great day out on Saturday at Christie's Antique show.  This is twice a year, and as far as it goes, is one of the better local places to go for antiques. Again, you need to be educated about what you're buying, as technically, to qualify, an antique is 100 years old, unless it's a car.  To get by this, many vendors sell collectibles, which can qualify as TAT.  Still, there's alot to see, and the weather was perfect.
Neither of these is antique, but I got a cutlery tray, and a porcelain glove hand.  There were some baskets and things, but I am careful about what I buy.  Vendors weren't so willing to bargain either.

I spent the majority of Sunday weeding, and planting.  My rose bush didn't make it, but my clematis is growing great. I may have some blooms.  We have to overhaul the pond, as the liner has a leak- and I am adding some Sandcherry and things to fill in some holes.  I got lots of lavender too.

I have finished my Stripe Study- not really much to be said about it, except I love knitting with handspun.
I made a Photosynthesis shawl, which has been in my Ravelry queue since forever.  This is in my favorite laceweight, from Kim at The Woolen Rabbit..This is in Whisper which she doesn't carry anymore, and the colour is Iris- lime green with shades of purple.  There's also a whackload of lime rainbow seed beads added.  I really liked this pattern, and I love most things with leaves- so I'm happy with this.
I've spun several bobbins of Three Waters Farm BFL in "Honeybee".  This will be enough for a sweater. 
Speaking of spinning, the 2015 Tour De Fleece starts on July 4-26, the same days as the Tour De France.  I am on Team Fat Cat again, and I just love the challenge and seeing the beautiful spinning everyone does.

The guys are exhausted from being in the window, and not liking that black cat that lays in the backyard and stares at them.  They don't mind Mr. Rabbit, but that cat has to GO.

Fleece out.






Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ten On Tuesday-10 Things You Need To Do and Stop Procrastinating

I am not a putter-offer.  So maybe I may not make it to ten.

1. Take Howard and Valentino for shots (did that this morning).

2. Make out a will. ( I hate the thought....)

3. Make out a budget to pay off the mortgage quicker.

4. Clean out the crawlspace.

5. Do a purge in the kitchen- too much clutter.

6. I have a pair of pants and a skirt cut out that I need to sew.

7. The rest is FC's domain, and his list is long. (buy a lawnmower, paint the front porch floor, clean out the garage, install the new front door.......)

And that's it.  This week I had a bit of a spinning meltdown, and I decided in the space of 10 seconds that I needed to:

a) sell all my wheels
b) sell all my fiber and fleeces
c) go upstairs and shave my head

Because self-mutilation solves everything.  We all know that.
It's okay now.  I am spinning a sweater quantity of Three Waters Farm BFL in "Honeybee" and MaryAnn is dying another few braids.  If you have been spinning a while, it becomes easier to spin finer diameter singles, and when you try to go back to doing worsted/dk weights, not so simple. So I had to adjust my wheel tension and faff around, and I really dislike FAFFING AROUND!!!!!!

I began a new project, the Stripe Study, which was fine, but I am totally bored and will only be doing 9 repeats instead of 12.  I like the smaller shoulder shawls better, and I am really tired of this now.

So, what is everyone working on?  Anything exciting that I should know about?  I am in serious need of some inspiration.

Tino is kind of angry with me for putting him in a carrier and into the car.  They both howled all the way there and all the way back.  But.....my vet always kisses them.  He's wonderful.

Fleece out until next time.




Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Favorite Mexican Foods

Happy Cinquo de Mayo- this list is going to be pretty short.

1. Nachos and salsa.

There. That's it.  I think what we North Americans believe is Mexican food is really Tex-Mex, or Cal-Mex.  I don't think authentic Mexican cuisine is nachos and burritos.  I have been to Mexico, and they don't really have that stuff.  They also like everything fairly spicy, even their pizza, so I don't go for that.  They put jalapenos in everything.

In other news, our weather here is definitely springlike, and I even have dandelions on the lawn. Today I am packing away all the winter clothes, but I will keep a few light sweaters out, just in case.

The back bedroom has been painted, as has my wall in the kitchen. It is no longer Jack-O-Lantern orange, but matches the other 3 walls, Classic Taupe. I'm not really a "feature wall" kind of person, and it was starting to annoy me.

I have been busy doing projects.
I made some project bags with sewing themed fabric.  Notice Baby and Ralph in the background.
Blocked the shawl from hell.....
...finished this Baa-ble hat out of leftover handspun.....
...began a new project, Stripe Study.......
...and opened the windows so the boys could get some good birding time in.  The Robins are driving them crazy.

Fleece out until next week.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Things I Did Last Week

This is, you understand,  assuming I can even remember what I did last week.

1. Miss Mew's foster kitty had babies- 4 healthy kittens born to Ruthie, who is a rock star.
They are so cute I feel like crying- it's beyond adorable (we don't know if they're boys or girls.)

2. Baked some chocolate chip banana muffins (or was that the week before....?)

3. Helped out someone who found themselves up a certain creek sans a certain paddle, and was glad to do it.

4. Made a crock-pot dinner- that was really good and insanely simple.
1.Crock Pot 2. Sirloin Roast 3. Cut up onions, parsnips, potatoes and some carrots. 4. Can of tomato soup (I didn't add water or beef stock). Set for 6 hours, and Robert is your father's brother.  It even makes it's own gravy. 5. Happy FC.

5. Made a doctor's appointment (this is more of an accomplishment than you realize.)

6. Watched many episodes of Kenny Vs. Spenny, and laughed my head off.

7. Finished a knitting project of doom.  I will briefly explain after the list.

8. Made some calls on my new Smart Phone- I have always had a phone, but didn't text or blab on it. I can now do both.  The ringtone is a bleating sheep, and I ordered a case for it.  I have a big crush on Etsy.

9. Came to the conclusion that I am not really ready to have gray hair, and will be remedying this situation when FC gets home and he can do the back part.

10. Just about froze to death because it's so cold I cannot believe it.

See this? It does look like a yarn cake, but it is a representation of the 5th ring of knitters hell.  It began so well.  I have had the yarn for years, and it was in my Ravelry queue since forever.  It's called Hummingbird Charm- what's not to love? It's even a gradient with silk and cashmere- who could fail?

I spent more time ripping back and tinking than I spent knitting it. I'm not sure why, because the pattern isn't that difficult, just something I couldn't get the rhythm of.  The cast off bombed, and I had to redo it, but this time I did it from the front, that stretchy one, and ran out of yarn, having tossed the remains in the garbage.  I know.  Poor long-suffering FC braved the garbage, old weiners and all (smells just gross me out)- and it's done, albeit a little redolent of rotting Oscar Meyers.   I'll give it a soak, block it and find a victim to gift it to-if I can be that bloody-minded.

I hope you are getting a giggle out of this- because this is what happens in my life.  Pretty par for the course here.

This week will be better- fleece out.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Ten On Tuesday-10 Everyday Things That Delight You

I have tried to arrange my life so that there are things around me that I can take pleasure in. After you read the list you will have a clearer idea of what I'm on about.

1. Having tea in one of my Emma Bridgewater mugs.  Anyone who reads this blog or knows me is aware of my passion for lovely dishes and tableware.  These are the things we use everyday, and you are worth it- tea is my drug so why not have beautiful paraphernalia.  Don't just drink or eat from plastic or melamine- go out and get yourself something beautiful that makes you smile.

2. This sounds totally demented, but I have a huge thing for tea towels. I cannot resist them and I have a large collection. My everyday ones are from Williams-Sonoma (bought on sale)*and I have others that I have picked up from all over.

3. I came to the conclusion that I was better off buying things like sheets and towels at higher end stores, and they last so much longer.  I splurged on some flannels and Egyptian cotton ones at L.L. Bean, and they can be washed hundreds of times and still look new.  The lesser quality frays and rips- so I do think it's better to have fewer things that I have spent the money on.  In the long run, you don't have to replace them as often- just make sure you LOVE them, and you will always be happy.

4. I love my Birkenstocks, and am happy that it is coming up to "Arizona" weather.

5. My cats- these 2 completely crack me up.

5. My friends- they are all people I can have a laugh with. We do talk about the serious side of life too, but there is always humour there.

6. My family- sometimes we laugh so hard we get stomach aches. You can't be around here if you can't take a joke.  That's how we relate.

7. Of course, my yarn, fiber and fabric stashes give me pleasure.  I have really not purchased anything lately, because I have enough to keep me going for a long time. What I have in my stash I really love.

8. Nice knitting needles- my favorites being Addi Turbos and Chiao Goos.  I have been collecting a long time and now I think I better mention these in my will.

9. I love my car.

10. The satisfaction of knowing that I have all I need, great family and friends, and that life is good. You can't ask for more than that, and I am grateful every single day.

*this is the art of living well- wait for the sales. I stalk the higher end stores, and there are bargains to be had, and it's all part of the fun.

On Friday night, FC, Miss Mew and I went to see Dame Edna Everage's Farewell Tour in Toronto. My face was hurting from laughing, we had such an amazing time.
I have been busy sewing- this is for a dear friend who happens to be a kitty pusher.
There is soon to be another addition to our ranks, and I found this cute pattern on Ravelry for free.  There are Peter Rabbit buttons on it- which I have had for ages.

This week I will also be picking up my new progressive eyeglasses- I guess it had to happen at some point, but I'm not worried.  Nothing to do with my age......

Fleece out and have a good week.














Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Favorite Sandwiches

Let's get to the 10:

1. At Planet Organic, they have one that is on a ciabatta bun, and there's sliced brie, greens, tomatoes*, and not sure what, but dayum, is it good.

2. Grilled cheese- good old Kraft slices on Texas Toast, with zucchini relish (my friend Pat turned me on to it).

3. Black forest ham on rye, with mustard and swiss- melted.

4. Toasted peanut butter, but you have to put butter on the toast first.

5. Toasted tomato* with mayo, and sometimes bacon.

6. I'm guessing a burger is a sandwich, and  my current fav is the Hero burger, with cheese, pickles and mayo.

7. Egg salad with dill in it.

8. Chicken Salad- but made properly. I like sprouts on top too.

9. Tim Horton's has these pretzel bagels, with salt chunks on top, and who cares if anything else is in them.

10. A fried-egg sandwich with ketchup.

I'm going to make a grilled cheese with brie and apples and walnuts. Looked good- but I'll give it to my daughter, as I'm not eating alot of carbs these days.

I do hope the Easter Bunny is good to everyone, and Tino has no idea what an Easter Bunny is, but he hopes there will be mousies.
Silly goof doesn't fit in the middle of his toy anymore- but he doesn't care.

* these are the only times I will eat raw tomatoes.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cleaning Up The Act

So, it's Spring.  Alot of us are thinking about cleaning up, and it's something I think alot about, because it's what I do.  I grew up with a parent who practically sterilized our house, and if you sat down on something, she would smooth it over as soon as you got up. It was neurotic.

In my house, you will definitely find dustbunnies, and the odd cobweb.  But on whole, my dishes are done, my counters are clean, and the floors are swept.  But clutter, oh, the clutter. I am a knitter (spinner, sewist, needlepointer, cross-stitcher....) so I have alot of supplies.  However, they are organized and tidy and I do know exactly what I have.  The crawlspace, and the garage, not so much.  Those are not my domains.
Have you seen this book in the bookstore, or blogosphere? LIFE-CHANGING.  Who could resist?

I wish I did.  The author names her routine after herself.  If you follow her advice, it's simple: start in your closet, and take out every single item.  If you don't feel love and excitement about it, then it goes. This is the premise of the book.  Then you move on to other things (you're also advised not to store out-of-season clothes). 

(Rant coming on)- I like to be open-minded.  I read this, and my niece read it (I value her opinion).  We both came to the same conclusion.  Maybe if you live in Japan, and are restricted space-wise, I can see where this might be helpful.  But let's be honest. I live in a middle-class home, larger by Japanese standards, but not a mansion.  I accumulate. Human beings do.  We are programmed to buy- even if it's groceries (just try getting out of the store for under 100.00 bucks!)- and so, this book is way off the mark.  The author advocates laying folded clothes sideways in the drawer, which would cause all kinds of havoc when you actually try to remove something. 

By the time you have implemented the Kon-Mari (yes!) system, not only will you have conquered clutter, you will never have to do it again. You have arrived at a clutter free life, once and for all.  As I neared the end of the book, I came to the conclusion, well, she's deluded.

Life simply isn't lived that way.  And I don't care where you live, it isn't the reality.  So, like all the rest of us, have a Spring Clean, and put aside the things you no longer want, because guess what, it's GARAGE SALE season.

I think this book will be tossed on the pile-

Oh, and happy Spring.

I'm fleecin'.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Things You Would Buy if You Had A Pot of Gold

Who's Irish and lives in your backyard?

Paddy O'Stone

I know that alot of people think about what they would do if they won the lottery, or came into some money. It kind of depends what sort of money we're talking about, doesn't it?  Sure, a few hundred would be nice, maybe a few thousand.  Alot of us think in terms of millions, so since this is 2015, and a million now buys you a detached house in Toronto- and not even a great one in a nice neighborhood, I'm guessing that the pot of gold has to be pretty big.  Let's play:

1. A Land Rover Defender.

2. A personal chef- there are some rules: they have to make low fat food that I like, and they shop, come in at a certain time, have everything ready and they don't talk to me.  Between 5:00 and 6:00 pm is arsenic hour around here, and I watch the news at 5:00. Oh and they have to clean up too.

3. Nice homes for my kids, sister and close friends.

4. A gardener, one who knows about plants and cuts grass and pulls weeds. 

5. Maybe a few Chesapeake Bay Retreivers:
My dream dog, which is larger than a Labrador (love those too) and has a curlier coat.  They are famous swimmers, and like Labradors, have the webbed feet, oily coat and otter tail.

6. Lots of money to the cat rescue.
Laura had some Ragdoll kittens- they went to good homes.
7. Trip to Germany, England, Scotland and maybe the Baltics.

8. A spending spree at Gudrun Sjoden.

9. Lots of money to Sick Childrens Hospital and Princess Margaret Cancer Center.

10. I think I'm exhausted having spent all that money.

Would I really be happier having all those things?  Not really.  But thinking about it can be fun sometimes.  And I do love animals.

Not much to report since last week. I did manage to figure out how to thread the new serger, and sort of figured out that if you don't have the lower looper thread OVER the upper looper, you're doomed. As I was cursing and swearing, I did wonder what kind of evil mind ever came up with the idea of such a convoluted plan, I think I've cracked it.

I raise a cup of Irish Breakfast Tea to you- for those that are Irish, or wish they were-

Slainte.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sewing and Knitting and Fiber-Oh MY!

For the first time, in weeks, we have temps above 0 C.  This, of course, brings on my headaches, because I am a barometer, and can predict these things.  I suspect, though, winter is not done with us yet, but it's nice not to have to wrap up like a mummy when you go out.

Why yes, I HAVE been out and about.  FC got me a very nice prezzie:
This is a 4 thread serger, or overlocker.  Once I figure out how to thread it (you don't have to, it has been pre-threaded) and use it, it means that I can make my own clothes using knits. To be honest, I am so tired of trying to buy clothes that I can wear at reasonable prices.  All my stores are gone, and it's insane to shop online as the duty and taxes are just stupid.  This will make it possible to buy really quality fabrics and finish them like store-bought.  This is the plan.
Miss Mew finished her "walk-away" dress- it's a vintage pattern that is still available, and as she is lucky enough to have a slim waist, and a figure that looks great in this silhouette (New Look)- I think she did a superb job.

I have also purchased some patterns that I know I will use alot- check out the Margot pants with the ties on them. Cute?  I got some 100% linen in a medium blue for those. I am really trying to stay away from black, unless it's for leggings.  The Gabby dress patten can be shortened as a tunic-y sort of thing, as well as a great loose dress for warmer weather.
There are more babies being added to the family, so yesterday while I was tidying up, I whipped off this large receiving blanket.
I also finished another pair of socks. These are Tadpoles (free pattern) done in BMFA Lightweight in Hobbit's Garden. I have come to the conclusion that Blue Moon, for the price, and the colours is really my favorite sock yarn.  In fact, I pretty much like everything I have ever knit from her stuff.
I have also been spinning- this is Fat Cat BFL in "Romanesque" which I have spun as a gradient.  The paler green is Bartlett.
And Tino is a little bit narked at me, as he thought that blankie might have been his.

Next time, Tino.

And we're fleecin' out.





Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Ten On Tuesday- Tuesday But Not 10

I am not playing the 10 today as I can't think of  anyone, real or imagined, that I would invite to dinner right now.  Unless it's that cute Patrick Grant from The Great British Sewing Bee and he wears his kilt, like he did on the last program.  Gasp and swoon!!!!  He would be allowed.

We had the coldest February on record.  It went on for most of the month.  Someone asked me yesterday if I thought the snow was over.  Pffft- we often get snow in April.  But I have been busy around here.
Ta da! I have finished my handspun Gnarled Oaks cardigan.  It's blocked and has buttons. Done and dusted.  I used FatCat Knits BFL in Sugared Beets.

The only downside was these oak leaves.  Very clever, but fiddly.  Never mind, I will probably never do another one, but I can recommend the pattern.  Those are oak buttons from Etsy.

On Saturday we went to the TIFF Lightbox and saw an old Barbara Stanwyck film, The Lady Eve, on the big screen.  We parked at the subway and took the train downtown.  I have to say, the subway never really changes, does it?  Same old weirdoes, especially at night.  It was a good film and probably the first time I've been out in months.  I should probably do it more often.

A very bad boy who can't bear it if you aren't paying attention to him every second. Trying to spin, sew, knit- live- is hard around here. 

Ah well.  Fleecin'-