Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ten On Tuesday- 10 More Days To HoHoHo

I was sick all last week with a horrible cold/flu thing.  FC is still coughing, but I was in bed like a stuffed up slug, so I lost a week.  Oh well.

The tree (23.00 at Target) is denuded of decorations, due to the fact that Tino jumps up and gets them for Howard to play with. So the only decs are on the top third. It looks a little strange.

I also won't be sending out any cards this year, as they were supposed to go out last week.

However, I did get all the wrapping done yesterday. As I was doing it, I was thinking about 2014 and all the things that happened.

1. I went alot out of my comfort zone in some ways.  I gave a presentation to a local guild in May, and faced my fears of public speaking.  I'm still terrified, but glad I did it. It was alot of fun.

2. I started knitting toys, but sophisticated ones.  I said I would never do this.
Laura's Sugarplum Ellie.

3. Got interviewed for television for Wool Week (doesn't seem to have been aired....)

4. Organized my stash into proper bins, instead of plastic uglies.

5. Spun a number of different fibers- Masham, Wensleydale, Finn, BFL/Nylon, and some others I can't remember.

No, none of these things will make a difference to the world, but they did in my world.  I have some things I would like to do in 2015 as well.

I am going to bake cookies (Ginger Molasses, Candy Cane and Lavender Shortbread)- but I have to clear off the counters and clean all the surfaces first.  I enjoy the quiet time before everyone is home for the holidays.  I even have my turkey and food all tucked away, and the only thing I will buy next week is dessert and the celery.
I hope to sit down this afternoon and finish spinning this- Rainbow Reindeer BFL from Blue Moon Fiber Arts.

Tino is starting to worry that he has made the naughty list.  Is there still hope?




Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Favorite Stores

Now we're talkin'- though I am not the shopping fiend I used to be, I do love a good snoop- (I'm a browser on my mother's side)

1.  Has to be Say Tea.  I grew up in Bloor West, and I remember the first owner, who devoted a whole store to tea.  The original tin ceilings are there, as well as a beautiful display window with all manner of china, and high quality stuffed toys.  It went through a few changes over the years, and now the current owner has brought it back to it's original spirit, and it's better than ever.  My favorite tea is Blue Lady, but Monk's Blend and "Falling for Walnuts" are excellent. My Kingdom for Emma Bridgewater, and they let me know what's coming.

2. Williams-Sonoma.  I have a passion for beautiful kitchenware, as well as utensils and linens, but I will say that I only buy on sale, and you have to know when to hit (after the major holidays).

3. Roots.  Originators of the "earth shoe", they make the best exercise pants (not that I exercise) but high quality cottons and leathers.  They are not made in Canada, which is a huge disappointment (Russell Athletics and Tiger Brand were the makers) but still, it's what I live in.  Again, shop the outlets (Roots 1973 is slightly different) and the sales.

4. Sephora.  It's like a cosmetic wonderland, and I love Urban Decay and a newish brand of lipstick to me, Kat Von D (the scent is creme brulee)- my daughter and I lose our minds in there.

5. Eddie Bauer.  I am a slave to their Boyfriend jeans, as well as the flannel shirts.  I buy all FC's non work clothes here.

6. Romni Wools.  If you live in, or have heard of, Toronto, then this is the yarn lover's Mecca.  I buy my needles (Addi Rockets are a new favorite) as well as basic worsteds.  The bargain basement is not to be missed, because you just never know what you'll find.

7. Hudson's Bay.  Also known as "The Bay".  For some reason, Canadians don't do department stores well, and this is now owned by Americans.  But they still sell the iconic Fur Trader's blankets, but for sales on shoes and things, it's pretty good.  I do miss Eaton's and Simpsons.

8. I know it is supposed to be bricks and mortar stores, but the last three are for fiber purchases.
Fat Cat Knits- a spinners freakout online.  Ginny is a true dye artist, and pretty much anything you can dream up is there.

9. Three Waters Farm.  Love MaryAnn's colour sense, and there is always something new and exciting.

10. Blue Moon Fiber Arts.  I have been a loyal customer for years, Socks That Rock and now I have tried the fiber.  She also does seasonal colorways which are amazing.

So that's about it.  Other than the grocery store, which I guess I live in, these are the stores I shop in.
If I come to your town, I would not be adverse to you showing me your favorites.

I made a series of Fox Isle hats, as I had alot of yarn leftover.
Alex calls Tino "Atinna the Hun" and he's not far off.

Fleece Out.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Route of Ho Ho Happiness

Yes- it's coming on Sunday.  The 2014 Santa Claus Parade!
I love it- all the floats, and the children, and the pipe bands.  Such a great time in Toronto. I won't be attending in person, but I will have my hot chocolate and watching on TV.

I have been busy making yet more bunnies- and another animal.  This one is a prototype for more ballerina's- I just love it.
I am using Knitpicks Pallette doubled.  This is a good yarn for toys as it's strong, not too pricey and comes in many colours.  She also has a sparkly tutu, because the more sparkle, the better.  Her tail is angora.
Miss Mew will be getting a Sugarplum Elephant under the tree this year- she will be in bright pink and sparkly tulle as well. (giggle).

I am spinning some BFL from Blue Moon Fiber Arts in "Christmas Balls"
I am trying to explain to Tino about how only cats that behave get things in their stocking.

I don't think it's getting through...... fleece out.



Saturday, November 1, 2014

First Snow

We are having a bit of wet snow, on this first day of November.  Halloween was fun last night- Alex had his fog machine, and his buddy came out of the fog with a devil mask on.  Even though it was cold and rainy, I think the kids had fun, and most of the candy was given out.
I carved the pumpkin- but even more exciting is my Emma Bridgewater mug celebrating this time of year.  You can get yours at Say Tea and so many other wonderful things.



 I made a boy bunny- a Piebald, for my female rabbit. These are so much fun.

I also have a Wild Thing- the kit was purchased on Etsy, but you can buy the pattern on Ravelry.  This is a Wild Wumpus from Maurice Sendak's- "Where the Wild Things Are"-this was also alot of fun.

I am guessing that since it is November, alot of us will be thinking about gifts this year.  I have a few tucked away, but am scaling back quite a bit. Snow tires are what I will be spending most of my budget on-
...but I do have a crazy cat who is not aware that he no longer fits into the middle of his toy.  He went to sleep in it.

What a guy.



Saturday, October 18, 2014

Have a Nice Trip, See Ya Next Fall

Happy Saturday. I have a routine that doesn't change every Saturday. I get up (I do!), do the teeth and the  hair, feed the kittens, turn the heat lights on for the dragons, make tea, get dressed, start the laundry, sit down with my tea, read The Globe and do the crossword.  I love the crossword, and the Suduko. 

This weekend is a few things, Rhinebeck, Woodstock and my son's birthday.  He is going to see King Diamond tonight- we got him his ticket and some cash for a t-shirt.  I can't believe he is 26 today. My baby.

I will not be attending Rhinebeck, as I have been once and that was enough.  I will, however, be doing some spinning in the spirit of the festival-
This is some Into The Whirled BFL/Nylon in her "Rhinebeck" color. That's as close as I want to get.

I did indeed bring back some fibery goodness from Vermont a few weeks ago- some sparkly roving caught my eye- this reminded me of snow:
I also wanted some Cormo, and got some, but it's mixed with some other breeds, a bit random, but oh-so-soft:
I have been finishing some projects.  I have become majorly sidetracked by making these adorable animals from Little Cotton Rabbits (see sidebar).
This one was a gift for Miss Mew- cupcake bunny.
And this one is mine- I charted some carrots, and put them around her skirt.  She's getting a Piebald boyfriend, I'm just making his clothes, as this is a family blog, and there will be no NUDE rabbits.
I have just finished these- a free pattern on Ravelry, Opp/Att.  I am using this clever dyers Opposites Attract sock yarn.  How I managed to make 2 the same, I still can't figure out, but darned if I will be frogging.  Alot of fun, and I recommend this yarn.  Fun colours and fun pattern.
Tinnamon Toast Crunch has been a harrassant all week. I think he's afraid I am going to leave him again, and has been a klingon. 

Fleecin' out- have a great week.








Tuesday, October 7, 2014

What Happens In Vermont...

...stays in Vermont.  Because nothing much happens in Vermont.  That was on a t-shirt.  I didn't buy that one, but I got a few from the Vermont Sheep and Wool festival on Saturday.

We left early on Thursday morning and managed to bypass alot of the traffic on the 401.  I never look forward to this kind of drive because the 401 is BORING.  I like looking out the windows, and I tell you, there is very little to see.

After getting messed around in Quebec (quelle suprise!) we crossed at an odd little border station into Vermont.  You're also in New York state for about 2 minutes.

 The first thing you notice once on the highway are the Green Mountains. They're everywhere.

We stayed in White River Junction- a very random little place.  There are no really big cities there.  It's literally a 2 minute drive to New Hampshire- so if you're looking for big box stores, or a chain restaurant, you probably need to go there. We did eat at a local cafe, the Crossroads, and for under 10.00 we got a huge all-day breakfast with real Vermont maple syrup. Maple syrup is everywhere- a huge business in the state.

Friday we went to Manchester, after surviving the bus tour people at breakfast.  They were there from Nashville to look at the leaves.  FC asked if that will ever be us, on a "Making Memories" bus tour. Uh, no. This is high tourist season in October.

We did visit the Vermont Country Store.  It has a little covered bridge outside, which isn't real, and on our whole trip, we only saw one actual covered bridge. They are a little off the beaten tracks- and hard to find.

Tunbridge, Vermont is a small town with a general store, and it has a large fairgrounds where the festival was held. The people in Vermont, not just at the fair, are extremely welcoming and friendly.  And not because they want to sell you something- they take time to chat and ask where you're from and are truly interested.
 This sweet little Jacob sheep was for sale- 225.00 and I could have had a new lawn mower. And lots of fertilizer.
Goats are always funny- this one spied a blueberry muffin on the table.
These are the first Gotland sheep in Vermont, according to the owner. They're March lambs and were just adorable.
Alpaca whispering is one of my hobbies- being a camelid they can spit, but this one was friendly.
And on the way back we got a crappy pic from the car- an old covered bridge. Some of these are really old, and I would hesitate to drive through them.
The kittens were thrilled, as they got to sleep with their brother in his bed. 

Fleecin' out.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Vroom Vroom

The topic for 10 On Tuesday is 10 cars you have had. I don't think that I have had 10, but I'll tell you about the ones I remember.  I may not have photos of the actual car, but I can jack some from the interwebs.

1.
Not the actual car- but a 1972 Buick Skylark was the first car I bought.  Not exactly a boat, but really comfortable with bench seats. I am laughing at seeing some of them pimped out like hotrods- it wasn't exactly a....

2. Firebird.

Mine was a 1978- red with orange stripes and white upholstery.  I even had fuzzy dice. OMG.

3. I drove a series of crappy Flintstone cars. I learned to drive a stickshift, bypassing first gear.
4. I bought a brand new 1985 Subaru GL-
Mine was also silver, and we called it "Scooby Doo".
5. I had a Dodge Caravan, which I hated. I called it the Bozo Bus because everyone would say "oh you have room for so-and-so". Got rid of that crapcan in a hurry.
6. I loved my Jeep Cherokee, champagne colour.  Had problems with a porous block so it turned out to be a gas sucking lemon.  I think there was a Dodge Neon in there somewhere.
7. A 1998 Ford Explorer- Wedgwood Blue.
We called it "The Exploder".
8. A 2000 Pontiac Grand Am.  Millenium Silver.
9. And now I drive a 2008 Volkswagon Rabbit.  I think this is my favorite vehicle of all.


Here's the actual car, behind FC's actual shitbox.  Psst- don't tell him I called it that. Guys are SO sensitive about their cars.

Fleece out. Oh, and happy Equinox!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

10 On Tuesday- Ten Things You Do to Get Your Home Ready For Fall


I'm guessing this topic is for people who like to decorate seasonally.  I used to- but I never went as far as the wheat sheaves and hay bales.  I have a simple wreath on my front door.

1. I bake. After a hot summer (ok, not so hot but I don't bake in any month that doesn't have an "r" in it).
Pumpkin Pie bread.
2. Wash all mattress pads and duvets.  Vacuum and flip mattresses.
3. Wash outside windows- I did that yesterday.
4. Usually, begin a sweater.  I have started mine, Gnarled Oak Cardigan.
I am using handspun this year.
5. Plan Christmas gifts, but this year will be alot less.  I am only buying for the kinders and FC.
6. I am all booked for this year's wool event, being Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival.
7. Clear out clothes- 2 large bags to Goodwill. Ahhhh!
8.  Buy a new lipstick- because, why not? New York Apple this time.
9. Clean out fridge and freezer. Turkeys will be on sale soon, and I need space. I took everything out of the fridge upstairs and washed down the shelves, and the bottom mount freezer. As well as the chest freezer downstairs.
10. Go for walks, and enjoy AUTUMN!!!!!!!
Spelt pear muffins- amazing.




I have finished my girl Fox, and she also has a cardigan to match her dress.
There is an opening in the back of the dress which is hysterical.  I'm pretty pleased with her.

The kittens are MIA this morning. Tino is probably upstairs by the bathroom door waiting for his hero Alex to get out of the shower. 

And today, I'm going to get Superworms for the dragons,  It's a full life.

Fleece out.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

10 On Tuesday- Ten Books That Stayed With You Long After You Read Them

This may be a very diverse list.

"No sense makes sense"
Charles Milles Manson

1. Helter Skelter.:  I am a huge true-crime reader. The opening sentence says "this book will scare the hell out of you".  It will.  I don't think in any way that it glorifies or tries to justify what happened on the nights of August 9 and 10th , 1969, in Los Angeles.  But it changed the world.
Written by the prosecutor, Vincent Bugliosi, who to some, comes across to some as arrogant and egotistical, this book will indeed stay with you.  Forever.

2. A Question Of Guilt: The murder of Nancy Eaton.  This took place in Toronto, and examines the problem of those with mental illness, and how something like this could happen.  If you know Toronto, you know the Eaton name as well as the Oslers, whom the killer was related to.

3. Four Days In November: Many questions remain unanswered about the assassination of JFK.  This is an excerpt from the more comprehensive Reclaiming History, and follows a timeline of what happened, who was there and when.  Again, Bugliosi writes so that you will not want to put this down.  The theory is that Oswald acted alone, and backs up those claims.

4. In case you think I spend my reading time solving cold cases- September by Rosamund Pilcher. If you really want to have some great escapism, start with Coming Home, September and Winter Solstice. Pilcher brings her characters and scenery to life- but they aren't schmaltzy.  I reread this in September- maybe not every year, but this one.  I enjoy it every time.

5. Where The Wild Things Are.  Max's journey to the land of the wild things.  Completely charming, and a masterpiece of artwork.  I have fond memories of reading this to my son, and in fact, his nickname is another Maurice Sendak boy- Bumble Ardy.

6. Another subject that I am fascinated by is the downshifters, or those that live on the land.  This book is a contemporary one, and fairly new, Adventures In Yarn Farming, by Barbara Perry.  This chronicles the year on a sheep farm, with all it's joys, and sometimes mess.  For those of us who dream of it, or have yet to make the leap, this is almost as good as the real deal.

7. Tasha Tudor's Heirloom Crafts.  To those who know the author and children's illustrator, Tasha Tudor, she was a women who lived life exactly as she wanted.  In fact, she felt most comfortable in the 1830's, and her home, dress and lifestyle reflected this.  This will make you question our fast-paced, high speed world, and find joy in simple pleasures.

8. Woodswoman, continuing on. Anne LaBastille not only dreamed it, she lived it. Deep in the Adirondacks, she built 2 homes, and made a living as a Guide and a writer. Sadly, she passed away, but these books are a wonderful legacy to an extraordinary woman.

9 and 10: Sylvia's Farm, I came across this book on a remainder pile, and it is my comfort "feel-good" book.  Sylvia Jorrin lives on a farm in the Catskill mountains, and has a huge pile of a mansion. She accidentally got into sheep farming over 20 years ago, and chronicles life on Greenleaf here, but if you read this and want more, and you will, she has published this.  I ran into her at my visit to Rhinebeck, and she is a tiny little woman, but so fascinating.
I am making a girl fox doll- just doing her dress and a cardigan. Whether she will have the male companion remains to be seen, as this entails alot of detailed work, more than the mice.
And here is some fuzzy kitty feelings- Valentino- who truly cares about nothing.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

August, Die She Must

 August, die she must,
The autumn winds blow chilly and cold;
September I'll remember.
A love once new has now grown old.


"April, Come She Will"- Paul Simon

This may be a picture/link heavy post.  It's become hot and humid, and will be for the next few days.  I guess we had to get it at some point, but I was hoping we wouldn't have to turn on the a/c.  Oh well.

Miss Mew had her birthday, just a small get-together. Last year I made her the litter-box cake, which is probably just missing the acceptable taste-barrier, so this year, something different.
Kitty cupcakes. Jelly-tot noses and Swedish fish in the mouth. Chocolate, of course.
They were a hit with the Birthday girl.
We even had a visitor- I'm pretty sure it was a Baltimore Oriole.
On Saturday, we went to Black Creek Pioneer Village.
I haven't been there since I was in grade school- and for some reason, it seemed alot bigger, not smaller like you usually remember.  This is not an actual village, but the buildings are authentic, having been moved there from various places in Ontario.  There is a doctor's house, a weavers, tavern (they brew Black Creek Ale) a printing place with old presses, and the guides look like villagers.
One of the old looms was set-up for overshot weaving.  In the back is a warp swift.
They have a small flock of Border Leicester sheep- who seemed friendly.
She was very social- they shear, wash, dye and spin the fleeces.  There were several spinning wheels in and around the different buildings.  One place, a house, creeped me out so bad when I went upstairs, I was a bit shaken up.  Then one of the guides told me it freaked her out too.  Odd.

I am making a Fox doll.  This lady writes the most comprehensive patterns for various animals, and I got the Piebald (patchy) rabbit, as well as this lady fox.  Here's what the head looked like before somebody got it last night.  These are alot of work- intarsia and embroidery, but I like a challenge.  As I said, there is no guessing, the patterns are very well done.

I came across this blog- and have spent a while reading her archives.  It is pure delight to those of us who dream of keeping a small farm and spinners flock.  Her photography and photo captions are superb- and the baby pictures of her sheep Maisy were featured on Buzzfeed.  I have never seen a cuter lamb- but then they are all cute (PPPP- Popcorn Pee-Pee Pants and Chocula)- as well as cats and dogs.
I hope to get one of her calendars for 2015.

Valentino's head is upside down.  So far, no one is owning up to ravaging the fox head, but it has HOWARD written all over it.

Fleece out- and happy September!