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-


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'-

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ten On Tuesday- It's Tuesday already?

The Ten On Tuesday was 10 Things You Are Looking Forward To.  I bet alot of us are probably going to say "warmer weather"- because, I tell ya, it has been friggin cold out.  Not that it is unusual, but it's gone on for days- weeks now, and there is more to come. February is the cruellest month- so I've been pretty much sticking around the house.

I did venture out on Saturday and went to Say Tea.  I have been coveting this tin, and thought it would be good to store cookies or muffins in.  Much nicer than that crummy Ziploc container.  And Sonny-O does love Oatmeal Raisin cookies.

So, I'm not going to do the list, because I think I sometimes forget to live in the moment.  Yes, Spring weather will be nice, but then the dreaded heat follows after, and I don't want to think about it. So I won't.

I made 2 baby sweaters and hats for upcoming arrivals.  It's hard to find nice non-acrylic washable yarn that doesn't feel icky.  This is Knitpicks Swish Worsted in PeaPod and Carnation.  Also, nice buttons are getting harder to find without going on a major expedition to Spadina and Queen, so I just made do with Fabricland. 

I've got some sparkly batts on my Schacht-Reeves, and this will be a laceweight. I love this store, Nunoco, and I always request extra sparkle. This one is Whisper, and it morphs from pale green, pale blue into a violet.  Love it.

Here is a pic of some huge icicles that are on our eavestroughs.  Those babies are honkin big!!!

I'll be fleecin'- no cat pics this time as I'm not quite sure where they are.  Tino needs his sleep from all the mousing he's been doing.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Ten On Tuesday. I Love......

This post won't be about people because those that I adore hopefully know who they are.  On with the list:

1. Walking outside when it's really windy.

2. Sleeping in- probably a guilty pleasure.

3. Thunder storms.

4. The satisfaction of a job well done.

5. Anyone who laughs and sees the funny side of things.

6. Reading in bed (with a cup of tea).

7. Knitting and spinning (duh)

8. Sparkly things.

9. Driving fast.

10. Cats and dogs.

I have finished my quilt- can you believe it?  It has been on the list of projects to finish since forever, and I will have a big reveal when the room upstairs is done.  I got a head and footboard on Kijiji, and need to frame some prints.  Then paint- and that will have to wait until it isn't so cold, as we have very little insulation in this house.  And that's another thing I love- having a mess and then putting it all back together.

I also finished the Fragile Heart  shawl- I used Colorshift yarn in the Crimson to Midnight gradient- and decided as I was knitting it, it had Miss Mew's name on it.  Red is her favorite, and I also used over a whole package of beads, so yeah, it was meant to be.  Another thing I love- Etsy.
Kinda nice, eh?  And- SPARKLY!

Valentino would like to wish everyone a wonderful St. Valentines day. He lets me play with his paws.  Do something you love.

Fleecin' out.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ten On Tusday- 10 Kinds of Footwear

Huh?  10 kinds of footwear?  Ok, I'll play.  Though I'm not obsessed with shoes like some people are.

1. Hunter Wellingtons.
ok, let me qualify this. I had a pair of dark blue ones, but the issue was my calves were a little short of the mark, and I couldn't really bend my legs with them on. So, I gave them to Miss Mew, and got a pair of  Huntresses, which have a shorter shaft.  Mine are black, not shiny and I have the wellie socks.

2. I'm a knitter, and yes I do wear Birkenstocks.  Been wearing them for over 25 years. Arizonas, blue suede.

3. Laurentian Chief Moccasins- I live in them.  They are NOT for streetwear, and I like the deerhide. If you get the furry ones, they start to reek and your cat will live in them.

4. Uggs- Mine are full length, black suede with studs in them. They cost a fortune.

5. Halflingers- German made woolen clogs and slippers. I have the sheep slippers and some outside ones with leaves on them. They kind of go with everything, and heck, so what if they don't.

Won't be making it to 10, because I never wear shoes out, ever.  That's why I buy something a bit more expensive and not trendy because chances are, I'll be buried in them.

Being winter, we are catching up on some tv shows, Downton Abbey (a little boring...) and another which is amazing, Last Tango in Halifax.  This is about a couple who were friends in their teens, and fate had a hand in them not getting together. Fast forward 60 years, and surprise, they find each other on Facebook.  There are so many twists and turns to this, you really don't know what will happen next.  One of the lines in it, which I found wonderful-

Hobbies include: farting about and doing bugger all.

Some of my hobbies include quilting, and I am almost finished the eternal quilt of doom.
Yes, it is possible to do the machine quilting without a long arm machine, however, be prepared for alot of swearing and wrestling, and, well, other annoyances.
Tino only wants to help.

Fleece out.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Monday Musing

You know- I think sometimes I am a bit odd. I hasten to qualify this-I don't mind Mondays at all. It's the beginning of a new week, and to look forward to what can be accomplished.  Not so much with housework, although I plan to go upstairs and do a massive clear out of my closet. There are things in there which I know I won't wear, and a clear closet is better for my morale.  I hate having to cram things in a drawer.

I also like this time of year, whether the sun is out or not.  It's quiet and peaceful, and I like watching the snow fall- no garden to clear up, maybe a bit of shovelling, it's nice.

I even have a finished knitting project- for those who don't hang on Ravelry too much:
This is the Ka'ana shawlette- which is a freebie, and Blue Moon Fiber Arts Twisted, in "A Room Without a Roof"- the yellow goes with my coat, and I have made a few of these.

Knitters can never have enough gadgets, and I got this from Santa.  True, it can be used as a nasty weapon, but it's meant to hold a would skein of  yarn as you are knitting. This Etsy seller made it, and it's in marblewood.  Cool, huh?

I'm also finishing up some Fair Isle designs, which I have to decide what I'm going to do with. A hat and a tam, as well as a V-neck pullover- I will probably self publish these patterns. The inspiration is Canadian Art- as in The Group of Seven, mostly influenced by landscapes of the north.  There are colour stories that haven't been explored in knitting- and to go to a gallery and look at these is to experience Canada as these artists perceived it.

I also have in mind another square Shetland shawl, and have some books on order from Heirloom Knitting- Sharon is a historian as well as a designer, and her books are well worth the price. 

The boys are enjoying the fire, and peacing out.  Tino has his paw around Howard.

Have a great week.