Reasons to Smile

I spent my Minneapolis money for the next three years on a 2007 Ford Escape. Are you mad?

I should back up a bit. Saturday, I missed my sister's surprise 30th birthday party because I feared a breakdown halfway to Woodstock with two kids in the backseat and me pulling my hair out. Sunday afternoon, I officially went on strike from the Focus. However, despite many tests and maintenance checks, the Focus has passed with fantastic results. Apparently all of this paranoia is in my head, but as far as I am concerned, it's a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. But everyone keeps saying it's fine!

Don't worry! I will try to make up for this lack of cash by selling my wares on the street corner if I must. That's a whole lotta princess drawings and boob brooches!!

Tip of the day: To make another person smile, send them a card on a holiday from their favourite piece of equipment. Lesley got a Valentine's Day card from the laminator, and she glowed for a week. It was postmarked and everything - the most bizarre of mysteries. That being said, I would appreciate some love reciprocated from the i5000 (the photocopier). I just give and give and give . . .


Road Kill and Other Luxuries

Dear N,

I agree that we need to get our little blog out there. I'm not quite sure how to do that though. Perhaps we should participate in some of the knit alongs or comment on other blogs with our address attached.

No, this is not a picture of road kill, nor is it a land mine victim. It is my unstuffed bunny. I've got the second one on the needles. They knit up surprisingly fast. I haven't yet decided what to use for features. Button eyes kind of made him look creepy, like he was dead. I'm thinking maybe felt because beads could be pulled off by little hands.

Also because of the snow storm this weekend (over a foot) I had an excuse to stay indoors and knit. I started and finished a towel topper for my mom's birthday on Saturday (happy birthday Mom! even though you don't read this). I'll send it off to Vancouver tomorrow. I was also able to leisurely clean the house. It's such a luxury to have time to clean the house and actually enjoy it. Am I crazy? Do I need to get out more? I'd one day like to have the ultimate house keeping luxury--to do the laundry and iron EVERYTHING. Imagine all of those crisp pillowcases and t-shirts neatly folded in drawers.

I think that sweater/shawl thingy looks interesting. For a second there I thought it also converted into a shoulder bag. Now that would really be interesting and do you even have hips? You so crazy!

T used a snow blower for the first time in his life today. What a guy! Grace would be so proud of us digging ourselves out of the ginormous snow bank at the end of the driveway so that we could make it to church today.

Hope you had a great weekend and looking forward to an SRyans-less next few weeks. You deserve it!


Are there landmines left in Vietnam?

Am I absolutely crazy for wanting to make one of these? Is it fugly? Am I just wanting to make it because it looks easy, or is it somewhat cool? Truth is, I am not a vest person at all, but how different is it from a wrap? Do you think it would make my hips look massive?

I took the Foc-ass in for my bi-annual emissions test, and it actually passed. I am sure a part of me wished it hadn't, so I would have an excuse to replace the frickin' thing. The other part of me is relieved to no end that my bank account will go unscathed for a little while longer.

I will try to have some pictures for you tomorrow when the light is just right. I am working on some totes, and I can't wait to show them off. How's your stuffed bunny coming along?

Plus, at some point, we need to discuss some marketing strategies to get our blog out there. There could be book deals out there waiting or bloggie awards or strangers who are our best friends that we haven't met yet. Imagine the possibilities!!

Your best friend you already know,

Plans Gone Astray

Dear T,

I had big plans this evening. I rushed home, dropped off B, and picked up my knitting to whip out to the KNIT club for 5pm. Well, the drive started out just fine, but the more north I drove, the more windier and less visible the roads became. I made it 3/4 of the way and pulled into the Starbucks in front of Remark. While drinking my decaf and fretting over the increasingly horrible weather, I began knitting a toque for J. I got through the dreadful garter brim (I despise purling on a circular needle), and I forged back out to the car regardless of the winter storm - I was not going to miss a second of Grey's. Meredith could totally die without me! I can't believe that I have been sucked into watching that show. Seriously, I don't absolutely love any of the characters, and the plotlines are somewhat unbelievable, but I am insanely hooked.

I had planned on also buying a matted frame for more pencil-drawn princesses and some nylon webbing strap stuff for my tote bags I stitched up last night. I would have taken pictures, but they really can't hang to pose without the handles.

So much for getting any errands accomplished. Honestly, I am just glad that I made it home in one piece. The roads are crazy slick. E needs the computer in the worst way, so I will have to sign off for now. Tomorrow is sryans' first day of holidays, so you know what that means! And for those of you that don't - I will definitely be posting more. I promise.


Bunny Heads

Hey there N,

Just a quick post because I'm bored out of my mind at work. I definitely was NOT saying this last week.

What a lovely story about your reunion with the family. Makes you feel all warm on the inside. Also makes you develop a serious hankering for Timmies (even more so since I've given up coffee for Lent starting today).

I started on this little bunny stuffie last night. My goal was to knit him up with dpns but that didn't last very long. Pulled it out and knit up his head on two needles, which proved to be tons easier. Sorry, no pic but I will post a finished bunny when I'm done. I'd like to have two bunnies done for the girls for Easter so that gives me forty days and forty nights (ok, maybe Grace would not find that joke funny). Plus maybe a hat and some clothes for each (bunny, not girl).

Here is another super cute and less complicated stuffie to knit up.

He's from the Coats Crafts website. Wouldn't he be adorable with vintage print fabric embellishments?

Hope you have a good hump day. Also, I think the ruffly scarf may appeal to SRyan's girly side, albeit hidden from the light of day.



Verbal Verbiage

Dearest T,

It has a crazy weekend here on Donna Street. Saturday morning, the girls and I met up with the woman I most admired when I was a teenager. I should mention that as a teenager and like most other teenagers, I despised all grown-ups! They didn't have a clue about our lives, and we got no respect (as if it was deserved!). I can't remember exactly how Paula stumbled onto me, but I guess word got around that I was the best neighbourhood babysitter - or I hadn't a better social life. Her two children became my children - I honestly loved Krista and Graham. Krista was 2 years old, and Graham was only a few months old when I began watching them while their parents curled a few nights a week. Our favourite movie was Charlie & the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder - we watched it a few hundred times, the three of us squished onto a little sofa, and covering our eyes during the boat scene! It's a classic. It would take me years to type all the funny tales and kooky things we used to do. It got to be that I would cancel on my friends to watch these two on Friday nights. They were so cool. Still are . . . It may come as a shock, but growing up, I had the lowest self-esteem, and I was extremely introverted and shy. I know, now you can't shut me up, but it's true. But that family absolutely worshipped me. I was Graham's lunchdate at nursery school. I was the first person Krista would call when she earned a skating badge - before her Grandma! They used to pay me when I would drop in to chat over tea after school. When I was saving up for my trip to France, they made up babysitting jobs! When I moved across town, in my last year of highschool, and Krista could not see me from her backyard, she sobbed uncontrollably. I loved this family, and I worshipped them back tenfold.

So about two weeks back, I emailed Paula out of the blue. I literally had not seen or talked to her for ten years. She still teaches at Beal S.S. - two blocks from work! And she wrote me right back, and we had so much to catch up on. This weekend Krista was home from Carleton where she is taking Journalism, so Paula and Krista met me and the girls at Tim's for tea and hugs. I was very good and did not cry. We reminisced all the fun and tales for B and E. It was so special - I can't even begin to describe it. We plan to get together again soon.

Sunday was the big Family Fun Brunch. It was a great success! There was an endless supply of Starbucks coffee and hot chocolate - absolute heaven. The weather was horrible, but pretty outside my front window.
There's the shovel - get to work!

Here's a ruffly scarf I knit up in one night while watching A Good Woman starring Scarlett Johanssen (sp? - I can't be bothered to look it up). It was well done. It's hard to imagine Helen Hunt as a bit of a whore, but she pulls it off. I also watched Down in the Valley with Edward Norton - really freaky cowboy stuff. I heartily recommend it. Yesterday I knit up a black scarf exactly the same. Now here's the real shocker - I think I will wrap it up for sryans' 60th. She isn't a ruffly person, but I am sticking to it. The pattern is all in my head if you should ever want it. Here's B modelling it over oatmeal and naked Ken.

She says it is much too itchy, and she now prefers yellow to all other colours.

Something completely random -E's collection of monkeys - one's a Folkmanis (far left). They kind of scare me. And the one wearing high-tops is one of those Build-a-Bear things - she made a monkey, and the shirt has skulls on it!?! And the big yellow monkey is her first and favorite - it's from Canada's Wonderland and was a gift from Julia. E throws a fit if she can't take it with her overnight anywhere. She is so ga-ga over them, she took this picture, and I now have it permanently on the computer. Fantastic!

Back to you,

When the Room's a Rockin'...

You knit a rug! And no, it's not what you think, N. T and I use a humidifier throughout the year to keep the air moist as well as for a noise blocker. The gentle hum of the humidifier is nice to fall asleep to but when your downstairs neighbours hear it too, well, it's not so good. I've resorted to putting a folded up towel underneath to absorb the sound and vibration, which has proven quite effective (as our neighbours have told us) but aesthetically, not so pleasing. I considered buying a small rug for Humi (we name all of our humidifiers, and yes, we've gone through many of them) but when I was flipping through the copy of Mason Dixon Knitting that I requested from the library, I saw it--the log cabin rug--the answers to all of my problems (ok, problem, and it's not even really a problem). Anyway, I have started my very first log cabin, out of white yarn of unknown fiber that was in my stash. So far, so good. I'll post a picture when I'm done.

The Knit and Crochet event at the Mall of America was as good as I had hoped. I spent a total of two hours at the mall, which is an hour and a half longer than I can usually endure. I got tons of free stuff (bags of yarn, Lion Brand knitting bag, crochet hooks and bamboo needles!) and a nice lady named Georgia taught me how to crochet. I still need lots of practice but I can already tell that I prefer knitting. I spent the whole two hours wishing that you were with me. I even stood in line twice at one kiosk to get freebies for you! I also ducked into a certain nice smelling store to pick up some stuff for you that I know you like. I felt like such a wienie wishing for my friend the whole time....sniff, sniff.

Any how, hope that you are doing alright. Hope to hear from you soon.


T & T Go to White Castle

Hi N!

Well, another Valentine's Day has come and gone. T and I aren't huge Valentines celebrators because it's so close to our birthdays but we usually do get each other a little something or have something special for dinner. Well, this year, T made secret reservations at a restaurant and I didn't know where we were going until we pulled into the parking lot. To my delight, we pulled into the White Castle on Lake Street. Apparently every Valentine's Day the White Castles all across the country close down except for people who make reservations. You get a nice, plastic table cloth, your own server, a personal photographer and candle light. I have to say, it was pretty funny. Everyone there just looked like they were going to burst out laughing, including the staff, who were great. T and I shared the "Sweetheart Special" of ten White Castle sliders (ten!), two french fries and two drinks. Here are our (more like, my) leftovers.

Hope you and the fam had a nice day yesterday.

I also wanted to let you know that the ladies at the garden store gushed over my lovely button brooch. I told them a very talented friend of mine made it for me.

Please excuse the awful model, she's had a long day and needs some rest (and a hair stylist).

Have a nice night. One more work day until the long weekend! Oh yeah, Canadians don't have Prime Minister's Day. Hehehehe.....


Tres Jalouse Ici


I should start organizing a Knitting Roadshow in London. I would invite the Yarn Harlot and the Mason Dixon ladies. The Noro sisters are always dropping in at Needles & Pins, and that would be cool. Janet Filipchuk, the owner of London Yarns, knows everything you could ever want to know about hand knitting and machine knitting. I could teach classes on felted bowls, fondling yarn, easy-peasy dishcloths, finding patterns for which you never need to gauge, cabling, arm casts, and Mennonite coifs. I am a fountain of knitting knowledge. I would be so in over my head, it would be hilarious!

Your blanket is so lovely!! Will you also knit up a border? In what colour? I don’t understand your patience for the moss stitch – it’s so time consuming with your yarn moving back and forth between every stitch. Of course, I confess, it is very Debbie Bliss and beautiful. I am dabbling in some charity knitting myself. I have knit up a couple of newborn hats for preemies in Africa, but one of them has made it onto B’s baby doll’s head, and it fits perfectly, so what can I say?

I love that you love bamboo needles too. I tried to instill that love in Em, but she wasn’t having any of it. Oh well.

I have a busy night ahead. Soph and B have preschool soccer, and we are having dinner at Em’s beforehand. And after that, B and I are heading over to Kensal Park to register her for senior kindergarten. Tonight we are also supposed to get loads of snow, and of course, I have Governance at 7:45 tomorrow morning! That means getting to work at 7 a.m. Happy Valentine’s Day to me. The only good news is the Admin Team meeting has been cancelled!! There really is a Todd.


WIP Monday

Greetings N,

First off, fantastically amusing post.

Then, I'm going to make this a quick one, as I am falling asleep earlier with my old age.

T took me out to a very yummy dinner at Famous Dave's Bar-B-Q. I stuffed my face with pulled pork and corn bread and then birthday cake. I think I've had enough red meat for the rest of the month. Really good though.

This is an afghan square that I'm working on for Warm Up America. I plan on dropping off a few squares this weekend when I head off to this event at MOA. I am stoked for it. Wish you were here.

*Yarn is Red Heart "Surf N Turf" in moss stitch.

My Endora baby blanket is coming along. I have to admit that I've gotten a little bored with the cables but the afghan squares have helped. Here is the cabled panel, about 3/4 done.

And, although not a knitting project, these little guys have rooted and will need to be potted as soon and I can find potting soil, not an easy thing to do in the middle of winter in Minnesota.

This old timer's off to bed. Have a good one.


One Down, One to Go!

Salutations T,

:: Here's E making a heartfelt speech (hand over heart makes everything more sincere - note to self: use said tactic when lying outright to management)

:: Can you spot the B?

Things you should know about 13 ten-year old girls:
  • they can shriek and scream for five hours without getting winded
  • 30 mini pizzas last five minutes tops & same goes for three 2 litres of pop
  • referring to fancy greens as a salad is mean-spirited false advertising
  • 2 bags of cheetos does not make up for fancy greens
  • popcorn never makes it to their mouths - it was on the stairs, in the bathroom (?), and all over the floor - I stopped the party and vaccuumed in the first hour
  • if you give them scissors and t-shirts, they will create the 'hoochiest' garments (we're talking skirts that were no more than a wide belt around the waist)
  • rather than catfights, they discussed in great lengths that 'cool' was merely an adjective to describe something chilly
And as for today's big party, I have thrown the roast out the window, and I am sticking to my old stand-by that I never get wrong - chicken pesto pasta. To hell with the 5-course meal! Who am I kidding? I have 15 coming over for dinner, and only 12 large dinner plates. So I thumb my nose at the world. And rather than clean the house top to bottom, I shall venture out to Hyde Park and take in a yarn sale, 'cause the last thing I really need is another hank of Manos!


Little T

Hi N,

Oh no! I've been shrunk!
Ok, so it's a little hokey, but you can see the top of my church in the background as well as the Minneapolis skyline. This of course, was taken before winter really set in.

Speaking of which, will it ever be spring? I can't wait to take my cruiser out down to Lake Harriet and sit in the sun. Here she is waiting patiently on the hall landing for the first thaw.

So tomorrow is Friday. I wish I had something fun planned but I really just want to give the house a clean, re-pot some hyacinth bulbs, and forget that my b-day is on Monday. I think I may boycott it this year. Thanks for thinking about me though. Sniff, sniff.

Anyway, hope you find time to do some knitting or crafting of some sort done amidst all of the birthday party excitement. Let me know how it goes and if the couch comes out unstained this year. Fingers crossed!


Short and Sweet

I was kind of thinking of letting these two drive!

I love the cupcake hat. What about sequins? Was the frill around the edge difficult?

When is lunchtime already??? I am so hungry.


Happy B-day to E!

Dearest N,

I was so happy to see your post today. I cannot believe that E is already 11 years old. It seems like only yesterday she was 18! I don't think I've met two people more alike than you and her. She's a mini N!

As for driving to Minnesota, well, I've done it and would not recommend it to anyone. Of course, I don't particularly enjoy driving but if you promise not to tell my parents or T's parents but I fell asleep in Wisconsin and almost drove off the highway. Luckily T was paying attention and swerved us back on course. The flight is less than two hours from Toronto and I would be there to pick you up with a packed schedule to visit all of the LYS in the Twin Cities area.

I have been meaning to embellish this little hat but cannot decide whether I would like a "cherry" pompom or beads. I'm very happy with the way it turned out. There's a cold little three year old head in Vancouver that needs the hat very soon!

It's a cupcake, if you can't tell. I realize that the picture isn't that great.

Don't feel so bad about your little ones growing up. You're the most young at heart person I know. Who else would make a Napoleon Dynamite collage for someone's going away card?



Need Something to Smile About?


Your apartment is so lovely. I love the red bathroom and the white subway tiles. The arches in the living room with the fireplace. I can't wait to visit. It occurred to me while lying in bed the other day, that I am not able to fly to Minnesota as I have not updated my passport. Is it that ridiculous to think I can drive there?

It is still 30 degrees below zero! I just feel like whining, but there is one good thing about extremely cold weather - I can show off my gorgeous handknits! Monday, I wore my Malabrigo legwarmers, my Manos del Uruguay hat, and my Patons Divine ribbed scarf, and I was toasty. I kept hoisting my leg onto my desk, and hiking my pantlegs up to my knees to wow the coworkers.

Today is E's 11th birthday. I feel older on her birthdays than I do on my own. We bought her a set of creamy white super-soft fleece bedsheets. These could not have come at a better time; however, I am certain there will be issues waking her up tomorrow morning for school. We also gave her The Fourth Summer of the Travelling Pants as she devoured the first three summers in January. That sounds kind of weird. I am stunned by the speed that she reads. Just like her mum. I am in the middle of Margaret Atwood's newest, Moral Disorder, and at the same time, I am reading Digging to America by Anne Tyler. Both are fairly new and popular at the library, and there is no way I will be able to renew them so I am plowing through them at a fairly frantic pace myself.

I am seriously considering knitting up a pair of the wristwarmers in the Last Minute Knitted Gifts book, but it is knit using the magic loop method you mentioned before, and I still need to look up the video. It would be so much easier if you watched the video, and then came over and showed me how in person. Whaddya say?

* my babies are gettin' so big!


Super Bowl

Hi N,

I hear ya about the cold. It's 35 below, and that's in ferenheit. T's parents have just left, we've got the Super Bowl on, and like you, we're under the covers. This really makes me thankful that I have heat and a nice, warm home to live in. Speaking of which, I finally have my pictures downloaded.

*The red bathroom
*View of the living room from the dining room

*Bedroom (notice the homemade art on the wall)

There's plenty of room so come on down any time you want.

Your menu for E's birthday sounds fantastic. This year you should make sure that all of the old people and clumsy people get the "honoured guest" seats at the table so they'd be far from the white couch.

We're not big Super Bowl people but we figure we should watch it since it's such a huge deal down here. I'm at least looking forward to watching all of those commercials that we never get in Canada. So far, there's been some funny ones.

I so love the vintage pattern on the pj pants as well as the little corner of your house. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, who knows, maybe school will be canceled tomorrow.


Staying Under the Covers

Hola T,

It's absolutely frickin' freezing in London this weekend too! I'm not going back outside ever!!

I knit up two small bowls for felting - I plan to fill them up with Valentine's Day treats for the girls. B needs barrettes badly as her bangs grow out, and E will be getting scrapbooking supplies as my mum has signed her up for classes. There will be a few sweets as well, but truthfully these girls aren't into the bonbons that much. You wouldn't believe the bags of Halloween candy that I had to trash.

I'm just taking it easy this weekend because next weekend is the big birthday dinner for E. I have to feed 15 people - that's not too bad, but considering I have a table that only seats 6, it's always buffet style, and I am definitely not doing a Mexican Fiesta theme again this year. I nearly lost it when my grandfather dripped greasy taco beef onto my white sofa. I was thinking of going with a French-style pot roast, roasted potatoes and carrots and grapes with dill in addition to the enormous Costco cake and a barrel of London Ice Cream Factory ice cream. Mmmmm.

B just asked me where her necklace was, and I told her to check under her shirt, and it was there. She practically glared at me and warned me not to do that again, and then stomped away. What?

The light is just right today, so I took a few pictures.

* B's collection of Folkmanis ballerina puppets stashed out of reach on her dresser.

* decorative balls of wool waiting for inspiration + basket of fo's and random balls

* gold lace wrap (handknit by a pro) + stripey shrug (handknit by moi)

* pajama pants posing for the camera (sewed using a kids' sewing book = instructions I can understand)

* and a close up of the vintage bedsheets I used

I really hope you had fun with the in-laws, and you let them spoil you guys. Keep warm, and as E always says, "Peace out!".


Brrrr-day Weekend

Dear N,

Reading Hawksley's letter brought me back to last year when we went to see him in concert. Remember how early we got there? It was amazing and I impatiently await his next concert date in the Twin Cities, if that ever happens.

As I write this, I realize that I'm the only person in the office (blogging during work time, gasp!). Should I have gone to the meeting this morning? Oh well...

Last night I made a birthday cake to celebrate T's birthday and his mother's as well. His parents arrive from TO today, which is great, but it's gonna be cold! Like nostril freezing cold. So I wasn't feeling too creative last night and not exactly in a cake decorating mood. I had no idea how to decorate a cake for a 28 year old grad student and his 60-ish year old mother. I ended up putting a green fondant scarf around the (chocolate) cake and writing "Happy Brrr-day" on the top. Probably the cheesiest non-cheese cake ever!

Now that we have settled into the deep freeze of January and February I am feeling like all I want to do is curl up in front of the fire with my knitting and a big bowl of homemade mac and cheese. I've taken to making my own since I can no longer get the President's Choice white cheddar mix that you got me hooked on. I plan on trying out this recipe from Rachel Ray via Shelterrific.

Looks good, eh? I know, RayRay is so NOT my favorite person on the Food Network, however, this recipe sounds easy for a weekday and I trust Shelterrrific.

Our friend in North Carolina is pregnant. Congratulations to her and her husband on their first little one! What knitting projects will you be starting on? We have until August! Start knitting! Oh and my "One Skein" just arrived! Perfect timing or what?

Take care and stay warm,