The Clouds are Lined with Silver

Oh, T! You are frightening me. Stay away from the organic stalker store! That didn’t sound good at all.

J has been badgering me about when I am visiting ‘what’s her name’ in the States. I think he is upset that he didn’t get fruity lip gloss in the birthday package. Why does he want me to leave so badly? Maybe he has Debbie Travis on hold for one of those surprise renovations. I came home yesterday from the dentist’s – again! – and there was a huge set of NEW patio furniture on the back deck. And here’s where it gets weird. Brace yourself! It was the set that I pointed out to him the week before. He even kept the picture that I set aside from the flyer, and he took it to the store and handed it to the nearest shelf boy. And it was on sale! That was a bonus. I love my new patio furniture. I will take a picture once he hangs the screen door that he is in the process of painting. Am I dreaming all of this?

So . . . yesterday I survived the restoration of my first quadrant of teeth, and I go back to the dentist’s next week to restore yet another quadrant. There was time available today, and I weakly asked for a week’s reprieve, and my request was granted with a laugh. I didn’t think it was as funny. But I must report that I have had little discomfort. I am actually comforted when people use the word discomfort when referring to pain. Isn’t that what they really mean when they tell you to lift your hand if you feel any ‘discomfort’? I can handle ‘discomfort. I can not handle ‘pain’. No freaking way.

The next time you see me, I will look like a model with a cosmetic smile! You may be walking and gawking at shirtless joggers, but I am stepping on my stepper in front of the tube late at night. I chase the stepper with about twenty stomache crunches. The whole routine takes me about 20 measly minutes, but every night has got to count for something!

And the linen is here! I love it beyond words. I am a very lucky, lucky girl. I have all I really need in the world. Including a blog with you - it is a million times better than no T at all. You didn’t tell me what colour of Manos you bought. Don’t you love the feel of it? Mittens are a great way to use up that yarn and to feel it on your hands forever! It’s magical to knit with. Enjoy!

Cheers to a glass half-full,

Ode to Whole Foods or Two Out of Three Aint Bad

Dearest N,

I'm back! What a jet setter I am! Toronto was great. I knew I missed it but I didn't realize how much until T and I were browsing through Kensington Market and then had a lovely dinner on the patio of Gateways to India on Baldwin Street. Brought back so many memories of our early days living in the city and walking around together. It was also super great seeing T's parents. It was so kind and so generous of them to fly me up so that I wouldn't have to spend the long weekend alone. Plus, I ran into the Yarn Harlot's yarn crawl at Lettuce Knits!!!! Can you believe it? I was so excited as I picked up two skeins of chunky baby alpaca and some of the ladies even spoke to me! I didn't participate in the crawl but was present (across the street) when they took this picture (courtesy of the Yarn Harlot).

How cool is that? I had a bitter sweet moment when I picked up some Manos del Uraguay and thought of you and how all of these ladies had their chums except for me...sniff, sniff.

So now back to the usual grind. It's going to be a busy week so in anticipation of that and my lack of motivation to cook while T is away, I thought I'd stop by my very favourite Whole Foods Market on the way home from work today. I picked up some lovely organic corn, an eggplant, some almonds for biscotti later on this week, and a couple of other things. I thought that the whole Whole Foods obsession was way overrated but they really do have the best quality meats, fish and produce and if it's in season, it costs just as much as it does everywhere else, so why not buy organic? Anyway, as I cruised happily down the aisles I noticed a strange man following me around and every time I'd kind of look his way he'd mumble something and give me the "smile and wink". He wasn't bad looking, even attractive but his behaviour really creeped me out. After trying to lose him with some quick turns I finally lost him when I ducked into the Homeopathy aisle and in behind a big display of flax seed oil. I was so close to telling the cashier about the creepy man in their store but I just grabbed my stuff and ran out of there. I hope I will find the courage to return to Whole Foods again one day. Maybe when T comes back.

I was greeted when I got home by two things in the mail that made me squeal. One was my Keep Calm and Carry On dishtowel, which had arrived from Australia and which I LOVE even more in person. The other was a cheque (notice Canadian spelling) from the United States Treasury! I was pretty sure that I wouldn't be getting any money back from my tax return or that I'd piss off the IRS and they would tell the Department of Homeland Security and I would get deported.

So despite the creepy guy who ruined my usually pleasant Whole Foods experience, it's been a good day and I have nothing to complain about. Hope your day was just as nice.


Poop Du Jour

I don’t say this often, but last night at KNIT Club, I knit so much, I was completely knit out. All this week I knit furiously in the car (it keeps me from clamping the seat in pure terror while J drives), in several dental offices and examination rooms, at a parade, in the lunch room at work, at home in the living room and downstairs in front of the television, at the park, and waiting in the lobby for J to pick me up. I think I might get out the sewing machine and my Simple Sewing book out this weekend. Unfortunately, there has been no sign of my linen package which is making me a wee bit anxious.

I know exactly what you mean about Atwood, but I have never connected the doomy, dismal feelings with the reading. Have you read Oryx and Crake? It’s different from the rest of her novels – I guess there’s a touch of The Handmaid’s Tale in there, but the story is told by a male character which is very unlike most of her other novels. My most favourite is Edible Woman – I love it when the main character slowly wedges herself between the bed and the wall, and the other people in the room start looking for her when they finally notice she is gone. I can really relate with her characters. The first book I read of Atwood’s was Cat’s Eye, and I fell in love with that book. I had to read all of her books right away. I also OD’d on Mordecai Richler in highschool. If my memory serves me correct, I got hooked on Richler first, then Atwood, then Robertson Davies, Margaret Laurence, Carol Shields, Timothy Findley, and countless Canadian writers, and I’ve never looked back.

Ironically at the moment, my library account is in limbo – J returned some of my books with an empty CD case two weeks ago, and I got a call from a librarian alerting me to the situation, and I returned the disc a week later, but no one knows where the case is now. It’s an LPL mystery! I think I might write a book about it. You know trying to prove my innocence and stuff. As we speak, Em is on the case, so I am very hopeful that my account gets ironed out soon. I will keep you updated as more clues unfold.

Still no linen. What is happening??

I peeked out the kitchen window today and saw an old-fashioned porch screen door resting on the wall on the deck. What could J be up to next? I am slightly afraid and at the same time curious to what he is thinking. You know how I don’t go anywhere without my knitting? Well, he has this thick and very glossy “backyard projects” magazine attached to his armpit everywhere we go. And every time I turn my back, he is out there shoveling this god-awful red cedar shavings all over the garden. It’s just the colour that makes me crazy. Even black or tan would be preferable, but not red. Puh-leaze! I just hope that this obsession with the garden continues and doesn’t go slack. Secretly I am enjoying the fact that the yard is looking much better than last year, but there is no way that I will admit this to him!

I hope you enjoy your visit with the in-laws. I am sure you and T will get spoiled to no end. I just pray that Mrs. A doesn’t send you home with more of that cherry loaf. Bleh!


Just Me, Margaret and Hawksley

Dear N,

On the plane ride home I read The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. I realized that this is my seventh Atwood book and I still love her. I think all of this moody reading is affecting my own mood. T tries to keep my Atwood reading down to a minimum, as he know what happens when I start reading. Do you get like this too?

Anyway, I'm very excited for TO this weekend but I am semi-enjoying my time alone. Last night I put on Hawksley as I did some light housekeeping and it so reminded me of our concert and of my former life in London. Those were good times. I'm still waiting for him to come down here. Maybe I should write him a letter.

I've started walking around Lake Harriet. I'm doing this for a number of reasons:

1. to feel healthy
2. to lose a few pounds so I'll look good in my sister's wedding photos
3. I have nothing else to do
4. there may be a free concert at the band shell
5. good looking lads jogging - shirts + sweat = swoon

Ok, not so much #5 but it's an added bonus. Here is my view during my one hour jaunt around the lake (courtesy of Wikipedia).

I do love it here and will definitely enjoy it while I am still here.

Hope you are getting lots of knitting done sitting in the dentist's office. Bye for now dear N.


Soul Desert

Dear T,

Your post made me so sad. I am hard at work on the passports - honest! I may not have the actual funds for a visit immediately, but you can rest assured that I will soon be able to fly down there by the seat of my pants! Totally off topic, but B noted this afternoon on our walk to the park that you lived in Mini-apples now which is very far off so you may not be able to attend her 5th birthday party this September. This made her a little droopy, but then listed off a couple of dozen others that she could invite including their cars.
I have been hard at work on several knitting projects - none of which I have actually completed. Everything seems to be in a state of 'nearly done, but not'. I have proof:

The Vest - needs blocking, seaming, and more ribbing around the neck and arms.

My 2nd Mason Dixon Ball Band Dishcloth - I knit it up at a parade, but still need to weave in ends.

The Wrap - nearly half finished!! I love it for its randomness.

And no post is complete without your bit 'o' B!


Happy Victoria Day!

Greetings to my fellow Commonwealth dweller. Ok, so maybe I don't live in the Commonwealth anymore but technically I am still a resident. Hope you are enjoying your time off today!

In honour of our heritage, I present this linen tea towel, which, if I'm lucky, will be hanging in my kitchen very soon. I found it here and fell in love with it. It is based on an original WWII poster that the British government planned to issue in the case of an attack. Luckily for them it was not needed but I like it for it's colour and text, plus it makes me laugh. I think it'll look nice framed in my blue kitchen. Maybe you should get one for Childreach. It may come in handy during those surprise fire drills!

I returned from rainy Vancouver last night. We actually had some really nice weather and it didn't start raining until after T left for Toronto. I was sad to leave, as usual, but I didn't mind going back home. It was a good trip, no, a great trip. On top of spending time with my family, my family got to know T a lot better and everyone liked him! This is a big step and I am so grateful for such supportive and understanding parents. There comes a point in your life when you finally grow up and realize that your parents were right all along and that they really do want what's best for you. Things are looking good for us finally.

It was nice being back in our space again. We had cleaned it up before we left so I would have a pleasant arrival. I didn't feel lonely until bedtime when the house was just way too quiet. After ten days of parties, lunches, swimming and playing with toddlers, you really notice when there's no noise. I suddenly had that deep, lonesome feeling that kind of just sits in your chest and takes your breath away. I wanted my mommy and daddy. I think I've been away from home for long enough. And by home I don't mean an actual place, I mean my family. I think it's time to seriously consider going back....

Newsbreak – Excessive Drinking Can Ruin Memories

Hey T,

As we move into Victoria Day weekend here in Canada, the prospect of three days off thrills me to no end, but I find myself increasingly daunted by all of the previously made arrangements. I honestly thought my weekend was virtually free, but one glance at my calendar, and I was taken back by how fast my days have filled up. Just last night at KNIT club, we were discussing the personality dimensions program, and it was new to one of the girls, so someone explained the four colours and what they meant. Of course I am blue through and through, but I added that I was very gold at home, and they laughed like it was obvious. I had to ask how it was so obvious – I was indeed quite curious as I am extremely scatterbrained and good-natured to a fault – and they told me to pull out my day planner and just look at it. Admittedly, it was painfully apparent that I had everything beneath the sun scheduled in this book; however, that being said, I would have thought that I was daftly unorganized because I literally can not keep in mind the simplest things that I must write them down neurotically or else I will forget. Does having a full, scribbley day planner make me strictly organized or does it mean that I can not remember to wipe my own ass??

Go West!

Hi N!

Yes! I'm still here! We just got back from Harrison Hot Springs and I'm feeling soooo relaxed. I think I'm a little sunburned but being there at the foot of the mountains with my sisters and two nieces was a really nice time. My sister is getting married in August so it was sort of a bridal shower/get away for her. We all don't get to see each other very often so we bonded over hot pools of mineral water and junk food...what could be better?I so miss the mountains out here.Doing a little hiking and stumbling upon a water tower full of scorching hot water.
The bride to be and the little one.

So that's what I've been up to the last few days. No knitting or crafting to report, just some good, quality family time.

I too love your little stool. Well done on the thrifting. I bow to you and your talent for thrifting.

I'll see you back here in a couple of days...I promise. Keep us updated on your wrap. Until then, over and out.


Snappy Wrap


Are you still there? Tell your family that they're being T-hogs!

I had ants in my pants and could NOT wait to start on my wrap. First, I had to do some serious ball-winding. I am sure the washer repairman thought I had nothing better to do than unwind five skeins for an hour! Yo, Wash-man - I salute your handyness, and my laundry piles are dwindling as I type. I asked him if he could build a deck, fix the doorbell, and paint walls, but I could have been speaking Swahili!

Anyway, I present the wrap with six rows . . .
My new favourite picture of B. We were standing around a baby lamb, and I couldn't for the life of me get a picture with all the little people crowding around it, so I called B's name, and she did not disappoint.

Grace and I went shopping at midnight, and I bought a $5 pillow from Jysk. Don't worry. I bought two.
And a vintage stool I bought for $10 on the Shun Piker yesterday. I can not describe how much I LOVE this stool. Even J agreed that it screamed our living room.

When you get a free moment, meet me at the blog!


Flights of Fancy

You missed a great yarn sale, T, my dear friend. I managed to not call in sick so that I would be first in line at 9:30 a.m.; however, I did leave work early so that I could be out in Hyde Park shortly after 4 p.m. I only bought one item – a wrap kit at 60% off. It is lovely and frivolous with a couple mini skeins of Koigu, Manos del Uruguay hand-dyed cotton, some Philosopher’s Wool, and a beautiful skein of chunky Alpaca – all in the most wonderful shades of green. It got me thinking that I could make up a dozen of my own wrap kits using my stash under the bed! Oh well, it was inspirational to say the least.

I hope your flight was uneventful and smooth like a mango smoothie. Speaking of, J has been making mango smoothies lately, but they tend to be oversweet. How did you make your mango smoothie so calm? If ever a smoothie was calm, it was yours. His smoothies pack a punch. I can’t describe it, so I will stop.

I took a leap of faith and ordered the linen on-line. The verdict is still out. It should arrive in the next few weeks. I am anxious to sew some more projects from Lotta Jansdotter’s book. I hope my family and friends don’t mind homemade gift after homemade gift. Is there such a thing as OD-ing on homemade gifts? I certainly hope not because I have a ton of stuff up my sleeves. It’s too bad my dad would not appreciate a man-wrap. I need to make that a trend. Men would be seen everywhere with wraps casually thrown around their shoulders to waive off the chilly breeze of a cool summer evening. I have a friend in the buying department at Harry Rosen in Toronto. I should suggest it. It could be the new black. Did you know that navy is the new black? Well it is. And birds trump squid any day. These are the things I know to be true.


Progressive Progress

Bonjour, T.

I finished piecing the front of E’s quilt last night, and all that’s left is to sew on some borders, cut out the backing and sew that on along with the batting, and then quilt it all together. I will be relieved once it is finished. It looks beautiful though, and I just know it will look lovely on her black cast-iron daybed. And one day way, way, WAY in the future, she will appreciate all my hard work. I still remember the minute I handed over B’s little crib-sized quilt. I placed it gently on the floor. I came back two minutes later, and the kid had scribbled with markers all over it. She was making her blankie pretty. Thank goodness the markers were washable. I am slowly catching on to this parenting stuff.

Ta DA! I present you with the Mason Dixon ball-band dishcloth. Thanks for passing on the pattern and the prototype and telling me it was easy. It gave me the courage to do it – nine months later! I was busy doing other stuff. My 4.5 mm straights are occupied at the moment with the front of the vest, but as soon as I bind off the shoulders, I am throwing on the brown and lime green at my mum’s suggestion. I hope she doesn’t want it – it will look perfect in my kitchen! I honestly don’t see me getting it done by Sunday for Mother’s Day anyway.

I adore your craft magazines. And the monster bag is fantastic! I happen to have two copies of One Skein out from the library. I came close to returning one, but then I had a stroke of genius! The second book will extend my loaning period by a week or two. That’s four weeks rather than just three – at least 28 days instead of a measly 21. I feel a second monster purse in the works. Personally I would not have placed two buttons on either side of the gash/handle. If I am not wrong, I believe the clutch in the book has nine various buttons below the handle placed in a grid of three rows of three buttons. Why mess with that? Ah, symmetry – the harmony of form that results from balanced proportions.

I am debating whether a hot cup of tea is in order for a dark chocolate square with white mint filling. I would be crazy to gulp it down with water, wouldn’t I?


The Green Bag Monster

Dear N,

Gosh how time flies. The weekends always go by so quickly and Mondays come way too fast. T and I had an old friend of his visiting from Japan and she very appropriately brought me two craft magazines. Although I cannot read a word of Japanese, these magazines are a pleasure to look at and the diagrams are so thorough that I plan on attempting some of the projects. They come with complete paper patterns for all of the projects too.The photos are quite nice, all linen and soft colours. I have my eye on some slippers and a biscuit basket for when I get back from Vancouver.

I gifted her the felted bag that I blogged about before. Here it is post felting.It kind of looks like a bag monster with the buttons sewn on but I assure you, when you carry it like a bag it looks a lot less monster-like. Other than looking like eyes, the buttons don't really do anything.

Anyway, I'm off to make a sheep cake. T and I are invited to the home of one of the professors from the U and they are serving lamb from their farm. I also may be able to snag some pure wool roving that they have stored away and that's why I'm bringing a sheep cake. I'll post a pic once it's done. Have a good night N!


Uptown Girl

Good day, T!
We got 20 free Billy Joel concert tickets for Sunday night at the JLC. I know what you're thinking - Why the heck did we move? I don't really know. It's crazy.

Here's the linen apron in all its glory. My cousin is going to have to rip it off me. Its simple design and lack of colour give it a very utilitarian look, but you could also call it 'classic' or 'timeless'. Plus the linen gives it that oomph of extravagance.

Here's the vest (above). This is the back. I am about a third through the front piece. I am loving the shaping of garments. Below is a picture of what was happening above the vest as I was taking the picture. She is practically attached to me - it's the invisible umbilical cord thing happening. Oh, how I absolutely adore her back. When she stops following me (I shall curse the day!), I will start trailing her around. In fact, when I look at the vest, I can see her tiny toes in the top right corner. What a silly kook!

Enjoy your time back on Canadian soil. I actually feel farther away from you! Well, because I am. Take lots of pictures. Will there be any wedding planning on this trip?


Ode To Zach Braff

I waited until Turn Off the Screens Week was over to post this!

Shades of Grey

Dear T,

I truly believe that sewing should be referred to as pressing with a spot of stitching. I spent more time with my iron last night than I did with my sewing machine. I hate to iron – my kind of iron is the dewrinkle option on my dryer. I am noticing that I speak of ‘my’ appliances in a possessive tone. Weird.

I found some super cheap linen on-line, and I think I may order tons of it. It is so wonderful to work with – it feels slightly extravagant, but that may be due to the receipt and gaping hole in my bank account. It’s the cashmere to my newest needlecraft obsession.

The book club selection this month is titled Ella Minnow Pea, and the author escapes me at the moment. There are entire pages missing letters. It’s a must read. It must have taken ages to write this novel as well as a great deal of thought. I am halfway through, and now there are no z’s, no q’s, no j’s, and no d’s. And the o’s have been reduced by 25%. I’m not even quite sure how that is tracked. And it is amusing and sad at the same time. It is indeed possible to be both. I feel like that most every day.

My parents gifted me a certificate for the garden centre on Springbank. We walked down to it after dinner on Monday, and I have fallen in love with a couple hydrangea plants. I shall think of Stacia fondly when I clip them. She knows to what I am referring. Thieving has never been so much fun! I think I will go with basic white hydrangeas, but they had the most beautiful ruby coloured ones that I dreamt of briefly. The dream was shattered when I found out it was $10 more than the white one. Yes, I am that cheap.

We have been invited to dinner at the twins’ house on Saturday night – I am thinking that I will make that chocolate wafer & whip cream cake that you emailed me. So simple, yet breathtaking! How come Donna Hay didn’t think of it?


Sweet Spring

Hi there N!

The flowers are in bloom here in Minneapolis.Ok, so maybe these didn't come about because of my green thumb, or lack of, but I did spend most of last night piping them. These were made in anticipation of my sister's engagement party which is next week at my parent's home in Vancouver. Did I tell you that I'm going back home? T and I leave on Thursday and I'll be away for ten days. I will still post while on vacation though!

Last week we made the yummiest pizza. It had tomatoes, fresh basil and spicy chicken on it and I made whole wheat pizza dough from scratch. I was very pleased with how the crust turned out--chewy and nutty on the insdie with a nice, crispy outside. Can't wait to make it again.

Well, I'm going to take a nap now. I just took a Benadryl and can finally breathe so I'd best get in a power nap before the drugs wear off. Ahhhh, bring on the drugs.