Pears, Peaches and Plums

Three Spanish films later and a bit of heavy blogging to keep up-to-date and . . .
Inspiration struck again, and the pantry surprisingly had everything that was needed on hand!

T, you're not the only baker out there. It was delicious! Watch out 'cause I am about to take over with my completely-from-scratch pear pie. Who knew?

Your chocolate brown bag is too beautiful for groceries! Rather than work away on my 2nd attempt at the Donyale sock, I pulled out the stash of yarn from under my bed, and I found seven balls of plum-y Bernat Softee Chunky that was screaming to be a Buttony! Well, what could I do? I gave in and cast on 96 stitches!

It's hard to picture the cardigan from this, but believe me, I am nearly at the armpits!

Sorry, ol' sour sock.



Dear N,

It's officially fall here and it certainly feels like it. I spent most of the afternoon painting away in the garage through another one of Minnesota's freak thunder storms. At one point I thought it might be a good idea to go back into the house but the rain was coming down so hard I would've been soaked by the time I crossed the yard to get in. Painting is much more taxing than I thought it would be and I'm bagged.

Speaking of bags, my mesh bag is completed. I sewed on grosgrain ribbon handles and added a bow pin to girly it up a bit. I quite like it and will hopefully remember to take it with me to the grocery store.
That door bell that you see in the picture is actually a button that used to be used to buzz people in downstairs. It doesn't work anymore, which is too bad, but I've scared a few people with the buzzing noise.

Well, I am off to see if the Mr.Clean Magic Eraser is as awesome as my boss makes it out to be. I picked one up at Target yesterday and will see how it does on my bathtub. Then I'm going to make a lasagna and try out a sticky toffee pudding recipe for dessert. This rainy weather calls for some comfort food. Happy Sunday N!


Knitting Mojo

Dear N,

Where has it gone? I haven't touched my needles all week and it's becoming a real concern. I come home after work and stare at the basket that holds the projects that I am currently working on and nothing happens. I search knitting blogs and free pattern sites and I am not inspired by what's out there at the moment. Either I've already knit it or it's too big of a project to begin right now, what with the Christmas project deadlines looming (it'll be October on Monday!). Then I recieved my Knitting Daily email today and see this.
It's simple and lovely and is just the fall accessory that I was looking for.

Thank you for the child abuse awareness reminder. It is sadly an issue that doesn't seem to go away.
Wishing you a weekend of inspired knitting, apple desserts, and sweet little girls with new crowns.

A Growing Concern

I’m sad. I haven’t received a Hawksley Workman fan email message in such a long time. Don’t you think it’s about time? What is that crazy guy up to?

October is Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention month. At work, we are provided with a purple ribbon to wear while in programs. This year the focus is a reminder that abused children don’t always look it because child abuse isn’t always obvious. To learn more about child abuse, how to recognize the subtle and obvious signs of abuse and how to report it go to: . That’s sadder than no news from Hawksley. Sometimes I just need some perspective.

I am halfway through Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I was really looking forward to delving into it, but I must admit that it hasn’t been as enjoyable as the first six. It’s a bit blah and all over the place. However, there is still another half of the book – 300 pages – where some connections could be made, but I am afraid that I won’t remember the first 300 pages of details. I am in a bit of a mess.

I finished the Noro capelet, and it’s a bit too tight for my liking. It would look nice on your tiny frame, but on my taller and apparently broader shoulders, it looks a wee bit constricting. Em tried it on, and it looked perfect. Sad point made.

Next up – the RE-knitting of the Donyale socks. If you remember the first time I knit this sock, I made it so small that it didn’t go on the littlest’s feet. I went up one millimetre in needles, and I’ve knit about an inch or so, and it looks sadly GIANT. Is there a needle size between 2.25mm and 3.25mm? The cost of buying all these needles is killing me. That said, I have just remembered that I have a 40% off one item coupon for Michael’s.

B has her first of three stainless steel ‘princess’ crowns, and truth be told, it sort of frightens me. She waffles between considering it absolutely horrid and showing it off to anyone who cares to peer in her mouth. I just want to forget about it entirely, but the next appointment is in a week and a half, so it is never far from my mind. A little sad. It’s entirely my fault for waiting so long to see a dentist. Perhaps she wouldn’t have to go through this had we been a bit more on top of things. But as my dentist said, “At least we’re on the road to recovery.” And she’s right. That does make me feel better.

Bless me! I just sneezed.

In other news, B is enjoying her gymnastics and ballet classes. She is transitioning well between senior kindergarten and her kindercare days. There was some upsettiness when she realized she still had to go to ‘little’ school every other day, but the last week or two, she hasn’t made such a fuss about either. El is dragging through her homework, so we need to adjust our routines a bit, offer more encouragement, and sprinkle patience on top. I’m going to need a little more of that for sure!


Thank You Neiman Marcus

Dear N,

Drop everything you are doing and immediately head to the kitchen and make these:
Neiman Marcus Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg (room temperature)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder
1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips Directions

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream the butter with the sugars using an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy (approximately 30 seconds)

2. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract for another 30 seconds.

3. In a mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture at low speed for about 15 seconds. Stir in the espresso coffee powder and chocolate chips.

4. Using a 1 ounce scoop or a 2 tablespoon measure, drop cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Gently press down on the dough with the back of a spoon to spread out into a 2 inch circle. Bake for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned around the edges. Bake a little longer for a crispier cookie.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies
I made these over the weekend after coming across this article about the cookie's myth. I thought that I was a "thick and gooey" chocolate chip cookie person all of my life until these--perfectly crispy edges with a chewy, caramelly centre. In my cookie induced excitement I dropped a glass bottle of red food colouring (from the previous week's red velvet cake). It looked like I massacred someone in my kitchen.
(a gross ending to an otherwise pleasant blog entry)

Weekend Warriors

Dear N,

Oh how I would give anything to bite into a just-picked apple! Your lovely photos took me back to my childhood in Fredericton when we went apple picking every fall. Like your girls, my sisters and I would climb and pick and eat the day away. We've got some pretty fantastic pictures of us in our 80's haircuts and bellbottoms sitting on tree branches. I would post one but all of the pictures are back at my parents'. Fast forward fifteen years and I can't go within ten feet of an apple. Ok, I can have cooked apples so I can still enjoy a pie or a crisp with some ice cream but I am really quite allergic to fresh apples. I dream of biting into a fresh Mac like I did when I was a child. I know it sounds funny but when you can't have something, it really makes you want it all the more. T is well aware of my many allergies and keeps me in line or else I'd just eat stuff that I can't because I have no self control.

I haven't done much knitting this weekend as T and I have become weekend warriors (if only for just one weekend). We hauled two tables that needed repainting out to the garage and armed with our load of supplies from the Home Depot attempted to make them look better. One of the tables had about three very thick layers of paint on it and I could just hear those layers of paint laughing at our little electric sander as it tried to strip it all off. It's Sunday night and only one of the tables is ready to paint. I'll show you pictures when they're done.

Still working on my mesh bag. The pattern is from the Summer 2007 issue of Knitty. I've always wanted a mesh bag to take with me to the market and grocery store because my mother had one when I was a kid and I always thought that she was so chic. Michael's had chocolate brown Lily Sugar 'N Cream on sale for $1/ball! Needless to say my mesh bag is knitted in chocolate brown Sugar 'N Cream. Yum!
I love the kettle! Great Danish modern style!

Row 97 of the Apple Orchard

The MacIntosh apples were ripe for the picking today, and the weather was absolutely gorgeous.The girls ate and picked at the same time. I left the picking to them, and I took loads of pictures. There were hundreds of rows of apple trees, and the trees were full of apples. It was beautiful. No apple from the grocery store can compare with one plucked out of a tree. They were delicious. I could have sat there in the sun and ate apples all afternoon. We are so lucky to have so many orchards within a short drive. Mmmm.

The colours of these apples would make a beautiful colourway for a pair of socks, wouldn't they?And that concludes another much-needed weekend. Cheers!


Time for Tea

The kettle we have had for eons finally kicked the bucket, and it was up to me to replace it. We have a high regard for our kettle. The girls could live on instant oatmeal for breakfast every day, and I love me a cup of tea whenever the itch to sip strikes. So going even one day without was inconceivable!

Ta da! Isn't it just scrumptious! Even J noticed it right away. It's so pretty. Is it wrong to love a kettle?
It's a beatiful day out today - great for many things like apple picking and hiking. First thing up is getting everyone ready. Pyjamas and bedheads are still being sighted. Maybe when we get home, I can whip up some apple crisp. Mmm. All is well.

A Higher Education

This weekend is Doors Open London, and this year, there are 50 different historical buildings open to public viewing. When I reviewed the list of sites, I knew automatically which one we couldn't miss! I just had to take the girls to Brescia University College and show them what their future could possibly hold. Surprisingly, they willingly piled into the car, and although "it was really weird" to just walk up to a strange building that could be seen as a bit "creepy", they followed me everywhere with awe-struck eyes and hushed tones. We had punch and cookies in the formal lounge, and El headed over to the pictures of all the graduates and immediately spied her teacher amongst the photos. She was bowled over, and I think has lots of questions for Madame on Monday. And now that I think of it, B probably has half a chocolate chip cookie still in her pocket.

We had a little more time left, so on the way home, we stopped and toured the London Waldorf School. Big mistake. The three of us cried the rest of the way home, because we are too poor to register. Well, to be honest, I haven't looked at the school fees, but I am sure they are way out of our league. It was absolutely lovely. The grade 6 students are kicking my butt in knitting socks, and the grade 8's were building canoes and writing essays on Edith Wharton. I literally swooned. But don't despair. We devised a plan for the next generation of Learns. The girls are going to attend Brescia and become scholars and achieve notable success, and with that success, they will have the means to send their children to Waldorf, and all will be well again. And with that, we wiped our runny noses and tear-streaked cheeks, and we headed off to our separate corners to quietly ponder on future opportunities.

The first of two decreases has gone well on the capelet. Hopefully a picture will be in order soon. The computer has crashed (J hasn't admitted this, but I am fear the worst), and all the pictures are on that computer as well as the camera software to upload new pictures. Let's all cross our fingers that J has enough time to 'play' around with the computer so it will turn on again.



I seriously need to catch up with you on the baby sweaters, T! Holy crap - you're churning them out like no tomorrow. I put holds on a whole bunch of Elizabeth Zimmermann books at the library - she turned the knitting in the round and seamless garments into a movement. How can anyone be expected to do so much mother-flippin' seaming?

What's been going on around here you ask? Hmmm. Well, I have been finishing up some projects that I had left to slowly die in a giant heap behind my sofa. I think I was experiencing some bad knitting karma because I was guilty of starting a load of projects and not completing one. That would explain the tiny sock snafoo, the moebius capelet disaster, and the wristlet that I knit and frogged four times. That's to name only a few. Yes, you could say that I failed to swatch the sock. That's true. You could say that I didn't join the Noro in the round properly. And yes, that too is true. And I misread the pattern differently on four separate occasions??? That's crazy!

So one-by-one, I have weaved in ends that were left dangling, and I knit the last few remaining rows of the second wrap that was balled up in a bag by my bed, and slowly my knitting mojo is returning. I can feel it. The Noro capelet has been revived, and is going along quite nicely. I feel ready to tackle the tiny sock - once I find it. And books are starting to reappear on the library hold shelf! And here's the kicker - last night I figured out my yahoo account info, and I was able to set up my Flickr photo album, so that I can start uploading pictures onto my Ravelry page. Holy crap. Even work is going along swimmingly. It feels fantastic to be accomplishing things.

Back to the capelet, before my luck runs out! Ta ta.


Raglan Along

Dearest N,

It's Sunday night again and I'm sad to have to go back to work. The weather here was so lovely and there really wasn't much to do at home except go for walks along the creek, watch funny movies, make nice dinners, and of course, knit. Lots of knitting was done this weekend. I started this little purple top down raglan hoodie on Saturday and have the yoke mostly finished.
And yes, that's Vanna White on the yarn label. It's her new line from Lion Brand. The hoodie is for my eldest neice in Vancouver who's favourite colour is purple. I adapted it from this pattern to make it fit a four year old. I'll send you the details if you're interested in knitting one for B. Did I tell you that I love, no LOVE, these raglan sweater patterns? They knit up so fast and there's barely any seaming to do once you're done. It's really cool watching it take form as you knit it.

Next is the felted ballet slipper for one of my sisters (haven't decided which one yet). I have one knitted up and you can see that I have yet to weave in the waste yarn.
I think it'll be cuter than the felted clogs. The ballet slippers are also a Bev Gellaskas pattern but from this book that I borrowed from the library. The yarn is Cascade 220 in colour 9424.

I'm off to knit the last couple of rows of the purple hoodie before dividing for the sleeves and body. I will try to enjoy the last bit of weekend left before Monday rolls around again. Hope you had as knit-ful a weekend as I!


Pinkette Returns

Dear N,
Your pictures brought T and I back to the good ol' LPL. We remember the Cherryhill library fondly. And what a sweet little thing B is. Funny too.

After being Kitchen Aid-less for about three weeks, she finally returns, rehabilitated, with a few knicks but otherwise healthy and whirrrrrring like her usual self. Of course Pinkette (as she has been aptly named) wanted to be put to work again right away so a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting was made to celebrate her homecoming. Welcome back!
And it's corn season here in the midwest, as I'm sure it is in your neck of the woods. I remember going down to Farmer Jacks and that other market down the road for fresh produce. That was some of the best corn on the cob I've ever had. T and I picked up a few cobs at our local fresh market and found a recipe for these yummy corn fritters here. Nestled on a bed of spinach and you got yourself a delicious weeknight dinner. Wish you were around to share in the corny goodness. I'll show you what I've got on the needles tomorrow. Good night N.

Pralines and Moose Tracks

The fugly wrap is finished, and I don't hate it anymore. I really can't since it matches my living room quite nicely. It is now my sofa mini-throw.
And I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes - see Reddy and Reid? There wasn't a single hold at the library for me! I did a double take and started digging in my tote for the camera. (Note it was in the tote to take pictures of B's first gymnastics class, and this is what I ended up capturing. Not one single jumping or swinging pic.)
I did, however, catch the kid eating a granola bar in the hold aisle. Didn't she see the 'no food or drink' sign? Where is this kid's parents?
Back to the Noro capelet. This time without a moebius twist!


Share a Smile

B has 'rouge' down pat. She speaks perfect English, but rather than saying 'red', she says 'rouge'. It's her new mot favourite en francais. E.g. "Your shoes are rouge, Mum." , and I agree - they are rouge!

The fall Knitty is up! Woo-hoo! I used to get the email notification, but sadly it was on my now defunct yahoo account. I really need to get around to signing up again!

Lots happening here. The girls are growing. Meetings are sprouting up everywhere. Sometimes I feel like I just can't catch my breath. This afternoon, I ended up home early as I will need to be at work at 6 a.m. tomorrow - I am helping with the organization of a Child Poverty Symposium at Brescia College. I am really excited to listen to the panel of speakers and the participation of the audience in the discussion afterwards. And between you and me, I LOVE continental breakfasts even if it's the promise of just one bran muffin and a coffee! But back to getting home early. It was unexpected surprise in a day that was crazy hectic. So I grabbed my chance to mellow out by scooping up B and walking her to the park. While she played on the swings and the slides, I finished weaving all the ends on five knitting projects. How sweet is that? We came home happy as pigs in poop.

Time to whip up some dinner, and rip out my Noro capelet because it was never intended to be a moebius scarf, and then I am off to a La Leche League meeting as a show of support for a dear friend.
Take care, T.


The Queen Bee Celebrates 5 Years

With strained patience, she waited to open her gifts. A new dress was reluctantly put on, and two pairs of matching pants were declared 'ugly'. She ripped open a new Littlest Pet Shop play centre and proceeded to play her little heart out while mum laid down on the floor and clicked away on the camera.

Birthday cupcakes were ordered, and Poor Cinder-Elly was put to work.

The wicked sister asked her to pose, and Poor Cinder-Elly was so glum.

And then the clock struck noon, and Poor Cinder-Elly turned into Princess Cinderella.

Happy Birthday, B! You're five, and now you can reach the freezer handle on the refrigerator. That must have happened overnight. You can now draw pumpkins, and your only French word is "Bonjour", but you say it with gusto. You're absolutely brilliant!

Love Mum

Back From Yarn Heaven

Well, here's my haul from the KW Knitters Guild's Knitters Fair. I honestly don't believe I went overboard.

There is definitely a Noro theme happening. My first purchase was the Noro Silver Thaw that I picked up for its sheer beauty. It reminded me of a colourful quilt. It's the first hank on the left. Then I stumbled on Em dangling a skein of Noro Cash Iroha over a sale basket and asking me innocently if it was indeed the same yarn used for the Hourglass Sweater in Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Indeed it was! I yanked it out of her hand and hissed if there was more in the basket. I looked to my left and then to my right, and no one was paying attention to us. I glanced down at the tag, and it was $5!!!! She pulled out five more skeins in all different colours, and I grabbed them all and headed to the cash register. Poor Em thought I had gone insane. She kept asking me if I was serious, and I thought she was insane. I paid over $15 for one skein a month ago downtown. Suddenly I felt rich with yarn.

But that wasn't where the Noro ended. I crossed the aisle, and a lady was wearing a gorgeous capelet knit with Noro Kureyon. And I figured what the hell - no tax and a pattern for free, so I bought a capelet kit with 3 balls of Noro Kureyon.

I had promised myself a hank of handpainted, handspun merino wool sock yarn, so I naturally bought two.

And I couldn't let you be a lone spinner, so I picked up a cheap, handmade drop spindle and two bags of merino wool roving in lavendar and cream, and dang-nabbit, I am going to learn how to spin!

Oh yeah, and the Yarn Harlot walked right by me, followed by her entourage. She was in serious shopping mode, so I did not disturb her. But I made Em pose for a pretend picture while I took a picture of the Harlot's back. Em continued to think me insane, but I insisted she do it for you. Stephanie is the one wearing the navy tee with the red bag and the white bag. Sorry for the crap picture. Please note that Em is nowhere in this picture.

Looking at this picture makes me giggle. There really wasn't that much standing room anywhere in the conference centre. It was packed to the gills with knitters the entire time. It was awesome. Must go plan next year's trip. Anyone else want to come with?


For the Love of Manos

Dear N,

I stumbled across this post from the Quesadillacraft blog (via It talks about Manos del Uraguay yarn, its origins as a cooperative " develop economic opportunities for the women in rural Uruguay" and how it has become a viable business and the favorite yarn of many knitters world wide, including you. I never knew this about Manos and will certainly start using it in more of my projects. It does feel lovely and comes in such a wide colourway. Hooray for sustainable development!

Since it's Friday and T is home sending me pictures of hippos (because I love them), I thought I'd share one of my favourites with you. Happy Friday N!

A Link and A Picture: Totally Unrelated

Hello T!

I'm back. Of course, I have loads of stories to share, but I am too tired to type.

Check out this DIY Yarn Winder - I am on my way to the laundry room right now!!

And a druring from Sophie to Beah. How sweet it is to have a little friend just your size with whom to dance lots of ballets.


A Slice of World Peace

Dear N,

First of all, LOVE the banner. Good job! The colours are so pretty and geraniums always remind me of my elementary teachers' classrooms, perfect for September.

Hope you and the family had a good time at Franken Muth. Let me know how you did at Target. I might have to go there today just to look at the new fall merchandise. So far my long weekend has been uneventful but relaxing. I finished the baby sweater from the pattern that you sent me. It's so much fun to knit and seriously adorable. I can see my nephew in it already.Here is another baby sweater that I made while in LA. It's the MDK pattern and it's for a childhood friend of mine back in New Brunswick. She isn't due until January but baby stuff is so much fun to knit. I'm on the ball this time.Last weekend T and I went to our church picnic. We weren't really planning to going to the actual event but I had donated a cake for the cake walk and had to deliver it. I thought long and hard about what kind of cake to make and really wanted to use my sports ball cake pan (yes, I know, I really like my sports ball cake pan, but really, what can be cooler than a ball shaped cake?). I decided to make the world and since it was for a church event, I'd put the word "peace" on it. We could definitely use some of that. Anyway, here it is and I was quite pleased as it was snatched up immediately.Is it evil of me to feel so smug about my cake? I looked at the other homemade cakes on the table and felt kind of bad but at least I kept the cake box closed so my cake wouldn't show up the other cakes. I might as well go to confession next Sunday just in case.

Last weekend I also frogged a little shrug that I was knitting up for a friend. I think I'll knit her the Anthropologie Inspired capelet instead. I'm loving these top down raglan sweater patterns. There's nearly no seaming involved and it's fun watching the sweater knit up. I have some ball winding to do. Enjoy the rest of your Labour Day!P.S.
Minnesota winters are very cold. I think arm warmers would be so nice to have, especially ones knitted by a good friend ;) .