BOO Blue

I am really trying to enjoy Halloween, but truth be told, it’s my least favourite holiday in the world. I don’t like candy, dressing up, begging for candy, or answering the door 3,000 times to scary-looking kids or kids who are plain scared of me. Even carving the pumpkins was too messy for my liking. I am such a Halloween poop. I can’t wait to walk very slowly in the pitch black and freeze my bum off. I need to put a positive spin on this. I need some help! Anyone?

In knitting news, I met up with my knitters on Monday night for knitting at Starbucks with my old posse, and afterwards we headed to the library in Wortley Village for a fundraising event for My Sister’s Place – a charitable organization that helps women who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. We threw some cash in the pot, grabbed some yarn and needles, and sat down to an evening of music, readings, sketches and knitted art while we knit up 6-inch squares for blankets for the ‘sisters’. It was awesome!!! I swear to Todd, I was on a natural high. And a couple ladies from the London Knit Ravelry group were there, so we all sat together and chatted during intermission. We’ve decided to dedicate one weekly gathering a month to charity knit. I’m excited about this because I have an easy preemie hat pattern that I have whipped up several times in the matter of a night. Unfortunately none of them made it to any preemies since they also fit amazingly well on B’s baby dolls’ heads. The little thief came out of nowhere! I will have to start knitting on the sly.

Guess who’s coming to town on Friday??? Our old friend Barbara Coloroso! She makes me want to be the best parent ever, and sometimes I need a little reminding. I got a free ticket from one of my sweetest co-workers. I am so thrilled! If I could only get this excited about tonight . . .


B's Birthday Boo Bash

It was B's birthday last month, but we didn't get our act together until this month, so we took full advantage of the Halloween theme. I've learned many birthday party lessons over the last 11 years. I may have just gotten it down pat.
  1. Keep the number of guests at a bare minimum. And for goodness' sake, invite the kids you like.
  2. Keep the duration of party at a bare minimum. Two hours is my new maximum.
  3. Organize enough activities, crafts, stories and snacks, so that you are changing it up every two minutes. This afternoon's party was two hours long, so I had approximately 60 different things to do and eat. Just ask my sister.
  4. No meals. Keep it at cake and ice cream and a few healthy snacks and juice.
  5. Recruit older sibling and friend to do all the grunt work. When your sister asks out of sheer politeness if she should stay and help, immediately say yes and put her to work as well.
  6. If they start to look restless, throw on some jaunty tunes and demand that they dance.

It was an absolute success! No one cried (with the exception of Olivy Bean when her cousin demanded she wait her turn to toss her beanbag), but she was right as rain when we changed to the next activity. Get this! I even danced and sang and read a story in my bestest Grover voice. I had a ball! And I got plenty of pictures.



Winter Woodland Waiting

Dear N,

Wow! That's a serious haul of fabric. Nice stuff too! Where did you get it? Oh if only I was still in London my very genrous and kind blog buddy would share her fabric with me!

I was invited to join Ravelry on Friday and I haven't had much time to play around on there but what I've seen so far I love. It's a great place. I've already joined a group here in Minneapolis that meets on Tuesdays so I'm definitely looking forward to that. Also, I'll have plenty of time to get pictures up of my stash and projects. Speaking of projects, my Misty Alpaca awaits our Woodland-along.

I don't think the pink will be very woodsy but pretty all the same.

This is not a great picture (it's difficult to take a picture of your own hands) but I do love very much my new wrist warmers. Thank you again! So pretty how it peeks out of a coat sleeve. I'm glad that they did not get lost in the mail.
We plan on carving the pumpkin tomorrow, but I'll take the writst warmers off. It's time to head off for another weekend of work in the office. After this week I will have tons of time to knit and play around on Ravelry. Will you make more quillows with the new fabric?


Oh My Cotton - To Me You Are So Beautiful

I forgot that I hadn't shown you my fabric remnants that I picked up for a super steal! Here's a few glimpses. Can you spot the Denyse Schmidt or the Kaffe Fassette? Now put this in perspective - this is maybe 1/20 of a bag, and I have seven bags!! I am seriously coveting this fabric.

My very talented sister was granted limited access to the stash to make this small doll quilt. I am a very nice sister.
What am I going to do with all this fabric????

Chugging Along on the Buttony

One more sleeve to knit . . .
And twelve buttons to sew on!


We interrupt this program for a quick health update:

I am really loving the shoe shot right now. It's the new black. Or the new squid.

After a few doses of antibiotics, the littlest is feeling better than ever! I only wish I was half as resilient as that kid. And the weather on Sunday was gorgeous with lots of sunshine and a temperature in the high twenties again. So a walk to the park was in order (with my knitting in my bag of course). I took plenty of pictures, and it was noted that we could walk faster if I put the camera away. I followed suit, and soon enough, we were at the playground, and she found some new friends with whom to play. I finished the second wristwarmer, and we packed up and walked home for dinner. It was a very pleasant way to end the crazy hectic weekend.

Last night, the girls and I attended the OEYC Birthday Party at the Children’s Museum, and we had a grand time. El helped out by selling pizza tickets, and B and I played. We used to go to the museum all the time a few years ago when we had a membership, but it got so boring going weekly, and the displays don’t change frequently, so we didn’t renew. Seeing Beah so excited has made me seriously reconsider buying a membership again. I literally had to drag her away last night with the promise of another visit very soon. What’s even funnier is that we had to walk home because J took the car to work. It was really warm, so we could have been jacket-less, but knowing me, I had three toques, three scarves, and three pairs of mittens in addition to three winter coats. And because the littlest is so picky sometimes, I had extras in case something was too itchy or the wrong colour. We didn’t need any of it, needless to say! To top it off, it was getting late, so El and I decided that we would take the shortcut through the dark, unlit walking paths up past the poo plant rather than keep to the lit, busy streets. I was worried that B kept giving away our position in the pitch black with her rowdy stories of when she was in my belly. We got home in good time without being attacked. Some might call us 'survivors'.

I finished one sleeve of the Buttony, and I give myself a week to finish the second. I must get knitting on the second sock soon, as well, so my UFO pile doesn't get bigger. Did you see the UFO poll on Knitting Daily? I seem to be normal with 3 or 4 projects on the go at all times. Variety is the spice of life!

Back to work,

You Know You're A Mum When . . .

You find yourself in the emergency room at 1 a.m., and you wipe up your littlest's vomit in this order - vomit on the littlest, vomit on the floor and only then, vomit on yourself. And then for the next hour and a half, you walk around with vomit-y cordoruoys like it's completely normal. I managed to knit a few rows while waiting for the impatient papa came back for us. I turned to the littlest as we were tucking ourselves back into bed around 3 a.m. to thank her for not getting a nasty ear infection the night before. She gave me a hug and replied that I was very welcome.
And so it ends - another weekend of sickies. I know they say that things travel in threes, but next weeked is B's Birthday Boo Bash with a handful of her closest friends. Please send good health vibes this way. Now that I think about it, perhaps this was the third incident, because two weeks ago, she had two huge blisters in her mouth that appeared to be filled with Creamy Italian dressing. That should definitely count as one since I spent an hour at a walk-in clinic hoping to Todd that her lip could be saved. You could say I have a wild imagination.

Speaking of vibes, I am sending my crafty vibes to Minneapolis. "Get knitting on those Christmas cotton bags!"


Leaf Me Alone

B and I picked up some leaves from the front yard. I wish I had some red or orange leaves, but we just get green, yellow and brown. The leaves are still pretty regardless. I just love me the fall.
I finished my mum's hat and one wristwarmer. I started the second Thursday night while gathering with a roomful of London knitters - go see pictures and more tales at Ellen's and Laurie's blogs. Without a thought to the consequences, I proudly showed off my first sock to what seemed like a standing ovation from knitters. And the cameras came out and started clicking. When you see me, please understand that I was loopy from a handful of advil and still bleeding profusely from having my wisdom tooth yanked out hours before. What does this say about me? It says that I am insanely obsessed by knitting and desparate to meet other knitters with the same addiction. Well I was rewarded with my efforts, because I met some of the most loveliest people! Chances are we're going to try meeting at a roadhouse next - knitting and beer! Mmmm. If only I could hold my liquor like I used to . . .

The last week was spent working, chauffuring the family, teaching a friend to knit, housework, making scarecrows, dental work, gymnastics, ballet, swimming, boo bash planning, reading my holds from the library, taking minutes at multiple meetings, organizing two fundraising events, and lord knows what else. It was very rushed, but I seemed to accomplish it all, and for that I am happy. Nobody was left angry or disappointed. Call it developing and maintaining strategic partnerships, because if that's what it's called, I deserve an A+. Tomorrow I plan to lay back and take it easy - a little 'me' maintenance like you suggested. The kids should be tuckered out after today, and I am fairly certain that they too need a day just like that. Who doesn't?

Ta ta for now,

The Finest of the Flavours

Dear N,

During my lunch break today I went on eBay and bought 1/4 lb of Grade A organic bourbon vanilla beans for $11. That's a mere $0.42/bean! I am so excited for them to come. I've never actually worked with vanilla beans before but I know that they are supposed to be far superior than vanilla extract in any kind of baking. Call me crazy.

I could use my new beans to make a Princess cake.
Hee-hee. I saw this one on Super Eggplant and did more research into this Swedish pastry and now I really want to make one. So pretty! And tasty to boot.

Things are slow in the crafting front. My motivation to knit, or to do anything really, has washed away with all of this fall rain. And to make matters worse, I made a dentist appointment for next week. Maybe that Princess cake will have to wait until after I go. Hrmph!


Prestige Calculator with Dual Power

I finished one sock, and I am higher than a kite! Sock knitting is bliss. Especially when one is done. I am a bit wary about casting on the second. Will it be as wonderful as its predecessor? The same size? Please send good knitting vibes my way. I don’t think I could bear another sock catastrophe. I wish you could feel this sock on your foot. It is so warm and lovely. I admit that I have been walking around with one indigo sock just because it feels so good.

Drum roll, please! D-d-d-d-d-d—d-d-d---d-d-d-d—d-d-d-d-d-d—d- . . .

A patchwork pillow! A quillow! But without the quilting, so I guess it’s just a pillow. But it’s a beautiful pillow. A piece of art! And I didn’t just make one, I made three! I will keep the chocolate brown corduroy pillow for myself, and the other two I plan to give my mum for her birthday, along with the toque (which I also completed!), at the end of this month. Her pillows were made with a loden green wool material. I don’t have pictures of them yet because I have to go out and buy the pillow forms first! Things to do, things to do! The fabric for the patchwork pillows were thrifted from a London mum who runs her own business called Generation Baby. I haven’t even made a dent in the fabric she gave me. I have enough fabric to last me until I check out!

The tables look professionally restored! Pat yourselves on the back, T & T. You are great environmental role models. We try to do our best around here by using those energy-saving light bulbs, using our blue boxes, THRIFTING, reusing what we already have, and refusing plastic bags. I am sure there is a lot more we could be doing. I recently changed our handsoap to Method, and I am loving it. Get this! I have replaced my Bath & Body Works soaps with Method! I miss it sometimes, but Method looks nice and is very fragrant too, so I can’t complain. And just last month, I held a Norwex cleaning demonstration party at my house. They sell cloths and cleaning products that do not use chemicals and are all environmentally-safe. They were expensive, but if I never have to buy all the harsh chemical cleaners, then really, I am saving money as well. The anti-bacterial microfibre cleaning cloths are the BEST. I love my cloths. And I was able to get the toilet brush of my dreams!! I know y’all think I am insane, but this toilet brush is supercalifragilistic expee-al-idocious! Word up yo!


Blog Action Day

Dear N,

Happy Blog Action Day! I'm having some trouble with my digital camera so I was unable to take pictures of my felted sweater pillow but I do have some pictures to share of two tables that T and I refurbished a few weeks ago. It all goes along with reusing items, which I think is the most important of the three R's.

This table we brought with us from our old house in London. Right after we moved into this little cottage that was obviously a student rental for many years, the owner sold it and told us that we could do whatever we wanted with the furniture that was left. Most of it was in pretty bad shape and had to be junked and some of it we were able to give away on FreeCycle. One man's junk and etcetera. I always liked the lines of this table but it was covered in layers of paint, and drippy paint at that. It took awhile to sand it all off but repainted properly and new brushed nickel hardware and it's good as new.This table was also a London special. It was in great condition and sturdy as a rock but just not the colour we wanted (red). Now that it's black it fits in with the rest of the furniture and is now home to T's family heirloom pineapple lamp. Not my favourite room accessory but his late aunt from Rhode Island made it and guest sure are drawn to it.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is that if it can be fixed or prettied up in some way, do it. Not only will you save some cash but you'll also be helping the environment by not buying more stuff. And don't we all have enough stuff?

Some other things that I would like to do to decrease my ecological footprint is to put a jar of rocks in the tank of the toilet to save on water, switching to all energy saving light bulbs (we're almost there!), buying organic, and this winter we'll keep the thermostat at one degree lower than we usually keep it. One of my favourite sites to go for more green ideas is Treehugger. Also, for Christmas this year, all of my family members are getting knitted grocery bags like the brown one that I just finished. It doesn't seem like much and there's always room for improvement but every little bit helps.

Happy Blog Action Day, N! Hope you get home from your "bored" meeting on time to put B to bed.


A Sweater and Some Soup

Dear N,

Although I spent Saturday putting in some over time hours at work, I still feel like I had a great weekend. Friday night I actually went out and had drinks with some normal people. It was really nice to finally connect with people other than co-workers and incredibly intense grad students.

Yesterday I helped my boss unpack and organize the production room at our new office. I am also happy to report that Outlook is up and working again! I sent you an email on Friday but I think you had left already. Darn that whole time zone thing. Today T and I went to the new Super Target in Edina, which is only ten minutes away. It was as awesome as I had hoped, full of good deals and low, low prices. Then I went home and finished knitting a tiny sweater while the turkey carcass simmered away on the stove. We'll have turkey and rice soup to feed all of London, so come on down! Soup will forever remind me of you. I've never seen anyone so into soup!
One tiny sweater ready for the Christmas tree (excuse the bad lighting, it sure gets dark fast now).

I'm going to sign off now because the wireless is being finicky tonight. Hope B feels better soon!


A Runny Nose on the Trampoline

I believe that B is coming down with a cold, so being the supportive caring family we are, we have buried ourselves under blankets and done a good job of loafing around - for her sake of course. El is down in the basement watching teen movies - you know, the movies made for television. B is circling her my little ponies around a carousel and dipping under her covers to warm up and nap when the need arises. I have hauled out my stash of wool from under the bed and taken pictures to file it all on my Ravelry workspace. It's a bit tedious, so I have been switching it up with my sock and a hat for my mum's birthday at the end of the month. It mother-flippin' FITS!!!
I am being productive! I am not making this up - I overheard another mum talking to another mum and caught them pointing at me in the corner knitting at gymnastics this morning. Her exact words were, "Man, she's got the right idea and using this time waiting around productively." I smiled. Little did she know that I was just biding my time until I got home to curl up on the white sofa and knit even more while neglecting the children and cleaning. Next up - a cup of hot tea and a homemade brownie. MMmmm.

76 Days Until Christmas

Dear N,

Oh I am still here! I have missed our daily emails and correspondences during my work move last week. My Outlook is still not up as of today so I figured I would try communicating to you through our little blog.

Your Thanksgiving post was just lovely and made me miss my own family. T and I did have his mom and dad down from TO and that was definitely nice. We had turkey with all the trimmings and just spent some nice quality time together. I am all turkeyed out and I can imagine that you are too. Your pictures of the horses and Ontario fall made me nostalgic and I really think that E has a future in photography. Great behind shot in the apple orchard!

So with Thanksgiving behind us, it's time to really hunker down and get our Christmas knitting going. In fact, we only have 76 days left! Since Christmas will be celebrated in Minneapolis this year I thought I would knit up some of these in the University of Minnesota's Golden Gopher colours for family members. Who doesn't love things made in mini?

On October 15th I think we should take part in the Blog Action Day. I already have a couple of ideas that I'd like to work on.

The Top Chef reunion is coming on in a few minutes and I've been waiting to watch it since Hung's win last week. T and I were rooting for that cocky little man the whole time. Looking forward to having my Outlook back! G'nite N!


Tale of Two Thanksgivings

We are fortunate to have a good portion of my family living within an hour’s drive. Holidays are never spent alone, and in fact, we benefit from multiple dinners every Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas – any special occasion really. Most of the time, I spend days griping about the (short) drive, the inconvenient timing, a family feud – nearly anything I could possibly think of making into a justifiable complaint. And nearly always I am proven extremely wrong and a little bit insane. Oh, there are moments where I would be interested in strangling a relative or two, but I am sure it is tenfold in return. I think there are groups of stranglers lying in wait for me all the time.
Back on the topic of Thanksgiving! This is what I mean by veering off. Anyway, we had two lovely turkey dinners. We reconnected with our parents, grandparents, aunts ‘n’ uncles, cousins, and nieces ‘n’ nephews. The driving was scenic with the my favourite autumn colours and lots of sunshine. The weather was glorious – it was 30 degrees celcius. That’s mother-flippin’ hot. The girls were kept busy raking leaves, listening to funny family stories, walking in the woods, riding the little tractor and wagon, petting horses, catching up with cousins, lounging in the hammock under the twinkling lights, and sitting around the campfire. I took piles of pictures and laughed and laughed. I think my family is crazy in the bestest way.
I have yet to scrounge up a set of 5.5 mm dpns, but I am keeping my fingers crossed. I think this is my knitting karma telling me to finish the mother-flippin’ sock already, and I am going to listen for once. My knitting karma will reward me with some dynamite sleeves if I knit up those dang socks for the love of Todd. This, I am certain.

Remember when I couldn’t find an evening group for the life of me? Well, now I have them coming out my butt! Em’s old library branch is holding a free drop-in knit gathering twice a month, and London Yarns is resuming the defunct weekly KNIT Club this month! As luck would have it, both are on Thursdays, but there’s enough of me to go around. As with nearly everything I do, I will try the free group out first, and if all goes well, I can mix it up a bit. I will let you know how it goes.

I have nothing planned this evening – just me and sock #1, and some crafting and baking with the tots. Plus I have fabric remnants slewed all over my white sofa which isn’t really that great-looking, so tidying is definitely in order.
Hope you get connected soon, T. I am not doing the blog justice with my rambling.


Happy Thanksgiving

I have drafted about twenty posts since last Sunday, but none were right. Once I get writing I can veer off in directions I never imagined. So let's keep it simple.

The buttony is coming along nicely. I am actually nearly finished the body, and I am searching for a set of 5.5mm double pointed needles. Again, I have a gazillion needles, but none meeting these standards!
I scored SEVEN bags of designer fabric scraps for what I can only imagine will turn out to be patchwork projects!

And we went apple picking yet again - different orchard, different apples. This time I let El take the pictures.
We're off to eat our second Thanksgiving dinner. I love me some turkey!