B's Turn to Craft

Hullo T,

B made the most beautiful tissue tree for Easter, and I absolutely love it. E and I made our own as well, but we were a little more thrifty with our tissue. B pasted until she could paste no more!

I did a little more tidying and organizing. My straight needles are ready to grab, and my buttons are displayed in a clear hard plastic box, my circulars are in the basket, and my dpns and notions are in my needles roll you thoughtfully made me.

I couldn't resist making a couple of these beanbag bunnies! I still need to stuff and add tails. I even found the pocket bunny and duck we knit last year in the Easter box in the basement. They are sitting up on top of the mantle at the moment.

Thanks for adding me to facebook. As if I need another addiction!


Recipe of the Week!

Dear N,

That kid is too funny. I would've been rolling in the aisle laughing with the old ladies. Your kids have the best God/Jesus related stories.

I thought I'd share another recipe this week. I'm not a huge fan of Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade for (many) reasons that Iwill not go into right now. This recipe, although not Ms. Lee's, reeks of her pre-packaged, this-is-how-busy-Americans-cook-at-home-ness, but it just sounds so good! And as the future wife of a food scholor, I'm semi-ashamed of posting this recipe but if it's as good as the reviewers say, even my hoity-toity food scholor will love them. And so easy!

Monkey Bread
From Allrecipes.com

3 (12 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 9 or 10 inch tube pan.
Mix white sugar and cinnamon in a plastic bag. Cut biscuits into quarters. Shake 6 to 8 biscuit pieces in the sugar cinnamon mix. Arrange pieces in the bottom of the prepared pan. Continue until all biscuits are coated and placed in pan. If using nuts and raisins, arrange them in and among the biscuit pieces as you go along.
In a small saucepan, melt the margarine with the brown sugar over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute. Pour over the biscuits.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 minutes. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Do not cut! The bread just pulls apart.

The girls could totally help you make this. I am going to try it for a weekend breakfast treat and let you know how it goes.


I Love Spring!

Hello, T!

Yesterday in between meetings at work, I picked up B from daycare and hurried to the grocery store in Wortley to pick up a few things for the next two meetings. I read my shopping list to B, and she proceeded to be very helpful. I decided to buy some chicken strips for the kids' dinner, but I remembered that we were plum out of plum sauce! So B and I searched up and down practically every aisle, and we couldn't, for the life of us, find it. She began jabbering to herself, and I gently asked her to whom she was talking. She replied very clearly (good to see the speech therapy working) and matter-of-fact that she was speaking to Jesus. I could see all the ears prick up of all the old ladies in that particular aisle, but I was much too curious, and I decided to just go for it. "And what would Jesus be saying to you?"

"He says I am driving him up the wall."

The old ladies lost it and began to giggle like a gaggle of school girls. Nice! That's what I get for missing church this week.

Sorry, no pictures today. I tried to take pictures of my princess drawings, but it's quite difficult to photograph images behind glass. I knew that, but it was such a great amount of work to get the dang drawings lined up under the mats that I gave up.

I am reading The Red Tent by Anita Diamant for Book Club this month. I am flying through it! It's wonderful reading. I was quite excited that Em picked this - I know it the group last year was reluctant to read it, but to heck with them, I say! The story takes place in biblical times, and normally I detest reading historical novels because I can't imagine relating to a main character that is not familiar with a refrigerator, but this one exceeds my expectations. I should really wait until I finish reading it before I go ahead and recommend this one, but I have a feeling.


Don't Drink the Kool-Aide

Dear N,

I have returned! I am so sorry for being a lazy bum and not posting but here is a picture of one of the finished bunnies. It's been a busy week and weekend and the other bunny is still laying unstuffed on the coffee table. We'll just let him be for now.

As you can see, he's not that big but I'm pleased with the way they turned out. I wish I had more time to make them little outfits before sending them out west. I suppose I can make them clothes and then send it later.

Anyway, T and I finally found a dining room table. We went out on our first yard sale crawl of the year yesterday and stumbled upon a nice dining set. We really liked it and the lady was only asking $20 for the whole thing but the problem was, how to get it home? So while we're standing there deciding whether it would be worth it to rent a truck, she comes over and said that we could have it for $15. That pretty much sealed the deal. So we get a U-Haul and little me has to drive it, since T isn't fully licensed yet, an hour or so of huffing and puffing up the stairs and finally---our very own grown-up-ish piece of furniture.

I plan on recovering the seat cushions in a nice deep red fabric one of these days but otherwise, it's in good condition and ready for some grown-up dinner parties.

I have to go prepare the snack for our "becoming a Catholic" meeting. Hope you had a wonderful weekend. I am glad that spring has come into your home--it looks marvelous!



Note to self: Don't ever bother going upstairs at the market. There are zillions of useless trinkets begging to be bought for preschoolers, and a zillion opportunities to break down into tantrum mode when the answer is 'no'.

Little B can't be all that bad, you say. I agree - both girls are just miniature versions of me.

Those aren't her glasses - she found my old pair while I was trying to bring some sanity to my yarn stash. I bought some storage boxes for under my bed because the piles of wool were getting unwieldy! I had no idea how much I really had until I brought it out into the living room - it was as if sheep were chuffing all over the place! Check out how my good yarn is vibrant and candy to the eye whereas the acrylic 'Michaels' yarn is a bit lacking lustre - and there are more than one ball in each particular yarn - I buy the expensive stuff one skein at a time. I just need enough to pet it and love it.

I was inspired by Soule Mama to sprinkle the house with spring, and the fireplace mantle was a good place to start. The snowy tree pictures in black and white have been removed and replaced with this painting from IKEA, and I tied a ribbon around my vase. It's beginning to feel warmer already!

Hope you are enjoying your weekend!


Energy Star

Look, T! A hat with earflaps!!

Back View
Front View
Pattern: Kim's Hats
Book: Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson
Yarn: Manos Del Uruguay, light blue/gray
Needles: 5.5mm dpns & 16" circular
Started on Saturday, March 17 and finished on March 21
Comments - easy peasy! Really. And E does not like it because the earflaps are much too long for her liking. Poo poo to you too.

Back to the book,

Gold Seal

Dearest T,

I am so lazy tonight or burnt out that I am eating a can of chunk light skipjack tuna in water. It's healthy, and that's all that matters. Plus it hit the spot. The girls and J had eaten before I got home from work, so I missed out on dinner. That doesn't normally happen, and I wasn't even late! But we are busy selling the stupid Focus, and selling cars is crappy! You don't get to eat good dinners or on time. It is doubly hard when you think your car is crap, but we will get through this eventually. That is partially why I have been absent even though I got home two days ago from Newmarket. The other being that I dislike unpacking.

Want to see a picture of a portion of my dishclothes? Keep in mind that I had given about ten away prior to taking them to work with me:

Our new set of wheels:

And the best picture I have of Baby Nathan after three days:

Currently, I am working on another of Kim's Hats from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, and this time, I really am adding earflaps. One earflap is already finished. I should have pictures soon. All I can think about is Last Minute Fabric Gifts. I want it so badly! PS: On a side note, this would be where one would typically insert a hyperlink so that you can check it out for yourself, but it is such a pain in the arse!

Back to knitting - I am also nearly finished the second mitt. I am confused as to why I started a hat before I finished the pair of mittens. I just have the thumb to knit up, and that won't take very long at all.

More importantly, I have to finish my book club selection this month. I usually only read before bed, and it makes me tired, so I fall asleep quickly. This is probably why it has been taking me so long to read the darn book because it isn't because I am not enjoying it. I love Barney's Version written by Mordecai Richler [insert another hyperlink, N - you're losing them!]. It's my second time reading it, but the first time was so long ago that I only remembered the ending very hazily. I only have two more nights. Wish me luck. It occurred to me that I am always asking others to wish me luck - a clear identification that I have to expand my vocab. Sryans used 'nuance' twice in a minute this afternoon and completely lost me. What's that even mean? Nuance, nuance, nuance. It looks weird besides being utterly pompous.

Back to my book,


My Addiction

Dear N,

Girl Scouts of America's cookie drive is coming to an end. I have unfortunately become addicted to the Caramel De-lites and fear the day when my stash runs out. Maybe I should have bought extra from the nice girls in front of the Wal-Mart yesterday. The lemon ones are also very good, as are the peanut butter and chocolate ones. I know what you're thinking---Girl Guide cookies only come in three flavours! Yes, I know and if you think the three Girl Guide flavours are good, the eight Girl Scout flavours are seriously good. You can see all of the different flavours here and even link to a recipe for the original cookie sale cookies.

Hope you had fun on your trip to the big city.


Rice Rice Baby

Dear N,

Do you still love Cozyshack rice pudding? I saw a recipe for rice pudding and thought of your and Grace's obsession with the stuff. Although I've never had the Cozyshack variety, I like making my own. It's easy, has no preservatives and you feel good feeding it to your family.

Creamy Rice Pudding
(adapted from Epicurious)

4 cups milk
1/2 cup long grain rice
1/2 cup sugar (or Splenda)
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
1 egg
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch freshly grated nutmet (optional)

Bring milk, rice, sugar, butter, and salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan over moderately high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, until rice is very tender, about 30-40 minutes.
Just before rice mixture finishes cooking, whisk egg lightly in a bowl. Remove pan from heat and slowly add 1/2 cup of rice mixture to egg, whisking constantly. Stir egg mixture into remaining rice mixture in pan, then stir in cream and vanilla.
Pour pudding into a glass or ceramic baking dish and sprinkle with cinnamon and/or nutmeg. Chill pudding, covered. Pudding can be chilled, covered, up to 3 days.



Aloe-ha Amigo

Dear T,

It’s high time I cleaned up my desk! I am feeling overwhelmed by the piles of lists and minutes and notes and memos. Could this mess make me feel bloated? It’s kind of possible, isn’t it? I could also do with a hot cup of tea and one of those cranberry scones you linked to in your last post.

My aloe vera plant that I rescued from that nightmarish student slum has taken a turn for the worse. It’s not enough that its bamboo buddy turned black and slimy, but the aloe’s best tentacle was tragically torn off yesterday by my supposed best friend Jane. She insists she was just trying to empathetically respond to the gash on my finger left by the glossy brochure paper I was tri-folding for - of all people - Jane. I practically sawed off a digit!! Mary Ann found the aloe tentacle on the Admin table this morning, and she tried to cheer me up by digging a hole in the dirt with my scissors, and she stuck the tentacle in the hole in the dirt to see if it will root itself and grow again. I really hope she’s right, but common sense tells me it’s a long shot.

This whole ordeal drove me to clean the slimy, black bamboo with a deadly mixture of bleach and boiling water. A gentle rubbing removed the last of the plant snot from the stones. And voila - the rocks, glass vessel and bamboo shoots are now sunning themselves in the staff room on the window ledge.

I’m seriously considering going stateside to get my Ph. D in Botany. The future’s looking up, kiddo!

aka 'Green Thumbs'

Someone to Watch Over Me

Dear N,

T goes away for two weeks in May and I'm already dreading it. My goal is to make a few friends before then so I will have someone to keep me company. The more I think about it though, the more I think it will be good for both of us. We are awfully selfish of each other. I figure it may help if I plan my weeks and fill them up with stuff to do. Here are some activities that I have planned:

- Go to the Aveda Institute and have my hair cut and coloured (includes a head massage) for $30 by one of their students.
- Check out Minnesota's Swedish heritage at the American Swedish Institute. I'm kind of choked that I missed out on the felt exhibit but I will definitely make it out to the minatures exhibit in May.
- Try out new recipes from Smitten Kitchen. I have my eye on this salad, this soup (because T hates mushrooms) and these for breakfast (yum!)
- Shop for fresh produce and gorge myself on Mexican pastries and sandwiches at the Midtown Global Market
- Make myself a bunch of summer skirts to wear. I love all of these from Anthropologie.

I'm thinking that should keep me busy, for a few days anyway, until I call you up and beg you to miss a couple of car payments so you can fly down here! Joking, I'd never ask you to do that (right now).

Congratulations on knitting mittens with dpns! I am so proud of you! And the colour of that Malabrigo---splendid! Maybe I should add "get over fear of dpns" on my list of things to do while T is away.


Malabrigo Mitten

One lonely Malabrigo mitten patiently awaiting its partner. I did it on dpns! Woo-ee!
Another tote destined for god knows where. How many bags does a girl need? For now it is folded up compactly in my knitting bag. Yesterday, I popped it out to help carry the groceries to the car. Very handy.
The birthday gift for Friday's party. It was more peachy-coloured than this picture. The handles were bright pink nylon, and I added a contrasting boob brooch and threw in the pink swirly scarf for good measure. I was sad to see this funky bag go.

The tuxedo strawberries looked just marvellous. Good for you! You are so imaginative. I am certain that they were the hit of the man shower. I hope you are feeling better.

There were 13 babies in the nursery this morning. Holy crap! Joeli and I were pooped by noon. B and I got home and plopped ourselves down on the sofa until J woke up. But the weather was too nice to sit around all afternoon, so the four of us went on a walk down past the poo factory and soccer fields and through every puddle. What to do now?


All Dressed Up...

Dear N,

What do you bring with you to a man shower? These.

Aren't they cute? Of course I fell ill and didn't end up going to the man shower. The strawberries however were already dressed and insisted on going so they went with my boss Penny.

Today feels like spring. The snow is melting, the sun is shining and the smell of dog doo is in the air. Can't wait to get out there with the rest of the outdoor-deprived Minnesotans, even with my sickness.

I hope that you are enjoying the new car. You certainly have waited long enough and spent enough hours worrying about whether you'll get somewhere safely. I bet she drives like a dream. I think T and I will need to get another car eventually, now that he is driving. The boy finally has his license and it's getting less scary driving with him. Then again, I wasn't the best driving instructor.

I think I will hunker down and do some knitting before T gets home and the weekend begins. Hope yours is loads of fun!


Early Years Last a Lifetime

Good morning, T!

I love the colour of your felted bowl. It’s beautiful! Maybe we need to start a felted bowl knit-a-long. I have a couple in the wings waiting for felting as well. I am starting to fear what it may be doing to my washing machine. I’ve heard horror stories – I vaguely remember a post by the Yarn Harlot and her Washy. I need to find a lingerie bag or something to catch all the fuzzies.

My mum is taking E to a scrapbooking class tonight. I am excited to see what they churn out. The girls and I were rooting through old photographs last night, and I can’t believe how much my little family has aged. And I have realized that it doesn’t matter how short or long E’s hair is, it nearly always looks perfect. Dirty, but perfect.

That was horrible when we thought Tig was gone forever, and add to that my guilt from leaving her out for the entire night which turned into three days. And as much as we joke about Bob the Garbage-Raiding Raccoon, raccoons are vicious!

I received the annual Cut-a-thon flyer two days ago from the Parkinson’s Society, and I made reservations at Chez Cheveux for two haircuts within seconds. It has taken us three years to get in there. Whew! I felt higher than a kite. J thought I was off my rocker. I am fairly certain that Emily was just as thrilled. Of course I am disappointed that you won’t be joining us!


How IS the cat?

Hi N,

It's funny that the picture of your lovely scarf featured Tig Tig. I was thinking about him the other day and the time he went away and everyone was worried for him. Looking back it's kind of funny because you were blaming yourself for his disappearance. It all worked out in the end though and he came home. Strange cat he is.

I made this bowl awhile back but hadn't posted a picture of it yet.

I have knit up a couple more but haven't gotten around to felting them yet. So many things to do, so little time.

I also thought I would share with you the pattern on my radiator cover. Is it crazy to like a radiator cover so much? I think it's awfully vintage/modern.

Ok, time for bed. I've had a long day of shmoozing with Minneapolis' hard hitters. I suck at schmoozing. Good night.


Year of the Pig

So I cut up the sleeve of an old felted wool sweater, and I quickly read up on how to blanket stitch, and voila! A Pig Ipod Cozy for E. The stitches appear to be sewn by a 5-year old, and I am okay with that.

As for Josh's manly scarf, here's Tig Tig being the ever gracious feline model. She looked like she wanted to pounce rather than pose for the camera. The scarf is quite longer than it appears - it's very good at squishing into a little roll. I was surprised. Yesterday the temperature outside was 30 below, but J insisted that the scarf was not necessary. This is to be his last knit. Sorry, guy.

Special Delivery

Oh! What's this? A parcel for me?

Look at the lovely robin's egg blue tissue paper and cute lettering.

How did someone know that I wanted to learn how to spin?

Three soft balls of roving in chocolate and cream tones, a spindle and wool wash ready to go!

Thanks, N for my birthday gift. This is truly the ultimate present for any knitter!

I can't wait to try it out but I'm a little nervous. I am going to save it for the weekend when I can read the instructions in detail and make sure that I'm doing this right. Pictures to come!



Culinary Arts


I made the most yummiest omelette last night for dinner. Omelettes are one of those things that I completely overlook. It never occurs to me to make an omelette, not ever. Honestly, I gave myself a pat on the back. That’s how good it was – I painfully contorted my body in order to congratulate ME on being such a fantastic cook. I seeded and diced a tomato, finely cut up some red onion, shredded some mozzarella, sprinkled salt and pepper, randomly sloshed in some milk, and whipped in six large eggs. Then I poured it in my heated buttery frying pan, and I walked away. I purposely avoided poking and prodding it to death and let it cook to its heart’s content. The pay-off was huge! I should have taken pictures. It’s going into my repertoire of deliciously easy dinners. Watch out, little family of mine, mama’s gonna buy more eggs!


Citrus Mountain

You’re right, T! My children are angels.

This weekend was full of knitting. Friday night, my cousin came over, and I re-taught her the basics over tea and rice krispie squares. Saturday, the KNIT Club (only four of us) knit and chatted all afternoon in my living room, and when it started to get dark, we headed over to the Outback for steak. Mmmm. It was fun, but it made me miss you more. These ladies are extremely confident in their knitting skills and whipping up sweaters and pants. Yes, pants. I worked on a scarf and watched them. Plus, I am not sure how comfortable they are with my quirky side. I am keeping quiet so as not to scare them. When they started talking about their weddings, I silently stole out of the room to check on B.

Sunday night, Joeli and I went to a concert at the church. It was beautiful, and my hands hurt from clapping for two hours. We laughed hysterically until our abs were sore – that’s as close as I have come to working out in the last three months. We ate bananas and crackers in the balcony while furiously knitting, peed in the conductor’s bathroom, and screamed in delight that we did NOT win the door prize. It was so nice to let loose for a bit. I have been so tense about so many different things lately. It is occurring to me that a majority of the stress I have been feeling has been from being so fake with everyone – I couldn’t bear to hurt, offend or anger someone for fear that they might hate me, and in turn I get hurt, offended and angered. It makes no sense, but just admitting that to myself has set me free in a silly sort of way.

I didn’t take a picture of the scarf I knit for J this weekend. It turned out nice and manly in a muted variegated wool/nylon yarn. I cast on 21 sts, and alternated between two rows. One solid knitting, and the other k1, p1. I was disappointed by some curling of the edges, but I may try some careful blocking to flatten it a bit.

Hope your weekend was nice and cozy. I was, in fact, very jealous of your snow day. It was crappy in London, but just not crappy enough. Here’s to snow days, the boss on vacation, insanity scare tactics, church windows and stepping on people’s toes!


Snow Day!

You've got one (two!) precious little one, N. I'm not going to say that I'm not tres jealouse of your lovely family, but I am. You are so blessed.

My love of children and the need to nurture something has definitely rubbed off on T. Right now our family consists of a purple monkey and a pink unicorn. Both stuffed of course. T's mother thinks that we need to get out more, and this is coming from a woman who has pictures of other people's babies plastering her fridge. One day soon....

Today is a snow day and a beautiful snow day it is. Especially when your place of employment closes for the day (long weekend!) and you don't have to clear the driveway. It's turned out to be not such a bad day, weather wise. So pretty looking out my window.

This is looking into my neighbour's backyard from the inside of my shower, believe it or not. Usually we have a curtain covering it (duh).

I've started yet another new project. I can't seem to keep interested too long in any one project right now. This is a Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono from Mason-Dixon. It's really easy. This one is done in garter stitch but I think I'll do the next one in stockinette with ribbed edging. I plan on giving this to my boss who has a grandbaby arriving on the same day that my niece/nephew #3 will be arriving. It's done in Bernat Cottontots Wonder Dreams.

You bags look fantastic, N! Looks like you've really gotten to know your sewing machine. I love the fabric of your new knitting bag. Did you use a pattern or did you wing it? I'd like to sew up some little bags like that to put the knitted bunnies in for my nieces.

I am now going to put the laundry in the dryer and get going on my wedding cake. Well, not my wedding cake, but a wedding cake for Nick and Erin's wedding tomorrow. I was so worried about the weather but it looks like it'll be fine and the wedding will go ahead after all.

Hope you have a great weekend!


Afternoon Snooze

- Pst! B.

-What? Mum?

- Yeah. Time to wake up.

What can I say? The kid is a bear when she wakes up!
Here's a bag I whipped up with some scraps from Grace. It's the perfect size for a teenbeat magazine! E has a birthday party on Saturday, and for once, I am on the ball.

Here's one for me. I LOVE this bag. It's officially my new knitting bag. LOVE it!