I've been playing around with the layout and fonts and colours of the blog, and I think a white background is the best. It might be the white couch and endless white trim surrounding me, and a bit of research that proved that the majority of the best blogs out there also sport white background. It's simple. It's chic. Feel free to tell me how wrong I am.

The new banner was cropped from a picture I took this summer on a rainy day in Port Stanley. My little family likes to travel to the beach only on the most dismal of days. I thought the Port would be a ghost town, but it was still packed with shoppers and diners. The geraniums caught my eye and begged me to photograph them.

I am a bona fide killer of geraniums otherwise I would have these surrounding my adobe!

It's my Friday off, and I am up at 7a.m. pushing the 'Publish Post' button. GOOD MORNING!


The Collegiate Establishment

Please feast your eyes on the Peking Blue. Isn’t it rich! It’s just the right amount of daring, and I daresay it should encourage creativity. Who could be bored surrounded by that blue? It better not be El. Not after all this.
Julia and El sewed this fantastic hanging pocket board for her wall when I left El in Newmarket. I can’t even begin to explain how cool these pockets are. The colours are perfect. I am not supposed to know this – but there are secret pockets on the back for her secret notes and devious plans against whom I can only imagine is me. I hope that Julia realizes that gads of pre-teens traipse through this room on a regular basis, and they will be sure to want one for themselves! She may be able to start up her own little home-based business. I have already hinted at Etsy. Maybe she will be the next Sally Shim!
In my dental-induced drug haze, I nearly messed up my 100th Manos del Uruguay hat. Okay, so it’s not my 100th, but it certainly feels like it could be. This one is in lavender, and it knit up in a couple of hours. I love Kim’s Hats pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Em was lucky enough to get her own copy for her birthday. How sweet! I dream of whipping up an hourglass sweater one day in a yarn equal to Noro Cash Iroha. I say this because I have actually calculated exactly how much it would cost me in funds alone to make this sweater using the specified yarn including taxes, and your jaw would drop. Well, maybe not yours, but certainly a jaw of a non-knitter.
And I am knitting up my second pair of hand/wrist warmers from the same book. This pattern is also quick to knit, and because it requires only one skein as well, I can be a bit frivolous and buy the good stuff. This pair is a honey-coloured alpaca and merino wool blend. It is so soft and pretty. If you would like, I can research the cost to mail these puppies to Minneapolis in time for apple-picking. Mmmm.

If I am a bit excited about Frankenmuth, imagine how excited I am about the Waterloo County Knitter’s Fair. My Knit Club friends and I have been planning for weeks this mini-roadtrip. It will be like going to 55 yarn stores in one day! This is what glee feels like. I only wish you could be riding shotgun, T.


Sweet Nostalgia

So we went to see the Simpsons last night on the big screen. I can’t say that I LOVED the movie, but I did enjoy going to the theatre with my little family. Let’s face it, there’s not a big crossover of activities in which both children can take pleasure. A 5-year old’s idea of a good time differs widely from that of an 11-year old. Up to this point, I have dropped off the eldest and dad at the theatre, and the littlest and I head to the playroom or library or anywhere else really. I think B liked eating the popcorn the best. We made the error of allowing her to hold onto the bag for the duration of the movie.

Next weekend, my parents are treating my family and my sister’s family to a weekend in Michigan. As children, my parents took us to Frankenmuth nearly twice a year. Trips would coincide with back-to-school shopping or Christmas shopping, and we would always take friends or relatives with us, so we were forced to do the tourist thing every single time. There was always the obligatory family-style chicken dinner at Zehnders or the Bavarian Inn, popcorn, Pac-Man, and beer (for the dads) at Tiffany’s, wandering for hours in the Bronners Christmas Store, sucking on fireballs and spending days gazing at the intricate dollhouses on display at Rau's Country Store. Even better were the deals we would get at Birch Run! Oh dear. One summer, we all got fitted with extensive Gitano wardrobes when all the clothes were marked down by 90%! Keep in mind, we’re talking late 80’s here – it was cool. Sort of. I got my first Benetton rugby shirt at Birch Run in bright green. I wore that shirt until it was ratty. I also bought loads of Bass penny loafers! I loved the 80’s.

I went with my little family last summer, and although we did all the same things, it wasn’t the same. For them, it was their first time, and reminiscing was out of the question. They couldn’t imagine in their wildest dreams the rooms of dollhouses upon dollhouses all dressed for every possible occasion. Back in the day, we literally spent an entire afternoon looking at each dollhouse, pointing to every detail in absolute amazement and giving the displays the right amount of admiration they were fully due. The tiniest mother-flippin’ roll of bathroom tissue would send us reeling!! The dollhouses are gone now. They’ve been replaced by signs. Signs? Rooms and rooms of signs. I don’t really get the allure of signs, but apparently they’re more lucrative than dollhouses.

It’s fascinating how experiences are completely different from when you are a child to when you are an adult. I guess it’s all perspective. As a child, it wasn’t my hard-earned money we were burning. That’s harsh, but that was one new perspective I was handed when I took my own family. How did my parents afford the family-style chicken dinner for all of us a couple times a year? This continues to be perplexing. The Bavarian style was colourful and musical and nearly like an amusement ride – even as a teenager, but as an adult, my artistic senses were assaulted. But in a good way – I mean, I giggled and stayed up nights wondering who had to design this nightmare of wood and bright paint. What made people flock to this cheese? In my case, I must return time and again because of the tradition and the fondness of my memories. It will continue to be tacky, and I might be a little embarrassed when people ask me where we’re heading, but I will still suggest it as a weekend getaway or a roadtrip just because.

So if you're wondering where I am on Labour Day weekend, I will proudly answer that I will be joining the throngs of insane consumers in Michigan while re-immersing myself in some over-the-top Bavarian/German culture. It's a bit white bread, but it's what we Reeves's do.

Dear N,

I knew I shouldn't have eaten that fifth White Castle burger. I can feel the grease just sitting in my stomach. It was good going down though!

Although my nephew has been born and is the cutest little baby, by the way, I did finish his blanket and was able to give it to his mother, my sister, when I saw them in LA. I was quite pleased with how it turned out although it doesn't really look anything like how it's supposed to. It's soft and cuddly and perfect for my very first nephew.The cabled panel in the middle is Bernat Denim in cream and the green is Bernat Bamboo in Dill. Both really soft semi-natural yarns that are machine washable.

Also finished are those clogs that I was so obsessed with. This is them before felting:
And this is them post-felting, drying on a bath mat:One slipper ended up bigger than the other. I did take them out of the machine during the felting process to check on them but I just couldn't get them the same size. That's fine since they're only for me. I'm thinking about embroidering some flowers on them or something to make them look a little prettier because as of right now they look a little cloggy for my liking. You were right all along, I'm not a clog person. That's not to say that they're not cute, I do like them but I think I'll try the felted ballet slippers next, also by Bev Galeskas. One thing that I do have to say about the clog pattern is that it was really fun to knit up. At first I wasn't sure exactly how they would knit up but I just followed the pattern very closely and very quickly, a huge slipper knit up right before my eyes!

So now I'm working on the Anthropologie Inspired capelet and the baby sweater pattern that you sent to me. It's nice having time to knit again, now that the weddings are over and the immigration documents have been sent. I'll also try to blog more too! Hope you had a good long weekend. You've inspired me to be "sick" from work, maybe this Friday....


Assembly Line

While the kidlets sat and stood around bored stiff , the mummies whipped up totes and table runners.
Note to Mama Bakker: Julia IS in fact using the sewing machine.

We giggled, nibbled on junk, dropped pizza and credit cards, ran in the rain, scraped knees, watched foreign movies, scoured the Goodwill, screamed in delight, drank blue tequila, and behaved horribly overall. Needless to say, a blast was had indeed.

But am also glad to back at home in my bed with my alarm set for too bloody early.

Dear N,

What a cool and rainy weekend it has been. I didn't get to do as much cleaning around the house as I had wanted but I did get to reorganizing the back pantry and now it fits our Cosco supply of toilet paper and tissue boxes--hooray!

I am dreaming of being back in California, lounging by the pool and working on my tan. Palm trees still amaze me. They're so pretty and very tropical looking. This picture was taken from the window of the car as we drove down Beverly Hills, totally looking like tourists.I felt bad because I dragged my sister and her boyfriend who were visiting from Vancouver all the way to LA, we were staying in Anaheim which is about 45 minutes away on a good day, because I wanted to go to Knit Cafe on Melrose. We did find it though and it looked exactly like it does in the book, it was amazing! All of the knitted projects from the book was in the shop to look at and touch, even that beautiful teak credenza that I would kill to have in my craft room. Anyway, I bought $70 worth of yarn and ribbon in order to knit myself the lacy skirt that is shown on the cover of the book. You can see a picture of it here in black and as a cute top. I felt kind of bad spending that much money on yarn for one item but then told myself that I was on vacation, I wasn't buying anything else and that I was at the Knit Cafe---come on! So after I was helped by the nice ladies there (unfortunately Susan Mischer was not there that day), they let me take a picture in the store.It was exactly like stepping right into the book!Anyway, I have to go back an hour to just before we were looking for Knit Cafe and wondering what we should do for lunch when we spotted Pink's. I had heard about Pink's on the Food Network lots of times and always wanted to go there. So, into the fairly long line up we went to get our famous hotdogs and perhaps a celebrity sighting. We didn't see any stars but we did make a friend. He was the guy standing in front of us named Trent and he was in the US Air Force. Super nice guy who ended up saving us a table on the back patio and telling us about his travels as an army man. I know what you're thinking, he wasn't trying to be all creepy, he was a genuinely nice guy and plus, my sister's boyfriend was with us (he's a fairly large guy who was drafted by the Pittsburg Penguins in his younger years). Here is my sister and I in front of Pink's.Here is a very spicy, half eaten Polish sausage. I had their signature chili and cheese dog---yum!We had a great time at my sister's wedding too!Happily ever after!

Rockin' Toucans

E was sleeping this morning when I left the house, so I snuck out wearing her Keds! Oh, how I love them. I am really going to enjoy having the same shoe size.


Hi N!

I'm back from California, however, my suitcases are not unpacked and we barely had a chance to sleep before heading off to work and class. This is a completely unrelated post.

Just some quick links that I came across as I caught up on my blog reading this morning, care of Not Martha. This looks like some recycling fun. It’ll give you an excuse to go to Angelos and get a bunch of salads for dinner. I never did shrinky-dink as a child so I’d like to try and see what all the hype is about (without spending no cash money).

Also, these are super cute. My neighbor has these shoes. Maybe I should embellish them for her while she’s away in France. Surprise, I hacked up your garden clogs! I know you would appreciate that.

I'll post my vacation pictures after I've cleaned the sand out of my toes and have settled back into life in the Midwest. Have a great day!

A Testimonial of Sorts

I walked to work again yesterday, and it was raining and humid. I arrived at work so refreshed. Well . . . except for the giant skin bubbles filled with fluid on my ankles. I am going to google blister prevention and first aid. I know I shouldn’t burst them, but I sersiously can NOT fit shoes over these suckers. I googled ‘blisters’, and every page told me to leave them alone. They’re so huge! Will stop thinking about them, and concentrate on the cramps instead. I have already downed four Advil, and nearly two hours later, my middle is slowly starting to numb. Lovely.

I am trying to think of something better I can share. Hmm. What about a made up meme? I am too lazy to look one up and copy it. I bet you wanted to know this!

What’s up with our blog’s name?

My husband bought something like 16 of those little containers of Balkan-Style yogurt, and when I told him he was a fool and Balkan-Style yogurt tastes like crap in front of the children, well, no one wanted to touch it with a 10-foot pole. And then I was left with 16 days of yogurt for lunch. I tried to sell it to my colleagues, but when I promoted the yogurt as tasting like crap, I, surprisingly again, had no takers. So each day I plowed through my pile of Balkan-Style yogurt because I am not one to waste a dime. When I was finally down to one, I grudgingly admitted that it wasn’t as horrible as I had once thought, and just when I was counting on that last yogurt to fill me up at lunch, someone went and stole it. And I shouted obscenities and threw a wee bit of a tantrum. I haven’t eaten any yogurt Balkan-Style since. T laughed at me.

The two of us love to read blogs for inspiration, and when she told me she was moving stateside, we decided that it was time for us to start our own blog. And we brainstormed names like crazy. Oh, I wish I had kept all those emails. They were hilarious! But our blog never got up and running after she left because we couldn’t agree on a name. Four months later, I took it upon myself to start it up the only way I knew how, and that was to take back the Balkan-Style –no offence to Balkans everywhere, but your yogurt is not good, for lack of a better word.

Does anyone else have any questions for us to answer? Feel free to ask away in the comments. What do you want to know?


Certificate of Completion

Dear T,

I think I stayed up much too late last night reading. Once I get started, it’s very hard for me to stop. Now I am yawning uncontrollably, and my eyes are watering, and I just feel beat. Must get up and get going. Maybe chanting will help. Must get up and get going. Must get up and get going. . .

What good is a stainless steel coffee urn without the frickin’ lid? I can’t seem to find the lid. I was gone for one week, and the coffee will now be served cold forever. It’s worse than when you lose something at home, because you can take your bloody time looking for it without the guilt that someone is paying for the time you are frittering away wastefully. I could send an email to the staff and risk reproach for sending frivolous messages, but I personally do not think the lid is a frivolity – my coffee is lukewarm. I recently purchased a magnificent stapler for the Business Equipment Room (it’s not much bigger than a closet), and I took a sharpie and wrote all over it – warning my co-workers to leave it in its space. I am ready to roast whomever decided to steal it. It’s been gone for several weeks, and finding the stapler is high on my priority list. It was a lovely stapler – one of those stand-up jobs that hardly take up any space which in a room no bigger than a closet is extremely important. Should I pile my lost things into a giant email? I worry that I don’t have enough to push SEND just yet. Perhaps I will take the afternoon and survey my surroundings for supplies that seem to have been pinched. Yes. A fantastic idea.

Must get up and get going . . .


Peking Blue

Rufus Wainwright is playing at Centennial Hall on August 29. Sadly I am not super excited about going to see him and have yet to purchase tickets. But I should go. But how could he compare to our dreamy Hawksley? I can't imagine anyone coming close to his performance last year. Doesn't it make you just want to talk nonsense for hours? I mean, the guy was super silly. Oh, what I would do to be a wee bit of his entourage.

Sock knitting has been suspended at the bottom of the heel for shaping until I can get my hands on one of my Knit Club sisters. So no new pictures. The fugly wrap is growing ever so slowly. I would really like to start another Manos toque, so perhaps that is what I will do to cheer up my knitting.

Aerobics was particularly trying today as I had unwisely scarfed down a bowl of chocolate fudge crackle ice cream following a fairly large creamy omelette. This would make anyone queasy and add to it a generous dollop of humidity, and I was careening towards an unhealthy vortex. The instructor decided of all days to take a boot camp approach to the routine, and I made it through barely twenty minutes before I waved my arms around insanely, and she made the entire group (for my benefit) take a slow walk around and breathe. The older women clucked and shook their heads when I admitted, more for an excuse, that I had eaten ice cream prior to the workout. Who knows? Maybe I just can't hack boot camp. I long for some more yoga step - perhaps at a retirement home. I am a sad excuse for a thirtysomething.

Safe trip, T.



Dear N,

Just a quick afternoon post at work while I'm tediously trying to file three boxes of closed participant files and dreaming of breaking away and walking around in the rain. It's been just scorching here all summer but the weekend was overcast and cool, which as hard as it is for me to admit after cursing Vancouver weather, I loved. It reminded me of my all time favourite movie, Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love. It's a devastingly beautiful movie with timeless style, music, and lovely people to look at. I'm sure Flixx on Richmond has it. Just amazing.

Civic Sunday

Thank you SO much for sharing the wedding pictures. I nearly wept. You were absolutely beautiful - not that you aren't ALL the frickin' time. And the cake reminds me of my magnolia branch painting I scored at the London Abused Women's Centre's International Women's Day Breakfast two years ago. Man, that was a mouthful.

My vacation. Where do I start? Well, we went to the beach at Port Franks - it was breath-taking. You couldn't tell where the water ended and the sky began. It was so blue. And it was so sunny and hot, and I forgot our umbrella. Three hours, zero shade, 30 applications of spf60, and 57 reminders to don the sunhats later, the girls and I were still as white as when we arrived. I felt like a champion. That little white dot in the water is E. B went in pretty far, but she preferred to dig deep holes in the sand and build strange drooping sand castles with 'moats'. I haven't a clue where she heard of moats, but she is crystal clear on the definition, and by golly, she was going to dig one surrounding the castle towers.

I made enough chili for twenty people - it's now in the freezer for the days I don't feel like cooking after a trying day at the office.

And blueberry muffins . . . Mmmmm.

After two full years on Donna Street, we finally got the balls to meet ALL of our neighbours at a neighbourhood BBQ in the "Crack". I can't tell you how daunting it was to take in three dozen people's names and faces. I think that the four of us were working overtime trying to take it all in. And the little old lady who we keep practically driving over while she is walking her dog doesn't hate us. That was a huge relief! The best part was B made a best friend instantly, and she only lives four houses down from us. When we came home around 10 p.m., we collapsed on our respective beds and breathed in the silence again. They were so nice, and I love making me some new friends, but it was such a lot of work. It might be hard to believe, but I am very shy and awkward around new people; however, that being said, it's hard to make a fool out of yourself when everyone around you is drunk.

It rained today most of the day, so we drove down to Port Stanley to check out the little shops. We bought the prettiest antique quilt for B's bed, and we finished up in St. Thomas at the thrift store where I bought a glass jar full of buttons, two more vintage pillowcases to make into dresses for B, and a cool yellow and green sheet set for E's bedroom redesign - out with the raspberry walls, and in with bright yellow and lime green. I am trying to convince her that the walls should be an aqua blue because I honestly don't think I could stomache the other two colours on the walls. Please do not join the masses in telling me that I am being too controlling. I still have to pass the room on the way to the bathroom. I will take pictures of our treasures once the light is better tomorrow. It's much too dark right now to use the camera without the flash.

I have gotten a ton of reading completed - I have read Lullabies for Little Criminals, am reading A Thousand Splendid Suns now, and will read Shopaholic and Baby next. Hey everyone needs to read some fluff every now and then. I just hope it's not a complete waste of my time.

I managed to get out of church nursery duty for once, and I spent my Sunday morning at the walk-in clinic with B because she cried about her throat being sore, and she was coughing, and her voice was hoarse, and she was incredibly hot. Thank goodness there was no wait, because the physican checked her ears and throat and listened to her chest, and although she might not be feeling well, she was not ill enough to prescribe any treatment. The only good thing to come out of this (yes, I know she was not sick and that's good too) is that I treated myself to a latte on the way home.

I always have lots of good stories to tell you (probably every five minutes), but it would take me ages to type it all out. Do you know what I mean? I wish you were here, so I wouldn't have to kill my fingers to relay only a tiny bit of it here.

Oops. Gotta go. I hear the Law & Order theme song in the next room.


One Week, Two days

Dear N,

How are you? I hope that you are well rested and enjoying your last day of vacation. Are you ready to head back to work? Fill me in on what you and the girls did, which I'm sure was tons of stuff.

T and I have been married for one week and two days. Although things are pretty much the same after "makin' it legal" I do feel different now that I'm a wife. For one thing, I'm now a wife and no longer a girlfriend or fiancee. There are certain connotations associated with being a wife, I haven't fully figured out what they are but I know that I like them. Then there's the name change. It took me awhile to decide whether I wanted to take T's last name, keep mine or have both. I settled on having both last names since I'm like that (and by that I mean incredibly indecisive). I've had the opportunity since getting married to give my name and to sign my name and I have to admit, it makes me smile every time.

Here are a few wedding pictures, as promised. We are off to California on Wednesday for my sister's wedding but I will post as much as I can before we go.

In Shock

Dear N,

We are still in shock here in the Twin Cities after yesterday afternoon's bridge tragedy. We had just finished dinner when a phone call came in, from Toronto of all places, from people wondering if we were all ok. We had no idea what had happened and turned the tv on immediately. To our horror it was worse than we had expected.

Just an hour before it happened I had picked T up from the University and although we didn't go across that bridge, it is one that we travel along frequently. I don't even know how many times I've picked T up from work and crossed that bridge without a thought. It's only sinking in today how close this is to home.

It's a miracle how many people made it out alive considering how extensive the damage was. I know we are all thinking and praying for the families who were affected by this event in anyway and we will help in anyway that we can here in Minneapolis. Thanks to everyone who called/e-mailed to check up on us. We are very thankful.

Ahoy, Buttons!

Me again.

The girls and I made button brooches this morning, and I could not wait to show them off. E and I totally burnt each and every single one of our fingertips, but I think it was worth it. We made six in total, and I still have a bazillion buttons left!
Here's our inspiration picture:

They look better on person than on the table - less like a pile of buttons:

And my new sock, nearly ready to start knitting the heel. The pattern is by Black Dog Knits, and can be found here.

The plan was to bake some zucchini bread this aft, but I can't read the expiry date on the eggs, and I am scared!! And no church windows as I am plum out of fruit marshmallows. What could be sadder than that?