The Resurrection of the Presto Chango

Sheesh! I just spent twenty years looking for when I first finished the knitting the Presto Chango, and to my shock, it's been exactly a year. Well, I knew it was a long time ago, but an entire year??? So a baby boy was born a few weeks ago, and in my scramble for a gift, I pulled out the ol' Presto, and it just needed some buttons. Let's just say it was an entire night ordeal. Frick! I nearly pulled an all-nighter to get this thing finished. Rather than go out and get eight buttons, I found four alike of two colours, and pushed on. There was lots of placing and measuring and pinning and threading and sewing, and I still was not satisfied. The whole idea of this baby cardy is that there are interchangeable fronts, and I still had two balls of Debbie Bliss Pure Cotton, so I made up a seed-stitch panel using the same stitch count as the masculine lacy panel, and it knit up in no time and fit like a charm. It was super nice to get something out of the languishing not-quite-finished project pile. This pile also includes a Cobblestone Sweater badly in need of a short row yoke and a Hemlock Ring Blanket requiring a very sturdy block.
Rather than do that, I think I'll watch Weird Science.

Strawberries and Cream

If I had hundreds of millions of dollars to lose (like many of Bernie Madoff's friends), I would be so lucky. I wonder what that's like. Even for a week. Poor Bernie. We should commend him for thinning out the filthy rich. Even Ruth Madoff still made off with $2.5 million. Most of the world would be content with that. I had a conversation with my cousin some time ago about the most any one person needs - perhaps a salary cap of $300,000 a year. Doesn't that sound like more than enough? It's enough to have a very nice house, lots of food, lots of holidays, lots of extras . . . at the same time, a top earner would remain considerate, accountable, careful, and appreciative. Too much of anything will give you a belly ache. I should know. I enthusiastically ate a lot of pineapple once.


Ninja For Hire

I returned home from work today to find that two ninjas had replaced my girls. All day they studied up on ninjas - like ninja rules and ninja tools. They watched Wendy Wu and made origami ninja stars. I believe the littlest even has a new ninja name. Last week she had to come up with a Secret Agent name, and she came up with Secret Agent Yellow Chicken Nugget. I can't even pronounce the ninja name, so you're out of luck on that one. I think when I left for work this morning, the kids held ninjas in high regard, but now ninjas are being fanatically idolized. I've been told they're practically mythical!! Excellent. Did you know that ninjas ate and drank very little to avoid washroom breaks while they were undercover? Oh and the skills! The Bee has a good idea what she needs now to build up her resume. Her big sister, on the other hand, has a future in photography and must be credited with the images above. Good lord!


Drip Drip Drop Earrings

My mum taught me some beading basics so that I could make earrings for Christmas gifts, and six months later, these are still my favourite go-to accessories. I wear them practically every day. I've also made identical earrings for a few ladies who have asked, and they love them as much as I do. They're very light-weight - it's as if I have nothing on my ears. They're sleek and simple, and the colours match with everything. They're better than a pair of hoops any day. The sweetest part is they take a minute to make. That's right. A whole flippin' minute. That's my style.


Mantle Photomontage #162

The peonies have all faded away to make room for the roses. I thought I liked the peonies, but I really like the roses. :)

The Official Start of Summer

Teachers gifts were made just under the wire. That was close. Not sure what took me so long to get my butt in gear 'cause these cup sleeves took no time and little skill. I might do some things differently next time such as use longer hair elastics, but the instructions were flawless. If I can do these, anyone can.

As of yesterday, the girls finished their school year, and I wrapped up at work with the Annual General Meeting - not to mention a 12-hour work day. Ah, sweet summer!! The girls are looking forward to staying up late each evening and sleeping in each morning, no homework, and no walking to school. I can do without all the hassling to finish school work and packing lunches for picky eaters. I can stop worrying about running out of drinking boxes and white cheddar popcorn and butter croissants and sandwich bags. Now I just need a plan to keep them somewhat active and not bored. I have ideas - I just need to get these lazy daisy girls on board.
So I am nearly finished my first non-fiction-current-world-issue-library book on modern-day slavery, and I have to say I've never been SO engrossed in a non-fiction-current-world-issue-library book EVER before. Who knew trafficking humans was so lucrative? Did you know that a Romanian prostitute can bring in $250,000 annually for her pimp? Did you know that there are more slaves in the world currently then there has ever been before? That is with all of the sanctions, treaties, policies, human rights commissions, and legislature in place. It's incredible. It's also incredible how the "solutions" add to the problem. For instance, international religious agencies are profitting from "redeeming" slaves, and traffickers and war lords are in large part funding their operations using funds paid by "redeemers". It all seems so ridiculously hopeless. And the real tales are sickening. Just being born in North America has gifted us a life of privilege. We have all the necessities to survive, and we live in a culture that demands we have freedoms. Is it education? Is it wealth? Is it social services? Is it love? I am curious to see how the author ends this commentary. And is anyone else blown away by how flippin' hunky this guy is? He's a cross between Justin Timberlake and David Beckham. Oh dear.
Happy weekend!


Checking in

I'm trying to keep up with my knitting projects in this heat. I have to admit that I've abandoned the Owl sweater for now since the thought of having a wool sweater sit on my lap as I work on it does not appeal to me. I have finally finished the Monkey socks but can't show them off until it cools down a little.Here is one sock on my wire hanger come sock blocker. I am now a huge fan of Cookie A. sock patterns and am the fifth person on the library waiting list for her Sock Innovation book. I like to try before I buy, if you know what I mean.While I was in Toronto a few weeks ago my MIL brought home this adorable knitted clown doll. I know, "clown doll" may inspire childhood nightmares for some, but this guy was just amazing. Every detail was perfectly and lovingly hand knit. Look at the I-Cord toothpaste for goodness sake! My MIL works with a lady who had made this and she thought that I would enjoy seeing him. She even brought me the pattern for the clown although I'm not sure if I have the ambition to knit this. It was really quite a project though.

Anyway, hope that you're either enjoying the heat or have found a nice, cool spot to relax and maybe do a little bit of knitting.

The Littlest Birds Sing the Prettiest Songs

We're a-celebrating Fa-jzha's Day in da house with flapjacks and oodles of sirop d'erable. My lord, that's stuff like gold!
Later, J, the girls and I are heading just out of town to hang out with these dudes by the pool for more celebrating. My grampa, on the left, turned 79 this year. He's the coolest. My dad, in the centre, is getting back from a bachelor party in Detroit this afternoon (I hope he has stories!!), and my uncle on the right will be the barbe-Q-er and host-with-the-most. There will be good times for shizzle.

Now forget those guys - back to me. I've been concerned lately that I need to develop opinions on current affairs. I've always been a bit wobbly and wishy-washy with my thinking - meaning if you say something, I'm most likely to lean to your way of thinking. I'm easily manipulated. I will also change my thinking when I hear something different. Is it called titter-tottering? Who knows? Anyway, yesterday I borrowed a pile of books in some topics that are on the top '0' my mind lately. I am trying to learn assertiveness, and I think I must have some concrete opinions with which to fight and argue. I could be wrong here. See what I mean? Here's the pile so far:

I really want to clear up some of those blurry lines in my mind. Wish me luck! I hope I'm smarter by next weekend. : ) People will be crazy to mess with me. Just saying.


Thread Themed Thrifting

:: a tiny hoop for little hands on which to learn embroidery

:: a queen-sized quilt for a toonie simply needing some stitches in the ditches (perfect for the beach this summer)

:: six wooden spools of thread plus three rubber thimbles

Crochet graffiti

This weekend was indeed WWKiP weekend and although I did not get around to knitting in public, even though the weather was amazing, we did come across some rather public displays of needle art while in Paris.
As we were wondering over to Jardin du Luxembourg we stumbled upon this street art festival and throughout the festival were these pieces of knitted and crocheted graffiti.These are actually water fountains found throughout the city. Mr. T is not trying to look up the lady's dress but filling up our water bottle.This is my favorite one. I'm considering "knit tagging" something in the Twin Cities but haven't found the best spot yet. Here's a good place to start for more inspiration on knitting graffiti.

Loose Ends

I've finished sewing up the seams of these cowls that were languishing in a pile, and they simply await recipients. El knit up the majority of these when I banned her from the tv and computer. Can you feel the resentment that has built up in each stitch? I'm sure she's simmered down since.

And seriously. This will be my last picture of flowers for a bit. I promise. It's getting tired, isn't it? But this one is special because that peony standing up in the vase right up front is the only one on its bush. It's a new bush I picked up late last year, so I had no idea what it looked like. Well holy moly mole. It's a smack of scrump-dilly-o-cious! I just needed some record of it, so here it is. Something to look forward to another year from now. I'm going to cross my fingers for three.


Flowers Still Alive? Check.

Potted anything and me don't get along, but these potted puppies are still kickin' it after three weeks. Some of those have been around two or three weeks before that doubling their age. It's occurred to me that I should invite some peeps around if only to prove that I haven't killed them yet, and I must make it fast 'cause I don't know how much longer I can keep up this facade.
Tomorrow is WWKIP Day!
Must get some rest first.



I bought this little print for the Bee's bedroom, and when she outgrows Alice in Wonderland, I shall hang it up in my craft nook. There is a local young girl who sells her mixed media masterpieces each year at community gathering in a park, and I never fail to pick up a piece in the hopes that one day, she will be famous. Plus they're really pretty and dreamy. I have one in the bathroom that depicts a Cinderella-ish girl teaching birds to sew, and the birds are flying about a dress form with thread in their beaks. It's so sweet. I wish the artist had a website, but I do have her business card floating about, so if anyone is interested, let me know in the comments with a way to contact you ('cause blogger is a bugger, and doesn't leave me email addresses to respond). Her prices are super reasonable - it practically feels like stealing.
And then because the peony bushes are in full bloom here, I brought some inside for the mantle, but first I had to clear off the orange ribbons and big orange print and all the pinecones. I must find a better way to display them. Maybe a wide flan/tart dish/plate???

In other news around here, the eldest kissed a boy at the swimming pool this week. When the Bee found out, she squealed, "EW!!! She kissed a BOY????" I'm just trying to get my head wrapped around this one. I think I'll just let her enjoy the moment a bit longer. She's a writer, so maybe she can use this experience in a story or something. A first kiss is big. Gosh, I can't really remember mine. I think I am going to consult the big Amish culture reference book I brought home from the library. One can keep dreaming the dream. You know, the dream where I bake fresh bread every day and knit all of our clothes and clean the house and keep everything sparse while living off the land? And the newly minted teens are too wiped out from weeding the garden and sweeping the floors to be smooching each other? Nah, I'd miss the laptop too much.
I'm beat.


The honeymoon's over

But it was great while it lasted!

From left to right: Eiffel Tower, me in front of Oscar Wilde's tomb in Paris, Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, our lunch time view in Barcelona, Italy's independence day, ruins in Ancient Rome, tourist madness at Trevi Fountain

It's nice to be back in my own bed but boy do I miss the pastries in Paris! I even have some crafty things to post about from the trip but that will have to wait until the laundry gets done and my body clock gets back on Minnesota time. Good to be back!

My Sock Mojo is Alive and Kicking It

The weekend is drawing to a close all too soon once again. Homework is being finished and packed back up in the knapsacks for Monday morning, and waking up early and getting dressed is already being dreaded.

Oh, Flat Stanley, how we will miss you when school ends. I suppose we could try and continue our Sunday evening tradition of writing two or three sentences and drawing a picture of you doing really rad things with the Bee, but I think it's a bit far-fetched to imagine. The Bee is very adamant about doing tasks that do not 'NEED' to be done.
I had to include this picture of Tig Tig absolutely still. She absolutely never ever, ever never sits still for the camera. This sleeping is fake too, 'cause she looked at me before I clicked, and it was a look of futile resistance. I've won - in a sense that it's not a blurry image of the cat leaping away from me.

As for the title of this post, I will allow this picture to say it all.

My sock knitting mojo has returned. Want to know what did it?? An email this week from Classic Elite. I signed up for the weekly newsletter last year, and they showcase free patterns frequently. This here's Cookie A's Summer Sox pattern. You can't say just pass over a free Cookie A sock pattern. That's just ridiculous. So I searched high and low through the stash for a solid/semi-solid soft sock yarn, and nothing I had made the cut. Sure I had lots of variegated sock yarn, and all the solid stuff was Briggs & Little scratchy sock yarn that would be better for a thick cable-y winter sock. I cast on with a bright florescent superwash merino sock yarn, and a few inches into the knitting, my heart sank. It was ripped back, and I went shopping.

I scored some pretty pale grey Regia Silk, and it's perfect! I'll be hitting that heel any minute now.
Happy Sunday!

Sweet Anticipation

I can't believe how quickly summer is approaching. Teachers' gifts need to be made. Child care arrangements for the Bee need confirming. The weekends are being booked to the gills with family reunions and barbeques. Bags will need to be packed for a vacation week in July. Must ride the bike more while the weather is nice. Flowers need watering. Lots to do, lots to do. I'm excited. I'm also waiting patiently for T to return from Europe. It's been YEARS!!! My inbox can't take much more. I could always cast on for these while I wait.