30 Days of Happiness::The MN State Fair

We have lived in Minnesota for three years and this is the first year that we've gone to the fair. It's the second largest state fair in the country, after Texas, and boasts the widest variety of food on a stick that you can find anywhere. The MN State Fair is buzzing with people, carnival games, baby animals, and...

...butter sculpting
...french fry covered hot dog on a stick with chili cheese sauce
...a parade featuring the University of Minnesota cheer squad and marching band
...more food on a stick (batter fried scallops + chips = yum!)

...fun with agriculture
...and did I mention food on a stick? This one we did not eat, however it sounded very intriguing. Here in Minnesota a casserole is called a "hot dish" and usually it's not found on a stick but apparently during fair time that's the way to have it. The "Great Minnesota Get-Together" is certainly happiness on a sunny, Sunday afternoon.

30 Days of Happiness :: Cobblestone

I'm happy that he's happy. I'm also happy because now I can move on to the next big project - a sweater for me!!
Pattern: Cobblestone by Jared Flood (Interweave Knits Fall 2007)
Yarn: Briggs & Little Heritage (100% wool) Seafoam colourway
Needle: 4.5 circs (two of them!)
Started: November 24, 2008
Finished: August 18, 2009

I have no idea how many skeins I used. I know I started with about 13, so I will have to count how many left - once I find the bag that is.
Well there goes another weekend! Cheers!


30 Days of Happiness :: Weddings

The bride knit the white silk shrug which she wore over her bright raspberry pink satin gown! It was a masterpiece!! The light was horrible in the reception room, so although I had hoped for some beautifully artistic shots of the bride and groom, I gave up and sat down to enjoy my time with friends instead. It makes me happy to see my dear friend marry her true love. It has taken many years to come to fruition, but we knew it was inevitable when we met her. She was secretly knitting a big green sweater for her man, and right then and there, we decided that this was real love. And another time, she left a knitters fair ridiculously early because she missed him. We thought she was crazy, but she explained it this way, "You know how much you gals love to knit? Well that's how how I feel about this man." Enough said! I couldn't be happier for my friend. Happy Wedding Day, Maria!

30 Days of Happiness :: This Blog

Holy shizzle! Yesterday marked our 500th post! That's making me happy! How come I didn't see that until today?? Remember 3 years ago when you were leaving me forever and you said that you were horrible at keeping in touch? I figured that would be just my flippin' luck 'cause I sucked too at long-distance communication. I think I might have cried while driving away from you on my way to the gym. Well, looky here. We have proven that to be just the opposite. We are very good at keeping in touch thanks to this little ol' blog here and the internets. 500 posts!! Crazy. HAPPY 500 posts to us, mon ami.


August Daring Bakers' Challenge

The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbookKaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caff├ęs of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

This was my very first month as a Daring Baker and I have to say, it was a fun challenge. I made the whole recipe all in one day, from the five sponge layers to the chocolate cream to the caramel layer on top, and I probably should have split the work between two days. The sponge cakes came together quite easily and the chocolate cream, although softer than I had envisioned was nice and light yet creamy with a good chocolate flavour. The only part that I had some trouble with was the caramel, which I may not have cooked long enough and so it turned out quite sticky. I was thinking that it should have been a crunchy caramel but since I've never eaten one of these tortes before, I'm really not sure if I made it correctly. Nonetheless Mr. T and I enjoyed eating it and I happily await next month's challenge.

30 Days of Happiness :: Six

Oh to be 6 again. She'll be 7 in two weeks. I want to hit pause and enjoy this age a little bit longer. This kid radiates happiness.


30 Days of Happiness :: Sisters

They spend a lot of time declaring revenge on each other, but these two are tight. Watching them be silly warms my heart. And just like that - I'm happy.

30 Days of Happiness :: Red

Day 1 - Red

Red is not my go-to colour. Yet it has made it's way in to my knitting and on to my mantle in the form of jewellery and art. Maybe becoming a Liberal data slave has rubbed off on me. Does this mean I enjoy inputting postal codes and double-checking phone numbers and cross-referencing membership lists? What if these tiny little tasks end up helping a possible future Prime Minister candidate? I'll have a great story to tell my grandchildren. Hey, that's cool. So red - you're full of opportunity, and you look mighty fine in my living room. I also look forward to seeing you in the apple orchards next month. Mmmmm. . . apples. Red. Making me happy.



:: into the third ball of Patons Classic Merino Wool and plowing through the ruffled rib of the Mara
:: cupcakes just because we're itching for some sugary treats and could use the practice for an upcoming 7th birthday
:: mermaids
:: love
:: only two weeks left until the girls return to school
:: must make the best of it

Lake creature

Last week Mr. T's parents came for a visit. It was really nice seeing them again and showing them around our fair city. The weather was really great the whole week and Mr. T was able to take in a Saint Paul Saints game with his dad while me and Mum went shopping.

On their first Sunday here we decided to go for a walk around the lake near our house. There were a few other people out and Mr. T Senior had his camera with him, as he usually does, when through the trees we see a strange site.

There was something in the water.
There was definitely something in the water.

This is the best picture that we could get of the lake creature before it sank back into the murky lake water and disappeared!

As it turns out our lake creature is actually an art piece that mysteriously appears in the area lakes. It's a fun idea and really catches you by surprise if you're not expecting it!

Inkberry Blue

Thanks to the world of blogs, I have met some of the most wonderful peeps from all over. Fiona of Inkberry Blue is seriously halfway around the globe, but I happened upon her blog ages ago, and I was mesmerized by one of her watercolour paintings. Today I got three of her prints in the mail along with a crocheted washcloth, homemade soap, and a 'bless' stone! Anyone who knows me and has been to my house knows that these prints scream ME. Really. They couldn't be more perfect. I have to whip down to IKEA and pick up three frames (and a 2009 catalogue), and hang them up prominently in my living room for all to see as soon as they walk in the door. And if they miss them, people will be stopped and lectured. Just saying.
Thank you, Fiona, for the lovely package. I feel as if I need to send you my first-born in return. :) Just say the word!


Ah, Saturday mornings, how I love you. You are quiet, cozy and long if timed just right. I woke up at 7:30 to Mr. J walking in the door dressed in a suit and tie with a handful of bags full of peaches, oranges, pears and corn fresh from the market. While I unpacked the produce, he inhaled some cold cereal and then headed to bed. I brewed a pot of tea and cooked up a little bowl of hot oat cereal for myself, peeled an orange and popped the juicy sections into my mouth before I even sat down. Then I curled up on the sofa in the sunlight and knit a bit on the Mara and waited for the sleepyhead girls to drag themselves out of their beds. It was perfect.

Prickly Pear Cactus

Most of the year, this cactus looks really dead and gross, and for the briefest time, we get a glimpse of its spectacular flower. This was taken last week. It's gone now, and I must return to apologizing for its hideousness, but honestly, I think it's worth it.

This week I am being inspired by . . .

* Books of Colour (I've always adored Keri Smith's collage journals)
* Handmade Home (it arrived in the mail on Wednesday, and I have been lugging it around in my knitting bag to sneak peeks any chance I get)
* Sewing for Little Ones (perfect for the Bumblebee)
* Mara (I've already cast on!)

I find myself blogging tonight to past the time while I wait for the dryer to finish one load so that I can put in the second load before I get cozy in bed. Plus I was brilliant enough to whip up another flippin' peach & blueberry cobbler, so now I must wait another hour for that to cook and cool for another hour. It's going to be past midnight before I can call it a day. Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday!


The Heart is a Bloom

Caught these doves in the backyard. I've never seen doves in our backyard. How sweet!
I must thank Mr. J for keeping on top of the bird feeders this summer. Maybe a knitted wool sweater done before it gets chilly will be enough.
Yesterday I came back from a meeting to find my lunch bag on my desk. I had forgotten it at home, and he dropped it off before I even remembered. He was on his way to take the littlest to a park for a bbq and go-karts and swimming. I suddenly didn't mind taking the bus home, so he could take the car to work. I really didn't mind in the first place 'cause he does it for me all the time. But it made me feel better that I could do the same for him.
We don't make such a bad team.

Friday Night Confessions

I have to confess . . .

I am horrible at weeding. I recognize that it needs to be done, but they get out of control easily, and I must have special weeds with thorny bases that make my hands bleed. Seriously. They're insane.

I have also been blogging for an entire year on wordpress, and I've never once linked it on our blog here. One crazy day last summer, I suggested to management that our organization should blog because "It would be AWESOME!" I think I had one person on board with the idea, so I just starting building it up behind the scenes. About six months later, I showed the staff again what I had made, and they looked at me like I was a weiner. They didn't get it. And they wouldn't write for it which made it senseless because then it really was just my blog with their name on it. However, I am relentless. I still think it's a good direction for our mission. So I continue to pull material from our old newsletters and handouts. Over the last couple of months, I've been posting tips to keep boredom at bay. And when I return home, I have been putting them to use with the girls. Today, El filled a big container with water outside, and she found an old sponge brush, and the Bee went to town painting a hopscotch cross, painting the railings and painting leaves. They had so much fun! It was easy, not messy, free, and totally open-ended. I think they ended up doing a big finale and throwing the water all over the driveway. (To the joy of the weeds which I wish would just die on their own.)

It feels good to have that off my chest. Speaking of other things that haunt me, I have resurrected the Cobblestone Sweater that I intended to give J for Christmas last year, and I have been plugging away at it vigorously. I wouldn't be surprised if it is ready to wear for September!

Happy Friday, friends.



This is Shelly and she's the girl version of Sheldon. My sister is expecting her fourth child, a little girl, in October and Shelly was made for her. Although there were lots of small parts and little finishes involved in this project I really enjoyed it and would probably knit this again. My favourite part is that she can wriggle out of her shell and both pieces washed if the baby spills or nibbles on her.

Lazy Daisy Day

The clapotis that I have been knitting behind the scenes is finished, and it's already been stolen and retrieved several times. I keep saying that I have no issue with lending it out for small periods of time, but it's MINE. For keeps. I used about 6 or 7 balls of vintage Eatons acrylic, and it's super drapey, machine-washable, the most soothing shade of pale blue, and cool to wear. Perfect for the summer! If you've been putting off learning how to knit, let this be a good reason to start.

And on a completely different topic, I baked kale chips this morning before I even had my bowl of bran flakes, and I think I have found my new love. I was gifted this kale yesterday by my dearest friend who had no idea what to do with so much kale. I remembered reading a blog post about the glory of baked kale chips, and I was excited about trying it out myself. I couldn't find where I had seen it, but I did find a basic recipe, and I embellished it a bit with a sprinkle of lemon juice, and all the while, I was very sceptical about these being edible. Well, I do declare these tasty! And I got several thumbs up from pyjama-clad little people passing by in the kitchen. I can't wait to bake kale chips for everyone all around. If you come over to my house today, I may still be in my pyjamas, but you may join me in a circle around my giant bowl of kale chips. I'm thinking of tall glasses of icy lemonade to complement them. Mmmmm.