Party Like It's 1979

In keeping with your 80's party theme (well, one year short of the 80's), my darling husband turned 30 yesterday. Thanks for spending the majority of your twenties with me. Happy birthday!

Love is a Battlefield

My parents had best friends that threw a load of themed parties in the 80's. It was always fun to watch our very serious parents dress up for these soirées. One year, everyone had to go dressed up as a famous musician. My mum dressed up as Pat Benatar and my dad went as Elton John; however, I personally think he could have pulled off a good Phil Collins, but maybe my dad wanted to be a little flashy. Much later us, kids, poured through the photos from that party trying to guess whose parent was who. One of the other moms was very convincing as Michael Jackson with her one glittery glove! I was watching the video of Love is a Battlefield last night, and it brought all those memories back. It was so funny, but sad because I always thought I'd make a super cool funky mum, and I seem pretty fuddy-duddy all of a sudden. Pat Benatar definitely takes the cake. I can't get that song out of my head!!!

With the weekend approaching again, I am excited to see our ol' friend Flat Stanley come home. Flat Stanley lives in B's desk at school during the week, and on Fridays, he comes home in her knapsack, and B must record all of his adventures from Saturday and Sunday into a journal. A lot of Flat Stanley's weekends are spent lost under a bed or under a heap of books - he's not only flat, he's sly. Miraculously we are always able to find him after much panic by bedtime on Sunday. Last weekend, B decided that Flat Stanley needed some friends, so he wouldn't be lonely on his sleepovers at school. Then he and his new friends - Dip and Rosella - needed pyjamas and sweaters. I LOVED making my own paper dolls and clothes when I was younger. I could have made paper clothes all weekend. Aren't these little guys spiffy?
I think my absolute favourite garment is the space-y pyjamas in blue and orange.

That's got to make me a little funky.



This full-time working gig unimaginably cuts into picture-taking and crafting. By the time homework is completed, dinner is made and devoured, kitchen is cleaned, and the day's events shared and discussed to death, there isn't any light to take a good picture, and I'm lucky to have knit a few rows, so please forgive the sparse blogging.
I am equally thrilled when the weekend comes along, and I can bask in the sunshine and knit to heart's content. Pictures are taken! My work-week 'mood' lifts! And outings are anticipated with my most favourite to the library! I'm repeating myself here, right? And Saturday is my definite library day meaning I definitely go to the library regardless of all other plans. The library is top priority on my Saturdays. I pop in during the week as time allows, but Saturday is no-arguments, we're going. Sometimes the girls win their battle to stay home. The littlest is usually an eager come-alonger, but El prefers to have me bring books to her. I'm a good book picker-outer. She would never come right out and say it, but she stays up 'til all hours of the night devouring my book choices. I haz skillz. Today I look forward to see what's awaiting on my holds shelf. I know there's knitting DVDs and Spanish-subtitled movies. Woo-hoo!
As for knitting projects on the go-go, I've got lots on the needles. I have a body and two sleeves ready for a yoke (J's Cobblestone), one and a half Monkey socks (did I say that last week?), a Woodland shawl begging and sobbing to be cast off, and a NEW weaver's shawl knit with Noro Aurora. And despite all of this, it is taking all my willpower to not cast on a new pair of mittens. See this turquoise Briggs & Little yarn cake? It's determined to win the battle.You can see my problem, right?


Falling Water

Mr. T and I spent the long weekend (Martin Luther King Day for us residents of America) in Toronto visiting the folks. It was nice and relaxing and allowed us to finally give them our Christmas gifts. Mr.T picked up this Zarafina tea maker suite all on his own. If you haven't had tea made in one of these things, I gotta say, you're missing out. I enjoy a cup of tea as much as the next guy but this thing really delivers. Even Mr. T, who ironically is not a tea drinker, actually enjoyed a few sips from my cup. So, although this contraption is not really needed for a good cup of tea, it's sort of fun to watch and as the instruction manual says, heightens your tea experience.I made this Falling Water Lace scarf for my MIL. It was a bit of a surprise for her since she saw the beginnings of it on the blog but wasn't sure who it was going to. I think she was pleased with it and apparently was wanting something hand knit for awhile now. My kind of lady! The lace pattern really showed up nicely after wet blocking and the silk gave it a lovely drape, perfect for staying cozy in the blustery Toronto winter.

Craft Dinner

It’s been a thrilling week for us Balkan Style bloggers! We’ve never had so many sweet comments. It’s been fun reading your blogaversary wishes and meeting many of you through your blogs. Personally, my bloglines subscription just got longer. Oh dear. And we submitted our Newfie Mitten pattern to the Knitting Pattern Central website, and we’ve had a tonne of visitors. Welcome! Please stay and hang out a while longer. We promise to entertain. Really. I’ll make up stuff if I have to.

Where should I start? Oh yis – the chowdah.

I’ve been on a potato corn chowder kick lately, and thankfully my little family minus the littlest has come along for the ride quite willingly. There’s no cooking fancy for the littlest – she’s an Easy Mac kind of girl. I am certain that one day, she will expand her food preferences, but it will have to go down in history that for her sixth year, she subsisted purely on cheesy noodles zapped in the microwave. But for the rest of us that need a little variety, I have been testing out new dishes, and my favourite is by far is this potato corn chowder. Done in under half an hour and paired up with a crusty whole wheat loaf, our appetites are satisfied. I recommend adding some chopped celery in with the onions.

I’ve also recently been blessed with a throat infection for which there is no cause for concern. I managed to be one step ahead of it getting nasty by heel and toeing it to the walk-in clinic yesterday and sweet-talking the physician to prescribe me ten-days worth of amoxicillin. With three doses a day, I’ll barely feel a thing. In fact, I feel pretty well for being infectious. I managed to knit a few more pattern repeats on a second monkey sock and a couple more inches on a second cobblestone sleeve. I also baked a super moist chocolatey mocha snacking cake ‘cause I have found food being shovelled down my throat quite soothing. Guacamole too. In between knitting and eating, I swept and washed the floors. Not bad for a sick day.

And in amongst my holds from the library, I snagged an illustrated copy of Anne of Green Gables in the hopes that a second attempt might entice B to listen more if there were a few pictures on which to focus. The verdict? She was sawing logs by the second page. I kept reading. Tonight, we’ll tackle Chapter Two: Matthew Cuthbert is Surprised. Again. Maybe a better plan would be to just place a hold on the movie.


And the Winner is...

Drum roll please...Debbie! Congratulations to Debbie who has her own lovely blog called Mount Robson. I will be in touch with you through Ravelry and we can hash out the details then.

N and I would just like to thank everyone who entered the contest. We wish we could give you all prizes! Your comments were so kind and encouraging and positive and funny. Balkan Style has been a way for the both of us to stay in touch after I moved to a new country and we could no longer craft together. We are so inspired by all of the creative stuff that's out there in blog land and by your comments and hope that 2009, as rough as it's been so far for everyone, will continue to be full of colour, creativity, friendship, and sweet, sweet contests.

Blogaversary Contest

It's that time again--Balkan Style is turning two and we want to celebrate! To help ring in the new year and to help you get organized, we are having a draw for some handmade goodies. Up for grabs:
Three project bags for your knitting-on-the-go. Made of 100% cotton and measuring approximately 10"x12", these bags will keep your knitting tidy whether you're storing several WIP's or taking them along with you to your knit group. Yarn gets pulled out through the drawstring top while yarn ball stays neatly inside.
Also, the winner will receive these gold toned, stork shaped embroidery scissors. If you're anything like me and losing your little scissors all the time, these little guys will certainly help make sure that you don't misplace them anywhere again.
Leave us a comment and using a random number generator, we'll choose a winner and make the announcement on Friday, January 16. Good luck!

She Smiled

Today I fulfilled El's Christmas 'coupon' for a trip to the hair salon and lunch after to show off her hair. I truly believe that a new haircut needs to be paraded. This chick rocks this hair. This hair makes my brooding angst-ridden pre-teen smile. I couldn't take enough pictures of the hair and the smile. It's catching. I asked her where she wanted to go for lunch, and my heart skipped a little when she responded anywhere, but fast food. That's my girl. Poor B groaned a low groan of sorts from the backseat, but nothing a little more volume on the radio couldn't drown out. Just kidding. I would never raise the volume to drown out my children. Well, not on a regular basis. So we found a little bistro and the three of us had a fashionably late lunch, and then we hit the library to pick up our trunkload of holds. I love chilling with my girls.
B's teacher has assigned a recycling project due later this month, and before I had time to read the project details, B had rooted through the garbage and made some crayon and marker holders out of an old pizza box from Wednesday's dinner. Apparently this isn't all she has up her sleeves - the kid wants me to hand over all the trash. Secretly I want her to wow her class with hand-stitched bags out of sweaters and pillows out of old t-shirts, but she is going through a phase where any direction from me results in "I want to do it all by myself!" And dang it, I've already passed grade one. What a bummer.
I must head to bed. I gulped down a crantini at the neighbour's house, and sadly, I am feeling a bit woozy and sleepy. Cheers!


I Liked You

One of my all-time favourite, non-crafty blogs is The Consumerist. It's well written, informative, and usually gives me a few laughs during the workday. Today in the "morning deals" section where you can find out about good sales there was a link to this. Essentially all you have to do is de-friend 10 Facebook friends and you can get yourself a free Burger King Whopper. Looks like more than a few people have made the sacrifice. What would you do for a Whopper?

Groove is in the Heart

The littlest's room has been spic & span for nearly a week now. My guess is she's too pooped after a day of grade one to pull out any of her pollys. The return to school post-holidays has been surprisingly smooth. Homework is being finished a little too willingly, and yummy dinners are coming together a little too effortlessly. I am wary of all this. It's all a little too Bizarro Jerry for my taste.

I could kick myself. I whipped up one of these Mustard scarves (beware Ravelry link!) for one of my favourite co-worker's birthday (I have many favourite co-workers!), and I forgot to take a picture of it. In fact, I weaved in the ends and stitched on a button in the car on the way to work. People ask me how I do it all. Sometimes I let J drive. It doesn't happen often, but when I relinquish the wheel, I must knit to calm my nerves. I had no choice but to let him drive if I was to finish the scarf in order to slip it on the right desk in time. Alas, the scarf was well recieved, and my face brightened to the liking of a big red tomato. I liked knitting this scarf - it was quick, easy, and took hardly any yarn. Big needles, worsted weight yarn, and a 4-row pattern with two being straight knit - this project is a god-send for last-minute gifts! Just take my word. I'm starting a second immediately if only to have a picture for proof.

And in other news, I'm not sure why I am hemming and hawwing about purchasing the January edition of Blue Yonder's Book of Days. Is it because I know that I won't implement it, and it will become one more thing to feel guilty about? I'm SO conflicted 'cause it looks SO brilliant! Ack. Help me!


Curled Up & Cozy

I went treasure hunting yesterday, and I squealed with delight when I came upon a set of four Denby soup bowls and a set of four matching dinner plates. They cost me eight dollars and change, so you can imagine my thrill when I looked up the pattern on the Replacements website. I'm almost afraid to eat off them. At the moment, they're being used as a centrepiece on the dining room table. I keep picking them up and petting them. Lovely, lovely.

Taking a tiny break from my vantage spot by the fireplace . . .
I can smell spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove for dinner. Can it be dinner time yet?

I can hear the music blaring from the basement interspersed with the sound of sawing and sanding new shelves for the laundry room. The sweet sound of renovations progressing along with a little voice inquiring every now and then if she can help daddy.

I can feel the hot mohair throw on my feet propped up on the stool. The lower half of my body is so relaxed that I may never stand up again.

I can see the cat curled up in a ball of sleep amongst the dozen or so pillows on my bed. Her head just popped up and is staring out the window. Wonder what's going on out there that has her so mesmerized.

I can taste strong coffee. A cranberry muffin would be most complementary with this mug of java. I . . . must . . . get . . . up . . . and . . . bake . . . muffins.


Baby got back

Looks like you and the family had a really nice Christmas. Isn't it always sad when the festivities are over and done with? I think we'll take our tree down this weekend and pack the decorations away for another year.

Mr. T and I spent the last few hours of the old year and some of the new year watching the Godfather parts I and II. Can you believe that neither of us has ever seen those movies? We quite enjoyed them and have added them to our list of New Years watching mob/gangster movies. I have no idea where that tradition came from.

We enjoyed our holiday out west, however snowy it was. We basically went from one blizzard in the mid-west to the worst blizzard that the west coast has seen in 30 years. The snow kept us from doing somethings that we had planned but the drive from Seattle to Vancouver was beautiful.We did make it to Pike Place market in Seattle. Baby got back-bacon.

A visit from Frosty (and my brother-in-law).And a visit from a couple of lovely little princesses.Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2009 and may you have many successes either crafty or otherwise!