Chubby Bubby Monkeys

As promised, I present to you baby monkey and classic sock monkey.  For the most part, I stash-busted the worsted weight wools.  I did buy one ball of Patons Classic Merino Wool in a heather-y green.  Ironically I ran out of it before I knit the ears, and gosh darn-it if I hadn't bought the very same shade a year ago for a slouchy beret.  The slouchy beret had been sitting in the basket where knitted projects in progress go to die a slow death.  So I forced myself to finish the beret (which took an hour tops to complete!), and I quickly knit up the ears.  The patterns were fairly simple, but could have been written more efficiently had they incorporated grafting and more knitting in the round.  For example, the green monkey's ears are knit in four flat pieces then seamed together.   It wouldn't be difficult to revise the pattern to save yourself some time and energy by knitting them magic loop and increasing and decreasing and grafting the 'cast-off edge'.   I would also knit the mouths by casting on the lighter wool and decreasing accordingly in the red section and then grafting it closed.  As it's written, you cast on in the red, knit a row, and then turn upside down and pick up and knit the cast on stitches.  This was finicky and tight and all around unpleasant.  Just saying.  Next time, I will trust myself to make those changes and save myself the bother.

O-Ten, not sure if I'm ready for you.  O-Nine has tired me out.  Incentives would be welcome.  I'm going to go work on some goals/resolutions.  Maybe I'll bake a wheel of brie and scarf it down with wheat thins, and I'll quench my thirst with that unopened bottle of white wine at the back of the fridge.  I just have to clear a path to it . . . Who am I kidding?  I'm too much of a wiener.  Hangovers frighten me. 

Wishing you a happy and safe New Years Eve. 



Look at that cinnamon roll.  Just look at it.

See anything new?  After spending weeks researching entry-level digital slr cameras, we splurged and got ourselves (read 'me') a Canon Rebel XS.  I'm having a splendid time tinkering around with it, and in doing so I have spread the love of it amongst my friends and family.   Because if everyone else has one, than it couldn't have been much of a frivolous expenditure, but rather a much needed and common household object.  Right?  Plus I couldn't have possibly been expected to take fuzzy and boring ol' photos of baked goods forever.  Nah, I can't bad-mouth my Fuji point 'n' shoot.  It's done me good.  I plan to keep it around a bit longer.  I also think that a certain teenager would be more than happy to steal it away.

Up next (tomorrow, I hope!) - pictures of finished monkeys for all of you who must be dying to see them.  They turned out wonderfully, and the girls really do love them.  I think they know deep down that the monkeys were a bit out of my usual knitting range.  I like easy, quick, non-finicky, as seamless as possible, more utility projects.  But they were worth every single minute of cursing under my breath for countless nights after they had safely been tucked into bed.

Speaking of which, I must do right now.  It's late!


Filled to the Brim

One last turkey dinner to scarf down this afternoon, and then we can start packing up the xmas decorations for another year.  There's so much.  We gots to trim the trimmings.

As for crossing things off the to-do list, Santa has been thanked.



I am now absolutely certain that if I didn't work outside the home, I would 'make' every day in epic proportions.  Oh yes.   So far on my four days of no work, I have baked dozens upon dozens of squares and cookies, I have sewed up two origami wraps (thank you, Queen of Origami!), made trees for my impromptu winter village, made holiday cards, and knit two fairisle hats with one skein of Briggs & Little.  And I'm reading a really awesome book with very little punctuation and lots of wit.  And I watched Where the Wild Things Are, and tears streamed very heavily when Carol waves good-bye to Max.  There is something very moving about a beast with sadness.   I am pretty sure I had to look away at one point.

Today we're going to get our skates ready for ice skating, and I'm going to brush up on my turkey cooking skillz.  I even bought a baster.  It's as if I'm getting very serious about turkeys.  Watch out, my friends!



I didn't mean to disappear from here for a whole week!  We've been busy finishing up school and work for the year, and we've been busy making.  We downloaded the house and the tree patterns for free and got to work immediately.  Hours of fun!  Honest.

Four more days to Christmas!  Eek!  I thought I was prepared, but I sat down and made another list, and turns out I gots lots to do still.  So off I go . . .


A Timely Diversion

That dang winter edition of Knitty came out yesterday, patterns were printed, the stash was upturned, and I have cast on for the Citron shawlette with wintry white Malabrigo lace.  This is unwise indeed.   I should seriously be knitting ears and a muzzle.  I only have 9 days left.  Oh dear.


Across the miles

On Saturday I packed up some boxes with my hand knits and some holiday goodies and dropped them off at the post office. The boxes are west bound, two are going to my family and friends in Vancouver and another is headed to California to my sister. I was even three days ahead of schedule! This coming Saturday we head to Toronto to spend the holidays with Mr. T's family. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone and being back in Canada for a few days. Can you say Swiss Chalet and ketchup chips?!

Because these are Christmas gifts I can't share any photos but I can share that inside each box is my new favourite thing--salted caramels. These are so creamy and addictive that I made up another batch on Sunday for friends in town and a few for me and Mr. T. I cannot tell you how yummy these are. I wont even mind if you stop reading this blog right now and go to the kitchen and make some. You wont regret it.

The tree decorating is out of control.  Some of it has gotta give.


An Ode to the Middle of December

We're 3/4 dressed for the holidays.  We're waiting for the tree to accustom to being in the house, and then it, too, will be 'dressed'.   Lights, ribbons, balls, snowflakes, icicles, acorns and the occassional monkey or My Little Pony.   I was going for simple and classy, but then they excitedly brought home disco ball ornaments and gorillas.   A block of butter is making its way to room temp on the counter for several batches of snowballs.  I've wrapped four gifts, and already I am tired of wrapping.  This inevitably happens every year.  It's tradition.    These are just my random thoughts from one half glass of white zinfadel.  Call it my ode to the middle of December.   I need to buy egg nog.   One litre should be sufficient.  I usually get over-zealous and buy two litres and one will eventually rot, and when I pour it down the drain, I will gag and swear off egg nog forever until next December.  I will say to everyone I converse with from now until the 25th that we MUST get together before the holidays, and I will consequently slap myself for dangerously overbooking my social calendar.   If I ever complain of loneliness, hit me over the head.   The holidays are for connecting and being grateful and GIVING.  Must remember to love a bit more.  Smile and think productive and positive thoughts.   I need to get the skates sharpened.   I think this is the year that the Bumblebee must learn to step away from the wall.  I shall entice her with chicken nuggets all wrapped up under the tree.  That kid loves meat.  I'm also planning my second turkey dinner which excites me to no end.   I'm going to have to make room in the fridge.  Could this post be more random??? 


In Response to Baby Cake Comment

This is a quick post aimed at one of the commenters on my previous post about the baby cake. Maria, if you're reading this, congratulations on becoming a grandmother in January! We love babies and all things baby related. You wanted to know how to make the cake but did not leave an email address or a way that I can contact you so I'll just write up some quickie instructions and you can feel free to send me an email if you'd like more details.

To make the baby cake you will need:

2 cakes in your choice of flavour, filled and iced (I used 8 inch cakes, one vanilla with vanilla buttercream and one chocolate with chocolate buttercream)
About 2.5 pounds of rolled fondant (purchased at Jo-Ann craft store or Michael's or make your own)
13 x 19 inch cake board if using 8 inch cakes
rolling pin
pizza cutter or sharp knife (for trimming fondant)
Gel icing colours in: skin colour, brown, pink, or any other colour that you want for eyes and accessories

Tint 3/4 of your fondant in skin colour. Divide in half and roll out to about 1/8 inch thickness and about 16 inches in diameter. This will give you enough fondant to cover your cake tops and sides. Once your two cakes are covered in fondant assemble them on your cake board so that the two cakes are touching. Cover the bottom half of the bottom cake in white (for diaper) using plain white fondant. Then using the leftover skin coloured fondant make feet and toes, ears, arms, and nose. I just formed all of these parts by hand as if I was using Play-Doh. I tinted the fondant scraps in dark brown for eyes, mouth, and curly hair. I also added pink circles for cheeks and a pink bow as this will be for a girl baby. Feel free to be creative and make your cake in whatever way you want.

If you've never worked with fondant before see these helpful step by step instructions or check YouTube for some videos. It can be tricky to get it really smooth but remember that fondant is forgiving and you can always cover up imperfect parts with the diaper or accessories. Good luck!

Two cakes and a baby

I received an order for a cake from a friend that I used to work with at my previous job. One of her staff members is due in February and they were celebrating yesterday during a staff meeting. I've made one of these baby cakes before but this time around it's a girl (notice the pink bow?). This is one of my favourite cakes to make because the construction is pretty simple and it's quick to make. I tend to get strange looks when I tell people that I'm making a cake in the shape of a baby and then people are going to cut into it and eat it, however, this is more of a cartoon-y looking baby and not at all realistic. Not like this more life-like baby cake. I'm not sure how I would feel cutting into that. Shudder.

Soda Bread: A Review

Any hope of dieting has just flown out the window.  I've discovered Soda Bread.  More importantly, I've discovered Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food.   The book is described as 19 culinary lessons and more than 250 everyday recipes that illustrate just how easy it is to eat wonderfully well if you cook, eat, and live by these fundamental guidelines:

  • eat locally and sustainably
  • eat seasonally
  • shop at farmers' markets
  • plant a garden
  • conserve, compost and recycle
  • cook simply
  • cook together
  • eat together
  • remember food is precious
I decided to start with the soda bread because it had four ingredients, required no rising or kneading, and was true to its word of taking under an hour from start to finish.  Really.   And it's delicious.  Funny thing is, it was so simple that I continued to bake because I hadn't even begun to scratch my itch to bake.  So I baked my ol' stand-by chocolate chip muffins.   I then offered up my gift of bread and muffins to my little family, and they gobbled up my bread and left the muffins on the counter all sad and chocolate-y.   Now I must figure out what to make next.