Weekend Musings

I've realized my idea of perfection in terms of Saturday mornings.  Wake up early while everyone is still sleeping, have a quick bowl of cereal, get dressed, drive to the market, knit with friends over cups of Balinese coffee, buy vegetables and fruit, drool over the cheese, smell the flowers, and return home to children fed and dressed - that part was just luck and a wee bit of timing.

Now it's Sunday morning, and I'm still in my pyjamas.  I've already got a roast and vegetables in the slow cooker, and the littlest has decided that today would be a good cupcake day.  She didn't have to convince me much, and now they are in the oven baking.   Next up, I have some finishing to do on a Simple Beret and the Ptarmigan Cowl, and there should be plenty of time to read a few chapters of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.  I'll be staying under my cozy blankets and soaking up the sun from the front window like a lazy cat.  It won't be all lying about as I have a soccer game after dinner.  Think of it as conserving energy. :)


Ptarmigan In Progress

I am knitting another cowl.  I have enough cowls to keep me and my hundred closest friends in cowls until the end of the world.  So it only makes sense that I would cast on for another.  I'm using a dk-weight superwash wool for this project, and I am following Jared Flood's Ptarmigan pattern which is so very, very pretty and well-charted.  It's a good knit for those times when you have a little more attention to give, but one that you will also find more rewarding in the end.

Happy Thursday!


Be mine Valentine

I'm going through a crochet phase right now if you haven't noticed.  I think crochet and knitting have different applications, for example I prefer the look of knitting for clothing but find crochet faster and easier for smaller, shaped items such as toys and these little love hearts from PlanetJune.  I crocheted these from leftover bits of Vanna's Choice in pink and red and made them in three different sizes.  They were crocheted all in one night, which was great and very satisfying, however my carpal tunnel kept me up all night and stayed with me the next day.  Does anyone else experience carpal tunnel from knitting or crocheting?  If you do I wouldn't suggest making all seven hearts in one sitting because although you'll have a festive heart garland to adorn your kitchen window in no time, shooting pain up the arm is definitely not worth it.  Valentine's Day is still over two weeks away so you've got time. 


The small sized heart would make a cute pin or could be glued onto some cardstock for a Valentine for your sweetie.

Peppermint Deodorant

I was drooling and clicking on etsy last Saturday, and a Valentine's Day appropriate lip balm, a grapefruit patchouli facial soap, and a stick of peppermint deodorant made their way into my cart, and within six hours they were in my mailbox in a homemade cotton bag!  Jamie lives in London, and she was out doing deliveries (FREE) door-to-door.  It didn't take that much longer for the deodorant to make its way into my pit. :)  I'm loving the deodorant.  It's so minty that my armpits tingle when I roll it under my arms.  The most brilliant part is that as I move around all day, the scent makes its way up my shirt and into my nose.  I get high off of it.  I swear!!  It wakes me up.  My co-workers have been doing a lot of eye-rolling as I shriek and exclaim the wonders of my deodorant.  Can they not smell the peppermint??

The lip balm will be a Valentine's Day gift to the littlest who loves cinnamon and needs lip balm.  I feel as if I'm constantly reminding that sweet child to apply some chapstick.  The dry, cracked, bloody lips don't seem to phase her one bit.  I, on the other hand, have to look at them.

I have yet to try out the facial soap.  I'll probably test it out on the teen first, and then assess her skin over time.  If she doesn't break out from it, I will be buying it in bulk.  Wow, that kinda comes off as if she's my guinea pig.  I'll make her sign a consent form. :)


PS. This is not a paid endorsement.  This is how excited I honestly get by small stuff.  I did however have the table beside Jamie at the Handmade Festival last year, and we exchanged smiles and some small chit chat, and I just know that she is a lovely girl who is local, makes natural products, and delivers right to my door under six hours.  And that alone was blog-worthy.  Well, and my minty pits.

An oldie but a goodie

My much loved and much used kitchen towel has seen better days.  I  haven't gotten around to mending it yet.  It's an oldie but a goodie  and I plan on keeping it around for awhile.  I'm not quite sure how  this towel with its lovely hand crocheted topper ended up in our house  but I do know who made it. Much like her towel toppers, my husband's  best friend's grandmother (did you get that?) was a woman adored by  all who met her.  A woman who was smart as a whip, wise beyond her  years, and full of wit and humor, she was someone who you only had to meet once and you would remember her forever.  I was lucky enough to meet her during her last years.  My husband wanted to tell her personally that we were engaged and he wanted her to meet his bride-to-be.  Even when she was sick she was 100% there and could keep everyone engaged in conversation.  Fast forward four years and although this lovely woman no longer graces us with her presence, her spirit and her memory live on in her family members, as does her towel topper legacy. 

I love the utility of the towels combined with their vintage,  handmade feel.  My crochet skills still leave something to be desired, and they'll never be as sweet as the "original" towel toppers but once the original ones get retired these new ones would be happy to replace them.  I used plain white waffle towels and sewed on strips of scrap fabric that I had from a previous project.  They're a bit more modern looking but I'm hoping that they'll still find a place in the hearts of all of the people who loved the woman who made the towels.

I used this pattern.

School Lunch First Aid

My newest trick to entice the girls to eat their lunch apple is to sprinkle cinnamon on the slices.  When the slices naturally brown from being exposed to the air, the girls think it's cinnamon.  Well, it IS cinnamon, but they eat them.  They think it's a special treat.  They wouldn't eat the slices before because they were brown, and they refuse to eat apples unless they're sliced.  This is brilliant.  It's almost as brilliant as the time my friend showed me how she flips the bread crusts, so the crust is facing the spread on the inside of the sandwich, and the kids haven't a clue that they just ate the crust.  I experimented this trick on my family with grilled cheese, and no one suspected a thing.  These tricks make me feel a wee sneaky, but we're wasting less food, so I feel it's a win-win.  Good food is making its way into their bellies and not into the garbage.  And like Martha would say, "Now THAT is a good thing."


Friday Night Skating

Friday nights around these parts are being spent skating.   It's a nice way to wind down a week of work and school.   We skate in circles, we tell stories, we make plans, we joke around, we laugh, we hold hands, and we hold each other up.  I think to myself as we go round and round that we are so lucky to be skating and letting loose. We're lucky we have one another and these moments.   It's the four of us against the world.  To make the night last longer, we follow it up with fancy hot chocolates at Starbucks, then we slowly drive home in the dark.  We dump our skates in the foyer, and we change into our pyjamas and get cozy under blankets and watch movies.  The teen is not in these pictures as she is the one snapping away because on this particular Friday night, her feet were sore, and if you've ever argued with a teenager, you would know it's pointless. :)
Here's to five more days 'til our next skate.

A Teenager's Sanctuary

There is one room in this house in which we rarely step inside.  It's kept tidy for the most part.  I sneak in every few weeks and feather dust it to freshen it up a bit.   I never stay long.  I bet it's a treasure trove of teenage angst and drama.  I'd rather not find out as I am certain it would probably keep me up at night.  There is also a large collection of monkeys, and their stares are a bit unnerving.  Terrifying, really.  However, I am enamoured by her wall of art.  There are a few paintings that she has painted, but my favourite is this portrait that her best friend/boyfriend painted of her for Christmas.  He absolutely adores her, and I know that he spent so much time perfecting it.  I love it!  She spent an equal amount of time knitting him a super long navy scarf, and he wears it every time he steps outside which is more than I can say of Mr. J who has wore the Cobblestone I knit him once in two years.  They're so cute and cool and sensitive.

Happy Saturday!  I'm going to hunker down and get some knitting finished.  I'm excited about dinner - hummus, pitas, and fresh veggies.  It's a nosh kind of night.


Warding off the Chill

The office in which I work can be a bit frosty at times.   I believe I need to make about twenty pairs of these pretty handwarmers for all the ladies.  You know, for health and safety. :)   Details such as yarn and pattern can be found here on ravelry.  To speed things up, I think I'll modify the pattern for dk or worsted weight.

Ron Sexsmith is playing at the Aeolian in March.  I think we all need to go.  'Cause there's gold in them hills, and I like dandelion wine.


Funky Cold Medina

When I found myself pregnant fifteen years ago, I had lofty dreams of being the hippest coolest mama, but it didn't take long for me to learn different.  Kids don't think their parents are cool.  I should have known this because I thought my mum was the most uncool.  But a mum has to be cool if they recognize coolness when they see it.  And if my kids are cool then I think that automatically makes me cool because I made them.  They are my mini me's.  This is my kid, so I am cool.

What kid takes a picture like this?  It's brilliant.  Hence, I am by association.  Huzzah!



The house has been stripped of Christmas, and I can feel the rhythm of our everydays return again.  It's quiet.  It's warm.  It's bright.  My face is stuck on smile.   The busyness of school and work makes us appreciate our weekends more.  A roast is cooking slowly, the sun is shining, and my feet are up.  The knitting needles are clicking, and I'm coaxing Mr. J to leave his comfy spot on the couch to fetch me a cup of hot apple cider with no luck.   That's fine.  It's time to stretch my legs.  But if I'm getting up, I'm going to make it worthwhile.  I should start a new batch of bread dough.  That'll take five minutes tops.  Ooh, and there's a princess puzzle in progress on the dining room table that I can hit on my way back to the couch.   This is the life.


New beginnings

Over the weekend I opened up our carton of eggs to make Mr. T and I some breakfast.  I thought I saw one of the eggs wiggle ever so slightly.  Upon closer inspection I noticed that they were all starting to crack.  These were the only eggs that we had and I wanted breakfast!  Unfortunately the eggs had other plans.  Five minutes later these four little guys appeared and looked at me so sweetly I couldn't bear to throw them into the awaiting cast iron pan. 
And since it was the beginning of a new year and everyone deserves a second chance, yes, even little crocheted chicks, I opened the window and away they flew. 
Wishing everyone a new year full of much health, happiness, creativity, and new beginnings.



This cozy little sweater came together in THREE days!  I'm talking a couple of hours each night by the light of the Christmas tree because during the day, we were out skating, going to the library, visiting friends, hosting a dinner, and cleaning house.  It helps that the pattern is fairly simple, and the wool was bulky.  Nantasket is a new free pattern from Berroco.  As soon as I saw it, I knew it was perfect for my Bumblebee, and I have had ten balls of Sandnes Garn Alfa wool for a year and a half in the stash - just enough for a child-sized sweater.  It's soft and stretchy and warm as well as a pleasure to knit. My only modification was to add an extra three inches to the length of the sleeves, and obviously I only needed to maybe add one tops. I think the sweater will look absolutely lovely with her skinny jeans, her leggings, and her flouncy skirts.  Best of all, I think the kid actually likes it.  She may even wear it.  I LOVE this sweater.

Now back to my neon green feather-weight cardigan.  If I ever finish it, I vow to wear it every day.  I'm serious.  Note to self, that Christmas tree NEEDS to come down.  I'm done with the holidays.  It's back to work and school tomorrow.  And packing lunches.  Ick.



Happy New Year!

I would have to read the archives to remember most of 2011.  If I'm correct, it was a lot of smooth sailing - not much craziness.  If my resolution last New Years was to live more simply, I think I'm getting closer.  I was steered towards soccer by friends, and I am grateful to those peeps.  I made myself a promise that I would knit twelve Elizabeth Zimmerman patterns, and I did cast on twelve; however, three have yet to be finished.  I'd say that wasn't horribly bad.  I didn't add too much yarn to the stash.  I was somewhat controlled.   I learned a lot about photography.   I got more involved with my community at public discussions, and I consider myself a heck of a lot more engaged.  I renegotiated our mortgage.   I connected with friends and family.  I started volunteering again after a bit of a hiatus.  I put my foot down and stood by my opinions.  I picked up my tennis racket again after two decades.   I went to some rockin' concerts.  I did not see any rattlesnakes or bears.  And it was all good.  I'm happy.  My family is healthy.  They have clothes, food and shelter.  They are loved.  I have everything I need and, more importantly, want.

I made my resolution back in November, and it's not really something I can conquer in one year, maybe never.  I'm going to be part of building a caring community.  I think Starship said it best.   They also built this city on rock and roll.  They were so ahead of their time.

And thanks, Kat, for reminding us that we didn't have to take our clothes off to have a good time!  Oh no.