Take comfort

This is my first crocheted hat.  I'm pleased with how it turned out.  Started on a Friday night and completed on Saturday, this charcoal cloche was a very quick project.  Crocheted in a soft wool-acrylic blend it is easy to care for and the brim comes down just far enough to shade the eyes, although you can't tell on the model because she's smaller than your average adult head.  The flower is pinned on and can be removed in case the recipient isn't much of a flower hat kind of gal. 

This cloche was crocheted for the mother of a coworker who will undergo chemotherapy this week.  She's already had a mastectomy and now fears losing her hair.  I can't begin to think that a simple hat can make her feel better but maybe she will find that it brings her a little warmth from the cold winter. 

In Progress

We started a few masterpieces this week.   One being a creative endeavour, and the other we will leave to nature (with a little sun and water).

Yesterday's public discussion on the Senate's report on poverty was eye-opening.  We all know that poverty is devastating to one's soul, and for that reason alone, we should want to eradicate it, but it's been proven with unrefutable stats that it costs taxpayers more to allow our fellow Canadians to live below the poverty level than it does to bring them in from the margins.   It is to all of our benefit to educate, house, feed, employ and nurture every single one of us.  Imagine a country where each person is productive and paying taxes.  It would be an economic dream.  It costs taxpayers $100,000 per homeless person per YEAR.  Imagine if we helped lift that person up out of poverty by meeting their needs - housing, food, schooling, health, and finding a meaningful, good paying job.  It would be a very good start indeed.

So now I have to figure what I'm going to do about it.  In the next few weeks, I'll be meeting with the volunteer coordinator at a homeless shelter for young single moms.  In addition to some focussed volunteering, I will continue to talk about it and spread awareness and educate.  We need to show that the public, us, wants the poverty issue to be the government's top priority.  I've also joined the London Homelessness Outreach Network which is a grassroots organization developed out of the passion of individuals to take action on homelessness in our city.   If you feel like joining me, I'd be happy for the company. 

Happy Thursday, friends!

High Winds

Fun times are being had in these parts.  The Bumblebee is writing a book about a monster with smelly feet, and that there drawing is a town meeting to brainstorm some solutions 'cause all the 'sunlight' super power flowers are wilting from the toxic fumes.  We've come up with an ending, but each page she writes takes us farther from that predetermined destination.   Needless to say, it's going to take more time than I thought to wrap this ditty up.

Thankfully the girls and I have the next two days to hang out and enjoy each other's company.  I plan to wear lots of sweats, knit up a storm, drink pots of tea, and do a little early spring tidying.  What I am really looking forward to is an event on Tuesday morning that I am co-organizing for work with Glen Pearson's office.  Senator Art Eggleton will be presenting his report In from the Margins: A Call to Action on Poverty, Housing and Homelessness at the Wolf Performance Hall.  Doors open at 8:30 a.m., it's free, and there's no registration required to attend.  I'm stoked because this is exactly what I was seeking in my resolution-making - getting involved and building a caring community.   I just hope that I keep it together and don't cry.  When I get passionate about anything, I get really blubbery and unintelligible.  Everyone deserves a roof over their head, enough food to eat, and respect.  We live in a country that is incredibly rich with resources.  If one person is in need, we are all diminished.  If only this was as easy as solving some freaky malodorous toe jam.


Getting a grip

I received an email from Amazon this morning advertising Susan Bates Comfort Cushion for Crochet.  Isn't Amazon wonderful?  It magically seems to know what you want/need and delivers deals right into your inbox.  Ok, so maybe Amazon is watching you and tracking your every mouse click but you can get almost anything, from organic vanilla beans to downloadable MP3's.  I realize that our Canadian friends do not have the same products and services from Amazon.ca and I am deeply sorry. 

A few weeks ago I complained about my carpal tunnel that is caused by crocheting for long periods of time and lovely Kathryn over at Crochet Concupiscence blog suggested that I look into crochet tools that could help minimize the pain.  I could have kicked myself for not thinking of it sooner.  So naturally I do an Amazon search and find a few crochet hook grips that looked interesting.  And then, being a crafter and a penny pincher, I decided to search my seemingly infinite closet of craft supplies to see if I could make my own crochet grippy thing.  This is what I came up with.
Craft foam cut to fit the handle of a crochet hook and then rolled around the handle looks and feels very similar to the crochet hook grips that are on the market.  Secure with some tape and viola, a remedy for carpal tunnel for mere pennies.  Plus if you make your own craft foam grip you can make it as thick or as thin as you need by rolling around more foam.    I like to think of it as "custom made".  Sounds so much more posh, don't you think? 


The Bumblebee likes reading.  Let me clarify.  She likes me reading while she listens.  And that's cool.  In the last few years, we have read Charlotte's Web, Nancy Drew, Anne of Green Gables, and lots of Little House on the Prairie books.  I'm a sucker for reading.   Just before Christmas, the Bumblebee discovered the Bad Kitty books, and suddenly she wasn't waiting for me to read to her, and before I knew it, she had finished all of the Bad Kitty books, and I hadn't read a single page.  I felt a little left out.  I could hear her laughing in bed and staying up late to finish "just one more chapter".   And so the quest began to search out another series that would equally encourage this solo reading.  She had seen the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie and expressed interest in reading the book.  The library came to the rescue last week, and she's flying through the first book.  And this week, the second in the series came in, and it's just waiting in the wings.  I'd have to say I'm enamoured of this little one flipping through the pages and chuckling to herself.   I admit I've snuck in bed beside her and listened to her read aloud, and this Wimpy Kid is hilarious.   Maybe not the classic headstrong female heroine I've been pushing on her for the last while, but I'll take it if it means that she continues to love reading.  :)


If I Baked You a Cake, It Would Look Like This

Just vanilla cake with vanilla icing.  Nothing fancy or crazy like, say, a COUCH or a kitty litter box!  But it would come from my heart.


If you were here, and I gave you this cake, we would eat big squares of it and wash it down with several cups of tea.  We might laugh, and half-chewed up pieces of cake would spray out of our mouths and hit the wall.  After we were done stuffing our faces with cake, we would retire to my couches that are not made of cake, and we would get out our sticks and string and make clickety-clack sorts of sounds for hours.  I would play some croony and swoony songs on my laptop, and eventually the Bumblebee would interrupt us and request some Ke$ha, and we would feel obliged because she has a dimple on her left cheek that is super sweet when she smiles.   We might look down and see our feet tapping to 'tik tok', but we wouldn't make fun of each other, and no one else would ever need to know.  The Bumblebee would also want some balloons blown up, and she would volley one around the room, and eventually it would pop so loud, we'd poop in our pants, and you would get up quickly and insist you leave immediately.   I'd agree because I would also need a change of clothes, and I'd fetch your coat, and the party would be over.

It would have been a blast.  Really.  Happy birthday, my friend! 

Be on the lookout for unexpected loud noises all year.


Happy Fr'Aidez

I now have two sleeves and the left front of my Aidez cardigan complete.  This project is moving along nicely thanks to the bulky yarn.  Have I mentioned that it feels like dryer lint?  Someone needs to spin that shizzle and make themselves bazillionaires 'cause I'd buy it.  Dryer lint is gold to touch.  I'm always sad to throw it away.  I should collect it and stuff pillows with it or sumpin'- sumpin'.  I'm sure if I googled ways to recycle your dryer lint, I'd come up with a mountain of ideas.  Oh dear.  I was right.   Apparently you could stuff your bra amongst 21,000 other links.

Just some stuff to get you thinking on this super freezy Friday.


Heart Garland

Inspired by the heart garlands over at house on hill road, I got to work and made one.   My intent would be to make a gazillion, but time hasn't been on my side.   It's on my to-do list for now.  May this serve as a reminder.  To be honest, this little string of hearts only took a few minutes, but I made it a lot longer by gluing sheets of scrapbook wrong sides together so that the hearts were patterned on both sides.  Next time, I plan to embrace the white (wrong) sides, and save myself an hour of gluing and drying.   It really is as simple as cutting heart shapes free-hand and stitching them together with the sewing machine, and hanging it with tape.

Valentine's Day Decorating Music Mix:
Air hugs,


The eldest turned 15.  Over the last few weeks I've been practicing saying I have a 15-year old, but it still sounds crazy today even though now it is real.  I don't think anything can really prepare you for parenting a teen.  She's much closer to being an adult than being a child.  It's amazing to watch her spread her wings a little more each day.  She's pretty responsible.  She's very likable.  She can be very serious, and she can be very funny.  She also has raging hormones.  She is a teenager after all.  It comes with the territory. :)

Unfortunately she also has the flu.   Spending the day in bed with a sore belly wasn't exactly what she wanted, but there's always next weekend.

Here's to another year of growing and learning and coping and cracking jokes.


Year of the Rabbit

Today is the first day of the Lunar New Year.  It's the year of the rabbit, which means that if you were born in 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975. 1987, 1999, or this year, you are a rabbit. Rabbits tend to be outgoing, sensitive, and enjoy being around others.  They approach situations with calmness, consideration, and they highly value their friends and family.  Like the animal, those born under the sign of rabbit enjoy spending time at home in a safe and comfortable environment and therefore dislike taking risks.  Good careers for rabbits can be writer, designer, therapist, or teacher.  

So here's to all of you classy rabbits!  Happy new year and chuc mung nam muoi!  Wishing you all health, wealth, and happiness in the new year!

Knitting Faster

The Ptarmigan cowl is finished - blocked and ready to be gifted.  The recipient I have in mind has felted many of my knitted gifts to her, so this puppy knit in a soft superwash wool will be absolutely perfect.  Since this came off the needles, I've knit two Early Morning Berets, and I've cast on a sleeve for the Aidez cardigan.  It's imperative that I find my cable needle.

Of course, I'm still plugging away at the Featherweight Cardigan, but a girl can take only so much stockinette before she pulls her hair out.  I've paused to wind another Malabrigo lace cake.  Isn't that pretty?

Today is a snow day, so I'm home with the girls.  I have a little bit of office work to do, but at some point I must sew up some hearts like this.   My windows need them. :)   It's also a potato leek soup and artisan bread day.  Mmmm . . .

Listening to this over and over and being reminded of wolf blankets-slash-curtains:

Keep warm!

Oatmeal two ways

My nephew hates oatmeal.  When a bowl of oatmeal is placed in front of him he refuses to eat it.  He prefers to have just the milk and brown sugar if that's ok and hold the oatmeal.  I gotta agree with the kid.  I've tried to like oatmeal and I tell myself that it's good for me but I'm still gagging down those last four of five spoonfuls.  I think it's a texture thing.  That's why I've started making oatmeal in different ways.  One way is to bake it.  You get all of the goodness of oatmeal, minus the gluey texture.  I like my baked oatmeal with a tiny bit of butter and maple syrup.  It's almost like having cake for breakfast.

Lately my most favorite way to have oatmeal is through homemade granola.  In addition to my dislike for gruel-y oatmeal, I have many food allergies like nuts and fruits.  Most of the granola in the stores contain at least one thing that I am allergic to.  If I make my own I know exactly what's in it and it tastes amazing to boot.  I love this stuff and prefer eating it by the handful.  No milk, no yogurt, just straight up, although  both ways are also pretty tasty.

T's Very Best Granola Recipe
Try your own mix-ins to suit your taste.  If you'd like to add dried fruit, add it during the last ten minutes of baking.

2/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup maple syrup or agave syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups quick oats
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup rice cereal
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pecan pieces

Heat oven to 300 degrees F.  In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, rice cereal, and wheat germ.  Set aside.  In a microwave proof bowl add the peanut butter and maple syrup.  Heat in the microwave on high for 30 seconds.  Remove and give it a mix.  Return to microwave for another 30 seconds.  Remove and stir in the vanilla and cinnamon.  Pour the peanut butter mixture over the cereal mixture and toss until well coated.  Sprinkle in the brown sugar and toss to coat.  Spread the mixture evenly onto a large sheet pan with sides.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally.  After time is up stir in the seeds and nuts and return to oven for another 10 minutes.  Cool and store in airtight container for up to two weeks if it lasts that long.