Dear friends

A couple days after our last post, we realized that we had hit the ceiling of our image limit on blogger. This was a bit of a roadblock. Would we pay the blogger troll and continue to stumble along, or was this an opportunity for something new? It didn’t take long for us to decide that this was fate telling us that better things awaited us elsewhere, but it has been very hard writing this final post in this shared space. We’ve had hundreds of good times here. 772 good times to be exact. The good thing is that this space isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’ll be like that little notched heart carved into a tree trunk. We were here. We knit, we read, we baked, we made silly faces, we grew, we wrote, we danced, we sewed, we liked, we walked, we cried, we laughed, we sang, one of us got married, we travelled, we played, we took pictures, we learned, we shared . . . and then we left.

I’ve not gone far. I’ve defected over to wordpress. It’s a bit scary not holding on to T’s hand, but she needs to be hands-free shortly because she’s expecting, and I’m expecting that her hands will be more than full with a new chubby bubby. So let’s not be sad. It’s all good.


Winter Wonderland

Just when we thought we were finished with winter, we woke up on Friday to everything covered in snow.  It was hard to get upset considering the destructive earthquakes and tsunamis in other parts of the world.   I took this opportunity to stay cozy under my mohair throw and knit like the wind.  And wouldn't you know it, I finished my cardigan, and then I spent an insane amount of hours seaming the pieces together and weaving in the gazillion ends on Sunday.   So I'm giving myself a well-deserved break, and I've cast on a simple stockinette sock with some pretty striped Black Lamb fingering weight superwash wool.  It's my first and most favourite sock yarn.  And I'm wearing my cardigan today.  It's so warm and toasty.  LOVE.

I have a few days of work this week and then a long weekend in store for me.   I've planned some 'making' and a trip to the sugar bush for pancakes and syrup.  MMmmmm . . .  Fingers crossed that no one gets sick.

Happy Monday!


We're always guaranteed to have fun at the Children's Museum.  We can go to outerspace, pretend to work in a restaurant, play with words, and teach in a turn-of-the-century classroom - all in one morning.  Soon there will be a new Arctic gallery, and well, that tickles us pink.  I hope there's ice fishing!

Here's to the weekend!

A Recap of Sorts

Just popping in to say . . .
  • The tulips have bloomed and are falling over.
  • Hot apple fritters have been discovered.
  • Tomato & spinach soup was whipped up with lots of basil accidentally.
  • The Aidez cardigan is super close to completion, and it would have been done much sooner had I not been distracted by this knit which I happened to finish in one week.  Whew!
  • March Break is only a week away.  I'm thinking a day at the sugar bush 'cause we loves our maple-y syrup.  Mmmmm . . .  That's totally worth a vacation day.

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 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.

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.