Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Don't you hate it when you are on the home stretch and there's only the finishing details to take care of and you're mosiein' right along and you've already got people annoyed because you actually made plans to do something (ie finish a quilt) without consulting them?
And even though you measured, calculated and gave it a good, 'that should be enough'...

You're still short by one strip! Grrrr. (I've also just had to now, put aside a scarf that I've been working on for far too long because I don't have enough to cast off . Grrrr again.)

Anyway, I got the quilt all put together and went all overboard (who me?) on the binding with the hope of bringing all the patterns together, so that it all flows. And you know, I was kind of disappointed; for the amount of work that went into the binding , it wasn't standing out as much as I had hoped.

And then I turned it over and saw how much life it brought to the back of the quilt! (this picture doesn't do the green justice; it was much 'limier' and brighter) Something that I hope I've learned with this one is that binding is meant to just surround the project and that 'keeping it simple' is probably a better route most of the time.

This, however, makes it all worth it. Happy Birthday!!

I also need to show you something else that I whipped (haha) up on the weekend.

Here, you will note, is a cheesecake, cooled, in the pan, ready for assembly and waiting to be served. And NO CRACKS!!! Yipeee!


I saw Anna Olsen prepare it on Sugar, one of my favourite shows on FoodTV. I went on line; printed it off and knew that it would be perfect for the dinner party we were going to last Saturday. I gotta say, it looked and tasted fabulous and I may have mentioned that it had to be "the best thing that I have ever made," several times. My son agreed with me. My husband said I can't say that....

I told him I could, because it was!

Really, if we're not going to blow our own horns; who is? We work hard and sometimes the things we make turn out fabulous and other times, well, not so much. Are we only supposed to talk about the failures? The disappointments? Life's too short for that.

Let's enjoy the gifts of our talents and accomplishments everyday and we'll all feel a lot better!

Friday, January 25, 2008

I'm getting worried...

It started last week.

I needed some quilt batting for the 'Bright Minky" quilt; so I went to Fabricland. I scoped all over Fabricland, found some treasures in the remnant bin and only took 2. There was fleece on sale for $6/m that had sheep on it; it's still on the shelf. There was some fun cotton on the buy 1 get 2 free rack; and I only bought 2 m of one of those. Oh, I did pick up the batting as well.

The interesting thing here is that I stopped to think about what I would make with the sheep fleece and the mauve cat cotton and just as importantly, where was I going to store the fabric should I bring it home. And where this may sound quite reasonable to most, this is a huge step for me. I mean, what if it's all gone by the time I get back there!?!?!!

I showed restraint.

The same kind of thing happened when I chose to delay my visit to one of my LYS, (isn't that cool? I have a plethora - I love it when I get to use that word - of LYS!) because I didn't need it right away, I'm running out of places to stash, etc. etc.

I've been on line to some of my 'pushers/suppliers' and have, again, showed restraint in what I actually did order ie. not everything that I fell in love with.

Even at the Superstore when I was checking out the new JOE wear, I looked at stuff and decided to wait for the markdown.

My impulse buying gene has been compromised. O.K. let's call that a sign of maturity. And nothing really to cause alarm, because in all likelihood it's not a permanent condition. (Know Thyself) :o)

But last night at our Cast Off Night Out (we started as knitters, but we allow people to crochet and quilt too, so I took the knitting part out for now) after we spent a fair amount of time expounding the virtues of Sensodyne and the other products to bring comfort to our teeth and gums....

Here's a fuzzy close up. Honestly, after the hints and tips that went around that table I'll be surprised if anyone in the Aurora/Newmarket area will be able to find either of these products. I was so inspired by everyone's testimony regarding the care of their teeth, (after we all had a taste of Purdy's Sweet Georgia Browns!) that I came home brushed, used my little brushy guys, flossed behind my back molars, because these brushy things don't get back there easily (I learned that one on my own; I'll have to share it with the others next time I see them) and even broke out...wait for it...

The Listerine!! Had a swish and went to bed feeling all fresh and proud of my oral hygiene regime for a change.

Really it's the little things.

O.K. back to the problem at hand. We had figured out how to keep our teeth and gums healthy; so we moved on to parenting and the disciplining of children, or lack there of. We often touch on this subject maybe because, it's such a relevant topic, because it's hard to keep up with what's the 'in thing' to do now, because it still surprises us all that we have survived as a civilization with all the mistakes everybody makes raising their kids; or maybe it's because I complain the most about it and steer the conversation way too much.

So one of our knitters/crocheters L, asks why is it so wrong to discipline the kids now? Well, I jump in with an answer (someday I'll learn to keep my mouth shut!) to tell a story that the Dancing Bus Driver told I side track a little to explain the Dancing Bus driver part of the story; you know, background.

And then I pause to start my story. What was my story? Why did I start with the Dancing Bus Driver?


No clue why I had started, except that L had asked a question, and I couldn't even remember the question. L, who's 83 and puts us all to shame with how active she is, got me back on course, with the help of C. Thanks ladies.

Oh, the story involved a mom who got to enjoy the peace and quiet of her home after her children threatened to call CA and she called their bluff. They got a taste of life outside of their 'unfair' home and mom got to eat whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted for 3 days! They got to come home and everybody lived happily ever after. (I don't really know that last part, but they did come home; nobody was hurt and it's a good ending to a story)

After that we continued to sit, knit, laugh and then....OMG...

"Is anybody else so hot that they're going to rip their clothes off right here and now?!?!!" Really, the top was almost off. I put my knitting down (gasp!), I got up, the top was flappin' and I was lookin' for someplace to cool off, without looking like the idiot that I felt like I was looking right then and found...

the corner where I took off my boots.

It helped a bit, and the girls reassured me that they had found it quite warm when they first came into the room too. Thanks, ladies. Again. The kicker is, we meet in a room above an arena. There's ice and the frosty air that keeps it that way approximately 10 feet away; I just thought of that now. Sigh.

So let's recap, I'm 'showing maturity' in my shopping excursions, I'm forgetting...way too much, and I now have to figure out how to manage being a 'hot' person when I've always been a 'cold' person.

So this is the part that worries me; maybe the doctor's right.

I'm Old and Fat. I hate it when that happens.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Yes, thank-you everyone for your kind words. Grandpa was one of a kind and we're glad that he's found some peace. We 'celebrated' his life on Tuesday instead of mourning his passing. We went to the Keg for a 'good steak dinner' --- one of Grandpa's favourites---and toasted to his many years with us. He joined many of this friends and his brother and sisters; so I'm sure that he was having a grand time himself.

This past weekend was a 'girl's weekend'; as in, my daughter and I had the house to ourselves...the only boy was our cat Kenny! (and he's been neutered!) This was Saturday night dinner that we enjoyed while watching High School Musical Two; a real Chick Night! My daughter had the juice box; the wine was MINE, ALL MINE!!! There was strawberries and whipped cream for dessert.

Yea, we missed the boys. :o)

I also got to work on something that I had planned to do a couple of years ago.

One of the best things about this one is that all the cotton contrast fabric came from my existing stash! There are some leftovers from other projects and some newbies that just caught my fancy and some that I bought either because I was mad at somebody or wanted something to cheer me up. Just so we're clear...a fat quarter is A LOT cheaper than a carton of cigarettes, a bottle of booze, a diamond get the idea.

One of OMG! elements of this project is that the main fabric is called Minky, (I picked it up at Evelyn's in Newmarket) it feels better than mink! I gotta say though, I don't know how those puppies reproduce, because there must be a lot of slippin' and slidin' goin' on. It was tricky to keep all the pieces in line to sew them together!

I think that this is a good, 'beginner, take your quilting to the next step' kind of quilt. It had all straight seams and you have to absolutely be o.k. with not getting your seams exactly 1/4", or your corners to match or all that other 'strive for perfection in quilting' stuff.

I've backed it with more Minky and tied it with embroidery floss, as traditional quilting would be almost a nightmare due to the slippery nature of the fabric. I'll post a picture of the finished treasure before (and maybe as) I give it to my niece for her 2nd birthday.

Luckily, this wasn't me this weekend:
(try clicking on it to make it larger; it might work...let me know)

I was on Cotton Picker's blog and checked in with some other blogs that she reads and "borrowed" this from one of the sites...been there, and sadly, I'm sure I'll be there again.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My Grandpa

I'm one of the lucky ones and so are my children. They got to have a Great Grandpa, or as we called his father before him, Grandpa II.

Grandpa was a farmer, a school bus driver that the kids called, 'Alfie', flew airplanes, built houses, loved a good fight (usually with the government!), enjoyed going out to 'kick some tires' at car lots on Sunday afternoons, and was always up to 'go for a coffee', but, "no second cup; no tip!"

My Grandpa was the kind of grandpa that wore knitted vests; one of my first knitting projects was a striped vest, knit side to side with Phildar yarn on size, oh, I don't know 3-3.5 mm? Like I said, it was one of my first projects and I had NO idea what I was getting into. I was in Nursing School and would study for 40-50 minutes and knit on Grandpa's vest for 10 for my break. When I was finished, one side (of course) was wider than the other, but I sewed up and gave it to him; I hope it kept him warm.

I remember, when I was little, we were swimming with him in Orillia and somehow I kicked him in the eye; I really don't remember the details, but I do remember the blood and how badly I felt. I remember him suffering with gout. My Grandpa survived breast cancer.

I remember how he would laugh at his own jokes; rarely did anyone else laugh. He had a real Haw, Haw, Haw laugh and when I was a teenager I decided that that wasn't very nice for him; so I would laugh at whatever he was laughing at no matter what (except when it was at me!). And when I took my first serious boyfriend up to 'meet my grandparents' he wondered if he had missed something, because Grandpa and I were the only ones laughing....and it really wasn't that funny. But Grandpa wasn't laughing alone.

And Grandpa loooooved the ladies....

This was the last time that I got to see Grandpa; before Christmas. He had had a fall while his dear friend J, who cared for him so well for so long, was away and he ended up in the hospital. He couldn't wait to go home. But at 93, the body can't do all that you want it to and his diabetes began taking a greater hold on him. He was tickled that this 'little girl' came to see him. He would get mixed up about where he was and who was around, but he was always one for visiting and enjoyed holding hands with my girl.

In 2004 I completed a lap quilt for Grandpa. Same kind of story as the vest, I had taken a course, learned a few of the basics and took on one of the more complicated squares to whip up something for My Grandpa. I worked at it very methodically and loved the colour combinations. Grandpa began getting a bit forgetful and dissatisfied with how things were going for himself and his family around this time; so I was glad to be able to give him something to let him know, everyday, that we were thinking of him and wanting him to be comfortable.

The quilt was backed with flannelet (I love doing that, it makes them so cozy!) and called Whirligig; it's one of the few quilts that I actually labeled! Grandpa and his old friend Herb, used to make Whirligigs; grandpa missed his friend and I remember how much he enjoyed spending time with him.

I thank J for getting the quilt back to me and glad that it brought comfort to both of them for the time they shared.

My Grandpa passed away this morning. Good-bye Grandpa.

And in the spring, there will be tulips.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Today? Today, I will blog!

So, here's the thing.

There aren't enough hours in a day.

No surprise there.

But here's something, I enjoy writing, and I miss it when I don't have time to do some; even for fun (which is all the writing I do). That was one of the reasons that I started blogging, to get some of my writing urges out there. And you can tell that I wanted to be writing lately, as the comments I've left on other blogs have been somewhat lengthy (see Yarn Harlot of yesterday) and my emails to my friends even lengthier. (lengthier?)

In high school, as graduation approached and I had NO idea what to do after Parkside District High School, I went to see the Guidance Counselor and did a little test to see what direction I should go. It was a questionnaire that, with anyone who had any common sense, could be swayed to give any result that you wanted it to. I did, however, try to 'let the answers come from within'.

And the profound results indicated that I should pursue a career of....

Writing about music, while sitting underneath a tree.

Yup, there's a promising future in that!

Now, to be fair, that was before knitting came into my life, and now, while I still enjoy music very much, the results would be more along the lines of 'writing about knitting, while sitting underneath a tree and listening to music on your MP3'. That would be the 2008 version; in 1981? I still used a record player and the cassette in the car was COOL!! (and cost extra)

So what else have I been up to?

I have the best Biscuit recipe. One of my knitters sent it me after seeing it on Oprah (the show or the site, I don't know). Here's a picture:

They taste better than they look! And see that paper? That's the recipe. Can I find the recipe? NO. Did I look through everything three times to find the recipe. YES!

So back I went to my emails (I'm not very good at deleting emails--takes too much time and I might need them again someday; case in point: see above!) Found the link and recipe again, printed it off, again. Twice. Filed it in my sweet recipe binder and my savoury recipe binder and saved a copy in My Favourites on my computer. Compulsive? Well maybe, but you otta try these; they are wonderful. The recipe is here.

Now, further to previous posts...

Yes, this is how bad I've got it. I buy Kleenex boxes just because they have yarn and knitting pictured on the box. Aren't they neat? I know, you're jealous.

On Tuesday I had an appointment in Cookstown, and in the past I have stopped at the fabulous Quilt Shop called Country Concessions, but not this time. (Here is where a virtual pat on the back is needed for being strong enough to resist the quilt shop.) And that pat on the back will be followed by a shaking of the head because, while I didn't add to my fabric stash this week; well...I stopped at Pick Up Sticks in Bradford and hooked up with some Dream in Colour for the adult Tulip sweater and the Jeanie shawl. I started the Tulip sweater...FYI it wasn't in the 2008 plan. Ooops.

After I got home from Connie's shop I had an incredible desire for coffee, or maybe tea? I went with tea and this is one of my favourite tea cups. Homesense! Love Homesense.

Here's the finale of my Christmas knitting! The pattern is from Knitty and they're called Babe.

Felted Skate Guards!! I read about them on the Yarn Harlot, my son saw the picture and exclaimed, "I want them!" Music to a mother's ears when the kid will bearly wear long sleeve shirts, because he's too hot, never mind a sweater!

Above you can see the before and after of felting. Below you can see the other pair that I made for my hockey playin' gal pal L.

The pattern calls for Noro Kureyon and is sized for an adult skate. I used the Kureyon for my son's and Cascade for my friends. They are definitely sized for an adult skate and could use some adjusting for that. The Cascade also felted WAY better. I wouldn't make the ties so long next time.

And yes, I have a pink hammer. Doesn't everybody?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It's What O'Clock???

Sorry, I've got a really neat post planned for...
Someday, but not today.
Today is over and I didn't get to sit and put all the things down that I want to share with you.
Maybe tomorrow.
I don't know; if time flies this fast at this age...
I just CAN'T imagine what it'll be like in 10-20.
Someone needs to figure out how to slow the clock down a bit!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Is Yarnorexia the answer?

O.K. It's no secret that I have a sizable stash.

The thud you just heard was the sound of my family and friends falling on the floor with laughter; so maybe I'll rephrase that.

I've got way too much yarn and fabric, more than I could ever hope to turn into anything lovely and/or functional even if I were to live for another 100 years. More than is remotely justifiable, reasonable, sensible or appropriate. I have been in yarn shops (always an enjoyable hour or three) where my stash had more to offer as far as quantity and selection...gotta say, I'm a little bit proud of that one....went. When I'm in a fabric store...the ideas that come to mind; well I can't help myself! 'Wouldn't that look great? Oh, I could just do this with that! Look at the SALE!!! Are those mushrooms? Oh, that's too funny; I'll have to get that!' And on, and on it goes.

Every now and then I try to pare down The Stash. Sometimes I actually make what I set out to make, or lately I've been donating some of it. But mostly....I move it from one spot to another; thereby giving the illusion of paring down. This might seem somewhat productive, but more often than not I succeed in finding some forgotten part of The Stash because I had moved it out of sight on a previous 'paring down episode' and then I get re-distracted by this everything old is new again love affair with The Stash.

And so it was this past weekend.

I made a plan, a Creative Plan 2008, to avoid the pre-Christmas crunch (one more time!) and provide genuine hand made, with love, presents to my family throughout the year. So I gathered the materials needed to complete my plan.

The plan is:

Two Quilted Wall hangings (maybe three)

Seven Quilts --- to be fair, most of them are lap size

Six Sweaters

And one afghan.

There was no shopping required, I have everything here.

I grouped 'The Plan' materials together; it only took two shelves. Sigh.

So, as I regrouped yarn ('s a little Forest Gump thing I got goin' here) I remembered reading about yarn diets. Yes, yarn diets, as in, don't buy anymore yarn and use up the yarn that you already have; thereby reducing The Stash. Sounds reasonable, sounds sensible, easily justifiable and dare I say, appropriate.

But we live in an enlightened society now. Anorexia is not the answer. We know 'dieting' does not work. If we 'crash diet' to loose weight, well, then we just get into a yo-yo cycle of weight gain don't we? (Look it up, it's a known fact.) Does purging work? NO, I say! We only stuff ourselves with more later and the body finds it's own special way of making sure that what it loves is stored safely and even harder to loose!

So let's say NO to dieting! Let's be sensible! Eat the food that loves you, that helps you, that gives you energy to knit and buy the yarn that you truly love; not just stuff that's there!

This yarn diet stuff is scary! I mean, go without buying yarn? I couldn't go to yarn shops? I couldn't order on line? I couldn't go to creative shows and yarn frolics? Because I couldn't, you know, I'm weak; I couldn't take it! Being surrounded by it all and not being able to take it home with me?! Oh, the inhumanity!!

Anorexia is not the answer; well, Yarnorexia isn't something I'm going to try either!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a couple of new knitting magazines and there's a couple of sweaters I want to make out of them; maybe that new yarn will be in at the shop....

Friday, January 4, 2008

Get ready, set, go!

I don't know that I really think about making resolutions; if I do, I don't just wait for January 1st. I do it all year long; whenever I get re-energized after being overwhelmed with whatever challenge I was faced with at that point in the year.
Let's see in's about tidying up after the holidays and keeping your sanity while kids are home from school.
February....there's Valentines (even if we want to get away from the hype; then there's school), our Anniversary (my husband works construction; so if I wanted him to show up at the wedding we had to have it during the winter) and my birthday....woohoo.
March....In like a lion and then.....March break!! This year we're planning a ski holiday for March (just to keep things interesting, you know)
April...Spring!!! (Oh yea, and one last snow fall; it's gotta happen before I believe spring is here) And I don't want to waste time inside when there is so many wonderful things happening outside!
May...Can you say Birthdays? Everybody and their brother has a birthday in May!
June...Recital, recital, recital and what's the other thing? Oh yea, exam and recital! And then there's all the end of school shinnanigans (another fun word!)
July...Hubby's birthday and the kids are bored already (actually, I rarely give them a chance to get bored, but that means I'm running around....keeping them busy!)
August....See July, except insert daughter's birthday.
September....Back to School!! Back to dance, back to hockey, you want to do what? How much for this? How much for that? You need that when?
October....Boo!! Oh and yes, let's squeeze Thanksgiving in there too. Christmas Carols begin playing in the mall.
November...Son's birthday. Christmas, Christmas, Christmas
December....More Christmas, Christmas.
So that's the year not in review, but in anticipation! Is there time to make resolutions? I didn't really see that 're-energize' time I eluded to either.
This year it's gonna be different!
Stop laughing; I can so hear you!
O.K. so here it is winter in Ontario; the snow came early and stayed! We've had some frigid temperatures and some wild snow storms; here's how we handle snow at Creativehands Central:

That's my husband in the new tractor/snow plow; yup, 'go big or go home' that's how we fly around here!
Anyway, that's what we've had to use over the past few weeks just to get out and about, but this week?
Ready, set, go; we're gonna need an umbrella!
I can't keep up.