Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Rockin' Rooster

I almost didn't post today. I had a major cleaning done on my teeth and my mouth is sore. Turns out I need a crown done on a tooth that had root canal, and I'm to see the hygienist every 4 months instead of every six. I console myself by the thought of having dentures, which would be worse than any cleaning imaginable.  So there's that.
I received my Simplicity pattern, as well as some fabric. I will be making a dress as well as a tunic. I have some other sewing projects to finish up, so things are moving along.

I've been working on a pair of Monkey socks too. This is probably the oldest sock yarn I have in my stash, and there's a bit of history on it.  One of the times I went to Stitches Midwest there was an entire wall of Socks That Rock in The Fold's booth.  Before I could reach for the skein I wanted (Rooster Rock) this woman grabbed it. I was pretty narked, until I saw that she put it down and walked over to another display. I immediately picked it up and had it in the crook of my arm so no one could see, and then I noticed her looking around for it.  The moral: don't mess with me at a yarn show. Nice colour, huh?

We are having some really cool weather, and of course the inherent bitching by people that summer is over. It is not, there will be warm days ahead. I just can't face people on the news complaning if it isn't over 100 F.  If that's what they like, why spend 10 months out of the year complaining? Just move to a warmer climate and put up with hurricanes and monsoons.  There. That's MY rant!

I came across another retailer in the UK that sells linen tunics. Some nice stuff and decent prices. I am happy to say that I don't need to buy a thing for fall and winter, much less the summer after.  I won't have to think about clothes or shoes for quite a while. Except when I do.

This week is Miss Mew's birthday, and I need to do some yard work. We have ordered new windows for the house at great expense, but needed to be done. 
I took this picture of my beloved Valentino when I looked up and saw him staring at me from his perch on the windowsill. Napping all day sure does tire a guy out.

Fleecin' til next time.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Dedicated Follower of Fashion

I am not. But I like the song by the Kinks.

It is a Tuesday, a hot muggy one. We are in the middle of a string of humid and hot days, and I, for one, am pretty much done with it.  But let's get onto my subject of clothes and why I think they can be important.

You know when you're younger, you're trying to find your style. Bear in mind that I grew up in the David Bowie and Blondie years, and yes, I did have platinum hair for a time. And glitter eye shadow (heck, I still have glitter eye shadow....). Disco, punk, shoulder pads- it was kind of crazy.

One thing I did notice was that flashy wasn't my thing. My clothes were somewhat conservative, but I would add a crazy brooch or maybe some fun shoes (gave up heels and platforms early). I worked in an office and we dressed for work. Skirts and blouses, dress pants, that kind of thing. Never revealing, that isn't me.

One advantage to the aging process is that you care much less about what others think, and tend to find yourself. It's not about attracting others, but more feeling comfortable in your own world.  You know what you like, but more important- you also know what you DON'T like.

I tend to think about clothes maybe twice a year. Autumn and Spring.  I am happy to notice that there are more options for the more well-seasoned individual (over 18).  All those magazines and things are geared for the young. I am totally fine with that.  They're not geared to my age group, and besides we're past all of that.

Lately I am sort of pleased to see the leggings/tunic combo coming back. Sort of- because what I notice is that alot of women don't seem to understand that leggings are an undergarment meant to have the derriere COVERED by a longer skirt or tunic.  No one really wants to see your lumps and bumps (cottage-cheese ass) or panty lines.  Unless you're my daughter, but even she doesn't. Skinny jeans, same thing- they don't flatter. Unless you're 12.

My friend introduced me to Gudrun. Gudrun Sjoden is from Sweden, and her clothes can be worn by pretty much anyone. I love the colours and sense of artiness. If I had money I would buy all my clothes from her. But I do have a few genuine Gudruns:
I bought this a few seasons ago and haven't worn it- it the "Jane" dress, after Jane Morris, wife of William.  I am looking for some purple leggings and I am wearing it. Red isn't usually my colour, but this was meant to be mine.  I also have a blue tunic that I have worn quite a bit, and have blue striped witchy-poo leggings that go with it.

This past summer, in Oakville, my clever friend also came across a shop that sells European linen, and we fell hard- especially for the linen dresses and tunics. 
I have a frigging closet full. When they went on sale at 50% off, I lost it.

So other than that, I refuse to give up my denim skirts, Henley waffle tops, and even my overalls (dungarees) which currently don't fit me. Boyfriend jeans are a staple.   I have a couple of L.L. Bean Barn coats, some classic wellies and penny-loafers. And don't forget the Birks- I live in them.  But if it isn't comfortable, it won't make it.
Classic, casual and comfortable.  If the retailers think that us over 30's (40's, 50's...) don't make up a huge percentage of the clothes-buying public- they're way off. And judging by the dearth of good clothes out there that don't cost the earth, somebody is sure missing the boat.

I was interested to find out that there is a name for it- "Lagenlook" which in German means "layered look".  Look here, and here 

Are you on Instagram?  I just joined, more to post cat pictures for myself (like I need more of those..). But you will notice some trends, and lately, this has been making the rounds:
It's called "Granny Chic"- and I love how one witty lady said: "but what will it look like on an actual granny?".  Simplicity isn't readily available here, but thanks to the interwebs, it's on it's way here as I type.  A visit to the fabric shop, my new serger and I now have the wherewithall.

I picked these up on a recent trip to Stratford. They're by a company called "Quail"- and I would kill for the Toggenburg goat creamer.
In Clawdie-Bobo news, he has doubled in size. He likes to lay in my lap while I type, so is a bit of a Klingon.  It's ok, I loves him.

Fleecin' out until next time.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Country Mouse, City Mouse

The 10 on Tuesday prompt last week was 10 things you like about the city/country.  I can't come up with 10 so how about 5 of each and that takes care of the coming Tuesday as well.

City mouse:
1. The iconic Toronto Streetcar.  The TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) includes the subway, buses, as well as the streetcars.  I am old enough to remember the classic ones, which can sometimes still be seen in out-of-the-way places.
They were so cool.
This is what you will see now.  However, they are being phased out for these:
Aren't they ugly?  They have lots of problems too. Newer isn't always better.

2. Toronto has distinct districts- the Annex, Swansea, the Junction, Leaside, the Beach, Leslieville, Queen West, Liberty Village, Parkdale.... the list goes on. I am more familiar with the west end, I grew up in areas around High Park.  There are some cool neighborhoods- like Church-Wellesley and Kensington Market. 

3. Ethnic diversity is a hallmark of Toronto.  Any kind of food you can possibly imagine is available here, and you'll get good and cheap, as well as high end and pricey.

4. Shopping.  Toronto has alot of malls, as well as shopping districts.

5. I haven't mentioned the city of Mississauga, although that is the city I live in.  Toronto will always be my home, but like most people I can neither afford to live there, nor do I really want to.  Things have really changed, and there are so many condos going up, you almost can't recognize it anymore.

Country Mouse

1. We lived in a rural village for a brief time.  You can see the stars at night because there is no light pollution. (yes, that is a thing).

2. I made some good friends, and am still in touch with one, though she no longer lives in the area.

3. It snows alot, and I love snow.

4. Lots of animals you don't really see in the burbs.  Though foxes and rabbits are here now.

5. Fresh air and less noise and traffic.

There are pros and cons to both, so we compromised and live in a suburban area.  I can pretty much get to what I need and I am near the waterfront, so it's all good.

On the knitting front, I have made a few gifts:
This bunny is for a friend- guess I've blown the surprise if she's reading this.
Little Cotton Rabbits (see sidebar) came out with a kitty pattern, and a certain Miss Mew is having a birthday at the end of the month.  This design is wonderful, but getting the muzzle right is a bit tricky.
I have finished this squirrel cross stitch finally. It is the companion to the rabbit one:
I will have them both framed when I get a sugar daddy.
Me and the little guy. We are having so much fun with Clawed. Why can't they be this age forever?

Fleece out.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Things You Can Do With Blueberries

Mmmmm. Blueberries. Ontario has wild blueberries, which are much different from the cultivated ones.

1. In yogurt.
2. I mix them with raspberries and blackberries and eat them in a bowl.
3. Jam- never made it, but some people love it.
4. Pancakes.
5. Add them to quickbreads.
6. My favorite way is muffins. THIS recipe is close to the one I use, which calls for mashing some of them into the batter. The secret is the sugar/nutmeg (fresh ground) topping which is heaven.

That's all I've got. The heat must be getting to me.
I'm so excited. This lady was featured on the series "The Dales", and when we first met her she had 5 children (I think). She is now the mother of 7, living on a remote farm and she and her husband breed champion Swaledale sheep. This book is brand new, and I can't wait to read about her life in Yorkshire.

The Tour de Fleece has finished. That's my Frankenstein Polwarth all wash and ready to go. While I didn't spin alot in terms of volume, I did have fun with the Fat Cat group on Ravelry, who are so creative and inspirational.  There's always next year, n'cest pas?
Tino seemed happy with the spinning as well.
On Sunday, we went to Stratford, Ontario. Yes there is a river, and yes there is theater. We were there for some shopping and ice cream.
There's this soft-serve place that you can get your cone dipped in flavours- I had vanilla dipped in Cotton Candy, FC had Cherry, and Miss Mew had chocolate dipped in Peanut butter. Yum!
Clawed is growing exponentially, and has fallen in the bathtub, with me in it.  He is fascinated with my I-pod, and I am teaching him the finer point of Euchre 3D.
All those rules have tired him out.

Stay cool, and  fleece out.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Favorite Ice Cream Flavours

Ice cream- mmmmmmmmm!

1. Baskin-Robbins Daquiri Ice.

2. Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey.

3. Ben & Jerry's Bovinity Divinity- little chocolate cows in it.

4. Honeydew Melon- there was an old General store that used to have it.

5. Dairy Queen soft serve.

6. In England they have soft serve and you can get a big stick of chocolate called a "Flake" in it. Best thing ever, and I have no idea why we don't have it here.

7. Any Bordeaux cherry that has massive cherries in it.

8. Rolo Ice Cream- has mini Rolos in it.

9. Baskin-Robbins Lemon Mousse Royale- very creamy.

10. A really good vanilla with vanilla bean flecks in it- like Haagen Daaz. (Hoggen Doggin)

 I have been motoring along for Tour De Fleece, and have spun several bobbins. I did a crummy 3 ply, and this picture is Polwarth in the "Frankenstein" colour.  So far, so good.

I have frogged a sock several times and have finally settled on a pattern that I can live with. It's been really humid here for the past couple of days, which contributes to my grumpiness.  Okay, I promised myself I wouldn't complain- it just slipped out......
I don't collect Lego, despite having a ton of it in the basement, but I thought this Crazy Cat Lady from the movie was so apropo.

I picked up this cabinet for my dining room- I needed something small to put in there- now to hunt down a small lamp. It was originally used to put a bowl and pitcher, as well as a towel on the rack, in a bedroom.  FC put new knobs on it- I like it.

Tino likes to nap on the windowsill in the sun.....
....while Clawed thinks that he gets fed every time I go in the kitchen. That is Howard's tail behind him.

It's a banner week because Dr. Phil has all new episodes on-

Fleece out.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Ten On Tuesday-10 Favorite Things to Do On a Summer Staycation

Is it Tuesday already?

1. Enjoy time in the backyard. FC refurbished the pond and now we have a nice spot with a Muskoka chair, and it's just like having my own dock on a lake.
2. Since it's Tour de Fleece, I am spinning and challenging myself with personal spinning goals. I have spun 4 oz every day since Saturday.

3. Go window shopping, Bloor Street West or downtown Oakville is good.

4. Day trips- Stratford, St. Jacobs or Niagara area.

5. Watch a whole series- past years have been Seinfeld, The Two Ronnies, Open All Hours- this year is Breaking Bad.  I may watch Sons of Anarchy again, but the ending really upset me.

6. Plan my knitting project strategy.

7. Read some new books. This has been a problem because there is less than nothing in the bookstores, and I can't stand "Summer Reading" schmaltz.  I just ordered a whackload of books from Awesome.

8. Clean up the basement- an ongoing thing.

9. Do some sewing.

10. Just relax and listen to the birds.

This is pretty much what is happening.  Summer isn't always my favorite time, but this year hasn't been too bad in terms of heat and humidity.  I can only hope it continues.

Clawed is growing so fast.  He likes to play with the big guys, but not always on their terms.  Pretty soon it will be a level playing field.

Tino and Howard aren't sure how a third guy is going to fit on the windowsill.
Fleecin' and fishin' out.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Things You Love About Your Home

Let's see if I can get to 10:

1. It is a mid-century backsplit in a nice neighborhood.

2. It has a front porch.

3. It has an eat-in kitchen.

4. I have a nice patio and backyard, with a water feature (being overhauled at the moment...).

5. It has more than doubled in value since we purchased it. (More to do with the insane housing market).

6. I have a separate living room and TV room.

7. I have 4 bedrooms, one of which is used as an office.

8. There are mature trees in the area.

9. I have a separate dining room with French doors.

10. Lots of windows and set back from the street.

This is the back bedroom that FC painted, (Miss Mew's room). My sister gave me the medical table and I made the quilt. I bought the head and footboard from someone on Kijiji.  I like the pared-down look now, no clutter.  I wish I could tell you the rest of the house is like this. Le sigh.
I have finished FC's Holidazed socks.  I used BMFA Socks that Rock Medium weight in Muddy Autumn Rainbow. Nice pattern.
Sorry for the cut-off picture of Clawedikins, but the guy will not stay still.
This is so sad. I bought Clawed a cuddler, but Howard likes it.  Tino decided to get in, and Howard wanted in too. So something that is too small for one, is bursting with 2 in it.  It's not like a Tardis, it isn't bigger on the inside.

Happy Canada Day tomorrow, and Happy 4th of July on Saturday. Which is also the start of Tour de Fleece.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ten On Tuesday-10 Favorite TV Fathers

You know, I have thought about this and I really can't think of 10. Here are a few:
1. The Courtship of Eddie's father, with Bill Bixby. I thought, back in the day, he was just terrific.

2. Herman Munster- loved that guy.

3. Ward Cleaver- though he always scared me when Beaver had to go into his den. Because you just knew the kid was going to get it.

4. Dick Van Dyke- though you didn't see much of Richie.

5. Robert  Reed as Mike Brady. Dig that cool hairdo.

And yes, I did grow up in the '60's and '70's. Any of the recent tv fathers are pretty dumb, especially that Alan Harper- the only reason I would watch Two and A Half Men is for the kid, who is funny. And I left out Bill Cosby- though I did like Fat Albert.  I have to tell you, my own father was NOTHING like any of these guys. He was more the Archie Bunker type.

The big news this week is that the kitten is here. Clawed is the sweetest baby ever, and Tino has been a rock star, playing with him and showing no jealousy. Howard will take a bit more time, because he's hissing a bit, but the good news is that the big guys are getting more wet food because whatever is in the Royal Canin kitten is irresistable.  I'm going to have to find a more economical option because this little fella goes through almost a whole can in a day- plus kibbles. I have nicknamed him "Bobo".

I have also finished the kitchen curtains- really brightens up the room.  I don't know what this obsession with poultry is.

I have a sock finished for FC- and will finish the next one.

I am done plying the Honeybee BFL.

Other than that, the weather has been pretty good, no complaints there.

Fleece out- and purrs from Howard, Tino and Clawed.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Summer Projects List

I don't care for that term "Bucket" list- which suggests to me, "STUFF I WANT TO DO BEFORE I DIE"- kind of morbid, and while I certainly don't plan of leaving this earthly plain anytime too soon, we all know that when you're number is up, what can you really do about it?

So, I prefer "My life enhancing list" or maybe "List of things that will bring joy" - I think it's just a nicer way of putting it.

1. Sew and put up new kitchen curtains. I got some really beautiful heavy cotton with Roosters on it, with a gold background. I also plan to add some black gingham somehow, because my house is kind of country- but with-it. I don't like kitsch, but I do adore anything with farm animals, but it needs to be done in a tasteful way.  I think the gold will add warmth and the rooster colours are happy.

2. Spin for Tour-de-Fleece. I'm all good to go, and hope to have some great handspun yarns for making gifts.

3. Plant a small Gnome garden. Maybe a fairy garden. Something with sparkly lights.

4. Dye some fibre and sock yarn.
5. Knit on my Whitby Gansey. The yarn is here.

6. Do some day-trips. Maybe just go walk along Lake Ontario.

7. A new exhibit at the ROM, Pompeii, the Shadow of the Volcano.  Looks totally cool and interesting.

8. Enjoy sitting on the patio, which I don't think I did once last year.

9. Finish an autumn-themed cross stitch and have it framed.

10. Hate to rush the seasons, but if it gets hot, I'll sure be looking forward to cooler weather.

So that's about it.  I have no vacation plans or anything.  The house tends to eat up time (and money) but I really feel it's our biggest investment, and needs to be maintained and/or improved.  I really love decorating and stuff like that.

How about you guys- any plans and hopes for Summer 2015?

This years peonies- before the sonny-o ran over them with the lawnmower.