Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Things You Wish You Could Learn Instantly

I don't know that I can think of 10- let's see:

1. Play piano.

2. Speak German, or maybe Italian.

3. Paint beautifully.

4. Dog grooming (I think I would like doing that).

5. Play the Stock Market.

That's all I can really think of right now.

We've been having a spell of humid weather, which is obscene in September.  Today it's supposed to cool off, and become more autumn-like. One can only hope.

A few happenings.  Last week when I was in Niagara Falls NY, I entered a raffle in the Kipling store, and I won a free backpack, pencil case and small pouch. They all have these cool monkeys hanging off them.
Cool huh?  Of course, we had to drive down and get it, but it wasn't too bad. There's practically no one at the border anyway.

Also, on Thursday and Friday we are having new windows installed. The front picture window and French doors were new 5 years ago, so now the rest of the house will have new ones except for the front and side doors.  I will be downstairs with the 3 cats. Tino knows how to bunt the door open with his head.
You know it's Fall when things start to look a little squirrelly.  A wonderful gift from a wonderful friend. I did tell you that I am a tea towel maniac?  The shop has everything you could ever want. And more.
The boys will be thrilled with the new windows.  All that open air for birding and squirrelling.  Of course, Clawed will be out of commission as of tomorrow for a few days.

Fleecin' til next week.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Things You Love To Do With Your Best Friend

I am loving this cooler weather this week. As far as I'm concerned, it can't get cold enough.

1. Laugh until we cry.

2. Go shopping.

3. Have a tea/coffee.

4. Knit

5. Watch a movie.

6. Go on a road trip.

7. Yap on the phone (though I'm not a yapper per se)

8. Gossip.

9. Go for a long walk.

10. Admire and learn from each other.

Sounds kind of sucky, doesn't it. I have a best friend, but I also count DH as one, as well as my daughter (though I do wear the mother hat on occasion). I have online friends whom I hear from on a daily basis, so maybe best friend doesn't mean what it used to mean.

Around here, the Ash trees came down yesterday. The backyard looks denuded, but the dead trees were sort of freaking me out at night.  At the end of next week our new windows are being installed, so it's all go around here.

I spent the weekend in New York State. The Fingerlakes Fiber Festival:
I have some observations about certain things south of the border.

1. The Walmart carries things that we don't have here.  Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts, Underwood Devilled Chicken and Duncan Hines Caramel Apple Cupcake kits.
2. No-one really drinks tea, and if they do, they drop a bag in hot water, and put cream in it.  They also have "sweet tea" which I assume is iced tea here, and we're talking New York State.
3. They still have pennies, and they won't take our Canadian ones.
4. The service in restaurants and stores is really good, and they are friendly.
5. I noticed a high number of people driving and talking on cell phones, so I'm not sure about the laws. You do still see that here, but I always give them the evils.

I did bring back some amazing yarn. This is from Jill Draper Makes Stuff.  It is Autumn in a skein, and I couldn't resist. For those of you who may think that that's all I got, there's this:
Isn't that the truth?

Clawed is scheduled for his procedure next week.  I am hoping that it will chill him out a bit, but alot of the time that doesn't happen.

Fleecin' out.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Things You Are Looking Forward to Eating Now That Fall is Almost Here

Food.  That's one of the things my life revolves around. Planning, shopping, cooking  and eating.  Onto the ten:

1. Squash- Butternut and Acorn are my favorites. I am going to make some stuffed ones with rice, because I adore squash.

2. Pumpkin pie- nice and spicy.

3. Pumpkin lattes- well, you sort of have to, but half sweet.

4. Pumpkin Pie bread- I wouldn't use as much oil- you can use applesauce for some of it. Top it with pumpkin seeds.

5. Roasts- beef, pork, chicken. I like putting a roast in on Sunday and having a nice dinner with gravy.

6. Caramel apples- hard to find but I love them.

7. Slow cooker stuff. Chicken curry, Sweet and Sour chicken- those ones you put in early in the day.

8. Soups- Broccoli, Cauliflower, Chicken- mmmmm.

9. Nice crusty bread- best if homemade.  I should do that.

10. Turkey. I actually love it. The dark meat.

In knitting news, I began a cardigan with some Peace Fleece.  I was beyond bored, and didn't like the pattern, so I frogged it. I was mooching around for something to work on, so I settled on some socks for the Christmas box. 
I dyed some BFL/Nylon a few months ago.  I am getting back to spinning here and there.
I also finished my Dottie Angel frock. There were some changes I made to the pattern as I said before, but this is a simple dress that can be worn as a tunic over leggings.  With a long sleeve top it can be worn in cooler weather too. All in all, I'm pretty happy with it.
I went cat shopping and came across these Yeowww Stinkies.  They are available at Pet Valu and I will get some more for the kitty Christmas stockings.
It will be Clawed's first Christmas. He likes to sit in my lap while I am on the desktop.

Fleece out, and abundant pumpkins to all.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Things You Did This Weekend

As the weather was unbearably hot this past Labour day weekend, I didn't do much outside.

1. I started a Sheep Heid tam for a gift.

2. Went grocery shopping.

3. Did alot of laundry.

4. Watched some movies.

5. Did more laundry. For Sonny-O.

Clearly, I'm not going to torture anyone else with 5 more mundane items.  It did occur to me that for the 3 people that live here, there seems to be alot of washing, but maybe that's because I'm the one that does it?

It is back to school day for the kids, and it really doesn't have that nice feel of autumn coming.  It used to be so cool to see your friends and find out what they did all summer. Maybe you had a new outfit or shoes- I used to look forward to it.  I always did better with a routine.

Is anyone planning to visit any knitting and/or fiber events this year?  Last year we went to Vermont Sheep and Wool, and in past years I have attended the Fingerlakes one, which is awesome. We do have a few local events, the larger ones being KW Knitters Fair and Woodstock Fleece Festival.  I really prefer the ones in the US.  Next year, I may see what's happening in Massachusetts or Maine.  Maybe New Hampshire. Since I have been to the Dutchess County aka Rhinebeck festival, I can say that I much prefer the smaller events.

So, while I wait for cooler weather, I will make some plans for what I want to do this year to get out and enjoy it.  Daily walks (a dog sure would come in handy...) and some yard work.  New windows will be installed in late October, and of course, Thanksgiving. And my favorite, Halloween. Maybe I will make bat cookies this year.
I did finish my Monkey socks.
And Howard is wanting to know when the cooler weather will be here.

Fleece out until next time.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Seemingly Ordinary Things That Bring You Joy

Woot! It's September 1st.  Even though the weather is going to be hot and humid for the forseeable, it's still September.  And on that note:

1. The sunset is earlier and I love the dark.

2. Wind blowing- I love a windy day.

3. Purring cats. You get alot of that around here.

4. Trees- they make me happy for some odd reason.

5. Having my tea in a beautiful cup- pottery or Emma Bridgewater.  This is today's cup.

6. Knitting. Duh.

7. Stitching- lining up the stitches perfectly and being creative.

8. The smell of burning wood, I adore it.

9. Having a clean car- probably should do that.

10. Ironing piles of fresh laundry- not that actual ironing, but the clean clothes smell.

So, I finished my Dottie Angel Frock. It's the tunic style, and I used some Rabbit and Moon cotton.  There are a few things that I will do differently the next time. Let me say here that I am NOT a seasoned sewer in terms of clothing, but the instructions were odd. 

Cut the pocket bands and the ties with a rotary cutter. Make the ties wider, 2 1/2 " instead of 1 1/2.

Sew the side seams before dealing with the armholes. The pattern tells you to taper the arm, and then do a French seam up the side, which makes for some weirdness in the armhole seam.  Of course, if you have a serger or overlocker, use that and be done with it. 

AND... if you are longer in the torso (and your rear is built closer to the ground) adjust the gathers below the bustline.  Also, I sewed the bias binding from the inside, because even with basting, no way no how would I have been able to see anything on the right side.  I also may cut a higher neckline too.

This week I am off with my buddy to drop off some fleeces for processing, and then doing alot of relaxing.  I really want to get back to walking and getting outside, but not in the humidity.
Howard doesn't understand why he can't have the window open. Soon, Howie, soon.

Fleece out.

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.