Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Happiness Project

What makes me happy right now? The fact that 2010 is coming to a close. I hope the door does kick you in the ass on the way out- and 2011 will be much better in terms of everything.

I came across this book The Happiness Project, and it has started me thinking about how much we determine our own happiness- because it means different things to different people. But exactly what can we do, what is actually within our power to make every day count?

1. Challenge yourself- is there something you always wanted to do? Maybe a place you want to visit, or a skill you want to learn? I'm not suggesting you break the bank- spend more time in the park watching children play? Learn how to make pastry-

2. Shop less. Maybe, for the next month or so- buy only the essentials. Determine what you need as opposed to want. Happiness cannot be bought at the mall.

3. Spend time with those that make you feel good. Never out of guilt or obligation-

4. Limit your exposure to negative news or television- while I do want to keep current on what is going on in the world, alot of it affects me badly, and then I feel like crap.

5. Stop worrying so much- most of it never happens anyway.
(Laura took this pic of FC at Christmas dinner, and we almost peed our pants laughing at it)
6. Laugh more- try and see the humorous side to a situation, or stop taking yourself so seriously.

7. Empathy- try and look at things from the other person's point of view. Human beings are much more sensitive than we realize, sometimes.

8. Be creative- write a novel, try watercolors- visit a gallery- there are a million things to try out- everyone has it in them.

9. Do something nice for someone- even in a small way. Wish the telemarketer a nice evening-the one who calls precisely as you're sitting down to dinner. Can you imagine having that job?

10. Accept- that has been a difficult one for me- to accept things as they are, and people for what they are. You can't change everything, and if a situation is untenable for you, move on and forget about it.

Okay, let's get to the good stuff- number one on the list has been something I've been resisting for a long time, and now a small dream has come true:
A Schacht Ladybug spinning wheel- this is a major learning curve for me. When everyone goes back to work/school, we are going to be spending some serious time together. I am thrilled.
And my last words for this most challenging of years is be nice to yourself- because you deserve it. See you next year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ferme la Buche de Noel

Have you noticed the calendar date? Yes, it's the 21st of December. Usually around this time I have a strong urge to lie down in bed and not get up until the 27th. For some odd reason, I'm not in a complete panic, or even mildly upset. This is very unusual.

I pretty well have everything in hand, presents are wrapped, tree is up, and I've made a start on giving the kitchen a good clean- inside the cupboards and stuff. I have to scrub the bathrooms (never did get around to getting new tiles for the tub surround), wash floors and do the dusting. The turkey needs to be thawed, and I'll make the stuffing and the rest on Thursday. Oh! And I had my tooth fixed- thanks to nitrous!

My niece gave me this big, honking nutcracker guy who is a baker. Laura and I are attempting a Buche de Noel this year.

My favorite decoration, that Pottery Barn reindeer, and I always wish I had 2, but then I remember I got this one on sale- and am too cheap to pay full price.
Another Reindeer- this one is a candle from Bath and Body Works last year.

Randy, Rhonda and Ramona- I never did get Rodney- so this is the single parent Reindeer family. FC got these at Burger King eons ago.

As for knitting, I made some socks for FC, even though I said I wouldn't. I say that every year.

I had some leftover Alpaca, that just happened to be mouse colored, and made Mr. Man a Turbo Mouse. This will go in his stocking along with some Party Mix, even though his name is on the top of the naughty list.
Mr. Kitten Chow cannot be reached for comment, at this time.

Brigitte is not allowed to say anything, because she predicted that I would get into spinning. Well, I have been a reader of Spin Off for years, and lately have become totally obsessed by all the wonderful handspun yarns that seem to be everywhere. I haven't got a wheel yet- but have been bitten by the "bug"- a Schacht Ladybug. FC says I can have it- and I'm afraid he'll change his mind, so we'll see what Santa brings.

I probably won't post until after the holidays. I want to wish you all, my truly amazing blogbuddies who have become dear friends, the very best for health and happiness in the New Year. I have a feeling 2011 will be a banner year, and may all your yarn dreams come true.
(I'm not happy........................................................................)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Is it 2011 yet?

My blogbuddy Carrie, in her infinite wisdom, has declared a New Year early, and I think it's a brilliant idea. We'll just add December into 2011, because, well, 2010 was crap, and why not?

Last month, FC had a birthday, but we're a little concerned about him:

Personally, I think FC is much better looking than the Beiber, but all the same, someone needs a haircut.

I somehow developed bronchitis, lost half of a molar, but managed to finish some things (back of hand to forehead):
My Peace Fleece sweater, because purple is the new black.
I finished my Winter Wonderland cross stitch- I love the Canada Geese.
Started a new Fair Isle, but it needed purple.

Made Christmas cakes...............

...and put up some decorations.

It is now officially time to watch all the Christmas movies and specials- which is one of the best things about this season. A cup of tea, a warm mince tart and "A Christmas Story"- it makes me happy.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

(Lack of) Progress Report

This year, what is left of it, hasn't been a good one in terms of health and prosperity- I don't know of anyone in my social sphere (such as it is) that has had much positive karma, but 2010 isn't over, and things could still change. If I don't get my act together before **whispers** Christmas comes, I'll be up a certain creek without the proverbial paddle.

Along with that, my knitting mojo and attention span has been really lacking. I'm also having trouble getting much done- I'm lucky if I can manage to put dinner on the table most days. I've been doing my 3rd (this year) Peace Fleece top down raglan- I gave one to Laura.Brigitte gave me this Peace Fleece, in this amazing burgundy. I like Bridge, she always says exactly what's on her mind, and she's a very talented knitter. She's got it all.

I also put together some Spindrift for a new Fair Isle- which will tell the tale of the mermaid in colours- the chart is done, and I need to decide on the shape and pattern. This won't happen until next year, because I refuse to put pressure on myself. It's a buzzkill. I also wrote the pattern for Minstrel, and would like to do that first- but at least I have a plan.

I'm also working on a winter themed cross stitch-I really like the hand dyed floss.

Other than that, my beloved Kitten Chow has been making sure the quilt fabric doesn't get cold. He's such a help.

I'm going to listen to my Charlie Brown Christmas music- it's early, but what the heck.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Bit of Fun............

Let's have a few laughs, seeing as Halloween is coming. Consider yourself tagged for this meme :10 Things that I am Afraid of.

1. Our crawlspace- which is huge. I once had to get on the "creepy crawler" to retrieve some fish medicine - but other than that, no way, no how will I go in there. (eta; Alex keeps all his fish supplies in a cabinet in there, as well as the server.)

2. Dress forms- like mannequins- and I tried to conquer my fear by getting Fred and Ginger, as well as visiting a place that sells used ones. The owner told me they had a flood in the basement, and there were arms and legs floating around in the dark---whooo!

3. The organ music from "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken"- a camp movie, but it always freaked me out. (..and they used Bon Ami)

4. The way the Victrola starts playing by itself- Laura has a Victrola. It freaks me out.

5. Remember back in the old days when the television stations would sign off?- I would shut the tv off and cheese it up the stairs before the national anthem- and the screen would go black.

6. Black Christmas- and here's the house.

7. Pin- A Plastic Nightmare- again, the mannequin theme.

8. Remember that strange noise the phone used to make when you left it off the hook? I don't like that. Now it just beeps.

9. This Episode of "The Twilight Zone"- "The After Hours"-

10. Joan Crawford- who was a lovely woman in her day, but what was up with those eyebrows?

Happy Halloween.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cool World

Hi again. This past weekend has been full of happenings. Not necessarily exciting happenings, but that's life, isn't it?

I'll start with something that I think is pretty cool- and that is my Scare Isle Tam pattern was published in Knitty:
If you are thinking of attempting a Fair Isle Tam- this is a bit of fun, and some beginners on Ravelry have completed theirs already- so it's not hard, and you'll get a laugh out of it.

We just had Thanksgiving, no Turducken but a nice 20lb turkey, with stuffing and pumpkin pie, the whole works. It was fun. On the 11th, FC and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary. I just read that last line, and it scared the crap out of me!I baked alot last week, and made Pumpkin Pie Bread, which smelled amazing.

I've been stalking this at Costco- and it was half price. All the Beatles on CD- how cool is that?

I spent the morning cutting out the squares for the Basket Quilt- and I've used up alot of my fabric stash, but somehow I still have lots leftover. Le sigh.

I went for a day trip up to Camilla Valley with my buddy, and brought home a rather large bag of Spindrift for another design, but I'm not entirely happy with it yet- so it will wait until inspiration strikes, and in the meantime, I am knitting another Peace Fleece sweater, and finalizing the pattern for another Fair Isle. So while it appears I'm not productive, in truth, it's all happening in my head.

My sister and I are also going for a 3+ hour walk in High Park once a week- I am determined not to miss fall this year- and the park is just glorious. TTFN!

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Bit of a Case of Baskets.....

I was really hoping, what with some cooler weather here, that my interest in some projects would re-kindle, and instead, rather the opposite is happening. Isn't it weird how we sometimes have the mojo, and at other times...well, bupkiss.

I purchased some wonderful Virtual Yarns re-issue of Bainen (Baw-neen), the ultimate yarn to show off cable definition. My intended project was Malin, which I knit a few years ago, and really liked, and I started it, and promptly put it aside. (How do you spell Meh?)

I turned my attention to finishing up a few things that have been on the list- and sewed some quilt blocks out of some fat quarters in my stash. Those basket handles are bias strips and were sewn on by hand. I now need to cut some squares, and triangles and sew together the top, and add a border. The idea here is to use up stuff that I already have.
Since I ditched my desktop computer (I share with FC now) I have a place for the sewing machine, so I'm quilting this throw that I've had sitting around.
Oh, and I finished this cute sampler from Little House Needleworks- I am really having fun doing cross-stitch.

I've been looking at this page from the September Group of Seven calendar, and sat down with my software and worked up a Fair Isle design using these shades. Hope to see that someday- after Minstrel.

So, if you're out and about, and see my knitting mojo floating around in the ether, send it home, will ya? I'd be most grateful.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Peaches and Pussycats

We are into September- and some much needed cooler weather. The end of summer is a good time at Chez Sheriff- not least because Miss Mew had a milestone birthday. She wore her new pussyfur dress, and we had a lovely dinner downtown. I think Alex is smiling, but I'm not sure. I am so proud of my babies.
She has a new guy in her life as well, who laughs as much as she does- if that is possible. Her dad and I got her 2 collector Barbie's, Betty Draper and Joan Holloway from Mad Men. I guess you're never too old for Barbie's.

Here's a close up of my completed Ishbel shawl. I used Hedgehog Fibres merino/silk in Malice- which is incredibly beautiful.
I used some incredible 100% Alpaca to make these Green Thumb fingerless mittens. I'll be happy to have these in a month or two.

May I have a small rant? Over the summer months, I have been eating organic fruit, meaning alot of peaches and plums. What I find incredibly disappointing is that the growers breed the flavour right out of things. Is it to get a uniform shape? Look at the size of these:

BIGGER THAN KITTEN-CHOWS HEAD!!! How ridiculous is that? I may have to go back to getting the white peaches, but they don't seem to sell organic ones, and peaches are number one on the list of the "dirty dozen" fruits and vegetables.

I am happy that the school year has started, as I think I function better in a routine. I am starting a project that I'll show you next time.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale......

This is not the S.S. Minnow-

Happy Monday- I truly apologize for rabbiting on about the weather, but this summer has been a scorcher. I am celebrating the fact that the humidex reading will be 30 C- because yesterday it was 40- and let me say, totally brutal.

I live fairly close to Lake Ontario- and some friends' ship came in:
Marjorie and her husband Jeff are sailing the Great Lakes, and stopped in Port Credit for a week. I had previously met her a few years back at SMW, and now they are living on the boat, Far Niente full time- you can follow their adventures on their blog- and yes, she is knitting, and sewing- as well as sailing. It was so nice to see her again, and meet Jeff- he's really funny, and so interesting. He didn't mind the mini yarn crawl we did- he went across the street and had a Guinness while we shopped. Marjorie, that man is a treasure.

Oh, and here's their First Mate- Wilson:

In other news, not much knitting going on. I did do a pair of fingerless gloves in some alpaca- they have a leaf on the thumb. I also began an Ishbel, probably being one of the last people on the planet who hasn't done at least one, but the Hedgehog silk/wool was calling me.

I am a stitcher from way back- needlepoint mostly, and a number of years ago, I took up cross-stitch. I had these projects in the closet, and actually finished a few of them.

A Halloween one, and there are little charms in between the letters. I always thought it would be kind of neat to have a Halloween themed set of projects on the wall- and as soon as I frame a few of the other ones, I will do that.

This one says " and the goblins will get you, if you don't watch out".

A sampler- by "Little House Needleworks", which I've become addicted to. I like anything with houses, and some of these are wonderful, without being kitschy. I'm working on one now, that has cows in it- I may hang that in the kitchen.

We've ordered a new front window- with side casements that open, and we're having some garden doors put in leading to the patio. The sliding door is original to the house, and it's costing a bomb because it needs to be custom made. Too bad we didn't do it earlier- but air does get in.

Especially around the kitty-corner-