Thursday, December 22, 2011

From Kitten Chow

I probably won't get a chance to post before the big day, so I'm doing it now, before I descend into cooking, cleaning and laundry. My friend Jerry did the picture of Kitten-Chow last year, and I wanted to have a card made out of it. I thought I would share it, because it's great.

I got some Halflinger sheep slippers.

And this totally cool Emma Bridgewater jug. It's huge. My friends at Say Tea on Bloor ordered it for me. Every time I look at it, I smile like a fool. It just makes me SO HAPPY!

Have you ever wondered what to do with all those peppermint candy canes that no-one really wants to eat? Laura made these fabulous cookies, and I'll share the recipe with you.

Candy Cane Cookies

1 cup softened butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp peppermint extract (it really makes a difference)
2 1/2 Cups sifted flour
1/2 Cup crushed candy canes
2 tsp sugar

Beat butter and sugar together. Beat in the egg and extracts. Combine flour and candy canes and stir into creamed mixture. Roll into 1" balls, and place 2" apart on a cookie sheet. Flatten with the back of a fork, and sprinkle sugar on top. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

Mr. Chow would like to wish all of you and the kitties a wonderful holiday, and copious mousies in all of your stockings.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Duke Nukem?

Some thoughts about Christmas, and the holidays in general. The state of affairs here is that it is going up to 13 degrees, it's raining, and it's being predicted that there will be no snow this year. However, it is cold in Arizona.

Suffice to say, I feel completely cheated. At this time we usually have the tree up, and decorations done, and the turkey in the freezer. That hasn't happened.

My dear friend and I made cookies this year, for she is the Queen of shortbread. After sampling some Lavender cookies earlier this year, we made some, and I can't tell you how good these are.
We baked these for 20 minutes at 325, so depending on your oven. You have to use culinary lavender, and lemon, and add only 2 tbsp of the lavender. I hope you make some, because your house will smell incredible too.

I'm making some Man Size mittens for FC. No thrills here.

I am on the last 2 braids of "Country Roads" BFL- and I am going to spin the rest today, as a treat to myself.

Some thoughts and observations:

- Why do people "text" when they are driving? On the highway? Bad enough they talk on the phone, but I see this all the time, and it scares me.
- Why do people wait until now to start Christmas shopping? I would be in such a state that I would have to be hauled off to the nearest psych ward. As it is, I have finished shopping, wrapped it, and am still in a pre-meltdown mode. When someone tells me they haven't started yet, I get a knot in my stomach. At least have a list.

- I am starting to think that there really is no point in wearing pajamas, unless there is Snoopy on them. I need to find some more.
-I always say I'm going to do things differently, but I never do. Maybe it's just something people say.
-I've decided that when I use up all the weird Christmas paper on rolls, I won't buy any more.(Unless there are kittens or Snoopy on them). Plain Kraft paper only, and I can doll it up with stickers or raffia. This will work for birthday presents too.
- My son has requested "Duke Nukem Balls of Steel" edition for his PC. Yes.
- I am going to watch "Black Christmas" a few more times, because it's a great movie that also really scares me.
- I'm thinking about how unfair it is that I can't have some more cats, or a nice dog. I would like a dog. I love animals- but FC, not so much.
-I am already getting depressed about New Years. And it's crazy to get depressed about something like that.
-If anyone else leaves a used kleenex in their pocket, and puts it in the wash, so it shreds all over the laundry, and you can never get rid of the little bits of it- someone will pay dearly, and will have to make other laundry arrangements.

Despite all of this, I am going to have a nice holiday, see some people I love, and not over eat. This middle aged dog can learn new tricks.

However, this aging kitty will not.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's beginning to look alot like....

....uh, no. It isn't. The weather is mild, and it's raining. On Friday, I took a trip into Toronto to look at the amazing Christmas windows at The Bay, as well as in The Eaton Centre. Giant reindeers- I really love downtown when it's all lit up.

I met Miss Mew and FC, and we went the Grace Kelly exhibit, and we looked at her letters, clothes, her Oscar and a replica of her wedding dress. It was really interesting, and like alot of actresses from that era, she was tiny. Small waist- maybe they wore foundation garments.

A few weeks back we attended a showing of The West Wind at the McMichael gallery. The director and some of the people involved were there. I enjoyed the film, but I cannot believe the rudeness of the public in general. One woman behind us would not stop talking, and getting up during the movie, until we gave her the malocchio- and after it was over, I heard another lady speaking to the director, complaining at how loud the music was. Good thing I don't give into my urge to slap people, my hand would be sore alot.
In knitting news, I made this tam from this book. It was fun.

I haven't made too much progress on Lorna Suzanne...however.....

Miss Mew finished her first sweater- Eileen Mary. She used Peace Fleece in Perestroika Pink. I think she did an amazing job.

There is a back keyhole, and she added a rhinestone button.

As for Kitten Chow, he's been busy with his bag.

Monday, November 21, 2011

You Better Not Pout

Santa got here yesterday. The parade in Toronto had a Mrs. Clause this year, as well as a Santa cam- and he Tweets. The weather wasn't cold enough, and we had no snow, which just isn't the same. Anyway, now we can watch all the Christmas movies. Because Christmas is coming, whether we like it or not, so why not enjoy it?

On Saturday I went to a craft sale at one of my old primary schools- and they have since added a pool, and a few other things to the old building. It was alot of fun, and I ended up getting some cute Fimo sheep ornaments.

I've made about 8 of these- glass ornaments with knitted socks and toques. I have glitter everywhere- but these were alot of fun.

Mary Jane Mucklestone is a designer I admire, and I pre-ordered this a while back. I actually haven't had a chance to sit down and read it, but I am sure it will be a great resource.

I made these Autumn Fire mittens- these come in a kit, with gorgeous natutally dyed yarns from a lady in Finland.

I fell in love with this pattern, and since I have most of my gift knitting done, I have the pleasure of making it- I chose a colour called "Lupine" which always makes me think of that Monty Python sketch where Dennis Moore, the Highwayman, steals all the Lupines. Anyway, I love this designer, she's a bit retro.

As for Kitten Chow, he's feeling a bit displaced by drum equipment in the front room, and is looking for a happy place.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It's Not Always A Good Thing

This morning, I knew it would be a banner day, in the history of Chez Sheriff- and it's probably not a huge deal to others, but I got into my size 12 cargo pants- and they're even slightly loose. I've lost almost 15 lbs, with really, precious little effort on my part.

Also, on Monday, I sat down at the sewing machine, and almost finished the top of my basket quilt, that has been bugging me for 2 years now. The setting blocks were the wrong size, so instead of making my life more complicated, I used some plain ones, and it isn't prize worthy, but I am happy with it. Now I have to figure out if I am going to quilt it, or send it out.

On Saturday, we visited one of my favorite places, Recycled Displays, and I picked up this head. I have to admit, mannequins freak me right out, but I love her sweet face, and her twenties look, so she's perfect for modelling hats.

In knitting news, once again, I have succeeded in making myself nuts. Too many projects, too many cool things to knit, gifts to think about, blah blah blah. Currently, I am working on a handspun hoodie coat thingy, a pair of mittens, and waiting for some yarn for another sweater.
For sheer inspiration, I did get this:

There are some really great smaller projects which I plan to make, after the current yarn induced nervous breakdown.
Didn't you just know that it would only be a matter of time before Martha would make the cover of a knitting magazine? In all her photo shopped glory? She has a line of yarns by Lion Brand, which I normally don't bother with- after the poncho fiasco-but I guess it's a question of what sells magazines.

I don't know whether Martha is good or evil, I suspect it's a little bit of both. No question, the Martha Stewart Living magazine is top notch- photography, articles, it has raised the bar for publishing standards. But this whole "everything is perfect" propaganda- well, who needs it? Are we really expected to believe she tends all those gardens, in all those homes? Cooks all that food? Has time to even SHOP? Please.

Holiday time is approaching- and I give you permission to have an imperfect, messy, noisy time this year. So what if you're tree decorations don't match.

Kitten Chow does, however, dream of the perfect mousie.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Macchina Sveglia

Tomorrow is Halloween. I have opened the bag of mini Tootsie Pops- they're only little, and I only like the purple ones.

In the spirit of this wonderful holiday, I spun some fiber- Vampire Suicide, and added some crosses to the I-cords. These are for Laura.

I also, on a whim, made Kate Davie "Sheep Heid" tam. I sat down Thursday afternoon and went through my Shetland stash, and had most of the colours there. Mogit and Eesit were subbed for 2 of them, and I finished it Friday morning. Gotta like that.

Laura said I could use her head, but not her face.

My niece brought her new car over, a Fiat 500- it's sooooo cute.

I didn't drive it- but it's even cute on the inside. We told her that FIAT is an acronym for "Fix it again, Tony!"- just kidding, it's a wonderful car.

We stayed up late last night watching some horror movies, and Kitten Chow is a little worse for wear today. Late nights aren't for him.

See you in November.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Rhinebeck Experience

Despite giving the appearance of being an organized, together kind of person, it has taken until today to get some pictures off loaded from Laura's camera, so I haven't posted until today. Does that make any sense? I do hope so.

Speaking of Laura, she is now a full time legal assistant at a downtown Toronto law firm, and I couldn't be more pleased for her. This will suit her right down to the ground, and will be challenging and fun. So yes, it's just me and the kitty boy left at home.

Upstate New York, folks, is beautiful in autumn. We stayed with a lovely friend, and had some cat time as well. You may recognize Slushie- she is the Fat Cat, who isn't very fat any more, and I felt like I was in the presence of a celebrity, which I was.

And this little fellow is Tommie- who, really, just wants luvvins-

On Saturday, there was a meet-up for the Fat Cat fiber people, and here is someone I met, who just happens to have 2 very large cats, Spaz and Taz, at 28 and 31 pounds respectively, and make Kitten Chow look small. She's delightful. And check out that cool sweater.

And some more of the usual suspects- it was a great day.

Lots to admire, lots to see, and I did come home with some goodies, but the real fun was meeting the great people there. I've decided that I want to visit the major shows at least once in my lifetime, so perhaps Maryland? I don't even know if that's driveable from here.

But it sure is good to know that Kitten Chow is at home, keeping my yarn warm.

And Halloween is getting closer- I'll share my projects next week.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Silver Anniversary

Not my blog- because blogs haven't been around that long- but mine and FC's wedding. Twenty five years, it's gone by awfully fast. We're still laughing, and we've got these crazy kids, and animals- and we've really been blessed. He gave me a card with Snoopy on it.

On the subject of laughter, I have added this guy's site to my sidebar. Anyone who grew up in the 60's or 70's- or had grandparents, will really be able to relate to the humour. But what makes this really hysterical is his captions. If your tastes run to the warped side, you'll love this.

Lots of knitting going on- I've been making handspun fingerless mittens for Christmas presents. I really adore knitting with handspun.

I'm swatching for a hooded jacket design- I can't find a pattern that meets all my criteria- and so I decided to do my own. This will be a bit of a haul, but I can do smaller projects as well.

And most exciting- RHINEBECK- I am leaving on Friday morning and staying with a friend in Ilion- and a whole gang of fiber freaks will spend the day at the fair. I cannot believe I'm going. I'm also going to see a friend I met on Ravelry back in 2007- and we e-mail each other daily. Awesome.

I've given Laura instructions to be nice to Kitten Chow while I'm gone-

Mummy's baby. (sniff)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hip and Happening

October the 1st. Ahhhhhh. I am having a blissful moment here. It is sunny and cold today, a perfect autumn Saturday. What could be better?

I've been walking quite a bit, and have eased back into the Weight Watchers routine. For some very odd reason, I'm not finding it hard in any way. People eating chocolate and stuff doesn't bother me- I'm fine just eating regular stuff. The photo above was taken on a walk with my sister and friend Todd, and you can see the Toronto skyline in the back.

Today I put up a free pattern on Ravelry for these handspun mitts. I used FatCat Knits Polwarth, shown in the "Nerds" colorway. I had the Rabbit in for service, and wrote the pattern while I was waiting. I called them 4H Mittens, and it stands for Hip Happening Handspun Handwarmers. As with everything, there is a little backstory about the name.

Alex has a friend, Kirk, who he met in Grade 9. They started a band around that time, and Alex got his drum set (which has since grown exponentially)- and Kirk was coming over because he played bass guitar. He's a lovely boy, but extremely quiet, and I wanted to see if I could get him to talk to me, without making him self-conscious. So, after a while, I told him he couldn't come in unless he said I was a hip, happening chick. Since then, I would open the door, and say "what am I again?" and he would look at his shoes and mutter "you're a hip, happening chick". Poor guy.

These are the men's version, in the Sweet Tortie colour. And yes, Chris, that is a pumpkin, and yes, there is more than one here. Have you read about the pumpkin shortage on the eastern seaboard? Better be prepared.

Next weekend is Thanksgiving, and after that I have a trip planned. What is worrying me is that I will be away from my darling Kitten Chow, and it was hinted that he may not be here when I get back.

"I can promise you, I will be here, but they may not be...."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Getting In Gear

Things have gotten busy- this weekend I went with FC, Laura and my niece Alison to the Christie Antique Show, which is held twice a year. It was really great, except we all got a bit sunburned. I collect flat irons- and picked up 2.

One has the trivet, and my criteria is they must be rust free, and unpainted. They look nice on my fireplace, and serve as a reminder of what drudge work women had to do. We've come a long way, baby. Was that a cigarette ad?
I am happy to say that I have finished my handspun Sweet Tortie cardigan. The sleeves are bracelet length, because it makes me nuts to have to push my sleeves up all the time.

Some custom dyed BFL from Fat Cat, for my Coleus shawl. I have just over 900 yds of fingering weight, and it was a pure pleasure to spin. I've also begun some Christmas knitting, some handspun fingerless mittens and socks. I want to stay on top of that this year.

I have re-joined Weight Watchers, and there is a new program which is very easy to follow. I realize that I have to be accountable, and as I'm a lifetime member, I hope to keep it up. This is a different meeting than the one I used to go to, and it's not so much the social club that these things always become. Not that I have anything against it, but the leader at the last place kept being interrupted by loud talking. I'm there to listen and learn.

But some (ahem) kittens, never listen.