Monday, December 30, 2013

2014- A Banner Year


So, I guess everyone is talking about the ice storm of 2013. I remember the one in 1998 whereby I slid sideways down a gravel driveway in my Jeep.  My then 10-year-old son had read the drivers manual, and suggested I put it in part time 4 wheel, and whaddya know, I drove outta there. I even picked up some kids on the way into school.  I only hope I don't become one of those boring old people "remember the ice storm of '98?"

Anyway, alot of people lost power, and some unfortunates in Toronto are only getting theirs back today. As bad as that might be, the Mayor and the Premier, as well as hydro crews from Toronto and other provinces worked very hard over the holidays to get the situation under control.  They can only be commended. Mr. Ford, to his credit, brought a catering truck to a local housing community, and got yelled at by some of the residents.  Local grocery stores donated food to people who had lost the contents of their fridges, and you know, people were still whining.  I think it's shameful- because certainly this was caused by weather conditions.  The ice laden branches were taking out tree limbs, it was a disaster.  We only lost power for roughly 10 hours, so I can't complain.
This is the weeping something tree, and the branch is frozen.  It looked very surreal. There was no salt or ice melter to be had in the stores for several days. We stayed in and celebrated.
Missy Mew gave me a gorgeous x-stitch she made, and a book about the making of MTM. I am a huge fan of that show.  Sonny O gave me some Crabtree and Evelyn bath stuff and a Tim Horton's card.  FC got me clothes, books and a white gold necklace. 

I am officially turkeyed out, as well as devouring Quality Street and marzipan. I feel sick. I deserve to feel sick.

So for the upcoming 2014, it has been declared that it will be a banner year. My usual thoughts are of saving money, eating better and exercising. I just won't go gung-ho and burn out mid January. That never works. Small changes and positive thinking work better for me.

Thanks to all my blog buddies for another year of friendship- and may 2014 bring you peace and joy.

From me and the kittens.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

No Tannenbaum

Ten On Tuesday is 10 Cultural Traditions You Observe.  I don't really tie myself to any one particular traditions or culture, unless it involves marzipan.

When you don't have small children around, things tend to slide.  But there are a few things it wouldn't be Christmas without:

1. I always get a new ornament or two for the tree, and write the year on it.  Because Miss Mew has her own home now, I passed on the box of ornaments that I collected for her, and now she has a start on her own collection.
 
2. Bake cookies.  Miss Mew and I made Lavender shortbread, Ginger Molasses and Candy Cane this year. I got a cookie scoop when I was in the states, and it is the best gadget ever.
 
3. Watch Christmas specials and movies.  I love Blackadder's Christmas Carol.
4. Marzipan, and lots of it.
5. Drive around and look at Christmas lights.
6. Christmas music- I love Loreena McKennitt, and actually don't mind Andy Williams. Der Bingle is just annoying.
7.Looking forward to the new books I'll be getting. How do I know? I order my own gifts.
8. Turkey legs and cranberry sauce.
9. Even better- turkey sandwiches and mayo.
10.Eggnog cake. I buy it. But you can make it.

It snowed heavily on Saturday, and we're getting more now. I love snow, as long as I don't have to drive in it. And since I made alot of gifts this year, I don't have to go near a mall. Just last minute groceries.

Kittens are not co-operating. I wanted to get a picture of them with bows on their heads, and I had to give them some to play with. I'll wait until they're asleep.




Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Things On Your To Do List

On Tuesday mornings, FC puts out the garbage. This is a fundamental difference in our personalities. He is a last-minute kinda guy.  I would have it out the night before. However, if I take on garbage duties it will be mine forever.  So, I don't.  He's out there freezing his keester off.*

At this time of year, the list is pretty long. Here's the ten:

1. Wrap gifts. (did it all yesterday)
2. Bake cookies- Laura is coming over and we'll do it together.
3. Make a budget that I can stick to in 2014- ya right.
4. Organize bills and stuff for taxes.
5.Write cards- did that on Sunday.
6.Try and get the Raging Success to clear his room up.(sure)
7.Try and get FC to clean up the downstairs room (uh huh)
8. Get Laura to do my hair.
9. Wash kitchen and bathroom floors- hands and knees stuff.
10. Relax- and watch all the Christmas shows.
Actually, because I missed the Parade this year, I watched on the laptop. Tino was fascinated.
Howard slept through it. I understand that Mr. Ford was asked not to attend.  How hilarious is that?
I have finished another scarf/shawl thing. It's been pretty cold, and will be all week.

Time to put my feet up and watch the Grinch.

* I just returned from the GO Station, and I saw 2 people wearing NO SOCKS- and one had on shorts.
I am not kidding.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Favorite Housekeeping Shortcuts

December, eh?  After having a slight meltdown last week, my friend and I went and did a blitz of shopping, and got a few things to finish our lists. Now I can relax a bit, although I need to wrap and bake, but I can take my time.

I'm the type of person that if I know something needs to be done, it will bug the hell out of me until it's done.  Probably to a fault- and I've tried making lists, and setting schedules but I don't like regiments or rigidness. So I just get on with it, in a haphazard sort of way.

1.Keep the entranceway to your home clear, and that way people will think the whole place is tidy.
2. I like the floors clear, and I sweep the kitchen and bathroom every day. I wash them every couple of weeks.
3. Get rid of stuff so you can dust your surfaces. I will avoid dusting anyplace that requires moving a ton of knick knacks (isn't that a stupid phrase?) so I got rid of a whole pile of it.  I hate anything "decorative" like vases lined up- what purpose do they serve?  So, unless I love it or need it, it goes.
4. Keep your bathroom tidy- wipe the counter (after you have cleared it off) and make sure the toilet is clean- at all times. Nothing is nastier than going to someone's house, and having to wee, and blech. That stays in my mind forever.
5. One challenge I face is keeping my kitchen counter clear- so if anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.
6. Wash your dishes, and scrub the sink.  The first room you see into is my kitchen, and I like it to be tidy and don't want used dishes sitting around.  The guys who live here are a challenge because they use a glass and leave it on the counter. That's why we have a dishwasher.
7. If you leave things for a long time, like laundry or vacuuming, it is 10x worse, so at least once a week, devote an evening or morning to it. It really doesn't take that long.  I like laundry, but I hate to vacuum so I'll come over and do your wash if you vacuum my house. Deal?
8. Put things away- file papers, return the tools to the toolbox, everything should have a place.  I hate wasting time looking for something because some asshat forgot to put it away. (can you tell it annoys me?)
9. Give perishables for gifts- cookies, chocolates, and things like that. Then once it's done, no one has to drag out that ugly mug you re-gifted so they don't offend you. If you don't like it, chances are no one else will.
10. Life is not about housework- it's about friends and family, and you would like your home to be a place people can feel relaxed in. Not a museum, and not a place that someone is afraid to sit in for fear of messing up the cushions.
.
 I made this Creel Hat and Mitts from an Anne Hanson pattern for FC. I may make the cowl too.
 Tino likes to play with the cord on the camera-
...and Howard wants to know what is in the box. It smells a little bit ovine.

ETA: This was in the mailbox this morning.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Snowbuddy

Taking FC to the GO station this morning, the news is full of the impending storm that is coming, and we're not getting the worst of it.  It reminded me of this:
Wasn't that a great movie?  I think we watched that 100 times, and it got funnier.  I love how Steve Martin holds it together until he gets to the rental car agency. Then he loses it.  Del Griffith would test the patience of a saint, wouldn't he?
Laura is fostering a kitten- they call her Pio, and she is so loving and gentle. Tucker is on pheromones, but it seems to be working out.

 
The only thing that seems to have any Christmas spirit around here is my cactus.  FC painted the dining room and hall on the weekend, and I feel it's a shame to clutter up my pristine rooms with decorations.  I hope I change my mind, but I'm thinking there will be no tree this year.

 
This Howard (who resembles Kitten Chow more and more) likes to get his accomplice Valentino to steal things so he can take them apart. I can just imagine the field day they'll have with tree ornaments.
 
That is if Tino doesn't drop on someone's head as they go up the stairs.

Have a great week- and a festivus Thanksgiving.





Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ten On Tuesday- 5 Favorite Sweater Patterns and 5 Favorite Yarns

Why does this topic seem familiar?  I think we did this not so long ago, but I'll happily blab about knitting at the drop of a hat.

I'm not really the type of knitter that makes the same things repeatedly, unless it's socks or mittens. I think I may tweak this list to what is in my queue- things I have been meaning to make forever, and who knows if I will. We all have to have goals, I guess.

1. Mary Tudor. I have the original Campion yarns for this, and one day.....one day I'll get to it. Since Tudor Roses has been reissued, I may have a look at the Hebridean version, which looks very rich and regal.
2. St. Brigid- I have some Lapwing Hebridean awaiting this.
.
3.I have just received this book, and there is a gorgeous pattern Wildwood Cabled Pullover which I think would be stunning in handspun.
4.I kind of want to do another gansey and this one (yes, it is a free pattern) is tempting. I would have to convert it to circular knitting, but that is not a problem.  The question is, being the slow knitter I am, do I want to devote the time?
5.Aranmor- in case you think I've gone a little Alice Starmore crazy, well, I have always been a huge admirer, and alot of her designs are classics.  If I'm going to invest time and money into a project then I want it to be something that won't look dated. That being said, let's move onto yarns-
6. Hebridean, both the 2 and 3 ply. Soft, but not flimsy.
7. Peace Fleece.
8. Jamieson and Smith Jumper Weight and Jamieson's spinning Spindrift.
9. Most tweeds- Donegal is nice.
10. My new love is handspun. Nothing grabs me as much as knitting with earthy, rustic yarns, and the "flaws" are what make it beautiful. And you know no one else has anything the same.

Are you enjoying November?  The weather has been gray and windy- and up until today, fairly mild.  I love this time of the year.  Most of the leaves are gone, and it gets dark early.  It feels like living in a bear's den, ready for winter hibernation.

No kitten photos today- they are somewhere messing around the house. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ten On Tuesday- Ten Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Thanksgiving for us has long since passed.  I usually make much the same thing for Christmas and Thanksgiving- turkey and all that.  I guess the topic is the "all that"-

1. That mashed potato thing with the onions, butter, and cream cheese.
2. Carrots and rutabaga- mashed with butter and a hint of fresh nutmeg.
3. Cranberry sauce- sometimes I make it with fresh cranberries and mandarin oranges.  Sometimes just the good old Ocean Spray canned crap, which I love.  I seem to be the only person who eats it.
I do have a confession, I stalk Williams-Sonoma after the holidays.  This was 15.99 marked down to 3.99- who in their right mind would pay 16 bucks for cranberry sauce?
4. Gravy- made from the turkey drippings (FC calls it turkey droppings)
5. I have never made that green bean/mushroom soup/fried onion thingy that Americans seem to like, but I am intrigued by it.
6. We sometimes have pickled pearl onions, olives and sliced dills on a pretty plate.
7. Boursin and crackers.
8. Triple Cream Brie and crackers.
9. Pumpkin Pie and whipped cream.
10. Ah, the stuffing. Mine is done with that stuffing bread cubed, sauteed onion and celery (I detest celery, but you have to have it in stuffing), sausage meat, wild rice and lots of fresh sage.  Poultry seasoning and melted butter, we don't cut calories on holidays.

Kittens, the bad kittens.  Last night they went postal on my tree ornaments that I got at Target. I got 2 foxes- before and after:
Evil Howard shredded that poor thing and FC managed to get the other one before it was totalled.
I've been spinning- note the Christmas L.L. Bean catalogue, which seems to arrive in August.
Some Christmas-y socks- Holidazed in Socks That Rock Comfort and Joy.
Does anyone remember The Kingston Trio?


Hang down your head Tom Dooley,
hang down your head and cry,
Hang down your head Tom Dooley,
Poor boy you're bound to die.....

They look contrite, but really, they don't care.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

No-vember

No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds, November.

I love November. The dark days and the smell of leaves- all crispy and shades of browns and golds.  Somehow things get quieter- until the Christmas rush.  Which will be here before we know it.

I have been sewing- onto tote bags now.  I went on a bit of a fabric binge-
 This is Christmas fabric- The Ghastlies, but in very unChristmas colours.
I have had this farmyard fabric in my stash forever- and I love the animals and the colours.
Here's the lining- I love those sheep. Pockets, of course.
I finished my Ruxton shawl- this is a detail of the edging which has acorns. LOVE it, and I hope to make more of Dee O'Keefe's shawls.
My Morticia is finished.  I'm not a huge fan of working with silk. I decided to add a crocheted beaded edging, and it sparkles beautifully with the beads throughout. I want to do another, non silk, in really Goth colours.
And Tino is making use of my basket quilt under the sewing table.  I got tired of evicting him.

Cats, eh?



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Things You like To Do On An Extra Day Off

Snow day. Three day weekend. Family day- that kind of thing.  I like days like that because it is out of the usual routine. And days off have a different feel to them, you know. A Monday feels totally different to a Saturday.  Sunday is my least favorite day.

1. If it is a snow day, well you're out shovelling. I actually don't mind doing it.
2. Watch a movie from start to finish.
3. Do a clear out on a room- throw stuff out and wash the floors.
4. Go to a museum/art gallery/event. The Royal Winter Fair is coming up.
5. Cook something that takes time- throw in a stew or a roast.
6. KNIT ALL DAY.
7. SPIN ALL DAY.
8. Hang out with a buddy.
9. Read a book.
10. Go for a long walk in the hood.

I have been busy around the house. We are down one car, so FC takes mine to work.  This is good because that means I am not imposing all these errands on myself, so I can get up knowing I'm not going out.  Had to make a Costco run to buy Halloween candy. I don't buy too far ahead, because I may eat it.  That has happened before.

Sewing continues- I made a prototype tote bag, and I have had the farmyard fabric forever.  The Hedgehog project bag is for a special friend.
A blobby Morticia- I decided against the dangly cast off- and will block out the points. Tons of beads- but this was the small. I figured I could actually finish this one by the end of the KAL.
 Kooky Valentino-very loving, but oh so bad....
...and squishy Howard. He has taken up KC's spot on the sofa upstairs and keeps an eye on the squirrels.

Fleece out.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Things You Did This Weekend

Tuesday? Already?  I cannot believe it's October 15- no way.

I've been busy. Onto the ten:

1. This was Thanksgiving for us. No turkey, no turducken, no bird of any kind. I got a small ham from the grocery store, FC made scalloped potatoes and Miss Mew made the most delicious pumpkin pie.  No pressure, it was great.
2. Sewing- I am excited to be using up some of my fabric- and tweaked a free pattern.  These are so much fun- project bags. I'm a bit of a bag ho.

I have alot of decorative buttons- so I added them to the bags.
3. Washing and ironing.
4. Friday was my 27th (gasp) wedding anniversary, so we went to the apple farm. So did most of Milton, apparently.
5. Watched movies- Rosemary's Baby, The House On Haunted Hill, The Tenant- and another one I can't remember.
6. Worked on my Morticia- finished Clue 2, Clue 3 is out today.
7. Knit on my Ruxton shawl- love this designer.
8. Knit a sock.
9. Went for a drive to look at leaves.
10.Played with the kittens- this Tino went berserk on some eggplants, tomatoes and beets I brought home-chewed up the eggplant, it was all over the floor.  Howard was MIA.
What a little fart he is.

Have a good week.



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Ways You Are Embracing Autumn

I have my arms wide open when it comes to Autumn- the smell of woodsmoke, the amazing colours that nature comes up with, the crisp and cool weather- what is not to love? The oppressive heat and humidity of summer is behind us, and there are lots of things to look forward to.

1. I joined a BooKnits Halloween KAL- this one is called "Morticia" even though I am more of a Lily Munster person myself*.  I am using a beautiful silk/merino lace yarn from Hedgehog,  "Poseiden Dark" rich deep tones of purple and deep red- perfect for the theme. AND you want to know what else?  It came from my stash, even the beads. I bought nothing but the pattern.

2. Getting outside to enjoy the weather- I hope to resume my daily walks with FC. He has a torn meniscus in his knee that will hopefully get better with time- it won't repair but keeping it moving will be beneficial. We try to go every night after dinner.

3. Speaking of dinner, it is slow-cooker season and I have a beef stew simmering in it now. I toss the ingredients in the pot in the morning, and I don't think about dinner.  It is done and dusted.

4. Raking leaves- I love it.

5. Working on some quilting projects- I hope to complete a few table runners, and Winks is making one too.

6. We're also planning on doing Halloween cookies this year. Skulls, bats and pumpkins.

7. Craft sales-Fair November might be good.

8. I have a few large projects (apart from the quiltfromhell) that I would like to work on, a new Fair Isle, and some handspun sweaters.  I will take stock in the new year, and see what I can humanly get done- instead of wanting to do everything and burning out like I usually do.

9. Podcasts- I have discovered video podcasts and am so relieved to know that I am NOT the only loony out there- indeed- people even talk about it to the whole world.

10. Silly, but wearing my work socks makes me feel good. I love them.
* I have to get this out: The Addams Family grossed me out. Gomez slobbing up and down Morticia's arm, Uncle Fester was nasty, and those 2 spoiled brats Pugsley and Wednesday. It was a blatant rip-off of The Munsters, which was sheer genius.  That "Thing" hand coming out of the box? Blech.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ten on Tuesday- 10 Chores You Hate Most

Sounds a little negative- so we'll do 5 I like and 5 not so much. 

1. I dislike putting away groceries. This sounds weird, but here's the deal. After I have made a list, gotten to the store, hopefully remembered to put the reusable bags in the trunk (you get points for every bag you use),
schlepped myself around the store (Costco being the worst), put all the stuff on the conveyer, PAY for it, bag it, schlep it in the trunk.......drive home, schlep it in the house, I have had it.
I never have enough room in the chest freezer, so I dump it in whatever way I can. FC thinks somehow that food gets fresher the longer you leave it in the fridge, and my cupboards are high, so I need a chair to put some of it away.

I always think that I could have had a sweater's worth of yarn/fiber, and just bought a few boxes of Kraft Dinner, margarine and a carton of  milk.  I'd be malnourished, but rockin' in a new sweater.

2. I like shopping, for books, clothes, kitchenware and dishes.  Sometimes shoes.

3. I dislike weeding the garden, because of the bending.
4. I like raking leaves
5. I dislike cleaning the bathroom- tons of hair on the floor, empty the garbage of whiskers and nail clippings. Scrubbing the tub (it's a soaker, so deep) and worst of all, cleaning the shower tiles. I bathe, I don't shower, why am I cleaning it?
6. I like having a spotless bathroom, and clean towels.
7. I dislike vacuuming.  I have had that machine for years and I still have no idea how it works.
8. I like doing laundry.
9.  I dislike cleaning out my china cupboards.
10. I like collecting dishes.

Not alot happening around here.  Alex is continuing therapy on his hand, and FC has had an MRI on his knee.  I seem to be in good health, unlike everyone else around me.

I've done some spinning-

...finished a sleeve....

...and am reassured that the squirrels are being watched by Howard and Tino.

Oh, and happy first of October. Yip! My door has been painted "Pumpkin Pie"