Sunday, April 30, 2006

You can't see them....

...but they are there. I am talking about peas. Those lovely small green harbingers of summer. Sweet, juicy, fresh, unique peas. Nothing else has quite the flavour of garden fresh peas. And they are coming! Their little shells are swelling even as we speak. By next week, I shall hopefully see a few little sprouts poking their noses out of the soil, soon to have tendrils reaching, stretching, coiling around the fences that support their tender stems. Next come the fragrant blossoms. Brilliant white against the dark green foliage. Insects spreading pollen, fertilizing flowers to make swelling, suculant pods totally devoted to the reproduction of.....PEAS!!! Too bad for them that we eat every. last. one. No pea reproduction in my garden. Try as they may, we don't let them get past the tender juicy stage.

Broad beans, swiss chard, and lettuce were also planted today. Every year, when I present my father in law with a pot of broad beans for supper, he says, without fail..."Better than beef steak" Has any one else ever heard this expression?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Spinning wheels

I am starting to think about getting myself a spinning wheel. And , as with almost every other purchase of more than $100, I want to do research and have peoples opinion. I am looking for something that is easily portable, something that will not take up too much space when stored, and something with bobbins that I can get a fair amount of yarn. Spinning really fine yarn is not an issue for me right now, but it may become in the future. Who knows?

What do you spin on and what do you like and dislike about it? Is there a type of wheel that you would like to have and why?

Thanks in advance.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Warming Grace

It seems that every where I go,(in blogland) people are in a knitting funk. I have put down the sock AGAIN, in favor of knitting squares for Cynthia's Warming Grace project. In a nut shell, Cynthia's niece has cancer and being a good auntie, Cynthia wanted to knit her a blanket to keep her warm during treatments. She thoughtfully invited knitters who read her blog to knit 5 inch squares in cotton or wool in any shade of pink, send them to her and she would work them in to a blanket for Grace. She had such a great response, that a second blanket for Graces friend who is at the same stage of treatments as Grace is, was able to happen. Well, knitters are a wonderful group and as of this morning, 152 knitters have signed up. Cynthia said that she will keep piecing blankets as long as she keeps getting squares. These will be shipped off to the hospital in Alberta where Grace is getting her treatments, and go to other kids with cancer. I think that Cynthia is doing a wonderful thing, as well as the 151 other knitters who are knitting squares. I can't imagine what it would be like to have a kid with a serious illness like cancer.

Two Wooden Sticks and a Ball of Wool

Pop over and sign up if you have a bit of yarn left over from a project and have time to knit a square.

My socks aren't going anywhere, although, come to think of it, they did come with me to my weaving guild meeting. So maybe I'll say that they are not going any where fast. Being unfinished and all. But seeing as my squares are drying even as we speak, I just may pick up my sock and after careful measurements, finish the bloody thing before I want to forget about socks all together.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

All gone.....

The sisters and aunties are gone. (Wipe tear) Nicole left early Friday evening and Christine left this morning at about 5:30. Gone. Sigh.

So now I get back to my regularly scheduled life. But it is spring in full force here and so today was new home day. Alas, not for me in my spacially challenged home, but for my seedlings in Their spacially challenged homes. So now, I have a total of 71 (or so) tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, broccoli, and basil that are happily rooting in new pots. They will be planted out in the great wild beyond in about a month. I can hardly believe it! Liz and Amy will be the recipients of my spare plants. I always plant at least twice as many plants as I want because of germination rates and so, as usual I have spare plants. The theory goes, plant two seeds in one cell and pinch out the weaker one, letting the stronger one get all of the nutrients. I have done this on occasion, but some years, I find it hard. Maybe because if survival of the fittest actually was the way of the world, I would not be here ( I was a sick kid who had double pneumonia twice before I was ten, not to mention all of the trips to the emergency room because of sever asthma attacks). I gotta feel for the little guys. I let them live to produce their tomatoes or peppers. Liz, water them! Go do it! NOW!

Today was a beautiful day. Sunny and 19 C (that's 66 for y'all south a' me) The sun was warm and the beer was cold. I have a bud on my daffodils. Peonies and iris' are coming up and my lilies are poking their little heads through the warm soil. I hope to plant my peas this week. I just have to nag my dad into tilling the garden. It takes him two minutes to do with a tiller attatched to the tractor what it would take me a week to do with a fork. There are some advantages to being a farmer's daughter.

No camera today, so no picts of plants in new homes. But to keep you amused, here is my sister's (Nicole) boyfriend's mother's cat. Huge pussy. And apparently it will only drink out of a freshly flushed toilet. Phyllis apologized for having to leave up the toilet seat, but pussy would have nothing else. Oh, to have my every wish so thoughtfully granted. NOT, mind you, that I want to drink out of a toilet, but that would not be the wish that I would ask of my fairy godmother!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

You know you have it bad when....

knitting starts to invade your dreams. I had a dream the other night that I had closed off my sock toe when the foot was about 3 inches long. I hesitate to call it a nightmare because although it left me feeling rather unsettled, it is a far cry from the nightmares in which the ax murder is chasing you.

If you remember my Duhh moment a few weeks ago, I now have my sock book back and am furiously knitting away. The weather here has been crap since last week and it has been the perfect incentive to see if I can get the little devils done before they get put away for the summer. March was beautiful here, but April, so far, has sucked. In fact, yesterday was an extremely windy day, and half of the tree across the street was knocked down and came to rest on the phone and cable lines. The guys in the truck came to saw it down, and you would have thought that we has a three ring circus across the street from the excitement levels of the kids. It actually reminded me of the time that the city crew replaced the sidewalk in front of our house. I just set the kids up on chairs inside the front door and let them watch the show. It took about 4 days for the crew to do the whole sidewalk and the kids were riveted almost the whole time. What is it about small kids and big equipment?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Can you see the family resemblance?

My dad finally gave in. The last straw was the $800+ that he had to pay to get all of the viruses, spy ware, crap, etc. cleaned off of his old PC. He bought a Mac. An i-Mac to be specific. One of the "Where is the computer?" computers. It's all in the flat panel display. Including a camera. It looks pretty slick.

One of the great things about a Mac, is that it comes bundled with all sorts of software. And one of the things on my dad's new i-Mac is this thing called Photo Booth. You know, like those booths in the mall's that you drop your money in and squeeze in to with your friends or sweetheart? Four flashes and a few minutes later, you get to see how silly you all look. It's like that. Except that this also has the added bonus of the ability to behave like carnival mirrors too. You should have heard the laughter!

In any case, we took the opportunity to take some family photos and I just wanted to share them with you. See if you can spot the family resemblance.

A boy and his aunt

A tale of two sisters

A mother and daughter

A girl and her aunt


And now for a test.....

What is the relationship between these two?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Aunties are a wonderful thing

Aunties are wonderful because they do things that mothers don't. Like making monster bonfires in the back yard and roasting turkey slices over the afore mentioned fire. Monster fires being small ones, of course.

Friday, April 14, 2006

You know it's spring when...

Faerie villages appear in the back yard. Actually, these are monster villages. One of my kids received a monster in a treat bag about 5 or 6 years ago and they have been playing with them ever since.

First up is City Hall. Very important place, but not much activity right now, as it is after hours.

Then the swimming hole. Apparently monsters like to dive and so the swimming hole had to be quite deep. It is a little cool yet to be swimming, but the season shall be starting up soon.

The community center. Note the relaxing lounge chairs in which 6arms and peach guy are resting. Monsters are generally named for their colours, or special attributes.

What village is complete without a fine restaurant featuring patio dining. The house specialty is toasted marshmallows. Note the toasting stick to the right resting on the log.

What to do if someone gets hurt. It does happen occasionally that someone looses an arm to overuse and so he is rushed to the hospital. The shell stretcher is kept to the right of the hospital entrance for easy access should the need arise.

And keeping an eye out for enemies and cats, 4eyes and 6arms are standing tall in the watch tower. Monsters take turns in the watch tower. But they don't mind the duty. They like standing tall (even though they don't have any legs.

Thanks for taking the tour. The hotel is scheduled to be opening soon. We are taking advanced registration. All monsters welcomed.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Here is my lovely sister modeling the midnight shawl.

And here she is modeling the sunset shawl.

Lastly is a side by side comparison showing the pattern detail. I quite like the diamond shapes that showed up in the blue shawl. Of the two, it is my favorite.

Thanks again to Jay for hosting this challenge. I actually like working with a reasonable deadline. And now I know what to do with that box full of merino.

So get over to
  • Jay's Craft Room
  • and vote.

    Thanks to all who have commented as I worked my way through my weaving. Now I have to decide what to do next.

    Wednesday, April 12, 2006

    There's only so much cleaning a girl can do

    And when she has reached her threshold, she weaves. At least that is what I do. I am sure that some of you knit instead. Or crochet. Or even bead on incredibly time consuming lace shawls.

    So here I am ready to cut the second shawl off of the loom. Colour wise, I prefer the first, but if I have learned anything about the buying public, it is that everyone has different tastes and preferences. It is one of the things that make people so interesting.

    I have my sister here to model for me. She has a better wardrobe for such a thing.

    Tomorrow, the official end of Jay's challenge, I will post the final pictures. See you then.

    Sunday, April 09, 2006

    What a knotty girl

    After cutting something off the loom, your job is far from finished. The ends need to be sewn in and the cut yarns dealt with. The simplest way to finish a piece of cloth is to hem it. In my opinion, it is also the least attractive, although it does have it's place. For shawls and scarves, I prefer a fringe. When I make a fringe, I usually start by tying knots across the warp.

    The bar that you see is merely a weight so that I can pull a bit and the weaving doesn't move.

    Then you make your fringe. This is done by dividing the bunches of yarn in half and twisting them in the same direction, then placing the two pieces together and gently letting the twist come out of it, while not letting go of the ends. Simple enough, even though it sounds confusing as I have described it. Sorry about that.

    Once the fringe is all twisted and the ends knotted, it is wash time. Best done by hand in cool water with a mild soap. The one excecption that I make to this is when I make blankets. I like them fuller, and so I wash them in the washing machine. I don't mind if they felt up a bit. In fact, I prefer blankets that way. It's cold up here and a felted blanket is just the thing in February.

    So, as we stand now, my blue shawl is hanging in hopes that it will be dry by tomorrow. The red one is about 1/3 woven. It is coming along nicely, but will not be finished by the 14th. I don't think. As you know, my sister is coming tomorrow and I am sure that we will be otherwise occupied.

    That's it folks. Keep watching for final pictures within the next day or two.

    Saturday, April 08, 2006


    In order to finish a sock, one generally needs a pattern, right? O.K. I know that some of you have knitted enough socks that such a silly little thing as a pattern is passe. I am working on my fourth sock of my life. Second of a supposed pair. I know that I was going to get myself a second set of needles, and I will. At some point. Until then, I shall be a one at a time sock knitter. There are worst things I could do, (than go with a boy or two. Even thought the neighborhood thinks...) Sorry. Flash back to my youth when Grease came out. In any case, I had borrowed the "knit socks" book from the library a month or so ago. Started the procrastination sock out of the procrastination yarn which happily sits in the procrastination basket. The patterns are all for knitting with 5 needles, I have 4, so I translate the pattern to work with 4. I mark down the translation, knit sock #1. All is good. Then I start sock #2, get half way down the cuff, the book is due. And I, thinking "I have the translated pattern marked down so I will return the book and all will be well." Yet another round of procrastination sets in while I work on my weaving and dealt with colds, flus, and a sinus infection (in Bill). Not to mention all of the other stuff that surfaces in the a day in the life of a mother of 4. Wednesday night, after happily bedding down all short people, I think about a movie and my sock.

    Here's the DUHH. I have copied down the pattern until the heel has been turned. Sigh. Sometimes I amaze myself. But I will just add this little incident to all of the other balls that I have been dropping lately. I think that I am going to have to break my one knitting project at a time rule. Maybe it is time to give the lace shawl another attempt. Kate, I'm a gonna need some help!

    And I told you that the egg painting was going to come later. Here are two of mine and Liz's two painting their eggs. Wee Nicole showed no interest in the proceedings. Thank the Flying Spagetti Monster! I remember painting eggs with Mira when the boys were little and there were no end of tears as little hands crushed delicate eggs. These kids are all at the stage that I can set them up and walk away. I'm loving it.

    I got a call from my sisters last night. They were in a casino in Niagara Falls drinking G&T's and spending a few bucks. They will be here soon! I can hardly wait!

    Thursday, April 06, 2006

    Recipe time

    Today is Jasmine's birthday. Ya gotta do SOMETHING for a kid on her birthday, right? Especially if it is a rainy school day. Enter....

    Carrot Pineapple Muffins

    3 cups flour
    1.5 cups sugar
    2 tsp baking soda
    2 tsp baking powder
    2 tsp cinnamon heaping
    1 cup oil
    2 eggs
    1 cup crushed pineapple
    2 tsp vanilla
    2 cups carrots grated

    Measure everything in a large mixing bowl and stir well. Grease muffin tins (or use paper cupcake cups) and fill 3/4 full. Bake at 350 C for 20- 25 minutes or until muffins spring back when lightly poked. Makes 24 muffins.

    That is it. It is one of the easiest recipe's that I use. The kids love them. They are nice with cream cheese frosting or a piece of old cheddar. Bill likes them with butter. The mix keeps up to two weeks in a fridge, and the cooked muffins freeze well. What's not to like?

    The recipe originally came from a coffee shop where I worked in my other life. Molly's. Actually, back then it was Mim's. An ill fated partnership. In any case, I made at least 3 or 4 batches of this stuff every week and the recipe eventually stuck on my sugared and caffeinated brain. It is an old stand by in my house. Even Liz's boy child, a self confessed carrot loather, loves these.

    My freshly dyed weft yarn is almost dry, thanks to the dehumidifier.

    And, I now know why there is such a term as "Spring Cleaning". All of a sudden, I have light in my house, thanks to an ever brighter and more powerful sun. I am now seeing all of the grime that was hidden in shadows throughout the winter.


    So far it has only effected my kitchen. But before long, I know that it shall spread to other parts of my house. I don't know whether to be happy or sad. It might just end up being too much cleaning. But then I shall have a clean house, right? At least until the kids get home.

    Wednesday, April 05, 2006

    Progress update

    Shawl #1 is off the loom! And it is really quite a bit longer than I had figured on. About 90 inches. It will shrink up a bit when I wash it so the final measurement will not be given until later. This is where a guide string comes in handy. In any case, because all of the preliminary set up has been already done, all that I have to do is tie on again and I am ready to weave shawl #2. I usually don't cut projects off as I weave them unless there is a tension problem, but I thought that seeing as there was a deadline for my shawl, I would break with tradition.

    And even as we speak, there is a skein of wool drying and one in the dye pot! I am having so much fun. Thanks Jay for kick starting me on a project that I have wanted to do for about 8 months now.

    If I had a camera....

    I could show you PROGRESS!!! Yes indeed, the red part of the warp is peeking up over the back beam. Which means that I have about 18 inches left to weave. If I can get my butt in my seat, I should be able to finish today. And then I have to decide what to do about fringing and finishing. Now the big question is will I be able to finish BOTH by next Thursday? Press on girl. Press on.

    Monday, April 03, 2006


    Poached from somewhere out there in blogland........

    X the things you’ve done in your life…

    (X) Smoked a cigarette
    (X) Drank so much you threw up( that cheap wine)
    ( ) Crashed a friend’s car
    (X) Stolen a car (it was a friend’s uncle's car…)
    (X) Been in love
    (X) Been dumped
    (X) Shoplifted (unintentionally, I went back and paid for my lettuce later. Don't ask)
    (X) Been laid off/fired
    (X) Quit your job
    ( )Been in a fist fight
    (X) Snuck out of your parent’s house ( well, duh)
    (X) Had feelings for someone who didn’t have them back
    ( ) Been arrested
    ( ) Gone on a blind date
    (X) Lied to a friend (yes, I like your hair)
    (X) Skipped school (once, to go to a Science Fair. I got caught. Go figure)
    ( ) Seen someone die
    (X) Been to Canada (I live in Canada)
    ( ) Been to Mexico
    (X) Been to Europe
    (X) Been on a plane
    (X) Been lost
    ( ) Been on the opposite side of the country
    (X) Swam in the ocean
    (X) Felt like dying
    (X) Cried yourself to sleep
    (X) Fell asleep studying
    (X) Played cops and robbers
    ( ) Recently colored your hair
    (X) Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t (remember those butterscotch chips?)
    (X) Made prank phone calls
    (X) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose
    (X) Caught a snowflake on your tongue
    (X) Danced in the rain
    (X) Climbed a tree
    (X) Written a letter to Santa Claus
    (X) Been kissed under the mistletoe
    (X) Watched the sun rise with someone you care about
    (X) Blown bubbles
    (X) Made a bonfire on the beach
    (X) Crashed a party
    (X) Gone roller-skating
    (X) Ice-skated

    I guess that the older you are the more chance you have had to have done some stupid or beautiful things. And of all of the things that I haven't done, the only one that I really want to do is go to the other side of the country. I think that I can live without being arrested or seeing someone die.

    Another reason to take a course

    This little puppy is called a bobbin winder. It is just one of the many tools that a weaver needs. Well, I am sure that one could handwind bobbins. I have before, but it takes ssssssoooooooo lllllooooonnnggg that it very soon becomes painful. This baby retails at $110. You can get electric ones too, and they go up to $330. Those are Canadian prices, but the exchange rate isn't THAT bad right now. If you do decide that you want to weave and are patient, you can usually find most equipment used. Which is good. I have been weaving for more than 15 years and have all of the equipment that I need. The only things that I bought new were bobbins and a ball winder. I have a few things that fall into the "want" category, like more reeds and an 8 (or 12) harness loom, but those will have to wait until I can either find a great deal, or justify spending a couple of thousand dollars on myself. I'm thinking that neither is going to happen any time soon. In the mean time, I have my cute little heirloom Dorset, my 27" LeClerc Fanny, and my 45" Milleville.

    Saturday, April 01, 2006


    Here is my progress. I am weaving. I have probably woven about 2.5 feet. Normally I would use what is called a guide string, This is basically a string that is tied to the front beam next to the warp and knotted at the beginning and end of each project that I am weaving. When you hit a knot, it is time for a change. Because I only have two things on my loom right now and they are completely different colours, I am letting my colour change dictate when one project ends and the next begins. Makes sense to me.

    Even though I have kids, they were pretty quiet for April Fools Day. Any one out there get gotten?