Sunday, December 30, 2007

Making samosas

First, I would like to appoligise to those of you who have read this ( or part of this) before. Bolgger is being a bit if a prat.

Here in Fredericton, there has been a craze happening. It started a number of years ago at the Farmers Market in the historic downtown. It was the humble samosa. For those of you who have never had one, they are a pastry that is filled with spiced meat or vegetables. The first to introduce the humble samosa were the Patel family. They made a variety of samosas of both vegetable and a variety of meats in a range of spiciness. After a number of years as reining supreme in the samosa market, a new competitor emerged. Samosa Delight. Their samosas were a little different. The pastry was thicker and (some say) the samosas were of a better flavour. I remained undecided. Then one day, Patel's samosas were no where to be seen. The whole family had gone to India for a wedding and were not expected back for three months. That was the chance that Samosa Delight was waiting for. They surged ahead in the customer favour (because they were available) and Patel's samosas were left behind. Three months is a long time to go without the wondrous samosa and many converted. Patels came back and many of their loyal followers returned to their folds, but eventually, Patel's faded away. That left Samosa Delight as undefended champion of the field. And that was when "The Samosa Wars" began. Apparently, Samosa Delights success did not go unnoticed by their neighbours at the Farmers Market. The reason for this was that Samosa Delight's customers were willing to stand in an ever increasingly long line for a taste of these wondrous creations. Which, in turn, blocked the access to their stalls, at which point, the offended stall holders complained to the Market Authorities who decided to put a stop to all of this commercial success.

The Samosa Delight vendors were banished from the interior of the market and left to fend for themselves in the great out doors in what is known to Farmer's Market goers as "Fast Food Alley". Which is basically a venue for Donors, Bear Paws ( pastry's really) various Chinese and Greek Cuisine, and lately Kettle Corn (which is a pop corn that is truly THE best popcorn that I have ever tasted!!!) Their loyal customers will STILL line up, outside people! for some times as long as 45 minutes to get the wonder called "the Samosa".

Us? Well, we are not such a people that will stand in line for any more than 5 minutes tops. I have always been this way. I remember in my early 20's walking away from " The Hill Top", then the hottest bar in town, because there were more that 10 people in front of me. No. Possible. Way.

So, If I am at the market before 7 am (which seems to be the only time to avoid a line up) I just pass the line by and think "Maybe next week".

Until this week when Bill came up with the brilliant idea of making our own samosas. So here is our experiment in samosa making. There really are a ridiculous amount of samosa recipes out there.

Rolling out the wrappers. This looked like it would be a serious Pain In the Ass until I suggested the pasta maker. What a wonderful invention. Heaven sent really.
Here is two samosas ready to be wrapped. We made both chicken and vegetable. Yum.
Here are many, many samosas that are ready for the oven. We decided to brush them with olive oil and bake them instead of going with the normal deep frying method, because, really, does my butt need to be any larger?
And here they are all ready to consume along with a coriander hot sauce. They are not quite as good as the Samosa Delight ones but this is only the second time that we have tried them and I am sure that we will come up with a wonderful alternatively. The vegetable one's have already been proclaimed far superior and the filling may even make an appearance on the table as a vegetable during one of my "Indian Curry Nights" that start to show up this time of year.

Long live Indian cooking. So Yummy!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Waaahhhhh

The holidays are a busy time. On this we can all agree. And sometimes when we are rushing to complete our assigned tasks, we over look some small, but important details. Like that single purple sock that ended up going through the washing machine and dryer. Sigh. If I hadn't decided to knit the mittens out of the leftover yarn, I could have knit a replacement sock. But alas, that is not to be.


Merino really does shrink a lot, doesn't it?
So I have decided to knit a new pair of socks to replace the one so foolishly lost in the washing machine incident. I dug into my "yarns for sale" stash (seeing as I am done selling until the spring) and hauled out two skeins of this dark blue yarn. Maybe I'll have them finished before spring this time.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

You know what they say...

about necessity being the mother of invention? Well I can only agree. I was happily knitting away on my mittens the other night and came to the point of needing something on which to put the stitches for the thumbs. I know that I can thread the stitches on some yarn, but I find that a bit annoying. So I decide to go searching to see what I can find. In the bathroom, I hit pay dirt. In the form of heart barrettes that Mira may have had in her hair once for a total of about 30 seconds. They are in perfect shape and very smooth, with a clip that will not let the stitches slip off. They are being moved out of the bathroom and into my knitting kit. I may even make a couple of holes in my needle holder and clip them right on.

And I am able to show you these pictures of my wonderful new stitch holders because I am the proud new owner of a digital camera. My sister, Christine and her husband, Joe were very generous this year and bought me a camera! It was a complete surprise and they even made me cry. I happily snapped a bunch of pictures on Christmas and yesterday, Bill took as turn. Much to the dismay of Grandma. Unfortunately, Christine succumbed to the flu on Christmas day and spent much of the day laying down in a darkened room.

We had a great Christmas and ate too much (of course) and the eating shall continue over the next few days as we work our way through the turkey. And the candies. And chocolate. And.....well, you get the picture.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Too all. And to all a good night.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Am I really ready?

Did you ever think that you were ready for Christmas only to find that you had forgotten something vital? Like thawing the turkey? Or a gift for a sibling?

I don't think that I am in that boat. I think that I am ready. Having said that, I have just jinxed myself and will have forgotten something major, although I, at this point, have no clue as to what that may be.

My sister is in town and she came and gathered all of my kids while I was braving the grocery store this afternoon. It meant that Bill and I had a chance to put groceries away unaided ( I shall be able to find everything this time!) and finish wrapping the last few presents and put the lot of them under the tree. We had discussed this event with the older children before hand. And by discuss, I mean threaten them with bodily harm, or worse, loss of any present that was "accidentally" picked at, bumped, poked, prodded, or unwrapped in any way. Looking is OK. Touching to rearrange, sort, pick at, count, move, or shake, is not. They willingly agreed. They were prepared. Nicole was not.

So, being four and having a tree full of presents suddenly appear should seem like a wonderful affair. Wonderful until you are told that you can't open any of them for another 36 hours! How many ways can you say meltdown? Howling banshees had nothing on that child! She ran to the bed, screaming, buried her head under a pillow, and fell asleep within about two minutes. Phew! That was easy.

Ha! I should have know that it was to good to last. About 20 minutes later, I figure that it is safe to go in and check on her. I rearrange the blankets and remove the pillow from her head. Gently and lovingly touch her quiet slumbering back and leave the room. Bad idea. Two minutes later I am happily knitting away on my almost finished mittens ( more about that later) and who should appear, but a very somber girl with the worst case of bed head that I have seen in a long time. She wants to play a game of cards. My mother taught her the game that we called "war". Basically we split the deck in two and lay down the top card from each pile and the highest card wins. We were playing along quite happily until about the third hand when suddenly, out of nowhere, the banshee made a reappearance. "My cards are all upside down!" She decides. I'm sure that most of you are quite familiar with playing cards and know that it doesn't matter which end is up, you can still read the numbers and symbols in the corner. Well, apparently we are all wrong.

After listening to the howls of indignation in the other room for about 5 minutes, I decided that she was not going to calm down and had to be put to bed. She was relatively cooperative about going to the bedroom. Only kicked me once. And equally cooperative about getting undressed. Not quiet. Just relatively cooperative. She became decidedly uncooperative over the issue of pyjamas. I pick my battles these days and decided that she could win a reprieve on this one for the time being. I, in my sneakiness, would slip some PJ's on her later. When she is really down for the night. As for brushing her teeth? I wouldn't have ventured there tonight for all the tea in China.

The howls and screams have continued through this whole procedure and continue while I crawl into bed to give her some cuddles. This usually works to calm her down. Not tonight. Being a resourceful woman, I have another trick up my sleeve that usually helps to quiet her down. As many mothers do, I will occasionally sing. When Nicole was a baby, my singing put her to sleep and did all of the thing that a mother's singing was suppose to do. When she became verbal she started asking my to stop singing. Hmmm.

So now I can sometimes get her to quiet down by singing. She yells at me to stop and I tell her "I will if you will". It usually works too. Not tonight. After being kicked repeatedly and having my eardrums permanently damaged, I decided to haul out the heavy artillery. I sent in Bill.

And now, my friends, all is silent in my house. And I am thankful for the powers of the papa.

And I was quite serious when I said "later" about the mittens.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Solstice!

Today is the day that many of us have been looking forward to. The shortest day of the year. I don't know about you, but for me there is something about getting up in the dark and coming home in the dark that really bite.

Today is the first day of winter, but I shall forgive it that. It is also the shortest day of the year. Which means...... that tomorrow will have a bit more sunlight. And the next day will be longer still, and so on and so on until we slide into glorious spring! The Equinox! Where the day and the night have come to an agreement. Just that one day, they are equal.

Then the sunlight starts to win. The sunlight rules! Summer comes on, full bore! Flowers and trees and the birds come back. I can forgive the mosquitoes, the birds need them. Summer is about sitting in the back yard with friends and a cold beer. It is barbecues and spinning outside. It is the lake and sweating and swimming. It is no school, no lunches to make, and no homework! It is wonderful!

I love summer and as of today, we are headed back into it instead of away from it.

So join me in celebrating the shortest day of the year, because it gets brighter from here!

Happy Solstice!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Flu

Sick. Sick. Sick.
Sunday, Nicole started "not feeling well". Sunday night she started vomiting.

Monday Bill started not feeling well.

Monday night, Simon succumbed.

Tuesday, after school, it was Liam's turn.

Tuesday night, I went down.

And lastly, around 4 am on Wednesday morning, Mira was the last to fall.

Nicole is now back to normal.

Bill is feeling better, but still a bit achy.

Simon is still not 100%.

Liam is all better.

I am still a bit achy and tired.

Mira is still sick.

I'm glad that this happened this week and not next week. I really don't like being sick over Christmas. That happened once, about 6 or 7 years ago. Bill picked up the Sydney Flu. I don't know if any of you remember that particular bug, but I have to tell you that it remains firmly in my mind. It was a really bad one and Bill was sick for two weeks. The rest of us all became sick too, but none of us for so long. The poor man missed Christmas entirely. I took the kids (who were fully recovered by Christmas day, ahh the resilience of youth) to my mothers house and because I was still in that tired and achy stage, I went and laid down upstairs while various aunties entertained my kids.

Actually, this was a bad week to get sick. Bill missed his Christmas department party, Nicole missed her concert, Simon and Liam missed their concert, and I missed my staff party. Oh well. At least we won't miss Christmas. And tomorrow, my sister Christine and her husband Joe are coming to spend Christmas in town! Yeah!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Disappointed Children

Saturday was tree decorating day. Liam and Bill went to the market to do the tree hunting. I had to go to my market so the only thing that I did in regards to decorating the tree was to dig out the boxes of ornaments from the back shed. Bill put up the tree and did the lights so that the kids could decorate it. Usually there is a flurry of children throwing ornaments on the tree, but this year, apparently the boys were not really interested and so Mira decorated most of it all by herself. She did a really great job.

We were also suppose to get a big storm yesterday and last night and everyone thought that schools were going to be cancelled. Alas, it was not as bad as was predicted and the little darlings have to go to school today. I have to go to work. Bill was planning to stay home any way because he has a pile of exams to mark. At least he will be able to do it in relative quiet.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Couldn't wait!

I received a shipment of some superwash merino roving a couple of weeks ago and managed to get a chance to dye some last weekend. My immediate observations are that it dyes really differently from the regular merino. It accepts the dye very quickly and the dye tends to stay where you put it. I am thinking that I am going to have to try some experimentation in the near future to see if I can figure out the best way to work with the superwash. I have about 5 pounds to play with. But first, I want to see how my dye experimentation spins up.

I was also fortunate enough recently to be able to purchase about a pound and a half of raw alpaca fleece. If anyone has any suggestions as to how I should approach this, I would be grateful. Should I wash it first? Card it? Pick it? There is a bit of VM but not a lot. I was told that the fleece was from the back and neck, which I assume is desirable. I think that I may want to dye some of it before I spin it. I do, after all have a bit of the stuff to play with.

And here is what I couldn't wait for. I was going to wait until Christmas before using my new basket, but I needed somewhere to put my freshly dyed superwash merino. The basket is still sitting on the chair in front of my loom which is blissfully empty. I do have a bobbin full of the next scarf all plied and waiting to be skeined off, but I am not feeling any pressure. I may get around to weaving it this week coming up. Or I may not. I still have a good selection of stock left.

Saturday is tree day here. The kids are just about ready to burst. They are looking forward to a two week break from school. So am I. No worries about getting up in time, or lunches, or HOMEWORK! Two weeks of not having to rush. I hope.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Well that's a surprise!

Christmas cards done, sealed, addressed, stamped.

And it is only the 10th of December!

I still have to get them to a mail box, but I need to walk by one tomorrow so I think that I will make it.

Who knew that it was possible for me to actually get Christmas card out before Christmas?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

New Baskets

There is a craft sale in town this weekend. I wandered over yesterday after my market was finished and I found the most wonderful booth. This woman had baskets galore and they were all reasonably priced. I fell in love and although I wanted to bring home half a dozen, I restrained myself to two. One for me and one for my mother-in-law.

The one in the front is a magazine basket and it is for Grandma. It will be filled with Grandma and Grandpa's other presents. Most of which I have yet to buy. How many shopping days until Christmas?

The one in the rear is MINE! and it will be holding my yarns and shuttles next to my loom. I have a basket that I made a few years ago, but it lately seems to be a little to small. Maybe I just need to clean it out more often. My new basket is very sturdy and has legs! I LOVE it! Yesterday after I returned from the sale, I put it on the kitchen table and admired it while Bill went about supper preparations. I have to say that it is nice to have Bill make supper on Saturdays. This doesn't happen every week , but when it does, it is wonderful.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

More snow pictures

My mail box. Despite the snow, the phone bill managed to make an appearance today. I guess what they say about rain, sleet, and snow not disrupting the mail is true.
This would be the back yard. The white bump in the foreground would be the barbecue. The neighbours van to the left, and our station wagon to the right.

And here is Mira staring in wonder at the amount of snow across the street. Her and Liam were outside by 6:50 am. It wasn't even light out and they were clamoring to go outside. They spent most of the day out side, although very little of the driveway was shoveled. I think that I need to train them better.

SNOW DAY!

Here is my street at 6:30 this morning. The sidewalk had been plowed. Twice. The road has not. Usually it is the opposite and cars are free to roam and us poor pedestrians are left slogging through snow up to our knees. Needles to say, school has been cancelled. Even the Universities have both been cancelled. Almost unheard of.
My front step. I pushed open the door and stuck the camera out to take this. Yesterday and overnight we had 15-20 cm and today we are suppose to get another 10 to 15 cm. That is more than a foot of snow. The kids are going to have a blast today. More pictures to follow.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

What a weekend!

Thank you all for your well wishes this weekend! All of those positive thoughts and feelings went into me having a wonderful weekend.
Every year, I swear that I will take pictures of the other exhibitors and the building ( which is a beautiful old building with gorgeous woodwork and stain glass windows. Below is the only picture that I took. Even though I was there for more than 8 hours. When Sara and I arrived (early) there was a bunch of things to take care of. Like getting the refreshments set up. Thankfully they were policed by a student provided by Memorial Hall. We also had to get the decorations up (Sarah's job) and mark out the booth spaces and label them with the names of the other exhibitors (my job).
Here is my booth about an hour into the show. There was a lull for a few moments and I remembered to snap a picture. And then it was busy until the end. And in no way, shape , or form is that a complaint. I will say that I had a lighter load coming home, for which I am grateful!
And I also wanted to share my Friday with you. Here is the studio at the college just full of first year students putting warps on their looms.
The students first year is a Foundation of Visual Arts program. Which means that they take a lot of colour theory, design, drawing, and history classes along with what are called "studio exploration" classes. The studios that they chose from are Fiber Arts, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Fabric Surface Design, Jewelry and Metal Arts, and Clay. Before Christmas, each student can chose three studios to explore, and after Christmas they chose their major. This year we have four students that whose first choice is Fiber Arts. This makes me very happy. Especially as all of the students are strong and a couple of them are really, really good.
And here is my mixed warp white shawl that is still on the loom. I was able to weave one off on Friday, fringe and wash it Friday evening, and have it on my table Saturday morning. I still have it, but if it lasts till Christmas, I will be surprised. If I still have it at that time, then I won't be heart broken. It is a blend of silk, sari ribbon, cotton, silk noil, rayon, silk/rayon blend, various wools. So pretty.

And guess what I am going to do right now. I am going to watch a movie and do NOTHING!!!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

74

74 WHAT? Varieties of tomatoes of course!

Unfortunately, counting the tomatoes has been about all that I have been able to do because I have been weaving up a storm.

My bundle of pink warp has been transformed into three scarves/shawls. They are at that awkward size where they may work as either. Which is about 18 inches. I have fringed two of them and will wash them this afternoon.
And I made up another mixed warp yesterday at work and went back after supper to get it on the loom. I have it threaded through the reed and heddles and about half way wound on. I am warping it front to back because of tangling issues that I have had with warps like this before. The pink series of scarves was a bit of a pain to go on, but it was a breeze to weave. I am glad that I know both methods of warping and am learning when to apply each. Although I will say that for regular warps, back to front wins every time.

It is my big sale this weekend and I am hoping that there will be a lot of people and they will spend a lot of money. Not just at my booth, but at everyone's . I wish that you all could come.

Time to push the kids out the door and get ready for a meeting with the other organizer of the sale. And then it is off to the college to finish warping my white and cream shawls. I found some silk sari ribbon in gold and white that I have also incorporated and they are so pretty. I can hardly wait to see how they turn out.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

It's Here!


My seed catalogue! A full page of pea varieties, three pages of cucumbers, and four full pages of glorious tomatoes to chose from! Oh yeah! Spring is just around the corner.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

As Promised

Here is why I haven't been around much lately.

Three chenille colour and weave scarves. I had made the warp last year and put it away before I had a chance to weave it off. After Christmas was over, I also put my loom away and concentrated (such as it was) on knitting socks and relaxing. So there it languished all winter, spring, and summer. When I went to put it on, I remembered that I had made it three scarves long. I usually make the chenille scarves 60 inches long, with 6 inches of take up. I forgot about the take up part and wove them 60 inches long. Which meant that they were a little short when they came off the loom. Except for the last one. Which ended up being 94 inches long. That is one long scarf. I guess that you are never to old to get careless.
Next are the four merino shawls I dyed. I dyed the shawls in my usual way by laying out the warp and painting each shawl a different set of colours. These ones all ended up being 72 inches plus fringe. It was easy to see where the old shawl ended and the new one began because the colour changed. Too bad the colour didn't change for the chenille ones.
And yet another handspun. I am liking the striping that I get when I use the black.
And this is my next set of scarves. It is a mixture of pretty much anything that I had that was red or pink.

I'm off to see the babe sing in a wee concert. Should be cute.

Stuck

You know how sometimes you get a song stuck in your head? Yesterday at work, this was stuck in my head. All. Day. Long. Thankfully, I work at a place where you can sing people songs like this and everyone thinks it great. It's an art school so people are doing weird stuff all the time. I fit right in.

Come back later for some progress pictures.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Would you just make up your mind

Hi, remember me? From the land of ice and snow a few days ago. I get up this morning and check to see what is in store for me weather wise and I can't help but note that it is 17 C. That would be 62 F. This following on the heels of snow that stuck around for 24 hours plus. It is suppose to get colder during the day and end up being just below freezing by bedtime.

So my big question is, what layers do I put on today so that I don't melt this morning, or freeze tonight on the way home? Did I mention the heavy rain that we are suppose to get between now and then?

Weaving progress.....

First two shawls fringed and washed
Third shawl cut off and fourth shawl ready to weave as soon as my weft dries
Second chenille scarf almost finished weaving
New mixed yarn warp in pinks and reds ready to go on the home loom as soon as the chenille comes off.

And for no other reason than they are really cute, here are some yearling alpaca's at Legacy Lane Fiber Farm.

video

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Weaving up a storm

Two more shawls woven and fringed, they just need a wash. Two more are on the loom. I usually cut off the shawls as I weave them. The thought of all that fringing at once makes me break out into a cold sweat. I am weaving them at the school to take advantage of a 36" 8 harness loom that is at my disposal This way I can fit the fringing in around the rest of my life at home. One and a half scarves in green chenille are on my 17" 4 harness Dorset at home. I got a really great deal on some chenille a couple of years ago and wove a few scarves off last year. I had put them away for the summer, but have had them on the table at market for the past few weeks and people have been showing interest, so I decided to weave the warp that I had made last year. I have some more chenille yarn and may make another few warps depending on time. I also have another handspun scarf to weave. I just love weaving these things off. Talk about instant gratification! Less than 4 hours from balls of yarn to finished scarf (drying time not included )

And upon waking up, I discovered that we have our first snow fall. Just a few inches. But still.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Heaven Sent

Via Lilloet.

Thanks Kansasa of Canadian Crafter for the gift of Grape Jelly (two kinds) and the most amazing Carrot Cake Jam that I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. I'd take a picture but empty jars are kind of boring to look at. Actually, only the Carrot Cake Jam is empty. But when I get my shawls (and laundry) all done, I am so going to make some of this stuff. Some of it will be given away for Christmas (I can hear the moans of delight already) and some will end up on my jam shelf. I think that it won't last long though.

I have also participated in a traveling journal which needs to be sent off today, and alas, no photo of the piece I did in that either. But it is going to come back to me again so hopefully I will be able to share my work. It is a collage with the theme "where do we go when we die". I was thinking of Charlotte. I can see her in the big studio in the sky, weaving with exotic fibers and perfect tension.

Monday, November 05, 2007

I think I may have won!

Today I unbag that last two bags of wool that have been sitting for the past two weeks fumigating. The last two bags are, of course, the ones with all the small balls that students use for tapestries. I guess that I was saving the best for last. And then ( I hope) the battle of the moths will be over!

I also started weaving my next set of shawls. I am about 2/3 of the way through the first one but there seem to be a few problems with my loom. So, seeing as fixing looms is the technician's job, I am also going to work on that today. I am using a 36" Macomber and it is just a wee bit fussy about a few things and I hate to have my weaving interrupted to have to stick a few of those metal things back on the treddles and lamms.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

I needed that.

Wednesday night Bill took the boys and the wee one out to do the candy snatching rounds. Mira went off with a couple of her friends. And I stayed home to wait by the door and hand out loot. Thankfully the computer is in the room right next to the door and so I was able to spend some time surfing while waiting for the door bell to ring.

For some reason, a couple of weeks ago, I started thinking about Carol Burnett. Actually, I started thinking about her show. I remember watching it as a kid and laughing and laughing. Ten years ago thinking would be about as far as I would have ever gotten. Now, we have YouTube and you can almost guarantee that if it was once on TV, someone has posted it. So out I go looking and I find Tim Conway's Elephant Story. Or more accurately, the outtakes from Tim Conway's Elephant Story. I think that I watched it 3 times and each time I ended up laughing.

I worked on Wednesday and I think that about 75% of the people in the school were dressed up. Staff and students alike. I love working in such a creative atmosphere. There was also a costume contest for the students and for once the female with the least costume didn't win! The winner was a third year fashion student who had made a roman solider costume complete with breast plate, shield, skirt, sandals, and helmet. And the helmet had the little feathery thing sticking out of the top. Second place went to a first year who came as Batty McSomething-or-other. She is a little bit of a thing and a goth girl and her costume really was spectacular. And third place went to a trio of students who dressed up as Dorthy, Tin Man, and Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz.

When I told Bill about how many people had dressed up he asked me if I had felt left out. I didn't because I had dressed up as the Studio Fairy. She's the one that picks stuff up and puts it away. Fixes threading mistakes when the poor student is on their last nerve. Finds lost things (because she put it away, don't ya know). The two third year student dressed as a pot of gold and a rainbow. I wish that I had had a camera with me.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

OK

I just got back from the visitation for Charlotte. I am actually not home. I just didn't want to go back to my house full of life just yet. I think that I need a few minutes to readjust. I found my self rather short tempered most of the day and figured out why on the way out the door. I don't deal with death very well. I don't deal well with it at all.

Why am I the only one that can't stop the water works? Everyone else seems to be able to keep it together. There is something in the air of funeral homes that gets me going. Maybe I should hire myself out a a professional mourner. I could just sit over to one side and sob quietly. Blow my nose gently. Take a few gasping breaths and get everyone going.

Something else I noticed tonight....There were 16 boxes of tissues, but no trash cans. The tissues were even in lovely marble tissue box holders. Do you think that I could find a place to deposit my used ones? Nope. No equally lovely trash receptacles. I just had to take my grief with me.

It was a closed casket and so I am still having a hard time believing that she is gone. I know that she was in there though. Her casket was draped with one of her tapestries. It is one of the most beautiful pieces of weaving that I have ever seen. I had seen it before and though so then, so this is not some knee jerk response caused by an out pouring of grief.

And she has given me her loom. It is a hand built 12 harness countermarch. It is huge. And I mean HUGE. The fellow that built it for his wife didn't really know a lot about how a loom works. Charlotte and a mutual friend Jack have been working on it on and off for a number of years. Charlotte brought me on board this spring and I added my input. It worked well with 4 harnesses , and between the three of us making adjustments and suggestions, we have it up to 8 with a passable, but not great shed. John said that I could come and get it anytime with in the next 10 years or so, which is good because I really don't have any place to put it right now.

Charlotte, you weren't suppose to die this soon.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Goodbye Charlotte

It is with great sadness that I note the passing of a friend and fellow weaver, Charlotte Glencross. Charlotte was a huge supporter of the Arts and weaving community. She was instrumental in transforming an abandoned school into a center for the arts.
Charlotte's woven creations were always stunning for her use of colour and materials.

She had cancer but had been doing better lately. I am having a hard time believing that she is gone.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Guess What I'm Having for Supper Tonight

The first night that I went to Bill's for supper we had Spicy Chicken with Peanuts. I got there about 6 and didn't leave till 3am. We ate, yakked, and drank wine (and also went through a copious amount of kleenex because we both had nasty colds). So some were around 1 or 2 am Bill hauled some of this out of the fridge because he had made it a couple of nights before and there was some leftovers. It was sooooo good. He said that he stole the recipe from a magazine. Stole, because he never actually bought the magazine but went back three times to the store to stand in line at the check out in order to memorize it. It was a bit on the dry side, so when he made it, he added the wine.

Chicken Fettuchini with Sundried Tomatoes

1/4 cup olive oil
3 large chicken breasts
1 onion diced
1 clove garlic thinly sliced
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1 medium carrot grated
1/4 cup olive oil soaked, chopped, packed sundried tomatoes
12 oz fettuchini
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (do not use the stuff in the plastic shaker)
1/3 - 2/3 cup white wine

Cut chicken into thin strips. Saute in olive oil over medium heat. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon to thoroughly drain the oil.
Saute onion, garlic, and fennel seed in the oil for about 6 minutes or until onion is soft.
Add the carrot and tomatoes and cook until carrot is soft.
Have pasta cooking in a separate pot at the same time. When it is ready, drain and put into a large bowl. Pour the wine over the pasta and stir. Add the chicken, and sauteed ingredients and stir. Sprinkle the cheese a little at a time and stir.
Enjoy this dish with the leftover wine.

And speaking of leftovers, When I make this dish now, I always make a double batch because that way there will be leftovers. This dish is wonderful as a leftover.

And now on to other things....

Finished spinning and plying Mermaids Dream the other night. Looks much like my other skein, except that it is 450 yards.
I have put down the shawl for no other reason the I have started mittens. It is getting to be that time of the year when our fingers start to get a bit cold and our thoughts turn to mittens. This is my first pair of mittens in years and they are going surprisingly quickly. I just started them on Monday or Tuesday and I am already halfway through the increase for the thumb gore. Unfortunately, I may have to put them down for a while because I seem to have a bit of bursitis in my shoulder. Maybe if I can stay away from as much shoulder irritating activities as possible this weekend, I have a chance at letting it clear up quickly. Sigh. Maybe I'll try switching to knitting right handed for a while.
I am halfway through threading a new set of shawls on a loom at the school. And I have my next set of shawls all planned out in my mind. I should have been doing this months ago, but somehow lost the initiative to do any weaving beyond my handspun scarves. They are so quick to do up that it makes weaving seem effortless.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Holy Tomatoes Batman!

This is our stash of sundried tomatoes. O.K., dehydrated tomatoes. It all works out to the same thing. I think that we have enough for the winter. Even if we use them every day. Unlikely, but a nice thought. Most of them are dried to quite a crispy consistency although some of them are a little more malleable and are packed in olive oil. We also ground some of the extremely dry ones into a powder and mixed them with some olive oil to have tomato oil for salad dressing.

So I think that I am looking for a few new recipes that use sundried tomatoes. Any suggestions of fish free recipes?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Home free (I hope)

It looks like our Vapona strips have done their job! The yarns all look pretty good. Of course only time will tell. But in the mean time, I have started bagging everything. All cones are in their own baggie (those thin kind that you find in the grocery stores), and all skeins are slipped into Ziploc bags. I am about 3/4 of the way through the process of bagging and shelving everything. And I am actually having a great time! Everything is getting organized. Before, everything was loosely organized into colour groups with no regard to yarn size or type. I am grouping everything according to weight and colour. This is actually something that I have wanted to do for a while but have put off because it is such a big job. Huge job.

But with everything being off the shelves and in bags from necessity, it is not a big deal to dump one of the bags on the felting table and start sorting. For those of you who haven't seen the felting table, it is basically a 4'x8' coated table with two inch sides to keep the water in and a drain at one end to let the water out. The sides help keep the various cones and skeins on the table while I sort and bag. Perfect.

I spent most of my day yesterday running between the felting table and the shelf with a few minutes here and there helping one of the FVA (Foundation Visual Arts- aka. First Year) students getting a warp on a loom. Thankfully she is one of those people who you can show how to do something once and say "call me when you are done" and she will complete the task correctly.

It was really nice to sit down last night, after, of course, I had prepared supper. I have started roping the kids into doing dishes and for the most part they are doing a great job. All that nagging is finally starting to pay off. And after supper, we sat down to watch a movie so I was able to do a bit more spinning on Sailors Delight and I am happy to say that I am almost finished spinning. And then comes the plying.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The battle continues...

Yesterday was yarn day at work. I got to haul all of the bags of yarn from storage and let them air out a bit outside. Thankfully it was a beautiful sunny day. A little on the cool side, but that is to be expected in October in New Brunswick. I had to do some running around to find bags in which to put all of the yarn before putting it on the shelf. I finally settled on large Ziploc type bags for skeins and balls, large freezer bags for the larger cones, and produce bags from the grocery store for the smaller cones.
So far, I have gone through 60 Ziploc bags, and 10 large freezer bags. And emptied two garbage bags of yarn. Only 10 more to go. Plus all of the cottons that were on the shelves with the wool which I had to bag up and bring down to storage after bringing all of the wool up. We only had 12 of the Vapona strips and so things ended up having to be done in batches. I also had some student yarns to do.
I hope to get most of the rest of the yarn on the shelves on Friday, and the last of it on Monday. But that timeline is dependant on me having nothing else to do at work. Which may happen, but is highly unlikely.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Happy Wednesday


We're halfway to the weekend!

What are your wild plans?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Still

Knitting on my lace shawl. Just in case you though that I had abandoned it. I am into the second repeat of the body chart with 75 stitches on the needles. I do a couple of rows at night before heading off to bed. I am actually beginning to remember the repeat part. Which impresses the hell out of me. The stitch markers that I made myself are working well. In fact, I made a few more, just cause they are fun to make.

My head cold is still with me and seems to be getting worse instead of better. Blocked sinuses, sore throat, fuzzy head. Ugh.

Still spinning the second half of the second 4 oz of Sailors Delight. Although I looked in my bag of split roving and the colours reminded me of candy corn. Hmmmm. Time for a rename? Nah. Just a reaction to the season. And what am I going to do with 800+ yards of slightly heavier than lace weight yarn? I'm sure that I'll think of something.

I finished fringing my noil scarf. I did it the other night while waiting for clothes to dry. Twist a few fringes, go and tun the drum. Repeat. Which means the dryer is still not behaving in a way that it should. At least it is easier to start with the top off. I just turn the start knob and push the top of the drum with my hand.

And for those of you that have gotten this far, here is your reward. This is my latest hand spun scarf. Of course the colours are a bit washed out because I still haven't gotten the whole picture taking thing figured out.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blooming

The cacti are blooming in my house. Every summer the plants go out to live in the sun porch and every fall they move back into their winter residence. My rather dark living room. This simulated the light change that florist do in their mysterious back rooms to make them bloom. And so without further ado, here are 3 of my 4 different coloured cacti in bloom.




Oh my. After looking at those photos I realize that my poor plants are rather dusty. Washing them is on my to do list. But now I have to go wake up the kiddies and get everyone ready for school and myself ready for work.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

What happiness is not.....

My dryer has been acting up lately. As in it won't start. Bill has taken it apart and "fixed" it three or four times. And it always has not quite been the right thing. Not that all his hard work has been for nothing. The back bearing did need to be greased. The motor is much happier with it's contacts cleaned. And there was a lot of lint in various places. But the thing still won't start. In case you forgot, I have 4 kids. Kids mean laundry. 4 kids mean a lot of laundry. For a while, I was borrowing my neighbours clothes line. Unfortunately, it has been raining or we have had extremely high humidity for the past 5 days. No line. No dryer. No clean pants for my boys. As Bill said, the nag factor has taken a dramatic increase in the past few days.

But he thinks that he has it now. After much testing he thinks that that little beast seen circled below is the problem. He has gone off to consult with his friend Elmer. And hopefully will come home with a fixed circuit board.

Update: Still not working. Actually, it can be made to work if you reach inside and turn the drum with your hand and then quickly slam the door and turn the start button. This only works if the load is not so large that the weight of it will stop the drums rotation before you can get the start button turned. But seeing as this was how it was working before, it is not an improvement. The other fun thing about this dryer is that it will stop after 5 minutes and change direction. Or at least it used to. Now it just stops after 5 minutes.

Although something was discovered that was wrong with the small black rectangular thing in the lower left side.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Happiness is....

M.....

Making bamboo baskets.


Like I mentioned the other day, I went to a Bamboo Basket workshop yesterday. It was an all day affair and was also wonderful!

There were 12 of us and most everyone was a first timer and made a random weave basket like mine a few days ago.
Here Jiro is giving a demonstration.

Because I had already made a random weave basket, I wanted to try something a bit different. This was I wanted to do. Linda had also been in the workshop a few weeks ago and also wanted to make one of these. Jiro said that was no problem.
First you start out by making a base with the hexagon weave,
Then you make three more for a total of four. The basket has four layers and the bases must all be made first. You then measure them all and chose the smallest one for the inside layer. A metal tool is heated up and applied at the edge of the hexagon base and the spokes are bent up. You only have to do this with the first layer because the bend is so sharp, if you don't use the hot tool, the bamboo will break.
Then you cut three pieces of thicker bamboo and place them in the base. This will hold you hexagon together while you start to weave. At this point, I got so into making the basket that I forgot to take any more pictures until it was almost time to go.
And here is where I got to. The first layer is complete and the second is started. When I got home, I continued to weave and have the second complete and the third layer almost done. One more layer and then the rim.
Here is my table mate Carol. She is an artist who was taking the workshop to see if she could incorporate basketry into her art. Alas, she has decided that basket weaving is not her thing.

But here is her basket. And what, pray tell, is the white stuff that is covering her basket? Gut. As in pig intestines. You know, like sausage casings. The stuff is amazing when it drys. It looks like hand made tissue paper. She says that it dyes beautifully. It has a bit of stretch to it and shrinks a bit when it dries. I will hopefully be able to get a look at this when it is dry.

And remember earlier in the week I said that I wanted to get two scarves woven and one fringed. Well, one is woven and fringed and the one I wanted to fringe is cut and knotted. So I managed to get half my goals finished. I was laid low with yet another head cold. Ugh.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Wowzers!

Check it out!

A glass spinning wheel!

Thanks to Laritza from Yorksett Arts & Crafts for this amazing link.

The makings of a new Bamboo Basket in the morning.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bamboo Baskets

I mentioned the other day that I was going to take a workshop from Jiro Yonezawa. And here are the results......
The first is a plaited twill basket. We started out making a flat 3/3 twill structure that was 30 bamboo pieces by 30 bamboo pieces. We then shaped it around a piece of PVC pipe that Jiro had cut to size and put a bottom in. Once we finished weaving the twill structure, we finished the top and bottom using pieces of half round reed and caning to hold it in place. We also did a decorative arrow stitch on the top again using the caning. I understand this structure perfectly.


The next piece that we did was a random weave basket. It starts out with a hexagonal structure and once you have the basic basket form you randomly start adding pieces of bamboo to the form. We used medium sized bamboo strips for the base form and thicker and thinner strips for the random part. My grasp of this form is some what shakier than for the plaited twill. Probably because the twill structure is one that I am very familiar with and the hexagon structure is not. There is also a strange locking thing that needs to be done each time you add a new weaver. But I have a chance to learn a little more because Linda had arranged for another workshop tomorrow. I can hardly wait! Except that I wish that I was feeling a little better. I have a bit of a head cold. Again. School's in and the viruses are out. Oh joy.

And I suppose that while I am here I should give you a moth update. I have bagged all the wool on the wall and put Vapona strips in the bags. I ended up with 12 large garbage bags full. And I am not done yet. There are still some yarns that students have had lying around that may or may not be infested. And all of the cottons that the larva may not be interested in, but if eggs are stuck to them and they hatch next to some wool, I am back to square one. All of the left over yarn and any student yarn will be dealt with next week when the first batch is ready to come out. And then I have to put all 12 garbage bags of yarn back on the shelf in some sort of order. Oh my.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Nice Matters


I was quite tickled to receive a "Nice Matters" award from Davimac over at "Wish I Were Baking". The award states that

"This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you’ve been awarded, please pass it on to 7 others who you feel are deserving of this award."

So here we go (seeing as I can't just pass it back to Davimac as I would like to)

1. Teyani from Intrepid Fiber Wizard. Teyani is a very knowledgeable and talented fiber wizard and has always been very helpful with any questions that I have had about spinning or dyeing. Thanks Teyani.

2. Dave from Cabin Cove. Dave is a wealth of knowledge and talent. It seems like there isn't anything that this man can't do. Word of warning though. If you don't like seeing photo's of, how do I put this, errrm, ahhhh, male behinds (usually well covered- last week was an exception I assure you) then don't go visiting Dave on Wednesday's. The other 6 days are all respectably crafty. I, however, always visit Dave on Wednesday. Thanks Dave. (I'll be by in the morning)

3. Jessie from What Housework. Jessie is a woman who knits, dyes, sells, and has a collection of animals that just keeps on getting bigger. Thankfully both her heart and barn are big enough to accommodate them. Thanks Jessie.

4. Kansasa from Canadian Crafter. Kansasa doesn't stop. Ever. I'm sure of it. In addition to having 3 kids, she and her husband run a farm that has a bazillion animals of all kinds, and the woman processes enough food to feed a small army. I first found my way to her blog because, firstly, I am Canadian too, and secondly, I thought that I would see some more knitting or spinning, or what not. No knitting to be found. She doesn't have time. But she is a wealth of knowledge and so nice. I don't know where she finds the time to blog or e-mail, but she does both. Thanks Kansasa.

5. Christine from Spin, Weave, Knit, and Cake. Christine is a weaver and I have to admit that I take great pleasure in hearing of her adventures in weaving. A lot of the time i can say "been there, done that". But other times are purely unique. Like the time she had to wrap her entire front beam and warp in plastic wrap because the cat wouldn't leave it alone. I've never done that and I hope that I never have to. Thanks Christine.

6. Erin from Skein Street. I've been visiting with Erin for a while now. She has shared her adventures of moving several times, finishing school to be a vet, as well as her residencies and classes in various zoos. She is an awesome awesome knitter. And a generally nice person who always has something positive and encouraging to say as I stumble slowly through my various knitting projects. Thanks Erin.

7. Leigh from Leigh's Fiber Journal. Leigh is a talented weaver who shares all of her knowledge quite happily. She is also an amazing spinner and her knitting blows me away. I'll never be as good a knitter, but I'd like to have even a quarter of her spinning knowledge. Thanks Leigh.

8. Leah from Homework. Leah has funky tutorials and is a recycler of old sweaters. You should check out her Etsy shop for all of the neat things that she does. She also sent me a bunch of stamps from various places in the world. The kids and I have really enjoyed looking at them. Thanks Leah.

Thank you all for making the blogging world a brighter and better place. Nice does matter.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

No, I didn't get that wrong. In Canada, our Thanksgiving holiday is a little earlier than in the US. Here the harvest is a bit earlier and I'm sure that our forefathers were very thankful for full larders when heading into the harsh Canadian winters. According to the Farmers Almanac, we are in for a mild fall and winter. I can only say that I am thankful for that. Shoveling is not my favorite task.

We had all the grandparents over last night for dinner. It was the traditional turkey dinner with all the fixings. And for the first time, we also had a "kid table" in the next room. It actually worked out better than I could have imagined. No major squabbles. No food fights. No huge messes. Just the sounds of the kids enjoying each others company. Wonderful.


All the plants have moved inside for the winter now. This is my indoor herb garden. On the bottom shelf, from left to right are lemon grass, rosemary, and bay. They all seem to enjoy their summers outside and tolerate the move inside rather well. I have another shelf like this one that has even more plants on it, but there is some stuff piled in front of the shelf, and I like to pretend that I live in a clean, organized house. So we won't show that shelf yet. But you can see the edge of it in the photo below.

The last to come in was the grapefruit tree. I had to do some pretty severe pruning before bringing it it or it may have taken over the living room

Yesterday I also made two warps for my next two scarves. I didn't have quite enough (in my mind) to make a full scarf in Patchouli Dance, so I added a few stripes of black.
And, of course, here is "Mermaid Dreams". I hope to get both of these on and off the loom by the weekend. I also have a silk noil scarf to fringe before then. But maybe I'm being a little ambitious in light of all the other things I have to do.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Woah Nelly!

Well! That was a busy day! Saturday is usually market day for me, but not today. Last week, I had a bamboo basketry workshop to go to and I had so much fun that I decided to have fun this weekend too.

First came the Farmers Market. I was there early enough to stand in a small (10 people) line for samosas. There is a lot of history that is attached to the samosa vendors at the Farmers Market. They actually made National news in Canada because there was a fight between the Samosa vendors and the market managers. The samosa people were/are so successful that other vendors complained that their customers were blocking their stalls and the samosa people were eventually kicked outside where they have set up shop in a trailer. For now. They have said that they will probably not occupy the space in the mid-winter because being an outside vendor in January is a rather painful experience.

But I digress.

After my purchasing at the farmers market (I did get a few other things) and did a bit of socializing, I made my way to the place where my market takes place and had a coffee and did a bit of socializing there too.

Then it was back home for a bit and then S came and picked Mira and me up and we went off to a fiber farm that started out as a rescue farm and has ended up as much more. The farm is run by Kim, who is also a nurse and has 3 kids and is pregnant with a 4th. The woman astonishes me! She is one of those people who has managed to find a way to stretch the number of hours in a day and has the energy of 6 of us lesser mortals.

Here are two of her three rams. They are all of different breeds and of course she knows all of their names. They are like her children.
Then we went on to see the ladies of the house. She had Corridales and Shetlands (of many different colours) and Jacobs. And here my brain hit overload. I know that she has other types, but I couldn't tell you what they are to save my life. I couldn't even count them. I'm going to guess that there were about 20 or so. Including the babies.Sooooo cute!
And speaking of cute.... here is one of her Pygora goats. This little fellow is a few months old. She also had Angora goats. I can't begin to describe my reaction to these little guys. All I can say is "I want". I want a few of these goats. ME! Who has enough kids and responsibility and not enough room. I will have goats in my life some day. Not for a number of years. And not until we live close enough to someone responsible enough who is willing to trade critter care so that we can each get a bit of a vacation in the summer. I am not willing to give up our time at the lake, but I want fiber goats.
And she also had an alpaca. I want one of these guys too. This fellow gave Kim three garbage bags of fleece this year. And of course the first thing that ran through my mind was "Baa baa black alpaca, have you any wool?" Apparently, he also bites. She said that he never used to bite until she got word that there was a lady alpaca that she could have. She told this guy (sorry, I forget his name) that he was going to get a wife. Told him all about her and then a few weeks later, the man that had the lady alpaca told Kim that he wasn't going to sell her the gal and Kim told her man, and shortly thereafter, he began to bite. Coincidence? You decide. And I haven't mentioned the rabbits and chinchillas.
Here is part of her fiber room. More continues around the corner and .....
Into the front hall. Right about here my mind stopped working altogether. And my allergies kicked in. She likes to spin "in the grease" and most of the fiber that she had was straight off of the critter. And my allergies really let me know that raw fiber is not a good thing for me to be around in such massive quantities. I bought a sample pack of bits of different types of cleaned processed roving, and some processed mohair roving.

Then when we got home, mom came and took us apple picking
We got quite a few. The kids and I picked 3 1/4 bushel baskets. Mom picked 8. And them Liam asked about the apples on the ground. The lady that ran the orchard said that the ones on the ground were free. So Liam, Mira, and Simon ran off and picked a couple (or three) grocery bags of windfall Macintosh. In about 3 minutes. Some were given to my brothers Belgian horse team (only a few) and the rest will be made into sauce (or hard cider, if we get our act together). This is one of the times when I am actually glad that Liam is a bit of a scavenger. Small boys, eh?

Then it was back home where Bill had been working on chili all day (among other things). Last night it became a family effort to deal with all of the tomatoes at hand. I had suggested a chili for today and the idea received unanimous agreement. Last night we washed, peeled, seeded (or de-seeded) and chopped any tomato that was in any way, shape, or form compromised, and boiled all of their little carcases in a large pot. Today the simmering continued all day and the volume was about half by the time Mira and I returned from the fiber farm. When we returned from apple picking, it was almost ready. Tonight, supper was a wonderful thing.