Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A day in the life....

Today was a snow day for me... I drove out to the highway and went "Yeah... I ain't chancing that." promptly turned my car around and came back home.

Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on which way you look at it) I have a job that I can do from home.

So I spent most of the day at my computer, writing away. It also allowed me a chance to see what the kids get up to during the day:

First we snack a little:Play a game of hide and seek:
Relax in our "house" (which as you can see, has been torn apart at the seams from "play")
Watch the snow:
Tease the fish:
Watch the snow some more:
Dance through Valerie's knitting patterns:
Eat the plants:
Sleep some more:
And more:
And more:
And... MORE:
Oh to be a cat....

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


After losing out on a bid for 10 balls of a beautiful light moss green Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk DK, I consoled myself with a trip to Lens.

And I found these!

For just $5 a ball - I managed to purchase more than half of my Christmas presents for this year! Now I just have to knit them...

I also found some awesome fabric that I just couldn't leave in the remnant bin. For the moment, Peno has claimed it, but I know a six-year-old-boy who is OBSESSED with Pontiac GTOs. (and it totally wasn't Dave's fault - the kid decided all on his own and often argues with his Uncle Ken how GTOs are better than Mustangs) and there is enough here to make him a nice TV blanket. There was some Camaro fabric that I was tempted to pick-up for myself, but I decided I'd rather have the Camaro, not the fabric, so I'll have to wait until I win a vast amount of money. Now if only I could find some Dodge Charger fabric, I'd be making a big TV blanket for Dave.

And remember that top down hoodie I said I'd have done by the weekend? It's not finished. I did manage to get a sleeve done, but I got sidetracked by a design idea that popped into my head for a slinky little shrug. Maybe I'll get it done by this weekend, but for the nonce, my double points are tied up in the shrug.I'm using some Baby Monkey I bought on sale at a wool store in St. Catharines, and the left over Alapaca Silk from Dave's Leo.

And speaking of Dave's Leo... he finally gets to wear it (almost a year later)Special thanks to Mom for fixing it (neck was too large and sleeves were waaaaay too long). It looks INCREDIBLE on him (the picture doesn't do it justice) as he his very broad in the shoulders and narrow in the waist. The ribbing is very flattering, and I couldn't stop looking at him all day. And the yarn is absolutely SCRUMPTUOUS! I want more and more and MORE of this yarn. It has no itch at all. I threw the sweater on for a few hours on Saturday and it was a dream to wear. I was so surprised, as my RYC baby alpaca yarn, which is just as soft and silky, has a fair amount of itch to it.

So, back to the shrug.... or maybe a pair of Christmas socks!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Comfort Food

Everybody has their favourite comfort food - something they crave on a cold depressing day. For a lot of people it's something wholesome like homemade chicken soup, or a hot casserole.
Now, it's no secret that I've always been a little strange when it comes to food (as a child I prefered liver and broccoli to spaghetti - still do - I don't like the taste of purple, can't eat kraft dinner without a can of salmon on the side, etc.) so for me my crappy day food is egg rolls.
But they are not your typical Chinese restaurant eggrolls (though I do love those too) it's the egg rolls my Papa used to make when we were kids. He would make an enormous batch of them and throw them in the freezer. When we'd come up to visit for a couple of weeks in the summer and sometimes over the winter holidays, he'd pull some out, heat them up and we'd eat them as a snack while watching movies or playing video games. Sometimes we'd just eat them cold.
A few years ago, I wrangled the recipe out of him - though he admitted he never made them the same way twice, so it wasn't so much of a recipe as a list of possible ingredients. After a few attempts, Mom and I managed to pin down the perfect recipe (though it's one where none of the ingredients are measured) and we make them every now and again. We've changed a few things (Papa used beef, where we prefer pork or chicken) and they are a lot of work, so we don't make them that often- which makes it even more of a treat when we do!
Well, the last couple of weeks have been kind of depressing and stressful, so today on the way home, I stopped at the grocery store and picked up the ingredients. This isn't all the ingredients, I've left out the secret spices and seasonings. (It is a secret family recipe after all) though I will mention that having the proper oil is essential for ethnic cooking.. I LOVE my sesame oil!
Now mom prefers to throw the filling in the food processor to speed things up but I - what can I say? I like to wield sharp knives - and prefer to chop by hand. I'm not a huge fan of cooking but the dishes I like to make best usually involve a lot of chopping.
The one thing this recipe does require is A LOT of bean sprouts. That's about 3 lbs of beansprouts to be exact (though it is a double batch). It's a good thing they shrink when they cook, but I still needed two frying pans to make it all. (I should really invest in a wok)

And of course I had help...Peno is a little more dignified and sat patiently waiting for her share of raw chicken... though she never blinks when she's waiting... it's creepy.... Once everything is all fried up, I drain it well (because water and oil don't mix and I have the burn scars to prove it) and pop it in the fridge to cool, clean up and relax for an hour or two. Then comes the hard work. Rolling it all. I don't roll them like you see in the Chinese restaurants. I do an envelope roll, and pop them in the hot grease. (Don't try this at home kids - I am a highly untrained professional) After a year of working at New York Fries, I learned how to handle pots of near boiling vegetable oil (and believe it or not gravy burns worse than oil) but this is still pretty dangerous. It scares the crap out of Dave, but I really just can't be bothered to invest in a deep frier (I cook my frenchfries this way too) Besides, it feels like I have more control this way. And I like to be in control. You can only fry a few at a time, so it takes a while.But it's worth it because the end result is a heaping plate of tasty egg rolls! (Of course half of these are going up to Mom ... as much as I'd like to eat them all ... that would be a bad thing) YUM!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wee ones

Sorry for the length between posts, but I haven't been doing a whole lot of knitting lately. Mostly I've been playing Big Kahuna Reef (damn you PopCap).

Despite that I did manage to get the pinwheel blanket done for my friend's forthcoming baby.
It's pretty psychedelic, and as you can see from the picture, it's kinda trippin' Tux out. If it looks a little odd to all of you who have made the pinwheel before, that's because I randomly reveresed the direction of the yarn overs to make it a little more exciting. I really like the pinwheel pattern, but once it gets so big, I get a little bored, so that helped to keep my interest. Despite that, I was glad to see the back end of that one.

I also found out that there is another baby due in August. This one will be born to one of Dave's good friends. I don't believe they know any other knitters, so I'd like to get a few things done for them before the baby is born. It's too soon to know what sex it will be and we don't know if they want to know yet, so I decided to test knit a pattern designed by mom.
It's a cute little top down hoodie with a basket weave design. I have decided to try adn knit only from my stash (because I have no money for wool) and was lucky that I had this lovely sage green yarn which is perfect for boy or girl. It's Mary Maxim Mellowspun. I picked up 10 balls for 97 cents about a year ago with the intention of designing something. But I don't have the time for designing right now, so it's going for a better use. I expect it will be done by the weekend, and then it's just a matter of scouring the button jars for the perfect buttons.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Fish Tail

Well... there'll be no baby Angels for me... at least not this time around. It looks like Papa Angel was a little slow on the uptake and didn't fertilize the eggs. After a couple of days they started growing fuzzy, and day after day there were fewer eggs on the pump... either someone was eating them (though unlikely, Mama Angel was doing a good job of guarding them) or they fell off and got sucked up the pump.

Leeniebeenie asked what would happen if they did hatch: Well... once they hatched, they'd still be stuck to the pump in their egg sacs for a couple of days. Since Mama Angel was doing such a good job guarding them, I could wait until they ate thier own egg sacs then they'd be free-swimming. Once they were free-swimming, I could just leave them, but very few would survive (if any). More than likely they'd get sucked up the pump, or eaten by the other fish. I'd need to be quick, but I could net them all (or as many as I could catch) and put them in my breeder (A separate cage which floats in the tank) until they grew big enough to fend for themselves. I used to breed guppies (which is ridiculously easy) so I'm really good at catching near-microscopic fish.

Hopefully Mama Angel will lay another clutch in a few weeks, Papa Angel will hold up his end of the bargin and I'll get some baby Angels.

In other bad news.... I frogged Purity. I was almost ready to cast on the lacey edging when I thought to myself "gee this is taking a long time. I don't remember it taking this long last time" and I perused the pattern again, and sure enough I was increasing on every other row... not every row.

I just haven't had the heart to cast on for it again, so I started making a pinwheel blanket for my friend who is due in the Spring. She won't tell anyone (even herself) what the sex of the baby is, so I hunted forever until I found this yarn, which despite the magenta, should work for either sex. I don't mind pastels... it's just everyone else will probably be giving her pastel baby stuff, and I like to stand out.
I was also doing a little beading this week:

This is probably for something special, but I'm not going to tell you what it's for until I have a few more details confirmed. (Garnets and pearls of course... one of my FAVOURITE combinations). It's not finished yet either... I snapped my last beading needle before I got a chance to finish it!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It's a boy...

... and a girl, and a boy, and a girl, and a boy, and a girl, and a boy, and a girl, and a boy....

I woke up this morning to discover that one of my angel fish had laid about 50 eggs on the downspout of my pump.
Here is proud Mama guarding her eggs.

A few years ago, I had another breeding pair in one of Dave's tanks. We watched one night as Mama laid the eggs in neat lines along the pump. Papa followed along and fertilized them all, then Desdemona (my large white veil-tail Angel) followed Papa along and ATE them all!

This was a pleasant surprise, especially to see that Mama is guarding them. But unfortunately, I don't think this bunch are going to make it... I think Papa hasn't fetilized them as many are turning white.... I'll wait a week (they should hatch in about five days) and if they don't hatch, I'll have to get rid of them.

But, if she's laid one clutch, she'll lay another and hopefully Papa will do his duty then!

Monday, January 5, 2009

A finished object...

... but it's not knitting... but it's knitting related.
Waaaaaaay back in ...oh heck... I think it was July... I did a HUGE bead order. A Gianormous bead order.. the biggest one I've ever done. In it was a bunch of pewter charms that I had intended to make into stitch markers to sell. I (almost completely) forgot about them until today, when I was getting ready to place another bead order (I've picked up a new store to carry my work and I have to get him some stock by the end of the month. He's a specialy shop - motorcycle gear- so I have to get some specialized items - so bead shopping it is! Weeeeeeeeee).

Since I've cut off my cable to save some moolah (yep one day and I'm already going through Jeopardy! withdrawl. Man - Alex Trebek is hot!) I decided to finally to make some markers. Voila!
(The dragon is displayed on "Purity." I finally cast on for it just before the New Year. That's all you get to see of it though, becuase right now I'm still on the centre... just boring white stocknit stitch.)

The sets I've made so far include:

Each set contains 3 ring style markers and one with a claw. (The claw can be switched for a ring) The rings will fit needles up to 4.5 mm (the shawl is on a 5mm but it's a little tight, and interferes with the slidability). I can put larger or smaller rings on at request.

I am going to put these in my new Etsy store, but I'm not quite ready to open the store yet. (The studio will most likely be moving in the next couple of months) However, if you happen to see a set you just have to have they are $8 (CND) for the set and that includes shipping to anywhere in the world. Just email me at
Now, it's an early bed for me... there's nothing to watch on TV (of course there was nothing on before I got rid of the cable either) and I'm pooped. I haven't been sleeping well lately. This has something to do with it:

He's a bit of a toe biter.