Saturday, June 29, 2013

Have passport, will travel

As a child, I always thought I'd be a traveller - i had all these exotic trips planned. But life, as it often does, had other plans. Here are am at 33 years old, and the furthest I've been out of my country is Buffalo, NY - it was a work trip, and we went to the post office. Not exactly the grand adventure I planned as a child.

I haven't even been all that far in my own province. The furthest I've been is Ottawa (and I didn't visit the parliment buildings - just the subdivision my aunt was living in). The furthest out of Ontario was on the same trip - I spent a night with another aunt who was living an hour away in Quebec.

So that's why I'm so excited to finally be going somewhere. As mentioned earlier, Mom and I are off to Virginia in less than two weeks. We are going to the 2013 CSM Eastern Conference in Williamsburg. We've been planning it for several months now, but it finally became real when my very first passport came in the mail.
Tux, as you can see, is not that amused however. With me gone, it means he's stuck with just Dave for five whole days.

Rocky and Peno I'm not worried about - they get along with Dave just fine. Tux, however, has a complete and utter disdain for my guy.  I've never left them alone together for that long before... it could get... interesting....

Friday, June 28, 2013

The phone company made me do it.

I went to the mall today to get a cell phone set up (I haven't had a cell phone since 2007.... I haven't missed it) so Mom and I have a phone for the road trip to Virginia in a few weeks.

Well.... there was a 20 minute wait to speak to a sale person, so I stepped out around the corner, and smack into a clearance shoe store...

Now you guys know, the only thing I love better than a good shoe, is a good shoe on clearance....
 ...or two pairs of good shoes on clearance!
 The red ones are to be put away for a special occasion... the purple ones.... well I just couldn't resist!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Doo doo doo... lookin' out my back door

I know - I haven't posted since Sunday - again! But it's only Thursday, not Friday, so that's progress!

It's been hot and humid hear lately, but we finally got some rain to cool things down, so I popped out to check on the garden between rain clouds.

Remember the little veggie plot I planted in May?
It exploded! We've had lots of rain, and a great week of hot sunny weather. I need to get stakes for the tomatoes, and I should probably thin out the onions,  but I'm really please with how it's doing, with minimal interference from me!
 The cherry tomatoes are coming. There's lots of these little guys hanging off the branches - a few warm days sunny days and they'll be red.

I've got just one pepper between my two pepper plants - but I'm so pleased with that. All the gardeners I know have said they haven't had much luck with peppers. The pepper will actually be purple, so that dark colour on it isn't a disease - it's suppose to do that.

I wasn't sure if I'd get fruit on the strawberries this year - but three of the four plants had flowers, and one of them...

... just look at those berries! The other plants are just starting to push out the berries.

And I think I'm going to have a bumper crop of yellow beans!
I've got a whole row of plants and they are just covered in mini-beans!

And remember the mystery shrubs out back? Well the neighbour identified one a Gooseberry for me. And it's definitely berried!

There were tonnes of these hanging from the branches last week, but the birds have gotten most of them. There's only a few left now. The other plant is a Jostaberry.
The berries have only just started to turn dark - the birds haven't bothered with them much, but I suspect they will soon.

I also came across this very cool mama spider and her nest.
According to my googling, she's a black and white jumping spider. She's only about the size of my thumbnail. 

While I was out the boys just had to come out too. 
If I don't take Rocky out as soon as I get in from work - he screams at me all night.
Tux... I don't think the birds will come if you hang out right under the feeder.

It's been mentioned before that some people are amazed that the cats don't take off on me when we're out. Well that's not strictly true... it's just that Tux isn't really well enough to run fast....and Rocky is too fat, so they aren't too hard to keep corralled while I'm puttering around. Mostly they stay in the yard, but every once in a while, Rocky will decide to go full Cheetah and take off down the little gully that runs behind the houses (we don't have a back fence yet)
"I'm freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

 I've learned not to run after him. He can only do short little bursts of speed. And then he stops. If I follow slowly and a few feet away, I can usually get ahead of him and shoo him back into the yard, where he collapses on the patio stones from too much exertion.
 "Okay Mum, I promise, I won't go cheetah again - don't make me go inside!"

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Confessions of a chick-lover

I have a confession to make.. all though I am an unabashed cat lover....
I also love chickens! It didn't start out as chickens, but birds in general. As a small child, I always wanted a house bird - a budgie, or better yet - a cockatoo (go big or go home, right?). Mom always said no, because of the cats. But that didn't stop me from wanting one.

Then one day - Dad came home with Soup, and the poultry love affair began. City by-laws prevent me from having a couple in my back yard (though I would in a heartbeat if that changed.), so now I'm left to admiring them through blogs, like Knatolee's, and my yearly visit to  Poultryfest in Smithville.

Mom and I took a stroll over yesterday. It was a little disappointing compared to previous years, but it was a good walk and there were some very cool chickens.

I only got a few shots before my camera battery died, but they may have inspired some new yarn colours.

Seriously - how can you not love a chicken with a 'do like that?
Though I'm not opposed to geese either if they are as cute as the two of these... my neighbours won't notice a goose or two in the yard... right?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Better than blue jeans

It was ridiculously hot and humid today,  but I still donned a silk cardigan for you all!
Mr. Tibbs horns in on my photo shoot!

Despite being totally frustrated with the quality of the yarn - I absolutely LOVE this cardigan. It's incredibly soft, the drape is lovely and it fits perfectly - not bad for winging an upsize from a baby pattern. Though I could have made the sleeves a little puffier, the neckline sits just where I want. It's the perfect cardigan for pairing with the sundresses in my wardrobe that would otherwise be unsuitable for the office (the one in the picture is one of my favourites - its so nice to be able to wear it more often.)

As is always my quest, I found the perfect buttons too. 
In this pic, you can see the unevenness of the yarn
I think Mom got tired of me coming up and stealing buttons from her stash, because a few weeks ago, she gave me most of her button collection. The majority of them came from my great, great aunt, so there's some fantastic vintage treasures in there. These ones were among them and they were just the right size.

The brass of the button and the blue of the yarn reminds me of a good pair of blue jeans - and this cardigan is even comfier!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Inspiration overload

Holy crapcakes.... how is it Friday already?!? And I haven't posted since Sunday! I've been meaning post all week  - I just never got around to it.

Work has been crazy, and I've had several stories to do for the magazines I write for. I've also been getting busy, running around to get a passport for an upcoming trip to Virginia -boy is that a lot of hoops to jump through! And despite all that, I have had some time to knit - just not blog about it.

I actually have four new designs on the needles. Two are shawls - they've been packed away since the move, but I plan to dig them out this weekend and get moving on them.

The first is Mistress Anne.
 Beads, cables, lace - all in rich green Continental Cat. I really want to get moving on it. I don't have pictures of the second shawl - Egret - but it's a beautiful lacy confection knit in undyed Fluffy Cat.

Last weekend I was suddenly inspired to start a new sock design
 It's called Fergus and I'm knitting it in Twisted Top Cat.

And - I love my silk cardigan so much, I just have to knit another one...
 But I wanted different lace... and a lighter weight! Once again, I'm using undyed - but Slinky Cat. There's just something about natural lace -so feminine, so beautiful.... so perfect!

Man - when inspiration hits - it really hits all at once. If only I didn't need to keep a day job!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

True Blue

This morning I finally got a chance to head into the dye studio. I did up a set of Alley Cat in some new fun colours, and I gave the silver cardigan a good long soak in some indigo dye.
I wasn't sure how dark or how blue I was going to be able to get it. Silk doesn't take dye as well as wool, and with a pale green base, it was bound to come out a little on the greenish side.

But I'm pretty pleased with the results.I blocked out beautifully - as only silk can. As soon as you wet it, it just opens right up.

It's funny - last year, I didn't have very much blue in my wardrobe. I tend towards much warmer colours. Green is definitely my favourite colour - but even then I tend towards ones that are more yellow or brown than blue. The rest of my wardrobe is mostly pinks, reds, burgundy and rusty orange. But every time I wore something blue, I'd get a compliment from someone.

So now when I'm out shopping, I don't automatically rule out the blue and as a result, I have several dresses this cardigan is going to be perfect for. Modeled shots will come next weekend, I think. Stay tuned!

Friday, June 14, 2013

FO: Pair of Hearts

As promised, I have pictures of my finished socks.
 But for some reason - the hearts show up much better in person.
 I tried taking some on my feet, to see if that was the problem.. but nope....
So, anyway - these were knit in Celtic Cat in "Olive". The Celtic Cat looks so rustic with it's little tweedy nubs, but it is sooooooo soft!
The pattern was fun and easy (and free!).  I made a few small mods: I cut the socks down to 60 stitches (and they are still a little loose - but that's my tension, not the pattern) and  I added a picot hem instead of ribbing.

And - not only is this a project off the needles, but it's also another project out of my queue! Woohoo! Now it's onto a new sock design - details will follow!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dying to dye

Still no knitting to show. I have been knitting - I've been very diligently working on my heart socks - but work has been CRAZY, so I haven't had as much time as I would have liked. And that's the other problem with resisting startitis - you have less to blog about.

I'm almost done the socks, and will have pics tomorrow - but in the meantime, have you seen the new Knitty?

Personally, I find the patterns on Knitty very hit and miss - some I love, some I don't. This edition is no different.

The only thing that really caught my eye was nozky
But I can't decide if I really like them - or if it's just the styling I'm loving. I do have to say, I really want that skirt!

I am, however, intrigued by the idea of over-the-knee leg warmers. The weather has been all over the place lately, and my bare legs under my summer dresses are a mite bit cold in the office - this would solve the problem nicely.

It's also making me want get my butt up to the dye studio. I haven't dyed yarn since before the move. So... what colour would you dye to make these?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Birds of a feather

I promised a post of all the birds at Harrison Park. While the girls were bopping around on the playground, Mom and I took the opportunity to wander around.

There are lots of ducks and geese and swans just hanging out all over the park...

...but it also has a small, enclosed sanctuary with all kinds of funky fowl!

This handsome fellow looks like he waddled right out a nursery rhyme. No idea what kind of goose he is, but he's cool.

 I recognized the Muscovy thanks to Knaotlee!

And idea what this guy is? There was a sign, but I didn't write it down.

This is a Guinea Fowl! I see a yarn colour there.

But what I really loved were the peacocks. Is there any cooler bird than a peacock? Really? This guy was seriously proud of his plumage.

But they also had white peacocks, which were just as cool. This is the coy little hen.

And her ... what's a male peacock? Drake? Cock?

Peacock bum! (He was very proud too!)

They also had this pretty greyish hen.

I could have stayed there all day and just watched the swans.

Of course, no trip to the park would be complete without our favourite feathed friends....
Don't they just look like three wise guys?

If you're ever in the Owen Sound area, I recommend a little pit stop at Harrison Park.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Hi Yo Silver

It's in need of a darn good blocking, and I'm definitely going to overdye it....

...but the Silver Cardigan is off the needles! (It's amazing, this knitting monogamy... things actually get finished quickly!) I finished it up last night, and I couldn't be more pleased. As I mentioned before, the colour is lovely, it just won't work with my wardrobe, so it will be going up to the dye studio on the weekend.

The shape looks odd in this picture, but the fit is perfect. The neckline lays exactly where I want it to. Unfortunately, any notes I wrote on upsizing the pattern from child to adult, have been lost in the move. I might come across them one day - and I will share.

And I'm very glad to have this yarn out of my stash. It was Debbie Bliss Pure Silk - while it feels lovely, it's so unevenly spun, it's a nightmare. It's suppose to be DK - but in some spots it's fingering, other it's chunky...I can see the slubs from here! It's a good thing I got it on sale, because it's definitely not worth the price. But I can live with it - it just gives the cardigan a bit of a rustic feel. I have five skeins of black still - I'm thinking they would make a nice simple camisole... or maybe a shawl. But after that, I'll never knit with it again.

Anyway, I'll share this again after she's had a good long soak in some dark blue dye and a nice stretch on the blocking board!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Five Alive

Yesterday was Rowan's birthday party. Bright and early, I hitched a ride with Mom and Dad for the long trip North.

When we were kids, my grandparents lived in Owen Sound. Ron moved up there a few years ago. The three-hour trek along Highway 6 is one that is very familiar. Of course, when we were kids, my back seat companion was a little less.....stinky.
Though Lady is definitely cuter and not as annoying.
We stopped for a pee break (for Lady) at a little park outside of Durham, and I took the opportunity to stretch my legs pick some wildflowers.

Rowan was celebrating her birthday at Harrison Park.She was all gussied up in a new party dress and celebrating with her cousins. 
Harrison Park is a very cool park that sits alongside the Syndenham River. It has a little restaurant, huge playground, bird sanctuary (pics of that will follow in a day or two!)and more. It's a great place for a party.
The kids had a ball.  Rowan of course got spoiled.

It was too warm to keep her shrug on for long... her mom has promised proper pictures when all the excitement is over. She did enjoy the feather boa I tucked in the bag.
 The tiara was a hit too.
 "Seriously? This is like a real crown!"

And as much as she liked it, it didn't stay on long enough for a decent picture either. She's is definitely five.
Paisley, however, was more than happy to pose as a proper princess!

It was definitely a fun day and I made some great progress on my cardigan during the drive. I'd planned on heading to the dye studio today, I haven't dyed anything since before the move. But I seemed to have picked up an inconvenient stomach bug... so it's sticking close to home for me... maybe next weekend...