...Cleaver that is... and I'm okay with that! With all of her glorious motherly ways.
I want to be the mom who bakes, sews and knits.
The only issue is... I don't really do any of those things well, so here's me sharing with you all my 101's.
Laugh with me or at me, I don't care. I just hope I can evolve during this process!

Saturday, 31 December 2011

The last RIBBIT RIBBIT 0f 2011

I'm frogging it. Just 600 stitches and about 10 rows. But that's okay. I can handle it. I've got my Christmas Party exchange bobble head on my side.


What this means is that I have made an error. A few rows back. And to fix it I need to rip out a few rows of 200-600 stitches. Happy New Year to me! I can handle it. AND its good practice and fair game when it comes to knitting. I am trying to play with the bigger dogs now (secret project soon to be revealed) and have to accept the challenges!

Happy New Year everyone! See you on the flip side.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Wham Bam Finished!



You may recall I posted about the Wham Bam Thank You Lamb cowl. Well hurrah hurrah! I am finished. Not just one, not two but three! I knit them as Chrissie prezzies so I had to keep on the down low about them.

They were great to knit up. Just my speed. Literally. You can whip one of those puppies up in no time but they look amazing! Thank you to 1funkyknitwit for bringing it to my attention in the first place. You can find the pattern for free download on Ravelry.

They're a straight garter stitch with an off centered seam to give it a cool angled cuff.





 I also made an amazing green one that I did not photograph, but the yarn on the sticks below is it!

I gave them each a quick hand wash and then blocked. Two were blocked already seamed. A tad tricky but I'd been so excited to seam them I forgot they hadn't been blocked! It still worked out and they all kept their shape. Of course I gave these all away but am planning on knitting one up in the blue for myself soon!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Who's Afraid of Cloth Diapering?

I was at Diaper-Eez recently and they had a draw for the cutest lunch box/cooler bag.
You just had to list the 3 most helpful baby things you wished someone had told you about.
I can't remember what 2 of the 3 were but I know the third was "how easy cloth diapering was".

Because it is.

And its so satisfying to see your green bin container going from overflowing to 1-2 bags in it each week of your food waste.

In addition to it being easy... you can put some very adorable diapers on your baby's bottom!

Poops are a bit gross, but you just deal. And as solids start it gets easier. Throw the flushable liner out and soak the diaper in a bucket of cold water. I've very little stains ever after a proper wash.

I have a wide range of diapers since I tried to buy them online whenever someone had a massive sale.

This first one though I bought at Diaper-Eez. A stack of prefolds and some covers. Look how easy it is... if my hubby can handle it, YOU can handle it.
Pre-Fold Method




cloth and cover


3 fold cloth and insert into cover...

Voila! Diaper ready and its cute as ever.
My mom had made a whole whack of flannel diapers for me. Then you just put a cover (as above) over it.


There's also the All In One (AIO)

I have a few different ones but here's an example.



Bamboo insert that you 3 fold. There's a pocket to tuck it into so its not out like this.


 
Again. Adorable!

And then the 'designer' diapers. I got it on sale! I love it. You never need bloomers I tell ya!



So really, why wouldn't you?
Oh right. Because the poopy ones are gross. I can't deny that. But you learn to deal with it.
Washing cloth diapers has been very easy. Except when our washer broke for a week. But otherwise, just warm water (hot now and then for a good zap) and special non-residue detergent and voila! I wash every 2 days, that's usually when the dry bucket is full. 

I'm just sad its not summer to show off these beauties! But they will fit her for quite a while. Another nice thing about cloth is that there is good weight coverage with just one size.

Oh! And I won the draw!
The pink butterfly cooler bag!


Friday, 16 December 2011

Some Wrapping Going On Here

I'm plowing away at my Christmas knitting. I was really far ahead and then I had a wee set back on a few levels. Too boring to share. But yesterday's stomach flu was one of the ugliest I tell ya.

Moving on... I'm hoping I can do this.
GET'ER DONE!

Without ruining any surprises I'm happy to say I'm learning to Wrap & Turn and its not as scary as I thought it might be! And the most amusing part is marking where they are on my needles so I know where to wrap & turn again. Since I'm lacking stitch markers here's what I'm using...



... and you know what? I'm okay with that!
Maybe Santa will bring me some proper ones, though...

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Get Me That Headboard

I was just watching the United States of Tara. Season 3 Finale. Woah, nelly.

Anyway, I mention this because in one of the scenes I noticed her sister Charmaine's headboard and I fell in love and had to share. There must be a way I can make it myself.
I mean come on, its straight stockinette stitch!


Glitter Eyelash Earrings

Again, in my email box today, was a ridiculous offer for a free pattern.

Who comes up with these?


Saturday, 3 December 2011

Snug As A Bug

In all of my knitting so far... yes ALL of my 4? projects... I knit something for me!
A new online friend of mine posted it on her blog in her Funky Freebie section. And I had to have it! I even had to have it in ivory as modeled.

I popped over to the local shop here Romni Wools and hit their basement. Its got loads of treasures on sale. I have to say, as a rookie, I probably didn't buy the best wool as it has alpaca hair in it which makes it a bit scratchy but maybe a soak in wool wash will soften it? I'm too scared to though. And as it sits on top of clothes and not directly on my skin really, I should be okay.

It didn't take too long to finish. I knit this back over Thanksgiving and finished it in time for our family photo shoot! But what absolutely confuses me is that it took just a little more than half the yardage the pattern called for. So one of two things happened... I have a much looser gauge than I should have... OR I did my math wrong, but I really don't think that's it. Either way, who cares, really? It turned out perfect for me! I am a petite person so luckily that worked out too!

I won't show you the holes... there's only a couple anyway.
*wink*

This was my first time seaming something together and it took a while to find the right stitch to use and a few starts but once I had it, I rocked it. Just look for yourself!



So a little loose on the gauge and a bit snug on the shoulders but it fits! Yay!
Photo by Tied Photography & Video

Friday, 11 November 2011

I Pray To The Appliance Gods

When we moved into our townhome 18 months ago it still had the original 12 year old appliances. ALL of them. We plan on slowly replacing them.

This spring our dishwasher died so we bought a new one. Its awesome. And I even negotiated that floor model down further than the sale price by about $200! I was so proud that day. We've been holding our breath for when the next might go... and last week our washing machine broke. Its worsened by the fact that we cloth diaper. Ugh. But my husband, who is not known for his handiness, diligently took the front panel off, unwired the timer and went out to the manufacturer depot to get the part. But it had to be ordered so he came home with the old part, played with it and rewired it. Some how, miraculously, it worked! He's very proud! So we're back on track until the newer part comes in. I tell you this because as much as I'd like a fancy new washer (and dryer maybe since they're stacked) I'd really like a new stove. Goodness me, I have to adjust each recipe by temperature and time but its never the same of course. It cooks much hotter than it should. And I could go buy an oven thermometre but I've so far been too lazy.

So tomorrow I have a play date group 'reunion' and I want to bring something for the brunch and I chose my mom's Cinnamon Roll recipe that I've never made before. In advance I decided to make two batches. It seemed unfair to leave none at home for my family! And thank goodness I did because, here's what happened.

The first batch completely overbaked suddenly so I adjusted the temp and time and hey, much more perfect rolls. Guess who's getting the overbaked ones?
Sorry, hun.
I love you!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Baby Blanket Blues

I have finally finished that darn *bleeping* baby blanket that I started when I started this blog. You may remember these past posts on it; Get Your Gauge On and Knitting Publicly.

Good lord.

Its supposed to be finished with just 2 balls of the Bernat Chunky but since my gauge is too tight I started to run out on the last corner. (This blanket is knit on the diagonal) So I went anywhere that might have the same colour. I live in Toronto, this shouldn't have been hard. But it was. So my lovely mother found a ball back where she bought me the first two. She mailed it to me, express post. It did not arrive express. And then Canada Post went on strike. Eventually I got it and tucked it away since I'd started on the Big Bad baby blanket for my niece!

And it sat and waited for me, patiently. I got back to it once I'd finished and gifted the Big Bad blanket. And then I forgot to post about it! Awesome. So here, for your viewing pleasure are a couple of photos of it. I will not show it in detail as its best seen from far away. All those previous mentions of "oops" are still there. But I hope that it will still be well received when gifted. Because yes, I will lovingly give it to someone having a baby boy. I actually have someone in mind. And I hope they will lovingly accept it with open arms. It will help if they are blind. However, that's not going to be the case. Big hearts people, I'm going for big hearts!




This is a good corner with no screw ups.

Friday, 30 September 2011

The Best Banana Bread EVER

Do you want to know how to have the best Banana Bread on the block? The topping.
I've mastered my mom's recipe of banana bread. But that's why I need to branch out and make new things... because that's all I was making for awhile!

However, I will share with you how to make your banana bread the talk of the party.
Make your own banana bread recipe. Just as you always do.
Below is the topping recipe. It takes your banana bread to banana CAKE. It isn't health conscious but I'm not Jenny Craig.

1/2 C butter
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 can condensed milk (there's fat free if you want... but why would you?)

Bring the above to a boil, barely.
*** Do NOT take your eyes off of it. You will be fooled and think its not boiling, but what will have happened is a layer of skin developed on the bottom of the sauce pan and when the bubbles finally come up and you stir... well, you've got all that burnt milk in your topping. Trust me. I still do it if I don't give it 100% of my attention.

So as you bring to a boil (on medium/high) stir it every 30 seconds or so.

As soon as it boils put it on simmer for 12 minutes and keep stirring!
Once done add 1/2 tsp of Vanilla.

Hopefully your banana bread is cooling nicely on the racks to be ready when the topping is done.
Between the heat of the bread and the topping it will spread out nicely when you drizzle it on.

I make either 9 x 13 or two round cakes and even muffins and top them off too.

But no matter how I do it my man is the happiest ever and will do all the cleaning up after me as a thank you!

Enjoy!



Thursday, 29 September 2011

Those Are Some Fine Needles


I am so in love with these new needles I got!
The kit from my mom didn't have quite big enough for this super chunky yarn so I treated myself to Birch!

Not just any Birch. Made in California from sustainably harvested birch.
Check out the company here: Brittany

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Wham Bam Thank You Lamb

My next project (Wham Bam Thank You Lamb cowl) will commence as soon as I get big enough needles. I just sat down to start it and realized I only had up to size 8mm in the kit from my mom. Boo. I need 9mm! Gah! And possibly 9.5mm as I seem to knit tight. But here are the colours I got today for two different cowls.



I'm just jonesing to get knitting again!

Wham Bam Thank You Lamb: Pattern

Ravelry

As I'm a total nerd when it comes to... uhm... anything, I could not believe my New Knitting Nerd Goddess Luck when I came upon Ravelry.

Its a web site for those who enjoy the ancient art of knitting or crochet. Oh yes, I said it. Ancient Art! I mean, think about it, someone sat down, expanded on weaving, and started making cool stuff with their bare hands and looms. Then moving to sticks. Who did this? Maybe a community of women? One woman who wanted something more? Maybe she forced all the pre-teens to sit and fiddle until they came up with something close to what we know as knitting today? Maybe one of those kids came up with new and amazing ways to weave and twine on sticks and... and the matriarch took the credit! Oh the scandal.


And then, who said lets shave a sheep for wool and card it and rove it. Did I miss a huge step in there? It really is amazing that these ideas came from some creative and curious mind!

Anyway, I digress and you could probably just look it up on Wikipedia.
Ravelry is a way for knitters to join around the globe with their favourite patterns and yarns. To discuss problems and solutions. But what I like the best is it is a way to Catalogue your projects. You can Queue up projects that you plan on making. Or you can add Favourites just to oggle. Maybe those favourites will make it to your queue in the future. Add photos to your projects and a comment.

Maybe you have a ridiculous amount of yarn that you've collected from sales or it was just too yummy to pass up. But what do you do with it? You can look up all sorts of patterns to use up your yarn! I hope I get there one day. A stash of yarn all dying to be used. = )

In the meantime, visit my Ravelry page to see my one and only project listed there so far.

More Like June Ravelry

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Big Bad Baby Blanket

Hallelujah! Its finished. The blanket is finished! And I barely got it done for the birth of my new niece. *beam* > that's for the baby. Not myself. Although I am thrilled that I made it in time, although just by the skin of my teeth!



I learned a lot from this experience.
1. Have a crochet hook on hand.
2. Have faith to Ribbit.
3. Pay Attention! (dropped stitches... he-hem)
4. 'Relax' - I think my gauge is tight.
5. Its all worth it in the end.

From ripping out the first 10 rows twice to fixing dropped stitches with a bobbi pin, due to lack of proper equipment, I did it. I know I already mentioned that... but I did! I really made my first blanket from pattern and it looks how it should! (We won't talk about the 'real' first blanket just yet. You know, the one I was working on when I was on bed rest. Because its technically still not finished. But that's another story)

Let's just get to this one and tell you how I wrapped it up.

I've always been a procrastinator. I started this baby blanket in May. I figured baby's due in September... easy! Except I didn't stay on it and it was hard to get used to... (All those high school exam excuses) And in the last 3 weeks, I felt the pressure! So every night I spent time doing a few rows. On labour day weekend I did a lot since we went to my parents place and I had to show off for my mom and pull it out and knit away. Show her my mad skillz ya know? Then I totally screwed up. After putting my knitting down halfway across a row I picked it up and knit backwards! Yeah. Huge Bummer. I figured that out 4 rows later. But my mom came to the rescue and helped me get back on track.

So the baby was born and I rushed those last rows in and then realized. Ugh. I have to bind off! How the crap do I bind off?! Thank goodness for Google videos. But for the love of... why don't they all start out by saying, "Binding off is simple. You will still be knitting they way you have been, its just what you do with the stitches after you've done a couple." I was all worried about learning yet another method of stitches. But it was easy, even in seed stitch and its done. Done done done. Actually, take back one of those 'dones'. I don't have a crochet or yarn needle to weave in the ends. But once I do it will be done!

I presented it to my sister in law anyway. She loved it. Then I promptly took it back so that I could finish it. I'm a jerk. I know. But I couldn't show up to meet her baby empty handed!

Soaking it in wool wash to soften it up.


I used our baby foam floor mats to block it.
This was gorgeously coloured wool. Liberty Wool #7896 Sunset... machine washable!

Look at that seed stitch!

My daughter modeling it for me.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

It is not done in "polite society."

I spat in my hand.
I did.
My mom told me to do it.
I was working on the baby blanket (that never ends!) while visiting her and she helped me tuck in the loose ends where I started new skeins. And then she mentioned that she'd heard of a trick with wool where you spit in your palm and rub the two pieces together causing them to 'felt' together so that no ends stick out and you can then just knit the new yarn in, no knots.
So tonight I tried it.
And, well, it worked! No pokey ends. But it can't be synthetic, only real wool.
However, next time I do it, I'll brush my teeth first. Nothing like your bad breath mushed into your palm.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

PC at the Park

I know kids need to learn to handle themselves. I know... I really do!

My son who is now just shy of three is big enough that I don't need to worry about him on the playground for the most part. He can climb high and I know he won't accidentally stagger off the edge. (Unless a bigger kid gets rambunctious and bumps him.) But on the ground, he should be fine! Pfffttt... today I realized I still need to watch carefully.

Picture this. I'm nursing the 4 month old.
I see my son join the 4 + 5 year olds who are running and wrestling. Three of them.
He has no idea how to take someone down. But he found out 3 times in a row. He was the one who went down.

First a clothes line kinda hit. "Oooh" gasp from my friend and I. But my son gets up.
Then a trip to land him on his face. "He'll be okay." Meanwhile struggling to get the baby off my boob.
Then a full on pile drive while he's already down. I'm UP!

Are their moms even paying attention just 20ft away?
Nope. My son gets tackled and smooshed and a mouth full of sand.
I want him to play freely and deal but my Mama Bear kicked in and I marched over with baby on hip to the centre ready to pile drive them all. (Is that wrong?)
Luckily one Nanny dove in and finally one mother but not without me piping up, "Let's go Jordan, they're obviously too big to play with." (I have carefully chosen my words since I can be a bit too sassy and I do have to see these people in the park every day)

But really. Even if your child is big enough to handle himself please make sure they don't pummel other small beings at the park.

My temper was calmed a bit as the mom who stepped in did have her son apologize. But I was still cranky. I wanted revenge! LOL

I'm not a 'helicopter parent' but I do ask respect of others and I just hope when I send my boy off to Nursery School in two weeks that the image of a bigger kid sitting on him and whacking his head on the sand isn't imprinted on my brain!

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_14J2dEsfIG0/TPsu7SA8dxI/AAAAAAAAEhU/4baWR7iiv6Y/s1600/Family%2BCircus%2B11-10-10.gif

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Frozen Jets

If I were a kid and it was summertime what would be so awesome?
Popsicles at my beck and call!
There was a great recipe for Fudge Popsicles on Smitten Kitchen that just had to be made. My son, 34 months, would be the taste tester. And then if it goes well, I think to myself, we'll do more! Well, it took all summer to find the darn popsicle molds (and my sister to find them to boot) Real cool Jets. But hey, its end of August and there's still lots of popsicle time left.
Heck, a kid will eat a popsicle during a snow storm they're so fun!

So here's how it finally went down.
I say to my son at 7pm, "Want to help me make popsicles?"
He says "Yay!"
I think there's lots of time before his 7:30 bed time. There will be no problem to squeeze it in.
Duh me. I always do this. Preparation takes forever and then the thickening of the fudge... Boo me. Its bed time for bonzo and I'm only half done.


Batman helping stir the pot. Don't worry, this was supervised!

So I carry on on my own and get them in the freezer so he can have them tomorrow after the park.



But then we forget.
And we forget.
Aaaaaand forget.
But today, 3 days later, I finally remembered! Hallelujah!
I think he liked it.


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Thank Goodness For Rain!

If it weren't for the rain my poor outdoor plants might already be dead. Instead they're hanging on for dear life, which is kind of like torture, I know. But I used to be so good with my plants! Outdoor and Indoor plants. My orchids... my beautiful orchids... they haven't bloomed for a year now. My jade plant. Dead. And after my sister took such good care of them all while selling/staging/moving etc. I've always prided myself on my plant keeping. Every day I look right at them and think, 'Oh! Gotta water it!' But that's as far as I get lately.

Instead, my kids get fed and watered. So I figure, I'm good.

However, I do feel guilty about the outdoor plants. This year my fiance had the lovely idea to let me pick my plants for Mother's Day. Perfect timing and I was so thrilled! I picked Lilies and Mini Roses. But... alas... here are my roses now. Gasping for life after a rainfall. And the Lilies. Dead.