Friday, December 23, 2016

Happy Christmas and Happy 2017

Yesterday I finally got around to stringing up some of the shells we found on the coast this summer. All pretty things end up on the Christmas tree if there is nowhere else to put them! Like seashells with holes in, and even taps.

I think I won't be blogging till January. Arthur is back from university; Christmas dinner has been planned; flat in London booked and ready for us! I just need some knitting.

Ho ho ho, and all the best to all of you!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Baking for the holidays

Not much knitting going on, but I did get some sweet things baked. It's sort of silly, since Stephen and I are not really supposed to eat the stuff, but poor wee Arthur has been away from Mom's baking for months and Elaine has to have something in her lunch since she has to go to school till the 23rd... 

Chocolate thumbprint cookies with sprinkles and kisses

The kids always enjoyed making the pink and green cookies. You make dough, put green sugar in half and pink in the other half, make balls, squish them together, roll them in even more sugar and then flatten the balls with the bottom of a glass.

They use only egg yolks, so of course one has to make meringues with the whites.

We are not into piping bags around here 
Yum yum.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Pinky yarn becomes a hat

This is Odessa, by Grumperina, made with two strands of pink/orange sock yarn held together. One of the great pre-Ravelry popular patterns, as you can see from the gallery. We were show-offs before there was Rav.

Funny, in that gallery, my previous Odessa is very close to the top. That was made in the summer of 2007, and I joined Ravelry in October of that year. And so did everyone else, I guess, and we lost interest in things like designer-kept project galleries.

It is still a great hat pattern. I love the swirls, and looking back at that previous post I am reminded how great it looks with stripes. I wish I'd read that before embarking on this one; I would have contrived a stripe or two somehow! 

This will go to one of the Scrabble ladies for Christmas. Now I just need to think of something Arthur would like...

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Got some new old magazines

Someone on Ravelry was getting rid of these old magazines, and wanted scraps of yarn to make cat-toy mice with in return, so, double win for me. I had a bag of small balls I had been keeping in case the kids wanted to do spool knitting, but since they hadn't, for several years, I gave her that and got a big bag of goodies. 

Lux, the soap, made super fashion-y knitting books. Love this outfit for watching the races. 

Even a pattern for a knitting bag! I doubt it would hold its shape in actual use, and it looks like it might get unbalanced and tip all your stuff out, but it's a nice idea.

Another book had these great kids' patterns: a little dress, a coat and a hockey uniform!

There were also several Vogue Knitting magazine and other things.

Sad news... The woman who makes toys for cats has cats, and all these gems were covered in cat dander; just flipping through them gives me sniffles and headaches. I might scan a few things, but I can't keep them.

At least I got rid of those little scraps...

Monday, December 05, 2016

Knitting news

I started a cowl with this orangey pinkish fingering wool. I think it's actually a wool/silk blend and it is very nice to work with. This is my second attempt because it turned out I didn't like the first thing I tried.

It is a lace pattern with yarnovers and knit-three-togethers, something on every row; no plain knitting. The pattern repeats every four rows, and it's not hard to visualize or remember, but on every row after the first two I found mistakes, and the final straw was when I came to a point where the whole K3tog had apparently not been done at all and the stitches had dropped down several rows. (I know, it's only a few rows, maybe six pattern rows, but still...) Some people can fix their lace without frogging*; I am not one, and if I'm going to rip out four or five rows, I might as well rip the whole thing and go back to my mitten... which is what I have done.

*There is a happy ending.
Thanks to someone on Ravelry who found that post when I asked about it. I thought it was in the last 5 years; it was 10 years ago!

Sunday, December 04, 2016

What happened with the jelly

Jelly. In a mottled glass bowl. Well, you can see it is red, but that's about all...

You can't really see that there is a layer of horseradish on the bottom. I think this could have been avoided if I'd waited for the jelly to stiffen up a bit more before adding the other ingredients. I imagine that in a perfect jellied beet salad, the horseradish is evenly distributed, but what do I know?

Here it is on an orange plate.

There was a bit of an issue with the unmoulding. You have to warm it up a tiny bit to liquify the jelly on the outside so it slides out of the bowl nicely. You can get thin metal moulds to do this properly, but I don't have one, so used a glass bowl. So, we had to warm it quite a bit, got carried away and warmed it too much = a bit too much liquid jelly on the plate. 

I think the layer of horseradish is a bit off-putting. It doesn't glisten with lovely beet colour the way it should, I think. 

But people ate it, a bit. My neighbour had some of the leftovers today and said, "that taste was great and refreshing!!" And that's good enough for me!

Friday, December 02, 2016

A hint of things to come

Once upon a time, I picked up a cookbook that my neighbour was getting rid of. It was the Centennial Year Cook Book of the Timmins chapter of the Hadassah Daughters of Isreal. (Second edition!)

My neighbour's onetime mother-in-law had contributed many recipes, but this lady, Mrs Mark Hoffman, was very generous as well, especially with the "things in Jello" recipes. I can tell you now that I couldn't find julienned beets in a can, and had to julienne canned sliced beets. I can also tell you that a canned beet has virtually no flavour. I assume the horseradish and lemon jelly will be sufficient!

It's all a bit hard to photograph, but somehow when I unmold it tomorrow, I'll show you in all its glory. (I hope!)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The last day of November

Another NaBloPoMo done and dusted. I don't think I wrote every day, but pretty nearly.

I'm suffering from post-FO-letdown. After finishing the red and blue dickie-hat-extravaganza, I haven't really got into anything, although there are many things lying around here which I should pick up and knit a few stitches on. I got the pattern for the Peace Project cowl, and it is a wee bit boring, so I will try to think peaceful thoughts by knitting something a bit more fun than waffle stitch. I have that crazy pinky-orange stuff...

I'm also dealing with the dread "make all the Christmas cookies" sickness. I will mail some to Arthur and take some to a party, but there's not really that much need for cookies beyond the lunchbox rations. But so many tantalizing recipes....

I hope not to drop out of sight! Tomorrow I am a tad busy, and Friday I am a tad busy, and Saturday I am going to be really busy, volunteering at Elaine's school and then cooking and cleaning and hosting a wee doo in the evening. So, by Monday I will have lots to tell you!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A dishcloth review

Once upon a time, not very long ago, I told you about knitting a dishcloth from some new-fangled yarn.

After a few uses, I can tell you... I think this will not become my new favourite. The cloth dries fast, because it doesn't actually absorb water. So, it's fine for pushing the soapy water around on a dish, but it is no good for mopping up a spill or wiping a counter.

I made a solid green one, and I have a purple one I carry around, but am not getting much done on. And when that's finally done, I think I will go find my stash of brightly coloured (though soon to fade) cotton and see what I can do!

Monday, November 28, 2016

A tiny bit of holiday preparation

We sometimes have a gingerbread house, and we have even had a gingerbread train, as I recall. 

This year we had the opportunity to get a gingerbread Millennium Falcon, at, I think, about twice the price of a wee gingerbread cottage. (And it seems to come with hardly any candies!) So, no, I didn't get that.

And because they'll take money from everyone, a Hanukkah house, with gold coins and regulation Hanukkah-blue icing. Nope.

I got the plain old house, with a big tube of royal icing and some not-great candies. I did bump up the deal with some extra mints and jelly beans. I hope to get it put together tonight.

Tomorrow, we might see a picture of a gingerbread house, or we might discuss the cowl knitalong I joined. Yeah, the mitten, I know... 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

I wonder what's happening in Cuba today

Everyone to the Plaza.

When I was in Havana in May, 2015, we met a Canadian who had lived in Cuba for many years, had a Cuban wife and family, had a Canadian political science degree.

Plaza de la Revolución, empty

We asked him what he thought would happen when Fidel died, and while he wouldn't speculate on politics or economics, he did say there would be quite some funeral.

Fidel outlived almost everyone he dealt with, but I bet it'll still be quite some funeral.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Found some more treasures

I came across a few more pattern booklets that might hold some gems for my vintage accessory knitalong next year.

This one has rather ordinary scarves and slippers and so on. No novel teacosies that I recall.

This one is very glamorous. How do you make the hat on the left?? Shall we perhaps find out?

Toys and novelties! Ducks, doll clothes, and many bags.

Treasures! I'm not sure there is a pattern for the pirate hat, but that would be a great thing, wouldn't it?

Today you also get a free recipe. I am having friends over for dessert, and I have made coffee panna cotta. I once saw a recipe for something like this in a magazine, which had a photo of it being served in pretty china teacups. Of course, I have pretty teacups, so I had to make the dessert! Will report in tomorrow.

Friday, November 25, 2016

It's done!

The last thing I did on the dickie-thingy was a three-needle bind-off on the shoulders, in purple.

crazy, wild colours and patterns

That's because I ran out of blue and didn't want to finish it all in red. I figure a purple shoulder seam makes it look like I meant to include the purple all along.

Stephen, wondering if this crazy thing will ever be finished:

This is the whole, complete, ready-to-wear thingmabob.

Top of the hat part, smooth to fit under a bike helmet:

Me, gazing off to the future...

I hope the future holds a stranded mitten or two for me. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Little film festivals

You know I go to two big film festivals in Toronto: I go see films at the Toronto International Film Festival in September and I watch and volunteer at Hot Docs in late April.

I"m branching out. In October I volunteered at the Planet in Focus environmental film festival. Last night I went to a meeting about helping out at the Jayu human rights film festival. I was told at that meeting that there are about 100 film festivals in Toronto each year! Slight exaggeration, I think; I can find a list of 40-ish.

Planet in Focus was pretty good; I will definitely volunteer again next year. This year I helped mainly with the school program. We brought kids in from all different grades and had a junior and a senior screening, with different shorts. I only saw a couple of films other than that though, Atlantic and the opener, Theater of Life.

The schedule at Jayu looks good, too. I hope to work at the earlier shows and just watch the later ones. Hmm, they didn't mention at the meeting anything about free entry to movies for volunteers.... I am pretty sure we get in to the opening night.

As part of the Hot Docs gang, I volunteer year-round at the cinema, and today I'm ushering at Ron Howard's movie about the Beatles.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Almost done this dickie thing

Oh, my, what a chore!

I knit a front flap, and then a wee back flap, and then a neck. Now I am on the hat part.

I started with a more elaborate stitch pattern for the hat, but ended up ripping out about 5 or 6 rows and starting again with "mock houndstooth."

Now I fear I am running out of yarn, so might have to go get some more! A completely different colour, I imagine, since this was bought a year ago and there's no way I can find ball bands.

But this shall be done by the end of the week, one way or the other.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

More bizarre bazaar items

Unless I dig up more booklets (always possible), this is the last of these posts. I don't know if I have a booklet for each month of 2017, but I certainly have patterns for years!

Bazaar Novelties and Gifts, one of the first of these pattern books in my collection. I'm not sure what the poodle is doing there!

Here we have the Odd Ounce Book. This has that great zebra pattern.

This one may be the oddest of all. Clearly one pattern requires you to find a source of foam rubber and make yourself a giraffe-shaped thing to cover with your knitting.

The penguin is cute. Maybe for Christmas 2017 everyone will get a little stuffed animal, whether they need it or not!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Oh, no!

A gloomy and slightly snowy morning!
We did manage to get our lights up on the front porch this weekend, so we are set for the coming snowy, cold, dark nights to come. (Still a bucket of knitting to get done, somehow!)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday shorts

  • Dinner went fine last night. In past years we have had 20 people or more, but I just picked the wrong weekend this year and there were maybe 10 in total, with some couples tag-teaming in and out because of little kids or other things. Of course, leftovers!
  • This afternoon we are going to see the new house of a colleague of Stephen's. I do love fantasy-renovating other people's houses! "Just take that wall out there and maybe put a window in here." Fun!
  • It has been lovely and warm lately, but today, the day of the Santa Claus parade, we woke up to windy, cold, grey. There are even little bits of icy snow blowing around. This is, of course, seasonally appropriate. It is supposed to be cold here in November.
  • I'm really going to need all those cold-weather accessories, like stranded mittens. now. Best find where I put all my knitting bags when "cleaning up" yesterday. 
  • I think that's it. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Getting out of the kitchen for a moment

I have been chopping and cooking and washing and sweeping all day... although some of the washing was done by my dishwasher, and my bread machine took care of the baking!

I was a bit worried about the size of the dish, since the recipe says it serves four. How, I wondered, could a bunch of pasta and a whole large eggplant serve only four? Well, on closer inspection, the "large" eggplant in the recipe should be about 300 grams! Mine is twice that, so I just doubled everything and will certainly have enough food!

 All sliced up and ready to be cut into wee dice.

Four medium carrots... well, I had five large ones, and such pretty colours, too! 

They got made into dice as well, insofar as one can make a carrot into dice. This is the last moment before they got all mixed together and cooked up.

All cooked up, pasta and broth added, garlic, lemon zest, oregano and cheeses. I'll have to put my oven on the timer when I go out to the appetizer course and cross my fingers that it all cooks perfectly without me. 

I also threw some olives in the bread. 

Now I have time for a cup of tea and a shower; I'll get Elaine to dry the dishes; the floor is as swept as it is going to get. All is well!

Friday, November 18, 2016

A preview of tomorrow's dinner

Tomorrow night we are hosting a course of our street's progressive dinner. I try to arrange one of these every November. This year's was a bit of a struggle because a couple of key players are away, but some "foreigners" from around the corner are taking up the slack. I know not everyone RSVPs, and some people will pop in unannounced.

I am hosting the main course, so I will have my old standby Caesar salad (with anchovies) and an Ottolenghi casserole from Plenty More, my new favourite cookbook, which I am constantly taking out of the library. I think that for last year's dinner I made the cauliflower cake from the same book.

This year I will make Baked Orzo with Mozzarella and Oregano. The recipe says it serves four, but it has a whole large eggplant in along with half a pound of pasta, so I'm assuming it'll be fine as a potluck dish for a bit more than four.

Lots of cooking-blog types have made this, if you want to see the recipe. I hope to have an artful photo of my own shortly!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

More for 2017

Two of my little vintage projects for next year will come from these books.

It's a bit late, perhaps, for my daughter, but the dolls are still around and might like a new outfit. These ones are quite elaborate with their national costumes.

This one has Barbie clothes as well, teeny tiny. Even some cool duds for Ken! Fiddly little trousers. I love the green "snowsuit" there on the left. 

I've had these books for ages! This project for next year will give me the incentive to actually use them; I hope I keep it up. Surely it won't be that hard to knit a little thing each month, while still having a few (million) other projects on the go?