Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Some old things

Not flowers today, but some old patterns and suchlike.

I was volunteering at the Textile Museum on Tuesday and noticed a box in a cupboard, containing donated patterns for the annual sale of ... donated textile-y stuff.

After I amused myself and took pictures, someone said it would probably not be a problem if I just took the patterns! Like I need more old paper patterns, but who knows what might happen next time.

Mother-daughter dresses. Oddly proportioned, big-hair, little-body woman. Maybe she's the big sister and it's just that way that teenagers looked so mature in the olden days?

Big bow, big ball, nice sweater.

Humpty Dumpty! I guess it gets cloudy when he's all cracked on the ground.

Two angelic children in great little jackets.

Diabolical child in snappy vest. Look, you can make it in different colours! He's so... creepy.

Now this is a treasure that I bet will get thrown away. It's a scrapbook full of patterns for doll clothes. The tape has turned brown and crackly, the paper is yellowed and old. Pages and pages of patterns cut out of some women's magazine and saved.

And now a couple of adult options.

This suit! So elegant!

And a coat with a lovely scalloped edge. I'm thinking of how to incorporate this into my sweater-in-progress. So nice. 

It's a never-ending delight, having access to that box in that cupboard!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A finished project and an idea

I finished a big, warm, colourful shawl.

I got this yarn at the beginning of the year from someone who was destashing. She offered it free to someone who knit for charity.

It was in bits and pieces. The previous owner had gone through the skeins and cut out the charcoal colour, and then rewound things, sometimes tying two bits together, sometimes leaving the little balls of a single colour. Log-cabin knitting seemed the best bet.

The yarn is a wool and silk blend, so really warm, and also really easy to break. And you can't throw it in the washer and dryer!

I figured that one can do a sideways edging for one log in the log cabin, then knit a wee few rows along the long side, and finish with the sideways edging on the other end.

There were a lot of ends to sew in once the knitting was done.

You may notice that today we have a ton of pictures. We did a phone switcheroo here: Stephen got a new iPhone and I got his gently used one. Stuff is flying through the cloud all over the place here. My computer has now got all my pictures off the old phone and my phone will soon have all the pictures off the computer.

Including things I downloaded in 2011 and then forgot about.

This is a graph showing something about employment and education... I am not sure and I can't find the original in a bigger size. Who cares? It is boxes in a few colours, easy to knit! One day...

I mean to finish my Black Panther sweater, but it is so hot now that the idea of sitting with a bunch of wool in my lap is not at all appealing.

Maybe tomorrow I can show you flowers!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Muffin Monday on Saturday: Mexican Corn

These muffins are wild!

You put an onion in a blender!

Cream corn, hot peppers, cheese, hardly any sugar!

This is a recipe I have by-passed for years. A muffin with cream corn in, how peculiar. But now I think this might join the family favourites as a dinner accompaniment, a picnic-snack-thing, a jolt for breakfast. They really are hot, especially that first tingly bite!

The recipe calls for red peppers, but doesn't say what kind. We happened to have a bunch of quite hot, small, thin, red peppers in the freezer, and we threw two of them in, seeds and all. You could also use jalapeños or red pepper flakes, I suppose. As always with spicy things, your milage may vary.

I haven't found the recipe anywhere online, so I will give you a slightly annotated version.

Mexican Corn muffins, by Joan and Marilyn

In a large bowl, combine:
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp white sugar

In electric blender, puree:
1 onion (we cut it in 8ths first)
2 red chili peppers (dried are fine)
1/2 sweet green pepper (we left this out entirely)
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk

Pour contents of blender into dry mixture, along with:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup grated old cheddar
1 cup canned cream-style corn

Stir until blended, fill muffin cups and bake at 425º F for 25 minutes. Makes 18 muffins (or more: we got 18 plus a dozen small ones).

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

All the dishcloths

I started this post long ago, before I finished the last two cloths of the season.

A couple of these you did see before, but I'll just give you a tour of the last four.

Trying to avoid all those blah colours. Also, forgot how to make a ballband dishcloth! Also, purled one red row instead of knitting it. It wouldn't win any prizes at a fair, but it will wash someone's dishes just fine, and be a bit cheery as well.

Ah, the log cabin of all the scraps! It was fun and so fast to knit this. Now, how long will it be before another ball of Christmas colour cotton comes my way? 

You probably can't tell here, and you can hardly tell in real life, but the white yarn has pastel baby colours throughout. Of course I didn't have  quite enough pink.

And lastly, another round one, in nice sunny colours. I quite like this pattern; it makes a smallish cloth, but sometimes that's just what you need. 

I'm done with dishcloth frenzy for now. I'm just tidying up some loose ends, knitting-wise, before I get back to my big green sweater -- which I won't need now till November, anyways!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Muffin Monday: Honey Cornmeal

I am working my way through the muffin recipes that call for cornmeal, and cornmeal plus buttermilk gets extra points. My recipe is something like this.

As you may have figured out, I am the main eater of muffins that don't contain chocolate, or maybe blueberries. This recipe made 18 muffins for me, so many remain in the freezer for now.

They are fine. Again, the mealy texture, but also the deliciousness of the raisins. Not too sweet, fine for breakfast or a snack or you could even put them out with dinner.

We are getting closer and closer to the recipe that calls for a can of creamed corn....

And now, a family of Canada Geese:

Saturday, May 12, 2018

The sublime and the ridiculous

I think these are my last two dishcloths for a while. I still have some pale leftovers which I will use up eventually, but for now I am done.

The doily in sunny yellow:

I'm not sure it is very good for dishwashing, with all those holes, but one could put it under a vase of flowers, or rest one's phone on it... I'm not sure!

It was quite fun to knit, once I got past the eight stitches on three needles to begin with. I started with slippery metal needles, which just resulted in stitches sliding off, but soon found some more sticky plastic needles, and put my eight stitches on four, which worked fine. I was very happy to switch to my short circular needle as soon as I could, though!

I had two groups of leftover bits, the pale and the not-pale.

I did sort of think the green would go farther, and I really didn't want to use the nice, clear red in with the muddy variegated, but the choice was red, or white with pastel speckles.


I'm so happy because now I have something suitable for the "your ugliest FO" thread on Ravelry! (You'll need a Rav account to see that, I imagine.)

Monday, May 07, 2018

Rounding off the Hot Docs fest

Where was I? Ah, yes, getting woozy in the middle of last week...

On Thursday I did another Docs for Schools shift. We had something like 600 kids in the morning to see Matangi/Maya/MIA. Once upon a time a Tamil young girl left Sri Lanka and went to Britain where she grew up. She wanted to be a filmmaker, and in the early 2000s returned to Sri Lanka and filmed her family when a cousin went missing in the war. She had friends in London who were musicians and rappers, and she wrote songs about the war in Sri Lanka. She started performing and became quite a star, and talked about genocide and politics, generally got in trouble by making people uncomfortable. I knew nothing about her or about all the controversy around her, but the kids were engrossed in the film. The post-film Q&A was really interesting, too, and MIA actually went out on the sidewalk after the movie and let the kids get pictures with her.

The Docs for Schools crew, me in green hat, no pop stars

The afternoon movie was Time for Ilhan, about a woman in Minnesota who ran for a seat in the state government. She is a Muslim, originally from Somalia, running against a 43-year incumbent who seemed to take for granted that she would just continue to get elected forever. Ilhan Omar seems to be smart, determined, down-to-earth, clever, kind... and a black immigrant woman who is taking her place in America. The kids cheered as she won.

On Friday I worked in the volunteer office, and didn't see a single movie! The beginning of the end, winding down.

There is a thing on the waterfront called Ontario Place. It is a crazy "modern" park from the 1970s, inaccessible, awkward to get to, uncared for now, yet iconic and somehow beloved by people who grew up here.

There is a big dome -- an Imax theatre -- and Hot Docs showed one film there, a 45-minute thing about trolley cars and streetcars.

The Cinesphere

Metallic foamy wall in the Cinesphere

I thought it would be fun to volunteer for that, so found myself walking a kilometre from the last streetcar stop, taking the wrong bridge over to the park, ending up at the wrong side of the sphere... and so on!

So much maintenance is needed inside and out

It was such a popular screening (it was free, as well as in the sphere and about streetcars) that there were no seats available for the volunteers and I found myself standing and watching the film from the very edge of the theatre. The kids and the streetcar buffs enjoyed the movie, but I thought it was just exactly what one might expect. So mainly I had time to grumble about the out-of-date building!

Somehow I was moved after that shift to request just one more, on the last night of the festival, from 6 pm to midnight, at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, where we use four cinemas. It all fit together because we had tickets to a movie there that afternoon. I'd have an hour or so for dinner!

We saw Manufactured Landscapes, a blast from the past instead of a brand new movie. (The director lives down the street from me and we recognized each other as I was leaving the washroom and she was going in just before the movie.) The photographer Ed Burtynsky was taking pictures of how people had changed the physical landscape, concentrating on China. The film opens with scenes inside a factory. Actually, it is one long (long, long) shot of aisle after aisle of people putting a thing on another thing, tightening a screw and passing it on, manually building millions of irons or switches or widgets. He takes amazing photos, and the filmmakers shared his concerns and his aesthetics. Wonderful to see on the big screen!

After the film I had a sandwich in a coffee shop and then put on my red volunteer shirt and worked in the atrium, where we set up the lines before the cinemas open.

I wondered if I would be able to watch any of the movies, but I was seduced into working the atrium by the suggestion we'd be out earlier than those working in the actual cinemas.

There were four films, two of which were full to bursting. We let them all in by 9:15; we carried away the stanchions marking out the lines, took down some signs and hung around. By 10 or so we had closed up shop and gone home, leaving the volunteers in the theatres to get the people out again.

All week long this space had been full of people

And so another film festival comes to an end. I knit six dishcloths and made another batch of muffins that I haven't told you about yet! So there's still lots to tell you.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Muffin Monday on Friday: Cranberry Yogurt

Oh, it is not Monday, and yet, here I am with more muffins.

One needs a hearty muffin in one's bag when seeing two or three movies a day. So I whipped up a batch of Cranberry Yogurt muffins. This recipe is very similar, but mine has all brown sugar, and no fancy-pants orange rind, which actually would be a fine addition.

Mine also has a note in the recipe that you can use a cup of blueberries instead of cranberries, and that is what I always do.

You don't have to add all the sugar, so you can say that these are pretty healthy. Oats, berries, low-fat dairy. What more could you ask for, really?

In anticipation of more and more muffins, I bought some buttermilk yesterday. I hope I manage to use the whole litre before it goes off.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Getting to the woozy stage

I have been so busy at Hot Docs. I've done three of my five volunteer shifts and have seen more than one movie on most days.

Lots of organizations get a few film tickets and do "retweet to win" contests, and it often seems like I am the only person to retweet! This year I won tickets to Obscuro Barroco, Women of the Venezuelan Chaos, The Beksinskis: A Sound and Picture Album, Primas, Grit, Yellow is Forbidden. I think that is all. And how many of those free tickets did you use, Mary? Zero! I gave tickets away to friends; I left one outside the theatre last night because I'd already seen a movie at 6 and couldn't last till midnight to see the later show; I put some on Freecycle... Very few didn't get used. And perhaps I have learned my lesson about Twitter!

On Tuesday I slept in a bit and then went to see some shorts. I do love a nice collection of shorts. These all had to do with family and memory and old super-8 movies and grandmas and so on! If you click on that link, it will lead you to all the descriptions if you like. My favourite was Haunted, maybe, or Crisanto Street. They were all very good!

In the evening, Stephen and I went to see Omni: An Act against Gravity. A guy tries to build a hoverboard. It was kind of cool to see the process of making it, with his dad hauling on various ropes while his mom offers sandwiches.

The filmmaker liked long shots of our hero pondering, looking out the window -- I'm not sure why. This would have been a great 30- or 40-minute movie, but it did drag on. Kind of full of itself.

Wednesday we saw a really fun, really interesting and thought-provoking film called More Human than Human about artificial intelligence and robotics. The filmmaker wants to make a machine that can conduct an interview, along with filming the interview in a certain style. Along the way he talks to various experts in AI, in ethics, in robotics --even Garry Kasparov, the chess champion who was famously beaten by a computer -- and shows movie robots through the ages, from Frankenstein to Blade Runner. Really very good.

Today I saw two more, but will leave those for another day. Tomorrow I think I have no movies scheduled, but you never know what might happen. Then the weekend, and then finally some laundry and grocery shopping!

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Surfing, studying and money-laundering

I saw three movies Monday. A friend took a day off work and we had a wild day of standing in lines and eating treats and finally, eventually, eating lunch.

At 10 am, we saw Andy Irons: Kissed by God. I had no idea who Andy Irons was, but it turns out he was a super, young, good-looking, world champion surfer. He was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and eventually became an addict of opioid pills. So the terrible story of his addiction and death was told with gorgeous photography of Hawaii and other oceanside places. (It's not spoiler-ish to mention his death, since that is stated in the very opening of the film.)

We got out of that one and got right back in line for Inventing Tomorrow, a story of an international science fair. The film follows four projects from Mexico, India, Indonesia and Hawaii, all to do with the environment. Three boys from Mexico developed a paint that was meant to absorb toxins from the air. A girl from Indonesia was concerned with the tin mining in her local bay, and designed a filter to stop lead and other things going back into the water. There was a girl from Bangalore who measured water quality in the city's lakes, and the boy from Hilo measured how far the tsunamis of the 20th century had spread arsenic from a pond that had been used to collect waste from some industry.

Lunch, finally, around 3, home for dinner, out again to an evening movie about tangled politics.

Active Measures traces links between Russia/Putin/various crime boss-oligarchs and Trump and his real estate. It sped along at a great rate, with Hillary Clinton, John McCain, former politicians from Georgia and Estonia, people associated with security agencies and banks and on and on.... It's a tangled web and we are all caught up in it. Really good!

To be continued...