5 And A Beagle

"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." John Lennon

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Why is this blogspot not working????? 

Okay, so now it is working. For a while there it was a blank screen.
Well, 5 tax returns done and ready for the mail. Thank goodness.
Let's see ... tax returns complete, tomorrow's Friday, and the icing on the cake -

U2 tomorrow.

All is right in my universe tonight.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Aunt Mary 

I was sitting down in my dining room, ready to start in on the tax returns when my attention was drawn to a picture on the sideboard. This is a picture of me and my Aunt Mary taken in her kitchen sometime in the mid 60's. Aunt Mary passed away in January of this year at the age of 85. She was an absolute treasure. She was so many things ... the best cook and baker there ever was, the best listener, someone who would offer advice in such a way that you didn't even realize she was guiding you in a certain direction until she had already done it. She was a woman of strength, courage, forgiveness and love.

When my brother and I were young, my parents would take us every weekend to the Sunday School that was just up the road from Aunt Mary's. After Sunday School, we would spend time at her house and have the most delicious treats. Every Easter Aunt Mary would make a Yugoslav Easter Bread for her kids, her nieces and nephews, and, as the years went on she would add her grandchildren and her great-nieces and nephews.

Through the years she taught me and other family members how to make some of her wonderful treats. Somehow though, they would never turn out as good as hers. There was definitely a special touch she brought to the things she made.

I thought that I would add a side bar to this blog and try at least once a month to share one of my Aunt's recipes with you. She loved to cook, to bake, and to have people enjoy her creations. I think that even though she is gone, she would have loved to know a bit of her lives on. I hope that you can try the recipes and if you do and enjoy them, please let me know.

I just have to figure out how to get a link on my side margin to link up to the recipes I'll be posting, but for know, here's the first one. As is in the picture - Strawberry Shortcake.


Shortcake -
2c Flour
2 tbsp. Sugar

4tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c unsalted butter
1 c milk
Sift dry ingredients together. Cut in butter with 2 knives or a pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk. Toss the mixture lightly with a fork until the liquid is absorbed. Knead the shortcake dough lightly on a floured surface. Divide dough in half and place in two greased 8" round pans. Gently pat dough down with hands. Bake in 450 oven until lightly browned. Approx 18 - 20 minutes.

Strawberry Topping -
4 c whole hulled strawberries

1/3 c confectioners sugar
1-3/4 c whipping cream
2 tbsp icing sugar

Slice the strawberries into halves and stir in cofectioners sugar (reserving at least 12 whole ones for the top of the cake). Whip the cream along with the icing sugar. Once shortcakes are cooked, allow to cool for 5 minutes and remove from pans. Place 1/2 of the whipped cream and halved strawberries between the layers. Place the remainder of the whipped cream on the top layer and garnish with the remainder of the strawberries, halved and whole.

Volim te, teta Mitza

Monday, April 25, 2005

Above and beyond the call of ...... teaching 

Somehow I don't think this was part of the job description when these two teachers signed on to the profession.

These two great sports are Mr. P and Mr. R the grade 7 and 5 teachers at my daughter's school. Each year the school puts on a spring fair full of games, prizes, food and lots of people. The wrap up to the day is a chance to pie the teachers. There are lines drawn on the pavement for the varying ages of kids brave enough to try to pie these two. I think Mr. P needs to instill a little more fear into his students though. None of the kids tried creeping past the line on Mr. R and he wasn't subjected to the splats in the face at close range (6 inches or less) that Mr. P was. I suspect that they will be lobbying for danger pay after this weekend.

A perfect day for a fair and lots of fun had by all. (Except possibly, Mr. P and Mr. R. They're probably still trying to get the whipping cream out of their ears.)

Hopefully I'll be able to get back to some of my knitting. I tried on Saturday night and got about three rows on the cowichan sweater before I fell asleep. I still have to stuff the last teddy bear and then take some pictures of the finished goods. All of that to do but first..... 5 income tax returns before Sunday. At least I get to break the torture of tax returns with an evening with U2. Only 4 more sleeps until the Friday show!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Manos Mania 

A few months back I purchased two skeins of blue multi-coloured Manos del Uruguay on ebay. It was a little more than expected after customs decided to open it and charge me GST and a filing fee. The original cost of the wool plus shipping was $41 CDN. Not bad I thought when you consider that the closest LYS is a 35 to 40 minute drive away and their cost is $18 CDN per skein plus taxes. Unfortunately, the seller put $50 on the customs sticker - it was opened up and after all was said and done the total cost to me was $52 CDN.

I decided to try and squeeze two scarves out of the wool so that I could get as much bang for the buck. Thus - Manos and Mini-Manos. They were made using Karen's Multidirectional Scarf pattern. The picture doesn't really show the details of the changing direction.

The brown scarf is also Manos purchased on ebay. This time a little more reasonably priced at $18 CDN including shipping for one skein. The pattern used is My So-Called Scarf.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


This past Sunday I ran (and I use that word loosely) in the city's annual 10K 'Fun Run'. The company that I work for sponsors any employees that want to participate, and I've been chugging along for the past 7 or so years.

The first year that I registered I talked my neighbour Lori, into filling in for a fellow employee that wasn't able to go. She was reluctant, worrying that she'd be the last across the line. Well we weren't the last across and there was such a sense of accomplishment that we (she) was keen to keep running. That was in 1998 I believe and since then, Lori has run in two marathons and she can climb the local mountain trail faster than a jack-rabbit. I created a running monster - which is a good thing. Unfortunately, her zeal for all things fitness did not rub off on me. I hop on the treadmill at the local gym about a month before the annual race and try to get in enough shape to better my previous year's run. I was mildly pleased with my results this year considering I had run on said treadmill all of two times in the week leading up to Sunday and I managed to run(jog) 90% of the course.

I asked my son to put together a CD for me to listen to and the music might have been an inspiring factor. It was full of U2 (which I love), but the final tracks were Green Day. How can you not run(jog) to the heavy drum beats of 'Holiday', 'American Idiot' and 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams'? Plus I've got the volume up so loud, so as to drown out my inner voice telling me "Okay, enough running, time to walk for a while." So I did the 10K in a respectable (?) 78 minutes.

My 15 year old daughter and her friend accompanied me for the second year. We make plans to meet at a certain spot in the stadium after the race and head off at our own pace. Let me just mention that this is the daughter that can out run anyone in our family in the 100m or 200m sprints. Kris and her older brother were racing once and she was poised to beat him. So what did he do . . . what any threatened older sibling would do . . . he stuck his elbow out to block her. Unfortunately, he also knocked out her front tooth. Now that happened when they were 3 and 6, but she's never let that little incident slow her down. She's always placed in the top 6 in her age group in the district track and field finals and just has a natural stride. All of that having been said - I waited for quite some time in the stadium and when they finally arrived all smiles, I asked what took so long. "Well," my daughter said with a chuckle, "You can't run with a coffee in your hand. It'll slosh down the front of your shirt." "A coffee!!!" "Sure." she said, "It was raining and we were cold and there was a coffee shop along the route." So with warm drinks in hand, they strolled the 10K for a time of 2 hours, 6 minutes. But hey, at least they got more exercise than their average Sunday morning.

I hope to get some pictures up of my newly blocked scarves, but this Saturday the elementary school is having it's annual Spring Fair. I get to co-ordinate the prizes for the games and decorate a couple of the rooms. It's always fun to shop and spend money when it's not your own. It should be a fun time, but another busy weekend.


Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Jolly Green Giant 

My first attempt at a felted hat and slippers. Here is my obliging daughter modeling the pre-felted project. The slippers are from knitty.

I've got to put something on the bottom so that I don't go skating down our hardwood stairs. Any suggestions?

The hat...it was an experiment. I don't quite know why I did it because I really don't look good in hats, but it was a quick knit and fun to felt. Maybe somebody around here will wear it next St. Patrick's Day.

The second Teddy Bear workshop was on Saturday and the bears are nearing completion. I hope to have photos to post in a few days.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Too much to do and still adding... 

I've never been able to juggle so I don't know why I'm adding to my 'to do list'.

The flooring in our kitchen is in the process of being ripped (chipped) up. Right now it's half plywood, half tile. The main bathroom has been plywood for the past 6? months and the built in dishwasher is listing to one side and screaming to be taken to the dump. Or maybe it's listing to one side and hanging on for dear life to be kept in the family. I'm sure it's the former. If the darn thing worked it would be lovingly welcomed into the family circle, but it hasn't been doing the job of dishwasher for at least 5 years. It should have been taken to the dump a long time ago. I wonder if I stopped doing the daily dishes (the old fashioned way), my family members would say the same thing about me. "We should have taken the old gal to the dump a long time ago."

So if home renovations aren't enough to keep Leo and I busy, I've taken a liking to knitting again. And that's taking my spare time. I must say though, that at the end of a long day, the thought of sitting down and relaxing with a ball of yarn is much more appealing than chipping tiles.

I've currently got two scarves on the go. The opera scarf in the alpaca brought back from S. America and a version of the frill from knitty. I've also got three scarves that need to be washed and blocked. Two of the multi-directional scarf and one of my so-called scarf. I liked making the herringbone pattern of my so-called scarf so much that I whipped up a pillow front for Danielle's room that also has to be blocked (and sewn to the backing and stuffed). Then there's the two cowichan sweaters - one is about 1/3 done. And of course last by not least, the two teddy bears. Now I've gone out and bought the Spring issue of Interweave Knits and am dying to start any one of three different projects. The Wear-Everywhere Pullover, a shortened version of the Fitted Dolman and the Vintage Pink Cardigan. Plus, experimenting with something in the Brioche stitch ....

I started knitting almost 40 years ago (sadly, I am that old) and I think I'm beginning to remember why I've been away from knitting for so long. It had something to do with wanting to do so much and not having the time. I must remember to pace myself.

Monday, April 11, 2005

A Teddy Bear's Picnic 

How did Saturday turn into a Teddy Bear's Picnic? It's a long and winding road, but back in December, I was on the hunt for a yarn shop in town that sold Manos. After some puzzled looks from the proprietors of a few local shops, I decided to try a google. Up came a link to Life's A Stitch and an entry about a shop in Steveston. After an inquiry to Li the creator of said 'blog', (who, it turns out lives about 10 km from myself, and our two 15 yr olds attend the same school) I was graciously invited to attend a monthly gathering of knitters on 'the shore'.

At that gathering I found out that the host, Maureen puts on numerous interesting workshops and an upcoming one was going to be for Barbara Irwin Teddy Bears.

This past Saturday we cut out the patterns, sewed (on fantastic vintage Singers supplied by Maureen) and stuffed. And in between all of that hard work, we took a break for a delicious lunch. Also supplied by Maureen. What a thoroughly enjoyable day it was. Next Saturday, it's back for one more session to complete the stuffing, give them their eyes and expressions, and assemble all of the body parts.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Gifts from Peru 

The trip around South America has ended and now it is time to be re-invented as a knitting blog.

Here, amongst many other very nice things is what my Mom and Dad brought back from their trip. Some beautiful hand spun alpaca. Three 100++ yard skeins and 4 small skeins. All for only $6 USD. Soon to become the Opera Scarf

I recently discovered a 2 decade old stash of buffalo wool which will be turned into a couple of cowichan sweaters for the sons of two of my cousins.

It certainly is hard though, switching between projects when the needle sizes are soooo different. I much prefer knitting the scarf.


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