5 And A Beagle

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Start of Summer Vacation (for the kids) 

Life use to be easier when it came to planning the summer vacation. Generally, anywhere was fine if it involved any one of these -

-hotel/motel with a swimming pool
-cabin by a lake
-anything Disney

Those three criteria are still okay for our youngest, but the older two (really, I should say good old #4, the middle one) are more difficult to please.

The ideal summer vacation for:
#5 - See above list
#4 - A beach in Hawaii
#3 - Anywhere with his friends
#2 - At home alone without #1, 3, 4 or 5. The beagle can stay.
(I say this tongue in cheek lest 1,3,4 or 5 read this and get offended.)
#1 - Anywhere where #2, 3, 4 or 5 are happy, and without the beagle.

Of course, the vacation to Europe 3 years ago was fantastic and we would all love a repeat of that, but unfortunately the bank account doesn't like the idea.

There's just no satisfying everyone!

The Shapely T is shaping up but tonight was spent cleaning out the garden. Here's what I have to show for my labour.

Plus a few mosquito bites.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

After Backtack...Back to Knitting 

Another busy weekend. I don't think I've had a weekend free in the month of June. First half was the graduation activities, and this weekend was spent helping my parents with their garage sale. It's amazing what can accumulate over the years. Nothing like a garage sale to clear out the junk, and what a way to spend my anniversary. 22 years - where does the time go? Nothing on the horizon for this upcoming long weekend so maybe it's time to dedicate some hours to cleaning out the garden. I've volunteered to get involved in the grounds maintenance at my daughter's high school, and early Saturday morning I met with the co-ordinator to go over the duties. She was going to stop by our house later in the day with a set of keys to the storage shed and I realized, as I drove up to my house, that I hoped she didn't come by because then she'd see what a neglected yard I have. She'd probably reconsider having me on board. If I'm going to keep the school gardens free of weeds, I should probably spend some time on my own.

Now that I've finished the Backtack Project, I've picked up the needles and started knitting once again. I whipped up a few lace bookmarks so as to not feel completely out of the "Knit the Classics" loop. I have to admit though, that I have not gotten past the first chapter of "Middlemarch". It's a shame really, because I enjoyed "Mill on the Floss" also by Eliot, but I don't think I'll be able to plow through this one. Just not enough time. I'll try and get a jump start on the next book.

I ended up ripping out (again) the work I'd done on the Shapely T. At first I'd started on the back, decided that I'd start again on the front & back in the round. I didn't like the way 2 of the 4 short row sides had turned out so I ripped it out. Then, before starting attempt #3, I picked up a different yarn. I was originally going with Svale (cotton/silk), but at $8.00 per skein, I had to reconsider. This experiment would have cost me $64.00 and I wasn't sure I'd like it enough to wear. So I am now making it with a pretty rose shade of Estelle cotton that is half the price of the Svale. Easier to accept failure at $32.00. Aren't I the eternal optimist.

Here's were I've gotten to so far. Back to one piece at a time with the dreaded sewing to finish.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Cappuccino Shortbread 

The recipe of the month for June.

Cappuccino Shortbread
4 tsp instant coffee finely ground in coffee grinder
1 cup butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
6 squares semi-sweet chocolate

Finely grind the instant coffee. In a large bowl, cream butter then add sugar, coffee and vanilla. Sift together flour and cornstarch and add to butter mixture. Mix to a nice smooth dough. Mould dough into the shape of a coffee bean (approx 1 tsp dough per cookie). Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 325 for 15 minutes. Allow to cool. Melt chocolate squares and dip cookie into chocolate. Place on cookie sheet lined with wax paper and place in fridge or freezer to allow chocolate to set.

Absolutely mouth watering!

(I swear there will be knitting content next week!) :)

Monday, June 20, 2005

Backtack Redux 

Okay, I lied when I said Backtack was done. I couldn't help myself. I snooped around some of the blogs and I had to steal another idea from a fellow backtacker. (remember the old adage, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery".) Yarnstorm made a really cute pouch for her recipient's scissors. I had material left over so I figured, why not, I'll make one more thing to go into the basket. After all, scissors have a way of going missing don't they? Any little aid in keeping them in their place has to be a good thing.

I find that scissors are right up there on the list of inanimate objects that somehow are never where they're supposed to be. I have purchased so many nail clippers and yet I never find one when I need one. I suspect there's a bunch of them somewhere in a secluded corner of the basement clicking an inaudible message to any new members when they're brought into the house -- click click, come down here, click click, quick while she's not looking and you'll never have to clip another horrible finger or toe nail again! click click. She'll never think to look for us behind the hot water tank! click click

Or how about the pair of socks that go into the washer and dryer, but when it comes time to sort the dry clothes there's only one sock. Where did the other one go? I'm almost afraid to start on what seems to be an addiction for some knitting bloggers; that being knitting my own socks. I don't know if I could bear to have something that I so lovingly laboured over, up and leave me. (Kind of like my son, who's headed off to university out of town in September. But I digress.)

And of course, at the top of the list -- the cordless phone! Why oh why is it never in the cradle or at least near it? When the phone rings, and you might guess it's seldom for me or my husband, I feel like a mouse in a maze. Instead of following my nose to get to that piece of cheese, I'm madly following my ears to find the ringing phone. And I've only got 4 rings to get to it before the answering machine kicks in. Sometimes the phone (and my kids) conspire to make it more of a challenge by burying the receiver either under a pile of clothes or their bed.

So yes, here for the final time - really - is the last of the backtack. Ready for a journey of 2,141 miles south and east of here. The little snippets of chocolate in the background are for _ _ _ _ _'s sweet tooth. One is an artist's pallet and the other is a Canadian flag. Why? Because she is a talented painter, and I am Canadian. (only those familiar with Canadian beer commercials will get the joke there)

Gotta go - I think I hear the phone.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Backtack is Complete 

Backtack is finished. The notions basket complete with pins, pin cushion, needles and case, tape measure, scissors and a pouch with special goodies just for _ _ _ _ _ is ready to be mailed.

Normally I'm not early in completing things, but there was an incentive - the fact that were having grandparents, uncles and aunts over on Sunday. A triple celebration for Father's Day, gramma's birthday and Mike's graduation. There just isn't room for a sewing machine on the dining room table, thus the need to get the project completed and cleaned up. If only the prospect of everyone coming over could inspire us to get the bathroom and kitchen floors tiled. Almost 3 months of plywood floors in the kitchen (even longer in the bathroom), I'm almost getting use to the rustic look.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

No Knitting + ... What Was I Thinking? 

Nothing new on the knitting or sewing front this weekend. This was the weekend of festivities celebrating my eldest's graduation from high school. Friday morning was the Mass at school - an enjoyable ceremony. Saturday evening was the dinner dance at a ballroom in this beautiful convention center in Vancouver. It was a great evening. A wonderful opportunity to share with the students and other families as they all celebrate reaching this point in their journey of life. After the grad dinner and dance - the After Grad.

Way back in September or October, there was a meeting at the school to update all of us parents on the plans for the grade 12 year. I remember putting my name down as a volunteer for something, I thought it was to assist with the breakfast that one of the families had generously offered to host. I somehow ended up, however, volunteering to be a chaperone at the After Grad. (if only I could put sound affects so that each time you read those two words, music would play that would send shivers up your spine)

After Grad was from 1:30 to 5:30 AM!! in a restaurant downtown. The kids had maybe 60 to 90 minutes to get from the grad dinner to the after grad. Both festivities being dry, (no alcohol) some took advantage of this time to drink. Some foolish ones took this time to drink copious amounts of alcohol. Some probably for the first time. While we waited for the arrival of the kids, the proprietor of the restaurant told the chaperones, (all 3 of us) about the events of the night before with another school. Lots of vomit, one 911 call for an ambulance and one 911 call for the cops. I think it was at that point that I truly questioned my sanity. Why was I there.

Suffice it to say that our group wasn't as bad as the night before, but they were no angels either. These kids were checked at the door and lots of bottles were confiscated. Many with protestations that it was only water. Sure, water that smells remarkably like rum. Even after the check at the door, there were random checks in the washroom and more bottles were found. If you're ever in the enviable position to be a chaperone at one of these events.. a word to the wise - check under their hats. A girl that had already had her first bottle taken at the door, got caught in the bathroom with her back up bottle. How did she get it in, she was wearing a fedora and it was tucked under the hat on her head. In the end; some vomit, one 911 call for an ambulance and four parents called to pick up their very ill kids.

Lesson learned - there's no way my two younger daughters are going to their after grads unless their dad or I are a chaperone, AND - a lengthy discussion (again) on the dangers of excessive drinking. It's difficult enough for them to make wise choices, but add alcohol to the mix and it's worse.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Accessory for the Notions Bag 

In the little spare time I had this evening I whipped up the first of the accessories for the backtack project.
I used a patch of the felted wool for the base. I wove some of the ribbon through it before felting, but it didn't turn out as I had hoped. (the picture is a little blurry)
This has been a really enjoyable project to work on. However, if there was ever a "Flash your Messy House" day such as there has been a "Flash your Stash" or "Flash your Tattoo" day, I'd be too embarrassed to dare show mine. The time spent at the sewing machine or knitting has definitely had an effect on the state of the home. It doesn't help that I've increased my days at work from 4 to 5. It's next to impossible to keep up with all that has to be done.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Backtack Progress 

I've had my backtack supplies for over 2 weeks now and I've been waiting for some inspiration as to what to do with them. Initially I thought I'd make something like this pouch for circular needlesbut after lurking around on the blog of my recipient, I've discovered that something knitting related would not be the way to go.

I was browsing around some of the backtack blogs and I came across the pictures of the finished product from the very talented Hillary. If you haven't already seen her work, go check it out. She's got some great stuff.

I have to admit to copying her idea of a notions basket. I think it will be the perfect use of the materials from backtacker #1 to give to backtacker #2. I just realized as I was typing this that the first letter of the name of my supplier is the same as the first letter of my end recipient's. How's that for a clue for any of you backtack lurkers. I know you're out there, the majority of the hits to this lonely little blog are from backtackers. I hate to think what will happen to my numbers when this is all over :(

I picked up a basket this past Saturday afternoon while I was desperately shopping for a dress to wear to my son's graduation dinner next Saturday. The basket was an easy find, the dress, not so easy. Saturday night was spent cutting and sewing.

By midnight Sunday, I'd managed to get to this point. The basket is complete and the knitting you see in the bottom corner is going to be felted and used along with the other patterned fabric for some goodies to go into the basket. Here's a shot of the inside along with a picture of the tie closure with the beautiful beads that __ sent from Taiwan.I hope to find the time to get most of it made before the weekend. Then it will just be a case of buying the stuffers and shipping it to _ _ _ _ _ in _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _. (more clues, can you guess?)

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Question on blocking 

I was hoping to have a picture of my progress on the Shapely T tonight, but I decided to rip back the work I'd done and start over. I was going along on the front and I remembered how much I really disliked sewing up seams. Whenever possible, I prefer to knit in the round. The question - can you block something that has been knit in the round as nicely as you can separate pieces? Advice from the experts is being solicited.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

As the Week and the Scarf Unravel 

I finally reached the end with the ravelled rib scarf. Or so I thought. At 78", darling #4 decided it was long enough. There's a little bit of leftover yarn and I was torn about casting off. I hate to have bits of odds & sods, but I figure I can throw it on a felted bag or slippers as a trim.

So I dropped stitches and cast off, anxious to see the unravelling. I knew it wouldn't rapidly undo like a run in a stocking, but I didn't think I'd be picking out each and every dropped stitch all the way down the scarf. On the original pattern that was the inspiration, it wouldn't be such a big deal to unravel 8 - 12" at either end of the scarf, but 78" with 15 columns -- it's a good thing winter's a way off.

I was thinking of posting two pictures - a before and an after. But it's still a WIP so here is one picture that shows both.

I've done a swatch (unusual for me but I'm learning to put in the extra effort for better results) for the Shapely T and I've practiced a few goes at short rows. The yarn is Svale, a beautifully soft mixture of cotton, viscose and silk. The first wearable item for me (that isn't a scarf) in almost 20 years. Here goes...


eXTReMe Tracker Subscribe with Bloglines