Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Part 2 Beat the Winter blues

What a beautiful circle of colors here, from my ravelry partner Tsita in the Beat the Winter Blues swap.  Yes, I volunteered to be paired up with 2 partners for this round, so everyone had a partner to swap yarn with.  I've arranged these items into a circle for the photo, as I found they each had something that blended to the next thing.  The yarn that changed color from green to blue, then the blue Cascade yarn (I've never got to own a skein of Cascade yet, so this week has been full of yarn spoiling for me), then some beautiful postcards for my postcard collection with cherry blossoms and a blue sky... and so on.  The postcards are awesome!  Lots of attractions from Tsita's area to read about.  I hoped for one, and she didn't disappoint.  I had seen the world's tallest man at a Ripley's Believe It or Not museum in Niagara Falls during our honeymoon, but I didn't realize he was from that area.  Cool!  I also didn't realize he only lived to the age of 22.  That was sad, his poor wife.  The chocolates even fit in the with color scheme here, as Tsita spoiled me with Godiva truffles, some of which were mint chocolate with green wrappers.  And in the top right corner you will see a cool looking blue flower, which is the music CD Tsita made for me.  Tsita is also making me a custom dream catcher that she will send to me when it's finished - she is so talented!  I am always amazed when I see how many talented people I see on ravelry.

Thanks for such an excellent package, Tsita!  This sure helps in beating those winter blues!  And all in good time, too, as we still have plenty of snow on the ground.  Hopefully not too much longer, though...

Snazzy's scrumptious yarn!

Look at this fantastic new yarn that arrived in my mailbox today!

This yarn has been specially hand dyed for me by my ravelry friend, Snazzy B.
She knew how much I liked working with colors that gradually change, and how hard they are to come by around here, so she went to work at making me this one of a kind yarn.  Snazzy was even nice enough to ball one skein, so I could get to work on them right away.

I know just what I'm going to do with it, too.  I may need to tweak the pattern a wee little bit if my gauge is off, or I could just use the right needles.  Yeah, that would be better, wouldn't it?

Aren't they absolutely gorgeous?  That's a photo of the pattern which I will cast on tomorrow... I'd love to do it tonight, but hubby says it's date night.  He didn't like it last time I brought yarn to the movies.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Beat the Winter Blues arrival!

Here is my beautifully anticipated package from SaucyMinx. Isn't it lovely?

Perfect for the weather this week.  I could almost think it snowed just so I could appreciate the timing of my parcel's arrival that much more.  We have plenty of snow outside still, as we got over a foot of snow this week after having had green lawns last week.  But that's Canadian Spring for you.  

I would have liked to take better photos, but my camera is out of service right now, so I've used my phone to take the photo.  Almost everything is in this picture.  Alix sent some extra treats for my kids to eat, so those treats are gone.  They were thrilled!  I read the card to them before opening the rest of the package, so they knew something was for them.  Then they got all antsy, ha ha ha.  
Look at all these goodies! 
Alix sent me so many things, I don't know how she managed to pack them all in the box - I had to take out the cracker jacks in order to fit it all back in the box... yum yum!  I haven't had this kind of treat for years, it was nice.  She also sent me some premium Belgian dark chocolate, which is safely hidden in the fridge. 
The real candy, though, was the yarn.  Alix totally spoiled me.  Not one, not two, but three different kinds of yarn was I given!  The first was two balls of Sirdar CHUNKY Denim - I love chunky yarn!  I'm looking at it, thinking it would make a great little bag;  I will have to look up what kinds of purses I can make with this, or perhaps another eReader cozy for my Kobo.  Next was this really cool kind of yarn that I've never seen before.  It not only changes color, but it also changes slightly in thickness and in pattern going from solid to stripes here and there.  I can't wait to knit it!  It's called Aldente, made in Italy.  Then there's the icing on the cake... something I thought about splurging on for myself, but decided I might have to wait until next March for it.  Well, it looks like I get to be part of Malibrigo March, after all!  Alix sent me a skein of malibrigo Kettle Dyed pure merino wool - it's sooooo soft and squooshy!  I love it!  Thank you for the yummy yarn, Alix!
To make sure I would be able to use my yarn whenever it called to me, Alix also gave me two different sizes of large circular knitting needles, and one chunky crochet hook.  Now I am well supplied to try on some new patterns!  Emma has her little hands on the crochet hook in the photo, checking it out.

The other things you will see in this parcel here are a Lilac Mist scented candle, which reminds me of the lilac tree we stop to smell on the way to the park in springtime, and a Sonoma bar of natural lavender soap.  I would grant bonus points for this item (if there were a points system) because this soap company donates 5 bars of soap to people in need for every bar you buy. is their link, if you want to check it out.  The butterfly decorated note paper is so beautiful, and it comes in its own case that is shiny with a gold-like edging around the patterns.  Very pretty.  Alix also included for me a set of blue patterned greeting card set of blank cards for me.  Now I can try out card-making with some of the spring stamps I got.  I'm sure Evan would like to do this with me, as he is very creative and loves to do crafts and art.

I've been spoiled!  Thanks for everything Alix, I appreciate all the lovely things you've sent me.  I will send you photos of my finished objects when I'm done knitting with the yummy yarn you sent me. :)

That's all I can write for now, as we are going to turn off our lights for Earth Hour 2011 and chat in the candle light together.  Happy Earth Hour!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

What happened to spring?

No one told me this was coming.
2 days into spring, no less.
I don't want to go out in this today!
My teenager heard me grumble about the snow and said to me, "You know, mom, if I didn't have to go to school today I could walk Evan to school today.  Hint, hint." 
To which I replied, "That's nice sweetie, but you can't skip school to help me out.  I can deal with the snow."
He got ready for school and headed out (finally wearing the green camo hat I made for him last year - yay!) to catch his school bus.  A few minutes later he came back in, smiling.  I figured he missed his bus and thought, that won't get him out of school, he can take the city bus.
He exclaimed, "Snow Day!"
"Someone drove by and said the buses were cancelled today!"
"Oh, honey.  You were pranked.  Someone is playing a joke on you.  Better go back out and catch your bus."
"No mom, really.  Three people came and told us the buses were cancelled today.  No school!"
"Let's check the storm centre online..."
Sure enough, all the buses in our district are cancelled.  For this little bit of snow?  OH.  This means there will be more snow today.  They are expecting much more snow. Great. 
The radio just had a weather update.  It will not stop snowing till after dinner.
Hey Mr. Mailman, today would be the perfect day to get my Beat the Winter Blues package. 
Now I'm off to get one of my favorite mugs and make some coffee.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Looking for Video Tutorial - Any Suggestions?

I'm starting to think this premie baby will be all grown up by the time I get her Baby Kimono finished and sent in the mail....

I've finished the eyelet row at the bottom, and have bound off.  Now I'm at the hard part.
I have to pick up stitches on the arm holes.
See the picture?
I'm pointing to where I'm supposed to pick up stitches, only there are bound off stitches aw well underneath, as it is an arm hole.  The pattern only says to pick up stitches on the holder and knit flat, then seam them up.  I'd rather knit in the round and save myself the seaming after, as this yarn might be tricky to seam with all the little bumps.
I've been looking for a youtube video showing how to pick up stitches for a sweater sleeve, but can't seem to find any.  Am I looking with the wrong search terms?
Any suggestions?
I'm sure this will seem easy once I've seen how it's done, but for now I just want to learn how to do it properly, and before this little baby outgrows it.  I wanted to have it out to her weeks ago, and by now she must be at least 3 pounds.  Even if she grows out of it in a week, it will be special to me if she can wear it and snuggle up with her mommy with it.  Then later she can use it for her dolls to wear.
Comments welcome!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

A Good Day for Mail

St. Patrick's day turned out to be very nice.  The sun was shining off and on, and melted most of the snow on our front lawn.  We can easily start to believe that Spring is now on its way. 

Being March Break this week, the kids and I have spent much time out of doors.  Even in mud puddles.  My winter boots still keep me warm, but are no match for the puddles we have been presented with on our walks.  Some of them we can jump over, and it's fun trying.  But you know those puddles that are a few sidewalk squares long, and stretch from edge to edge?  I tried to be smart and go around it by walking on the grass, which was so saturated with water that my foot smushed into it like mud and all the water gushed into my boot anyways.  ha ha.

I was looking forward to getting something in the mail this week, and was not disappointed.  In fact, today was like a jackpot of mail.  We received 2 parcels and one postcard, all in the same day!  All from my Ravelry friends.

The post card was from Cornwall, England.  It's a picture of Pendennis Castle from the air.  My family has a thing for Castles, and medieval themes.  One day, we would like to take a tour of some of Europe's old castles.  We might to wait for retirement before we get there, but it's on my bucket list.  Evan (now 7) was so impressed when Pippay wrote about being able to see the castle from their house, that he looked intently on the postcard to try and spot where the house might be.  He was so impresed with how much detail you could see in this photo!  Especially the cannons on the ground by the castle wall.  We might have to get a frame for this post card...

Then we opened our first parcel, which was from my Ravelry Winter swap pal SaucyMinx.  It was a Valentine's package with some goodies inside for me, which I shared and then hid to save some for later.  Look at the beautiful card she made for me.
Inside the parcel was a 2-DC mix she made for me.  I was quite impressed with this.  Way to do your homework... all the songs contain the word 'blue' in either the title or the artist's name.  How fun!  I will listen to it after dinner, when the kids have settled down.  Check out the song list!
And here is my little Emma showing off her smile while displaying the Sweethearts candy and blue sticky notes from our Valentine's pack. 
I love the little blue sticky notes - I'm using them to flag pages in my knitting books for patterns I want to knit.  This will help remind me better, as my bookmarks fall out too easily when I stuff these books into my knitting tote.  These Sweetheart candies were very sweet.  I haven't had these since high school.  I told Emma no, so when I was reading my greeting card she quietly reached over to try and sneak one.  She is very good at noticing when I'm distracted.  It was a nice day to enjoy treats, as I had none left in the house.

Then I opened the next parcel.  I couldn't figure out why GuapaM had sent me anything, as we were not in any current swaps together.  What an unexpected treat.

What a lovely tulip.  It reminds me of some of the Dutch tulips that my sister gave me for my garden.  Dutch tulips are my favorite so far, and here in Canada we have a lovely tulip festival every year in Ottawa (which I have yet to visit).  The tulip is a symbol of beauty and friendship, and our city has something called Kitchener in Bloom - you can nominate your favourite residential gardens to be entered in the city wide contest.  I believe the winners are entered into Cities in Bloom, which competes against other cities for the best landscapes.  There are several categories, and I'm very glad to see that one of them is for environmentally friendly practices, or drought resistent gardens.  My tulips are not one inch out of the ground, so I look forward to watching them grow.

The Kinder Schodolade was a much coveted treat for the children.  I read the card aloud, and got to the part that said "I added a little extra for your kids" and the kids got so excited that they were jumping up and down and screaming "Yay!".  They knew it was for sharing.  This Kinder Schokolade was made up of 8 little bars, so the kids got to each have their very own chocolate bar, with extra for me as well.  They were so delicious!  My little Emma loved it so much, she would not accept the fact that hes was done when she had finished eating.  She kept looking around and asking, "chocolate? more?" until I showed her the empty box.  I have kept the box because now and then she still asks about it.  It's much easier to show a toddler the empty box so they know there is none left, than to try and reason with them through a fit when they are sure there is more.

Look what Emma is doing with the box now...
After the Valentine's Swap with GuapaM, I had mentioned to her that we had never heard Lena's music before (she sent us a Lena CD) and liked it very much.  Evan and I sing it together in the car, and I really like to play it while house cleaning.  Lena had recently come out with more songs, and GuapaM was so nice as to send me the newest CD.  Wow, that was so unexpected, I feel very spoiled! Here is a pic of Evan showing the CD.

So thank you all for spoiling me and making this day brighter!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Beautiful bookmarks

I just received this bookmark in the mail from Viola, who was doing a St. Patrick's day flat mail swap with me. She sent me lots of wonderful goodies. Tea, beads, crayons, stickers, colouring pages (that in use right now), and a cool door sign. Also, some patterns, recipes, and a lucky greeting card. I will enjoy the Green Tea & blackberry current tea this morning, and look forward to trying out the recipe for Irish Soda bread. That will be fun. And I know my hubby will love the irish beef stew. We love stews.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Thursday - casting on

With only sleeves left to do on the baby Kimono now, I'm certain I'll be able to finish it today/tonight.  Next I will be getting ready to make my March Side Swap pal a little something.  I will have to make it a quick little project, as I still have WIP's that I need to get out in the mail.  The waffle stitch mitts for my sis, the cabled mitts for my friend, and a pair for my mom.

So I was looking through the pattern database on ravelry, trying to find a quick but nice project when I remembered the French Press Mug cozie I may a few years ago.

I think I could make it a little faster, having gone through the pattern once before.  There was another one I was thinking of doing, that looks just as nice.
This one here is called Kureyon Coffee Cozy by Michelle Molis.
I think either one would be lovely, but I don't have any of that beautiful Noro yarn to make a cozy with.  I'm trying to de-stash, and would like to use this yarn that I've just balled up this morning.  It's the second skein of shetland handspun yarn I received awhile ago from a swap pal.  I loved working with it for the fingerless gloves I made.
It doesn't look as nice in a ball as in the skein shape, but most knitters know that.
Here is what it looked like in a skein.

So I just have to decide which pattern to use...

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Premie Kimono with Clementine Cotton

This is what I've been working on for the past month, as well as a few other WIP's.  My friend told me that I could knit faster if I have other projects to help break it up, making it seem less daunting when it starts to feel like it's taking forever.  A fresh break, I suppose.  So I took her advice, and did a bit of this and a bit of that.  I have just a few inches left to go, and the arms.  I actually thought it would have been finished last weekend, and was wrong.  These tiny stitches and tiny needles are not what I'm used to, but the Knit Picks yarn is so soft that it's a pleasure to knit. 

The other items I've managed to knit up during this time are an eyedrop scarf - no picture though, I've sent it off to my Beat the Winter Blues swap partner along with some matching yarn in case she wants to make matching mitts or a hat.  I'll have to post a photo when she posts hers.

I've also knitted up a cabled hat, my first one, using Patons SWS yarn in denim.  After knitting it up, I was so disappointed to hear they are discontinuing this line.  Why does this keep happening?  After I find out how much I like a yarn?  Is it a fashion thing?  Out with one yarn, in with the next?  Here's a pic:
The pictures don't really show off the pattern well enough.  This is just using my computer's camera.  My Nikon lens got some dust in it (which will teach me to not take photos on a windy day near a construction site).  I have to send it away to get cleaned, which is covered by their 5 year warranty, thankfully.  This hat was supposed to be a slouchy hat, but there is no slouch what so ever.  I was supposed to use one size up in needles, I think.  And I thought, I'll just knit loose.  Well, not enough.  It is quite a comfortable hat, but not slouchy.  I hope the person I've sent it to still likes it.  I've not put it on my Ravelry projects page yet, so no one will see it until it gets to my swap pal in the mail.