Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Pouch Full of Good!

Hello there fellow crafters!  I was just reading through the news and found that two local (local to me anyways) teenagers have spent their Saturdays constructing a home-made weather balloon complete with a parachute, camera and passenger!  They have launched the first Lego Man in Space well into near space.  I won't recount the entire episode, since that's what the link is for, but I thought that it sounded pretty neat, and way more determined than I would ever have been in my teenage years.  Check out the footage they got here

As for what's been making my week, well first off, there has been noticeably more daylight!  I don't live so far north that I don't have light for 6 months of the year or anything like that, but after a few months of daylight hours that begin at 8am and end at 4pm it really starts to get to you, or well to me anyways.  I'm so much more productive when I get more daylight - it can't just be me that feels this way can it?

The other thing that's been making me happy this week is my Koala Caddie!  I think that this is the COOL-est invention I have ever seen.  In a nutshell it is a knitter's apron. 

Worn full-length.

I ordered (and received) this item a couple of weeks ago but haven't yet told you about it.  I was having a bad day and turned to Etsy retail therapy.  Naturally when I saw the cute little frog prince pattern I knew I had to have it!!

Festive Valentine's Froggies!

 There is a fantastic slideshow on their site to show you all of the little features but let me share with you what stands out to me on this product.  First, there is Mary Shooshan, the creator of this little treasure, who convo'ed me both on Etsy and Ravelry, letting me know when it was shipping and exchanging messages in general.  She is one of the nicest people I've had the pleasure to meet online.  Secondly, is the product!  You can't see it from the photos but the construction is beautiful, the stitching is nicely matched in colour to the fabric and everything is straight and perfect.  You can see in this picture how the bag opens up to hold vast amounts of wooly goodness!  And not shown is that within that little inner pocket there is elastic pen/needle holders, which I wasn't even expecting there to be.  Love it, love it, love it.

Opened wide.

Tucked in the little pleat on that pocket is a new friend for my knitting projects and me.  I think this is the such a unique little detail.

Here I've got it shortened with the snaps on the back of the apron.

I was also pretty excited today by a dalliance with some chocolate chips...it was a long day, alright, don't judge.  They were good, and I won't deny anything!  I don't regret it and I'd do it again, I tell ya!

Mmmmmm...Milk chocolate chips!

Now this week, what do I look forward to?  Well, I have a couple of birthday parties this weekend, and one involves my FAVOURITE meal!  BRUNCH!  I can't wait - plus that birthday girl is one of my favourite girls around.  Other than that, just the usual - knitting, crocheting, and stitching along. 

I'll talk to you soon!  Happy crafting!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

So, much like at the beginning of 2012, I'm again one day late, but Happy Year of the Dragon everyone!! At this link http://www.usbridalguide.com/special/chinesehoroscopes/Dragon.htm you can find all sorts of neat info about Chinese Horoscopes, be forewarned though, you may be there for hours. I think that such a massive and important holiday and celebration is positive enough to count for Positivi-Tuesday news.
As far as what I'm loving this week, I would have to say that I'm really ploughing through my Chick-Lit book of the moment, Divas Don't Knit by Gil McNeil. I'm not usually a Chick-Lit kinda gal but every now and then it's such a nice escape to get away to a simple girl meets boy story, or in this case a "girl moves house and buys yarn shop and meets famous people" story. The book reads like a conversation over tea with a good friend - a good British friend. There is definitely a tonne of British slang, which is fine by me. With an English mum, Brit-slang is my first language. In any case, I totally recommend the book.
I'm also loving the socks I'm making for the Mister. Knit1, Heart Too is hosting a Sock Knit Along that I'm hoping to enter them into before March. I'm working them toe-up with a 2x4 rib on the instep and I am pretty sure I started with my Judy's Magic cast-on inside out so there a ridge of purl stitches along the toe which looks like a seam. It's a mistakification and I kind of like it.
This week I'm looking forward to a movie and lunch date with my former boss. I will let you know what the movie is like. I'm also looking forward to finding some time to spin this week and weaving in some MORE ripple ends!!
Until next time, happy crafting!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

An Extreme Case of Startitis...

It's not even three weeks into January and it has occurred to me that my "resolutions" seem to have ALREADY flown out the window.  It was only here that I listed them out, but apparently I need to keep a closer eye on them. 
Fortunately I'm keeping up with my blogging commitmenet of posting at least once a week and it seems to be paying off.  Today I hit 1000 pageviews!  I was impressed and excited and may even have done a little dance when I saw it. 
I'm not even going to talk to you about the healthy eating and excercise resolution, because I've basically pretended that it doesn't exist.  I'll get there. 
As for spinning, I've completely abandoned it for no real reason other than being sick and then promptly obsessed with knitting again.  I think knitting is my long term relationship.  You may not always feel the butterflies but there's definitely something there that keeps you excited and coming back again and again.  Crochet is more of a one night stand for me and spinning is kind of on par with having coffee with an old friend every so often.  It feels comforting and fun, but you never think to do it more often than that. 
And then there was the promise to get the ripple blanket off the hook and the mitts off the needles.  Sigh.  There are so.many.ends....gah!  I must be doing something wrong.  Lucy from Attic24 CANNOT weave in this many ends in each blanket.  That would be crazy-making and she seems fairly sane.  As far as the mitts go, is it possible to have second MITT syndrome?  If it is, then I've definitely got it.  So, perhaps I'll have these things done by the end of February instead?  I did finish an object in January already as you know from my last post, but I really just keep wanting to cast on new things. For instance, on Friday night I came to the abrupt realization that I had no "purse knitting".  Nevermind the fact that I carry my entire project bag with me pretty much everywhere I go, nor that I have about 6 things on hooks and needles that want finishing also...no, that means nothing.  What is really important here is the lack of project cluttering up my purse.  Right.  So what's a girl to do?  Cast on socks, that's what.  And that's precisely what I did do.  I cast on a pair of Wendy Johnson Toe-Up Socks with a Difference for Mr. Frogged since he has yet to know the delight of handmade socks.  He picked the colourway and everything.  The only mod I'm making to this pattern is a 4x2 rib on the instep and the leg of the sock.  I'll post pictures on Tuesday when I'm a bit further along.  There's no doubt in my mind that it will be on my positive things list.  Why are socks soooo addictive to make?  I can't figure it out. 

What I also did this weekend was cook!!!  I love cooking, especially when it takes little to know effort as was the case Saturday night.  Saturday night I made Pappa Pomodoro which is a dish I first ate on a trip with Mr. Frogged and my family to Tuscany.  We were having lunch in Florence at a tiny restaurant in a back street near the Uffizi where the tourists don't go (because frankly going where the tourists DON'T go is the only way to get good food on a trip).   The Mister ordered what we were told was a traditional Tuscan soup of tomato and stale bread.  I realize that this neither sounds all that appetizing nor does it sound much like something you should pay money for, but it was sooo delicious that when I came home I had to learn how to make it and since I like it so much I'm going to share the recipe with you. If you, like me, think the best part of pasta is sopping up the sauce with a good piece of bread, this dish is for you!

This will be less of a recipe and more of a...guide.  I don't ever measure anything and I don't write things down, I just cook to taste because that's how my mom taught me, so when making this use your own judgement on amounts and things to suit your own palate. 

The basis of this dish is essentially a good tomatoe sauce.  I make tomatoe sauce probably once every other week in a large batch.  I then freeze half for later use.  When I want to make this dish, I simply use that sauce from my freezer.  I think it's pretty imperative that you make your sauce from scratch for this.  To make my sauce I simply fry garlic and green onions in olive oil until golden, and then add tomato puree or blended whole canned tomatoes, basil, parsley and salt.  I let it cook for at least two hours to get the acidtity out of the tomatoes. 

Imagine you have this sauce in your freezer, and you have some left over crusty Italian bread or baguette lying around that you can't use for anything other than perhaps a blunt weapon.  First, obviously thaw your sauce.  Meanwhile fry MORE garlic (about another 2-3 cloves) in olive oil in a pot on the stovetop.  Add the sauce and 2 cups of chicken broth to this pot and stir.  It will appear to be a runny soupy sauce now.  Break up the loaf of bread into the saucepan and stir frequently.  As the bread absorbs the liquid it will begin to break down into a kind of mush.  It should have the consistency of a tomatoe-y smooth porridge, or polenta type thing.  At this point, simply ladel it into a bowl and top with parmesan cheese and chilli peppers to taste and there you have it!  Dinner made quickly and super cheaply!

 Buon Appetito and Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Ok, ok, so I know I'm not supposed to ONLY post on Positivi-Tuesday, but time just got away from me this week.  Before I go too deeply into the positive vibes I just want to mention that my all day date on Sunday was delicious  fabulous!  We had brunch at Frank at the AGO and it was amazing.  Definitely one of those places where they somehow manage to concentrate the flavour of a regular sized meal and squish it down into a daintier petite portion.  Dessert was a plate of cookies, and let me just say that I may have fallen in love with madeleines.  Naturally the gallery was wonderful too.  The exhibits we saw were inspiring and full of colour.  Have I ever mentioned how I love museums and galleries?  Well, I do...

Now on to the positive newa story of the week.  Tonight I found http://www.goodnewstoronto.ca/ which is dedicated to highlighting goodness in Toronto, Ontario which can regularly be forgotten in a large city.  For instance, this story about a local youth who has taken the initiative to not only volunteer in a wide and varied number of organizations, but has also facilitated the donation of hundreds of pairs of jeans to the underpriveledged.  He even bought 500 pairs of jeans for this cause with money he had saved from his own allowance! 
Knitters are also generally viewed to be generous people given our penchant for spending hours upon hours of time and energy on items given away (sometimes as gifts, sometimes as charity), but for this young man to spearhead this idea at such a young age shows his passion for this cause as well as his generosity.  Up to this point I have not knit anything for charity but I would like that to change in 2012.  I will be making blankets for my local doggie daycare.  They take in rescue dogs at a moment's notice and give them food, shelter, and most importantly love.  Find something that strikes your passion, spread the good and de-stash with some charity knitting along the way.  If you already knit for charity, leave a comment and let everyone know how we can get involved in your charity too!

Last week I breifly mentioned looking forward to my new job and now that I've started it, I am adding it to my list of things I'm enjoying this week.  I've met new people, I'm learning every day and I'm loving the challenges so far. 

I'm also really loving my friends this week.  Monday was the first day of my new position and at lunch time there was a delivery of a beautiful arrangement of my favourite flowers in one of my favourite colours (let's face it, I like all colours) with a note from my "besties" congratulating me on my new job.  Aren't they beautiful!!?!?  I have the bestest friends in the world.   
Beautiful, simple, modern - my fave!

Happiness in a vase.

If these things weren't enough to keep me smiling, I finished my quick-knit scroll stitch cowl Thursday night!  I love, love, love it.  The yarn was a dream to work with and the thick-thin nature of it kept the project interesting.  The scroll stitch pattern, which I picked up from Serenity Knits in Newmarket made the fabric of the cowl twist and turn into a bit of a wibbly accordian before blocking, but I wore the cowl pre-blocking anyway simply because I couldn't manage the wait.  On Friday night I washed it in some Eucalan and laid it casually over the back of a chair with a fan on it to air dry overnight.  Without even using pins, it blocked out into a completely different shape and feel, giving me a luxuriously soft cowl with a fabulous drape to it.  Now instead of crimping up the fabric, the undulating stitches simply add a flow to the direction of the fabric that I would never have expected to acheive.  I love to snuggle into it when I wear it, and the alpaca content makes it super warm in this cold spell we've been having recently. 
Still on the needles...
Nice stitch definition.

I may never take it off.

It doubles as an effective disguise.
What am I looking forward to this week?  Mostly socializing I think.  As you know, I was sick last week and really only got back to my regular self at the end of last week.  This means much catching up is to be done so I will have a few visits and outings to do that I'm eagerly awaiting.  I'm also looking forward to casting on my second thrummed mitten (betcha thought I forgot about that one) and getting more of my ripply blanket ends woven in (will they NEVER end!). 
Until next time, Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Hello one and all and welcome to this weeks installment of Positivi-Tuesday, your weekly dose of positive news.

The first thing I want to mention is a story I heard last night on CBC news The story and video are on the web if you follow this link: http://www.cbc.ca/news/offbeat/story/2012/01/08/bungee-cord-snaps.html
I'll give you this in a nutshell, in case you don't want to click around all over the interweb. So, a 22-year old Australian tourist was on holiday and decided to go bungee jumping. Not my idea of a relaxing vacation, but loads of people do this. The bungee in question is situated over a river in Africa where crocodiles live. I'm not going to say it was infested, but there were more crocs than I'd want popping round for dinner. She makes her jump and right as she gets to the end of the rope, it simply snaps and she continues to plummet downwards. She hits the water manages to swim to shore where a rescue crew came to her aid. After all that she's alive and relatively well considering! I think this is just amazing. If I didn't already believe in fate and destiny this sure would make me think.

As for what I'm loving right now, that has to be my selfish instant gratification cowl. It is almost done, 7 rounds to go in fact. The yarn is super squooshy, the fabric has a nice hand to it, the pattern is mindless but not boring, and its a speedy knit!

And what I'm looking forward to is still my all day date on Sunday and also, my new job, which I am starting on Monday. It's in a different company, different position, different location, but I'm excited by the challenges that's going to create. Wish me luck on that.

On that note I must be off to bed. Until next time, happy crafting.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Just Keep Stitching

So, instead of ACTUALLY knitting or crocheting this week, I've been painstakingly weaving in ends on the first half of my ripple blanket. I had crocheted over my ends but evidently that was not to be, so I pulled all the ends out a little and have been slowly working them in with a large eyed needle. Usually this would pretty much kill me with boredom, but instead it's kind of calming.
In other news I'm STILL battling my cold. What the HECK, man? Why is it my lot in life to enter every new year in a state of sinus malfunction? Clearly, things could be worse, but really? Is it necessary?
What I've noticed in my weaving in frenzy is that I can pretty whole-heartedly watch all the new years TV premieres and the most resounding thing I've noticed is that A) 5 minutes cannot pass without a diet commercial and B) every movie ever made is being released in 3D. I kind of resent both of these things. I understand the need for healthier lifestyles and in weight loss but it is obvious that they are just trying to max out the New Year Resolution bandwagon and play on people's insecurities. Maybe I'm just over sensitive because I'm sick and haven't been to the gym or Weight Watchers since before Christmas but I needed a good rant. As for the 3D movies, well they give me a headache and cost more. Enough said.
Woosh! Ok I feel better now. Thanks for that. I am off now to continue to find the peace within the end weaving.
Just keep stitching, just keep stitching...Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012


Well that was a brief break, wasn't it? But here I am to kick of this new Positivi-Tuesday post! I have to be honest, I'm not entirely sure what this will become but bear with me.

Each week I will try to bring you one thing that can make us all smile. Some piece of good news, for a change, that floats out there in the media. I will also share one thing that is happening in my life right now that brings me joy and one thing I'm really looking forward to. Hopefully, these little gratitudes will raise all our spirits.

Here goes nothing. First, in the news we can all stop worrying about the 2012 Mayan prophecy. I have just read on a number of sites, including ABC, that the apocalypse will not be happening this December. This is excellent news since it will give extra knitting time. This isn't the first time I have heard this, though. My tour guide in Mexico last year also told us that the end of the world was not coming...merely the end of the calendar. Can you imagine if we all jumped to this kind of conclusion with a regular calendar?? December 31 would become the most dreaded date of the year. Fortunately, we have nothing to fear.

Aside from the continuation of life as we know it, I'm currently deriving a great deal of joy from people. Maybe it's residual good tidings from the holidays, or maybe I'm romanticizing things, but either way, I have found that sharing, talking, learning and laughing with friends, family and colleagues this week is making me super happy. That just means I will need to savour all the company I can get.

Lastly, I am really looking forward to this month's date night!! We have decided to go see the Chagall exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario and have brunch too! If artwork and Mr. Frogged weren't enough excitement, brunch is my favourite meal.

Anyways ladies and gents, that's all for now. Leave a comment with your thoughts and let's try to all generate some positivity! Until next time, Happy Crafting!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Happy Birthday, 2012!

Welcome to the new year everyone!   Did you enjoy it?  I certainly did.

Firstly, apologies for being a whole day late on my New Year's post, but I was battling a migraine from New Year's eve until half way through this morning.

Despite all that, I have had a brilliant New Year.  We decided to ring in 2012 at home this year with good friends, good food and good fun had by all.  A potluck and a few cheesy dollar store decorations put everyone in the mood without too much stress.  In a moment of carelessness that has made me the laughing stock of the family I sent my first rapid fire text of 2012 as Happy Birthday instead of Happy New Year.  I was only distracted, I swear, but apparently that wasn't the first excuse that popped into their heads.  Even though my head cold decided to relocate to my chest just in time for the party, it was one of the best New Years Eves I've had in a long time. 

Now I know that many bloggers spend their inaugural post of the year reminiscing over the last 12 months with stories and photos galore, but given that I haven't yet hit my blog-iversary I don't think it's quite fair to do a year in review.  I will take this moment to thank you for reading and to let you know that December was my record high for pageviews!  I'm so happy to know that that number grows each month, and I hope that I can keep you all coming back this year. 

On that note, I want to turn my sights to the other direction.  Forwards: to 2012 and all the promise this year can hold.  I have always been the kid who looked forward to the beginning of the school year, and the beginning of the new year for the clean slate it brought and the opportunity it gave to me to do better than the year before.  Some things never change, as I find myself full of goals and resolutions this year.  I know as well as the next girl that resolutions "never last," "rules are made to be broken" and so on but if my resolutions last just one month, then that's one month longer than they would last otherwise.  So here in front of one and all I will declare what I hope to accomplish, if only for a little while. 

Firstly, with this blog I am hoping to post at least once a week.  I know I've been a bit dodgy with the dates of my posts up until now, but inspired by Knit Nicole Knit's Awesome Thursday posts I've decided to post once a week with a Positivi-Tuesday report listing good things.  They may be in my life, they may be in the news, they may be only one sentence, but hopefully this will work two-fold to help the blog and help me to remember all I've got to be thankful for when my anxiety starts up as it has done this past little while.  Of course I will be posting with all the wool-brained antics you're used to as well.

Next, in the knit and crochet world I am planning to take January to finish all of my Works in Progress.  Now that doesn't include UFO's, because that would be crazy.  The hope is that January will see the ripple blanket off the hook and the thrummed mittens off the needles.  This will give me leave to continue on with the UFO's and bring them up to WIP status.  Ideally I would like to finish one project a month...we shall see.  In spinning, my goal is to hand spin a three-ply yarn before the year's end. 

Now resolutions wouldn't be complete if I didn't try to better myself as well.  Naturally, I am plannning on attempting to meditate and work out every week and to eat more healthily.  As well as cleaning up my act health-wise, I'm going to work on cleaning up my house.  Once a week I will focus on either upstairs or downstairs and have a good clean and tidy. 

Lastly, I realized yet again over this holiday just how much fun I have when I hang out with my Mr. Frogged.  Life so easily gets bogged down with social obligations and other responsibilities, but over the holidays, partly thanks to the colds we've been combatting, we spent hours watching movies or playing games together and it was SO MUCH FUN!!  So, once a month I want to harness that spirit of the holidays and have a games night where we can cuddle up at home with some two-player console games.  And to get us out of the house too, I think a date night each month is in order.
Do you make resolutions too?  How do they usually go for you?  Let me know and maybe we can encourage each other.  Until then, cling to the promise of the new year and happy crafting one and all!