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Posts from July 2008

Super Shed!

Craig (and sometimes I) have been mighty busy building our super shed.  It started out with the framing, which took forever because it keeps on raining.

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Craig had a cunning plan that kept the rain at bay: if he stayed inside, it didn't rain.  The minute he got all the tools out and ready to go, the sky opened up and poured.  So getting it to look like this took longer than we expected.

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It's 8 feet wide by 12 feet deep.  The roof is 10 feet on the tall side, 8 on the short and it has lots of room for bikes, tools, garden stuff and hopefully some seldom used items (camping gear, Christmas decorations) that are taking up precious room in our little basement. 

The door went on today and I locked Claudia inside.  It's nice to not have a bike in my front room.

 Almost done

We still need to do the soffit and siding, and install the lights (yes, it will have electricity) and I want to organize the inside at the outset so we have a spot for stuff, but the hard work is done (especially when I had to go on the roof--I hate heights).  Craig did great for a first building project. 

Next up, the fence and gate (which will go in front of the car). Then maybe some beers (well, we've been having some already, but next time without tools in our hands).

Note to self: Shop first, blog after

Did you all go out a buy Basil bike bags or what?  Busy mom that I am, I didn't have the chance to go to Curbside Cycle until lunch today, and my first and second choice bags were gone.  Sniff.

I was told they only ordered the Twig and Jugendstill this time around, and the other Blossoms won't be in until September (if they order them) I don't mind this one,

Green pannier

but seeing the Teal (totally my first choice) and Orange messenger style versions made me want the brighter colours.  They're all very nice bags. 

Blue pannierBorange

More googling will have to happen I suppose.  I wish I read Dutch--they have them everywhere, but I'm not completely sure how to order. 

Or I can learn patience and wait until September.  If anyone has a line on where to get this bag, please let me know in the comments.

Good thing I wasn't riding Claudia

I haven't had any opportunties to ride my bike for the last 2 weeks.  The kids are coming in to work with me so they can attend daycamp, so we've been taking the TTC.

Claudia, my bike, is parked in the living room (like she was last year...weird), whilst the shed is being built (hopefully finished by this weekend) and is starting to get cranky about not being out on the road where she should be.

Then today, as I step off the street car, I see something that looks a lot like this biking by me (this woman's pannier's were red though).

If I had been riding Claudia, she would have slapped me.  So pretty.

A bit of google-fu later and I have located a local shop, Curbside Cycle, that sells the bikes (bad Steph, you don't need another bike, yours is a gorgeous, fun to ride, original), and the panniers.  The bag company is called Basil and of course, it's Dutch. 

There's nothing covered in Daisies, but I'm sure I can find something that will work to tart up my bike a bit.  I consider it a little back-to-bike gift for next week.

Here's some on a townie--so cute!

Townie with bag

These are my current favourites...tough to decide (I like these too, but don't think they go so good with orange).


Bobbing and Wii-ving

Okay, I've wanted to use that title for a while...

Not only did I become a Wii-certified pro at boxing this weekend (means I beat enough Wii dudes to be classified as a professional boxer--snork), I also started another project on the loom.

No photos of me working up a sweat after midnight boxing on the Wii.  It wasn't pretty.  My arms are still sore.

But here's some of my weaving.


The pattern is a log cabin weave (very easy, though it looks complicated).  The pattern can be found on the Schacht newsletter site.  There's some neat things there, though navigating between newletters is a tad challenging.


I'm using the leftovers from the Scarlett Carpetbag I designed for the first Big Girl Knits book, so I know the colours work together.  The contrast is very subtle and was impossible to photograph.  The loom also stretches things out a lot (need to keep things under tension) so it'll probably show more when it's done.

The weaving involves one row of colour a and then one row of colour b, and using the 24" long stick shuttles is a bit of a challenge.  Time to get some boat shuttles and try that out. 

If you peek at my flickr photos you can see how necessity is mother of invention.  Warping the loom on my own can be a challenge and I needed something heavy to hold the threads taut while I wound them onto the loom.  Turns out a wrecking bar and all the tools spread out in the living room works really well.  Though if you read this weaving thread on Ravelry, you can see there are others ways to do a direct warp on one's own.


Personally, I liked using the wrecking bar method; it's a nice contrast between two kinds of construction--cloth and buildings.

Progress, about which I will take no credit

We live in a classic Toronto semi-detached home.  There is no driveway in the front, though we're fortunate to have a place to park in the back through a laneway which goes behind our house (this is also very common in downtown Toronto). 

Our house came with a garage (officially 2 car, but not really) but it was OLD and the door was actually two reclaimed single car doors bolted together and it was rickety and our mini-van was too tall to fit inside it.  So we parked on the street. 

Eventually the door stopped opening and we had to nail it shut (because it could fall on people--not a good thing).  That meant we had to take our bikes through the yard and down the front steps.  Not fun to do everyday.  And parking on the street is always a challenge since lots of other people have to do that too and you are not guaranteed a spot close to your house.  So the garage had to go.

Craig and his Dad got to work last week.  In 3 days it was down.


And hauled away.


As you might notice (I don't have photos of the garage intact, though you can see a bit of it here) the garage took up the entire width of our backyard.  It's very weird not to have it there and being able to see the back lane.  We're feeling a bit exposed.  But we can park and now our lot has a lot of POTENTIAL and this is a good thing.

Initially we thought of rebuilding, but for various boring reasons we're not doing that this year.

The plan is to continue the fence along the garage on the left (for obvious reasons--that garage is in worse shape than our was) and then build a super-shed on the right.  It will be 8 by 13, with a shed roof 12ft tall on one side by 10 feet on the other.  This will give us a storage loft for things like camping equipment and sports stuff and various other things to help free up room in the basement.  Claudia and the other bikes (in my living room and basement) will be in there and all the stuff that's piled in the backyard right now.


We'll also have a large gate attached between the fence and shed to block our yard from the laneway and still maintain two parking spaced.  The lumber is coming today and I get to play assistant while Craig starts building this weekend.  We have plans for the yard too, but I'm not giving that away just yet.

Life on the Cheque

I have some cool friends.  Doing some great works of activism in their communities.  I confess that I feel like my own path as an activist (something I was very into in my middle-twenties) has really stopped and while I write a lot about politics and social issues, I don't feel like I do much but contribute money and promote the works of others. 

But since changing what I do takes both time and the energy to do it (something I'm not feeling I have right now), I will continue to promote the good works of my friends and colleagues so at least I'm doing something.

Elaine Power is a woman I met after I boldly sent her an email after hearing her speak about food security issues on the CBC.  She was on a teaching contract at U of T the same time I was a grad student and she introduced me to some other fabulous students and researchers who were interested in public health issues and it really helped me overcome the isolation I felt as a new mother working on a PhD.  Beer and Theory became one of the highlights of my week and I could not have finished without all their support and enthusiasm.

Elaine is now an Assistant Professor in Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's University and is the midst of producing a documentary about "Life on the Cheque" about six mothers living in poverty in Kingston Ontario.  I think film can be a powerful medium to comment and critique issues of the day and as someone who loves film I'm very excited to see Elaine mixing her academic work and community activism using this medium.

There are some really neat things happening on the site where Elaine showcases the film-in-production.  Have a look.  Provide support.  Spread the word.

Photo Meme

This was so much fun!

Photo Meme

1. Stephannie  i (by stephannie), 2. Sushi Hinamatsuri sushi, 3. Port Arthur Collegiate Institute Port Arthur Collegiate Tower, 4. Turquoise Tibet, 5. Colin Firth Mr. Darcy, 6. Beer After beer..., 7. Paris Montmartre, 8. Ice Cream Flickr meltdown, 9. I have to grow up? Who Says You Have To Grow Up!?, 10. My family  Family Portrait, 11. Funny Funny sign outside apartment, 12. Dr. Steph Dr. Sketchy's Philadelphia

Want to play too?
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you.
12. Your Flickr name.


I see the knitting olympic torch has been picked up over on Ravelry.

I suppose it would be in bad taste (and would also get me flamed on the forums) to actively boycott eh?

I'm no fan of the Olympics, particularly the business end of the Olympic movement/industrial complex.  And having this next Olympics in China really helps cement my concerns/critiques about the whole thing. 

I do respect the athleticism and determination of the atheletes and confess to getting patriotic about the achivements of my country's team, but also see that as part of the whole package which places this sort of achievement on a pedestal without any critical analysis.  In the end it's just entertainment like all other professional athletics (and I dispute their amateur status--Olympians aren't rich, but their sport is their job for the most part; it has to be in order for them to compete, a problem in itself).

Knitting something as an homage to doesn't work for me. 

If I want to stretch myself for a cause, I'll make it a worthy Ken's ride for Friends for Life to support people with HIV/AIDS (did you see he's in the top 10 fundraisers?!).  I gave up some stash cash to support him and several other bloggers who are doing good work in their communities (both local and global).

I also recommend reading Helen Lenskyj's work on the subject if you want to learn more.  She was my dissertation advisor and she's an excellent writer, scholar and community activist.  Her newest book was just released and it sounds like a great contribution to critical studies of sport and the Olympics.

First weavings

First woven finished object. Yarn: Merino fingering weight from the Knitting Nymrod for both warp and weft I used every last metre of it to produce a wrap that is just long enough. I didn't like this yarn much knit up, but the colours worked really well together through weaving. A soak in eulacan and a run through the dryer and it's really soft and I almost don't notice all the little mistakes.


First weave close up 

Second weaving project, Baby blanket. Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 cotton. Warp: Sand, lemongrass, wintergreen and lentil. Weft: Merlot (leftovers from various projects). Here I'm trying out colour and what happens when you take a fairly subdued warp and mix it in with a not very subdued weft. I really like the finished result. My edges were a lot better and using the bigger yarn allowed me to notice the process (and mistakes) a lot easier.  After washing and machine drying it turned out to be REALLY soft. I'm planning to do another one and possibly try to incorporate a pattern or something.



I plan to warp the loom again this weekend, but haven't decided what I want to do yet. I really need a few books or magazines to get some ideas of what I can do and I already have a lot of questions about colour work and patterning that I can't quite figure out on my own. I might do a scarf with my kureyon sock yarn or make some hempathy towels; I'll keep you posted.

While I was on Stay-cation

Today was my first day back to work since June 26th.  I was in an hour earlier than usually feeling rather productive.  Holidays are good.  We didn't do much, or go far, but we were busy.

Like every July, we spent some time up at the cottage and looked at the lake and did not too much.  We celebrated my birthday on Canada Day so that we could get back to Toronto in time for me to share the rest of my ginormous cake with my peeps at Lettuce Knit.  My July 2nd birthday will only be on Wednesday knit-night every how many years (7?) so I wanted to make the most of it.  Yarn, cake, good friends, beer (and some gorgeous handspun from Molly) what more could a girl want?


Except maybe some awesome crocheted dolls--Death and Ninja!  Sorry I forgot to photograph them before they were assigned to guard my desk at work.  They're sly things and probably wouldn't take kindly to being photographed anyway!  Here are Keri's FO photos.  (As their creator, she has more control over them.)


Keri did such a super job on them with the little throwing star and the fimo scythe (which isn't in the photo, but you can imagine)!

My Father-in-law was also a total star and bought me a Wii!  I not only get to play Wii (which is super fun) but since it's mine I have the moral authority over it and can tell the kids that they need to stop playing Mommy's Wii and get outside and play.  We only have the sport game so far, and while I find it a bit disconcerting to box with little Miis of my kids, it's a hoot.

I also got in some good knitting time on Hip in Hemp.  It's at the 1960's micro-mini length, so I have a ways to go yet, but it's also knitting up faster than I expected and I love it in it's 1970's appliance colour-glory. 

Hip in Hemp started

It's almost enough to take me away from my loom.

But I'll save that for another post.