Posts categorized "Home and Hearth"


(Let's pretend this post happened on January 14th.)

Happy Birthday Emma.

Wow. 16.

It seems like the perfect time for your friends to treat you like a princess. I love that you are surrounded by people who love you for the fun, enthusiastic, joyful person that you are.

And it was smart of you not to assume the birthday princess role and try to stage a coup d'état at home. You're a great kid who is kind and helpful and knows when to push for things you want and mostly when to lay off.
I'm glad you like that rings we got you. The sunshine reminded me of the necklace you made at your 7th birthday when we did the bead party.
You wore that necklace for years; we restrung it when the cord broke, changed the sun pendant when it literally wore down to a blob (I'm a little disturbed to think of what it was made of).

This ring is a grown up, more permanent version.

I hope this year is amazing for you!


Catching Up, #WomanWhoGetsShitDone Style

One of the greatest things about my job is that we close for two weeks over Christmas.  Not only do I have two weeks off (on top of my holiday allotment) everyone else does too--I get nothing but spam in my inbox while I'm away and there's no work piling up.  Everyone returns pretty happy and refreshed and it's probably the BEST benefit ever.

The first week does tend to get sucked up by the run up to Christmas--shopping, cleaning or travelling, parties, and that initial need to sleep as much as possible.  

It was worth it for looks like this:


Santa Meme and Memere got him the WiiU he's been wanting since they came out.


The time after Christmas is far far better in my mind.  It's quiet. We're all home (Craig gets almost the same time off from his employer) and while we're a bit lazy, we also catch up.  We have pyjama days, movie nights, lots of computer game time, and for me, a whole lot of fibre fun.

I finished a few things.  Sallah Cowl in Indigodragonfly Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock


A Frankensweater in Collinette Tagliatelli.  It used to be this sweater that I frogged.  And then it was supposed to be a proper Collinette pattern but everything went wrong so I winged it.  The collar and cuffs are some leftovers from my Carnaby Street sweater and it's a super jaunty oversized sweater on Emma (I may borrow it, but fear my jaunty days are long passed).


I even warped the loom!


In between all this, I got crazy and catalogued my entire stash of yarn and fibre--it's now all photographed and logged on Ravelry.  Tomorrow I'll probably download and see if I hit "stash neutral" for 2014 (where I used at least the same amount of yarn that I brought in).  I put a few things in the goodwill pile and had a nice hard look at what I have. 

I love it all.  But I should probably knit, spin and weave from what I have for a bit.

I went for a few runs--that felt good.  I will say that I don't think the TVT surgery worked as well as I hoped--I still leak a bit.  It's MUCH better than before, but I was hoping for perfection and well, that may take a bit more time.  At least I can cough and sneeze and stay dry.  

I saw some friends, had some beers, read a book, took a long bath, and baked.

Then I went into full #womanwhogetsshitdone mode and finally filed all the kids school memories and report cards into their memory books--I was about two years behind.  And all of our Epic Road Trip photos are now downloaded, put on Flickr and backed up on the external drive.

Like I said, this break is for Catching Up--I don't fool around.

More catch up

I slept just over nine and a half amazing hours last night and now I'm getting shit done.

I feel like I'm always playing catch up on the blog and can't quite seem to find my way out of that. I always have something to say and I say a lot of it on Twitter, but feel like I should be taking those ideas over here to a better space where I can express my ideas more fully except I don't have the time for that kind of reflective writing. Or, when I do, I'm just too damned tired because I have a mentally demanding job and the brain just tells me that I need knitting, or running or TV or just stupid Two Dots on the iPad instead (omg can I please just get the last level and make it end?)

Enough of that, now let's look at something pretty. I finished my Rickenbacker Shawl and I'm so happy with it.  I made this out of handspun and I spun the yarn so it would stripe and it all went so well.  The shawl is a tad small but that was all the yarn I had so I have no complaints.  


I would also knit this pattern again--super easy and really fun.


And I finished my Rhinebeck Sweater: Brandied Orange (aka Brandied Cherry).  This was a fun knit.  It didn't come out quite as I imagined it in my head, but I love it all the same.  I had this idea it would look great with a skirt and well it doesn't.  But it is a perfect cozy on the couch, skinny jeans sweater and I'm wearing it a bunch for casual wear.  The Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted is divinely soft (though it does pill) and I'll be wearing it a lot.


It did stretch a bit funny in the photo, but I was also in the car for 10 hours coming home from Rhinebeck so I'm a bit rumpled.


I should say more about Rhinebeck, but that deserves a post of it's own.  Instead I'll show you what I knit on the annual pilgrammage.

Smile and Wave.  I needed a new portable project and didn't feel like knitting socks.  So I grabbed a skein of Indigodragonfly Mergoat sock in Obviously You're from District One and got knitting.  I LOVE the colours and the planned pooling.  


While Emma is modelling, so far these are mine.  I might make the next pair a bit shorter for variety--these are in heavy rotation for biking to work right now--just a little extra warmth for the morning.

Well, that's a start.  Now I need to get some stuff done around the house and I'm going to bake bread because it's November and snow flurries have already happened and today is about woolies and soup and warm fresh bread.


Lost a month somewhere

Ack! It's October!

I knew it's been a while since I've blogged, but over a month!  Where did September go?  I'm very sure I didn't fall asleep August 31 and wake up now (even though that running out of yarn thing was rather traumatic) and I'm still surprised it's October, even though it's the 10th...

September was a wee bit busy at work.  And at home.  Here's a little wrap up:

I celebrated my 20th wedding anniversary September 30th.  That seemed like a pretty big deal.  You can see our wedding photo on my 10th anniversary post here.  That I have a decade of blogging also feels like a big deal.

Kids started school.  Both are now in High School.  How did that happen?  Here's what you get for a back to school photo in grade nine:


And grade 10


(that's actually cheating--she wouldn't pose for a photo...)

I ran and played ball hockey and even scored a goal! (A slap shot from the point which was one of those things I've always wanted to do.)

And when I wasn't falling asleep on the couch after a long day at work, I would work on my Brandied Cherry sweater.  It was slow going only because I didn't have a lot of time.  It was quite fun to knit and I think I'm going to get a lot of wear out of this one. 


It's off the needles and blocking.  This weekend I seam and then I'll have my Rhinebeck sweater.

Rhinebeck is a week away.  I'm SUPER excited.

It's a Hard Knock Life

Permit me to brag about my kid for a moment...

Emma takes her bow cropped

Emma played Miss Hannigan in her performing arts school, The SPACE's, production of Annie this weekend. This is outside of her arts high school and something she's been doing for 3 years (her debut role was as Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast).  The kids range in age from 3 to 15 and the show has everyone in it (little ballet dancing orphans are the cutest!).
Emma little girls
She was awesome.  
She was really reluctant to take on a singing role--she had to sing Little Girls as a solo and the school worked with her and she wowed the audience.  She was honoured with an award for Outstanding Achievement.  I'm so proud of her.
Easy street
There's a bunch of photos here if you want to see some great shots of the play taken by "Lily's" mom with her awesome telephoto lens.
Now we're just glad it's over.  May was a month full of rehearsals for Annie and Emma's high school work in cello and dance.
Xander was part of the stage crew for his school's musical too just to up the difficulty of wrangling everyone.  He's off being a Leader-in-Training right now and will graduate from grade 8 next week. I'm afraid that means one more mom-braggy-post is still to come.
Then bring on summer, we're all tired.


Two Weeks and Back Again

One of the great things about my job is my employer's committment to developing a family-friendly workplace.  They've moved away from the term work-life balance because its difficult to define and somewhat personal, but it's still something they value.  Not everyone is personnally good at finding that balance, but my university has a lot of structures in place which tell me they acknowledge that I have a life outside of work and I should have time to spend doing other things that I love, with whomever I define as my family.

Shutting down for two weeks around the Christmas holiday is one manifestation of that commitment.  Two full weeks off, with pay... and it was fantastic.  A bit of Christmas stuff and a whole lot of lazy time.  I knit, I spun, I watched a lot of Damages on Netflix, saw some movies at home and in the theatre, slept late, cooked, even cleaned and I hung out with my family who also took advantage of the time off and relaxed. We spent more days in our pyjamas than in clothes.  It was perfect.

It's a privilege to have such leisurely time, and I also think it's important to just hang out sometimes since our usual life pattern is to be on the go--work, school, activities, homework, housework, obligations etc. I was happy not to get through my super ambitious Winter Break To Do List in favour of just letting the days take me where I wanted them to go. I was almost ready to go back to work this morning now that I'm rested and feeling good.

Except for the getting up part.  Early mornings are early.  And it's cold out.  The whole family successfully got back into the groove of everyday life.  But we're still kinda wishing for a snow-day.


We won the 2013 Women's Ballhockey Championship!

Winner cup

I've been playing for 4 1/2 years and I've never won.  This was my best season ever in terms of my own play (I even had an assist on the first of our two goals last night) and because I played with a fabulous team of fun, skilled and easy-going women.  


We scored the first goal and our opponents tied it up in the second half.  We went to overtime and the best comment: "You know what's awesome about overtime? We get to play 10 more minutes of ballhockey!"

Those post-hockey beers tasted great.  Thanks for a great season Team White and to everyone at WPBHL.

Where did I go?

Yikes!  It's been more than a month since I've posted anything.  I certainly haven't been hiding from social media, but it does steal the blog ideas far too often.  

I like the more reflective writing that comes with blogging, but need to make and take the time to do that writing.  

So here's a fast recap of the last month.

School ended.  Emma graduated grade 8 and is going to high school.  

Ya, I know, she looks rather grown up.  I love this picture.  I took it on the subway platform on our way to the graduation ceremony (that's Craig, not some random stranger).

Emma grad
This is a more grade 8 shot with her best friends:

Grade 8 Graduation

 Then to celebrate, we went crazy and drove NORTH to visit my family in Moonbeam (yes, Moonbeam).  

And yes, they have a space ship

Moonbeam!  Almost there.

My cousins have a beautiful place on Remi Lake and we enjoyed the long days and dark starry nights (the sun didn't set until 10:30!)

Another great day. Sunset at 9:30. Amazing.

Sadly, we could only stay for 2 days so we took a day to drive up (11 hours) and a day to drive back (10 hours)--1750kms round trip for 2 days of fun.  It was totally worth it.  I spent a lot of summer vacations on that lake and hadn't been back for 25 years.  Now I want to go for another, longer visit.

Now we're into the lazy days of summer.  Well the kids are.  They're off doing summer stuff--at their grandparents' houses, at camps, at home.  And Craig and I are at work (sadface).

I'm using the childfree time to catch up on some knitting (when it's not too hot).

I finished a shawl on our roadtrip:


Lunatic Fringe from Knitty.  The yarn is a no-name merino felted single that my pal Keri brought me from New Zealand.  It was dyed up by the amazing Kim in the colourway: Just Say Oregano.  It was an amazing yarn to knit with and a really fun pattern.


I'm also plugging away at my Honeybee cardigan in Tosh Merino Light


And something a bit crazy.  Apostrophe by Rosemary Hill in Indigodragonfly Merino Silk Sock (yum).  I love the design, but the knitting is a bit fiddly.  In the current heat wave it's a good project because it only touches my fingers.


It's been nice to hang out over here in my blog.  I've been absent because life is good.  And I'll try to come back and say more about that this summer.

ATV Adventure

File under: stuff I a) didn't expect to do and b) didn't expect to like.

Yesterday I drove a big ATV four wheeler 75km on the roads and trails around Tweed.

We are visiting the cottage and my father in law thought it would be fun for us to join a group doing an organized drive (ride?). We all met at Trudeau Park at 10am and went in two groups on a pre-set course with some pretty fun, bumpy, muddy off road trails. There were about 35 vehicles, many with passengers and it was far more fun than I expected.

I am not generally of the motorized "sports" persuasion and as I drove the trails I did think they would be fun to run or mountain bike, but I can see why people think this is a good time. Oh, and the kilometre we drove where the trail was actually flooded over the axels of my vehicle would not be fun on a bike does show the utility of these machines.

We let Emma drive a bit in the muddy field. She liked it a whole lot.

I only have two complaints: this group stopped too often and some of them drove too slow. Once I got used to driving my machine--something I haven't done in about 30 years when ATV's had three wheels and I rode with no training or helmet--I wanted more bumpy trails!

I also wanted to stop and take photos of the sheep and alpaca grazing in a farmer's field and the trilliums lining the paths and all that water and mud. So maybe I'll plan a family only ride next time we're up here.

Something less than 75km though. I was totally spent when we finished around 4 that afternoon. It's actually a physically demanding thing riding around all day in the sun and mud.


Owls at 14

On January 14th, my baby turned 14.  Champagne birthday.  Full-on teenager. 


She's now taller than me, growing up to be a great person and she's a riot.  

To celebrate she had her two best friends over for movies (Dirty Dancing, Perfect Pitch and Strictly Ballroom), music (from A-ha to Florence & the Machine), boy chat (the cast of The Outsiders and boys in popular culture that I have no idea about) and not-much sleep.

Emma, may your life have lots of moments like these:


Happy Birthday Em!


In a nice coincidence, I also finished the sweater I was making for her in the wee hours before her actual birthday.  It wasn't a surprise, but it was still a nice gift.

It's Owls with some modifications.  Emma wanted a loose sweater so I made the 38" size with no waist shaping.  By request, I also made the extra long cuffs with thumbholes.  It's two colours of Debbie Bliss Luxury Donegal Tweed chunky because that's what I had in the stash.  I rather like it.


My silly teen-model likes it too:


It still needs to be blocked and Emma decided she wants all the owls to have button eyes. 38 buttons.


Good thing I love her so much.


(and the sweater fits me too!)