Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Nearly There

Christmas is coming along almost perfectly around here. Elly arrived back home safe and sound, and amazingly only a half hour late. She had to make a change of planes at Pearson airport in Toronto on Saturday afternoon, and somehow she managed to be one of the few lucky ones who sailed through with no cancellations and almost no delay. She was very lucky. One of her friends from Dublin got stuck in Heathrow and then Seattle as she tried to travel back home to her family in Spokane Washington. Poor Kalen, I hope you managed to make it to your family by now.

I've finished all my Christmas knitting, and I've decided to show it off (I'm fairly sure Elly and Ian will be too busy over the next day to check out my blog).

For Elly I made the Celtic Cable Neckwarmer, a free pattern available from Storm Moon Knits. The pattern called for worsted weight yarn (hooray, for worsted weight - it knits up lickety split), I used Mirasol Miski (that's 100% Llama, and oh so soft to the touch) in the classic colour for cables, cream, and finished it off with three vintage vegetable ivory buttons.

***Now Elly, I know you like everything matchy-poo and I realise the buttons don't match,but if that drives you crazy we can take them off and add something else, like a matched set of wood or mother of pearl buttons, don't panic***

And for Ian, who happened to see the Fish Hat from the latest issue of Knitty and longed for one of his own.

His wish has been granted. Hooray again for worsted weight yarn. Made form Fleece Artist Blue Faced Leicester Aran in a green colourway with shots of brown and turquoise and a little bit of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in black for the fins and lips. This pattern was fairly easy and I think the results are quite hilarious.

I've got my fingers crossed that they'll both like the choices I made for them.

And here are two gifts to all of you.

Though I'm none too sentimental and pretty much completely irreligious, I have a fondness for certain Christmas Carols, so here's one of my favourites:

And here's This for all the kids.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Little Christmas

Aren't these adorable little birdhouse ornaments for the tree? I was very pleased with this little purchase back in November. Sears had decided not to sell any more Martha Stewart products, so they were clearing out all of last year's Christmas stock at drastically reduced prices. I think these may have been originally marked at $8, but they were marked down to $1.94 and then had ANOTHER 75% off that! Wow! I won't bore you with the math, but I bought all they had - seven - and still had change from a five. I love a bargain, and was very pleased with myself.

'Course, you can't please everyone, and Nigel frequently shudders when I veer off to the bargain bin (I think he thinks it's beneath him). When we decorated the tree the other night I told him the story of my great bargain and there was some wise-ass remark about looking like Blitzen threw up.


I went out today to a lovely little boutique down the road, and before you could say, "they cost HOW much?", out came the Visa card,

and there are now THREE of these on the tree.

Only 'cause I'm trying to please everybody, don't you know.

I've got a little bit of last minute Christmas knitting on the needles, so I decorated a little (large) basket for myself.

And here's two snaps of what's in the works,

but no guessing as to what, or for who. You're just going to have to wait and see...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Come On Baby Light My Fire

Okay, December's handmade is on it's way to Jane, so I guess I'll show it off. Since Jane's household is a diverse one, I opted for a Hanukkah themed handmade for December (to go in the box with all the Christmas presents).

Full frontal, it's the Menorah Pillow from Handknit Holidays by Melanie Falick. I used the recommended yarn, Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, in a soft cream colour. I realise cream isn't always the best choice for a busy family, but you can wash the pillow cover in cool water, Jane, and lay it flat to dry.

And from the back,

I swapped out the recommended knitted i-cord knot buttons for some sleek and modern shell ones. Much more to Jane's taste I think.

It should arrive by the end of the week in amongst the Christmas presents.

Happy Handmade for December Jane!

Oh yes, and I've fixed the link to ambermoggie from the last post. Go check out her work, lovely!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

In The Mood

It's starting to look a little Christmasy around here.

That's December's handmade, very soon to be on it's way to Jane. Once it's mobile I'll show what it looks like full frontal, as it were.

Last week I received another ambermoggie creation in the post.

Her name is Bastet and she is the Egyptian guardian goddess of cats, also known to be a house guardian. She likes to spin negatives aspects into positives ones. Hmmm...I've been doing exactly the opposite of that lately, so I think she's going to be just the influence I need.

Here she is next to Coventina. I adore these little dolls. I've always liked faceless dolls, so easy-going and non-judgemental. I'm going to have to add some more of these little lovelies to my household, two is definitely not enough

I don't have much in the way of knitting to show you today, in fact, I've almost completely lost my will to knit lately. I always get to feeling just a tad overwhelmed before Christmas - I don't think I'm alone in that.

Here's a couple of shots of the dogs.

Gus doing his best imitation of a gargoyle from the top of the stairs,

and here's Whimsy, pretending to ignore him at the bottom of the stairs.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Took Me Forever

This little meme took a shockingly long time for me to configure, but I persevered.

Here's how to play:

Using Mosaic Maker on Flickr, enter your answers to the following questions into Flickr search. Using only the images that appear on the first page of each search, choose your favourite, then copy and paste into Mosaic Maker using the 3 columns and 4 rows setting.

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favourite food?
3. What high school did you attend?
4. What is your favourite colour?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favourite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favourite 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?

My creation
Originally uploaded by aniexma13
A bit of fun

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Disappointing Hat and Garland

I finished the Noro hat for Ian. I love the way the colours block into those stripes. Unfortunately, Ian finds it a bit itchy. I've soaked it twice in Eucalan and it's much softer than it was initially, but the boy still eyes it suspiciously when I ask him to wear it. He's sticking to the store bought hat I bought for him to wear while I worked on the "nice" one, even when earlier this week he left the bought one on the school bus - he preferred to go hatless (it was fairly cold) instead of wearing the Noro.


I've been thinking much about festooning the house for Christmas. I want it to be cheerful and bright for when Elly comes home at the end of December. This year I thought it might be nice to go with a colour theme of red and white - that's usually pretty cheerful, right?

I thought, at first, that heaps and heaps of paper garland might be the way to go, so I bought a big roll of red and white striped paper and went to work, cutting all those little pieces....

and gluing them into garland - with big paper tassels on the ends. But when I saw how they looked in our Living-room, I cringed.

The colours are all wrong. The wood floors and trim in our house are dark and I've painted the walls to co-ordinate - that means ochres and deep botanical greens, which looks great (the mantle is the only thing painted close to white - and it's more of a rich, warm white). And then, there's this red and white garland. It just ends up looking cheap - and not cheap and cheerful - just plain, old cheap.

So...I've bought another roll of paper, this one is a bright, rich red and now I'm trying to decide if I should go ahead and start cutting, or just ditch the whole idea.

Any thoughts?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Buttons and Lids

Wow! My button-of-the-month arrived from Jane. This is the last in the year-long series and she's really outdone herself. It's a huge grouping of metal buttons from The Button Drawer, and I see from their website that they have a catalogue! Nigel may have to finally take all the credit cards away!

My favourite:

This one is called "Pelican in Piety", too funny:

Jane's been in a Celtic/heraldic sort of mood:

I love these buttons, they're heavy and have a beautiful definition to their designs, and the colours have depth and character. Aren't they fantastic? I'm wrapping my mind around a project to display them all.

And for Jane, I finished the handmade-of-the-month for November. I made the French Beret from Hats Gloves Scarves by Louisa Harding. I've made this pattern for myself, and Mum's made at least one for herself, so I think it was time Jane had one too.

Knit from Rowanspun 4ply in a bright purple colour called "Turkish", it's not the quick knit that it appears. Don't get me wrong, it's only ribbing and reverse stocking stitch, but at it's widest point it has a whopping 218 stitches. If you can persevere through that section, then once the decreases start it zips along. I popped it in the post last Sunday, so it should be there soon. Happy Handmade Jane!

And Jane isn't the only one with a new lid, I finally added the shingles to the dollhouse roof:

Sadly, it's been overcast for days and days and I can't seem to get a truly good snapshot of those fabulous black shingles. I might do another photo shoot another day.

If the sun ever decides to shine.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ain't It Pretty?

The weather yesterday was abysmal. Driving winds, sleet, icy pellets that tore through flesh, and icy streets and sidewalks that made any venturing out treacherous.

But today, the winds is less fierce and the snow is sticking to the trees and roofs, leaving us with a picture postcard perfect looking world. Sadly, it's just looks - driving and walking are still tricky. I'm only going to venture out to the grocery store with a friend, and perhaps, a quick lunch out at a new Thai restaurant that I've heard is good.

On the needles, I'm knitting a new winter hat for Ian. I'm using Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn. There's been an awful lot of hype about the new Noro sock yarns out in the yarn world. Even though I'm almost never pleased with Noro yarns (breakage, knots, uneven textures, feels like steel wool) I was influenced by all the talk.

I haven't come across any knots or breakage and the texture is fairly even, though it does feel quite rough. The colours are fantastic - Noro's saving attribute. The design is by Saartje Knits and is available free on her website. The original pattern is made using the original Noro Silk Garden yarn. Since the sock yarn is quite a bit finer I've cast on 145 stitches instead of the recommended 95 and I'll just keep going until it looks like I should be decreasing.

Ain't it pretty?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Hallowe'en

A very Happy Hallowe'en from our house to yours!

"Whimsy, are you a damsel in distress?"


A Jack Skellington for Elly...and a Death Star for Ian.

Happy Hallowe'en!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Loose Ends and New Threads

Two loose ends from my last post:

In the comment section Thea remarked on the background I used in the birthday present shots. I love that too, it's the new kitchen tablecloth I bought for this festive season. I'm very fond of it. So much so that I think it may become part of the regular tablecloth rotation around here.

Also in the comment section Nigel reminded me that I failed to mention a brush with greatness during my birthday supper out at a local sushi restaurant. Here's the story:

We (Nigel, Ian and I) were dining out on Saturday the 11th of October (that's two days before my birthday, but since it fell on Thanksgiving this year we went out on the Saturday) at local sushi place, Wasabi. Mid-way through our meal the waitress stopped by the table to check on us and mentioned that LeVar Burton just walked in and was sitting at the bar (the sushi bar). Ian and Nigel have been watching all the various Star Trek series' over the last year or so, and I remember him from his Reading Rainbow days (did anyone else ever watch that? It's still on you know. In re-runs). At the end of our meal we were leaving and we each glanced over to catch a glimpse of him on our way out the door. As it happened I was the last in our line of three and I could see the waitress talking to Mr. Burton and pointing to us (she knew we were there celebrating my birthday), so I paused and, well, stared at him (very uncool). Well, he smiled and waved at me. That's right he SMILED and WAVED. At me! So I smiled and waved back. However, by then Ian and Nigel had already left the building and I had to run down the dark street to catch up with them, so I didn't go ask him for an autograph, or whatever one is suppose to do in that situation. I hope I didn't offend him by not asking for an autograph - what is the protocol?

Let's move onto the needles.

I mentioned in another post that I've been working on a slipover in intarsia. Very fiddly. Lots of bobbins.

I'm almost finished the back. Can you see the pattern? I think it's fairly obvious at this point, it's a union jack. It's being worked in Elann Pure Bamboo. It's lovely yarn, very smooth and silky, though it tends to split easily, much like cotton,so you need to pay attention while you knit. Once I've finished the back I think I'll put this project away for a bit, I've got a few other projects in mind for this autumn.

I also started, finished and sent the October handmade-of-the-month.

A little pair of wrist warmers. The pattern is called Mrs. Beeton and is available for free on These were worked up in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool and Rowan Kid Silk Haze with a beaded cast-on edge. They're an extra little layer to wear peeking out from under your jacket sleeves. I thought they might be just the thing for a blustery day in the city. It should arrive by Friday, just under the line for October. Happy handmade for October Jane!

And last, but definitely not least, I finished sewing Ian's Hallowe'en costume. Inspired by the purchased hat, this year he chose to go as the pope.

In researching pope outfits online I came across this. I had no idea he was allowed more than one kind of outfit. John Paul II must have favoured the plain white robes, because that's all that comes to my mind when I imagine what the pope wears.

I like this shot, it reminds me of Saruman the White casting a spell.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Virtual Life Continues

That's it. That's the beast that ruined my week-end.

It's both pretty and poison.

I'm able to surf the 'net again, and post to my blog, and read others blogs, but checking e-mail takes a solid half hour, and sending an e-mail is just as complicated. Maybe it's just as well I lost my address book and can't contact anyone.

Let's move on, shall we?

My birthday! (We need to go back in time a week and a bit - I guess that means I'm even older now!)

This is my new camera. It intimidates me completely.

~The rest of the photos in this post were taken on the new camera.~

Nigel surprised me with the book "Bags that Rock" by Kelley Deal - she's the twin sister of Kim Deal, bass player with The Pixies. The sisters were also in the band The Breeders back in the 90's.

Elly, I think there's one in there you might just want to make. It uses a set of junior-sized drumsticks as handles. Can you see it? It's the little red one in the corner of the cover. Funky!

The boys also gave me a EP single of "Heaven" and the LP "Talk Talk Talk" by The Psychedelic Furs. I remember buying a copy of this album back in 1979 at The Bay when I was just fifteen. The music has aged much better than me. I remeber being totally smitten with Richard Butler (the lead singer), he's so cold and adorable - he must be gay. ~There's a video waiting at the bottom of this post if you want to see him.~

Nigel was concerned that these offerings weren't going to be enough, so he told me to go out and get something else for him to wrap.

Don't I have great taste? This is a sterling and moldavite necklace by artist Charles Albert. It's from his "Out of this World" collection. Moldavite is a stone from the Moldavia region in Western Romania. 10,000 years ago a meteorite struck the region, creating the gemstone called moldavite. Some believe that the stone is extraterrestrial, while others believe it's the sandy soil of the region melted into a glass-like stone. I think the melted sandy soil idea sounds pretty likely, but I'm awfully fond of the outer-space line, so humour me - it's my birthday.

Elly didn't disappoint either.

She sent a fantastic little parcel filled with goodies for everyone.

A box of Butler's Chocolates. We discovered this chain of stores in Dublin, the chocolate is fantastic. Also a bag of reds and blacks from Marks and Spencers (we can't get these here). Ian helped me eat the red ones. Also a card that made reference to "snaffling cake". Elly and I decided that snaffle must mean "to eat", and not to snag or ruin, as in "there's a snaffle on my new cardigan", or "this computer totally snaffled my week-end" . I love learning this Gaelic language.

Nigel also scored his very own bar of Butler's chocolate, with whiskey truffle filling. It made him very happy.

And Ian got an R2D2 filled with chocolate and a Beanie Bar. The R2 sat sweetly for most of a day, before he was torn open and his insides all eaten.

Elly also sent this fantastic hank of yarn from This Is Knit, dyed by Elana. The colours are much better in person (I'm still working with this new camera). It has deep purples and magentas with a great swath of rich teal, gorgeous, kind of like a medieval circus. I'm still deciding what it will become.

Thank you Elly and Nigel and Ian! I love all the pressies.

Happy Birthday to me. Let's swoon, shall we?