Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

In the year 2007 I resolve to:
Learn how to read.

Get your resolution here.

Have a safe and happy new year everyone!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saturday Sky

I know, I promised you food pics! But today is Saturday, so I thought I'd give you a Saturday sky and do the food another time....

Here's another picture, just for the hell of it!

It's not a sky picture, though. I just liked it....

(Knitting content will return soon. Really!)


Thursday, December 28, 2006

More Christmas Knitting!

All of blogland has been posting pictures of their Christmas knitting. Who am I to fight a trend? Right. So here is a shot of the socks I knit up for my father-in-law.The blue one, silly. The snowman foot is the MIL playing footsie!

Next up:

A yellow shawl. It's nice and bright. Just what you want after all the dreary weather we have been having.


A pair of Fetching fingerless mitts. If you really don't know where to find this pattern, hie thyself to!

And that concludes the obligatory Christmas knitting post.

Tomorrow, the obligatory Christmas food post! Although mine will be more on the order of unusual food. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Experiments in Felting

I gave up for the moment trying to knit my new digital camera cozy in the round. So I knitted up a couple of swatches to felt to try to figure out how big to knit it.

The bottom one was felted in washing machine. That was 10 minutes in the machine. The top one was felted by hand in the sink. That took approximately 4 minutes. Clearly the handfelted one turned out better. The wool being used is Lion Wool, and it felts up very well! So I will be knitting up a square, sewing it up and then handfelting it for my camera cozy.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Practice Makes Perfect!

So. the holidays finally arrived and I had time to pick up my knitting. Yup, that activity that involves pointy sticks and some string-like substance. Which, apparently describes my familiarity with the process. Yesterday I thought I would knit up and felt a cozy for my Christmas present. The yarn got hopelessly snarled. Sigh. Put it into time out. Pull out the purse I am knitting up to felt. Today arrives. Find out at the end of 26 rows of stockinette that I should have been knitting the first 2 stitches of every row. Must frog. Put IT into time out. Take out yarn for cozy. Unsnarl. Re-cast on. Yarn snarls again. Sigh dramatically. Unsnarl yarn again. Put it into time out. Again.

Pull out emergency can't screw it up project. Knit peacefully for a while. Ahhhhhh.

No knitting pictures tonight. Not enough patience to futz around with cables etc. So. No knitting pics. And there probably won't be any posts for a day or 2, since it IS, well, Christmas. So I will leave you with a cute kitty picture.

I call it "Kitty on handknitted shawl."

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

2 Posts in one Day!

That's right folks, no knitting and yet 2 posts in one day! This one has nothing to do with Christmas either. So there! Remember a while ago my cat(s) were driving me crazy? I talked to the vet a little while ago and he suggested that since the offending kitty was quite old and sick to boot, trying behavioural modifications would be unneccesarily stressful on me (and the cat) and since she only peed outside the box in front of the one litterbox (we have 2) that a puppy pad would be more useful! (Wow, what a run-on sentence! My grade 12 English teacher Stella would be appalled.)(No, that was not her name. It was a shortened version of her last name. Which I forget)

That's right folks, those things that some people use to train their puppy to pee on. These things have made my life so much easier! I know it creates more garbage for the landfills etc, but saving my sanity is worth something as well, I would think!

So now I lay the pad out in front of the litter box, put some newsprint on it and I'm good to go. The newsprint is so that she doesn't get freaked out by a new surface underfoot. She is familiar with newspaper. The puppy pad has a gauze-like surface she is not familiar with and I WANT her to go there. I am so not going to try to introduce a new variable. Newsprint it is.


Change the Song!

If the song doesn't change soon, I'm warning y'all, I have pointy sticks! And I'm not afraid to use 'em! (and that is all the knitting reference you are going to get today. still too busy.)
Holly Jolly Christmas and Winter Wonderland, to be exact. It seems like there are only these 2 songs on the planet that are Christmassy. At least, according to the local radio station. I was working at a small shop today that uses a local radio station to provide background music. It seemed like every other song was one version or another of these 2 Christmas songs. AAARGH! 9 whole hours of it!

Why couldn't they play something classical and pretty which is also Christmassy? Like Pachelbel. Am I the only person in the world that likes this piece of music and finds it "holiday-like"? It even has the added advantage of being non-denominational! (for the p.c.)

Enough whining. I will now show you something else I like that is Christmassy in my book:

I love these cookies!

(For those of you who will be compelled to point out that "Christmassy" isn't a real world, I thumb my nose in advance at you)


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

More Christmas!

Are ya tired of the Christmas crap, er, excitement? If so, stop reading now. This will tire you even more. Until today, I have been pretty ho-hum about the whole Christmas thing. When I got home, I decided to (finally) wrap the Christmas presents . And found myself humming the Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas song.

Apparently it isn't Christmas around here until you wrap presents. (Yes the presents are wrapped in newspaper. Why spend money on something that gets used once, ripped up and thrown out?)
That's my 3 foot, pre-lit Christmas tree. I love it! Just plug it in and you are good to go!

In an effort to avoid stores this weekend, I went into Walmart to buy shampoo today. They didn't have shampoo, but they DID have chocolate!

Go figure, I went in planning to spend about $5 and spent $14.16! But my hubby thinks the flavoured Hershey's Kisses you can get this time of year are yummy, so I can blame him for this particular expenditure.

Oh, you noticed the nails? You would like a closer view?

Yup, I have Christmas Reindeer on my fingers! Along with sparkly clear nailpolish. Gotta have the sparkles, ya know.

Merry Christmas to All!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Good thing I'm Done!

Good thing I finished my Christmas knitting a while ago. I have barely had time to sleep, never mind knit! This is the busy season for me, since I fill in for vacations etc and this is prime vacation season. Lest you all think you are wasting your time here, I do have a picture in the spirit of the Christmas season.

Christmas lights reflecting off a mini-blind!. For those of you who don't think this is nice enough to hang around, here's another picture for your entertainment:

That's Pagan fishing her food out with her "hand" to eat!

If you don't like that, well, sorry that's all I got!


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas Tradition

I have no knitting to share because I have been working my little hiney off. A colleague had a death in the family and needed emergency coverage. Enter myself from stage right. Made some moolah, but no knitting, alas. So I will share with you a traditional Christmas recipe at my house. Joni was asking about traditions, so here is one of mine.

There is a back story, though. Many years ago, my father (who was a serious foodie) always raved about how good my aunt Lelia's Paniscia was. I really had nothing to compare it too, since it was a traditional food and I have only ever eaten at my aunt's table. However, as I grew up and became more educated about food, I realized what an unusual dish it was. Especially to us North Americans who associate Italian food with pasta and pizza.

So, on my last trip over to visit in 2001, I asked my aunt if she would teach me how to make it.

What follows now is what I learned.

This recipe is one that my aunt actually had to cook, since it is very much one of thoses recipes where you "add what looks about right" for quantities. She wound up measuring out her handfuls and pinches etc on a scale so we would have an idea of the quantity.

Here are some pictures of my "working recipe" that I wrote down as my aunt and I cooked.

If you look closely (and can read my handwriting), you will find a mishmash of Italian and English written down. Every time I make this recipe, it makes me laugh.

Now, I am going to add, that this recipe is traditional to my families' hometown Novara, Italy. However, my aunt's version of it is not the "gourmet" version you see on the link earlier in the post. This is the peasant version that could be left over the fire to cook for hours while everyone was out working on the fields, milking cows etc. Not that this is not very tasty. Apparently whenever my aunt and family are going to a pot-luck, several requests are placed that she bring this dish!

You didn't think I would make you try to do this recipe from my awful scrawled notes, though, did you? Here is the cleaned up version:

Paniscia A La Lelia
Approx 4 people


2 cloves garlic, sliced (chopped tends to burn)
olive oil
50gm lard or unsmoked bacon (pork belly) chopped up until it resembles paste
600gm leeks, cut into thin rounds. Use only white part
1 cup water
bouillon cube/powder
200gm pork sausage (I use Italian mild from the butcher)(1/2 of an average sized sausage), removed from casing and torn into very small pieces
450gm cabbage sliced thinly, just use inside leaves
2-3 tblsp tomato paste
300gm dry Romano beans or 1 can Romano beans
250gm Italian long grain or arborio rice
1/2 to 1 cup red wine.
Broth-carrot, celery, pork rib if desired


Start broth day before. Put carrot & celery, pork rib (if using) and beans(if using dry) in large pot of water. Bring to a boil and boil for at least 1 hour or until beans are tender. Save broth (and beans)in fridge for next day.
Melt lard/pork belly in large pot over low heat. Cook garlic slices at the same time.After fat looks melted or translucent, pull out any large chunks of fat.(you don't want to bite into rubbery fat when you are eating, do you???)
Add leeks, 1 cup of water, bouillon cube/powder for 1 cup of water
Add torn up sausage. .
Slowly cook on low heat until leeks are soft. About 1 hour.
When leeks are soft, add cabbage, and a cup of broth .
Cover and stir occasionally for at least 3 hours on low heat. Cabbage should be completely mushy and soft. Add broth as needed to keep moist.
When cabbage is soft, add tomato paste, rice, salt (if desired), 1/2 cup of red wine (or however much you want). Stir. Add enough broth to keep very moist so rice will cook. Stir frequently and add broth as needed for about 20 minutes or until rice is cooked through.
Add cooked beans and fold them in gently.
Serve with grated parmesan. ( I prefer Reggiano)

The pork ribs are optional. I rarely use them and don't notice the difference! I also prefer canned beans since they tend to be softer than cooked beans from dry. But use whatever you want. That is the beauty of Italian cuisine. Change and add till you like it! As a final note, don't use "cooking" wine. The flavour will be concentrated down, and if you don't like it...well you get the idea. Only ever cook with wine you would drink!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Useless Psychic Powers

Stop the presses! I have USELESS PSYCHIC POWERS! Prove it you say? Okay....

I was working today at a store that had the radio tuned in to some station that played all Christmas music all the time. After the 28th variation of Silent night and Let it snow, I asked the technician that usually worked there if the radio station ever played "fun" Christmas songs. You know, like "Grandma got Run Over By a Reindeer". She responded that they had only played a couple, and that wasn't one of them. So what is the very next song???? Grandma got run over by a reindeer!

Now I'm not sure if my powers are pre-cognitive (telling the future) or telepathic (telling the DJ what to play next), but this indicates some sort of power, right?

So now if only I could get the numbers for the Super 7 lottery.....

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It's a Party!

A Blocking party, that is. I have finished knitting up my cardigan! It is now drying off.

I plagiarized an idea from someone and used interlocking foam floor tiles as a blocking board. they worked wonderfully. Cost me $14.97 for 4. I love a deal. They are ugly. The pattern on the other side is a fake wood, melamine-type finish. but who cares?

I also started knitting a teeny, tiny hat:

Actually its the second toe of my socks. I wanted to avoid second sock syndrome, so there it is! Isn't it cute?


Monday, December 11, 2006

Catching Up on News

I have a few things to post about today!

First up, I have a new name for my mossy cable scarf. Sandra says it looks like sea rocks. She's right. So that is the new name. Sea Rocks scarf. Much prettier. Still masculine too. Good all around.

Next up, Christmas lights. My neighbour has added to his Christmas light decor. Yup, like it needed it! See...

I know the shot is kinda blurry. Trust me, it's better that way. In comparison, MY house:

The lights in the window actually flash from yellow to red to blue. The photo caught the yellow phase. Still, not quite as garish as the other guy, eh?

There IS knitting news. I finished sock number 1!

Had to use the flash. Even though it is "daylight" here. Believe me, I use the term loosely, there is not enough light to take a picture!


Sunday, December 10, 2006

I have finished my mossy cable scarf. I just made that up. I wanted the scarf to be wide enough to cover your neck comfortably, but not so long it would peek out under your jacket. Voila!

It's 6 stitches of moss stitch on either side and 4 stitches cabled in the middle. Final dimensions are 44 inches long, 7 inches wide. The wool used is Woolly Bully. Up close it looks like this:

I wasn't sure how the cable would turn out, since the yarn is a thick 'n thin, but it looks just fine. I'm thinking this will be a gift for a male cousin. The colours and pattern turned out well for a masculine scarf, I think.

In other news, the green eyed kitty is improving daily. Her eye is no longer goopy and is almost open to its normal extent. So the trip to the vet and it's accompanying bill was worth it.

Cute story from work the other day. I was ringing up a sale for a child's antibiotic and her mom had said she could have some Skittles since she behaved well at the walk-in medical clinic. I rang up the Skittles, gave them to the little girl and her mother prompted her sotto voce "say thank you to the lady". At which the little girl promptly said "Thank you, lady". Too funny.

I then finished the sale, closed the cash register drawer and caught the end of my long necklace in the till. I had to call the pharmacy technician over to open the till! ( I didn't know how since I was just there for the day and only had a grasp of basic till functions) Did I feel silly!

Saturday, December 09, 2006


This post is not going to be funny or entertaining.

Every time at this point in the year, we are inundated by requests for charity donations. Please make sure that the charity of your choice spends most of it's money on charitable works. By "most" I mean at least 60%. Many large charities ( I won't mention names, but if you research the net, there is info out there) employ professional fundraisers (including telemarketers). These companies keep 70-90 cents on every dollar they collect! So you might think that you are donating to ABC charity, but you are really keeping Fundraising Incorporated afloat. Ask the person at your door if they are a volunteer. Get info on the way the charity spends it's donations.

Keep the charity alive and accountable. Don't pay for fundraisers!


Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas Nightlight

I like Christmas lights. They are pretty and add some sparkle to early, dreary evenings in December.

I do have a problem. The wingnut who designed our house put the master bedroom at the front of the house. This did not present a problem until the last couple of years. The old neighbour across the street moved out and a new one moved in. He has a rather large Christmas light display. See:

I know it's not as big as some, but it generates enough light that I can read a book in my bedroom. With our lights off! I have put heavy duty hotel-grade light blocking liner on our curtains. There is still lots of light leaking around the curtain edges. Short of tacking the curtain directly to the wall, this is as good as it gets.

So this is a plea to all home builders out there-please pu the master bedroom at the BACK of the house! I know that is going to be a feature I look for in the next home I live in.


P.S. The reindeer with his head up? It moves. Very creepy....

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Money Evapourates

Well folks, the furnace is fixed! apparently the thermocouple broke. If the temperature drops because the pilot light is out, it doesn't let gas into the furnace (when it is working correctly). Apparently mine just decided not to let gas into the furnace....At any rate, the landlord is $299 lighter. And I am many degrees warmer.

However, MY wallet is also a little lighter. My Pagan kitty got an eye infection. So I took her to the vet where they did a fluorescein test to see if it really was an infection. Yup. $99 later...

The weird part is, the test turned her eye green:

Temporary, but still strange looking! Look out! The alien kitty is coming to get you....(sorry about the blurry pic, she was NOT in the mood to have her picture taken)

Ah well, a few bucks lighter, but the family's health is important!

The sock doesn't look much different,so I'm not going to bother with a picture.

In completely unrelated news, Melrose did NOT win "America's Next Top Model". Yippee! Something about that girl struck me as off-kilter. She was a little too practiced, a little too manipulative. Go Caridee!


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Using the Handknits

Yup, I am using several of my handknits all at once. The furnace broke. It's 2 degrees Celsius outside. (that's 35.6F for the Americans) It's 17 degrees inside. (62) And dropping like a rock. In the last hour the temp dropped 4 degrees. The repair guy is coming. Even better,the landlord is footing the bill. So I am wearing my wool shawl, my blankie,my fingerless gloves and my hat. Hopefully he comes soon, if he doesn't I may pile up the stash and just burrow into it. It's wool, right? So it will keep me warm....and maybe I will knit some of it out of boredom.

Therefore, the toe-up sock progress will not be modelled today. I took a "lie there and do nothing" kind of picture. Just to prove that I AM working on it. Here it is:

The furnace dispatch people said that I was next on the call list. I sure hope so. The kitties have fur coats. I don't. But I DO have the handknits...


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful..

But the fire is so delightful, we've no place to go, let it snow let it snow let it snow! Sing all together now!

This is the view from my backdoor. Hard to believe all we got is a dusting when so many other places got buried. Convenient for me, though.

The work on the toe-up sock continues. More pics of that tomorrow.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I think I'm in love....

I love toe-up socks! it gets rid of the fiddly picking up of stitches at the heel flap AND the weird bit at the beginning of a cuff before you have a couple of rows of knitting to stabilize it. You do have the slightly fiddly unzipping of the provisional cast on, but hey, nothing in life is perfect, right? I also have a bit of a hole at the end of the turned heel where I started back in on the pattern, but that can be fixed. Although if anyone knows why it did that, I would be interested in knowing.....This is a picture of the sock so far. It's also cool how you can see that it is actually a sock long before it is finished.This is a pic of the lace pattern. It's pretty cool too! Oh yeah, here's a link to the pattern itself.

I'm off to knit some more sock! Yippee! Tralalala!


Friday, December 01, 2006

Making it Work

I decided to try out the lace pattern for my sock on big yarn. Mostly because I decreased the number of stitches since I have a small, delicate ladies foot. Ok, it's a size 6, that's still small, right? Good thing I did because I found an omission in the pattern! There are some normal stockintte stitches before and after the lace pattern. I figured I would just decrease those and the lace would remain untouched. A good plan. As I was working my through the pattern, I realized that on the last line, the "filler" stockinette stitches were missing! I added them in and it worked fine. Whew! Dodged that one. I can't imagine trying to figure it out on fiddly sock yarn... So here's a pic of the lace:

There are actually 2 lace patterns on this sock. On the upper right of the pic is the cat-face. On the lower left is the paw-print. It doesn't show up great in this yarn, but that wasn't the point of using this yarn anyway! It should be good in the sock yarn.