Monday, August 30, 2010

Beauty and the (fugly) beast

This weekend, our bedroom went from this:

To this:

All with the help of this:

We're still sleeping in a room with no furniture, of course, but it's a NICE room with no furniture now. I put on a coat of paint on Sunday, the second coat will go on Friday morning, and then you'll REALLY see something :)

So that's it for Beauty. Before I can move onto the (fugly) beast, I wanted to tell you about an idea I've been pondering for the past few weeks. It came to me after reading one of the Yarn Harlot's recent posts, where she was (deservedly) congratulating herself on the brilliant awesomeness of her Self-imposed sock club.

"I should do something like that!" I thought. But really, if I were to try to knit a pair of socks a month, I'd never get anything else done. So much for that.

Later on, I was looking through my queue on Ravelry, and I realized I have a lot of hats in there. Like, a LOT. Click! "I could do a Self-imposed hat club!"

So that's what I did. I printed out 12 hat patterns and paired them up with 12 skeins of yarn, and on Friday I pulled one out at random. I was thrilled when it turned out to be the Bella Swan La Push hat, because a) I heart all things Twilight and b) I haven't crocheted anything in a good long while.

By the end of the night though, I had run into a big problem. Namely, the hat was fugly. I hate the pointy top, and although I realize all top-down beanies look like yamikas, this one looked like an obscene pink mockery of a yamika.

In short, I wanted to frog this sucker. "But what about the Hat Club!?!?" I thought. Could I really just change the pattern even though this is what I had drawn out of my bag 'o hat tricks? I thought about it for a good long while.

Then I got over it. It's a self-imposed club (DUH!). I make the rules, I can do whatever the heck I want. And if it's fugly, it's not getting made. On to plan B! I'm thinking either the Better Bucket hat or the Star Crossed Slouchy Beret. I've been meaning to knit them forever, heh.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Beat it

This weekend has been an epic one on the DORMA scale. Phil and his Dad put in hardwood floors in our bedroom, and today I put on the first of 2 coats of fresh paint. I picked up 2 new floor lamps at Ikea on Saturday, and I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that our room is already looking 100% better than it did. And we don't even have the new furniture in yet!

I also finished my summer Year of Lace project, which I should be blocking right now but I just can't summon the will to get off this couch.

There will be pictures and details and fun, witty comments. Just not right now. Right now I want to sit on my couch, watch Nature with my husband while enjoying a nice glass of red, and pet my cat.

Happy Knitting Everyone.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Whole lotta shakin' goin' on

It's been one of those weeks, you know? Lots going on and not much to show for it. Not yet, anyway. Definitely not much knitting going on, much as I wish I had the kind of lifestyle where I could stay home in my pajamas and make beautiful things with luxury yarns all day.

When we got back from Mexico earlier this summer, Phil and I hit what we call the "disgust overload" mark regarding the state of our bedroom. Disgust overload, in case you were wondering, is the point where we can no longer ignore the sad, sorry state of our surroundings, and we are finally shaken out of our collective stupor and go on a massive cleaning, decluttering, or in this case renovating spree.

Our bedroom set is a hand-me-down from Phil's aunt that we brought with us when we moved into our house. It's a stunning black melamine with gold trim ensemble from the go-go eighties (or possibly even from the groovy seventies). We've always hated it, but we took it anyway, figuring it would do "for the time being".

Fast-forward ten years, and it was still there, only with broken trim on my dresser and three drawers that would no longer open or shut. We'd been living like this for quite a while, ignoring how bloody awful the room was, and suddenly Phil just said "That's IT. I can't stand this another minute. We're buying a new bedroom set NOW."

Off we went, and our new, lovely, made in this millennium furniture should be arriving within a few weeks. Which is great, except that we're now stuck in the never-ending spiral of the While-we're-at-it's (in Phil's defense, most of those are my idea).

Don't know what those are? Let me illustrate:

  • "Hey sweetie, while we're at it, why not change the bedspread?" (Check)
  • "I've always hated that emerald green carpet. Why don't we take the opportunity and put in hardwood floors in our room?" (Check)
  • "Hmmm, the paint really doesn't GO with our new bedspread... We need a new colour palette" (Still gotta get on that)
  • "Can we take out the useless ceiling fan and put in a proper light? And get new bedside lamps while we're at it?" (in the works)
  • "You've always hated those horizontal blinds, you know..." (well he DOES!...)
And on, and on, and on....

All that to say that right now our room has a mattress, a lamp, and 20 boxes of hardwood flooring waiting to be installed this weekend. Oh, and we're using my yarn bins as bedside tables.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Confessions of a dangerous mind

Those of you NOT in my Facebook friends (and if you’re not, why aren’t you?) are probably not aware that I have a kitten. I think I’ve mentioned her in passing once, but I haven’t really talked about the whole “I haz a cat now!” thing for a variety of reasons, namely that I think there are enough stereotypes out there about women who knit: throw in that you knit AND you’ve got a cat (or – gasp! – cats) and things can get out of hand in a hurry.

So yeah, we have a kitten. I found her and her brother hanging out around my office building back in June, when they were about 3 months old, and I just couldn’t leave them to their fate, to starve or get run over by a car or whatever. So I scooped them up and took them home, thinking at the very least I’d find them a good home. We gave the male away (he’s now the king of the daycare where my son goes), but the little female tortoise shell, whom Émilie has named Lori, lives with us.

I wish I could say that she’s the kids’ cat, but as I’ve discovered, cats are very particular about whom they pick as THEIR human, and it seems that, as far as Lori is concerned, I’m IT. She follows me everywhere, gazes adoringly in my eyes and purrs up a storm when we’re chilling on the couch, stretches out seductively when I happen to walk by her and she’s having a snooze… As Kate-The-Enabler says, I have a familiar now, and it’s a good thing we don’t live in burning times anymore, heh.

Anyway, I thought it’d be funny to write a post about what I suspect goes through her mind between the hours of 8 PM and 5:30 AM.

8:00 PM:
“Hey! Are the kids gone yet? Can I come out from under your bed now? Well thank GOD for that! Phew! I mean, I know they’re your offspring and all, but do they have to, like, LIVE here??? And with the grabbing and wanting to pet me all the time??? Jeez! It’s a good thing that big one gives me milk every day, believe you me! So… Whatcha doing? Wanna pet me?”

8:25 PM
“Ooh! What have you got there? Is it yarn??? Wow, you’re like the best person EVER! There’s cat stuff EVERYWHERE in this house! Mmmm, so tasty too! Nom nom nom… What? What do you mean, the yarn outranks me? WTF???”

9:30 PM:
“I see you’re sitting down with the laptop! Would this be a good time for me to show you my butt? Come on, you know you wanna! Wait, don’t move the computer, I can stand on it just fine.”

10:30 PM:
“What are we doing? Are we going upstairs? OK, let’s go! *Sigh* I love watching you pee…”

10:45 PM:“Ah, that’s better. Nice and settled in my bed (which I’m only letting you sleep in out of the goodness of my heart, lest you forget) and ready for a good, long snooze. Are you comfortable? You’d bloody well better be, because I AM, and I’m not moving!”

1:30 AM:
“Are you done sleeping yet? I’m boooOOOOooooOOOOOored! Seriously, how long can you just lie unconscious like that? Me, I slept all day, I want to get my play on! Oh, did I wake you? I’m sorry! Let me purr for you, I know you like that. You could pet me, too. I said PET me, not just put your hand on my back! Come on, put some effort into it! Jeez! Fine, whatever, I’m outta here…. Lazy humans….”

4:50 AM
“OK, so the birds have started to chirp, can we get UP now??? Don’t pretend like you’re still asleep, I can tell you’re awake, your breathing pattern has changed! What, do you think you can just IGNORE me??? How ‘bout if I stick my nose in your ear and PUUURRRRRRRRR really loud? Can you ignore me now???? Hah! Didn’t think so. Hmmm, I kind of like your ears though. And what’s this? Earrings? Wow, those are SO much fun! Do they come off? Wait, let me try to get them off with my teeth…”

5:15 AM:“Still not up yet, eh? Come ON, it's almost daytime, what's a few more minutes in bed REALLY goingto do for you? Why are you turning over on your side like that? Do you really think that’s going to throw me off? I mean, it’s not like I can’t balance on the right side of your body or anything. CAT, remember? Balance and grace and agility and all that feline stuff. Are you awake yet?"

5:40 AM:
"Have I told you how much I like you? You’re great, and you SMELL so…. wait, you’re coming dangerously close to not smelling like me anymore! I think I’d better rub my face on yours about 78 times in a row, just to make sure. I mean, we BOTH know you tend to pick up stray cats when you’re out of the house. Am I right?”

6 AM:
“You’re getting up? Hmmm, I dunno, I’m kinda sleepy now, you know? Do you mind if I just hang out on your bed all day?”

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Some of you (*cough* DAD *cough*) have mentioned how bitterly disappointed you are when I don't post. You've described how you log onto your computer in the morning, almost giddy with excitement at the prospect of reading another wacky, witty, insightful post from yours truly, only to be crushed by a wave of despair when it's the same post as yesterday, or the day before that, or EVEN, the day before THAT.

Well, I take my responsibilities very seriously, you know. Far be it from ME to rain on anyone's parade. So today, I give you.... gratuitous button shots. Don't say I never did anything for ya.

I ordered these after another irresponsible foray on Etsy, sheep and primitive crow mason jar buttons from buttonsbyrobin.

These beauties were actually a gift from my cousin Jessica. They're handmade porcelain buttons from... um.... the old country. One of the big ones, I think. (Hah! I love Chris Farley!)

And this one I picked up while visiting my Dad and stepmum Margot in Perth last week. I mostly bought it as a way to ingratiate myself to the shop owner whose display Maxime had just destroyed, heh. (Ah, 3 year-old boys... you can dress 'em up, but you can't take 'em anywhere). But that doesn't mean it isn't a nice button. AND I've got nice yarn that will compliment it nicely, too.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Friday, August 13, 2010

More family fun (and some knitty stuff too)

Well crap. I've been prepping tonight's post for over an hour, sorting through a week's worth of pictures, trying to figure out what'll be most appealing to my hordes of adoring fans (GRIN), and now that I'm finally able to sit down with my trusty laptop, I can't seem to figure out a clever, sassy way to make it all flow together. So how 'bout we let the pictures do the talking, shall we?

This week the kids and I visited my Dad and stepmum Margot in their new (temporary) home in lovely Perth, Ontario. After about 3 years of talking about moving closer to Montreal, they finally quit dilly-dallying, sold their house in record time (so record that their new house has, um, yet to be built) and are now a mere 3 hour drive away (as opposed to 9). Yay!

We had lots of fun with Nanny and Bumpy. We did all the stuff you're supposed to do with the grandparents, we ate too much candy, watched TV in bed, and loaded up on hugs, kisses, and bilingual "I love you's". Perth being a scant 45 minute-ish drive from Ottawa, while there we visited the Canadian Museum of Nature, and even though it was a close call towards the end of the visit as to whether the Museum would be acquiring 2 stuffed children for their permanent exhibit ('cause Mommy was going to strangle them!), we had fun.

We also visited the "beach", that is a private beach with a small, cordoned-off area perfect for kids to swim in and explore and just be silly in.

And of course, we visited the local yarn store :)

Set in a charming old stone house along the Rideau canal (well, near as I can tell anyway. I ain't no geographer!), Janie H. Knits is just a perfect place to spend a lovely morning and indulge. It's quaint, they carry a lovely variety of yarn, books and knitting accoutrement, and the people are incredibly friendly. If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend stopping by!

Now, I'm just going to cut to the chase and confess that while I was in there the whole notion of the "2010 for 2010" challenge went right out the friggin' window. I really didn't INTEND to buy quite so much yarn, but - DARNIT - they just had so much good stuff that I can't really find here! And as they said, it was really just a SMALL bag... *Sigh*

The first three are 2 skeins of Bijou Spun by Bijou Basin Ranch. The dark skein is a 50-50 yak/cormo blend, and the cream-coloured is a 75-25 yak/merino blend. The last is an Alpaca/Merino blend from Silent Valley Alpaca, a local-ish ranch.

As a matter of fact, I think that one deserves a close-up, don't you?

Ah, that's better.

I also bought 2 skeins (about 230 yards worth) of THE softest, lushest, most awesomest handspun EVAH. It's a blend of 10% merino and 90% bison (BISON!!!!!), and I've had a hard time NOT petting it since I took it home. Sadly, I couldn't find a website despite my mad Innernets skillz, but the label says it's from Prairie Fiber Mill, in Saskatchewan.

I capped it all off with EZ's Knitter's Almanach (my first Zimmerman book!) and some Addi circs for the border of my shawl-in-progress.

All in all, a great trip. Happy Knitting Everyone!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Feeling Lucky

Whew! Wow, sorry about the radio-silence this week. I've been on "vacation" with the kids, and it's been difficult to form complete sentences once the kids were in bed, so forget about blogging! All I wanted to do in the evenings is read, knit, or, um, stare into space, heh. All jokes aside, we've been having lots of fun. Really!

For instance, today we went bowling! Sadly, there weren't any small pins at the lane we went to, but we still managed to enjoy ourselves.

Maxime needed a little help getting the ball rolling, but as you can see, Émilie was quite keen on the game, and definitely wants to go back in the near future (I think the jelly beans that they both got as a post-game treat might have something to do with that though!)

While we were there, I took the time to take some kitschy pictures of my latest FO, Wednesday Socks from the Family Trunk Project (I love their patterns!)

Knit with String Theory Caper Sock yarn in the Garnet colourway, these socks were just a pleasure to knit. The yarn is A-MAY-ZING, the pattern is stimulating without being overly complex, and the end result is THE kick-ass-est pair of bowling socks you've ever set your eyes on! These are definitely going in the "For Keeps" pile! :)

As a matter of fact, they seem to have re-kindled my urge to knit. Project monogamy is at an end chez Dear! I'll be casting on for a couple of projects within the next few days.

The yarn on top (String Theory Caper Sock in Bees Knees - did I mention how über-awesome this yarn is???) is destined to become a Castlegar Cardigan (what can I say? I heart Laura Chau's designs!) and the cake on the bottom (Dream in Color Smooshy in Strange Harvest) will be for my next pair of socks, Jeannie Cartmel's Magic Mirror socks (which have been in my Rav queue since September 2009).

Happy Knitting Everyone!