Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year In Review

Pinched from Fidget

1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?

Drive on the highway to the King of Prussia Mall! (Those of you who know me in person know I have an aversion to driving on highways.)

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Hmm. I didn't make any new year's resolutions this year. I challenged myself to read 100 books and you will find out the results to that soon.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My sister Teri had a daughter in February and my friend Asami had a son in May.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Thankfully, no.

5. What countries did you visit?

USA and Canada

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

More comfortable shoes.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

May 29th. But I can't tell you why.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I don't know. I was happy to finish my Mr. Greenjeans sweater - but in retrospect I wish I had chosen a different yarn. Cables need wool. Willow and I did a lot of reading together this year, and I think that was an important achievement as well.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Miscarrying twice.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

See above. Other than that, I am as healthy as the proverbial horse.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My freezer! Even if it won't fit in my basement!

12. Where did most of your money go?

Mortgage. Followed by car repairs (it took 4 different mechanics and garages before they figured out what was wrong with my car. &!$%@^$ing fuel pump!)

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

My parents coming to visit. And seeing my new niece and nephew in the summer.

14. What song will always remind you of 2008?

Foo Fighters' 'Everlong'

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? About the same
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter, unfortunately.
c) richer or poorer? About the same.

16. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Exercise. Talk to my family. Yardwork. Home repairs.

17. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Yell at Willow.

18. How will you be spending Christmas?

Done! Opened presents here, went to my in-laws for a delicious lunch and more presents, and then back to our place to watch movies on TV.

19. What was your favorite TV program?


20. What was the best book you read?

You will find out that either tomorrow or Friday.

21. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Rachael Yamagata

22. What did you want and get?

Lots and lots of yarn!

23. What did you want and not get?

A spinning wheel - but that is only because Andrew and I haven't had time to go on a road trip to shop for one.

24. What was your favorite film of this year?

I really liked Across the Universe.

25. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 36, but it was uneventful as Andrew had to work late so all I did was take Willow to her swimming lessons. We did go out for dinner at a hibachi restaurant the next day.

26. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Staying pregnant.

27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

Comfort. I'm pretty much a Lands End girl all the way around.

28. What kept you sane?

Meeting my knitting friends at Brew Ha Ha.

29. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Paul Rudd

30. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

You can laugh at things in the most horrible of situations.


All in all, it has been an okay year. Stressful as hell at points, but there was much laughter and learning and love. I have a wonderful husband (for the foot rubs alone!), a daughter who surprises me every day with her insight and intelligence, a family support system I appreciate more than I could possibly say, a home of my own, and a job that keeps me interested every day.

I'm a lucky woman.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Blog Contest Announcement - 100 Book Challenge

You didn't think I had forgotten, did you?

The year is almost up, and it is time for all of you to make guesses on where I landed in my personal challenge of reading 100 books in 2008. I am only giving you one hint...

I came within +/-15% of my goal.

Now it is up to you to guess just how many I read. Mind you, I have 28 hours or so still to go here... I might improve on my current target. Some of you may remember what inspired this personal challenge - this MSNBC article that said that 1 in 4 adults read no books last year. It's scary and sad all in one go.

So, I guess you will want a prize if you win, huh? How about this - I'll only be able to open this up to Canadian or American people, but if you win, I will send you a $20 gift certificate to the online bookseller of your choice. If a few people guess the same number I will have to have a drawing.

Please remember to include an email address in your comment so I can get in touch with you if you win. I will not accept any guesses past midnight EST on 12/31/08.

Stay tuned for Friday's post, where I will reveal the winner and dazzle you with all sorts of statistics from my snazzy Excel spreadsheet!

You'll Wish You Had Smellovision for This One!

One of the wonderful things about having my parents come visit is that my Mom can teach me how to make things. You already know that I have never cooked a whole turkey - and although we won't be fixing that situation during my parents' visit, I did accomplish some other things... like making pie!

Mom and Jo's pies

Look closely... which one was made by the person who bakes for a living and which one was made by the person who was so awkward at putting the top crust on that it ripped and the holes had to be patched in with pastry leaves...? Mom assured me they will taste the same.

And then we made pudahha (or perogies, as some people call them). Of course, I have made pudahha before - it was required child labour in our house growing up - if you wanted these for dinner, you had to take part in the filling, folding, and pinching. I have even made pudahha all by myself once - but it is back-breaking that way and much more fun if you have cohorts.

First you drive the cat crazy with the smell of bacon frying:

Frying the bacon

Once the bacon and onion has been fried almost crispy, you add it to your mashed potates, reserving your potato water (you will need it for the dough). Season with salt and pepper until it's perfect (this will require much tasting of the potato filling). Then make the dough in your food processor - it is a combination of flour, salt, oil, and potato water. I'm a little embarrassed to say at this point that Andrew gave me the food processor about 5 years ago and yesterday was the first time it was out of the box. In my defense, I have had very small kitchens ever since and it's not easy to store these things.

Then you roll out the dough and slice it one-hand width thick in both directions to make squares:

Slicing the Pudahha dough

Stretch the dough out a bit, fill with the potato mixture, and then pinch all around to make triangles. Freeze what you won't eat, and boil the rest for 8 minutes.

Pinched Pudahha

Serve with melted butter and onions... (okay, my mouth is watering right now)

Finished Pudahha

I meant to take a picture of the pudahha on my plate, but suffice to say, they weren't on the plate very long.

But I have about 7 dozen in the freezer!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dropped in on George...

... but he wasn't home.

White House close

Mom, Dad, Andrew, and I headed down to Washington, D.C. yesterday for a whirlwind trip. In the summer when Mom and Dad first announced they were coming down south, Dad said they only thing he really wanted to do was go to the Smithsonian Museum. I floored him by saying, "Great! It's free!" So we drove down to Silver Springs, MD and caught the train from there.

Dad knew that we wouldn't be able to hit every museum on the Mall, so we concentrated on the Natural History Museum because he wanted to see the dinosaur and ice age animal bones. We arrived about 11am, and while not overly crowded, it was already a bustling place. I think we definitely made the right decision of leaving Willow with Andrew's parents for the day. I do want her to see all the exhibits, but I think some day that isn't a Saturday when many people are on vacation would be a much better choice!

We went through the Deep Sea exhibit where I was mostly creeped out by the things in the ocean (you must all know of my aversion to deep water by now). Then we went to the Mammals exhibit that I was largely surprised to see an abundance of taxidermied animals.

Pouncing tiger

Lion attack

The poses were quite realistic and it was interesting to see. I can't say I was terribly impressed with the sterile white background to all of the animals. I suppose if they had more complex sets they would have to dust it all the time.

From here we went to the Dinosaur Exhibit, which was much more crowded than the first two:


I liked how there were different scenes set up to demonstrate different epochs of history. It was a little amusing how the humans (or rather neanderthals) were just an afterthought scene at the end - very reflective of where we are in the scheme of things chronologically.

We were hungry by this point and tried to eat in one of the cafes, but the Fossil Cafe had no seating and there was a long line outside of the Atrium Cafe... so we went outside and got hot dogs from the street vendor. It's a chancy bet - Andrew told me something weird about his hot dog that I am very glad he waited until I was finished eating to do so! After our quick lunch, we headed back in to my preferred exhibit, the Mineral and Gem Exhibit! I don't know what it says about me that I am so enamoured of shiny, pretty things...

Green Beryl

Who wouldn't be?!!

Okay, I do have a scientific interest in all of this - I started out on the asteroids hall and learned how to tell if the rocks you find are earth rocks or space rocks - it has a lot to do with if a rock looks aerodynamic (shaped during entry into the Earth's atmosphere), or has certain striations in it that demonstrate how it was cooled over millions of years. After learning about copper mining, gold mining, and how aluminum mining was once a more lucrative prospect than either of the other two, we got into the pretty stuff:

Jewels E

Jewels B

Jewels D

Jewels A

As well as big hunks of natural crystals such as this garnet:


and this amethyst:


(That person's foot beside the amethyst should give you a good idea of how bid the rock is.)

We finished by pushing our way through to see the Hope Diamond, and I have to say I was a little surprised at how small it was in person:

Hope Diamond A

The jewel itself is about the size of a large egg yolk.

The museum was getting a little too crowded by this time so we thought we would take a walk outside and see another museum. No such luck. We walked by the American History Museum and the line for that one extended all the way down to the intersection where the Washington Monument is:

Washington monument close

Look how little the people are at the bottom!

Dad wanted to see the White House, so we walked up there, and everywhere we went we saw the seat risers for the parade. I wanted to sit in one and have Mom take my picture and caption it as, "Jo is punctual as ever" but the many police around were not happy about people getting anywhere near the seats. We decided to walk back to the Metro Train station, and after walking many many many blocks we found an Au Bon Pain cafe, had snacks, and hopped on the train back to Silver Springs.

It was a great trip - my first to D.C., and I would love to go back. I will definitely take Willow with us next time, but I think it will be some warm spring mid-week day not anywhere near a holiday!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Fruits of My Labours

Isn't she the prettiest thing around?

This is my niece, Dharma, in the Offset Wraplan I knit her for Christmas. It's a bit big on her, but she will only grow into it.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas


Looks almost tropical, doesn't it?

Don't believe the hype. My parents are here - finally - their 3 days train journey across country took 5 days due to the snow and train derailments (not their own, thankfully). We went to Longwood Gardens on December 23rd, and spent our entire time inside the conservatory because it was 15'F / -9.5'C outside! I actually had to take off my jacket in the conservatory - it was nice to be that warm.

If you would like to see some more of the beautiful flower pictures, you can click on the slideshow here.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Do you know how hard it is to keep a really good secret?

Congratulations, Bezzie!

I posted a tiny snapshot of this baby blanket when it was a WiP, and even Bezzie said she didn't realize it was for her.

Bezzie blankie

The Particulars

Yarn: Um. I think Bernat Baby Coordinates, but I can't find this particular colourway listed - when knit up it reminded me of Monet's waterlilies and I really liked that. 2.5 skeins.

Needles: Not! Actually, I crocheted this one. I like crocheting baby blankets because then they are the same on each side. Size H crochet hook.

Pattern: Not a particular one - just single crochet and double crochet in the same stitch, skip a stitch, and repeat. Easy and mindless, but it makes a beautiful baby blanket.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'll Just Distract You With Yarn... make up for the fact I haven't been able to come up with blog posts.

Spunky Eclectic DK Mandy

It's Spunky Eclectic DK sock in 'Mandy' bought during Woolgirl's Thanksgiving Weekend sale. Destined to be socks for me.

I'm worn out, people. More work than I know what to do with, I wake up in the middle of the night planning out what has priority, and in the meantime I am nowhere near finished my Christmas shopping or crafting. Tomorrow's my last day in the office so I need to write up my office Christmas cards tonight, and my parents arrive on Saturday.

And my %$@&*% freezer doesn't fit through the frickin' basement door.

Joy to the world.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Baking Part 2

I love how my home smells right now!

Ginger Molasses Crinkle Cookies B

These cookies are based on this Ginger Molasses Crinkle Cookies recipe I found in a Canadian Living Magazine a few years back. What I love about this recipe, other than the flavour, is the fact that the fat in the cookie is vegetable oil, so it is a cookie whose dough takes about 5 minutes to make and you don't have to worry about having to soften the butter or anything like that.

Of course, I made changes to the recipe. I approach my knitting the same way - I always have to make it a bit different. These are my changes:

1) I added 1/2 tsp of cardomom to the dry mixture.
2) Rather than rolling the balls in normal white sugar, I roll them in turbinado sugar (raw sugar with large crystals) for that extra crunch and richer flavour.

I love the texture of these cookies when cooked - they are crispy on the outside, but still retain some of the chewiness in the middle.

And because I couldn't resist another picture:

Ginger Molasses Crinkle Cookies A



I even have a WiP to show off:

Sam's hat

It doesn't look like much right now, but it will be a present for a little boy I know.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas Baking Part 1

I love baking. And you might expect that for someone of my size it would have a lot to do with loving to eat what I bake - but that really isn't the case. I mean, it tastes good, but for me it has almost everything to do with the process. I love measuring and mixing everything together and seeing what comes of it - and I definitely subscribe to the Alton Brown scientific cooking theory.

I was finally able to get some Christmas baking in this weekend - not as much as I would have liked, but it was a start.

Cherry Ice Box Cookies

Cherry Ice Box Cookies

This recipe is based on this Cherry-Pecan Icebox Cookies recipe, but I have tweaked it a bit.

Number 1) I can't stand nuts in cookies (so no nuts!)
Number 2) I add a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract so bring out the sugar cookie taste.
Number 3) And this is a guess - I use one small container of green cherries and one small red container - that probably comes to more than the 3/4c the recipe calls for.

The recipe says it is supposed to yield 13 dozen cookies - I'm lucky if I get 5! I think I slice mine on the thicker side.

Why do I like these cookies? Well, other than the fact that they do taste good, it is so neat to see how every slice makes the next cookie different from the one before. Sometimes they are all red, sometimes all green - and every permutation in between. And on a practical note, with my schedule being the way it is right now, I love the fact that I can make the dough, put the logs in the refrigerator, and pull one out and bake a dozen or two at a time, when I have time. It's just less stressful that way.


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Tara's Question

Tara asked in the comment section:

Hey, did you add the "books I'm reading" when you changed your layout? I just noticed it. I was wondering why you didn't have one. How is the 100 for 2008?

Glad you asked! I have been trying to update the "Books I'm Reading" section as often as possible, but I miss some of them. I need to finish Krakatoa before the end of the year. I actually was inspired to put his widget on my blog from seeing it on your blog!

And as for the 100 in 2008 challenge, I'm really close! I am not going to give away numbers because I am going to have a blog contest at the end of the year and people can guess how many books I have read and I will have some prizes to give away. I also have this massive spreadsheet that will have statistics galore for those geeky number people (like me) who get off on knowing these things.

Friday, December 05, 2008

What Color Is your Rainbow?

Blatantly pilfered from Pam:

Your rainbow is intensely shaded indigo, green, and blue.


What is says about you: You are a proud person. You appreciate friends who get along with one another. You share hobbies with friends and like trying to fit into their routines. Those around you admire your fresh outlook and vitality.

Find the colors of your rainbow at

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

More Entertaining Stuff

One of the best things of having a kid is sometimes you get to watch some cool cartoons. One show that Willow has been watching lately on Nickleodeon is called Making Fiends and I think this is definitely one of the cases where I get more out of the show than Willow does. If you go to Amy Winfrey's website and click on "Original Web Episodes" you can get a taste of this funny cartoon.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

To Entertain You While I Am Out

...but not down. It's just that this is the busiest part of my work year, I have less than three weeks of work before my holidays and when my parents come, and my mojo for anything creative is in hiding.

So, I leave you with one of my favourite MadTV skits - enjoy!

Friday, November 28, 2008

One Sock Finished

Yarn Pirate socks B, originally uploaded by jochibi.

Don't worry - this one isn't a Christmas present - this one is mine.

For the first time I am deviating from the sock pattern (Ann Budd's basic sock pattern). When I got down to the heel flap I realized I had two too many stitches (78 rather than 76). I knit my heel flap with 38 stitches, then decreased my gusset right down to 76 to correct my mistake. I knit a woman's large for the sock, but started the toe decreases as if it were a woman's small. I also knit a rounder toe than I usually do - I started the kitchener stitch at 18 stitches on each needle - I think that suits my short wide feet better.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Meme

In which Jo blatantly shows off her Thanksgiving ineptitude.

Pilfered from Stray Thoughts.

1. Which do you like better: cooking at your house, or going elsewhere?

Okay, here goes. I have *never* cooked a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I have never cooked a turkey. I've cooked turkey breast in the crockpot. I have roasted a chicken in the oven - does that count? I guess you could say I prefer going elsewhere for Thanksgiving.

2. Do you buy a fresh or frozen bird?

I've never bought one. That being said, I would prefer buying a fresh one because it's weird how you need to defrost your dinner for a few days.

3. What kind of stuffing?

Stouffer's Stove Top Cornbread Stuffing. I didn't know I liked stuffing until I had this. Sorry, Mom.

4. Sweet potato or pumpkin pie?

Pumpkin! Oh my - you just reminded me I get to have pumpkin pie today!

5. Do you believe that turkey leftovers are a curse, or the point of the whole thing?

I love having turkey leftovers - turkey and cranberry sauce sandwiches, open faced turkey sandwiches and gravy, turkey soup - it's all good.

6. Which side dish would provoke a riot if you left it off the menu?

My side of the family? I think it would have to be a toss up between turnip fluff (baked mashed turnips with brown sugar, eggs, and butter) or pudahha (perogies). Andrew's side of the family? His mom's pineapple and carrot cream cheese jello mold (don't let the description phase you - it's delicious!).

7. Do you save the carcass to make soup or stock?

Yes - I help my MIL do this.

8. What do you wish you had that would make preparing Thanksgiving dinner easier?

A bigger oven - maybe even a dual one, and definitely a spare refrigerator / freezer to stash things.

9. Do you get up at the crack of dawn to have dinner ready in the early afternoon, or do you eat at your normal dinner hour?

Again, I've never prepared this meal myself, but my MIL likes to have it at lunch time because then she is not spending all night cleaning up and putting stuff away. I like it that way too because it leaves the afternoon still to do other things. I especially like walking through the neigbourhood and smelling everyone else's turkeys.

10. If you go to somebody else’s house, what’s your favorite dish to bring?

Something easy. Andrew's family has not always been fans of my ethnic dishes (I know - a baked turnip casserole does sound odd!), so I am just bringing over cut up veggies and dip to snack on.

11. What do you wish one of your guests would not bring to your house? What would you like them to bring?

I'm not sure - I think you should always be gracious if someone brought something to your dinner. Although, most people would let you know or ask what they could bring - and not just spring something on you.

12. Does your usual mix of guests result in drama, or is it a group you’re happy to see?

My last few Thanksgivings have been small affairs - just us, Andrew's parents, and sometimes his brother, Stewart. Growing up it was a much larger deal - my Mom is one of seven kids and everyone would be there with their respective others and children and sometimes even extended family members beyond that.

13. Is your cranberry sauce fresh or canned? Whole or jellied?

Jellied and canned - I like the fact it is like jam and you can spread it on your sandwich. Willow will eat all of her cranberry sauce before anything else on her plate gets touched.

14. What’s your absolute favorite thing on the menu?

The turkey! Although, if I am with my family, pudahha is going to get eaten first because I don't get that here in the US.

15. Share one family tradition.

In Andrew's family, before we eat dinner, everyone has to say one thing they are thankful for - even Willow.

And I'm adding another one:

16. Tell us a good Thanksgiving memory.

When Andrew and I lived in Boulder, Thanksgiving was so low-key. There was no point in cooking a turkey for two people, we were into full-blown Weight Watcher mode, we had no family nearby. Our normal plan was to go see a movie and troll around until we found a restaurant open. (We actually had turkey burgers at Denny's one year and they gave us a free piece of pumpkin pie each!). This one year I decide to make turkey burritoes (a good alternative when there are only two people!); the WW side of me was satisfied: ground turkey, whole wheat tortillas, tomatoes, lettuce, low-fat cheese, salsa, and avocados. It was a beautiful sunny day and not terribly cold, so we decided to go for a walk. A few weeks prior, Andrew had gone on a ghost walk around the old area of Boulder, so he replicated the tour for me. We must have walked for two hours - then we made our way down Pearl Street and found Starbucks open. We had lattes in front of the fire, then walked home.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Another 100

Pilfered from Karen because I need to do something else other than eat cheezies.

Bold the things you have done, strike out what you will never do:

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower (The day we found out we were pregnant with Willow we had woken up at some ungodly hour to watch meteor showers)
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world (Tokyo Disneyland!)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped (You have to write your weight on your hand!)
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightening at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning (Took me a loooooong time to eat shrimp cocktail again. Still can't eat sushi because of food poisoning.)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables (And plan to grow more next year.)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon (Okay, I won't say never, but it is *highly* unlikely I will ever run a marathon.)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise (Don't like deep water!)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language (tried to at least…)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing (See cruise comment #32)
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (Again, see comment #32)
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater (One of my earliest childhood movies is seeing some king fu movie in the drive in.)
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (Every 6 weeks or so I do plateletpheresis.)
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check (Knock on wood!)
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar (ook!)
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury (And won't as long as I am a Canadian living in the US.)
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Rode an elephant

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Rose Garden Offset Wraplan

Your eyes do not deceive you! This is a finished object!

Isn't it pretty? I think the little flower-shaped buttons set it off perfectly.

Yes, it is a Christmas present, but since the intended recipient isn't even a year old yet, she probably doesn't read my blog and I hope her mommy can keep her mouth shut.

The Particulars:

Pattern: Offset Wraplan (Rav link)
Size: 6 - 9 month size (not sure about this - I got gauge, but this looks awfully big)
Needles: Size 5 circulars and then DPNs
Yarn: Patons Decor in 'Rose Garden' and Red Heart Soft Solids in 'Wine' for edging

I had a lot of problems with this pattern - and that isn't to say that pattern is difficult - it isn't, and it makes a lovely little sweater, but it seems to me that the math is off in so many places. They were easy fixes, however - I have knit enough top-down raglan sweaters that I was able to work through the counter-intuitive moments.

There are some great examples of this sweater on Ravelry, and that is where I got the idea for the three buttons at the top rather than buttons all the way down. I think it is easier for babies and makes a swing-coat like shape.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

12 + 25 = 37

I think I like it when Christmas is further away.

Willow and I were driving home from school today and she asked me how many days was it until Christmas. Great opportunity to do some math! Okay, there are twelve days left in November, and Christmas is on the twenty-fifth of December, so:

12 + 25 =



Oh crap.

Artsy-Fartsy Quiz

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Traditional, Vibrant, and Tasteful

20 Islamic, 0 Impressionist, 13 Ukiyo-e, -16 Cubist, -25 Abstract and 14 Renaissance!

Islamic art is developed from many sources: Roman, Early Christian, and Byzantine styles were taken over in early Islamic architecture; the architecture and decorative art of pre-Islamic Persia was of paramount significance; Central Asian styles were brought in with various nomadic incursions; and Chinese influences . Islamic art uses many geometical floral or vegetable designs in a repetitive pattern known as arabesque. It is used to symbolize the transcendent, indivisible and infinite nature of Allah.

People that like Islamic art tend to be more traditional people that appreciate keeping patterns that they learned and experienced from their past. It is not to say that they are not innovative personalities, they just do not like to let go of their roots. They like to put new ideas into details and make certain that they will work before sharing them with others. Failure is not something they like to think about because they are more interested in being successful and appreciated for their intelligence. These people can also be or like elaborate things in their life as long as they are tasteful. They tend to prefer geometric patterns and vibrant colors.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy


I'm not sure about this - the results may be from the choice of paintings they showed rather than any real inclination. I do like Islamic designs (or any designs like that for that matter), but I wouldn't necessarily say it is my favourite kind of art. I like everything from Gustav Klimt to Norman Rockwell (hey, don't knock it until you have seen the real paintings up close!).

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Six Squared

Happy Birthday to Me!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Just fiddling with the settings - all of a sudden I had a weird grey line through my blog on all the computers I use.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mellow Happy - Catching Up

I just got back from my birthday dinner with my friends - my birthday isn't until this Thursday, but this is our normal knitting day so we knew it was a day that we all could meet. We decided to try a new restaurant in town - Rasa Sayang, a Malaysian restaurant that opened up a few weeks ago. I'm so happy we chose this place - it was so delicious! We each ordered an appetizer, ranging from Achat (Malaysian pickles - think sweet/salty/sesame), Roti Canai (potato and chicken pancake served with curried potato sauce), Roti Telur (like a thin chapati pancake served with curry sauce) and Chicken Satay skewers with peanut paste - and shared them all. I had the house curry - Rasa Sayang Chicken Curry with lemongrass and chilli paste - oh my :) I love finding a new food I like! I can't wait to go back again - and next time I want one of those pomegranate martinis...


I didn't want this to get lost in all the fibery goodness that was my apres-Stitches post, but I got to meet someone whose blog I read all the time - and she picked me out of a crowd! Kathy and I had just turned the corner on the 200 aisle when someone yelled, "Jo!" I looked around and this tall woman was looking at me and I was confused... until I saw her Ravelry nametag - it was Kemtee! You could have knocked me over with a feather! It was so nice to meet you in person, Kelly - and even more so because it was so unexpected. I hope we get to meet again soon!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Stitches East ReCap (a.k.a., 'The Haul')

or perhaps, "It's a damn good thing my husband loves me so much!"

We just got back from Stitches East, and I am feeling pleasantly exhausted. We didn't do too much outside of the hotel this time as we weren't on the Inner Harbor side of Baltimore, but we still had a wonderful time and had some fabulous food. I know you are eager to see what I picked up, so here goes:

Perhaps my new favourite colourway: Yarn Love's Bayfield Apple:

Yarn Love Bayfield Apple

As soon as I finished my current Yarn Pirate socks I think Bayfield Apple will be on the needles. The ladies in this booth were so nice, and I love how the yarn types are named after literary characters (the yarn I bought was called 'Marianne Dashwood' from Sense and Sensibility). I also bought this yarn, Strawberry Shortcake, from Yarn Love:

Yarn Love Strawberry Shortcake

Miss Babs Baby Bamboo and Superwash Sock in Light Turquoise:

Miss Babs Pale Turquoise

It's hard to make out in this picture, but there is a vein of darker turquoise that is in here and I am really eager to see how it will knit up.

Storm Moon Knits Twilight Sock in Rockabilly Blues:

Storm Moon Knits Rockabilly Blues

Lisa Souza Sock! in Lapland:

Lisa Souza Lapland

Valley Yarns Northampton from WEBS:

Valley Yarns Northampton

I have a hooded cabled vest in mind for this yarn.

And lastly... and this was the first thing I did buy because I expected it to be much rarer than it was, my Malabrigo Sock yarn in Boticelli Red:

Malabrigo Sock Boticelli Red

It's so soft - and the yarn is shiny almost as if there was some silk in it.

The only bad thing about this whole weekend is that it is now over and I don't have time to dig into my expanded stash!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Can't Wait!

People, it's been quite the week. The Phillies win the World Series, all the election excitement... and tomorrow I leave with my friends to go to Stitches East in Baltimore!

I heard that WEBS sold out of all 200 skeins of the Malabrigo sock yarn they brought with them before the Market was even opened to the public on Thursday night (those pesky students!). Oh well, I am sure I will have lots of other things to choose from!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Public Service Plea


This election, more than any other, had made me wish I could vote in the US - but as a Canadian citizen (here legally and married to an American and all), I cannot. Don't assume your candidate will win or lose - vote because every single damn one of them counts.

Thank you.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

(Some fantastic jack-o-lanterns we saw while trick-or-treating tonight.)

Willow had a grand old time being a cowgirl in the fabulous costume given to her by her friend, Soren. People in our neighbourhood we didn't even know said the neighbours were calling them to be on the look-out for the cute cowgirl. For the most part she remembered to say "Trick-or-treat" and "Thank You" - but also had an odd tendency to ask complete strangers if they had a dog. We aren't sure what was up with that.

Here is a picture of Willow and her friend Rowan (get it? Both are tree girls - and I didn't even have to finagle that one!) at their school's Halloween parade:

To be honest, I am not sure what to make of the parade. Or rather, some of the costumes these kids were wearing. Her school is only K-3, so I am assuming that in 3rd grade they would be 8-9 years old. Wait - how can that be? I was 11 in 6th grade. Anyway - for the sake of argument I will say 8-9 years old. I saw one girl in a devil's costume that consisted of a spandex mini-dress, freakin' fishnet stockings, and 2.5 inch heels. Another girl - and I am effin not kidding one bit, was wearing a french maid's outfit - ruffly underpants and all. This treatment of little girls (I don't even want to give it the s-word because I don't want to attract ickiness to my blog) just disgusts me.

There were some cool costumes - some pretty realistic werewolves, a girl dressed up in a lovely sari, and a boy dressed up as Michael Phelps (8 medals and all!). The majority of girls seemed to be dressed as a Disney princess or Super Girl - and as for boys, Batman and Indiana Jones seemed to rule. One boy in Willow's class was dressed up as Iron Man - and he turned around to me while we were walking back to class and he said, "Wait - who am I again?"

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Beautiful Socks That Don't Fit Me

...remember when I said I was in love with the socks I was knitting?

I finished them tonight.

Jaywalker Socks

Aren't they pretty?

The Particulars:

Yarn: Ellen's Half Pint Farm Merino in Rose Garden
Method: Two circular needles
Needles: Size 1

This really is a very easy pattern to memorize - and I am very happy that Grumperina has come out with more sizes, because I will try to knit this sock again.

Merry Christmas, Teri!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sweet 100 List

Stolen from Georgiann.

How many have you tried? If you'd like, feel free to follow the same guidelines:

1) Copy this list into your site, including the instructions!
2) Bold all of the sweets you've eaten
3) Cross out any of them that you'd never ever eat.
4) Consider anything that is not bold or crossed out your "To Do" List.

1. Red Velvet Cake
2. Princess Torte
3. Whoopie Pie
4. Apple Pie either topped or baked with sharp cheddar (Why would you *want* to do that? I'll take mine a la mode, please.)
5. Beignet
6. Baklava
7. Black and white cookie
8. Seven Layer Bar(also known as the Magic Bar or Hello Dolly bars)
9. Fried Fruit pie(sometimes called hand pies)
10. Kringle
11. Just-fried (still hot) doughnut (When Krispy Kreme still was in Wilmington - it's long gone, though. Now we can get freshly made apple cider donuts from Linvilla and I like them better.)
12. Scone with clotted cream
13. Betty, Grunt, Slump, Buckle or Pandowdy
14. Halvah
15. Macaroons
16. Banana pudding with nilla wafers
17. Bubble tea (with tapioca "pearls) (I love, love, love this - but you have to get it from an authentic place - the last time I had it was from the mall and it gave me an upset stomach.)
18. Dixie Cup
19. Rice Krispie treats
20. Alfajores
21. Blondies
22. Croquembouche
23. Girl Scout cookies (And Girl Guide cookies!)
24. Moon cake
25. Candy Apple
26. Baked Alaska
27. Brooklyn Egg Cream (This is a drink, right?)
28. Nanaimo bar
29. Baba au rhum
30. King Cake
31. Sachertorte
32. Pavlova
33. Tres Leches Cake
34. Trifle
35. Shoofly Pie
36. Key Lime Pie (made with real key limes)
37. Panna Cotta
38. New York Cheesecake
39. Napoleon
40. Russian Tea Cake / Mexican Wedding Cake
41. Anzac biscuits
42. Pizzelle
43. Kolache
44. Buckeyes
45. Malasadas
46. Moon Pie
47. Dutch baby
48. Boston Cream Pie
49. Homemade chocolate chip cookies
50. Pralines (Oh, I could eat these 'til I was sick.)
51. Gooey butter cake
52. Rusks
53. Daifuku
54. Green tea cake or cookies
55. Cupcakes from a cupcake shop
56. Crème brûlée
57. Some sort of deep fried fair food (twinkie, candy bar, cupcake)
58. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting
59. Jelly Roll
60. Pop Tarts (Honestly, I don't know if I have ever had one. My Mom would never buy them.)
61. Charlotte Russe
62. An "upside down" dessert (Pineapple upside down cake or Tarte Tatin)
63. Hummingbird Cake
64. Jell-O from a mold
65. Black forest cake
66. Mock Apple Pie (Ritz Cracker Pie)
67. Kulfi
68. Linzer torte
69. Churro
70. Stollen (I want to learn how to make this.)
71. Angel Food Cake
72. Mincemeat pie
73. Concha
74. Opera Cake
75. Sfogliatelle / Lobster tail
76. Pain au chocolat
77. A piece of Gingerbread House
78. Cassata
79. Cannoli
80. Rainbow cookies
81. Religieuse
82. Petits fours
83. Chocolate Souffle (I don't know why, but souffles just don't appeal to me.)
84. Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)
85. Rugelach
86. Hamenstachen
87. Homemade marshmallows
88. Rigo Janci
89. Pie or cake made with candy bar flavors (Snickers pie, Reeses pie, etc)
90. Divinity
91. Coke or Cola cake
92. Gateau Basque
93. S'mores
94. Figgy Pudding
95. Bananas foster or other flaming dessert
96. Joe Froggers
97. Sables
98. Millionaire's Shortbread
99. Animal crackers
100. Basbousa

That was fun. What else would I add to that list? How about butter tarts? McDonalds Apple Pie? Rosettes? I don't think fudge of any kind was mentioned. Oreo ice cream?

100 Canadian Foods to Eat

Found here:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.

2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.

3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

4) Post a comment here linking to your results

Maple Syrup & Poutine's 100 Canadian Foods to Consume

1. Arctic Char
2. Ketchup flavoured chips
3. Wild Rice Pilaf
4. Caribou Steak
5. Gourmet Poutine (Poutine, yes - but it was from a fast food place.)
6. Screech
7. Beaver Tails (It's a donut!)
8. Maple Baked Beans
9. Bison Burger
10. Bumbleberry pie
11. Nanaimo bar (Love, love, love! Do I get bonus points for actually having relatives who live in Nanaimo?)
12. Butter Tarts (Mom makes them every Christmas.)
13. Cedar Planked B.C. Salmon
14. Wild Blueberries
15. Pure Local Cranberry Juice
16. Chocolate from Ganong or Purdy’s (I depend on Auntie Daryth sending me Purdy's chocolate every Christmas!)
17. A cup of warm cider from your local orchard
18. Caesar
19. 4 of the following types of apples (Cortland, Empire, Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Spartan, Greensleeves, Liberty, Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Honeycrisp, Golden Russet, Idared, Gala)
20. Freshly foraged mushrooms
21. Dinner cooked by Michael Smith, Susur Lee or Rob Feenie
22. Fondue Chinoise
23. Dish created from a Canadian Living Magazine recipe
24. Peameal Bacon Sandwich from St. Lawrence Market in Toronto
25. Lobster bought directly from a boat in a Maritime harbour
26. Handmade perogies from your local church or market (How about just by my Mom?!!?)
27. Alberta Beef at an Alberta Steakhouse
28. Leamington Tomatoes
29. Roasted Pheasant
30. Wild Game hunted by someone you know
31. Ice Wine (No, but I really want to try it!)
32. Habitant Pea Soup – entire can
33. Any Canadian Artisinal Cheese
34. Bannock
35. Tourtiere (Another thing I would really like to try.)
36. Flapper Pie
37. Jellied Moose Nose
38. Saskatoon Berries
39. Fish and Brewis
40. Screech Pie
41. Fiddleheads
42. Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich
43. Flipper Pie
44. Montreal Bagels with Smoked Salmon
45. Toutins
46. Jam Busters
47. Bakeapple Pie
48. Bridge Mixture (Oh, I am so addicted to this!)
49. Canadian Style Pizza (bacon, pepperoni. Mushrooms)
50. Shreddies
51. A cone from Cow’s Ice Cream
52. Lumberjack or Logger’s Breakfast
53. Jigg’s Dinner
54. Rappie Pie
55. Pemmican
56. Lake Erie Sturgeon Caviar (ook.)
57. Belon Oysters (ook. No bivalves, please)
58. Brome Lake Duck
59. Beer from a stubby bottle. (When I was a kid I didn't know they came any other way.)
60. A beer from Unibroue or Phillips Brewery.
61. Salt Spring Island Lamb
62. Fry’s Cocoa
63. A bag of Old Dutch Potato Chips
64. Every Flavour of Laura Secord Suckers
65. Chicken Dinner from St Hubert’s or Swiss Chalet
66. Hickory Sticks
67. An entire box of Kraft Dinner (To the detriment of my waistline.)
68. Candy Apples (NOT caramel apples)
69. Corn from a roadside stand (This is how my family always buys it. My inlaws, however - grow it in their backyard!)
70. A meal at Eigensenn Farm
71. Okanogan Peaches (And even picked them!)
72. Berkshire Pork
73. PEI Potatoes
74. Something cooked in Canola oil
75. Figgy Duff (Hmm. But I do have the album...)
76. Blueberry Grunt
77. High Tea at the Empress Hotel (Not even in the 5 years I lived in Victoria)
78. Fresh maple syrup hardened on the snow (And had the sugar headache afterward to prove it!)
79. Oreilles de Christ
80. Nova Scotia Beer Warmer
81. A cheese plate containing Bleu Bénédictin, Friulano, St. Maure and Oka.
82. Black or red currant jam
83. Maple glazed Doughnut from Tim Horton’s with a Large “Double Double” (I really like Tim Hortons' Chili.)
84. A glass of Mission Hill’s “Oculus”
85. Alberta Pure Vodka
86. Chokecherries
87. Canada Day Cake
88. Boulettes
89. Canadian Iced Tea (How is this different?)
90. Mead
91. Fricot
92. Grandperes
93. Local honey
94. Creton on toast
95. Glen Breton Rare
96. A whole box of Smarties, where the empty box is then used as a kazoo (Yes! Especially the kazoo part!)
97. Grilled cheese made with Canadian Cheddar
98. A meal from Harvey’s
99. Lake Erie Perch
100. Red Rose Tea

If you are unsure of what the item is, look it up! Please pass the list on to your friends and fellow bloggers - whether they are Canadian or not.

The Great Pumpkin Carve Carve

Last night we went to the Great Pumpkin Carve in Chadds Ford, PA and saw the most amazing carved pumpkins. I can't believe that we have lived here for over seven years now and I have never heard of this event! We met our friends Jenny, Stefan, Soren, and Sammy there at 5pm - both of our families have small children so we thought it was better to get there early (a - before it was dark, and b- before it got too crowded). Here are some examples of some of my favourite carved pumpkins:

The Dragon


Bad Hair Day


Spooky Window


Where The Wild Things Are


Sea Turtle (for Cristi)


Cinderella's Coach


Dia De Los Muertos


Death Star


There are plenty more of the pumpkin pictures in my Flickr set if you would like to see them. I think what impressed me the most was the 3D cut-outs people had made - I had never thought to carve anything than the pumpkin shape itself. We have four pumpkins at home right now - one big one and three little ones - we will have to brainstorm some creative ideas for our carvings.

And then figure out what to do with all that pumpkin - I don't just want to throw it away!