Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Baking Relief!

What do you do when you are tired and get a cold before Christmas and you want to have baking to share with the family? Well if you're lucky like me you'll know a great baker who loves to bake and she'll make you 12 dozen of the most delicious cookies for $25. This was just what the doctor ordered to keep me sane! I am almost done baking. I did make some Cinnamon Roll Cookies this weekend, but when you get a bad cold it takes a lot of energy. I was going to do jam jam's but I'm thinking now that it's just not going to happen. 
I'm trying to remind myself that it isn't about how much you bake or how many gifts you have to offer, there is more reason to the season. So instead of ending up celebrating Stressmas, I'm going to take a cue from my good friend and boss and 'take it easy' and actually celebrate a joy filled Christmas!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Baking

Cookies anyone?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Out to Dry

Just a fun way to capture some of the dishcloths I have stashed
in my dishcloth jar.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

My Spring Meadow

So I finished my Spring Meadow(Shaeyln Shawl) this morning - it was done last night but it was time for bed so I cast off this morning. I love how the yellow went with the three little pigs, quite lucky actually. Lesson learned don't ever attempt a project with discontinued yarn unless you know for sure you have enough on hand to finish.

I took some good advice from my sis and a fellow blogger and used the yellow as much as needed and added the three little pigs at the end to pull it all together. I think it worked very well, thanks for the great advice.

I think Judith is going to love this shawl, it has a 59" wingspan and is 28" deep - perfect Christmas Gift!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tiger Bars

This recipe was on the back of the Hershey Butterscotch Chipits package. I have never tried it before but I needed a quick no back treat and I'm sure glad I tried it.

CHIPITS TIGER BARS

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) golden corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) CHIPITS® Butterscotch Chips, divided
  • 2 cups (500 mL) rice crisps cereal I only had on hand the Holiday Rice Krispies - works great and has festive colours for Christmas baking.
  • 1 cup (250 mL) CHIPITS® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) oil
Directions:
1. In large saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup; bring to boil over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

2. Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the butterscotch chips; stir until melted. Stir in cereal until well coated. Press into greased 8-inch (20 cm) square pan.

4. In medium bowl over hot water (or in microwave), melt semi-sweet chocolate chips. Spread evenly over surface of bars. I didn't have enough chocolate chips so I modified this and I think it is even better. I took 9 Tbsp. of cocoa with 3 Tbsp. margarine, sugar to taste(I added as I went maybe 3 Tbsp.  and melted that in the microwave. I had about a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips so I added that and melted it with the cocoa and margarine, add a few tsp of vegetable oil to make it a nice consistency and the cocoa gives a nice break in the really sweet flavor of the butterscotch.

5. In small bowl over hot water (or in microwave), melt remaining 1/4 cup (50 mL) butterscotch chips and oil. Drizzle in lines over surface of bars. Chill. Cut into bars. This works great with a fork and I just shook the fork across and it made nice design.

You may need to make a lot of these, I guarantee they will be a family favorite!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Butter Tarts

This was a recipe passed on from my DH Grandma, I like it as it is not sickly sweet yet it is still very tasty. I picked up mini-tart pans recently, usually I used muffin tins - either will do, bit the mini are perfect for one bite nibbling :)

Filling:
1/2 cup hard margarine(melted)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
4 eggs(lightly beaten)
2 cups raisins

Pastry - make your own if you choose or buy pre-made shells. There is enough filling for 6 dozen mini tarts.

Melt margarine, allow to cool a bit. Lightly beat eggs. Pre-soak raisins(if desired, I do this) in boiling water to plump them up, drain. Mix all filling ingredients. Fill shells.

Bake at 425F for 15 minutes, enjoy!
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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Christmas Fun

We are doing something different this year at work for Christmas gifts. We drew names and for the season of Advent we pray for the recipient and at our Christmas staff. Party on December 30th we reveal whose name we have and exchange gifts.

I've decided to make up a gift basket. I couldn't think of just one thing. I'm doing two embroidered tea towels, three knit dishcloths, herbal tea, white chocolate peppermint bark and maybe a few more things. The price limit is $30, so I'm limited some what, but I think I can still come up with a nice variety.

Went in search of tea towels that could be embroidered on, thankfully I tried Home Outfitters first. Initially I only found coloured ones, just when I was about to give up I saw a four pack of white flour sack tea towels for $12. Great deal!

Christmas baking started. I did holiday Rice Krispie treats today and butter tarts planned for tomorrow.
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Modified Irish Hiking Scarf

Blessings Bear loves to model homemade knitting. Today he decided he'd give knitting a try ;)! He looks pretty comfy with those needles, I may have to keep an eye on him. On the needles an Irish Hiking Scarf in Bernat Softee Chunky, Faded Denim. I CO 30 stitches and have two cables instead of the traditional 3. This works great with bulky weight yarns and it knits up super quick. I've already made a twin in burgundy and have another one planned. Fun, easy Christmas knitting!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Getting Cozy

I cannot believe it's heading to the middle of November already! We had some snow last night and it just seems like it should be sunny and warm still. Just the other day I was able to wear capris and sandals and today I have to drag out my boots.

Working away on a few Christmas projects, there in secret so you'd have to check out my Ravelry page to see them - don't want to ruin any surprises. This one is a new favorite of mine. It's fun when you find a pattern that just clicks with you.

Have yous started Christmas Baking and Christmas Shopping? I've done a bit of shopping but no baking yet. I am beginning to plan what I will bake though. On the weekend we went to Home Depot to pick up another strand of Christmas lights for our yard and I walked past their Electric Fireplaces and this one was so cute I HAD to have it. The best part, not only is it cute but it warms up to 400 sq ft.

My evenings are now spent with the fire lit(lol) and cup of hot tea and my yarn and needles, could life get anymore cozy?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Halloween Fun










We had some snow last week, really wet snow - in what the weather man called a 'weather bomb'. If we had been somewhere warmer it would have stormed really bad with a tornado or a hurricane. Needless to say this snow made a big mess, our roads were horrible. The plus, it's already beginning to melt and should be gone by the end of the week and the snow on Halloween was sticky snowman snow so my DH had fun making an additional jack-o-lantern while my DD and I were carving ours and while I whipped up a batch of delicious caramel apples. We had a lot of fun!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween

Scary classic horror movies in a darkened room lit only by various candles - a perfect way to get into the Halloween spirit!

Tomorrow it is pumpkin carving and caramel apple making :) then time to hand out candy.
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Calling All Knitters - Yarn Shortage Emergency!!!

I am trying to finish this shawl but I'm short at least a skein, although I'd love to get two if possible. It is Artful Yarns Fable in colour Three Little Pigs #98 dye lot 1906. If you have some in your stash I'd love to buy it from you as this yarn is discontinued. Or, suggestions on how to finish....couild another colour be added for the bottom portion? It cannot be wool as the recipient is allergic. The yarn is a mix of pink, yellow and a hint of green. I have enough left that I could blend in another colour, perhaps off white???

The current yarn is a blend of 85% Pima Cotton and 15% silk. Possible to put mercerized cotton or some Poima Cotton in Ivory or cream after?

This is a gift so io want to make it as beautiful as I can.

Any ideas of how to finish would be greatly appreciated!!!! ~Hugs~
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Inspired

My sister knit this shawl, well in fact she was just finishing it up when I visited her this summer. Right away I was in love with the shawl. Yesterday I was bored, I had things I could be knitting but I was in the mood to knit a shawl.

I quickly went to Ravelry and downloaded the pattern, it was money well spent. I can tell that this is going to be a shawl I knit more than once.

I'm currently knitting this one for a friend for Christmas. I had originally knit a dayflower lace scarf but the colours seemed to childlike and I decided to donate it to a silent auction for some fundraising our church is doing for orphans in Kenya.

So on to the knitting, I knew I wanted to knit something for her for Christmas but she's allergic to wool. I had found Bernat Mosaic and it seemed like the perfect yarn as it was acrylic but almost like a wool free Noro. Then in my stash I discovered I had some Fable, reading the label I realized it was perfect! A nice cotton/silk blend and enough yardage in the stash to knit this shawl. The CO was tricky but I just did what they had written and in it all worked out fine.  Now to think of a name and I'm set!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Autumn

Great Autumn day! A walk in our city's most beautiful park, great tea and relaxation!


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Monday, October 04, 2010

Chocolotate Covered Cherry Prayer Shawl Progress

My fifth prayer shawl, knit in Phentex Worsted, big ball - chocolate covered cherry. I sat and had quiet knitting time in my prayer room, I couldn't resist a photo op. I had this with me at my retreat this weekend and made some good progress.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Autumn Beauty

 Wascana Park in Autumn


 A day at the park

 Our Twin Towers, decked out in Saskatchewan Roughrider Logo's

I think Ducks are so beautiful, this little guy was swimming over to his mate and trying to avoid the commotion of the Canadian Geese.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Prayer Shawl Knitting

This is my fourth prayer shawl for our new ministry at our parish. We felt there was a need to begin this ministry due to the fact that we serve a large amount of seniors in assisted living facilities. This shawl was done in Phentex Worsted(oh so soft for acrylic) in Neopolitan. I lucked out and got it on sale at Zeller's for $4.00 for 10.5 oz, enough to make a shawl that is 49" long. I used the pattern from Prayer Shawl Ministry website. The only thing I did different was an extra stitch at the beginning and end. I CO 59 sts. This gave it a bit of a border. I have another skein of the same yarn but in Chocolate Covered Cherry, for this one I'm doing a double Moss stitch pattern and I CO 58, this gives a three stitch border of garter on each side.

After hearing how moved the recipients were at receiving the shawls I'm even more committed to knitting these on an ongoing basis. I have a bit of Christmas knitting and some for myself but they generally require daylight and more concentration so the prayer shawls are perfect for evening knitting. I make sure to say a prayer before I begin and off and on during, pausing to think of the recipient and as I do so I knit loving prayers into the shawl.

We had a blessing service for the shawls at Mass last weekend and all the shawls were immediately taken by those who knew someone who could use one, we were really shocked by how great the interest/need was for the shawls - I'm sure this ministry will be going strong for some time.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fun with Technology

Here is my latest addiction, well there are two in the picture. I'm still going strong with knitting. The current project is an Irish Hiking Scarf for my DH. I'm using Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Merlot. He chose the colour.The way our Fall is going I better speed up the knitting. He may need this very soon! I've made this scarf before some years ago for myself and I fell in love with the pattern. I am going to knit myself one to replace my old one using the same yarn but in Hollyberry.

As you can see I'm the proud owner of an iPad, I have to say I fell in love with the concept when I first saw the commercials and then I hummed and hawed about it a bit. I was lucky enough to be able to purchase one about a week ago and I'm very happy with it. I didn't get the 3G rather than just the wi-fi. I have wireless internet at home and work so it's quite handy. I've put it to use quite a bit. It never fails I have a question about knitting or a pattern and I want an answer sooner rather than later, pop open this and I'm off and running. I'm not going app crazy but I'm having fun having the internet literally in the palm of my hand.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rib and Cable Quartet


Some Christmas gift knitting. My first FO, this is the Rib and Cable Quartet, single cable. I like the asymmetrical look of a single cable running up the side. I used Paton's SWS in Raisin. My little Blessings Bear loves to try on new projects, I think she's jealous that she can't knit ;)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Delicious Multiseed Bread

As I watched it rain the last couple of days I couldn't help but think of the poor farmers. We had a very wet spring and a lot of crops didn't get put in. What did get put in was their hope. Summer storms were hard on them and now when they need to get what they have left off of the fields we get yet more rain. It reminded me just how precious the grain really is. I felt called to work with bread dough and the precious wheat that got to the local store through the blood, sweat and tears of a farmer.

I hadn't baked bread by hand in some time as I got a bread machine about 7 years ago. But this time the bread machine just wouldn't do. I wanted, or needed rather to knead the dough by hand. I wanted to feel the dough and work my blessings into it.

After searching a bit online I found this recipe at RobinHood Flour and I am not disappointed! In fact, this is simply the best bread I've ever made or eaten - it is THAT good! It's a great multiseed bread with lot's of seeds and nuts and uses all whole wheat flour. The end result is a nice loaf with great consistency, not too heavy. I kneaded it just as the recipe called for, a full ten minutes. I have to say it was that much easier to make since I got my Kitchenaid mixer - the only real work I had to do was knead it at the end.

For anyone like my family who loves a nice loaf of whole wheat bread with lots of seeds and nuts, this is a must to make.

Here it is toasted up for this mornings breakfast of tea and toast! The sesame seeds on top get toasted up even more when you toast the bread and it's quite nummy!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

A Christmas Post in September


Yes, it's been some time since I actually posted. I really stayed off my computer on my holidays for the most part. I work on a computer Mon-Fri so I was ready for a break.

Now why the Christmas post in September you ask? Well for the first time in my life that I remember I will spending Christmas with my Dad(his new wife), older sister(and her family) and two younger brothers!

My mom and dad divorced when I was about one year old and my Mom moved back to the city she grew up in and my Dad stayed in Vancouver. A few years later when I was 6 my older sister went to live with my Dad. I have no memories prior to this so I don't remember a Christmas with her in it.

The family grew over the years there were marriages, births and divorces. I have two brothers, whom I adore very much and my sister has a great husband and two boys whom I love to spend time with. Unfortunately the distance between us means this doesn't happen very often. At the most the visits are a couple of years apart.

I've always dreamed of having a Christmas with this other side of the family but thought it likely wouldn't happen until my kids both moved away, and then I thought not even then as where do kids go for Christmas but back to their parents home.

I'm not going to get into all the reasons why the family we do have here and us aren't on great terms, but it's been a rough year for my DH and I. All my family lives elsewhere so when the other side of the family all of a sudden has issues with you and begins to question you parenting, things get ugly fast. As for our DS he's decided he likes his GF's family better and it's not a concern if we aren't here.

When I was down this summer for my Dad's wedding to Judy we casually mentioned how nice it would be together for Christmas. It kept repeating itself over and over in my mind and I knew what Christmas would be like here at home, probably just the three of us. Here was an opportunity to have the Christmas I've always wanted to experience and not be home alone. Not only that but they don't just 'have Christmas dinner' - they really have some good times, play some Improv games and a talent contest and it all sounded like so much fun - too much fun to resist!

The crux was getting time off. We both work at a church and in years past we've had a staff/volunteer lunch on Christmas Eve and of course getting Oliver into a kennel. Thankfully our new pastor had no problems with us having the extra time off and although the first kennel and our preferred kennel of choice was already booked up in August for Christmas, it's true! I did find another kennel in our city who had space and booked him in. I don't like to leave him in a kennel or be away from him at Christmas but I'm sure he'll be nice and safe and as for the day of the year, he doesn't know which is which anyway.

So for the first time since 1975 I will have Christmas with my big sis and for the very first time I'll have Christmas with my Dad and Judy and my two brothers and my sisters husband and her two sons and I couldn't be more happy! We are all really excited around here. I didn't have to ask DH or my DD twice we are more than happy to pack up our gifts and send them off ahead book a flight and create some new Christmas memories. The only drawback that I can see thus far is that we may really, really like it and I know that I can't do it every year. For now though we'll be happy with this one and hopefully the memories last a long, long time!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pacific Breeze

While visiting my sister in White Rock we did our annual yarn crawl and visited Three Bags Full in Vancouver. I picked up this gorgeous Sweet Georgia yarn and knit myself the Shadow Scarf. I love using scarves to dress up an outfit and yet until recently hadn't knit one. The shawl I made to wear to the wedding also works good as a scarf but I wanted a narrow scarf. I did the scarf version of the shawl pattern. Quite a bit was knit sitting on her back deck which faces the ocean so it is aptly named Pacific Breeze! This Sweet Georgia yarn is simply gorgeous. I also picked up some Berocco Ultra Alpaca to make myself the Every Way Wrap, some Louet Euroflax for another scarf and some cascade 220 for a beret! It was a lot of fun doing the yarn crawl - we had a delicious pistachio and rose water milkshake and a great lunch at a wonderful Parisian bakery!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

British Columbia Bound


I'm leaving in just a few hours for just about a week. I'm flying out to Vancouver, B.C. for my Dad's upcoming wedding on Saturday, August 7th. I'll be staying with my big sis and family in White Rock, B.C. My DH is staying home with the pooch as we had spent enough money on our home renovations this year. He will have a quiet relaxing time as our DD isn't back from her trip until next Monday.
Yarn is packed and I'm ready to Knit! My sister has a very quiet home - they don't watch t.v. so that gives us plenty of time to sit and visit while we knit.
I picked up some Phentex worsted in two different variegated colours - Neopolitan and Chocolate covered Cherry. These are for our prayer shawl ministry at the church. I'm using the basic pattern as it requires 555 yds and these skeins have 582. I started the Neopolitan one yesterday on some nice Clover bamboo needles. I am pretty sure I can take them on the plane and knit during the 2 hour flight. I also packed a skein for a gift I'm knitting - I can't say too much as this person sometimes reads my blog. I also am planning a yarn crawl into Vancouver to get some yarn for some other gift items that I have planned for Christmas.
When I return from my trip not only will my DD be home but my little sis and her two kids will be here for four days. Should be yet another great visit.

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Andean Treasure Shawl Success


I finished the Andean Treasure Shawl yesterday and blocked it this morning. I knit until it was 54" but I never realized just how much this would block out to once it was wet - that's ok, I'm happy with a long shawl. This enables me to wear it as a scarf wrap-around style, which I love! The width of 15" makes it just right for that use.

I have never been more pleased with a FO before. Although the pattern is quite simple the end result having used the Malabrigo Sock yarn is just stunning. The garment is feather light and the drape is exquisite!

After having to frog the previous start of a wool peddler I am happy to have finished 'Happy Place' in plenty of time for the wedding next weekend. This shawl deserves it's name as I was very happy to knit on it and I was extremely happy with the end result. The only glitch was colour variation between the two balls even though they were the same dye lot, but because of the variances in each ball it doesn't really affect the outcome that much.

The colour of the shawl goes great with my dress so having it done in time and to be pleasantly surprised by just how much I love the shawl is a pleasant gift!

Oh, I guess you can see our tuckered pooch in this shot - he had a walk and spent some time outside and this is a big AND, he got into his dog food and had a FEAST! I think he is experiencing 'Thanksgiving Sleepiness'.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Basement Reno

We finished the basement reno yesterday, ending with our room. We replaced some old nasty berber looking carpet in a very unforgiving white to a floating vinyl floor with a wood look. I absolutely love it!

My husband did all the work, I assisted with handing the flooring and clean up.

It is such a nicer looking space. I can't wait to move the furniture back into my bedroom now that the floor is done there too.

First picture is of the living room progress, the second shows the living room done but the baseboards not yet up and lastly is the photo of the living room with baseboards on - our bedroom furniture is still there so that's why you'll see my nightstand in the shot.















Friday, July 23, 2010

It's a Dog's Life

Here is Oliver and he's as happy as a pup can be. You see we are continuing some home renovations which means we are pulling out the carpet in our bedroom. Tonight we emptied out our room and brought our bed into the family room. Oliver couldn't wait to get on it, he tried jumping on it when it was just the box spring. He doesn't normally sleep with us, he's had a few sleep overs as we call them but generally he's in his kennel at night. Getting to even lay down on the big people bed is very exciting for him. Because the bed is in the common living area there is no way to keep him off of it, so he will be in his hay day this weekend. Little does he know he's still going into his cozy kennel at bedtime......shhhhhhhhh don't tell him, that is our little secret!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Weekend Get-A-Way


Queen Anne's Lace


A cabin that remains from the 1800's. No longer rented out it is used by the park staff.


Weekend get-a-way knitting. I started on Friday evening and I made some good progress. It was a relaxing place to sit and knit.

A walking path up to the chalet.


Oliver hanging out in our rented cabin. This was a wonderful cabin and I'd definitely rent one again.


One of the old cabins is used by a local artist, she was busy painting inside.


The Chalet, built in the early 1800's it was a busy site in the early 1900's as people gathered for many social events, a bustle of activity. It was later destroyed by fire one winter and the snow was so high that year that the volunteer fire trucks could not get passed the snowed in roads. Thankfully there was a water tower nearby. As the chalet was built of stone most of it was preserved. They built again re-doing everything from the inside. It is now used exclusively by park administration, although when we were visiting someone was getting married in the garden, just up those stairs.