Friday, May 31, 2013

Tea Cozies - why using good wool makes a far superior cozy

 Awhile back I stumbled upon a pleated tea cozy pattern. It reminded me of my Granny. I knew I had to make one. The pattern was free from Paton's. The yarn recommended was their classic wool. I had a few balls of Cascade 220 is 100% Peruvian Highland wool. The beauty of the Cascade is that it doesn't feel all scratchy like wool of the old days, it also comes in a stunning array of colours. There is literally a colour for everyone. It's my go-to wool if I need a good worsted weight yarn.

The main reason for using wool to knit a teapot cozy is the insulating factor. Wool is a natural fiber and it will keep things warm longer. It is why you may remember the scratchy woolen winter articles your mom would make you wear(well you may not, depending on your age) but the fact of the matter is that it will keep you warmer. Hands down wool will provide maximum insulation over acrylic which is a synthetic fiber. The other benefit of this pattern is the yarn is carried behind which creates the pleats and on the inside air pockets. This combined with the wool make it extremely insulating.

Also, a quality yarn like this will be something that will last and last for year's to come. Yes, it's a little more fussy in that you can't just pop it in the machine to wash/dry, but cleaning it isn't really a huge task either. I simply put mine into the kitchen sink in tepid water with some wool safe liquid soap like Soak and I let it sit for a bit, these detergents do not need rinsing. After it has sat for a bit I drain the sink, gently squeeze some water out and then I roll it into a dry towel to get some more water out. Simply lay on a towel and shape it back into its shape and let it air dry. It's really not a big task, especially for something so small like a cozy.
I have made many of these cozies since I first stumbled upon this pattern. I was commissioned to knit 5 for a local tea shoppe and I made this lovely purple/grey combo for a friend upon request based on her kitchen colours. This is most likely not something she'd find in any store. I adorned it with some crocheted purple flowers in the coordinating yarn. So simple, yet so beautiful.

The one pictured at the top, which I have named 'Splash' I had for sale, but as I was knitting it, I began to really love the colours(which by the way do not even remotely go with my kitchen) - that's the fun part, you can have a tea cozy for different occasions or to match your kitchen scheme. I decided this was a fun tea cozy just to have for the Spring. When Spring was taking forever to arrive I finally decided to pull it from sale and use it in my kitchen, I'm sure glad I did. It really cheered up my tea time when Spring was taking f o r e v er!!

I do tend to name all of my cozies, I base the name on the colour of yarn's used. I adorn each cozy with crocheted flowers of different styles using coordinating yarn. This makes each cozy truly unique. I've yet to knit the exact same one.

So I knit cozies, quite a few actually. I guess I'm slightly addicted to it. Honestly it's probably one of the few patterns that I'd make over and over again. Not only are they so pretty they are very functional and as any good tea drinker can attest a good tea cozy is essential for tea time!

I currently have five tea cozies for sale at my Etsy shoppe and I can do special request orders for different colours if you desire a different colour to suit your kitchen. My colours are based on my tea cozy theme of 'English Gardenparty Tea Cozies', a tea cozy to brighten up tea time.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A taste of Italy

For our anniversary dinner this year we tried out a new restaurant. Normally we've gone out for a nice steak dinner with all the trimmings. I knew of Fortuna, but we just hadn't gotten around to going there. Once I saw their menu, I knew it had to try it.

We were seated at a lovely table by the window, unfortunately it wasn't warm enough to eat on the patio(next time). We started our meal with Sangria and our appetizers were Bufala Caprese and Bruschetta, and then of course a basket of breads was brought to our table to be enjoyed with olive oil and Balsamic so good!

My DH decided to try lamb for the first time, he roasted lamb served on creamy polenta with grilled zucchini. He loved it! I tried it, but I don't think lamb is for me but the polenta(oh my)! I decided to order the Gnocchi al Funghi(Gnocchi in a creamy porcini mushroom sauce). When the plate first arrived I was thinking wow what a small portion, but oh boy does that fill you up quickly! It was also pure heaven! The gnocchi are fresh made and they were so fluffy and the sauce was perfect. I was so full in fact that we had to wait to consider dessert.

For dessert my DH had the Tirimasu and I had the Pannacotta and we each had a Cafe Mocha that was served with a piece of Biscotti. The desserts were both very good, I think next time I'll try the Tirimasu.

This has us thinking of different meals we can make at home. Today I'm making Creamy Polenta served with Roasted Mushrooms and Veggies. I plan on making some Ricotta Dumplings next.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I refuse to blend into the wallpaper any longer

I see myself in black. I don't want to stand out - I'm not a size 2. If I could fade into the wallpaper that would be the ideal.

I have to get past that and enjoy being me for all of my wonderful and quirky ways. A good way to know what goes on in my introverted head is a comment I made a few year's back. We were at a birthday supper and they had a catered meal. One of the ladies was going back for second's and my comment to her was 'Shy people don't have seconds'. Oh we may want them, we may be drooling over that second piece of delectable chicken or another taste of a lovely brownie, but we sit at our chair like someone had glued us there and you'd pretty much have to drag us to that table. At the time she said that would make a great book title. I think there is some truth there. There are a lot of things about introverts that might surprise you.

We want to be the one with the bright clothes, the fancy new pair of glasses. That person is in us just fighting to get out. Once in awhile we let it out, we are brave. We test the waters to see how it feels.

Oh to be bold and confident and just be who you want to be, never worrying about what someone else thinks. Honestly I'm 43 this year and it's just time to stop and be me, what am I waiting for.

One day I was all dressed up on my way to get my nails done and I was being brave that day I had a similar hair accessory, but it was with a barette back. A stranger walked by and commented 'you look really good today'. Honestly, that has never, ever happened to me. I think there was something there I needed to hear and I need to listen to that.

Here I am with my hair all fancied up. I crocheted a red rose and attached it to a simple headband, I feel a little self-conscious but I'm going to just have to deal with it. The toes are the wonderful new product that you 'must' try it is OPI Sand and it goes on toes so nice! I put a base coat and then two coats of 'The Impossible' and it looks fabulous. I need to get some more of these in some wild colours.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I recently re-started this afghan, after trying to do a knitted sampler that just seemed to have hit a point where I knew it wasn't going to get finished.

In my other post I mentioned about how I discovered this pattern. I am really enjoying it but I did discover that I will need to get about another 10 balls of yarn. I've just added the third colour a nice teal blue/green.

I was trying to think of a name for this project when all of a sudden 'waves' came to me. It came to me for a few different reasons. Last year we moved our bedroom to the master bedroom that we had given our daughter when we first bought our house. It's a small bi-level home and we had thought it best if we take the basement bedroom. For five years that was our room and then we decided last summer to move up. It took some time getting the room ready as we had left it in a teen's hands for 5 years. I wanted a calming space, a space where I could go to and just relax. Thus our cottage themed room started to fall into place. We painted the walls a nice light green. I'm still considering it a work in progress because there are things I still want to switch out or add, but this waves blanket definitely suits the theme of the room.

An ocean has waves of every size. Sometimes the waves are gentle and calming and other times the waves are from a tsunami and they are destructive and dangerous. It's all about how you ride those waves, the gentle and the dangerous. Outside forces are at you all the time, some are good and try to build up your marriage and others are destructive and try to wash the good away. After twenty-four years we've had our share of gentle and some not so gentle waves, when a bad wave comes our way we cling to each other until it passes. This has made us stronger than ever. These waves have helped form our relationship and even the harmful waves have helped in ways we couldn't have expected them to. Going through them together and coming out not just unscathed but more united than ever is a blessing indeed and one I am thankful for each and every day.

So this will be named Waves it really seems to fit our story. I look forward to sleeping under the waves for many years to come.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Thursday 13 - Happy Anniversary

1. When I won tickets to the Contiki Night at the Keg, I almost didn't go. My friend Jane and I were struggling to decide if we should go or not. We weighed our options and thought at least if we went to the Keg we'd probably get a nice steak dinner. I remember dressing for the night in my brown mini skirt and leopard print top and doing my bleached blonde hair perfectly so not one strand was out of place. Off we went to our ‘girl's night'! Once we got there, we were extremely disappointed when we realized the whole evening was put on by Contiki to sell travel packages. As we sat through their videos of their different vacation packages we comforted ourselves in the knowledge that we'd soon be treated to a splendid dinner. Then dinner was served and weren't we shocked to see nothing but buns and cold cuts to make our own sandwiches! By this point we were feeling a little bummed out about our choices for the evening.
2. As we sat drinking our cokes and grumbling about the audacity of winning tickets to a promotional event we met up with Mr. Cool(as I'll call him) the cheesy Program Director of the radio station. Now we didn't know Mr. Cool was trying to get some underage loving but thankfully two of the other DJ's noticed us and came over to save us from Mr. Cool's evil clutches. Who rescued us you ask? Well a nice DJ that we both knew from various radio functions(I won a lot of stuff back then - movies, records etc.) and accompanying him was a young guy I had never met. He was all spiffed up in a blue sweater with a dress shirt underneath and dress pants - very preppie I thought to myself. Although I almost did a double take when my eyes moved downward and saw his high top runners!
3. Yes that was our saving grace that evening. We managed to escape Mr. Cool's Evil Clutches and I ended up meeting a very nice looking guy! He seemed ever so nice but he was a bit shy like me. I knew very strongly that I couldn't leave that restaurant without getting his number or him having mine. I have never felt such a powerful pull - so I very courageously bravely got my friend to ask him for his number. We swapped phone numbers and he told me he was off to work the night shift at the radio station.
4. I tossed my Midnight Oil record into the trash - I had never heard of this band before and I thought the night was a total bust. We stood outside on that cold February evening waiting for our ride (as we so graciously declined the cutie pie's invitation for a ride home).
5. When I got home I told my mom all about meeting this super cute guy and how he had saved us from this Mr. Cool. You see Mr. DJ and Cutie Pie told us all about Mr. Cool and why they felt the need to rush over to save us! Turns out Mr. Cool was infamous at the station for coming into the station late at night with some really young girls on his arms as he showed off where he worked. He was transported right out of the 70's with his shirt unbuttoned showing off his carpet covered chest and his flashy jewelry gleaming as he tried to weave some Mr. Cool magic. These guys needn't have worried about my friend and I, but I'm glad they came over. The evening went from dull to fantastic in just a few minutes.
6. I quickly ran to the local 7-11 to get a nice cold Big Gulp and when I returned my mom was standing at the door looking all ‘mortified'. The problem, well it seems that while I was off getting my caffeine fix Cutie Pie had called and she was annoyed that I wasn't there to answer the call. I guess she was in a huge rush to marry me off or something - sheesh I was only 18 after all!
7. I went upstairs to my bedroom and took up all the courage I had to call into the radio station and talk to Cutie Pie. In no time at all we were talking like old friends. We talked that night through his entire shift. I think at some points I was hallucinating as he swears I was talking about ‘pink elephants' but I'm sure he must have been wrong.
8. It wasn't long before we went on our first actual date. My mom saw him as she calls it ‘bouncing' up the steps with a smile from ear to ear carrying a golden box. In the box were 2 dozen long stemmed red roses. They were the most beautiful roses I had ever seen( I still have the petals from them as they dried up ever so perfectly). We were off to see the movie Good Morning Vietnam at the Capital Theatre.
9. The movie was great and after we went to a local burger place where I refused to actually eat a burger in front of this new Cutie Pie! It was going to take some time before I could actually eat in front of him! He ordered himself a huge burger, fries and a coke and I meekly selected an order of fries and a coke. I remember sipping that coke ever so I could prevent any burps from escaping.
10. Mr. Cutie Pie had to work after our date so he was dropping me off at a local club where I was to meet up with my mom. Off we went on our local freeway to the club. Everything was going fine we were cruising alone in his Ford Comet with the AM radio playing some tunes and all of a sudden we were doing a 360o in the middle of the intersection on the freeway. As we sat there spinning and spinning almost not realizing what happened Mr. Cutie Pie went all quiet. We got through the spin out without incident, thankfully there were no other cars around. He dropped me off and I just felt like he didn't have a good time. What had gone wrong?
11. When I got home that night I quickly called him up at the station. I had to know if he still liked me. He was so mortified that he had almost killed me that he didn't know what to do. He was quiet because he was certain I would want nothing to do with him. Boy was he wrong!
12. We dated all through the summer, visiting the local fair and having a ton of fun. Later that summer Mr. Cutie Pie landed a different DJ job in a small town. What to do? Well we were convinced we'd be getting married anyway so I'd go along too and we'd plan our wedding from there. We didn't do things the usual way. We were young and a bit stupid and thought why not have a baby - and we did. All of a sudden the parent's had no problem in planning a wedding. We didn't even mind(not really) that they chose the date, the menu well basically everything except the colors and my dress - we knew that we were in love and all that mattered was getting married. It didn't matter where or when or who came or who didn't. We didn't even really mind those looks and the comments we'd hear ever so quietly behind our backs about how this would never last.
13. We were married the following spring on May 26, 1989 on a beautiful summer day! Our colors were red and white. Mr. Cutie Pie looked so handsome in his white tux with red cummerbund and bowtie! Miss. Cutie Pie was all fancied up in a princess style wedding dress! And in an evening ceremony we said our ‘I Do's' with a small gathering of family and friends! I have never looked back, never wondered ‘what if'! I married my soul mate that day, my best friend and to you Mr. Cutie Pie I say Happy Anniversary Babe! I love you more now than I ever thought possible, with each day that passes I love you more and more. You were truly my saving grace that day 19 years ago on a cold February evening way back in ‘1988'. Together we have created a beautiful family with two wonderful children! I look forward to growing older with you and having the time when it is just ‘us' at home and to traveling and just ‘being' with you! I love you Mr. Cutie Pie.
Mrs. Cutie Pie

Happy Anniversary!!!

22 Years and still going strong!

Today it is 24 years and going strong. I knew the day I met you that you were the one. I have the most thoughtful husband a girl could ask for, every morning he brings me tea in bed, after all this time we are still head over heels in love and we hate being apart, in fact we work together and after 12 years of that we still love it, I remember those quiet glances I overheard the whispers 'this will never last' 'they're just kids'. It is true, we were and yet here we are all these years later still in love and in fact more in love than ever. I can't wait to dance with you on our 59th anniversary!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Crochet Bug

I had a request from the local Catholic school to crochet some roses, they were going to use them during May to teach the smaller children about the rosary.

I jumped in and made 3 sets of red roses. I was then on a rose binge. I made roses of every color. What I discovered was they made great barrettes. My DD loved them, she loves the pinup look and they suit it great.

Just recently I saw a post for this granny strip afghan. I was in love! I had currently had a blanket sitting as a UFO for two years. I started it for an anniversary blanket for my DH and I and it hasn't progressed very far. I was attempting a version of the sampler afghan. All the sewing of squares just put me off, so there it sat. Thankfully I had way, way overestimated on how much yarn I'd need.

After I saw that blanket, I was so excited to get started. I'd love one in the new Billow, but for now I had yarn to use up - it's literally taking over my storage bins. After I got home I counted the balls, checked the yardage and I'm sure there is plenty and I don't even have to rip out the earlier work. I think those earlier squares will be turned into toss cushions and a chair pad cover.

The plan with this new afghan is exactly like how she did hers, although I won't have equal stripes of colours as some colours I have 3 balls left and some 2, I still think it will work out great. I started it Tuesday evening, I chained 240 and began with the turquoise. I thought the first row of sc into the chain would never end! Thankfully once you get into the pattern it really isn't that bad. The best part, it fits my bed with a bit of hang over, yay! I will keep you posted as time goes on of its progress.

First here is a picture of the yarn that I'm using to create my version of the Granny Strip Afghan. Below is a slide show of my recent ventures back into crochet. The pink scrubbie is a pattern I worked up one morning when I wanted a round little scrubbie. I haven't written down exactly how I did it, but I will next time.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Over the Bridge

For Mother's Day/Father's Day this year my DH and I decided to get a together gift a new camera. We have wanted a good camera for quite awhile. After doing a bit of reading we decided that we wanted a Canon Rebel. A great anniversary sale was on this month so we took advantage of it and got the Canon Rebelt3i.

We went on a walk to try out the camera, the challenge was curves. This bridge was my first choice. I'm looking forward to learning more about photography and maybe getting the odd great photo.