Thursday, December 31, 2009


Last week, when I was posting all those family recipes, I forgot to add the recipe for the best muffins ever concocted by humankind.

Here you go.

You're welcome.  Now, go and make them.

Oh, and HEY, I know some of you are making Joelle's Neck Placket sweater, using my tutorials.  Show me some photos, people!  I wanna see your handiwork.  Please?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Big Brother

For a couple of weeks now, I've been using Google Analytics to keep score on how much traffic comes through here.  I'm not spying on you, I just have an aversion to spending a bunch of time documenting stuff, only to discover that no-one is reading it.

When I moved into my current home 3 1/2 years ago, I started a personal blog to keep my out-of-town relatives in the loop.  I have a HUGE family (8 aunts and uncles, 20-odd cousins and several grandparents - and that's just on my mom's side) and it turns out my sister and grandmother were the only ones who bothered to log on to read it.  I had my dog Maggie for 9 months before my mom found out (I had blogged extensively about her and had assumed my mother was reading it).

So, all this to say:  Hi, Arizona!  Turns out, you're my biggest market!  Weird, but true, apparently.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Music and other obsessions

I received an iTunes gift card from my dad this Christmas and I wasted exactly zero time cashing it in for some new music.  I love music.  No, I really mean it.  I looooooooove music.  I have no musical talent and I am completely tone-deaf.  But, I love listening and singing along to music, and because I can really relate to the songs, I especially like Canadian music.  My iPod Touch has somewhere in the neighbourhood of 500 songs, and I would say that approximately half of them are by Canadian artists.  We have some pretty amazing songwriters/performers in this country who get little or no attention from the rest of the world.  Which, in some ways, is nice for us (they play in the smaller cities and their ticket prices remain very reasonable), but kind of sucks for them (it's nice to get money, don't you think?).  I try to support them as much as possible.

I bought 3 albums (yes, I'm an album girl - buying individual songs is weird...go big or go home, I always say).  The first album I bought is not Canadian - it is the soundtrack for the movie "Once" (if you have not yet seen this movie, go out RIGHT NOW and rent it), by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.  Awesome.  Really soulful, mellow and melancholy.  Just what I like.

The next two albums ARE Canadian and they both feature Jim Cuddy.  The first was "Palace of Gold", by his band Blue Rodeo.  Again, soulful and mellow.  Perfect.  Next, I got his solo record "The Light That Guides You Home", which has completely blown my socks off.  Completely.  They're lying on the floor right now.  Blown off.  If I wasn't already married, I would pack my bags and head to Toronto, track him down and camp out on his doorstep until he agreed to make me his love slave.  On second thought, that might seem a *bit* desperate.  On second thought, maybe (to, you know, preserve some dignity), I would just offer to carry his bags everywhere, for the rest of my days.  That doesn't seem too needy and obsessive, does it?

As I mentioned, I don't own a TV.  This leads to me feeling a little out of the loop, sometimes.  I was not aware that Jim Cuddy had a solo album, or else I would have hunted it down a while ago.  I took some time this week to Google him and found the following video on YouTube (do yourself a favour and watch this in fullscreen):

I have been admiring this video for days now, and not just because he's beautiful and wonderful and perfect. Did you SEE that photography? Is that not the most stunning imagery? I'm a sucker for dramatic shots and this just pushed all my buttons. All that deep black (did you notice how in almost every single shot, at least one side of the image bleeds into the black border of the frame - oh, negative space, how I love you)! All that atmospheric blue!  All those saturated colours.

*Sigh*.  Some days I just feel like giving up trying to make art.  I couldn't do any better than this video and to try feels criminal.   Does that make any sense?

Anyway, the feeling obviously doesn't last.  I just had to do something with all this inspiration, so I whipped this up as a little virtual gift for my sister, who is a huge Blue Rodeo fan, herself. Here you go, Trish. This one's for you:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Recipes (not gluten-free, sorry)

I finally got around to dressing up some of my favourite family recipes.  Here they are (they're going in the sidebar, too):

Turkey and Stuffing (oh my god, if you try this, you will NOT regret it)
Cinnamon Swirl Loaf
Oat Bran Cookies (you could make these with raisins or chocolate chips...)


PS: Sorry for the non-existent posting.  I've been going insane.  I'll be back in a few days, when I have a chance to breathe.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I had a nice little blog post planned for tonight, celebrating the arrival of my early Christmas present (a previously-enjoyed Canon EOS 40D DSLR camera...oh yeah, baby!).  HOWEVER, when I plugged it into the computer to download everything, I discovered that the memory card was corrupt and I lost all of my photos from today.


And this day was going so well...

Friday, December 11, 2009

A new obsession

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is a fellow Canadian, fellow knitter and she also happens to have a rockin' blog. I follow it religiously and yesterday, she posted something that made my heart stop.

Seriously, my life flashed before my eyes and everything.

This is what overwhelmed me. I must make these. NOW. I just bought a new pair of needles and I'm swatching madly, as I write this. Ok, maybe not EXACTLY as I write this, but the minute I log off, I'm popping in a movie and I'm going to it.

I hope everyone I know is happy with receiving slippers for Christmas. 'Cause that's what is gonna happen!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Oh wow...

...look what I just found.

I think I'm in love. Don't tell my husband.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

DIY Bed Frame

Hey, I've finally put together my instructions on how to build your own bed frame. I'll stick it in the sidebar, but here it is as well. Enjoy!

On Notice...

I've been advised that, any day now, Wood is going to post about the sweater she just finished for her son and that she's going to link over to this site so people can see what we've been up to. If that's where you just were and you're here to snoop around...


Have a seat, make yourself at home. If you want to start at the beginning and attempt to knit this baby up yourself, start here. The tutorials I created are in the sidebar on the right (down there... a little lower... keep going... there). If you sign up for a (free) membership to Scribd, I believe you can download and save them to your computer. If not, just click on my links below and print them out onto paper from the Scribd site. And let me know if you have any problems. I'm a novice and I have no idea what I'm doing (not that I'll let that stop me).

If you want to learn to knit or sew or anything else that's crafty, drop me a line. I might be able to help you. If you leave a comment on the blog, it won't be published right away - I have things set up so that I can moderate comments, for now. I have a full-time day job, so I'll do my best to get back to you asap, but please forgive me if it takes a few days. I'm not ignoring you, I swear.

Glad you came to visit! I'm sorry I'm a little short on photos at the moment - I'm sans camera. I promise I'll fix that as soon as I can (Santa baby, just slip a Canon under the tree, for me...Been an awful good girl...).

See you again very soon, with some more goodies.

Homemade laundry soap, anyone?

I had to make up a batch of laundry soap today, so I borrowed the camera from work and I'm going to give you a step-by-step. This goes with the recipe I have linked in the sidebar on the right. I used a wooden spoon, but I do specify that you're to use a whisk for parts of it (you see, it helps if you actually follow your own recipe when you're doing stuff like this...oops).

So, here goes:

The bucket is for mixing. The detergent jugs are empty and rinsed, ready for new detergent. You'll need at least three of them. The rag is for cleanup (you might think you won't need it, but I'm here to tell you "Yes, you will. Take it out now and have it close by.").

Grate the soap, using the cheese grater.

Place the grated soap and 6 cups of water in a large pot to boil.

You might as well take another big pot and put 12 cups of water in IT and boil it as well (you'll need it in a minute). If you only have one big pot, just wait until the soap is boiled, rinse that one out, and boil more water. You could also use a kettle, if you have one.

While you're waiting for those two pots to boil, you can measure up the Borax...

...and the washing soda. See? I told you there'd be a mess. That's ok, more washing soda is not a bad thing - it increases the "strength" of the soap.

Your soap mixture will start to look like lemonade and a bubbly foam will build up at the top.

When it boils and all the soap is dissolved, add the Borax/washing soda blend and mix well until it is all dissolved (no more grit). Keep the heat on until this is done.

By now, that other pot of water should be boiling. Dump everything into the bucket and stir well. Add 8 cups of cold water and whisk (just imagine that wooden spoon is a whisk, will ya?).

This is where the nasty old Brita jug comes into play. I use it to pour the soap into the jugs, but you could use a regular jug or large measuring cup. You could use a funnel (like the type they sell to mechanics for use during oil changes) to minimize mess, but I don't have one that big, so I take my chances. Also, you should do this with the bucket and jugs on the floor - that mixture is still HOT and will heat up/soften the handles on the jugs, making them dangerous to hold! The reason I didn't is that my floor is disgustingly nasty and there was NO WAY I was taking any photographs of it.

**Speaking of photographs, if you ever attempt to take photos while doing this, please be careful. Cameras don't like water. Especially when they are borrowed and potentially very expensive to replace.**

Ok, so once you mop up all the spilled soap and water (if you don't have any spilled water to clean up, I hereby curse you), you can stand back and admire your beautiful bottles of homemade soap. I forgot to mention that you can also add essential oils to the mixture (refer to the recipe for the right time to do that). That's why I have one red jug - for the lavender soap.

So, you ready to try it? Come on, you can do it! It only takes about 20 minutes.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wood started a mitten project and asked about how to fasten them together with an idiot string. I'm going to sneak a really good little tutorial in here that explains how to make an "I-cord". There seems to be some debate about who invented this little gem, but the word on the street generally credits Elizabeth Zimmermann with its conception.


*Edited to add: Alternatively, Wood gave me a tip on another (read: more useful) YouTube clip that helps, too. Here it is (I wasn't allowed to embed it, so you'll have to go and view it there).*