Sunday, September 30, 2012

Minestrone and Fresh Buns

Today it feels like fall out, and I have responded by making a big pot of homemade Minestrone soup, and some fresh homemade buns to accompany it. Sooo good!

The makings of the Minestrone…

And the buns…

For my Disney friends… we always eat this soup out of our Disney mugs.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

What to do, what to do...

I find myself with some time to fill. I’m in that rare state in life where I just left one job and don’t start my next until October 9. Lying in front of me are 10 glorious days where I can do so many different things.

I will be spending some time catching up with some friends; there are some family milestones to celebrate; there is a teenager to bug; there are some chores to do and so much more…
  • In the area of chores, I bought shelf liner to inspire me to clean up our cupboards.
  • I need to repair a stack of clothes so I can finally put them away.
  • I want to finish a pair of mittens before the end of the month (let’s put that at the top of the list).  
  • After that pair is finished, I want to get a good start on an October pair of mittens.
  • I need to finish the red beaded necklace, so I can get the beads off the sewing table.
  • I may decide to get another set of beads together into a finished necklace.
  • And, if I’m really ambitious, I’ll start turning some piles of fabric into a quilt.

So what will I really do over the next week and a bit… whatever I want! (So far, day one has started off with sleeping in and eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for breakfast.)


Thursday, September 27, 2012

With a Great Orchid, Comes Great Responsibility

Some good friends gave me a beautiful orchid this week. I love it! I’ve always wanted an orchid but am intimidated by any plant that looks this impressive.

Plants involve care, often longer-term care than my attention span allows. I must remember to water the plant (but not too often.) I must attempt to provide the right amount of sunlight. In this case, I need to carefully decide where to keep the orchid. It will be perfect in my dining room which on the plus side offers the right amount of sun, but on the negative side it is in the wind zone (yes, our apartment has a wind zone.) I’d cry if the orchid fell over on a particularly blustery day. The alternative is the sewing area, which on the plus side is nicely sheltered, but on the negative side, there isn’t as much sun there. Much thought will be given to choosing the location.

The care card claims that the flowers can bloom perfectly for up to three months, and can bloom as often as twice a year. As I writer, I appreciate their carefully chosen words. I like the fact that for success all I have to do is keep it alive for “up to” three months.

I am ready to care for this orchid and see it through a long life.

P.S. Those that gave me this gift should not go back through my blog and read about the pea plants I attempted to raise this year.



Monday, September 24, 2012

I Love a Prize

I’m a sucker for a free gift, or a prize. I love Clinique bonus time, and I showed great restraint by walking through The Bay today and not succumbing to the temptation to purchase some cosmetics, just to get the “free” gift.

I’ve been attempting to finish a pair of mittens by the end of the month, to meet my usual false deadline. As I was perusing Ravelry, I discovered a challenge to knit a pair of mittens by the end of September and be eligible to win a prize. I don’t know what the prize is, but I want to win it. The prize is generously donated by Tullymongan designs. To meet this deadline, I need to knit an entire mitten that I just cast on last night. Thankfully, the first mitten is already complete, and the TV watching is good tonight. (I’m excited to have 2 Broke Girls back!)

Here is a sneak peek at the mittens in progress.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Today is the 10th annual Talk Like a Pirate Day. In honour of this very special day I bring you the following.

Q - What do pirates knit with?


Given the day I stumbled upon a pattern on KnitPicks site for Aargh! gyle Socks. I briefly considered these then shook my head, came to my senses and went back to thinking about other things.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Yarn Mail

I love getting yarn in the mail! It is just such fun to walk in the door from work and see a new bag of yarn sitting on the table waiting for me to discover it.

Yesterday, I received my mini-skeins from Lydia at White Iris Yarns. The colours are so lovely!

Tonight, I rushed home from work and wound the skeins into little yarn cakes, all ready to get worked into the Leftover Blanket.

If you didn’t read last week’s post about Lydia’s inspiration for these yarns, be sure to go check it out now. She put some wonderful thought into these colours.  (Beautiful Inspiration post from September 9)

Can’t wait to see how they knit up.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Nerd Knitting

I saw this idea on Ravelry the other day, and just couldn’t get it out of my mind. I’ve knit up the QR code for my blog website.

The best part is that it really works. You can scan my knitted square and get to my website. J

I have no idea what I will do with this knit square, but it makes me smile, just to know it was possible.

In beading news…

I fell to temptation today when I was offered a ride in the Noramobile to BeadFx. I couldn’t resist and bought some amber and tiger eye beads for a new project, as well as these little lady bugs to add to my current bead project.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fern Turtles (just because)

I don’t have much to blog about this week. I’ve been spending my days out of the office, at the courthouse for jury selection. Jury selection is either exhaustingly dull, as you wait, and wait, and continue to wait; or it is exhaustingly stressful as you sit through some pretty serious situations, within inches of accused criminals, wondering if your name will be picked for the jury. Either way, it can suck the creativity out of you. I take the jury process seriously and so I cannot regale you with all the interesting stories from my week, but I can tell you I’ve seen the inside of a few different courtrooms this week, and the justice system is interesting.

What is not interesting is the progress I have to demonstrate on my blog. I’m in the bad spot of having one beading, and three knitting projects on the go simultaneously. This means that none of the projects are nearing completion, and so none of the projects are worthy for some blog show and tell.

As I sat through some waiting today, I pondered what I could post about. I thought about telling you all about Fern, but now that summer is over, that seems like old news. So, after some (likely too brief) thought, I decided to share some pictures of turtles from Fern. Fern Resort has a resident turtle that lives under the boat dock and makes a brief appearance just often enough to get everyone talking. It is a big turtle (about 50 cm in diameter) and I’ve personally spotted it twice – once a few years back, and once just moments after our arrival this summer. The result of the brief glimpse of the turtle is that now I must walk slowly along the boat dock at every opportunity to see the turtle again.

I didn’t see the big turtle again on our last trip, but for the first time, I did get to see many other smaller turtles. I love seeing them sun themselves on a lily pad, or rock, and found it fascinating to see how they watched us approached and decided when they needed to retreat back into the water to hide.

I’ve never noticed these turtles on past trips. My theory is that in past years the turtles have lived mainly in the forest, where there is some nice swampland. 2012 saw a very dry summer and so the swamp shown below, in a 2011 photo, was completely dried up this year. I’m guessing that the turtles that would normally make their homes in this swamp had to move on and get themselves over to the lake this year, increasing the number of lake turtles for us to spot.

Next year, I’d love to get close enough to get a picture of the mink that we’ve seen quick glimpses of in the past.

Bonus Fern photo

The moon at Fern was spectacular this year. Here is a shot of the moon taken from our deck one evening.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Beautiful Inspiration

This week, I once again fell prey to the temptation to buy mini skeins of yarn from a random stranger off the internet. I was poking through the Ravelry Forums when I saw a posting about an offering of mini skeins based on “Colors of the Americas”.  I tried to avoid the temptation, but eventually I had to give in.

Mini skeins are something that Ravelry peeps (and I’m sure others) offer as yarn for use in scrap items such as my Leftover Blanket. A 5-gram mini skein of yarn will make a couple of squares for the blanket. While I don’t need more yarn, I love the idea of incorporating many different colours into my blanket; so I’m always open to the possibility of buying more mini skeins. In this case, I wasn’t really tempted at first glance, but once I saw the inspiration I couldn’t stop thinking about this yarn and had to buy it.

Lydia McKay hand-dyes yarn and sells it via the White Iris Yarns shop on Etsy. Etsy is a great site offering small business owners a marketplace for their handmade goods. Lydia uses Etsy to market her beautiful hand-dyed yarns.

As part of her post on Ravelry, Lydia shared pictures to demonstrate her inspiration for the colours she chose to represent the Colors of the Americas. I love these pictures, and they pushed me right over the edge and I couldn’t resist buying the yarn. I’m happy that she is willing to let me share the pictures here, so I can spread my excitement while I wait for the skeins to travel my way from Washington.

Arctic Warbler


Broad-Billed Hummingbird

Hyacinth Macaw

Indigo Bunting

Painted Bunting

Monk Parakeet

Roseate Spoonbill

Slate-Throated Redstart

Big Bend Patchnose Snake

Garden Tree Boa

Green Vine Snake

Red Fox

Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

Mount McKinley


False Dragonhead


Passion Flower

Thank you Lydia for sharing such beautiful inspiration. Can’t wait for the yarn to arrive!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hot Off the Press - New Mitten Pattern

This weekend I lack focus, but I’m still getting things done. I’ve knit a bit on my Leftover Blanket, I’ve strung a few beads, I’ve started mulling over a future project, but most successfully, I’ve designed a new mitten pattern that I’d like to knit up in September.

Creating the design involved sitting at the computer and colouring in a mitten graph, square by square. (I’ve become an expert at using the “Format Painter” function.) The design stage has been a bit labour intensive, but I think I’m going to like this pattern. I’m excited that the cuff will use 3 colours, but only 2 colours in any single row. (It’s the little things that make me happy!)

The different designs that I’ve cobbled together for this pattern, are inspired by the graphs in the book “LatvianMittens” by Lizbeth Upitis. The chosen motifs are based on designs that originated in the Kurzeme district on the seacoast of Latvia. According to Upitis, Kurzeme mittens traditionally have a scalloped cuff, unique to this district. I contemplated incorporating the scalloped cuff, but eventually I gave in and realized I much prefer to start my mittens with a two-colour braid, so that won out and the scalloped cuff will need to wait for a future design.

One of tomorrow’s tasks will be to root through my stash and see what colours will be chosen for this design.

In other news…

I’m very excited to be on the verge of a new TV season. After spending the past months watching endless home improvement and reality TV shows, I’m excited to get back to some old-fashioned comedy and drama shows. This week I’m looking forward to the return of Parenthood and Glee, as well as checking out new shows like Go On and Breaking Amish. By the time mid-October comes, and all the new shows are back, the PVR will be well used and well loved.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bead Potential

I love this stage of beading. I have a nice little pile of beads that holds so much potential to become a beautiful work of art.

There are thoughts to be had, decisions to be made, and beads to be strung, but for the next couple of days I will just take some time to stare at this beautiful pile of beads and consider what potential they hold.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Let There Be Light! (My Newest Toy)

My “sewing room” in our apartment doesn’t have the best lighting. That combined with my less-than-young eyes, has had me lusting after an OttLite for the past while. OttLite lamps are designed to illuminate an area with light that is similar to natural sunlight. The idea is brighter light, with less glare, in a more efficient format. I don’t really get how it works; I just know things are much easier to see under an OttLite.

Well this past weekend, all my dreams came true. (Or at least, one of my dreams came true.) Thanks to a 40% off sale at The Tire, I was able to purchase this beauty.

I love it and it is definitely the brightest light in our apartment (and it is mine, all mine.) I haven’t taken it for a serious test drive yet, but I do have some beads cued up and ready to go. 

Let the days get shorter, because I’m equipped to handle the darkness.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labour Day Marks the End of Summer Vacation

Today is Labour Day. I’m going to represent the family and say that we had a great day here. It started with a tiny bit of labour as I forced my son to super clean his room (specifically the closet). There were enough dust bunnies to carpet our whole apartment, if we liked that shade of grey. After the cleaning frenzy we took the dog for a nice walk and then we parted ways and Steve and I went out for sushi and the teenager went somewhere to eat (I should ask him where he went.) After lunch we found a grocery store that was open so we could pick up a baguette for supper. We made a tactical error by looking to see if there was anything else we should get. We found something… Portuguese custard tarts! We love custard tarts and have been fortunate to not find a source in our immediate neighbourhood. We couldn’t resist buying 6. It could get dangerous to have these so readily accessible.

Yesterday, I finished my August project, which was a pair of socks knit from KnitPicks Stroll yarn. The colour is called “Summer Vacation”. How appropriate that I finished the Summer Vacation socks on Labour Day Eve.

The pattern is the Mock Wave Cable Socks from Interweave, as noted in my post a couple of weeks back.

For my next project, my good intentions are to design a new mitten pattern to knit up for September. I’ll let you know how that goes.

In other news…

I finally joined Twitter this weekend, so feel free to follow @JanetMakesThing if you are interesed in more of my ramblings.