Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kudos to The Shoe Company

I’m happy right now because I have a brand new purse thanks to The Shoe Company.
I bought a purse from The Shoe Company, last August, and I loved it. It is the perfect size and has the perfect balance of pockets to hold everything I need. The thing I loved the most was that it has the perfect pocket for my Kindle. On Wednesday my purse betrayed me. Here is how my day went:
  • As I got off the train, headed into work, I noticed my purse zipper was wide open. This isn’t a smart thing when you are squished into the crowded subway, so I shook my head and zipped up my purse.
  • When I got to the office my purse was wide open. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t zipped it up at the subway station, so I shook my head and zipped up my purse and put it away.
  • When I went for lunch I grabbed my purse and it was wide open. I silently gave myself grief for still not closing my purse, zipped it up and went out for lunch.
  • After buying my lunch I found a table to eat, looked down and my purse was wide open. I thought that I was truly losing my mind and becoming far too careless and, once again, I zipped up my purse.
  • At the end of the day, I put on my coat and grabbed my purse and once again, it was wide open. It was only at this point that I realized I’m not losing my mind; it is just the fact that the zipper on my purse was broken and kept separating.  (I can’t believe it took me all day to figure that out – maybe I have lost my mind.)

Today I took advantage of my husband’s good mood, and dragged him to The Shoe Company to see if they would be able to fix my purse. I was pleasantly surprised when I told the store clerk that I bought a purse two months ago and the zipper broke. He immediately told me that they would be happy to exchange it, so I could get a new purse. I expected to hear that two months was too long ago for an exchange, and I was out of luck, but thankfully they stood behind their merchandise, and offered me excellent customer service, without question. Gotta love a store that looks after their customers!

The purse that died was a nice shade of plum that was no longer available, so my new purse is a wonderfully bright pink. I think it is a perfect colour for a dull, rainy day. Gotta love the colour pink!

Quilt Update

Meanwhile, the quilt continues to make some slow progress. I’ve sewn all the triangles together and am now trimming all the squares. I expect the trimming to last at least until the end of the weekend.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Quilt Triangles Become Quilt Squares

With the centre blocks all trimmed, it is time to sew all the quilt triangles into little quilt squares.
After the squares are sewn and pressed, I trim them down to neat little 3½” squares. Once again, I’m strangely compelled by this mundane trimming activity. A couple of years ago, I won the cute little Omnigrid square ruler as a door prize at a quilt demonstration. It is exactly 3½”, making it perfect for this project.
Meanwhile, when the ADD kicks into gear, I’ve been working on the Leftover Blanket. I was disappointed when I realized I wouldn’t be able to finish it before winter arrives, but this weekend I realized, it is going to be wonderful to settle down under the blanket, while I work on it.
Tonight’s plan is to plant myself on the couch, watch TV and knit. I’ll start with a dash of comedy with Big Bang and Two Broke Girls reruns, then I’ll give the debate a chance, and when I’m bored with the debate I will watch Parenthood. Parenthood was so sad two weeks ago and I can’t believe they didn’t give us an episode last week. They better give us some emotional relief this week! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

And the Quilt Sewing Begins

I started sewing the quilt together last weekend, but them my gainful employment got in the way and all progress has ground to a halt.

I sewed triangles onto each corner of the centre blocks and resulted in four piles of quilt blocks. Now I must trim each block to a nice, neat square, like the pile on the right. (It is the organizer in me that likes to make a quilt – I actually enjoy trimming each square so they are perfectly neat.)

I had hoped to be able to trim all the squares this week and be able to show you only the neatly trimmed pieces, but I've given up on that dream. I didn’t have to work late tonight, but by the time I took the train home, came in, changed to comfy clothes, bathed the dog (just because it was time), and fed the kid (well took the kid out to eat at Chipotle), it is now 8:25 pm, and I’m just getting around to posting this blog.  This working for a living thing is highly overrated.

As soon as this post is up, I’m gonna get my butt on the couch and watch some Young and the Restless, Big Bang Theory and Grays.

In other news...

Here is a gratuitous picture of Cici sulking after her bath. Her paws are all better now and she is back to her good old self.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Whole Lot of Fabric Cutting

I have spent much of my spare time over the last couple of weeks cutting fabric for my quilt. As mentioned in my last post, this quilt involves cutting a bunch of different fabrics into many pieces.

Here is the result of my labour so far – 1,334 pieces of fabric.

The next step is to sew and trim, and then sew and trim some more, and then sew and trim some more, until the pieces are joined into one big quilt top.

Let the sewing begin!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Quilt Begins

I’ve been using my spare time over the past couple of weeks to start turning this pile of fabric into a quilt.

This quilt actually began about 7 years ago when Meredith brought me these two fabrics from Alaska.

I love that the fabrics come from a shop called the Rushin’ Tailor in Skagway, Alaska, and that they have fish and moose on them. I knew immediately that they needed a quilt to belong to.

I spent a couple of years gathering fabric, but the task of making the quilt was too daunting so the fabric was stashed away and ignored. And now, after several years, I’m ready to face the challenge and make the quilt. I’m not giving myself any deadlines (although I’m tempted by year-end), but I do hope it doesn’t take me another 7 years to finish this project.

At this stage I’m in the midst of cutting the fabric. I’ve grouped all the pieces into colour groups and must now cut it into 42 rectangles, 412 squares and 880 triangles.

During the cutting stage of any quilt, I always fall in love with my Omnigrid rulers and my Olfa rotary cutter and mat. I can’t imagine cutting the fabric without them. They are the perfect tools to help me cut the fabric into strips, and then the strips into squares and triangles.

They help me turn this…

Into this…

Which ends up in a big pile like this…

I love working with all these different fabrics. Since I bought the fabric 5-7 years ago, I’ve long since forgotten what it looks like. I feel like I’m rediscovering every piece as I cut it. This is my favourite fabric so far.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Happy Blogiversary!

1 year ago today I began this blog!
I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stick through it long-term, but I’m glad I did. It has been interesting learning new things along the way. I like how it keeps me motivated to do the things I love. I also like seeing who is following my blog, where they are from, and what seems to interest them most.
Here are some notes of interest as a result of blogging for the past year:
  • This is my 165th post.
  • So far, my modest following has resulted in more than 6,400 page views.
  • Most of my readers coming from Canada, with the U.S.A . and Russia being next in line.
  • This week I’ve also had visitors from the U.K., Latvia, Germany, South Korea and the Ukraine.
  • People seem to find me most often via Ravelry, Facebook, Google and the DisBoards.
  • My most favourite phrase that people have searched on to find my site is “how to dye a dog with kool aid” (seriously, that phrase has been used 4 different times to find my site)
  • My most visited post is the Beaded Ornament post, which started the wreath making frenzy of last year.

Thank you to everyone who has stopped by my blog to read my ramblings. Your site visits make me happy and your comments amuse me.  I hope to continue working on this blog for at least one more year, so please keep stopping by. Feel free to leave comments and send me feedback whenever something comes to mind.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cici's Fall Photo Shoot

It is a gorgeous Thanksgiving Monday, and since the only item officially on the agenda is eating leftovers, we decided to spend our morning with Cici in the park. I brought the camera which resulted in me subjecting Cici to regular stops for photo opportunities. Surprisingly, Cici was more interested in looking around for better sights and smells, than posing for the perfect photo.

Here are the best results of the tormenting of Cici.

I think this is the best shot of the lot...

And finally, a gratuitous shot of the park exit, because it is so nice...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I Love Stuffing

I’m in the midst of preparing our Thanksgiving dinner. There are just four of us at our meal, so we are keeping it relatively simple – turkey, mashed potatoes (loaded with butter and sour cream), broccoli, dinner rolls, gravy and most importantly, stuffing.
I get lazy, where possible without sacrificing taste, so the gravy, dinner rolls and pie are bought from Summerhill Market, the grocery store to the rich and pampered, just up the street from us. (For my grammar freak friends, that sentence works no matter how you punctuate or read it, as the grocery store, as well as the rich and pampered are both located up the street from us.) The lazy version of turkey is to go to St. Lawrence Market and buy a prepared boneless turkey breast to roast without any bones to clean up.
The one place where I don’t get lazy is the stuffing. I love stuffing and will dedicate 50% of my thanksgiving dinner prep to the stuffing. This year’s version includes bread, celery, onion, butter, turkey broth and chorizo sausage (also from St. Lawrence Market.) As usual, I’ve made way too much, so I’ll be eating stuffing every day for the next week.
Here is my stuffing, prepped and ready to go in the oven.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Ginger Carrot Scones

The Mennonite Girls caught my eye the other day with a recipe for Ginger Carrot Scones. It has been roaming through my mind ever since, and so I was happy to use a visit from Meredith as an excuse to bake up a batch.

It is an easy to make recipe that is perfect for a mid-morning treat. The mix of carrot, spice and a hint of orange is a yummy combination.

You can find the recipe on the MennoniteGirls Can Cook website.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Guinness Cake - My Favourite!

Yesterday was a cake worthy day in our house, so I pulled out my favourite recipe that turns this…

Into this…

This may be the best cake in the entire world. It is yummy, moist and decadent, without being too rich. It is a sturdy chocolate cake, that when topped with the yummy cream cheese icing, looks somewhat like a pint of Guinness. The added beauty of this recipe is that the cake also tastes amazing plain, if you are too lazy to get to make the icing.

I’m not sure who gets the original credit for this recipe, but I was fortunate to get it via my good friend Grace.

Chocolate Guinness Cake

For the cake:
1 cup Guinness
1 stick plus 2 two tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups superfine sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 tsp. baking soda

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Butter and line a 9-inch springform pan
  • Pour the Guinness into a saucepan and add the butter
  • Heat until the butter is melted, then whisk in the cocoa and sugar
  • Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the beer mix, and finally whisk in the flour and baking soda
  • Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake

For the icing:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1-1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

  • Whip the cream cheese until smooth
  • Sift over the confectioner's sugar and beat together with the cream cheese
  • Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency
  • Ice the top of the cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint

You should make one of these cakes every day (it is that good!)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Whole Lot of Beading Going On

I’ve managed to finish beading two necklaces this week.

The first one I loved making, but the jury is still out on if I like this necklace. I think I’ll have to see what I have to wear it with before I commit to expressing my feelings fully.

The second one, I love. The tiger eye and amber-look beads are so nice. (This picture does not do these beads justice.)  I will definitely wear this one often.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Neapolitan Mittens

Back on September 8, I unveiled mylatest mitten pattern design. I cobbled the pattern together using some Kurzeme graphs from Lizbeth Upitis.

I stated that I wanted to finish the mittens in September and was further inspired when I discovered Ravelry had a contest for anyone who finished mittens in September. So I picked out some yarn and then I knit, and knit, and knit, and as of 9:35 pm last night, I finished the mittens before the end of September.

They are knit with KnitPicks Paletteyarn in a brown, blush and cream combination that makes me think of Neapolitan ice cream. I LOVE Neapolitan ice cream.

This pattern turned out great and I expect you will see it again someday in a different colour combination.