Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Yarn Along

This week I managed to get quite a few rows in on my Dad's scarf that I've been working on for well over a month. (More than that, if  you count before I frogged it, 3 times...)

It's coming along nicely, and while I don't think it will be finished in time for him to wear this winter, I'm sure he'll appreciate it next winter. The season is slipping away quickly, and I'm more than excited for spring. It is too bad though that I didn't get it finished for him to wear sooner.

I used to be able to knit and hold or nurse Lotte at the same time, but now she attacks my yarn like a kitten, which is incredibly adorable, but obviously doesn't make things very easy! So my knitting time has been cut down a bit, I'm afraid. 

I finished reading "Room"...I pushed through, despite wanting to call it quits. As I mentioned in a previous post, it was hard to read at times because it was being narrated by a child, in the present. And while some of it sounded real, a lot of it sounded like an adult pretending to be a child.

There were a serious lack of pronouns and conjunctions in his speaking that drove me to near insanity That, and his personification of many of the objects in his surroundings. 

Rather than saying "I went to the sink", it was "I went to sink". 

Or, rather than "I miss our rug", it was "i miss rug".

I suppose some children do think like that, but this child was supposed to be rather intelligent, despite being extremely sheltered from the outside world. He was supposed to have had excellent spelling skills, but lacking in the social...and maybe this was a way to play that up. I don't know.
Regardless, I muscled through it just to see what happened. The story itself is incredible, it was just the narrator that made me want to throw in the towel.

I've started in on "organized simplicity" which seems pretty good. I like that (so far) it's talking about organizing life in general, and simplifying our lives to allot more time for what really matters-not just our clutter and housework.

 I do find it ironic though that earlier today the book was sitting on a heap of unfolded laundry, like a big fat failure. I've been trying to fold the same basket of laundry all day long. I suppose I should get on that now, shouldn't I?

I apologize for the weird spacing in this post-blogger is being a royal pain with that right now.
P.S: Happy Leap Day

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hey Handsome

Not too long ago, my friend Rachel introduced me to some extra special 
love from Ryan Gosling. 

Submitted by Beth
If you're not sure what i'm talking about, check them out here
I just don't know how this went on as long as it without my knowing. Really.

Ok, now I'll be honest- I've never been too gaga over Ryan, he's just not my type. 
However, I found these little posters to be hilarious and incredible, and couldn't help but thinking up a few of my own. 

I've even phoned my sister a few times, only to say "hey girl...blah blah blah" as soon as she picks up the phone. I'm glad she gets it, and that I can laugh about these with her. 
Lindi probably even appreciates these more than I do. She's awfully crafty-and queen of organization. The label gun is her scepter.

One person who doesn't seem to get it (or at least not that he's letting on) is my
very confused husband. 
I'm not sure if he doesn't like them, or if he simply just doesn't understand why they're funny. 

It's hard though, to be splitting a gut laughing, tears running down my face, while my dear soul mate stares at me with a raised eyebrow and a rather grim expression. He thinks that I've lost it.

I admit-I don't know what Ryan Gosling did to wish this kind of publicity upon himself, or if there is even a hint of a reason why he was picked to be the emotional seat of so many crafty women, but what's done is done.

I thought it best though to illustrate this for him in a way that a man might understand more easily.

Handsome, Meet Ms. McAdams.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

{This Moment}

Joining Amanda again this week: {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
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Skating night with friends and family:)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

DIY Travel Tape Tutorial {Stash Bash}

For this week's stash bash (a challenge to use up what I've already got kickin' around my art studio) I decided to dive into the box of old maps that have been lurking for a few years now.

I just can't say no to paper, which leaves me with cuttings of various magazines, newspapers, wrapping paper, wall paper, and yes, my biggest downfall....Maps. Especially vintage maps. 
Who could possibly turn down those beautiful colours and fonts? Not I!

This was a quick, satisfying little project. I can't wait to make more from other paper scraps.

If you would like to create some of your own, here's what you need:

An old map
double sided tape
xacto knife or scissors
cutting mat and ruler (if you're using an xacto knife.)

I find that it's easier to work with the width of the map, rather than the length, but it's entirely up to you.

Take your double sided tape and peel it slightly off the roll. Stick it down on the wrong side of the map. (There really is no wrong side of the map, but pick a side you like best and make sure you don't stick the tape to that side!)
Slowly unroll the tape, sticking it down securely as you go. Try to keep it going in a straight line. You could use a guide, or draw a pencil line with a ruler if you like.  The wonderful things about maps though is that there are already all sorts of guidelines on the map to follow.

Once you've pressed all your tape down to cover the strip of map you want to cover, cut the tape off the roll. 
Now lay your map down, tape side up, on  your cutting mat, and gently cut down the sides of the double sided tape, creating your tape strip.
Don't peel the backing off! Roll your tape strip up around a spool, or secure it with a paper clip or clothes pin. When you go to use it, then you peel off the backing, and voila, Tape!

Places to use your fancy new tape:
Sealing Envelopes
Binder divider tabs
Tops of rolled up paper lunch bags
folded over to make flags for cupcake toppers
drink markers on the sides of paper cups 

So many possibilities..use your imagination!

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Reality Check

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
 It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. 
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
~Melody Beattie
In the name of gratitude and truthfulness I’ve decided to post a little piece of reality here once a week. Likely just a single picture.

Joining Rachel this week with a reality check of our own...this time in photo and video form. 

We recently bought an old slot machine  from a friend, just for kicks.  and put it down in the rec room.
I'm afraid though that the children are having all together too much fun with it.  I was hoping that they'd learn how gambling really works, and how the odds of winning are rather slim.

And then I found this video  that they took on my camera....

Friday, February 17, 2012

{This Moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
. . . . . . . .

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Yarn Along

Joining Ginny this week again in another Yarn Along...

I'm *still* working on the scarf for Dad-he'll probably, realistically, get it next Christmas. 
I haven't had a ton of knitting time over the last few weeks, but I do bring the thing with me everywhere still. I plan on bringing it on a wee road trip that we have planned for tomorrow.

I've also started a pair of socks. I'm testing a pattern for my sister's awesome Mother-in-Law, who is somewhat of a knitting genius. The woman can crank out finished knitted socks, hats, scarves, sweaters faster than I can cast on. Seriously!

I told her that I'd like to try socks though, so she gave me a pattern that she had recently written. So far, i'm doing okay. However, I've only done the easy part-the ankle! I'm a little nervous about the heel turn, but the pattern seems to be written in a way that I *think* i'll understand.

As for my reading goes, I've just finished "Water for Elephants" which was one of those books that just felt like home.

Maybe  because it was narrated by a man who reminded me a lot of my great grandfather in the way that he spoke (And apparently, my Great Grandfather actually worked for a travelling circus/carnival as a teen...this is recent news which I plan to dig into a little deeper...)

I really wanted to read this book though before seeing the movie. I've heard nothing but good things about the film version, but you know how it is, the book is always better! 

Having not seen the movie at all  yet, I can't say which is best. I did find myself laughing out loud though at many events throughout the story. I think I would have enjoyed this even if I had already seen the movie.

I've just started reading "Room", which is growing on me slightly. The book is narrated by a child, so It's hard to take it seriously because at times, you can tell that it really is the author  *trying* to sound like a child, but missing the mark. I'm trying to see beyond that though and just take in the rest of the story...which is, in fact, incredible, and haunting.

It's one of those books where the writing style doesn't really grab me, but the story does, so i'll continue.

Do you ever force yourself through the finish of a book simply because you feel you need to hear the story, regardless of the connection you have with the style of writing?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

*Reality Check*

Joining Rachel over at House Full of Jays this week with  a *Reality Check* post of my own....

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, 
a house into a home,
 a stranger into a friend. 
Gratitude makes sense of our past, 
brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
~Melody Beattie
In the name of gratitude and truthfulness I've decided to post a little piece of reality here once a week. Likely just a single picture. 

Simply put, these both have green labels, my eyes were a little fuzzy, and my brain was tired. 

All I wanted were clean teeth.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Weekend of Play

This weekend we lucked out and got to spend some time at the National Museum of Play in Rochester NY.
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but I'd heard good things about it, and we needed a day trip to tend to the mid winter blahs. 

Let me just say, that this was definitely worth the two hour drive (even though Ms. La-Tee-Dah did manage scream for a good portion of the way home.)

The museum was set up for children of all ages, with hidden nooks and crannies galore, ensuring that no child would be lost to boredom.
I love the attention to detail that went into creating these spaces, and that everything was scaled to size, perfect for little people.

To my delight, there were also book stations everywhere-just in case one of the littles might want to sit down and rest a while in a comfy chair, and pick up one of the many captivating titles that surrounded each play area.

Some of our favorites from the day were :

The miniature "Wegmans" grocery store, where one could be a shopper, an employee, or both!

Superhero School, where you could climb tall buildings, experience super strength, and even design your own super costume. 

Old carnival style arcade games

Sailing through history on boats from the past

Attending "Wizard" school

A collection of really old dolls-some were a little...creepy....(yes, this one is hatching from an egg.)

Playing house, in a Victorian era kitchen

Finding a familiar book, and a namesake

Riding through Oz on the wicked witch's bicycle

Walking through a very crooked house where you just can't seem to ever stand up straight

and just hanging out on the steps a familiar building on a street we all know and love

What kid wouldn't want to rest a while on Oscar the Grouch's trash can and read a  good book?

With so much to do (this place is huge) i'm surprised that we got it all done in one day.
By the time we were leaving at 8 pm, there was a lot of eye rubbing going on, and even a few yawns.

What could be better to a child than playing to the point of exhaustion?

Monday, February 6, 2012

One year in 40 Seconds


I came across  this  photographer's work over the weekend and I couldn't wait to share it. It's so neat to watch the seasons happen so quickly, and, in the dullness of mid-winter,  reassures that we will see green again.

Friday, February 3, 2012

{This Moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
. . . . . . . .

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Vetkoek and Curry Chicken

This is a recipe that one of my friends from South Africa shared with me a few years ago. She said that this was  usually the Sunday afternoon favorite that her Grandmother would make when the whole family came for dinner.

I've made it quite a few times and it's definitely a favorite around here too. There's usually a bit of a fight over who gets the last sandwich.

These make also fantastic picnic sandwiches-so much more fun than boring old white bread and bologna!

Vetkoek (pronounced FET-cook) is the bread portion of the sandwich, made from a very simple dough recipe, and then deep fried.

I never said that this was a terribly healthy meal.

The filling is basically a curried chicken salad. There was no definite recipe for this-all my friend said is that everyone made their chicken salad differently.

I've come up with our own variation for the Chicken Salad though, and i'll share it as well.

Of course, you could top these with something else if you wanted. If you're going to do the Chicken Salad, I'd suggest making that first. The Vetkoek is best when it's piping hot and crispy.
I make mine in a stand mixer, but this is easily made by hand as well.

For the Vetkoek: (makes about 14 generously sized buns)

7 cups Flour (all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoons Salt
2 tablespoons Sugar
2 tablespoons yeast
Lukewarm water
Cooking oil (for frying)

Stir the water into the yeast and let it sit a few minutes. Then add in the sugar and salt.
Slowly stir in the flour. You may need a little more, or slightly less. You don't want the dough to be too wet, you want to be able to handle it. You don't want it terribly dry though either.
Think a slightly wetter pizza dough.

Once your dough is mixed, knead it for a few minutes and then let it rise for about 30 minutes. 

Once it's finished rising, start heating the oil in a cast iron skillet. The oil should be about an inch deep. Heat the oil to 375f.

While the oil warms up, with floured hands, pull off balls of dough that are slightly smaller than a tennis ball, roll and flatten into a patty, as if you were making a hamburger. 

You don't want these to be too thick, or the outside will be done long before the inside.
Around an inch thick is perfect-they'll puff up as they fry.

Once the oil is thoroughly heated, fry them for about 2-3 minutes on each side, and then set aside to drain on paper towels.
In a couple minutes they'll be cool enough to slice open for the chicken salad.

For the Curried Chicken Salad:

3 Chicken breasts, cooked, boned and cubed/shredded (or equal amount of dark meat. No chicken discrimination here!)
4 tablespoons of Mayonnaise
1/2 cup of diced carrots
1/3 cup diced minced pickle
1 medium apple, cored and diced
1/2 yellow onion, minced

3 tablespoons curry powder
Salt and Pepper, to taste

I know, apple sounds like a really strange ingredient for chicken salad, but trust me, it's amazing. You don't have to follow this recipe exactly either-this is just how we like it.

Spread the chicken salad onto your freshly fried vetkoek, and garnish with a dilly, kicker of a pickle. 

You know those fancy pickles sitting on your pantry shelves, the ones that you've been waiting to open for the perfect, most deserving meal? Now would be the time.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

{Yarn Along}

I would love to tell you that I've been super productive this week in my knitting and crochet, but it's been a housework week-as in, deep cleaning. Why am I all or nothing? 

I did manage to get the sole of my other slipper finished, I really want to get these finished and felted!

Of course, I'm still plugging away at Dad's scarf
While it's taking a while, the scarf and I are beginning to become old friends. I find that it really isn't the pain in my side that I thought it might become, but rather something pleasant to come back to after a long day. 

The scarf comes with me when I leave the house-I never know if I might end up waiting in the car while Mark goes into the hardware store, or if Lotte will sleep through the boys' swimming lessons and let me knit a few rows...I think it's wise to always have a little stitchy something along just in case. I even bring it to Church

While some might find that odd, I really can't pay attention to speaking much without having my hands busy, sometimes even during movies. I'm often drawing, carving or knitting. I also find it a horrid waste of time, to be sitting, and doing nothing.

Oh, And the minister of the Church can't argue, because he's my Dad, and the scarf is for him.  Besides, if he sees my hands busy he knows I'm listening. I am his daughter, after all. I think he's aware of how attention deficit I can be.

I've finally found a novel to click with. It took a while, but the hunt was worth it. 
I'm now on chapter 4 of "Water for Elephants". 
I have no clue what the movie is like, but so far the book is captivating and exciting. I really appreciate the work that the author went to in describing everything in such vivid detail. 

Of course, it goes without saying, that I'll probably love the book a whole lot more than the movie, when I finally get to see it. Isn't that always the way?


For more weekly yarn along stories, visit Ginny at Small things.
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