Monday, December 17, 2018

Sunglasses at night?

We're into the really dark days here in Winnipeg.  Although our temperatures have been warm (almost 0C! 32F!), I checked and we are in the period where we get around 8 hours of daylight each day--if we're lucky.  If it's sunny and not cloudy.  Dark.  This accounts for why all my blog snapshots seem so dark.

However, if you need to see crazy amounts of energy and verve, look no further.  Here is a favorite knitwear model, sporting Woolly one of his favorites, as he demonstrates the awesome power of a flashlight, sunglasses and trying to look like an orangutan (his description, not mine.) You can also purchase Woolly here, and buy yarn at the same time...

We returned (almost a week ago) from an enormous family event in Virginia.  Each of us needed multiple dress outfits and everyone was on his best behavior.  It went smoothly, but short version is that we're exhausted... I am still in recovery.  The suitcases have been emptied, everything was washed and put away. I even managed to knit a bit this past weekend.  However, if I didn't have, say, twins in grade 2 and two bird dogs?  I would have just spent a lot of time napping in bed or on the couch.
This is a season for us when nothing much is happening.  What?  Wherever I go, adults around us seem to be in a tizzy.  However, our holiday has passed and what a relief! Now we're now going to take it easy.  I made a simple dinner a few days ago and thought I'd show you it here.  I took leftover cooked potatoes, sliced them, and placed them in an oiled pie pan like a crust.  Cooked in the oven at 350F until the rest of the pie was ready.

I then put down some shredded mozzarella and cheddar I had, on top of the potatoes.  I beat three eggs with about a cup of milk and plain yogurt, combined. (Either kind of dairy works...)  I added some garlic powder, salt, greek herb blend (Italian would also work fine) and poured it on top.  I baked it in the oven again for about 30 minutes.  I served it with a salad and some veggies and everyone seemed very happy.  It would also go well with soup.

A few weeks ago, I made some mitts out of leather scraps as part of my ongoing attempt to keep small hands dry as well as warm. It seemed like a good layer between wool mitts. When you sew mitts out of leather, you have one chance to get them to fit.  I managed to make passable mitts that fit one out of two twins well.  (I tried.)  Even so, this warm and damp weather is perfect for playing in snow, so our radiator is doing overtime as a drying rack. This is what it looks like on the average morning right now.  You may recognize the green and orange mitts?  They are The Hole Inside MittsThere is definitely still time to knit up a pair of these, particularly in the small sizes!

Finally,we came home from Virginia with two gorgeous handknit sweaters made by my mom.  They were also extra long though, and umm, if you have little boys, you may know that this can cause difficulties in the bathroom. :)  However, at least one twin begged to wear the new sweater right now. So, I did a very sneaky thing.  I asked my mom for some of her leftover yarn.
I then folded over the extra fabric on the inside of the sweater, and did an invisible basting stitch.  I buried the ends of the sewing yarn inside the folds, but used no knots at all.  From the front side, you cannot tell I hemmed the sweater at all.

When the kid grows, I will pull out this basting seam, wash the hand knit by grandma sweater---and it will magically grow longer.  A great solution.

My apologies for these poor photos.  It is sunny out right now, but sadly, I seemed to have missed the sunshine when it came time for quick blog photos...soon it will get brighter out, a little more every day!  It does--every year...I have to remember to be patient!

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Sunday, December 09, 2018

New articles and busy days

We are in the midst of a big family weekend event!  I have been very busy with keeping both my twins well-behaved, dressed up in fancy clothes, and smiling at the same time in the family photos. :)

At the same time,this CBC article on the rise of hate crimes went live.  Also, the Jewish Independent in Vancouver ran this piece.

It has been a busy weekend here!  I look forward to posting more soon, but in the meanwhile, if you celebrate Hanukah, I hope you are enjoying the last moments of the holiday!

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Monday, December 03, 2018

Celebrating who we are

Happy first day of Hanukah!  We're having a blast. I hope you are, too--eating lots of doughnuts and latkes? So far, we've done arts and crafts, (note--see sticker mosaics by squinting...) made robot dreidls and heard fun Hanukah music with banjo accompaniment. (yes, really)
It's been great!

Also, this piece ran in the Winnipeg Free Press today:
Recreation facilities often unfit for people with disabilities:
 Everyone pays for recreation facilities, so we should all be able to use them. That includes people with disabilities.

These topics seem to go together, in my's about that phrase "we all have a right." 
...Just as we all should have a right to celebrate religious freedom, all of us, even those with special needs, should have a right to access recreation, like swimming and skating.
This blog is now 13 years old!

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Friday, November 30, 2018

Sunshine, Sales, and Charitable Give-aways

There's one last chance to take advantage of the "Making, Not Buying" Sale!  The sale ends at midnight, Central Time (US&Canada) tonight, November 30th.
Get 25% off all my Ravelry knitting patterns with the coupon code:

If you'd prefer to buy your patterns right along with the yarn, is having all sorts of great sales. Nearly all my patterns are available for sale there, and most are linked right up with the right yarns for knitting the patterns.  Instant, easy gratification!

If you're a knitter who donates her/his work to charity, is having a special yarn giveaway.  Enter your information here to be eligible to win a huge amount of yarn for your good deeds!
The home front:
We've had a challenging week.  One twin decided it would be fun to hide and disconnect all the landline phones, for instance.  (Things got fixed after Mommy freaked out and pointed out that no one could call out in case of emergency this way...)  And yes, I have a cell phone, but you're also inferring that it would be on my body, turned on, and I'd be able to focus to speak on the phone...none of which were the case at the time!
I wanted to snap a photo of my homemade cast-iron skillet cornbread.  True, we ate some slices for snack...but I could have still posted a photo as it continued to cool, on top of the back of the stovetop. However, I did something crazy and trusted my husband, the professor, both boys, and two dogs to behave themselves and manage the situation while I (ahem) went to the bathroom.  When I returned?  It looked like a bad news pie eating contest, gone horribly wrong. Most of the cornbread was gone. Crumbs everywhere.

Sadie the dog was making weird coughing noises. (Hint, this is what happens when you eat half a skillet of cornbread without benefit of butter or a glass of milk...) And no, I am not giving my dog butter or milk to wash down the cornbread she ate while no one was looking...  AHHH!

A day later, she decided to open her plastic container of dog treats with her teeth, and eat those, too.  Her tummy is maybe a little upset now.  Just a smidge.  And Sally, our old dog, is not 100% better yet herself.  Fun times.

I've just made a fudge brownie pie and an apple cake--we're going to Shabbat dinner at a friend's house.  I took precautions.  Sadie is locked in with me on the third floor-thank you, baby gates- and I sort of barricaded in the desserts with heavy jars, etc. so they could cool in safety.

OK, I am not going into anything else, it's too long a list!  Here's a quick look at the sun light pouring into our dining room after a big snowstorm passed.  Winter sunlight is the best, it really lifts my spirits!

On the making front here, well, it hasn't been the best week for wild bursts of creativity.  I've done the basics--written and edited some articles.  I'm knitting a solid black cardigan for myself (boring but necessary) so there's nothing to see there!  I'll leave you with this multi-colored piece of art, produced by a kid at our house.  (OK, he was kept inside for recess due to some seriously bad stuff he did at school, but whatever.  The art came home....)

I'm wishing you a peaceful weekend.  With lots of cake.  Maybe some snow, colorful art, and umm, did I say peace?  Yeah, please pass me some of that as well.  In the interim, I might just need more cake.

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Monday, November 26, 2018

Sale & Freestyle

This fall has been intense--lots of stuff on the homefront to sort out and fix.  This past week, Sally the dog (now, age 14!) had a bad tummy ache and we were worried things were all over for her.  She seems to be on the mend...with a lot of antibiotics, anti-nausea pills, and more.  Meanwhile, things haven't been quiet elsewhere either.

I wrote about some of it in this article that came out last Friday:
Sorting out playground fights

The short version is that untangling what's happening in my twins' lives can take a while. Lots of appointments and drama. Sometimes, it's a lot easier to fix a sweater!  Stripe Freestyle had a major blow-out this past weekend.  This is one of the cuffs, and suddenly, I saw my kid's thumb going through the cuff like a thumb hole...where I hadn't made one when designing the sweater!

He loves this sweater.

So, first I got it off his body. (not easy, actually.)
I waited until all seven year olds were asleep....
I put a piece of white paper behind the enormous hole so I could really see it.

I picked up stitches substantially below the beginning of the hole, using a double pointed needle one size below what's called for in the pattern.  Then, I began recreating the cuff, picking up whatever weak stitches and edges I could on either side of the hole.
When I was finished, it did not look perfect or untouched.  In fact, I even took a tapestry needle and stitched over many weak stitches I'd spied around the hole--after this was knit up.

And making this, and RE-making this, felt good.  He loves this sweater and has worn it just about every other day for the last year, and I have no intention of trying to either knit a whole new one or shop for anything right now.  Instead, I fixed what I'd made previously, and that was the kind of "reduce, reuse, recycle" mantra that I'd like to have more of in my life.

After the big mending job, it needed a bath, and then it dried on a towel on the radiator over night, and is now good to go.  I am, however, encouraging my lovely boy to consider rotating his sweaters a bit more, because this one will not last forever.

If you too are a "maker" sort?
I'd like to invite you to download a pattern from Ravelry, at 25% off, with this coupon code:

The sale lasts until midnight, CT, on November 30th.  Please share this "Making Sale" with friends!
Stay warm.  Happy knitting, cooking, reading, resting on the couch, and enjoying this hibernating season. :)

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Monday, November 19, 2018

Snow time is here

Everything takes twice as long when it gets cold out. (Think 0F or -20C.  Nippy.)
Car has to be scrapped off or snow removed. (no garage)  Kids need parkas and boots, etc.  Dog walks become opportunities to bundle up.  However, we also have opportunities to just hang out together inside. 

One of my twins feels that "playing quietly" is an important Canadian cultural activity and he featured it in his recent school presentation.  (I tend to agree...which is why I knit and spin. Hint: I love playing quietly!)

We recently had a cold go around the household and plenty of time to sit on the couch and sniffle. I broke out (wild mom that I am) and insisted we go to Canadian Tire yesterday to buy a new non-skid bath mat.  We could not all agree on the frog and snail one, so we got a plain one too.  Twins got so out of hand debating which one went best in our claw foot tub that we had to leave.

Later, I returned with only one twin to purchase a $10 non-skid rug for the front hall. (Everything takes twice as long this time of year, with twins, and winter, and holiday shopping crowds.  Yup. Deep breath, anyone?!) 
I love our hard woods but cannot keep up with the paw prints and boot melt every time we step inside.  I came down the stairs and found this. Sadie, our new dog, is very active, but apparently this boot mat absolutely meets with her approval!

She did eventually move.  You can see a pile of quick to knit woollies on the side table there, including a Riverbend Garden Hat or two.

Kid sweaters have been in heavy rotation here.  On Track is particularly popular and has been a big seller on Ravelry so far as could definitely knit one as a present pretty quickly, too.

I haven't made any big plans for pattern sales yet.  Is anyone waiting for one? (Do tell me, so I take time to set one up?!)

However, if you're looking to support women entrepreneurs, I know of a really special holiday shopping guide.  In fact, I chose to include my downloadable design pattern sales in it. 

I generally believe in making, not buying, but...we don't make everything.  So, please check this out!:
 I'm proud to be part of the 2nd Annual #ShopWithHer Holiday Shopping Guide produced by Spotlight: Girls.  Get your copy and support women-owned businesses this holiday season. 
Available Black Friday -

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Friday, November 09, 2018

I've got your back

Today's the first day we sent kids to school in snow pants.  It's about -11C (13F) and it's been flurrying here for a couple of days. Now there's enough snow on the ground to get wet when making snow angels during recess. There was a big upset and some tears about getting dressed this AM though, how would the sweaters fit inside the new snow pants? (Hint, it all works out.  Everyone figures it out and wears sweaters when it is this nippy.) We're back to wearing winter boots, parkas, mitts, and more.  Every year this is a slow but inevitable piling on of a few weeks, we won't remark on it anymore--just suit up.  We still go outside!

My opinion piece in the aftermath of the Pittsburgh shooting is now out online as part of the Vancouver Jewish Independent. Unfortunately, the news moves so fast these days that other people have already died, in another big shooting in the US.  I am so sad about it all--and while my piece was about the support the Jewish community received here, locally in the face of this hate and death, I wish that the US would consider doing as other countries have done in the past. For instance, if there were some immediate action towards commonsense gun control and better accessible mental health supports in place?  Like yesterday.
On a more upbeat note, the new On Track pullover was so popular in our household that one twin (Twin B, for those who remember a long way back!) wore it all last weekend.  Come Monday morning, Twin A decided it was his turn, and there was an absolute showdown about it before 7 in the morning.  As a result, our beautiful sample sweater is on time out until Saturday, when Twin B can wear it family services. I'm hoping we can either negotiate a sharing truce or decide who owns the sweater once and for all when we are all more calm!

If you've been reading a long time, you may recognize this sweater.  Above, it's being modelled on a kid who is two and a half.  This morning, it went out the door on the other twin, and now they are 7.  So, you know, eventually, we work it out and everyone shares...especially if you knit a very oversized sweater in the first place!
Have a good weekend, everybody.  Stay safe.

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