PayDay… a day late and… er… never mind.

Yes, yes – I know, I know.  The last time I was here, I said that I was in the midst of stashbusting.

However, this morning the gloom of the grey sky and the fallen dead leaves…

… plus the completely foreseen (but no less crippling) bad mood engendered by Tuesday’s election results…

…led me and my iron will (HA!) regarding PayDay purchases astray.

It all started off rather innocently.  In light of my stashbusting goal – which involves the winding of approximately 5 kilometres of Super 10 cotton yarn – and a recalcitrant JJ (“Who do ah sue if ah get that carpal tunnel thingy from doing all these yarn balls??? Eh??? Eh???”), I decided to break down and buy a ball winder and swift.

A very economical purchase, really, considering all of the labour costs (which, at present Legal Aid lawyer rates, comes out to approximately… er, never mind.  And which, at JJ rates, led to too many whisky empties!) I will save.

Or would have saved, had I not come across this at Romni, where I bought the ball winder, at the same time:

This is brand new laceweight stuff!  It’s called One of a Kind (indeed!) and made right here in Canada.  The price, at $7.95 for a 600 yard skein, was actually quite reasonable (it’s a wool/angora/nylon blend).

Plus, the colourway is called Kaleidoscope.  How could I resist, really?

When I got back to the office after this little lunchtime foray, imagine my surprise to find this waiting for me!

This is the latest instalment in the Year of Lace 2008 club series which – horrors! – I had forgotten was on its way.  And Handmaiden cashmere to boot!  I must say the colourway is not one that falls within my preferred range, but I’m sure I’ll find someone who would like a shawl made with it.

I also rediscovered this lovely yarn that fellow blogger extraordinaire Clarabelle had winged my way from the UK back in the summer… (please do not think me ungrateful, C. – I had left it in my office to show everyone and it ended up as a decoration in my new office):

Now, one would think that all this largesse would have kept my @$$ in the tram seat on the way home instead of popping off to hit Lettuce Knit (notionally, in search of a swift).  But no.

Why, oh why, Handmaiden, did you have to come out with silver Sea Silk yarn?!?!?

Sigh.

After all of this, of course, my former past true love Super10 looks…er, rather dull.  But here is an in-progress shot of the Election 2008 Log Cabin quilt:

My goal: to finish it off before the US elections.  Given that the finished size should be 60″ x 50″ or so, I may well have bitten off more than I can chew.  Nothing changes, eh?

Well, off to make dinner… the easiest Greek pasta recipe ever.  Stay tuned!

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bubble bubble toil and… yum!

OK, OK, so it’s not a direct quote, and it doesn’t even rhyme. But it reflects how I spent a good part of the Labour Day long weekend…

Yup. The Mad Princess of Preserves is at it again, folks.

You see, I made the mistake of going to Loblaws on Saturday for…oh, toilet paper and other boring things. But for once they had some local Ontario produce going!

So, I had to buy about 20 pounds of plum tomatoes and 10 pounds of these Shepherd peppers. I’ve never really noticed these before – they taste like red bell peppers, but sweeter and better. So, my first thought was to try for some flavoured booze:

This, in about three weeks, will be Shepherdised Tanqueray gin. I have no clue whether this one will taste like anything you’d wanted to drink, but I had a bunch of Tanqueray left over from the recent party, so thought I’d give it the old college try.

This, on the other hand, I can hardly wait to crack open:

Iceberg vodka with Shepherd peppers and ten jalapenos with the seeds left in. Better stock up on those ulcer meds… I love pepper vodka!

I also decided to make some infused rice vinegars, one with the peppers and one with lemon and lime:

Then I decided to roast the hell out of the rest of the Shepherd peppers:

…and start making some real stuff. First, I made a whole lot of tomato sauce with roasted pepper, roasted garlic and onion puree:

That took care of about half the peppers. So, what to do with the other half?!?

Initially I wanted to try to make some tomato/roasted pepper low sugar jam. Unfortunately, however, I made the mistake of musing about this aloud, at which point JJ overheard and suggested very reasonably that I not make any more jam until some of the stuff I made some weeks back was gone.

When I say “reasonably”, I mean this of course in the Scottish fashion:

Ye daft wee lassie, what on God’s grrrrreen airrrrth would possess ye to make more jam?!?! Every time ah open the cupboards, ah almost get murdered by a flyin jar of jam. And ye doan’t even eat the stuff! Ye should go tek a long harrrd look in the mirror…

He did, however, have a point. So, instead I made…

… salsa! Three bloody litres of the stuff. It has tomatoes, the peppers plus a third major secret ingredient. I first premiered the secret ingredient salsa at my party to great accolades (I must say I was shocked – I had only come up with it at the last minute when I realised I had 5 million bags of nachos and no salsa as I had dumped all the salsa into the slowcooker with IKEA swedish meatballs in a panic…). That version, however, did not have roasted peppers.

If it turns out at all good, perhaps I will post the recipe here. Or, perhaps I’ll just send it to the Food Network and wait for the telephone call offering me my very own programme.

I also made a V8/coriander jelly:

… and rehabbed some former jellies I had made which hadn’t set properly, including this bell pepper one:

So, I think that was a guid weekend’s work, don’t ye?

Off now to premiere the fabulous new salsa with the colleagues work.

Happy Tuesday, all!


field guides

I was in a very fabulous gift shop near my workplace called The Outer Layer (and if anyone reading is in Toronto and anywhere near here, visit!  You won’t be sorry!) to pick up a gift for a departing colleague and managed to score this for myself as well…

And it wasn’t even PayDay!  But I just couldn’t resist.  It contained stitches I haven’t even seen in the Barbara Walker series.

So, while at the cash, one of the very, very kind salespeople there said “Well, did you notice this book… and do you eat meat, by the way?”

So, of course, I had to pick up a copy.

Now, this book discusses every type of meat possible – including armadillo, squirrel and various other types of roadkill.  So, that should speak to the comprehensiveness of the Field Guide to Knitting, at the very least.

I suggested to them that the Healthy Butcher, just down the street, should put up a sign pointing in this shop’s direction to sell the Field Guide to Meat.  The helpful salesperson said (I think seriously) “well, they’re into organic meat, so I don’t know that they would advertise this book”.

But well they should – and well they should also highlight the very fabulous gift shop down the street.  Where else do you get this as a gift for spending money?

I display the gift next to my spare glasses so you see how small it is.  It’s actually a fold-up shopping bag about the size of the one I showed here the other day.  And, given that I tend to leave my abundance of shopping bags either at the office or the apartment when I most need them, this fold-up version is most welcome.

You too can get one for free if you live in Toronto and spend… well, I won’t tell you how much… at the Outer Layer.  Or you can just go in and buy one for yourself.

And, now you know you can look forward to recipes for armadillo in future on this blog.  NOT.

Happy Thursday!

a knitting post!!

I thought I’d make an exception to my summer hours policy and post this weekend because – I’m knitting again!  And with a vengeance..

First up: the Felted Clogs (pattern by Bev Galeskas) for JJ. The knitting is finished but felting is as yet unaccomplished.  I’m a bit worried about the size…

… but hope that the felting will work its magic.  After some initial setbacks, I was so jealous of JJ happy about the pattern that I decided to make a pair for myself as well.

This, of course, entailed a trip to Knitomatic.  I was very glad to see that Haley has taken up a “Beautify our Community” project and trust she won’t mind if I reproduce her photo here:

//frayedattheedges.blogspot.com, by Haley Waxberg)

(original photo at http://frayedattheedges.blogspot.com, by Haley Waxberg)

I went into the shop and picked up this Lamb’s Pride Bulky for my own Felted Clogs:

I also spied some new Handmaiden Lace Silk but left the shop with head held high, saying “I don’t need any more Lace Silk”.  However, I made it approximately one-half block before I went back in and bought this:

Haley’s comment upon my re-entry was “Well, that was quick!”.  But I will note that I showed great forbearance indeed – I only bought one of the three skeins in this fantastic colourway.  I don’t know what it’s called, but I’m calling it “Cool Aqua”.

(And yes, I know that I said recently I wasn’t buying any more laceweight.  Oh well.)

But where was I?! Oh, yes. I also discovered a brilliant use for those carry bags they’re selling at the liquor stores in lieu of giving you plastic bags:

You know the bags?  (Maybe those of you who live in a part of the world where liquor sales are not government controlled don’t… sigh) Well, check this out!

(And if any knitters living outside Ontario want these, they cost $1.99 and I’d be glad to post you one for that price plus postage!!)

Before I started work on my own clogs, I decided to try to assuage my guilt about letting JJ’s last pair of slippers get into the poor pathetic state that they had…

So, I decided to try to re-felt them.  The holes were clearly way too big to mend with yarn and needle, so I managed to find a crochet hook…

… and attempted with my lame@$$ crochet technique to mend them.  Here is the result, pre-felting:

I’ll let you know how it comes out.  And, if it actually works, I’ll splash out for some suede slipper bottoms, which clearly I should have done in the first place.

Anyway, I’ve already finished one of my own Felted Clogs – but I’m still worried:

I’m off to the laundromat later today to try to felt these things (my building only has huge front-loading washing machines at $2.00 per wash… and Amy kindly advised that it took her eight or so rounds in her washer to shrink these puppies down! The laundromat only charges $1.10 a load and have better options on the washers.  I must really talk to my landlord about providing adequate machines for felting… sigh.)

But I’m of half a mind, actually, to leave JJs slippers as is and make some nice tricorn hats instead:

Could we start a new fashion trend?!

Happy weekend.

slip slidin’ away…


Well, His Excellency JJ, Ruler of the Remote, has finally managed to guilt me into making him some new slippers. Admittedly, the last ones I made him, depicted above, have seen better days.

In this regard, I had bought a new pattern … um… two months ago or so. And then I went off knitting for a while (and I’m still not 100% back on my previous zealous track, I must confess). And then I started two lace shawls while ignoring forgetting about my promise to JJ to make some slippers.

That’s when the above sad looking tattered specimens made their reappearance on the otherwise pampered feet of JJ. He is nothing if not subtle. He didn’t bother to mention that he was wearing ragged slippers, but waited patiently for me to stop ignoring this notice. And then waited some more.

Finally, last evening, he stuck his feet up in the air all of a sudden while we were watching Food Safari, waving his puir wee nekkid wee heels which were sticking out of the chequerboard slippers and bellowed said in his usual dulcet tone:

Lassie, when am ah gettin mah new slipperrrrrrs?!?!?

So, today after work, I stopped in at Knitomatic and finally bought some feltable yarn:

Lamb’s Pride Worsted, in Turkish Olive and Kiwi. The colour choice, thankfully, has met with the approval of His Nibs.

And, I’m proud to announce that I was completely selfless in this mission – I did not buy any yarn for myself!!! Hard to believe, eh?

I should, however, mention that I did have to buy this mag and I suspect that there won’t be much content there for JJ:

I was taken in particular with two of the patterns I saw within, and couldn’t resist:

These Europeans know what they’re doing with design, I tell you. And – such stashbusting potential!!! I’m picturing this in either a rich blue (Madil Eden) or poppy red (Dalegarn Svale):

And as for this beauty…

…well, maybe, just maybe, I can finally start dipping into that ridiculously large Super 10 stash.

Great. Another thing to feel guilty about… cheating on my beloved Butterfly Greek Super 10 cotton because I discovered the loveliness that is laceweight silk. I’m a terrible person, really.

More evidence of this home truth: the only real reason that I didn’t buy myself more yarn was because I had already gone on a shopping binge on the lunch hour.

But hey – since I’ve been off knitting, I’ve started to run out of clothes!!

Besides, they’re just so colourful I couldn’t resist… and they’re nice and cool.


And the best part – they cost only $10 apiece! So really, I couldn’t say no, could I? Does it count as selfish when you get such a great bargain?!?

JJ: It counts as “selfish” so long as ah’ve no got mah new slippers on mah feet, ye wee bampot.

Hmph. He’s obviously getting a bit too full of oats sitting at home all day. I’ll have to hide the remote before I leave for work tomorrow just to teach him a lesson, eh?

JJ: More paw, less jaw, lassie!

OK, OK… how’s this for a start, then?

Does anyone know if they have a Bigfoot Monster in Scotland?

Happy Tuesday!

duckie invasion?!

My beleaguered mother, no doubt shaking her head about my wee obsession with rubber duckies, very kindly sent me the following scan the other day…

 

 

Although I couldn’t help but think that this image was cute cute cute, on some level I’ve since been quite perturbed about the abuse of the humble rubber duckie by the advertising industry.

I mean, the rubber duckie is not just a plaything for our use and abuse, you know.  It is an extraordinarily hardy and brave species. 

These are some rubber duckies and other plastic toys which crossed the Pacific Ocean from China and ended up all the way in New England, 11 years after falling off a container ship.  They were apparently quite the speed demons, travelling at double the rate that the water in the North Pacific moves.  They washed up back in 2003 and a reward was offered for a specific duckie which had gone completely white from its trials and tribulations at sea. 

I’m not sure the reward was ever collected.  But you can read about their journey here, if you’d like.

And, I mean, really – could you cross the Pacific without a raft? Think about it.

But not only is the humble rubber duckie brave, s/he is selfless and giving, working tirelessly for charity.

S/he is also athletic, by the way (far more so than I!):

 Rubber duckies, as you know if you’ve read this blog for any length of time, are capable of forming strong loving relationships:

Yet they continue to be used and abused by Evil Corporations such as Adidas to sell products and make rich fat men even richer and fatter!!!

 It all makes me want to weep, really.  Plus, it makes me afraid.  It is only a matter of time before the rubber duckies stage a revolution and take over… just last night I had a nightmare about this.  Click on this link to see it in full colour.

Scary, eh?

Well, we have the power to stop this abuse of the Rubber Duckie and the ensuing rebellion, revolution and takeover which will lead to the end of life as we know it.  Education, I feel, is key.  To learn more about the honourable rubber duckie, you can click here.

And next time you see a cute little ad featuring a rubber duckie, please spare a thought to the abuse and degradation that led to the ad, and boycott the product… would you?

(Yippee!  Another excuse not to have to shave my legs!!! Huzzah!!)

Happy Thursday!

stampeding into shamelessness

I’m well and truly off the wagon now, folks. Yup. Yesterday, I made yet another trip to one of the local Houses of Worship – on the pretext that I needed one of these:

For some reason I keep losing these. This is probably my fourth this year. I’m sure that one of these days I’m going to bump accidentally into a secret portal in my apartment and be faced with a whole pile of single socks, good wooden coat hangers (as opposed to crap wire ones from the dry cleaners’) and knitting needle measuring ruler thingies, all pointing and laughing at me.

So, of course I decided today that I was in huge need for one of these $3 thingamabobs. But did I go back to Romni, which is just down the street from my workplace? Hell, no.

Why not? Well, I felt the need to take a 25 minute walk (each way) in 30C/150C with the humidex (don’t know what that is in Fahrenheit, but “damn hot” will about cover it), that’s why.

It certainly wasn’t because Lettuce Knit (quite a hike away from my office, in the Kensington Market) is the only yarn shop in the city that carried Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarn. No sirree Bob. Nope.

OK – so now you know the truth. I am a big fat liar.

But, really, how could I resist!

Oh – and while I was there I had to pick up a lonely little skein of Bobby Blue (as in “No Sirree Bob”, I guess!) Malabrigo laceweight as well:

But I don’t feel so bad about this – because Amy told me: “Malabrigo doesn’t count”. I’m a very gullible person, and I do hope that she has not led me down the garden path toward bankruptcy….

What makes me feel a bit better about all of this is that I’m apparently not the only one who’s getting up to hijinks this week, apparently – and mine are far cheaper than some. You see, this week the Calgary Stampede is taking place. Now, I’ve never been to Calgary but if you have ever lived in Canada and watched any news programme during the month of July, you’ll know all about this WestFest, where all the oil millionaires/billionaires, politicians and other high rollers turn up to watch some rodeo and eat some high-priced beef.

Now, according to CTV News the other evening, that’s not all these guys do. They actually had a segment on the late news discussing how some of these guys also come to gamble and pick up women. They even quoted a pro female saying it was by far the most lucrative week of the year.

I think they did, anyway. You see, I cannot find this story anywhere on their website – I do remember seeing it though, if only because it really really hurts to spit Vex alcopop out your nose when you start laughing with your mouth full. JJ confirms that this was on.

But instead, all I could find on the CTV website was this: Calgary drops suits for Stetsons during Stampede.

More like “drops trou”, no?!

I mean, really – let’s face it, these prime ministers must get up to all sorts of nonsense when they’re on the road – and especially when they get to dress up in cowboy drag. Why else would Pierre Trudeau have been showing his stuff there, for example?

Now, as for Jean Chretien, I’m not so sure:

Now, I must say that I really like his wife’s cowboy boots – in fact, I want them. But what was up with those puddlejumper jeans, Jean?!? Did the Prime Minsterial budget not extend to a pair of jeans that actually fit, or did you spend it all on the 10 gallon hat?!?

And then there’s always my favourite, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, our current fearless leader who allows Geo. Bush to address him as though they’re hanging out on a street corner somewhere (I mean, really. “Yo, Harper“??? WTF???? When he pulled this stunt a few years back with Tony Blair, the British were reportedly offended. And, to my view, the British were right.) and simply giggles and blushes smiles. I’m not so sure, however, that it’s wild women he’s after…

I mean, first he poses for this cheesecake photo back in 2005:

Is that lipstick he’s wearing?!? I mean, really. Doesn’t he look as though he just stepped off the cover of a Village People LP?

So, then he hid I was not able to find any photos of Harper at the Stampede in 2006 – but this is what he turned up in in 2007:

So, what’s up with the pink shirt?? Well, apparently he said it was to show support for fundraising efforts for breast cancer. Well, that’s heartwarming and all, Steve – but if you really cared about people who suffer from breast cancer (or cancer of any kind, for that matter), you wouldn’t be doing your bit to destroy universal health care as we know it. But I’m ranting digressing now.

Suffice it to say that, sported by an arch-convervative like Harper, the colour pink speaks volumes. But this year, his image consultants have he’s decided to go butch:

Now, I haven’t been in a women’s bar for a while now – but the last time I went to one, this was pretty much the uniform.

So, Steve, I’ll be waiting with baited breath to see what cute little outfit you come up with for next year’s Stampede! How about something like this, for example?

Fetching, isn’t it?

Happy Wednesday!