summertime… and the living is (gr)easy!

Well, summer must finally have arrived in Ontario, as attested to by the new copy of the Bible that I found at the All Hallowed Store of Liquors yesterday:

(ducking to avoid mass chunk of ice which will inevitably fall on my head, resulting from freak late June snowstorm and provoked by tempting the Fates!).

This was perfect timing, as I’m trying to plan my mid-August party. Now, between all the delicious recipes in this mag and those in another book I recently got from the library:

I now have a ridiculous number of new recipes to try. JJ, cringing at my evergrowing scrawled list of “must-makes”, reminded me yesterday that were I actually to make all the food I wanted to make for this party, I could likely feed … oh, the whole building and the two next door besides!

So, what’s the problem! Opa!!

Speaking of “opa”, I had to laugh because the Bible featured a feta and watermelon salad as a “new trendsetting item”. I have been making this for at least two years and Nigella Lawson had a version in one of her books at least five years ago. Try it out – her recipe is at this link, and I’ve had at least 40 rave reviews by now.

But, actually, this discussion is altogether too healthy, given the provisions laid in yesterday for kickoff of Summer in the House of Brouhaha:

Get this! New, scottish-style beer! And it’s one of the “bargain priced” ones. Go figure:

This beer went very well indeed with a very greasy (and very delicious) indian buffet we got to pig out on at a party last night…lamb vindaloo and meat samosas and all the naan you could hide in your purse stomach.

And, more guid news – the Laundry Room drought is over!!

Check out the fancy unopened mango bath products gift box!

And, in light of my whine about meetings the other day, this was a particularly welcome find:

Here’s the original poster from Despair, Inc.:

There is some peculiar truth to that. Must be some mathematical equation out there regarding quantum of intellect and how it flies out the window during meetings!

But why am I talking about meetings, anyway?! It’s Sunday. Off to eat some chips make some breakfast, kick JJ’s lazy @$$ out of bed and see what the day holds.

Happy Sunday!

summer clothing!

Well, today it is officially summer (although you wouldn’t know it from the weather here – 15C or 59F – my part of Canada is not usually this cold at this time.  We’ve all shucked off our outerwear saying “summer is coming” and we are all freezing as a result).

Anyway, I went out shopping for clothes to celebrate!  

This is the outfit I wore today to work… I’m modelling it on Aphrodite because she was jealous and wanting attention and because, in actual fact, the clothes look better on her than on me. 

I love this skirt.  So did half of my coworkers, who tried to tear it off me.  The best part: the skirt cost only $10 and the blouse $5.  And new, at that!  

The funny part is that the blouse has a statement on the label saying “no child labour involved”.  Which, I guess, means that they’re only paying the adults crap wages.  But, being a champagne socialist, I can’t really worry about that. 

There are even little mirrors in the skirt.  I tried to take a photo but after several attempts was defied.  This was the best photo I could get:

So, today I went back on a quest to buy more $10 skirts. Alas, the shop wasn’t open. However, I did score this at Brava vintage shop:

This is my new wizard Merlin coat. Given that the weather gods insist on it being cool here, I will be wearing it tomorrow together with some black leggings.  There may well be some photos as tomorrow there will be a big huge party of the Tenant Advocates… 

Just check out the detail on this, though:


Again, my camera doesn’t really do it any justice. It is shiny and fabulous in real life, and at least one of my coworkers tried to seize it out of my hands saying “Those colours look better on me than on you.”

And, she’s right. Having said that, this excuse didn’t work when she tried a grab for my April Showers either:

If you want to see me in my full splendour, you’ll have to come up to Toronto… but in the interval I wish you all a fabulous weekend… and do go shopping for some cheap summer wear. You won’t regret it.

Beware the Ides of… April!!!

On the day before the Ides proper, the postman was guid to me yet again…

Hours of amusement! Oh, and for those who are enslaved by that wicked taskmistress, Lace – you would do very, very well to order the book to the right, Heirloom Knitting by Sharon Miller. There are already, I’m reluctant to tell you, some drool marks on it just from me perusing it on the tram on the way home. It looks an excellent instructions/ideas manual for every level (including my level, Idiot).

I got both books from the Needle Arts Book Shop, a mail order service located right here in the fair T.O. Close by though it is, I was still amazed by the service offered by Marsha. I mailed a money order on Wednesday (I’m not allowed to have a credit card, perhaps for obvious reasons!). She Emailed me Friday afternoon saying that she had received my order, and the books were with me by Monday morning! (And this via evil Canada Post. She is very clearly some kind of magician.)

In addition to the books, she enclosed all sorts of little extras:

Book plates! Such a nice touch. I haven’t had book plates since I was a kid, and demanded some which read “Kristina’s Library. Take this and DIE” or something along these lines.

(I won’t tell you how many years ago that was. Suffice it to say that it was around the same time I conned my long-suffering mother into buying me a “Keep on Truckin’ ” bumper sticker at the Kingston Fair (on the sole basis that it was holographic)… then, much to her horror, affixed it to my closet door. I tried to take it off a few years later with no success.)

And stitch markers… goody. Now I don’t have to clean underneath the chesterfield cushions for another…oh, month or so at least! Thanks, Marsha!!

Anyway, what with all this lace inspiration, it was inevitable I hit a yarn shop, really. This time, it was – the only yarn shop in Toronto that sells… (drumroll please)…

Blue Moon Designs Yarn!

I really, really wish I’d never discovered this line of products. I mean, check out the name of the yarn!!

Not to mention the colourway – Motley Hue! It is a mohair/mulberry silk (whatever that might be – but sounds mighty guid to me!)/nylon blend and soft soft soft. 910 metres of lusciousness.

Oh, and then of course I felt guilty for cheating on the Handmaiden, so had to pick up some raspberry Sea Silk:


But as if these riches weren’t enough, some stuff I’d ordered on interlibrary loan came in en masse:

Swoon. Colours galore. Kaffe rawks! Also, a lovely book by Candace Bathouth:

And before you ask, no, I’m not taking up needlepoint again any time in the near future. I just like all the pretty pictures as well.

However, I do actually know how to read… and I found some reading materials while at the library well suited to my Mensa-like brain:

Given my hatred of most things television these days, also couldn’t resist picking up this one:

And I scored two DVDs of one of my all-time favourite TV shows!

I am not a number, I am a free man.” Gotta love Patrick McGoohan, although his judgement has arguably been impaired in past – Sean Connery has him to thank for the James Bond role, because he turned it down first. Seriously.

(Speaking of Bond James Bond:

That’s me on the left. Really. I cut my hair just before putting up this blog.)

Phew. Where was I? Oh yeah.

And finally, I lucked out in the Treasures from Trash department when arriving at my building last evening.

A much needed addition to help organize the spare room. You can probably tell from the rest of the photo that it needs it. I thwarted Mario the superintendent

in this acquisition, by the way. He appeared quite miffed, really. Hey, whose fault is it that the person who’s out of the building all day scores the treasures while the person who’s purportedly working in and around the building every day loses out, I ask you?!

(Mario did, however, endear himself to me by engaging in a round of “Bash the capital L-landlord” for about 10 minutes. I think he thought I’d hand over the bookcase. Wrong… he should know better, really, as I’m both a tenant and a lawyer. However, I did give him a couple of smokes, so don’t feel too sorry for him).

And… the sun even shone all day!! All in all, a better Monday than I’ve had in a long time.

Here’s wishing you all an equally fabulous Tuesday!

back to mosaic, maybe? or… maybe not…

While searching for something in the spare room this morning, I tripped across the following stuff and a plot was hatched.

You may recall that I scored this window outside the apartment building down the street some time back. I had a half-@$$ed plot to try to combine knitting and mosaic with it at some point…

Anyway, the yarn is Habu Stainless Steel. I figure it might make a nice black spider web – I thought I had traded this yarn off but apparently not!

The rocks are amethyst. I ruined one of my favourite candles (which was chock full of these) by inadvertently leaving it on the balcony for most of the winter. However, I boiled the candle to melt it down and rescued the amethyst…

Pretty, eh?

Oh, and I also came across another Treasure from Trash…
No idea what this was supposed to be. It’s a bit cracked, which makes it perfect for covering up with this lovely stained glass…

…and some grout, of course. So stay tuned. I’m hoping to work on some of this stuff next weekend if the weather is fair (I like doing mosaic out on the balcony, which diminishes the mess factor somewhat!

I think that perhaps getting away from the lace factor for half a day or so might also inspire my creative juices with respect to Project Purple, which I seem to have lost interest in for some reason.

Perhaps this is just because I just can’t seem to stay away from the LYS?

Well, you knew (even if I didn’t) that I probably couldn’t let a week pass without some shameless yarnploitation. Here’s one of the latest acquisitions… Cherry Tree Hill merino/silk blend in the Fall Foliage colourway!

(If you can believe this, I last spotted this three months or so ago in the sale bin at Knitomatic. I’ve since seen it several times – I don’t really know why it took this long for me to snap up!)

But now it’s MINE. Heh heh heh. The weather was cold and dreich yesterday, but this sure cheered me up…

And I don’t know how this had escaped my eagle eye on past trips either:

Handmaiden Silk Maiden! This would appear to be Handmaiden’s take on Noro stuff… but much softer and without those little prickly bits. I think it’s in the Renaissance colourway.

Heavy on the midnight blue, which as you know is one of my favourite colours. And so it should be – I just spent the better part of three months knitting with it!

Oh, and I had to snap up the new Norah Gaughan pattern book from Berocco…

All of this luxury makes me feel very glitzy!

And, although the weather is dreich (as JJ would say) today, spring is still in the air and I feel like a statue coming back to life.

Well, off to read some magazines while trying to decide what to do with the Icarus. Not only did I figure out that I will definetely run out of yarn, but I noticed a huge boo-boo some 20 rows back:

Argh. And did I use any lifelines?! Did I hell. I’m the Lace Queen, I don’t need life-lines, right! Never mind that this yarn is very slippery and virtually impossible to rip back. Sigh.

How ironic, given that the project is named Icarus. He was Greek too, wasn’t he!! Can I pass this off as a design feature… the wax on his wings melting higher up?!

Anyway, I’m at the point where I need to decide whether to cut out some of the repeats, or just make the full size and finish with a different yarn. I have some espresso-brown Kidsilk Haze which might work.

Wish me luck – and happy Saturday!

I wish I could be a hausfrau…

I don’t know if anyone recalls my last attempt at housewifery.

Well, if so, I have a big confession to make. It didn’t quite take.

But you know me… I like to keep a positive approach to failures:

(Hey wait! The glass is not just HALF empty… it’s completely dry! Sigh. (The photo, by the way, I found at Susan’s blog.)

Where was I? Oh yeah… anyway, I thought I had been magically given a second chance on Wednesday when I magically came across these books lying out in the street on top of a broken bookcase:
I had already, for some unknown reason, bought this earlier in the day:
So, this was all some kind of sign, no?

I accordingly came home last evening prepared to cook myself and the long-suffering JJ a healthy, nourishing meal.

Well, here’s what I did end up cooking:

Hmm. Not quite what I’d had in mind… but check out the fancy chip pan!

Obviously a big international hit. I love these things that come with instructions in six languages, none of them correct. For example, it said to cook the frozen fries at 200c/425F for 30 minutes!

Now, I’m not as far gone as I might have thought, because even with the magical properties of the Mr. Chips pan I realised that 30 minutes was way too long. I tried 20, the usual cooking time. The chips ended up slightly burnt at that. Sigh.

But this is something that JJ, being a Scottish/Irish tattie lovin’ fiend, just had to have. I’m sure he was wowed by the description:

If you must use frozen fries, then they might as well be as good as they can be. This oval steel pan with two coats of Teflon® non-stick has ridges and perforations on the bottom to allow moisture to evaporate from underneath, keeping frozen potato shapes crisp. … you can put most of a 1 kilogram bag on it
[emphasis added].

He ordered this from this place:

This is a fancy kitchen stuff mail order company. You know, all the little gadgets that make sense and look so useful, and then sit in the drawers or on the counter collecting dust.

I must say, however, that they have some pretty cool stuff. Check this out:

Wouldn’t you like to have a Pirates of the Caribbean cake?!

(For those who haven’t seen this beauty before, it is actually my Fit to be Tied Straightjacket…)

Well, easy-peasy apparently, as long as you have this fancy cake tin:

And, here’s a choo-choo train cake!!

Oh, and my mouth watered when I saw these beauties…

…but then I realised that they didn’t come with the popover pan – you would have to bake them yourself.

Well, I was almost tempted. I mean, just because cooking didn’t work out this time, why not take up baking?!?

Until I saw the price of the tins: $34.95. For one set. And that’s what the cake tins both cost two. Man, for $34.95 I can buy a jumbo sheet cake or a chocolate truffle bombe deluxe at Loblaws AND a case of Diet Coke to wash it all down with. Pig heaven.

So, I guess for now I’m sticking to the tried and true fare in the Brouhaha household:

Oh well.

Happy Thursday!!!

treasures in springtime

I’m in quite a guid mood this morning, as I finished knitting April Showers last evening!

Now, has anyone figured out yet which pattern this stitch sequence comes from? Come on, I know a couple of you at least have knitted it.

ED. NOTE: Soo won the prize! The answer: the Hanami by Melanie Gibbons. I had posted: “I’ll sweeten the deal – whoever can tell me the name of the original pattern will get a little prize of two skeins of Noro Silk Garden and one of Noro Kureyon (perfect for whipping up a little felted hangbag or two for that special someone!). Post a comment here or Email me with the answer. A hint: the name of the pattern has less than seven letters.”

Anyway, last night was a good night all around, even though it was Laundry Night in Canada. Why? Because I found these two beauties for JJ in the laundry room in the swap pile:

Won’t he look preppy! And… Eddie Bauer to boot!

(I do hope, however, that JJ doesnae decide that the April showers shawl would match one of these two beauties perfectly. Sigh.)

I also picked up a copy of this book on the way home from work:

Holly put me onto this little gem. It’s a book that someone came up with for the sole purpose of trashing, doodling on, spilling coffee on, etc. – with instructions! Perfect for those long drawn out staff meetings.

Too bad I can’t take projects to block during the staff meetings, though:

Since I took up lace, it has never ceased to amaze me how much blocking improves the look of the finished piece. Look at the photo above, and then at this one:

Ooh ahh!

So, what is on the agenda for the weekend, you ask? Well, this, for starters:

As well as a project incorporating this in some way:

(I have been obsessed with this image ever since yesterday morning’s shower. I know… I’m very strange.)

I also hope for fair weather so that I can take April Showers here for a photo shoot:

And who knows? Maybe finally it is springtime! And if you think I’m strange, check out this example of spring fever:

Some farmer in Devon UK got the sheep to hang out in formation for this photo. Too much, eh?

Luckily I wasn’t looking at this photo AFTER tonight’s debriefing session at the pub with the Tenant Advocates: I would probably have just assumed that I was hallucinating.

Happy Friday!

Earth Hour and beyond

What did you do yesterday during Earth Hour?

No, these aren’t fireworks. This is my attempt at taking a photo of all the big houses on Millionaire’s Row across the ravine from me… who did NOT turn their lights off. Indeed, in four or five houses every single light in the house appeared to be on – and these are some big houses, let me tell you. Sheesh.

Well, JJ and I did turn off our lights, and we were in good company apparently…this is downtown Toronto:

Weird to see the CN tower in complete darkness, but pretty cool nonetheless. And this is the Peace Tower in Ottawa (our capital city):

… and, for my American friends, Detroit as viewed from Windsor, Ontario:

Anyway, I rather liked this Earth Hour thing. I think they should actually do it once a week… but also make shutting off all the cell phones, blackberries, computers and televisions mandatory. And yes, we can live without these things for an hour. Really.

After Earth Hour was over, JJ and I hopped into a cab and headed downtown to see the Axes of Evil play!

The Axes of Evil is a local band made up of a bunch of leftie lawyers and other leftie folk. I’m one of their groupies…

…and we were all out in force last night bustin’ our moves on the dance floor, cheered on by our admiring audience:

Fun was had by all … and I got lots of great comments about my springtime purse:

Don’t know if I’ve posted a photo of this one before – I made it some time back. It’s a bag made out of a repurposed sweater from Goodwill. I felted it, cut it up and then crocheted this part together with spare yarn from the stash. My favourite part is this little flower:

Anyway, the bag cheers me up and lets me think that spring is actually on the way.

So, on the agenda today? No huge plans. I hope to continue hacking away at my latest piece, April Showers:

Looking a bit odd right now, but I have high hopes… and I really love this colourway. It actually glows in person. Ah, Italian Silk!

Time to get back to it … wishing you a very happy Sunday!