Browsing the blog archives for January, 2009.

Gong Hei Fat Choi

Crafty, Domestic

Happy Chinese New Year! Technically, today marks the beginning of the two week celebration (this time around, the year of the Ox), however my festive gathering wont be till this Saturday. A lot of people think it’s hilarious that I’m making such a big deal out of Chinese New Year this year and that I plan to in the future as well, but there are two Chinese gals in our family now (one is still technically a fiancee, but still) and so many Asian friends that celebrate it just seems weird to ignore it. Plus, it’s such a fun event to celebrate, so let’s do it!

Gill celebrates and though I had originally intended on giving her an afghan/throw blanket as a joint  Christmas gift for her and Andrew, I made her Jaywalker socks, and him Pirate Mittens and saved this for the New Year. I casted on 155 stitches for a 47 row repeat pattern on Thursday, it’s now Monday and I’ve got just 1 and a half repeats to go!

I’ll be done in time to give it to them on Saturday and thankfully I can now start on  the list of things I want to make for the little fete. Mind you, I still have to block it, but much of that is drying time when I can be doing other things anyway.

To get the kids into the spirit of whatever it is we’re celebrating, I do up the front window with them. We sit down a few days before the event with a whole lot of construction paper and tape and I generally give them license to do whatever they want to do. They started coming up with really neat ideas, like my 8 year old suggesting I knit stars to hang in the window for Christmas, so it’s becoming something of a ‘thing’ around here. For Chinese New Year, we’ll be hanging red paper lanterns in the window, and around the house. The husband machine has some impressive origami skills, so he’s volunteered to make some things to put in the window, likely a few Ox. I’m going to try my hand at it too, but the only tutorials I think I can handle are these, for clearly kids, and one that sort of looks odd, so we’ll see.

There are some other origami-style lanterns on sticks I saw on Martha Stewart that I want to make (and am pretty sure I can), though I’ll hang them from the ceiling. Also on the crafty list for this weekend are little red envelopes with wishes inside, and I need to cook up a fun way to set up the buffet table. Oh food! I’m making long noodle soup, fortune cookies, a whole chicken and Nigella Lawson’s Clementine Cake, knowing me there will be a few extras in there as well.

How cute is this?! Can’t wait to try it out.

I’ll also make this, this, and this, maybe these and also this with the kids. They’re all really cute and we will likely get to all of them in a single evening or two. Fun!

My other upcoming to dos are a lot of fun, the first is so silly. One of our closest friends moved to Taiwan about 5 years ago and while thanks to email and msn we are in constant contact, we only get to see each other once every couple of years. I’m going to knit him, in a cute wee character, and take photos of him doing various things around the city and around the house. I’ll keep an ongoing gallery and link to it in the sidebar. Hilarious. I hope he thinks it’s as funny as I do.

As we all wait for wee one #3 to be born, I’m collecting ideas for things to knit for her. I’m not a fan of knitting for newborns because often whatever I make either never fits at all, or fits for literally a week or two. Closer to the 6 month mark clothes, especially socks, will last a little longer. I picked up some light purple Debbie Bliss cashmerino dk from Mary Maxim a few weeks ago and as much as I want to knit it up, I want her to actually wear whatever I end up making out of it! I picked up some matching Bernat Satin for wee one #2, maybe for something matchy, maybe for something unrelated but in the same colour scheme. My oldest asked for a knitted Murloc, so I’ve got to get started on that soon too!

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Six Down, One to Go!


With six of the seven January events on my calendar taken care of (not counting wee one #3’s impending birth, since we really have no idea when she’s coming), I’m feeling really on top of things for a change.

I posted a few days ago with a pic of the bowl of veggies I’m making for my Dad’s birthday, I’ve added another veggie to the mix, peas in a pod.

I found the pattern on Purls Gone Wild through a search for veggies on Ravelry (along with the one for the celery). Oh, Ravelry search, is there nothing you can’t find for me?! The corn is from Kimberly Chapman, the eggplant is from Jimmy Beans Wool. I still want to make the carrot from Jimmie Beans but I don’t have the right orange on hand and I’ll get to the tomato from Purls Gone Wild. So silly, I love it!

I got to play with my box of card making gear! My fave thing about making cards is all the glitter and paper and blankness of the cardstock.

The next birthday in order is for a very sweet 6 year old, Madeline. Maddie’s mom and I met years and years ago in a former life several hours north of Toronto. I miss her and her sisters all the time, but never, ever the snow. 😛

So I made Maddie her card and then made wee little ones as tags for Melissa, Jason and Nichole. The kids will made another one for Melissa since they’re close to her and of course one for my Dad. I think they came out really cute.

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Let the Birthdays Begin!

Crafty, Domestic, Uncategorized

One of the reasons I’m blogging again, as I think I’ve mentioned, is that I want to make something for every occasion and I think blogging about it adds some more pressure to do it. Right now, I’m 8 months pregnant with wee one #3, and basically on lock down. All I’m supposed to be allowed to do is take my oldest to school and back, but I can’t take #2 with me so she stays home with the husband machine. This leaves A LOT of time for knitting, and I’ve been soaking it up!

The first FOs of the year were actually left over Christmas gifts, which I suppose is not at all surprising. 😛 I made my first pair of Jaywalkers for my dear friend Gill, who loves them to the point of not being able to wear them. Sigh, if they don’t get worn at least they’re appreciated.

Gill’s Christmas Jaywalkers

They took about 1 and a half hanks of Lorna’s Laces in Vera (that I picked up from my fave local and online yarn shop, Red Bird Knits). I should have enough left over to make a pair in a toddler size, but I wont get to that till I’ve done some more birthday knitting. She got these last weekend, but her beau only got a sneak peak at his gift because I wasn’t finished yet!

Andrew’s Christmas Pirate Mitts

These, I know he’ll wear. He’s got an issue with wearing hats and mitts and scarves, lest they cramp his style. Ovbs, these will not, they are simply too rad. The pattern is from Hello Yarn and is only minimally fiddly. As soon as you wrap your head around white squares = black stitches, you’ll be just fine.

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Parade of Finished Objects ’08 Edition

Crafty, Domestic

Before I get into showing off some neat stuff I made, I have to show off a couple of neat things my dear friends made and gave to me. Talea made me a knitted apron. This is exactly the kind of kitsch I adore the most, and since picking up stitches is the bane of her existence, receiving this made me feel super special!

knitted apron

I also think this deserves a couple of detail shots. My giant 8 month pregnant tummy in the first shot doesn’t really do it justice. Pink is hands down my fave colour, and in my (not so humble) opinion brown is the best compliment to it. Also, how cute is the wee white ruffle on the edge?! Love this, though I am a little terrified to get it dirty and actually wash it, I will because that’s why she made it. Thanks Talea!

knitted apron detail

Another handmade gift that totally killed me this year I got from Brigitte. I’ve wanted to sew like her since high school when she’d whip up a new flawless dress for herself before a party, alas I am not there yet. She, along with everyone else who has ever seen it, is both taken aback and enthralled with my 70s kitchen. I used to hate it, but I’m learning to embrace it, and it really does look fab in food photos.

70s apron

Here we go, my stylin 70s apron, if I could marry it, I would. I love that it’s constructed in such a way that I can just tuck it up and wear it over my baby belly!

I was going over the list of stuff I want to make this year and was thinking about all the rad gear and treats I made last year when I wasn’t blogging. So many snazzy little treasures only seen by a handful of people. The handful that got to see them are a fantastic group mind you, but I figured this was my last chance to post these pics before the parade of ’09 begins. I’ve already knocked off 2 pairs of socks and I’m 1/3 of the way through my second pirate mitten. They are not at all in order, more like the order I thought of them (influenced heavily by the order in which I found the photos).

birthday cake

(l-r): Tanisha/May Birthday Cake, 101 Designer One Skein Wonders Herringbone Scarf

Tanisha and I are just a couple of weeks apart so we usually celebrate our birthdays together. The cake is layered chocolate and vanilla, just like us! The scarf was for a BFF’s brother’s Christmas gift this year, last year I gave him a few hundred Rocket candies and he was much less impressed than I had hoped. He loved this scarf though, thankfully!

star trek next generation

Chris’ Star Trek: The Next Generation Peeps

Another Christmas gift here, this is some of the bridge crew of ST Next Gen, which we both grew up with and both still adore (maybe a little too much). Jordi’s visor was the biggest pain in the butt. I got the pattern from Kimberly Chapman‘s site.

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Traditional Meets Modern – Kitchen Edition


Try not to be too jealous, but I got a long-coveted Kitchen Aid stand up mixer for Christmas this year. 😉 I’ve wanted one since I was a teenager and my mother got one for her birthday, I made my very first torte in it and most of my first attempts at baking were done with her mixer. This is a new style, where the head tilts back instead of going up and down on a slider, and the bowl screws into the base instead of hanging from arms. This one came with the bread kneader, the whisk and the paddle mixer.

new kitchen aid mixer

I’ve mostly just been looking at it, with all the leftover baking from Christmas it really hasn’t made much sense to actually take her for a test drive just yet. Until yesterday when the husband machine ran out of sugar cookies and nothing else would satisfy his snacky craving. Here she is in all her shiny glory whipping up a new batch.

kitchen aid mixer in action

My old mixer was a Sunbeam, and it wasn’t really a bad mixer at all, it’s just that for the amount of baking that happens around here the issue of the bowl not being that big and the way the beaters snapped into the mixer part was almost too much bother and I ended up mixing most goodies by hand with my giant mixing bowl and wooden spoon. Naturally, this gave all the treats coming out of my kitchen a very ‘homemade’ look, which is fine but it’s so nice to churn out some snazzy looking cookies in less time than my old ones!

good housekeeping sugar cookies
(l-r): rolled out and ready to go, fresh from the oven

So far these cookies are all she’s made, these sugar cookies I’ve been making for over a decade from my Good Housekeeping Cook Book. The biggest difference between the cookies made with this mixer and the same cookie made by hand is how smooth and easy to handle the dough is. I’d much rather roll out doll that doesn’t want to fight with me and actually get an even thickness to the batch.

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Kristen from Schmancy/Plush You!

Crafty, Interviews

Breakfast Pack

 Schmancy Toys   Plush You

Schmancy Toys is part of the Fancy-Schmancy-Pants ‘trilogy of awesome’, and is home to some amazingly neat gear. My personal faves are Moofia, a series of mini dairy product figures, and the Chumps mini series, which are tough little dudes so destined for a life of crime they come with a ball and chain! So rad!

1. Jars, felt cookies, pouches! Did you start out with one and add to the shop or did you launch with all these treasures?

I actually didn’t sell anything I made in my store for the first year or so. I just recently started adding more. Unfortunately I haven’t had much time these days again for crafting. It’s sad but what can you do? I look forward to January 🙂

2. What are your favourite materials to work with? Why?

I have been on a sewing kick for some time now. I still love my applique scissors! I am not sure if that is the right term. I just discovered the magic of fusible stabilizer so I can’t wait to use that more and I love easy tear stabilizer for embroidery. It’s changed a lot for me!

(l-r): Bytedust Cloud, Tinpo Fashion Victims

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Christmas Cookie Exchange ’08!


This year’s cookie exchange was full of Christmas cheer and a decent mix of ethnic, traditional and weird cookies – it also came with a head over heels surprise. First, the cookies! I made melomakaronia, a traditional Greek Christmas cookie, the usual sugar cookies and what Good Housekeeping refers to as ‘window pane cookies’. The melomakaronia wasn’t half as difficult as it usually is for me, every time I’ve tried to make them in the past they are hard as hockey pucks – one year we frosted them with black icing and gave them away as coal. This year, however, I learned the trick to them – a trick you’d think my very Greek mother or aunts would have let me in on by now.


My Melomakaronia

The trick is to soak the baked cookies in a mix of boiled honey and water before you sprinkle with ground almonds! Next time I’ll use brown sugar instead of refined sugar and molasses instead of honey, that should make them richer and thicker and you know, Greeker. The window pane cookies were essentially just the usual sugar cookies cut into circles with a smaller design cut out of half of them, jam spread on the solid half and then topped with the other half. They look nice and complicated but they’re super easy.

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A Wee Intro

Crafty, Domestic

I was just going to jump back into blogging and totally gloss over the fact that I haven’t posted anything in 10 months, but since this blog is a little different I’ll make a quick intro post first.

My last blog was mostly crafty, a tiny bit personal and lived on WordPress. This blog uses WordPress software, but is hosted on my new domain. Yes, I am so very domestic it’s true! I take far too many photos of my crafting and my baking and my kids and my friends and life in general, though I will likely only be posting photos of my crafting, baking and friends here.

I’m starting this up again mainly because I want to keep track of my progress in different crafts and to have a record of all the neat stuff I make. Mostly I love to knit, but I also like to play with cross stitch, embroidery, paper crafts, sewing, jewelry of all kinds and random things like lipgloss and modeling clay. Sometimes I’ll do some ‘extreme crafting’ like recovering chairs and tables, or my sister and I will make a fabulous mess with glitter. This year I’m making an effort to make something from scratch for every occasion, and with baby #3 ready to arrive any time now I’m sure it’ll be a challenge!

I used to run a website about celebrating independent culture and the DIY spirit, where I’d interview all sorts of interesting folks and then write about them. I want to keep a piece of that alive here with wee sections for interviews and book reviews. I just finished Handmade Nation, A Year of Mornings and I’ve been knitting my way through 101 Designer One Skein Wonders, there are a handful of errors in those patterns, but they are all super cute and most of them are really quick to knit up.

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Pies of 2009 – 57 Pies in 52 Weeks


57. December 19 – Christmas Tourtiere

56. December 12 – Blueberry Pie

55. December 5 – Almond Ganache Tartlettes (no photo)

54. November 28 – Nutella Pie (no photo)

53. November 21 – Peanut Butter Banana Pie

52. November 14 – Mint Chocolate Chip Pie

51. November 7 – Lemon Meringue Pie

50. October 31 – Chocolate Cookie Cake Pie

49. October 24 – Orange Pie

48. October 16 – Peach Ginger Pie (no photo)

47. October 10 – Apple Bottomed Chocolate Pudding Pie

46. October 4 – Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie

45. September 26 – Peach Pie

44. September 12 – Brownie Pie

43. September 5 – Butter Tarts

42. August 29 – Blackberry-Apple Pie

41. August 21 – Ginger-Pear Pie with Almond Crust

40. August 14 – Blueberry Honey Pie

39. August 7 – Smores Pie

38. August 2 – Banana Ice Cream Pie

37. July 29 – Raspberry Custard Pie

34, 35 & 36 July 25 – Apple Caramel Pie, Frozen Key Lime Pie & Triple Chocolate Pie

33. July 18 – Peppermint Pie

32. July 11 – Mud Pie

31. July 4 – Satan’s Choice Pie

29 & 30 June 27 – Cherry Pie & Pumpkin Pie

28. June 20 – Maple Syrup Pie

27. June 13 – Chocolate Peach Pie

26. June 9 – Spaghetti Pie

25. June 6 – Chocolate Espresso Pecan Pie

24. June 6 – Chocolate Strawberry Pie

23. May 30 – Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

22. May 30 – Brownie Bottomed Chocolate Apple Pie

21. May 23 – Coconut Cream Pie

20. May 15 – Pineapple Apple Pie

19. May 9 – Pineapple Pie

18. May 2 – Banana Cream Pie

17. April 25 – Mango-Strawberry Tarts

16. April 18 – Strawberry Vanilla Pie

15. April 11 – Grasshopper Pie

14. April 4 – Frozen Peanut Butter Pie

13. April 4 – Chocolate Cherry Pie

12. April 4 – Applesauce Custard Pie

11. March 28 – Key Lime Pie

10. March 21 – Chocolate Pudding Pie

09. March 14 – Nectarine Pie

08. March 6 – Chocolate Strawberry Custard Pie

07. February 28 – Potato and Cheese Pie

06. February 21 – Chocolate Cinnamon Tarts

05. February 14 – Strawberry Pear Pie

04. February 7 – Quiet Plum Pie

03. January 31 – Cheese and Onion Pie

02. January 17 – Chocolate Mousse Pie

01. January 10 – Apple Pie

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