Browsing the blog archives for March, 2009.

Birthday Fete + Earth Hour

Crafty, Domestic

This year my dear friend Lindsay’s birthday fete at my house landed on Earth Day, and ran through Earth Hour. Of course, Gillian arrived with candles so we’d be prepared. Hanging out in the dark was especially awesome this year because Talea kept knitting, which as you know warms my heart to no end. The wee ones on the other hand, they just couldn’t unplug but I really felt they should be a part of it so I let them have handhelds in the dark. I know, I know, that’s cheating. Guess what? I don’t care. 😛

Ok so on to the prep for Lindsay’s birthday. I have to admit, as much as I hate to, that I’ve spent so much time watching Lost and snuggling with wee one #3 that I haven’t had as much detail in the last few birthday gatherings I’ve hosted. There’s always pie though, that’s the most important element to Saturdays around here. Picking the pie this week was easy because Miss Lindsay loves her some key lime pie, and luckily for us Grocery Gateway stocks key limes.


So while I was ordering them, the husband machine asked what I was going to make with them, and when I told him, he made a face. The husband machine isn’t really a fan of testing new recipes – at all. So he wasn’t into the chocolate mousse pie last week, nor was he interested in the nectarine pie from the week before, or even the chocolate-strawberry pie from the week before that. All he wanted was an apple pie. So I made an apple pie before I got to the pie of the week. 🙂

With that out of the way, I made a graham crust, and the followed a recipe for the filling that I wont share with you because it failed. It failed bigtime. Somehow, several people ate an entire piece. Ick, not me. I had a few bites to give it a chance, and it was just really runny and bitter and not very good at all. That was not a fun sentence to write. I’m going to make one of those lime green frozen key lime pies to redeem myself.

I knew what I was going to knit her for her birthday when I came across an ad for a Patons sock pattern book in Vogue Knitting’s holiday issue last year! I didn’t pick up that Paton’s book till a trip to Mary Maxim in January – but I knew that she’d love polka dot socks! As is usual so far this year, her socks were not ready for her birthday, but I did show my progress to her – progress that needs to be ripped out because it’s way too small. Intarsia all the way around a sock doesn’t give it any stretch at all. Like none. That’s ok, I’ll live. This was 2 eps of Lost and half an ep of 24. I’ve already ripped it out and started again. This time I casted on an extra repeat, we’ll see what good that did tomorrow. The real shame here is having to knit, frog, reknit (and potentially refrog and reknit again!) the cuff. Knitting cuffs, to me, is pretty awful and I’m always glad when I’m done and can move on to the pattern. So yeah. I love my Lindsay, and I shall display this by knitting and reknitting her sock cuff.

This was what I ripped out. 🙁 She saw it like this and laughed about how miniature her foot would have to be for this to make sense. I also made her a wee little felt pouch, thankfully about as big as her snazzy phone. First, I embroidered a wee pink L in the bottom corner and a cute blue flower in the top.


Even though it’s smallish and fiddly, I used my sewing machine instead of hand sewing it because I really wanted it to have clean edges.

I’m glad I did, it looks so cute and she loved it.

Last year, Lindsay experienced the joy of light bulb cooking for the first time when wee one #2 got an Easy Bake oven. One of the things we made was pink cookies that tasted like Fruit Loops. This was my attempt to recreate them, I even put strawberry Jello powder in them. They were pretty close.


FYI, not everyone was a fan of these cookies. I think you have to be a fan of Jello to get these.
However, everyone was a fan of Bakerella’s cake balls. This was my first time making them, there are so many occasions these things would be perfect for! So many different ideas on her site too!
This is how I made my cake pops. First, I baked a rainbow sprinkles cake then when it was cool I crumbled it into a bowl and mixed frosting in with it until I could shape it. Then I rolled all of it into about a dozen balls and melted chocolate to cover them.



Then I dipped my lolli-stick into the melted chocolate and then into a pop, not sure if it actually holds it on but I think it helps. Once that was dry, I dipped the balls into the melted chocolate to totally cover them and stood them up to dry!


Alanna Kellogg of A Veggie Venture

Domestic, Healthy, Interviews

Alanna Kellogg has managed to cook up vegetables in a new way – every day for a year! That was almost four years ago and she’s still going with ideas on her blog, A Veggie Venture and her food column, Kitchen Parade. Her Leek and Root Vegetable Gratin is an amazing meal for nights when it gets dark early and you want something a little different, and her parsnip fries? Not at all what you’d expect! Alanna’s blog is full of neat, different recipes like these, and updated versions of recipes you may be using on a regular basis (like mashed turnip and apple instead of plain mashed potatoes).

Asparagus Scallion Salad

1. For an entire year, you cooked a vegetable in a new way every single day – amazing! What spurred you to undertake such a task?

There was no grand plan, I’m afraid! I’d run across my first blog — either Chocolate & Zucchini or the Julia & Julie Project, not sure which — and was suddenly driven to start my own. My “project” was to cook a vegetable in a new way, every day, for a month. It seemed so ambitious, really! But after a month, I was still learning and so decided to keep going — and did so for a whole year. Trust me, this is a crazy idea, not one I recommend! It’s really hard to sustain for an entire year, no breaks.

Continue Reading »


Gauge is Important + New Yarn

Crafty, Domestic

So everyone always says that checking your gauge is important and I’ve had a few close calls with socks, where I really needed to block them or there’s no way they’d fit but aside from socks I don’t generally knit things that need to fit. I like to knit accessories and silly things, like wee cats and veggies and pearls. Last week I cast on for a little dress for wee one #3, following the pattern exactly. It was coming together really nicely, though I hadn’t been able to try it on the wee-est one, mainly because she’s pretty much always sleeping and when she’s not she’s eating or having a bath or something far more interesting than trying on a dress. So three days go by and I’m done! All I had to do to be sure it wasn’t going to fit was walk it over to the cradle, just holding it next to her it was obvious. Boo!

My first thought (after the initial let down wore off) was to try it on wee one #2 as a top. So I called her over and unlike her 3 week old sister, she pretty much lives to change her clothes so she was happy to participate. However! She pulled it over her head so roughly and tried to ram her hand through the armhole without looking at what she was doing. Just watching her put it on made me twitch. Doesn’t she know you can’t treat a Debbie Bliss cashmere-merino blend like that?! This is why I only ever knit her socks and toys, she is a monster truck trapped in a sweet little girl’s body. This wee dress will stay put on the hanger until this summer when there is a slight chance that the wee one it was intended for will be big enough to wear it.

Thankfully food doesn’t need to fit! The same day this happened, I made hamburgers, which is probably the one thing everyone in this house loves equally. I so love it when I make something that everyone, even my painfully specific husband machine, likes.

There isn’t much to them, though I suppose there isn’t much to most homemade hamburgers; beef, onions, garlic, an egg, torn bread pieces and a little bbq sauce. Simple and soooo good! Sometimes I put a little cheese on the inside as a wee surprise when you bite into them!

Last weekend probably should have been a St Patrick’s Day feast, but it wasn’t. Not even a little bit. Next year I will outdo myself to make up for it, I’ll even make soda bread! So while it wasn’t a green weekend, it was a fantastic time. I finally got to meet blogging buddy Romi, which was so much fun, and of course my usual Stitch n Bitch collective was here for the evening as well. I finally finished Andrew’s Skull Socks of Fury from last month. Man, hardly anyone gets a handmade birthday gift on time from me! I swore I’d make everyone something for each occasion this year, maybe next year I’ll swear to do it on time!


It’s hard to tell what the fit was going to be like with them laid flat on the counter, and I had weaved in ends for over an hour hoping that they’d fit because if not I’d be blocking them, intarsia or not! Thankfully, he tried them on immediately and they fit! Woot! They were worth every stitch, the yarn was superwash too, so it doesn’t matter much what he does to them, they’ll live.

This week’s pie was actually even easier to make than the strawberry topped one a couple of weeks ago! This was another chocolate crust, this time with chocolate mousse inside. I served the strawberries on the side to keep the decadent chocolate look of the pie.

It was another simple but amazing pie, perfect for Romi’s first time at my house!

The sock yarn I was going on about last post from Red Bird Knits arrived, and even though I already know what it’s all going to be, it’s so exciting to have new sock yarn. I know, I know. I must be stopped! As intended, I picked up two hanks of cotton for my Mother in Law because she is allergic to the sock yarn I love to use (can you image? what a horrible disease to have!). Turns out that the yarn I picked from Red Bird Knits, the Super 10 from Butterfly is Greek! Not just Greek as in it’s made by a Greek, but Greek as in it’s imported from Greece and even has some Greek writing on it (Mom confirmed it just says Butterfly, but still…)

So the red is the cotton for the husband machine’s Mom’s socks, and while I was there I noticed some ‘nearly solid’ sock yarn from Lorna’s Laces. I know I have a heap of Lorna’s Laces already, but I was planning on knitting polka dot socks for my friend Lindsay’s birthday this weekend and I didn’t have enough of a solid sock yarn to make the background. I ended up changing the polka dot colour as well, on the husband machine’s suggestion that the pink and purple looked better together – he was right they look great.

The purple is Blackberry and the pinkish one is Berry, I have managed to knit up about 3″ of polka dots on the leg of this sock since this photo was taken yesterday and they look fantastic! These colours together are way better than my original selection and much more ‘Lindsay’, I think she’ll be happy with them. No idea on when they’ll be done though, since there is other prep work that I have to do for her party this weekend.

Once Lindsay’s fete is over and before I get going on my Mother in Law’s socks, I need to take one afternoon to make some cloth diapers for wee one #3. I found some seriously cute cotton flannel. Hello skulls and cross bones on homemade cloth diapers!

No Comments

Welcome to the World + Belated Birthdays

Crafty, Domestic

Wee one #3’s arrival was the most anticipated yet! Both her brother and sister were weeks early, so naturally we all assumed she’d be early as well. Imagine our collective surprise when she decided to arrive 3 days late! It’s amazing the things I put off or just didn’t do at all because I was so sure she was on her way. My Dad’s big 60th birthday party never happened (I will just have to throw him a big 61st party next year!), my parent’s 30th anniversary dinner didn’t happen either (is it weird to make a celebration out of 31 years next year?), and both Andrew and Talea’s birthdays did not have half as much detail as I had originally planned. Her Welcome to the World though, that was the most low-fi and equally fantastic night ever. Four of my dearest (missed the other dearests not there though) friends were here to introduce themselves and give her a snuggle.


Technically, Andrew didn’t actually give her a snuggle, but he did put a crayon in her hand that she held for a loooong time and I thought that was painfully sweet.

The only thing I put together for his little gathering was a chocolate-strawberry pie and it was so simple to make it’s embarrassing to admit. The crust was just Becel and cookie crumbs, the filling was from scratch vanilla pudding (which really doesn’t require much more effort than instant pudding, unless you count turning on the stove effort), and the top was just sliced strawberries. I was a little blown away by how good it was, and even more blown away by how much everyone else loved it. It’s been named best pie so far.

After the excitement of bringing home a new baby, it takes some time to come down from it all. It’s also hard not to just stare at her sleeping all day, so between the laundry and the other two wee ones, a few birthdays slipped past me! The first is for a dear friend’s cousin, and I wasn’t actually going to make her anything but I found a pattern for a cute monster and I remembered that she got some really rad monsters for Christmas last year so I casted on for her – on her birthday – so she wasn’t done for a while. Here she is finished, yes without a face, I just didn’t think my yarn selection allowed for a face.

One of the husband machine’s Uncles and one of his cousins have had birthdays in the last two weeks, so I made up cards for them. It’s a wee gesture, but it’s important for them to know that late or not, we’re thinking of them. 🙂

It’s also my Mother-in-law’s birthday. She was here visiting on her actual birthday and we gave her a card because I hadn’t finished two little gifts I was working on, and I hadn’t even ordered the yarn for her birthday socks yet! Truthfully, I’m going to stop this post right now and order it! She’s allergic to a lot of yarn so the only safe bet is to use cotton. I’m going with The Butterfly Super 10 Cotton from Red Bird Knits in Persian – it’s a fantastic and rich red. I should have it by Thursday and hopefully a few late nights catching up on Lost with the husband machine and I’ll have her socks ready to mail out by this time next week. Now, if only Andrew’s Skull Socks of Fury would hurry up and knit themselves up! The other little gifts I’m making for my Mother-in-law are, silly as it may seem, an apple cozy from I Think I’m Gonna Purl and a banana cozy. She takes fruit with her to work and has mentioned that it gets banged up in her bag, these cozies should soften the blow.

This weekend we got back to the usual Stitch n Bitch night, and Gill pointed out that I really should have made soda bread and done up some green window decorations…though I suppose I could always host a late St Patty’s Day SnB next weekend. We’ll see, all of a sudden I have the urge to knit four leaf clovers. Thanks a lot Gill!

This week I made nectarine pie and in keeping with the new baby theme I cut wee teddy bears from the crust. It was really juicy and not at all too sweet. Of course, we ate it warm with french vanilla ice cream.

Over the last week or so I’ve been collecting ideas of things to knit for wee one #3, though all I’ve knit for her has been socks. That first pink, white and green pair and this purple pair. I’ve also just finished up a green set for wee one #1’s former teacher, who just had her first baby.

The next person to turn 29 this year is wee one #3’s Godmother, Lindsay. She’s having a few gatherings over the course of a week to celebrate and one of them is a ‘Girly-Tastic-Birthday-Fun-Time’ tea at the Four Seasons! Of all the ladies coming, one is pregnant and two of us have brand new babies that we’re bringing with us. I can’t find a pretty dress small enough for my 7lb baby to wear to tea, so I’m going to knit her up something snazzy – tea is this weekend though, so I’ve got six days to knit it up if we count today. Good thing it’s March Break and I’m up to all hours watching Lost and knitting anyway!

It’s so hard to pick a pattern! This one is my overall fave, but I’m not crazy about the ribbon. Just because I know from wee one #2 that bow is not going to stay tied up and will likely end up covered in some bodily fluid. I’m guessing it’s harder to get puke out of organza than cashmerino (which is surprisingly durable). Other options include this, which has no ribbon, but is too big and seems like it might be a serious headache to make it smaller and maybe this one, but I’m still undecided. I need to cast on tonight though so a decision must be made! Oh and I *must* sew this as well. Love it!

This week I’ll be working on that dress, maybe some small St Patty’s Day stuff for next weekend and once my yarn order gets here I’ll have to dig deep and find it somewhere in myself to stick to Andrew’s second skull sock until it’s done and not abandon it for snazzy new yarn. I can already feel myself crumbling and I just paid the invoice a few minutes ago…

I’m really excited for next week, getting ready for Lindsay’s birthday fete at my place!


One Anniversary and Back to Back Birthdays

Crafty, Domestic

My parents celebrated their 30th anniversary a few weeks ago, I had a few silly ideas for the pearl anniversary that involved patterns with lots of ‘purls’ in them but nothing seemed quite right. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you know how much I love knitting creatures and toys so I just went with knitting pearls, 30 of them!

I didn’t intend for either of them to actually wear them, I assumed they’d put them where ever they put all the other random knitted stuff they have from me. I’ve been told that when held up and dangling, this looks like a string of garlic. As far as I know my folks don’t believe in vampires…

On to the recap portion of this recap post, so much has happened – both crafty and otherwise – since my Valentines Day Rewind post a few weeks ago. First, we had a (sort of) surprise party for our dear friend Andrew, then another birthday party for our dear friend Talea, and then I finally gave birth to wee one #3 and we had a little welcome to the world party for her. Many, many things were knitted, and many, many things were baked (and cooked) since then.

A bunch of my friends are turning 29 this year, myself included, and Andrew was the first. So we started planning his fete as a surprise – which isn’t how it ended up at all, unless you ask wee one #2, she’s certain he had no idea. She hid under the dining room table and jumped out at him yelling ‘suuuuuurprise!!’ 😛

Food themes for tonight (aside from 102 Warhead sour candies) were cheese and chocolate – two of our favorite things as a collective. The cheddar crackers are from a recipe my Dad and I put together last summer with not much else to do one afternoon. Every time I make them they’re a little different, sometimes I switch up the cheese, sometimes I add onion or chives. This version is made with cheddar and has diced onions. The cheese souffles were also made with cheddar, and borderlined just enough on being quiche-like that both those who love and hate quiche loved these babies.


The actual surprise of the evening was the cake Gill had made for him. We Photoshopped Andrew’s head on to Burt Reynolds’ very naked body (very naked body on a bear skin rug!), and had that put on an ice cream cake. To keep him from discovering, or even asking about his cake, we made a decoy. Wee one #2 and I made a banana chocolate chip cake and she painstakingly put on each of these chocolate chips herself, one at a time.


This week’s pie of the week was a tray of chocolate cinnamon tarts. My resident pie fanatic assured me that as mini pies, tarts count! The crust is my usual pie crust, minus 1/4 cup of flour for 1/4 cup of cocoa and a bit of milk instead of water. The filling is essentially scratch chocolate pudding with 1 tsp of cinnamon, topped with fresh whipped cream and a chocolate chip, naturally! Wee one #1 crushed some Oreos for me so we could make Oreo fudge. Fudge used to be such a mystery to me and now I can hardly believe how simple it is to make!


On to his gift, his gloriously unfinished gift! I’m knitting him up a pair of Skull Socks of Fury from Hello Yarn! I made him the Pirate Mittens from the same site for Christmas, so I’m keeping with the theme. The pattern in these socks is pretty simple to follow, it’s just the time consuming factor of knitting socks for men and their giant feet. 😛

I love how big the skull is on this little guy, clearly he has an overactive brain.

So now, fast forward one week, I’d been having contractions here and there and it was making it tricky for even me to get things done. Talea’s 26th birthday landed on the Saturday, the day *after* my official due date with wee one #3. I had so many fun ideas for her birthday party, and I wont list all the neat things I didn’t do this year because I’ll just do them next year when she’s 27! 😛

I did manage to get some fun things done for her birthday fete though! Talea is my pie fanatic, the reason I vowed to make a pie a week for at least a year (this week’s potato/cheese/chive pie was week 13), and she is my one and only sock knitting protege. So really, it wouldn’t make sense to not use the themes of sock knitting and pie. Naturally, from one sock knitter to another, my first thought was to make heaps of teeny tiny socks and litter the table with them.


This actually lead to knitting baby socks, (which consumed the rest of my week – more on that later), so I casted on again to make really, really wee socks and left them partly unfinished with toothpicks in them as wee double pointed needles! I also knit up a chocolate-raspberry tart for her! My husband machine thought the wee socks and ‘needles’ were cute but they needed a knitting basket for the wee balls of yarn they were being knitted from so he made me some origami boxes!

The wee ones wanted to get in on the crafting action, of course, so they made some tissue paper flowers for her! Her fiancee totally showed them up by having 26 red roses delivered here that night to surprise her! Ha!

I’m not posting photos of this week’s pie because it was sort of blah and I’m not happy with the crust. I cut balloons out of the crust, but it just wasn’t what I was aiming for. It was yummy though – Potato Cheese and Chive! I will post a photo of the birthday gal’s treats! I got her Lorna’s Laces sock yarn and Gill and Andrew got her a huge goblet and a bottle of her fave wine. What I loved most about this gathering was how quickly the addition of a few hanks of yarn turned it into a yarn winding party!

At Talea’s birthday fete I had two pretty serious contractions, enough to make me think that wee one #3 may actually join us that weekend – I wasn’t far off. I spent the rest of the weekend knitting wee socks for her, keeping my fingers crossed that she was a girl as the tech had said she was (the husband machine and I were having a really hard time coming up with a boy name), and hoping to meet her soon. Monday night (one week ago tonight) she was born…here she is:

And here is one of the many pairs of socks I made for her last weekend while we were all waiting for her to be ready to come out!

I’ll leave you to chew on that for now and post again about the Welcome to the World gathering we had on Friday…with the most delicious pie there ever was.