Thursday, October 30, 2008

Random Facts Meme

I’ve been tagged by Nadine for a Random Facts Meme. Now I'm not saying that I have a clue in hell what a "Meme" is ... but I can certainly ramble on with random facts.

So here are the rules:

Link to the person who tagged you. Post the following rules on your blog. Write six random things about yourself. Tag six people at the end of your post. Let each person know he or she has been tagged. Let the tagger know when your entry is up [not sure what this means either].

Random Facts About Me:

1. I am the oldest of three kids, born and bred in Australia from a German Mum and an Austrian Dad. I live in Canada and am married to a Canadian who was born in England! So I am multicultural, and I love it! I have relatives in Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Australia (of course). I can understand German very well, but speaking, well ...... I many mistakes often make [lol].

2. I LOVE chocolate. Lots of chocolate. I was introduced to Smarties when I was 4yr old, and have never looked back. I eat chocolate every single day. In fact, if I was to estimate how much chocolate I eat in a year, I'd have to honestly say "a gazillion tons". OK, that might not be entirely true, but 60lb would be embarrassingly true! And I can only do it because I work hard. Put me behind a computer and office desk, and I pack on the pounds too!

3. I am a closet disco fan! There I’ve written it for all the world to read. Saturday Night Fever will always be at the top of my DVD list. Some of my fave songs from that era (in no particular order) include:

ABBA - Dancing Queen
Bee Gees - Night Fever
Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive
Alicia Bridges - I Love The Nightlife
Chic - Le Freak
KC & The Sunshine Band - Give It Up
Yvonne Elliman - If I Can't Have You
Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive
Diana Ross - Upside Down
Sister Sledge - We Are Family
Van McCoy - The Hustle
The Village People - Y.M.C.A.
The Weather Girls - It's Raining Men
Amii Stewart - Knock On Wood.

4. The longest job I've ever had was for twelve years at Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, Australia. I began as a Stenographer, then promoted to an Administrative Assistant 3, then 4, and then a Secretary to the Dean and Professor of the Graduate Research College. I absolutely *loved* my job, and only left it to move to Canada.

5. I am a life member of Friends of the Koala (FOK) in Lismore, NSW, Australia. This honour was bestowed upon me a few years ago as a result of more than 15 years involvement helping koalas. Conserving Koalas and their habitat in the Northern Rivers of NSW is something I've always been passionate about. Until you see your first koala joey, about the size of a man's thumb, you can't truly appreciate how amazing these marsupials are! Phascolarctos cinereus rules!

6. I used to ride a motorbike. I owned two of them at different times in my life. My first motorbike was an 80cc Honda Scooter. It had an automatic clutch. I *loved* that bike. My second motorbike was a 250cc Kawasaki. Now that was a real bike. I rode many, many kilometers on that thing, including 135km each way to visit my boyfriend! And I almost bought a very sexy third motorbike - a 250cc red Suzuki! Oh that was one sleek ride. But, as is always the case with density destiny, I got a job in another city and really needed a car. It was far too unladylike to ride to work in leathers [LOL].

So enough about me. Let's tag some people:

Preita, Laurie, Brenda, Ellen, Jenny and Linda.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dyed Snow Would be Pretty

Yesterday I had foresight! This is truly amazing for me, and most definitely blog worthy.

If "they" gave out medals for hindsight, I'd be an Olympian. Hmm...I wonder whether there is a correlation between foresight and eyesight? If so, I'm totally screwed.

You know how the weatherman can screw up the daily forecast and still get paid? Well, I usually listen to him anyway, and then complain when he promises a day filled with sunshine, lollipops and laughter, and it actually rains.

With this in mind, yesterday I made a little weather prediction of my own. I predicted that if I didn't get my butt into gear and dye the yarn for my niece's turquoise hoodie, that with my rotten luck, it'd end up snowing on me.

So, I psyched myself up and spent the morning dyeing. It was a nice morning actually, but by lunch time it was raining and cccccold! After sixty-leven trips outside, I had wrinkled and numb fingers.

But, when I got up this morning, what do you think I saw?

Ha! Look at me! If' I'd waited longer to dye my goodies, I'd have been dyeing snow. And pretty as it might be, the 3C high forecast for today would have frozen me solid.

The slightly damp roving and yarn is hanging around my office drying nicely. My efforts paid off, and I'm delighted with the results. Photos just don't do justice to the pretty skeins, but here they are anyway:

Briggs & Little Heritage dyed with Jacquared Acid Dyes

Corriedale Top roving (4oz) dyed with Jacquard Acid Dyes

I'm not yet sure what I'll make out of the roving. If I spin it to fingering weight, there's enough to make a pair of socks. If I spin it to dk or light worsted, there will probably be enough for a hat or mittens. Either way, I'll be spinning for a loooooong time!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

$6M Spinner

This blank page is just staring out at me...mocking me. I've got ... nothing. Even the title was an effort. I really don't feel like blogging. The creative juices have hardened, and as the weather cools down, I find that I'm weary.

Hmm....maybe I'm just getting ready for hibernation. If only! Mmmm.......sleep....sleep is good.

NO! No sleep. Time to type. I want to tell you guys all about a one day workshop I attended with Kathryn. It was a Hands On Tips & Techniques (HOTT) workshop. We were supposed to attend four one hour classes, but we got somewhat sidetracked by the Navajo plying and spinning class and spent two hours at that instead. Oops!

The workshop I most enjoyed was Learning to Spin using a Drop Spindle. It was great. Janice did a fabulous job in leading the workshop. I'd spun a teensy, eensy tiny bit before having been show how to by Jenny.

Janice distributed 1 oz of Corriedale Roving to all workshop participants and proceeded to show us how drop spingling is done. Not quite as easy as it looks!! Patience my young spinner...

So, when I got home I continued to spin, and spin, and spin, and spin.

Damn! Another addiction! I love it!

This morning I finished my spinning. Here's the single ply yarn in a center pull ball.

And here's my spunky little 2ply skein of loveliness:

I don't know how many yards I spun. It felt like a million, but it was.....20 maybe.... What I DO know is that it took a long time to get my spunky little skein! Thank goodness nobody has to pay me per hour for it!! This is my $6million skein!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sex in a Pan?

Last week I went to FABRICLAND with friends to help buy fabric for my friend's wedding dress. While waiting at the counter, I saw a Fabricland cookbook "Sew What's Cooking" on display. As I flipped through the pages, drooling, a woman comes up behind me and says "oh I love sex in a pan"!

My jaw dropped! Yes, it did. I decided she wasn't talking to me. But when I glanced back, I discovered she was!

Nervously, I replied "I'm sorry, I didn't quite hear you". So she repeated it. "I like sex in a pan. It's at the end of the book". So my fingers, screamed to the back of the book, and there it was on page 104! A dessert! Oh for pete's sake....

Apparently this is a popular Canadian dessert. It's a sort of slice. Chopped pecans/walnuts, flour and margarine pressed into a pan, and topped with creamed cheese, icing sugar, cool whip, chocolate and vanilla puddings and a shaved chocolate bar!!! Yowza!

Now onto the knitting news.

I'm supposed to be knitting at Starbucks tonight, but I haven't heard from anybody, so who knows! Given the smidgen of spare time, I figured I'd blog for a while.

So to start the fun....I finished my sister's Jacaranda Lina. It looks great and is a fabulous fit. I used Cascade Dolce, a worsted blend of wool, silk and alpaca. The yarn was lovely to knit with. It's beautifully smooth and doesn't split, so the hat has lovely stitch definition.

I'm still knitting away on my niece's Pumpkin Hoodie. I've finished the back and am now decreasing for the armholes on the front. This is knit from Briggs & Little Heritage that I dyed. The chunkier yarn is a little more tiring to knit with, but it does knit up fast.

I'm one third of the way through my mother's Gerlinde Lace Scarf. I'm sort of enjoying the knitting. I like to knit while I watch TV, so this is not the ideal project for that. However, I do love the yarn - Mini Maiden in the Paris colorway.

And lastly, I started a lace shawl class at my LYS last night. Following careful instruction, I cast on "Karen's Water Turtles Shawl" by Alison Jeppson Hyde, and published in Wrapped in Comfort: Knitted Lace Shawls. The yarn I'm using is Fiddlesticks Zephyr Laceweight Wool-silk (50% silk, 50% wool). I chose the turquoise colorway. It's really lovely. Methinks this will be a labour of love!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Guarding Against Identity Theft

Can you tell that a I have more time on my hands now? Yup, the business season is slowing down. Customers are putting their ponds to bed for the winter. We're basically selling leaf netting, cold weather fish food, heaters and bubblers, and heron scarers and alligator decoys. We're still open seven days a week until Christmas, but then we'll close for January and February.

What this means for me right now is that I get a little more ME time. There are, of course, a gazillion jobs to be done outdoors, and as per usual I will procrastinate and end up doing them when the flakes are flying. I'll have to struggle into my winter gear and play in the water. My hands will be frozen and I'll have to stick my fingers in my mouth to get the feeling back. But I'll still leave it and leave it...knowing it needs to be done. In my defense, I'm tired; really tired. It was a long, hard season.

But enough of that. This morning I was piddling around on my computer and there they were - my two little cuddle bunnies wanting some attention and a warm place to snuggle. I had to photograph them. Who said that cats can't guard against identity theft? [laughing].

And then two nights ago we had the most amazing harvest moon! I had to photograph it.

As far as a knitting update: my Rainy Day Scarf is finished. The second of my Christmas knitting done!

My Gerlinde Scarf is about 30% done. It's turning out really nicely, but the yarn smells something awful. Anybody else noticed that with Handmaiden Mini Maiden? I'm also working on my Pumpkin Hoodie for my niece, Emily. So far so good, but the yarn is an aran weight, and for whatever reason, my left hand aches every night after I knit it. RSI?? Tendonitis? Yup, probably.

Righto, back to work. My play time is over [boo hoo].

Monday, October 13, 2008

Let's be Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving Day Canada!

I’m not entirely certain why Canadians need a special day to be thankful and appreciate what they have, where they live, family and friends. Surely we should be thankful for these things every day….well, in an ideal world anyway…. Oh, OK then. We’re not in an ideal world, so we need reminding. And what better way than with turkey, turkey stuffing and pumpkin pie!

I can tell you right now that if I was a turkey, I’d be scared shitless at this time of year. OK, so you guys caught me out on that one…I am a bit of a turkey and I’m always cautious at this time of year too [laughing].

Being a Canadian import, I thought that Thanksgiving was quite a unique little tradition. For the first couple of years I enjoyed the harvest festivities. But, as far as I can tell, Canadians don’t treat each other any better on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year. It’s just another long weekend of road rage, but with a traditional turkey dinner.

[Please be seated and prepare for some blasphemy]. Personally, I could skip the whole Thanksgiving Day ritual. Truth be told [and I do humbly apologise to the patriotic for what I’m about to write], I don’t really like the taste of turkey! EGAD! And what’s more, I can’t stand pumpkin pie. Ewwww! Pie = sweet, rich, fattening, delicious, lots of cream, and umpty calories. Pumpkin = soup or baked dinner, but most definitely not pie. Yes, I make a very poor Canadian.

This year I was invited to Thanksgiving Dinner on Saturday evening. My good friend, Roxanne, slaved away for a day and a half to build a meal fit for royalty. She had food for every palette. Yippee! I didn’t have to plow my way through turkey this year; I had the ham. And I brought the dessert – nope, not pumpkin pie [rather evil cackle]. Pavlova, of course. Mmmm … deliciously decadent Pavlova ….

So today is Monday, and the actual holiday for Thanksgiving. I decided it was about time I had a few quiet hours to myself [to reflect, appreciate, and be thankful, of course]. I shoved my knitting under my arm, grabbed a chair and headed outdoors. I perched myself under the beautiful maple trees, drank in the phenomenal shades of autumn, and added some rows to my Gerlinde lace scarf.

Life was buzzing all around me, so camera in hand I snapped a few pics of Mother Nature at her finest.

It doesn’t get much better than this, and I am indeed thankful.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

SMUG as a Bug in a Rug

Well of course I know that the idiom should really be "snug as a bug in a rug".

But, I'm not snug; not snug at all. In fact it's getting colder and cccccolder here in SW Ontario.

Instead, I'm smug. Yes. Very, very .....SMUG. Jeez, I can hardly stand myself. And this is not the first time this year I've been so smug. Remember when I finished my Tempest? Yeah, who can forget Vicky M.... And what about when I finished the Socks of Kindness for my sister....I was pretty smug then too.

Back in September I blogged about the awesome road trip to the Kitchener/Waterloo Knitting Fair? Well, amongst MANY other purchases, I bought eight skeins of Briggs & Little Heritage bare yarn (100% wool, 2 ply, 17sts to 4ins on 5mm needles, 215 yds/skein) for $3 (regularly $5.50) a skein!!!! That's like half price - PLUS I didn't have to pay tax!

Anyhoo, I bought this yarn with a view to dyeing it for two hoodies for my nieces; Emily and Karlia. I made the Pink Confetti Hoodie for my youngest niece, Jaycee, last month. All the hoodies will be Christmas gifts.

With the Ilderton Fair over, and Christmas knitting becoming a priority, I put in an order to KnitPicks for some Jacquard Acid Dyes - burnt orange for Emily, and turquoise for Karlia.

My package arrived during the week, and with the gorgeous weather yesterday, I took the opportunity to dye the yarn for Emily's hoodie.

Awww, here's Emily with me in January 2008.

Between the customers and the phone calls [it's so irritating when business gets in the way of what I really want to do] [LOL] I dyed four skeins of my Briggs & Little a beautiful semi solid orange colour. It was a little challenging at first, but I quickly got the hang of it. I was delighted with the variegated results!

And that's why I'm so SMUG. Smug as a bug in a rug!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Violets Are Out; Knitting is In

The last seven days have been nothing short of yuck. Yup, mighty peculiar indeed. And not in a good way; more's the pity.

If I totally believed in horror-scopes, I would blame the alignment of the planets, or crappy Mars as influencing those around me and my pleasant Piscean nature....

But only half of me believes in that stuff, so what does the other half of me blame for all the headaches, neckache and backache? It's probably definitely all stress related - there are pros and cons to owning your own business! Some people can be downright mean, and others rude, and still others lazy and incredibly demanding. Thank goodness for the nice ones though! I think I've dealt with them all this week. And yet....I still go on [laughing].

About 8 years ago, African Violets (AVs) were the love of my life. They totalled about 150 in number [insane I know] and lit up my otherwise drab office. I still have a totally awesome African Violet teacup collection that comprises 60 plus collectible teacups....but that's another story for another day.

Over the years my AVs have brought me much joy and many gorgeous blossoms. Sadly, some of them had succumbed to disease, pests and neglect. Their once thriving numbers had dwindled to a mere 40 a week ago. Not even a nice one in that bunch to enter into the Ilderton Fair!

Then, following a particularly bad day last week, I threw the whole lot OUT. The mealy bugs and thrips were out of control, and I just didn't have the time for the TLC they so desperately required [sigh]. I will start a new collection next spring, time permitting. There's something very nurturing in putting down a bunch of leaves and waiting 6 weeks for all the little baby plantlets to emerge. Then mothering them for three months until they are young adults and flowering prolifically.

Amongst all the yuck stuff lately were a couple of positives. For instance, the arrival of my much anticipated KnitPicks order. I got a fabulous new book "Simply Shetland 4: At Tomales Bay", some acid dyes (orange and tuquoise) for dyeing some Briggs and Little, and a norwegian finger guide for one-handed fairisle knitting.

And then, I started my first of a million Christmas knitting projects: the La Dentelle Belle Scarf by Teresa Murphy. This is my first lace project and I've called it the Gerlinde Lace Scarf cos it's for my Mum. I'm using some fabulous Handmaiden Mini Maiden yarn in the Paris colorway! This yarn is 50% wool and 50% silk, so it's very soft and shiney. I love it!

My hope now is for a much better week ahead for me and for everybody else out there who needs me for something [laughing].

I'm still 50% convinced of celestial interference this last week [scowling skyward].........