Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Summer Plans

The clock is running and it's time for today's maunderings :-) I was just messaging with a friend about how things are going and she's busier than ever even though, like me, she's (happily!) unemployed. Luckily both of us are in the situation of having a partner to help out, so the lack of a job isn't much more than a small pain in the behind at the moment. We were supposed to get together last week to go see the movie Chernobyl Diaries but what with one thing and another we didn't end up going and the next couple of weeks don't look very promising either. It kind of sucks because I'm not sure how long it will be in the theatres but oh well, I'll just pick it up on dvd when it comes out if we miss it entirely.

This summer is just filled with movies I really want to see - Men in Black 3, Snow White and the Huntsman, Prometheus(!!!1!!!!!1!!), The Dark Knight Rises, the list goes on. It looks to be an awesome movie summer, that's for sure. I'm sure I'll be knitting lots of plain or ribbed socks for movie watching :D I still think the best part about knitting at the movies is the looks that I get from other moviegoers - too funny!

I'm participating in the Tour de Sock again this year, and I've finished the first stage of the "race" as of this afternoon - the pattern was wonderful and the socks look just awesome :-) I used yarn from Sheepy Time Knits, the May colourway of the Time Traveller's Club and it's just perfect for the pattern, a lovely pale yellow that showcases the twisted stitches and lace beautifully. Now I'm waiting for stage two to begin, which isn't until Sunday morning, so I think I'll do some drop spindling in the mean time.



I started drop spindling back at the end of April when I took a class at the Downtown Knit Collective's annual Knitter's Frolic - that was a blast, both the class and the marketplace. One of the pics I posted yesterday was of the yarn that I had picked up there - there were so many vendors to look at and so many gorgeous yarns to fondle and squeeze! I picked up some Indigodragonfly, some Viola (which doesn't exist any more as the dyer was selling off all of her stock in preparation to move out of the country), some more Malabrigo and some pencil roving from a somewhat local yarn and fiber shop called The Black Lamb in Port Hope. I have some fiber from a small fiber festival that I had gone to in Port Hope the weekend before and that is what I'm planning to spin up next, in between stages of the TDS.



That's all for now,

Later.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Tuesday's Fun

Today's time has begun and I almost missed it - eep! It's ten past eleven and I only just realised that I hadn't written today's post. I was actually somewhat productive today, as I managed to clear out another half dozen boxes and bags out of the room downstairs. I'm trying to sort through everything ruthlessly as I unpack it due to the limited storage space round here and I think I'm managing not too badly but I'm sure we have too much stuff even without what's left of my things.

Other than that it was a rather ordinary day - got an issue sorted out with my unemployment, thanks to my friend Tammy and her contact at the office and I should finally have a payment coming in by the end of the week. Yay, money!

I spoke to my sister for a little while and found out that she wants to learn to make jam this year :-D I'm planning on going strawberry picking soon-ish for exactly that purpose, though first I have to contact a few farms to enquire about the price per pound for pick your own strawberries - one place has their price listed at $2.10/lb!! yikes!! - and this week I can go get apricots from the grocery store to bottle up some sunshine for future toast. I love apricot jam, especially on a toasted bagel with some cream cheese for breakfast. I'm also planning on making himself some blueberry freezer jam, maybe with a little lemon in there for fun, with the sugar free mix that I bought a while ago. I have some little one cup plastic jars for the freezer jam, and I've managed to excavate my canning jars, the rings and the countertop electric burner that I have for boiling the sealing rings. The outdoor burner is in the shed, and there's already an extra 20 lb canister of propane waiting for just the purpose of making jam and I found the blanching pot for later in the season, when it's time to do up the tomatoes for sauce and perhaps freezing some cauliflower and broccoli. I may take the summer off but I don't plan to be entirely lazy ;-)

Just to finish the post, here's some yarn porn, a small sample of what I've managed to get my hands on in the last few months.



Later :-)

Monday, 4 June 2012

Inadvertent Hiatus

So I was reading Sam of Yummy Yarn Studio's blog the other day where she mentioned how long it has been since she wrote anything and it kicked me into the realization that I haven't written anything in over three months myself. I don't really have an excuse as it's not like I have a job at the moment or anything else really pressing to do, so here I am again stealing borrowing ideas from elsewhere - namely the attempt to blog for fifteen minutes a day for the month of June. Yes, it's the fourth already, so I've already fallen down on this but I'm going to give it a shot for the rest of the month. One thing I will do is actually attempt to write for that fifteen minutes - any pictures I want to show you I will upload after I've done the writing.

I haven't been up to much for the last few months - I've been knitting quite a lot and since mid April or so I've been working on getting the front and back yards beaten into shape and planted with flowers for the front and small veggie gardens for the back. I've been pretty successful which is awesome, and himself helped me out a lot when I got stuck into doing this stuff on the weekends.



I have planted three tomato plants, three cherry tomato plants, two pepper plants, butternut squash, two zucchini plants, two watermelon plants - yellow ones! yay! - cucumber, beans and peas. I've only planted a few of each type, two or three, because I don't want to be overwhelmed by produce so that we end up not eating all of it, plus I have the CSA membership for the summer from Willowtree Farm to supplement our veggie and fruit requirements :-) That starts up in about two more weeks and I'm really looking forward to getting our first box of goodies. I also bought a meat membership from the same farm which we'll get once a month and will contain approximately ten pounds of chicken, beef and lamb.



My zucchini plants are getting huge!!

As for projects, I've finished about three pairs of socks and a huge Clapotis shawl out of SweetGeorgia CashLuxe Fine in last June's club colourway. It is stunning and I can't wait for slightly cooler weather to wear it and just snuggle up in it.






Well that's my fifteen minutes for today, so I'll be back tomorrow with another update :)

Later

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Reorganization

It's been almost three weeks since I've put fingers to keyboard, for the purpose of blogging anyway. Trust me, there's no way I've given up my computer entirely for three weeks, it's just not possible :-P I can't even plead being busy unpacking things because I haven't really done much of that either. Mostly I've been somewhat depressed due to the circumstances surrounding (not)work and so I've done some baking, some cooking, a little bit of visiting and watched what I'm sure would be considered far too much tv.

I've also finished some projects, made headway on Rod's Halloween socks (finally past the heel on 'B' sock - yay!!!) and gotten some more lovely yarn in the mail. It's a good thing to be in the clubs I'm in - they're already paid for, so it's like free yarn ;-) Not really, I know, but still it's wonderful to get packages in the mail :-)







These first two are from Apothecary Yarns and are the first shipment in the Pure Imagination club, a six-month club with two skeins of yarn each month as well as swag. Each month a different Tim Burton movie is chosen as inspiration for the colourways and the first one was drawn from The Nightmare Before Christmas. The top one is Jack & Sally, a lovely melding of the colours from Sally's dress and the grey and blues of Jack. The bottom one is Jack's Lament, taken from the iconic pose of Jack against the moon. They're beautiful colours on beautiful bases, J&S is merino/cashmere/nylon and JL is merino/silk. Somebody suggested some sort of patchwork pattern for J&S, reminiscent of Sally's dress but that's a pattern that would most likely have to be created as I don't think there's one like that out there.

I also received some more yarn from Tri'Coterie - I got the rest of my grab bag from January and they're just lovely :-)




The top is superwash Aran merino, two skeins, and I'm thinking I may make a lovely scarf out of it. I found a pattern on Rav that looks like it would be really pretty. The middle one is Sterling sock, which has little silver threads running through it and as yet I have no idea what to make with it. The last one is lace weight and is just gorgeous!

They came along with these two that I had ordered - rainbow stripes :-)


There are a few more that have shown up, but I don't have pics yet as they seem to show up on days that aren't sunny enough to bother with pics. I also need to get some white poster board from Staples or wherever to have a decent backing when I do take photos of my new yarn. I have a feeling that at least some of them are overexposed, but maybe some day I'll manage to take a class or course on how to use my camera better than I do at the moment. I get lucky with some of my pictures, thank goodness, but I know that some are really not so good.

Other things I've managed to do include give my puppy girl a trim finally. Her hair was getting way too long and she was developing some matts which are not a good thing for a poodle-y girl. She looks adorable as always, and I'm going to give her another bath on the weekend, I think, and a proper trim with the clippers this time instead of the scissors.

I finished Leigh's socks, and I hope she's got them by now. I sent them out about two weeks ago now, but I haven't heard from her as to whether or not she's received them. I guess I should message her and find out, shouldn't I :-)

I also made a pair of socks for my friend as a thank you for helping me move, and a pair of fingerless mitts for my other friend for helping me pack up the apartment.



The other thing we've managed to do it get rid of the old hutch in the back room and put up one of my bookcases and the two dvd shelves and put all the movies we have on those shelves. This opens up the back room quite a bit and clears the path for the door more than it has been.


That's about all for now, I'll try to come up with something more entertaining for the next post :-)

Later.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

February

I'm sitting here, watching Sanctuary and trying to decide what to say in this blog. I have many thoughts and opinions about what's been going on in my working life but I really don't think that it would be a very good thing to air them publicly. I have started to write it all down in a separate file, and maybe someday I'll be able to post at least some of it here but for now all I will say is that we're still screwed. The other two bargaining units have gotten acceptable contracts from their employers and I wish them all the best, but we're still sitting here waiting for some sort of resolution that will allow us to move on.

Having said that, moving on... I am completely out of my apartment though I still have to hand over my keys, and that I will do tomorrow when I have to go up to Newmarket to pick up my cheque. My upstairs neighbour should be home and I'll just leave them with him. My mail has been on redirect starting as of last week, so I doubt there's any of that there, but I could really use a lovely package of yarn to perk me up. Having said that, I have been going through my stash and photographing it so I can properly catalogue it on Ravelry. It's nice to know what I have when I'm cruising through the patterns looking for what to make next :-)

Here are a couple of my latest acquisitions:


DK Merino, colourway Ravenclaw (yes, that one, from Harry Potter)


Sock MCN - Even Cowgirls Get The Blues - so soft and squishy






BFL Sock - Storm Chaser - gorgeous colours...

The first two are from Maylin at Tri'Coterie from a grab bag that I bought in her end of year clearance. I had paid for a $100 grab bag but only got a $50 one, so she's sending some extra stuff in my next shipment to make up for the mistake. Her January colours are rainbow stripes and were just too delicious to pass up. I ended up selling one of my Fresh From the Cauldron colourways to fund it. I had bought it in an update last September and it still wasn't growing on me as a colour to love. I thought perhaps I should give someone else who would adore it more than I a chance to fondle him.

It was this one:


The last one up there is the January club selection from SweetGeorgia (obviously). It's called Storm Chaser and I'm trying to figure out what to make to best show off the wonderful colours. I made a Sockhead Hat (Rav link) with the October skein and it's great - really floppy, but so soft and comfy.



The webcam pic is kind of crappy and I'm sorry about that, but since it's actually not a bad pic of me, I thought I'd stick it in here. Let's see, what else have I been working on... Oh! My Happy Socks! They're awesome :-D


They're almost knee socks, except that my legs are too pudgy to pull them all the way up :-P I've also been working on some socks for my friend that I had started back in the summer. I ended up putting them away in the time out basket because I was trying to work the pattern toe up and it just wasn't computing for me at the time. I'm pretty sure I can convert it now that I've done it the way it was originally written, which is cool since I really prefer to use all the rather expensive yarn I have a habit of buying.


This is the first one, I managed to finish it in just a few days and I started the second one yesterday. I'm down to the foot already and should hopefully finish it tonight. I managed to get my friend's address today - I had saved it from the lovely Christmas card she'd sent but since moving I can't find a damn thing - so I can send it off when they're done. I really hope she'll like them.

Anyway, that's all for now. Time for some lunch.

Later.

















Tuesday, 24 January 2012

I Hate Moving

I'm sure there are people out there who either love the opportunities that moving provides or just happen to be inclined towards a minimalist lifestyle anyway and so moving isn't a particularly traumatic event for them but for me, it sucks. I like to nest, apparently, and it didn't help that I was in my apartment for just over three years and so had accumulated far more than I thought I had. This past weekend was the big day, moving the large items out of the apartment and into my guy's house, and it was not as bad as it could have been, I suppose, but it was still very stressful for me.

It didn't help that I had a bad customer service experience with an idiot at U-Haul Truck Rental on Friday, the day before I was supposed to be uprooting what was left of myself and I was already freaking out somewhat. While I will admit I was not the picture of politeness myself, the tone and responses I was getting from this guy ended up leaving me wanting to cry. That's not something I usually do anymore, so it was not a good sign. At the suggestion of my guy I ended up calling Ryder Truck Rental instead, and for the same price - a little less, actually - I was able to get a truck two hours earlier in the day, with a full tank of fuel (so I wouldn't have to guess how much to put back in there) and a lift gate instead of just a ramp. The woman I spoke with on the phone was very helpful and professional and the complete opposite of the asshole from U-Haul. It gave me great pleasure to call that idiot back and cancel my reservation.

Now that it's all done, all that's left (ha!) is getting everything organised here. This is not going to be an easy task, that's for sure. We have two households worth of stuff, and one small house to put it all in. This is going to require some serious purging on both our parts, and one idea I've come up with so far is "the kijiji box". Anything that is a duplicate or something that is still serviceable but no longer wanted (and is worth asking some money for) goes in the kijiji box. This is Kijiji.  He's purchased some stuff from there, and we unloaded the big TV from the front room on that site last Friday as well, so I thought we could try that first before just donating the stuff. I don't really want to hang on to anything long enough to wait for spring and garage sale season, and besides, I'm sure that would be more work than it was truly worth. My idea is to put together a "kitchen starter kit" with a coffee maker, a toaster, a small crock pot, a juice jug, maybe a couple of baking sheets and some other assorted items we have and ask $50 for the lot. I don't know if the idea will work, but it's worth a shot anyway.

Yesterday I did manage to get some stuff done, and got some of the kitchen organised as well as cleaning the small fridge and the chest freezer so that we can start using them. I let them sit for the required 24 hours (closer to 48) to let the coolant settle and so we were able to plug in the fridge last night before going to bed. It was loaded up with water and some pop this afternoon and is now back to serving as the drinks fridge. The freezer hasn't been plugged in yet, though it's ready to go, because we can't get to the outlet at the moment as it's covered by boxes. I suppose those will have to be the next thing I move. I'd like to get the freezer going to take the pressure off the one on the fridge, and so that I won't have to consider how much freezer space I have when I find a deal at the grocery store that I'd like to take advantage of.

After all that, I need some happy. I spent part of last week cataloging my yarn stash and while it was a lot of work (yes, really, it was) it was also a lovely excuse to fondle great quantities of gorgeous yarn. As well, I received my October and November yarns from Maylin of Tri'Coterie Yarns. I have to say they are truly stunning. I know my camera didn't capture the colours perfectly, but I'll show you anyway.


"Smoke on the Water" - purple and two shades of grey, self-striping, in Aran MCN. I have a third skein of this still coming, and it's beautiful. I'm looking forward to having a matching set of hat, mitts and scarf made from this.


"Violet Vampire" - self-striping royal purple and black, on MCN sock. This was from the waifs and strays selection because there's a break in the yarn according to Maylin's note on the tag.


This is "Glacial" - a graduated double skein of merino/tencel lace, starting at white and going to deep blue. I have a plan for this one, and it's going to be stunning.



 These two are both superwash Bluefaced Leicester wool (BFL) and nylon, a very nice sock yarn. It's pretty fine and requires small needles, but the socks will be great. The top colourway is "Army Brat", and the bottom is "House Stark" - a Game of Thrones reference, for those who don't know it. I've listened to the first book on audio, and have listened to most of the second book as well but the narrator's voice makes me nuts. It sounds like he's gargling rocks while he's reading the story and I can only take it in small doses.



These last ones are "Lunatic" - the top one is a graduated skein of merino lace and the bottom one is merino/tencel and also from the waifs and strays because the skein has very little white in it, mostly the graduated purple. It's also a different shade of purple than the top skein, though both are very pretty.

I've managed to change my address at the post office, so hopefully I won't miss any of my shipments, though I know my upstairs neighbours will watch out for them for me, and John has said that if any arrive after Feb 1 he'll just send a quick email to let me know that it's there. I will miss them, though not the elephant noise of their kids quite so much, but they really are very nice people.

Anyway, that's all for this evening.

Later.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

And There's the Knife...

We got some interesting news yesterday - I say "interesting" and what I really mean is shocking and extremely disheartening - the Region has pulled the contract from our employer so they are no longer running the buses for the Newmarket/Aurora area. In short, we no longer have jobs.

I'm sure there are many people out there who think that this is the least that we deserve, for having the nerve to stand up for ourselves and tell our employer that they no longer get to treat us like crap and that we deserve to make more money for the very real responsibilities that we have when doing our jobs. There is the rumour that we will still have a job with whichever company it is that gets the new contract from the Region, but honestly, talk about getting stomped on. Not only will we not get the raise we were looking for, but will almost certainly take a pay cut, and those of us who have stuck around for a while will lose our seniority and (the only thing we really have that we value) our vacation weeks. I've been with this company since August 1998 and as such am entitled to four weeks a year - with the new company, I'm sure it will be back down to two. Benefits will probably be downgraded, and we'll all be back to split shifts. For me this is more of a dilemma, as I've had to give up my apartment in Newmarket and move an hour away, in with my guy, so with the potential reduced wages, split shifts and the fact that it's a two hour/day commute (and a quarter tank of gas), it's going to be something for me to really think about and decide if it will be cost effective for me to accept the job.

Of course there is also the fact that we're going to be vilified by the passengers for ages, again for having the nerve to go out on strike. They'll happily gloat over the reduction in circumstances and before you think that I'm just not giving people the credit they deserve, trust me. I've been driving in this town for over nine years, and you do not get the people who are happy with the service saying anything. You get insulted and abused by the ones who are nasty and unhappy with the slightest of things - and this is not the slightest of things. We've been out for almost three months and a lot of people are (understandably) pissed off. I don't begrudge them their feelings, but I know the kind of crap the drivers will have to deal with when service resumes and it won't be pretty. If someone is so petty as to call in a complaint that I apparently "rolled my eyes" at her (behind my sunglasses, no less - she must have some pretty sweet x-ray vision going on there), then you can just imagine how it's going to go when service resumes.

I'm still pretty down about this - I truly didn't think it would come to this, and our union leaders assured us that this wouldn't happen as well, so it really came as a surprise. What's even worse at the moment is that our union president is not returning any phone calls, and has not issued any kind of statement to the membership or called an emergency meeting to tell us what the hell is going on and what our options are. Nothing like being left twisting in the wind.

In the meantime, I have managed to get my apartment almost completely emptied of random stuff, with the assistance of a couple of my friends from work. The only thing left to do besides moving the furniture (that's this coming weekend) and cleaning (next week) is to take down the closet fixture, fill the holes and paint over them. I've already  done that for pretty much all the other holes in the walls, so that shouldn't take long.

There's still a whole lot of stuff I have here that I haven't unpacked - I got lazy last week and haven't even finished unpacking the car completely yet. I'll work on that the rest of this week, and then somehow we need to figure out what to do in the front room. We have nowhere to put the stuff that's coming in as yet, so it's a bit of a quandary. I'm sure we'll figure it out, but it's still some more stress.

To have some happy news for once, I've finally managed to photograph a good chunk of my yarn stash and am in the process of cataloging it on Ravelry. I'll put some yarn up here, too, so you can share my happy.


My first Wollmeise yarn! :-) It's a gorgeous semi solid purple. I bought it in a destash from another Ravelry member, and it came in today. The picture is actually pretty representative of the true colour, too. Go me!


Another gorgeous yarn from GothSocks on her Laudanum Lache base, which is my favourite - merino/cashmere/nylon. It's super soft and squishy and I'm thinking will make an awesomely comfy pair of socks.

I'll feature some more yarns in the next post, as my wrist is getting a bit sore from all the work I'm doing tonight (still doing the upload to Ravelry, too).

Later.