Sunday, April 29, 2012

knit parade: 3-season cowl in earl grey

i finished a cowl for me!!!

it's a bit late in the season here to be wearing a wool cowl but i don't care.  the pattern is annie by jane richmond and i made it using a madelintosh tosh dk... so it's a lighter weight yarn than i would normally wear in the winter anyway. 

the colour is called earl grey and i love it. i bought the yarn in kelowna, on vacation last summer. yes. i bought wool in the summer because this yarn would not just let me be.

it's a long enough cowl that you can loop it twice (my fave) or up to three times (which would be good in winter). it was pretty simple to work up, too... kind of obsessive and mindless at the same time. good tv knitting.

that's right. i did stop to take pictures of myself while pushing the stroller. and these are the faces i saw when i thought i should check on the kiddos.

Friday, April 27, 2012

{gorgeous moments}

a friday ritual (modified from its original inception), where i share a photograph or two (or more) featuring my favourite moment(s) from the week.

there really is nothing better than watching these two play together. the moments of collaboration and cooperation last for like, seconds, what with toddler and baby communication skills being what they are. but man, those seconds are gold.

happy friday!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

knit parade: baby surprise jacket

as promised, the knit parade continues.

here's a little something i've been meaning to show you for a while. 

the baby surprise jacket is a legendary knitting pattern in which you follow elizabeth zimmerman's (legendary knitting guru extraordinaire) pithy instructions to yield a finished object that begins looking like this.

and then magically looks like this after a bit of seaming.

i finished this project a while ago back when i knew even less than i know now about knitting.  (just look at the girl at 7 months old wearing it.)

my yarn choices weren't ideal. i certainly would not choose the same yarn for this project again. i love the colours but choosing two different yarns, one mostly alpaca, the other mostly cotton, makes the garment kind of fragile and not as hard-wearing as it needs to be for toddler living.

both fibres also stretch, a lot...  which is great, in a way, because the girl can wear it now. so while i love how the girl looks in it, it's kind of a monet of a project. i wouldn't let you get too close.

it's such a cool pattern though. i've already bought the yarn to make the girl another one for the fall. see? 

(yup, that's right. if you're keeping track, you would know that i shouldn't have bought new yarn. taking a knitting class in a yarn shop was not a good idea. thankfully, class is over. but i am left still wanting to buy more yarn. the cycle never ends. in fairness, i only bought the two balls of noro at 30% off. the fibre company canopy yarn was already in my stash.)

Monday, April 23, 2012

on staying present while moving forward

spring began early this year but decided to creep into the ground rather tentatively. 

only now is the sun's heat an extended play date, instead of a  incidental peek-a-boo.

only now are the cherry blossoms managing to bloom together. 

things feel like they're looking up. 

but i feel a change rising in the soul of my little universe, in particular, among the circle of people i happen to be in contact with: a change, in varying phases of fruition. unsteady, and yet moving onward, if not upward. there is goodness. there is also a lot of pain and different degrees of suffering and sacrifice.

i know i'm being very vague here, but what i'm getting at is that where there is change, there is hope. and the thing that needs to happen when the tide propels us forward, is to make a choice to lean into it, without clinging to the comforts of habit. to willingly choose to say goodbye to the things that were and the immerse oneself in the things that are. 

to be present.

to be present in the face of change is to participate in the step forward. 

i began this blog because i needed an outlet. i wanted to give myself an opportunity to be creative, to share photographs, to obsess about knitting, to communicate with friends and family and even strangers about family life and motherhood. 

what i've discovered in nearly 5 months of sharing this journal with you, is that i've come to rely on the blog to help me stay focused on, what i now realize to be, my life goals. 

life gets so busy. it's annoyingly easy to get caught up in so many things that don't matter. writing regularly and forcing myself to be present, to take pictures or to just stop and really look at what's around me (instead of doing the dishes or freaking out about other dramas), has helped me to stay present while moving forward: for my wife, my children, and myself.

i recently said to a friend that motherhood isn't about perfection, it's about best efforts and sincere intentions. i would say i have the same perspective on everything else in my life. but being a caregiver is not easy. you are your own worst critic. even if you're lucky enough to be working as part of a team, staying connected throughout the chaos is a concerted effort. 

so if you've been reading, whether family, friend, or perfect stranger, i thank you. whatever you may think about my beginner knitting, amateur photographs, and patchy writing - i am appreciative that we are connecting in this virtual sense. good energy is welcome energy. 

if you've left a comment, thank you for taking the time to continue the conversation. your insights are always welcome. 

if you've tried my recipes, do let me know how they've turned out. i'm not a cookbook writer. i'm a home cook who loves to eat. so if you've improved on anything or if i can improve the recipe in some way, let me know. good food must be shared.

i hope you're having a good week so far! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

{gorgeous moments}

a friday ritual (modified from its original inception), where i share a photograph or two (or more) featuring my favourite moment(s) from the week.

amid the chaos, the anxiety, the tension, the exhaustion (not to mention some anger management),  there were more than a few moments of laughter and bliss. those moments are golden - not just for the break, but the reminder that things change all too quickly. what goes up, does come down. that when i'm face to face with that gorgeous moment where the boy is teasing himself about being goofy, i must watch him unfold with full attention. or when the girl manages to force-feed me a soggy cracker fresh from her mouth because she's nodding away, telling me with her eyes and her coy smile, that i really do want that pre-masticated cracker, and she really does want to put it in my mouth, i have to file away the moment.

today, i picked these flowers for the boy on the way home from preschool. 

and this happens to be my favourite photo this week. 

now, these flowers are for you.

happy friday!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

knit parade: a dress for the girl

i made a dress for the girl.

isn't it purdy? (though it really isn't so much coral-pink as i alluded to yesterday, as it is wild salmon pink... hmn.)

yarn: quince and co. tern

these aren't the best shots of the girl in the dress. i'll apologize for the terrible indoor photos right now. these late afternoon shots don't exactly showcase the dress as i see it. but i couldn't wait to show you!

i made a dress! with my bare hands! out of sock yarn! (yay!)

this is what it looks like from the front.

yes, she happens to be burnishing a knife from her kitchen.
(it's made of cloth.)

this is what the dress looks like from the back.

yes, those are an awful lot of magnets.

and i just love the button detail!

yes, it looks like it's busting out already. it's not.
i just don't think i blocked properly. oh well. next wash. 

i loved working with the yarn. this was the first time i ever knit with a wool/silk blend and it was yummy. after blocking, the yarn relaxes and blooms yielding lovely stitch definition, softest squishiness, and a slightest halo. i love the yarn so much i'm planning to save up for enough yarn to make a me-sized cardigan someday!

i think the girl's quite comfortable wearing the dress. i'm hoping she'll get a lot of wear out of it this summer.

yes, she was rough-housing with her brother.

i won't lie. it was a bit cumbersome to knit, what with the yarn being so lightweight and there was 12 inches to just knit and knit and knit... the dress has gorgeous drape though, so it was worth it. 

yes, her toes are munchable. 

seeing the girl with the dress just makes me want to knit another, using the same pattern (which was very simple and easy to follow) with a heavier yarn. we'll see.

(aside: a friend recently told me that she imagined my home with gleaming wood floors and wonderfully organized craft supplies. not so. that there is carpet we did not choose. and that clutter is the "work" of each of my children, and myself. see, there's yarn on the floor. yarn i snipped just moments after this "photo shoot." after the buttons were on, i put the dress on the girl and started snapping photos maniacally hoping to catch just one good shot. there was no time to pick up flung yarn. priorities, you know.)

the knit parade continues next week!

this week hurts. again, not tragically so. but it hurts. send happy thoughts please.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

knit parade: i feel a blue hat binge coming on

well if monday didn't ever kick my butt! 

i hope your week started on a better note. 

let's talk about knitting, shall we? 

i finished this hat for the boy recently.
pattern: turn a square
yarn: spud and chloe scraps
apparently, the boy "can't like" this hat. he only wants to wear his dinosaur hat now. 

so i suggested this morning that we add spikes. then he can have have 2 dinosaur hats!

now,  just look at this! 

this lovely bundle of blue represents five hats queued for the making! i'm not sure why but i've been wanting to knit nothing but blue lately. 

maybe because the ocean is no longer walking distance. maybe because these blues are calming and exhilarating all at once. or maybe because i've been knitting a ton of corally pink of late (you'll see tomorrow, if my photo shoot plans with the girl pull through). or maybe blue is an every time of year kind of colour. 

no matter. it's a blue hat knitting binge and i'm diving right into the sea of it. 

want to join in?

Monday, April 16, 2012

one day a week: reprieve, gratitude, hope

last week was very challenging for our family on many counts. not tragic, or painful... but certainly challenging. the wife worked for six days straight, there continues to be administrative "drama" at the preschool, i am hard at work on a project at the day job, and we found out that two people dear to us were hospitalized.

we just really needed a day off. out and away from our perpetually cluttered home, from kitchen duty, laundry duty, and guilt over how much tv our children are actually watching so we can gain composure/ catch up on chores/ have a moment to reflect/ you get the idea.

and saturdays have been just that these days. our one day a week boycott from our nest. 

i go to a knitting class on finishing at this adorable local yarn store where the temptation to buy yarn almost always wins, i'm afraid. but the people i've met are nice and our teacher is helpful and very reassuring. it helps to know where i'm at with this new skill i've become obsessed with. 

after knit class, i typically meet up with my little family and we run errands and then go wherever our feet happen to take us.

and our feet usually take us to granville island. because we love it there. 

this time, we parked ourselves near the kids' play area. but then i saw this cluster of cherry blossoms raining petals. i suddenly remembered something i threw out to the universe years ago, before children, happening upon just these very trees with children dancing beneath the flower heavy bows. i remembered wishing (quite hard) for the day i would dance with my children under the same trees.

okay, i didn't dance. but i took a ton of pictures. 

and i did chase the boy around for a bit. he agreed. it was magical.

which meant that the girl had to take a little tour, too. her visit was short as she was mostly concerned about keeping her balance and grabbing onto my leg.

and then we saw a herd(?) of turtles.

and then we walked to the beach.

where the girl played tag with the tide for a little while.

and the boy did his favourite thing.

it was a very full day but a reprieve all the same.

i am so grateful for so many things.

including the fact that the day also came with a rendez-vous with a cousin, whose company we not only thoroughly enjoy but who also cheerfully played with our children - and pushed the stroller on the way home, so the wife and i could take a few minutes to hold hands and reconnect.

when i lived in toronto, fall was my favourite season. but in vancouver, spring has become my new favourite. the days are longer, the earth wakes up to the warmth of the season earlier, nature's first green lingers gold for a little longer than a blink, and i find myself with hope in my skin and in my heart.

i am sending happy thoughts and prayers to my mother in law, who is undergoing a procedure very soon. i hope she is as pain-free as possible as she awaits the procedure, that the procedure is successful, that she has a strong and productive recovery, and that she knows that we are thinking about her. 

i hope you all have a lovely week. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

{gorgeous moments}

a friday ritual (modified from its original inception), where i share a few photographs featuring my favourite moments from the week.

this week's photos are snapshots mostly from the kitchen, where we most often get hands on with the kids to share our love of food and food preparation.

gutting a pacific fresh cod with mommy,
who thanks youtube for the lesson.
the boy continues to be obsessed with fish!
showing me the finished fillet,
which we barbecued and basted with lemon butter
and extra virgin olive oil.

making a dutch baby pancake with mama.
this girl catches on quick! 

"sharing" mom's vanilla bean latte in the stroller
after picking her up from work.
methinks the little lady doth protest too much.

happy friday the 13th!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

recipe share: my caesar salad

i love a good caesar salad. the first time i had a real, made-from-scratch, caesar salad was at my faerie godfather's house, long ago. it was, and still is the most delicious caesar i've ever had.  

(what is a faerie godfather, you ask? the same as a faerie godmother. but better - because instead of glass slippers, he and his husband gave me an iron spine and dared me to put it on when i was at my most "in-the-closet-frightened. together, my faerie godfathers taught me how to cook and throw proper dinner parties. i still don't quite throw "proper dinner parties like they do in their home, but my standards for proper food and good ingredients were definitely raised because of their influence. in fact, i still remember the very first meal i had at their house. and balking when i was told that bottled salad dressings were forbidden in their home. i get it now. obviously. but i digress.)

my caesar salad diverges from my faerie godfather's and the traditional recipe in that i do not include a raw egg in my ingredients list. i don't know why. i guess i've always been a bit uncomfortable with the idea - even though cerebrally, i realize that the lemon's acidity essentially cooks the egg. in my head, i also think the omission of the egg also extends the life of the dressing.

the long and the short of it is, this is the caesar salad i make all the time. it's more tangy than creamy, not to mention quite substantial.

and the wife devours it to the extent that if there is dressing around, no romaine lettuce head is safe.


salad dressing

2 cloves garlic
4-6 anchovy fillets (or to taste)
the juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauces (or to taste. i am quite liberal because i love it)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
dash tabasco sauce (optional)
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste (i go easy on the salt and grind the pepper mill like heck)

croutons (i make this fresh with whatever bread i have to hand, tossed in a bit of extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and a pinch of cayenne. i then toast the lot in the toaster oven for about 10 minutes at around 375 C)

romaine lettuce, chopped up to bite sized pieces, as you like
freshly grated parmegianno regianno

other accompaniments
i often add other vegetables to my salad. my favourites are avocados and cremini mushrooms. or add your protein of choice - cooked chicken, salmon, or beef would be delicious with this, too.


i used to use a mortar and pestle to blend the ingredients together. but now i use my faerie godfather's method, which is  put everything in a measuring jug and use a hand blender to blitz until everything is emulsified. then i taste and adjust the seasoning - adding bits of the ingredients here and there depending on my mood.

toss the salad and dressing together. serve with a fresh grating of parmigianno regianno, as much or as little as you like.

i know this shot is terrible.
it was the best i could do that night.
you get the gist though, right?

if you try the recipe, let me know how you like it!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

knit parade: a little carried away with the easter toy making

i couldn't help it, it was addictive going through my yarn scraps and making things work.

i didn't quite knit an army of ducks and bunnies - but i made four of these... well, i completed 3. they are reversible duck to bunny toys... 

see? so fun! my kiddos each got one and i sent one home with our nanny for her daughter.

i'm making this one for my nephew. i don't have to finish it until june.

but i am absolutely delighted with these! the pattern is called fat robin. 

i made one for each of the kids. they were a hit.

and of course, they love taking the eggs in and out of the birdies' "tail feathers".

i'm working on a nest these little ladies can share... i do wish i found a way to stuff the birds with beans or something because they won't sit flat without something to prop them up and it's kind of late in the game to do so. oh well.

both the toys were designed by susan b. anderson and i found the pattern and construction unfussy and easy to follow - not to mention so much fun! i need to get better at making the faces though. more difficult than it looks.

i see more toy-making in my future. in fact i'm already hatching christmas toy-making plans for the boy and the girl. we'll just have to see if i make it all happen on time.


and check out this basket - it's full of finished knits just waiting to be blocked and then seamed! 

if i get my butt in gear on all the blocking and seaming, next week's posts will be quite the knit-centric one. 

*big grin*