1. finishing one project before starting another (so terrible at that)
2. getting a super-early head start on any deadline-ish projects (hello, birthdays and xmas)
and the biggie:
3. no buying new materials except for storage-related items! we have a "storage room" that is an absolute disaster - i really need to bite the bullet and get it sorted. get rid of things that we will never ever need or use, and come up with a proper system to organise the "keepers." i already have ideas dancing in my head for a system of crates that could be stacked out of the way against the wall, or hooked together to form the base for an inflatable mattress if we have guests over (because really, it is crazy that we have an entire extra room but still make guests sleep on the sofa!) but of course all of that involves work... i think until i make some headway on this, there must be no new non-storage-related projects. except for gifts of course. and finishing things i've already started.
then i hit some quilt stores with my friend jen. regina quilting was... an industrial quilting factory, kind of a bust. sew sisters, i didn't get to see because the boy was asleep in the car. but cock-a-doodle quilts was a hit! flannel for next year's xmas jammies (this year's only got done on the 23 december, eep) and some of the number's fabric that matches the boy's quilt, so i can make a spare sheet and pillow case!
then, we added the finishing touches to our gingerbread house - or "cookie cottage" as the boy calls it - a few fir trees...
... a christmas tree for inside...
... and an attack by godzilla!
now, i just have to finish all of those knitted gifts, and pyjamas for the bambino...
and, the results so far are pretty nice.
and for your viewing pleasure, here are just two of the wow-i-never-knew-that-existed things i saw at mccalls:
foolishly i kept putting off the cards - hadn't even thought of what to put on them, and then yesterday i thought "maybe i will just get some tree-shaped rubber stamps and go crazy with that" and then i thought "maybe i could get a tree stamp and a pear stamp and a partridge stamp" and then i just went ahead and did a drawing of a the tree i wanted. for the ones i send out, there will be glueing (that word looks wrong no matter how i spell it) and stamping, but i've put a version here as well for anyone else who wants to send them out!
the cards i did last year and the year before are available too: santa baby and cookie wonderland.
too tired to type now!
and, some frustration.
after last night's visit to the one of a kind show, i've got sleds on the mind. i've looked at photos from citizen kane, and made up a plan based on this simple design. so today i headed off to fairbank lumber on the advice of a friend. no ash! but, they recommended unicorn universal woods. would they be open on saturday? of course! or, you know, not, as i learned, crying alone in their parking lot. but at least i know whom to call now.
of all the home-made gifts on my list, this is the one most likely to end up bought.
tomorrow's home-made xmas gift project: jam!
yay is getting a head start on xmas baking last saturday! every dough that requires being put in the fridge to chill for a few hours or overnight is now chilling in my freezer - pastry for tarts, cookie dough for cheese biscuits, shortbreads, pecan crescents, and viennese icebox cookies. the last three i made vegan - the viennese icebox cookies ask for an egg, which i susbstituted almond milk. i think it will work, we shall see!
also yay is ttc-ing it to work again - so i can make proper dinners (well, those that are braces-chewable). last night we had colcannon (made with locally-sourced potatoes and cabbage from our organic box), baked ham, and broccoli (also from the box). yum!
the pastry recipe is mine - she has pages of them in her book, but this is my standard no-recipe-needed pie crust (the basic rule is twice as much flour as fat by weight, and don't forget the acid). i don't look for other pie recipes unless i'm feeling very fancy. if you are making pastry from scratch, start well ahead - preferably the day before.
hungarian apple pie
1 1/2 to 2 cups pastry flour
2 tbs sugar
a shake or 2 of salt
5 oz shortening of some kind (butter, lard, margarine, vegetable oil shortening, or some combination of any of the above - i use half-and-half butter and lard), cold and cut into bits
1 tbs vinegar or lemon juice
4 to 6 tbs ice water
2 lbs apples, peeled, cored, and sliced in 1/8ths
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup pastry flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine
for the pastry:
combine dry ingredients with a fork. add shortening however you prefer (a fork, a pastry cutter, two knives, your fingers) blending until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
sprinkle over the vinegar (this is essential for flaky pastry - the acid keeps the gluten from "activating") and a tablespoon of ice water, mix in with a fork. add additional ice-water as necessary until it starts to hold together in big clumps.
spread the clumps around a pie plate and press in to cover in an even crust just under 1/4" thick. take whatever pastry is left over and roll into a rope; use this to make a decorative edge. put the pie plate into the fridge to chill for a few hours or overnight.
for the filling:
combine the sugar and cinnamon. use to coat the apple slices. arrange neatly in the pie crust.
for the topping:
combine flour and sugar, then rub in the shortening as for pastry. sprinkle over the apples to cover.
bake the pie for about an hour at 350F. allow to cool for a while before eating, or you'll burn yourself. we tucked into our pie hours later, and it was still warm!
problem was, while i was finished knitting, i wasn't really finished. i still had the accursed blocking to do. and, there was the question of where to block it - it's really a whole-dining-room affair, and there was the chance that she'd be staying over a night or two before it was ready. so, i arranged to block it at the house of my friend and neighbour, amylovesred.
problem was, i went to the fracture clinic (did i mention that i broke my foot seven weeks ago?) on the monday morning (after we found out about mil's travel plans) and the doc said i should start putting weight on it, and go without the cast - at home at the very least, but preferably all the time. one day of that and i was toast. so did i find the energy to make the one-minute walk down to amy's house with my pins and boards? no, i did not. and suddenly it was the very busy day before the day when mil was coming to lunch, and too late to block it anywhere.
why not, i thought, just iron it? it's briggs & little, and i find all wool to be wonderfully forgiving, and b&l the most forgiving and hardy of all, so why not give it a shot?
and you know? it worked! and i'm sure it didn't take much longer than soaking and pinning would have, not counting the days it would have taken to dry. it was certainly tedious - i started from the middle (the pattern is a rectangle, knit from the centre out to each end), pinned what would fit on my ironing board, spritzed, pressed, and moved on to the next section. but! it is done. and it looks so nice. i'm quite pleased with myself.
next, apple pie! we had two pounds of the tiniest apples in our organic box this week. here are eleven tiny apples...
... covered in cinnamon sugar...
... and streusel topping from madame benoit's encyclopedia of canadian cuisine. this is the apple my my mother always made.
now, i need to make stuffing and roast a chicken!
also, there is the wreath* i started last year. all i need to do is the yellow centres and the assmbly! it's just finding the time, sigh.
*mine is made out of briggs & little and white buffalo, in off-white with green leaves though
but if that leaves it up to me, then what?
also, spent a good chunk of the afternoon working on my corpse bride outfit. finished the dress, and took some pics along the way, which i'll post tomorrow. all done except the wig! there's my job for tomorrow i guess...
anyway, it's minus the booties, and the velcro needs reinforcing, and i had a clever plan for earholes, but it's done for now!
note to self: buy a thimble. hmm, maybe that could go in my xmas stocking.
so i open it, and what is inside? a completely gorgeous pair of kai tailor's shears! and some extra bonus scissors besides! they cut like a dream, and the timing is perfect because i was just about to hack into the polar fleece not to mention all of the xmas pjs i intend to make and i ended up buying the elvis fabric to make a shirt for harry. so, lots of cutting in my future. triple yay.
i have now cut out all the pieces for h's costume (i wonder if i can cut through 4 layers of felt at once? yes!!) as well as a mad men-inspired dress for me. i think i'll cut out a skirt too before i go to bed.
and just for fun, here are a couple of snaps of my vv boutique haul for the corpse bride costume:
i swung by value village on the way home today, to see if they happened to have a few things i would need if i want to be corpse bride for hallowe'en - a light blue formal gown, some sort of lace doily thing to dress up the bodice, off-white bride-y-but-wearable shoes, a twig wreath for my hair, etc.
i found all of these things, and a cute 1950s vintage cotton dress. score. also went to zellers and bought some cheap bernat yarn in two shades of blue for a wig, and facepaint. whee! i can pull this off in a week (considering i will spend all weekend making h's snapping turtle first), right? of course i can!
this would have been a great idea if i had thought of it last month instead of worrying about xmas!
so on the way home from work today, i swung by fabricland to get fabric for the bambino's snapping turtle hallowe'en costume. i also saw this awesome elvis fabric:
but i resisted, since xmas is fast approaching and i'm going to make pyjamas not just for the bamibno this year, but for the whole family!
the red print is for the kiddo, the light print is for me, and i got a coordinating solid dark red for tg. and a bunch of dark green piping and buttons the same for all of us so we'll all coordinate without being too obnoxiously matchy-matchy. it will still be obnoxiously cuddly cute though.
anyway i finished my ladylike sweater sweater during a mad men marathon that sadly ended with season two as those are all the episodes i could find online. not fair! anyway i thought it was a good match as i could totally see peggy wearing the sweater. don't you think?
now i just have to finish the mauve one, which is mainly a problem of staying awake long enough.
no pics of my other work-in-progress, since it's a gift, but you can see it on ravelry.
won't be working on this till my foot is better, but stay tuned for details!
also, i really like beatnik and when i was looking at my stash to see if i somehow already had enough yarn for it, i realised i could do that and the 1930s 3-hour sweater that i'm keen on, if i frogged the stripey dress i cast on and instantly got bored with. so, while i haven't frogged yet (hedging) i've almost done the back of the sweater (and yes, it does take more than 3 hours) while watching the trouble with harry, one of hitchcock's more light-hearted films, featuring a quite young shirley maclaine, and edmund gwenn (aka kris kringle from miracle on 34th street and (as tg pointed out) charlie from charlie's angels. very weird to hear that voice coming from a person instead of an intercom box (and it's sad that although john forsythe has done so much other stuff, that intercom box is how i remember him).
note: as of 1 december 2014, this pattern will no longer be available for free. i am re-writing it as a multi-sized pattern and will offer it for sale on ravelry and etsy. so if you want it free, get it now!
xmas is less than 3 months away! and harry now has an elf hat to go with his socks to get him in the spirit. i've written up the pattern as well, in case anyone else can't stop thinking about the holidays already. i've only written it up for harry's size (3 1/2-year-old with a big head) but it should be easy to size up or down, as long as your cast-on is divisible by 8. here's the pattern! i knit it out of briggs & little tuffy - bought on sale, that means a hat and socks for only $5! yay.
a couple of things you will need to know for the hat: short row shaping, s2sk (like ssk, except you slip 2 tog, then one, and then knit through all 3 - a centred decrease from 3 stitches to 1), kfbf (knitting in the front and back and front of a stitch to make 3 out of 1.
* 1 skirt
* 1 pr pyjamas
* 3 lasagnas
* 2 polenta with rapini
* 2 chicken cacciatore
* 2 colcannon
* 1 big pot of lentil and swiss chard soup
* 1 batch of vegan peanut butter cookies which mysteriously disappeared within hours of baking
also, i managed to convince the boy to pose in his elf socks:
and i have just turned the cuff on a matching elf hat:
and i drafted some alterations to a pattern for a turtle costume to make it more like a snapping turtle.
stuff that needs doing around the house (e.g. paint living room). last
year was just horrible in so many ways, i am really hoping that this
year will make up for that in wonderfulness. so, i've already started
accumulating stocking stuffers, and have finished elf sock #1. really
hoping i have enough in the skein to do an elfy hat as well.
the list so far:
- elf socks & hat for harry (done by 10 december for holiday party)
- repaint living room
- build shelves in dining room (ambitious? moi?)
- gift for gogo (have yarn but haven't cast on)
- gift for siena (started but much still to do)
- gift for tg (need yarn!!)
- finish the *@# wreath
- need new cushion covers for living room
- update xmas card list
- make xmas cards!
and of course i need to figure out what to get for a bunch of other
people. never too soon to start!
meanwhile, the slow-going spring dreams dress has grown a little more! i am reminded of the classic haiku by (i think) issa:
climb mount fuji
but slowly, slowly!
p.s. "amy's scarf" won first prize at the fair! whooo. "20000 leagues" sadly won nothing because i missed running in a few ends. blast you, intarsia!
so far, i've done 10 rows of 17 of the modifed half-chart i'm using on the sleeve:
anyway i've cast on and started knitting. i really need to swatch the lace, but kind of can't bear the idea of knitting a bunch of lace and not using it especially on a project of this size where i am likely to get bored well before i finish. so, if all goes well, this swatch will become a sleeve. i'm almost done the first chart. we'll see how it goes!
more experiments needed! recipe to come once the ideal is found.
it is also getting harder to get a decent shot of the young model as he likes to make funny faces and jump up and down!
a strange twilight world opened up before me, and i felt as the first man to set foot on another planet, an intruder in this mystic garden of the deep
my fingerless gloves are done! just in time for a heatwave. but you wouldn't wear thrummed mitts or something in a heatwave, would you? no, fingerless makes much more sense.
i've typed up the pattern, based on the supremely clever tilting tardis cowl pattern by novembergirl. re-written to be in the round, and have thumbs, and with a few tweaks because i am incapable of leaving well enough alone. enjoy!
only my giant squid will be orange!
i'll get some charts up once i'm satisfied with it all. or hey, maybe this will be my first for-sale pattern. i keep saying that though, don't i.