so jealous!

while i'm stuck dreaming in toronto, wondering when i'll have time to finish my frock (because yes, i intend to dress up to watch this from the comfort of my living room) and dreading the heinous hour of the royal wedding here in eastern daylight time, my friend meredith is off in london - blogging it for work no less! catch up with her here: LondonCalling

meanwhile the kiddo and i watched fred's version on the weekend. gorgeous frocks, swank suits, and some of his most spectacular (if gimmicky) dance numbers. h especially enjoyed astaire's duet with jane powell on the ship (when waves caused havoc and much falling down), the hat rack in the gym, and of course the dancing on the ceiling trick. i told him he could do it too, if he really really practised.



finally finished my vest (again) in a new improved length, and finished putting the lining in my tweed jacket (someone asked if the harris tweed had ever got back to my enquiry - they haven't), and made some nice soup and bread and dinner for six last night, which always feels pleasantly sophisticated compared to the usual domestic business. the kiddo let us sleep in this morning because he was busy looking for chocolate (which he kindly offered to share), thank goodness. i was so tired last night i barely made it to doctor who, but after seeing the latest batch of creepy beasties i'm amazed i slept at all! there are things i should be doing now, but i am feeling so very unmotivated (read: tired). and the week ahead will be brutal. sigh.


long weekend, well deserved!

funny for a short week, it seemed awfully long - getting this new show done feels endless, and we were only told on wednesday that the first show goes to air 4 may! yikes!!

so i am very glad to have a long weekend, and grateful to the kiddo for letting me sleep in and making me heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast (well, his dad did most of the work, but he helped). on the menu for this weekend: i've ripped out the ribbing on my vest so i can re-knit it a bit longer, now that i've got more of the lovely alpaca-with-a-twist highlander from the lovely laura (aka simbabee), who still has loads of yarn to get rid of at great prices (for some reason people assume it must be all gone by now, but there is a lot there!). also got more of the yellow briggs & little regal i'm using for the kiddo's vest, maybe i'll get that done too? and a new summer dress (please, let summer come soon), and dinner for six tomorrow night, and a bunch of work on our parent's group, the usual housework, cooking ahead lunches for the week, and... and... and...

maybe i should just go back to bed.

two things on the list which will not get edited out: watching royal wedding on sunday with the kiddo, to get in the spirit for next week. and watching doctor who on saturday night!


get cracking

i've begun the kiddo's religious education by making him watch easter parade with me (which resulted in him donning his polka-dot bow tie and doing dance routines that involved a lot of falling down) and baking cupcakes with a springtime theme: eggs in a nest! the nests i made last week, and a good thing too, and this weekend was crazy (surprise party, charity event, 4th birthday party, etc.) and i never would have got done if i hadn't started early.

first off: meringues! seems the perfectly appropriate recipe for making eggs. i piped wee egg-shaped dollops on the cookie sheet, trying to stop them from getting too peak-y:

while those were in the oven, i worked on the batter for the cupcakes - here's a shot of the butterscotch being poured in:

the meringues look ready to hatch!

few things look or smell so lovely as cupcakes in the oven.

or fresh out of it! this recipe is another from the family circle cake & cooky cookbook.

i realized that my bittersweet chocolate wouldn't do for the icing - it had an allergy warning, and the kiddo's school is strictly "no nuts." so, i adapted my vanilla frosting recipe with a quarter-cup of cocoa. then, it was assembly line time: a healthy dollop of icing on each cuppy, a nest, another wee dollop of icing, and two meringue eggs.

here they are - my very own battery farm!


2 egg whites (at room temperature)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
1 cup white sugar

combine first four ingredients. whisk like mad, gradually adding sugar, till it holds stiff peaks. spoon or pipe onto an un-greased cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. bake 1 hour at 275F.

n.b.: you can use the same recipe to make a shell to fill with fruit and whip cream - heavenly!


1 cup milk
3 tbs flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter, soft
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup cocoa (optional)

whisk flour into milk and cook over low heat till thickened. stir in vanilla, and allow to cool.

cream together butter and sugar. if using cocoa, blend it in too.

beat cooled milk mixture into butter mixture. an electric whisk is great for this!

chill in the fridge till a little set before using to frost your cupcakes.


oh i'm bad

i said i'd get a review up yesterday and i didn't. but i'm so busy and tired! speaking at a charity event tuesday morning (at seven-thirty! yuck!), parent-teacher meeting last night, and then a conference call for our parents' group - we're having a benefit concert with king cobb steelie this saturday! so, too tired to write coherently.

but, not too tired to knit on the subway...


a couple more pics...

for the zig-zag tutorial. here's a work-in-progress zig-zag with a few of the stitches and yo's marked:

the aqua yo's get carried along until they're ready to be knit with.

here's what it's starting to look like:


yesterday we saw two films - light of the river by tetsuo hirakawa and heathers. fortunately there were numerous hours of different activities between the films, or my head would have been spinning.

it's been years since i saw heathers, and i had forgotten just how dark a film it is. i checked the rating - did we really go to see this in the theatres when we were kids? yes, we did: it rated 14A in canada, although when it came out on video it changed to 18A. maybe it's only because i am a parent now, but i was kind of shocked by the amount of swearing and violence in a teen film.

of course when i was a teenager, i thought it was awesome.

taking aim at high school social politics, bitchy teen queens, dumb jocks, clueless parents, self-help theories and publicity-hungry teachers, this is the story of veronica (played by winona ryder, hard to remember that she was so young once, even though we're the same age), a girl who wanted to be popular but finds she's not that keen on the popular girls once she's infiltrated their clique.

the school is run by a trio of girls all named heather, each pretty and popular and evil to varying degrees (one of whom is played by a pre-90210 shannen doherty), and they are not approving of veronica's boyfriend, new boy in town j.d. (christian slater, perfecting his jack nicholson impersonation). after accidentally-on-purpose killing the ringleader, veronica finds the situation at school gets worse instead of better, and the downward spiral begins. the story pulls no punches. violence, eating disorders, sexuality, underage drinking, and the ever-popular suicide are all held up to examination and mockery. there are a few shocking moments, and a lot of guilty laughter.

also, hair. hair! towering, teased, crimped, permed, gelled, moussed, scrunchied. and shoulderpads. and dialogue. coming after moon unit zappa's single popularized "valley girl" slang, it takes the lingo to a whole nes level with expressions like "f--- me gently with a chainsaw." it's a caricature of the 'eighties in all ways - the look and feel, the selfish attitudes of the characters.

heathers totally holds up over time. while on the one hand looking extremely dated, the satire is as biting as ever, if not moreso now given the events of the last couple of decades. could a film like heathers get the same distribution if it was made today? not likely.

review of light of the river tomorrow.



while at the laundromat last night, i decided to cast on a little vest for my little guy, in a who-ish style: yellow with an aqua zigzag stripe, and a row of red question marks.

but i did not want to carry the aqua behind the yellow when not in use, thus using up five times as much yarn as needed for a simple zigzag.

so i thought, "this should be simple, i'll just do a wrap of aqua after every yellow stitch, and then knit with those wraps when the time comes." and it was that simple! so i'm assuming a million people have figured it out already, but nonetheless i feel pretty smart for unventing it again.

the trick is to always hold the yellow (or whatever main colour you're using) to the right side of work, and the aqua (or contrast colour) to the wrong side. which means, after the setup row (which isn't so bad), a lot of bring-to-front.

for the record:

zigzag over a multiple of 8 plus 1 stitches:

row 1: *k1 aqua, yo aqua, (k1 yellow, yo aqua) seven times, repeat from * last stitch, k1 aqua
row 2: *p1 yellow, drop aqua yo and use to p1 aqua, slip aqua yo, (p1 yellow, bring yellow to rs, slip aqua yo, bring yellow to ws) five times, drop aqua yo and use to p1 aqua, repeat from * to last stitch, p1 yellow
row 3: *k2 yellow, drop aqua yo and use to k1 aqua, slip aqua yo, (k1 yellow, bring yellow to rs, slip aqua yo, bring yellow to ws) three times, drop aqua yo and use to p1 aqua, k1 yellow, repeat from * to last stitch, k1 yellow
row 4: *p3 yellow, drop aqua yo and use to p1 aqua, slip aqua yo, p1 yellow, bring yellow to rs, slip aqua yo, bring yellow to ws, drop aqua yo and use to p1 aqua, p2 yellow, repeat from * to last stitch, p1 yellow
row 5: *k4 yellow, drop aqua yo and use to k1 aqua, k3 yellow, repeat from * to last stitch, k1 yellow

it looks nonsensical written down, but once you start doing it, it's obvious (i think) and can be done with any number of stitches in the pattern repeat that you like.

here are a few more photos for your elucidation


cookie conqueror

today's mission is part of a multi-week project: easter cupcakes for a bake sale at the kiddo's school!

the reason cupcakes are a multi-week project is the needlessly complex decorating i want to do, which requires additional fuss. put simply, eggs in a nest on a cupcake. but - how to make the nest? first thought was spun sugar; second thought was me or the kiddo with third-degree burns. third thought was a delicate crispy shapable cookie. fourth thought was the memory of my only other attempt at such a cookie.

those Xs? those "ha!"s? my youthful comments on a recipe i considered next to impossible. now that i'm a grown up, i thought i'd go back to this old favourite book, and see if i can conquer the demon.

so far, so good. instead of greasing the cookie sheets, i'm using teflon sheets on them. also key: only putting 3 or 4 drops of batter on the cookie sheet at a time, one in each corner.

another tip: peeling them off with a spatula? not fun. instead i've taken the aluminum tart shells which i'm using as moulds, put one on top of a cookie, and then flipped it over by lifting the teflon sheet. easier, although tricky to do without burning fingers!

pardon the blurriness but this was tricky to do one-handed.

i think they look super cute, and will be even cuter with little eggs in each. but mainly i'm just happy to have conquered an old nemesis.


ah, weddings

i don't know why exactly i am so keen on the upcoming royal wedding.

i'm one of those anomalous left-wingers who, while believing the state should be a caretaker (e.g. universal healthcare & education, affordable housing and social welfare programs for those in need) or else leave us alone to make our own decisions (like who we marry or when/if we give birth), also loves tradition, pomp, circumstance, etc.

maybe it's because, as citizen of a former colony, i can convince myself that we're not paying for it (even if the queen is on our money). maybe it's simple nostalgia for an institution that does seem to be winding up. with all of the sordid tragedies and petty embarrassments the royal family has suffered in the last decade or so, is it possible to imagine them carrying on much longer? even if they do, in the current economic climate, is such gross conspicuous consumption going to be acceptable? not so much.

but the pomp and circumstance is lovely. and a royal wedding, as opposed to a coronation, is all pretty dresses and parties and who-has-the-longest-train and how-did-they-stuff-it-in-the-cinderella-coach. really, it's pure fairytale, and thus perfect fodder for the golden age of musicals.

fred astaire! jane powell! peter lawford! keenan wynn!

gorgeous use of colour in this film, especially primaries and double-especially yellow.

(i'm a bit in love with yellow lately)

jane had some truly lovely get-ups in this one...




and of course fred's dancing on the ceiling schtick!

lots more great screengrabs from this flick over at sweet sunday mornings.

i was up at dawn for the last royal wedding, and i'll be up at dawn for this one, preferably eating a victoria sandwich.


two more for the list

how could i forget?

- joe & olivia
- rebecca & mike


time for a list

of all the people whose babies i need to knit for... some born, some on the way:

- catrina (well overdue)
- rosary
- angie
- greg & tania
- liz
- cassy

i am certain i am forgetting people... whoops.



i'm just about finished a lovely sweater vest in a tweedy aubergine alpaca with a twist highlander in "dark thistle." i am veryclose to done. and ververyclose to running out of yarn. and i suspect i would really like it to be a couple of inches longer. but, i'm not sure if i could be bothered to buy more when i just want it to be over with now.


(that little lump in my hand is the remaining yarn.)

it's a top-down seamless v-neck vest knitted all in one, so i've been trying on as i go. the basic recipe is this:

1. measure yourself across the back from shoulder to shoulder (so that's about 15" for me).

2. divide by 3 (for me that's 5")

3. add 2" (so that's about 7")

4. cast on enough stitches to make that many inches with whatever yarn you're using (7" x 4 sts/inch = 28 sts). that's the back of the neck.

5. for the shoulder width: 1/3 (5" in my example) -2" (that leaves 3" for me) times gauge (3" x 4 sts/inch = 14 sts)

6. knit back and forth, increasing at each end of each row until you have added that many stitches on each side (hint: adding 12 sts at each end will mean knitting 12 rows - now you have 12+28+12= 52 sts)

7. once you've reached that width, keep going until you've reached your desired armhole depth -1" (for me it was 6" - unsure how deep your armholes should be? measure a shirt or sweater you like, or check the charts at the craft yarn council).

8. increase one st at each end of every right-side row for 2". put these sts on a holder or scrap yarn.

9. go back to the shoulders. starting with one shoulder, pick up and knit the sts (12 in my case) along the sloping/increase edge.

10. knit straight for 2"

11. continue on increasing 1 st at the neck edge every 4th row. take the number of sts across the back (from step 6 - for me, it was 12+28+12=52 sts) and divide by 2 (26 sts). once you have that many sts on your needle, move the sts to a holder or scrap yarn, and repeat for the other shoulder.

12. now you have the two halves of the front "v" - put them both on your needle and knit across, joining.

13. once you've reached your desired armhole depth -1" (same measurement as in step 7), increase one st at each end of every right-side row for 2".

14. you're ready to join in the round! measure the width of your work so far. how many more inches will you need for it to fit around the bust? your bust-(front+back)/2 = how many inches you need to cast on under each arm (i needed another 4" total; divided by 2 that was 2" or 8 sts cast on under each arm)

15. so: knit across the front, co underarm sts (8 in my case), join and knit across the back, co remaining underarm sts (should be the same number as the first lot), join to the front, and voila! you are ready to knit in the round.

16. work straight for a couple of inches. then, if you feel like it, shape by doing paired decreases down the sides (i did decreases every 6 rows for a bit). try it on. looks good?

17. continue knitting straight until it reaches your waist when you try it on. then, you might want to do a few paired increases along the sides (i would have done more, but yarn is sadly scarce). when it's a good length, rib for an inch and bind off stretchy.

18. armholes: pickup and knit in rib for a half inch, bind off stretchy.

19. neckhole: pickup and knit in rib for a half inch, doing paired decreases every second row at the point of the "v." bind off stretchy.

(a good rule of thum for picking up stitches: if you're picking up horizontally, like at the back of the neck, pick them up 1 for 1. if you're picking up vertically, like most of the armhole, pick up 3 sts for every 5 rows.)

ta-dah! a simple knitted sweater vest, and no seams.


filmcraft is being featured on baking is hot today! thanks & kissed to pattycake and of course to our muse, marcel proust!