saving through indignance

After we moved in here and I used the dryer a few times, I decided that it didn’t dry great and maybe needed a duct cleaning. So I called the man whose sticker on the was on the front. Easy. I was at work when he came, but the message relayed to me by Hubbo was that the dryer was fine and dandy. I was just putting in too much stuff. Too much stuff. Because I had only just taken a class in how to do laundry and was working on my practicum.

I started hanging all the laundry on a rack out of spite. That’s right, spite, of a man I’d never met.

It wasn’t really much of a change. I already had a rack going because many of my shirts don’t go in the dryer. The only things I didn’t hang were diapers, towels, and bedding. Until summer came along. The Loftorium is like an oven come 5PM so that most things will dry within 24 hours. Not so much in the rainy winter.

Anyway, I got $75 out of the deal.

The power company will give you $75 if you save 10% over a year. I signed up last July and a few weeks ago they cut me a cheque because I saved 21%! It was mistakenly addressed to Man.

Guess what I spent it on?DSCN3455This lot came from Raspberry Creek.

DSCN3458And this one came from Fabric Shoppe.

DSCN3462 DSCN3459And these two lots came from Bee Yourself Fabrics.

I can’t resist the mystery scrap package. Now all I need is a plan…..

the wrongest side of thirty

I seem to have had a week long birthday!

On Friday, I got a package from Earthly Goods. I had signed up for their four fat quarters a month club the week before and I hoped it would arrive for my birthday. I tried to wait until Monday, but I had to rip it open that night. For $21, tax included, and free shipping in Canada, it’s a great deal. You can choose from Beautiful Balis, Collections, or Kids Stuff. I chose Collections and got four pieces from Amy Butler’s Belle. This is not something I would buy, but it’s lovely and I already have a plan for it. They don’t really do online sales, so I encourage you to phone them and join up! Support this lovely shop that has just moved to their third location.

Sew Sisters has a very tempting Kona Solids club as well. Maybe Christmas…

On Sunday, I had a mini lie-in and a “pre-work” coffee break. I used this time to look up tote patterns on Pinterest, finalise my decision and print the instructions. I may have printed more than one, but since my sewing machine has a broken gear, I can only plan.

On Monday, my actual birthday, I was greeted by a pile of presents on the breakfast table. Man gave me the gift of cheese. One fancy cheese knife, two types of fancy crackers, fancy red pepper jelly, and a gift certificate to Les Amis du Fromage!


Then two of my magazine subscriptions showed up.

As if that wasn’t awesome enough, he then offered to drive me to the fabric store! I spent at least 45 minutes at Spool of Thread unchecked, but spent less than $100.

$20 on quilt backing and borders in Kona Peapod

$20 on fat quarter frivolity

$8 on Kona Solids for the stash

$12 on a Clover Chalk pen thingy

The woman in the store was super helpful. She gave me advice and opinions. I hate it when you ask salesclerks what they think and they say “Oh it’s up to you”. Like I’m going to come back to the shop in a rage because the colours didn’t match.

Tacos were proffered but I spent too much time gambolling to make it to the restaurant.

I also got a card from my parents with proceeds for an electric blanket. I plan to get a twin. Man has no need for any heat giving device. I see now how people spontaneously combust.

I received a phone call from my brother.

On Tuesday, I got a lovely card from some dear friends and a phone call from my BFF.

There was also wine. Nothing unusual there, just thought I’d mention it.

On Wednesday, I got two packages in the mail. Two! One from the aforementioned BFF containing a card about boobs and a director’s clanging board thingy. Now when I make my amateur {ahem} art films, they’ll look a little more professional. The second was from my in-laws, deep in the Welsh countryside. Kaffe Fassett’s Quilt Romance! Brilliant! Not only did I have one of his books on hold at the library, I had thought to myself how lucky Hayley was to get a Kaffe from Roy for hospital reading. Although she’s not at all lucky. Who’s going to wash Roy’s anorak and make sure he has that ratty bag?


And then my brother and sister-in-law came over with more treats. Dog treats! Somersaults! These are so good, despite the fact they look like kibble. I recommend salty pepper. There was some cookies, nuts, and fancy gummy fruits. The cookies were mostly gone before they left.

On Friday, I ordered my electric blanket.

And on Saturday, we cheesed.

Cheese and Cracker Snacker

knitting? yes. gauge? no.

I have piles of yarn. It’s stuffed into suitcases, totes, baskets and pieced out for nascent projects. I have a similar pile of patterns, although they are slightly more organised into a binder. None of these items seem to ever go together and that’s why I love the patterns that come along with the yarn. I can’t stand the guesswork of gauge making.

Can’t. Stand. It.

Mine never come out right and it doesn’t matter how many times or how many needles I try, it never seems to be right. But I just had to use wool to make a baby blanket for a dear friend in draughty olde Londontowne.

I purchased Louet Gems from a reputable yarn shop but was rather disappointed with the amount of knotted joins in the skeins. Some had two or three! I will not be using it again. Anyway, since I had random yarn I had to do a gauge and had limited success as usual. Figured what I got was close enough and it did work out in the end.


A nice close up of the extremely complicated pattern.

DSC_1579Here’s Zoltan getting a little rub off the blanket before it’s shipped across the Atlantic. He’s a Carpathian Bear.

cleo and blanketHere’s a shot of Miss C. enjoying the warmth.

Last but not least, here’s the free pattern from Bernat!


rock and roll needle roll

Remember me?

pre roll xxx

I’ve been completed and mailed on time!

This one is a little different to the Hawaiian Honeymoon Souvenir Needle Roll. First of all, look at this amazing stitchery of the turn it right side out hole. It’s so good I might have to redo the hole on mine. Avoid looking at the chalk marks. I’m confident they will rub off eventually.


Thanks to this tutorial over at Quilt Taffy, closing the hole with the ladder stitch is one more type of hand sewing I can no longer hate. It has lovely large pictures and simple instructions, which is just what I needed.

First we have the rock and roll.

rock and roll

I had trouble deciding how to design the quilt top. Swirly? Outline some ladies, or what? I’m pleased with what I came up with: a series of squares based on the red square in the upper left. I won’t be winning any Golden Needle Awards for the stitching.


Open it up to find a little Zen garden in which to relax and create.

zen garden

Ahh. Feeling soothed? I know I am.


There are only three tiers in this one and I made the bottom pockets large to accommodate circulars. The middle tier should work nicely for crochet hooks and DPNs. But Madam M can put whatever she wants in. Her roll, her rules.

roll rules

And a nice little needle roll cuddle. XXX


crusty bread

I was probably a teenager the last time I made my own bread. Today, I made this crusty loaf to go with hubbo’s borscht. Looks nice, doesn’t it?crusty breadLittle Miss thought it was great. At least, she thought it was much better than the harira I tried to feed her. I thought it tasted like what it is: flour and water. It needed something more. Sugar, rising time, baking time. We ate it, but it wasn’t quite right. The quest for a good one loaf bread continues.

almost better than a jelly roll

Every time I want to knit something, I go up to the Loftorium and get the required needles and yarn to match the pattern. Then I make a stupid gauge, which I hate doing. Then I find out that the needles I brought down two flights of stairs are too big or too small. Then I have to creep back up, because the Loftorium is above Beastie’s room. This is when I discover that I don’t even have the size of needle I need. I’ve been waiting for a Michael’s coupon for quite some time and a few weeks ago I went crazy. Now I have a near complete set of DPNs. These will take their rightful place in a jumbled pile of straight needles, crochet hooks and my lovely interchangeable circulars (with ultra long extend-o connector) given to me by my Baby Daddy.

But maybe there is an easy solution for a fabric hoarder such as myself?

I was originally inspired by lupinbunny, but as a mathematically challenged human, I just couldn’t figure out the sewing down of the columns. It’s not even mathy, but it felt that way. I’m sure it’s easy enough and I love the different sized pockets it makes. I get it better now that I’ve made one and held it in my hand.

I finally went for nestingsticks’s tutorial-but what shall I use? [legs waggling out of the fabric bins]

In 2010, we took our honeymoon on Kauai and hit several quilting shops. There’s not a lot to do in Kauai. I bought a bunch of fat quarters that I never could find the right project for. Also, I had tons of leftover from the dress I made to wear on the island.

bike riding on the Coconut CoastNow, the original only had three pockets, as did mine, but I decided to add another to hold the teeny needles from my interchangeables thus losing my fussy cut blue hula girls. Whatever. I know they’re in there.

There’s going to be a lot of needles rolling around in this thing, so I figured a bit of batting wouldn’t be the worst idea. La la la, I pieced some chunks together, found some ratty old broadcloth for a inside backing thingummy (I’m sure there’s a name for it) and then I done lost my mind.

What if I were to HAND QUILT THE FLOWERS!?

quilted xxx

Things I have learned:

  • I just can’t follow directions. I always have to make some change.
  • Get some good quality curvy quilty safety pins. Again, I’m sure they have a proper name. The ones I bought from a fabric chain store were like trying to shove a chopstick through a steak. And they snagged my fabric. You can use dress pins. Count them occasionally.
  • Start in the centre, which I did, but also re-smoothenate your piece now and then. I have some puffy bits between the flowers.
  • Just creep up the two flights of stairs and dig out the embroidery hoop. Your nice flat quilting will thank you.

Now, I am just about ready to put it all together and, showing great restraint, I did not go into town to search out the perfect ribbon to tie it all together. Instead, I opened up this bag of worms worms xxxand found something that would work. However, after I cut the red ribbon I finally chose (an inch short while nicking my new table for the second time) it seemed like it wouldn’t be long enough to go around all the batting and needles and tie into a classy bow. Plain old white it is. The ties are each 18 inches long (72” total), basically the width of the roll. Easier to shorten than lengthen, as you know.

Instead of sewing the top and the side first to put the piece together, I pinned my ribbon in at 5 and 10 inches and then pinned the whole piece, leaving it open 6 inches at the top. Since there are 5 layers on one side and a quilted piece on the other, I thought it might be difficult to turn and hand stitch the seam if I made the opening at the bottom. pinned xxx

After sewing around from the edges of the opening (remember to backstitch, kiddies) I clipped the corners and zigzagged the edges. I fear ravelling. Always have.

Press, press, press and then stitch ‘er up! Although I do love a nice bit of topstitching, I’ve skipped it, mainly because I know how bad it will look once I do it. Also, you lose a 1/4 inch of pocket on either side. I fought for those pockets and I’m not about to lose them now!

I am some kind of pleased with myself. It’s been a while since I actually finished finished something. Now let us bask in the beauty that is The Hawaiian Honeymoon Souvenir Needle Roll!roll1 xxx

roll2 xxx

rolled2 xxxHere’s a preview of somebody’s (this is not a) birthday present. You will notice the colour schemery is much more delicious. Man is so much better at coloury matchery than I.pre roll xxx

Stay tuned. I’ve just figured out how I should quilt the top…

bachelor days one

bachelordays1Oh, I didn’t want to cook today. I wanted Pad Thai. Partly because I’m sick and tired and the last thing I want to do after wrassling a Beast into bed is sauté an onion. Partly because I don’t know how to cook any more. Man has been donning the apron since Beast arrived. I can’t even warm up soup properly. Anyway, I prepped some veg while I fed the Beast, all the while hoping that the ’13’ on this can of coconut milk means that it expires this year. Is there a reason that expiry dates have to be so baffling? There should be an international standard, adhered to under penalty of botulism.  Or a small fine.

There is also some bourgeois hand peeled shrimp and an old rejected piece of baked potato.

I was going to just eat it plain, but after 10 minutes in the pan, it was just screaming for some rice. So 25 minutes later, here I am with a bowl of Shrimp Thai Green Curry! bachelordays1.1

And it tastes absolutely nothing like Papaya Hut.