When my Knit Night friend made an adorable bird for her daughter for Christmas, I knew I had to make one for Ella for Easter.  Wow, did this ever knit up quickly.  It's from the Itty-Bitty Toys book.

  Here's the sweet little egg sitting in the nest, and then...

the egg turns into a cute little blue bird.   I thought it looked great sitting in my Christmas cactus that thinks it's an Easter cactus.

If I make any more of these, I will definitely change how it is sewn together.  I'm not sure why the author has you sew the egg and body together before adding the head and wings.  It would me much easier to do before attaching the egg.
Day four wants to know 'where is it now':

Today's theme is to talk about the fate of one of my knitting projects.  I'm sure there will be lots of stories about projects that took forever to knit and were given to the recipient only to be quickly 'lost' or 'misused', but this isn't one of those.
I made this baby sweater when I was in high school (told you I've been knitting forever).  I've always liked to make baby sweaters in between larger projects.  It's about as close to instant gratification that a knitter can have.  This yarn for this sweater likely came from Eaton's, probably Lady Fair -most of it did back then.  The pattern is an old Bee Hive.  If I could get into my sewing room I'd show you the cover.  Most of the sweaters I made were given away.  I've often wished I kept more.  This sweater I kept because I love the pattern and the yarn is so fine.  It took a while to finish.  I'm so glad I kept it, it looked so beautiful on Ella and it seemed to fit forever.  I even made a second one out of Kroy which lasted even longer.  Now neither sweater fits and both have been put away for Ella's babies.

Just a Little Life

No... you tell me!

Hey all!  I really do want to write the next post in my natural birth series.  I'm itching to write it, but I also don't want to force it, and right now, life is crazy.  I mean, it's a good kind of crazy, because there is lots and lots happening, and I am super busy trying to finish these university courses in 4 weeks from now, it just means that the time to just sit down and let my birthing mind go is fairly limited.  So it's on the back burner.

What's new?  Oh goodness.  Well.  A lot.  But let me just let you think on that.  :-)

In the next month I have exactly TWO births coming up, both home births, which is terribly exciting and wonderful and an incredible blessing, and I also have 3 final exams and a big midterm, and I have appointments and people to fellowship with and letters to write and phone calls to have and walks to go on and Scripture to read and so much LIFE to live!  It's busy and exhausting.  I just can't wait for May when I can read my Bible more, spend more concerted time in prayer, make more music, and diddle around with Anatomy and Physiology (it's a 6-credit course I still have a few months on).  It's going to be be a good summer.

Plus baking and cooking and cleaning and organizing and lying in the grass and dreaming.  I like that too.

So that's my life right now.  No flashy anything, no great words of wisdom, just Sheila, working her butt off to try and get a life.  :-)

Rest in the Peace of God,
He is so good.
Playing with the ice. 

Boat must be wondering why its not back in the water yet. 

Andrew showing me how thick the ice is

Seagulls enjoying a skate

Hint of spring
I know everyone is getting impatient for spring but we are going past impatient.  Lovely warm temperatures today but the ice is still there.  But I did find a hint of spring in the yard.  Some of my tulips are coming up. 
We are still here though but this was definitely one of the longest, toughest winters we have had to do in a long time.  I hear spring is coming and I see the snow disappearing but the ice is just not going anywhere.  
I hope to return to the city shortly.  Missing the market food.  Seriously, they don't have food up here like in the city.  Also missing the social interaction at the markets.  Pretty quiet up here in the sticks in the winter. 
I best go and I want to show Andrew the tulips coming up.  Not to sure it will impress him much but might give him a short break from tying nets. 
An now, to interrupt our regularly scheduled programming...
This week my Yarn Along post is an 'un-Yarn Along' post.  It's a frogging post.

As you can see, I survived having 2 wisdom teeth out.   I can't say enough nice things about that dental clinic.  I didn't even bruise from the IV needle.  And I usually start bruising by looking at the needle  :)  I have no swelling or anything.  I'm still rather stoned, but am going to cut down on the T3s today.   I want my baby to come home and I don't feel comfortable being responsible for her when I'm this stoned.

Ella's sweater has not survived!  I am ripping (frogging) the whole thing out.  There is just something I don't like about the pattern.  I think it's the tension they want for the wool.  I'll have to find a different pattern.  At least Ella's not desperate for the sweater.  And besides, it will soon be warm enough for her poncho.  Maybe I'll surf around Ravelry and find something else to use the Marble.

It'll come as no surprise that I'm not really reading anything right now.  If you knew how long this post has taken to type (hopefully correctly) you'd probably tell me to get off the computer too  :)  Needless to say, I'm glad I made the Knitting Blog posts last week.

I should probably go lay down for a while, the room is spinning.  So I will return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Day three is about Organizing our Stash:

How is my stash organized?  Ha!  That's a good question.  Is un-organized an organizational system -like un-homeschooling?  Or is it a lack of organization?  When Colin and I married, nearly 8 years ago, I had to pack up my stash and move here to the farm.  I sort of sorted my stash into boxes marked 'Baby' 'Socks' and 'Other'.  Not really much of a system.  The last few years I've discovered two really nice yarn shops, one fairly close and the other one back in Bowmanville.  Both of these stores have been working hard at expanding my stash  :)  I love all the new sock yarns and rarely leave these stores without some.  Unfortunately, since having Ella, my stash organization (or non-organization) has taken a turn for the worse.  My Bowmanville LYS always sells her yarn in lovely brown paper bags (with handles).  The bags have become my new 'organizing' method, i.e., dump wool in bag.

And no, I'm not posting a picture  :)

Lotus Tea House, Waterloo

I have been meaning to check out Lotus Tea House forever. About a year ago, a non-vegetarian patient of the clinic where I work excitedly gave me a play-by-play re-enaction of her experience there the previous weekend, complete with glowing review. Since then I keep meaning to go and never getting around to it, which is kind of ridiculous because I am not a very popular person and I lead a fairly uneventful life. It shouldn't take a person like me a year to visit one of the few vegetarian restaurants in her small Ontarian city.

However, this weekend the local Kitchener-Waterloo corner of the Twitterverse became abuzz with news that Lotus would be donating 100% of their proceeds for the week of March 25 to March 31 to relief efforts in Japan. Visiting Lotus suddenly became an immediate necessity.

Paul and I went for lunch today, and before I tell you about our visit (just as excitedly as that non-vegetarian patient of our clinic) can I just take a minute and reflect on how positively wonderful mid-week lunch dates are? We normally save our dining out for weekends and special occassions, but there is something to be said for taking some time on a particularly long workday and treat yourself to some good company and deliciousness. It's all about the little things in life, my friends.

Lotus Tea House is a quaint and cozy little house-turned-restaurant on Regina Street in Waterloo. The place was packed. We had to wait a couple minutes for a table...on a LUNCH! This is so exciting because it means that they are raising tons of money for the Japan relief effort. I've never been so happy to wait for a table!

We started with a pot of Fruit Tea. I was hesitant because other than hot chocolate, I don't like warm drinks (I survived both undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Waterloo without drinking a single coffee). I figured I would try it, and upon confirming my disdain for hot drinks, I would make Paul drink the rest. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my dislike for hot drinks stems more from my occassional stubbornness regarding trying new things than it does an actual god-given aversion. This tea was awesome!

Each entree comes with Soup of the Day, which was a simple vegetable broth with potatoes, carrots and cabbage. I have a documented fear of all things cabbage-ish but I had no problem with this one.

Each entree also comes with a spicy bean sprout salad - yum!

We shared an order of the Himalaya Triangles with Curry Sauce, which are kind of samosa-esque but are quite thinner and more crispy than the samosas that are typically sold at Indian restaurants around town. Delicious delicious delicious.

For my main, I chose the Cranberries, Cashew Nuts, Vegetables & Firm Tofu Stir Fry. Very light and flavourful - I love how the vegetables take up 3/4 of the plate!

Paul got the best choice of the day, I think - Golden Soy Nuggets with Stir Fried Green Beans in a Szechuen Spicy & Sweet Sauce.

I love this place! I'm honestly kind of irritated with myself for not trying it sooner. Aside from great food and friendly staff, the quaint and cozy house atmosphere had me dreaming of rainy Saturday afternoons with my favourite book and a pot of that fruit tea.

Now, I will mention that their mock meats are listed as "may contain" for things like eggs, dairy, etc., most likely relating to their manufacturing processes. If you avoid products of the "may contain" nature, proceed with caution (and try the meal that I ordered instead!).

The fundraiser for Japan is going on until this Friday (March 31) so you still have plenty of time to stop in and do your part while dining on some of Kitchener-Waterloo's tastiest vegetarian treats. Even if you can't make it in this week, keep Lotus Tea House in mind for the next time you are looking for a light meal or a relaxing, pinky-in-the-air afternoon tea party. We will be going back - often!

Lotus Tea House
79 Regina Street North
Waterloo, Ontario
(519) 880-1638

Day two asks what we have learned over the last year:

Even though I have been knitting forever -even Mom can't remember when she taught me to knit -I've actually learned a few things last year.  The first thing I learned was how to sew my knitting together.  The girls at Knit Night couldn't believe I didn't know how to sew stuff together, but why would I do it when my Mom is happy to do it for me?  Besides, if Mom does my sewing, I can get started knitting the next project  :)  My friend Christina was very kind and showed me her very precise way of sewing seams.

I also learned how to knit socks from the toe-up and with the Magic Loop method.  I've actually learned two ways to do toe-up.  One way doesn't seem to fit well (except on Colin) but I have the formula that will let me design socks in any wool for any person.  The second way gives you most of the formula but leaves out the most important number.  You have to look in her book to get that number -but these socks fit smaller feet nicer.

I'm really not sold on the Magic Loop method.  I already know who to do socks two at  a time with 2 circular needles, so it is likely just a case of the method you learn first being better.  I find Magic Loop requires a lot of fiddling and has the hazard of pulling the wrong end of the Loop and loosing stitches.  All that said, it's handy to know alternate techniques.  Now I can still do small circular work even if I only have long circulars free.

Miniatures - developing

Work on the October Contextural exhibition is proving challenging but I think I am making progress with these mini worms.  No apologies to Kraken from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Ian and I were away last week and our first item of business when we returned was checking the mailbox. The usual ritual is...  I go through the mail and separate it into piles of junk, bills, just for Ian, and just for me.  I rarely receive mail just for me other than a number of banks informing me that I am pre-approved for their credit card.  They obviously didn't get my message that I am smarter than that.

I was intrigued when I discovered an envelope addressed to me.  It was a business envelope (beige, with a little window in the front) and I couldn't decipher who the sender was.  My curiosity was piqued. Was it a government check perhaps?  I don't know why that thought would even occur to me but apparently unmarked mail  equals an unexpected windfall in my mind anyway. It never has before but I remain hopefully optimistic.

Can you feel the excitement building?  Are you wondering what wonderful surprise lay within that ordinary looking envelope?  Well here it is... ready for it?... a letter informing me that now that I am ancient fifty, it is time to have cancer screening for my colon.   That pretty much made my day... not!  The enclosed pamphlet provided some entertaining reading material.   Apparently there are two ways to screen for colon cancer.  The first requires a special kit that you bring home to take three samples (you can guess what of) over the course of ten days.  The second requires a visit to the hospital where basically they shove a special camera up your butt to look for signs ( I don't think they mean crop circles).  Neither one sounds in the least appealing.  I am also left asking questions... who checks the samples?  What is their job title?  How does that go down on a first date?  Is there ever a second date?  How long do you have to go to school to become qualified?  Yes, I have many questions.  Maybe I could apply for that job after all I know crap when I see it!

This is my first year participating in the Knitting & Crochet Blog week.  I thought it might be fun to have a theme for each days post.  So here we go.

Chose 2 yarns that I love or hate:

Berroco Vintage -this yarn is 50% acrylic, 40% wool and 10% nylon and is reasonably priced.  This is such a beautiful yarn to work with and has great colour selection.  I've used it for a couple of projects.  This is Ella's red shrug.  It is a beautiful colour red, the computer doesn't do it justice.  Even though it has a fair bit of wool in it, the Vintage is very soft and comfy -it has to be or else Ella wouldn't wear it.   I'm in the midst of another Vintage project, cable socks for an unnamed person.  I like the way they are knitting up but have yet to see how well they wear for socks.
Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Sock Yarn Fingering -this yarn is 50% alpaca, 30% merino, 10% silk, and 10% nylon.  I have a hard time not buying more of this wool every time I'm at my favourite LYS.  The colourways are so beautiful.  Have you felt this wool?  It is so soft.  I have 3 skeins of colour 09.  It is a mixture of loden green/brown/mustard brown/rust/wine/mallard blue.  I'm planning on making the Sontag from Piecework.  This is another version, but will give you the idea.  The gauge isn't quite right, but I hope to make it work.  Otherwise I will have to make my own pattern and I'm still new at that.

I C I C l E

 These are going to be great for me to work with at the ACAD summer residency this year.
And I am proper proud of them as images in their own right....

I'm not sure how many more ways I can combine chocolate and peanut butter together, but I'm more than happy to spend my life trying.

I made these as dessert for dinner with a couple that shares our affinity for all things peanut butter and chocolate. My intent was to branch out and make them something different for once, because every single time we have ever had dinner at their house I have brought something PB and C. By this point, they most likely think that I am some sort of creep with vast quantities of stock in a large multi-national chocolate-and-peanutbutter conglomerate that is looking for investors. I actually settled on and began preparing to make Boston VS Brooklyn Cream Pie Cupcakes. And then I realized that I didn't plan ahead and essentially had absolutely none of the ingredients in stock. Back to chocolate and peanut butter it was, because at any given time our cupboard has a massive tin of cocoa and at least three jars of peanut butter. No planning necessary.

I decided to take a page out of the old Boston VS Brooklyn Cream Pie book for these by injecting them with peanut buttercream in addition to topping them with it. The results were pretty cool and I think I am now addicted to filling cupcakes rather than just frosting them. It makes them look all fancy without being much additional work.

My assistant cut a hole out of the center of each cupcake...

...and I filled a pastry bag with peanut buttercream and then filled each cupcake.

After that, we just topped each cupcake with some home made chocolate ganache and then another tiny dollop of the peanut buttercream. Et voila - fancy little cupcakes that look like they belong in the window of a pastry shop!

A peanut butter bomb is the one kind of bomb I can get on board with. Yes sir.

I also have some information on some cool happenings both on the Internet and in my neck of the woods:

1) is the hottest new vegan site on the web and I want you to be a part of it! Launched by the folks that bring you Vegan Backpacker, this is a site for all us cheap - errr conscientious - shoppers. If you're like me and love the high you get by holding up a grocery line with a fist full of coupons, this site is for you. Go on, sign up, and start saving - this site is going to singlehandedly dismantle the old myth that veganism is expensive and elitist.

2) Last year, when the earthquake hit Haiti, I launched Cupcakes Care About Haiti. On March 11, 2011, Japan was hit by one of the fiercest and most destructive natural disasters in recorded history. Naturally, the same feelings of helplessness and disenchantment washed over me as I watched the footage, this time with the added frustration of having a hectic work and life schedule that prevented me from doing another cupcake drive at this point and time. So, while I can't be as hands on as I would like to be, I'm going to do my best to research and spread the word about those who are able to organize fundraising events for our dear Japanese friends in their darkest hour.

Cafe Pyrus: A Call to All - Sunday, April 10, 2011
(16 Charles Street East, Kitchener ON)

Cafe Pyrus is hosting a full day fundraiser for Japan, beginning at 9am and going into the wee hours. It sounds like there will be live music, a silent auction and of course, that incredible Cafe Pyrus menu. Check out the Facebook event and contact the management if there is something you would like to contribute. You know TIV will stop by - just look for the girl with a table full of club sandwiches in front of her.

Lotus Tea House: 100% of restaurant earnings this week going to Japan
(79 Regina Street North, Waterloo ON)

Lotus Tea House in Waterloo, besides being famous in our town for serving its vast tea selection and vegetarian noms, is donating absolutely everything the restaurant takes in between March 26 and April 1, 2011 to relief efforts in Japan. Waiters are also donating 10% of their tips. WOW! We will for sure be stopping in at least once this week and I hope you will too.

And the Winner Is...

Debbie R. Congratulations! Drop me an email and let me know which dolly you like and your mailing address.

This is what I had missed in the morning because I didn't have my camera with me.  We went back for a shoot at 4pm, the light wasn't at its best but I think we were all well-pleased.  The best shot was taken by my daughter and I cannot show it here because she might submit it to the school photography competition - who knows.  I was particularly pleased with the school bus aerial... seen below.  There are more spikes today... but it is snowing a thin snizzle (drizzling snow) which will cover over much of the fine detail.  But wow, what a wonderful world.


Here's a big confession although I don't think it will come as a surprise  to those who know me well...
I have the maturity of a preteen boy.   Remember when you were in school and it was time for "sex education" and the teacher would name a body part only to be met with some snickers form the boys? The "mature" girls would roll their eyes and sigh and one would voice her opinion about the boys needing to grow up.  Yeah, that wasn't me.  I wasn't even one of the girls mortified that the discussion was being held with boys present.  I was pretty much giggling with the boys.  The sad thing is, I never really outgrew it.   I think it hilarious when my husband says  things like "I like to keep it tucked  between my legs while I'm driving so it doesn't flop around." (he was referring to a bag of snacks he had)  I can't help it, I just start laughing.

"What?" he asked.

"Did you not just hear what you said?" I shot back.  He rolled his eyes which made me laugh all the harder.

I once had to leave a Sunday School class because the teacher used the word erected one too many times.  I was tired (not a good thing) and my daughter was there (we looked at each other and smiled, again, not a good thing).

So basically I am a twelve year old boy... which would explain why Matt Fuller wants to be my boyfriend.

One of the perks to owning an iphone is that I have a video camera at my disposal at all times which allows me to capture random moments like this...
This was shot at a Best Buy store in Toronto.  Nathan decided to try out the xbox Kinnect and I decided to pull out my iphone and capture the moment.  What you can't hear (because of my awesome editing skills) is Nathan warning me that I had better be getting some shots of the TV screen so people could see what he was really doing.  Things he didn't say:

Don't post it.
Don't blog about it.
Make sure when you edit it, to keep the shots of the TV screen in the movie. (This was impossible because I didn't actually take any video of the TV.)

When my kids would sometimes get in trouble when they were younger a favourite excuse was "Well you didn't tell us NOT to do it." ...and I wonder where they got it from?

For those of you who like something to read...

You might like to picture this - Spring officially started this week in Canada.  We had snow!  Not to worry, I love the snow it is beautiful and apparently so pure.  We all enjoy the miraculous shapes that the snow and ice make and continue to enjoy being out and about in the snowy and wintery weather.  But being the end of the season, the air has become a little damper and certainly warmer.  The result is that the character of the snow changes and we even had freezing rain yesterday morning.

This morning I awoke and, as normal, took a look out of the front window to see if there was snow (as I need to clear the drive and public pathways if there is, I like to check early in the day, so that I can get out there before driving my daughter to school).  There was a light dusting of white on the ground which had been cleared yesterday. But the trees appeared a little light against the sky.  It looked different.

As the sky lightened the wonderful white tree shapes came out of the gloom and beyond it, so that by the time I had driven back from school drop-off, the trees stood out, bright white, against the off-white sky, in a reversal of the norm.  A negative image had developed that is, ironically, impossible to capture on film.

What we have today is a magnificent haw frost... the length of some of the crystals that have grown with the gentle wind is amazing - far longer than my photos show (I didn't have a camera with me at school).  They stand like white magnetic hairs on the heads of all fence posts and form Mohican hair styles extending downwind of all the fence posts.  Similarly they top and line the branches of the trees and hedges.  

I am reminded that it is a wonderful world, for all the difficulties the natural world can throw at us as well as those that, sadly, man creates across its surface.

Spring is coming so we hear....

Tom-AY-to, Tom-AH-to ...

Gent ( showing shopping list to Grocery Worker. Gent speaks with marked English accent): Where would I find the courgettes?
Grocery Worker (looking puzzled): Pardon me, sir?
Jane (kindly, to English Gent): Zucchini. That's what you need to say, zucchini.
Gent: ( rolling his eyes and sounding relieved): Are they the same as courgettes?
Jane: Yes, they are.

Grocery Worker gives a wintery smile and points Gent in the direction of the veggies. Jane hums Cole Porter's "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" ... in her mind.
It all takes time.  I write, I edit, I edit, I edit... and still I can't fill in the slots that ask for costs.  And time moves on... seasons change... It is spring here in Calgary and it snowed yesterday.  Above is an area of defrostation, that is defrostation... not deforestation, as the ice melts off the roof and whoa betide anyone who tries to climb the steps to our front door.  I am busy writing proposals... so you just slip away.
This photo really was a Dogme moment, nothing planned or arranged....
And still I go on re-reading and re-writing and wondering why someone who likes to stitch has to be good with words.
I do like the House Elves best...
Here is Creatch.