Sunday, July 29, 2007

Last weekend of July in Toronto

Look what we were gifted this weekend! My mom and dad brought us their old bbq, all reconditioned and freshened up! We've already given it a couple of test drives. Above is a picture of lovely bok choy that hit the grill first. Shortly followed by:

Burgers! Yummy! We tried a simple recipe from Delicious!

On Sundays when we have access to a car, we get ourselves to the Beaches (I know the area is officially known as the Beach, but it doesn't roll off my tongue or fingertips as easily as Beaches does) to enjoy Konditor. Our favourite pastry place in Toronto. There is a lot more to Konditor than their pastries; they have quiches, salads and sandwiches that are all amazing. The house coffee is to die for! We partake in little bit of everything, plus the Sunday New York Times.

Here is a picture of Hubby and our friend who also worships the Viennese pastries:

The last few times we've gone to Konditor, we've headed to the Liberty Village Farmers' Market before going home. We discovered some kick ass pickled garlic here. We've had the regular and the spicy pickled garlic, as well as the garlic relish. Incredible! I served the pickled garlic at my sister's party earlier this month and it was big hit.

Today we kept to our ritual and headed to Liberty Village. Lucky thing, too, since the garlic people won't be back in Toronto until the Cabbagetown festival. I loaded up with two kinds of relish and pickled garlic ends (they are not called ends, but I don't want to go downstairs to look at the jar right now).

A kind merchant pointed me in the right direction for pears. I've been waiting for the Ontario pears to be ready so that I could make some pear reserves. One of the farmers had lovely little sugar pears. I bought about five pounds.

Here's me after working for three hours on Gingered Pear Preserves:

A labour of love. My feet are aching and my back hurts, but I yielded eleven 250ml jars and a few taste tests to share with Hubby and friend. Not bad for being without most of my fancy canning equipment. I improvised and did quite well - no burns or scalds, only delicious preserves.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Crochet weekend

It's finished! The spiderweb cardigan (a.k.a. The Muppet Cardigan) is done! I finished it at the Alterknit counter over a bottle of organic lemon lime fizzy drink and a butter tart. (I'm in love with the butter tarts!) Check out the sweater:

Detail shot:

Once the sweater really starting taking shape, I wasn't sure I was liking it. I started to think it was looking a bit matronly. Mezzodiva helped me see how it would work on my petite self if I keep it open at the front and keep the sleeves at 3/4 length. All I need now is a couple of really nice tanks or camis to wear under it. I can't wait to show it off at work!

Here's something I whipped up last night:

This is my version of a jean skirt project idea in Interweave Crochet's Spring 2007 issue (page 9). Nancy Marchant's project was 2/3 crochet and 1/3 jean. I wasn't so sure about those proportions, but I like the idea of combining jean with crochet.

While shopping with my lovely cousin last month at Value Village, I found a jean skirt for $5.99. I used two balls of Cantata cotton crepe DK (colour 9480) to make this fringe. I followed the basic instructions from Interweave for the length, but then veered off from there. I picked the pattern from one of my crochet stitch guides. It's called SC Magic. Tight single crochets are used to make the medallion shapes.

Here's a detail shot:

This is really my first pattern creation! I think it's a good start.

Here's the vision, after some sewing has taken place:

The original pattern was worked as a ring. I decided to keep the slit in my skirt, so I worked it up straight across without joining it. I like how it will ruffle when it is gathered during the sewing.

Hubby's not so sure about this project, but I think I can pull it off with the right shoes and accessories. It's good bbq or day trip wear.

Monday, July 09, 2007

top secret project revealed!

I am drinking beer and eating chili. I'm alone in the house. It's a perfect time to update the blog. This may be short and sweet because I want to get to the spiderweb cardigan tonight. (I've started the sleeves!)

So, first off, here are a couple of cute photos of me crocheting the top secret project (scroll down a bit in that older post)! I can finally show you since the big reveal happened on Saturday.

This is me at Alterknit working on the crocheted wrap. Tiny little clusters. The retro Vogue pattern calls them petals.

Here's Lucy (you can see my hair just beside her) showing off the wrap at a Blue Jays' game in late May. I've been working on the wrap since March and have taken almost everywhere.

When I started the project every row took about 25 minutes to complete. My friend Glenice can vouch for that, since I started it while bunking with her at Nottawasaga Inn for the annual work retreat. (I think I actually started it in the car on the way up there. I wasn't driving.) By the time I finished I had my time down to 17 minutes. I forgot to count how many rows I did, so I can't give you a grand total of hours. Next time I see my sis I'll take a peak at the wrap, do the calculations and report back.

Here's my sis opening the gift at her 40th birthday bbq (shared with her hubby, since they both turn 40 this summer).

Sis showing off the beautiful wrap! She loved it!

Something I learned from making this project: switch up your projects, especially if they are big like this one. I worked only on this wrap for months. My arm started aching from the repeated motion. I had to go to physio for a few weeks to recover!

Other photos from June:

Me in Prince Edward County for a wee vacation. Hubby and I had a lovely time tasting wines and eating good food.

Long Dog Vineyard & Winery. Beautiful place. Too bad it wasn't open. I'll just have to go back!

The library in Wellington. Hubby had to visit because he was jonesing for an email check. I love libraries and this one is so easy on the eyes!

Me and Janine! She visited from BC for a few days before going off to see the parentals and grandparentals in another city. We had a great time crocheting - see below! We spent almost an entire day at Knitomatic.

Janine is working on a practice swatch. She's already altering patterns! I can't wait to see what she comes up with on her own!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Lots of nice things

I've had a luxurious life recently. I've been able to do a lot of things I enjoy.

A dear, dear friend from BC stayed with us for two days. She's smart, funny, open, adventurous, and so easy to be around. I just love her! She wanted to learn crochet, so we parked ourselves at Knitomatic on Friday and I did a little teaching. She's off and running with Haley's grocery bag pattern and some Super 10 cotton!

We went to The Paper Place and I managed to spend only $5! That's a first! I bought a mini grab bag of paper ends. Can't wait to make some new collage cards!

Just down the street, we popped into Fresh Collective to pick up a T-shirt that Mandy was repairing for me. See Vacation Friday entry for more on Mandy and my love of her designs. I am now coveting one of her belts.

We had a lovely Mexican dinner on Baldwin Street at Margaritas with BC friend and two Toronto friends. The sangria and margaritas were flowing and the tacos were super messy! Not a good first date meal. Thank goodness I'm off the market. But, I digress. Baldwin Street is just such a lovely little piece of Toronto, especially on a warm summer night. It makes everything in life seem perfect. So, perfect that you don't want the evening to end. This led us to College Street for Big Chill ice cream - yum!

Hubby and I watched Pan's Labyrinth on Saturday night. Such a good movie! Last night we caught up on Entourage and watched this week's episode this morning. Thank you Roger's On Demand.

Sunday morning we brunched with our Sunday New York Times and tv writer friend at Cucina. It was pure Sunday morning luxury that lasted 4 hours.

I checked out Cafe Taste for the first time last night with some new friends. I like new friends and I like Cafe Taste.

I'm speeding right along on the Spiderweb Cardigan. Photo later this week - stay tuned!