Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What I did last weekend.

Last weekend was a busy one. I've been plotting and planning and conniving for about six months to give my wonderful husband a surprise birthday party. Do you know how difficult it is to plan a surprise party? Especially when the recipient of the party spends most of the day in your presence?

I knew that I wanted to have a lot of food. How to do that and still keep a surprise? Get the party catered. Adds to the expenses, but a real necessity in this instance.

Order the cake from the local bakery. Preferably on Wednesday if the party is on Saturday. Purchase or make the decorations ahead of time. Stopping at Wal-Mart doesn't insure that you will have decorations. A real party store is definitely the place to go.

And hope for good weather so that the necessary skull-duggery keeps the husband away from home for the necessary hours.

I was lucky. He never even suspected a thing. (Of course, the fact that his birthday was in November might have something to do with his being surprised. But it was a 50 and a half party--honest!)

Doesn't he look happy? And not at all abashed or ashamed to admit that he has turned 50. The young lady at the bakery thought I was silly in the extreme when I ordered the cake. I guess most folks don't celebrate 50 1/2.

The party was held at the Booth. This is the name of the pavilion at the little golf course that our cottage ownership provides. It comes in handy when you want to do something like this. It holds plenty of people, has a wrap-around porch, and the biggest yard for kids to run around in that you could want.

Here are a couple of photos of the folks singing "Happy Birthday" to Doug.
That's Cathy, Jon, Johanna, John hiding behind Johanna, Mary-Lynn, Megan, Jack, Candy and Mike.
And here you see Carrie, John, Al, Irene, Joe and Catherine, and Cathy again.

It was a nice party. Kept me nicely distracted from knitting for a couple of days. Doug thinks this should be an annual event. Minus the surprise part. And he thinks I should be included in the festivities. I haven't decided if I'll admit to having birthdays ... but the party sure was fun!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I saw the Y arn Harlot!

Friday night was the Canadian launch of the Yarn Harlot's fourth book, titled "Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off." The event was held at the Indigo Books at Bay and Bloor, beginning at 7:00 pm.

For a variety of reasons, which will be explained at a later date, I arrived at precisely 7:00 pm, the scheduled start time. Seating had been gone by 6:15, and the standing room only area was a bit crowded as well. I don't know how often Indigo hosts authors speaking about their books, or how many people attend these events. But they were seriously short of space.

As usual, Stephanie was hilarious. She connects well with those of us who knit. She claims to be nervous about speaking in front of a crowd, which could well be true. She did seem nervous in the beginning. But then she hits her stride and the crowd loves her.

The newest acronym coined by Stephanie is the group C.H.O.K.E. This is a sub-group of T.A.K.E. (Team Against Knitting Enjoyment). C.H.O.K.E. represents Cultural Humiliation Of Knitters Everywhere, and is evidenced by the general lack of respect accorded knitters world-wide. Stephanie even relates how her very own loving mother succumbed to this insidious group. (Fortunately, Mom has generally recovered!)

Finally, Stephanie began signing books. After an hour in line, it was my turn!

The sock in Stephanie's hands is the current sock in progress. A sock originally destined for my husband Doug. Now that it has been touched by the hands of The Yarn Harlot, I'm not so sure ... I wonder if he'll have the proper respect for the sock. And I got to hold Stephanie's sock. Way cool!

The After-Party was at the Spotted Dick, a pub down the street. My wonderful husband met me there, and we were able to visit with other folks who had attended the Launch. Much to my surprise, at the table next to us were a couple of ladies who had driven in from Lansing, Michigan. They even knew where Bellevue (my hometown) is. If you are interested, you can say "Hi" to Lynn here. (Note to self: See how to get Lynn to come in for a class or two...) I also met Rae who owns the Rae's Yarn Boutique. I will be sure to find her next time I'm in the area.

In keeping pace with the Knit-Along over at Knit 'n Chat, here is a photo of my May socks.
The employees of the Ontario Ministry of Finance are currently seeking donations for their annual charity bazaar fundraising event. I donated these. Knit from Regia Java in the Champion colourway, by way of magic loop. One week from start to finish.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My life will never be the same

This is my car.
These are my keys.
This is my daughter. Isn't she beautiful?
This is my daughter's new driver's license.
My life will never be the same.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Sounds of Summer

It's Victoria Day weekend, which means that where I live life gets busy.

You see, I live on Lake Scugog in a "cottage community." Every Friday night, the road fills with cars. You hear the sounds of motorboats on the lake, waterbikes scooting up and down, crackling fires in the firepits and the voices of neighbors. Dogs barking. ATVs racing up and down the road, legal or no. Not to mention the birds singing, the humming of the insects and the gentle pitter-patter of raccoon feet on the roof.

The joy of living in a cottage community on the lake, however, comes on Sunday evening. Or on Monday of a long weekend. Everyone goes home. The boats are berthed, the waterbikes parked. The ATVs are garaged. The cars go home.

That is when you truly get to hear the sounds of summer. The loon calling on the lake. Again, the pitter-patter of raccoon feet passing over your home. The birds calling early in the morning.

The sights of summer are splendid. Sunsets over the lake are often breath-taking. Occasionally we catch sight of the local heron flying up and down the lakeshore. Friends paddle by in their canoes or kayaks, often stopping by the dock for a wee visit. The trees are green, as is the grass. The cats love to sleep outside on the deck, in the sunshine. Even the daughter goes outside to study in the sunshine.

And me? Well, I do enjoy the summer sun as much as anyone!

I am reading the book my daughter got for me for Mother's Day. Victorian Lace by Jane Sowerby. Eye candy for sure, awe-inspiring, and dare I say it? Tempting. Yes. I am tempted to try one of the patterns. Haven't decided which one as yet, but that's part of the dreaming.

Knitting pictures next time. The lace shawl for daughter's prom dress is finished, but not blocked.

What are the sights and sounds of your summer?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Spring is here!

Spring has arrived in my corner of the world. How do I know? The grass is green; I've raked the yard; and the silly cats think that 4:00 am is the perfect time to go outside. Pace, pace, pace. From one window, over the bed and the sleeping bodies to the next window, repeat ad nauseum. Makes me want to be catless--except that she is so good at catching mice.

Another sure sign of spring is the Knitter's Frolic. This is always a good time, even if you do happen to own a wool store. This year my wonderful husband watched the store for me while I frolicked. I saw lots of heavily-discounted novelty ribbon yarns, which is a sure sign to me that they are losing their appeal. (Finally!) I saw lots and lots of hand-painted wool as well as space-dyed wool. I browsed at a lot of patterns and books, some of which will be making their way into my shop.

I did, however, break down and make a few purchases.
Yes, indeed, that is a Fleece Artist sock kit. I've wanted one for the longest time and decided that this year I was going to do it. And I did. There are two skeins of Koigu as well, for the same reason. And finally, a whopping big hank of SeaSilk from the Handmaiden. 150 grams--600 metres. For a shawl. I'm not allowed to talk about it ... yet ... so you'll just have to wait to see what pattern I use and why.

I also finished a sweater for the store.
Patagonia from Auracania. This is a thick-and-thin cotton yarn, hand-dyed. Interesting. Knits up well and quickly, which is good. But not my cup of tea. Fortunately, this is a store sample. The pattern came from Auracania Moments, a book filled with many delightful designs.

Finally, just for myself, a pair of completed socks! Will they become Christmas gifts? I'll never tell!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Remember Dr. Suess?

The daughter is taking drama this term. This means that she frequently has presentations--including the need for costumes and props. In honour of Earth Day, the current project for her story-telling assignment is the Dr. Suess story of the Lorax.

This necessitated a stage set, which she and her group constructed during and after school. Then came the props and costumes. Could I make a Thneed?

Could I make Bar-ba-loot ears?

What you don't see here is the efforts to construct the Swome-swan wings. Sorry.

All in all, it was a lot of fun to help her with her drama project this week. Too bad I don't get to see it being portrayed.

In other news, I spent Monday with a couple of friends learning how to make hand-dyed and patterned yarns. We made self-striping yarns. We made fair isle yarns. We made zig-zag yarns. And then we made rainbow yarns. All in all, it was a great deal of fun. Actually, it was a blast. I just might have to do this again--after I knit up all this sock yarn!