Saturday, 29 December 2012

Slouchy Hat Crochet-a-long Link Up

At the beginning of December I joined a crochet a-long link up over at The Curious Pug, a blog written by a delightful young girl (I am at the age now where I can say those kinds of things. Shoot me).

The original pattern is from the gal over at Little Things Blogged.

Here's how mine turned out. I used a cotton/bamboo mix. It's not a warm hat, but fine for spring. Hopefully it won't stretch out from being on my ginormous head.

I know, the shirt is most excellent.

Also, please note that I like salt and that I have a lot of crap on my fridge.

You should join the crochet-a-long with us. The next project will be posted at The Curious Pug on January 1.

Happy crocheting knitting needlepointing dip-a-flowering or varnishing of completed jigsaw puzzles.
Whatever you do!



Apres Holiday

Hi there,

Hope your holidays were all you hoped they would be! Or at least that you survived them and that you got some decent loot.

Sally from Charlie Brown once famously said "Christmas is for getting all you can while the getting is good". Words to live by, Sally, words to live by.

We had a nice quiet day. My mother made the trek east and we invite our elderly neighbour over for Christmas dinner every year, but other than that, it was a solid week of lolling around, lifting our hands languidly toward to cookie tray and wondering should we "do" something today? And then laughing.

Mom helped me with my knitting and I've almost completed a wonky scarf. Thanks for the tips, mom! We have a good time.

I love knitting and visiting with my mom. She gets so distracted with counting her stitches that I can weasel her into telling me secrets from her past.

Brian spent the entire week in the basement with his dog, beer and sports from 20 years ago. Seriously. He was yelling at the TV while watching a game from 1992. This is Brian's idea of heaven. He also got caught up on pvr'd episodes of American Horror Story - Asylum because I've decided I can not longer watch it. There's enough creepy evil in the world. Jessica Lange is fabulous, though, to be sure.

Least Christmassy show ever.

Now mater has returned to her wintery home in the frozen tundra of just outside Winnipeg.

 Her cats gave her a hearty welcome and we can resume our online games of Scrabble (to be honest we still played online Scrabble while she was here, taking turns at the computer. What has the world come to!)

Tomorrow the in-laws come for lunch and presents - my mother in law is bringing, basically, the entire menu, so there's not much for me to do. Other than vacuum. I mean, a lot of vacuuming. And that will herald the close of festivities for 2012. On to 2013 and new mild adventures and craft treats and stories about my cat and my huge feet.

Happy Holidays all!


Saturday, 15 December 2012

Banana Bread

Ryan and I went on a field trip to Michael’s Craft Store last week because Sarah was too terrified to go. She says it’s overwhelming. Like going to IKEA on a Saturday afternoon after taking acid. 

I wonder how she would know what that’s like. She’s had a wild past, I guess.

Anyway, Ryan and I fared just fine and I only got a little sweaty. I got some so much very very needed craft supplies and I also picked up four adorable little ceramic loaf pans that were on mega deep discount. I only regret not getting 12 of the little bastards.

So I made banana bread because I am amazing. I’m going to put ribbons on them and give them to the neighbours.

I used a recipe from the Veganomicon (vegan bible), but made a few twists. The original recipe was posted HERE.   I added mushed up pear and some ginger and allspice. I also forgot to add the .5 C apple sauce the original recipe called for. I know. Idiot. It was the whole point. But I guess the pear helped. 

So it’s pretty darned good, must say. Not terribly sweet, so if you like it sweet, pour a bag of sugar over it and maybe some corn syrup.

You’re welcome.

Lower-Fat Banana Bread 
Makes one loaf or 4 adorable mini loaves

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease your loaf pan(s)
2 large very ripe bananas and one ripe, cored and peeled pear
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
a few dashes of Allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mush up the banana and pear really well.
Add the oil, molasses and sugar. Combine.
Sift in the dry ingredients and stir until just combined - it’ll be all lump-tastic.
Plop into loaf pan(s) and bake for about 50 minutes (40 for mini loaf pans). Oven heats differ, so I’d check your bread after 35 minutes or so. Toothpick should come out clean after poking into the centre of the bread. But you know that kind of stuff already because you’re a superstar.

Oh, and Sarah’s not getting any of this banana bread because she wouldn’t take me to Michael’s. I guess we’re even because I told her I wouldn’t got on her eleventy billion mile charity bike ride with her.

What is up with her?


I love her.

Except when she won’t take me to Michael’s.

And she’ll probably get some banana bread.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Christmas Cookies

I love making Christmas cookies. I love baking in general, but it seems like it's a legitimate undertaking during the Christmas holidays and not just some excuse to binge on sugar.

Like we ever need an excuse to do that, right.

Anyway, I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to find vegan recipes that would be able to replace my butter and egg laden usual suspects of the holidays, now that I am all vegan-y and angry.

But the internet is a friend. And a friend never lets you down. Thank you internet.

Here are some fabulous vegan cookies recipes that would be a welcome addition to any sweet tray, be you vegan or not.

I'll start with my favourite.

I love lemon. More than chocolate. I know.


Got the recipe from the Cutest Girl Ever over at C'est La Vegan. I topped mine with lemon zest to make it all pretty. These can serve as pallet cleansers between huge bites out of your annual 10 pound Toblerone bar.

2. My second favourite are these CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT CRINKLES  from the friendly neighbourhood vegan lady over at The Sweet Life. 

Brian gave these twelve thumbs up.

3. Brian was not totally on board with these ORANGE CREAMSICLE COOKIES, but that could be mainly because he doesn't know anything. Sarah and I love these. As butter is kind of a key ingredient in shortbread, I was worried that these would be a mega fail because when you substitute butter for vegan margerine, well, there is a big chance of trouble. However, the orange flavour and crushed candy canes masked the taste of the vegan shortening, so I was not at all disappointed. Plus, you need something orange on your plate and carrots just won't do.

Recipe stolen brazenly from Kristina at Spabetty. Find the recipe HERE! HERE!

Although these would probably be my #1 favourite, RYAN'S GINGER COOKIES have to be a bit further down on the list. I've tried making these cookies twice and they've just not been as good as when Ryan makes them. He's kind of a God that way. I may try again, because if I can achieve the cookie Nirvana created by Ryan, I'll know I've lived a good and valuable life.

The original recipe he uses is from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's and Terry Hope Romero's Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. Of course, Ryan being Ryan, he made some changes and the results (for him) were exceptional. Like, um, seriously. I can't reprint the recipe because it's not online, and only in a book, but you should totally get the book and make me cookies from the recipes found within. 

Grammar. I Love it.

Anyway, there are some of my cookie adventures so far this season. I'll probably do a few more, but who cares really. We need to focus on more important things like, what you should BUY ME!

Might I suggest this?

Go eat cookies.


Wednesday, 5 December 2012


I've decided to give knitting another try.

In the past I've been unable to stick with it because knitting is hard and I don't do anything unless it comes really easily and makes people think I'm all that (is the phrase "all that" still a thing?)

But it's turned cold here in Toronto and I've got a cat and a fireplace and it is a universal truth that all middle aged women with fireplaces and cats MUST knit. It's kind of a biological imperative. Like sex might be for some people.

I have many accomplished knitters in my life, including (but not limited to) my Mom,  Megan, Dianna, Lori, Marsha, etc. My friends Ryan and Channing are also amazing knitters, but they are not middle aged women, so they are kinda ruining my theory. Stupid Ryan and Channing.

Some of my earliest memories of childhood are watching my mom knitting; counting stitches, the click of the needles, winding yarn into a ball while my dad held the hank up in two hands, like a supplicant, or like a man begging for his bachelorhood back.

I figured the knitting gene must have skipped a generation and instead of that skill I was blessed with an extremely "low tolerance for frustration".  My knitting projects were only deemed "finished" when I had dissolved into tears and had moved on to Dip-a-Flower.

But here I am again, facing the needles. Why now?

Because my current needlepoint project has about eleventy billion miles of background and I'm giving it a rest for now.

So, all excited about trying to outsmart my tantrum gene, I trundled off to The Purple Purl to get myself some yarn.

 I was given balls of fuzz and a pattern and sent on my way. I was going to make mittens, dammit, as my mom says mittens are good things to learn on because they cover a lot of different techniques that are common in knitting.

When I got home and got set up to start my project I realized that there was one key difference between my previous stabs at knitting and my current foray:

Youtube. (you thought I was going to say "booze", right?)

Whereas before I had to count on the patience of others to teach me, now I could just search "how to knit ribbing" or "knitting how to decrease". And up would pop several videos of English ladies with perfectly manicured nails showing me how to do exactly what I needed to do.

And now, instead of having to soldier through a rage of frustration, I could just put-the-knitting-down-and-walk-away. Before, if I'd had someone teaching me, I'd have to show at least a pretence of stick-to-it-iveness. Youtube enables my short attention span and quick draw whininess.

I abandoned the mittens after 6 attempts. 

I thought I'd try making this adorable little kitten:

You can get the pattern HERE!

This is how it turned out:

So I started a a scarf pattern that seemed straight forward. This is what a shawl version of it looks like:

You can get the pattern HERE!

This is how it turned out:

I thought maybe I'd just try some straight knitting. You know, like a washcloth? 

I found a pattern called The Idiot's Dishcloth. Perfect, I think to self. This is how it's supposed to look:

You can get the pattern HERE!

This is how it turned out.

And yet I keep trying.

Now I am doing a basic knit knit knit til the freaking end of time scarf.

We'll see how long I last before I totally lose my nut.