Saturday, May 01, 2010


I'd like to start off by saying that Valerie's suggestion that I leave the tiny babies around the house for Cee to come upon unexpectedly--and thus be totally freaked out--made me about giggle my considerably-large-sized arse off!  I could never be that mean, however, 'cause I do love him, after all...and because I grew up with two older brothers, who took entirely too much devious joy in doing just that type of thing to me as a child...looking back I'd say that's where half my problems stem from...yeah, yeah, that's it....couldn't be anything I ever did or said...right?  Ahem......

My loving brothers took delight in doing things like blowing up black leather gloves and shoving them at me in the doorway to my bedroom as I was walking through, so I'd think someone was grabbing at me (you had to be there, it was scary!) or putting tabasco sauce on a lemon wedge and telling me it was a 'Danish Candy' and doing the literal ROFL (before there even was ROFL) while my eager chubby little hands stuffed it into my mouth...don't you laugh, it wasn't funny!  Well, I guess it was--to everyone but me...and maybe I fell for that one more than once--stop giggling, you!--but hey, I was 2 or 3 little...and you tell a chubby kid it's a candy and they will fall for it almost every dad didn't have to practically wet his pants laughing over it though...harumph...

Speaking of's the season of littles....the next little is due this very month in my hometown of Calgary.  Arrival date is technically May 18th, but this little (who is a girl, the first one in a while in my world--everyone has been making boys for years!) seems to want to make an early appearance.   I have previously blogged about the February baby sweater on two needles, which is destined for this wee one, but thought she should have some footwear as well, so I made some socks and some booties:

The booties are seamless, which I absolutely loved!  I embroidered some little pink daisies on them because they just seemed so plain to me....and I think this little deserves some May flowers, since she shall be a May baby.  The socks are a fast little knit that I've used a few times before. 

I acquired one of those ridiculously cute sock blocker keychains recently, and decided I'd make it a little sock with my leftover Yarn Pirate from Ishbel (which is blocking as I type this) started off swimmingly, but, well, a picture is worth a thousand words...or in this case; five:

Well, technically four words and 1 slang....I used the needles the pattern suggested, honest...and I knit very I can only guess that the yarn was too fine for the pattern!  I shall have to try again, and it only took mere minutes to make.

And this is what the Killer Shih-Tzu thinks of my knitting teeny socks:

Here's a link to the little bootie pattern I used:  Seamless Baby Booties (Top Down)

And here's a link to the little socks pattern I used:  Baby Cables Bootie Socks

Friday, April 16, 2010

file this under

'You Know You Knit Too Much When'....You know you knit too much when, in the course of watching a primetime crime drama show you observe that someone on said show has been killed on an airplane with a knitting needle (through the throat, no less), necessitating the solving of that crime...and maybe they show the victim from a long angle and you say out loud, to no one in particular, "Hmmmm...that looks like about a 4 1/2 mm, maybe Susan Bates"....and then they show a close up of the wound....and you discover you are right....uh thank you verra much...and then maybe your husband looks at you and says "you really need to step away from the needles"...yeah, like that'll will be pleased to know it wasn't the knitter that committed the knitters can be so wily and crafty...I just worried that maybe they will ban knitting needles from air travel...and I wouldn't want anyone eyeballing me whilst I was getting my knit on during a flight...

Thanks for all your well wishes on my health, you guys have no idea how much that means to me!  Things are coming along fine with physio, in fact I have my last in-home visit in about two weeks...after that I may need more therapy, but it's still up in the air.  I have flashes of normalcy more and more often...and by that I mean I'll be going along and realize I've done something I haven't been able to do since I got ill--like stand on my right leg and lift my left foot off the ground, for instance--and then I will do the fake dance of joy and lift my left foot about a million times just because I can...and then later on in the evening I'll be in enormous amounts of pain in my right leg because--duh--I put so much weight on appears I won't learn...ah well, maybe the resolution of this condition won't take much longer...she said with hope...

I've been knitting...still finding it hard to stay monogamous to one project, so I'm just rolling with it...yes I have a lot of stuff on the needles, but it's all getting finished, so no big whoop.

First up is the Ishbel shawl/scarf.  I love looking at the "people" tab on Ravelry, and found that I was clicking on shawl projects more and more thinking 'wow that looks gorgeous'...after about 7 or 8 clicks, I realized it was the same pattern I was clicking on over and over...the Ishbel shawl, by Ysolda Teague, which appears to be very popular on Ravelry...I decided that since I was so drawn to it, I must have the lace and I have a love/hate relationship...I always try lacy things and always end up screwing the pattern up and having to frog...and then hating them...but still the siren call of the with wide-eyed optimism I cast on...and discovered that I'm really not that bad at lacy patterns after all....sure there was some tinking, and after one particular row I spread out the shawl to see how wide it was and didn't notice the 30 or so stitches falling off the one side of my circular (man was the air blue that night!) and had to rip back 2 or 3 rows because the stitches just unravelled so quickly...but still...I got it done!!  And now, I need to block, but here it is, in all its naked finished pre-blocked glory...

I made the small size, so it's more of a scarf than a shawl, and I have a feeling that the yarn is a little busy for the pattern, but still....lurv...I already have the yarn picked out for another...

The above picture is a better representation of the colourway...this is Yarn Pirate in Neptune, and when I went looking through the stash to find yarn to knit Ishbel, this literally fell out and hit me on the head, so I decided I'd better use it and not tempt fate.

I also found another dishcloth pattern to to knit, love to finish, just plain love;

This is the Round Lacy Cloth by Rhonda's a free pattern online and it really should be illegal to love a pattern this much, but if loving it is wrong I don't want to be's ingenious...knits up wickedly fast and is so pretty when it's done it's almost a shame to use it on your dishes...well, maybe I wouldn't go that far...

Again, I already have another on my needles as I type looks awesome in the variegated colours.

I also have a guilty pleasure to tell you about....sigh, here name is Kiki, and I like making doll clothes...

There, it's out...don't judge me....can I hear some of you singing "Creepy Doll" by Jonathan Coulton???  I can't help it, friends...I think they are too adorable...these are little 5-inch Berengeur babies, and their little duds are made out of crochet cotton size 10 thread and my teeny steely crochet hooks....

Cee is looking decidedly worried these days...keeps saying things like; "You're not going to turn into one of  THOSE women, are you??" know, the kind that fill their houses with weird porcelain dolls or those 'reborn' thingies?  I can't say as I am...but you just never know how deep this rabbit hole will go, folks.  Cee is seriously creeped out by them....he thinks they will come to life and try to steal his eyes while he sleeps....

I personally think they are far too adorable to ever be that mean, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion...

If you would like to knit Ishbel, you can find the pattern over at Ravelry here  you do need to purchase it, I think it's 3 British Pounds...

The Knitted Lacy Round Cloth by Rhonda White is free, and you can find it here

If you would like to join the dark side and make the tiny baby clothes, I found them in a booklet called "Itty Bitty Babies"....

"...and there's a creepy doll....that always follows has a ruined eye, that is always open..."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

holy sh#t


Wow, it's been a while, hasn't it?  The last time I posted we were just rid of our 'house guest' and I was having some pain in my right hip that I was assured was strained ligaments.....

Without going into a long (and probably very boring) story, the strained ligaments turned out to be acute Sciatica, which is an inflammation of the Sciatic nerve (lower back, either side of your spine, top of your butt cheeks is a nerve which feeds allllll the way down your leg)  I had it on my left side in the summer, but recovered fairly quickly...the right side...well, it's taking quite a bit longer.

Basically kids, not long after I last posted I ended up taking an ambulance ride to emergency (boy was that fun--not) because I could no longer move without screaming in pain....this seemed to unnerve my husband for some reason, the me screaming in pain, and also my continued pleading of him to take his alluminum baseball bat and cave my head in was really starting to wear on his psyche....can you believe the heartless bugger refused EVERY single time??  After xrays and tons of blood tests and all that junk, I was given some very strong narcotics and sent home....home to where I couldn't get up the stairs, or move..or even get IN the house for that  It was decided that I should go and stay with my mother in law, as she has a bungalow, so everything is all on one level, plus lots of neat equipment like a lift chair, walkers, etc. etc. and after a couple of weeks I should be back to normal.  That was November 1, 2009.  I made a visit to my doctor about a week or so later and was told that it was Sciatica...they had to dope me up big time to get me down the few stairs and into the car, and I was still screaming most of the way...every bump in the road felt like it was 3 feet deep.

I haven't posted kids, because I don't remember the entire month of November, nor the first 3 weeks of December....and to be honest, even January is a bit hazy....I was too busy being in indescribable pain, the nerve was spasming almost constantly, sending jolts all the way down to my big toe, praying I didn't have to get up and "walk" anywhere, because not only did it take me almost 20 minutes to walk 20 feet, but the pain was....well let's just say the pain was bad....really praying for a quick death to get away from it bad.  I basically lost the use of my right between crying jags, begging for the pain to go away, and making uncontrollable involuntary noises while not being able to even speak at times, I was without tv, computer, or even my beloved knitting (because believe it or not, I couldn't even  hold my knitting without being in pain, much less complete the act of knitting) 
Flash forward to today.....that "two weeks" I was going to stay with my mother in law?  Well it turned into almost 4 months.  I'll say that again....Four Months.   For obvious reasons we bypassed all the fact, to me it still feels like it should be Fall...and even though my mother in law and I get fill in the blanks....there were tensions....and issues....and even though Cee came and visited tons, it of course wasn't the same, and I wasn't in my own home...

When I finally started moving around again, after being whacked out for a month and a half on heavy duty pain killers, then spending two weeks sick as a dog as those came out of my system, I realized that my muscles just wouldn't do what they were supposed to...mainly support the weight of my leg (did you know that your legs make up about half your body weight?  You don't realize how heavy they are until you can't move them anymore)

I've been having multiple physio therapy sessions (they are fabulous, come right into our home, which is good, 'cause I'd have a heck of a time going to them), at one point she was coming twice a week....after learning to walk again, and learning in stages to do stairs again, I was able to come back home 3 weeks ago, and have slowly started getting back into a routine...the dogs were all like "Hey, I remember you....sort any snacks??"

I am making slow progress, have come a very long way, and have a very long way to go, friends.  I will probably have to have more tests to see just why I got it so bad (something about me being 'too young' to get 'this' 'this bad') and maybe have to see more specialists....and I may yet face more relapses and pain....still, as long as I wake up and I'm not in that awful pain it's a good day.  I can do the stairs's not pretty, but I get it done....and I'm able to walk (although I have to use a walker still), and am trying right now to improve my gait, but it's all good.  Why, just last night I was able to sit and actually lift my right foot off the ground, and raise my leg....a huge triumph!   Guess I ended up telling a long and boring story after all, huh?

Annnnnnnnyway, as soon as I felt even the teeniest bit better, I asked for my knitting, of course!  And as soon as I got home I surrounded myself with all my beloved projects in progress, they had been left languishing in the exact places I'd put them down last Fall.

Life has gone on, as it tends to do, and the people around me keep having babies.  I always think this is very considerate, as it give me an excuse to knit baby clothes, which I love...two are expected this year, the first is a girl due in May, the second is yet a surprise, due in the when I got home, I got out the trusty Knitter's Almanac (Elizabeth Zimmermann) and cast on for the February Baby Sweater on Two Needles.

Just needs buttons!  The simplicity of this pattern is a pure joy, it's no wonder the adult version is so popular with everyone at Ravelry!

Then I decided I needed some booties or socks (or both!) to go along with the sweater, so last night I cast on the Little 16 Newborn's a free pattern you can find on Ravelry.

Just using some Bernat baby sport yarn for these, so far they are fun to knit.

Cee has been wearing the socks I made him almost constantly, so I figured he needed a new pair.  I started the Mock Wave Cable socks from Favorite Socks last week.

This will be the fourth time I've knit this pattern....I must say I love it, and he really likes them....or at least he wears them....probably because he loves me  :o)  Using some manly-type coloured yarn...I think it's Kertzer with the Aloe Vera.

And last but not least, I've made progress on my 'Cowichan' style cardigan I started waaaaaaay back last September, the back is now done.

Those are meant to be beavers there,  I  found this hilarious, but to me they kind of look like fatty squirrels...which is even more hilarious....I have a weird sense of humour though....

Anyway kids, that's it for me now, but not forever....can't promise how often I'll post, but touch wood it will be often (hopefully that's a good thing!)  Thanks for reading, TTFN.

Friday, October 16, 2009

this house is clean

Well, maybe not in a strictly literal sense, but...let's just say:  my friends, the occupation is over.

Things have been percolating here the last three (has it only been 3?!) weeks because of our 'house guest'.  I suppose a teeny bit of back story is in order....don't worry I won't go on forever, and since I have no new knitting pictures to post--mostly because I've done no new knitting, a short story may suffice.

Our 'house guest' was actually Cee's brother's wife (notice I don't say sister-in-law)....there's been animosity there, almost completely on her side, by way of the fact that she doesn't like or want to know her husband's family, hasn't spoken to any of us in 8 years (yes, you read that right) and actually moved them two hours away from where we all live and kept her husband from communicating with any of his family for almost 6 of those 8 years.  Well, the rift between Cee's brother and family recently healed, thanks in part ironically to Cee's dad's declining health and eventual passing, and things were starting to go back to normal, but there's been tension between his wife still see, because she still didn't want to know any of us or even try to mend things...all of us decided we could live with that, as long as Cee's brother was still communicating, and it seemed it would go on indefinitely until....out of the blue she took a job here (or close to here) and all of a sudden she didn't want to commute the distance and demanded they sell up down there and move back here, but in the meantime she needed a place to stay.....

Enter yours, I must preface this by saying this was against our better judgement to begin with, we weren't too keen on having her here--wait, that is a big understatement, we both knew it was a horrible idea--mostly because like I said, she didn't want to know any of us, and but for the fact that she needed a place, she STILL wouldn't want to know any of us, and I knew for a fact that once they got settled into a place here, she again wouldn't want to know any of us....still, some part of Cee and I thought that maybe by doing this, things would be resolved, fences mended, rifts we agreed, mostly for Cee's brother, who let's face it, was in a terrible fix..also we figured if we said no, that rift just might start to open up again.....damned if you do, damned if you don't.

So we said yes....and to make a long story short, it's been a nightmare.  I won't bore you with the excruciating minutia of every event, but suffice it to say we felt heartily ill-used and abused, but were accomodating and opened our home, and the first time I asked her not to do one thing (that one thing was do multiple loads of laundry every day....she's one of those people to whom one shirt and a pair of socks is a laundry load) she decided that we were mean horrible people who were making her life intolerable and she moved out without so much as a thank you for letting me stay or a kiss me arse.

Where this leaves Cee's family and Cee's brother I have no idea....I'm hoping that we (with the exception of her, because she's shown her true colours and I wasn't completely surprised by what happened) can all be adults and get this resolved before it turns into another indefinite period of animosity and no communication.

I'm hopeful, because I don't think Cee's brother wants that either, but I also know he's got a poisonous little bug in his ear....stay tuned, it could get ugly.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

oops i did it again

Hey all...looks like I missed posting for a while again....sorry.  Our 'house guest' (Cee and I prefer to call it The Occupation--similar to Germany occupying France in WWII) has arrived and things were not as bad as I thought they would be.....they have been much worse.  I'm sure eventually we will iron things out, but both Cee and I are horrible with confrontation, so it's much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth and whispering to eachother about why we agreed to this in the first place...I don't mind helping anyone one out, but I do mind being taken advantage of, and such increasingly seems to be the case...stay tuned.

On more crappy fronts, I have had some more problems with my hip, the other side from the sciatic side...seemingly because I've been favouring my leg and well, to put it delicately, I'm just too damn fat...need to get some pounds off and all will improve...or so the doctor says...I hope so, because being in pain all the time really sucks, and not being able to walk or make your leg move sucks even more...

So dear friends, since I don't want to go on ad-nauseum about all the crappy things going on here, and since I've done very little knitting or crocheting in the past couple weeks (oh yeah, they think I have the beginnings of arthritis in my shoulder, too...yay) I decided I wouldn't be posting too much.

My cardigan had made some good progress though, before all the icky started...did you know that when you knit intarsia your yarns get REALLY tangled?  It's enough to make a control freak like me have a breakdown...

This picture was taken when I was on row 2 of the intarsia charts...I got fed up untangling all the mini-skein/balls and just used yarn lengths around 3 feet or so and let them hang free, a technique of which I'm told Kaffe Fassett is worked much better and made me less sweary...I am now on the upper fair isle chart, so it's going much better, as I'm used to that....I started with the back of the pattern, so this will be the biggest piece and the most complicated (I hope at least)  I'm nothing if not persistent, so it will be done...just may take a while.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

by the pricking of my thumb....

What day is it?  It's been a week around chez Kiki & Cee...let's just say the times, they are a changing...and not because of anything either Cee or I did or even wanted...ever feel like you are damned if you do and damned if you don't?  Then you know exactly how we feel.  Can't go into much detail, but let's just say that we shall be hosting a lodger for an undetermined amount of time and leave it at that....the things you do for family...or more accurately in-law family....that you don't even know....bleh, enough...I'm getting a headache just thinking about it...

Work has been progressing on the blanket for my niece's housewarming present.  It's pretty boring to look at, but I haven't as yet gone completely crazy with all the garter stitch:

This is the Moderne Log Cabin Blanket, from Mason Dixon Knitting...perfect for sitting in front of the tv while pondering silently about how life as you know it is now I being too melodramatic??

I also started a cardigan....can't call it a Cowichan, mostly because it's not...but it's that style...I wanted something thick and warm for fall days spent hiking trails and raking leaves and generally being outdoorsy...snort, like I do any of that!   Seriously, it just caught my eye and I thought I'd make it...for whomever it fits, just to see if I could...yes, I'm the process-type of knitter:

It's from a Bernat pattern may end up being cannibalized for other things...who knows.

Until next time, dearies...keep well.  I'll leave you with Queen Collie, who captures my thoughts exactly, 'cause she keeps it real like that:

Friday, September 11, 2009

face lift

You may (or may not) notice a bit of a change around these here parts....I decided, after three years, that we needed a bit of a different look around By Hook or By Crook, so I spent the better part of an hour trying to figure out how the heck it all works  previewing new layouts and generally being indecisive, until I finally settled on a new template...I  like it, it feels right, and it was time for a change.
I thought I would continue showing some of the projects I started during the time I was being neglectful and not posting.  There's no way I could not post the Marialis End to End Scarf I started from 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders.  I had the perfect yarn, thanks to the perfect Sharon, of the perfect Stitchjones yarns...crank it to eleven and head on over there to get your socks rocked off.

This is La Villa Strangiato Super Sock.  I wanted to showcase the insanely gorgeous colours, so I decided no mere pair of socks would do, and cast on a light summer scarf.

This picture was taken when I first started.  The scarf is now about two feet long.  I take it with me everywhere I go and work on it often.  I can't count how many comments and compliments I've had on it and it isn't even done yet.  It's delicious, and a pleasure to work with.

Since I'm a total unapologetic bag ho, I have been working on several.  I seem to have an unending supply of kitchen cotton.  No matter how much I use, I keep finding more skeins of it hidden around the house....funny since I haven't bought any in years...why can't that happen with cashmere or alpaca, or the delicious Noro Silk Garden?  I have a theory that elves break in at night and leave skeins, in between trying on our clothes and making fun of the size of my underwear...yes, I need help....In my attempt to get the kitchen cotton stash down, I cast on another market bag.  This one is a free pattern called "Let's go shopping - market bag"  you can find it by doing a pattern search on Ravelry.

Right about the middle of the summer, my hooks were feeling lonely....I try to give equal attention to both the pointy sticks and the hooks, so I yanked out the One Skein book and whipped up a couple of the Geometric Bags:

These are the Rectangle Bobble bag and the Circle bag (obviously)...I made the pieces for both of these in one night...ahh the speed of the lovely crochet hook!  I wanted the rectangle one to go in my project bag and hold all my knitterly things like tape measure, needles, etc.  But decided I liked the circle one better for that purpose.  Cee's mum took a shine to the rectangular one, so she will probably end up with it.  I lined and zippered both of them....

A bit of a sad story trusty, faithful Singer sewing machine, that I bought with my very first paycheque from my very first job, finally gave up the ghost....that or it needs servicing, I'm not sure.  In any case it doesn't owe me a single thing, it's a magnificent beast, and made many a Hallowe'en costume, Christmas dress, play outfit, etc. etc.  Sigh, goodbye old friend, I will never forget you.  I ended up doing all the sewing by hand....what would have taken mere minutes ended up taking hours, but it got done.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery....

My niece recently got engaged....this put me in a quandry, because while I was completely overjoyed for her and her fiance, I was also horrified to realize that I am now old enough to have an engaged niece!  I take comfort by telling everyone that I was but a young teenager when she was's true...really it is!

I noticed that Stephanie was making the Moderne Log Cabin blanket for a wedding present, and loved the colours she was using....and since my niece is building a house (well she herself isn't building it, you know what I mean) and her colours are all in the gray/brown family, I decided right then and there to steal the Yarn Harlot's idea make them a blanket in similar colours!  No picture as yet as it's quite boring, just a grey rectangle with a bit of cream on it....but I found her post on picking up stitches around the blocks a total Eureka moment.

And now, since I promised, here is the recipe for the Jalapeno Jelly....soooo good...with just a little kick:

Jalapeno Jelly

5 Jalapeno peppers (I use fresh, but canned will also suffice)
2 Medium-sized green peppers, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 Cup white vinegar
1 Package powdered pectin
6 Cups sugar
10 Drops green food colouring (optional)

Prepare 5 half-pint (I use 125 ml) canning jars.  Rinse Jalapeno peppers, discarding stem ends, any bits of blackened skin, and about half the seeds (the seeds and the  membrane bring the heat, so if you like it hot and spicy, leave them all in!) Chop peppers ****I strongly recommend using surgical gloves while doing this, as you can burn the creases between  your fingers, and trust me, this is not fun!*****  Place in a blender or food processor along with green peppers, and 1/2 cup of vinegar.  Blend until finely chopped  Pour into a large pot.  Use the remaining vinegar to rinse out the blender or processor, then add to the pot.

Stir in the pectin and bring to a full, roiling boil over high heat, stirring constantly.  Add sugar and food colouring and continue stirring until mixture comes to a boil again.  Let boil for exactly one minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and skim off foam.  Pour into jars and water process for 10 minutes.
This is heavenly with pork, and I love it on melba toast, drizzled over a smackering of cream cheese...yummmmm...

Thursday, September 03, 2009

i go all 'suzy homemaker'....

There's something about late Summer/early Fall that puts thoughts of mason jars and snap lids into my head. I want to make jellies and jams and pickle everything....don't ask me's not like my mother ever did anything like that, and she certainly didn't teach me to do any of that....and preserving things really isn't that big of a necessity for us modern's not like I'm living in some sod house in the middle of the open prairie where we won't see fresh fruit and vegetables for six months.

No, today it's more of a kitschy, urban thing to do. Years ago, never mind how many exactly, my friend and I decided we were going to pickle garlic....don't screw your face up, it's good! And make Jalapeno Jelly....again with the screwy's so yummy, and has just the right kick. We spent many an hour joking, laughing, telling stories and secrets while peeling garlic cloves and stinking up her kitchen....good times, good memories.

This year while mulling over just what I wanted to make, I indulged in my favourite guilty pleasure; making dishcloths.

This is the Linoleum Dishcloth, from the Mason Dixon Knitting blog. Fun to knit and pretty easy to memorize the pattern...I love the designs and it produces a thicker-than-normal dishcloth, which is great for scrubbing grimy dishes.

I decided to do both. Pickled Garlic...really it's good...when we started making it eons ago, people thought we were you have to pay big dollars for a tiny jar in the gourmet places....apparently we were far ahead of our time. And Jalapeno's heaven.

We found the recipes for both online....but I noticed I couldn't find them when I searched for I will repost them here, for anyone brave enough to try something different. First the garlic. You can use this in your cooking like regular fresh garlic, or eat them like pickles...which is what I do, and I've never been told I reek of garlic, but if I had I wouldn't's just too good!

Pickled Garlic
Place peeled garlic cloves into washed 125 ml/half pint jars. (Usually takes around 3 bulbs of garlic per jar) fill each jar with vinegar. Into each jar add:
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Teaspoon salt (pickling/coarse salt preferred)
1/4 Teaspoon each of basil and oregano
Pour contents of each jar into large saucepan. Add 1/3 Cup additional vinegar. Bring to a boil and boil 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat. Fill jars with garlic and vinegar mixture. Add a pinch of crushed red peppers to each jar before sealing for an extra-spicy touch.
Process in canner/boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
I usually leave the garlic for two weeks before opening, to give the flavours time to get to know eachother!

**It's very important to follow proper canning procedures like sterilizing your jars, lids, rings and processing your canned goods for the required amount of time to avoid spoilage and bacteria.

A word about the "blues".....garlic contains phenol, which is this fancy-schmancy my techincal jargon? Anyway, sometimes the vinegar makes the phenol in the garlic react and turn it blue....if you peek closely you can spy a couple bluish cloves up looks weird, but it is totally safe to eat and doesn't affect the taste at all. There are all kinds of remedies people have come up with to keep your garlic from getting the blues, so just do a search and you will be reading for hours.

If any of you make the garlic, please let me know how your batch turns out! I'd love to hear your input. I will post the recipe for the Jalapeno Jelly next time.

Another word of get the smell of garlic (or onions, for that matter) off your hands, there are a few tried and tested ways thought up by our "Suzy Homemaker" can take a stainless steel knife (a dull one) and rub it over your hands under cool running water, you can also try rubbing either mustard powder or coarse salt on your hands and then rinsing them in cool water...these do the trick every time!

If you would like to make the kitschy linoleum dishcloth, you can find it here

Thursday, August 27, 2009

it takes brains....

And apparently no one at the phone company has any*....Now I know I might be cursing myself by criticizing the phone company, but after the week we've been through I'm willing to take the chance.

Remember back to the day when your home and/or work phone was your primary means of communication? Back when if you were out and you needed to make a phone call, you had to find a public telephone located somewhere along your travels?? Well, Cee and I pretty much still live in those good old days. Yes we have a cellphone....A cellphone, as in one...and we only take it along as an afterthought; you know, so we don't need to find a public phone...I know, we are an anomaly these days, freaks, if you will. I keep threatening to bring us into the present and get us both iphones, or some other kind of smart phone, but for now we are just happy the way we are.

Well last week I noticed that we were getting some static on the line at home . I didn't think too much of it, but then it started getting worse, and by Saturday night when I was on the phone with my friend it was really bad. Sunday morning it was complete static and there was no dial tone. Bright and early Monday morning, I headed over to Cee's mum's house to call the phone company....and so it began.

I always cringe when I have to call any large conglomerate like the phone company, you know what I'm talking about; you get put on hold and told how important your call is, asked if you want to be spoken with in French, (or whatever other language your country supports), told your call is in sequence, press 1 for this, 2 for that, etc. I got a pleasant robotic female who told me I only had to say what I wanted and she would gladly oblige, so I did and when it came to the part where she asked me for a contact number, I simply said:

"If I had a contact number, I wouldn't need to call you."

Pleasant Female Robotic Voice: ".............I'm sorry, I didn't quite get that, can you repeat it?"

Me: "I don't have a contact number"

P.F.R.V.: "..................I'm sorry, I didn't quite get that, can you repeat it?"

Me.: "No number!" Shouting now, like it's going to make a difference.

P.F.R.V.: ".................I'm sorry, I didn't quite get that, can you repeat it?"

Me: "Expletive."

So I hung up and called back and managed to get put through to whatever country they are outsourcing their customer service, and got a very pleasant man who at first seemed to have it all together. I explained to him that I was calling from someone else's house, our line was completely dead and we needed someone to come out and take a look. He asked me if we had checked the demarcation box to see if it was working. I told him that we had gone down to the demarcation box and everything was plugged in. He asked if we had plugged a phone into the box, I told him no. He said,

"Can you go do that now?"

I said: "Well, you see, here's my problem with that: I just explained to you that I'm not in my house. Now, if you really want, I can get in the car, drive all the way back home and plug a phone in the box. Then, if it doesn't work, I guess I'll have to get back in the car and drive all the way over here again and call you back, unless you'd like to hold on while I do that?" ....I was joking, it never hurts to insert a little levity where you can....

He said: "No, no need to do that, the tech will do that for you." ....guess he didn't think I was funny.....

Things proceeded fine, and we arranged a convenient 8-hour window in which we should be home to expect the tech to be at our house, and then he said,

"Can I have a contact number?"

Me: Sigh....."Well here's my problem with that; My cellphone's battery is dead, and I'm calling from my mother-in-law's house, and she's going out this afternoon, so if the tech calls here she might not be here to answer, and even if she did answer, how is she supposed to let me know the tech has called, because our home line is dead?"

Him: "Can I have that number?"

Me: "Which one, the cellphone that's dead, or my M.I.L's number that no-one will answer?"

Him: "Yes."

Me: Sigh.

Him: "Ma'am?"

Me: "Here you go, I'll give you both, but the tech won't get through, so it's useless."

Him: "Thank you." They are nothing if not polite.

So anyway, I came back home and proceeded to wait, noticing that we'd been blissfuly free from annoying telemarketing calls the last week, and seriously considering going and calling the phone company back to cancel the tech, but he arrived and was very good at his job and fixed the line. Turned out it was just plain old wear and tear on the line that had opened it up, so he just had to do a bit of repair. Voila, we are now able to receive all the calls the telemarketers can fling at us.

Want to know the kicker? My mother-in-law called me later that evening to let me know that when she got home the tech called and said:

"I hear you're having trouble with your phone?"

M.I.L: "No."

Tech: long pause "I got a call you were having trouble....."

M.I.L: "No, that would be my son, they called from here you see, because their line is dead."

Tech: "Oh, okay....well I'm on my way if you want to let them know."

M.I.L.: "How would I do that? Their phone is dead."

Tech: "Oh...oh yeah....well, I'm on my way"

He called back a few minutes later to tell her he was having trouble finding her which she replied that she could tell him how to get there, but the trouble was at ours....but if he'd like she'd make him a cup of tea and they could have a nice visit. He politely declined. Like I said, it takes brains.

I made some new hats to use up stash. I had intended only to make one. This one, in fact:

This is the Druidess Beret. It calls for dk weight, which I used. When it was all said and done it was a bit smallish for my taste, although still cute. I like them insanely slouchy. So I cast on another one in worsted and upped the needle size to 5.00 mm for the body and crown decreases.

It came out more tam-like, and so it's perfect. It will be great for holding in my brains, which apparently are in short supply these days.

If you would like to hold in your brains with this beret, you can find the pattern here: Druidess Beret
* If you work for the phone company and are reading this, I'm sure you are an exception to the rule!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

in which i am pun intended's been waaay too long since I've posted. I throw myself upon your mercy (if there are any of you left checking this blog) and apologize whole-heartedly....although I have a sneaking suspicion that your lives have gone on perfectly fine without my blathering entries....still-- so sorry my friends. I have been reading your blogs and posting comments when I could, just not keeping up with things around By Hook or By Crook! I vow to be better in the future, and will try to post at least once a week, pinky swear. No real excuses on my part, except to say that life has been weird....chaotic, strange...much like this picture:

All this crap was on my little table beside the couch....I snapped this picture when I was feeling fed up one day and realized I felt it was how my brain probably looked at that moment.
Of course there's yarn in it, what did you expect?

I won't go on ad-nauseum about what I've been up to since March, but here's a couple things I did.....

I got up close and personal with our resident chipmunk, whom I called Theo.....well, as close as me taking this picture through our back screen door...

Here he is telling me to put down the damn camera and bring him some peanuts already, jeez, I'm slow!

Then one day while keeping a watch out for our ducks, I spotted this little guy out front eating plants and had a little conversation with him:

A little bit hard to see on account of his natural camoflage I suppose, but it's a little bunny!! I dubbed him Buster, as in "Hey Buster!! Stop eatin' my green thingies!!" Don't you just love my technical gardening jargon? I am still flabbergasted as to why all these wild critters keep showing up around our place, it's not like we're out in the middle of nowhere...unless "nowhere" is in the middle of a busy street in a smallish city....

One thing I didn't do was sign up with Twitter....maybe I'm getting old (maybe??) but I just don't see the point....or maybe my life isn't that exciting that I need to be updating my status every 20 minutes....

I have been doing a lot of knitting and crocheting (duh!) and will post more pictures in the following entries...don't want to bore you all at once now...what fun would that be!

Cee's brother practically begged me on his hands and knees asked me if I could make him some socks like I had made for cee so I happily obliged him. No pictures as I used the Mock Wave Cable pattern from Favorite Socks that I've shown here previously, and aside from being a relatively fun pattern to knit, in dark grey they are hopelessly boring. I do love the pattern though, and from the last pair I'd made Cee I had almost 2/3 of a skein left, so decided to just use the same colour.....can you tell where this is going??

Cee came with me to buy the yarn, and just happened to be wearing his socks, so when I held the skein up to his socks and saw that the skein was much darker, I figured "Oh, it's faded in the should be okay"....famous last words. I bought two skeins of Patons Gentry Grey kroy socks and got to knitting. I finished the first sock and was about half way through the second when I needed the partial skein of off I went to dig it out.....that's when I realized.....

Can you tell the BIG difference in colour? Cee's socks hadn't faded at all....same colour, same yarn, different label...WAY different shade....sigh. So back to the store I went. Then I finished the sock and realized that even though Cee's brother's feet are much smaller than his, I had way less yarn Then I had a bit closer look at both labels....

Those sneaky Patons so-and-so's have decreased the yardage from 192 to 166! or 175 to 152, that sucks! I notice they also haven't listed the weight on the new label.....sneaky sneaky petes!

Anyway, I got over the trauma of the kroy socks and coasted into summer feeling pretty good...and then it happened. And no, I'm not talking about the death of a certain pop king, although that was tragic and weird. I got hit with Sciatica....or at least that's what they think it is/was.
In early July I was completely minding my own business (like I always do, snort!) and getting out of the shower, dried off and hanging up the towel (oh no, did I put an image in your brain? Sorry!) and doing nothing in particularly special at all and all of a sudden I felt like someone had plunged a knife into my lower back/side (top of my rear basically--oh no, another image!) Very soon it became apparent that something was seriously wrong...mostly because every time I put my left foot down on the floor I screamed in pain.... The pain travelled down my leg and very quickly I couldn't walk or even stand up straight. This was the scene for about 4 or 5 days....couldn't stand, couldn't sit, lean, lay, get comfortable, sit, do much of anything except cry in frustration and take anti-inflamatories that never really took the pain away and depend upon my knight in shining armour Cee to take care of me, which he did, very brilliantly. Every day it seemed to get just a little bit better, and I kept trying to do a bit more and push through the pain when I could, and now six weeks later I am very much improved, although I have to take it slow at times on the stairs and not sit or lay in one spot too long....there is a little numbness around my knee region too, which is also frustrating...I am told it can take up to 3 months to completely recover....Cee's aunt has had it off and on for a year and a half...../me shudders!!

The worst part of this is I have no amusing or entertaining anecdote as to how it all happened, I mean, taking a shower? Man, I should have been base jumping or something! Like that would ever happen...but seriously, that's as bad as walking and breaking your hip....I hate getting old! This didn't just come out of the blue, I have had issues with sciatic pain going back to my mid twenties, but nothing as bad as what I went through this summer.

Let's hope the Fall season will bring a bit more normalcy for all of us.

Until next time, don't make fun of that old lady on tv that says she's fallen and can't get up, it might come back to bite you in the ass one day!