Friday, July 31, 2009

Bad But Busy Blogger...

This summer has gone by in a blur. Despite a city workers strike which cancelled a two week camp experience for both Ellery and Clare, we managed to keep pretty busy.

Canada Day backyard firework display...

The only thing funny about this photo is that DH is a phone-phobe. To catch him multi-tasking with a phone stuck in his ear...well, it must have been a freakin' important phone call. Like 911 answer this skill-testing question and you've won a million dollars important.

Gilly went to summer school again this year and had a great time! Every morning she would wait at the front door and announce "It's a bus!" happily when the bus arrived!

Camp Yamistaspot

Since Ellery and Clare had some time on their hands, and our basement is in need of serious updating...Camp Yamistaspot was born!

Just a bit of drywall, some painted ceiling tiles and walls and cleaning the floor (which because of the instructive nature of Camp Yamistaspot's paint project, took FAR FAR longer than 10 days...) and we have a basement suitable for a ping pong table! Now I have to convince DH that the traditional gift for 17 years of marriage is a gaming table.

The girls visited the grandparents in Windsor...

On the way back we stopped in to visit the smallest cousin...

and take him a belated birthday present..

This is Rowan Junior's Drew in the 1 - 2 year old size. It's a little jacket knit in Denim and then tossed into the washer to deliberately shrink it. Supposedly, the extra length is calculated into the pattern. I'm too nervous for this type of construction...completing a garment and then rolling the dice as to whether or not it will fit! Not my cup of tea. Thankfully, the jacket did fit and I guess I'm lucky to have learned this lesson about knitting with denim before I tackled that adult-sized Aran.

So, I guess I'm limited to unsized throws, pillows or bags to use up my denim stash??

Oh, here is a little sweater that I made for Clare out of's another Hey Teach and it's made from Red Heart Cotton Twist.

Ellery turned 12 last month. Here she is modeling the world's most awesome messenger bag and a great deal of 'tude.

And after a very unseasonably wet and cool summer, unbearable heat and humidity has finally found us. Even the squirrels can't escape it.

And finally, quite possibly the loveliest sight of the garbage perched for pick up after a 6 week strike!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Grade Six Graduation

That's Ellery, our little graduate modeling the dress and the shrug. The dress was ordered through Nordstroms (Junior dresses...clearance!) and muled here by a friend in California. Cheap and cute...I'm all about that!

The shrug is Stardust from Knitty...with a couple mods to accomodate the yarn that I subbed. I'm not completely thrilled with the results, but I did substitute a yarn that was wildly different from that called for in the pattern. I couldn't fathom wearing a mohair shrug during a humid June, so I used a cotton blend with a bit of shine. Because much of the fit of the shrug is derived from the springiness of the mohair (not so much with the cotton) I knit a larger size from the ribbed band up, to ensure that it was big enough. I think that I would prefer the garment knit as written, with a mohair blend.

Oh, Elle won an award for Language Arts. DH feels this award is a re-framing of the observation "Your Kid Talks the Most"...but hey, a plaque is a plaque!

And finally, Ellery suffering...because "Beauty IS Pain". You can never point out this correlation too early or too often.

Monday, June 08, 2009

MIA again...

Whoever said that April is the cruelest month, never had kids in elementary school. The hands-down winner for punishment meted out to mommies is June. (ok, December is pretty hectic too, but December is busy for everyone...not just the parents of medium-sized kids.)

Everything happens in June...playdays, birthdays, track and field days, Graduation (from Grade 6 no less), teacher retirements, jamborees, field trips, name it, we've booked June.

A couple quick pics...

The monthly Youth Dance at the community centre usually hosts only students in Grades 5 through Grade 8, but since it's June and the last month of the school year, Grade 4 students were invited to attend.

Here are Clare, Ellery, Celine and Jessica all spiffed up for their big night out. Notice Ellery's mermaid hair...she was exceptionally proud of it.

I can't really criticize about hair's a photo of me in the 80's. Yeah, that's me as a blond... hey, it was the 80's...I was a hottie by the questionable standards of the day.

Clare and Gillian celebrated their 10th birthdays. Clare invited her besties to watch the new Pixar movie "UP" and then come over and eat pizza and ice cream. (For the record, Clare dislikes cake, mostly because it has icky frosting all over it. If I hadn't been there to witness it, I'd swear she wasn't mine...)

Anyway, here are the girls creating and devouring ice cream sundaes...

It's Clare's first year at her new school and I had worried about her fitting in and finding friends...but it all worked out. Clare's classmates are just lovely girls.

Knitting-wise, June is a complete disaster. I've been working on a shrug for Elle to wear over her dress for the graduation and it's seeming to take forever. Granted, I subbed out a vastly different yarn than the one called for in the pattern, so I am the author of my own misfortune...

I was knitting some peachy-pink Lily Chin Manhattan (bamboo blend) into a Debbie Bliss jacket for a baby girl gift, but I got 3/4 of the way through the project and realized that there was no way that I could consider the results gift-worthy. The yarn has a very interesting texture, but when knitted is not dissimilar to thick terrycloth and it doesn't give teeny tiny garments a pleasant drape.

Thick and thirsty is not something I associate with baby garments unless they are soakers. I frogged the whole thing and gave the yarn to one of my proteges from the Knitting Club. I've no doubt that she will tame the yarn into something gorgeous.

I will knuckle down and finish that shrug. But after that, there isn't much on the needles except a Clare sweater that has been dragging on for months and an experiental Kid Silk Haze/Stainless Steel wool scarf that I've been toying with.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Umm...Wow. Dh's Blackberry reaction to this photo. I have no idea what happened. I was grilling dinner for the girls, went back into the house to set the table and when I popped back out to check on the meat, flames were licking the outside of the bbq from underneath. The dials are melted and I had to turn off the bbq by shutting off the tank.

Well, it's a long weekend in Canada and I'm sure that many enterprising retailers are offering fabulous deals on outdoor kitchens.

Busy, busy, busy...this is a crazy time of the year...the last 6 weeks of school, so I'll try and recap what we've been doing to date!

In less incendiary news, I finished my mother's cardigan in time for her birthday on Saturday. (Happy 80th mom!) It's the Beaded Jacket from Martin Storey's "Classic Knits for Real Women" The patterns are truly classic, but I do find it a bit offputting that "Real Women" sizes (i.e. plus-sizes) begin at a 36 inch bust.

The yarn is RYC Cashsoft Aran and the buttons were saved years ago from a black wool cardigan that my mother bought me for Christmas when I was in college.

I tagged along with Clare's class on a field trip to Medieval Times!

Hey, meat you can eat with your hands...

And falcons, horses and handsome young men in costume...I've had worse field trips!

Ellery and her posse attended a "Youth Dance" at the local community centre. Her she is with Vicky and Celine channelling "Charlie's Angels"

Heading off to the ball, transportation courtesy of Jess' mom:

A quick picture of Ellery holding the banner for her Folk Dancing Team.

And finally a pretty nifty phenomenon that Clare managed to capture on film!

Hopefully an indicator of happy times ahead!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Last Knitting Class

It was a few weeks ago, but we've been really bogged down here by nasty flu and tummy bugs, so I'm only getting around to posting now...

My fourth and final lunchtime knitting club at the local school. (Ellery is graduating to junior high next year, so I won't be back next year...sniff)

Apologies in advance for the photos, I finally remembered to bring my camera on a day when knitting club was competing with a final rehearsal for the school play, so we were missing almost half of our members! Also, since the knit club is made up of minors...I've used the "witness protection eyebars" to conceal their identities. :-)

A few highlights and lessons learned from this year's knitting club:

Fresh eyes...fresh perspective. I promised to teach Miss K how to purl stitch "next week" since she had really gotten the hang of her knit stitches. At the next class, Miss K showed me her swatch of stockingette. "Who showed you the purl stitch?" I asked. "I figured it out just knit backwards" Miss K proudly told me. She hadn't turned her knitting around and purled the stitches, but knit left to right using knit stitches. One's first instinct is to correct the twisted stitches and show Miss K how to do purl stitches "the right way", but you really have to admire the process of deconstructing and reinventing the "backward" knit stitch. Definitely an engineer in the making!

There is always one student who really takes to knitting...

This year it was Miss C. Miss C started with a scarf...which ended up being 18 inches wide and about 6 feet long and was used as a shawl and a sarong. She moved on to skinny scarves, caps and freeform wraps. She is holding her interpretation of the Gingerbread Man from "Kids Knitting" by Melanie Fallick. It's awesome. Miss C taught herself pattern reading, increasing and decreasing from the book, has enviably even tension and is wildly creative...she is awesome.

Knitting isn't just for girls...

Once they get past the temptation to use the knitting needles as weapons (a very brief incident, really...) some of the guys take to knitting too! Manly primary colours and metallic needles are absolute must-haves.

Weaving in ends isn't icky when you're learning a new skill!

Nuff said!

Tangible Proof of Learning a New Skill

Much harder to demonstrate with reading, writing and arithmetic skills, but look at what you see from your first piece of knitting. This is Miss A's first attempt at knitting. Notice at the cast on edge...there are a few missed or loose stitches, but look at how quickly her tension evens out. At the very top of her knitting she was practicing some stockingette and mock cables!

Ok, it's not technically knitting...but finger chains are pretty fun to make

Happy Easter...from the Easter Beagle

Really an Easter Retriever, but she really is a good sport isn't she?

Ellery and Clare hid eggs for Gillian (and saved a fair number of "samples" for themselves) and the girls outdid themselves creating a bunny cake this morning.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

World Wide Autism Awareness Day!

Is today!

So, to celebrate WWAA Day, here's a few pictures of ChezChelle's favorite person with autism...

Gillian rolling out pie crust...

Which requires a completely different skill set than rolling out pizza crust...

The pictures were taken about 4 days apart. Notice the new Rudolph nose in the second picture. Gilly has a nasty, wet cold and is home with me today. We might bake some biscotti this afternoon, just for a change of pace.

Gillian's latest fave thing to do...blowing out candles. She calls candles "Habby Burdays"...get it?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Sweater he will actually wear...

Recognize the fetching "Eaton's Catalog Pointing Pose" favoured by male models of the 70's.

It's Elizabeth Morrison's Adirondack Sweater. I made one for DH before and he loved it (ok, he wore it...Dh is rarely inpired to emotion by articles of clothing) but I made a tactical error in using merino wool. It pilled horribly after a few wearings and required constant shaving and grooming to look presentable. This one is made out of a coarser Galway yarn and hopefully it will hold up to more punishment.

Oh, and the work of a very bad retriever...