Monthly Archives: January 2011

New Experience #2: Attend the IDS11

Yesterday, BFF Debbie and I attended the 2011 Interior Design Show in Toronto. This excursion qualifies as New Experience #2 because a) I have never been to an interior design show, and b) I got to stalk see not one but two of my favourite design personalities, for the first time, up close and personal!

In a nutshell, our day was fantabulous.

We got our initial view of the design show as we strolled over from the parking garage:

the show took over the north building of the metro toronto convention centre

First, we met our good friend Sarah Richardson to review some paint samples. She was more than happy to pose for photos with us:

debbie and sarah...

...and me and the celebrity design guru!

Haha, don’t we wish this had been the case! Debbie and I are both big fans of Sarah’s shows on HGTV.

It didn’t take me long to make a purchase…how about 7 minutes after we arrived! But, really, how could I be expected to pass up…

ORANGE TOILET PAPER!!!

and not only orange! look at the colour options! and not only tp - they also had paper towels!

I had to choose my favourite colour, but seriously considered the black toilet paper, also. Why not make a dramatic statement in the bathroom!

later, back at home...now THAT adds a splash of colour to the powder room!

Debbie and I were terribly excited at the prospect of attending two free shows offered this Sunday.

At 12 noon…Lynda and Brian…

Join these two powerhouses of design as they share the trends they love most. Lynda Reeves and Brian Gluckstein have sorted through the biggest looks from around the world to bring you the best of the best. Come and get their hotlist.

(source)

Then at 2 pm, Suzanne and Tommy:

You won’t want to miss Canadian House & Home Editor Suzanne Dimma and designer and TV personality Tommy Smythe when they spill their secrets for giving professional polish to a space. Learn how to achieve an expensive “designer” look on a budget, and hear their tips on adding edge to your rooms.

(source)

At 11:15 a.m., we noticed that seats were filling up already for the 12 o’clock presentation by Lynda and Brian. Debbie and I tossed our jackets over two aisle seats in the 8th row, then wandered off to peruse the booths for 40 minutes. Only in Canada could you trust the honour system, I swear!

Debbie covets a wine fridge, such as this one, for her home:

some day, debbie!

If/when we ever renovate our bathrooms, I lust after a bowl sink for our main floor water closet:

i'm drooling...

Loved that both the 12 noon and 2 pm shows started bang on time.

bri-an! bri-an!

My favourite of the two presentations was Brian + Lynda. I *know* Brian from his Cityline appearances, and he was exactly as charismatic, dynamic and LOL funny as on TV. Lynda was more personable and warm than I expected, given the tone of her voice in written articles in House & Home magazine, and the times I have seen her on TV. Together, the two were witty, compatible, and obviously close friends, given their relaxed demeanors and comfortable rapport.

pic snapped from our 8th row seats!

Plus, they gave sound design tips! The forever student in me I jotted notes, a few of which I’ll pass along, here.

Theme: “Talking Trends:”

  • wallpaper
  • charcoal instead of black
  • grey and black in the kitchen; no upper cabinets in the kitchen
  • banquettes as kitchen seating
  • the closet as furniture: feature an armoire (SIL Ana and The Brother just did this!)
  • have ONE statement chair

Between the two shows, we spent a lot of time at the ELTE booth. This area rug was the best find of the entire show for me:

i could not tear my eyes from this gorgeous piece!

Price? $3195. High, yes. Beyond what I would have thought? No. Plus, I love the story behind these one-of-a-kind rugs:

explanation of the "second life" rugs - i could support this type of initiative!

another rug as backdrop

Our most delightful conversation of the day occurred with Ken from ELTE – for some reason, we just got engaged in conversation, and spent at least 10 minutes chatting! Ken has been with the company for 32 years, and his sons are fourth generation! [I just read the company history here; Ken is the grandson of the founder].

i will definitely search out ken, should i ever need a contact at ELTE!

Then, it was back to the stage for…

so excited to see tommy live!!!

yea for 6th row seats! (and realizing i should turn the flash OFF on my camera!)

Tommy is the reason I watch Sarah Richardson’s shows, to be honest! (And did you know he is the grandson of Conn Smythe?!)

Tommy and Suzanne presented on “Designer Tricks.” We learned that:

  • no kitchen is too tiny to have an island
  • the statement chair must be attractive from a 360 degree view
  • when starting out, look at how you want to use your home: where do you want your tv? do you even want a tv?
  • poppies are Tommy’s favourite flower :)

I also really enjoyed this presentation. Tommy and Suzanne were high energy, enjoy an obvious camaraderie, and shared helpful tips. However, I didn’t feel that they were quite as poised or polished as Brian and Lynda; also, the audience did not seem as entralled and in love. That being said, I still give all four presenters A+ in terms of “entertainment value.”

Both Debbie and I wholeheartedly agreed that we would have gladly paid the price of admission solely for the two shows that we watched. They were most definitely the highlight of our day.

We finished off with a tour through four design spaces by Sibling Revelry. This was the only area where we had to wait in a line-up. I was really impressed with the number of Sibling Revelry collaborators present (both Dixons, the Dressler brothers) , interacting with the general public as we toured through…

My two highlights:

Seeing the designer Lar Dressler, an eco-modern designer:

if i had to cast an alternative-designer for say, a woody allen movie, i'd go with lars! here in his space...

Viewing the three rooms designed by Sarah Richardson, using her brother, Theo’s, pieces:

a bit of background history before entering sarah's three rooms...

definitely sarah-styled

Debbie and I departed with happy hearts. The whole day was a delightful experience from start to finish. We’re contemplating bumping it up a notch next year, and springing for tix to the Thursday evening Opening Night Party! Go schmooze with Brian, Sarah, Tommy, Lynda…??? Sign us up!

Barney’s Version, After All

Last weekend, my friend Michelle and I had plans to go see the movie “Barney’s Version” on Saturday eve. However, our plans were scuppered when I didn’t feel comfortable driving on the snow-covered roads that night, and Michelle’s tummy was feeling off. No worries, we rebooked our movie date to this weekend.

With clear roads, and settled tummies, Michelle and I met up at the theatre last night. We had decided to change our movie selection to “The King’s Speech;” given the rave reviews about Colin Firth’s performance, we both were eager to catch this Oscar-nominated movie. Apparently, half of Waterloo felt the same way – the 6:30 p.m. showing was completely sold out. Since “Barney’s Version” was set for 6:40 p.m., we rolled with our original choice. Some things are meant to be!

the movie poster is behind us!

Saturday Night at the Movies is obviously a popular winter’s activity! Michelle and I ended up sitting in the fourth row from the front – luckily, not as bad as the very front row, but it was still a little close for both of us!

I really enjoyed “Barney’s Version.” Before the movie started, I told Michelle I had read Mordecai Richler’s novel (upon which the movie is based) way back when. Shortly in to the movie, I realized I’ve never read this book! Silly me. I then realized:

~ that I was mixing up my iconic Canadian authors; I was thinking of the Robertson Davies’ novels I have read, not Mordecai Richler (although I have read a couple of his, too).

~ that I was thinking back to when I read “Larry’s Party” by Carol Shields (another favourite author) NOT “Barney’s Version” – an honest mistake since both are Great Canadian Novels by Renowned Canadian Authors, and both have men’s names in the title!!

[Sidenote: as I type, I realize I could go on ad nauseum about Robertson Davies, Mordecai Richlers, Carol Shields, AND their novels...I'll leave that for another day!]

Anyway! Now that I don’t *have* to review movies, I’ll simply say that Barney’s Version was thoroughly enjoyable. The story translates exceedingly well to film format. Minnie Driver and Dustin Hoffman steal their scenes. Paul Giamatti, as Barney, is perfectly suited to the role. In terms of casting, Rosamund Pike is the perfect choice as Miriam. I don’t recall seeing her in other films, although her filmography is extensive. I loved the Canadian (Montreal) setting, and the eras (present-day and 1970′s).

Rating: *** (three stars)

So, it was a wonderful evening at the movies. Michelle and I still do want to catch “The King’s Speech” before the Oscar Awards on February 27th.

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Mom’s Turn!

Remember when I scored this deal for Dad??…

Well, we completed some more markdowns at the store yesterday, and this time, I couldn’t pass up snagging this Adidas tshirt for mom!

i didn't make mom model, just for a photo!

cute detailing on the back!...

Original retail price for this Adistar Salvation tshirt? $54.99

What did I pay?…

yes, $3.49!

Glad I could even up the surprise apparel treats!

*#*#*#*#*

Today is a full day in Toronto! I’m off on an adventure with BFF Debbie which qualifies as New Experience #2! Back tomorrow with the full recap!

Happy Birthday, Steve Sax

As a teenager of the early ’80′s, you might expect that my first celebrity crush was a member of this musical group:

(source)

Great debates were held in our Grade 7 class about Duran Duran, and who was hotter: Simon, John or Nick? (None of the above, if you would have asked me at the time).

The Brat Pack guys made many-a-young-heart swoon (Justin Bieber?? Please.). The Outsiders movie was the biggest thing to sweep the nation since PacMan.

(source)

Just for the record: no one was cuter than Rob Lowe. (Tangent: he’s aged very well – like cheese).

As a sports fanatic at that time, I could have luvvved Mark Spitz:

(source)

Seven Olympic gold medals and a swimmer’s physique? Doesn’t get much more impressive!

But, no. The celebrity who stole my heart for the very first time was Steve Sax:

(source)

I know – who??? Well, between the ages of 11-14, I was the biggest sports fan, ever. I avidly followed NHL Hockey, NFL Football, Major League Baseball, Wide World of Sports - heck, if they had televised Poker back then, I probably would have enjoyed that.

Steve Sax came to my attention when he won Rookie of the Year honours in 1982. I cut out his picture from the newspaper, and literally, it was push-pinned to my bedroom bulletin board for a good four years. I would write out the Los Angeles Dodgers season schedule of games so that I would know what city he was playing in. The time he made a guest appearance on Square Pegs (hello, Sarah Jessica Parker!) – I almost couldn’t eat supper, so great was my anticipation of watching the show that evening.

Today, ♥ ♥ ♥ Heartthrob #1 ♥ ♥ ♥ turns 51. He, too, still looks mighty fine, if you ask me:

(source)

As I’ve mentioned, birthdays stick in my head for some reason…and I’ve never forgotten that January 29th is Steve Sax’s special day. (Always loved that he is also a January baby). I almost had a heart attack this morning when I realized 1982 wasTWENTY-NINE YEARS AGO. Gulp. In my head, I was thinking TWENTY.

I have no clue what my sweetie pie my first flame is up to these days…but I DO know I’ve never forgotten that fluttery-heart feeling I got from adoring-from-afar my very first love interest.

Who was your first celebrity crush??

*#*#*#*#*

LAST KNITTING RANT, I PROMISE!

 I’m losing my mind over the mindless knitting project.

This morning I figured out how to keep my lace pattern straight:

each safety pin marks the start of the 18 st lace repeat - so now i know where stitch #1 is to go!

 

Awesome, right? A few minutes after I snapped this shot, I held the sleeve up to my arm. Unless my mom’s arms hang down past her kneecaps, there is NO. WAY. the sleeves are going to be the right length. So I ripped out all that lace at the top, there, and ripped out some of the plain knitting below that (note: I already had ripped out MORE of the plain knitting YESTERDAY when I realized the sleeves were looking long…).

stitches back on the needles...

 

So this is now Attempt #4 at getting the sleeve length correct, and about Round #14 (I lie not) for the lace decreases. I will prevail, darn it!!!

 

Mug Shots

Today after work, I slipped up to Household China and Gifts to look at mugs. I was a woman on a mission.

We still have only the one mug in our house.

why do we even have this mug? b is not a hot beverage drinker??!

 Since I am now a regular coffee-swiller, I’d like a mug that is solely mine and very fun!

I had a coffee over at mom and dad’s yesterday aft, and used a practically perfect mug of dad’s that he got at Household. No, don’t even suggest that I beg him for it – it’s his favourite one, apparently!

I don’t want something ordinary. Nor something that looks like it belongs to a set.

I began my exploration around the china store…

none of these grabbed me. plain janes, all of them.

dad's mug was like this in shape and size, even colour combo, but his just looks more funky/geometric; not 110% in love

getting closer!!! these colours are fab! but they're teeny espresso size (i think??) too tiny, anyway...

At this point, a rather scattered salesgirl offered some assistance. I had just spied this fantastic display!…

j'adore! mug?? mug?? perchance??

…and saw an empty box which should have housed the mug of this set. The addlebrained girl ran hither and yon all over the store, but could not locate the missing mug. Okaaaayyy, then, onwards we go…

As I stood waiting, look who was looking at me!…

eek-a-freak!! this king was huge - i'd have to use two VIAs to fill 'im up!

I have a strong suspicion he’d induce nightmares.

Flighty Sales Girl proposed one final option:

size? check! colour combo? check! saucer? noooo!...i want only a mug!!

I don’t like settling for a purchase, so I walked out mug-less. *sigh*

There’s a shop at the mall across from us that is going out of business:

specializing in kitchenwares

Everything is massively reduced for quick sale. I seriously did contemplate the mug on the right – it made me laugh! “Butt,” (haha!), I left Big Bertha on the shelf…

definitely one-of-a-kind, no?!

What do you think??!

Isn’t this always, the way, though. When you are specifically seeking “x,” you never can find it. Watch, I’ll probably be at some place like Zellers in the near future, minding my own business as I pick up Calcium Chews or a Valentine’s card, and !POP! – I’ll spot the perfect mug.

*#*#*#*#*

Remember my mindless knitting project? Yea. Spoke so very too soon.

lace pattern + simultaneous side decreases = me pulling my hair out!

Nothing is more annoying than a poorly written pattern. I resorted to writing out row-by-row additional notes:

my own shorthand/chicken scratches!

I’m hoping to avoid the multiple trial-and-error attempts I made today for Sleeve #2!

What’s your favourite mug? And how many do you have in YOUR kitchen?!

Back to conquer lace!…

Stop Blogging, Get Knitting!

Yesterday, I purchased this yarn…

louet "riverstone," 100% wool, light worsted weight in "cream" - 10 skeins purchased

…so that I can make this pattern…

"tara, sweater in celtic knotwork"

…from this book:

alice starmore is a goddess in the knitting world; she specializes in cables and classic celtic design

This sweater is a commission for a contact from the store. When I work Sunday mornings, it’s deathly slow it’s pretty quiet after the practice run groups go out, so I always have my knitting with me. “A” asked me several weeks ago if I would be able to make a sweater for her. Since I’ve done quite a few special orders over the years, I eagerly accepted the invitation!

“A” wanted something warm and cosy but not too thick, and NOT scratchy. I went through my personal pattern collection and presented her with a few choices. She chose the pullover, above, which is the one I hoped she would pick! I researched yarn, and  presented “A” with four options. She chose the wool that would have been…my second choice, to be honest. But, I am not making the sweater FOR ME, and I always want my customers to be 100% happy with their finished piece of “wearable art,” as I like to call it. And the yarn you see, above, will be just fine for this sweater. [Sidenote: I do refuse to knit with a) cheap yarn b) a weight or brand that I know won't produce fantastic results - I've learned my lesson over the years!].

When I accept a special order from someone, I do include a fee for my time, and of course, the client pays for the yarn. Unfortunately, I could never make a living off of handknitting, as much as I love it, even if I knit 40 hours per week – this isn’t Parisian haute couture.

(source)

 But commissions make for a welcome challenge, and each project is unique.

I love and adore making patterns which involve cabling - moreso than designs that feature colourwork. So, I can’t wait to get started on “A’s” sweater! Anyone want to start winding the skeins into balls of yarn for me?!!

“A”s” pullover will be my mindful project while I continue to mindlessly make this sweater for my mom. The first sleeve is almost complete (usually you knit sweater pieces in the order of back, front, sleeves, neckband; this pattern has you make the two sleeves first, for some reason).

Here are a few examples of other projects I’ve done over the past 15 years, or so. (I specify the time frame because, as you will see, a few of the models look a little dated; the beauty of handknits, however, is that they themselves stand the test of time, rarely going way out of style). And, yes, most of my earlier projects did feature intarsia).

^^^***^^^***^^^

I made the sheep sweater, below, for a co-worker when I worked at a local insurance company in the late ’90′s:

princess diana wore this "black sheep" pullover back when she was still lady di, circa 1981

 (source)

As sported by Lady Di…

A friend from my running group had me make this one for her mother:

"falling leaves" cardigan

This one was a favourite to compose:

notice the front features the kitty-cat faces while the back shows their tails!

I first made an adult version of the Cat Pullover for my mom; a co-teacher on her staff had me make the child’s size for her daughter.

My dad’s admin assistant’s children were very sporty; I knit this figure-skater cardigan for her daughter:

warm for the ice rink, pre- and post-practice!

Socks are popular Christmas gifts. Another of my mom’s co-teachers on her staff hired me to knit SIXTEEN pairs of socks one year. Needless to say, I was a little “burnt out” on sock-making after that order!

each pair was unique in colour

Most requests have actually been for baby or toddler patterns – The Brother and SIL Ana have been especially faithful customers, requesting commissions to give to friends as “welcome baby” gifts. (They do get a family rate, haha!). I like doing the baby projects because recipients are so appreciative of the handmade gift. Believe it or not, though, baby-sized knits take about the same time to complete as adult-sized projects!

Another day, I’ll show you some of the baby patterns…

Seriously, now I am going to knit! (And watch a little Jersey Shore…really, can you get much more oxymoronic than knitting and Jersey?!!)

Do you like wearing handknits??

Me – luvvvv. And I keep sweaters for eons.  I admit I have quite a collection, haha! No surprise, there…NOT a fan pieces that look like Auntie Winifred made them out of K-Mart yarn, though…

And B? No way – he’s warm in a long-sleeve shirt, so I’ve never been able to make him anything!

*#*#*#*#*

I DID start in on Freedom last night – got my standard 9 pages read before falling asleep. Yup, it’s a winner.

Book Discussion: The Hour I First Believed

I forced my eyelids to stay open last night about 15 pages more than they really wanted to, so that I could finish my book:

723 pages later!...

It took me about two months to read this novel - not bad considering I only read before bed, and average likely 10-20 pages per night.

I’d like this post to be more of a book discussion in tone, than a book review. For that reason, I’ll give you a potential spoiler alert. Now, I’m not going to give away the ending or anything, but I am going to discuss plot developments, themes, characters, and personal likes and dislikes. So, if you have intentions of reading the book (and you should!), maybe skip this post?? (haha, what kind of blogger asks readers to NOT read!?!). If the book doesn’t interest you OR if you have already read it, please join me!…

Full disclosure: I’m a huge Wally Lamb fan. Back in this post, I listed “I Know This Much Is True” as one of the Top Five reads of my entire life. “She’s Come Undone,” which I read immediately after finishing I Know This Much Is True, also completely captivated me. Wally Lamb’s novels stay in my mind long after I finish reading – John Irving is another writer whose works affects me in this way.

Right from page one, The Hour I First Believed captivated me. Caelum Quirk is our protagonist, and the novel is written in first-person narrative (my favourite type). We quickly get a sense of the type of personality he is, thanks to Mr Lamb’s insertion of background details, and from Caelum’s present-time inner discourse. I can’t say I loved, admired or respected Caelum throughout the novel: true to his sirname, he does have quirks and shortcomings, weaknesses and downfalls. This is unusual in a novel; many times an author wants his readers to feel a kinship, and almost a celebrity-like devotion to the primary characters. I didn’t mind that I didn’t adore Caelum, though – it just made the story all the more life-like.

We begin our story in Colorado, and the Columbine shootings figure prominently in the plot development…for the first part of the book. Prior to beginning my reading, I was expecting that the entire novel would revolve around this major real-life tragedy; however, this event serves onlt as the impetus for what unfolds in the rest of the novel.

Caelum’s wife, Maureen, would be our second major character. Maureen, hidden in a cupboard, survives the rampage at the school on that tragic day but is forever colored by the effects of her trauma. The entire plot of the book spools off of this life-changing event.

Mr Lamb is a master of weaving together multiple plot lines, and at integrating new characters, weaving them into the storyline. This novel is a complexly layered tapestry of events, generations, characters. At various points, Caelum disappears from the narative, and other characters take over as the primary plot-advancers. This writing structure enhances the intrigue of the novel.

As you can tell (!), I feel like I could write a full university dissertation on the major themes and characters’ psychological profilings. Maybe some day when I have a creative blogging mental block I’ll return to one theme or character and discuss it more thoroughly. For now, let’s close with a few highlights and shortcomings:

~ the plot development is absolutely brilliant.

~ I appreciated the twinning of Caelum’s college course on Greek mythology that he teaches, as a mirror to his own epic tale of self-discovery.

~ I loved how characters like Velvet and Alphonse appear, disappear, reappear throughout the course of the story.

~ the portrayal of Maureen’s post-traumatic stress disorder seemed completely real, to me.

~ I did not so much enjoy the inclusion of Lizzy Popper…these chapters did not hold my attention as much as the real-time portions of the novel. All of the storylines involving Caelum’s ancestors did not captivate me as much as the rest of the novel.

~ **The ending is weak. Period. I strongly feel that Mr Lamb took the easy way out, wrapping up the story in a too convenient fashion. While Caelum’s life is not at all “…and he lived happily ever after,” the story does end too *nicely.* Given the twists and turns that we have already experienced with Caelum, the ending is just too neat. Very disappointing.

If you have read the novel, I especially would love to hear your thoughts on the book’s concluding pages.

It’s been more than 10 years since Mr Lamb last published a novel. It’s obvious that our author poured heart and soul into composing this oeuvre. It’s a masterpiece in terms of literature. I do hope that this is not the final piece in Mr Lamb’s fiction-writing career. He is a true artist with the written word.

*#*#*#*#*

What’s next on my reading list???! Well, let’s see what’s on my bedside table…I have two choices from books gifted to me at Christmas:

More highly anticipated fiction…

...which also is very weighty!

OR…

Humourous non-fiction:

have heard good things about ms handler's biographies!

I do believe I’ll dive right in to Freedom. Chelsea will travel better on the plane to Aruba! So my goal will be to complete Freedom by the beginning of March – “good luck with that!”

New Experience #1: Make My Own Crackers!

Crackers are a constant in our household. In fact, they have their own shelf space:

looking a little sparse right now!

Why would I make my own crackers when there are sooo many varieties from which to choose?

...and my valumart selection would be considered small!

Pick just one type of cracker and you’ll find variation: whole wheat; reduced salt; snack-pac; mini’s…take your pick!

one of the "big players" - and one of b's all-time favourites!

The first time I ever heard of someone making crackers was Gina! This was back in our university days – one year, we got together over the Christmas holidays at Gina’s parents’ house, and Gina had baked up crackers that day. To be honest, Gina, I remember being confounded as to why someone would go to the bother of baking crackers when it was so easy and cheap to buy them!

True: in the last few years, companies have “healthified” their snacky carbs – you’re unlikely to find trans fats in crackers any more. But a lot of crackers taste like a version of salty cardboard, no?

While I’ve done a fair share of baking in my life (esp last year!), I have never made crackers from scratch.

Today that changed. I am now enlightened. I am a convert, and a believer.

I found a recipe in the More With Less Cookbook that seemed neither too complex nor too radical in terms of taste. [Sidenote: this cookbook is a standard find in many a Mennonite household - my note in the front cover tells me I received mine from The Brother at Christmas 1994! MWL is also the "older sibling" to the Simply In Season cookbook that Gina gifted me last week!]

From the sounds of the recipe, it looked like the final result would be a homemade version of this brand:

mild in flavour, more bite and substance than a saltine

Now on with the show!

Here’s the recipe as it appears in the book (with photos and commentary!):

Wheat Thins (More With Less Cookbook; recipe credited to Donna Koehn)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine in mixing bowl:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 T wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder **
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T dry milk solids [I used soy milk solids as I got confused at Bulk Barn between instant, non-instant, skim, whole...]

** So I’m assembling the dry ingredients and I notice I am out of baking powder…grrr. Decide that a neighbour must have some. Knock on literally 5 different doors on three different floors – no one is home. Have to scoot over to Valumart for the baking powder. Could have saved time by doing that in the first place! Return with enough for several years:

won't be running out any time soon!

Cut in with pastry blender:

  • 6 T margarine

while 6 T = 1/4 c + 2 T, i did dole out 6 T so that the margarine lumps would be smaller

Combine separately and stir in:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 T molasses

Knead a little until smooth.

actually did not need the wooden board - i just kneaded the dough in the bowl! (on the right)

Grease two cookie sheets (10 x 15″)…

parchment paper instead - the best find of last year's 40 recipes!

…and sprinkle each with cornmeal. Divide dough in half.

division of dough - check!

Roll out half of dough directly onto cookie sheet with floured rolling pin, rolling dime thin.

tangent note: the rolling pin lives in the back right corner, under and behind that black tray...really need to move it to a better 'hood...

i didn't TRY to make even squares! and dime thin? the best i could achieve was about loonie-thin...

Sprinkle lightly with  paprika, garlic, onion or seasoned salt. Run rolling pin over once more. Prick with fork.

this pan i sprinkled with garlic salt...

...while this tray received a few dashes of table salt - and triangle shapes!

Cut in squares or triangles. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

i baked the pans about 14 minutes each...

The recipe states that prep time is 10 minutes. Um, maybe for Ina Garten???! I’d say I spent about 40 minutes, from when I started mixing my ingredients to when I popped the baking sheets in the oven. But then, I’ve never made crackers before, and I know I’m a slow baker to begin with!

Final comments?? These crackers are delicious.  Now they are NOT super crunchy, due, I believe, to the thickness I made them, and I could have baked them longer.

But both B and I love the texture and taste: they’re not light like bread, but chewier than a store-bought cracker. B’s favourite is the garlic salt variation while I’m going to give top marks to the regular salted ones.

I would make these again; they’d be great to take to a potluck or a party, esp with a homemade hummus or dip. And now that I’ve been through the process once, I’d make them prettier next go-’round! cutout shapes? heck, I’ll settle for a simple “square” on the tray!

call this experience a success!

care for a bite?!

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We’re going to enjoy the crackers tonight with the first recipe I have made from Eat Drink and Be Vegan!  – Tomato Dill Lentil Soup. Smells like a winner!

Have you ever made a homemade baked good that you can typically buy cheaply and conveniently?

And that’s a wrap on New Experience #1 for this year’s 1970 Kiki Project!

Name Yer Monday

Monday is almost a Done-Day, in my books. When you get up at 5 a.m., 5 p.m. almost feels like early evening!

So how was your day today?

*Hopefully, it was not just another Manic Monday - although often this does seem to be the way, doesn’t it.

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*Did you play Monday Morning Quarterback around the water cooler, after those exciting AFC and NFC Championship games yesterday?

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*Some people just take a pessimistic view of the start of the work week:

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I used to dread Mondays when I was a teacher. Now that I’m in retail, Mondays are no big deal! In fact, today was my Friday since I am off tomorrow and Wednesday!

*Did you Gym-It-Up today? Maybe have a Motivated Monday regarding fitness? I’ve always found that Mondays at the gym are rather insane – people have great motivation to exercise at the beginning of the week…the desire tends to wane as the week goes on (Thursday eve Happy Hour, anyone?).

*I’ll go with either Mellow Monday or On-A-Mission Monday to describe my day: the store was pretty quiet (thanks to a temp of -20 this morning) and my manager and I tag-teamed our To Do list efficiently. By the time I left, we were in good order! I also got a lot of errands done this aft: the bank, the health food store, the card shop, Valumart…done by 4:30 p.m.

*Tonight it will be Mushroom Chili Monday at the condo casa. B doesn’t like mushrooms, but to me, they’re the best part of a one-pot meal. So I’ll pick his out before serving! :) I’m using the all-natural ground beef that I picked up at the market with Dad.

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We did finish Season Two of Rescue Me  last eve. Wow, wow and bombshell wow is all I have to say about the final two episodes that we watched. Bring on Season Three!!!

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Coming up tomorrow: New Experience #1 for the 1970 Kiki Project, 2011 Edition! It’s about time, eh!

Hint: we’ll be in the kitchen…

 

Chillin’ Sunday

Feeling randomly chatty, today!…

~ It’s cold out, to put it mildly (haha, pun!):

Clear-18 °C

  • Clear

  • Feels Like: – 27
  • Wind: NW 7km/h
  • Sunrise: 7:46
  • Sunset: 17:20
  • (source: http://www.theweathernetwork.com/weather/CAON0728)

    But the funny thing is that I was warm while B and I walked this afternoon! I fully credit my Sorel boots and the disposable heatwarmers for my hands that I stuffed in my (triple layer of) mitts. In fact, I didn’t want to come inside! The sunshine was glorious.

    ~ Have you got the football game on??

    Classic match-ups this year to determine who will get to the Superbowl. Who’s your team??

    Green Bay Packers?

    Chicago Bears?

    New York Jets?

    Pittsburgh Steelers?

    I JUST had B put the final minutes of the Packers-Bears game on for me. It was 14-7 Packers til JUST NOW the Packers intercepted the ball and scored another touchdown. Best football of the year today – typically, closer and more action-packed games than the Super Bowl. I don’t regularly watch the NFL games anymore, but I do enjoy the excitement of today’s battles!

    [ETA: touchdown Chicago! I can't even keep up!

    ETA2: game over! Packers advance!]

    ~ Deal of the Century:

    For Christmas 2009, I bought The Brother this jacket at the store:

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    The Nike Pacer Tight-Knit Mens Track Jacket

    I paid full price for it – $89.99 – at the time (before my staff discount). [Oops! HaHa, nothing like telling someone how much you paid for their gift!]

    We’ve had one size Large jacket hanging around the store since that time. Recently our Home Office has reduced the price a few times. On Friday, our markdown report indicated the price to be….$4.99. That is NOT a typo. Yes, that would be approx the price of a S’bucks coffee! I snapped it up right away for my Dad. Once again, apply the employee discount and I paid…

    $3.09

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    This is one for the record books! Dad looks great in his new jacket, too!

    perfect fit!

    you can never beat nike for style, comfort, durability

     Just don’t wear it for your golf games together, guys!

    ~ Finished a knitting project today!

    (‘Twas quite slow at the store during my morning shift):

    still needs to be blocked so that it's uniformly square - dampening and pinning the blanket will fix that

    close up of the pattern/yarn

    I designed this blanket simply because I wanted an excuse to use the gorgeous yarn! It’s actually sock yarn – Noro’s Kureyon sock yarn. Due to the shape and wool content of the yarn, I think it will be best suited as a stroller blanket - snuggle it around baby as a winter warmer! I’ll keep it on hand to give as a “welcome, baby” gift, when needed. I’m pretty happy with how fast this project went – I started knitting the blanket Sunday December 19, so it took just over a month – not bad considering I ripped back a few rows a couple of times!

    My next mindless project (ie one I can while reading) is going to be this shrug for mom…

    the pattern...

    ...and this yarn

    Mom and I picked up this kit (mom pays, I knit) at the Knitter’s Fair, back in September (where has the time gone?!). With any luck, mom will still get some wear out of the shrug during this winter season.

    ~ …and I’m outta here! We have two episodes left of Season 2 of Rescue Me, so we’re going to watch those now! And you betcha I’ll be knitting!

    Way Back Playback: The Saturday Edition

    Growing up, Fridays were typically Family Night, while Saturday Nights were social…at least for my parents.

    My parents were not “party people,” so no bar-hopping or swinging-’70′s party scenes for them.

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    But a couple of times per month, they would go out to the symphony or to their Couples Club (a monthly get-together of similarly-aged young parents who all attended our church and would rotate hosting duties).

    The Brother and I loved when the parents would leave! Because that meant we had a babysitter! We practically shoo’ed them out the door! Yes! Go be social, see you in the morning, adios!

    Our first and favourite babysitter was Cathie. She was the daughter of our next-door neighbours. Since I’m also Cathy, she was known as Big Cathie while I was Little Cathy. [Sidenote: Cathie and I are still in touch to this day, exchanging Christmas and Birthday cards!] When she got too old to babysit, we progressed through sisters Michelle and Tracey from further up the street, and occasionally Beth would come over, from a few houses down.

    Our evenings followed a similar flow: after mom and dad escaped left, we’d set up the board games. Parcheesi, Snakes and Ladders, some game where we rolled dice and progressed around a circle…or, we’d bring out jigsaw puzzles, have colouring time. I don’t remember TV as being part of the entertainment, at all! The Brother and I would enjoy a snack before bed – I remember my mom always organized a plate of homemade cookies for the babysitter, and for us.

    My most prominent recollection, though, is of each girl’s friendliness, patience and kindness towards us. They were fun! As the oldest in the family, I always wanted an older sibling – babysitter nights were like having a big sister parachute into my life!

    We even took great pleasure in watching our sitters complete their homework – I remember Michelle, especially, as being quite academic, and I would be entranced with her shorthand class homework (yup, this was the ’70s!). They’d show us the novels they needed to read for English class, and explain math homework. Really, this world of high school was so intriguing!

    When I started babysitting, I followed the same example set by our sitters: playing hide and go seek with my charges, reading stories, just spending time chatting with the children.

    These evenings were win-win for both our parents and for us kids. Sunday morning breakfast we’d all recap our evening fun – good times for all!

    ~*~*~

    Guess who was in the next city over last night!

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    None other than Pauly D of Jersey Shore fame!!! Yea, way to make the guy love Canada – bring him to Guelph in the middle of January! But for $40 000, I’d just wrap myself in goosedown and show up, too!

    Sadly, B didn’t advise me of this news until last eve…yea, can’t you just see me and B gettin’ down with the kids at the club (I jest)…so we did the next best thing since we’re too old and just watched the latest episode on our couch, in the warm Condo Casa. Woop Woop, homies!

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