Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Cookie Class

Suzanne and I have signed up for a few cooking classes at the Real Canadian Superstore. This evening, we made Christmas cookies.

Our instructor, Paula Bambrick, is a pastry chef with 30 years of experience including several years at Dufflet in Toronto. She had our work area completely prepped and ready for us when we entered the cooking lab. The recipes were ready at each table and all the ingredients were measured out. The baking tins were all ready with parchment paper. There were two helpers who did all washing and cleanup.

There were 17 in our 'interactive' class at 3 tables. Two tables with 6 people and our table with 5. Each table made 4 cookie recipes.

Tiffany made Almond Raspberry Mini Cakes. Heidi and Suzanne liked her technique for getting the batter into the mini muffin pans. Tiffany is Suzanne's scrapping buddy and Heidi is a friend she knows from high school.
Karen's recipe was Snowballs - a no-bake recipe of Rice Krispies, peanut butter, butter, icing sugar, dried cranberries. They're chilled...
Then dipped in melted white chocolate. Ooo-eee! That white chocolate is hot!
Heidi is dipping her Chocolate Mint Wafers in dark chocolate.
I thought I'd help out.
Suzanne, Tiffany and I hammed it up for the camera. "When will we three meet again...?"
Once my Melting Moments were baked, we rolled them in icing sugar.
These gals at the next table looked like they were having fun.
Mmmmm... Toffee Butter Cookies....
Coffee Hazelnut Toffee before it was broken into pieces and Tiffany's finished Almond Raspberry Mini Cakes.
We each got to take home a sampling of each recipe. They went right into the freezer for our Christmas entertaining.
This Friday, Suzanne and I will be taking another cooking class. This time, it's a dinner party menu. We don't have to do anything but sit and watch the meal being made and then get to eat it at the end.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

One Row Scarf

I finished Robbie's One Row Scarf about a half hour before I met him for lunch today.
Because it isn't really a gathered rib, I did a regular bind-off (lower edge). It was stretchy enough yet didn't flare out the bottom edge.
Although it is a relatively mindless knit (k2, k1tbl, p1), I like the look of it.
I nabbed my resident model for a couple pictures.
This Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend makes a soft, snuggly scarf.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A Finishing Technique

This evening at my embroidery guild meeting, Carol Arsenault did a little workshop with us on one technique for finishing an ornament. It was based on a beautiful Christmas decoration that Jennifer had made a couple of years ago and had put into the ornament exchange at our December meeting that year.
We were asked to bring in something we had finished stitching that was between 2" and 2 1/2" wide. Carol then distributed 3" x 3" squares of 1" thick styrofoam.

We centred our design on the styrofoam square and pinned the edges to the sides of it, then did the same for the backing. We then wrapped 1" grosgrain ribbon all the way around and created a bow at the top. Easy peasy!


 This is what the back can look like.

And this is mine. The notes are black seed beads.
On display for 'Show and Share' were these two pieces.

Once again, a delightful 'make and take' meeting.

Friday, 16 November 2012


I was just reading a stitching blog and came across this post on acronyms. There were a few I knew and a few that could easily be applied to knitting. Some of my faves:

BAP = Big Ass Project: a huge undertaking requiring lots of yarn or intricate stitches.

UFO = UnFinished Object: a work still in progress, possibly languishing in a project bag or closet somewhere.

PFH = Project From Hell aka BAP or UFO.

PITA = Pain In The Ass/Arse

SABLE = Stash Enhancement Beyond Life Expectancy

S.E.X. = Stash Enhancement eXpedition: Road trip!!! Yarn crawl!!!

WISP = Work In Slow Progress: a WIP (see below) that is taking forever to complete.

WIP = Work in Progress

I have also been working on several projects.

I finished knitting another Shaun the Sheep bag, monogrammed with the intended recipient's initials. I will be lining it with funky fabric and adding a zipper.

I continue to putter away on Robbie's scarf. I'm on the last ball of yarn and with a good effort could have it ready to give him with the ribbed hat in a couple of days.

While visiting one of my favourite yarn shops, Myrtle Station Wool, I saw the new Regia Merino Angora yarn in all its squishy wonderfulness. It is 65% superwash merino wool, 25% nylon and 10% angora.

There are patterns to support this new yarn in a nifty new, little book.

My next cast-on will be these socks using the above yarn. 
And finally, I finished sewing the Provence Baby Cardigan last night, picked up and knit the button bands. I just need to do the collar and get the buttons bought and sewn on.

I'm using Scheepjes Softfun yarn, a 60/40 cotton/acrylic blend which can be machine washed.

I decided to design a matching hat using the lace detail. I cast on 77 sts and knit 1" of moss stitch as per cuffs and borders on the sweater. I then knit the 10 stitch pattern in the round separating each by one stitch. I'll do some simple decreasing for the crown and then will have this set ready.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Remembrance Day 2012

Since I was an elementary school student, I have participated in Remembrance Day ceremonies as a student, performer and teacher. Although it is a federal statutory holiday, since some time in the 1970s, most of us in Ontario, unfortunately no longer get the day off work and school. I really miss having that day to reflect.

Since retiring, I've not gone to any Cenotaph services; instead, I've watched the coverage on TV from Parliament Hill or wherever I've been out and about, stopped at 11am to honour our fallen men and women.

I have written about what this day means to me personally here, here and here. This year, the weather forecast was favourable (17C!) and it was a Sunday. I knew my friend, Suzanne, had toyed with the idea of attending the services in Ottawa but that never came to fruition so I asked her if she was interested in going with me today. Skip had an appointment and wouldn't be joining us.

We decided to go to Memorial Park in Oshawa as it has a large monument and it is directly across the street from where Suzanne works and where she has attended services for the past few years.

By the time we arrived, most of the processional had taken place. We crossed the street to the park just at the end of the tank procession.

There were thousands of people there, largely due to it not being a regular work day and because of the stunning, early fall weather. It was great to see lots of parents with their young children.

The service was organized by the two Oshawa Royal Canadian Legions and included, hymns ("O God, Our Help in Ages Past" and "Abide With Me") performed by the Salvation Army Band, rifle salutes, recitations, bible verses, prayers, speakers representing the City of Oshawa, the provincial and federal government and the youth of Oshawa and a final blessing by the Padre of the Royal Canadian Legion. There really is nothing like a blessing given in a rich English accent. And as I remember doing since I was in elementary school, the singing of "God Save the Queen". We were sent on our way with the words from a plaque on the monument:

Compared to other Remembrance Day ceremonies, I've attended, I missed a couple of things today. First, the laying of the wreaths had been done at an earlier time so we didn't get to witness that.
Also, I missed hearing "O! Valiant Hearts", my favourite hymn of remembrance and was surprised the band didn't play it.
Cadets marshaling at the end of the ceremony

After the ceremony, Suzanne and I wandered over to the Cenotaph to lay our poppies there. Since 7pm last night, a series of cadets have taken two-hour shifts standing vigil a corner of the monument.  
Capt. Dale Gray of the Ontario Army Cadet Corps was quoted in a 2010 interview, "It's in remembrance to the veterans and the names of the people that are on the cenotaph in the city of Oshawa and for those people who are with the Ontario Regiment who are now serving overseas in Afghanistan."  

I took a panoramic shot to try to illustrate how many people were there.

Over at the Cenotaph, I took my time looking at the wreaths and inscriptions on the monument. There is a 'tile' representing battle arenas, the most recent being in Afghanistan (circled). The monument (as were many in Canada) was erected after The Great War (WWI) and subsequent wars and conflicts have been added, in some cases, there isn't any more room.
I was quite surprised that the stone actually came from Westminster Abbey.
The Cenotaph is quite an imposing structure.
There are stones from Vimy Ridge (where my great-uncle Carl K. Brown was wounded and died three days later), Virginia, Belgium, Japan and Egypt.
At the other end, stones from other significant places are commemorated.
It was a wonderful way to spend an hour this morning, paying our respects to those who have fought abroad and lost their lives defending Canada and aiding other countries in need of our help. Since 2002, 158 members of our armed forces have given their lives.

May we always remember.