Category : days

Stealth Knitting

I’m going to start this post with an apology for the grotty images: the grey rainy day isn’t providing good lighting, and nap time is no time for turning on lights or using the flash. So there you go. Dim, off-colour photos.

But at least I’ve been knitting! It hasn’t been easy. Somehow it seems that although he can sleep through the industrial sewing machine going overhead, the shush of yarn sliding over bamboo needles is just too much racket for the little one, and I’m seldom able to knit more than a couple of rows while he naps. Which leaves furtive knitting in the dark evenings while he’s properly asleep. And I’m exhausted.

So, I’ve chosen simple projects.

#1: Baby Surprise Jacket in orphaned balls of tweedy wool, because he needs a nice wooly sweater/jacket and I’ve been wanting to make one of these for ages, even before I knew Max would ever exist.

Baby Surprise Jacket for Max

#2: Mid-weather hat in leftover sock yarn, because he needs something between the super-wooly one and the light cotton ones.

Mmm, stripy pooly sock yarn.

#3: Then I cast on for Pebble vest, because I’m a masochist and was afraid I was making too much progress on the BSJ and hat and might actually end up with a free moment at some point. And it’s super cute and way more attainable than Cobblestone.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go wrangle a small boy who thinks he can stand on his own.


Being the end of the growing season, more or less, and having the time to do it, the OH and I took the chance to clean up our community garden plot.

This involved ripping out the pole beans, massacring the out-of-control sage plant and harvesting the rest of the carrots. And here they are!

A few weeks ago I pulled some of the carrots and cooked and smushed them to make little frozen cubes of food for a certain someone who had just started on solids.

So that means things like this for lunch:

which of course results in this sort of thing:

Because eating is FUN, in case you weren’t sure…

Ode to Cosmos

I love cosmos.

They make a special treat at the end of summer, their pink and white heads swaying on top of the feathery foliage, just when so many flower beds are starting to look rather wan and tired. On our street there are big patches of cosmos in front of three of the four houses neighbouring us to the east, so coming home means being greeted by these cheerful maidens waving and brushing me as I walk along the sidewalk. The sense of having arrived is heightened by the fact that we moved into this apartment at this time of year, and I always remember the cosmos, amongst which I hadn’t previously lived, somehow making me feel at home.

Every time I pass them seems like a photo op. Whether it’s the late afternoon sun making them glow from behind, or the wind turning all the flower heads to face the same way, or the lacy density of the plants filling my field of vision. Even in the rain they’re lovely.
Singing in the Rain
So hooray for these flowers that wave out the summer and welcome the fall.
Apparently babies like them too.

Too Much

I have been pursued recently by a need to simplify my life. The weight of my neglected, superfluous possessions hangs in my subconscious, following me around like a clingy goth kid at a Cure concert.

Much of this feeling is, I’m sure, due to having a new baby in our home, which is like a magnet for STUFF. Because babies need clothes, and blankets, and toys, and chairs, and play mats and and and… right? Don’t they? From the quantity of baby crap available you’d think the average nursery was the size of a small aircraft hangar.

But I digress. It’s not really about the monkey’s things. It’s about mine. (Well, and the Other Half’s, but let’s tackle one issue at a time.) Particularly my clothes.

Now, I’m not a clothes horse, not a fashion victim. My “seasonal” shopping indulgences max out at 5 or 6 items from VV. I’ve never been able to afford more, plus it’s just ridiculous to buy a bunch of cheap crappy garments every season rather than having fewer things that will last years without falling apart or going out of fashion.

But still, I end up having lots of clothes loitering in the shadows of my closets and drawers that I almost never wear and yet haven’t been able to get rid of.

I know the old rule; if you haven’t worn it in the last year (some say 6 months but I allow a full year, since we have four seasons here), pitch it. But given that I’ve spent the last year being either pregnant or post-partum and am just now fitting into my pre-prego jeans (and only some shirts), I can’t really follow that. So I have to actually assess each item individually. And let me tell ya, mommy-brain is not a good tool for this task.

Let’s just look at what I have to deal with, shall we?

Granted, it’s not all mine, but still. Of all the clothes in there that are mine, it’s been at least a year since I’ve worn most. And yet whenever I pull something out to toss it it looks up at me with the equivalent of sad puppy dog eyes as if to say “we had some good times, you can’t just throw that away!” and I think I’ll just keep it for one more season and wedge it back in amongst it’s companions in neglect.

So you can see where this ends; right where it started. Which is why I have a bunch of ratty sweaters and shirts that will never fit again. And then there’s the stuff that’s not good enough to donate to VV (!) that I just can’t throw away because well, it’s fabric; there must be some use for it yet!


I just have be strong. Stronger than the 12 year old silk sweater with moth holes and sketchy cardigan conversion job. Stronger than the microfleece jacket that’s always been too short. Stronger even than the retro black and kelly green zip-up whose zipper broke 5 years ago and hasn’t been worn since.

Kate Moss once famously said “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” and although I can’t relate literally (having never been skinny and having a serious soft spot for good food) I’m sure there’s a parallel having to do with sentiment and closet space.

I’ll get to it tomorrow, I swear.

The Harvest Begins

I went down to the garden today, thinking I could harvest a few veggies.
You know. A handful of green beans, a cucumber or two.

This is what I came home with:

The beans are mostly Rattlesnake pole, with pretty purple streaks on the pods.
streaky beans

They have purple flowers and are planted together with Scarlet Runners, which makes for a very pretty tripod. Which you could see if I’d had the foresight to bring my camera with me. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

As you can see, that’s substantially more than a handful. And that’s five cucumbers (counting the curly one), with several slightly smaller ones left on the plants. And some portulaca, and a little baby carrot, and the sage is about 1/5th of the plant.

Ah July.

I think we’ll be eating green beans for a while.

A Walk in the Park

I’ve been doing a lot of this sort of thing:
which unfortunately means not so much of the
cooking (at least not with time to document)

but I do get to spend lots of time with these toes…

Tie yourself…

…in knots.

Garlic scapes: spontaneous, not trained to do this!

Nature’s awesome.

The garden, she’s a-growing!

This garden thing, it doesn’t actually require all that much time or effort, in the grand scheme of things, but having a 14.3 pound baby strapped to one’s front has quite an impact on one’s ability to plant, water, weed etc.
Still… we’ve been managing.
We’ve got bush cucumbers;
go cukes!
and carrots (that’s the sage planted last year in the background, doing very well indeed)
carrot seedlings
and my favourite – peas!
sugar ann snap peas

There are also pole beans and garlic and asian greens; photos to come.

Mmmmm, Soup.

It starts with having the presence of mind to remove a container of chicken stock made back in February from the freezer. This can be done even while holding a baby.
Score one for mommy-brain.

After that it’s just a matter of chopping some celery and carrots, sautéing in some olive oil, then adding some cubed potatoes and the stock (all done while papa manages the baby), and letting it all simmer for about 15 minutes. That’s just about the right amount of time to soothe a fussy baby.
Score two for mommy-brain.

A few minutes before serving, toss in some chopped green beans, put some cheese on toast or a hearty cracker and call it dinner. This is best done with papa in charge of the baby again.
Score three for mommy-brain.

Now, here’s the good part.

More presence of mind moves a piece of pastured local ham from the freezer to the fridge the same night.
The next day for lunch, heat up the leftover soup with some cubed ham and a few broken up spears of asparagus. This can all be done while the baby has a lovely little lunch-hour nap.

Full victory for mommy-brain.

A-Gardening We Go, and some Quilt-making too.

Managed a few minutes today to pop some carrot seeds into the ground at the Community Garden. The peas I planted about a month ago are on their way, and last years garlic is satisfyingly tall and green, as is the sage.
Like so (unfortunately my real camera is suffering some kind of lens malfunction so we’ll have to settle for crappy cell phone pictures until the batteries for the backup camera are charged):
I was accompanied by Himself (you can see his snazzy orange stroller in the corner of the above picture), and he managed to refrain from wailing just long enough for a quick portrait of sorts.

I’ve also been working on another quilt. This is more of a “salvage an old comforter and cover the nasty old sofa” quilt than anything else. It’s extremely basic, with squares of various stash fabrics separated by strips of a duvet cover that generously sacrificed its previous identity for the project. The central panel is put together (thanks to the OH looking after His Royal Poopiness for a good chunk of Mother’s Day – hurrah!), and while it’s nothing special, I’m confident it will be more attractive than both the floral comforter I’ll be stuffing it with and the aforementioned nasty old sofa.
Quilt2 Panel
(You may notice, if these are the sorts of things that you notice, that I managed to piece it such that no fabrics repeat in a given row or column. Considering the severe case of new-mommy-brain I’m sporting these days, I thought that was quite an accomplishment, though it did require a modest amount of taking-apart and re-assembling to pull it off.)

That is all.