Tuesday, September 28, 2010


1. I think I may be done. (Finally!) I'm going to stare at it for a while before I decide, though.
2. This painting is particularly hard to photograph. (Not that acrylics are ever easy.)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Friday Night Traffic

The bus I was on Friday night got stuck in traffic, so I started walking. Since the bus stop that would give me the best connection with the least traffic was near a vintage shop I like, I decided to have some fun and wander through.
I found a salt shaker kitty playing a... um... lute? Banjo? Guitar? (Probably not a fiddle, the way it's being held.) It reminded me of the quilt my great-grandmother made me (based on "Hey Diddle Diddle") and my grandpa (who would recite "The Owl and the Pussycat"). It was marked at $3, but she sold it to me for $1, since any mate it once had was nowhere to be found.
I also bought a $4 candle snuffer (I've been wanting one) and a bag of buttons that was pretty cheap at $4. (They had several bags for the same price, but I restrained myself to one.)

After a *long* week, it was a lovely diversion. :)

The Latest Socks


Yay Bike Ride!

Between loads of laundry, I snuck away and went for a bike ride with mom and uncle D... 5k out, and 8k back (we took the long way through St B). Over the Provencher Bridge, we saw "Knit The Bridge":
We also saw some native dancers who were part of Culture Days. (Had my weekend not been so full with the workshop and dinners with parents, I would have tried to make it to some of the other activities.)

Painting Workshop

Yesterday I attended a workshop on painting abstract landscapes with a palette knife. It was lots of fun, and I actually finished a painting! (Usually I don't have time to finish.) I'm quite happy with what I painted:
IMG_3865 copy
This is the photo I was working from:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Apartment Life

I just went down to do a load of laundry (I was at a workshop all day, and then dinner with my dad... I'll do most of it tomorrow, but I thought I'd get one load done today before it's too late), and found that there was clumps of powdered soap all over the top of the washer. Given that I've never noticed this before, I figured it was the new people across the hall who did something to cause the clumps.

Clumps of soap on the top indicate three things:
1. The laundry was added first, then the soap. (This is how I did it growing up, but it seems that washing machines in apartments are finicky. I suspect it's probably because they're designed to be cheap without needing lots of maintenance, rather than being designed to wash the clothes well. Apartment washing machines seem to like having the soap added first. They also seem to do better with liquid detergent.)
2. Possibly too much soap was used.
3. Possibly the washer was too full.

Since the latter two tend to result in poorly washed clothes, and I don't feel like spending 20 minutes each week cleaning out the washer, I thought I'd give some tips to the new neighbours on how best to coax clean clothes from the apartment laundry facilities. (I admit that the selfish reasons were foremost in my mind, but I didn't go over with an "I just spent 20 minutes cleaning up your mess" approach. I checked first that they used powdered soap, mentioned that there had been clumps, and then gave them tips to avoid it from happening and get better results.)

Turns out my neighbours don't speak much English. Do you know how hard it is to convey the idea of soap clumps and how to avoid them when you don't speak the same language? I think I got the point across, and hopefully I didn't offend them. They were still smiling when I left, so hopefully things are okay.

Update: Laundry problem diagnosed. I just went down to put my laundry in the dryer, and the neighbour's laundry was still there. (The husband had put the laundry in, and then left with the key to the laundry room.) There were more soap clumps in the lint catcher... and at *least* two loads worth of laundry in the dryer. (Both lights and darks. This husband obviously needs some proper laundry training. I'll leave that for the wife to do, though.) I asked the neighbour if she minded if I took it out, and she said that was fine. I then offered to bring it up for her. She thought it would be a bother for me, but I said I didn't mind. It was still rather damp (due to the over-full load), but I brought it up for her anyway. I don't know if they normally air-dry the rest of the way, or if they'll put it in for another drying time later. I told them the problem was definitely due to overfilling. I'm guessing they come from somewhere that uses those low-water washing machines that work just fine if you pack in the clothes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Modelled Shots

I got a friend at knit night to hold the camera for me.
Now I can post modelled shots of my socks. And the calves I inherited from my mother & grandfather. Please focus on the socks.

Sock Progress

Apparently this is what happens when I'm left alone with sock yarn, needles, and no pattern. I just finished casting off at lunch, and haven't had a chance to try it on without the needles in. I think the fit is okay, although it might be a bit loose at the heel.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Isn't that the way?

I made excellent time from the university to downtown... I caught an express, and was there by a few minutes after 4:30. (And I only started packing up to leave at a few minutes after 4!) But then there was a stopped bus. And construction on Graham. And traffic on Portage. It took me an *hour* to get through downtown, making my whole trip take nearly two hours. :(

Decision: Skimp on dinner, or be late for Art Talks? (I'm going for the latter.)


Hammer: Bone vs Fiberglass?

I still think it looks like bone, my brother suggested antler rather than bone, my uncle believes it is fiberglass. Does anyone know how to get a definitive answer? Here's some close-up views:
Definitely $2.99 worth of entertainment. :)

Whoever owned it, used it a *lot*, and had quite bad aim (to get so much damage on the handle).

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Yay Bike Ride!

I wanted to go bike riding this weekend, but did something with a friend instead on Saturday. Today I though I had too many things around the house to do... until my uncle called and asked if I wanted to join him. Yay! Uncle trumps "to do" list... since I have way too much to do to accomplish in one day anyway. ;)

We started off with a visit to Bikes & Beyond so that he could get some reflective leg thingies to keep his pants out of his chain. Then we went over to the North East Trail. We only did part of it so that I could get back in time to take my bread out of the bread machine. The distance ended up being just under ten clicks. Strange sight while riding:
IMG_3843 copy
a motorized scooter. Bizarre.

Even with the bike ride, I did accomplish a bunch:
• baked bread (granted, the bread machine did most of the work), sliced & put in freezer,
• washed all dishes, including the accumulation of plastic containers that kept not making loads,
• cut hair (I do it myself, with clippers),
• went to mom's for dinner,
• cut pineapple for lunches (before it was overripe, yay!),
• decided on colours, then painted the embroidery hoops that I had previously primed, and were taking up counter space while they waited to be painted,
• cleaned clippers, and put them & the hand mirrors away,

Now for a bit of class prep (more tomorrow, but I need to do at least some now) and then bed. (An earlier bedtime would have been much better... I'm working on it.)

I'm out Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings... it's going to be a *busy* week!

Somehow I'm not surprised...

...that an owner of a chain store linked to puppy mills also drives a Hummer... known for conspicuous consumption and gas guzzling.

I'm also amused by the juxtaposition of the shiny black Hummer with the well-used pink bicycle. ;)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Feed Me, Seymore!

I've been wanting a venus flytrap and a sundew plant for terrariums I want to put together. Although I've been looking for ages (not seriously, but whenever I'm somewhere with a plant section), I haven't been able to find any. I prefer to buy plants locally, rather than online... I've had a *very* bad experience with online plant/root purchase before. Finally, on my way home on Thursday, I spotted venus flytraps in Safeway on Osborne. The store had them in two spots... one spot they looked exceedingly happy, the other spot no one had watered in ages, and most were dead. I'm guessing the happy batch had just arrived.

My new pet:
(Yeah, they're obviously going for the kid market.)
Last night I noticed a pill bug crawling around my tub, so I picked it up (with tweezers), carried it to the kitchen, and fed it to a trap; that's the red one that's closed in the photo. (The green one was closed when I got it... I'm not sure if the trap was activated, or if they open as they mature.) Initially the fringe was interlocked, but by this morning, the fringe is curled back, and the inner edge is tightly sealed. I hope my flytrap enjoys the pill bug.

Do you think I should name my new friend? What name do you think fits?

Giddy With Joy

I finally got the chance to get together with R and give her the Ice Queen cowl I knit for her.
I got the impression she likes it.

While waiting for the bus, she happened to notice a funny spot:
Uh... apparently the TV was really good at that point, or dinner or a phone call distracted me. Whoops. A rogue picot. All good handknits should have some "character", right? Isn't there some middle-eastern rule about not being perfect?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Contest Alert!

Click here and post a comment by September 31 for a chance to win a cute embroidered hug-bot pillowcase!

Found On Flickr

Baby Blanket Space Invaders

Gorgeous and elegant, with a touch of whimsy. Space invaders!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Crafty Stuff

What I've been doing with my thrift store thread spools, and beads & buttons from Michaels:

Christmas ornaments:

Stitch markers:
(There were *two* duds in the package of lobster claw fasteners!)

Thrift Store Finds

I stopped off at the thrift store on my way home yesterday. (On my way to work I saw a spinning wheel in the window, and I wanted to check it out... but the auction had already ended and the wheel was gone by the evening.)

I already have a hammer, but this one was so strange (and only $2.99), so I brought it home with me:
It appears to have a *bone* handle! The handle *looks* original to the hammer. I had to find out more about it. (I may end up selling it to an antique store, or taking it to the lake, but at worst, it's at least $2.99 worth of entertainment.) Has anyone heard of bone-handled hammers?

Next up, a 100% wool (handwoven!) scarf to felt and use for rug hooking:
I've already stitch-ripped the wide hems up both edges of the scarf. I'm going to sew a narrow zig-zag along those edges to prevent it from shredding in the wash. It's so pretty, I feel a bit bad about stripping it... but it will make lovely strips, and it was only 25 cents. Plus, I noticed some small holes as I was seam-ripping it. (Moth? I'm not sure... but multiple hot washes should take care of any danger from that area.

I'm a sucker for vintage ornaments:
Especially since the ones on the right are just like some ones that my mom has from her grandma. I paid 80 cents. I carefully peeled off the price tag when I got home (and put it on a blank spot on the package, to preserve the history of it's journey), and found that the original price was 49 cents. Hee! :)

Two pretty glasses, 60 cents each:

Fun buttons at two cards for 25 cents:
These are for my thread-spool Christmas ornaments I'm making. (I decided the package of buttons I bought from Michaels didn't have enough variety.) I've taken photos of the first two thread-spool ornaments, and will show them in the next post.

Other things I picked up, but didn't take photos of:
• two *gorgeous* silk ties (for the fabric; I had already put them in the laundry basket, and forgot to take a photo),
• a pair of GE metal mixing bowls (I wanted smaller bowls with steep sides, these appear to be from a stand mixer),
• a Christmas tree stand that can hold lots of water, and adjusts small enough for ditch trees (pricey, at $6.99, but in good condition, and either difficult to find or expensive when new),
• two tins (one for muffins... previous tins are either way too tall for one layer but not tall enough for two, or not quite tall enough for one layer; one for odds 'n ends)
• a pretty fork,
• a grapefruit spoon that my grandma might want for peeling oranges (if not, it was only 10 or 25 cents, so no great loss),
• a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon for my plant fertilizer (I have no idea what happened to the original scoop, assuming there was one),
• a "belt": a synthetic ribbon that would make pretty handles or a strap for a bag (80 cents),
• a yard or so of fabric that may or may not be cotton, but will make decent reusable bags ($1.10).

I think that about covers my purchases. Total: $26 plus a bit of change.


Too wide:
The cable on the side doesn't really show properly, either:

Hmmm... this is looking better:
When it's a little longer, I'll try sticking my toe in to check the fit.


Yesterday I happened to glance out the window, and discovered that *fall* had arrived!
When did that happen?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Wolseley is an area of town where you're pretty much guaranteed strange sights. Yesterday I saw a man with a bag of groceries in one hand and a baby on his back... riding a *unicycle*. I sure hope that guy has amazing balancing abilities!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Noise Update

Lawnmowers are preferable to jackhammers, and there may have been a bit of drilling... but today was certainly better than Friday. Hopefully Wednesday will be even better. :)

Ugh, Mondays...

(Found on Cute Overload.)

Spent all weekend working on smell-proofing, cleaning, and prepping lunches... and then still needed to do class prep on Sunday night. Stayed up too late, had trouble falling asleep (the yelling neighbours didn't help), and the morning alarm came way too early. *sigh*

I think I may need to skip going to the art club tonight, to catch up on shut-eye. (I'm doing okay right now, but then it's also early in the term.)

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I trimmed off the excess spray foam today. This bit was funny:
I wonder why it decided to grow out that way?

Stopdrafts packages come with three light switch plate versions to seven electrical outlet versions:
This makes the reasonable assumption that there is, on average, just over two outlets per room. I bought two packages, having counted outlets, but forgetting to take light switches into account. I used ten of the outlet versions, but was one short for light switches... I had six, but needed seven. (I want more power outlets.)

This light switch innard looks rather vintage:

In other construction-type news, I added a few missing pieces to my sock drying rack:
I made the brass-looking pieces myself... I snipped them off of a strip, filed the edges and corners, drilled the holes, and made the bends. For some reason, I had always considered working with metal to be something that couldn't be done if you lived in an apartment. (I realize this is pretty basic stuff, but I still lumped it in with the rest.) I'm thrilled to be expanding my horizons. :)

Oh... if you're wondering, the back piece keeps the drop-down part of the rack from being pushed too far backwards, and the front piece swivels up to hold the drop-down part in place when no socks need drying. :)

Hummus Sans Cumin, Attempt One

Tonight I attempted my first cumin-free (and tahini-free) hummus. I think my regular recipe will get a bit bland without cumin, so I googled to find some different recipes. I based tonight's attempt off of this recipe.

My version:
• 1 19 oz can of organic chick peas
• 4 cloves garlic
• 8 kalamata olives
• 1/2 tsp paprika (I didn't dig around to see if I had red pepper flakes)
• generous drizzle of olive oil
• juice of one lemon (I always use fresh... it comes in convenient, serving-sized stay-fresh packages.)

I coarse-chopped the garlic and olives, and then put both through the press. (Anything that didn't make it through the holes of the press got scraped out into the bowl too.) Then I mashed everything together with a potato masher.

On first taste, it tastes rather strongly of olives. I'll decide tomorrow at lunch whether this is a good or bad thing.

I normally make batches of hummus with two cans of chick peas, but I decided to make smaller batches while I'm experimenting.

Two other recipes that look interesting:
• spinach hummus
• spinach and feta hummus

How True...

I always have the worst time finding what I want on university websites. (They must be designed by PR people.)


Bloglines is shutting down! I'm going to have to find a new feed aggregator. :(

Saturday, September 11, 2010


To anyone who heard the exceedingly unladylike words I was using tonight... my apologies. I was installing quarter-round under a radiator that only has a gap of less than an inch between it and the floor:
Yes, it bulges. It snagged on something, but then went in, when I did the dry-fit... but after applying caulking and starting to nail, it refused to un-snag. That's not the reason I was cursing, though (although I'm not pleased by the bulge)... I was cursing because the nails refused to go in. My hammer was too fat. My small hammer (from when I was a teenager) is bent. Nails kept bending rather than going in. Even after getting a metal rod so that I could hammer the nails (rather than the floor or radiator cover), they still refused to go in. Most spots I bent nearly a half dozen nails *each* before getting a nail to cooperate. WTF?!?

Why am I caulking in missing quarter-round? Well, besides the fact that it will make sweeping easier (no dust-collecting gap in the floor with nails to snag my swiffer), this morning I was awoken again by my downstairs neighbour's Lysol. (No, I haven't given him the list of alternatives yet... I was waiting a bit to see if any more suggestions came in. I'll pass them along soon, though... as soon as I'm in the mood to type up a letter to him.)

Other things I'm doing:
2. I'm using spray-foam to fill the holes around where the hot water pipes come into my apartment:
(Yes, I used too much. Supposedly I can carve it once it's cured (eight hours), and that's probably easier than trying to wipe up the excess in it's sticky, uncured state.)

3. I've bought foam insulators to go behind the outlets and light switches. (I'm not sure if I'll do those tonight, or leave them until the morning.)

4. I've asked the landlord to fix the hole in Mr. Party-Of-One's bathroom ceiling, created when the landlord unclogged my bathtub drain. (My drain had a really stupid bit of plumbing that prevented a snake from working. Plumbing fixed now.)

Yes, that hole was created back in the spring. Mr. Party-Of-One mentioned it when I was talking to him about what exactly the smell was.

No, I don't know why it wasn't fixed before now.

My landlord said he won't be able to get to the hole right away. He didn't say why.

Hopefully what I'm doing up here will stop, or at least lessen, the smell.

It was rather chilly having all the windows open this morning... and come winter, that won't be an option.

Something that makes me happy:
My new sock dryer. :) It's not on the floor (clutter on the floor discourages me from swiffering), it folds flat when not in use, and is all-around unobtrusive. It's awesome. I designed it, and my uncle helped me build it. (Actually, once I got him involved, I mostly ended up watching or holding things. That's partially due to the fact that I had the wrong kind of drill bit, and it walked when I tried drilling.)

Perhaps I Look Knowledgable?

Yesterday I was mistaken for an employee of the university bookstore. (The girl thought I was helping the employee, not the other way around.)

Today I was mistaken *twice* for a Home Hardware employee. (My shirt is *red*, folks, not an orange apron.) I tried asking the cashier if that meant I could have an employee discount, but she didn't go for it. (Darn.)

No one mistook me for a Superstore employee, though. (They're hard to find... and not generally helpful even when you do find them, so no one looks for them.)

Speaking of Superstore, I bought shrimp today that wasn't labelled as sustainably caught. I looked for ones with the logo, but the only ones I found were pre-cooked, and I wanted raw. I tried asking the lady behind the fish counter... but I had to explain what the logo was, where it would be located on the package, what it meant, that it matters for shrimp too, and why it matters. (I skipped the noble reasons, and went with "if we kill all the fish in the oceans, we won't be able to eat fish any more.") Given that she was ESL, and probably minimum wage, I doubt she'll pass my concerns up to people who might control what kind of shrimp are sold in the store, but I decided that was enough effort that I could buy one bag of logo-less shrimp.

Friday, September 10, 2010

How To Be Alone

A friend e-mailed me a link to this... it's lovely:

I hope you enjoyed it. :)


I had my first class today... and jackhammers were being used directly below my classroom. *Jackhammers*. Do you know how hard it is to keep your train of thought when *jackhammers* are starting and stopping beneath you? I did my best to speak over them.

I've spoken to people who should be able to make them stop while class is in session, and have a phone number should they still be going. I've got a key for the wireless mike. Hopefully Monday will be free of jackhammers. Wish me luck?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Allergist Visit

Sometimes I have problems swallowing... the food feels like it gets stuck halfway down, and I have to wait for it. Last time I was in, I asked my doc if she thought I had what my dad has, where allergies cause his esophagus to close (thankfully just the esophagus, and not the trachea... although it does occasionally interrupt meals for a trip to the loo), or if it might be what my mom had, where acid reflux created a pouch (treated using acid reducers). She said that she might need to scope me to check for a pouch, but to see my allergist first.

Since this mainly happens with hummus (that I make myself, so that it doesn't have tahini / sesame), I brought in some hummus, a chick pea, cumin, and paprika for a skin prick test. (I didn't feel like wasting a lemon, and I really don't think it's the olive oil.) As usual, everything produced at least a tiny bump... but cumin produced a big one. *sigh* I *like* cumin! I *don't* *want* to be allergic to cumin! I'm guessing it's a rather uncommon allergy, though, because both my allergist and the nurse doing the test were surprised that I'm allergic to cumin. (Well, the nurse was surprised... the allergist knows to expect weird things from me.) She's doing a blood test as well to confirm that cumin is bad and that chick peas are okay, as well as check some other things.

On the mildly interesting side of things, she thinks I *might* have eosinophilic esophagitis. (I got her to write the name down so that I could google it. To save myself from having to type it lots, I'll refer to it as EE.) Apparently EE is a recently discovered disease, and there actually is a way to treat the symptoms. (Yay!) She still wants me scoped, and will be sending a note to my regular doc that the gastroenterologist should take a biopsy to check for EE. (I wonder if my dad has EE too, and if there's a genetic link? I offered to send my dad to her if it turns out that I do have EE. She said that perhaps someone at the university might be interested in doing a genetic study.)

To cheer myself up, I let myself pick out some fun things at Michaels:
Tonight I made some lobster-claw style beaded stitch markers. I'll post photos of them (and other finished projects) another day.

Interesting thing I saw on my travels today: a bike locker at a transit hub:
IMG_3784 IMG_3783
Neat! It has a door on each end, and a piece of aspenite dividing the box into two wedge-shaped compartments. (I'm not sure how the aspenite will hold up to a well-placed kick, but it should be secure enough during the day.) Of course, both compartments were empty, and the only bike around was chained to one of the bus stop poles. ;)

I also treated myself to a trip to Mike's General Store. It was neat, but it didn't live up to the grand place I had built up in my head. Also, a lot of the things didn't have prices, and I hate asking. Oh well... it was still fun. :)