Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Date night!

But first, some long overdue knitting content! Well I've been working on Julian's nursery rhyme blankie (my Knitting World Cup Project) every chance I get and yet it looks pretty much the same as it did 2 weeks ago! All the squares have been knit up and sewn together and all the fiddly ends woven in (oh, that's where all the time went ;0) I also picked up all the way around for a mitered and hemmed border. And just started embroidering a message for my little guy and it is very... slow... going.

I'm embroidering it on using a crochet hook (I keep the working yarn underneath and pull loops through to make the letters), making it up as I go along and ripping it back as necessary. It's working out great so far and is a lot better than all the other techniques I tried first - fair isle, duplicate stitiching, and needle embroidery. It's also a lot easier to fiddle with and the most flexible. I also started working on little piggie prototypes for the "this little piggie went to the market, this little piggie stayed home..." rhyme and even put in an afterthought pocket in the blankie to keep the piggies in.

I can't wait to get the border finished. It seems like I've been working on it forever. I've been waking up every morning this week with the hopes of finishing it "today" and yet still have so far to go. One thing is for sure though, I'm not going to finish it tonight because tonight is the kick-off concert for this year's Montreal International Jazz festival and the hubby and I have a date with the King of the Blues, that's right, the legendary B.B. King is performing at the Place-des-arts de Montreal and we're so there baby ;0) We bought the tickets way back in January and have been anticipating the big 80th birthday show every time we go to the fridge (the tickets have been up there for months).

When we were dating, we used to go to 5-6 ticketed indoor show a year and sadly now average 1 per year and BB is it this year! We've caught his show twice before and he is still my favourite all-time performer. If you ever get to catch his show, you must! He's the top of my list for best performance at a live concert right ahead of Bob Dylan, Diana Krall, the Mardi Gras B.B, and Norah Jones. Ah, how I love the Montreal Jazzfest. I'll tell you more about it over the coming weeks. Can't wait to take Julian to the day concerts. So exciting...

Anywho, gotto go paint my toes and toss my hair.

Mama's got a big date tonight ;0)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Jubilee's Jubilee!

Our little guy celebrated his very first birthday yesterday and what a day it was. It all started with the birthday song when he woke up and a little lesson on how to make a "1" with your pointer finger. Then, during his morning nap, dada and I decorated the joint with cheery crepe paper streamers and yellow balloons and ribbons. Dada set out the noisemakers and party hats while I put the finishing touches on a very special monkey cake (thank you Martha for the idea and recipe) . And then when naptime was over it was time to party!

We invited his grand-parents and aunt and uncle for a little lunch and cake. It all started with slide show of the wonderful memories we made this year. Stephen hooked the computer up directly to the telly in the living room and we just set it up to cycle through all the pictures while we chatted. There were a few videos too, short little one or two minute snippets of our tiny baby and lots of parenting firsts we managed to capture with our digital camera's video mode. It was so much fun to look at. It's amazing how much we jam packed into the year...and all good memories too. Even teething is an "awww" moment in retrospect, LOL!!!

Meanwhile, Julian was having a grand old time cruising around the coffee table and sneaking plain potato chips and all the veggies in the crudite platter. And of course we let him, it being his birthday and all! Of course the icing on the cake was...well, the icing on the cake. Heehee! We set it down before him and he had both hands in the icing the second the cake stand hit the table. We took one of the monkey's ears off a la Van Gogh and gave it to him for his first chocolate experience!

It was a hit! We had to undress him in the sink and literally hose him off when he was done but it was all worth it. There were gifts too. A Sesame Street firetruck, some books and pool toys and even a swing set from grandma and grandpa. Dada and I got him an aquarium and some goldfish for his room and named them Nana and Popo. He was so excited about it all. It was so much fun. And now, just like that, our teeny tiny baby boy blue has grown into a gleeful, smiling, clapping, cruising Mr. Toddles!

Happy birthday Jubilee Bubilee ;0)

Friday, June 23, 2006


I have been taking a bit of a knitting break this week. As I was knitting up the border on Julian's blankie, I started getting weird cramps in my right pinky (the one that tensions the working yarn while I knit). My hand kept getting strangely deformed and really hurt. Ever happen to you? So I put the needles down and didn't knit for the rest of the evening. Next day, pick up the needles and there it is again. So maybe a longer break.... like say 'til Monday! I really don't think I can take a longer break without loosing my mind ;0)

So instead, a random post! I have become a bit of a regular at Jennifer's etsy shop since she launched it this Spring. I especially love her pottery and recently added her petite nesting bowls to my collection of JCASA originals. I received them a while back, but I don't think I showed them to you yet so here they are. Aren't they lovely? I love how they have different rims. They are really small (think the size of the palm of your hand) and I originally thought I'd use them to serve spiced olives (one for the olives, the other for the pits), but now that my return to work is looming, I think I'll need a little bit of blog love on my desk to keep my spirits up when I'm away from Julian and yarn so I think I'll bring them to work and fill them with paper clips instead ;o)

I'm going back to work next week, July 3rd to be exact, after a year long maternity leave. {Yup, that's right, the Canadian government pays 55% of your salary for a year to stay home and take care of your baby all the while guaranteeing your job upon your return to work! Ain't Canada great!} Anyhow, I am feeling really weird about going back. So many emotions, all conflicting with each other. I'm happy. I'm sad. I'm excited. I'm guilt-ridden. And through all of those emotions, I have to keep reminding myself that it's not like I'm giving Julian up. I won't be spending long days with him (he'll be having oodles of fun and making memories with his grandma and grandpa - lucky him), but I'll be home for dinner, I'll still be nursing him 2 or 3 times a day, he'll still be sleeping in our family bed at night, we'll get to spend lots of time together on weekends, and I have 8 weeks of vacation coming my way next year to boot. I do know that all things considered, I am pretty lucky and that I really can't complain. But it's hard.

So since I've been a bit of an emotional wreck this week, I bought a lot of yarn! And when I'm bad, I'm really bad. I had a bit of a yarn spree over at Cucumber Patch. First I picked up this Rowanspun 4ply in 708 midnight because it was $19.99 shipping to Canada included for, get this, 10 skeins! I mean, please! At that price, you don't ask questions like what the heck am I going to knit with tiny that price you just by it. Right? Then I came across this Rowanspun Aran in 971 heath and because I love the colour and am planning another original design, this time a sweater for myself, I had to buy it now. Plus, it was $65 for 10 big 100g skeins, overseas shipping included. So naturally I had to buy it too.

So far, not so bad. Right? But then I saw this kit for Hanne Falkenberg's Diva cardi and couldn't resist. I tried. Really. But atlas, the cleverness of the pattern was stronger and it is on it's way to me from the UK as I write this ;0) I got the teal/emerald green combo and can't wait to see it in person. The whole thing is knit in garter stitch though on tiny (for a sweater) needles so I don't know how much fun it'll be knit, but I think wearability will make up for it.

So now I really have to go back to work to pay for my "it's okay Anny, life as you know it is not really over, you can totally knit on the train" yarn indiscretions.

Sniff! Sniff!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Catching up!

So hubby turned 28 last week...and today I've finally caught up. It's my 28th birthday and boy am I happy to not be an odd number anymore! I have a weird thing about odd numbers and the letter "v" and I really don't know why. I'm not otherwise superstitious or anything. It's just one of my myriad quirks ;0)

Anyhow, now that I got our mutual card back, I can tell you a little more about it. Many many moons ago, while shopping for a card I came across this Easter card and I couldn't contain the giggles! I love it and even though I don't exchange Easter cards with anyone (does anyone?) I couldn't resist it and had to have it. When Stephen's birthday came around later that Spring, I came across it in my gift closet and wrote a special birthday message for my then super hot boyfriend (he's still super hot btw, but he's my hubby now ;0) and a post script asking for the card back!

He obliged on my birthday the following week by writing a special message for me and returning the card. We frame for the rest of the year and when our birthdays come around, we take it down, write a message and gift it to each other. We've been exchanging this card back and forth for 6 years! And we're running out of room ;0) It's really fun to read back through all the old messages. We've been together for almost 9 years and have shared this card for 6 of needless to say that many big life moments that have been recorded in this card: graduating from university, landing new jobs, getting engaged, getting married, being pregnant and this year, messages we're penned by Julian! I love it and look forward to getting it back every year. A mutual birthday card among lovers: priceless ;0)

I've also been working hard on my Knitting World Cup project . I've finished knitting and seaming all 16 squares for Julian's activity blanket and am thrilled with the result. I used the mitered square pattern from Mason*Dixon Knitting. The squares were fun to knit and only took about 90 minutes to knit up (each) and that 90 minutes includes chasing Julian around and removing him from illegal zones! The only downside to his blankie? The downside! Imagine 64 ends to weave in! It's a mess under there but I'm getting there. I considered making knots and trimming the ends, but I sucked it up and decided to do the right thing and actually weave in all the ends. This is what's left:

Now for the border and nursery rhyme characters...

ATTENTION FRUSTRATED BLOGGERS: If, like me, you have been having a hard time uploading pictures to your posts, try selecting "none" in the layout section of the blogger picture uploading form. It just worked for me! I can't upload pictures by selecting the "center" layout - I get the "successfully uploaded" screen but when I press ok the picture doesn't appear in my post. With no layout (i.e., "none"), no problem! Try it ;0)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy dada day!

There are no words to describe just how complete our lives became when our first child was born, except perhaps to say that we started to undertand the meaning of it all that day. What I wasn't prepared for was seeing the love of my life become a father and how that would change the way I see him forever.

He had not been around young children much, being the eldest in his family. So he was a little nervous about how he would care for our baby though grandma kept reassuring him that all he really needed to do was to "love the kid."

And he did. And it was marvelous.

I remember turning to him in delivery room mere moments after Julian was born almost a year ago. The nurse had carefully swaddled our little Jubilee Bubilee and handed him to daddy. I caught a glimpse of their first meeting and I honestly don't think I'll ever witness anything so pure and joyous as long as I live.

He was a natural! All of a sudden, dada was full of confidence. And love. And awe. And my love for him deepened in ways I did not think possible. And what a fine dada he is too!

Happy father's day my love ;0)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

It's the thought that counts!

It was my darling husband's birthday on Monday and Julian and I improvised a great birthday dinner for our favourite guy! We took out the china and crystal, made lasagna, garlic bread with cheese and ceasar salad, put on clean clothes and waited for daddy to come home to light the candles atop his two-bite brownie cake!

I even pulled our mutual card out of it's frame and found a spot to scribble a new message. (I'll tell you more about the card when I get it back for my own birthday on Monday ;0) And his present? A pretty fly video card to enhance his computer gaming experience! He was a happy guy.

After dinner, we drove to my sister's house to hand deliver the bunny and kitty cardis and to give my niece the One Skein Wonder I've been promising her since Christmas! (I know, I know, I'm the last person in history to knit this!) I knit is from Schoeller Merino Stretch and totally fell in love with the yarn. Good thing too, cause I still have 6 balls left in the stash!

I knit it on small(ish) needles and the resulting fabric is very stretchy and form-fitting but looks like it was felted. Very cool. I ended up using about one and a half balls for this 15" inch shrug. So not quite a "one skein wonder" but close enough ;0)

And then, with all that deadline knitting out of the way...I finally started my Knitting World Cup project . And it's going a lot smoother than I thought it would. I've already knit my first 8 mitered squares. I'm using the Mason*Dixon blanket pattern and stash Bernat Satin. And boy are these fun to knit! I haven't yet decided how big I want the blanket to be. I'm unsure if I want to make it smaller (say 30" by 30") so that it is a good size as a lap blanket, stroller play blankie or plain old security blanket or much larger so that he can sit on it to play with the interactive bits and can sleep under it for warmth ;0) Any thoughts?

I'm thrilled that Deb, Renee, Rhonda, and Samantha joined my pinwheel sweater knit-along. Go checkout Deb's self-striping yarn version (and while you're there prepare to drool over Rhonda's GREAT grand-daughter)! Pretty neat, eh? I'm thinking this just might be the project I've been looking for to honour my Noro Silver Thaw stash... But since I only have 4 balls, I'm thinking of sticking with my original idea and going for a solid coloured Peruvian Highland Wool version. Well maybe I'll sleep on it some more.

Send me an email at annypurls {at} hotmail {dot} com if you'd like to join us. The more the merrier. Check out the Pinwheel Sweater Knit-Along blog here.


Monday, June 12, 2006

And then there were two!

I finally finished the second bunny cardi on the weekend. Actually, I finished knitting it on Friday but couldn't find carrot buttons anywhere! I bought the original ones at Wal-Mart, but they only had three cards of it and I needed four. After checking out 3 different stores in 3 different towns on the weekend and 2 fabric stores to boot, we had to improvise.

So here are the bunny cardi and the kitty cardi (click here for bigger picture)! You may notice that the bunny cardi looks different than it did earlier in the week...I held my breath again for open knit surgery and knitted in an afterthought pocket (Elizabeth Zimmerman really is a genius) and am really stoked about how it turned out. The pockets are exactly the size of the finger puppets who are snug as a bug in their custom tailored pockets!

I just love how neat they look and I must admit I love the thrill of snipping a stitch and unravelling a garment I've been working on for several days with the potential of disaster! It's unnerving, but just like the afterthought buttonhole, totally worth since it makes up for lack of careful planning! Check out the inside:

{blogger is throwing a hissy fit again, click here to see picture on the better-mannered flickr}

Now I really have to finish my niece's one skein wonder so I can deliver it and both cardis tonight since she's leaving for Algeria tomorrow! Talk about cutting it close. Plus I really need to get started on my World Cup project. I'm already 3 days behind! Not good. Although I did watch the England vs Paraguay match on Saturday (really nothing else on the telly) and it wasn't as boring as I remembered. Just boring enough to make even tricky knitting possible :0P

Finally, remember the amazing pinwheel baby and lady cardis I told you about on Friday? Well I love the pattern so much I thought I'd host my very first knit-along! I set up a dedicated blog for it here (or check out my fancy button in the sidebar) and would love for you to join if you're interested. I won't get to mine until after the Knitting World Cup on July 10th (though you can start earlier or later if you prefer). It would be really cool to see it come together in different colour combos. I'm planning on using the recommended Peruvian Collection Highland Wool (total baby version cost is $20..., now that's a deal!) but can't decide on which 7 colours to choose. Too many choices! Good thing there's plenty of lead time ;0)

Hope you'll join me!

Friday, June 09, 2006


If you'd like to knit something really cute AND sophsticated for a girly girl between the ages of 0 and 4, go here quick! I'm so ordering yarn and making that! It's actually one size fits all - it's a hoodie with rolled up sleeves on a baby and becomes a bolero on a 4 year old.


Okay, I don't have any girls to knit for but I haven't let that stop me before ;0)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Knitting World Cup

I have a dirty little secret. I don't like soccer. Actually, I'm not big on professional sports altogether, but soccer, well it's really not in my Canadian blood. I mean, we don't even have a team in the tournament! But the Knitting World Cup, well how can I resist that! Just like the Knitting Olympics, the idea is to choose a personally challenging project, cast-on at the beginning of the tournament (June 9) and cast-off by the end (July 9). I'm sooo in! So what will I be knitting? Hmmm...

Bernat Satin stash yarn


Mason*Dixon Knitting Mitred Blanket


classic nursery rhymes


an activity blankie for my Jubilee Bubilee!

My idea is to make a (much smaller) version of the Mason*Dixon mitred blanket and then knit and add-on activities inspired by classic nursery rhymes. Some I've thought of already: Humpty Dumpty on a brick wall, lost kitten mittens, a cow jumping over the moon, five little piggies glove puppet, Jack Horner's pie with pull out plum, etc. Of course I don't know if these knittables will actually work out so I need a longer list of ideas to choose from so if your wheels are turning too, please share ;0)

Oh, and be sure to visit Yarn Monkey if you want in to the Knitting World Cup too (I just visited and noticed there are some rules on how to incorporate an existing project as part og the challenge. Cast-on is this Friday.

That means 2 more days including today to finish up some gift knitting first. I've got to finish the second bunny cardi and one skein wonder for my niece. I'm planning on dropping all three off on the weekend so my brother-in-law and niece can bring pack the gifties in their suitcases when they fly off to Algeria to meet my sister and nephew on Tuesday (or is it Wednesday?). And Helene (my sis), if you're reading this, I got your message and I love and miss you lots too! Gros bisou ;0)

Well then, better get knitting ...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

That works too!

Well I haven't written up the pattern for my baby kimono pattern yet (because I have to deconstruct the actual thing to figure out how I did it in the first place LOL!!), but that didn't stop me from working on my second original pattern. May I present the bunny pocket cardi:

My sister is in Algeria for the summer getting to know her in-laws better. She asked if I would knit a little something for her new sister-in-law who is expecting twins next month. No one knows the gender (or if they do they're not telling, nor hinting) so it's another neutral knit. It was looking a little boring so I added some carrot buttons and a finger puppet bunny in a pocket for whimsy. I quite like it ;0)

Now all I have to do is knit another one just like it! Well, at least it's just twins, right? Could be worse! LOL!!! No seriously. Imagine knitting for quints?

In other news, Stephen and I thought of an ingenius (we think) way to get Julian to nap during the day without the swing. I love that swing. Evidently so does Julian. He only goes in it to nap and it's the only place he'll have a nice long restful nap during the day. But the maximum weight limit is 24 lb and he's now 23 and a half butt naked with no diaper! Time for a new solution. He won't nap in a playpen (reminds him of the bars of his crib). And won't nap in his crib (hasn't slept there a night in his life) because, well, it's nicer tucked in between mommy and daddy in their king sized bed ;0) So what to do, what to do? Ding-ding-ding:

We took the mattress out of his crib and made a "big boy bed" in a corner of our living room. Worked like a charm! When he wakes up, he just crawls out on his own and comes to play with mommy or daddy. Marvellous!

We had a great weekend of lawn enjoyment too... Though ever notice that when it comes to home improvement, the more you do, the more you need to do? Stephen and I were really b-b-b-b-bad with the spending this weekend. It started with the grass earlier in the week. K-ching! Then we picked up a mower. K-ching! And a baby pool and other wonderful things on sale at Toys'R'us. K-ching! And a gazebo for our balcony. K-ching! And a video card for daddy. K-ching! And a 21 foot above ground pool! K-ching! K-ching! K-ching!

Good thing I'm going back to work in a few weeks, eh? Once the pool arrives, I'm sure we'll need a bajillion other things. Oh and a fence! And a deck! And those pretty rocks around the pool! Oh, yeah and I can't forget about the pool noodles and mats and balls, and rings... And we need bathing suits. And towels! You know what else we should get, a clothesline to hang our towels to dry... oh, and some garden furniture... oh and plants... and a trellis...

It never ends, does it?