Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Fourth of July - A Green Birthday

I can see my future stretched out ahead of me. For the rest of our days, while Iain lives at home at any rate, Canada Day will be spent not in celebration of this great country of ours. Oh no. It will be spent in preparation for Iain’s birthday parties on the fourth of July.

I wanted to have a somewhat ‘green’ birthday party for Iain. ‘Somewhat green’ means that I was willing to do a lot to make it a green birthday but couldn’t resist some not so environmentally friendly options (e.g. helim balloons). Overall, though, I figure I made it at least 50% of the way.

Handmade loot bags (all made using hand-me-down fabric and ribbon so the little lovelies didn’t cost me or the earth!):

Chaulk taken out of a highly packaged container (to be ‘re-purposed' (thanks for the term, Elizabeth!) for my quilting pens) and split into sets of three, tied with jute.

Other loot bag contents? Baby Mum Mums, a package of sunflower seeds (for growing them; not for the little ones to choke on), and a wrapped, home-made Rice Krispie square for the attending Mommy or Daddy.

Heavily decorated and synthetic (that’s what I call cakes not made from scratch like I usually make) first birthday cake (like my design?) using those decorating techniques from the winter of 2007:

Barbeque essentials such as homemade hamburgers (containing nummy ingredients such as bulger and cinnamon…), blue cheese potatoe salad and apple slaw:

Note the paper plates and napkins (both of which can be composted in this fair province) and regular stainless steel cutlery (can’t stand the plastic ones and the environment doesn’t like them either). Here's one area where things fell apart though - I could not find my extra set of cutlery that we usually use for parties so I ended up using plastic ones left over from Iain's shower last summer. All of the cookies on this table were made by my mother when she was here so that she, too, could help out with Iain's party.

Gotta love that woman!

One of the non eco-friendly items I couldn't resist were helium balloons:

I was not impressed with them (two were 'dead' before I even made it home and their staying power was less than impressive, not to mention the choking hazard they could have caused...) and will not be doing balloons again. It seemed like such a good idea at the time...

The birthday boy looking so painfully serious that my heart could just break!

And, yes, DH took the day off. It's not every day your little boy turns one!

If you have any other green party ideas for me, I'd love to hear about them!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Still On The Road

Greetings from Newfoundland! Samantha (thanks for thinking of us, Samantha!) was checking up on us yesterday to make sure we were okay. We are. Iain and I are still in Newfoundland. It had been such a great extended family visit that DH booked Iain and I on a flight from St. John’s to Halifax for the 27th – thus extending our trip by a week to give us more time to visit with Mudder and Fadder and my siblings. DH should be back in Nova Scotia with Para as I type. I’ve heard through the weather channels that there is a LOT of rain happening in Nova Scotia. I really hope our roof isn’t leaking….

I was afraid that I would not have the opportunity to write many (any?) blog posts while I was home and that turned out to be the case. I really have not had time to give a computer more than a passing glance with all of the events of the past few weeks (reunion, anniversary party and wedding to name a few). I’m attaching a couple of beautiful photographs taken over the past three weeks to whet your appetite for when I get back, however!

I will have so much to tell you about when I get back. Pictures and information on my at-least 50% eco-friendly first birthday party for Iain; our trip home including a brief, but successful, trip to Wool-Trends here in Newfoundland; as well as a blogiversary contest coming up in early August!

I am having a wonderful time but am suffering from knitting blog reading withdrawal. It will be nice to get back home and get caught up. Until then, I am really hoping you are getting much more knitting done than I am. Iain’s chevron sweater is complete (there’s a story there…) but I am spending way too much time chasing him around to actually wind fibre around my fingers.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A Blomidon Kind of Canada Day

It was one of those days that start off mediocre and ends up quite nicely. It was hot and humid in Middleton again on Canada Day. You know, the kind of day when you need to change your towel because it hasn’t seemed to have dried out properly from the day/week before? I have to admit to spending the day inside, trying not to move too much. We do not have A/C in this house as heat and humidity tend to only last a couple of weeks (versus four to five months in Ottawa). However, that does not mean that I am going to find those two weeks enjoyable. I did not even get out for a run as I deemed it too warm. For sun-lovers, though, it was a spectacular day.

Unfortunately, despite the heat and humidity, I needed to go to the beach at Blomidon Provincial Park to pick up a few things required for the centrepieces for the family reunion (I won’t go into details as family members might actually be reading and I want them to be surprised. It’s not a fancy option, just an unexpectedly natural way to decorate). Blomidon is about an hour drive from our place and, as we were bringing Para, there was some discussion about whether or not to take the van due to its roomy nature. However, the van does not have A/C. No A/C = no Patty so off we all went in the car.

I hemmed and hawed all day about needing to leave for Blomidon as it was just too darn hot to get ready or to drive. Luckily, DH was quite content to enjoy being around the house – a real treat when you work as long hours as he does. However, we really should have left the house earlier. When we got to the Cape, picnic ready and primed for a short walk on the beach, it was gorgeous. The air was fresh and lots of swimmers were coming up from a day at the beach. The next time it’s hot in the valley, you can be sure where to find me!

On our way, we stopped into KFC for our picnic supper (no, not healthy but hot, sultry days just scream fried chicken to me. Come on, I know I’m not the only one!) and strawberries at a roadside stand. Iain had never had strawberries in their true form before (strawberry flavoured yogourt – spelled the Canadian way - does not count).

I think I caught some gorgeous shots of DH and Iain during our picnic supper.

And here we are down on the beach in New Minas basin (the end of the Bay of Fundy) with part of Cape Blomidon in the distance.

We surely do live in a beautiful part of the country.

The sweater? I am still sewing in bloody ends. I was working on it in the car ride to Blomidon but gave it up when I started to get car sick as we pulled off the highway and onto secondary roads. I do not get car sick often but can when I’m hungry. A drumstick of chicken may have been harmed in an attempt to find a solution to my problem…

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

An Almost FO - Chevron Sweater

I doubt I can call this project a full FO before we depart from this fine province. However, if I wait that long to write a blog post about it A) my 30 seconds of Iain actually fitting in it will be over and B) there might be up to a month break in between posts while we’re away and you’ll have forgotten all about it! The above picture is of me suffering through the humidity on our deck in a desperate attempt to get this project finished. I do not like this picture of myself but, hey, it does show me working away!

Here is an almost finished FO.

Iain hasn’t tried it on yet because, despite my love for this fabric, it’s about 34 degrees here with the humidity and the thought of making him model it in this weather seems downright cruel. Well that and the fact that I’m scared he’ll choke on all the ends by getting one wrapped around his wee neck when I’m pulling it on or off. There are about 5 billion ends to sew in. No, I'm not exaggerating.


Although I keep calling it Iain’s chevron sweater, the real name of this sweater is the Fred Textured Sweater from Louisa Hardings’ Natural Kints for Babies and Moms.

Yarn: One skein of Handmaiden Casbah sock yarn (80% Superwash merino, 10 % cashmere and 10% nylon) combined with a couple of ‘one off’ skeins of the Fleece Artist’s that I found at Gaspereau Valley Fibres in 90% superwash merino and 10% cashmere. It took about a little over two skeins to knit. Enough to ensure I needed to buy more yarn (isn’t that always the way?) but also enough to ensure another small project from the leftover skein – yeah!

Fun Factor: I really enjoyed knitting this project and would definitely knit it again. I think the yarn I used might be a wee bit smaller/tighter/finer than the DK called for in the pattern. Thus, it may have taken me a little longer to knit than it could have. My main reason for taking so long is over 30” high... Heck, it has taken me since last fall to ‘finish’ it (yes, I know, it isn’t quite there yet) but I’m sure most of you could knit it much faster.

Size: Up to 12 months

These are Elan buttons by G├╝terman which I found at a local store that was having a closing sale. The fact that this store was closing was especially sad in a small town like ours as it was the only one carrying any yarn whatsoever. I really like the buttons with this fabric.

And Happy Canada Day, Everyone! It’s sadly quiet on the blogosphere these days. Many of my favourite blogs are rarely posting and, in some cases, seem to have stopped. I could blame it on Ravelry or on summer holidays and the weather, I suppose. Whatever your reason, I’m hoping you’re coming back soon. I/we miss you!