Wednesday, December 31, 2008

the techno-gift

what do you get the girl who has everything? the girl who maybe needs some organization in her life?

well, that's easy! one of the season's hottest items: the Blackberry.

(for those of you who are very confused, this is to hold yarn for knitting so that your ball of yarn does not go off on its own attracting dust bunnies. the original pattern is here, but i left off the stem and made the starting loop in the lid big enough for the yarn to be threaded through (where the sticks are, it was a last minute photoshoot) oh, and i added a leaf)

(for those of you looking for consistency, this is very old technology. although i have never seen one crocheted before, apparently my great-grandmother had a plastic one shaped like a beehive (from Beehive yarns no doubt) that she used to hold her white yarn when she crocheted doilies. Not enough consistency? this is one of my hand-made Christmas presents, in this case, for my best friend. She loved it and had a great time comparing it with my brother's BlackBerry. she decided hers had better features, and he showed her that when you undid two of the buttons, it was then a "BlackBerry Flip")

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Snow.... Snow....SNOW

"I want to wash my face and hands in ... snow... snow"

Snow is so totally AWESOME! see how many times i went around the urn? this was after the second time mom untangled me! I did not want to go back inside, i kept hopping back out the door when mom had brought me in. oh well, mom has promised that i can go out again tomorrow morning as a "christmas treat". hmm, i wonder what that is?

Happy Hopping! Baz

Sunday, December 21, 2008

attack of the dopplegangers

I was in Toronto this weekend (along with the rest of the world) visiting some friends and going to the theatah (snooty accent required) with my mom and cousin. We saw the "Sound of Music" of "How do you solve a problem like Maria" fame. The winner of the show and the girl who came in second split the role, so we saw the girl who came in second, Janna, who is, by all opinions, the better singer. It was really good! It was interesting so see how different it was from the film version. The big switches were that Baroness Schraeder sings with Max, twice, "my favourite things" is a duet between the Mother Superior and Maria, and the song in the thunderstorm is the "lonely goatherd", which admittedly, makes more noise to drown out the sounds of the storm. but enough about that!

The real reason for this post is the number of people I know that I thought I saw this weekend, that turned out not to be that person at all. Dopplegangers abounded.

The first was in the subway. I was with my best friend who is visiting from victoria, and i was convinced that the guy walking a bit ahead of us in the great trek to switch subway lines was Pat, a fellow grad student. The hair was right, the walk was right, the black hoodie was right, even the gestures and facial hair. i just couldn't see his face, because he was ahead of me. I almost followed him onto the wrong train just to see, but at the last moment, he looked my way, and the face was totally wrong. even my friend agreed with me that he looked remarkably like Pat, except the face. so weird.

Then, in the Eaton's Centre (yes, the one in t.o. is still called that) I saw a girl who looked very much like a friend i had gone to england with, on the other escalator. It looked so much like her, same hair colour, skin tone, height, her face even looked much the same, but it was just a little different than i remember. also, this girl had on a bright red coat and a purple beret, and i had always been trying to get my friend out of black and neutrals to no avail. That was really what convinced me that it wasn't her, but it may very well have been her, I haven't seen her in 4 years. I was way too chicken to yell out her name as she passed on the escalator though, just in case it wasn't her. shyness wins again!

I also saw a few other people that looked like people I know from various places, but have never really talked to, so i couldn't tell if they were dopplegangers or not, but the main convincing factor was always that the person in question was supposed to be on the other side of the country right now, so it was more likely that they were look-alikes.

Lesson for the day: If you want to meet your doppleganger, go to downtown Toronto around Christmastime.

In other doppleganger news, my father actually met his once when he was a kid. It was another kid in town's cousin from the states. He says it was really weird to meet someone who looks very much like you. It wasn't really an experience he would like to have a second time.

hmm, maybe searching out your doppleganger is a bad thing, and messes with the space-time continuum or something. cool. of course, what would really mess with the universe is if my dad found someone with the same name as he has, "Earlby". I am convinced that, like the Highlander, "there can be only one".

Thursday, December 18, 2008

internet gods smile on the stupid

i am making my christmas prezzies this year. mainly because i have no money.
i thought it would be fun. a challenge. it has caused nothing but stress.

my carefully thought out measurements resulted in a product that was far too small, requiring a border to be added. since it was reversable, that required two borders. since i had cut out enough for two at one time, that required 4 borders. they ended up looking ten times cuter that they would have, but added ten times more work. and took up more fabric that i had originally allocated. note to self, when in doubt, add a contrasting border.

next, because i was sewing something in a denim weight fabric for my brother, the machine was also rather stressed (although i wasn't particularly, the fabric was awesome for a curved hem!). when i started on the next project, the needle promptly broke, having had enough of the heavy fabric. i replaced the needle and continued on my merry way.

then the real trouble started.

the thread started going loose at the front and getting tangled up in itself and actually broke numerous times. i adjusted the tension. no difference. i changed the fabric i was sewing. i rethreaded the machine 5 times. i rethreaded the bobbin. nothing. by this time the machine was also skipping stitches. i thought, that's it, the machine is dead! no more sewing and half finished projects all over the place! argh!

then, i went on the internet and typed in "sewing machine skipping stitches". the first thing that came up was a discussion forum where a girl said "my needle broke and i replaced it and now it is skipping stitches!" the internet gods are smiling on me today!

the reply was, "did you put the needle in the right way round? the flat part is supposed to go at the back."


i thought that looked funny.

gimme a break, i have only broken one other needle in my time, and that was in my thumb, so someone else dealt with replacing it.

so, now i am sewing away at top speed, finishing things remarkably quickly. the amount i still have left to do is stressing me out a bit. but weirdly, somehow it is still fun.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pre-Winter in Ontario, some photos and stats

Ok, so this is not my house, this is the playhouse at my cousin's in Muskoka on December 10th. that playhouse (which is now used as a shed, but still called the playhouse) is at least 5'x6', and about 7 1/2' at the roof peak, which makes that snow, well, really deep.

because of this snow my cousin decided to come down early for christmas. she arrived yesterday. that is all of 14 days early for christmas!!!! well, ok, she needed to be here for the 19th because we have tickets to see the sound of music on the 20th, but ten days is still early! and she will stay after christmas as well. its going to amount to at least a 3 week visit for christmas, if not more. it all depends on how much we get on each other's nerves and how the weather is. this from a cousin who can barely tolerate us invading her space for a long weekend.
my mom assures me that she has mellowed out alot now that she doesn't have to worry about her mother anymore. i certainly hope so!

her dog is certainly more attached to her and whines and cries for at least half an hour when she leaves the house. last night, since cousin was in a guest room and not in her regular room, we tried to have the dog sleep with me. he cried at the door even though i let him up on the bed with me! he was quickly turfed out the door. i was in no mood for whiny dogs because of this:

ain't it purdy? i picked mom up from the aesthetician yesterday and slipped on her front step when i was leaving. i of course landed on that step. i didn't hit any other part of my body, just my lower back on the edge of the step. the bruise is just over my spine right now, i anticipate that it will grow, and i will get at least a month out of it. i like how it is sort of heart-shaped. i don't think i injured anything seriously, just gave myself a big painful bruise.

these are the joys of winter in ontario. according to mom, everyone is getting yak trax for christmas!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Its beginning to look alot like Christmas

Mom insisted we put up the little tree yesterday, so up it is! We have a small artificial tree that sits in the familyroom window (hence the difficulty in getting a good picture at this time of day!) We bought it about ten years ago because my mom wanted christmas in the part of the house we use all the time, as well as in the living room. Also, we had so many ornaments that mom decided to put all the kids ornaments on this little tree, and keep the living room tree for the fancy stuff. The best part is that this tree with the fun decorations has white lights, while the tree with the fancy decorations has coloured lights! we have to keep the balance somehow!

There was much controversy over buying this little tree. We are a real tree family, we go out to a christmas tree lot every year and cut down our very own spruce. since we have been in university, it has become my brother's and my christmas ritual to go out to the tree lot as soon as he arrived home for christmas after exams and wander around in the cold for hours punctuate by cries of "how about this one?" "no! look, its all crooked on one side!" and whines of "carry me!" from my brother. my older, much taller and bigger brother. it is a fun bonding time for me and my brother. we usually end up with a pretty good tree, always a little fuller in one spot than another, perfect for the corner it goes into. the worry about the little artificial tree was that mom would think an artificial tree was better, and that we would no longer have the real tree. that would be bad. it is not christmas without the real tree. i wake up and go in the living room in the middle of the night just to smell the tree.

but, in the ten years that we have had the little tree, mom has not given up on the real tree. in fact she is embarassed that we have an artificial tree at all, and is quick to assure any visitors that this is just to get her early christmas "fix" and that the real tree will be bought soon and will be in the living room.

Monday, December 8, 2008


so, sent in my first two chapters to my advisor. here is his, very verbose answer:

"Overall this is the best chapter yet. I am, and you should be, encouraged by the intro and this chapter. Before amending any of the points suggested I would advise pressing on with the next chapter. Have a good Christmas."

this is as effusive as the praise gets, i think.

i assume i should be encouraged?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


finally! i can show this masterpiece! it was a gift, so i had to wait until i actually got around to sending it, and then had to wait until she got it, but the QWP has received her parcel, so now i can disclose all!

a fitted quilted tea cozy! isn't it brilliant! its even lined and had a binding! oh i broke out the big guns for this one. here is how it does up at the back:

i made it entirely from my stash (oh to have my stash again! even if it is mostly fun animals prints for pyjamas and shorts!) it does up with snaps i also found in my stash, and judging by the label, i think they are from the 50s or 60s. the fish fabric was actually my test fabric for the machine quilting class i took awhile ago, so it has some pretty funky quilting on it!

ok, so this idea is not entirely mine, but the finessing to get it to fit the bodem, that was all me and my trusty shears. if you are so inclined to make one, directions for a quilted tea cozy for a regular teapot are on planetjune. (while you are over there, check out her crochet animals, so cute! when i have time =sigh=)

i was so frustrated with not being able to create while writing the thesis that i just stormed into my room one sunday and grabbed my sewing machine and slammed it on the table and started sewing. and no one said anything until it looked like the project was going well, then they were all excited and curious about what i was making. hmm, you think i was a little scary?

oh the shame!

i hang my head in shame. i must confess that i have recently left the house wearing track pants. oh the horror! my ex-roomates are all gasping in shock right now.
i feel that track pants are something you wear around the house, or while actually doing some kind of physical activity. not something you can leave the house in to go, say, grocery shopping. i see enough university students wandering around in pyjama bottoms to know what message this look projects to the rest of the world. the fact that it is a very accurate message for my life right now is beside the point. you are meant to dress for the job you want, not the, uh, situation you are in now. i feel better about myself if i at least am wearing presentable clothing when i leave the house. especially in guelph. you just know you are going to meet someone you know. or be introduced to your mom's really hot bank teller. yeah, that sends a message, at the bank with your mom in the middle of the day, wearing track pants.

because of issues with getting laundry done in this house (its a b&b, there are always about five loads worth of sheets and towels on the laundry room floor) i have been hanging out writting my thesis in track pants, mainly because they are comfy and warm in my basement cave. the problems arise when i have to leave that cave and go out into the real world. i would normally just exchange them for a pair jeans or other pants, but all of those are dirty this week (and yes, i would pull them out of the laundry basket, but someone threw my slippers in there during a quick clean-up and now my laundry smells like feet) so, i am left with the track pants. which is fine if i am just picking my dad up from work, but the other day, i actually went to church choir practice in navy blue track pants that say "UVIC" across the ass. that was a new low.

and don't get me started on the fact that i spent all day yesterday in my jimmy-jams.

i need to get out of this house!