Thursday, August 30, 2012

No more chilly eggs

Remember that game from Razzle Dazzle? Let's play it again. Ready? OK,  what's this?



If you guessed, it's spare parts for bunny egg cosies, you'd be right!!
Good guess!



We made some for a friend. 



We used this pattern. The only changes we made were that we used leftover wool sock yarn instead of cotton (because our friend knows how to care for wool!) and we knit them in the round instead of flat (because we can avoid seaming that way). It's a darling pattern, well written and complete.


And each bunny has his own unique personality.





Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Things best left to the experts

Wired
Copyright © Cheryl Coville 2012

Beware! This is what happens when the uninitiated venture beneath the computer desk. It's not pretty.


We have friends who know things. They know all about computers and web pages. If you live in Kanata (and if you have to ask, you don't) and find yourself in need of a computer guru (who won't make you feel inadequate or stupid, or charge you an arm and a leg) just give Kate and Ed a call. Attfield Associates to the rescue!

Computer stuff requires experts. Drawing does not.

We like to draw ... or, at least Cheryl likes to draw. That's no secret. Did you know drawing's also therapeutic? Drawing is like meditating. Or knitting in the round. It's calming and we can spend hours at it. But one thing drawing is not, is difficult. Anyone can learn to draw. Anyone at all. It's like learning to touch type or play the piano. It's a skill. A learnable skill.

What you do with the skill ... that's where the art comes in.

For anyone who's ever wished s/he could draw, go get yourself a copy of Betty Edward's book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Do the exercises. Learn to draw. Simple. You're welcome!



Monday, August 27, 2012

Good mail

We got a lovely package in the mail from Michelle at From Head to Fabric.  She has this totally weird idea about her birthday. She doesn't expect gifts. No. She gives them out to other people. So, she had a giveaway to celebrate her birthday and we won!! Imagine that. In the midst of all the bad stuff that's been going on around here, we won. It's the world's way of sayin' life goes on, we guess.



Michelle sent us the fat quarter of fabric she had shown on her blog but, apparently that wasn't enough. No. She sent us a quiltlet she'd made. Isn't it beautiful? It's bright and cheery and it's so spontaneous in the way she put it together. It's exactly the kind of assemblage we were going for when we were working on our knitting quilt (which is still lying in pieces around here somewhere). As well, she sent a pretty card. At first, we thought it was a photo of an antique quilt but in fact, it's a painting of a quilt, in watercolour, graphite and coloured pencil, and it is exquisite!! We wish Michelle many, many more birthdays!

We'll leave you today with a photo we took last night just as the setting sun hit our phlox.



Cheers!





Tuesday, August 21, 2012

We couldn't resist


We saw some lovely beads that BastilleBleu.com had for sale. We're big fans of her lampwork beads. Unfortunately, by the time we saw them, they were sold. Drat! Isn't that always the way? But Nikki made us some as a custom order. Here's a close-up view:


We think she'd probably make you some if you asked her nicely. 


Cassie says, "Go on. You know you want some."



Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Presents in the mail

When yer feelin' down, there's nothing nicer than getting an unexpected treat in the mail. This is from our friend Sue at  Supermom - No Cape! who is a fabulous seamstress. Obviously.



Look at the tiny, perfect scissors!!



Hope she won't mind if we stuff the bag with a sock knitting project from time to time. It's the perfect size for that.

You should click over and look at  Sue's first published pattern. It's for a crocheted angel and while we don't talk much about crocheting, it is on our list of guilty pleasures.

~ Hope everybody has someone nice in their lives (like Sue)!


Friday, August 10, 2012

Spammy spam spam

Over the past few weeks, we've been noticing a disturbing trend. Mr (or Mrs, we suppose) Anonymous has been busy, busy leaving comments on our blog posts. Now, Dear Readers, you're probably completely unaware of this unless you have your very own blog with your very own anonymous spammers because Blogger, bless his heart, is very good at weeding out the comments. Blogger quarantines them all but we still get them delivered to us by email. Some of them are just dumb but some of them, oh, some of them are worthy of true derision. So, in that spirit, we thought we'd share one of the best ... minus the hotlink that always accompanies spam. Here goes.... on the post Relaxation 6 cookies at a time, which was clearly about decorating cookies, our friendly spammy follower has written:

"Great goods from you, man. I've understand your stuff previous to and you are just too magnificent. I actually like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it wise. I can not wait to read much more from you. This is really a terrific web site.
My website : how to know when a boy likes you at a party"

Did you hear that? We are truly "too magnificent". Ah, it's so good to be appreciated.








Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sharing a recipe!

We're not sure how many of you know that the real, original Grandma Coco was our very own paternal grandmother. She was a talented seamstress and, in fact, provided for her family of 4 kids during the dark days of the depression entirely by her needlework skills. She was also a fabulous cook!! There are so many stories we could recount on the subject of her cooking. She was a legend. At least within the family.

We remember maple walnut layer cake and chili sauce and icicle pickles!! And bread!!! She baked the best bread. Irish potato bread. Grandma Coco had one little quirk. A tiny one, really. Almost insignificant.

When asked for her recipe, she gave it to you ... sort of. That is to say, it was sometimes difficult to duplicate her recipes. We've never been sure if she did this intentionally or if she just had a basic recipe (the one she wrote down and handed to you) and she riffed on it when she actually cooked it, the way a jazz musician improvises on the fly.

So, because a couple of you, dear readers, have asked, here is our recipe for Date Sandwich Cookies and we're trying really hard to give you the real deal. We started with the cookie recipe we shared a while ago. Click on the link to find it again: http://grandmacocosdesigns.blogspot.ca/2012/02/best-cookie-recipe-ever.html  It's a very versatile cookie recipe that we recently found. It's not a family heirloom ... at least not yet.

We rolled the cookies out thinly this time and cut them with our mother's old round cookie cutter. We baked them as usual. While they cooled, we made the date filling.

Date filling is a mystery to us. We've seen lots of recipes, even old ones, that add sugar and we've never been sure why you'd do that. Dates are so sweet all on their own. We just chop up some dates to break them up a bit. How many, you ask? Well, OK. A handful. We put them in a small saucepan and just barely cover them with fresh water. Add a pinch of salt, if you like, and turn the heat on. Simmer them (being careful to stir the mixture so it doesn't scorch) until the excess water has evaporated and it's the consistency of jam. That's it. Let the date filling cool a bit and then spread a little between 2 thin Brown Sugar Oatmeal Shortbread Cookies. That's it! Simple. Simple.

Our mother-in-law made a very nice spiral cookie with date filling in it. We must hunt for that recipe. It was one she made for Christmas. A rolled-up log of cookie dough with date filling, chilled in the fridge and then sliced and baked. The cookies which inspired our sandwich cookie were made years ago by a bakery in Kingston, Ontario that is no more. A large-ish round oatmeal cookie folded over a dollop of date filling and then baked. Oats and dates. Yum! And of course, now that we think about it, what's a Date Square if not that? Did you know that the Date Square we know and love is known in Western Canada as Matrimonial Cake? How cool is that?  The history of cooking is a fascinating subject all on its own.



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pink and pretty ... sweet, too!

The other day when we were doing a bit of a walk-about in our hometown, we visited the farmers' market. Nowadays, it's a very happenin' spot. In addition to the local farmers with their fresh produce, there are local artisans ... craftspeople, jewelry makers, etc. One of the stands that caught our eye was The Community Living Association. We don't know if this is just a regional association or if they're everywhere. Here, they help people living with intellectual disabilities. They had some lovely pottery pieces for sale and we got to talk with some of the people who had made them. This one caught our eye:


So bright and cheerful with the snowmen stamped onto its surface. It's a smallish size ... maybe 5 inches x 7 inches ... and glazed with a mottled pink. One of its charms is that it's not perfect. Nothing's perfect, after all, but someone cared enough to make it with her own hands and we love it!



Just right to hold these cookies, don't you think? No time (or need) for icing this time around. We rolled our favourite Brown Sugar Oatmeal Shortbread cookies extra thin and sandwiched them together with date filling.  Mmmmmmmm......!

~ Time for tea!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tiger!



Back to bracelets. Our stock is down. The cupboard is bare. Must get to work and make some more. This one reminds us of a tiger. The bright gold/yellow beads are called 'curry' and we think that's a good descriptor. They're the colour of turmeric. The closure bead is one of 3 matching porcelain beads we bought some time ago.
















It feels good to be back doing something normal. (Or what passes for normal for us!)
~ Cheers!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cookie crumbs



Sometime over the past blurry month or so, we made these. We'd offer you one but this photograph is the only proof of their existence. (What? We can't be the only ones who document their baking, surely!)

They were delicious with just a hint of cinnamon. And pretty.  We need to make more cookies because right now, the larder is bare. However, we're a little short on inspiration. Suggestions, anyone?



Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sunglasses needed!

We've had a lot of knitting time lately. Straight ahead knitting. Round and round on socks, knitting. Not fancy stuff you have to be focused for. No, plain old socks. We know someone ... a man ... who likes brightly coloured socks. We think these might just fit the bill. They are certainly bright!



We had 2 balls of this dye lot. It's Patons Kroy Socks Jacquards, Colour 55612. And yes, that's a real, acid, lime green. We got the yarn on sale and we always thought we'd use it for one of those fake Fair Isle projects where you work it with plain black for a very cool effect. However, plain socks made from this are far from plain and that fit the mindless knitting bill nicely for us.

The sock at the top was knit straight from the ball. You can see how much is left over. For the second sock, we thought it would be cool to see how closely we could make it match the first. We peeled off enough yarn from the second ball until we reached the point in the colour repeat where we had started the first sock. That's the little ball of yarn between the 2 socks. And then, you can see how much yarn we had left when we finished the 2nd sock. That's the flimsy little snippet in the lower right. We hadn't finished off the first sock yet because we were sure we wouldn't have enough yarn. Our contingency plan was to rip the first toe back to the same spot and do both toes with some leftover blue sock yarn from our stash. This way's much better though. Makes us look like we might even know what we're doin'.

Plain Ol' Sock on 64 stitches/3mm Brittany birch double-point needles and a tubular cast-on, reducing right after the ribbing to 60 for the leg/foot of the sock. Round toe with 10 decrease points. Now we just have to cut the yarn, draw up the toe stitches and work in the tails.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Back in business

We're trying really hard to get back on track. While we're sure it's OK and maybe even necessary to allow ourselves time to remember and grieve for our dad, we like the phrase Marion used during his funeral service. She said we should turn our face to the light. I like that image. So today, we'd like to share a photo we took last Saturday when we took a break from the hospital to take a little walk.

Our hometown is one of those lovely places with tree-lined streets where people are still good and kind and funeral cort├Ęges proceed through intersections without regard to the colour of the traffic lights. Cars pull to the side of the street and wait just that few seconds while the hearse passes on its way to the cemetery and even pedestrians stop and dip their heads respectfully.

On Saturday, our hometown is also the place where we saw this:



























Now Cassie will be wanting her learner's permit, no doubt!

Life goes on.
(Dad always said some dogs would make better drivers than their masters!)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Dad

Dad
1922 - 2012

It’s the easiest thing in the world to father a child and yet, it takes so much more to be a dad. But my dad had that dad-thing all figured out. He loved us with an unwavering, unconditional love. He made us feel safe in a world that is anything but safe. He taught us the basics of bike riding and swimming, but more importantly, he showed us, by example, what it means to be a man. It’s through that example, I am sure, that I chose so well in the husband department. A good choice and a little bit of good luck, too, I guess.

Dad taught us about keeping your word and working hard but he also showed us that life is not all about drudgery. He retired from his civil service career after 30-some years of service when he was only 57. He was never bored; he had many interests … cooking, finance, construction, books. You name it and Dad was interested in it. In the end, he had about the same number of years in retirement as he did working. He showed us life is a balance of work and play.

And Dad never forgot how to play. He had a great sense of fun and he remembered what it was like to be a kid. When I was about 10, Dad had an unexpected windfall … a mortgage he’d held was repaid early. He came up with the idea that we’d play a game he called Heart’s Desire. He came to my younger brother and me, and gave us each a crisp, new, ten-dollar bill. He told us we could spend it however we liked. I remember thinking it was an awful lot of money. What fun we had debating what to spend it on. Looking back, I can’t even recall what I bought but I do remember the pleasure we had and the pleasure Dad took in making us happy.


He was our father but more importantly, he was a great dad.

~ Cheryl Coville, August 1, 2012