Monday, September 27, 2010

Blatant Consumerisn

Every fall, one of our local organizations puts on a inter-county garage sale that takes place over 2 days and boasts over 100 different venues and events.  It's huge.  They print up a booklet that offers descriptions of all the entrants and a map, so you can see them all "at a glance". 

That special weekend took place last weekend.  I hadn't attended in a couple of years (can't remember why I missed it last year...) and I had only one goal: find a small, solid-wood chest of drawers.  This is something I've been pining for since last year and the reason is that I'm getting annoyed with storing my fabric stash in cardboard boxes.  I lose things completely and get so overwhelmed by the bits and bobs in there that I avoid sewing.  I don't want avoid sewing because of something so fixable, so I've been on the lookout!

This place was neat - their sale was held in a nice courtyard of a motel, along the side of the highway.  It was multi-family and well-staffed.  We picked up a slew of mint-condition DVD's from a widow who was downsizing.  Her husband had been a big movie buff and had a truckload of action movie DVD's (my husband is like-minded).

I spotted this bumper sticker and couldn't resist.

Check out this fully-functioning Japanese washing machine!  It's made by Hitachi and my grandmother has one just like it.  They were asking $20 for it and though we don't need a washing machine, I was sorely tempted to take it home.  These little things are fantastic!  And very water/energy-efficient, too!

I bought these adorable little cups for 10 cents each.  I tried to find a fourth, but it was not to be.

This little bowl/dish was 10 cents and I just love it.  We have a serious serving dish shortage in this house, so I've been on the lookout for that, too.

These insulators were a bit steep, price-wise.  However, I couldn't resist.  I got the pair for $5 + 2 eggs.  Yes, 2 eggs.  The sellers were a couple from out-of-town, camping in an RV and they had been trying to buy only 2 eggs from any of the local stores (they didn't want to buy 6 or 12, as the leftovers would have gone to waste).   We went and bought a dozen, kept 10 for our own use and gave them 2.  Strange, but effective.

 This isn't something I bought - it's a piece of green milk glass that my grandmother gave me.  She used it for mashed potatoes for YEARS (I don't think I ate mashed potatoes out of any other dish for the first 8 years of my life) and never for anything else, oddly.  Last year, she started thinking about moving into the local "seniors' community" where all her chums live and she wanted to downsize her possessions before it comes to that point.  She came to visit last summer and brought me this (the only thing I really wanted) and her ENTIRE COLLECTION OF VINTAGE KNITTING NEEDLES (the only other thing I wanted). 

 See why I love it?

I found and bought this little fan for $2...

...and this one for only $1!

 (Yes, do!)

And guess what?  They both work perfectly!!!

 This one even has some neato swivelly action going on.

Found an awesome wool blanket for $10 (army surplus-style which, in addition to the goose-down duvet and other wool blanket on my bed, keeps me toasty).  The vintage sheets in this photo were also a garage sale find ($2).

And yes, I DID find a little chest of drawers.  It needs to be stripped and painted white (with these knobs in white and red, methinks).  It was $15.  Much better than the $200 I was finding in the stores...

Oh, and we found a much more suitably-sized dining set for our kitchen.  Picture it painted white, please.

Oh, and as I threatened to do at the beginning of August, I bought myself a Nantucket Bagg for my knitting.  So so so SO SO SO glad I did!


But, by far, my most important and unexpected purchase was this:

 Have you guessed what it is, yet?

 Yes, that's right!  A beautiful vintage bicycle!  I am so over the moon in love with it!  It needs some love and I haven't had a chance to roll up my sleeves on it yet, but I will.  Oh, will I ever!

She needs some cleaning, new reflectors, a rack and lights, but that's no big deal.  The tires are original, as are the seat, the handlebar grips, the paint, the decals, the everything.

And how much do you think I spent on her?  $100?  $150?  Nope.

Yup.  It was fate.  Thank you, Universe.  I love you.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A question of identity

Folks, I'm getting a little annoyed with Scribd.  Unless I'm completely mistaken (it's been known to happen, on occasion), they've made it mandatory to sign up for a (free) account in order to download OR print out the documents posted there.  That kinda makes me grumpy.

As a result of this new policy of theirs, I've received several requests in the past week to e-mail the raglan pattern file to people, which I'm happy to do, but which is a bit troublesome when I'm already swamped with work.  I really really really REALLY don't want to forget anyone's request and I'm afraid that will happen.  Someone even left a note on the raglan's Ravelry page (not a direct message to my inbox) and I just noticed it yesterday - it's been sitting there for a month, while I've been going about my business.  I feel quite bad about it.

So, I'm looking into other options.  Someday, I'll have my own website and won't have to rely on Blogger or Scribd, but that's not going to happen for a while. 

Now, Ravelry allows free uploading/downloading of patterns.  But here's the catch: you need to submit a "Designer Name" in order to have the right to do that.  As you may have noticed, I am a bit anal about maintaining a bit of anonymity on these here Interwebs.  That's because I have a public life and a private life and dog-willing, never the twain shall meet.  Right now, the raglan pattern is just attributed to "atmymothersknee" and I am a "volunteer editor".  If I want to upload patterns to Ravelry, that has to change.  They require "a realistic first and last or first and middle name".  But, I am NOT going to submit my real name.

So, here's what I need from you:   Make up a name for me, will ya?  If I choose the one you create, I'll send you a treat.  As the idea just occurred to me, I have no idea what that treat will be, so I'm open to ideas on that, too.  {As long as I don't need a second mortgage to afford the shipping, of course.}

Sound like a plan?  Make me laugh, folks.  Throw some ideas out there and make them count.  {Earthenwitch, I'm looking at you - given your imagination, my expectations are high.}  I know you can come up with something outstanding.

I'll start things off: Daisy Wilhelmina.  Desdemona Whitehall.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Halifax and our dear friend Earl

I attended a very interesting yoga retreat, last weekend.  It was held in Halifax and was held by Ashtanga Halifax, who were hosting Nancy Gilgoff (one of the very first Western women to be taught Ashtanga yoga - and to study with K. Pattabhi Jois).  It was quite eye-opening and it has deeply affected how I think of my practice.  I haven't had a chance to talk to my own teacher about what I heard and saw, but it was definitely worth every cent I spent on the trip.

Less appreciated was the pounding we received, courtesy of Hurricane Earl.  Wow.  I thought I knew what a big storm looks like.  I mean, I live in one of the most unforgiving places in North America, for Pete's sake.  Little did I know.  As far as hurricanes go, I guess he was a little tame (and very quick - thanks for small mercies), but it was nerve-wracking nonetheless.  I would have preferred to be safe and sound at home at the time but I was still in the city, staying at a hotel.  I had had the good sense to pick up some new knitting supplies and yarn the day before, knowing that I might get "stranded" with nothing to do.  I went over to The Loop (love it!) on Barrington Street and bought my very first Addi Turbo circular needle.

Why did it take me so long to get one of these? 

Why am I still torturing myself with cheap, metal, dime-store circulars?  Especially when I hate them so much (yes, it's true - I'm a circular-hater).

This thing is wonderful.  This yarn is wonderful.  It's Schoppel Wolle's Zauberball sock yarn in some delicious colourway.  It looks like a bowl of fieldberries.  Yum.  It's destined to become a yoga shawl/wrap thingy.

I started fiddling around with it during the storm (one of the networks obliged me by broadcasting Mansfield Park during the storm... almost like they knew I needed something really good to knit to... I am an unabashed Jane Austen lover) and I experimented with the shaping and construction.  I finally ripped it back, but I haven't given up.  I just didn't have access to my knitting books at the time, but now that I do, I will continue to plug away at it.

I also spent a shameful amount of time that Friday shopping at "Love, Me" (a boutique in Halifax).  Wow.  Bought myself a new camera strap and managed somehow to resist everything else in the shop.  Don't ask me how.

The girl manning the cash suggested I visit another store a few blocks away, called Wildflower.  Double wow.  I found the most amazing sweater there, that I had to lay it down and sketch out the construction of it, convinced that I could reproduce it (it was factory-made and cost $165+tax...a little out of my price range).  Turns out, I don't have to.  Blue Moon has a pattern for that exact sweater and as I subscribe to Knitting Daily, I got the notice about it last week (coincidence? I think not!).  It was so flattering that I think I may have to splurge and get the pattern and yarn to make it for myself (although I just went to their site to calculate the cost of the yarn and it would be $120 AMERICAN - which with our pathetic exchange rate comes to about $4,000,000 CANADIAN - so nevermind).  I think I'll find myself a more "affordable" yarn alternative, yes?

Well, I have a lot more to say, but I also have a "real life" to live and dogs to walk, so I'll leave it at that for now.  See you soon, ok?

PS: Is it bad that after my trip to The Loop and a lengthy discussion with the shop owner about spinning that I now want to go the Maritime Spinners Retreat and feel an undeniable and overpowering need for a portable spinning wheel?  No, I didn't think so.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Vacation photos, part 4

(a campsite *right* next to a babbling brook?  yes, please.)

(photos taken at Cabot Shores, in Indian Brook, CBI)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Vacation photos, part 3

(photos taken on the shore in Neil's Harbour, CBI)

Vacation photos, part 2

(photos taken in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, CBI)

Vacation photos, part 1

I, for one, am very relieved that you didn't send out the search party.  That would have been a bit embarrassing, so thanks for that.

The past few weeks have brought much excitement and many (welcome) distractions, but have left little time for idle time (aka: blogging). 

First things first:

The washroom renovation is coming along nicely.  I don't have final photos for you - just snippets.  We don't have a sink yet, but the tub/shower and toilet are up and running.  Most of the flooring is in (just waiting on the drywall behind the sink, first) and we need to touch up the painting.  Still, it's a marked improvement:

This was taken last weekend.  We've since removed the duct tape holding the panels in place, applied the silicone caulking, installed the curtain rod and curtain and cleaned up.  That first bath, which you see being poured was the first bath I had taken in 4 years.  That's how long we'd been living with the old revolting bathtub.  Progress updates to follow.

While we've been slogging away on the loo redo (haha), we've received company (poor souls).  I think I mentioned that some high school friends were coming to visit, right?  Well, they did.  And we had a great time!  They were only here for 3 days, which we filled with lobster and the beach and laughter (I found my abs again, thanks to all that laughter).  The lobster was likely the best I'd ever had and I have a local restaurant to thank for that.  We bought a truckload of cooked stuff from them and had a bunch of people over for an old-fashioned picnic with corn on the cob, roasted potatoes, grilled chicken (in case we ran out of lobster) and salad.  What fun!  We all ate until we very nearly burst.  Even my husband, who claims not to like lobster (WHA?), had to admit that it was delicious and even allowed that maybe he isn't *quite* as indifferent to it as he thought he was...  I guess that means there's more lobster in my future (YES!).

After the weekend of beaching and eating and laughing, we headed out on our excursion: a road/camping trip around Cape Breton Island.  I don't think there's much I can really say about the trip and what we saw.  It was exquisite, the weather was PERFECT, the company was wonderful and the whole thing was exactly what I needed (have I ever mentioned how much I love camping?).  I'm going to post a bunch of photos from the trip, but I'll break them up into batches, so as not to overwhelm.


(photos taken at sunrise in Ch├ęticamp campground, CBI)