Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Visit to the Zoo

Some exotic turtle
I don't know what it is, but I absolutely love going to the zoo. Even as an adult. So when the boyfriend emailed me about going with a couple of coworkers, I didn't want to miss out. Unlike I usually do, I didn't look into the zoo beforehand; I was AMAZED at how large it is! I've really only been to a handful of zoos, most of those when I was really young, so my only real memories are of going to the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, which is pretty great, but nothing compared to some of the larger zoos. Although I was a bit disappointed to miss out on some of my favorite animals, which were not in their exhibits, everything else about the trip was amazing.
One of the most shocking things to me was when we were in the Australia exhibit. There is this huge fenced in area that houses the kangaroos and emus... Which happens to have a door; unlike most of the doors in the zoo, this one was not for park personnel. They actually LET you walk through the area housing the kangaroos and emus. I don't know what others have heard or know about kangaroos, but they can be extremely dangerous and unpredictable. Yes, these ones are in captivity and interact with humans regularly, but there are all kinds of attacks by animals in captivity on  their owners or handlers. Regardless of the fact they tend to be more aggressive than most animals, most of the people who go to the zoo do so because they have kids. I couldn't even imagine trying to get a small child to walk on the path and not dart off to try to pet a kangaroo...

The smaller of two elephants
I always love seeing the elephants, even if every zoo has one or two; I couldn't resist running over the second I saw them, leaving my boyfriend and friends to fend for themselves at the snack bar. I'm really not sure what it is about elephants. It probably has something to do with their gigantic size and how smart they are... We did, unfortunately, quickly learn why the boyfriend loves elephants, actually, the reason most boys/guys/men come to the zoo.  I should note that every other boy and man there had the exact same reaction. There are just some things that the male gender will never out grow and pooping and peeing just so happens to be one of those things.

We saw many more animals and I took way more pictures, but I decided to include just a few of my favorites
Overall, an amazing trip!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Oh how I miss sewing projects...

Completed family tree quilt
Before I struck out on my own (well, maybe not my own, but moved out and went to college), I was known for various other craft skills besides knitting... For my senior culminating project (which I think my mom explains pretty well here), I even sewed a full sized quilt with an appliquéd tree to represent my own family tree I had been researching and photos that had been taken throughout my life.

But after that project and god only knows how many hours, I'd never wanted to see a sewing machine or an unsewn, unfinished piece of fabric again...

That was over four years ago; now I find myself itching to make things... Nothing as complicated as that quilt (it makes me want to run my fingers under the needle of a sewing machine just thinking about it), but I'd just like to be able to do some of the things I want to do with a sewing machine:

1) Our basement apartment is essentially a bachelor pad... Other than the fact that there is a basket full of yarn and knitting supplies, I'm not really sure you would know a female lives here. When I moved out here, I essentially did so in 4 suitcases and have had my mother mail me other things as I need them; there wasn't any room for anything decorative.

2) Although I've never been much of a decorator like my mom, let alone a seasonal one, I've had the itch lately to do something to spruce the place up for fall... I also have to consider that thanksgiving, the Canadian one, is quickly approaching; yet by the looks of things here, you'd never know it. And Christmas... it takes time to prepare and make things for a holiday that big.
Freyja, getting ready for winter

3) I'd like to make some stuff for my cute little pup. No, not clothes. When it comes to animals wearing clothes, I believe they should only be worn when necessary for warmth. But I found this cute pattern for a dog    bed that would be easy to make it the perfect size for her. My dog is a snuggler, but I can't snuggle all of the time and it would be nice if she had a little place of her own that fits her well and isn't covered in atrocious fabric or insanely overpriced.

4) I hate hand sewing. It doesn't matter if it's joining seams on a knitting project or repairing or hemming a piece of clothing, I hate it. On knitting projects, it's not that it takes a lot of time and patience, I just don't think I'm that good at it. My seams end up bulky and don't really stretch, no matter what stitch I use. In a conversation with my grandma last winter, she suggested just using a machine. That's fine by me. As far as repairing and hemming things goes, My hand stitching looks atrocious. I know sewing by hand is a past time and an art form, but I think god endowed us with the knowledge to invent sewing machines for a reason.

Really, there are probably a billion other reasons an sewing machine would be practical... And maybe, at the same time, I am turning into my mother (one of the craftiest people I know); but I don't really think that's a bad thing at all.

And although this project (pictured left) is a no-sew project, I'm pretty excited to try this one out :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Beginning to feel like fall in the GTA

After two of the hottest months I've ever experienced in my entire life, it's finally feeling like fall in Ontario. I know I'll be regretting wanting the temperature to drop in another two, but for now, I'm just going to enjoy it. Who would have thought 60 degrees would warrant putting on pants and a sweatshirt? Not I.

The pup, on the other hand isn't too thrilled... little does she know this is nothing compared to what it'll be like in January, so I probably should find a few more dog sweaters to knit for her.

Speaking of sweaters, I've been working on two. One, I mentioned in my last post, is a sweater for my boyfriend.  He's been nagging me since he learned I could knit to make him a sweater, and although my grandma gave us each a hand knit Icelandic sweater, he still wants one from me. I know I mentioned awhile ago that he asked me specifically for a sweater like "the one Hawkeye wears in that one M*A*S*H episode..." Well, luckily, the only thing he really cared about was the collar/neckline and pockets (which I think is just because he doesn't know stockinette stitch from any other stitch). It's mostly knit up; I only have a sleeve and a half to go, but I'm going to have to pick up another ball of yarn to finish it up. It's knit on US 15's, and thankfully I use interchangeable knitting needles (god's gift to knitters) so I didn't have to buy a new set that I won't use again for 10 years.

In the mean time, I've been knitting myself a sweater that I found on Ravelry. I'd never used this site before, but it's pretty fabulous; that's especially true for someone like me who often has yarn and a general idea of what they want to do with it, but needs a pattern where the gauge is right (or at least close) for the yarn. I've had this mohair that I got for dirt cheap (100 g, 200 yard balls at $3 each) for years and finally, I'm getting around to using it. I'm hoping to have it done with in the next couple of days, but I haven't been getting as much knitting done as I would like... I still haven't finished my mittens; I haven't even finished the first one. I have some serious doubts I'll get them done anytime soon; I'm just not a person who's great at knitting pairs of anything. That would be why my next goal for myself is to learn to knit two mittens, socks, or anything else that comes in pairs at the same time. Sure it'll take the same amount of time as knitting two, but at least then I'll have a set.

I have been working on my cooking abilities. I'm a decent cook and have mastered a fair few dishes, but there are some I haven't had the time and patience to undertake in the past.

Icelandic pancakes, for one, are something I've never been able to make even when following my grandma's recipe to a tee. But the boyfriend (who is Swedish) has been wanting Swedish pancakes for sometime. I (the Norwegian/Icelandic girl), refuse to eat or cook such a thing. Both types are close in style, so I figured I'd give Icelandic pancakes another go. And voila! For once, they turned out pretty amazing and darn close to what my grandma makes. I can only hope my other cooking endeavors go so well.

Until next time...

Friday, September 3, 2010

It's been a while....

I haven't posted in a while because there has been so much going on.... First, I awoke 2 weeks ago to our basement apartment being flooded from a faulty toilet upstairs. If I thought it was hot before, I was seriously misguided; with all of the equipment that was brought in to dry and dehumidify, it's 80-90 degrees on average... hotter than it is outside more often than not.

Despite this whole fiasco, my boyfriend and I still went on a week long camping trip in Algonquin Provincial Park. My boyfriend (who is pretty forgetful) managed to bring both cameras, but forgot both batteries in the charger, so I unfortunately don't have any photos. The trip, however, was pretty amazing. We did end up leaving early, due to an 'unpredicted' rain storm, but it was an unforgettable experience. We (by we, I mean my boyfriend mostly, but I did catch the first one) even managed to catch a few small mouth bass in a river near by.

I had hoped I would be able to start knitting a sweater for my boyfriend, as he's been wanting one for ages, but it was simply too hot to knit. Hopefully it will cool off a bit so I can get started....