Tag Archives: cool sites

busyness: make yer own ice cream

One of the lovely ladies in my book club had a baby earlier this summer, and so I offered to host a baby meet and greet. Just for the hell of it, I called it an ice-cream social, because I’ve always liked the sound of that, and lo and behold, the universe gave me this gift: Three-ingredient no-ice-cream-maker-required ice cream. Where one of the ingredients is sweetened condensed milk, aka the best food in the universe. And the other is whipping cream, and the other is whatever your little heart desires.

Ice cream in progress

Ice cream in progress

My choice for flavours were: Nutella, banana, nectarine-cherry (pictured above), and popcorn (because why not). They came together in about ten minutes flat, and only took that long because I used the hand mixer rather than electric. They froze pretty hard, and greatly benefitted from a fifteen-minute thaw on the counter, but oh my were they good. Nutella was far and away the most popular flavour because Nutella, but popcorn ran a close favourite.

Yeah. So that’s my new favourite dessert.


Busyness: why I shouldn’t go to Michael’s

I shouldn’t go to Michael’s because there is always a sale on something that I didn’t think I needed until I saw it. But then I see it and I have to have it, and I can justify it because it was on sale.

An example: when getting the embroidery floss for the Prank Craft , I found out that Bernat’s Baby Blanket yarn, which is this great chenille-feeling super bulky, was 30% off. And it comes in super-cute variegated colours. And there was an easy-looking pattern on the label. All these things came together, and I thought to myself, You know, it’s a shame that you haven’t made Baby Bear a blankie of her own. You make blankies for everyone else’s babies, but not for your baby. What is up with that? I bet she would love a snuggly chenille-feeling blankie in Peachy.

20 minutes later I am walking out of Michael’s six balls of Bernat Baby Blanket richer, trying to ignore the fact that the bunny blanket is waiting patiently to be completed before its August deadline.

Fortunately for the bunny blanket, Baby Bear’s project is whipping up nice and quick:

cuddle blankie

It is indeed an easy pattern: corner-to-corner seed stitch. I still managed to screw up a couple row (don’t knit and watch Criminal Minds, apparently), but the yarn is really forgiving and doesn’t show.

The pattern can be found on Yarnspirations, the new site for the Bernat/Patons/Caron/Phentex family of yarn brands. I hadn’t realized that they had put all their brands together under one site and do I ever appreciate the redesign. Much more user-friendly, and nicer to look at to boot.

Week four: To be content with content

Now that the course has forced my hand and I am blogging, I also need to have content for said blog. Tempting as it may be to stuff it full of links to other people’s content, that’s not really going to get me that far.

The creative brief exercise was surprisingly effortful. The clever thing to do would have been to create a blog that I could use professionally, adding it to my LinkedIn profile (rarely used) and my resume (ditto). But what on earth do I have to talk about?

I’ve seen library blogs and non-profit snarks, and they’re great, but I don’t think it’s in me to do one.

I don’t feel authoritative enough to have a tips and tricks site on, well, anything.

I don’t have some grand journey that needs to be shared.

Everything that I do is fairly small-scale. My hobbies are modest. I never get into anything enough to get all the gear. I’m a dabbler. And so there will be my blog: my dabbles, my fun, by me for me (and perhaps a select few family and friends to whom I will confess the existence of this blog).

And now for the links to websites that have content I love:





Week one: We begin at the very beginning

After my initial panic over needing to create a blog (!) and complete uncertainty as to what to do for said blog (!) I decided to take a deep breath and relax. So I don’t have anything that translates super-well into a blog. So my passions, which are largely tangible ones, are not sufficiently advanced or pretty enough to merit a blog. So what? This is what I have, and this is what I will use. I will use this space as a record of my crafting, and as a way of re-examining my various efforts (cooking, crafting, gardening) through the lens of design.

I realize that there is a certain amount of irony extolling the virtues of handmade tactile articles on a website, but it works just fine for Our Lady of Home-Made Martha Stewart so it will work just fine for me. I also realize that there is a certain amount of privilege happening here in that I have the time, funds, and access to material that allows these things to be hobbies rather than necessities of life; I do not intend to address this in any deep or meaningful way, but I did want to acknowledge it, and acknowledge that I am privileged to enjoy my crafts and indeed to be taking this class. (I have been reading Roxane Gay and she has made me think a little harder about things I take for granted.)

Thinking of handmade tactile things, I have a couple of favourite websites that I use for inspiration. If they were books, they would be all wrinkled and thumbprinted and dogeared; as they are websites they remain pristine to the naked eye but the very lightest of analytics would reveal my frequent perusal thereof.

Cooking: http://www.smittenkitchen.com I can’t get enough of Deb Perelman’s recipes, and her commentary makes it feel like having a chat with a good friend. The photography is beautiful and does a great job selling the recipe, even if it’s something that makes me wrinkle my nose at first (I still wrinkle my nose at quinoa).

Knitting: http://knitty.com There is always some pattern to drool over, and I appreciate that they sort both by type of project and by level of difficulty. I haven’t been brave enough to attempt anything beyond tangy, but that’s mostly laziness. Mostly.

Gardening: www.canadiangardening.com This one became a favourite once we moved into a house with a garden, both front and back, and I decided to try my hand at gardening. I hated it when I was a child, probably because it was something I was made to do, but now that I’m an adult and can choose what to do with my time, apparently I like pulling weeds. Who knew?  I’ve mostly been using it as a reference to find out what plants do well in the shade, since we face east/west and get varying amounts of sun, but again the pictures are stunning.

All-round: www.canadianliving.com The site is a little busy, but has recipes that pretty much always turn out and plenty of craft ideas, as well as household tips. I used to have a subscription to the physical magazine (it is dirt-cheap but has a nice layout and doesn’t go overboard on articles so you don’t end up spending too much time on it) but got tired of ripping out recipes. Paperless future, baby!