Friday, April 30, 2010

Moving!!

The new blog is still under construction; not sure when I will have time to work on it. I haven't completely finished the clean-up over here either, but I won't have time to do anything about it today, as friends are coming over for dinner and as per usual, I'll be busy cleaning and cooking before they arrive. There's a chance I might still be able to take care of unfinished business tomorrow, but I doubt it. Anyhow, the new address will be:

http://42mainstreet.wordpress.com/

Please update your favourites/RSS feeds/blogrolls!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sam pictures!

At last... a few of my favourite pix so far.
See the set on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/98203510@N00/sets/72157622209837183/

Sunday, April 04, 2010

FTP publishing will no longer be available after May 1, 2010

Sometime in the next month, I will be moving 42 Main Street to a new URL and new blogging software. I've been thinking about moving to WordPress for quite a while, and since Blogger is forcing me to migrate anyway (see post below), now is the time. I'll start fresh at the new address, with updates about Sam (we're doing great!) as well as the tiny bits of knitting I have been doing, and leave this blog up with a final post redirecting my readers there. (Friends and family will get an email.) Before the final May 1st deadline, I will try to finish re-posting the pictures that were lost in the great server crash of 2005, for anyone going through my archives, and for my own record-keeping. Watch this space for details!

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3

Dear FTP user:

You are receiving this e-mail because one or more of your blogs at Blogger.com are set up to publish via FTP. We recently announced a planned shut-down of FTP support on Blogger Buzz (the official Blogger blog), and wanted to make sure you saw the announcement. We will be following up with more information via e-mail in the weeks ahead, and regularly updating a blog dedicated to this service shut-down here: http://blogger-ftp.blogspot.com/.

The full text of the announcement at Blogger Buzz follows.
Last May, we discussed a number of challenges facing[1] Blogger users who relied on FTP to publish their blogs. FTP remains a significant drain on our ability to improve Blogger: only .5% of active blogs are published via FTP — yet the percentage of our engineering resources devoted to supporting FTP vastly exceeds that. On top of this, critical infrastructure that our FTP support relies on at Google will soon become unavailable, which would require that we completely rewrite the code that handles our FTP processing.

Three years ago we launched Custom Domains[2] to give users the simplicity of Blogger, the scalability of Google hosting, and the flexibility of hosting your blog at your own URL. Last year's post discussed the advantages of custom domains over FTP[3] and addressed a number of reasons users have continued to use FTP publishing. (If you're interested in reading more about Custom Domains, our Help Center has a good overview[4] of how to use them on your blog.) In evaluating the investment needed to continue supporting FTP, we have decided that we could not justify diverting further engineering resources away from building new features for all users.


For that reason, we are announcing today that we will no longer support FTP publishing in Blogger after March 26, 2010. We realize that this will not necessarily be welcome news for some users, and we are committed to making the transition as seamless as possible. To that end:

    • We are building a migration tool that will walk users through a migration from their current URL to a Blogger-managed URL (either a Custom Domain or a Blogspot URL) that will be available to all users the week of February 22. This tool will handle redirecting traffic from the old URL to the new URL, and will handle the vast majority of situations.
    • We will be providing a dedicated blog[5] and help documentation
    • Blogger team members will also be available to answer questions on the forum, comments on the blog, and in a few scheduled conference calls once the tool is released.

We have a number of big releases planned in 2010. While we recognize that this decision will frustrate some users, we look forward to showing you the many great things on the way. Thanks for using Blogger.

Regards,

Rick Klau
Blogger Product Manager
Google
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043


----
This e-mail is being sent to notify you of important changes to your Blogger account.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Introducing... Sam


Samson
Originally uploaded by tanya_wright
Samson Alexander Fortin (it only took us a week to settle on his name... :)
Born January 3, 2010 at 9:15 p.m.
Weighing 8 lbs 4 oz and measuring 20 in.
Thanks to Tanya for the picture!

Labour and delivery were relatively fast and less painful than anticipated. (No drugs!) Sam was born with his fist up by his head, so I ended up needing stitches, but they are healing astonishingly well. And I am already back into my pre-pregnancy clothes!!

However, breastfeeding got off to a *very* bumpy start (poor little guy lost a bunch of weight the first week, so we got loads of excellent help and have been supplementing; he seems to be needing less formula by the day as he gets more from me). I am still getting used to being a mom and trying to find a routine... he feeds a LOT so I find myself immobilized in the nursing chair for much of the day, hence my relative absence online.

I absolutely love the Little Gaffer (my favourite nickname for him so far), and he sure is cute if I do say so myself! Derek has been off work, home with me since Sam was born, and is a superstar dad and partner. Next week he goes back to work and I will find out what it is like to be a stay-at-home mom on my own during the weekdays. Luckily I have family and friends nearby, and a moms' group, and I'll be signing up for mommy & me yoga etc...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

No baby yet!

But the nursery has been ready for a while now, so here's a glimpse in the meantime. (I got the pad for the changing table after the picture was taken, don't worry.) Couple more photos here.

Saw the doc yesterday and without getting into graphic detail, suffice to say that things are showing signs of progress, so yay! If I don't go into labour by Sunday, we will meet Doc at the hospital for treatment to move things along. So in all likelihood, Derek and I will be parents by Monday latest! Maybe a New Year's kid? First child of the new decade might be kind of cool...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dabbling

About once a year (usually around Christmas), I put down the knitting and dabble in a bit of decorative painting. Typically I will cut Christmas cookie-cutter shapes out of flat wood on the scroll saw, then paint them very simply. (I can't draw to save my life, so my painting style is by nature rather "naïf".) Here's this year's project, some plain wooden bells I found at Lee Valley that I painted to give to my coworkers today as a thank-you and little memento of me before I start my mat leave tomorrow. I am really very pleased with how they turned out! Sorry the blog material has been thin on the ground here of late, this whole getting ready for Christmas AND baby at the same time makes for very little knitting or online time! (I've been logging into Facebook maybe once a week, and stopped Twitter quite a while back....) Hopefully I will have a bit more time next week, if babe doesn't make an early appearance!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I love this cardi.

I finished it over a month ago... and have not finished any other knitting since. Rav details here, and a closeup of the gorgeous glass buttons (handmade, cost a small fortune, but just a perfect colour match and irresistible) here. Have been neglecting the poor blog (and Twitter, and Facebook... I must be nesting) trying to clear up the before-baby To-Do list. Feeling a bit panicky. Sleeping like shit, between free-floating anxiety, aches & pains, worsened apnea from increased weight, crazy heartburn, and having to pee 2-3 times a night. So much still left to do!! But the bedroom painting is all done and I am really, really pleased with the results. I have done some cooking ahead. Most immediately necessary baby items have been acquired. I mailed my Christmas cards yesterday, which would have been my father's 64th birthday. I will be considered to be full-term (37 weeks) later this week. Bundle of mixed emotions: check!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Jewels scarf

A quickie post to my poor neglected blog before I go to work this morning... this scarf that I absolutely adore. I call it the "Jewels" scarf because of all the jewel tones in this single skein of Fleece Artist Trail Socks super-soft, superwash merino & nylon yarn: turquoise, aquamarine, amethyst, amber, jade... The pattern was for a dishcloth called "Bamboo Cloth" that I made a while back; I liked the stitch pattern so much that I thought it would be great for a variegated scarf. It biases a bit on the diagonal, but I'm calling it a design feature. It's been a busy month -- you can go take a look at what I've been up to on Flickr (click on the photo-mosaic on the right), or stay tuned here for updates... eventually.

Monday, October 05, 2009

A little something on the side

So, as this here blog makes abundantly clear, the craft of my heart, my forever love, is knitting. However, once in a while, my eye gets turned by this other shiny, sparkly craft... beading. I realize I haven't really shared my occasional beading projects in this space, as they are mostly simple, single strands, or occasionally stitchmarkers, often given away, but this piece I was proud enough of, that I felt the need to show it off. Back in August, Kristen and I attended the Montreal Bead Oasis show, and took a few classes. Since Kristen is by far the more serious, creative, and talented beader between us, I was mostly along for the pleasures of a girls' long weekend: train ride, swanky hotel, and the opportunity to savour the shopping & gastronomic joys of Montreal in excellent company -- but I did very much enjoy browsing the vendors' wares at the show (bought a few things for future projects), and I especially liked the three beginner level classes I took. (Kristen took more advanced classes.) Although I have not yet redone the bead crochet bracelet I mentioned in a previous post (I had tension issues), I do have this lovely number to show you, the Swirls and Clusters bracelet designed and taught by Diane Reda, that I gifted to my cousin Marie-France for her 30th birthday. Photo is courtesy of her, BTW, as I forgot to take a picture before giving it to her! Mmm, shiny...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Yet more incredibly cute buttons

Even though they are somewhat more time-consuming than baby sweaters done at a larger gauge, I love self-striping sock yarn baby sweaters... you can expect more of them as time goes on, because I am utterly charmed by the infinite variety of colours available in sock yarn, its relative affordability (a whole baby sweater out of one ball of yarn -- fantastic!), and the fact that it is readily available in very practical superwash wool. (NonStopKnitter has warned me to stick to machine washable yarns for my baby projects, as her experience has been that she has not really had the time to handwash the delicate items she has made for SweetPea despite her best intentions. Sage advice I am planning to follow.) I was delighted to win this yarn as a door prize at the June Knitty Yarn Roundtable night. It's called "Best Foot Forward" from Nashua. The colourways were designed by Kristin Nicholas -- this one is called "Blueberry Field." I find it very cheerful, and love how it is unisex yet completely untraditional for a baby (read, not pastel). This sweater (Ravelry details here) is not my best work... it has a number of imperfections (ugly side seams where cast-on and bound-off edges meet, wavy cast-on edges at the sleeve and buttonhole band), but as a vehicle for yet more unbelievably cute buttons, it's tough to beat. Chalk it up to a learning experience; while I am not going to re-do the seams, I have done some research and learned where I went wrong, so that I can do a better job next time. While I cast this on in June, it sat in the naughty pile for a while after I discovered I had knit two left fronts... oops! All better now. I am really looking forward to doing modelled shots of these baby sweaters next year (knock wood)!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I promised a picture of the bump...

And so here it is. Can you believe this gorgeous dress is maternity wear? I feel like a million bucks when I wear it. In fact I like it so much I bought a second one in black!

Go to Flickr to see the latest ultrasound picture (however blurry) from Saturday, as well as a picture of me at 22.5 weeks, with Derek and the visiting Rob.

Oh, and here is the appropriate musical accompaniment for today's post: The Old World by The Burning Hell.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I'm not dead.

Just feeling... quiet. Very, very quiet. Been seriously nesting, although not knitting much. By the time this kid is born, the house will have never been cleaner or more organized.

Anyway, I finished this cool, slinky summer scarf for Kristen about a month ago (started over a year ago -- sigh) before I went to see her for a belated birthday visit, never got around to blogging it before now. Tech details on Ravelry. The yarn (5% ceramic...!!) was a pain to work with -- despite being very slick, it had a tendency to get caught on stuff, or to want to be a bit splitty (even on my Addis), I think because of the chained construction -- I can see why it was discontinued. Still, it was worth it, because I think the coral red colour is very becoming on her. (She's camera shy though, and preferred I not show her face.)

OK, some random updates, in no particular order:

- The baby bump is really starting to show. Feeling good, aside from frequent massive heartburn (apparently the kid is going to be born with a headful of hair), associated insomnia (good training, I figure), and occasional low back pain (chiropractor has been helpful). Been feeling the baby move for a while now, and I think I'm gaining an appropriate amount of weight. Still, I need to reorganize my closet and clothes drawers into two categories: things I can still wear, and things that must be put away for later. Pictures to follow, eventually, promise. Next ultrasound is in a week (rather late, at 24 weeks instead of the standard 20), but I've decided not to find out the sex, and Derek is in agreement; I've always liked surprises. Christmas due date, if I haven't mentioned it here before now. Promise the kid won't be named Joseph, Mary, Holly, Rudolph, Nick, etc.

- Work is going to be unbelievably busy and stressful this fall, as one of my colleagues just gave notice today. Argh.

- We are about *this* close to starting to get walls prepped and painted in the bedrooms upstairs, including the nursery, if my boss will let me have a few days off in September in light of the above news. The new Behr Premium Plus Ultra colour palette is GORGEOUS, plus low VOC... yay! I think Derek and I might have done more interior painting by now if these colours had been available earlier. I do intend to blog the transformations when they occur...

- Spent a long weekend with Kristen attending the Montreal Canadian Bead Oasis Show a couple weeks back, taking three classes, and enjoying Montreal's fabulous restaurants and shopping. Next time I do this (whenever that might be, what with impending motherhood and all), I am wearing more sensible shoes. I looked good enough to pass for a Montrealer, I think, but DANG did my feet and shins hurt. Life is too short for hobbling around in unsupportive or painful shoes. Anyway, I will post pics of my finished projects from the classes at some point as well, including -- surprise -- a CROCHETED beaded bracelet! (M-F, could you please email me a picture of your birthday bracelet that you would be OK with me posting here? I forgot to photograph it for posterity before giving it to you... Thanks!)

- Bought a labelmaker yesterday. I LURVE my new toy. Yes, I am a geek.

Seriously, though, I will try to update the blog/Twitter/Facebook/Flickr a little more often. Sorry for the recent radio silence.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I think I might be in it for the buttons. :)

You know, I'm starting to wonder if I got into knitting, and then got pregnant, just for the excuse to buy the cutest buttons ever. (KIDDING!!!!) I mean, look at the close-up of the little sheepy buttons for this "Harvey" baby kimono from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms by Louisa Harding, borrowed from the K-W Knitters' Guild library. (As always, Rav details here for those interested in the tech side of things.) It's hard for me not to go "SQUEE!!" every time I look at them! Purchased at Romni Wools after a lovely breakfast and yarn shopping visit with LinzKnits while on vacation at the beginning of the month. I actually finished this sweater earlier, in the car on the way to the June Knitty Yarn Roundtable with 3 other (blogless) knitting friends, but the buttons I had for it were, well, uninspiring. But then I found these little guys -- perfect!

In pregnancy news, I am continuing to do very well. Can't believe I've had no morning sickness, just the occasional gag reflex at things (bad smells, certain textures of food) that gross me out. I am starting to show a bit, although I am still fitting (if barely, in some cases) into my regular clothes. Yesterday was exciting; I had my monthly checkup (17 weeks) and it was the first time the doc was able to pick up the heartbeat on doppler. I tell ya, seeing the heart beating on ultrasound is pretty darned wonderful, but hearing it is something else already. SO exciting!!

Sorry the blog's been a bit neglected... been really busy this month. Nesting instinct is definitely starting to kick in: we've been cleaning and decluttering like mad. Feels great! At some point I will need to start blogging about some of the changes around the house, but not today -- gotta go get ready for work! Have a great day!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Birthday Girl!


No, not me, Sweet Pea here! Well, OK, yes, me too; after all, she was born on my birthday a year ago. So of course I had to attend her first birthday party yesterday, and of course I had to knit her something! Actually, her mom, Stickyfingers (NonStopKnitter on Ravelry), is an awesome knitter herself, so it's not like she's hurting for handknits, but I was incapable of resisting knitting for such a cute little girl born on my birthday! (My friend was grateful -- she said, "No one knits for us, since they know I knit." My attitude is, who better to appreciate what goes into a knitted gift than a fellow knitter?) This is Elizabeth Zimmermann's February Baby Sweater, from The Knitter's Almanac, knit in "Sweet Aqua" Bernat Cottontots from my stash. No Rav details yet, as I didn't want my friend to see and guess who this was going to be for! More pics on Flickr. I'm glad this is a bit big -- looks like she'll be able to wear it for a while. This sweater, all in one piece, was way fun to knit, and I will definitely be knitting it again! (Perhaps omitting the lace to make it more unisex, as I do not plan on finding out the baby's sex ahead of time.)

I'm on vacation this week for my birthday, so I am hoping to post more updates soon after neglecting the blog for the past while! For those who are wondering, the pregnancy is continuing to go very well (knock wood). Thanks to all who emailed or posted birthday wishes on Facebook and Ravelry! Have a great week!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Let the baby pictures begin!

Soon this will no longer just be a knitting blog, it'll also be a pregnancy and child-raising blog where I share pictures that I hope will be unbelievably cute. Of course, right now, all I have are ultrasound pictures, which are pretty blurry, but at least confirm that the baby is alive, growing, and seemingly healthy so far. This was yesterday's regularly scheduled 11-week ultrasound where they measure for potential abnormalities; everything seemed to be fine, knock wood & cross fingers! Last week I went to the ER because I was sure I was going through the same thing as last time, that I had lost the baby but just hadn't started bleeding yet. I was so panicked my blood pressure had skyrocketed (normally my BP is very good). After a very long wait, I got an ultrasound and got to see the baby's heart beating with my own eyes for the very first time... In other words, it was a false alarm, thank goodness. It sure is a wonder to see the little heart beating over 170 bpm!!

Monday, June 01, 2009

One year later

I can hardly believe it's already been over a year since Spot died. And what a lousy year it has been. The one year anniversary was Friday. I am really, really hoping that the year to come is a better one than the year just past. In Spot's honour, I asked Derek to take a picture of the thriving green flowerbed he so lovingly built for her and edged in stone. You can hardly see her marker for the plants now. And it's early -- the plants will get bigger and fuller yet, even just this year, and lusher still in years to come. We definitely need to plant something that flowers colourfully at the end of May, though. There's a bit of a gap between the spring flowers (tulips, pasque flower) and the lilies.

Yes, life goes on... Had my first prenatal appointment last week, and I go for my ultrasound on June 11th. Keep on praying and thinking positive thoughts; my hormone levels suggest it might even be twins!! I'll be sure to update that day no matter how things turn out, though. (Yes, I will be nervous and paranoid until then.)

Confidential to my sister: Happy birthday, Julie! Hope you had a great one.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I don't believe in curses.

And yet, while Derek and I were TTC and then later when I was pregnant, I avoided knitting baby stuff out of fear of jinxing things. (You know, like the Boyfriend Sweater Curse.) Well, we all know how that turned out, so... now I am knitting baby things, since avoiding doing so clearly does not prevent tragedy. I therefore present to you what I hope will be the first in a series of cheery, bright, colourful baby garments, the Not-So-Super-Natural Stripes cardigan. The colours are a bit reminiscent of Kashmir Knitter's "Clown College" baby cardi, and the finishing (especially the picking up of stitches and the weaving in of the many, many ends) leaves a bit to be desired, but I still like it an awful lot; I am very fond of bright colours on babies. Ravelry details are here. I inadvertently modified the pattern to make four-row instead of six-row stripes, because apparently I can't count. In retrospect, I wish I had made the stripes five rows wide, so that half the ends would have ended up on the other side for weaving in. I would have left out that second white stripe just before the main body colour too; I think the peacock blue would have looked nicer up against the yellow. Ah well, it's still darn cute, IMNSHO!

I actually finished this a week ago, and had I not been so tired on Sunday night, I would have liked to post it in time for Mother's Day. I spent the weekend in Windsor with my mom and my sister, and showed off this here latest FO to them. My mother avoided asking the obvious question of "are you...?" for fear of wounding me if I wasn't... but when the time was right, I announced my happy news: we're expecting again, and I am dearly, dearly hoping it'll be for our little one, due on Christmas. They were delighted for me; my mom told me afterward this weekend was the first time she can remember feeling happy in months. It was a good weekend for me too; I had a nice time with my family, plus I inherited my father's awesome old TV, and a huge pile of CDs. (More on those items in a future post.)

Of course, it is still early days, and I now know all too well that there are no guarantees, especially while I am still in my first trimester. My anxiety level is pretty high; understandably, I really don't want to go through another miscarriage. I don't think I mentioned in that February post, the song that came on the radio in the waiting room at the doctor's office while I was waiting to see my MD:



Yeah, I felt a little bit like the universe was mocking me. Anyway, I sure do hope this pregnancy ends happily. To that end, I humbly ask for your prayers, vibes, good thoughts, crossed fingers, whatever you got!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Isn't she pretty in pink?

Not me, silly, the scarf! Her name is Clapotis [Clap-o-tee]. I'm a few years late to the bandwagon... have to say, though, I can understand this pattern's popularity! It was a fun, easy, rhythmic knit, with great results! Can't believe I got this done a month before the wedding I plan to wear it to. Technical details on Ravelry for those who are interested. There are more pictures on Flickr but this one's my favourite, even though it was done purely for the photographer's (D.'s) sake. It was intended only half in jest, but I think it really shows off the scarf quite nicely!

Soundtrack, of course, had to be the below... Pretty in Pink was my favourite John Hughes movie. I had the album (LP!) in high school. I remember taking it to the salon once to request Molly Ringwald's haircut when I was growing out a disastrous poodle perm; one of these days I will get up the guts, Pioneer-Woman or Crazy-Aunt-Purl style, to scan the photo of me with that most horrid of hairdos, and post it here... but not today. I will just leave it to your imagination. And now, if you look closely, you can see my handful of grey hairs... I call them my tinsel.

All right -- enjoy the eyeful and the earful!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring in a salad bowl

I haven't done a Recipe Corner in ages! This was supper tonight. It was so pretty I had to take a picture!

Lisa's Very Adaptable Spinach Salad

  • 1 pkg baby spinach
  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, halved or quartered depending on size (or other fruit of your choice: mandarin oranges, mango, pear, even dried fruit like cranberries or apricots... be creative)
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, diced (I used yellow to contrast with the red strawberries; if I were using mango or oranges, I'd go with red pepper)
  • 1 carrot, cut in thin slices, grated, or julienned
  • Very thinly sliced sweet onion, to taste (I used about a quarter of a red onion for colour as well as flavour)
  • A handful of very finely sliced cabbage (especially purple cabbage) is optional, but nice for added crunch and colour
  • 1/4 cup of nuts of your choice, toasted and cooled (I used pine nuts, but pecans, walnuts, slivered almonds, even sunflower seeds would also work)
  • Optional: 3-4 ounces soft/crumbly cheese (I used a creamy havarti, but you can substitute feta, brie, chevre, etc. -- even a mild blue cheese like gorgonzola would be lovely)
  • Vinaigrette
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Optional: 1-2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, marinated in your vinaigrette and sautéd or grilled and sliced (heck, I suppose you could even do steak or lean boneless pork)

Place all ingredients except chicken in large salad bowl. Toss with vinaigrette; I used extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar shaken with a bit of dijon mustard and garlic. If desired, top each serving with chicken -- warm if you like a slightly wilted salad, or cool if you prefer it crispy.

If you leave out the cheese, or replace it with hardboiled egg or marinated tofu, this would also be great with an Asian-inspired dressing like ginger-soy or orange-sesame.

If you use feta, tomatoes for your fruit, and add some cucumber and black olives, you could do a Greek-style dressing with lemon juice, olive oil, and oregano.

My mother-in-law Shirley does a killer version sans chicken, with pomegranate seeds, pralined pecans, chevre, and poppyseed dressing.

Raspberry dressing is awesome with mango.

I'm sure you can come up with your own variations!

With chicken, this will serve 4 as a dinner salad; you could probably serve 8 as a side salad without chicken.