Hey there, Epiphany! Didn’t see you coming. . .

I was sitting on the bus, on my way home from work. I had opened my massively large book:

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(Book 1 of Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle: Quicksilver)

Only to find, what seemed like only moments later, that I was suddenly at the subway stop already. I’d gotten so caught up in the story that time stopped for me, even as it whizzed by all around me. This made me think of one of the other books I’m currently reading (yup. I read several books concurrently. Deal with it), the most recent in George R R Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. Which I’m finding REALLY hard to get through right now. And I’ve been blaming the writing’s short-comings (which may yet be a factor), but now I wonder. Because I’m reading that series on my new e-Reader. . .

So my Epiphany was this: I don’t think I can get totally immersed in The Story if I’m not reading from a Real Book. Maybe it’s a sense-memory thing (Maybe it is the not-quite-but-almost dreadful writing. Or maybe it’s the Martin-style Waiting To See Which of My Favourite Characters Gets Killed Next), but I’m really having trouble with A Dance of Dragons. . . It might be different if I’d grown up with reading from a screen, who knows. But Real Books? They’re just better. For me, anyway.

Now. That’s enough introspection. Here’s some stuff I’ve been meaning to post!!

Knit bunny toy!!

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Pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson (and beautifully photographed by Anna Williams). It was SUPER-EASY to knit up, and lots of fun too! I can’t wait to make my elephant version!! I also got a commission to do one for another friend who just had her first child. I’m happy to report that a collective “Awwwwwwwww!!!!!” rose from the ranks of the baby shower where the little guy was unearthed And I apparently need to get More Last Minute Knitted Gifts now. . . When will it end???

And here’s the present all wrapped up, for those of your who have a wrapped present porn fetish:

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(I did in fact knit those carrots too. They’re from the Mochimochi Ninjabun pattern)

I also gave them a copy of the obligatory, and seminal, Pat the Bunny (I detect a theme!!), and my mom graciously donated one of her Tree of Life knit baby blankets (she kind of knits them compulsively, and we have at least three hanging out in our linen closet, waiting to find a new home. . .). No pictures of that, so you’ll just have to imagine it – it’s a creamy white, and ridiculously soft, as the new synthetics can only be. Synthetic yarn, you ask? Well, it’s hypo-allergenic AND easily washable! Perfect for baby blankets!! ūüėÄ

And here is a raft of pictures of food I’ve made!!!! Take a look!!

Portugese Custard Tarts!!

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Though, I have to tweak the recipe as the custard isn’t quite what I was hoping. The dough is super-cool to make. I’ll have to tell you about that sometime. . .

Here’s a tease:

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Ingredients!! For an appetizer I’m making for the Wednesday Candlelight post-Service Wine & Cheese. The Quintet is doing the food this week! This stuff, when combined with the Dreaded Phyllo Pastry, will become (hopefully) a nice tasty treat!! I’m only not quite sure about it cause I kind of totally made it up. Though, mixing up various mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, shallots, garlic (LOTS of garlic), Gewurtztraminer, panko, fresh basil and parsley, and freshly grated parmesan all wrapped up in a crisp and rich phyllo pastry crust is going to have to work damn hard to be inedible. . . Just sayin’. I’ll take pictures of the finished products when they’re assembled, promise!! And I’ll let you know how people liked them too ūüėČ

More teasing:

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I forgot to take a picture of the finished product (yup, gonna have to wait on that one too, Dear Internet), but all those photos? Those disparate pictures show the makings of my sinfully delicious brownies!! They’re from the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook – the dark chocolate and prune brownies. And before your brain explodes in disgust, let me tell you that 1. You start the recipe by soaking the prunes IN BRANDY for three, count them 3 days; and 2. I use dried cherries instead of prunes . . . Yes. It is made of awesome. I do intend, at some point, to make them as the recipe instructs, but not quite yet. All the dark dark dark chocolate, the lovely cocoa (and yeah, TOTALLY using the Valrhona cocoa for these. . .) and the sweet tartness of the cherries, WITH BRANDY??? These are pretty special brownies. Though, not that kind of special, just FYI. Not that there’s anything wrong with those brownies, per se.

I found out last night that I’m definitely in teenage-starry-eyed-first-love with the baking scale I got for Christmas this year . . .

I also need to show you my progress on the knit solar system (no photos yet) – I only have Saturn left to finish. Plus all the FINISHING. . . And I have two skirts to make, and my Colette Sencha blouse (I’ll actually be making a wearable muslin of it too – Shock! Horror!!! Cause I have a BOATLOAD of this lovely turquoise Kona cotton, and why not?? I have plenty of buttons. . .).

And in Katie’s Actually Going To Be Moving Out This Year!! News: I just found out that my parents will actually get me a new sewing machine for my birthday XD I so excite!!

So, apropos of nothing really, here’s a bunch of books I want (I’ll have to show you some of my Amazon wishlist sometime too, so you get a better sense of the crazy. . .):

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(totally bought the above already. . . Nope, not at all compulsive. . . Nuh uh. . .)

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Enjoying the photo-bombing so far?? Here’s some more!!

This is a dress I saw in the Holt Renfrew window display that I NEED TO HAVE!!! Even if I’m not willing to um pay the (I’m assuming) roughly 700$ it would probably cost there. . . Here’s a photo:

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And here’s where I’ve become Internet Famous!! Ok, not exactly. But that’s where the lovely Adventurous Dressmaker answered my question about what patterns I could use to approximate said awesome dress!! Wheeee!! Pattern bought, so all I have to do now is figure out what fabric to use. . .

Some more goodies. . . A coat!!

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I stumbled across it on Dear Golden Vintage’s etsy site. I thought “Awesome coat! It’ll never fit me!” then I looked at the measurements, and sure enough I was wrong – my size!! And even with conversion to CAD from USD, and with shipping, I got this lovely beauty for less than 100$!!!!! Some indications (sleeves that are a few inches too short, belt that hits me a good two inches above my natural waist. . .) that point to this coat being originally for someone several inches shorter than me. But I don’t care! It otherwise fits awesomely! And I lurve it ūüėÄ

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That, above, is a terrible photo of an AWESOME snack I made yesterday in the middle of my serious cooking/baking-palooza: red lentil spread!! It’s a Donna Hay recipe in her Off the Shelf cookbook. Super-easy and packs a nice flavour punch. Especially since I add smoked paprika and cayenne to it. And extra garlic. Of course. There’s some in my lunch today ūüôā Just so you know, Dear Internet, I made the brownies, the filling for the phyllo appetizers, Home-made Mac-n-Cheese (Mom makes the cheese sauce, and I do the everything else. And since we add tons of veggies and canned tuna, that’s more than people usually do with the dish. So you don’t think I’m just being a whiney baby. Not that I’m not a whiney baby. . .), AND the lentil spread. That’s a lot for one evening. I was standing for a good 5 hours straight. Oh the first world problems I have. . .

Spangly dress I saw in a crazy dress shop window during a Queen Street window-shopping trip with a good friend, and fellow Whovian (whom i have also infected with love for the new BBC Sherlock series. ) :

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Awesome silver shoes I bought during said “window-shopping” trip. . .

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But they are awesome and cost 50% off the original price, so I forgive myself. . . I’m going to wear them to the two opera productions I’m seeing in the next few months!! In the interest of full disclosure, that “window-shopping” trip netted me those shoes as well as five different belts. . . Oooops . . . This belt was so awesome, I just had to have it though:

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Seriously awesome. And also 50% off. But now I’ve been researching the company that made this belt (Brave, in Toronto), and there’s at least five other belts I now covet. . . Including this gorgeous obi belt. . . Only 90$. . . But . . . Sigh. . .

And now for something completely different: the new subway train!!!!

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I finally got to ride the new train!!!!! I got a second ride Monday night, so I’m felling like a proper Torontonian now!

I think that’s enough for one day, don’t you, Dear Internet?? I’ll leave you with today’s sunrise, as viewed from the window near my office. Sorry about the not-too-awesome quality. . .

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I LOVE that “aaarrrrggghhh” is my most used category. . .

Yup. Thanks, Category Cloud, for summing up my life so beautifully. I was happy until the post I was writing decided to vanish after I tried to add a link . . . AAARRRRGGGHHH indeed. . .

Anywho – I’ll try to recapture what was lost through the judicious application of that thing called “memory”. I know this is strange for you, Dear Internet, so bear with me.

First off, I made a totally new recipe (for me) last night (between work and singing, and then after singing too). And there are photos. Which you won’t see until I’ve tried one of the items I baked and decided how I feel about it. And after other people have eated them and told me if they are any good or not. I will say that custard was involved, and said custard was quite tasty, if I do say so myself. My dad agrees, but I really don’t know if that’s an endorsement that will carry much weight for you. Especially when I tell you that my dad? If it’s not too vinegary for him, he likes it and eats several portions of it until it is gone. And no, he’s not fat. He’s not even that unhealthy (though, there was a recent heart-health scare, that has made him realize that he can’t eat like a 20-year-old forever – damn you cholesterol!). For which I am daily annoyed. Damn you, hormones!

I have a cute bunny knit up (with cute wee knitted carrots!) that I need to remember to photograph for your viewing pleasure too. So expect custardy things and bunnies in your future!

I was also writing about how “productive” my day is going today (as evidenced by this blogging that I’m doing currently). Though, I do own that the bulk of productivity for me today lies in the Spoonflower (check out my blog roll thingy, cause links, they won’t work. . . dumb computer) searching I’ve done. You should see my list of “OMG!!! SOOOOOOOO CUTE!! I WANTS IT!!!!!!!” fabrics that is steadily growing. The number of times my clicker has hovered, whistfully/longingly/anticipatorially/tentatively, over that “Buy Now!” button. Because, for some reason, print on demand fabric isn’t all that cheap (it’s not unreasonably¬†priced for the quality of fabric they seem to carry, but¬†it’s still pricy in comparison to the discount online stores I frequent. [Aside: Remind me to tell you about the plaid fabric¬†I fell in love with on Waechter’s online store.¬†Not¬†a discount store, that one. Oh well.]¬†Though, I (proud/sad to say) have not purchased anything from them (i.e. Spoonflower). YET. . . Cause, topiary fabric? medieval besitary fabric? mushrooms? sea creature “paisley”? knitting/sewing/baking novelty fabrics (APRONS! OH THE APRONS!!!)? pigeon paisley!?!?!!??? OCTOPUS paisley? constellations? “SQUIDAMASK”???!!!??? and SKIRT PATTERN FABRIC?????? YES PLEASE! I’d be linking to all of these gems, except, as metioned above, LINKS DON’T WORK HERE RIGHT NOW!! sigh.

Not that I’m excited or anything. . .

Anyroad – Spoonflower, it is awesome (and no, I’m not being paid to say that. Notice the lack of specific advertisers?). And I will eventually make a yard or two (or five) of these beauties mine own. And even if they only end up being used as facing/pocket bags (like to make pockets, not purses. though purses could work too, come to think of it)/linings, they will make me happy. And that’s what matters, isn’t it? Might as well do what you can to make yourself happy in this life (without negatively impacting others, of course), cause it’s never long enough, is it.

My life is pretty full right now, so I think I’ll type out a handy-dandy bullet point list for you, Dear Internet, of all the up-coming projects on my plate. In no particular order, the ones that come to my head are:

  • Solar system mobile (for a tiny new person who’s just joined us here on Earth), using MochiMochi’s Teeny-Tiny earth pattern as inspiration. The Sun is taking for bloody ever, and I’m not even trying to get it in scale. sigh. Mecury and Pluto both¬†only took a couple of ¬†minutes though, so I guess it balances out a bit.
  • Work on my¬†CV and cover letters for several jobs that have come up that I want to apply to in the next couple of weeks
  • Knit up the Teknica gloves (for me, cause I’m that selfish) from the Winter 2011 Knitty Magazine (huh.¬†should link to that in¬†my blog-links-thingumy)¬†– you use conductive thread in the thumb and forefinger, so that YOU CAN HAVE WARM HANDS AND SMART PHONES TOO in the wintertime.¬†Since it¬†is finally getting a little Winter-y up here in the Great White North
  • Sew up two new skirts from remnants (i.e. the FOUR extra yards¬†I got. Cause it was such a good price. . .)¬†of the wool/silk blend herringbone suiting I used as a trim on my Fancy Dress for the wedding I attended this past Fall (have I shown you photos of said Fancy Dress? I forget. I’ll check on that and get back to you): one pencil skirt, and one wrap skirt
  • Sew up a¬†new dress, possibly using the Coffee Date Dress pattern so generously made available on The Selfish Seamstress’ site (see my¬†blog list-roll do-hicky over there on the right-hand side of the screen. Cause, links. . . Remember?) or one of the patterns from the Built by Wendy Dresses book (do an amazon/chapters search, cause I’m lazy. and . . . do¬† I need to say it?), out of this great large-scale check (in soft blues, greys, and¬†greens) dupioni silk I got for like half off (yaaaayyyy! discount fabric web stores!)
  • Silk blouse (you should see the colour – blue-ish teal-y awesomeness!) from the Colette Sencha pattern
  • Clean my bedroom. Cause it’s making my OCD soul scream in agony. Constantly. So annoying
  • Bake a tasty treat for a singing rehearsal with the Valrhona cocoa I got for Christmas. Lucky girl, or what? I’m thinking the Brownie Cut-Out Cookies, for ice cream sandwiches. Cause nothing is better for singing than chocolate AND dairy products!!
  • Prepare for our first Wednesday night octet. And It Is Going To Be Awesome. That is all.
  • (not actually all, sorry to psych you out there)
  • Make myself (see?? so selfish. . .) a stuffed elephant (same base pattern as the Upcoming Bunny), cause it’s been calling out to me for the past five years and I’ve YET to make her. Which is just rude of me, when you think about it.
  • Look for a new sewing machine, for when I move out. Cause the Huskvarna, it is not the awesome, and why should I get to take it with me when I move out anyway? My sister sews a bit too, so that would be extra-selfish. A helping I’m not ready to take (i don’t kow if your brain is going to follow the logic of that, as my brain is notoriously weird when it comes to logical progressions, but I’m leaving it in cause it makes me happy). Looking at the economical Bernette line from Bernina, but I’ll let you know what I think when I’ve tested one out.
  • Start on that whole find-out-what’s-going-on-in-my-innards medical testing thing I’ve been meaning to get the ball rolling on. . . ¬†

So yeah. . . That’s me for the next little while.

Maybe I’ll start working on finishing uploading all those Newfoundland photos. . . Heh.

See you laters, Dear Internet!

T-7 days left and counting. . .

So, Dear Internet, I’m on my way to spin class for the first time in a couple of weeks. Boy am I going to be smarting tomorrow. . . But that will be balanced out with a lovely cake-filled baby shower for a friend of mine. And strangely enough, I won’t be providing any baked goods. Oddly enough. Kind feel bereft about it. Huh, maybe there’s a patch to deal with the withdrawal symptoms. But I do have to put together a present package and make a cute card (I have a stamp set that’s perfect for my needs. You can imagine I’m fiendishly rubbing my hands together while grinning maniacally, if you like. It’s a fairly accurate image. . . Well, except I’m actually on a train and writing this on my iPhone, so it’s more what I’m doing in my head that in actuality. Not to burst your bubble there). But I think cake will be a nice panacea for my sore muscles, plus hangings out with peoples what are awesome = double plus good!

But today I’ve been kind of having an existential crisis. I know, right? Who has those anymore, Dear Internet?!

It’s my second last week of actual employment, and though I’ve been assiduously applying to boatloads o jobs all fricking summer, no bites. Not a call, nothing. It’s looking more and more that this was an anomaly instead of, as I had hoped, a sign that I might in fact soon find myself fully and gainfully employed.

Luckily I have PEI to look forward to, otherwise I might get depressed or something. No idea what I’m going to do after PEI, aside from look forward to the next wedding on the docket (and maybe even the making of my pretty dress). And, duh, more job hunting. The benefit to everyone using the Internet for job applications is that if you have access to the Internet you can easily apply to as many jobs as you can make cover letters for. The downsides are that you feel like you’ve thrown your application into a deep ocean crevasse instead of worked to secure your future, and that the hundreds of millions of other people who have access to the interwebs have done the exact same thing. And nobody ever bothers to let you know if your even being considered as a candidate. So you’re left to assume you’re not and forget what you’ve applied for. Cause if you care about the opportunity, it actively hurts each day that you don’t get a phone call.

Of course, by the time someone does call you for an interview, you’ve then completely forgotten everything about the job and then sound pretty silly asking “What job is it I’m interviewing for again?” Also, if you do have the honour to get an interview (yes, it’s an _honour_ Bulldunkle.), the odds anyone ever gets back to you with feedback afterwards (even if they promised to do so) is next to nil. Of the 20-odd interviews I had in the last couple of years, THREE got back to me after the interview, one of which was for the job I ended up getting. A good six-ten others _said_ they’d get back to me.

And my experience so far is that you have to have 20+ interviews, at the very least, before you’re likely to actually ever get a job offer. For example, after graduating from a Masters degree, I spent two years futilely applying to countless jobs only to end up with a temporary, crappily paid summer student gig with terrible prospects cause they just cut 1900 jobs. . .

Oh how I love this state of being.

So I think I should, instead of dwelling on it (and thanks for letting me rant it out, Dear Internet), I should try to live each day as it comes. Look forward to the things to look forward to, and madly apply to job after job after job after job (and go quietly mad from the boredom) and get more into my hobbies. Maybe even start an etsy store or something to fill my time. So I can potentially offload the massive amounts of crafty I’ll probably end up producing. . .

Cause one thing I know for sure is that job hunting, it is one of the most boringest activities known to man.

At least I have a roof over my head, food in my tummy, and supportive and awesome peoples standing by and being all supportive. Maybe I won’t have to wait another two years for the next crappy short-term job. Always positive, that’s me. Well, I said I should try to look forward to the good things and live each day for itself, not get a personality transplant. When I get chipper, that’s when you know I’ve succumbed to the drugs.

Anything getting you down, Dear Internet?

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Heh. Just saw this sitting on the shelf near me in the bookstore (waiting to go to my spin class, where else would I hang out? Do you know me at all?). Though, sadly, too true. . .

I also like other things, by the way. . .

Hello, the Internet! I can only imagine how grateful, pleased, and replete you must be that I have now decided to start my very own blog!!

As in, not at all. . .

But, since multiple people have now told me I need to do this (mostly right after having eaten some of the food I’ve made), I figure I’ll try it out. It’s no skin off my nose. Maybe even someone other than me will even read this! Though my inner pessimist (i.e. Me) doesn’t think it’s all that likely.

No promises though¬†– in the 28 years I’ve been alive, I’ve attempted journals several dozen times. And none lasted longer than two weeks (most barely lasted a few days, truth be told). Except the ones my teachers made me keep for various school-type purposes. Which don’t count. I’m just not much of a diarist. Hopefully this won’t just sit on the back burner for ages, and to which I’ll only¬†post now and again. I might even develop a schedule of some kind to stick to for posting. Shock! Awe!!

I’m currently at work, so I don’t have any photos of the amazing foods I have recently created – be assured that I will eventually post them . . . And there are several other things I will be baking in the next week, so stay tuned!! All none-of-you who give a crap. . . Well, maybe eventually there will people who give a crap. Not that I’ll be holding my breath or anything. Also, I’ll be going through my massive iPhoto folders and see what old projects I have recorded to share with you, Posterity.

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I guess I should take a moment right now and explain slightly what I want to do here, as well as a little of who I am. I’m a 28 year-old woman, who recently got her¬†Masters degree in Information Studies (oooo!! ahhh!!!). Basically I’m a Librarian. Well, to be completely accurate, I am actually an Archivist. Look it up.

For some reason it has been hard to find good paying work in my field lately¬†(Damn you, The Economy!). But I have recently gotten a government job in Records Management (the boring step-child of archives – it’s not that bad, really, I’m just bitter). It only lasts through the summer, so I hope I can find something more permanent soon. . .¬†In the meantime,¬†I’m learning the vagaries of having to deal with an actual, regular schedule, weekends that only last from Friday night to Monday morning, an ass of a commute, and too many things to do at once (suddenly). So why not add a blog to the mix?? The summer knelled an end to my regular singing schedule, so I have a little free time on my hands now. . .

As to the focus – I’ve been singing since¬†I was 6 and baking since 8 (I told you how old I am, you can do the math on that). I’m not going to pretent I’m the most amazing, ever,¬†at either activity, but I do have some talent which I love to share with the people who eat my food, and listen to the music I make with my singing compatriots. So, music and food are two very large and very important parts of my life – why not share that with you multitudes?

I’ll probably also be sharing other things from my life – books, movies, knitting, drawing¬†– that take up a lot of my time. Things I create, things I attempt, things I find that are cool/awesome/ridiculous, things I want to share will all show up here, and hopefully with pretty pictures attached.

In short – I’ll be talking to myself at you, Dear Internet, and hopefully you will be (at least moderately) entertained.