Tuesday 31 December 2019

Moss stitch knitted dishcloth

I finished knitting a dishcloth using a moss stitch this afternoon using cotton yarn.

Cast on 40 stitches.

Row 1:  Repeat knit stitch purl stitch across all stitches to end.
Row 2:  Repeat purl stitch knit stitch across all stitches to end.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 until piece measures the size you want ending with row 2. Bind off all stitches in knit. Weave in loose ends.

Monday 30 December 2019

Woodhouse Brewing Co., Toronto, ON

Gord and I had supper this evening at Woodhouse Brewing Co. (Lansdowne Avenue/College Street) ... they just opened about a month ago.

Basket Weave Dish Cloth

I knitted a dish cloth this afternoon using a basket weave pattern.

It's an easy pattern and I used cotton yarn.

 Cast on 36 stitches.

Knit three rows in garter stitch.

Rows 4-10: Knit 3, *knit 5, purl 5*, repeat 2 more times, knit 3
Rows 11-17: Knit 3, *purl 5, knit 5*, repeat 2 more times, knit 3

Repeat pattern two more times.

Knit three rows in garter stitch.

Bind off.

Sunday 29 December 2019

Book ~ "Big Lies in a Small Town" (2019) Diane Chamberlain

From Goodreads ~ North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher's life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women's Correctional Center. 

Her dream of a career in art is put on hold - until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence and a conspiracy of small town secrets.

North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn't expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.

What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies? 

North Carolina, 1940
Anna Dale's mother has just passed away when she wins a national contest to paint a mural for a post office in Edenton, a small town in North Carolina.  She moves temporarily from New Jersey to Edenton to get to know the town and do the mural justice.  A couple high school students help her out for credits and experience.  One is black and the small town's prejudices don't approve.  Plus a local artist had entered the contest and Anna was chosen over him, so there is some resentment.

North Carolina, 2018
Morgan has just spent a year in a woman's prison when she is made an offer she can't refuse.  She has been chosen by one of her favourite painters to restore a mural for the gallery his estate is opening.  Not know anything about restoration or why she was chosen as the late painter's latest project, she agrees so she can be released early from prison.  As she starts cleaning up the mural, which Anna Dale had painted, Morgan discovers some disturbing things that have been painted on it and wants to know what happened to Anna.

I've read many books by this author and liked this one.  I liked the writing style and found the story interesting.  It bounces around in the two different time periods and voices but the chapters are marked as to what the time period is and whose voice it is. It is written in first person perspective from Morgan's point of view and third person when it's Anna's point of view.  I liked the characters.  As a head's up, there is some swearing and violence.

Saturday 28 December 2019

Elephant & Castle, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had supper at Elephant & Castle (King Street W/Simcoe Street) this evening with Mary and Malcolm, Angela and Sox, and Lee and Rick.

I was in the mood for a burger so ordered The Standard (minus the lettuce, onion and cheese) with fries.  It was a good burger.  The bun was small and soft.  I don't know what the burger sauce was as it didn't have a lot of taste ... maybe mayo?  I'd get it again.

Book ~ "Keeping My Sisters' Secrets" (2017) Beezy Marsh

From Goodreads ~ Eva, Peggy and Kathleen were sisters born into a close-knit working class family, living in a tiny terraced house in a London street so rough the police would only walk down it in pairs. As they grew up between the wars, they dreamed of escaping their father's anger and the struggle of daily life in Waterloo.

Peggy was a studious and principled girl so appalled by conditions in the factories that she became a Communist. Beautiful Kathleen, with a voice like silk, experienced tragedy too young and was destined to have her heart broken time and time again. Feisty Eva became a child thief so she could help their mother put food on the table and never lost her rebellious streak, or her desire to protect her family by whatever means necessary.

Over the years the sisters stayed together, sharing each other's lives and supporting each other through hard times. "Keeping My Sisters' Secrets" is a rich, moving story of their fight to survive through decades of social upheaval, their love for each other the one constant in a changing world.

Peggy, Kathleen and Eva are sisters (they also have two brothers) living in London between WWI and WWII.  They are poor and barely getting by.  Their father takes his frustration out on their mother by beating her.  When Peggy is old enough, her family makes her leave school to get a job with the post office.  The same with Kathleen ... she gets a job in a jam factory when she is old enough.  Eva, though, became a thief at an early age and provides a lot for the family.  The girls eventually fall in love, get married and start families of their own.

I found the book interesting at first ... but I found the characters unlikable.  Kathleen was the beautiful one but, despite claiming she wouldn't make the same mistake her mother made, is desperate enough to marry an abusive man.  Eva started stealing when she was about ten.  Her mother knew but didn't do anything about it because she was benefiting from it.

The editing could have been tighter.  There were typos.  For example, it should have been " ... a friend of her brother, Frankie's" not "... a friend of her brother Frankies".  And at one point, Kathleen leaves Albert's house where they have been living after they got married because she "did not want to die next to Albert's miserable mother-in-law".  Albert's mother-in-law would have been her mother who she loves not HER mother-in-law who is a hag.  There were many expressions I've never heard of before ... like cozzer, hoisting and whip-round.

What were the sisters' secrets anyway?  I still don't know.  Whatever they were, they couldn't have been that big of a deal.

Friday 27 December 2019

Knitted dishcloth

I finished knitting a dishcloth tonight using cotton yarn.

It's an easy pattern.

Cast on 46 stitches.

Rows 1 and 2: Knit across all stitches.

Rows 3 and 4: K 2, *K 1, P 1, repeat from * across to last 2 stitches, K 2.

Repeat rows 1 - 4 for pattern until piece measures approximately 9" ending with pattern row 2. Bind off all stitches in knit. Weave in loose ends.

Thursday 26 December 2019

Duke's Refresher and Bar, Toronto, ON (Front Street)

Gord and I had supper this evening at Duke's Refresher and Bar on Front Street.

Gord loves pinball!

We both ordered Fried Chicken.  Gord got his with a Caesar Salad and no spice on his chicken and I got mine with fries and lemon pepper on my chicken.  We both enjoyed our meals.  I'd get mine with no spice next time because I found they way overspiced mine.

Happy Boxing Day!

Boxing Day is traditionally the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts, known as a "Christmas box", from their bosses or employers.

Today, Boxing Day is the statutory holiday. It is observed in the United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago and some other Commonwealth nations.

In Canada, Boxing Day is primarily known as a shopping holiday, much like Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) in the U.S. It is a time where shops have sales, often with dramatic price reductions.  Many retailers open very early and offer doorbuster deals and loss leaders to draw people to their stores. It is not uncommon for long lines to form early in the morning, hours before the opening of shops holding the big sales, especially at big-box consumer electronics retailers.

Wednesday 25 December 2019

Knitted dish cloth

I finished a dishcloth this evening ... it is a quick and easy pattern.

 I used cotton yarn.

Cast on 40 stitches.

Row 1: *Knit 4, purl 4*, repeat pattern to end of row.
Row 2: Repeat row 1.
Row 3: *Purl 4, knit 4*, repeat pattern to end of row.
Row 4: Repeat row 3.

Repeat rows 1 - 4 until cloth is the desired size.

Bind off all stitches reasonably loosely to allow for stretch.

Sew in ends.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday 24 December 2019

Book ~ "The Missing Millionaire: The True Story of Ambrose Small and the City Obsessed With Finding Him" (2019) Katie Daubs

From Goodreads ~ In December 1919, Ambrose Small, the mercurial owner of the Grand Opera House in Toronto, closed a deal to sell his network of Ontario theatres, deposited a million-dollar cheque in his bank account, and was never seen again. As weeks turned to years, the disappearance became the most "extraordinary unsolved mystery" of its time. Everything about the sensational case would be called into question in the decades to come, including the motivations of his inner circle, his enemies, and the police who followed the trail across the continent, looking for answers in asylums, theatres and the Pacific Northwest. 

In "The Missing Millionaire", Katie Daubs tells the story of the Small mystery, weaving together a gripping narrative with the social and cultural history of a city undergoing immense change. Daubs examines the characters who were connected to the case as the century carried on: Ambrose's religious wife, Theresa; his long-time secretary, Jack Doughty; his two unmarried sisters, Florence and Gertrude; Patrick Sullivan, a lawless ex-policeman; and Austin Mitchell, an overwhelmed detective. A series of trials exposed Small’s tumultuous business and personal relationships, while allegations and confessions swirled. But as the main players in the Small mystery died, they took their secrets to the grave, and Ambrose Small would be forever missing. 

Drawing on extensive research, newly discovered archival material, and her own interviews with the descendants of key figures, Katie Daubs offers a rich portrait of life in an evolving city in the early twentieth century. Delving into a crime story about the power of the elite, she vividly recounts the page-turning tale of a cold case that is truly stranger than fiction. 

At age 53, Ambrose Small was a self-made millionaire who lived in Toronto and owned several Ontario-based theatres including the Grand Opera House in Toronto (where the Scotia Plaza now is).  On December 1, 1919, he sold his theatre holdings for $1.7 million and deposited a million dollar cheque in the bank.  The next day he met with his lawyer in his office at the Grand Opera House.  His lawyer left at 5:30 p.m. and was the last person to see Small ... no one has seen him or heard from him since.  Because he would take off, Theresa, his wife, wasn't overly concerned when he didn't arrive home for supper and didn't report him missing until a few weeks later.

This book is about the disappearance of Small and the investigation.  No one knows what happened to him.  Was he murdered?  If so, there were many suspects.  Theresa, who was very religious, might have gotten tired of his womanizing.  Jack, his assistant, wasn't a fan of Small's because he felt Small didn't treat him well.  Maybe Small took off to start a new life ... but it's weird that he didn't take any of the money with him.  Maybe he had amnesia ... but he was easily recognizable, especially with all the posters advertising a reward for his return.

It's an interesting story and the author did a thorough job in researching, even speaking with descendants of the Small and Jack.  The editing could have been a bit tighter, though, as there were some typos.

Friday 20 December 2019

Create Your Own Custom Silver Ring Workshop, Toronto, ON

This evening Gord and I attended a workshop from 5pm to 9pm in which we each made a silver ring from scratch.  It was hosted by Danielle Crampsie of Soundwave Jewellery at her studio, which is in our 'hood.

Using real sterling silver, tiny saws, hammers, and fire, you'll create your very own ring. I'll teach you how to measure, cut, solder, bend, file, and polish your custom creation. You can also texturize or letter stamp it to make it truly one of a kind. You'll leave wearing your new ring with a sense of great accomplishment and the perfect souvenir.

The first step was to choose our width and style.  Mine is 4mm and flat and Gord's is 6mm and bevelled.

Mine is on the left and Gord's is on the right

Then we measured and cut the length ... surprisingly it's not just measuring but a mathematical equation.

MT = metal thickness
ID - inside diametre

Tuesday 17 December 2019

Book ~ "The Last Affair" (2019) Margot Hunt

From Goodreads ~ Nora Holliday is not that kind of woman. Not the kind who has an illicit affair with a married man. But Josh Landon is everything Nora’s alcoholic husband isn’t. And now she and Josh are so infatuated, they can’t stay away from one another.

Abby Landon, Josh’s daughter, is home from college nursing a broken heart. She’s seeking solace, not more scandal, so when she catches her dad kissing Nora, she vows to take the homewrecker down.

And as for Abby’s mother and Josh’s wife, Gwen? To anyone on the outside looking in, the mother of two appears to be living the ideal suburban life.

Until she winds up dead.

The serene seaside town of Shoreham has always been the perfect place to raise a family - not somewhere housewives are brutally murdered. So who killed Gwen Landon and how many twisted secrets will be exposed as the vindictive plot comes undone? 

We know right away that Gwen gets murdered.  Gwen is not a nice person so there could any number of people who kill her.

Nora and Josh are from the same town and happen to run into each other at a hotel where their conferences are being held.  They have dinner together and there is an attraction.  And so begins their affair, which continues after they get back home.

Nora is the mother of three children.  Carter, her husband, is an alcoholic and there's no longer any love between them.  Josh is married to Gwen and they  have two children.  Josh realized many years ago that despite her outward appearances, Gwen is all about Gwen and there's no love between them.  No wonder Nora and Josh get together.  Josh also had to deal with the return of his daughter, Abby.  She was at university and abruptly quit and came home with her heart broken.  Once Abby catches her Josh kissing Nora, she becomes obsessed with finding out who she is.

This is the third book I've read by this author and I liked it.  It is written in third person perspective in Nora, Gwen, Josh and Abby's voice.  It could have been many who murdered Gwen and I was okay with whodunnit.  As a head's up, there is swearing and some violence.

Despite their cheating, I liked Nora and Josh and it seemed like there was real affection between them.  The author did a good job in making Gwen hateful.  I wasn't a fan of Abby ... I found she was a bit extreme.  She left university because of her boyfriend and then was a big baby while she was living back home.  I found her a bit unbelievable given her age.

Delta Hotel, Waterloo, ON

I spent last night at the Delta Hotel in Waterloo.  I've stayed here a couple times over the years.

Here was my room ...

Monday 16 December 2019

The Duke of Wellington, Waterloo, ON

I had supper this evening at The Duke of Wellington (Erb Street W/Caroline Street S).

Book ~ "Three Days Missing" (2018) Kimberly Belle

From Goodreads ~ It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: the call that comes in the middle of the night.

When Kat Jenkins awakens to the police on her doorstep, her greatest fear is realized. Her eight-year-old son, Ethan, is missing - vanished from the cabin where he’d been on an overnight field trip with his class. Shocked and distraught, Kat rushes to the campground where he was last seen. But she’s too late; the authorities have returned from their search empty-handed after losing Ethan’s trail in the mountain forest.

Another mother from the school, Stef Huntington, seems like she has it all: money, prominence in the community, a popular son and a loving husband. She hardly knows Kat, except for the vicious gossip that swirls around Kat’s traumatic past. But as the police investigation unfolds, Ethan’s disappearance will have earth-shattering consequences in Stef’s own life - and the paths of these two mothers are about to cross in ways no one could have anticipated.

Racing against the clock, their desperate search for answers begins - one where the greatest danger could lie behind the everyday smiles of those they trust the most.

Kat has recently separated from her abusive husband, Andrew, and he is fighting her over everything.  She is very protective of their eight-year-old son, Ethan, who has an above average IQ and is bullied at school.  Kat is hesitant to let him go on an overnight chaperoned camping trip with his class but he really want to go.  Then she discovers he has disappeared during the night and rushes to the campsite, wanting to help the police find him.  She suspects Andrew has taken him as revenge against her.

Stef is the wife of Sam, Atlanta's mayor, and mother to their son, Sammy.  Sammy is in Ethan's class and on the same overnight camping trip as Ethan.  She gets a call the next morning who claims they have kidnapped her son and she rushes to the campsite to validate whether it's true or not.

This is the third book I've read by this author and I thought it was okay.  It is written in first person perspective in Kat and Stef's voices ... the chapters alternate and are marked so you know whose voice it is.  This worked for me because I liked getting to know what was going on in their heads.  I thought the whodunnit was obvious and figured it out pretty quickly.  I found Ethan and Sammy rather unlikable and seemed to act older than their age.  As a head's up, there is swearing and violence.

Sunday 15 December 2019

Topbox - December 2019

My December Topbox arrived today.

Get 4 hand-picked deluxe samples delivered to your door for $15 per month. It's the best way to discover the products you'll love.

Here's what I received ...

Total value = $157.97