Friday 31 July 2020

Knitted Temperature Blanket - July 2020

I heard about temperature blankets at the end of last year.  I've never made one before and it sounded like a fun long term project.

The idea of a temperature blanket is to knit or crochet a row (or a number of rows) on a blanket each day for a full calendar year.  The colors used each day correspond with the temperature outside.  The more colours you use to represent temperatures and the more varied the temperatures, the more colourful the blanket.

To be consistent, I chose to use the temperature at noon.  I debated whether to use Toronto's temperatures (regardless of where I am) or the temperatures of where I am (so it's a Teena ~ temperature blanket).  I decided to make a Teena ~ temperature blanket.  In theory, it would have been interesting to see how it turned out as I traveled often for work plus went on vacation during the year but with COVID, I haven't done as much travelling as I usually would in a year.

I'm using nine colours from Red Heart Comfort and Bernat Cozy Style yarn.
  • Blue:  -6C or colder
  • Green:  -1C to -5C
  • Light purple:  0C to 4C
  • Teal:  5C to 9C
  • Red:  10C to 14C
  • Dark purple:  15C to 19C
  • Yellow:  20C to 24C
  • Orange:  25C and higher
  • Grey:  first and last rows and divider rows between the months

So far, the warmest temperature (orange) was 35C in Toronto on July 2 and the coldest (blue) was -10C in Toronto (blue) on February 14.  In hindsight, I wish I had added another colour from 30C and higher ... who knew July would be the hottest in 86+ years and every day but one in July would be 30C and over?!  I thought about undoing the blanket to add a different colour from 30C onwards but that mean I'd have to undo about 40 rows to go back to the first 30C row.  Um ... no.

I cast on 200 stitches.  The first and last five stitches of each row are seed stitches (knit one, purl one, knit one, purl one, knit one).  In between, I'm doing stocking stitch (knitting the odd rows and purling the even rows).  I added two rows of seed stitch at the beginning of the blanket to stop it from curling (stocking stitch does that and I hadn't thought of that when I started).


Warmest in July:  35C (orange) in Toronto on July 2
Coldest in July:  24C (yellow) in Toronto on July 13


Warmest in June:  32C (orange) in Toronto on June 10
Coldest in June:  17C (dark purple) in Toronto on June 12 and 14


Levetto, Toronto, ON (Sudbury Street)

Gord and I picked up supper this evening from Levetto, which is in our 'hood (at Dovercourt/Queen W).  Now that Toronto has entered Stage 3, you can dine inside.

I got a large Pepperoni pizza.

 Gord got a large Affumicato pizza (his usual).

The pizzas were really good and we have leftovers for tomorrow!

Belgian Moon, Stackt Market, Toronto, ON

Gord and I walked to Stackt Market this afternoon.

We had lunch on the patio at Belgian Moon.  Because of COVID, the beer hall isn't open.  When we arrived, we had to sanitize and sign in.

I'm not a fan of wheat beer but the mango wheat beer was tasty.

Gord and I both ordered fried chicken.  He's met friends there a couple times lately for lunch and raved about the chicken.  And it was really good chicken.  The coating was crunchy and the chicken was hot and juicy.  There was hot sauce on the side.  For sure I'll get it again.

They also have sangria so I had a glass of blueberry sangria and tropical (pineapple) sangria.  Both were tasty and refreshing.

Dylan was our server.  He was friendly and took good care of us.

Thursday 30 July 2020

Book ~ "Cremas, Christmas Cookies, and Crooks" (2017) Harper Lin

From Goodreads ~ It’s almost Christmastime in Cape Bay and another murder has everyone in town talking. A despised new drama teacher at the local high school is killed in the school’s parking lot. The police arrest a beloved teacher, Mrs. Crowsdale, but everyone else thinks she is too nice to murder anyone. Mike, however, says they have solid evidence that proves she did it.

Sammy is particularly devastated. Mrs. Crowsdale was her favorite teacher and still her hero. Sammy begs Fran to find the real culprit. Fran isn’t so sure. Mike would be angry with her for butting in on another case. And what if more danger befalls her? After all, there are some pretty dangerous people in town.

Francesca is in her mid-thirties and worked in New York for many years in PR.  She moved back home to run the family Italian café in a small town in Massachusetts when her mother passed away in the summer.

Veronica is a new teacher in town who was hated by all.  When she is murdered, no one is grieving.  Ann, a well-loved teacher, is arrested but no one can believe she did it because she is so nice.  Sammy, Fran's employee and friend, asks Fran to look into it.  Mike, the police chief, tells Fran to back off because they have video evidence that Ann did it ... but, of course, Fran doesn't which causes friction between the two.  A side story has Sammy being harassed by her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend, who he broke up with 10 years ago.  Seriously?

This is the sixth in the Cape Bay Cafe Mystery Series (I've read the first five) by this author ... it works as a stand alone (you don't have to read the others to know what's going on).  It is written in first person perspective in Fran's voice.  The "whodunnit" and ending came together quickly, as always.  It was a quick light read and is a "cozy mystery" so there is no swearing, violence or adult activity.  Fran and Matt, her boyfriend, are finally having sleepovers, though.  One thing I wasn't buying was Brett, a teenager, contacts Fran with info about the murder and she agrees to meet him in a park at night ... even after Mike had told her that his mother was threatening to press charges against her AND she's meeting a minor alone at night.

There are recipes at the end.

Wednesday 29 July 2020

Book ~ "Weird Al: Seriously" (2020) Lily E. Hirsch

From Goodreads ~ From his love of accordions and Hawaiian print shirts to his popular puns and trademark dance moves, "Weird Al" Yankovic has made a career out of making us laugh.

Funny music is often dismissed as light and irrelevant, but Yankovic's fourteen successful studio albums prove there is more going on than comedic music's reputation suggests. In this book, for the first time, the parodies, original compositions, and polka medleys of the Weird Al universe finally receive their due respect. Lily Hirsch weaves together original interviews with the prince of parody himself, creating a fresh take on comedy and music's complicated romance. She reveals that Yankovic's jests have always had a deeper meaning, addressing such topics as bullying, celebrity, and racial and gender stereotypes.

Weird Al is undeterred by those who say funny music is nothing but a low-brow pastime. And thank goodness. With his good-guy grace still intact, Yankovic remains unapologetically and unmistakably himself. Reveling in the mischief and wisdom of Yankovic's forty-year career, this book is an Al-expense-paid tour of a true comedic and musical genius. 

"Weird Al" Yankovic is an American singer and songwriter, who is known for his humorous songs and often parodies songs.  I was/am a fan and had bought his first eight albums ... the last one I bought was Alapalooza (1993) and went to that concert.  Then for some reason I didn't buy any more.

Me and Weird Al during his Alapalooza tour

Gord and I went to his Alpocalypse concert in 2011.  There were cameras throughout the theatre as they were taping the concert and he seemed to be playing more to the cameras than the audience so it's wasn't great.

I've see his movie UHF a few times.

So when I came across this book I thought it would be an interesting read.  It was okay but I didn't find I got to know Al, though.  The book is more like a text book analyzing his songs.  I never realized they were so deep ... I just thought they were silly and funny.  There were numerous discussions about bullying, being a nerd, Trump and more.  I guess I was expecting something more light and humorous given the subject. And I found it got repetitive at times ... as much as I like Amish Paradise and White & Nerdy, they were covered many times with what seemed to be the same information.

But one thing I did as I was reading the book that was fun was stopping and watching his videos on YouTube.  And I've listened to his first couple of albums on Spotify and will listen to the rest.

Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival - Festival in a Box

Because of COVID, next weekend’s Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival has been cancelled.

Instead Steam Whistle put together a “festival in a box” and I ordered one ... and it just arrived. Whoohoo!

24 cans of beer ... from different Ontario craft brewers ... and different kinds (IPAs, sours, lagers, ales, pilsners, etc.) ... beers you can't usually get.

It will be fun trying them!

Tuesday 28 July 2020

Bar Wellington, Toronto, ON

I went for a long walk this afternoon to downtown.   I was hot so stopped in at Bar Wellington (Portland/Wellington) for a beer on the patio on my way home.

I was hungry so ordered Baked Chorizo Mac & Cheese.  OMG ... it was sooooooo good!  I would definitely get this again.

I let Gord know where I was so he joined me.  He ordered chicken fingers with a salad and said they were really good.

Mike was our server.  He was friendly and took good care of us.

Sunday 26 July 2020

Liberty Commons at Big Rock Brewery, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had an early supper at Liberty Commons this afternoon in Liberty Village.  With COVID restrictions, only the patio was open and the tables were well-spaced.

Alexander was our server and he took excellent care of us ... he was friendly and helpful.  When we told him it was my birthday and our anniversary, he gave us some complimentary bubbly.

Gord started with a Scotch egg and I had a cheese scone.  Yum!

We both ordered Fish & Chips.  We'd never had it there before and it was delicious!  The batter was very light and the fish was flaky.  We'd definitely get it again.

Gioia Beauty Bar & Spa, Toronto, ON

For our birthdays, Gord and I treat each other to pedicures.  Salons have been closed for months due to COVID and recently have been opened under Stage 2 with restrictions.

Today's my birthday and Gord and I had deluxe pedicures at Gioia Beauty Bar & Spa in Liberty Village (on Joe Shuster Way).

As soon as you enter, you have to wear a mask, wash your hands and sign in with your name and contact information.

Happy birthday to me!

Many years ago today ... at 2:12pm ... I made my arrival into the world at the Grace Maternity Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Here I am at my first birthday party ... celebrating with cake and a washing machine.  Good times!

Happy 18th anniversary to Gord and I!

Ken (Gord's son), me, Gord and Sister Sarah
July 26, 2002 ~ 5:30pm
City Hall, Toronto, ON

Saturday 25 July 2020

Book ~ "Americanos, Apple Pies, and Art Thieves" (2017) Harper Lin

From Goodreads ~ It’s almost Thanksgiving and Fran is baking her family’s famous apple pies for the café. While pie fever spreads through Cape Bay, a world-famous artist holds a special art show in the town’s modest museum in honor of his late mother, who grew up there.

Louis Cliffton’s paintings are encrusted with valuable gems and gold. At the opening night, the centerpiece of the show is stolen. When Fran investigates the case, she receives threats, and someone follows her home and vandalizes her café. 

What kind of thief would do this? A crazy outsider - or someone from her very own town?

Francesca is in her mid-thirties and worked in New York for many years in PR.  She moved back home to run the family Italian café in a small town in Massachusetts when her mother passed away a couple months ago.

Famous artist Louis Cliffton is having an art show in the town because that's where his mother was from.  In fact, she had worked at Fran's café years ago when her grandparents had owned it.  The first night of the show the splendid painting of his mother was stolen.  Fran was so taken with the painting (it brought back feelings of missing her mother) that she's determined to find out who stole it.

This is the fifth in the Cape Bay Cafe Mystery Series (I've read the first four) by this author ... it works as a stand alone (you don't have to read the others to know what's going on).  It is written in first person perspective in Fran's voice.  The "whodunnit" and ending came together really quickly and I was okay with this one.  It was a quick light read and is a "cozy mystery" so there is no swearing, violence or adult activity.  I find the writing of Fran and Matty's relationship unbelievable.  They are both in their mid thirties yet at one point she "soaked up enough of his love" that she felt she could get through the new few minutes without burying her face in his chest again.  I kid you not!

There are recipes at the end.

Fan and feather dish cloth

I finished knitting a fan and feather pattern dish cloth tonight ... I like this pattern and have made many over the years.

I used Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Yarn (Lime Stripes) and size 4.5mm knitting needles

Cast on 42 stitches (or a multiple of 18 plus 6)

Knit 3 rows of garter stitch for the border

Row 4: Knit

Row 5: K 3, P to last 3 stitches K3

Row 6: K3, *(K2 tog) 3 times, (yo, K1) 6 times, (K2 tog) 3 times, rep from * to last 3 sts K3

Row 7: Knit

Repeat Rows 4 - 7, keeping first and last 3 stitches in garter stitch, until piece measures desired length

Knit 3 more rows of garter stitch to make the bottom border

Cast off and darn in ends.

Downtown Winery, Toronto, ON

David Macedo opened Macedo Wine Grape Juice Ltd on Ossington Avenue, just north of Queen Street W, in 1985, selling grapes seasonally for wine-making and year-round for grape juice.  In 2019, the family renovated and opened Downtown Winery, offering international and domestic wine for purchase, wine tastings by appointments, wine by the glass with food pairings and event space rental opportunities.

Gord and I discovered them in the spring and have stopped in to have a couple glasses of wine and buy wine to take home.  The staff are friendly and knowledgeable and we've had a good time there.  When Covid-19 hit, they continued to sell wine, accessories, etc. to take home.

A couple weeks ago, with stage 2 here in Toronto, they opened a patio.

They recently started selling cans of wine.  I follow them on Instagram and see they had a sale ... buy six cans of wine and get one free.  How could I resist?  They are in my 'hood so I walked over.  They have a white wine with a bit of bubbly, red wine and rosé wine available in cans so I got some of each.