Friday, November 28, 2008

Welcome to the world, baby-cakes!

Introducing the newest addition to my already pretty sprawling family. The cutie above is wee Cash Nathan, first born of my little sister (the short blond one in the pink bikini next to me, up there on the left). I'm an aunt! I love this first photo because he looks so serious and a bit like a front row forward (rugby reference, sorry non-antipodeans), haha exactly what you want in a babe!

He was born a couple of nights ago in Brisbane, Australia where my mum and sister live, and I have been ridiculously excited ever since. I am trying to come to terms with not being there, and find the money tree so that I can make a trip over there sometime very soon. Meanwhile, I'll most likely just spoil him rotten from afar by buying every cute thing that I lay eyes on.

Well done Shan, we are both so proud of you! He is beautiful, you have done an amazing job and I know you will continue to be the best mama. We can't wait to meet you, Cash!

Becka & Richard

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Francois Lake

We're home! There was snow aplenty, along with baking, knitting, snowball fights, homemade jam, fresh bread and of course the love company of Richard's folks. Yes, I did go on vacation to The Ingalls house. Haha,wow I sound wholesome.
Before I go any further, I must tell you my most exciting holiday story. I saw moose! TWO in fact. They were huge and slowly munching away on the side of the road. Moose!! I'm not sure how exciting this is for the Canadians I've been telling, but I was so hoping to see some, especially after noticing tracks in the snow at my in-laws place. Sadly we were driving at the time of the sighting, so no photos, but really I'm just grateful to have seen them. You know how there are some animals (like bears, I've still not seen a bear since being here) that just seem a little pretend because you've only ever seen them on TV or in books?
Anyway, of course we took millions of photos, so I'll let them do the rest of the talking.

We were hearing suspicious noises. I was half hoping/half terrified that it was wolves. Turns out someone has cows nearby....
I hope you're all having a fantastic week, I'm off to sleep and await the news that I am an aunt (!!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Wintery North

Just a quick note to let you all know that we are about to pop up north to Francois Lake and visit with Richard's parents for the week. I am really, really hoping for snow and cute woodland creatures so I have my camera at the ready.

Hope you all have a brilliant week, I better go board!


Joyeux anniversaire!

As it has just gone midnight, I thought now would be the perfect time to wish my dear friend Julie a very happy birthday! As you can see above (how cute is she?!), we had a wee tea party for her on Sunday night complete with lots of pink sugar, chocolate, doilies and general girlie-ness.

I even made vegan belgian biscuits, chocolate dipped shortbread and cupcakes, which were a lot of fun and rather delicious if I do say so myself. It was lovely hanging out, drinking tea, eating treats and laughing with the girls. Even if we spent most of it with our feet tucked underneath us on our chairs, terrified of the mouse that is in our house! Our cat is, you know the rest.

After tea, we headed off to a fancy schmancy piano bar/cocktail lounge complete with burgundy velvet chairs, a fireplace and complimentary almonds. We sipped champagne cocktails a la An Affair To Remember and knitting while laughing at our lack of ritzi-ness (I thought the cocktail stirrers were fancy glass straws at first..!).

Have a wonderful, wonderful day my friend! I am so grateful that I met you that one day at the community center amongst screaming, wet, naked children running under fountains. We are true kindred spirits, and I have met my equal when it comes to tea loving, fireside sitting, Anne of Green Gables watching, too many ideas having and Etsy/Ravelry obsessing.

You are loved!

Becka (and Richard)


Monday, November 17, 2008

Vintage Couples

There is a Vintage Couple's theme over at Mike's today, so here are a few of my picks!

James Taylor and Carly Simon

Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger

Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre

Ingmar Bergman and Liv Ullman

Mia Farrow and Frank Sinatra (goodness, this woman's taste in men...)

Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas

George Harrison and Pattie Boyd

Join in if you like!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

'Tache stash

Some of you may already know that November is now officially 'Movember' for many men, which is a great way to raise awareness for prostate cancer and men's health in general. Men all over grow a mo' for the month, raising not only awareness but also funds that go toward various cancer and urology research programs. Not bad, huh?

Amazing Mustache Pint Glass from Bread and Badger
Sadly, being a woman I can't participate in the traditional way. So I thought I would do a bit of a mo' hall o' fame here to bring awareness and do my bit for men's health. Enjoy!
A classic, Charlie Chaplin.

The Philospher, Friedrich Neitzche (I have to look that spelling up, every time).

Two for the price of one! Fawlty Towers, hilarity ensues.

My favourite Beatle, George Harrison (strangely hot with a mo...)
The moustache of my childhood, Merve the Swerve (Australian cricketer)
Two of my favouite ladies, incredible musicians and performers CocoRosie

Oh, the hearth throb. Also I figured the more appopriate moustache'd fascist to post...
Who is you favourite moustache wearer?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Workman's Mitts

Summer Days, Georgia O'Keefe 1936

We had an anniversary of sorts here recently, and of course Richard was a little more on the ball than I was...meaning on got my present on time and he got his a week later. Oops. I was lucky enough to get a vegetarian North African cookbook, some beautiful flowers and a biography of Georgia O'Keefe which I can't wait to start! I have always loved her work, and am looking forward to finding out more about her as a controversial art teacher and desert dwelling painter.

Richard is a big fan of The Clash, and Joe Strummer in general so I picked this book up for him (that I secretly want to read also) from Sophia's. Did anyone else see 'The Future Is Unwritten', the documentary made about Joe Strummer? Excellent, excellent. I would highly recommend if even if you've never been into The Clash. You will most likely cry, so be warned.

I also decided to make some handwarmers, as Richard works with his hands a lot and it has most definitely started getting colder! I've made a few of these, and so improvised on some of the patterns I've seen around. I LOVE wearing mine, so perfect for Vancouver's changeable weather, for chilly mornings, and knitting on the bus. It is a super easy pattern also, so why not give them a go!


Size 4mm needles

Cascade 220 yarn in 2 contrasting colours (or another yarn of similar weight, wool or alpaca will make them nice and toasty). One skein of each is easily enough to make your mitts, with plenty left over.

Yarn Needle


MC - Main Colour

CC - Contrasting Colour

St - Stockinette stitch (knit one row, purl one row)

BO- Bind Off


- CO 38 sts in MC.

- Work in 2x2 rib for 12 rows

- Work in St for 10 rows

- Change to CC, continue in St for 8 rows

- Change to MC, continue in St for 6 rows

- Work in 2x2 rib for 8 rows

- BO loosely


Starting from the end you bound off, sew side seams together until you reach the end of the ribbing.

Starting from the bottom (where you cast on) sew up side seams, stopping about two rows after you reach the CC. This leaves the hole for the thumb.

Weave in ends.

Even though these might look a little small, remember they will stretch. However, Richard has quite narrow hands so if you want these either bigger or smaller just increase or decrease the CO stitches as you see fit (for a woman's hands I usually cast on 32). Oh, and if you ever need any help, this site is excellent as it translates abbreviations and has videos to show you what to do!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Liberty and Equality

Goodness me it's a rainy one today! Apparently I really do need gumboots here in Vancouver, and they are not just the Kate Moss Glastonbury-esque fashion accessory I first thought. My only problem is finding ones that fit (lets just call my calves.....curvy) and not millions of dollars. Anyway, it is lovely to be home now with slippered feet and a hot cup of tea.
It has felt like every day is election day around here lately. Canada voted a few weeks ago and Vancouver will be voting again this coming week (I think...) for their Municipal elections. I think most of us watched as America voted earlier this week, and I am getting ready to watch New Zealand vote tonight.

New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the vote, something to be pretty proud of, and I believe involving yourself in the political system is vitally important. So....I am quite disappointed that my voting papers never arrived after trying to register twice and I have to watch New Zealand shift over to the National Party, with likely coalition partners that are even further right...and not ever really getting to take an active part in it.

If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost.

- Aristotle

Watching the U.S. election as it unfolded was such an amazing thing to me. We both sat here (beer and chips in hand) with tears in our eyes as Obama gave his acceptance speech. I truly never thought I would see the day, and seeing Jesse Jackson crying in the crowd of Grant Park summed up so much. A man having been with Martin Luther King as he died, a man who has fought long and hard for civil rights and taken part in his own fight for the presidency, and then to finally see a black man as president. What an amazing moment.

I think the thing that was so profound throughout the U.S. election, was the record numbers in which people turned out to vote and involve themselves in the political system. Something that John McCain said in his speech really resonated with me, that Obama had been able to convince people who previously thought they didn't matter, that their voice in fact could be heard in the electoral system. In my opinion it is still by no means perfect, but the sheer numbers of voters and the giant lead that Obama won by show that there has been a massive shift in thinking. Of course he convinced people by being a voice of change and hope, and a voice for people who previously had been unheard.

For these reasons, I am incredibly grateful that New Zealand as a system of proportional representation. I realise that it can be confusing, and that people don't like that it isn't a clear-cut resolution.....but, voices are heard. Voices that I myself don't always agree with, but they have every right to be in government because someone has put them there.

Now I just have to sit back and hope that there are enough leftist, hippy greenie voices making themselves heard back home today as I bake, knit under a quilt and keep an eye on the computer all the way over here in rainy B.C.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

God Bless (North) America

So perhaps I am a little late to the party, with it already being November and all, but can I just say that Vancouver is putting on a Fall like no other! I'm not sure if it is just due to being away from home, but I really don't think I have seen colours quite like I have been when walking the Vancouver streets this past month. Not only are the trees celebrating, but thanks to Thanksgiving and Halloween it seems like everyone is celebrating the very fact that it is Fall. I love it. Those holidays add a whole new meaning to this longtime favourite season, and I love that it means you decorate with pumpkins, drink tea, wrap up in quilts and smell the leaves.

Living in the Southern Hemisphere you don't have pumpkins in October, so not only do we not decorate with them, we don't really bake with them either. I've noticed many a pumpkin recipe in blog-land and this unspoken understanding that pumpkin baking/cooking is just what you do in October. Strangely, I hated HATED pumpkin when I was little, so I guess making up for lost time (and just being way too excited at North America and is decorating holiday festiveness) means that I have embraced it wholeheartedly.

These pumpkin chocolate-chip cookies were my first pumpkin baking attempt, and boy were they good! I used Celine's recipe from Have Cake, Will Travel and can I just say - that woman is a genius, and will probably be the death of me. If I keep reading her blog for much longer you may literally have to roll me out of the house.

My pumpkin excited-ness got the better of me and I ended up with WAY too much puree, which lead to these delicious treats. Very easy, moist and with a slight nutty crunch due to the seeds.


2 Eggs (or equivalent egg replacer)

1 1/4 c Sugar

1/3 c Oil (I used sunflower)

1 c Pumpkin Puree

2 1/4 c flour

2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

Pinch of salt

1/2 tsp each Cinnamon, ground Cloves, Nutmeg

1/4 c Yogurt

1/4-1/2 pumpkin seeds

What to do...

1. Mix 'eggs', sugar and oil.

2. Sift (really, I am very rarely bothered to do this) dry ingredients together.

3. Add egg mixture, pumpkin and finally yogurt to the dry ingredients. Fold in pumpkin seeds, but be sure not to overwork.

4. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. You might want to sprinkle some sugar and cinnamon on top before doing this, to add a little extra crunch.

A quick note...if you're using canned pumpkin puree, make sure to get the unsweetened sort. Also, for an egg substitute I usually use half a banana per egg needed.

Happy Fall everyone, and Happy November too!