#AtoZChallenge – M is for Manhattan


Not the city of the same name but the cocktail.

ManhattanHow to make a Manhattan:

2 ounces rye whiskey
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
Maraschino cherry for garnish

Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes (or into a cocktail shaker).
Stir well.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with the cherry.

Variations on the classic version of the ‘manny’…

Dry Manhattan- Use a dash of dry vermouth and garnish with a lemon twist.
Perfect Manhattan- Equal parts of sweet and dry vermouth. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Brandy Manhattan- Replace whiskey with brandy.
Scotch Manhattan- Replace whiskey with Scotch.
Southern Comfort Manhattan- Replace whiskey with Southern Comfort.

You can see more variations here.

So however you like your Manhattan, do enjoy.


#AtoZChallenge – L is for Libraries


I remember the thrill of getting my first library card and being able to borrow books from my local library. Located near the main desk, stood the huge cabinet that housed the card index.

libraries - card files

By Librarian_at_the_card_files_at_a_senior_high_school_in_New_Ulm,_Minnesota.jpg: David Rees (1943—), Environmental Protection Agency derivative work: Andrzej 22 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Nowadays, the card system is on a computer but it’s still based on the Dewey Decimal System.

Even with the wealth of information available on-line, there’s nothing doing your research in libraries. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it on the shelves, and if your local doesn’t have it, then it can be brought in through inter-library loan.

You can borrow more than just books from libraries. Music CDs, audiobooks, DVDs and ebooks.

Newspapers and periodicals can’t be taken out, but are available to read there.

Do you use your local library? Do you borrow more than just books?


#AtoZChallenge – K is for KNoobies


KNoobiesKNoobie pattern


  • Any 3 or 4 ply knitting worsted yarn may be used for the outer piece
  • Cotton, silk or other natural fibre for the inner piece e.g. Bernat Handicrafter 100% Cotton
  • Note: 111yds/100m will make 2 KNoobies.
  • 1 set US #6/4mm double-point needles for outer
  • 1 set US #5/3.75 mm double-point needles  for inner
  •  Small split ring marker or very small elastic marker
  •  Sharp tapestry needle
  •  Decorative shank button for “nipple” (vintage buttons work well)(optional)
  •  Stuffing (cotton fleece or polyester fiberfill)
  •  Small weight, like a smooth stone (optional)


Outer Piece

Nipple 1 – Using 4 mm needles, and whatever colour you like for the nipple, CO 3 sts. Knit 1.5 – 2 inches of I-Cord. This cord will be knotted when the boob is finished. It will look like a nipple through your bra.

Nipple 2 – Using 4 mm needles, and whatever colour you like for the nipple, CO 3 sts. Work 2 rows of I-Cord if you are going to use a button or bead. To finish sew on button/bead.

Nipple 3 – Using 4 mm needles, and whatever colour you like for the nipple, CO 4 sts. Work 3 rows of I-Cord.

Next row: knit 1, make 1, knit 1, make 1, knit 1, make 1 (6 sts.)

For all variations: Divide sts between 3 double-point needles, in preparation to begin working in the round. Place marker before first stitch.

Knit around without increases, holding the I-Cord up.

Next Round:  Knit 1, make 1, knit 1 on each needle.  3 sts increased.

Next and all following increase rounds: Knit to last 2 sts, knit 1, make 1, knit 1 on each needle

Continue increases in nipple colour to 8 stitches on each needle. Change to breast colour.

Repeat increase rounds to make a total of 60 (66, 72) sts. (20, 22, 24 sts on each needle).

Note: All breasts are different. There is no wrong in number of increases, only keep the stitches equal on the three needles. To make a fuller breast, increase stitches between the areole and the main body, mid-way on each needle. (An increase of 1 extra stitch per needle for 6 rows (18 stitches) will make a D cup.)

To make a longer breast body (for a full –figured woman) knit a few rows without increases once you have reached your base size.

Instructions continued

After your increases, knit one row.

Change to cotton yarn for inner and purl one row around.

Inner Piece

Change to smaller needles and knit one row.

Next and all following rows:  knit to last 3 sts on each needle, decrease by k2tog, knit 1. You are basically reversing all increases made on the front shaping.

Stop when you have 12 sts left (4 sts on each needle). Cut yarn, leaving a long tail to thread through the stitches and tie off.


Tack the inner and outer together in the centre to make the back concave.

Stuff filling in through the opening, more or less depending on fullness desired. Sew or tie shut.

The stone is inserted into the fill to provide weight for breast sag. Optional.

To donate:

Kelly’s Mastectomy Boutique – Diane Hayes
1747A St. Laurent Blvd.
Ottawa, Ontario 
Donations are used for the Kelly Project:


This pattern is adapted from Beryl Tsang’s pattern for ‘titbits’ found here: http://knitty.com/ISSUEfall05/PATTbits.html

#AtoZChallenge – J is for Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw Puzzles

Real or virtual, there’s nothing like spending a winter’s day with a good, challenging jigsaw puzzle.

Growing up there were always jigsaw puzzles in the house – square ones, rectangular ones, and even round ones! The cuts ranged from 500 pieces to 1000s. The method was always the same, find the outside pieces first then begin to fill in the centre.

We always had a piece of plywood to put the puzzles together on and when we stopped because it was time to get a meal on the table, the loose pieces would be put back in the box (well maybe not all of them) and the board would get slipped under the couch or bed or some other out of the way place until it was time to work on it again.

The beauty of virtual puzzles is, you don’t have to pack them up and put them away. They’re on your computer.

This puzzle of Edinburgh Castle from the Jigzone website, it shown at its default 48 piece cut, but you can go up to 247 piece triangles, if you feel up to the challenge.

Click to Mix and Solve

Jigzone allows you to embed jigsaw puzzles into your website or blog, but from what I’ve been able to determine, you can’t save your work-in-progress for another time.

That’s the advantage that thejigsawpuzzles.com has. Here you can save your puzzles, and expand the window to full-screen. This puzzle is cut into 250 pieces but if you don’t like the small window it’s in, you can click on the button on the bottom right and go full screen.

» More free online jigsaw puzzles at TheJigsawPuzzles.com

No matter which site you prefer to use, you’ll enjoy the selection of jigsaw puzzles, and the degrees of difficulty they provide.

#AtoZChallenge – I is for Ice


 ice ice block

Whether you like your ice cubed, shaved or chopped, creating a chip off the old block *groan*, frozen water is very versatile. You can use it in various forms to keep your drinks cold, place bottles of champagne in it to chill…


It can be real or artificial and you can skate on it – figure skating, speed skating, hockey or even just a struggle to stay on your feet.

 ice skating

But here’s ICE that runs on rails. The European INTER-CITY EXPRESS high-speed trains. Imagine whizzing over the rails at a speed in excess of 200 km/h!


#AtoZChallenge – H is for Haggis


The Haggis

The “Guest of Honour”

How to make haggis…


Set of sheep’s heart, lungs and liver (cleaned by a butcher)
One beef bung (intestine) or sheep’s stomach
3 cups finely chopped suet
One cup medium ground oatmeal
Two medium onions, finely chopped
One cup beef stock
One teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
One teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon mace

Trim off any excess fat and sinew from the sheep’s offal (heart, lungs and liver) Place in a large pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for an hour or possibly longer to ensure that they are all tender. Drain and cool.

Finely chop the meat (or put through a meat grinder) and combine with the suet, oatmeal, finely chopped onions, beef stock, salt, pepper, nutmeg and mace in a large bowl. Make sure the ingredients are mixed well. Stuff the meat and spices mixture into the beef bung which should be over half full. Then press out the air and tie the open ends tightly with string. Make sure that you leave room for the mixture to expand or else it may burst while cooking. If it looks as though it may do that, prick with a sharp needle to reduce the pressure.

Haggis is traditionally served at Burns’ Suppers along with champit tatties and bashit neeps (mashed potatoes and turnips).


#AtoZChallenge – G is for Gastrocnemius muscle

Gastrocnemius muscle

Never heard of it before? I’d never heard of it’s proper name until this past Saturday when I spent between three and four hours in the emergency department of the local hospital.

You’ll know the muscle I’m talking about when I say charley horse . Yup, your calf muscle. How many times have you woken in the night with one of these, then struggle to untangle yourself from the blankets to stand and get your calf muscle against something cold to help relieve the cramp? Usually, the following day there’s a bit of discomfort in the area of the leg where your nocturnal cramp struck your Gastrocnemius muscle and it soon goes away.

But what if the damage is worse than just a leg cramp? What if you tear that muscle? I can vouch for what happens as I experienced such an event early Saturday morning.

I was walking down the stairs into my kitchen, en route to the back door to let the dog in from doing his business (about 6:00). Well mid-stride, I was struck by a charley horse in my leg but in the midst of descending the stairs (and had a bit of momentum -aka head of steam – built up) wasn’t able to stop. I continued and as soon as my foot hit the stair tread, the searing pain sliced through my leg with a pop and that was me, no longer able to put any weight on my foot.

Not realizing the severity of my injury, I hobbled back to the front room and made myself comfy on the couch with my leg elevated and waited for someone else to get up. I spent a few hours with my leg resting on an ice pack but when it wasn’t getting any better, my husband had our son drive us to the emergency department.

So, after a short examination following a shorter than expected wait, it was determined that I had torn my Gastrocnemius muscle.

Prognosis: it will heal – in time. How much time? 3-4 weeks. Try not to use the leg – aka crutches, Tylenol or Advil for the pain.

Under normal circumstances, 3-4 weeks would be fine. Just not right now. But I’ll save that for another #AtoZChallenge post.

#AtoZChallenge – F is for Fudge


This was a “festive season only” staple in our house when I was growing up. My mum made chocolate fudge (recipe below) and brown sugar candy. Both were mouth-wateringly delicious but I think the best thing of all was getting to eat what remained on the spoon and on the sides of the pot after it was made.


By Simon Cousins (originally posted to Flickr as Quick Fudge) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Carnation 5 minute Fudge

2/3 cup Carnation Milk
1 2/3 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups marshmallows
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Mix milk, sugar and salt in a saucepan over low heat. Heat to boiling then cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the marshmallows, chocolate chips, vanilla extract and chopped nuts. Stir 1-2 minutes or until the marshmallows melt. Pour into a buttered 9-inch square pan.

You can find more fudge recipes here.

#AtoZChallenge – E is for Extraterrestrial



See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

For years, we’ve been led to believe in ‘little green men from Mars’ and lifeforms from other planets. But what if there really is something to these claims? The movie industry taken advantage of this and have made films to both entertain and frighten us to death.

E.T. was probably the best known of all the extraterrestrials to hit the big screen. Another loveable alien in the movies is Paul who hit the screen in 2011.

And The War of the Worlds on radio back in 1938, narrated and directed by Orson Welles. It caused quite the stir back then. More recently, Jeff Wayne set the program to music. It was serialized on the radio while my husband and I were on holiday in England in 2005. We were so enthralled by it, that before we flew home we purchased the CDs.

Here’s a portion of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds.

So is there life out there on other planets? What do you think?