Saturday, December 06, 2008

Cheese and dough

Last weekend we made bread. It was a "beer and cheese" bread from my bread-recipe bible (sorry, no link this time).

You 'd think that beer and cheese would produce something heavy and yeasty, but the recipe also called for a cup of sugar, which made the end result a bit too sweet for my taste. I have resolved that I like most fermented breads, such as sponge breads or sourdough. We are working our way through the book, however, trying different recipes and sort of rating them, so this try was one more page checked.

I also made courgette and cheese pies. The filling came out great (I added 1/2 pack of tofu that was looking at me from the fridge shelves, and it made the filling very soft and fluffy). I was feeling experimental, so I made a few different shapes to see if I prefer any of them to the usual half-moon / seam on the side type.

Although any of them with the seam on top were good, preventing spillage while cooking, we both agreed that the open baskets were the best idea, both visually and in taste.


Here is the sampler. I also liked the two in the center column, bottom two rows. I liked that the tucked-in edges didn't become too dry after cooking.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Warm paws

Blogging on a Tuesday? I must have something else to do... (like something with a deadline tomorrow. umm...)

I know I said that I will not post (much) on items I am making for gifts. This one is for me, though. My first felted slippers, in a wonderful cranberry color, unfortunately didn't last past the 2nd year. Even though we have carpeting floors, there were holes on the toes and heels. I was very sad to retire them (not sure what I will do with the parts that are still in good shape, but I am not throwing them away.)

So I made a new pair. I am definitely going through a grey phase, so of course the choice of colour was easy. Here they are, drying after their warm bath.

This time I will try to delay their wearing out, so I made matching soles for them.

Seven likes them. She says we now match.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Miscellaneous, snacks

I usually blog on weekends, but weekends have been busy lately. Some episodes were lost, but I 'll do my best to catch up, at least with the most memorable things.

On top of the list is the last glimpse of fall, in its full glory. Last week's view from hotel during the conference that ate up my time.

I have been very lucky this year, and got to see the foliage over several weekends in four different states, throughout a period of two months. I never think of having a 'favourite season', because I love all seasons with the same passion for different reasons.

I like how fall pleases the senses with vibrant colours, mild temperatures and diffused light. As it is the season I find the hardest to catch some years, I have been obsessed with it this year.

I bought some tea light holders the other day, which ended up on my coffee table.

They like to be lined up in a row and be lit in unison.

Crafting has been happening, but this year I am trying to keep some surprises for the recipients, so no gift posting until after Christmas. (yes, I have already started making things!) So, I 'll stick to posting about snacks for a while -- now that the last storm yesterday seems to have dropped the leaves even in New York. From now on, it's only dramatic silhouettes and bare branches on cloudy skies for the trees.

Pepper bread with goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, and buttermilk

Pizza with homemade, whole wheat dough

Hot chocolate, laced with whisky

This one makes me dizzy to look at!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bad kitty chronicles

Yesterday, while Seven helped me pick fabrics for some sewing...

... and Sunny minded her own business, sleeping in my closet...

... Skid took matters into her own paws. She likes to burrow under things, and likes to sleep on the loft bed.

Put two and two together, and you have a ripped sheet and a happy cat.

Me, not so happy.

Luckily, there was brownie mix.

And knitting.

Lizard ridge blanket is out again. What's on the sofa is the second to-be-felted slipper on the needles.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Autumn in New England

I have been trying to go to New England as often as possible in the last couple of weeks, anticipating nature's firework display. Finally, this weekend I was rewarded with images like those.

The weather has been perfect, warm and sunny during the days and chilly in the evenings. Pumpkins have been around, adding to the proliferation of orange.

Roadside sighting. She seemed pretty vain, just sitting there waiting for me to take her picture with no fear.

We took walks in the woods, which were less red and more yellow where there was little sun.

All these were very vibrant reds and oranges in my screen, but are coming out pretty yellow and faded once uploaded. I hope they seem better in your screens.

Sometimes even common mortals like us get to walk on the red carpet.

I picked up an acorn for the kitties, who got very excited by it and are still playing with it. They must have trained me well, because I had to look through lots of separated ones before I could find a whole one. It was well worth it!

Everywhere you looked, it was a different sight of greens, reds, yellows, purples, and everything in between.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Still no finished objects to report. There are many possible reasons for that. It is probably time for a list...
  1. Hectic life, with self-imposed stressful workdays and long commutes.
  2. Busy weekends, especially since every other weekend I seem to be travelling.
  3. I must be the slowest knitter on earth.
  4. Knitting is a slow craft, and I am impatient so things feel as if they take longer.
  5. My snuggle-deprived kitties demand the use of my hands to their service, rather than to knitting.
  6. In the mornings I seem to prefer reading or making lists to knitting.
  7. Although there has been a lot of travelling in buses (see 1-2), I haven't been taking advantage of all possible opportunities to add a few stitches (see 6).
  8. I also seem to prefer sleeping to knitting, but this is a good thing, right?

Culprit no. 1 (see list item #5)

But I missed writing here, and so here I am, with nothing to show and a whole list of reasons that could be interpreted as excuses by some ill-mannered people! I don't need to make excuses to myself or anyone, but writing down the list usually helps me understand how things lead to places and what can be done to change a situation.

Culprit no. 2 (see list item #5)

On the other hand, I have spent more time than usual thinking about knitting and visualising patterns, yarns, sweaters etc., which I found a useful learning experience. As a result, I have a nice list of plans (another list. Coming up soon.) for future projects, and I am planning to be very disciplined about it. At least I will update the list if I decide not to follow what is in there ;-)

Culprit no. 3 (see list item #5)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Still thinking of food

It must be the late summer / early fall weather we are getting lately. So after I read this post and the hilarious link to which it refers, I have been thinking even more of the visual side of food. That is, not that I am not constantly hungry also, because I am, and that too I blame on the weather change :-)

Summer tree

Armed with my trusty camera, I took some photos of our salad last week, as it just looked too pretty to just eat

Winter tree

As for healthy snacks, today I had L's signature, gourmet healthy snack (as he so humbly refers to it)

Peanut butter on potato bread, with alfalfa sprouts, banana and honey


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Thinking of food

There has been much knitting and quilting, but no finished objects to show. Sewing is much more active and focused, and allows me little time to think about other things, but knitting is perfect for scheming and planning your next move.

So I have been thinking a lot about bringing my diet (as in 'eating habits' rather than the 'loose weight' definition) to a better place. I have long accepted the fact that good eating habits require serious organisation and discipline, which in turn translate to better energy levels and mood. And this is never more important than when time is tight.

Quick and healthy snacks are always an area that I like to expand. Here is one of my favourite quick snacks: a whole cube of silken tofu cut in cubes, and sprinkled with soy sauce and green onions. I can eat the whole thing in a sitting.

Looking at the beauty of food during its preparation is another way to bring back focus to nutrition at rushed times. So often we just throw together meals with our mind to the next task, that we may loose what's right under our nose.

Moong dal has been another quick dish that is not only pretty but especially comforting. The trickiest part is finding the yellow lentils, but once they are in stock, it is fun to make and tastes great. It's also orange-yellow, and I am particularly attracted to orange-yellow foods

... and mugs. I love looking at orange and yellow when I have my morning coffee.

Looking for the right kind of breakfast is my next goal. I am trying to get away from my usual sandwich, no matter how brown the bread and how red the tomatoes in it. As autumn approaches I find myself thinking more and more of something warm and more liquid, like oatmeal with an open end to added treats. We just came back from Trader Joe's with bags full of dried fruit and healthy-snack ingredients, so that should help.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Knitting is back

As the weather is cooling down slowly, my mood for knitting returns. I started a pair of socks on my way to Greece, but got stuck as I decided I have to have the heel in a different, solid color. I know it sounds quite obsessive, but when the yarn is self-striping I don't like how it doesn't even out perfectly on the heel and therefore the need for a different yarn.

I also enjoy the new order in which to knit a pair of socks. The idea came from a friend: do each step twice before moving on to the next step. So the socks progress together and the danger of second-sock syndrome is avoided. This time I stopped after the I joined back to knitting in the round and decreased all the 3+3 added stitches, which I always add when a heel is done. I found the extra stitches make the sock fit better with my high instep, and it also helps a bit with the irritating holes on the sides.

I think I will call these socks Glarokavos socks, because the colours remind me of the beaches in Chalkidiki, where part of the first sock was knit. Some of the best swimming days this year were in Glarokavo.

See what I mean?

I also began, at long last, the Back To School u-neck vest, from this book. I am using the knitpicks Andean Silk yarn, that has been so ill-fated so far. I think it is the 3rd or 4th time I try to use it for something, but always something went wrong and I had to go through the entire process of unravel, wash, re-wind. Luckily, it is a lovely yarn to knit with, and I am pleased to say that it has kept pretty well despite its adventures.

It has been going very fast, as I don't really mind ribbing once I get into the rhythm. I just finished the ribbing section, however, and the following section should go even faster, if I keep up with it at the same pace.

Friday, August 15, 2008

All right, I got nothin'

Not all true! I 've got knitting, but no pictures of it. I finally began a sweater, even if it is a sleeveless one. And when end of the week comes along and nothing to blog about, I know I can always be saved by one of those silly quizzes. This time, it is a confirmation of a dream come true: a boring death. Hurrah!

Your Deadly Sins

Envy: 40%

Gluttony: 40%

Sloth: 20%

Greed: 0%

Lust: 0%

Pride: 0%

Wrath: 0%

Chance You'll Go to Hell: 14%

You will die a boring death. While dying, you will be jealous of those who die dramatic deaths.

I seem to be such an angel! In my defense, I can only say one thing: being a teacher has made me learn how to take tests so as to please the grader. Even if it means I 'll die a boring death...

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Unfinished business

Before I left for my holiday I started another quilt top, but didn't have enough time to finish it. This is more light and summery, and a quick project. It is based on this design, again by Denyse Schmidt. I really like the light feel of her designs.

I am thinking of giving this away to a friend. Fortunately I cut way too many pieces of all 4 fabrics that are used for the color stripes, that there are still plenty left to make another one for us.

Now I have two quilt tops to put together. Although I have all the necessary materials at hand it is a matter of finding the time. I feel that the quilting will need to be done in pretty much one session, or at least over a couple of days in quick succession, so I need a weekend that I will be around. I am not sure why I feel it needs to be done so, I haven't really done this before to actually have an opinion, so perhaps I am wrong and I am wasting valuable free time from weekday evenings.

Skid also liked it a lot. She spent hours rolling on it, showing off her fluffy tummy. If no one else appreciates my creations, at least I know I have three loyal fans!

Before leaving I also made a few more quick coasters for my parents' summer house. They are so addictive!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Last two weeks were very busy not crafting, but mostly spending quality time with family.

No need to repeat how great it all was, words - even pictures - are nothing to the real thing.

There has been some, minimal knitting. Mostly sock knitting, the mindless thing that you can do without thinking while making jokes with your brothers.

Jet lag hit hard after I came back, and this in fact was the strongest motivation to pick up the sock again. Suddenly I craved the stability of knitting, the promise of fall and a time when handmade socks are actually in use.

Meanwhile, it is still really hot and sticky, so anything that bears the promise of fall is good. Photos of a finished sock soon, hopefully.
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