Friday, May 28, 2010

A Fitness Goal

How many of you out there are working towards a goal of being more fit?

I'm thinking if I could master this:

then maybe this could be next:

Anyone for a challenge?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

All is Not Lost

Anyone watching the Lost series finale tonight?

It's a very big deal in this house.

Nigel and Ian and I started watching the series near to when it started all those years ago, and though the series lost (hah! lost!) interest for me after the second season (and, to be fair, it truly was wretched), Ian and Nigel continued watching week after week, and in the last months there has been much talk around the house about how the series will tie up all it's loose ends and answer all questions. I'm guessing they'll wipe out all of humanity - but then, I'm not a true fan.

In honour of the big finale I'm being supportive and fixing a few evening treats. We've labelled our sodas, among other things...

I've made a batch of peanut butter cookies (apparently Juliet makes them for either Sawyer or Jack, I don't remember who)...

and I've even got the cookies in a "cottage" beside a "palm tree". The boys are getting very excited!

I think I'll knit while they get Lost.

Uh-huh, the knitting...

Over the last few years I've developed the bad habit of starting new projects before finishing what I'm already working on. In the old days I use to feel much more accomplished and, hmmm, well, calm, I think, but lately I seem to be frantic a lot of the time as I jump from project to project to chore to commitment.

So last night I decided to make a bold decision, I decided to rip out all the partially finished work on the Seaweed Stole that I started two summers ago. I don't like abandoning projects, but I felt a tad radical last night. It was very liberating - for about five minutes...

When I saw the 100% silk yarn from Colour Mart in Aqua Marl sitting there, I couldn't help but feel inspired...


and so, I printed off the pattern for Emily Dickinson by Dublin designer Keiran Foley. On first glance, this shawl looks easy-peasy, it's mostly garter stitch, interspersed with a few beads.


And so...

late last night, I began...

not thinking about the fact that this isn't just any old lace yarn, it's Cobweb Lace (about as thin as sewing thread), and 100% silk (Ooooo, very slippery and hard to handle), and instead of casting on a few stitches and expanding with each row (like many shawls), we start by casting on 545 stitches,

with silk,

late at night,

knitting beads into that first row every 16 stitches...


By the end of the first row, my fingers were numb, I could no longer focus my eyes and I had a splitting headache. I was wondering if this is what it felt like to have a stroke, when I decided to toddle off to bed.

I've been wondering if, in the future, someone will say "remember Great Aunt Annie, wasn't she the one felled by Emily Dickinson?"

An analysis here.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Emily Martin, Rosamund, and More!

Last September I ordered three prints from The Black Apple on Etsy. This is a shop run by artist Emily Martin in ....oooo, gosh, Portland, I think... I've long been an admirer of her work, and blog (Inside a Black Apple), and decided it was about time to order a print, or three. I keep meaning to purchase one of her original pieces, but I'm never quite quick enough. The originals seem to leave the shop in minutes, if not seconds, and it often doesn't dawn on me that the sale has started until the next day.

I love that this artist frequently paints portraits of female characters with dark hair and blue eyes, that's my colouring, as well as Elly's and Mum's former colouring (Mum is now a whiter shade of dark, and Elly has opted for a platinum/magenta combo at the mo'). The prints I ordered were all from her "Oddfellow's Orphanage" series, and I chose these three to represent myself, my Mum and Elly.

This one is called Baby Tooth, apropos, I think, for Elly, as she's studying to become a Montessori teacher. Also, Elly had a dress very similar to this...around about first fact, hee hee, here it is...

Next is Illustrated Imogene. This one is me, with the tattoos - now I know that Elly has tattoos now as well, but I currently have more, and, well, I did it first.

The last one is Nurse Effie, she represents Mum, who, back in the day, was a midwife in Scotland. I have photos of her wearing her crisp white cap and her uniform, and, if I'm not mistaken, she's said the uniform included a navy cape with a red lining. Sadly, I've no photos of that, but I'll bet it was pretty spiffy!

I couldn't find a photo of her wearing her uniform in Scotland, so here's one after she arrived in Canada (she's the one on the far right).

I've put them up in a corner of the craft room, appropriate, as Mum and Elly and I are all busy, crafting types.

On the needles currently is the Rosamund Cardigan from the Autumn 2009 Interweave knits.

I've been working on this cardi for a while, but keep forgetting to post about it, so here you go...

I'm working it up in Plymouth Yarns Royal Silk Merino in the lilac colourway. The yarn is quite lovely, but I'm not accustom to working with worsted weight so much and I fear it may end up making me look like the side of a house. A silky, lilacy side of a house.

Also, something to share...

from Sheila Lukins book, The Around the World Cookbook, her recipe (mostly) for...

Morning Muesli

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup unprocessed bran 1/2 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine bran, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, sugar and cinnamon and mix together.
Spread the oats on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly browned and fragrant, about 10 minutes, shaking the pan once during cooking. Transfer to the large bowl and stir.
Place the almonds on the baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly browned, 6-7 minutes, shaking the pan once during cooking. Transfer to bowl and stir.
Place coconut on baking sheet and toast until lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to the bowl and stir. Let cool. Muesli keeps for several weeks stored in an airtight container.

In the original recipe, Sheila Lukins tells you to combine the toasted ingredients first, then add the rest, but I find if you add the toasted ingredients into the already mixed remaining items, the brown sugar and cinnamon will warm ever so slightly and release all those fabulous aromas.

I'm not a big breakfast-eater, so this recipe is ideal, a serving is just 1/3 cup, and it's loaded with fibre and iron. Since the oats aren't cooked, merely toasted, it slowly, well, sort your stomach (Nigel will be thoroughly disgusted at that thought), but truly, it's a fabulous breakfast - I mix it with a little yoghurt and some fruit.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Roman Blind

I finally finished the roman blind I was making for the kitchen. I'd been working on it a bit at a time - ten minutes here, twenty minutes there - until finally I thought, right, that's it! - what should have taken an afternoon ended up taking three months (for shame).

I used the instructions from the Martha Stewart Website, I made a few minor alterations to her instructions, as my windows were a different shape to the ones in the example. I'd recommend putting one's thinking cap on first, before you start this project - my window was brand-spanking new, but I know from past projects, that if your window is older, or in an older building, you'll have to measure the width-way of you window at both the top and bottom, and the length-way at both the right and left, due to settling and shifting and such.

That's the blind closed. I took these photos on a dreary, rainy day so I'm not sure the pictures really do justice to the fabulous fabric, it's got a very mid-20th century feel to it, like a Calder mobile.

I love the photos on that Calder link, makes me want to break out the shrinky dinks and beading wire.

Hmmm...yet another project...

or should I say, yet another project?...

or perhaps, yet another project??!!...