Thursday, June 30, 2011

Old Magazines and Puppies

I couldn't resist this 1916 copy of The Modern Priscilla. Look at the expression on the lady's face - that is one knitter you don't mess with!

I also couldn't resist some 1917 and 1918 editions of La Femme Chez Elle.

I asked the wee one if he'd like to be a cover dog. Once he discovered that chasing balls wasn't involved, this was his response.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Skates, Socks and Soup

I'm stealing away a few minutes to blog. It's craziness here. But I did sneak off yesterday. At the beginning of the year, I swore I wouldn't let work take over my life and that I'd start doing things I loved again. I love ice skating, for example. It is ridiculous that I don't go more often. Earlier this year, I went with a friend and had a great time, even though my right foot wiggled and wobbled and I kept falling on my proverbial butt.

Then we kept trying to make a time to go, but work got in the way. I just put an end to that. There was an ice hockey match yesterday and we agreed that this time, we'd make it. Furthermore, we would skate beforehand. I just had to sort out that wobbly ankle. So I did something I've always wanted to do. I got my own skates! (You are missing my massive grin.)

They're actually hockey skates. I know - part of me longed for elegant white boots too, but the hockey skates offer much more support for wobbly ankles. And guess what? Before long, I was zipping like I did years ago! Zipping and dodging kamikaze children on zimmer frames. However, even at my advanced age, there is just something cool about leaving the rink with your own skates.

The ice hockey was brilliant. I was a bit 'meh' the first two periods, but the final period... wow. The winning goal with just 2 seconds to spare! My companion actually squealed. Right in my ear. It was very funny. And who couldn't love a sport that plays real rock music real loud? And puts naughty players in a penalty box?

A certain pal and I also made time for a Knit 'n' Skype at the end of last week. I was working on the green sock. Pal peered down at sock and observed: "What happened to your Bingleys? You finished one... YEARS ago." Oh, okay. So next day, bright and late morningish, I cast on the second Bingley. See, Artificially Mythic. Don't say I don't listen to you!

And to keep me going today? I whipped up this soup, which combines Nigella Lawson's White Bean Mash with a rich, tomato soup, filled with meatballs. I cheated and used frozen meatballs!

Dead easy. The soup is simply an onion and stick of celery chopped up and sweated down. Then you add a can of chopped tomatoes, a cup or so of stock, peas, 2 crushed garlic cloves, fresh thyme, pepper and meatballs. The mash is a can of white beans, drained, heated up with a dash of lemon juice, 2 crushed garlic cloves, salt, pepper and lashings of olive oil, all pureed. I admit, I could have been prettier in terms of dobbing in the mash, but it tasted great!

Okay, back to the madness!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Shoes and Old Knitting Content

It's been busy, so I've really only been able to sneak a row or two of actual knitting in. That means, either old knitting content or simply no blog post at all. And there were a few things I wanted to show.

Like these:

I found my perfect fairy tale boots! I had to bring in the FBI, but they were tracked down, paid for and delivered. Wee Davie made a beeline for the box, as though he knew they contained very gorgeous boots. I unpacked them in awe... and half a house away from the pup's teeth.

And no, I haven't advanced more than a row on those gloves, but one day, they will be beautiful gloves. And they made me feel better about the knitting content of this post.

In the meantime, the Charmed Wrap is wearing well. The yarn, Bendigo Woollen Mills Silky, has a lovely aura now and is washing up well. I love how the sleeves cover your fingers on cold days.

And yes, I mostly decided to show the wear of the Charmed Wrap so that I could sneak in a word about how much I like my new nail polish. It's now all chipped and awful from various things I've been doing, but for one day, it looked quite nice.

I've mostly been busy in meetings and at home on the computer, because it's that time of year when academics are tortured by tying up one semester, preparing for the next and planning for the following year. This process has been exasperated by something I'll be blogging next month. But for now, when I look under the desk, this is usually what I see:

It's that toy or one of his disco balls and inevitably involves an hour playing fetch while typing with one hand.

Still, he is cute with his disco balls! (I'm trying to keep the 12 year old boy at bay.) I did make him some new cookies - carrot and peanut butter in the shape of shoes. These are a great success.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fabric Stashing

Sometimes, you see fabric design that is just... awesome.

Tula Pink is my new favourite fabric designer for her Prince Charming collection. I could frame this fabric and stare at it all day long. And it pays off, because wrapped subtly in the design are some magical creatures.

I think I will frame some. Or make pillows. Something to gaze at in wonder.

Like yesterday's lunch - look away vegetarians (I've also made sure my hens are out of eyesight).

Isn't that pretty? I had some grading I wasn't looking forward to, so I thought a special lunch might cheer me up. I was inspired by this chicken here, but I don't own a skillet. It didn't matter. Even Wee Davie bounced enthusiastically. And I have left overs!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Little Crafty Time Travelling

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, for some reason, it's my Edwardian shawls that are getting the most use. So I figured... what's the harm in collecting a few more Edwardian magazines? It's rather fun to time travel.

I mean, seriously, this 1906 The Modern Priscilla - look at that lace dress! That is a stunning lace dress.

And there's a beautiful shawl. I just have to copy it off for Mum's clever fingers.

Most fun of all, perhaps, are the advertisements. And you thought botox and anti-wrinkle mumbo-gumbo was new. Don't you love the sound of Rinkelout? Come on, that's clever. Just say it out loud! And it's absolutely harmless. Not to mention ads for perfect busts!

It's funny how far back this type of thing goes. There's a 17th century tale by Basile, 'The Old Woman Who was Skinned.' Two ugly old crones attempt to make themselves youthful in order to sleep with the king. One of the old women smooths out all her wrinkles by tying her skin in a knot. Ouch. The other is tricked into skinning herself to look young. Double ouch.

The advertisements also rather amuse me in terms of their bluntness regarding 'fat people'. There's even the old 'before and after' in the add for 'Fat Folks'. Oh dear...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

There is sooooo much to knit

You have those moments as a knitter, don't you? There are so many great patterns (I won't mention the 21 currently sitting in my Ravelry cart waiting for me to weaken). There is so much pretty yarn. But only one pair of hands.

That stops you short.

One pair of hands for all those patterns and all that yarn???

Not to mention that people keep expecting that pair of hands to be engaged in other stuff, like filling in paperwork, writing, reading, doing dishes, playing ball with wee dogs, making dinner planting seeds for Romanesco broccoli and such.

Still, I am relaxing my urge to wrangle WIPs, because I really did want to start some of the club projects while the clubs were running. So, I did get a start on Fiyero from Knit Love Sock Club 2011. It's been out for a while, so I won't put the spoiler on here. Besides, I'm still a few rows from the first repeat. But oh my it's pretty! The cables are fiddly, but it's gorgeous. The green! Alice dyes fantastic yarn!

And I am making progress on my Vintage Purls Summer Sock Club installment of Betelgeuse (technically, I started when the club was running and that's good enough for me). It's almost impossible to get the right photo of it, though. I'll keep working on that. (Incidentally, you can see it sitting upon some of my current work... this would be the fun part of my work rather than the non fun, almost always paperwork related part of my work - namely, Italo Calvino's fairy tale collection.)

And because somehow fingering weight yarn just doesn't cut it on cold nights when you want something warm and snuggly in your hands while you watch Doctor Who, I finally started my Raggedy Doctor scarf in Malabrigo Ravelry Red. It's Amy Pond's scarf from 'The Pandorica Opens.' Amy has had some fairly wicked scarves. I won't do her short skirts, but I can do her scarves! Which is why I just got my hands on Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns because I wanted Frost Flowers in hard copy in order to recreate the 'Vincent and the Doctor' scarf. I'm resisting, however, casting it on, since I'm still beavering away at my other TARDIS inspired scarf (the blue one... I'm not even counting this red cabled beauty).

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Because I wanted a pom pom, I knitted a hat

I had a craving for a pom pom. A big, fluffy pom pom on a hat. So I knitted an Early Morning Beret by Hannah Fettig in Cascade 220 robin egg blue and added a big brown pom pom out of some Biggan that I had on hand (I also cast on and knit a row in the brown, which kind of brings it all together).

It is the most marvelous, simple beret pattern! Just floppy enough, just cosy enough. It was perfect to knit onto my fluffy pom pom. Because the hat is, of course, all about the pom pom.

We had some really frosty nights, so I also whipped up some of my favourite soup. Mum was asking about the recipe, so I promised to post it. It's inspired by a soup PrĂȘt did a while ago - a sausage casserole soup - but I've since discovered that as I've adapted it, it's become remarkably like their Spanish Chorizo and Butterbean Soup. Great minds and all. Anyway, here goes...

Lightly fry one thinly sliced red onion, one chopped stick of celery and one chopped carrot in olive oil. Add chicken stock, a can of chopped tomatoes, three cooked and chopped up chorizo sausages, a chopped up capsicum (I like using the yellow), chopped up zucchini (optional - I just had some to hand), and a can of either cannelloni beans or chick peas (I like the cannelloni beans best, but ran out the other day and chick peas don't do too badly). Sprinkle in a bit of chilli and paprika. Done! I like it with sour cream (Tofutti in my case - dairy free and all). I sort of live on this soup from time to time. This soup and the chilli beef soup, which is a PrĂȘt recipe if you google it (I couldn't get a recipe link).