Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Migraine Stops Play

I had forgotten how awful it can be to have a migraine. These last three days, I have wanted to do nothing but stay in bed. It's been quite some time since my last migraine, and would be very happy if this was the last one I was to get!

Thankfully, it feels like I'm getting my brain back. I've been able to do a bit more work on the coffee table runner, but everything is still a bit too bright, a bit too loud, a bit too hot, a bit too cold, a bit too odorous... 

Tomorrow is a new day, and I'm expecting to be much more myself again.  Yes, that's it, migraines are too much of everything, and not enough of me.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Week 35: Seasonal Clothing Switch

Monday: Read Organized Home Challenge #35: Seasonal Clothing Switch
Tuesday: Out of season clothing swap
Wednesday: Continue to replace out of season clothes with in season items
Thursday: Declutter and/or store outgrown or out of season clothes
Friday: Create inventory of stored clothing
Saturday: Declutter and organize sweaters and sweatshirts, and other cool weather clothing
Sunday: Declutter summer decorations

It's too early to be switching summer clothing for winter. There's still a number of warm days to come. When the weather changes, it will be good to pack away fine cotton skirts and light-weight trousers for more robust, warmer fabrics. There are a few items that will be 'retired' and not put into storage.

However, now seems like a fantastic time to take an inventory of my warmer clothing and check I have enough warm clothing for the winter. My suspicion is I will need new trousers and a new skirt. When I last decluttered my wardrobe I replaced summer clothing, but didn't replace the winter stuff.

My sweaters and cardigans are in a drawer, stacked vertically. This is a brilliant system for me as I can see immediately which sweaters/cargis are available for wear. They can stand up by themselves, and don't get in a mess when one is removed.

We don't have 'summer decorations', but it would be a good idea to switch things around a little, perhaps put some items into storage for a while.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Hand Quilting Takes Time

As it says in the title, 'hand quilting takes time'. Three of the six hand quilted Celtic knots have been done, and the fourth started. It take time, and a decent amount of light.

I'm been rather impressed with the Frixion pen. It writes like a ball point pen, but with heat the ink disappears. My other quilting pen is a felt tip and then ink fades over about 10 minutes. It's definitely Frixion pen I need for this project. It would be a complete nightmare having to re-draw my quilting lines every 10 minutes!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Short Stories

The Beloved and I are part of a Short Stories group. The group gathers every few weeks and about 10 people read or tell a short story. The story can be one you have written, or one you like. This next one will be the first where we have 'read'/performed. The Beloved is great at reading stories. Dyslexic little me is absolutely pants at reading someone else work. I stumble and falter, but I can tell stories.

My favourite one from last time was about a conservator at a museum. He was cleaning an old oil lamp. The story is told from hiss perspective, until billowing clouds of smoke start coming from the lamp. He grows light-headed, stand up quickly, and his world turns black. A genie pops out, and says in an exasperated tone, dripping with sarcasm, "Oh great! Another fainter!"

I've been puzzling over a story for the next meeting, and have been struggling with the 'twist in the tail' element of it all. I'm so used to making up stories on the spot that I haven't learned how to construct them from scratch. Last week, I was at a workshop, and at the start, the leader explained there are two main types of writer, the architect and the gardener. The architect plans everything meticulously, and the gardener plants, waters, watches, and prunes. The gardener sees how things develop. I suspect I am much more an architect.

I'll been looking around for inspiration, and this morning an idea popped into my little noggin. Thankfully, the idea included a nice little ending too. The story's working title is 'How to kill your husband'.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Getting Batty and Knotty

The 15th of July was the last time I bought crafting materials. At the time I made a decision not to buy anything new for 3 months, except items needed to finish projects. 

The Pre-Quilt was in need of a backing fabric, and there was the possibility of needing more batting. A trip up to my craft materials storage room (also known as the guest room) revealed I didn't have batting, but I did have a couple of metres of the light cream fabric. There is enough fabric for me to back both runners and also bind them! A trip to the craft shop solved my batting problem. I was able to buy some iron-on batting and was very pleased with the purchase. 

The plan is to machine quilt the light cream areas of the square blocks, and to hand quilt a design in the larger, sandy triangles. The Celtic knot design above will be used. The design has been enlarged to fit the area, and printed out. This has been slipped under the fabric and drawn on using a Frixion erasable pen. When the ink is heated it disappears.

And suddenly I have a problem! I can't iron on the top onto the batting as this will erase my carefully traced design. I think I am going to have to treat it as ordinary batting and pin it in place whilst I quilt, and then iron over the places with the disappearing ink. Ah well! The best laid plans of mice and bears often go awry. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Finished Pre-Quit Top

In our last exciting installment of The Pre-Quilt, I was unsure regarding the number of pinwheel blocks to use in the runners. I have decided on 4 blocks for the coffee table and 5 for the side board.

The blocks have all been sewn together. Care was taken to ensure the red sashing matched up as well as I can manage from one strip to another. Sashing was sewn to the top and bottom of the runner. The triangles were cut a bit too large. This will enable me to trim them down and get the sizing just right.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

'Cinnamon Roll' Muffins

This is a second attempt at 'Cinnamon Roll' Muffins. The first recipe was from myrecipies.com, and it was awful. It was so dry. The Beloved and I each choked down a muffin, and the rest went in the bin! As the Breakfast Muffins were so successful, I decided to leave out the seeds, but include the cinnamon filling - the only good bit of the first 'cinnamon roll' muffins.  And it was totally the right decision!  So, so tasty.

1 ripe banana, mashed
2 large eggs
150ml yogurt
50ml oil
100g apple sauce 
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g SR flour (Dove Farm Gluten-Free)
50g rolled oats
1 Tsp  sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

100g chopped pecans, plus 12 for decoration
75g brown sugar 
1 tsp cinnamon 
1 tsp vanilla extract
50ml milk 
10g butter, melted

Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Place 12 muffin cases in a muffin tin.

In a bowl, make the filling by mixing chopped pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, milk and butter.

In a large jug, mix the mashed banana, eggs, yogurt, oil, apple sauce, and vanilla. In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, oats and cinnamon. 

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix briefly until you have a smooth batter – don’t over mix as this will make the muffins heavy. 

Divide about half of the batter between the muffin cases. Place the filling on top, then the rest of the muffin batter and top with a whole pecan. 

Bake for 25-30 mins until golden and well risen, and a skewer inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool. 

I made up some glace icing (water and icing sugar) and drizzled it on top.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Red Sashing and Sand Triangles

A few days ago I saw Hint of the Holidays at Quilting Digest

The colours sparked a memory of those very first patchwork fabrics I bought, and as I had been thinking about making runners for the coffee table and side board I decided to jump in.

It was then I was unearthing the fabrics I realised pinwheels had been made previous, so wanted to use them instead of the central square. Borders were added, and when I was about to add the triangles to the square I realised the runners would be far, far too wide, and there would be a very real danger of not having enough fabric. Therefore the design changed.

Red borders (1.5" x 9.5") were added to the bordered pinwheel blocks, top and bottom. Then right angled triangles were sewn to the sides. My patchwork inexperience was showing with regards to adding the triangles and I decided to make them a little bit larger than I would probably need as they can always be trimmed later. The triangles were 10.5". The first and last blocks only had one triangle sewn to them, and the rest had two. A 1.5" red strip will be added between the sections. Strips will be added to the first and last. 

I don't quite know how many squares long it will be. The side board is longer than the coffee table. My suspicion is the side board will require an additional square. 

More Borders for Pre-Quilt

A cream border has been added to be pinwheels. These border pieces were 1.5" x 7.5" for the top and bottom, and 1.5" x 9.5" for the sides. The block currently measure 9.5" square (ish). It's a little undulatory, but as Jenny Doan says, "Finished is better than perfect."

Whilst checking the spelling of Jenny's (the quilting goddess) surname, I saw she is leading a quilting cruise next year. Oh, my beating heart!  I was overcome with lust for a few moments.  To go on a cruise with Jenny, and learn so many tips and techniques - oh my! A moment later, when the locations came up on my screen I realised I really didn't want to go, as in really, REALLY, don't want to go. The Caribbean is a wonderful, wonderful place, but I would melt! It is not the place for 'a little bear'.

Week 34: Children's Bedrooms

Monday: Read Organized Home Challenge #34: Children's Bedrooms
Tuesday: Clean out and declutter under children's beds
Wednesday: Declutter children's bedroom shelves
Thursday: Declutter flat surfaces in children's bedrooms
Friday: Create bedroom cleaning checklist for children
Saturday: Declutter baby gear, supplies and equipment
Sunday: Declutter guest bedroom or area where guests sleep

Sunday's task is going to take an awful lot longer than 15 minutes! With fully grown children, I don't have children, but I do have a very messy, very cluttered guest bedroom/craft room. It's going to take an awful lot longer than one day to declutter. 

The rooms I use most often have been decluttered, and lovely. I only go into the guest room/craft room when I need to. The clutter in there is oppressive. But, the time has come to set about decluttering that room.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Trimming and Bordering Pinwheels

In 2011 or 12, I made a start on a quilted table runner. I got as far as making these pinwheels. Each of the pinwheels was made by making 4 half square triangle blocks, and then stitching them together.  

The original squares of fabric were 3.5". My cutting/sewing as rather wobbly, and my finished pinwheel blocks were all slightly different. My first task was to trim them all to the same size, 5.5". Squares that are actually square! The next step is to border the squares.

When I was explain this was the prequel to my first quilt, the Beloved and Younger Offspring suggested the name of this quilt be 'The Pre-Quilt'.

The first border has been added to the squares. These border pieces were 1.5" x 5.5" for the top and bottom, and 1.5" x 7.5" for the sides. 

Let's Start at the Very Beginning

Many years ago, I took a fancy to do some machine patchwork/quilting. This is after saying for about 20 years, or more, that I didn't have the patience for patchwork and quilting. But, the fancy took me, and I duly ventured into my local craft shop. There I bought some fabrics to make a coffee table runner and one for the side board too. Also bought were a cutting mat, rulers and a rotary cutter.

I started then stalled. Some wonderful coloured strips came my way, and I wanted to play with those. These strips formed the first quilt I had made.

Next, I spied a beautiful set of strips, a rainbow! A quilt top was made, and then left unfinished as the fabric was bowing and distorting. (Since then I've learned the cause, but haven't taken the time to unpick the stitches and rectify the problem).

I've made 6 quilts, and a top, but have fabric for quite a few more! Today I saw a quilt and realised I had similar fabric, that very first set of fabric I bought in 2011 or 12. A number of pinwheels were made, and I'll adapt the design to incorporate those pinwheels. How fantastic will it be when I complete the very first quilt I started?!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Creative Writing Workshop

A local author was running a workshop on creative writing. It was immensely interesting and engaging.

Right at the beginning, the author spread out before us a number of paint chips, lots of colours, and each colour has a name.  We were asked to select a colour. The one I chose was 'endless shadow' - a soft grey.

The task was to allow the name, and the colour to inspire us. And we were asked to write down as many things, as quickly as possible.  

Several exercises later, I had come up with the start of a story about teenage Ciar (pronounced Keer).  Ciar's elderly dog dies and it's final breath it's spirit leaves the body and become visible - just. The spirit dog is no longer old, but  a curious mix of puppy and mature dog. It invites Ciar to follow, and this starts Ciar's adventure. The dog leads up the mountain side, into thick fog that regularly settles on the mountain. The journey through the mist into the into the land of the People,  the Shining Ones, Themselves.

There's so many cliches!  I've read many stories of teenagers discovering magic and that it lies within them. The spirit guide?! Using mist to travel between realities... And, the end of the story is Ciar doesn't return with the dog, having failed in the fairy quests, but they do return with a greater knowledge of themselves.

The story is set in the Isle of Man, and brings in references to Manx folk tales. Ciar is a red-head with white, white skin, a sprinkling of freckles and green eyes. Perhaps the only non-traditional part of the story is that Ciar is not given a sex nor gender. We just know them as an individual.  

I don't know if I wish to take this story any further given how many cliche boxes I have ticked. It might make a good exercise to complete it though - rather like working on scales and arpeggios when practising a musical instrument. Perhaps it might be a better idea to grab another paint chip and practise working on a story with fewer cliches.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Breakfast Muffins

This recipe is based on BBC Good Food Breakfast Muffins. Due to limited ingredients, there were are number of substitutions. This is the recipe I actually made.

1 ripe banana, mashed
2 large eggs
150ml pot yogurt
50ml oil
100g apple sauce 
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g SR flour (Dove Farm Gluten-Free)
50g rolled oats, plus extra for sprinkling
2 Tsp  sugar
1½ tsp cinnamon
2 Tsp mixed seeds, plus extra for sprinkling.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Place 12 muffin cases in a muffin tin.

In a large jug, mix the mashed banana, eggs, yogurt, oil, apple sauce, and vanilla. In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, oats, seeds and seeds. 

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix briefly until you have a smooth batter – don’t over mix as this will make the muffins heavy. 

Divide the batter between the cases. Sprinkle the muffins with the extra oats and the seeds. 

Bake for 25-30 mins until golden and well risen, and a skewer inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool. 

As the yogurt and apple sauce available to me were both sweetened, and I don't like honey, I decided to use 2 Tsp of sugar in the muffins.  The flour and oats used are both gluten-free.  

Ooh my! These are good. So moist, tender and tasty. It was a little weird having a mild hint of strawberry through it. I think next time I will use either a plain yogurt, or add fruit of that matches the flavour of the yogurt. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

Next time, I'll add more seeds. It can handle at least 3 tablespoons of seed and maybe even 4.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Cakes and Desserts for Breakfast?!

I am totally bemused and puzzled by American breakfast foods. What's with all of the sugar first thing in the morning?!

This morning, I fancied making something different, and decided to try a Cinnamon Roll Muffin recipe from 'Cooking Light'. I should have stopped on my first read through of the recipe. It didn't feel right. And, there was nothing 'light' about these muffins. They were dry and heavy, and absolutely laden with sugar. A recipe is not 'made light' by eliminating the fat and replacing it with sugar!

It's far better to have a wonderfully tasty muffin or cake once in a while than boring dull, heavy, dry travesties every day. This gets to the root of a what a treat is. It's not an every day item. It's something that wonderful sinful, lush and delicious, full of the 'eat occasionally' ingredients.

The one part of the recipe I did like was the cinnamon centre. I'll take that bit of the recipe and use it with one for tried and true muffins.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Lemon Chicken

This recipe is from Confessions of a Fit Foodie. The quantities have been changed into metric, and salt removed. Each person can then add salt to their own taste.

20g butter
1 Tsp oil
4 boneless chicken breasts
120g flour (I use Dove Farm Gluten-free flour)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
120ml lemon juice
1 Tsp lemon zest
120ml chicken stock
1 lemon, sliced

Mix together the flour, garlic powder, and pepper. Lightly coat each piece of chicken in the seasoned flour. Shake off excess.

Over a medium heat, melt the butter and mix in the oil. Brown the chicken on each side, and cook for 3 minutes on either side. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.

Deglaze the pan with the lemon juice and chicken stock. Return the chicken to the pan and top with lemon zest. Simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. The sauce should thicken a bit. Top with lemon slices and simmer for 5 more minutes.

This is excellent!  We all enjoyed it and wish to add it into our regular menu. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Grey Wrist Warmers

Company: Regia
Yarn: Black and Blue Color
Composition: 75% wool, 25% polyamide
Colour:  8841
Dyelot: 20369
Pattern: as detailed below
Needles: 2.5mm
Amount used: ~30g

When my wrists get cold they become very sore. Wrist warmers are a wonderful way to prevent soreness.

Cast on 56 stitches. Join. Work in 2x2 rib for 20 rounds.

In the next round, increase evenly across the work by 16 sts, giving 72sts. 

1. Knit
2. Knit
3. (K2tog 3 times, (yo, k1) 6 times, k2tog 3 times) 4 times
4. Knit

Work these four rounds 6 times.

Knit 2 more rounds, then purl, knit, purl and finish using a lace cast off. Weave in the ends and block.

Week 33: Kids' Closets

Monday: Read Organized Home Challenge #33: Kids' Closets
Tuesday: Declutter kids' closet hanging clothes
Wednesday: Declutter kids' closet shelves and drawers
Thursday: Declutter kids' closet floor
Friday: Declutter kids' bedroom dresser
Saturday: Continue to declutter kids' clothes
Sunday: Declutter hangers

This is here for completeness. My children are fully grown.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cheddar and Chive Scones

225g SR flour (I used Dove Farm Gluten-Free)
50g butter
15g chives
100g Cheddar cheese
1 egg
1Tsp wholegrain mustard

Pre-heat the oven to 220.

Rub the butter into the flour. Snip the chives into the bowl and grate the cheese. Break the egg into a jug, beat it and then top up to the 150ml mark with milk. Add the wholegrain mustard.

Mix the milk/egg mixture into the flour. If you are using wheat flour, roll out and cut into 9 scones. Place onto a greased baking sheet. If you are using gluten-free flour, spoon out into a buttered a muffin tray. Bake for about 10 -12 minutes.

A tasty addition would be little chunks of bacon. These should be cooked and cooled before adding to the mixture.

A serving suggestion is to split the scone, and add salmon and cream cheese.

Bored! (not really)

I was watching a Vsauce video on youtube about being bored. Michael (the presenter) mentioned the Boredom Proneness Scale. It took the test and it concluded "You have a 0% chance of being bored out of your skull."

This sounds about right to me. The only times I can remember being bored are when I am recovering from illness. There is a feeling of 'I want to do something, anything, but I don't have enough brain power to work out what I could do." Occasionally, I can think of activities, but I don't have the strength, patience, or brain power to carry them out. I now have a little file on my computer desktop entitled 'Open when bored'. It has a number of ideas for beating boredom. I really do need constructive outlets, otherwise I am a danger to myself and others.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Sweetcorn and Potato Chowder Thought

I tried to make the chowder as written, but didn't have several ingredients. Instead of nutmeg, cumin and sage, I used a little ginger, mixed herbs and garlic. This gave a good taste, but I'll add the specified ingredients to the shopping list.

My one reservation with the recipe is that the chowder is too thin. I like my soups good and thick, packed with veggies and full of flavour. To thicken it a bit more I added some frozen mashed potato. Next time, I'll blitz about a third of the soup just before the sweetcorn is added.


Second day soup is so much better! This will have been helped by adding the nutmeg and cumin seeds. I did buy sage, but I forgot to add it. We'll see what it's like when all of the ingredients are used.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Sweetcorn and Potato Chowder

This recipe is from Barbara Cousins' website.

2 Tsp oil
2 large onions, diced
1 tsp grated nutmeg
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp dried sage
2 bay leaves
900g potatoes, peeled and diced into 1cm cubes
1.75 L stock
2 Tsp gluten free flour
550 ml unsweetened dairy free milk
650g sweetcorn
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a saucepan and sweat the onion until it begins to soften.

Add the herbs, spices and potatoes and sweat for another 2 minutes, then add the stock and bring the mixture to the boil. Simmer for 5 to 8 minutes or until the potatoes are just cooked but still holding their shape.

Mix the flour and milk. Add to the pan along with the sweetcorn. Bring to the boil, stirring regularly and simmer for 2 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaves and serve.

Healthier Eating - the Veggie Edit

For a while now I've been wanting to eat more vegetarian and vegan foods. My problem has been as I can't eat gluten-stuff and chillies. Eggs need to be cooked into food. Cake is fine; quiche isn't. Dairy has to be used sparingly. I am not a fan of olives, mushrooms or avocados. This has rather limited my choices.

But, look! There's a recipe book for veggie stuff that takes this into consideration! Some of the recipes are vegan, some use dairy substitutes. I'm looking forward to some experimentation.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The recipe is from The Happy Coeliac. There was salt in the original recipe, but I have removed it.

115g butter (room temp)
75g soft brown sugar
75g sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
140g Dove Farm Gluten Free plain flour
1/2 tsp sodium bicarbonate
100g chocolate (either cut into small chunks, or chocolate chips)

Preheat the oven to 190C.

Cream the butter and sugars. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Sift in the flour and sodium bicarbonate. Mix well. Stir in the chocolate chunks or chip.

Place spoonfuls of the cookie dough onto a non-stick baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let the cookies cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. 

There was no sodium bicarbonate in the house, so I used SR flour instead of plain plus bicarb. 

My cookie sheets are old, and cheap. When they are hot they buckle a little. This caused the cooking cookie dough to run into the centre and make a mega-monster cookie. If the cookie had been smaller, there would have been more slightly crispy edgy stuff, more chewy bits, and a whole lot less goo. Tasty goo.

Impatience was also a factor in creating tasty goo. The second batch cooked far better than the first, as they cooked at the correct temperature. One of the cookies managed to remain separate from the mega-monster cookie. It was really lovely. More cookies like that one would be great!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Bedroom Cleaning

The utter joys of a decluttered room are the room is so incredibly easy to keep tidy, and it's a breeze to clean.

This is my current cleaning list for the bedroom. The weekly list takes about 15-20 minutes.

  • strip bed
  • washing bed linens
  • make bed with fresh linens
  • change towels
  • sweep floor (sweep under bed as far as the brush will allow)
  • wipe door and light switch
  • dust/polish the wardrobe, bedside tables, shelves, blanket box and mirror

  • pull bed out and sweep underneath
  • steam mop floor
  • wash windows

  • wash curtains
  • vacuum lamp shade
  • vacuum picture rail
  • vacuum top of wardrobe

Monday, August 7, 2017

Lemon Sauce

2 cups of stock
1 lemon 
lemon juice
fresh lemon juice
3/4 cups of sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

In saucepan bring stock to a boil. Zest the lemon and add to the stock. Ream the lemon and make it up to 1/2 cup. Add juice and sugar. Bring to the boil.

Blend together cornstarch and cold water and stir into the lemon sauce. Cook until thickened, stirring frequently and adjust seasoning to taste.

This sauce is very similar to the one from the Chinese restaurant we to eat at. They have new chefs and can't quite grasp the gluten-free thing. Next time, I'll make velveted chicken and serve it with boiled rice, lemon sauce and stir fried vegetables. 

I used a chicken Stock Pot and made it up to 2 cup with boiling water. 

This produced enough sauce for two meals. Half of the sauce has been stored in the fridge.

Week 32: Back to School

Monday: Read Organized Home Challenge #32: Back To School Organization
Tuesday: Create place to lay out week's clothing
Wednesday: Declutter backpacks/school bags
Thursday: Declutter/organize school supplies
Friday: Clear space for kids to do homework
Saturday: Create lunch packing station, and declutter lunch containers
Sunday: Declutter and organize kids' school papers

My children have grown, and there is no more school.

Week 31: Shoes

Monday: Read Organized Home Challenge #31: Shoes
Tuesday: Declutter dress and casual shoes
Wednesday: Declutter kids shoes
Thursday: Declutter boots of all types
Friday: Declutter and organize shoes by the entryway
Saturday: Declutter hats and caps
Sunday: Declutter kids' dress up clothes

I totally and utterly forgot to post the daily challenges last Monday. We have already completed all of the challenges, but for the sake of completeness, I've included them.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Outlander in an Parallel Dimension

I've been watching "Outlander". It's been causing a little bump in my normally very soft Scottish accent.

However, the number of inaccuracies is causing me quite a few problems. It's things like the accents, the music, the history, the geography, and a few other things too. But anyway, I have decided the story is set in a parallel dimension, not ours. This allows for all sorts of inaccuracies and re-writings for history. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Polishing Old Gems

Whilst my house was in a state of chaos and clutter, all I could think of was a new house, well designed and clutter-free.  And now that half of my current house is clutter-free, I'm looking at this house with new eyes. I'm seeing what can be done here to make a more beautiful house, and better place to live. Some of the rooms have been untouched since we moved in 10 years ago.

The kitchen was one of the first rooms to be decluttered. Since the arrival of the new fridge, I'll looking at it with new eyes. The leaner and more pared back the kitchen becomes, the more I like it.

The plan is to break down the kitchen make-over into many simple, easily contained projects. This will hopefully enable the kitchen never to look a mess.
  • wash the front wall
  • paint the front wall white
  • add a clock to the front wall
  • remove the plate and mug rack
  • wash the back wall
  • paint the back wall white
  • erect open shelves for mugs, glasses and plates
  • remove glasses cabinet
  • remove wire hanging mesh on side wall
  • wash side wall
  • paint side wall
  • put up magnetic knife strip
  • put up utensil bar and hooks
Then things get a smidge bigger in scale. The white and exposed wood is to be painted with gloss, and the cabinet doors and drawers to be painted dark brown (Java gel stain). The last step will be to put down new flooring.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Braised Cabbage

1 Tsp butter 
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced 
1 eating apple, halved, cored, and sliced 
1/2 red cabbage, cored, quartered, and thinly sliced 
1/2 cup water 
2 Tsp cider vinegar 

Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pot. Cook the onion until it starts to soften (about 4-6 minutes). Stir in red cabbage and and apple. Season with pepper and cinnamon. Add vinegar, and water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until cabbage is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. 

This can be stored in the fridge and re-heated.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Socks for Me

Company: Regia
Yarn: Black and Blue Color
Composition: 75% wool, 25% polyamide
Colour:  8841
Dyelot: 20369
Pattern: my standard sock pattern
Needles: 2.5mm
Amount used: ~55g

Cast on 60 sts, join. Work 20 rounds in 2x2 rib, then switch to stocking stitch for 30 rounds.

Knit 15 sts, then turn the work. Slip the first stitch and purl the next 29. Turn. Work another 28 rows in stocking stitch, slipping the first stitch of each row. These 30 stitches form the heel flap.

To turn the heel, slip 1, k16, ssk, k1, turn. S1, p5, p2tog, p1, turn. (S1, k to 1st before gap, ssk, k1, turn. S1, p to 1st before gap, p2tog, p1.) Repeat the section in brackets until there are 18 sts. Turn, s1, k17.

Pick up 15sts from the side of the heel flap. Place stitch marker. Knit 30 stitches. Place stitch marker. Pick up 15sts from the other side of the heel flap. 

Shaping the gusset: Knit to 3sts before stitch marker, work k2tog, k1, move stitch marker from left needle to right, knit 30st, move stitch marker, k1, ssk, knit to end of round. The next round is knit. Repeat these two rounds until there are 60sts on the needles again.

Knit until the sock reaches the crease at the base of the big toe. The start shaping the toe of the sock. Knit to 3sts before stitch marker, work ssk, k1, k1, ssk, knit to 3st before stitch marker, ssk, k1, k1, k2tog, knit to end of round. The next round is knit. Repeat these two rounds until there are 28 stitches left. Graft toe. Weave in ends.

The socks were finished on the 13th of August.