Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Little List

I'm in the process of revising.  Now that I've finished school and spring has arrived, it's time to do a little housekeeping.  It's time to organize, edit, rearrange, and check that one systems still work. When one is in a period of growth and moulting, there are a lot of little feathers to pick up.

I have to say that after the Pythonesque insanity of the last couple of years, I feel a little like Wile E. Coyote standing by the side of the road, singed from the roadrunner-shaped bomb that went off and spitting feathers out his mouth. However, I caught the roadrunner so I'm up on that score. Time to wash the soot out of my ears. So I'm making changes.

Food:  Years ago, I banished fast food from my diet with a few exceptions.  It was tricky when I was in a hurry but I rarely had that moment of yuck that filled my belly the second the wrappers were crumpled and tossed back into the bag.  As a student, fast food began creeping in again after too many meals done on the fly.  There are still french fries wedged into unreachable places in my car.  The fact that they are still in the same condition as when they fell into those spots only reinforces my stance.  The fast food is once again banished. Like Napoleon. That's right, greasy burgers - it's Waterloo for you! I'm allowing Subway and DQ ice cream as occasional eats because I've never felt ill after eating either and I can pretend that Subway's moderately healthy.

Secondly, I am resolving to make a new and untried recipe once a week. Or more if I have time. I love cooking but with my time eroded by studies and other commitments, I have relied heavily on eating what others have cooked and what's available - beyond boring for a would-be foodie like myself. This way, I can start knocking things off the "I've always wanted to try making..." list.

So far:
Dutch Oven Bread
Smells like potential
Sourdough bread starter

Raisin Cake - it's a really good snack cake but very dense and reminiscent of gingerbread.  Must use a brown sugar or cream cheese frosting to really complete it.  Too heavy without it. Best during the three days after it's baked.

Sourdough bread - from this book

I've been better at being social.  I've actually initiated plans with friends instead of waiting for people to contact me. And when you don't have Facebook, people forget to tell you things.  I can be more proactive. I'm certainly not getting Facebook.

I also want to finish my works in progress before starting new ones. I have a few I'd like done and dusted before I begin piling more things on my work surfaces.
Still going:

1) Spiderweb - needs quilting though I can't decided how yet
2) Figgy Pudding - you know, the one I basted two years ago and haven't touched because I decided I wanted to free-motion and couldn't make my old machine do it.  Well, no excuse now, and it'd be nice to have the Christmas quilt finished before the next Christmas comes around.
3)Scrappy afghan - I figure I'll have this one done before the Stanley Cup is hoisted.  But then, I also thought I'd have it finished before my beloved Bruins were knocked out.* C'est la vie.

4)White socks. I think I have about five inches to go before the toes start.  I'm glad I'm doing both of them at the same time or I'd be finished one and unlikely to start the second.

When I'm not working on these bits, I'll be starting the Great Purge of 2012. Drawers, closets, old notes, computer files... the lot. Though the digital age has begun limiting the paper detritus that I accumulate in a given year, I have found that electronic clutter has started to infiltrate my organized existence. Must. Stop. Data. Incursion!

We'll see how it goes... I'll let you know how the sourdough turns out.

*The Bruins being out is bittersweet. The series was basically stolen by the Caps third string goalie who played for the Saskatoon Blades and was my favourite player when he was here.  I'm so freaking happy for him that it takes the sting out of the B's not showing up to play. Braden Holtby.  Love that kid.  Reminds me of Brodeur. (AKA greatest goalie of all-time).

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Blue Skies: Finished

There were only two games Friday and they finished quite early. Before and after, I had a little space to myself to do some quilting.
Thanks for the help, Dad!

 This entire project was an experiment from start to finish. Completely improv pieced background. Using two different degree dresden rulers and random length wedges.
I dabbled a little more with free-motion quilting and tried variegated threads and a little bit of wool. I wanted the sun to be less separate from the background and tried free-handing some flames.

Finished size is about 35x39". Backed and bound in a pale blue Kona.
I added pocket pockets on the back for hanging it. I won't show you the back though.  I will concede some tension issues. The variegated threads were much thicker than I normally use and I have to keep the tension on the top ratcheted up to the maximum when free-motioning. Finding the balance between speed, top tension and thread breakage point was a challenge. Much learned. The perfectionist in me has been persuaded to let it go.

It will be headed overseas shortly as a gift for a friend who doesn't read this blog. :-)


My scrappy afghan is coming along.  I was about 16" into the fourth panel when I picked it up last week. Now the fourth panel is complete and I've cast on the fifth and hopefully final panel.  
Most of them are capped with an off-white, which you can't see because of the sun coming in the windows. The last one has a brown top on it. However, if the plan comes to together (and I love it when a plan comes together.... A-Team, anyone? No?) then the top will actually be the side when it's finished.  Once sewn, I intend to throw it in the washer and give it a good felting, or at least a fulling. I am already well-aware that this could go horribly, horribly awry. Much like some of the hockey games I've watched while knitting it.  Of the three teams out right now, two I was sad to see go.  Sharks - my heart is bleeding for you, but you gotta show up, guys. My western hopes (the east is still too open but go, Bruins!) are now solely pinned on the Preds. I can think of a few people in need of a Weber-ing. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


It snowed here this weekend.  Sure it was all but gone by Sunday afternoon but the return of white after every indication that spring had begun send a message to my belly. Soup. And soup requires bread.

I finally tried the Dutch Oven No-Knead Bread that had popped up in weblogs all over the better part of the last two years. It never ceases to amaze me how this
becomes this
I made a few mistakes. I a)let it rise too long since it said 12-18 hours - I think I left it 20-22; b) had my oven too hot - my independent thermometer was not on the oven rack as usual so 475 degrees was probably closer to 500 and the bottom got a little scorched; and c) I forgot to slash the top. I meant to, but when I flipped the dough into the pan, flour went everywhere, and I got distracted. I had a little flour up my nose. But the mistakes weren't a huge deal and it won't stop me from making it again.

It was the perfect, dense, chewy loaf for my chunky potato soup.  And the day after with leftover soup, it was even better.

I cannot for the life of me manage to get a good photo or two of my new sweater which I have worn twice already.  Oh the tumults of lighting and needing someone else's hands... I'll try again tomorrow.

I'm also dealing with a sore shoulder from too much knitting.  The first week of playoffs have meant over 42000 stitches for my scrappy afghan.  I have yarn burn on my throwing finger. Probably looking at a suspension, though there was no intent to injure so it's unlikely I'll be putting down my sticks for more than a game or two. :-) I tried to find a better pair of needles today but no one had 3.25mm circs in a length longer than 12". Amazingly, I walked into a hockey discussion at the knitting shop. The unprecedented circus of violence that has been the first round makes for a interesting debate amongst the lace weight and chunky skeins...

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Now that everyone has let me know they've arrived safely, I can tell you a little bit about the tokens of appreciation I sent out for the lovely and generous contributions to the Teacher Identity Project.

I had knit and felted a large square of oatmeal-coloured wool ages ago and it had lingered in my fabric stash just waiting for the right thing. I grabbed some floss, felted wool sheets, and rescued ribbon and went to town...

Lavender, pussywillows, sweet peas, hydrangeas, and tulips.  They were delightfully fun to make. Nothing fancy - just tokens. You can read more about them here and here.

Thanks again, ladies!


I imagine the craftiness will slow down a bit around here for a while.  Hockey playoffs have started so I've returned to my straight stockingnette stitch scrap afghan as it's simple enough I can do without watching my hands constantly.  The first round has been really intense so far; a patterned project would be dangerous. I learned this one the hard way two years ago with my lace medallion coverup and an olympic mitten that was ripped back into oblivion after it proved to be beyond pathetic when I tried to stripe it. [Shakes head with memory of the ill-conceived notion...]

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Still here...

Things have been busy.

I wrote a final today, the last of my degree, and have a paper due Thursday morning.  Then that about does it.  I'll have a new batch of letters to add behind my name.  On my first day of classes back in '97, I went to the campus pub with some friends and had a beer.  On my last day of classes last week, I did the same, bookending my educational journey so far. The pub is extremely different now. I suppose I am, too.

I manage to get a few things done in the last little while that weren't school-related.  Blue Skies is basted.
My spiderweb quilt was laid out, sewn together, freed from its paper backings, and basted. My sweater finished, though I don't have pictures yet.
Thank you gifts made and sent, with more on that later. A resolution to be more social this summer was made and has so far been acted upon.  It's been a whirlwind.

I'm tired. LOL. I've applied for my certification and am readying my applications for jobs. I'll have to pick up something for the summer, too. I'll get to that, just not immediately. Working doesn't bother me but I dislike job-hunting. It ranks right up there with funerals and infomercials for me. I think I'll take a little breather first, tackle some of the things on the unfinished list. I figure I've earned it.