Thursday, May 31, 2007

'cos that's what you do when someone says that!

I've been keen to try my hand at baking snickerdoodles ever since Veronica starting hiding them in Wallace's locker. (and how someone can look so glum while baking something called a snickerdoodle I will never understand!)

This week Bells' post over at Mouthfuls of Heaven (which, by the way, already has me 100% decided that the first thing I'm gonna buy when I get from OS is Nigella) was the straw that pushed me over the snickerdoodling edge - and I gotta say its gooood over here in snickerdoodleland!!

In true Mars style I couldn't resist a doing a little (ok, probaby too much) research and, despite stumbling across a post of Nigella's recipe, when I found a 'Ronnie recipe I couldn't resist! =)

These little pieces of snickerdoodly goodness are light and crispy around the edges, cakey and cinnamony in the middle mmmmmmmmm

There was one correction to the recipe, though - I'm pretty certain they should have 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, not 2 tablespoons.


So the verdict is that the snickerdoodle is a winner!
And with the nod from Veronica I would never expect anything less!

besos,

Kuka =)






edited to add - I asked the same question as Bells re 'a stick of butter'. After employing investigative methods learned from the tiny blonde one herself (ie google ;)) I can now tell you a stick of butter is 125g =)

Winter Wonderland

The National Capital Authority have announced (vagueish) plans to turn the shores of Lake Burley Griffin into a winter wonderland - ice-skating and carnival rides in the school holidays, winter night markets in August and heaps of other stuff. =)

Jiipa!

besos =)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

chasing wild geese

You know when you're positive you saw something in a shop and then you go back and its not there - in fact there's no evidence it ever was, not even and empty space on the shelf?
That's what happened to me today.

I've been working on the Manly Mitts but having gone down several needle sizes for the ribbing I found that the body of the mitten was going to be too small.
The pattern calls for 3.5mm or 4mm dpns, and I haven't been able to find 3.5s anywhere (apparently its a US size) when I went down as far as 3.25mm for the ribbing I was sure I wouldn't need anything more than 3.75 for the rest (the pattern uses the same size for cuff and body, which I thought was kinda weird anyway)

While I haven't seen 3.5mms anywhere, last time I was at Big W they had at least a gazillion (oooh, I had to quit with the 'bajillion' - ever since Elliot and her bajingo it just hasn't sounded quite the same)other sizes including 3.75mm.

Off I went at lunch time, only to find the knitting section at my local Big W had been quite seriously raided - there was a shelf filler lady filing the yarn, but she wasn't quite up to the accessories.

So, I decided to leave work a little early so I could duck into the Big W in Civic - where I knew for sure I could pick some up since I'm sure they have a better range anyway.
I arrived in Civic in time for Big W (but not for any other knitting retailer) only to find that they didn't have them either - and there wasn't even an empty space!!!

I swear to the great knitting deities I saw them there last time!!

What I did see though, and this made up for lack of dpns, was the cute swatches I'd seen blogged over with Pierre the Yarn Snob
Cute, hey?

And for now I guess it's onward and upward with the 4mm dpns I had at home all along =S

besos =)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

smittens

Yipppeee - the squirrelly mitts are aaaaaaaaalmost done!!!
I have about 6 rows to go on the thumb, then just the weaving in and blocking (the stitches on these guys are definately going to benefit from good blocking - they're a little crooked)

Today I started on the Manly Mitts, but will have to start over with smaller needles, since the ribbing looked like it could have been the start of a beanie!!!

besos!

ok, editing to add that this was one of those days where blogger does inexplicable things... I tried to post before and it siad I couldn't, now when I've come back my post is there!!!

The squirrels are now done except for grafting at the top of the thumb and the weaving in.

I re-started the Manly Mitts on 3.25mm needles (down from 4mm) and am about 1.25inches into the cuff ribbing - they're looking like a much better fit now =)

I'll post some pics in the next couple of days once I've started on the colour work (black cuff ribbing does not make for exciting photography!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I said brrrrr....

Oh yes, there definately must have been some Toros in the atmosphere around Canberra today 'cos it was cold out there!

But, see that lady up the top there, it wasn't that cold.

Ohh no I don't think it could ever be that cold!

Stay warm!

Besos =)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Vintage Vogue

Today was the day of days on the Canberra knitting calendar - the Celebration of Wool at the Old Bus Depot Markets in Kingston.
You can read about it here and here and probably a bunch of other places.

But not here on account of, unfortunate but true, the Boy and I had some other pre-booked non-negotionable type familial obligations.

We lunched chez the Boy's mum's cousin Susie, just outside of Goulburn. (I'm sure there's a word for your mum's cousin, but let's just stick with cousin Susie =))

It was a beautiful sunny day, and it was really nice to catch up with some of the Boy's family before I head off on my holiday (3 weeks to go!!)

And despite missing the 'big event', there was some wooly action.

Like the Big Merino.

If it had just been the Boy and I then I would have made him stop (we got a lift with his dad), since, as the old Shetland proverb goes, 'Where's there's sheep there's gonna be wool, except in the case of rare mutant fleeceless breeds.'
(welll, you know, something like that...)

During the three hours or so spent in the car, I was able to make some progress on the second squirrelly mitten.

I've passed where the thumb is, and expect I should be able to finish this week =)
Hurrah.

(Of course, I've already got plans (and wool!) for my next project - I'm all set to cast-on a pair of Knitty's Manly Mitts for the Boy.)

I should also mention that Cousin Susie is quite the fibre-fiend - she both knits and crochets, and spins too.

I always enjoy catching up with her to see what project she has on the boil, especially since her style is so different from mine - really intuitive and organic, no pattern just the feeling that this will need a little increase here or extra ribbing there.

Today she showed me a jumper she is working on, with a kind of basket-weave texture.


And knit on the most amazing needles I've ever seen (oooh, perhaps with the exception of those knitpicks Jejune was show 'n' telling last time I went to S'n'B!) - 12mm dpns she had made herself from a length of wood dowel!

But I think my favourite thing knitty that Cousin Susie has shared with me was on one visit late last year.

Whilst cleaning up in her studio she came across a pile of old knitting magazines and patterns, and thought I might like them =)
Wooooot!!!

This afternoon, feeling the yarn envy rise as I started to see some of the stashalicious pics of loot collected by fellow Canberra knitters at the Celebration today, I thought this would be the perfect chance for me to share some envy inducing knittiness of my own.

Todays pics are brought to you by Cousin Susie, via my original vintage Vogue Knitting Book, No. 45, printed 1954.
Cool, huh?

Besos =)

btw, check out that knitted dress!!! Amazing!!! =)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Why I'm an idiot and other stuff from this week

If you're at least a semi-regularish dropper in chez Kuka you may have noticed a lack of posting action this week.

For this we can thank a certain Australian communications provider.
I may have mentioned previously that the internet at home was playing up a little, and we have been waiting for an ADSL connection to be set up.
Every week the Boy calls said company, every week he is told it will be 'about one more week'
That is, until last week.
When he was told to 'chill out'.
(Anyone who has met the boy will know how funny this is - to be any more 'chilled' when dealing with this kind of thing he would have to be inside a deep freezer, 10 feet deep under Santa's secret workshop at the North Pole!!!)
That's when I had a little 'ok, give me the phone' moment.
So now we're on free unlimited dial up until the ADSL is worked out.
Main problem with that is that now when I am in a situation where I can connect to wireless my laptop keeps trying to connect to dial-up, sets me to working off-line etc.
Eeeek its so annoying!!!
I have made sure that dial-up isn't the default, but I don't know what else to do???

Next.
Yes, I am an idiot - you read it here first.
At least, I assume you read it here first, and that noone else has posted that already....
(hmmm, note to self, google self)
This came to me in a moment of clarity on the bus (of all places) on Thursday evening.
On Monday I had finished the ribbing on the second squirrelly mitten, and taken out my 2.75 dpns to continue.
I found myself asking that age old question of knitters world-wide - where the frack did I put my needle gauge???!!!?
Luckily I knew exactly where I had put my 2.75s, so I got them out, packed away the 2.25s and kept on knitting. (those needle gauges always turn up eventually, right?)
Then, on Thursday, after 2.5 days of working on my squirrelly mittens I suddenly realised that I was using 3 2.25s and one 2.75 needle. eeek.
I don't know what happened, but all of a sudden it was completely obvious to me that the needle I had in my hand was too small.
I got home, checked the little 2.25 pack, and sure enough three of the needles in there were bigger than the 4th. eeeeeeeeeeek again!
Luckily I was up to the very top of the wrist, where you are about to go to the widest part of the hand, so I think I should be able to get away with it, and without having to rip - hurrah!

On Thursday night I had a fabuous night of Knitting and Nachos with Liv, who was kind enough to provide her needle gauge for confirmation of needle size (and clever enough to know where her gauge was!!!)
I made some great progress, finishing a second set of zombie squirrels, with just snow flakes to go, got to check out the progress on the gorgeous project Liv is working on, and see some fabulous and tiny felting too =) (and aaaah nachos!)

On Monday it will be only 3 weeks until Mum and I fly out to Europe!!
I'm so excited, and on checking the airline website today I was super excited to see that June's in-air movies are out! (is that weird?? 'Cos I'm even excited about the planes!!!)
I'll get to see Because I Said So, which I would have definately gone to see at the cinema (yeah, I heart Mandy Moore! shhh) Music and Lyrics and Ghost Rider, both of which I was also interested in, plus Aladdin and the Lion King, and heeeeaaaaaaaps of other stuff - hurrah!!! =)

oooooooooh I'm sooooooooooooo excited!!!!!!

besos =)

Monday, May 14, 2007

the pluses

Ok, so for the most part catching the bus around Canberra isn't too bad.
Sure, sometimes the government has an, er, interesting perspective on the needs of commuters.
And it does get fecking cold waiting in that long long line in Civic.
But its amazing how much of that stretched out single file queue you can concertina into one bus.
And once you get on the bus its warm and the sun is all shiny out the window and its so nice driving over the lake =)

Then there's the characters.

Like Ugly Betty girl.
Not because she's ugly, there's just something about her. She just always looks like she's really tried to be super ready for the day, but every morning I expect her high heel to snap as she steps off the bus, or a big gust of wind blow her skirt up around her head, or a bus zoom past splashing mud all over her like on the tv, you know.

And old chocolate bar man, who gets on the bus with a shopping bag full of chocolate bars.
At about 80 years old I've seen this gentleman polish off a Mars Bar, a Milky Bar and a King Size Twirl in the 14 minutes it takes the bus too get from civic to Woden at 8:20am!!
I kinda feel like I should be carrying emergency insulin in my handbag =S

Then there are the characters who you would do anything to avoid being in a confined space with.

Of all the people I catch the bus with I have always found that it is Headphones Guy that most grates on my nerves.
I simply can't understand how a person could possibly need to have their music turned up so loud that people 5 rows in front and on the other side of the bus can make out every beat of every bad ass hip-hopping track.

Then I met Discman Dude.
Its 8:30am.
Discoman Dude is having a disco party in his ears (ew, the wax!) and we're all invited!
I can hear every. single. lyric. of every. single. song of some cd that I can best describe as Kylie Minogue's favourite disco dancing tunes.
And, to be honest, at 8:30am it is nausea inducing!

Oprah had a special on the other night, about The Secret.
(actually, ,if you missed Oprah, or want to know more about the secret, I believe the guys from The Chaser summed it up pretty well - you can download the episode 8 vodcast here)
"Ask the universe, visualise, and you will receive"
Let me tell you, I'm sitting on the bus visualising the universe handing me a giant pair of scissors to cut those headphones off, right under the chin!
Stops me stabbing someone with a knitting needle anyway..... ;)

besos =)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

112 points goes to our friends and neighbours...

What is with the BBC Eurovision guy???
Every year England are rubbish and every year he has a big whinge about how nobody is voting for them because all the Scandinavians vote for each other etc etc blah blah blah!
I always wish I could mute him, but keep the "Good evening to you Helsinki, this is Nicosia calling!"
He's neither funny nor clever, he just sounds like a big sookie-la-la sore loser!!
Seriously, I think we should petition SBS to find some other coverage to broadcast.
(it isn't just me is it???)

Any-hoo, as I guess you might have gathered from the above, I did manage to catch some Eurovision action tonight (between Grey's, and with Rove taping), and a little last night to (oooh, Denmark, the shame! why?)
While I do enjoy the spectacle of the performances, the reading of my votes is my favourite part =)

As well as the Eurovision, I managed to get a couple of other things crossed off my list too.....

My freezer is now empty of anything unidentifiable or prehistoric (we just moved over everything that was in it at his mum's place) and has been filled with a couple of serves of potato and leek soup, a dozen little sausage rolls, and several dozen mini-quiche.

The quiche came from a recipe in the Essential Fingerfood Cookbook, and turned out perfectly!
I know I've said it already, but I just think these books are great!
This one moves through a number of different sorts of fingerfood - canapes and anti-pasto through asian to mediterranean and 'tex-mex'.
The recipes are all (well, as far as I can see) easy to follow, and there are great pics too.
What I especially liked, too, was that many of the recipes have info about what you can do ahead of time or freeze - which is handy if you are planning for a party or if, like us, you would like to have a try at making (and tasting!) home made curry puffs but couldn't get through 73 of them (or however many the recipe would make).

Speaking of new cookbooks and making stuff from them, I baked a batch of 'Marrakech Moments' cupcakes from Cupcakes Galore.
This book was a little different from most of the other cupcake books I have (and yes, there are a few of them) in that the focus was all on the recipes, and less so on the decoration and photography of the finished products. I have found that often the recipes are a fairly standard set from one book to the next, with the intrigue being in the decorations.
Cupcakes Galore takes the flavours to a whole new level, including cupcakes based on cocktails (Mint Julep, Pina Colada, Margarita, Cuba Libre (ooh yes - rum and coke in a cake)), desserts (Peach Melba, Crepe Suzette, Creme Brulee) and teas (Earl Grey, green) to name a few.

I'm sure you're wondering what exotic experience the Marrakesh Moment lends the palate - good old choc-orange =)
(so even if the flavours aren't out of the ordinary, their names are! ;))
Again, I was really pleased with how the recipe came out - you divide half of a chocolate batter between your papers, then put a spoon full of cream cheese favoured with orange juice in each and then cover with the rest of the batter.

I will say, though, that whilst this recipe was a quick easy mix it all together recipe, lots of the recipes in this book are pretty fussy - with beating of eggwhites, folding through etc.

There's a couple of the finished products, hanging out with my newly cast-on second squirrelly mitten (yay) on my newly tidied up trestle table!
Hurrah =)

And, of course, at the same time as I baked I could Scrub too =)

There was also the opportunity to get a few rounds done on each of the footy granny-along square blankets whilst watching a couple of pretty close games =)

Oooh, and there was washing too - those are fresh clean Spongebobs and Patricks pillow fighting their way across our bed =)

Aah a weekend well done, I think.
So, now I just have to wait til the next =p

besos =)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I'm no superman

Ok, so if I know I'm no superman, how is it that I always set myself such a long list of things I want to do (all on my own!) every weekend?

This weekend I would like to:

- clean out the freezer;

- make mini-quiche and beef samosas (both from the essential fingerfood cookbook, which I picked up during the week) plus some little sausage rolls and some potato and leek soup to put into the cleaned out freezer;

- bake 'Marrakech Moments' cupcakes from my also new cupcake book - Cupcakes Galore;

- watch Scrubs season four (hey, I never said they weren't fun things - just that there's lots of them!);

- while we're on the topic of watching, I'd also like to watch the Saints play the Swans in the AFL and the Eurovision semifinal (both on at the same time Saturday night), and then Grey's Anatomy, Eurovision finals (the one night of the year where the europhile in me embraces my inner tragic nerd!) and Michael Weatherly (from NCIS) on Rove (all at the same time on Sunday night);

- do some research for our holiday (oooh only one month to go!!!!!) mostly to figure out more clearly how the trains work and what we want to do in Paris and the UK;

- start on a pair for either my DNA wrist warmer or my squirrelly mitten (tricky to decide, since I feel I should finish the squirrels first - on account of having started first - but I'm pretty sure the wrist warmer woud be faster

and its getting toward that time of year in Canberra where your wrists can get a bit chilly =s;

- tidying up of my trestle table;

- and as always there are several loads of weekly washing, plus I'd like to do the sheets and jeans.

eeeek!!

oooh, and its so hard to get anything done in this beautiful weather look at that sunshine!!!

That's some patons fireside sunning itself in my geraniums there =)
It's so lovely and squooshy, and may eventually find itself knit up into mittens.
But for now it seems quite content to lounge...

aaah,I know just how it feels!! ;)

besos =)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

wrist-warmer high-five!

During a little Scrubs (season 3) 'half-marathon' I managed to make enough progress on the wrist warmers to be able to see the start of the DNA cable - high five!!!



Here's a progress shot of the first one posing with my (almost) brand new knitting book - The Knitter's Handbook.


(I bought this with a Borders gift voucher T & N gave me for my birthday.

Oooh this book is so pretty!
I really love the way that each different section of the book - patterns, cables, etc - has a different colour along the side of the pages, and all the swatches match that colour!
The photography is so beautiful, and the instructions are clear - I used it the night I got it home to try a different cast-on method =))

The wrist warmers are turning out very well, I think.
I am using Lincraft's 'Lima' and it feels really soft, and I'm really pleased with how the cables are coming up - especially since these are my very first =)

I've got a little bit to go, then its time to start the thumb gusset =)

yipee

besos =)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

squirrels and shoes...

Cute, huh?

My internet is still a little touchy - all I can manage is a pic or two =)
Luckily they speak for themselves....

Cast-on tonight for some cabled wrist warmers - they'll be my first cables, and I'm going to substitute in the DNA cable (will link later when I have friendlier connection =)

Both squirrels and shoes were show 'n' telled at S'n'B tonight

And ooooh was there some show 'n' tell!!!

Jejune was passing around her fancy new Knit picks circulars, then there were gorgeous yarns from Canada, and the Yarn Harlot's new book!!!

Right there in real life!!

Wish me luck trying to get this up to the www!! =)

besos =)

Are you serious?

I heard a little girl telling a funny joke on the bus yesterday...

Why did the turtle cross the road?

To get to a shell service station!

hehe

(I've met this little girl before - she's always had a good sense of humour - when Beauzo said pensive, that made her laugh! =))

I have one finished squrrelly mitten to blog, but my home internet isn't working =( so pics will have to wait

There may be a special guest appearance at S'n'B tonight =)

Besoso =)