Wednesday, May 30, 2012

In May I am reading...

Ha - just sneaking in my reading post this month (again)!!

Last year I discovered the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency tv series -which I LOVE - it is totally brilliant!!
I hadn't read any of the books though, and so was very excited when I unwrapped a parcel that arrived a week before my birthday to discover it was the first two books in the series (thanks aunty Margie!).

The book is just as lovely as the series - so much fun to read!
I have finished the first, but not started the second yet - so looking forward to it!


Want to be part of our bloggy bookclub for May?
Leave a comment below, or a link to your blog, telling us what you're reading this month!


Monday, May 28, 2012

Weekend in pics

Boringest blog title ever, right? Whatevs - here's my weekend in pictures!

We slow cookered on Friday night, since I worked from home and also the guy was away from Saturday morning til Sunday arvo. This week was Lamb Rogan Josh*. I was a bit disappointed that my yoghurt split, and I think I may have over done it with the cardamom, but tasty none the less! The rice looks a bit fancy, but is just done in the rice cooker, with a bit of turmeric chucked in the water, and some fennel & cumin seeds, then slivered almonds stirred through at the end (love a bit of crunch!)

There was quite a bit of knitting on the travelling woman shawl, after spending the whole week honey cowling (incidentally, on Thursday a colleague and I were knitting together at lunchtime and someone thought I was knitting a COW!)
I was a little bit cheeky with the traveling woman, trying to squeeze out an extra repeat of chart A, since I still had a third of my yarn left when I was ready to go on to chart B, but it just disappeared! The thing about triangle shawls, I guess, is that the rows just get longer and longer (and longer!). I started weighing my yarn after each row, and I was going to be short by about 8 grams, so I pulled back to my lifeline (hurrah) and now just have about 8 more rows to go! Stay tuned!

I finally got around to tidying my dining sewing table enough that there was enough space to get this baby out of the box! I haven't actually plugged it in yet, but have had a read of the book, and practised opening and closing everything! Ha! I'll have to get it going this weekend, now that I have my first project organised... =)

Sunday arvo was Brown Owls, and lovely Danielle taught us a clever method for needle turn applique. Just look at her work! (and do check out her beautiful blog to see more!)

It was a wonderful afternoon - there was quite a group of us (in fact, for the first time ever I think we might have been noisy enough to drown out the noise from the kids' drama group next door).
I'm so enamoured with Danielle's work that  now I'm completely obsessed with doing a project myself - I think I'll start with something smaller like a cushion cover though!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

My creative space :: honey

For the first time in a loooong time, I have two 'active' knitting projects in my creative space!
You can probably tell I'm a bit in love with the travelling woman shawl I'm working on, but there's so much going on at work this week that I needed something much simpler.
Plus, I wanted I could work on while I chatted to Suzy's customers at the OBDM on Sunday.

Enter the honey cowl!

I copy-catted Danielle on this one, after seeing her gorgeous version in BC Garn Semilla I just couldn't resist!

It is knitting up beautifully too - so soft and squooshy!


More creative spaces here!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lace helpers

I am so very close to finishing my travelling woman, but before I have it all done to show off I thought I might share some of the little lace helpers I learned from Miss Fee at the Suzy Hausfrau lace workshop, which I have been taking full advantage of to keep track of my knitting on this project. 

I am super impressed with the pattern - it has every single piece of information you need to make your lace knitting easy, including having the lace presented both in chart form AND written out, and my FAVOURITE of all, which you can see in the pic there, a list of the stitch count after every single row you do! I've been counting my stitches after every single knit (right-side) row, and crossing them out on the list as I go. This has been so helpful since you know immediately if you have made a mistake in the row and it is quick to fix right away instead of only realising a few rows later on and having to try and find where it is and then pull your knitting back. It also helps me keep track of which row I am up to - super handy.

The next really clever trick we learned was those red lengths of yarn there - life-lines! This makes it so much easier if you need to undo some of your knitting for some reason - you just need to move the stitches from the waste yarn onto some needles and you're good to go! I put them in the last row before the lace, just in case I made a mistake on my first go through. The pattern then recommends putting life lines in at row 8 of each repeat of the first chart (did I mention how helpful the pattern is with all the extra info?!) - and since I'm a stickler for rules, that's what I did! I haven't had to use them yet, fingers crossed I won't, but it is such a quick think to do to give you that extra security!

The next tip from Miss Fee was generous use of the highlighter! This is not only very handy for keeping track of where I'm up to, having the row you're working on underlined by your previous highlighting helps keep you on the same row as you read across mid-knit! Another thing that makes it easier to read the chart as you knit across is writing in the number of stitches in a row - like where I have written in the 4 and 5 there - so much easier than counting!

I really think the fact that the pattern includes so much supporting info makes it PERFECT for a beginner!

Fingers crossed for a finished project post next week!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

To market, to market

Tonight's slow cookerpalooza dish is paprika chicken (from Slow Cooker 2, natch), and its lesson is that slow cooked dishes aren't all that pretty, especially when viewed via grainy poorly lit photos taken with the iPhone. 
Lesson two however is that you shouldn't judge a slow cooked dish by its grainy poorly lit iPhone photo, as this was really delicious. We tweaked the recipe a little - using a full tin of tomatoes instead of a cup (to avoid leftovers) and adding wine instead of sherry (because we didn't have any). Both these changes worked perfectly, since we served it on pasta and they made it more pasta-saucey. I think lamb will always be my favourite slow cooked meat, but I do like the way the chicken breaks down. Also, Paprika is the first name of my favourite Danish actress.

I was super pleased this evening that we had cooked this up yesterday, firstly because slow cooked dishes do tend to taste even better the day after cooking, but also because I am a bit knackered after spending the day playing booth bitch stall hand for my friend Suzy Hausfrau at the Old Bus Depot Markets Celebration of Wool !

Of course my photos don't do it justice (are you sensing a theme here?), but the stall looked MAGNIFICENT! And obviously I wasn't the only one to think so - we were pretty super busy all day!

I was super lucky to get my hands on one of Michelle's lovely bags (she sold out by 11am!!!), but other than that managed to  restrain myself and only bought some of the amazing salty & sweet popcorn you can sometimes get at the markets. I even walked right on past the Fudge People (although this may have less to do with self restraint and more to do with memories of mum and I trying to get through about 2 kilos of the stuff in the few days between leaving York and getting on the plane to come home from our holiday last year!)

The best part (aside from hanging out with Suzy all day!) was meeting so many yarn enthusiasts, and of course admiring all the beautiful hand-knits!
Next year I'll have an iPad and be adding patterns to my Ravelry queue as they walk past! =)


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Travelling along

I left the lace workshop I did with Suzy Hausfrau a couple of weeks ago TOTALLY inspired to get my lace on!

After a few days of faffing about on Ravelry, and poking through the stash, I finally decided to make myself a traveling woman shawl(ette) using this beautiful Anzula Sebastian yarn - it's 70% merino, 30% Sea Cell, and soooooo squooshy!

It's coming along beautifully too - more to share soon! =)


Monday, May 14, 2012

Sweet Monday

What makes a sweet Monday?

Arriving at work to find a colleague has left a beautiful purple and silver box on your desk...

Again with the crappy night time photos - trust me, their boxes are gorgeous!

... which you open it to find these...

 ... brought all the way back to Canberra from La Belle Miette in Melbourne!

It was such a lovely and thoughtful surprise for a Monday morning - I was so touched that I nearly cried! =)

Also EXTREMELY delicious!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

slow cookerpalooza :: tex mex beef

We love mexican food. REALLY love it. So when we saw the tex mex beef recipe in Sally Wise's Slow Cooker 2, it went right to the top of the list of recipes to try.

Of all the recipes in the book this is probably the one with the longest list of ingredients,but I have quite a good spice collection (especially Mexican-y type spices), and only had to get beef, tomato paste and chocolate (!).
I added some left over corn, as well as frozen peas and spinach, which I add to most of my slow cooker dishes, just for extra veg.

We served it up as burritos, with rice and salsa and avocado, and it was DELICIOUS.


Saturday, May 12, 2012


We spent a lovely afternoon at Manuka Oval today - would you believe it's round 7 already and this was our first live game of the season?

It was a pretty cool one to be at too - the AFL's youngest team, the Giants, getting their first win.
There were just over 8,600 footy fans there, with lots of people wearing a jumper or scarf in their favourite team's colours with a Giants cap (I haven't been surrounded  by that many people in orange since I was in the Netherlands for Queen's day!).
And it was the perfect example of what I love about going to the footy, and live sport in general - the energy and the excitement of the crowd was just ace.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Lovely lace Sunday

When my dear friend Suzy Hausfrau announced she was organising a lace knitting workshop I was super excited to sign up - and on Sunday, when the day was finally here, I was so pleased that I did! It was lovely cool, foggy Canberra autumn weather - perfect for a whole day of knitting (and drinking tea!) with a group of lovely like-minded ladies, not to mention the amazing lunch spread Suzy put on for us! (Check it on on the Suzy Hausfrau blog!)

Miss Fee  was such a patient teacher as she took us through knitting up small samples of circular, square and triangle lace that got us using new skills like Emily Ocker's cast-on, the provisional crochet cast on (I never thought I would learn how to do this! It turned out to be much simpler than I thought!), reading charts as well as written instructions and a couple of different cast offs. It was really brilliant to have all these methods demonstrated, and as if the wonderful tutoring wasn't enough, Fiona also had a bunch of her own finished lace projects which were just GORGEOUS and super inspirational! Thanks so much for coming to teach us Fiona!

I really can't thank Suzy enough for organising the workshop - as well as being a lovely day out it was a great chance to try something new with my knitting, and the kind of opportunity that we don't come by often in Canberra! Thanks Suzy!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

slow cooker Sunday

It is no secret that I love the book Slow Cooker, by Sally Wise - my number 1 absolute favourite cook book author.
I've made loads of the recipes from it - and reviewed a number of them here on the blog - everything I have made has been delicious!

So I'm sure it's no surprise to hear how excited I was to pop into the shops during the week to pick up this baby:

If I've spoken to you in the last few weeks, chances are you've had to put up with me banging on about the release of this , and Sally's other new book Sweet (more on that another day!). We wasted no time trying out our first recipe from Slow Cooker 2 - lamb korma.

ok - the colours are weird on this! food photos are tricky!

It was amazing. Lamb dishes are my favourite for the slow cooker, because the lamb at our butcher is divine - a few hours in the cooker and it just falls apart! We served it with some rice, coriander and some crushed peanuts (i like to have a crunch!).

There are quite a few indian kind of recipes in this book - we can't wait to try the rogan josh, beef vindaloo and butter chicken - the mexican beef is high on our list of must-trys too!

Because I'm so excited about this book, and because Canberra's weather is suddenly so very slow cooker friendly, I'm starting a new series on the blog - slow cooker Sunday (or slow cookerpalooza, if you will!).
Each Sunday I'll aim to post about what we've had in the slow cooker - and  I'd love to hear from you in the comments if you're slow cookering too!!

And just FYI, Slow Cooker 2 is on sale at the online ABC shop until May 30 - I think every house should have one, so get on it! =)