Saturday, March 31, 2007

Weaving - second attempt

Let me remind you about my Bloggiversary Giveaway! If you're interested in some goodies, please leave a comment to the post on my giveaway and I'll draw a winner on 12th April! The cross-stitched sheep got some company of the yarn balls and it's not the end of the surprises. ^^

On Friday morning I decided to try weaving again. So I put on the Cast on podcast by Brenda Dayne (btw, in one episode she talked about weaving using the Ashford Knitter's Loom! *^v^*) and started warping the beast. This time I used wool - the tangle I bought on line. This yarn is thick and coarse, and in some incredible colours. i decided to use different shades of red. After three hours I finished warping the loom and Robert came home from work, just in time to help me to even the tension on the rolls. I had to adjust some threads but it was nothing compared to the previous warping with linen thread!
In the evening I started to weave and very quickly got it how to keep the weft tension correct and end up with the even piece of fabric from the beginning to the end.

Is it a table rug I made?

No. *^v^* A shawl I'm going to wear at the medieval events with my Viking outfits. ^^ (please disregard my blah pale face)
It's 120 cm long, 50 cm wide, 100% scratchy wool and it took me six hours altogether to make (3 hours of warping and three hours of weaving and finishing).

At least that's my first attempt at a Viking shawl. I think I'd like the shawl to be more variegated, so I'm warping the loom again today and I'll be weaving another piece of cloth with stripes.

Look at the texture, I love it and I keep touching it whenever I go near it. ^^

Other crafty news - I tried to unravel the sweater I bought second hand for its yarn, but after some struggle I gave up and got rid of it. The yarn turned out not what I thought it would be. It looked like a nice thick soft light cream/orangy thread (while still in a sweater form), but then it unravelled into a split two thin threads with a brown polyester thin core and some cream and orange pieces of roving attached to it, and it was really difficult to take it apart. So, I decided it wasn't worth an effort.

Straight from the Cauldron
For today's lunch I made chicken again, but according to Anthony Worrall Thompson's recipe, it's very easy and delicious! ^^ He used the whole chicken and I used chicken thighs.

How to
- remove the bones from 8 chicken thighs, fry them in a pan on some butter skin side down, add some salt, remove the chicken on a spare plate,
- to the same pan add: 1 big onion chopped, 3 cloves of garlic crushed, 1 cellery (sticks) sliced, some fresh thyme sticks, 1 can of tomatoes, 1 table spoon of sweet paprika, 1 table spoon of fish sauce, 400 ml of chicken stock; cook it for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally,
- cook the potatoes (about 12 - 14 medium size ones) and place them onto the baking tray, spray them with olive oil and salt,
- put the vegetable mixture in the middle of the baking tray,
- place the chicken thighs on top of the vegetables,
- add some more thyme leaves,
- put it in the oven and leave it there for 35 - 40 minutes (180 C).

Smacznego! *^v^*

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Straight from the Cauldron I

It's not exactly straight from the cauldron, but straight from the frying pan, but that's how I'm going to call the posts with some interesting (in my opinion *^v^*) recipes.

Today it's a type of a flat bread called Proziaki (it's a plural form, one piece of bread = one proziak ^^)

It comes from the mountain region of Poland called Karpaty and it's about 150 years old. Originally they were baked on a coal stove but they can be done in a frying pan or straight on the gas stove burner. The above amount can be fed to 4 people (to accompany eg.: some meat and vegetable stew instead of potatoes or pasta).

How to
In a bowl mix in a given order:
- 0,5 kg/16 oz of plain flour,
- 1/2 tsp of salt,
- 1/2 tsp of baking soda,
- 1 egg,
- 300 ml of curd or sour cream.
(the order is important, you have to mix dry ingredients first, and then add the wet ones, and that's the moment when baking soda starts to work)
Mix and knead well until you get a smooth dough. Then grab pieces of a dough and roll them flat and fairly round (but not that flat as for the pasta, about 3 mm).
(do not leave the dough to rest but fry it immediately after making it, in other case the soda won't do its job with puffing the bread pieces)
Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan and place pieces of bread on the pan, bake them for about 2 minutes each side (they will puff a bit in some parts, don't be scared ^^). Remove from the pan and serve immediately or let them cool (they are great either way! ^^).

1. I added some cumin seeds to several pieces just before baking in a pan, it can be other favourite herbs as well.
2. You can also make a sweet version by adding 200 mg of sugar while kneading the dough.

(Which means "Enjoy your meal!" in Polish *^v^*)

Socky socky socky sock

Today's post is sponsored by the Regia socks and anklets plus two pairs of shoes. ^^
(and some crying at the end...)
I finished the second anklet last night and it was a struggle!... It's several rows shorter than the first one because I ran out of yarn, but I'm going to wear them at home anyway, so it's not such a big problem. Or maybe I'll add some rows to both of them from another yarn is some matching colour, we'll see.

And this morning I've cast on for... another pair of anklets. ^^ I still have some yarn left from my Opal Socks, so I thought it would be a good way to use it. And I have a revolutionary idea - to knit them both at the same time on circular needle! *^v^* I'm not sure about that yet, because I want to knit them toes-up. Must experiment. ^^

Some answers to your comments:
Robert started to leave comments on my blog and he wrote last night about fishing for the Swedish stones in the very cold sea - yes, I must admit that the water was rather cold and it was extremely nice of him to get those stone from under the water for me! [kiss, kiss ^^]
Lana, my BoS is in fact dark green, the camera did something to it to make it blue ^^. Or maybe the colour of its cover depends on the viewer? That would be nice! *^v^*
Kendra, there are many types of witches who believe and practice in many different ways. I'm just one of them. ^^

And the news of the day: do you remember our car? As of this afternoon it's not ours any more... We sold it and planning to buy a smaller one, a Volvo 800 or 900 something, diesel. But I'm sentimental and I feel like crying now... I know it's just a car, but we've been together through a lot, we've been to so many places, and now it's gone, and I think it feels cheated upon, because we cleaned it last night and vacuumed the inside, and cleaned the whole dashboard, and the rear window (which didn't happen often before...), so maybe it thought it was just a Spring cleaning...
I cried after the previous car, too...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

My husband smells of vanilla and honey!

Yes, it's true! *^v^* We have this Fa Vanilla & Honey Bathing Cream and whenever we have a bath we end up smelling so lovely, yikes! Give me anything with vanilla and honey scent and I'll love you forever!
But I digress.

It's all witchy today on my blog. ^^ Inspired by Lana's post I decided to show you some photos of The Craft items I have and write a bit about my Craft Path (which I don't do very often, because it's very personal for me, but sometimes people ask questions about the meaning of being a witch, so I wanted to shortly sum up my views on this).

Every witch should have a broom, so I have one - bought at the small village market some years ago (together with a big wooden moulding board ^^). Look how it is properly placed on my bookcase to grab it and use it right away if I needed it! ^^ It's a good sturdy well-made broom, very suitable for ritual as well as everyday sweeping. ^^

Then there is the blue wicker basket full of different supplies: candles, candle holders, scents, oils, pentacle, gems, etc. I have also another smaller basket with a selection of basic altar supplies, this one is my stash.

Let's not forget the Book of Shadows (my husband says that one should know better than to open the witch's Book of Shadows... ^^, but this time I'm opening it for you so that's okay) - I had this one made to fit my tastes, I went to a specialist with a box full of handmade paper and had them bound with a green linen cover, which I then decorated with a golden tree painting.
I like writing in it using different colours of ink - here are the example Samhain pages (some basics about this Sabbath). As I am what I call the 'kitchen witch', I put there mainly recipes for cleansing, healing, cooking, ect. ^^ I think I'll try to practice some drawing there too and make it look more like a proper witch's notebook = a scrapbook full of sketches, notes and birds feathers (how Fluffy Bunny of me, but never mind, this Book is just for me so who cares! *^v^*)

My book shelf - the middle shelf is full of herbal books, healing books (Reiki, meditation, shiatsu, ect) and other helpful witchcraft topics (like dream translations, powers of the Nature, ect).
Can you see the two big stones? I brought them from Sweden two years ago, when I saw them on the beach I felt I just had to have them at my home! ^^

What I'm writing now are my own experiences, opinions and beliefs, so please take no offence, whatever your beliefs and views are, because no offence or any religious preaching was meant here.

I was raised in a Catholic family of believers/non-practitioners. Of course my parents celebrated all the main holidays, but there wasn't anything spiritual in them, just a family gathering, lots of food, and children sent to Church to attend a mass because that's what you do and that's what the neighbours do (everything just for keeping up appearances). I didn't care much for them either, never agreed with the idea of a loving male God that punishes people to test their faith, telling your "sins" to some stranger in a confessional, going to hell after death, highly institutionalised church organisation. It wasn't logical, it didn't feel as a proper explanation of the spiritual part of our lives.

I started to walk the Craft Path several years ago, introduced to it by my best friend Anna. I looked for information on Wicca and studied it for a while. I felt that it was a good beginning, but I didn't stop looking for something more at that point. Wicca, being created in the first half of the XXth century was like a big melting pot for me, where Gardner put many symbols, gods, rituals and cooked up a religion with too many elements, as if he had to explain and prove every bit of the beliefs and celebrations with oh so ancient legacy. What truly appealed to me was the idea of the God and Goddess as manifestations of the Nature forces, living with the ever turning Wheel of the Year and the connection with the Universe through the spells/chants/simple rituals.

So, I am trying to be the witch in the basic understanding of this word - a wise woman, a woman who knows things, a woman with an open mind and heart. I light candles and scents, I meditate, I chant if I feel the need to do it, I observe the Moon, I'm interested in and practice natural healing (Reiki, Hopi ear candling, herbalism), my mind is open to astrology, tarot, psychic readings. I believe in self development, in the power of a thought, in a good organic food and the work of our own hands.
I don't have a specific tradition that I base my beliefs and gods pantheon on, I view named Gods and Goddesses from different cultures as many aspects of the masculine and feminine elements in the Universe. I don't care for the ceremonial magic but I believe in whispering to the trees. I celebrate the Wheel of the Year holidays, even if it happens only in my mind and heart.

I am a modern urban solitary witch and you can find every aspect of the Triple Goddess in me - the Maiden Magrat Garlick, the Mother Nanny Ogg and the Crone Granny Weatherwax. *^v^* (Pratchett's fans, unite!)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Nice socks?...

Well, it seems that those two doesn't match, either... I don't know why, I started both of them right with the beginning of a new ball of yarn, so I assumed they would knit up the same, I had no idea skeins are printed randomly. Next time I'll be wiser to check it.
Anyway, that's the result and that's what I'm going to wear, period. ^^

I'm finishing the second anklet and then I think I'll try to finish the poor Emelia which is on my needles since October (remember my musings about not leaving the project on the needles for too long? Here I go again... I hope this time I won't mess up the stitches because there won't be the third attempt!...)

Have you got your favourite chef?
I love cooking and I love watching culinary programmes on BBC Prime, and recently also on Kitchen TV, and my favourite chefs are the following: Anthony Worral Thompson, Rick Stein, Ainsley Harriott and number one - Jamie Oliver! His cooking is so simple but refined, and I've started to watch his recent series "Jamie at home", where he cooks at his parent's house, and the first episode was about the potatoes. So, for Sunday lunch we had "Roasted chicken thighs with potatoes and tomatoes". *^v^* Delicious, it was gone in a moment, and I forgot to take a photo (but I will next time...), but I'd like to share the recipe with you because it's so simple but oh so tasty! ^^
(it's my version written down while watching tv)

Roasted chicken thighs with potatoes and tomatoes (serves 4)
- remove the bones from 8 chicken thighs, cut them into halves, fry them in the pan on a hot oil for about 15 minutes with the skin sides down, season with salt
- cook 1 kg of small potatoes, drain them and put them onto the baking tray
- peel the skins off of 1 kg of small tomatoes, add them to the potatoes
- put the chicken thighs on the backing tray together with potatoes and tomatoes
- make a dressing: mix well some olive oil, chopped fresh oregano leaves, a splash of white wine vinegar, salt and pepper, pour it over the backing tray and stir everything so everything is well coated with the dressing
- add some more olive oil and oregano leaves on top
- put it in the oven for about 30 minutes in 180 Celsjus
- serves with rocket salad splashed with some lemon juice, olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Yummy! *^v^*

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Eye Candy Saturday!

Today's post is dedicated to Lobstah and the rest of you, all covered in snow. Spring is really already here, in Poland! *^v^*

Road to my parents' allotment (we went there this morning to bring some pavement slabs and measure the front of the cottage because my father is going to construct a small patio).

Local cat (a beauty!).

Some flowers and plants. ^^

And here is where my father prepares the smoked meats (wow, the taste of home-made meat is unbelievable!)

It was windy but very sunny, the first such a nice day in weeks - remember our last weekend's excursion to Grandfather's cottage? Brrr....

How many times can you re-knit the turn of the heel in a sock?
It seems that five was a good choice for me last night...
As I said earlier I knitted the first Regia sock in December and I put down all the figures for the second one apart from the number of stitches to knit in the heel turn, so I had to go with trial & error method. The sixth time finally was correct, and today, as I write this post, I am 2 inches from the finger decreases. I hope to show you a finished pair tomorrow. ^^

Friday, March 23, 2007

Nice cuppa! Nice socks!

When the weather is so gloomy like today, let's start with a nice cup of hot chocolate and a biscuit. *^v^*

Oh, the bliss of mindless (sock) knitting!...
Just after Christmas I knitted one Regia sock and it went very quickly. But then I didn't cast on for another one and concentrated on other projects, and the sad single stripey sock was wandering through my sock drawer, when I reached for a pair of socks everyday, not chosen because unfortunately one is not enough for my paired limbs...
Last night I had some plans outside my home but I had a stomachache and decided to stay in and do something productive but simple - I reached into my WIPs basket and here it was - a stockinette sock! *^v^*
Let me proudly present:

I know they don't match!... ^^
The reason is...

... they are not a pair! *^v^*

That's what you get from one ball of Regia 4-ply: one above-ankle sock and one anklet. I already started another above-ankle sock last night and I hope to have two new pairs of socks soon! ^^

Now I'm off to some errands, don't forget to comment on my "Bloggiversary giveaway" post, there is a sheep waiting there. ^^ Have a nice Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Get crafty!

Rho, I would definitely add a cable on the right side of the shawl, it looks somehow... unfinished (but that's just me ^^).
In fact, thank you very much for mentioning this shawl because this is a good shawl pattern for Ambermoggie - no chart! *^v^* Here is the link: Dipsy's Cable-Lace-Scarf. (Btw, Ambermoggie, I sent you my address last night but I'm not sure whether I have the right e-mail to you, so please let me know if you got it. ^^)

And now let's see what I've been making last weekend and finishing on Monday:
- new products for the folk gallery: felt embroidered rabbits that can be used as the egg warmers and fabric bread baskets (I love them and I'm going to make more of them!). I'm sending them to the folk gallery today and keep your fingers crossed (if they sell, these are my new yarn funds, yikes! *^v^*)

Look what I found yesterday! *^v^*
I found it in my fabric stash (you cannot remember all the fabrics you have, can you?... ^^), I must have bought it some time ago, on the on-line auction, as I recall correctly, this is a piece of a printed cotton just in a perfect size for a pillow. I'm going to embroider it and add the back from some other cotton, and dress one of my naked pillows (I have three pillows waiting for some covers).

Gudrun Sjoden's Spring collection is in the shops right now and I must say that I would wear EVERY ONE piece from it! In any colour. I gave you here just a few pictures of her Spring clothes, mainly in the shades of red, but there are many naturals, blues, blacks and browns, too. All are beautiful, all are from natural fabrics (cottons, linens, viscose, wool, silk), all are too pricey for me unfortunately... But at least I can get some inspiration from them - I browsed my linens and cottons yesterday and matched some of them to make myself blouses and dresses in a similar style (embroidered, of course! ^^).
Enjoy and make sure to visit her site for more!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bloggiversary giveaway

Everybody's doing it, so I decided that I would also like to have my own One-Year-And-A-Month-Blogging-Anniversary giveaway! The prize will be a cross-stitch picture of a sheep (who would have thought?... *^v^*) and some additional surprises.
What to do to take part in it? Just leave a comment on this post between today and the 11th April, and on April 12th I'll draw a winner (from my husband's wedding tophat! *^v^*).

Last night I finished the Morning Surf scarf for my mother and I decided that I had enough of this pattern for a while, so now I'll be off to something new, maybe cables? I have an urge to frog the sweater I bought some time ago in a thrift shop (just for the yarn, but then I wanted to wear it so it stayed with me in his original form, but now I'm having a change of heart again... ^^) and turn it into a cabled shawl. We'll see about that.

No pictures of what crafts I've been doing lately because... I'm still working on them today. ^^ I hope tomorrow I''ll finish everything and I'll be able to show you the results, and tomorrow I will also write about the new Spring collection of Gudrun Sjoden's (I got the catalog last night).
For now my growing tomatoes! *^v^*
I don't expect to harvest the tomatoes any time soon, but they started above the ground and it's a reason for me to be happy!

And last, but not least, especially for my husband's request, the photos of the cats we met at the cottage last weekend (near the shop and on our porch - neighbour's cats). There was one more cat, the black one, but we didn't take a good shot of him.