Sunday, March 30, 2008
It's definitely easy for me to say which colours I don't like: greyish dark blue, dull greys light and dark, anything ecru/light brown/undecided brown, pastels.
There are colours I like but don't wear very often, like yellow - it's a great colour but I cannot have it close to my face because my skin turns pale and yellowy shade...
There are obvious colours like black or white, although I don't have a single white blouse or t-shirt. I have one off-white cardigan.
My favourites are: all shades of red (but rather darker than light), all shades of pink/fuchsia/violet, light green, brick orange, warm chocolate browns. Blue is a strange colour - I like it and I like it on me, but I don't have it in my wardrobe.
Now when it's the time to choose the yarns for the next projects I still cannot break loose from that red addiction - I'm considering buying brick orange mohair for Lords&Ladies cardigan from Rowan 41 (above), but there is also a beautiful blue available and I'm scared to try it out... The "what-if" disease is bothering me, "what if it's not the good shade? what if I look poorly in it?" and "maybe I should buy the red/orange yarn to be on the safe side?".
I might buy blue for the Lydia sweater (also Rowan 41), which is blue in original and will be my next in line project.
I tend to stick to the good old tried out choices (like going out with my friend Anna to the cafe and ordering apple pie every time... she said last time laughing at me "Be brave, take a risk and eat something else!" but at the last moment I changed my order to an apple pie...). But to find my insecurities go out in the yarn shopping?... It's silly!
I already bought this shaded green and I'm not sure I've done the right thing - what if it's going to pool?... I'm waiting for my order to arrive so I'll know as soon as I make a swatch.
Do you have such problems with choosing the yarn? Do you make easy choices or think about what colours to choose endlessly, like me?
Thursday, March 27, 2008
I know this is not the most flattering shot of the cardigan but I just wanted to show you the colour, which is a dark juicy redbrick. Now I have to buy the longest circular 3mm needle available to finish the hems with mohair. (I only have 60 cm needle and it's not long enough to accommodate all the stitches).
The stitches loosened up in the dye bath so it will eventually remind the original version of this cardigan! *^v^*
Capri has now two sleeves, back and left front, right front still to knit (it will be tricky because I want to make buttonholes along the hem, not in the original design, so I have to distribute them myself).
Any minute now (probably next week ^^) I will be sooooo ready for Spring, with my two new cotton cardigans, but where is it?
This is the view from my balcony this morning - some Spring, ha!...
I've been imagining not only the house there, but also the rose bush in front of the dining room window, the birdbath in the garden (but who needs a birdbath when there is a lake nearby?...), the magnolia tree next to the path leading from the gate to the main door, sunny deck with a blanket to rest on and read a book (and knit! and paint! ^^), listening to the sounds of the countryside - cows mooing, birds singing. I started to make a list of trees and plants I would like to grow there, both ornamental and for fruits.
I can see us living there and living a better, fuller life, along the different schedule and time scale. Funny thing - whenever we are at the Grandfather's cottage, we always wake up very early - 7 o'clock, and it is early, especially for me! ^^. As if we don't want to loose the day, irrespective of the weather or the activities we have planned.
And even if we don't buy this land, we will start to look for another one somewhere else, because we are tired of living in the city.
I cannot wait till 11th April, when we are going there for a weekend! *^v^*
Monday, March 24, 2008
For some time I wanted to construct the type of a one-performer-theater with a small wooden frame, backpack type, and puppets, to show plays to children during the medieval events I'm attending. Unfortunately then I found out that puppet theaters are much, much younger than Xth or even XIIIth century, in fact they first appeared around XVIIth c, so I dropped this idea. Now, as I have lots of brads and will have this gem in my possession, it may boost my paper doll production and maybe I will create my own paper/wooden theatre for my own entertainment, who knows? *^v^*
On Saturday I started Capri's sleeves and I finished them last night, after three visits to our families (and lots of eating, lucky me Easter feasting is over and we can now go back to normal portions and three moderate meals a day, phew....^^).
Today I'm casting on for the Capri's back, dyeing Azalea and meeting my friend Anna for tea and cake at our place.
As for the Spring, when we drawn away the curtains this morning, we saw the world covered (and is still being covered) with snow!...
Saturday, March 22, 2008
First, some mod podge from Carol (thank you very much! ^^):
Then, some more mod podge, and amazing selection of golden gel mediums, and beautiful brads, and a bunny postcard, and some collage papers, and a batch of zip lock bags from Myriam! Thank you so much! =^v^=
I will share the first experiments with all these soon, when I'm finished with Spring cleaning and finally have some time to play with my neglected paints and canvases (but there has been something going on with them, believe me, as well as in my journal, I just started a few things at the same time and haven't finished them yet, but I'll have a big batch of works to show you soon ^^).
I finished Azalea last night and I have some thoughts on that design:
- first of all, when I started to knit it I didn't think about the fact, that the model in the picture was wearing a cardigan two sizes too big for her, hence the beautiful effect of a romantic loose jacket, mine is rather tight, not too small, perfect for my size, but close to my body
- then, I made 30 cm of the cardi before I started to shape the sleeve decreases and it gave me a short version, barely reaching my hips - which again is okay but that's not what I saw in the picture
- on the other hand, I knit size 14 (which is my bust size) but it's too wide in the waist
So, as long as I like the result, at this stage it's not what I wanted to get. And I'm thinking about modifying the design and creating a short cardigan without the mohair edges (maybe?) but with some crocheting (maybe?), buttoned up or tied at the side (maybe?). *^v^*
I will decide after dyeing, because the yarn may loosen up in a hot bath and I may get quite a different cardigan after all. ^^ (remember, this is the last time you see Azalea in this crazy orange!)
And since I still have about 400 g of this orange cotton, I HAVE TO used it up on something, I cast on for the Capri cardigan from Rowan 43. I feel the need for a small sweaterlette (can it be such a word? ^^) in my wardrobe. =^v^=
Friday, March 21, 2008
Today new recipes for you: two cakes. *^v^*
First, Lemon Baba
Baba (woman) is a typical polish Easter cake. Baba can be made on yeast or with baking powder.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1,5 cup flour
- 1,5 tsp baking powder
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3,5 Tsp fresh lemon juice
- zest from 3 lemons
- 100 g melted cooled butter
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- juice from 1/2 lemon
Preheat the oven to 175°C/360 F, prepare the baking form (any shape you prefer but the traditional baba form is seen above).
Mix flour, sugar and baking powder. Add slightly beaten eggs and mix into a smooth dough. In a separate bowl mix butter, cream, juice and lemon zest. Combine both mixtures together, pour it into the baking form and bake for about 1 hour (check with a toothpick after 40 minutes whether the cake is dry).
When the baba is ready, mix icing sugar and lemon juice and glaze it.
Very easy to make and very yummy! *^v^*
- 1 kg cream cheese
- 6 eggs
- 150 g butter, melted and cooled
- 2 Tsp potato flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 16g vanilla sugar
- 1,5 cup sugar
- juice and zest from 1 big orange
- raisins, nuts, if you want (I don't like them in a cheesecake)
In a big bowl mix cheese, melted butter, flour, both sugars, baking powder, orange zest and juice and egg yokes. Beat the egg whites into a stiff foam and carefully mix it with the rest of the mixture. Grease the baking form with butter and pour in the dough. Bake in 170 C/360 F for about 1 hour.
You may decorate it later with glazing or icing sugar.
I used one medium (24 cm) form plus some small rectangular forms, because I had to prepare one cheesecake for my parents and one for us. There was enough mixture for a lot of forms! *^v^*
BTW, the doily used in a photo session was made by my mother. ^^
Thursday, March 20, 2008
In the past, the rituals consisted of getting rid of Winter (often with loud shouting, using the whips and rattles, singing and playing loud instruments, and drowning the hay doll symbolizing Winter in the river), and then greeting Spring - people thoroughly cleaned their houses and gardens, washed their best clothing and baked festival cakes. Young boys gathered willow twigs to decorate houses.
One of the most important tradition was painting the eggs (called "pisanki") and then giving them as a gift to bring luck, fertility and abundance into the household. The egg was also used to "charm" the illnesses and cure the sick. The oldest known Polish pisanki come from Xth century!
People created colourful processions to the sacred hills where they feasted and celebrated beginning of Spring.
On the next day they washed themselves in sacred water and visited the tombs of their deceased relatives, bringing them food.
Spring is the time to do some cleaning after Winter, to clean up our houses from dust and clutter, and our minds "weeding out worn ideas and out-of-date beliefs so I can move forward in my quest to follow my bliss, live my passions, and manifest my dreams", as beautifully says Carla from Wings For You blog, which I highly recommend.
That's what I've been doing for the past few weeks - I cleaned and dusted some places in my small shaggy unloved apartment that were not touched for a long time (really long time, believe me!) I even removed the dried up mistletoe I had under my lamp since Christmas... (yes, I know!...) Up till now I wasn't inspired, I didn't like the place so I thought and cared about it as little as I had to. But then I started to think that maybe if I change/clean/refresh/redecorate some small things here and there - my poor existence in this flat may seem a bit nicer.
And it suddenly stopped being such a poor existence after all! *^v^*
Okay, it still isn't my favourite place to be, but living here started to be better and nicer surroundings definitely bring nicer attitude towards, well... everything. *^v^*
As for the "mind sweeping", I love the suggestion made by Violette : "You might even want to buy a brand new eraser to symbolize erasing the past or negative thoughts which tell you you're NOT an Artist." Or thoughts which tell you ANYTHING that keeps you from living your dream life. I bought one. ^^
I've been fighting my depressive negative thoughts and I think nowadays I'm winning more and more. Especially when I see things happening, realizing, fulfilling. There isn't a better dope than the fact that something is working right in front of our eyes! *^v^*
Happy Jare/Ostara/Easter to you! =^v^=
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Robert said that I should have given you the recipe for the cheese I made yesterday and he was right - it's a very easy method and you can have a yummy soft cottage cheese in a few moments. It can be softer or tougher depending on the amount of the lemon juice you add to milk.
Homemade cottage cheese
(don't be deceived by the poor light and the camera, the cheese is really snow white! ^^)
Here is the recipe:
- in a big pan bring to boil 4 litres of milk
- when it's hot, add 8 Tsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice (two or three lemons for it), you will notice the cheese forming almost immediately! ^^
And that's it. Turn off the gas, take a sieve and place a piece of muslin in it, put it into a big bowl in the sink preferably, then strain the contents of the pan through the sieve. Tie together ends of the muslin and hang it abouve the sink for a while to loose all the liquid.
You will end up with about 300 g of cottage cheese and about 3 litres of whey, which can be cooled down in the fridge and drank (add some raisins to it), or poured into the bathtub full of hot water for some beauty bath! *^v^* You can also save 800 ml of whey for the next batch of cheese, it works as good as lemon juice.
You can also make a flavoured cheese, like I did: when the cheese was still quite soft, I added about 2 Tsp of chopped wild garlic leaves and some salt, but you can add anything you like, sweet or sour.
I finished the back of Azalea this morning, only two fronts now and I'm ready to sew it up and dye! *^v^*
Monday, March 17, 2008
They live there in great numbers and build their underwater houses out of the trees around the river. The whole riverbank looks like that (photo above). Our marsh is also inhabited (our marsh, ha! *^v^*). There are also many other creatures, like storks, cranes (we met a pair flying high above the fields), wild geese and ducks and millions of other birds, muskrats, frogs will start to make noise any moment now... (not to mention cows, pigs, chickens, dogs and cats, of course!).
Of course we don't know anything more than we knew two days ago about the status of the land, ect, but we've already selected two favorite house projects!... We don't have money for the land yet, but we are already planning to buy the house. Isn't it a bit crazy?
We started to think about the possibilities to make a living down there, because it would take Robert about 2 hours to commute to work everyday (one way), so it would be impossible to work in Warsaw and live there. We thought about breeding fish (in the lake next to our land, yikes! *^v^*) and smoking them or making cheese (there is a good source of fresh milk from the friendly neighbor farmer) and selling all that at the markets in Warsaw on Saturdays. There are also lots of holiday allotments around the village, so I'm sure all the holidaymakers from the big cities would love to buy a fresh fish or cheese while being on vacation away from the city (I would! I always look for the local food when I'm on holiday somewhere). I could grow plants for natural dyes. These ideas have great potential for our future! *^v^*
And I wouldn't be myself if I didn't bring a new stone with me, this one is from our dream plot of land.
Look what I got today! The newly published in Poland cookbook by Jamie Oliver, one of my cooking gurus! *^v^*
I took part in the contest by Polish culinary tv channel Kuchnia TV and totally forgot about it. It turned out that my name was among the winners, yikes! *^v^*
And last, but not least, my lunch today: those who know this dish may now envy me, those who doesn't - weep that you don't! *^v^*
This is the famous simple Polish dish, but sometimes the simpler flavours the better. These are mashed potatoes with some chopped fried bacon, and on the side - curd (zsiadłe mleko), which is a sour set form of milk. Not just any milk, but fresh-from-the-cow milk, which I absolutely love! =^v^=
We brought four more litres of that real countryside milk and I made cheese with it, plus I'm going to prepare my own zakwas today, which is a base for the traditional Polish soup called żur or żurek.
The Spring Festival is coming and I'll be also making a traditional cake for the occasion, called baba (a woman). Recipe soon! *^v^*
Sunday, March 16, 2008
We talked to the owner of the land and he promised to get all the papers so we could check everything at the Community Office. We thoroughly walked over the land up and down and took pictures of it. I left the small stone there to help me connect with this place when I'm not there and work on my dream (thank you, Babi! *^v^*).
All I can say for now is that: we will see about that.
For some reasons, this is the perfect land for us.
For other reasons, maybe it's not that attractive. It's long and narrow, it may be flooded in Springs, part of it is a marsh. First we have to check the paperwork and if it's fine - definitely go down with the price.
Anyway, have a look yourself:
Here is specially for Rho - my dress sewn from two pairs of jeans (Osh-Kosh and Beckham). It proved totally comfortable and warm on a slow nice walk along the riverbank yesterday! ^^
Here is Robert in his Durrow - it looks okay with the collar laid flat.
The cables repeated on the back.
And on the sleeves, as in the original.
Robert being silly!...
But I know this collar is too wide, I have to frog part of it and decrease the number of stitches, although I don't have to do this immediately - Robert says it's already too warm for him (it's 50/50 wool/acrylic), so he'll wear it next Autumn... *^v^*
And me in my Lucinda, I don't think I've modeled this one yet.
To finish this post nicely, here is the common view in the countryside in the area:
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
And I love the method to visualize your dream given by Babi Sugarman, I'm going to try it out with different dreams of mine! =^v^=
Houston, we have a pair of sleeves!
Which is not a problem at all! *^v^*
I finished the Azalea's sleeves last night and today I'm going to cast on for the body plus this morning I received two additional skeins of black Merino and I'll be finishing Durrow for Robert, yikes! ^^
New Knitty is up and I'm not impressed at all. Weird.
Lace ribbon scarf is okay.
Mosey legwarmers are nice.
But the rest? I'm not much into knitting socks and knitting lace shawls nowadays and knitting for kids at all. There are some sweaters but... they are ... hm... just plain. Not a challenge. Nothing interesting going on. You might say what else can be invented with two sleeves and the main body of the sweater. But it can!
Lucky me I've got my Rowans! *^v^*
Monday, March 10, 2008
Mine was very busy, because we had some friends over for dinner on Sunday, so I was shopping, cleaning, cooking, ect. It was a total success apart from the fact that I still have so much food left that I might feed twice as many people as there were visiting... I must work on my estimating skills! *^v^*
For a dessert I prepared a white chocolate & cranberries cheesecake in two versions: with cranberries and with cherries, and I must admit I like the latter version even more! ^^
I also did a bit of knitting since the last time, the sleeves of Azalea's (doesn't it sound like a name for some geographical structure, "the Sleeves of Azalea" is the famous rock formation in this region, *^v^*) are almost ready. In fact, it is a great idea to knit the sleeves first, because when you finish the body of the sweater, the only thing to do is to sew it together and voila! At least it works for me! *^v^*
I also found online and ordered two more skeins of yarn for Robert's Durrow.
Now, onto the big news!
As you know, as part of the 100 Day Challenge (season II) I'm trying to manifest different things in my life, one of them being the place to live - our own perfect apartment or a house. I don't really have a specific image of the place because I believe that if it's perfect for me it will come to me, in whatever form it is.
Now, let me tell you that something magical and great is unfolding in front of my own eyes - there is an opportunity for us to buy a piece of land.
Yes, a piece of land! *^v^*
What are the pros?
It's fairly cheap, relatively big, it's next door to the cottage of Robert's Grandfather's, it's about 1 hour by car far from Warsaw, and it has a direct access to the lake. The LAKE!
We are going to talk to the banks now to arrange the credit for it, travel there next weekend to see all the papers and see the land itself (we often passed by it while being on vacation at the cottage but didn't really pay much attention to the size of the plot, ect), talk to the owner to reduce the price a bit.
It's still a long way to ownership. There is a mountain of paperwork to be gathered and hours of thorough thinking about it. But the opportunity is there, right in front of us, it opened at this very moment and we are going to try and grab it! *^v^*
There is no house on this land and if we buy it there probably won't be a house there for another several years. But that's okay, we can wait and one never knows what future may bring.
If I were a typical superstitious Polish person, I wouldn't say a word about it until the moment we signed the papers, because I would be scared I may jinx the whole transaction. But I'm not typical! ^^ And I believe that when you state your wish out loud, the Universe can hear it and help you with fulfilling it. How else could It know what you wish for and help? So, I'm saying out loud, if that's the land perfect for us, let us have it, please! *^v^*
Wouldn't you like to have the view like this from your craft room or living room? *^v^*
Friday, March 07, 2008
Yes, as for the knitting...
Oh, you wanted to hear the fire story first? Okay.
Yesterday when I came home after some shopping I found out that there are black clouds of smoke coming from the balcony next to our flat. I immediately called the Fire Brigade, but also went out on my balcony and found out that the fire has started under my neighbors' balcony, where there were some belongings of the homeless man sleeping there for some time. Fortunately he wasn't present at that time!
Some people came and I started to fill my big dyeing pan with water and give them over the balcony rail to put down the flames. When the Firemen came it was almost over but of course they checked everything twice and poured a lot of water all over the place (and into the basement just in case).
Today I have to clean the outer windows on my balcony, because they are grey from the smoke, but I'm glad I came home on time to react. My next door neighbors are in worse situation - their outer windows and rails are totally black with soot!
All's well that ends well and the Wonder Knitting Woman to the rescue! *^v^*
(My friend Anna told me to make a journal page about it, with a Wonder Girl with a hose. I might! =^v^=).
All right, as for the knitting, since Durrow has eaten the last skein of yarn and I have to get some more, it's on hold and I started something new, for me this time. I still have a lot of cotton from last year's Tomato top, so I started Azalea from Rowan 41.
I love the delicate feminine romantic feel of this cardi and the cotton/mohair combination (it will be in my case, because I don't have Kid Silk Haze to finish the edges, I'll probably use some dark red mohair I dyed last year).
Please don't think about my Azalea in terms of this orange colour, it will be overdyed with some amaranth or red (when it's finished, of course)! *^v^*
It's a nice and fairly quick pattern but I'm having some troubles with incorporating new stitches I'm adding on both sides into the flow of a design... I'm somehow confused with this part, but the rest I like very much. Lucky me there is no increase shaping on both fronts and the back, only decreases, it will be much easier to knit! *^v^*
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
I'm living in the Cheesecake Land nowadays it seems *^v^* , because today I've prepared another one, I hope Robert will like it when he comes home tomorrow morning from his business trip! ^^ I modified the original recipe, so here is my version:
- 200 g of cookies, digestive type
- 100 g butter, melted
- 2 tsp cocoa
- 125 g butter
- 100 g sugar
- 3 egg whites - beaten into a foam
- 500 g of cream cheese
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
Pour the mixture onto a crust and add 3 pears peeled and cut into big cubes on top of that.
Bake for about 1 hour in 375 F/180 C.
The result is a very delicate foamy cake. Let it cool, cover the top with the icing sugar and enjoy! But even better leave the cake for a couple of hours in the fridge.
I'm sewing up Durrow today, keep your fingers crossed! *^v^* Then I'll just need to knit the collar, weave in the ends and add the zipper. I'm happy I have finished this project because new ones are on the horizon... (you know, I got Rowan! *^v^*).
Because I cannot buy any new yarn this month I decided to skip Quarry cardigan and start with something else. I have lots of orange cotton from last year's Tomato top (I bought 1 kg of yarn and used only 200 g... ^^) so I'll be using it now and then over dyeing it with some nice red or magenta colour. I'll reveal all soon! =^v^=
Monday, March 03, 2008
Durrow is blocking nicely so while waiting for it to get dry I was painting, both on canvas and in my journal.
Here are the spreads I made today:
D'Blogala's prompt "Your Earliest Memories" - here are my memories from kindergarten.
SuziBlu's prompt to use rubber stamps or peel off letters. I don't have stamp alphabet so I chose to glue the letters I cut from the magazines.
Look, the Girl is above the surface of the journal! *^v^*
SuziBlu's prompt to make a spread in a style of the Cuna Woman (the tribe living on the Islands close to Panama) and choose our power animal - mine is a whale, I love their "songs" and their "I'm not in a hurry" attitude.
I think I presented the style correctly, but my colours are too crazy! *^v^*
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Cheesecake with white chocolate and cranberries
Another recipe for you, I've decided to make more cakes and try out different recipes I find on the Polish culinary blogs, Here is the cheesecake just before it went into the oven:
- 120 g of cookies, digestive type
- 50 g butter, melted
- 60 ml of creme fraiche
- 130 g of white chocolate + 70 g for the glaze
- 375 g of cream cheese
- 1 Tsp orange zest
- 110 g icing sugar
- 1 egg
- 150 - 200 g cranberries (frozen or fresh)
In a double boiler melt the chocolate with creme fraiche, let it cool down.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with sugar, orange zest and egg until fluffy.
Add the chocolate/cream mixture. Pour it onto crust. On the top add cranberries (red currants may also work here quite well, or raspberries).
Bake for about 1 hour in 160°C/320 F.
After it's baked and cooled down, glaze it with some melted white chocolate.The cheesecake must stay in the fridge for at least 3 hours before it's served! Wait a bit, it's totally worth it! *^v^*
Robert's mother paid us a visit today and the cheesecake almost didn't make it till the photoshoot! *^v^*