Friday, March 26, 2010

Diorama

Here's my latest finished knitting project (and one of a whole slew of purple projects that are in the works). I discovered Berroco Vintage yarn and it's awesome pattern support at my LYS a few weeks ago and bought three skeins to make this vest from Arts & Crafts booklet.
Diorama
The project came together quickly and was a very satisfying knit. I finished most of this on the train ride to and from Toronto a few weeks ago. The yarn is great to work with and I'll definitely be using it on other projects once I knit down some of my stash.

Here are the pattern details:
Pattern: Diorama from Berroco's Arts & Crafts booklet
Yarn: Berroco Vintage, 3 skeins of Dewberry
Needles: Us 8
Ravelry Link: craftr's Diorama
Diorama

Friday, March 19, 2010

Toronto

We spent last weekend in Toronto celebrating our anniversary. Here's some random snippets from the trip

Toronto
My first taste of beet (and ginger, carrot and other things) juice at urban herbivore. It was so tasty! Then again, I have been on a beet kick all year.
Me: It tastes so earthy
Jon: (trying a sip) Yep, just like eating a handful of dirt


It was so windy on Saturday night when we arrived. Windy as in the turning your umbrella inside out kind of windy. We broke one umbrella within 2 minutes of walking.
broken umbrellas
It was funny to see all of the broken umbrellas littering the street. (this mosaic would have been funnier if I had taken more pictures of the umbrellas I saw)


This cell phone ad was everywhere.
Toronto
1. I want a dog
2. I want to knit a hat just like this (reminds me of the wurm pattern)


Distillery District
The Distillery District was so cute. We had fun walking into the different little boutiques and getting chocolate croissants at a cute bakery.

Toronto
This garden store has me totally itching to start setting up our garden for the summer time. I can't wait!


CN Tower
On Monday afternoon we made the requisite journey up to the top of the CN Tower. We are both mildly afraid of heights, but that doesn't stop us from seeing cities from above...we just have to brace ourselves and firmly plant our feet before looking over the edge. :)

Toronto
I didn't realize that the circular figure in the bottom row of the mosaic is actually a train turn table. I didn't know those things still existed (kind of like my sister didn't know that R.E.M. is a band)

We spent the rest of the weekend exploring the city, shopping and eating. Thanks for all of your great recommendations!

Here's our favorites:
One of a Kind Pasta - lots of great pasta dishes - the veggie fettucine was delicious

Salad King - excellent Thai food. And excellent eavesdropping opportunities as they sit you next to other patrons at long tables. We sat next to two girls having a major 20 minute fight over whether or not Girl #1 was being defensive or not.
Girl #1: Why would you say I'm defensive. What in the world would make you think that? I don't know what you're talking about! I'm not being defensive!
It was classic!

Big Fat Burrito - yummy burritos with lots of great toppings
Manpuku - lots of great japanese noodle dishes
Good Egg - cute cookbook/gadget store with some craft books thrown in. The store basically had every cookbook on my amazon.com wish list (and more) for me to see in person.
Blue Banana Market - lots of fun stuff to browse
Lettuce Knit - adorable luxury yarn shop with lots of fun yarn from indie dyers
Romni Wools - Insanely huge yarn store. So much yarn it was overwhelming!  Jon picked out an Icelandic sweater pattern and Lopi yarn for me to knit a sweater. If we can't make it to Iceland, at least he can wear a sweater and dream of being in Iceland, right?
Things Japanese - cute Japanese boutique close to the University of Toronto
Ten Ren Tea - Jon stocked up on lots of loose tea here
Mountain Equipment Co-op - the Canadian version of REI. Made me want to buy some cross country skis and snow shoes for next winter


We were accosted by the customs officer on our way back into the USA. "Why didn't you go to Chicago for your anniversary?"

Why would we go to Chicago when we could go to Canada and take pictures like these?
TorontoToronto
I think that answers the question. :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

celebrating...

...four years together.
Four years!
We tied the knot in a tiny wedding ceremony at a cute old church near my parents' house four years ago. We've had a great ride together so far and are starting to settle into life together with all its ups and downs. Jon is such a great husband and he puts up with a lot from me and still humors me all the time with his quirky personality. I'm so blessed to have such a great partner in life!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Helleborus Yoke Cardigan

The Olympic sweater is finally finished!

I ripped out the bottom edging last weekend and reknit it with a larger needle size to eliminate the 80's-esque gathering on the bottom. Then I tackled the collar on Wednesday night and made lots of adjustments to get it to fit my neckline correctly. You can read about my adjustments to the pattern in ravelry if you're interested (craftr's Helleborus Yoke).

I finished up the buttonbands and attached the buttons on Thursday night. The sweater hasn't been blocked yet, but that's not stopping me from wearing it! The cabling pattern is gorgeous and I love the thick and nubbly feeling of the moss stitch throughout the sweater. I was really intrigued with the side to side knitting construction with this pattern and it was fun to try a new construction technique for this.

The Universal Yarn Classic Chunky Tweed yarn was great to work with, but I did find 1 knot in one of the seven balls that I used. It's an acrylic and wool blend that is mostly acrylic, but it has a nice give to it and all of the tweedy chunks give some nice texture to the sweater.

Helleborus Yoke Cardigan
Here are the details:
Pattern: Helleborus Yoke from Knitscene Winter 2010
Yarn: Universal Yarn Classic Chunky Tweed Burgundy, 6.5 balls
Needles: 9 and 10.5
Started February 13 and finished March 11 (with a brief hiatus in between)

Ravelry link: craftr's Helleborus Yoke
Helleborus Yoke Cardigan
PS...yes, these photos are extremely cheesy but they crack Jon up so I'm keeping them :)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Mediterranean Olive Bread

Here's the recipe for the delicious bread I made last weekend. I love all of the olive, sun-dried tomato and walnut bits in this bread and the olive oil makes it especially tasty.
Mediterranean Olive, Sun dried Tomato and Walnut loaf
Mediterranean Olive Bread (from The Joy of Vegan Baking)

Ingredients
3 Tablespoons ground flaxseed (equivalent of 3 eggs)
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup nondairy milk
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/3 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/3 cup chopped sundried tomatoes

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease an 8 or 9-inch loaf pan
3. Whip the flaxseed and water together until thick and creamy
4. Combine the flours, baking powder, rosemary, basil and salt.
5. In a separate bowl combine the flaxseed mixture with milk and olive oil
6. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and fold until most of the dry ingredients are moistened
7. Add the walnuts, olives and sundried tomatoes and fold until combined and all of the dry ingredients are moistened. The batter will firm and sticky.
8. Place the batter into the loaf pan and spread evenly.
9. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean (40-45 minutes)
10. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes before removing from pan and placing on cooling rack.

Mediterranean Olive, Sun dried Tomato and Walnut loaf

Thursday, March 11, 2010

afternoon treats

talking to Jon (and Shinji)
- Talking to Jon on his way to class
sleepy afternoon
- catching a cat nap

afternoon snack
- Discovering a new brand of Peanut butter (and a dairy free recipe for homemade Nutella - thanks Jodi!). I will definitely be trying the Cinnamon Raisin kind next.

zig zag quilt in progress
- Finishing up another quilt top (in all it's wrinkly goodness) - made using this tutorial

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

quilting bees

blocks ready to be mailed
Here's a few blocks that I've made as part of the Common Threads and Bee Beautiful Quilting Bees. Joining a quilting bee is such a fun way to learn new techniques and try out new ideas on a small scale!

Common Threads block for Carissa
Book Quilt block for Carissa

blocks for Angela
Modern/Right angle blocks for Angela

blocks for Jacquie
Red cross blocks for Jacquie

blocks for Nadia
Modern simple blocks for Nadia

blocks for Rachel
String Block for Rachel

Monday, March 8, 2010

catching up

grocery list/menu plan
I spent Sunday catching up on life around our house. Now our pantry is stocked, laundry is finished (and put away!), soups are stored in the freezer and my head is clear and ready for another week. It feels good to get things accomplished.

lots of fun recipes this week
I made the most delicious loaf of Mediterranean Olive, Sun Dried Tomato and Walnut bread from The Joy of Vegan Baking. So delicious! I'll share the recipe later this week. The second favorite recipe I made was the Pickle Soup from Love Soup...so yummy!

back at the sweater again...this time with a partner
I started working on my failed Ravelympics project again. It's coming along much better now and I hope to have it finished by this weekend.

Jon & the kitties
Jon and I have been burning the candle at both ends, so it was nice to have a day to get caught up on things and relax before the start of another busy week.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Greek Pizza

Greek Pizza
My mom made us this delicious pizza a few weeks ago and I wanted to pass along the recipe. In keeping with my mom's style of cooking, it's a quick and easy recipe, but there are no measurements or exact ingredient amounts included. :)


Greek Pizza
Ingredients:
Pizza Dough
Tomato
Cucumber
Red Onion
Avocado
Kalamata Olives
Greek Dressing


Directions:
1. Divide pizza dough of your choice in half and form into a circle. Bake the dough in the oven.
2. Chop one tomato, a cucumber, and a red onion and combine.
3. Slice avocado.
4. Cut olives into thirds.
5. When the pizza dough is finished cooking, spread the vegetables on top and drizzle with Greek dressing.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

creatively procrastinating

My ravelympics project was the Helleborus Yoke Cardigan from Knitscene and knit with Universal Yarns Classic Chunky Tweed yarn.  I put all of my eggs in one basket, so to speak, for the Ravelympics and things did not turn out so good. I let lots of things slip to the side as I crammed in knitting time and things ended poorly on Sunday night (poorly, as in me throwing an "I'm never going to knit anything again, ever!" tantrum at midnight). Needless to say, I did not finish the sweater in time and it needs a few more modifications before it's wearable.

Helleborus Yoke sweater in progress

After sleeping on it, I've realized that things aren't so bad and everything is easily fixable. The body of the sweater went great and I found the perfect buttons yesterday. But, I made the bottom edging a little bit too tight, so the sweater looks like an eighties sweatshirt, instead of a relaxed cardigan. The collar turned out awful too. I read about a lot of complaints about having to reknit the collar multiple times on ravelry, so I should have known that I would have to also. I'm going to add some additional short rows to the collar so that it lays flat and does not gape out so much. Hopefully I'll be able to spend some time reknitting the sweater this weekend to make it wearable.

--

To make things better, I did some playing around with a fun photography website that has been around for quite a while now, Tilt Shift Maker. Why I didn't try this out when I first learned about it, I don't know. But, I'm glad to have had a chance to play with it today. You upload your picture and tweak the settings and it makes your photo look like a miniature scene.
tilt shift Brussels
Brussels

tilt shift Berlin
Bikes in Berlin

tilt shift Paris
Paris rooftops

tilt shift garden
Our little garden

tilt shift - Ometepe, Nicaragua
Foliage in Ometepe, Nicaragua

tilt shift Granada, Nicaragua
Granada, Nicaragua with Mombacho Volcano in the background

tilt shift Japanese garden
My favorite garden and restaurant in Kyoto, Japan

tilt shift Ryoan-Ji Japan
Ryoan-ji temple in Kyoto

tilt shift Shibuya Tokyo
Shibuya intersection in Tokyo

tilt shift Bamberg, Germany
adorable and quaint Bamberg, Germany