Category Archives: Knitting

Puffing Champagne

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I know that after New Years I’m always trying to figure out how to properly use our Champagne splurg left-overs. I know this is probably a common problem in the whole of the modern world. So common that a cookbook addressed it with a recipe.

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And I know another common problem for my readers is what to do with the acorn squash that you picked at least a month ago that has sat atop the washing machine since then, turning from green to yellow.

We cut said acorn squash open and I breathed a sigh of relief that it wasn’t rotten. Marc reminded me that the settlers counted on the Winter squash not to rot so that they could enjoy it all season when nothing else was growing. I reminded him that they usually have a cold storage in the side of a hill. They usually didn’t store their Winter squash in the laundry room in room temperature. How far removed are we from settlers!

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This recipe is good enough that it deserves to be tried. Even if it means buying a bottle of champagne. The best part about this recipe is that it only uses 1/4 cup of the bubbly. That leaves a lot for tasting!

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It is also important to have a sentry stand guard over the squash in case it means to escape from the oven. I have found myself a particularly stoic yet slightly fickle sentry in Ramona cat. She held still for this photo, then forgot the wood stove was hot, stretched and burned her little paw on the side. Silly cat.

My knitting needles have also been busy. My friend is due with twins any day so I found this very cute booty pattern here, (for free yippee!) and I sent off a package of handknits. I’m pleased at how quickly they came together. And I feel like a regular little craftster sending off knitting!

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I’ve finally gathered enough courage to try a sock pattern that I first layed eyes on a couple years ago. My nana sent it to me in the mail and I’ve completed my first sock, though it needs some perfecting. Special mention to James for the fabulous wool!

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One sock down and I’m easily distracted by a toque pattern with ear flaps! I’ll get to the other sock a little later.

It was balmy today, 9-10C. January 2nd and the bees were flying! I remember last year at this time I was in three feet of snow! Marc and I even got out in the garden. We have big plans at reclaiming this patch of land. It’s been 20 years out of use and the grass is tenacious. Drawing a plan of the garden and pinning it to the wall has been inspiration to me. We put cardboard down, and cedar wood chips for the paths. The weeds have already invaded some of the beds Marc worked so tirelessly to turn over in the Summer. But now even with the paths down, it looks more like a real garden. I am encouraged!

Our little greenhouse was so warm today that if the weather looks like it’ll keep up for a while, I may try planting winter kale. My spinach at the house is still alive so you never know what will germinate. Last year we got the bulk of our seeds from Salt Spring Seeds. It was close and we knew the seeds to have good viability because it is the same climate. We had great success with our tomatoes. Ripe tomatoes before most of our other gardening friends and it was not the skill we employed. We gave the seeds most of the credit, and the good weather the other bit of credit. This year we’d like to try growing black tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and perhaps green zebra striped ones to compliment our romas and scarlet heirlooms which will definitely be making an encore.

We’re also arranging to pick up 15 hives worth of equipment for bees. I am very excited about this. I have 12 locations on island that are interesting in hosting my bees so I can compare the forage. I still have equipment that I purchased last year that needs to be built so I think we’ll be drowning in all things “bee” soon enough.

Now if all this is not enough, I have begun running again. Yes it’s time for little miss farm wife-hibernating she-bear to get off her butt and pound the pavement. Did you know that Pender is filled with hills?! And big ones! We used to give each other small smirks when we saw ambitious cyclists disembark from the ferry with grand goals of biking the entire island in a day. Inevitably we would find them at the bakery about an hour later, looking very red in the face. Well now who is red in the face! Me! But, as one of my New Year’s resolutions, I am determined to be gentle with myself. Run a little, walk a little until I build up my strength.

Giving myself room to be imperfect is very gratifying. I encourage everyone to try it!

And… (I know I know, what happened to being gentle with myself?) I am enrolled in a university course aiming toward  finishing my degree I started um… *seven* years ago! I am utterly excited about this! My instructor is a prolifically published author and I’ve been reading her books for a few years now. And I get to write poetry in my online class. *sigh* I love poetry….

Is there anything better than the smell of roasting squash? Even sweeter is squash we grew ourselves.

Happy New Years folks! I hope you get lots of breathing time. Don’t worry, I’ll remember to breathe as I puff my way up these ginormous hills!

Whip it Good

This is my second Christmas Baking endeavor this year. Whipped Shortbread!

I grew up thinking that this was the only shortbread. Little did I know that this is not a customary Christmas recipe. I’m not a big fan of maraschino cherries but they are growing on me after 20+ years. Feast your eyes upon these lovely babies!

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Here is the recipe so you don’t have to simply drool over your keyboard but you can get right to work on creating these melt-in-your-mouth treats.

Whipped Shortbread

1 cup corn starch
1 cup icing sugar
2 cups flour + 2 Tbsp
1 3/4 cup butter

Sift dry ingredients together. Add gradually to whipped butter. Drop by spoon fulls onto cookie sheet. Decorate with maraschino cherry bits. Bake at 300F for 20 minutes.

Now doesn’t that sound easy?
And for a small hint of what’s coming…
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December is truckin’ right along and advent is arming me with enough crafty stuff to keep me busy long into Winter.
Plus! I got my first seed catalogue in the mail this week. Is it already that time? Have you thought about your Spring Garden yet?

Advent Day 8, The day things arrived in the mail

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Pot of Gold Coffee sent us a Christmas ornament with our regular coffee order. I love these guys! As you may have read, and read, coffee is a big part of our day. They put our names on the coffee bags, they send our Christmas letters, and special little gifts with our coffee order. And their coffee quality is simply amazing. It is so amazing that from the time we have gotten their coffee, more than 10 people we know now get their coffee through Pot of Gold. Even our office orders their coffee now through them.

Also in the mail was a present from my dear friend, Holly. Along with her annual Christmas letter, which I can appreciate a lot of work goes into, I got a “nightie on sale” and a hand-written note. Yay for mail surprises. Thank you Holly for your wonderful gift. Your nightie is a perfect gift to rectify the situation created by my sewing disaster. Marc said, when I held it up, “It’s missing those charming Vulcan sleeves.” Yeah I kicked him.

The last item in the mail was a post office package slips. These are always so mysterious. On Pender I especially love it when they say that ID is required. I work next to the post office. We share cookies. We car-pool. We see each other every day. They know who I am. Yet diligently, they will not hand over a parcel unless I can show my driver’s license. I suppose there are a lot of short, fluffy haired, brightly toqued, squeaky beekeepers on the island who could impersonate me. Our population is growing…

Today for advent I got hair elastics. I am constantly losing these as the kittens have taken a liking to batting them around the house and hiding them in their secret stash. (Filled with bobbypins, almonds, milk caps and yarn ends, no doubt.)

I am attempting double-pointed needle knitting. So far I am making a brightly coloured tube. Nondescript. Maybe it’s a tree trunk warmer. Or a kitten belt. Anyhow, it’s a lot harder than you’d think to knit with four needles as opposed to two. I feel like I’m knitting with a handicap. Is there an easier way to do this?

Happy December 8th!

I have started saying Merry Christmas today. Is it too soon?

Merry Christmas!

A Give-Away!

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The sewing adventure is still happening. My boss at work is helping me fit it to my hips. So you will just have to sit on your hands and wait for that post!

Now we’re trying something new on the blog. I’ve never done this before but I’ve seen other blogs do this and I am a bit of a copy-cat. (Like Ramona.)

I have knit a pair of thumb-less mittens that are suitable for a baby about 9 months (maybe more, maybe less, depends on the paws of your infant.)

I will send the knitted mitts to the lucky winner and to win this contest, you must share your favourite Christmas baking recipe or knitting pattern as a post.

I will choose my favourite and send off the pair of covetted mittens!

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This Give-away closes on Monday November 23rd.

MARCUS IS THE WINNER OF THIS GIVE-AWAY BY THE RANDOM SELECTION OF NAMES PULLED FROM A KNITTED TOQUE.

CONGRATULATIONS MARCUS. THANK YOU FOR SHARING G. BINKY’S RUM BALL RECIPE.

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE THAT PARTICIPATED.

Pea Soup Fairy and other tales

We’ve had a reprieve from the wind and rain as last night it was a clear starry sky and this morning, we actually saw a sunrise. But do not fret, the wind is back and another storm is approaching. Luckily I am tucked at home, on a lunch break, with soup on the stove and a very warm fire at my back.

We are having an “eat out of the freezer” type of week and it’s amazing what we have discovered. I was telling my lovely co-workers about finding a mysterious unlabelled glass jar in our fridge filled with green goo. Upon defrosting, we discovered pea soup! A co-worker of mine declared “We had mysterious pea soup last night from the freezer too.” At which I logically concluded that a Pea Soup fairy has been visiting unsuspecting freezers on Pender Island recently. And right on time too. It is lovely pea soup weather.

I have had an excuse with this lousy weather to practise my knitting. I attempted to knit baby booties for a friend who just had a baby. Congrats Friend! I found a “very easy” pattern on the internet. Now, please realize with me that I have no spacial awareness. I’ve found that this missing skill would be quite useful in the realm of knitting. I could not picture how this pattern would turn this strip of knitting into a bootie. Plus I found the pattern very confusing. I think I need some coaching for this. Plus, I realized that I did not have enough yarn to make TWO booties! So I would have had a pair of mismatched booties. My friend, knowing me since I was a wee tike, would have received the mismatched booties, sighed and perhaps chuckled. She would have understood that they were from me and that an under-estimation of yarn had occured. She knows me this well.

But that tragedy was averted when I decided to change the booties into a toque. Behold, the bootie baby toque.

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This baby is a newborn but this toque is awfully small. So Friend, please feel free to use this toque on a teddy bear if it does not fit said baby’s head.

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What is amazing about this toque is that, the day I mailed it to aforementioned Friend, I checked the mail and received a toque from a completely different friend. This friend had heard that I was learning to knit and how much I loved knitted toques and she took it upon herself to surprise me! All I can say is:

Give and you shall receive!

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Thank you very much Amanda for the beautiful toque! I am in love and wear it regardless of the red I’m wearing, regardless of being at the office. I love this toque and I am wearing it wrecklessly.

Stay tune for further sewing adventures….