I had a day off today and it’s been very enjoyable. It started slow with a pot of tea and my usual routine, checking emails, Ravelry, playing my word games.
My daily yoga was, as usual, led by Mady Morrison on YouTube. I chose a spicier session today to get myself stretched out and warmed up.
I had a good workout at the gym. An hour on the treadmill with some “hills” followed by leg machines and some back and chest work. That felt good. I’ve been eating less the last few weeks with the goal of feeling more comfortable in my jeans. I’m genetically a pear shape so when my tummy started to expand, exacerbated by menopause, it felt very uncomfortable. Time to shrink the spare tires!
The photo at the top is my finished cowl. I finished the third colour left over from the beanie and the cowl was 24 inches around, which is a perfect size, so the remaining two balls of yarn have been returned to the stash for now.
This little pouch is from a video tutorial by Tendersmile Handmade. The body is slightly gathered to fit the round base which is actually nice because any tucks and pleats in the fabric are intentional! This caravan fabric has been in the stash for ages and there’s still a large chunk left.
Dinner was a simple affair: what I like to call “refrigerator soup”! You get to use up lots of vegetables and even some leftovers (in this case, kidney bean dal and cooked rice) to make a meal. Add in some wholegrain bread and leafy greens and you’re set.
Easter to me means chocolate. My family wasn’t religious so when I was a child it was all about the chocolate eggs. Preferably the kind filled with other chocolate like Smarties or something. But it had to be Cadbury’s, not the cheap and nasty stuff that didn’t really taste of anything!
We never did egg hunts like people do now. It’s probably a North American thing that has been adopted in recent years by the British.
This year, we bought some bars of chocolate for the five of us. The bonus was that Superstore was selling their own brand of dark chocolate bars for only $1.79.
I was fortunate to have Saturday and Sunday off. Good Friday I worked but it was a short day due to the stat. Saturday we had a potluck with friends which is always fun and we leave full of good vegan food. And today Mr Fixit and I went out for breakfast. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times we’ve done that! But we drove up to a vegan cafe on the lake and had a “bacon and egger” sandwich and a cinnamon bun followed by a stroll in the sunshine along the beach.
It’s been a cold April so we’re still wearing puffer vests when we’re out (what we Brits used to call bodywarmers or gilets).
I have been doing a bit o’ knittin’ this week, adding to the Freesia shawl. I am about halfway done.
And I have been refreshing my cross stitching skills, having fun with a bit of embroidery with, shall we say, mature content!
I used the alphabet out of that book in the photo which I have owned for about 40 years.
The bird and leaf designs are from a knitting colourwork book that I also own.
And today I made a prototype crossback apron out of cheap canvas based on the pattern in the photo. A friend lent it to me but she had already cut out the small size so I had to adjust things to where I figured the large lines would have been before she cut into the pattern.
It frays like mad, this canvas, so I just zigzagged it before hemming. I have the most gorgeous sewing-themed tapestry fabric for the ‘good’ version. I’m glad I made a practice one first.
I have had less than stellar news from the family on the other side of the pond this week. My mum has had a lot of pain in her hip that has left her barely able to walk so she is in hospital right now, and my sister has the dreaded covid! Hoping for better news by the end of the week, when hopefully my sister will test negative and mum can go home (they live in the same house).
My Freesia shawl by Annie Baker has grown quite a lot in the last two weeks. There are at least two mistakes in it. Last week I was knitting away happily during a Zoom call with my friends in the Vegan Knitters and Crocheters group on Ravelry and noticed a yarnover hole where there wasn’t supposed to be one.
I know what I did. On the 11th row of the repeat there is a change in the instructions- after 13 K2tog/YO combos, instead of just knitting the rest of the row, you do K2tog, K1, K2tog, K1, K2tog. Well, the muscle memory kicked in and I YO’d when I should have K1’d.
Never mind. I dropped down to the hole, hooked it back up and it looks all right.
The second mistake was tonight on the 12th row of the repeat which is the only one without an increase on the plain edge. I did the increase automatically. Again, no one will ever notice.
Not much else has happened in the Craft Department in the last week or two. I added a little bit of stitching to the sashiko vest project. Barely did any crochet.
I have read a couple of novels which possibly explains the lack of productivity.
And I have been experimenting with bread. A couple of weeks ago I attempted hot cross buns but they came out like dense doughballs. They barely rose.
The following week I tried again, using an enhanced version of my usual bread recipe. Rather than individual buns I made two loaves. They were better but still dense and even though they were in the oven for 45 minutes they still seemed underdone in the middle.
Today I tried again. Less salt and oil, and I changed out a third of the whole wheat flour for white.
Nailed it! Slightly sweet and spicy, these loaves were a great texture and well-browned on the crust. (Recipe may follow when I am more awake!)
Ds3 has also been experimenting with making bread. I came home from work the other day to find some very professional looking bread on the kitchen counter. It was white bread but very flavourful. It didn’t last long! (He had bought the white flour that day – we don’t usually have any in the house – which is why I was able to steal a couple of cups of it for my bread today.)
The house got a good airing today. While I was cleaning I opened windows on the south side. It’s been pretty cold for spring (apart from one day when it hit 18°C) but I love to get some fresh air in. As long as I’m keeping active with cleaning bathrooms etc I don’t mind the coolness.
I even hung my towels outside to dry for the first time this year.
Hope your week is going well. I have the chiropractor tomorrow and a knit night with friends in the evening so I’m looking forward to that. And then it’s a few days of work (with a short shift on Friday because it’s Good Friday) and then a weekend off.
I slept in today so instead of dawn photos I have sunny blue sky photos. These show my maple, walnut and cherry in their winter nakedness.
Day 2 of my Advent calendar gave me pale blue yarn and two more beads, one of which is a seahorse one.
I baked cookies today to freeze for next week. This recipe is my own. Feel free to use it, share it, adapt it. They make good ‘energy bars’ and are free of added oil and refined sugar.
This isn’t really a dessert. More of an all-purpose snack. We’ve made them lots of times and they are great for taking on plane journeys for travel fortification and even breakfast on day 1 of the holiday.
The ingredients can be subbed, left out, added to. I rarely have coconut in the pantry these days. Today I didn’t have prunes so used apples instead. The prunes do work well though. I learned years ago that prune puree makes a reasonable sub for oil.
Everything (but the kitchen sink) cookies
3 cups whole-wheat flour 1 cup rolled oats 1 tblsp baking powder 1 cup chopped nuts 1.5 cups raisins 1 cup chocolate chips 1 cup pumpkin seeds 2 tsp cinnamon .5 tsp salt .5 cup coconut
Mix in large bowl.
In blender, blitz 1 cup ready to eat prunes 1 cup water .5 cup maple syrup .5 cup plant milk Juice 1 lemon 2 tsp vanilla 1 banana
Pour into bowl, mix. Drop large spoonfuls onto 2 baking sheets (use parchment or silicone because they will stick otherwise). I got 16 large cookies out of this quantity. Bake 25 mins at 375°F.
My Vlogmas recommendation today is This Little Wonderful Life. Ali from Kent in England also has a podcast channel, Little Drops of Wonderful.
It’s Canadian Thanksgiving today and I am feeling thankful for many things.
Walking in the sunshine
Sewing with colourful fabrics
Eating good food
Family, friends, and you, dear readers.
It’s been a beautiful day, warm sun, cool air, leaves turning, squirrels gathering.
Dinner was fairly simple, just stuffed portobellos and roasted vegetables. The potatoes came from our garden and the purple cauliflower, carrots and Brussels sprouts came from the farmers market. We had apple crumble made with local Mac apples.
I’ve been sewing small drawstring bags with cottons from the stash. I need 24 small ones for my self-created yarn Advent calendar plus a larger one for the new knitting needle set which I’ll open on December 25th.
I had a production line going this afternoon but had to stop to cook dinner. Now that’s out of the way, I can get back to it.
My knitting and crochet WIPs haven’t changed much.
And I’m really enjoying this new tea from my favourite tea shop, with frothy soy milk and maple syrup.
…bunnies, lakeside walks in the sunshine and hot cross buns!
I made a fun gift for a co-worker. My Ravelry project page is here if you’d like to check out the details and pattern. It’s a cute pattern that I found on Ravelry, of course.
Earlier in the week I met a friend for a walk and tested out the photo capabilities of my new phone.
It was a beautiful day though the wind was really cold. Today I went for another walk and the temperature was in the double digits and I was warm in just a T shirt.
As Easter is imminent I just had to make some hot cross buns though mine don’t have crosses. I completely forgot to add them just before baking. It’s not the first time I’ve done that! Still, they taste wonderful. I used a vegan oil-free recipe from here.
I confess to having scoffed a couple when I returned from my walk and now I just feel sleepy, but I’m cooking dinner so I’m having to keep my wits about me!
I hope your week is going well. I’m working the next two days (yes, I work on Good Friday but at least I get stat pay) and then I have the weekend off.
I saw a humorous meme on FB earlier. Something about the day after the clocks “springing forward” an hour being National Napping Day.
I must confess to being rather sleepy this afternoon. Saturday evening I went to bed extra early because I had work at 9.30am Sunday. But Sunday evening I stayed up late watching The Coroner on Netflix and then slept in this morning.
After a slow start to the day, I baked a couple of fruit cakes (one for us, and a GF one for a coworker) and while they were cooling I went for a 45 minute walk in the sunshine.
Scoffing a large piece of cake may have contributed to the sleepiness!
I never tire of the views around here.
Rather than buy a birthday card for my great-niece I made this from a piece of scrappy fabric I made a while back when experimenting with scraps and stitches.
I used Heat ‘n Bond to fuse it to a plain backing, pinked the edges, and stitched in a piece of paper for the handwritten message.
Now I just need to mail it off with her gifts.
Well, I said I was sleepy and obviously a little brain-dead because I just published this prematurely. Sorry if you get two versions in your inbox.
But seriously, I have been loving looking at all the small balls of colourful scrap yarn in my stash. All the bits are stuffed into one of those Wool Warehouse organza bags so I can see what’s in there. I started down the rabbithole of a pattern search on Ravelry using only the search term “rainbow” and had lots of fun. Before I show you what I made, I have to tell you about these Rainbow Buddies which are so cute. It’s apparently a crochet-along but it doesn’t seem to be accompanied by any sort of group chat anywhere. It’s only free during February, and the first two parts have already been published. The second two parts are coming soon. I have already downloaded and printed out the first two weeks’ worth of instructions. No affiliation – just thought you might be interested.
This is what I made after sorting out the standard rainbow colours from the rest of the scraps.
The pattern is called Rainbow Slipper Socks and it’s on a blog here. The pattern calls for DK doubled, but I used worsted weight. The cream is an old skein of Bernat Berella 4 (in fact, I had to start a second ball right near the end). The bright colours are random brands from the stash.
It’s very simple, all half double crochet (half treble UK). You start at the toes and work up, so it’s easy to adjust the fit and try on as you go. She has you decrease a lot at the beginning of the leg, but I only did two decrease rounds there because they are more slippers than socks and I didn’t want to struggle to get my feet into them. And then it’s up to you how long you make the leg – mine have cuffs. The mystery of stash and scraps means that my organza bag seems no emptier than before!!
It’s Family Day here in BC. The five of us used to spend it snowboarding/skiing but considering I broke my wrist spectacularly back in 2018 (link to the day I had my dressing off after surgery – don’t look if you’re squeamish) on Family Day, I have been too chicken to get on a snowboard since. And times change, and youngest son is working today, and the only reason I’m not working is that I remembered to book the day off in advance. So we have no special plans.
And of course yesterday was Valentine’s Day and there were no special plans for that either. We don’t ‘do’ Hallmark holidays however I did feel that a bit of chocolate wouldn’t go amiss. So even though I’d been at work all day, and the guys had made pizza, I whipped up a chocolate cake for dessert.
I have no idea where I got this recipe originally. It’s been in my handwritten cookbook for years. It’s rich and decadent and vegan, and you don’t need to mess about with egg replacers. It might even work as a gluten-free cake with something like Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 All Purpose GF Flour, but I haven’t tried it.
Batter – 1 2/3 cups sugar (I use coconut), 2 1/2 cups flour (wholewheat), 1/2 cup oat flour (I use my Vitamix’s dry jug to grind some rolled oats), 2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp or less salt, 2/3 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 cup chocolate chips (I use Costco’s Kirkland chips which happen to be dairy free), 1 cup hot coffee (I use instant – one mug of coffee will be enough for this plus the frosting), 1 cup coconut milk (the canned kind, one can will be enough for the batter and the frosting), 2 tblsp apple cider vinegar, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla, 3/4 cup vegan butter (eg, Earth Balance or Melt).
Frosting – 1 1/2 cups choc chips, 1/4 cup coffee, 1/8 cup hot water, 1/4 cup coconut milk, 2oz silken tofu (about 2 tblsp)
Mix sugar, flour, oat flour, baking soda and salt in one bowl. In second bowl, mix cocoa powder, choc chips and hot coffee. In a third bowl, mix coconut milk, vinegar, vanilla. Melt ‘butter’ and add to coconut milk mixture. Combine all into one bowl, pour into two 8″ sandwich tins lined with circles of parchment paper and oiled. Bake at 350 – 375F for 25 – 30 mins (my oven runs cool, I usually go for a higher temp) until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to partly cool before turning out. While cakes are cooling, make frosting. Melt choc chips (I do this in a bowl over a pan of hot water). Add coffee, water and coconut milk. Pour into blender with tofu, blend until smooth, chill in fridge 1 1/2 hours. Whisk with electric beaters and use. I defrosted some frozen berry mix and added them in the middle plus a few on top.
It really is rich and you probably won’t be able to eat more than one slice at a sitting. It’s good for a special occasion.
It didn’t cut very photogenically – it crumbled – but it tasted good!
After our big lunch out on Sunday, we had a very simple dinner on Monday. Tuesday was Christmas Eve and I had decided that that was going to be our main Christmas meal. So I cooked a lentil chestnut loaf, potatoes oreganata (sliced potatoes with oregano, sundried tomatoes and olives) and lots of roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower! We had apple crumble for dessert with vegan ice cream. And then the boys, Tai Chi Man and I played Cards Against Humanity. I know, very non-PC, but very funny, once you get over the fact you’re all mentioning body parts and unnatural acts in front of your parents/children. Our children ARE in their 20s now!!
Christmas Day was lovely and easy. I rustled up some blueberry pancakes around lunchtime, of which most of us partook. And Tai Chi Man and I went out for a neighbourhood walk in the afternoon. It’s been very mild around here, hovering around zero for some time, and there’s snow on the ground but no new precipitation for a few days. Dinner was equally simple, as I made a large fruit salad, which we ate with more vegan ice cream, and there was fruit cake for those who wanted it.
I baked a gluten free mince tart in the evening as I had a friend coming over for tea the next day. It seemed to work out okay.
And Boxing Day…another day at home. My friend came over for a cuppa and a piece of aforesaid mince tart, which was nice. I did a bit of tidying up, and some sewing on another project bag (#11 in the series). Dinner was shepherd’s pie and salad.
With the end of the year approaching, I am aware of my need to review. And the big pile of WIPs in the living room was begging for attention. So today I picked up the crochet granny blanket and added a couple of rounds of black and called it done. I needed a Finished Object and this is about 700 grams out of the stash. YAY!
It’s about 41″ square, and a good size for a lap blanket.
The centre is mostly different colours from the outer rounds because they were small scraps of yarn which I had to use up early or they wouldn’t have been enough to complete a full round. For the first time, I switched direction each round to avoid the skewing that happens in the centre of large grannies, and it worked well.
Now I am at the end of a five day stretch of no shifts, and I have work tomorrow. New sale, so my brain will have to be on full alert! And then Saturday, lots more cooking, as we’re hosting a potluck. Whew!
A whole weekend off – what fun! Saturday evening we had a potluck at a friend’s house with a group of lovely people. SO much food, we were nearly bursting! And of course we played our traditional Mexican Train Dominoes. Awesome!
My contribution to the food was apple pie and cashew-based vanilla ice cream (the big pie in foreground was the one I took with me, the smaller one and the jam tart made from the leftover pastry were left at home for the boys to eat). I rarely make pastry these days because of the fat content but OMG it came out so well – I used Melt Buttery Sticks for the first time.
This morning there was a vegan market downtown so we splurged on vegan baked treats, which we shared with the boys because they were far too rich for just two people to eat. We also bought some cool hand-made soaps again, and I also finally bought myself a vegan T shirt. Guess I need to get a photo of that sometime.
Afterwards it was tea at our favourite tea shop and a bit of crochet. I have made three of these gnomes (Gnomes of the Gnorth) now. Two of them were made following the pattern pretty closely, one wasn’t, and I shouldn’t have gone ‘off piste’ because I don’t like my version as much (the one with the white beard).
I have two new dishcloths made from a random ball of dishcloth cotton that I acquired recently. It never went into stash – I just used it up quickly, making up different stitch patterns as I went.
And there has been sewing. Between tea in town and going to the gym, I spent a couple of hours making this bag.
It was made with scraps left over from the snowman quilt/bag I made recently, with a lining from some other stash cotton. I think I need to buy a new walking foot – the one I have keeps slipping, the screw holding it on the machine is loosening so it moves as I sew (and I break needles as a result) and the whole thing is either too loose or too tight.
I am pretty happy with the bag, except for a little uneven quilting across the front. This is the same video tutorial as the other bag, and I pieced a patchwork section just like the original in the video. It’s a good way to use up small pieces.
After the gym I went out for a meal with friends, so all in all it was a very calorific weekend and I should probably not eat anything for the next five days! Yeah, right!!