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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

I Love Christmas

I love Christmas. I love the music. I love the smell of our Christmas tree. I love mustard herring. I love the giddiness of my children the night before Christmas Eve and the morning of Christmas Eve. I love gingerbread cookies. I love how brown sticks (my favourite Christmas cookie) are hard on the outside and chewy on the inside.

I love “Let’s get drunk and watch some porn”, my favourite line from Love Actually. I love having discovered “Rare Exports” this year. I love spending time with family and friends. I love the crackle and sizzling of the fireplace. I love the silent aftermath, when our kids have fallen asleep. I love a glass of cava. I love turrón. I love resting my feet on the table.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The initials tag hat {hm2}

Inspired by fabrickaz’s use of leather on homespun linen coasters (I think her work is stunningly beautiful in all its simplicity, and I intend to be inspired, lift and steal as much of her style and technique that I can! There, I said it, it’s out there).

Anyhow, since I saw her coasters this spring I’ve had this idea of using leather tags with initials on hats, mittens, scarfs, well any kind of knitted goods. Actually, you could use leather tags on just about anything, purses, bracelets, tea cozy’s… I am bursting with ideas right now, and rambling…

In September when I had a little mom-alone-on-vacation-once-in-a-life-time in Barcelona, I found a beautiful old store that sells leather and leather tools. I bought leather scraps by weight in different colours and one set of leather alphabet stamps.

I have been itching to try them, and now that I have a stash of knitted hats, I can’t wait any longer. This is my first attempt, and honestly, I was not that happy with how the leather tag turned out. I had thought the stamp on the leather would be more pronounced, that it would leave more texture if you know what I mean.

I did some googling and youtubing, and found out that I hadn’t cased the leather, which means that you have to moisten the leather with water before you work with it. Next time I’ll show you what happens when you case the leather first.

Do yu want to make your own leather tag? Here is a tutorial

Monday, December 02, 2013

Forest friends {hat marathon part one}

Hello there! And hello December!

We had a minor November set back. Sick kids and sick grown-ups. After a week of stuffy noses and bad coughing here they are, the two first hats in a set of six knitted hats so far.

Both hats are knitted in Drops Lima, which is a four strand sport yarn blended with 65% wool and 35 % alpaca. It is a hard wearing yarn and perfect for children’s and outdoor garments. You can se the details in my Ravelry notebook

Knitting hats (or other small garments) with Drops Lima on 4mm (US6) sized needles is a hedonic pleasure and gives instant gratification, because it is so fast to knit. It is also a perfect last minute Christmas gift.

Despite colds, we have spent time in our neighbourhood forest and I made sure not to miss the opportunity to take photos during day light of these two sweet hat models.

Fortunately, they were more than willing to be taken photo of, as soon as I tossed the word “model” into the sentence.

I wish you all a nice week!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hat marathon intermission

I wanted to show you the two hats I knitted since last time; but guess what? I forgot to take photos while we had day light this weekend.

The days are so short now that when I am home from work there is not enough light. Wintertime forces me to plan my posts and photo taking rigorously (good-bye spontaneity).

Now I will have to wait until Saturday to take photos and show you the first two knitted hats from the hat marathon.

Instead of hats, today I’ll share photos from our apple-pealing, cutting and baking day a few weeks ago.

Look at how concentrated she is while peeling and cutting those apples.

We picked the last apples from our trees and made apple jam together with mini-pies.

after an hour of peeling and cutting

we could finally begin making the pies

We shared them with our neighbours who loved both the evening surprise and the smell of cinnamon and fresh from the oven apple pies (yes, we are those kind of neighbours...although to my defence, it is merely an altruistic return for all the times we have received either sour dough bread, Indian oven baked aubergines or apple crumble pie… Did I mention I LOVE my neighbourhood?).

The pies disappeared in a “swoosh”. The jam on the other hand, will be enjoy throughout the winter. Either as jam or as apple compote with Vanilla sauce, which is our favourite made-in-no-time dessert.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Hat marathon 2013 begins

“Hat marathon 2013” begins. I have lots of newly bought yarn to knit up before Christmas.

This one is inspired by the colours of our stairs, the mushrooms in our garden and the yellow leafs from the birch outside our kitchen window. It is one of my favourite colour combinations this fall.

I am making the pattern as I knit along and writing down what I do, in case I like the result and want to repeat. I tend to regret it if I forget to write down how I made something. Someone once told me that it’s better to regret the things you do than the things you don’t. At least when it comes to knitting and writing down patterns I agree.

I like my hats to be tight, snuggly and warm around the ears, and then what happens after that depends on the mood and the current inspiration.

What kind of knitted hats are you in the mood for this fall?

Friday, November 01, 2013

Colours of fall

I am collecting inspiration from my garden and my doorstep. I absolutely love the colours of fall.

Our garden I full of these mushrooms. Unfortunately, I know next to nothing about mushrooms. I know that fly agaric is very poisonous, and I have a darning mushroom that looks like a fly agaric, that’s about it.

I wish I did know more... imagine if these are delicious eatable mushrooms? I could make mushroom pies and invite the neighbours. Imagine what we are missing every single fall for not knowing enough about mushrooms.

How are you mushrooms skills?

Do you know what kind of mushrooms these are, and if they are eatable or not?

Wish you a nice weekend!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Oups I did it again

I did it again. I just happened to be on the wrong side of town. The side of town where they have a yarn shop. I just happened to pass right by the shop and discovered that they had the annual Drops Alpaca 25% discount party. All by accident.

I have been such a good girl lately. Knitting with left over yarn. Reducing my stash.

By the way, talking about reducing yarn stash. Why is it that when you want your yarn to last until you reach the correct length of your garment there is never enough, while when you knit with left over yarn from your yarn mountain stash it never seems to decrease? That is a mystery to me.

These yarn beauties’ came home with me and they are going to be knitted into hats. I have a hats marathon going on. My goal is to knit up all this yarn before Christmas. I’ll show you the hats as they come along. After that, I will be a good girl again and knit from my stash.

…Although technically this yarn is now also part of my stash… Hence, I am a good girl *grin*

Have a nice week!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wool in use

Recently, the Norwegian knitter Merete from the blog «Monstermønster» had a blog post about her wool in use (she has a funny undertone when writing, and that is one of the reasons I enjoy her blog so much).

Inspired by her, I thought I would share my wool in use. I realized very quickly that I could not. The reason is I have never knitted any sweaters or jackets for me, only hats and scarfs. I always end up knitting for my children or other relatives and friends. In my case, the wool in use in our household means my children’s “wool in use”.

Wool in use nr. 1 (first from the left), The Spring Jacket, knitted in 2009. No longer in use. Not because Astrid grew out of it, but because my husband did the laundry. I cried, but still let him do the laundry. Until it shrunk, it was one of my favourite jackets. Astrid wore that for years and still it looked very good. It went from being a large jacket with the arms folded up, to be a bolero with ¾ arms. A good invested knitting time. I used Drops Alpaca and it held up to the many washes and wear and tear.

Wool in use nr. 2 (second from left), Left Over Stripes, knitted in 2012. Still in use because I love how he looks in it, but getting too small. Knitted in leftover yarn from Sandnes Alpaca and Drops Alpaca. Again, it still looks good after a lot of wash and wear. I usually wash the wool by hand due to too many washing machine accidents like the above.

Wool in use nr. 3 (third from left) Blue for Baby A, knitted in 2013. This one is in use every week. Knitted in Baby Wool (Merino) from Gjestal, and looks good after lots of wear and tear. Which goes to show that yarn does not have to be expensive to be warm and lasting.

Wool in use nr. 4 (third from the right) Jacket for Astrid, knitted in 2011 by my mum. I think it is knitted in Drops Fabel, colour “pink dream” but I’m not sure. Anyhow, Astrid has worn and torn the jacket for almost three years now and it keeps up very well.

Wool in use nr. 5 (second from the right), Birthday Dress Cardigan, knitted in 2012. This one is not as much in use as the other ones. That is simply because it is her Birthday Party Dress Cardigan, which she mostly uses when going to Birthday Parties. I knitted this one with long arms so it will fit her for several years to come.

Wool in use nr. 6 (first from the right), Kindergarten Jumper 2, knitted in 2011. This is actually a remake (the first Kindergarten Jumper was knitted in 2009) and was never Ravelry’ed. I used Gjestal Baby Wool. Jumpers and sweaters in thin wool seems to be used more often in our household than other knitted garments.

What's your wool in use? And what's your wool not in use, and why?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Plum Liqueur {recipe}

We have a plum tree in our garden. Well more precisely, our neighbours have a plume tree in their garden, and every year they let us pick plums. Like previous years, I have made a few jars of plum marmalade and plum chutney (delicious on any kind of cheese). This year I also made a big 2-litre glass of plum liqueur.

I think it is a bit too early to talk about that time in December called Chr…mas yet, but the fact is that this plum liqueur will be ready to taste just in time for us to enjoy it with chiming bells and pine smelling trees.

If I had known how easy and very little time consuming it is to make plum liqueur I would have done this years ago.

So if you still have plums on your trees or they sell plums in your grocery store and you like something warm and sweet for those cold winter nights, don’t hesitate, make your own liqueur this weekend and it will be done just in time for Chr…. I mean, winter.

1. Take a clean glass jar. Fill it halfway up with plums that you have washed and patted dry.

2. Then pour sugar over the plums until they are covered.

3. Add your choice of Alcohol and fill up until the plums and sugar is covered.

I used two thirds of white rum (Bacardi) and one third of dark rum (Barceló), because that is what I had in my pantry and because I love rum. Choosing Vodka will give you a more neutral a clean plum taste. You could also make it with two-thirds Vodka and one-third rum, or perhaps gin ... (darn, If I only had more plums. I would have made all the versions and compared)

4. Fill up the rest of the jar with plums until you cannot fit more and cover with sugar.

5. Crush the pits of two or three plums and add to the jar. I don’t know why, I just rememeber someone saying that once.

6. Pour rum over until the jar is full. Put on a tight lid and turn the jar upside down. Watch how the sugar slowly falls from the top of the jar to the bottom.

7. Keep the jar in a cold and dark place. Turn the jar 1-2 times a week until the sugar has dissolved, and wait 2-3 months before you have your first taste.

After you have waited patiently for two or three months strain the liqueur. First through a strainer and then through a cloth if you want it clear.

Fill up the liqueur in bottles, and use the plums for a seriously adult plum cake or plum muffins with your favourite vanilla ice cream or homemade vanilla sauce.


Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Knits piling up

Unfinished knitting projects are piling up. So many things to knit, so many more ideas, and so little time. I don’t know where to start and when to finish.

How about you? What’s on your needles these days? Do you have piles gathering up? Or are you a one-project-at-a-time kind of person?

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Mortar and pestle mat

I’m enjoying a cup of hot Indian chai while knitting and watching the birds on our bird feeder. I always dreamt of moments like this when we lived in our flat with balcony and no bird feeder.

I also wanted to show you this “mortar & pestle mat” that I made, (my own definition: a small mat that fits under your mortar & pestle so that your very expensive kitchen bench in oak does not get scratches while the m&p is being used) now used for my teapot.

It’s been ages since I stitched something. These last weeks the urge to stitch again became impossible to dismiss.

To obey the need for stitching I found this lovely squared Japanese fabric in my stash and some blue thread. Nothing fancy or sophisticated, just lines in different lengths, to give a different look and texture on the surface. I am pleased. I might do some more sewing and stitching this fall.