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Bourbon caramel nuts with black sesame and sea salt.

17 Dec

Teacher gifts:

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My original plan was to do cookies, as usual. But then I was trolling around Pinterest (as you do), and found this recipe.

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Easy, delicious, and different. I’ll definitely be making these again.

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The Cleverness of my Mother, Part 3.

14 Jan

Click, then scroll down.

As Amy (and probably others) guessed, the final installment of this series (for now, because I’m sure that Mum will come up with further evidence of her crafty brilliance in the future) is Sasquatch’s quilt. While we were looking at quilts to get an idea of what they would like, Boyo chose a style (log cabin), but Sasquatch fell madly in love with a specific quilt – a scrap quilt made from old green work pants and flannel shirts (see thumbnail at right*). He announced “I want that one.” I explained to him that he couldn’t have that particular quilt, because it belonged to someone else: “See there, where the owner’s name is embroidered on one of the green patches?” “Well, I want one just like it.” (he appears to be going through a laying-down-the-law phase at the moment). In the end, we agreed to send the pic to Grandma and let her use it as inspiration. Here’s what she made of it:

It’s bright and cheerful and he loves it, as I knew he would. And, as before, the back is a collaboration with Auntie Marie, this time with an over-riding chicken theme for some reason…

Sasquatch is a bit blurry here because nanoseconds after this pic was taken he fell over backwards and landed on his bum.

Hilarity ensued.

~~~

*I can’t for the life of me find the blog where I discovered the original quilt pic. At the time I wasn’t thinking about blogging, I just saved the pic to my hard drive, and emailed it to Mum. I spent a good two hours this morning looking for it, but evidently my Google-fu has deserted me. Should the owner of the quilt ever read this post, please leave a comment and I’ll be more than happy to give credit where it’s due.

~~~

ETA: Thanks to Amy for finding the website for the quilt. It’s the Peterson’s Greens quilt; scroll down for the story behind it. I think they’ve updated the site since I first saw it, because I’m sure I would have remembered this story.

The Cleverness of my Mother, part 2

12 Jan

During the same visit in which Mum and Dad brought down our wedding quilt, she announced she wanted to make quilts for the boys for Christmas. Obviously, I would have been crazy to say no, so the boys and I looked over some quilt books and searched the interwebs for inspiration, and decisions were made. Boyo announced he would like a log cabin quilt in blues and reds, and here is what Mum came up with:

One of the interesting things about these quilts is the back. The wedding quilt I showed you last week is backed in plain unbleached calico, but the back here is a collaboration between Mum and her sister. Auntie Marie dabbled in quilting some while ago, but lost interest before she finished anything, though not before amassing a fairly decent stash of fabric. When she heard that Mum was making these quilts, Auntie Marie took the opportunity to do a massive de-stash, and unloaded the lot on Mum, who cobbled together completed blocks, partially finished blocks, and various fat quarters and other lengths of fabric into the gorgeousness you see here:

Finally, Boyo insisted on being in the pics with his quilt. Here he is pointing out his favourite bit.

In amongst the beautifully crazy hodgepodge of shape and colour on the back are a couple of pieces of mustard-brown corduroy, and he zeroed straight in on that as his favourite fabric. It’s a texture thing.

Merry Christmas to all…

25 Dec

I am typing this on my shiny new Samsung laptop. It is very beautiful, very fast, every single one of the keys works every single time I hit it (which is a bit of a novelty), and it is red (because red ones go faster*). The only downside is that my very favourite game, Plants vs Zombies won’t run on the 64 bit version of Windows 7. So my wonderful Tech Support got me a copy of SimCity 4. Am I spoiled or what?

We have had a lovely day at home, just the four of us. There have been blizzards of shredded wrapping paper, lollies and chips flowing free, pitched backyard battles with the pump-action Super-Soakers that Santa brought, remote control cars running rampageous around my feet while I tried to get the pork roast into the oven, followed of course by the traditional Eating Way Too Much, and when it started raining late this afternoon,  we all piled on the couch and watched Toy Story 3 on DVD (if El Buzzo doesn’t make you hoot with laughter, then nothing ever will!).

Tomorrow, we head off to the in-laws’ for a few days with the family (aunties and uncles and cousins, oh my!), then home again in time for New Years Eve.

I hope you have had a bright and beautiful holiday, however you choose to spend it, and if you are travelling, go safely and come home rested and relaxed.

____

*and because they didn’t have a purple one.

Long Time, No Blog.

9 Dec

… for which, my apologies. It was coming down to the pointy end of my course, and I pretty much had to swear off anything non-TAFE-related. No blogging, only work-related emails, just enough knitting to take the edge off, and as for housework, well, let’s just say that as soon as I hit Post, I’ll be Googling “bulldozer rentals”.

But, the good news is that I AM DONE!!! Yesterday I handed in my last assessment items, and I am officially a free woman. Tomorrow, I get back to the serious work of being wife/mother/chief-cook-and-bottle-washer. Today I have every intention of sitting on the couch watching back-to-back DVDs and knitting. There may even be chocolate.

Speaking of knitting, two days ago I was horribly behind on the Christmas knitting. Now I have a nice big headstart on Mother’s Day (yes, Mum, I’m afraid that means you’re not getting socks for Christmas. On the upside, you won’t have to raise my children because their mother died in the knitting-Chernobyl).

Anyway, I just wanted to let you guys know I wasn’t dead. I haven’t opened my blog-reader in about two weeks, and I have (excuse me for one second while I check)… Holy crap – I have 590 posts waiting for me! Plus whatever fun I’ve missed on Rav. Boy, do I have my work cut out for me!

A Finished Object (and other stuff)

31 Oct

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Canary in the Mine Socks

The Vital Statistics:
Pattern:
 September 2009 Mystery Sock (Fox Faces Socks) by Nancy Bush (rav-link)
Yarn: Patons Patonyle 50g balls, hand-dyed canary yellow by me.
Needles: 2.25mm Knitpicks fixed circular, Magic Loop method
Modifications: I upped the stitch-count from 60 to 72, to fit the recipient, used Nancy’s Estonian Cast-on, which is desperately cool, and made my very first ever Vikkel braid.

DSCF0163Now, I’m not normally a fan of yellow, but I’ve really enjoyed the bright sunny colour as an antidote to all the dreary, rainy, overcast weather we’ve had in the last month (also, this last week, while my glasses were at the shop getting the lenses replaced, I’ve really appreciated the hi-viz colour!).

In other news, I finished up my two-week stint in the canteen yesterday. The money is nice and all, but it really didn’t take long to remember why I quit in the first place! Getting the kids out the door in the mornings has been sheer bloody purgatory, and I haven’t weighed in this week, but I’m pretty sure that I’ve gained back a little weight – I’ve been on my feet for five hours every day, but it’s mostly standing, not the sort of aerobic or weight-bearing activity that I’m used to doing. Then after work, I don’t have time to get to the gym before I pick the boys up, and by the time we get home, there’s homework, and afternoon tea, and the inevitable argument over who gets to watch what (if any) TV, and then getting dinner on, and, and, and…  Back on the horse next week, for sure. I miss my workout (and there’s four words I never thought I’d put together in a sentence!).

DSCF0161We don’t do Halloween here (in our house, at least. The last few years we’ve had groups of surly teenagers showing up at the door demanding sweets. I just send Tech Support to the door to glower at them – he’s bigger and scarier than any three of ’em put together), but the school has a book-fair every year around this time, and the kids get to dress up as a character from a book. Yesterday, Sasquatch went as Angry Pirate, the title character from a story he wrote in class last week, and to which he has added on a daily basis, until it’s now an epic saga to rival the Nibelungenleid. Boyo had outgrown everything in the dress-up box (note to child design team: this so-called “growth” feature is a flawed concept!!!), so in a last-minute flash of inspiration, I sent him as Arthur Dent. There were two or three other pirates, but otherwise the school was a sea of vampires (and, not to snark, but since when was Hannah Montana a character in a book?).

Speaking of vampires, I finally rented Twilight last night, just to see what all the fuss was about. If you loved the books and movie, you should probably look away now, because I was unthrilled. Robert Pattison did the best he could with the material to hand, but in my opinion Edward Cullen and his family are the most bloodless vampires since Louis de Pointe du Lac. And Kristen Stewart… well, I hope she has learned how to deliver a line between the first and second movies, because I had to put the subtitles on to understand what she was mumble/blurting. I won’t be spending my hard-earned on a ticket to see the new one, that’s for sure.

Next, please.

4 Oct

October means the start of Southern Summer of Socks (maybe… Bells? Rose Red? Anybody?).

At the very least it means a new challenge on the Sockdown! Ravelry group. Conveniently, given that I have several of the beasts on my Christmas list, one of the challenges for October is Socks Designed for A Man.

DSCF0126Behold my FIL’s Christmas socks. The plan is to make a pair of Hiiumaa Mismatched Mates (Rav-link). They will be teal, with the contrast stripes in dove grey. The pattern is conservative, yet wacky, which is my FIL all over and I really think he will like them.

Please join with me in praying to the Knitting Gods that I can survive the endless acres of plain stocking-stitch required to cover his size 11s.

I believe the word you are looking for is masochist.