Posts By Siabee

Bee my honey?

Happy Valentine’s Day readers! Whether you make it a big event with a loved one, or just enjoy their company sitting on the couch watching television together, or you just take a moment to reflect on and love yourself, all’s fine!

I made these cookies today for my Jason, but if you are feeling lonely and want some cookies, I made them for you too! The “bee my honey” was his idea actually, I was only planning a “bee my valentine”. I thought his idea was much cuter.

I failed miserably at the honeycomb pattern on the plaque cookie. I blame it on the tiredness and the “winging it”. I handcut the bee cookie, while the others used cutters.

I’ve been struggling lately with the summer heat here. Supposedly we are having our hottest summer ever with ten recorded heat waves. Unfortunately our house is not air-conditioned and poorly insulated, so it’s quite unbearable. In such an environment my creativity and enthusiasm has plummeted. So you better feel lucky that there are cookies today, do you hear me? 🙂

I did play a little in my sewing room yesterday, had a cleanup and cut out some fabric for a new toy. It’s got so many pieces to it! But I think it’s going to be absolutely adorable. I should get back in there again tomorrow….

Until next time, have fun!

Lamingtons

Happy Australia Day to all of you! Pretty proud of today’s baking efforts, as I finally bit the bullet and made lamingtons.

That’s right, I have never made lamingtons in my life. Don’t know how I can even call myself an Aussie. I guess I just kept putting it off as it seemed time consuming and messy. I make enough mess in my kitchen without adding an inherently messy recipe. But this year is for making things I haven’t before, and today is a perfect day for a traditional Australian sweet.

Lamingtons are sponge cake squares covered in chocolate icing and coconut. I used this recipe from Australian Women’s Weekly.

So make your sponge cake first. I made mine the night before so it could cool completely. It’s still soft and spongy and delicious a day later. I didn’t chop it into pieces until I was ready to ice them though.

Make your icing (I will spare you a photo of that since someone hasn’t cleaned the stovetop this week….) and get the icing and coconut ready. I popped some baking paper under my cooling rack to catch any stray coconut or chocolate.

Dunk your sponge square in the chocolate icing and get it good and covered.

Pull it out with a fork and stare out the window while the excess icing drips off. You really do want to give it time to do this because if you don’t, your coconut and and icing will start to slide off the square while it sets. It took me about an hour to get the 20 squares iced and coconutted. I know that’s not a word, but it should be. The act of being covered in coconut. Or perhaps hit by a coconut. Oh, you got coconutted good!

Leave them to set on a wire rack. Then eat them all up!

One thing to note about the recipe, is that I thought 750 grams of icing sugar was too much. I reduced the icing ingredients to 2/3 of the amounts and it covered the 20 squares with no issue.

Until next time, have fun!

Bordeaux Shawl Part 1

I’ve decided to nickname the new project the Bordeaux Shawl, after its colourway.

Two days ago, I attempted to wind one of the hanks into a ball using my ball winder. The first time I used it, it worked well. The second time was a little iffy but essentially created what it was meant to. This time, it was atrocious and could only be called a mess.

This is how it’s meant to look. A perfect “cake” of criss-crossing yarn that pulls so nicely as you knit.

This was mine. It no longer winds in a criss-cross but instead winds in the same spot, being loose, lopsided and tangled. This is the picture I quickly took to send off to KnitPicks in hopes of getting a refund as it’s under warranty and has stopped working despite no damage. Let’s hope they get back to me soon. I have found a replacement winder and yarn swift (that holds your hanks as you wind) that review really well, but the budget is a little tight this month. Maybe I will get them for my birthday in March!

The pile behind is the hank of Bordeaux yarn that I attempted to wind twice. It took me approximately six hours to untangle the mess that it made of my yarn and hand wind it into a ball. It was a very unpleasant experience.

I felt I might have a short break from knitting, but last night I was working on the Epic Pokemon cross-stitch and after an hour, I heard the call of the knitting needles. It’s like a junk food craving, that you think you just got to have that sugar hit, but this one’s a lot healthier for you. I never thought I’d take to knitting as much as I have, but having knit almost every day for the last few months on baby blankets and scarves, it’s become a habit.

So I grabbed my needles and previously rage-inducing ball of yarn and got started on the shawl pattern I had chosen.

Lace knitting seems to use larger needles than the yarn usually recommends, so that the lace will really open up. For instance the pattern I’m using (secret for now!) asks for US size 6 needles (4.0mm). The yarn recommends needles size 1 to 3. I started off with the size 6 but didn’t like it. I’m knitting it up with size 4 (3.5mm) instead. It will make the shawl a little smaller, but I don’t think that it will make too much of a difference.

It’s a crescent shaped shawl, that starts from just five stitches and uses yarnovers to increase the numbers of stitches. You can see those yarnover holes below.

Row count is very important on this project as increase rows happen at very specific times to create the crescent shape.

I whipped this up in just an evening watching Mozart in the Jungle. Or should I say finishing Mozart in the Jungle. I devoured all available three seasons so fast. Which is really weird, because I have never been a big classical music fan. I enjoyed how this weaves a bit of drama and a bit of humour with classical music, while it follows the story of the New York Symphony Orchestra and their new crazy and flamboyant conductor, Rodrigo. Oh, how I love him!

Last year, hubby and I went to see A New World: Music from Final Fantasy. Played by a full symphony orchestra, it was phenomenal and moving and actually really amusing at times. Imagine a hall filled with fans laughing and cheering and clapping and a conductor telling jokes. I enjoyed it so much as I knew almost all of the music and it was just a really fun and relaxed experience. Certainly not your typical performance.

And so, this awoke an appreciation for classical music, and why I picked up Mozart in the Jungle. I don’t love it all but some is quite enjoyable.

Until next time, have fun!

Stash Add 20/01/17

Somebody’s been shopping again….and that someone might be me. Time to share the new additions to my stash but before you start to shake your head, I did just finish a knitting project last night! So it’s not all just adding to the pile, there’s some heading out too.

To be fair, I was searching for a pattern so I can sew up my pretty fox cotton fabric from the last stash increase. None of the stuff I had suited what I was going for – a loose tunic style dress perfect for hot days. When I saw Spotlight had a massive sale on I just had to partake. Three patterns for $15, and across all the brands? Yes please! I ended up with nine new patterns, but not just for me!

So the first one is what I was after, and the other two will go well with fabric I have stashed. See? There is method to my madness!

A few items for Jason. As he’s a bit of a big guy he has trouble finding t-shirts that are long enough, or if they are, they are enormous. His wardrobe consists of 95% black shirts with some sort of game title on it (the life of a video game reviewer, you tend to get swag). So my goal is to hopefully find some NICE non-black fabric to make some shirts out of.

A few more goodies for me, some cute comfortable looking sleepwear and a floaty high-low hemmed top. Pretty sure I can stash-bust some more fabric with this pattern.

Last but not least, a few clothes for kiddos. Ahhhh the cuteness!

I also picked up a batter dispenser (perfect for making pancakes or waffles or even putting cake batter into cupcake liners), and a couple of new pizza trays as our old ones had to be tossed.

So that’s stash one. Stash two was a new order from KnitPicks, that drove me crazy with how long it took to arrive. Seriously over three weeks from the US to Australia is atrocious. But it finally turned up a couple of days ago.

I got some more blocking mats, so I can use them for larger projects, and this very pretty yarn bowl made of rosewood. Glad I pounced it when I did as they were new to the site and seem to be out of stock now! The wood is darker than advertised, which I am completely happy with. And more importantly, no more cat fur on my yarn balls, as they now have a place to sit while I use them.

I did also pick up some new yarn. This one is Gloss Fingering Yarn in the colourway Bordeaux, made of 70% merino wool and 30% silk. I thought this was perfect for a shawl as it’s meant to have great drape and the silk provides wonderful texture to stitches, not to mention the lovely feel!

I bought five skeins, giving me 1100 yards, or 1000 metres. I had a pattern all picked out for the shawl, but I guess as this order took so long to arrive my love for it died. Do any of you knitters find that? Pick a pattern but then when the time comes, it just doesn’t seem right any more?

So I spent quite a few hours over the last two days trying to find a new pattern. I think I’m a little scared. My comprehension for patterns is not great, and I just don’t understand how to interpret them. It’s not about learning new things, that’s fine of course, but it’s about learning too many new things at once and getting frustrated or making mistakes and stuffing it all up. So I was browsing patterns and having to discard them as they sounded a bit too advanced for me or it just wasn’t what I was picturing in my mind I wanted.

I have settled on a pattern now, so that’s a relief! But I can’t show you yet, as it’s meant to be a gift!

I got some yarn for me, this gorgeous Shadow Lace in the colourway Tidepool Heather. I’m trying to be a little more adventurous with colours….not just all blue!

I love the heathered look. The Shadow Lace yarn, for the most part, is more muted in its colours, but the heathering is so pretty and adds a variety to simple patterns. Look at those flecks of blue and green and yellow that make up this colourway.

And finally, something I’ve wanted to get my little hands on. It’s more expensive than a lot of the yarn on KnitPicks, but cheaper than anywhere else I am going to find it, just under $15 for 437 yards/400 metres. It’s 100% silk – Luminance yarn in the colourway Grace.

I’m not sure if the full brilliance of this yarn comes through in this closeup, but it’s smooth and glossy and just exquisite. Again, with the colours, I chose this pretty pale pink. It’s going to make such a delicate scarf, can’t wait to play with it!

So there you have it, the latest additions to the stash. I feel like I might have to think of a nickname for it, it’s gotten quite substantial.

Until next time, have fun!

Epic Pokemon Cross-stitch Update 12/07/16

Time to share the latest on the Epic Pokemon Cross-stitch, otherwise known as the everlasting stitch-fest? I’ve finished off three more Pokemon since last time – these little yellow guys are called Abra, Kadabra and Alakazam. Aren’t they just adorable names?

It’s pretty cool being back around to this part of the pattern, as that fire pony was one of of the first two I did.

As you can see I’ve been cross-stitching again over the last few weeks. I haven’t had much energy in the evenings for much else. This summer is pretty draining and this week in particular, with the exception of today, has been a heat wave. It’ll be back tomorrow….so I’m trying to keep as cool as possible right now! There’s a delicious breeze coming in my lounge room and the sewing room, so I’m about to head in there and work on a project.

I figured that maybe I would try to do a daily quota of at least 1-2 threads on the cross-stitch, (or at least most days) and slowly peck away at it. So this has happened most nights, except for Tuesday, where I basically sat and did it almost all day long while I melted in the heat and devoured almost all of Season 2 of Zoo. Season 1 was devoured in two or three days before that but usually while doing my daily knit quota. Zoo thoughts? So basically the animal kingdom starts killing humans but what bugs me is how this small group supposedly will save the world and everything seems to work for them. Stuff just isn’t achieved that easy ….seriously! There’s this one scientist guy ….I really don’t think you have that much smarts to solve everything yourself….But anyway, it was a really great show to tune out and stitch to. Did NOT have to use much brainpower there which is sometimes what you want. It’s a little bit silly and too easy, but it is entertaining. Oh, and I did like the Season 2 ending.

And so now, I need to choose my next show to craft to. Decisions decisions!

Until next time, have fun!