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Sunday, December 19, 2010

But for a plan...

I've been trying to come up with a plan for my Bead Journal Project for next year (which isn't so very far away!).

Right now I am thinking either of 1" hexagons (I would link 6 into a bracelet, 2 for earrings, and the the last 4 as a necklace center) or a 1" x 3" oval (as either a bracelet or hair clip, depending on the month).

I've also considered themes, but I think the problem is that I have too many good ideas for themes. Ie: video games, fairy tales, sea life, Africa, flowers, ...

So I'm not sure if I will do a theme at all or if I will just do whatever I feel like on a month-by-month basis. Although I do have to admit, it would be super fun to end up with a whole collection based on a theme at the end of the year!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lost my marbles...er...beads

Last year in January I stumbled upon Robin Atkins' blog, Beadlust. I was somewhat familiar with Robin Atkins from articles and projects in various bead magazines that I own (it's no small number...). From her blog, I learned about the Bead Journal Project that she had started, but alas! I was too late to join in for 2010. So I kept it in the back of my mind all year, thinking that I wanted to sign up for 2011.

Well, I did!

Which is compeltely crazy, because I know I am going to start the year off behind. Also, the only bead embroidery I have done is on a piece that was mainly regular embroidery, but which I thought could benefit from the addition of beads. Although I have pleanty of experience with other types of beadwork.

I have yet to decide on the size and shape of my bead journal pages...I want something small enough that I will be able to complete the challenge, but I also want it to be useable. So, I need to be able to turn it into jewelry or hair accessories. Or maybe patches. I don't really wear pins, so that is out.

I am kind of debating between doing a hexagon-shape and an oval-shape. And I'm contemplating what kind of a theme I want to use. I know I want to push myself to do more design, as that is one of the things that I have really missed since silver jewelry, but I'm not sure whether to focus on color (or, the use of color - push myself to use colors I don't normally use, like pink) or on a theme (like nature? adventure?). Whatever it is, it needs to be broad enough that I won't get bored.

I'll definitely update once I get the details figured out. I'm really excited for this project...even if it is a little crazy to add more things to my already full schedule!

So, what shape do you think I should do? And what kind of theme? I'd love to hear your ideas! :D

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Blog Re-do

So, I have decided that I am not a very good blogger. In an attempt to improve, I am officially re-starting! But this time, I have a plan! Well, sort of...

This is what I have planned for the immediate future:
Projects for next year (yes, already thinking about 2011...yikes!)
A recap of projects from this year (most of which I was too lazy/busy to post...sigh. Like I said, start-over!)
Favorite bloggy links! =)
A new layout (maybe)
And my Christmas gifts, which I made, but which I won't post until after Christmas, just in case (I don't think anyone would be likely to find this, but you never know!)

We will see where this goes from there.

I am going to "limit" this blog to creative endeavors of all kinds - knitting, sewing, beading, making, cooking, and all sorts of fun things like that. :)

Now I am off to finish Christmas cards and do some stitching...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Oh fall...

I really am not a huge fan of fall. Or winter, either, come to think of it. But, for some reason, fall is the worst. Maybe because summer is so warm and then fall feels so much colder. And also the days get shorter and darker. Not to even mention the allergies from ragweed and all those moldy leaves....yep, fall is not my favorite.

It doesn't help that I am always cold, even during the summer (well, not when I am outside, which is rare - stupid allergies - but even when I am inside, especially at the office).

So I thought it would be a good idea to make myself a list of all the things I have to look forward to doing (and getting done) this fall!

Open Water Certification Dives for SCUBA =D
Boston trip
Halloween decorating!
Preparring for large January trip

Getting done:
Travel accessories for South Africa
Dress to wear in South Africa
Swimsuit to wear on vacation (maybe)
Kanzashi Christmas presents
More Christmas stuff
Baby presents for people
Soup Weather! :D
Sweaters! Not like I ever get any knitting finished, *grumbles*, but still...

Hm...I am sure there are other things. I'm too tired and can't think right now. Good time to order beads. Hmm...maybe not.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Knitting Meme and Updates

So, recently I have been in finish-whatever-stuff-I-have-lying-around-the-house-unfinished (which is, admittedly, a lot), plus I ended up making a peeps banner for Easter (so cute). So here is what I have finished:

• Perler bead lemmings (for my cube)
• Polymer clay lemmings (also for my cube)
• Peeps banner (to hang around my shelf, with Peeps plushies) for Easter

And here is what I still have to finish:

• Super Mario World magnets (for my cube)
• Ma's shawl
• Narwhal Plushies
• Catan dice box

But in the meantime, since I haven't done any knitting in a while (makes me so sad :( I tried casting on for fingerless gloves for my Ravelympics project, but the pattern ended up being way too big, even with smaller needles, so I had to frog =( ), I found this meme and felt like doing it. ^^

Instructions: Bold for stuff you’ve done, italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.

•Afghan (on my bed atm...largest needles I have ever used)
•I-cord (strawberry tops)
•Garter stitch
•Knitting with metal wire
•Shawl (my first "big" project was my wedding shawl)
•Stockinette stitch
•Socks: top-down
•Socks: toe-up (I cast on once but got bored...should try again though!)
•Knitting with camel yarn (camel...ew?)
•Mittens: Cuff-up (I don't like mittens)
•Mittens: Tip-down
•Hat (one of my first projects was a red hat with grey snowflakes that I charted)
•Knitting with silk (not finished yet...sigh)
•Moebius band knitting
•Participating in a KAL (Yay! SKC and LNL! And a shawl KAL!)
•Sweater (first sweater was okay, my riding cardi is great, Syd's sweater is almost 2/3 done)
•Drop stitch patterns
•Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn (first sweater)
•Slip stitch patterns
•Knitting with banana fiber yarn (bananas are yummy)
•Domino knitting (=modular knitting)
•Twisted stitch patterns
•Knitting with bamboo yarn (I love bamboo yarn!!!! Like silk, but...affordable!)
•Two end knitting
•Charity knitting
•Knitting with soy yarn
•Cardigan (NOT a cardi person but I want a "jacket" to wear at work so I have yarn for one...)
•Toy/doll clothing (Little Mermaid doll with clothes almost finished, plus a bunch of baby toys for friends kids)
•Knitting with circular needles (Circular needles == love for shawls!)
•Baby items (does a giraffe toy count? :P)
•Knitting with your own handspun yarn
•Graffitti knitting: knitting items on, or to be left on the street
•Continental knitting
•Designing knitted garments
•Cable stitch patterns (first sweater and gloves)
•Lace patterns (love!)
•Publishing a knitting book
•Scarf (three scarves so far but I'm kind of burnt out)
•Teaching a child to knit
•Knitting to make money
•Button holes
•Knitting with alpaca (mmmmmmmmsoft)
•Fair Isle knitting sometime =)
•Norwegian knitting
•Household items: dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies… (dishcloths were my first project, and I made one lace doily)
•knitting socks- or other small tubular items- on two circulars
•Dying with plant colours
•Knitting items for a wedding (for MY wedding!)
•Olympic knitting
•Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
•Knitting with dpns (nothing to be afraid of)
•Holiday related knitting
•Teaching a male how to knit
•Knitting for a living
•Knitting with cotton (first fiber I knitted with)
•Knitting smocking
•Dying yarn (little purse and purple gloves)
•Steeks (scary!)
•Knitting art
•Knitting with wool
•Textured knitting
•Kitchener BO
•Purses/bags (little tiny beaded purse)
•Knitting with beads (fun!)
•Swatching (generally useless?)
•Long Tail CO
•Entrelac Knitting and purling backwards (I hate entrelac)
•Machine knitting
•Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
•Stuffed toys (yay for elephants giraffes and fish)
•Knitting with cashmere (If I could afford it)
•Jewelry knitting with synthetic yarn
•Writing a pattern
•Knitting with linen
•Knitting for preemies
•Tubular CO
•Freeform knitting
•Short rows
•Cuffs/fingerless mitts/armwarmers
•Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
•Knitting on a loom
•Thrummed knitting
•Knitting a gift
•Knitting for pets (um, no.)
•Knitting with dog/cat hair (Um. EW!!!!)
•Hair accessories
•Knitting in public (at a bowling alley :P among other places)

Well, that was fun. Now I want to knit, but it is late and I am tired.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Saucy Satay

Forgive the stupid title. -_-

The January 2010 DC challenge was hosted by Cuppy of Cuppylicious and she chose a delicious Thai-inspired recipe for Pork Satay from the book 1000 Recipes by Martha Day.

I am not a big fan of pork. I will eat it, on occasion (read: when the only other choice is chicken). However, I resolved to try it again after seeing a yummy-looking recipe in the December issue of Cooking Light magazine. And, happily enough, this months' Daring Cooks challenge also contains pork, since pork chops seem to come in packs of four, and there are only two of us.

Uncooked pork..Yum =)Raw pork with marinade...yeah I didn't take any pics of the marinade by itsef :(

Mixing the marinade wasn't bad, and happily enough I had all of the spices required on hand (shocking, I know).

More raw porkI have been using my iron skillet to cook all of my meat recently, and I love it. It tastes better this way.

While I was waiting for the pork to marinade, I went ahead and mixed up a recipe of sweet and sour dipping sauce (see: Daring Cook's June Challenge(Dumplings) for the recipe), because that is my husband's favorite. I was going to make a black pepper dipping sauce and the peanut dipping sauce, as well, but I didn't have all of the ingredients for either of those, so I decided just to stick with the one. Which I also didn't take pictures of. Gah. -_-

Look, it's cooked!Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....

I ended up cooking it for a little bit longer than the recipe recommended because they were still pink inside. :( I "pan fried" them because it is winter and charcoal grills don't work very well when it is cold outside! They still turned out really well.

The other three, brown and yummyThey're making me hungry!

Pork Satay with Peanut Sauce
My notes in italics

Satay Marinade Ingredients
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed I substituted 2 tsp minced garlic
1 T ginger root, chopped (optional) (2 cm cubed) I subsituted 1 tsp ground ginger
2 T lemon juice (1 oz or 30 mls)
1 T soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 tsp ground coriander (5 mls)
1 tsp ground cumin (5 mls)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric (2-2.5 mls)
2 T vegetable oil (or peanut or olive oil) (30 mls) I used olive oil
1 pound of pork (loin or shoulder cuts) (16 oz or 450g)

1)I prefer to chop my onions, garlic and ginger really fine then mix it all together in a medium to large bowl.
2) Cut pork into 1 inch strips.
3) Cover pork with marinade. You can place the pork into a bowl, cover/seal and chill, or place the whole lot of it into a ziplock bag, seal and chill.

Cooking Directions (continued):
4) If using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak your skewers in warm water for at least 20 minutes before preparing skewers. I couldn't find my skewers until after the meat was cooked...anyways, I don't know how to pan-fry meat on a stick!
5) Gently and slowly slide meat strips onto skewers. Discard leftover marinade.
6) Broil or grill at 290°C/550° F (or pan fry on medium-high) for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just start to char. Flip and cook another 8-10 minutes. I ended up cooking them longer because they weren't done after 20 minutes.

And this is the Peanut Sauce Recipe I didn't end up using:
Peanut Sauce
3/4 cup coconut milk (6 oz or 180 mls)
4 Tbsp peanut butter (2 oz or 60 mls)
1 Tbsp lemon juice (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 Tbsp soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 tsp brown sugar (5 mls)
1/2 tsp ground cumin (2.5 mls)
1/2 tsp ground coriander (2.5 mls)
1-2 dried red chilies, chopped (keep the seeds for heat)

1) Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add soy sauce and lemon, mix well.
2) Over low heat, combine coconut milk, peanut butter and your soy-lemon-seasoning mix. Mix well, stir often.
3) All you’re doing is melting the peanut butter, so make your peanut sauce after you’ve made everything else in your meal, or make ahead of time and reheat.

This is something I might actually make again, with more dipping sauce choices. And possibly different marinades, as well. I thought the pork was good even without the sweet and sour sauce. My husband liked them too (but he likes all meat so that isn't terribly surprising!)