Sunday, February 26, 2012


Hello all. Hoping you all had a lovely weekend. I will be away from this space until next week. See you all then. Enjoy your week.

Friday, February 24, 2012

at the park

Every now and then during Summer, we treat ourselves to some take-away noodles and eat them at the park. So much less stressful than eating in a restaurant. These were taken a few weeks ago.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

in the knitting basket

I don't know quite what it is lately, but I seem to find myself knitting more and more often. Perhaps it's the crisp mornings. Perhaps the rain that keeps coming and going. Or perhaps I'm feeling like I'm finally getting my head around the whole knitting thing. It is a new thing for me to read a pattern and not have to constantly google you tube videos. Not that that will happen every time. I still have so much more to learn. But I'm feeling more confident these days about this whole knitting business.

I've discovered the fun that is to be had in having multiple projects on the go at once. It always used to bewilder me as to why knitters did this. Didn't they get confused with the multiple projects? Did they ever get them finished? So far no to the former and hopefully yes to the latter.

Because, you see, some projects lend themselves to different things. Some are quite challenging, and require a certain amount of concentration. Best done during nap times and while kids are in school. Or late at night when all are asleep. If you still happen to have your concentration by then.

Some are almost easy enough to do with your eyes closed. These are the ones with rows and rows of garter or stocking stitch. The ones where the yarn is not too slippery. These are my favourite to take on a car trip or when the lights are dimmed to watch a movie.

Here is a bit of what I'm working on right now.

This is to be a Tiny Tea Leaves cardigan for Julia. Should be lovely for Autumn and Winter. The yarn is a beautiful soft DK weight wool and angora blend. I've been making good progress on this one. Probably my favourite knit at the moment. Only the sleeves to go now. Ravelled here.

 I absolutely love this ultra soft and smooth bluey-grey Baby Alpaca yarn. Lovely to work with. This one sits beside my bedside and is sporadically worked on. It is to be a pinafore dress from the Debbie Bliss pattern in The Ultimate Book of Baby Knits. I'm hoping to have it finished for Autumn wear, so I will have to pick up the pace a little. Ravelled here.

This is my quick and easy knit on the go. It is a Kina for Violet in Debbie Bliss' Baby Cashmerino. This is the first time I've used this yarn and let me just say that it's a dream to work with. Particularly with Addi circular needles. I don't think I've slipped a stitch yet. My first project in pink too.  Ravelled here.

This is the latest one and a result of me itching to trial out some of my new yarn. I found this lovely Japanese style pattern, Like Sleeves for Kids, while hunting on Ravelry late at night. I knit this up over the space of a day or two, it was that quick. There are a few tiny mistakes in it, but overall I'm very happy with it. Now just the other side to do. There is a crocheted cord to make up at the very end. I have never crocheted, but I suppose I will deal with that when I get to it. Ravelled here.

This wool is lined up for the next little project. I'm not quite sure what that is yet. Any suggestions?

What's in your knitting basket right now?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

the chairs

Some of you may remember our dining table we bought at auction some months ago. With it's lovely chipped green legs, it's been happily residing in our space for quite some time. It's turned out to be the perfect size for us. Quite a bit bigger than our last table, but not so big that you look like two people in a movie sitting at a ridiculously large table. Did I mention that I love this table?

Then there was the chairs. None of the chairs fitted from our old setting. It seems people were rather petite back then. So we needed to find some chairs of the petite sort. As most older chairs are.

After months of op shopping, I had collected an assortment of old, tatty chairs.

The ones in the worst condition had a few minor repairs involving a nail and hammer. I left that part to the expert. 

The spray painting was also left in the hands of the expert, as apparently, my efforts were a not quite up to standard. I was happy to work on the blue number with a paintbrush and some leftover old paint.

I left the white, chipped Thonet as is. As well as the little maroon chair. I was originally going to paint this, not being a big maroon fan, but it has grown on me, and I quite like it now.

I recovered the two chair pads in oilcloth from Fabric Traders. Much nicer than the brown vinyl.

And then there was the other chair. The one left entirely up the "expert". When the yellow paint ran out, the black came out. I have christened it "Bumblebee". Hmmm. Perhaps another paint job is in the works.

Hoping your is a good mid-week.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

kitchen: making

There has been much making and baking going on in this house. Not to worry about our fairly unproductive garden of late, as our neighbours have kindly given us much of their excess. A very slight shift in weather has re-ignited my interest in the world of preserving and other such things. I'm starting to feel Autumn. Which, I think, has to be my very favourite season of all. Have you been feeling it too?

Back to the food.

Baskets of sour apples and over a kilo of blackberries landed on our doorstep. Some were made into the most delicious crumble (Nigella's recipe from this book). Twice.

Even more were made into Blackberry and Apple jam.

And once that was done, I think I may have caught the preserving bug all over again. There is still a whole basket of apples left. I'm thinking of making this.

You might remember me saying a little while ago that I wanted to make sweet chilli sauce? My chilli harvest this year has been one whole chilli. So far anyway. But that's one whole more than any other year, so that one chilli was cause for some excitement. That, of course, wasn't anywhere near enough to make a sauce. So I simply bought a big bag of chillies (from that place that we don't like to talk about) and made a batch from that. The recipe made seven bottles worth. I left out the ginger because I didn't have any on hand.

As much as I would have liked the chillies to be organic, they weren't. But I do know what went into it. Let me just say that there is a world of difference between bought/processed and homemade sweet chilli sauce. But I think you may already know that. I used this recipe (I used a mixture of whatever vinegar I had on hand).

And then I made yoghurt. I've made yoghurt before, just not in a long time. To tell you the truth I was a little tired of the whole temperature, oven and thermometer fussing involved. I always told myself that when I had more time I would get back into the swing of making it weekly again.

Then I remembered Tammi's method and thought to give it a go. The method seems to suit me very well. Kind of like the lazy guide to making yoghurt. Using that favourite appliance of mine, the slow cooker.

It worked. Just remember to leave it to strain in the muslin afterwards. It really gives the yoghurt that thick, rich quality. It puts a smile on my face when I open the fridge. Funny how making things yourself can fill one with a certain sense of satisfaction. I'd been missing that lately.

Have you been feeling a little Autumn-like too? What have you been making/planning to make?

Monday, February 20, 2012


Ours was a weekend full of baking and food. While it stormed outside I did a little knitting and reading. I tried to dry the washing.

The last picture was not retouched in any way. The end of a storm combined with the sun setting, cast a surreal glow over our valley. It was beautiful.

How was your weekend?

Friday, February 17, 2012

on instagram

I've been enjoying the handy, compact benefits of iphone picture taking lately. Particularly when out and about.

I took the advice of many of you and joined Instagram. If you want to find me on there search for ivynest.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.