Monday, June 22, 2009

Because you asked...

Sunfire asked what brand of pasta machine I bought. It's an Imperia brand; I picked it up at the Italian deli (Valoroso Foods) just up the street from us. It comes with the fettucine and tagliatelle cutters and the shop also carries the other cutters for it. I'm considering investing in one or two of them sometime down the road.

I saw the pasta maker that was on sale in London Drugs last month; I picked it up and felt how light it was and knew that it couldn't have been of reasonable quality. I was right. This one is heavy for it's size, comparatively. It certainly isn't the top of the pasta machine lines, but all the research I've done says it's a good brand, reasonably priced (I paid $60.00 cdn) and a good value. I'm really happy with it.

Roslyn, I've bookmarked the recipe you recommended and will be trying it soon. It sounds (looks) yummy. Thank you!

And Gail? Just for you...

And, for those of you who don't know me in person, those curls are natural. Don't hate me, k?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I have a new toy!

In addition to getting my hair cut yesterday (I love my hairdresser; I'm really happy with the cut), I picked up something I've had on my wish list for quite some time now.

Yes, a pasta machine! I love it! I've made noodles in the past and I've made crackers that would have been much easier to make with one of these. John and I have talked about getting one of these for a while now, but yesterday was the day and I'm thrilled!

The first thing I made was the Seedy Crisps, an Alton Brown recipe. I've made these before and wished I had the pasta machine. This time, they were done in no time! What a difference! These are a seedy cracker (hence the name, huh?), made with poppy seeds and sesame seeds. I didn't have sesame seeds, but I did have wheat germ, so I substituted. They're good with cheese or a spread of some kind. No, they're not like store bought crackers, but I know exactly what's in them and there's much to be said for that.

The next picture is a bit blurry, but I think you can see that it's a tray of fresh pasta. I've been wanting to do this for a seriously long time! Even though it was only 10:30ish (a.m.), I couldn't resist cooking up a bit of the pasta and tossing it with 2 cloves of garlic sauteed lightly in butter, with a couple slices of filatti salamme (sliced and sauteed, too) and a bit of freshly ground pepper. It was a quick, tasty snack/brunch; John loved it! I must admit, it did taste pretty good.

I've put the rest of the noodles into baggies and have them in the fridge. I'm thinking they'll make a real quick lunch: toss the noodles into boiling, salted water for about 4 minutes, saute some onions, garlic, fresh tomato, some basil... whatever else I might like and toss it all together for a quick lunch dish. When it's time for lunch, I'll throw it into the microwave until it's hot and I'll have a quick, fresh, homemade lunch. Sounds yummy and quick, yes?

If you have any suggestions or favourite fresh pasta recipes, pass them on. I love new to me recipes and I'm definitely open to suggestions.

All in all, a good investment! We'll be having some fun, John and I!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

No, I Haven't Disappeared!

It feels like a long time since I blogged last. After putting the podcast together last week, I had nothing on my mind but World Wide Knit in Public day. Oh well, I'm back and I've been knitting. 

I've been working on the little sweater for the Armstrong Fair and it's coming along nicely. I'm really liking how this yarn knits up. The sweater has nice body to it, without feeling stiff; and it's quite soft, too. I think that whichever little boy ends up with this sweater will be quite comfortable in it. And whichever mom gets it will be quite happy with the fact that, though the yarn is 100% wool, it is washable! Always a good thing!

The other project that has been growing under my fingers is the Estonian Garden stole. I took it with me to WWKIP last week and I've worked on it almost every day this week. At this stage, it's too big for the little 'bag' I have the yarn in, as you can see.

The main section, the Little Flowers, is finished and I've started on the first of the two edging sections. As of a few minutes ago, I've completed one repeat of the Lily of the Valley section and am six rows into the second 16-row repeat. After that, there's one final repeat and then the final border chart to do. Then I'll be undoing the provisional cast on at the opposite end and completing that end. 

At this point, I have just over half a ball of yarn left and I'm hoping it's enough. It should be. If it isn't, though, I'll have to go through my entire stash to find the other skein, the one I know I have somewhere but have been unable to find. I'm beginning to second guess myself. I bought this yarn originally to make the Luna Moth shawl (remember that one?). I know I wound one skein into a ball and put the other two skeins into the stash closet and started knitting the shawl. I wasn't happy with how it was coming along and frogged it. When I started this stole, I couldn't find that ball, so I wound up the second skein. I'm now about halfway into the third skein, but do you think I can find that first ball? I've gone through a good portion of the stash and still haven't found it. Oh well, I digress.

This really is a nice pattern. It's well written, like all Evelyn Clark patterns are, the charts are easy to memorize and the result is lovely. And the nupps? Trust me when I tell you they really are not difficult. The secret is to keep them loose. If you've never done anything with nupps, allow me to explain them. In this case, you work a yarn over before and after the nupp. The nupp is made by working k1, yo, k1, yo, k1 into a single stitch. On the back side, those five stitches are purled together. I've found that if I let my working yarn go loose and pull it up slightly when I do the knit stitches, the nupp remains loose enough to allow the needle to slide quite easily into the five stitches on the purl side.

If you're looking for a reasonably simple lace pattern, I can heartily recommend this one. 

In other things, next weekend there won't be a podcast. We'll be out of town for the weekend, visiting family at the coast. Later today, I'll be putting together the special Father's Day podcast and I may just expand it a little to make up for the lack of a podcast next weekend. 

Before I forget, I should update you on Ethan. There really isn't much to report as yet. He did have the brain ultrasound, which showed no abnormalities and he did have an EEG. Now, Kristen is waiting to hear from the pediatrician's office. Once she knows anything, I'll let you know. 

Now, I'm off to the hairdresser for a much needed hair cut.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

An Update on Ethan

Since yesterday, my daughter and Ethan are back at home, tired but okay. Ethan is scheduled for a brain ultrasound on Monday and they're waiting for an appointment at BC Children's Hospital for an EEG. The doctors have said that the "seizures" are not true seizures, more along the lines of tremors.

One pediatrician has taken Ethan's case and another (who has been a pediatrician in Abbotsford for a lot of years) has noted a link between these kinds of tremors and breast feeding (I wonder what THAT says!), intimating that once Ethan is no longer breast fed, the tremors may well disappear. We shall keep our fingers crossed.

All in all, I think he'll be fine and I thank you so much for your kind comments, concern and prayers. So does Kristen. If there are any developments, I will definitely let you know.

You are all so appreciated; you have no idea how much your support is felt... thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Knitting and News... not good news

I'm not sure where to start today. Maybe the knitting... it's not foremost on my mind at the moment, but it's a place to start. 

I HAVE worked on the Ropes & Picots cardi a little bit, but, while going through my stash looking for the already wound ball of Knitpicks Gloss laceweight yarn for the Estonian Garden Wrap, I came across a bag of Lerici Fein in a lovely orange sherbet shade of orange. There's enough for a garment for me. And, I had the perfect pattern in mind for it. It didn't go back into the stash closet. It will become this...

Yes, I know, I really should finish something before I start something else. But where's the fun in that? The yarn, incidentally, is a 55% cotton, 45% acrylic blend and is so soft and comfy and it will go beautifully with the fabric I picked up at the thrift store, with which I'll be making myself a summer shirt (yes, I sew, too... just not often). I never did find that ball of laceweight yarn.

Below is a progress shot of the Podcast sweater. By next week, I'll have it ready for the next step. If you're following along with the podcast, next week we'll be talking about the sleeves and getting ready for joining the whole thing together.

There's one more small project on the go, but I won't tell you anything about it just yet. It will be one of the clips in next week's podcast and I'll tell you more about it, with pictures, then. I will tell you that it is something that I intend to enter into the Armstrong Fair (Interior Provincial Exhibition) later this summer. At the moment, there isn't much to photograph, but it already has a story. You'll just have to tune in next week. :)

On to other things. Last night, and today, my grandson Ethan (4 months old) is very much in our thoughts. Yesterday, he was admitted to hospital with (as my daughter described it) "seizure-like episodes". Ethan and my daughter spent a stressful night in the hospital where he's had blood drawn, urinalysis and other tests done. Today, he's scheduled for an ultrasound on his brain, which they can do because the fontanelles haven't closed yet. If necessary, he may be sent to BC Children's Hospital in Vancouver for a CT scan. 

So far, apparently, he's had a total of 4 of these episodes, each farther apart than the previous one (which I would think is a good thing). According to my daughter, the "seizures" are fairly mild, involving his head only... like tremors, shaking. They are, of course, worrying. 

I'll be calling my daughter again this afternoon and, hopefully, the news will be good. Whatever happens, I'll keep you informed. Do, please, keep Ethan, Kristen and Trinity in your thoughts, your prayers. I know they're in mine constantly.

I was going to write about something else as well, but it really isn't important and I think this is a good place to stop for now. Perhaps I'll put up another post tomorrow, hopefully a more upbeat post.