Friday, May 30, 2008

I rarely have trouble picking yarn to become a sock. Lately that has not been the case. First there was the Ornette troubles, minor as the were and quickly remedied. Now I am having trouble with Bellatrix and the Yarn Pirate Kalamata not working out. I can't decide what pattern to use with my new yarn from Lotus Yarns sock club, and I just can't decide what to start.

I finished my sample knitting on Monday, which was a simple knit. I want something along the same lines difficulty-wise so I can knit while on the bus or watching TV without having to worry about it much. Ornette isn't bad for TV knitting, but takes a bit more concentration than I can always spare, though I do love the pattern so far(I am almost to the heel!). I am kinda leaning towards some Sidewinders, but not a redo of the Hawkeye yarn (that could become Aquaphobia), which looking back now that I know more about fit, probably did fit me fine and weren't too tight as I thought.

Any suggestions?

I hate this feeling of indecision. At least I know what I want to bake this weekend. There is definitely something involving yeast, maybe this, and another cobbler, possibly cherry, depends on what Josh gets at the store.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Last week I bought three pounds of cherries for about $3. We munched on them during the week as dessert, but then I made the gigantic cupcakes and teeny cake and the cherries were ignored for a bit. Well, it was time they were eaten, but several were a bit past their prime. I knew I needed to use them, but I wanted something simple and quick to make. At first I was thinking this cake, but I was lacking ingredients. Then I thought of cobbler. It was not something I can remember eating often if at all. I assumed it was easy since it's just biscuits atop a fruity filling. The only thing was, I had to pit all the cherries, otherwise this would have been a quick and simple dish. As it was I and my counter were rather sticky with cherry juice by the end of pitting 4 cups of cherries, but it was worth it. We had already decided it was left-over night, so I had no other food to prep.

I used a recipe from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, which I love by the way. It has you cook the fruit separately until they start to release their juices then place the biscuits on top. They provide a table with filling recipes for several different fruits. I had sweet cherries and the recipe was for sour, so I had to reduce the sugar, but other than that it worked perfectly.

Josh and I polished it off in two days. He almost bought more cherries for another, but I think I will go for sour cherries from the freezer section for the next batch or possibly strawberry rhubarb; though blueberries would be nice too.

ETA: I forgot to add my sock progress! I am almost back to where I started before I frogged because it was HUGE! Those dropped stitches add a lot of stretchiness.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

L'Opera! : Daring Baker's May Challenge

I was happy to see this challenge was cake and a fancy one at that. I quite enjoy baking and decorating cakes though I had never heard of an opera cake.

Due to our crazy schedule this month and only having baking time on the weekends, I didn't get to this cake until Memorial Day. By that time, I was not much in the mood to make this cake anymore. I already knew I was going to be reducing the recipe by at least half when I went to the grocery store. I was even more glad of that when I saw the price of the ingredients require. Almond meal was over $11 for two pounds and the white chocolate bar(the only one I could find in the whole grocery store) was almost $4 for 3.5 ounces. If I had made this cake full size I would have spent over $20 just on those two ingredients, though I would have had some almond meal left. As it is, my little cake is worth about $10 and it's not even pretty. I skipped buying the almond meal and made my own, which may have not been the best idea.

My cake has a definitely gritty texture, due to the almonds. I followed the directions and allowed the sponge cake to cool on a piece of wax paper which didn't go so well since the side against the wax paper became quite soggy, which I thought might happen yet still did it. I used my own favorite buttercream flavored with lemon extract and also flavored the cake with lemon syrup and skipped the mousse as I am not a fan of mousse.

I didn't really understand how the cake was to be assembled since the directions didn't specifically say. I put butter cream on the top as suggested and once I added the glaze, it slid right off. I ended up scooping that all off and pouring glaze all over the cake since it was already stuck on the sides from sliding off.

I admit, my attempt at this cake was rather lacking in enthusiasm, but based on the cost on ingredients alone, I don't see myself making this cake again. The taste was nothing special, but that was also my fault since I didn't want to spend anymore money and tried to work with what I had on hand. Maybe a traditional chocolate version would be better. I am not a fan of white chocolate, but I will take dark chocolate any day. At least the little slice is kinda cute.

Be sure to check out the other DBer's attempts at opera cake on the blogroll, and if you feel up to attempting this recipe yourself you can find it here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I just took the ecological footprint quiz on this site and am quite dismayed with myself. I like to think I have a low ecological footprint, but I don't. I thought I was even below average, but I am not. It's hard to figure out what else I can do. It's frustrating and eye opening, but also very discouraging. A lot of things I can't change, such as where the electricity that gets pumped into my apartment comes from and what appliances are in my apartment.

On to less depressing topics, I finished my super secret socks, though I still can't share them with you. I know you are all waiting anxiously for the reveal. Right? Since I finished a pair, I decided to start a new pair, which only makes sense. Actually working on another project would make more sense, but I will ignore logic in this case since I have wanted to make this pair for ages. Bellatrix (Ravelry)is a pattern designed by a lovely woman who recently passed away. She designed a bunch of free patterns, but due to copyright issues when her site was taken down, they haven't been available for several months. Her husband as generously taken the time to upload them all to Ravelry so we can once again use them.

Here's a picture of the ball of yarn I am using since the pictures I have taken of the start of this sock aren't interesting in the least.

The yarn in Yarn Pirate in Kalamata from the Booty Club and has short repeats of chocolate brown, a dark purple, light brown and a my favorite shade of green. I think it will be perfect for this pattern. By the way, after the first repeat, I was totally hooked. Hopefully Ornette won't get too lonely.

Attack of the Giant Chocolate with Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes!!!!

Made using this pan and this recipe cut in half. I can only eat half of one of these at a time.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I don't understand people's obsession with big vehicles. Most parking lots are now dominated with SUVs. Especially with gas prices going up and global warming taking center stage in the news, I don't see how people can even think about driving around in their large cars. I do understand that large families and some jobs require a truck with a large engine or van, but for the most part they are unnecessary. It looks like more people are starting to think the same way I do.

I love my little car. It gets 30-40 miles per gallon depending on the type of driving we do. I can squeeze into parking spaces surrounded by large trucks and SUVs, though finding it later is a bit tough. Granted Josh and I are a bit cramped when we drive, but not uncomfortably so. It's also a manual, which I adore unless I am in stop-and-go traffic, then my adoration wanes a bit. I hope my car lasts me for a few more years until they can make more hybrids with the same gas mileage as my car.

ETA: Since Amanda mentioned it in the coments :P, Josh does have a small truck. We drive it about 2 or 3 times a month to run errands, take our recyclables to the recycling place or if we are going to two different places. It is usually filled, at least partially, with E85, and it is rather small and gets better gas mileage than most SUVs. As far a trucks go, it's relatively harmless. I think my taking of public transportation and Josh using my car or the motorcycle when it's nice make up for the convenience of having a truck to haul our recycling and large things that don't fit in my small car.

Ok, moving on...

Ornette progress!

Shiny and tiny new iPod, though the screen is bigger.

Frog Prince!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Top 25! Woohoo!

Go Iowa City! I am sure Coralville is included in Iowa City. Notice how my future residence is also on there. I know how to pick 'em.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I am sure you all remember my rave review of LemiShine. Who wouldn't remember such a well written piece? Anyway, I stumbled across this (via lifehacker)while checking my blog stats. I have no idea how well it works, but I figure it's worth a try.

My iPod has arrived, according to FedEx tracking. Yay!

Monday, May 12, 2008

I think a three day weekend should be standard. Anyone with me?

This weekend, though busy, was good. Josh did really well at his testing. His techniques and forms looked really good, and he broke both of his boards on the first attempt while thoroughly impressing everyone with his board breaking prowess. I admit, he was rather impressive, and he didn't kick me. I held the board for his jump spin hook kick (not Josh, just a video). I failed to fall correctly when he threw me during his one steps and my head bounced against the mat, which led to a headache for the rest of the night.

I worked on my second attempt at Ornette. I switched to some Fearless Fibers from my stash which shows the cables much better.

I am actually a bit farther (further?) than in this picture. I also worked on a super secret knitting knitting project which I can't share at all until much, much later, but I will tell you they are socks. There were perfect for entertaining me during my sister's graduation.

I need some coffee.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Now my iPod will turn on, but I get an icon that looks like a folder and tells me to go to the support page. I tried the things suggested and still nothing happens. Their next suggestion is to get it repaired, but since mine is 4 if not 5 years old, I am willing to get a new one. I ordered a refurbished one as that saved me $50, and I am going to request a prepaid shipping label so I can recycle my broken iPod and some cell phones.

Ok, now my iPod won't turn off. I guess that doesn't really matter anymore, does it?

ETA: Woohoo! It shipped!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Three posts in one day!

I dropped my iPod a couple hours ago, but I have done that numerous times without a single problem, so I didn't think much of it. It won't turn on and does nothing when I plug it in. Now, I am sad, and the run I planned for tomorrow morning doesn't look so appealing.

Does anyone want to fill in for me the rest of the week? I am not sure how Josh and I are going to get through all we have going on. Tonight and tomorrow night are the normal tae kwon do class and teaching tae kwon do which means no free time and eating dinner late.

Friday night is tae kwon do testing, and Josh is testing for is 2nd dan. I guess I have to be there since I am his partner for one-steps, which involve some trips and other techniques not normally taught in tae kwon do. I won't outrank him anymore. Dang! Anyway, Saturday is my sister's college graduation followed by lunch then our annual tae kwon do picnic, to which Josh and I are bringing deserts. I plan to make this peanut butter torte and some chocolate chip bars, which Josh may make. I am still not sure when I am going to have time make the torte or the bars. Then we may be going out with some friends on Saturday night after the picnic or they may come over to play video gams. Sunday afternoon is my cousin's graduation party in Pella, which requires 3 hours worth of driving.


Win some cool stuff!

One Scheme of Happiness: BLOG CONTEST! BLOG CONTEST!

Check it out if you want some fun stuff.

Monday, May 05, 2008

I am really enjoying my test knitting so far. Well, for the most part. The Ornette pattern is really fun to knit with only 10 stitches of each row being bit fiddly. The result of those stitches is totally worth it though

There is a lovely cable pattern which you can see on Cookie's sock, which is not showing up well on mine. I love this yarn (Dream in Color Smooshy) and really wish it was working out. I think the yarn is just too smooshy for those mini cables. The yarn may not show those cables well but it allows me to show you how I hold my yarn.

I loop it around my pinky, across my ring finger, under the middle finger and over the first knuckle of my index finger. That is my engagement ring on my middle finger. It's just a bit too big for my ring finger. I hope to get that fixed shortly.

I have found some Crocs that I like. I like the chocolate/sienna version. I am really tempted. I could totally see myself wearing these, but...I don't need more shoes. I just really want them for some reason. They would look really nice with my fave pair of kahki colored pants which I plan to wear this weekend.

Friday, May 02, 2008

It looks like I will be attending Tulip Time in Pella tomorrow. My grandma, who lives in Pella, asked if Josh and I would be available to go and I said we might. I didn't realize she thought we were going for sure until I received an email from her a few minutes ago. Oops! I should have talked to her again between last Saturday and now, but I honestly forgot about it with the craziness of work and tae kwon do this week and planning for all that is going on next weekend. Josh can't go as he is helping his dad lay tile in their kitchen, but I will go. I think I need to go to the library and find and audiobook for the drive. Three hours in a car by myself is a bit much, especially when I wasn't really planning on it and I most likely will be driving there again next weekend.

I should be getting my sample knitting today or tomorrow, so hopefully I can bring it with me and get some knitting done during the parade.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

FO: small snail

Pattern: Snails and Slugs
Yarn: Scraps of Fearless Fibers
Needles: I think 2.5mm dpns, but it may have been 2.25mm
Mods: No eyes as of yet, but I should probably add some

Here are some pics for scale:

First with my favorite lip balm.

He's so tiny! Either that or my lip balm is huge.

Ok, so it was the lip balm. Here it is with a normal sized tube of Dr. Pepper LipSmacker.

Still pretty tiny, though.

Happy May Day! Is anyone else in denial that it is already May?