24 Mar 2011

WIP: Needlepoint Greyscale

So what have I been doing? 1. Reading for my PhD (really I am) and 2. Needlepoint... lots and lots of it.

I may not be quick but I am up to 1200 stitches! If I have an uninterrupted day I can get 4 rows of 80 done a day, but sadly life does not allow for such luxuries! Anyone guess what it is yet?

No it isn't a cloud... Hint: its a famous pencil drawing.

Top brown dotted line is the 10 stitches grid,
side dotted brown line is the length of one page and end place for the image,
and the brown line below my stitches is
 the marker for the end of the next 10x10 block.

This thing has only 13 colors and this part alone uses 10 of them (one taggy thing is not visible). I got line by line and do one color then another. Normally I start with the most prevalent color but its just which ones come first in the line. So i work right to left then left to right ect. All but the first 10x10 block is done in half stitch (I just couldn't bring myself to tear out the full cross stitches). Thankfully this is the "background" to a main image that does not have that many colors.

21 Mar 2011

Edinburgh in the Spring

The weather is still on that cusp of spring and winter but it is wonderful with some character put in there for good measure.

Our local bagpiper (one of many) has returned to play tunes when it isn't too cold.

And the view from my room is as wonderful as ever!

Cake party

So I went to my first ever Cake Party. I did not have a picture of all the cakes but I know someone who does and I will be stealing... I mean asking permission from my boyfriend to use one of his photographs.

My Cupcakes were Banana Nut Bread with a Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting (Icing). Topped with pecans.

Can we say yum!!

Lovely Leftovers!

Yup that's a count of 9! Aren't they all so pretty!!

If I never see another cake again I will be happy! But it was fun in the end!

16 Mar 2011

Podcast Unveiled

After many a slight cursing at blogger I have finally got this to work. I hope you enjoy. The picture does change in the video. I hope you enjoy this trial run of my new idea for a recap post. I am just seeing if it works out a bit better.

Just a general introduction to the podcast and myself. Talking about the recent charitable events going on and some Edinburgh news.

13 Mar 2011

WIP: Gift of Needlepoint

Yeah there are 60 stitches there... of 134,000. No kidding. It is a gift I hope to finish, erm... eventually?

The frame on which it sits.

WIP: Spinning Lessons --Sushi Spin-A-Long

Yup, I have been a bit busy but behind the scenes many things are all happening at once. Normally, they are at such a slow pace there is no need to "update" here on their progress. However, I needed to update my spinning progress on my Sushi rolls I bought.

This is the deconstructed Tuna Roll.
This is the California Roll spun over the fold with all components at once.
Here is the Veggie Roll, spun all together then navajo plyed on itself.

12 Mar 2011

Ok not in the UK as well!!

The USA has now rubbed off on Scotland with their snow!! I took a picture of a very sad sight this morning...

Yes, those are soon to be dead daffodils!
How could you mother nature?!

10 Mar 2011

Farmer's Stew

My Farmer's Stew is something designed to be healthy, hearty, and downright delicious! This requires a large saucepan, and if you're skiddish about things overflowing then by all means use a LARGE stock pot. Ok so what do you do to make this extremely hearty dish? Thought you would never ask!

This is a time investment meal but its worth it! About 20-30 min prep (depends on how fast you can peel and chop) and about 1 hour cooking.

First you will need what I call 3 preparation bowls (soup bowls work).
Please note that "chopped" means semi-uniformly pieces, but to be honest it doesn't need to be perfect. This is a rustic stew.

Into bowl 1 put:
1 1/2-2 leeks chopped roughly
3 scallions chopped
1 red onion chopped

Into bowl 2 (in this order):
1 bell pepper chopped
1 head of garlic chopped finely
A handful of fresh green beans chopped into 1/4in pieces
A carton (yes a whole one) of chestnut mushrooms chopped

Into bowl 3:
4-5 small potatoes chopped slightly larger and rinsed in cold water

Have off to the side these ingredients:
1/4 lb (125g) of mince meat (this is optional, if you're a vegetarian take out the meat).
Cream cheese (vegans please leave out this as well)
1 veggie bouillon cube
Onion soup (I use Lipton's but since that is not available in the UK, generic onion soup is fine).

Rissotto rice (or any rice/pasta, you're only putting a little bit in. You can even leave it out.)
1 can butter beans
1 can corn

Seasoning (these will be put in all together):
2tsp Red pepper powder
1tbs Garlic granules
1tsp Ground black pepper (I used a grinder but normal pepper will work)
2tbs Worcestershire Sauce (This contains fish but can be left out if it doesn't fit your dietary restrictions)
1tsp each Dried herbs (I like basil and oregano and mixed herbs)
Of course all seasonings are to taste.

Now here is the preparation for the cooking. If you have your three bowls at the ready it makes life go a lot faster:

  1. Spray the pan with oil (I use sunflower seed oil) about 1tsp of oil will do.
  2. On high warm up the oil for about 2 minutes
  3. Put Bowl 1 into the pot and stir constantly for about 5 min. The point is to get the onion and leek slightly warmed.
  4. Put in the meat and everything under the seasoning heading above.
  5. Stir constantly until meat is browned, about 4-5 minutes.
  6. Now you should have some nice liquid in the bottom. Put in the mushrooms only from Bowl 2 (why you needed to put them in order). You don't have to put all the mushrooms in at this time just most of them.
  7. Stir until mushrooms shrink slightly, about 4-5 minutes.
  8. Put in the rest of Bowl 2. Stir and let bubble for about 2-5 minutes, until there is liquid about 1/4 the way up the veggies. Stir when you think is needed but don't over stir.
  9. Now add Bowl 3 to the top of the veggies. Let sit for a few minutes while you prepare the stock.
  10. In a measuring cup, put in the veggie cube and about 1tbs of onion soup. Pour in hot or boiling water to fill the measuring cup (2 cups or 500mL at most). Let sit.
  11. Stir the pot so the potatoes are evenly mixed through. Add corn. Let bubble for 2-5 minutes again stirring when needed.
  12. Now give the stock mixture a stir and put it in the pot. Now put more hot water into the measuring cup, swish it around (so put about 1/4 cup about 75mL in the measuring cup) and then put that into the pot. This is the reason there is no added salt in the recipe.
  13. On medium heat let the pot simmer, uncovered for about 15-20 minutes.
  14. Add risotto (as much or as little as you like), cook for about 10 more minutes.
  15. Add butter beans, about 2 tbs of honey and 1 tsp of vanilla. I know this is a hard thing to get your head around but the honey and vanilla truly makes the soup. Stir and cook for another 10-12 min until the rice is ready.
  16. Drain off the liquid. Enjoy with a bit of cream cheese mixed in.
This makes 8 servings! For vegetarians it is 4 servings, due to the nutritional needs of the dietary choices.

So what does it look like?

That would be a vegetarian sized portion. And the cream cheese is at the bottom
of the bowl and hasn't been mixed yet.
So yummy.

WW Kitty 9&10: Illness and On the Mend

These two lovelies have been through the illnesses that seem to be plaguing us all. Enjoy for a laugh at the masked kitty and the one with a bandaid on it.

These poor kitties! But they are in it together!
I like this shot better then the full on one.

9 Mar 2011

Mardi-Gras, Spring time, Secret Packages, and Updates

So I have been out of commission due to illness and my time being taken up with life matters. So I will be adding a few posts today and some tomorrow on what it is I have been doing while I was preoccupied.

Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday aka Pancake Day aka Mardi-Gras (for those in the USA). For those who actually celebrate Mardi-Gras you know that lovely thing called a King's Cake. Oh yes the icing slathered over a bread-like cake with the little plastic child hidden inside. Well, in the UK I tried to make one...

Such a small slice... so unassuming to the huge cake it came from!
A note to my lovely boyfriend who took this photo: Sorry I had to enhance it.
Taken by Frank.

That is a 9x13in pan. Oh yeah, can you feel the sugar?

It is starting to be springtime here in Edinburgh. Here is a scene I captured earlier in the week:

Nice and misty shall be the theme for spring!

So I am working on a secret project until the end of April, due to the fact the recipient reads this blog. So for now here is a teaser:

Doesn't give it away I would imagine...

Now on to some updates:

  1. I am in the process of finishing the 2 WW kitties (I didn't forget but they take so much energy for me these days that I was a bit slower then I previously thought).
  2. I have been spinning my sushi rolls which I will be taking pictures of later today!
  3. I have been getting through the tea cozy and scarf/hat. 

This illness, caused by something unrelated to everyone's (and now my boyfriend's) illness, has really zapped me of will power. I had a small complication (ok a big one) with stones in my tonsils that masked itself as the cough/cold going around. But one week on antibiotics has done its job! 

So A pic from home (the USA) to cheer me up. Here are my Three Mousekateers! (Taken by my mom).

These are all litter mates.
From Top to Bottom:
Satch, Aeo, and Priscilla.

Colorways Spun in 2012: A colorway = Every 2oz

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