30 June 2010

On a high

I'm so glad I forced myself to start on that shawl! Naturally, my homework is suffering immensely, but I figured this weather isn't for slaving away behind a keyboard anyway. So I spent a nice two hours on the balcony, looking at this:

While working at this:

And listening to this.

Ahhh... Summer..

29 June 2010

Fighting off the boredom.

With crochet! I've decided that, in order to fight off the boredom that inevitably comes with the writing of a 9000+-word thesis, I could crochet a shawl with all the yarn I have. So I fired up Ravelry this weekend and started browsing for shawls. It had to be relatively simple, not too frilly, not too lacey, because it's being made in cotton and will serve as my wrap-up-and-cuddle-up-in shawl this summer and will be brought along to festivals and on holidays. I found truckloads of pretty, frilly, lacey shawls. I tried several.

The first one I found was the Juliana Wrap (ravelry link). It made sense. It looked good. I began crocheting in dark blue cotton. It turned into a trapezium. Not a very attractive shawl-shape! I ripped it out, began again. Once more, a trapezium! What the heck?! I was doing something wrong, I had to be, the pictures in the pattern were all nice somewhat rounded shapes, not trapeziums! I got sick of doing it wrong and really liked the pattern because of the second part of the shawl and figured that, if I made a half-moon shape myself, I could just add the mesh afterwards. Right?

Yeah.. With an entire ball of yarn, I made a somewhat rounded triangle about the size of the backside of a pair of knickers. That was depressing... And I realised that I would in no way have enough yarn to make an entire shawl out of that blue yarn. Also, it would be so thick and heavy! Not suited for a summer shawl!

So I switched to plan #2. I had about 6 skeins of yarn in a cotton/linen mix that I wanted to use as a scarf or shawl because the colour was pretty. So I went out and looked for another pattern that better suited what I wanted and decided to try the Seraphina Shawl. It was a fail. Never try to learn lace-like patterns with a thick, stiff yarn...

I figured, it may be the pattern that doesn't suit this yarn. It wouldn't work in a shawl because it's so stiff that you might as well be wearing a sheet of bricks around your neck or shoulders. Next plan. The Magnificent Mantle. Simpler, straightforward pattern. Begins with making a large triangle and adds the details later. Okay, I can do that. After about 8 rows of crochet, I got sick of it. It's the darned yarn. It's too stiff. Forget it, I thought, and threw it aside.

I decided to give it one last go with a skein of bright blue cotton yarn I had bought together with the dark blue and which I have used to make some hexagons earlier this month. It's thin, it's flexible, it's cotton... And it works! Finally! I'm 15 rows in now, and I'm probably going to have to add a few extra rows in at the end because the yarn really is quite thin, but it's looking promising.

Here's a groupshot of the two failed attempts and the WIP (all reminding me a lot of underwear, sorry.)

22 June 2010


I was in the mood for something sweet, warm and delicious for breakfast. And I wanted to try out my new immersion mixer/blender/cruncher/crusher/thingamajiggy. So I made apple/raisin muffins!

Isn't it adorable? See the raisin and the bits of apple poking out of the crunchy sugary top? I took it outside on the balcony for a quick photoshoot. And then I ate it, of course. What did you expect?

And since they're so good and easy to make and yummie and because I feel like sharing good stuff today, I'm sharing the recipe.

Apple-raisin muffins (makes about 12)

100 gr. butter
200 gr. sugar
1 egg
200 gr. flour
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 apple
handful of raisins
50 gr. brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Chop up the apple into pretty tiny bits and set aside. Wash the raisins and set aside on a paper towel to dry a bit.
Cream together the butter, sugar and the egg until it's a nice, gooey, creamy mass. Throw in the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon and mix together until it's a less gooey and more firmy, but still pretty creamy mess. Mix in the apple and raisins.
Either grease a muffin tin or use paper muffin liners and spoon the batter into the muffin tin/liners. Sprinkle a bit of brown sugar over the top of every muffin. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the muffins look nice and golden brown.
Whenm the oven dings, refrain from diving in and devouring muffins on the spot (because you might get burns. We don't want that), take out the muffins and let cool for a sec before you pop them out and let them cool further on a cooling rack (or in my case, a barbeque grill-rack that can stand on its handles and cost me about a third of what an actual cooling-rack would have cost me).

Nom away, my friends!

18 June 2010

Class of 2010 get-together

I survived the Class of 2010 get-together and all I got was a tummy ache from eating too much and laughing too much and sore feet from walking back to the train station! Booh!

Kidding. My teacher decided it would be fun to get together with the entire English class of 2010 group from my Master so he invited us all over to his house to have drinks and food and a good time together, American party-type style: he was in charge of drinks, we would bring the food. Naturally, the table was loaded to the brim with all sorts of food and deliciousness (what would you expect with a group 0f 22 students where 18 of them are girls?). My/Our contribution? Besides savory cupcakes with pesto frosting and exceptionally ugly cakeballs (we learned, among other things, that when your candy melts look like the substance is too thick, you should not add milk to it to make it thinner. Also, we learned that when making buttercream, you should not, under any circumstance, melt the butter.), we made what turned out to be the dessert:

The Class of 2010 cake! With clever references to silly stuff we discussed in class this year! Well, just Twilight (a fanged smiley with sparkly yellow-coloured sugar and an apple) and Bill Bryson (a skunk with the line 'Ah, Summer!', the title from one of our assignments), because we ran out of room and couldn't fit an entire Sudoku puzzle on it anymore.

This was my first time trying to cover an entire cake with fondant, which was hell to roll out properly and not have it stuck to the counter, but it was fun making it. The cake itself was a white chocolate, raspberry, pecan cake and it was really tasty.

And the kitchen? Looking like a supermarket just exploded right onto the counter top. I wanted to make a picture, but I couldn't fit all of the mayhem in one shot, so I didn't. I'll leave it up to your imagination.

8 June 2010

Tecrin tries.. Knitting!

You didn't believe me, did you? Well, pah, I bring you proof! Four fuzzy rows of knit stitch after knit stitch!

I was bored yesterday, so I took out my trusty 'Knitting for Dummies', opened its barely-touched-pages, cast on, and started to knit. Row 1 took me AAAAAAGES. All afternoon, almost. (although I must add, this was with long intervals in which I pretended to study.) Then row 2 went slightly quicker. I at one point even made some clicking noises with my needles while trying to keep up the pace and nearly squee-ed with happiness. I clicked! My needles! OOOO!
Row 3 was dropped halfway through the row because I was needed for some heroics in WoW (Been levelling a paladin, more on that after this), and then picked up again this morning, and row 4.. I just finished. Look ma, I'm knitting! I'm thinking of simply ploughing on with this until I know how to do this properly, and make a little pouch from the fabric I made so it'll not go to waste.
I still have no idea what kind of yarn this stuff is, though, but it's terribly fuzzy and making my cheeks itch when I work with it. But that may also just be my hair hanging in the way. I need a haircut. Bad.

Right, so, some WoW-related news too: I levelled a paladin, she's called Nyxi and has been my go-to toon for the last few weeks now. She's a tankahealadin, meaning (for you non-WoWers out there) that she's both a tank (taking the hits from a mob) and a healer (making sure whoever is taking hits from a mob isn't getting killed) and so far, I like both, I'm even not sure which one I like better. I mean, tanking is fun! You get to control the pace, you have to make sure that everyone, including the mobs you want to kill, know that you are in control of the whole thing, and make sure that whenever someone taunts a mob off you, you pull it straight back. But healing is also awesome! You literally have another player's life in your hands, it's all up to you. It took me a while to get the whole healing thing right, because the addon I installed refused to work. (healbot, for those interested. I heard it's great, and it worked for one evening, but it's just not doing anything anymore...) So, with the help of some of my wonderful guildies, I made some mouse-over macro's, and with the help of my trusty Naga, I improved my healing quite a bit. Awesome.
Also, guild-related: Vintage downed Sindragosa last week and moved on to the Lich King. Hopefully we'll get him down tonight, so we can start on hardmodes. Also, we've decided to start on getting Ulduar done (we never got all the way up to Yogg. I know.) and I'm hoping to coax my guildies into finishing Trial of the Champions heroic too.

In other news, remember how I was all excited to start growing my own veggies and herbs on one of my balconies? And how stuff (literally, balconies full of stuff) got in the way and how I didn't go trough with it? No? Well, now you do.

I was a bit miffed, to say the least, that I had to postpone my plans to next year or something, but was so excited when I found this at my supermarket:

It's a baggie of grow-your-own basil! Comes with a little packet of seeds, and the paper bag you see here filled with dirt, and you just throw in the seeds, and give it a little water every day, and bam! fresh, homegrown basil, right there in my kitchen window! It makes me happy just looking at it!

In other, other news, after complaining about the stupid scaffolding ruining my view, they started taking it down yesterday. Yay! My view is back to pretty! Here's the view from my study window.

Waving, green, sea of trees.. Hmm... Niiiice...

Anyway, that is all.