27 September 2010

Tecrin tries... Baking! Again.

My kitchen life has its ups and downs. After the summer, I decided once again that I had to start watching what I ate again and left the kitchen and the baking for what it was, bar some delicious bread to accompany fresh soup every now and then.

But now that the weather has turned to more autumny temeratures, the baking-bug has been itching again and I spent both last weekend and this weekend in the kitchen, baking omnomelicious muffins and cupcakes. And the best part? Boyfriend dearest, the person that is the most difficult audience for anything baked, wouldn't stop raving about my apple-raisin-cinnamon muffins. So here's the recipes, try both, weep, and be glad they came into your life. Oh, and for the love of anything baked: eat them warm. Please.


Apple-raisin-cinnamon muffins (makes approximately 9 muffins)

150 gr flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 tsp cinnamon
40 gr sugar (I used normal, but you can use brown sugar too)
1 apple, peeled and diced into reasonably small bits ( I used a granny smith, like I do in all my apple pie/cake recipes, because they taste divine in pies and cakes and keep a bit of a bite, unlike some apples that just turn into mush when you heat them up)
1 large handful of raisins, washed and dried (really, I just winged it a bit. If your apple is big, use a little less, if your apple was small-ish, use a large handful. I think it's slightly more than a cup.)
125 ml milk
1 egg
4 tbsp butter, melted

For the topping:
1 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp sugar

Here we go!

Preheat the oven to 200 C. Either grease a muffin-tin or line it with paper liners.
Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar, apple and raisins.
In a different container, mix the egg, milk and butter.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until they kind of come together. Don't overstir! Make sure the flour is mixed in properly, but don't make it one homogenous batter!

Pour the batter into the muffin-tin.
Mix one tablespoon of butter with 1 teaspoon cinnamon and two tablespoons of sugar and sprinkle the mixture over the top of the muffins.

Bake the muffins for 20 minutes until they are nice and golden on the top. Take the tin out of the oven and let cool until they are not so scaldingly hot you'll burn your tongue, then pop them out of the tin, and dig in!


Butterscotch-chocolate milk cupcakes (makes about 12 cupcakes) (pictured above)


3 eggs
4 tbsp chocolate milk
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
150 gr flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
150 gr sugar
175 gr butter
75 gr butterscotch chocolate, cut up

Here we go!

Preheat the oven to 175 C. Grease a muffin/cupcake tin or line it with paper liners.
Mix the baking powder, salt, sugar and flour in a mixing bowl. In another bowl, mix the eggs, chocolate milk and vanilla extract until combined (it'll look disgusting, but it's for the greater good).
Add the butter and half of the egg mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix until combined. In phases, mix in the rest of the egg mixture until it is a nice, smooth batter. Stir in the chocolate bits until it's well combined and scoop into the tin.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are nice and golden brown. Take the tin out of the oven, let cool until not scaldingly hot (you know, to save your tongue) and dig in!

You can save them in an airfree container. But really, you should just eat them all and not feel guilty for they are SO DAMNED GOOD!

24 September 2010

Yarn porn

To counter the depressing message I left earlier this week, here's some yarn porn. It cheered me up!

Remember that I told you that my fairy-grand-godmother gave me a huge bag of yarn when I told her I was learning myself to crochet over a year ago? No? Oh. Well, my fairy-grand-godmother (she's not really my grandmother, although I certainly think she is, and she certainly considers us her grandkids) gave me 2 bags full of yarny leftovers and goodness when I told her I had picked up crochet and brought my first pair of fingerless mitts to show her. She was impressed, she said, although when looking at them now and then, I think she said that to be nice. (it's because she's just such a nice lady, I think.) A short while after that, a friend gave me a giant bag of yarn with leftovers and balls of acrylic somethings because she didn't use it anymore. In other words: I got a whole bunch of leftovers, which I unceremoniously dumped into plastic bins and stuffed away to search through later to see what it all was, exactly. I picked at it a few times, opened the bins, browsed a bit, but put it away quickly when I saw how much work sorting all of it would be.

Well, now that my thesis is on hold until my supervisor emails me back (which, by the way, he hasn't done yet), I had some time to spare and I decided to use this time to dig through those bins and throw out what I couldn't use anymore and sort out the rest.
I found treasures. Lots of treasures.

Here's the blue batch. All odds and ends, some balls larger than the others, but some were really so gorgeous, I wished I had a mountain of it. Look!

That colour! Isn't it gorgeous?!

I wasn't able to capture how shiney this yarn really is, but it's silky, and smooth, and pretty...

Similar colour, different texture, but squishy and pretty!

Another one of those little balls that I wished was a ginormous skein. Don't mind the little.. thing.. on the tail. I don't know what it is. But I know a pair of scissors that would love to get more acquainted with it, soon.

And then there were reds. Lots of little balls of reds. I never knew there were so many different hues of red.

Oh, and orange, too.

Different types of orange, even. This reminds me of pumpkin pie, even though I never had pumpkin pie in my life. Must have been the weather.

And there was...

One of the few balls that actually still had the band on. See what it says? See? 15% wool, 15% mohair. OoooOOOOoooo! Soooo... soooft... I can remember grandma had a sweater in this colour that was really really squishy and soft and kind of tickled when you gave her a hug.

And then I found something truly.. horrific. It changed how I thought about my lovely, neat, sweet little grandma forever.
Grandma! This is almost like hearing you swear! I never knew you could be so messy! One big clump of knotted, brown, thin yarn. I'm guessing this was supposed to be a sweater of some sorts, since I found these too:

Which I'm guessing is cuffs of some sort.

And then there were the natural colours, which I'm guessing is all either undyed wool or some sort of blend.

Light colours...

And dark colours.

This one looks like it came straight off the sheep. There were three balls of this, actually, but as you can see in the group-shot above, I only kept two and threw one out. It was a jumbled mess of a lot of things, but I'm pretty sure a lot of that wasn't actually meant to be in there.

That's it! I threw a lot out, too. Balls of acrylic that crunched when you so much as looked at it, balls of leftovers that were so twisted up into itself that trying to untie it would take me at least three days, non-stop. I tried, with one of the red balls, because it looked like some sort of cotton twist (almost rope-like) and seemed interesting. And smooth enough to allow me to undo all the knots that it twisted itself in. There were colours that were so hideous, I couldn't think of anything that would make them more appealing. And yes, I thought of dyeing it. I don't think it would work. Plus, this saves me room for more yarn that doesn't look like ass.

I also found a bag of my first ever crochet projects, many of which were never finished, but I think I'll dedicate a new post to that, one of these days.

22 September 2010

Incoming: rant

My apologies in advance for this non-crafty, rant-a-licious post, but there's something that's been weighing me down for weeks now and I've finally taken a step forward so I feel like I should let some of the stress out.

It's about my thesis.

As you may or may not know, I'm a student and am currently trying to finish my Master's Degree in Translation by writing a thesis. My subject: Young Adult Literature. I love YA lit. Not just as a reader, although I must say many of the YA-titles that came out in the past few years have entertained me very much. I love it as a bookshop-employee, because it gives me the opportunity to help kids find something interesting to read when they no longer feel at home in the children's section but don't feel like switching to adult literature yet. I'm probably projecting; it's how I felt when I grew up and had read every single book in the children's section of our local library by the time I was 12 and moved on to fantasy because there was nothing to read.


I love this category to bits, so I figured that writing a thesis on translating YA should be a piece of cake for me.

Wrong. Very, very, very wrong. It's a difficult subject at best. YA as a literary category is relatively new, but it's known under so many different names that finding secondary literature on it becomes a slow and frustrating process: you never know if a text is discussing YA under another name, or simply discussing something different alltogether. And that simple fact has made me push it away from me since I started last year in June. Summer interfered heavily with my work too, since I was gone most of August. Then September hit, and it hit me hard: I felt so stressed I was unable to sleep for nights in a row, it was affecting my health very much, it was making me tense and probably not very pleasant to be around. I had row after row with the boyfriend about really stupid things. I think we once had a fight over toilet paper. I was ready to break down. So I finally made the decision to stop what I was doing.

Well, no, actually, that's not entirely true. I've made that decision three weeks ago, at about 3 o'clock in the morning, and wrote something down in a notepad on my phone about it. I didn't do anything with this, though. I just didn't want to admit defeat and move on to something that would be more productive, like an actual translation. I'm stubborn like that. Very unattractive trait.

But I've done it; I've admitted defeat. I've bitten the bullet. After not sleeping again all night because I was tossing and turning and frustrating myself with thoughts about my thesis, I got up early and sent my supervisor an email explaining the situation, along with a proposal for 2 texts I would like to use as a translation thesis instead. Now all that's left is waiting for a reply and hoping he'll accept one of my proposals, so I can get started.

I've been taking deep breaths all morning, ever since I pressed 'send'. I hope he'll get back to me soon. In the meantime, I think I'll just go and sort out my stash. I've made a small start on that last night, but I'll devote an entire post to it one of these days. It'll be both yarn-porn-ish and yarn-horrorish. I promise.

21 September 2010

Summer is really over, I'm afraid

One thing is certain in our household: we don't plan birthday parties in detail. Why, you ask? Because half of our family was born in March, and the other half in September. It can snow in March, but it can also be 20 degrees outside. Same goes (well, not the snowing part) for September... Last Saturday, we went over to the parents to celebrate my baby sister's birthday.

She's turned 19 today! 19! Can't be, she was only 12 yesterday!

Anyway. It was gorgeous outside Saturday evening, albeit a little cold, so half the party moved outside to enjoy the fresh air or a cigarette. Me, being the idiot that I can be, forgot to bring my sister's little present I made to go with the 25 euro she got from us to help save for her camera. I decided to bring it around yesterday, and took my bicycle out for a ride in an attempt to get more excercise. And to take pictures, of course.

The weather was once again taking the piss, since it had been reasonably calm and sunny on Sunday, but turned windy, cloudy and ugly on Monday. With the wind in my back on my way over to the parents' house, I managed to snap a few pics while cycling.

Amazing, isn't it, how you can pass something on your way to school/work/go shopping/see friends your entire life and never realise that it's kind of pretty?

I mean,

Imagine having one of those little boats over there. Hmm..

There's trees everywhere, and for the largest part of the way, I cycle along the canal. In the summer, there's bugs everywhere and you have to keep your mouth firmly closed or fear an unexpected meal of flies and musquitos. Yesterday, they were all gone. The only bug I encountered was a very grumpy bee, that flew straight into my chest and decided to hang around for a second while buzzing furiously. Reminded me of a grumpy old man, driving in his car, with his window down so he can swear at kids racing a traffic light.


Then I got to my parent's house and presented my sis with her...


Sis approves.

On the way back, the sun broke through the clouds for a little while and I came along a little cluster of trees at the side of a lake and saw.. well..

Sun shining through the trees. I don't know about you, but to me, that screams summer. I smiled the rest of the way. Summer wasn't gone yet.

And then I woke up this morning and found that I was proven wrong.

I'm afraid Summer really is over now.

14 September 2010


It's done! The bag, I mean. I finished it 5 minutes before we left to go to my mom's birthday and it doesn't have an inside pocket yet (so, yes, I know, that means it's not 'done'-done. Shush.) but I'll add that later.

Here it is!

I folded the lining fabric over the edge and sewed it together that way, because I'm a noob and can't measure a square piece of fabric. I had a bit too much fabric left at the top... Sewing the lining together was a Bitch, but together with the bf, I managed to get a sturdy lining. The handles gave me a headache (did I mention that for some reason, the yellow-pink-red one was much longer than the green-blue one? And that I have no idea how that happened?) and the bag itself rekindled my RSI, but it's done, and my mom is very happy with it. I'll call her tonight to see if it survived her taking it to work yesterday.

2 September 2010


We went to Sweden with a bunch of guildies to have our Second Annual Vintage Guild Barbeque and had a great time! I kind of forgot I had my camera with me and didn't take that many pictures (only 42, wth..) but this is basically what our weekend consisted of:


Good food (lots of, even)

And.. cats.

And remember these?

I made a small army of them, added a label saying 'Vintage Oneshots Sweden, August 2010', and gave them to my guildies. I'm glad to say that they were adored by all and are now proudly dangling on keychains and purses.

Thanks guys, for a great, great, great weekend!