Friday, June 28, 2019

Crafts! Bread and Cake and Knitting


Back in March, I promised an update on the fact that I've baked bread for the first time ever!

(Side note I: I was searching all bread-related posts on my blog, and came across the mention back in 2010 of one of my main characters, Austin, and how he got his surname of Cunnick. Rather apt, as the only writing I'm doing at the moment is a long, fun scene featuring Austin and his wife, which has no relation to any current WiPs.)

(Side note II: I was also reminded of this awesome beer bread recipe from Kait Nolan.)

Without further ado, here's the baking:

The recipe was based on Refrigerator Bread by Kelly Yandell.
450g flour
1 x 7g sachet of instant dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 cups warm water
Mix it all in a container. Let it sit for two hours. Put it in the fridge for two more, or until you're ready to use it (even overnight). Let it rise 40 minutes, then bake at 475 for 25 minutes, then another 10 without the lid.I used the same Le Creuset pot for the entire process!


Starting with the flour...

Mixing everything





I also made some Oreo cheesecake over Easter:

Supplies (upside down)


Ready to go in the oven

Wait, I forgot to take a photo!

Too late, I ate it!

A photo from our guest, the host of Nakki Spa

A lovely photo of our village beach, also by our guest

I haven't actually started, but I have two new knitting goals: leg warmers knit with cotton yarn, and new mittens for the kids for next winter. I'm looking forward to shopping for wool, especially since I only have one bag of wool left at home, and it's nice to have an excuse to buy some new skeins!

I've also signed up for Bold Beginner Knits from Kate Davies Designs, and look forward to receiving a new pattern each week! I really can't wait till I have more time, to knit some of these...

Which crafts are you exploring at the moment?
What are some of your new projects?

Friday, March 22, 2019

Year-end Knitting Review -- with added photos!, Tolkien Reading Day, and Lara Lacombe's New Release

Knitting round-up for year's end!

Last year I didn’t really set any knitting or other craft goals, except to not let them fall completely by the wayside. I mentioned that I needed an excuse to knit something as a gift...and a couple of friends got pregnant!

I did manage to knit a couple of Christmas gifts however: a hat and a set of leg warmers!

Some of my other posts throughout the year:

A Poem and a Few Songs for Burns Night, and ROW80, Including Knitting
Playlists, IWSG Day, Knitting in Public, and Elephants!
Kait Nolan's New Release! Also, New Mittens and Blog Plans Till January...
ROW80, A Completed Project, and The Enchanted April (a finished baby blanket)

ROW80 End of Round Wrap Up, and Visits to Yvoire (France) and Gruyeres, plus Photos from Vaud (Switzerland) (another finished baby blanket)

Why I didn't knit much:
I completed my second year of graduate school, and this guy came along:

Another friend also had a baby this year, and a group of mutual friends put together two quilts, one for each of us.

Here’s me starting to embroider my name on the square I contributed:

Here’re some photos of both quilts taken by the friend who did the finishing work:

Here’s what I wrote when I first shared a photo of the quilt, on the day I received mine:
I always say that one of the best parts of having read Outlander all those years ago was having joined the Forum and become friends with so many amazing people. This is a beautiful instance of that joy. Baby is kicking in happiness
PS close up of Kedi, because his and Austin's story was the first one I started on after I joined the Forum, following a two-year drought, and I'm still amazed by how many other characters have come to know him over the years.
And here are the photos to date:

1 month

2 months

2 months

2 months

3 months

3 months

3 months

4 months

4 months

For this year my goal remains the same, to simply knit something sometime.

My other ongoing goals are to:

1. Think about buying expensive wool to make, slowly, methodically, and properly, a gorgeous design by Kate Davies This is ongoing, and mostly on the backburner. But last year I read Handywoman by Kate Davies, and I’m currently enrolled in the Knitting Season club, which features a new pattern every week. I haven’t had time to make any, of course, but am storing them all up for later, and really enjoying the essays by Kate that accompany each pattern release.

2. Pick up crochet again, but I'm still stumped by the double crochet stitch. I need to watch more YouTube videos

3. Organise all our photos and print a few, especially for the grandparents
I have finally caught up with this! Now the trick is to not fall behind again...

4. Bake more!
I have been more successful at this lately. I’ve been baking every weekend! And I've made bread for the first time ever! I'll write up a separate post of that.

Lara Lacombe has a new book out!

Ranger’s Baby Rescue
“Who kidnapped Emma Foster’s baby?
When her daughter is abducted from her Texas home, Emma Foster turns to Matt Thompson to help her. Matt and Emma work together to retrieve little Christina from the clutches of traffickers. But it will be a race against the clock for the ranger and the nurse, who must risk it all to save the innocent infant…”

I love the way this story dives right into the action, yet from the start the reader has a clear view of who the characters are, what events have shaped them, and what they hope for the future. Both Emma and Matt are hesitant to take a leap, to hope for something between them, especially while doing their best to save Emma’s daughter.

If they can trust their emotions long enough to let go and open up to each other, all sorts of new possibilities might lie ahead. As they continue to work together to rescue Christina and keep her safe, an opportunity finally comes up for them to reveal their feelings. I was on tenterhooks waiting to see how they came together! Plus, I could completely relate to having to do everything with a young child in tow; all the baby-related scenes were very realistic!

Next Monday is Tolkien Reading Day!

This year’s theme is Tolkien and the mysterious...

I’ll either reread The Notion Club Papers, or some of the art books, featuring such lovely mysterious drawings as these:
The Shores of Faery

The End of the World

The first round of A Round of Words in 80 Days has ended!

I haven't gotten as far along in my edits of The Handful of Time as I'd like. Mostly this has been due to being ill and choosing sleep over editing time, but still! If I could do even a couple of sentences a day... It would be nice to have it done by the end of the year. Slow and steady wins the race!

Which crafts have you been exploring?
Do you enjoy reading suspense novels?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Kait Nolan's New Release! Also, New Mittens and Blog Plans Till January...


(thank you to Magali Studer for the drop cap!)

Following my happy announcement from a few months ago, the due date is fast approaching! I'm going to be rerunning a few classic posts on the blog from now until January; I'll miss some Insecure Writer's Support Group posts and checking in for A Round of Words in 80 Days, though I may try to note some updates in comments. And my Books Read in 2018 post will likely be delayed!

Meanwhile, I've been reading some good books!

One is a classic, Catalina by Somerset Maugham.

The other is a new release by Kait Nolan!

"Just a fling," she said...

Tess Peyton wanted to do something fun and reckless and wholly out of character. A steamy weekend with a Scotsman seems like a plan. When her Scotsman turns out to be a good Southern boy, that's a minor deviation. Then one night turns to two, two turns to more, and suddenly she knows she's in way over her head. This is why one should always stick to the plan.

"Bachelor for life," he said...

But that was before all of Mitch Campbell's friends, cousins, and even his little sister started pairing off like someone was building an ark. No wonder he fell, and fell hard, for his "no attachments, no last names" European fling. And just when he's ready to tell the woman of his dreams that he wants to change that arrangement, she disappears, leaving him with no means of tracking her down, and a big ol' hole in his heart.

And then Fate stepped in...

Because, guess what? The guy Tess ran out on in Edinburgh shows up at family dinner. He's her dad's new wife's brother's son. What does that make them? It makes them "on again," according to Mitch and the explosive chemistry between them. Tess feels it too, along with a side of awkward, continued uncertainty, and some kind of stomach virus that seems to bother her most in the mornings...

How can a book be both sweet and hot at the same time? There are few stories that can pull off that trick, and this is one of them!

It's evident from the start that Mitch and Tess are ideal for each other, and it's fun to see everyone in Wishful, one after the other, noticing their obvious attraction, even while they're trying to deny it. But there are obstacles to overcome, including the barriers they put up of themselves, in their misguided attempt to do things in the "right" way. I won't reveal how they come to their senses, but of course there's a happily ever after!

As an aside, I loved the organization in this book as well -- mention of stationery had me drooling over some of my own favourite items, and I love the way most of the couples and important characters from previous books are all mentioned, with updates on their lives. As usual, though, any of the Wishful books can be read as a standalone -- though I can't imagine reading only one!

I've also completed a quick knitting project!

Mittens in progress

Mittens done

Mittens modelled!

What are your long-term plans and ideas?