Monthly Archives: September 2007

Now with 100% more cat.

Meet my new roommate, Beatrice:

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Her hobbies include napping, lolling around in the garden, chasing bugs, watching the backyard birdfeeder, keeping herself immaculately groomed, and purring like an outboard motor when seated on a human lap. Her dislikes include empty food dishes, the neighbouring orange cat who occasionally walks through the backyard, and the fact that her usual humans have left her for 6 months. So far she exhibits no strong feelings towards yarn one way or the other, but nonetheless I have procured some handy dandy IKEA storage to keep current projects shut tight (in a more attractive fashion than, say, a plastic bin).

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I’ve finally finished the re-locating process, and am now installed in a house-sitting gig until the new year. Beatrice comes with the house, and this is just fine with me. She has so far been accepting of my presence and decided my bed was worthy enough to sleep on last night. (I’m sure this feeling will be enhanced once autumn and winter creep in.) This morning, it was raining drearily when I got up, which irked me since i usually take Sunday morning for a nice long run. Beatrice made the effort to reschedule her backyard stalking to tomorrow and has since spent the day napping or watching squirrels from the back porch. I did go running eventually, but while the rain was on, what else was there to do but get the cupcake baking done? ;)

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These are plain old vanilla-vanilla. Sometimes simple is best, right? Right.
Now, about the rest of that Sunday afternoon…

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Filed under baking, real life miscellaney

Rambling

Oof, I’ve been a bad blogger this week – in both the reading and the writing sense. I’ve spent the last 3 days in a row being a Toronto commuter and learning what that’s all about, and let me tell you I don’t know how people manage to do it 5 days a week every week! The getting up at 6am is a new thing for me. My hope is that I’ll only need to go in 2-3 days a week, and not necessarily consecutively, to do what I need to do. I’ll be kept busy on campus quite a bit in September with non-Thesis work as the year starts up again. But damn, I still have to get that draft done. Only smidgeons of writing have gotten through this week (although some is better than none). Can I put through the effort to make this Friday count? Time shall tell that tale…My brain has so far been in a haze all morning.

Knitting, though a bit slower, has been decent this week. I’m almost done block #4 on the Moderne Log Cabin, and it’s taking shape nicely:

Moderne2

It’s going to be super warm and cozy. I’d like to have the fifth block started by the weekend, and I might also just indulge my start-itis and cast on something else for the heck of it. I’ve got more projects on the brain, and itchy fingers. Yesterday a package also arrived for me which is making me think and scratch my head a bit. Way back in July I signed up for the Sweet Sheep’s sock club, as a birthday present to myself. It’s a 3-month set of monthly sock kits, and I thought I’d give it a try since I’ve never done a sock club before and this one was short enough just to get a taste of what it’s like.

SweetSheep1

The pattern is simple but attractive, and I’ll be happy to give that a try. The yarn is the Sweet Sheep’s ‘Sweet Socks’ in a semi-solid called ‘Shamrock’. It’s a nice soft superwash merino/nylon blend, it’s got great yardage (430yds) and is dyed beautifully…but it’s bright green. I have to say that if I were picking out colours for myself, this wouldn’t be something I’d pick. So, hmm. I definitely won’t be knitting this up for myself, so it’s a matter of deciding whether I’ll knit something up as a gift for someone else. I’ll let it sit and percolate.

And on that note…I’ve got the rest of the morning and I haven’t had my tea yet. I should write. I need to write. Of course, what I would like to do is watch Pride and Prejudice for the bazillionth time, or knit, or read recipes, or have a nap….But I should write. I’ll percolate on that, too, while I drink tea and contemplate my new blanket in progress.

Happy Friday!

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Filed under mason-dixon, socks

Once More With Feeling

My fellow knitter and stash-enabling cohort (see: Needle Emporium tent sale of a week and a half ago) Diana commissioned me this week to bake her some cupcakes to bring to school – for the teachers, not the kids, to be shared at the staff treats party. She asked for some Cosmopolitan cupcakes specifically, and I was quite happy to try Version 2. I did these today and I’m pleased enough to share with you what I did. They’re so beautiful it’s almost too sad to part with them ;)

CosmoCupcakes2b

They taste both light and decadent at the same time. They’re moist and fluffy and I think using juice concentrate was a better move than the cranberry juice out of the bottle. I wanted to use dried cranberries as well, but for some reason those went astray and I couldn’t find ‘em to add them into the batter. For this recipe, I used the Lemonade Cupcakes on this page (which, by the way, are delicious) as the base idea and changed a few things around. If I change it up again I’ll letcha know ;)

“Cosmopolitan” Cupcakes with Lime-Cointreau Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup frozen cranberry juice concentrate or cranberry punch concentrate, thawed
zest of 1 lime
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
2 drops red food colouring (optional, if you would like a stronger reddish tint in the cake)

1. Allow all ingredients to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line muffin pans with cupcake papers.

2. With a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add the eggs 1 at a time and beat until well combined.

3. Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
Combine buttermilk, thawed concentrate, zest, and cranberries in a separate bowl.
Add in 1 cup each of the dry and wet mixtures alternately, beating on low until the whole mixture is well combined.

4. Fill cups with batter two-thirds full. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes or until cupcakes
spring back in the middle when touched lightly. Cool for 10 minutes in pan.

For glaze:
1/4 cup thawed cranberry juice concentrate
1/4 cup vodka

5. Brush with cranberry/vodka glaze when cupcakes are still slightly warm.
When cupcakes are completely cooled, frost with lime-cointreau buttercream:

Lime-Cointreau Buttercream
1/2 c butter
4 c confectioner’s sugar
3 T Cointreau
juice from 1 large lime

Mix all ingredients on high speed until fluffy. Double this recipe if you are doing a lot of piping or have more than 2 dozen cupcakes.

Garnish with: (optional)
Dusting of Lime zest
Dried cranberries

CosmoCupcakes2a

Yum. If you’ll just excuse me, I’ll be over here putting a few aside for myself for later…. ::whistles::

All of my baking posts.

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Filed under baking, recipe

(Haven’t you always wanted a monkey?)*

I admit that I did not get any work done yesterday. Instead I moped around the house and procrastinated fearfully and then finished my 2nd pair of Monkey socks. But aren’t they cute?

Monkey2FO

And then I realized I don’t think I ever posted an FO photo of my first pair of Monkeys. They’re 1 repeat too short to fit me, so I’ll turn ‘em into a gift (I gotta figure out exactly how much I can get out of a single skein of Socks That Rock – size 11 feet are not meant for this kind of game of derring-do without a nice method of splitting the skein evenly in half), but that’s fine. More Monkeys will come, I’m sure.

Monkey1

And earlier this week, after a day of commuting when I couldn’t stand to look at the same knitting I’d been knitting on transit both ways, I sat down and started in on that damn garter stitch. It has this lovely only-minimal-thought-required sort of quality, and it made me realize that were it not for the rapid yarn-eating pace of garter stitch, I’d surely do it more often. Anyhoo, I’m already on block 3 of the Moderne Log Cabin:

ModerneLogCabin1

It’s going to be warm and cozy when it’s done. The trouble is, with every block the rows get longer and longer and so does the time it takes to complete a block, so…we’ll see how speedy it is all in due course. Or until start-itis striks again. Heh.

*Actually, I’d be okay with just the $1,000,000. (Or maybe another exotic pet. Like a llama or an emu. Okay yeah, the procrastination is making me a little punchy.)

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Filed under finished object: socks, mason-dixon