Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Day of the Year

I have a few blogs. I started them, wrote in them for a while and then abandoned them. I've always planned to bring them all together into one blog but I haven't got around to it. I don't know why I have a blog and seldom write in it. I have thought of just deleting it but somehow I don't want to! Though I don't comment often or for many I never do, I read a lot of blogs. And I want one of my own.

So a new goal for next year is to do my best to write here once a week. I also need to go through this blog and add the tags I often forget to write at the end of posts. Let's see how I do.

I only made a few Christmas presents. I forgot to take a picture of the cookies and crackers I gave as a present.

This Fancy Crocheted Cross Bookmark was for my sister.

My son's partner likes turquoise, so when I noticed that this turquoise was no longer in the new colour palatte, I bought a ball so I'd have it if she wanted anything knitted or crocheted from me. When I asked what she'd like for Christmas, she suggested handwarmers and she found the Emerald Green Handwarmer pattern, so I made them. I liked how they turned out. I made a few changes. One being to knit them in the round. It's so much easier than having to fuss with a seam.

I was at a flea market and came across a few CrossStitcher magazines. Issue 190/September 2007 had this free kit with it and I thought that my son might like it. Though the pattern said that it would take 12 hours, it took forever! I didn't even get it done in time for Christmas. I showed him the suggestions in the magazine of how to frame it. One of them was to cross stitch two smaller pieces with Chinese characters on them to place on each side of this piece. That's the one he chose so I'll have to find some matching aida cloth and get them done too.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Babysat Again

I had another fun time with my friend's grandson. We made pizza again though this time we had tinned mushrooms instead of fresh and I think he would have eaten them all straight from the tin if I had let him.

This time we also made cupcakes because he wanted to make something else too. I used this Easy Mix Cocoa Cupcakes recipe because it had oil it and I thought it would be easier for him to handle. I had almost all of the ingredients in their own containers so he could mix them together himself. He also wanted to try everything. I warned him that cocoa powder doesn't taste good but he was willing to try it. He didn't like the oil and buttermilk mix either. He wondered at having to sift the ingredients together (recipes here don't usually call for it.) As I was using a sieve I only sifted them once. When it was time to add the boiling water it was my turn to do the stirring. They turned out well and we enjoyed them.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Babysitting a Six Year Old

A friend of mine had a meeting to go to with her partner. She asked if I could get her grandson from pre-school and take care of him for a few hours until they could come to get him. I've taken care of him before but not for quite a while and I tried to come up with things for us to do.

As he would be with me over dinner time I thought we could make our own pizzas. I measured out the ingredients ahead of time (and forgot to take a picture before he emptied his containers) and had everything ready before he came.

He made his own dough and rolled it out. Then he cut up the turkey slices, red pepper and fresh mushrooms (that he was trying for the first time!). We used ketchup because that is what they used at home. Then a bit of pizza spice. And after he put on his toppings he sprinkled on some cheese. It turned out quite well and he ate almost the whole thing. I'm taking care of him next week too. I wonder if he'll want to do it again. Does anyone have any suggestions for something else we can cook if he doesn't want pizza next time?

Single Serving Pizza Dough
1 dl flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
dash salt
1/4 dl milk (or more if needed)
1 tbsp oil

Pre-heat oven to 200°C. Mix dry together. Mix in wet. Stir with fork until well combined. Use hands to form a ball. Roll out on floured board. Pile on toppings. Bake until cheese has melted but dough hasn't turned too brown (according to my guest).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Candy Roll

When my son was younger I would get him a chocolate advent calendar but as he grew the amount of chocolate for each day seemed so small. So I crocheted a candy holder and put a candy or chocolate in each pocket. Then he grew older still and for a few years I bought enough licorice and small chocolate bars to hang on a bulletin board. The first year I wrapped them in newspaper photos that I had saved up but then we decided that it wasn't necessary to wrap them so I just thumb-tacked them onto the board.

He has moved out but I still asked him this year if he wanted me to put something together for him and he did. I had to get it ready in time for him to take it back with him last weekend because we don't know if he'll be home again before December. I thought of a crayon roll and decided to only make 20 pockets so that wider things could fit in if he wants to use it for something else too. Some of the pockets have more than one treat in them. It isn't too easy anymore finding 25 different small things. I wonder if he will save them until December!

I'm linking this to

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Green Beans and Ham

I spoke on the phone the other day with my three year old nephew. We've only talked a few times and we've never met so it isn't always easy to think of things to say. I asked him if he liked to read and he said that he did so I asked him if he knew the story Green Eggs and Ham and I said off by heart 'I am Sam. I am Sam. Sam I am.' He said that he knew it and at the end of the story he (referring to the character) realizes that after trying them he likes green eggs after all. I thought that it was funny that he was able to jump to the end of the story without the book being there. I wonder how often he has heard it.

I haven't been cooking much. Now that I'm on my own it is easier just to have a sandwich (or popcorn). I've enjoyed testing recipes and need to do more. This Thai Inspired Green Quinoa is another of Carla's recipes. Green beans are one of my favourite vegetables but I seldom eat them. It was nice to find a recipe that was easy to make and includes chickpeas too.

Tinned soups aren't very common here. There are dry soups but they always seem to taste so artificial. So I haven't had any cream of something soups since I've lived here. For some reason I started to think would cream of mushroom soup be hard to make from scratch. One of the first recipes that I came across didn't have many ingredients so I decided to try it. It was a Fresh Cream of Mushroom Soup. Simple to make and tasted good the next day. I did use less broth like many of the reviewers suggested. I only made half of the recipe because I had bought the mushrooms before I thought of the soup. I liked it so much that I went back the next day to get more mushrooms but they were all out. Next time I'll be sure to make the whole recipe!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It Snowed!

It was my son's girlfriend birthday recently and because I don't know her that well it was difficult to come up with a gift. After looking around for a pattern for something, I found these Handy Spider Webs on Ravelry and crocheted them.

I haven't made anything for my mother and I asked one of my sisters if she could think of anything my mother might need. She suggested hand warmers because last winter Mom's hands were sometimes cold when she was at home. We agreed on a simple pattern we saw on Ravelry called fingerless mitts and I used some Regia Silk that I received in a giveaway. I'm so used to having people try on the things as I'm knitting so it is the right size that I found it a bit stressful working on the hand warmers and only having measurements to go by. Well if worse comes to worse they can send them back as they fit me!

I was given some 'winter' apples and I made some applesauce with most of them. I was looking for a snack and decided on some cottage cheese. I saw the applesauce cooling and added a dollop to the cottage cheese and it was quite good. Never had it before.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ginger Snaps

I can't remember did we eat ginger snaps when I was growing up or did I find them after I moved out on my own. Every few years they pop in my mind (as do Fig Newtons, Cheez Whiz, etc.) and I miss them. I came across a Ginger Snap recipe from a Canadian blog and thought that I would try them. They were really good but not like the ones I used to eat. Next time I will try adding more ginger and less sugar and see how that turns out.

After I finished making the project bags I was left with the corners that I had cut out. I've been wanting a few mug coasters and I thought that I would try to use the scraps to make them.

First I cut off the rounded edges and sewed four of the squares together.

I wanted some padding but not so much that the mugs might tip over. I had no use for the rounded bits so I used them by placing them away from the seams as not to add more bulk.

Then I sewed two of the pieces together and turned them right side out and sewed in a spiral to keep the padding in place. They are just for me so I wasn't too careful how straight the edges or lines were. All that was left from the original piece of material were small scraps and I didn't feel bad bad throwing them away.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Slow Work

I don't know any bloggers. Well I did know one, but she doesn't blog anymore. So I've never asked anyone how they check on the blogs that they read. I've been using Bloglines but it is shutting down next month. I had to find a new place to put all of the blogs I want to keep up on. At the moment I'm using Google Reader because I haven't looked into any others yet. It's possible to move them all at once but with over 330 blogs on Bloglines (and over 9000 unread posts) I want to go through them all. I think it would be better to only move the ones that I'm sure that include my interests at the moment. OK, and a lot of other ones too!

I had been thinking of going through them for awhile (after I noticed that there were over 9000 unread posts) and now I have to do it. It was interesting to find that some of the blogs no longer existed even though I could read the posts that Bloglines hadn't marked as read. Some had changed their site address and I didn't know. I still have 88 blogs to look through. I was hoping to cut the total down to 100 blogs but I've already moved 140!

When my son visited last time I was able to make GrannyG's Caramel Slice with the condensed milk that GrannyG sent me. It was a real treat. I still have another tin, so I have to decide whether or not to make these again or try something different.

I haven't been making many of Carla's test recipes lately. During the summer it was too hot and now, living on my own, I'm too lazy. I did make her Savory Sunflower Brittle recently because it sounded so unusual and I plan to make it again soon.

I've done a bit of sewing. Some people on Ravelry have asked for project bags though they probably would want something more modern. I had this piece of material that I was pretty sure I'd never use. It wasn't a big piece and the squares were too large for any quilting I might want to do. I've sent three off and still should get the last one sent.

Friday, September 3, 2010

First Attempt

Can you guess what I'm going to make?

Does this help?

No? Well what about this?

I made sponge toffee for the first time! I used a Hokey Pokey recipe because I forgot what we called it when I was growing up (sponge toffee). I'm going to try others because I think that there was too much baking soda (it tastes so salty) as most of the recipes I looked at after making this have about 1 tbsp of baking soda per cup or more of sugar and I only used 1/4 cup of sugar. She said not to stir it but all of the other recipes I've seen, say to stir. I didn't have any golden syrup so I used a mixture of dark syrup and honey. Why did I use honey! I even hate the smell of it! Oh well, I might eat it anyway.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I was lucky enough to win GrannyG's competition! Some podcasts ago GrannyG was talking about the Caramel Slice she was making. It included condensed milk which I haven't seen here. I asked her if she thought that I could substitute cream for it. I haven't gotten around to trying but now I don't have to. Not only did she send goodies from the media kit that she had received, my first hand-dyed yarn that she had dyed herself but she surprised me by sending two tins of condensed milk! Now I can try the slices with the correct ingredients. Yum. It was such a nice thing to do.

I finished my son's hat in time before he moved. It was the first time I had knit a top-down hat and I found the increases fiddly. I much prefer to decrease! I wanted to do a top-down hat so I could get the length right without having to do the crown over and over every time I'd have to undo it to fix the length. If I need to do more hats like this, I think I'll do them top-down as it is easier to get the length right the first time.

I needed a new bind-off too. So after trying a few, I decided on Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off, though mine wasn't as stretchy as in the picture. I kept checking back at the pictures after every stitch until I realized that if I put the yarn where it should be for the stitch (in back for knit, in front for purl) and then just put the yarn over the needle from there and then back under the needle to where it should be, I could do it on my own.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer Heat is Here

I wasn't sure if we'd get a proper summer but it's 29 ºC in this room!

I went to the recycling center last week and found this cute mug. I definitely don't need more mugs but it was so cute I couldn't resist (and it was only 0.20 €). I tried out a No Pudge Brownie Clone recipe, using soy vanilla yogurt instead of fat-free yogurt and half white and half brown sugar and less than called for. Not bad for what they were and quite simple.

Last year I bought these pants from the charity store for my son. I knew that they were too short but I thought that he might like capris (are they called that for men too?) but he didn't. I was going to get rid of them and asked him again to make sure if he wanted me to shorten them for him. He suggested that I make them into shorts. So I did. He hasn't tried them on yet so I hope they are a good length.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


I don't have a tv and don't listen to the radio as I don't like the Finnish radio style. Or at least I didn't when I used to listen to it. I'm really glad I found podcasts. I don't remember how though, or what the first one was that I listened to. I still look for new ones and now I'm trying out a few quilting podcasts but so far they aren't ones that I'll keep listening to.

Most of ones that I download are about knitting but I would like to find more sewing ones. The only professional one I listen to is Car Talk. I don't have a car or a driver's license, and at my age, I doubt that I'll every want to get one, but I find the program relaxing.

I usually prefer podcasts that don't just talk about their main topic but include the podcaster's life too. I would like to find more non-American podcasts but I must admit that I haven't looked too hard!

One podcast that I enjoy from New Zealand is Crafternoon Tea with Granny G. Until recently her podcast was one of the longest on my list. She has now divided each episode into two sections and airs them at different times. One part is an interview and she has had quite a variety of interesting people on her list.

The other part is a combination of what crafts (knitting, sewing, etc.) she has been working on and usually what she has been baking. I always feel lazy when I listen to her talking about what is in her tin that week as I don't bake that often. Now and again Granny G has a guest to talk about what's in the tins. It's interesting to hear what are New Zealand baking traditions and what baked goods have been imported. In a recent podcast she talked about making bagels. I'm tempted to try making them again as she made them sound easy to make. If you enjoy crafty podcasts, I recommend giving her a listen.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Where's the Sun/Summer?

It's the middle of June already and it still doesn't feel like summer. Of course we're not wearing our winter clothes but it isn't all that warm.

Carla has sent her cookbook Quick and Easy Vegan Bake Sale (Amazon link to pre-order) off to the publisher and that's the end of the testing for that book. The last recipe I tested was this Spicy Corn Biscotti which was really good. Despite having to have the time to bake biscotti twice and have it cool in between, I like that it can be munched on whenever.

Carla has started coming up with recipes for a new cook book. I've only made one recipe so far. This Lentil "Spag Bol" Sauce was really good. I'm trying to use things up from the freezer to make room for strawberries when they come. I'd also like to make up a batch of this sauce and freeze it in individual portions now that I'm an empty-nester and find making food just for myself a bit of a nuisance!

I started the second ball of wool for my Vortex shawl. Not wanting to bother with putting the live stitches on a piece of string, I just measured half of it. It's now about 48 cm across. I don't have this size circular needles (and I don't know if they sell them long enough) so I'm going to try to use dpns. At the moment I'm using 7 needles. Hopefully I can find 1-3 more around the apartment. I don't know if they were 4 or 5 needle packs or if I've picked up some somewhere. I'm at 336 stitches.

Only working on one project was getting a bit boring so I restarted a wool hat for my son. I wanted to do a top-down hat so I wouldn't have to keep undoing it like the last one when it would be too long, too short, too long again! The first one I tried seemed to leave gaps between the stitches and that wouldn't be warm enough here. So I'm trying a different pattern. It looks good but making increases every row is taking forever. It would be so much faster to do decreases! II need to take my glasses off to do such close work with this colour. Good thing I like listening to podcasts because I wouldn't be able to watch anything without my glasses.

I just went to look for the name of the pattern and I can't find the pattern! and I didn't bookmark it in anyway! or write down the name of the pattern! or write down the pattern past row 9, where I am up to! Guess what I'm going to be doing now. Hope I've just missed it (twice) and it hasn't been taken down. Sigh.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I've won two prizes recently. One was this lavender filled matryoshka sachet from Amy over at Chick Chick Sewing during the May 17, 2010 Giveaway Day.

The other prize was this book. What fun. I have to take the train to get to the library and so winning a book is great. Jan from Prytz Family often has book giveaways so it's worth visiting her blog if you like to read.

I'm really thankful that people are willing to send to Finland.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I Can't Blame My Machine For Everything This Time

We bought my son a white shirt from the charity store. It's a size small and a bit tight around the bottom and it gaped open. I told him that I could add a buttonhole and after figuring out where the best place would be, I got the machine ready. It's been a while since I made a buttonhole so I got out my instruction book, put the buttonhole foot on and started sewing. But all it did was go back and forth so I was making a lump of thread! It turned out that the instructions were for 2 different models and I had looked at the wrong one and had the dial set at the wrong letter.

Ripped that bit and tried again. Had another mess. Realized that it was stitch width and not length that was suppose to be at number 4. Rip. But I dropped the seam ripper and reaching down to pick it up from the sofa, I stabbed myself with it. Blood! Couldn't continue on a white shirt with my finger bleeding, so I had to wait for that to stop.

Sewed the first long side and then a short side and when I started on the second long side the zigzag wasn't close together like it was on the first side. I didn't know what to do, so I turned the material around and sewed it backwards with the first setting. I got it done finally and the button sewn on.

Next I'll tackle the sleeves. He wants them short.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Today I tried asparagus for the first time. I keep seeing recipes for it and so I thought it was about time to buy some. I wanted a simple recipe so that we could basically just taste the asparagus itself. So I melted a bit of butter in some olive oil in a frying pan and added the asparagus. I turned it a few times as it started getting brown. Of course I forgot to add the salt as it was cooking as I tend not to salt things but we added it before eating. I don't think that I'll be one of those people who look forward to asparagus season but if I notice that it is on sale, I might try to cook it some other way. Like in a soup or on a pizza or grilled. I was curious to see if it could be eaten raw and after googling it, it seems like it can.

Summer seemed to arrive overnight. A few days ago I was still wearing a light scarf around my neck and my gloves and today it was too hot to wear anything more than a t-shirt. I hope it lasts for awhile.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

21 Mother's Days ago I got my first Mother's Day gift. It was a food processor and it is still working! Some of the parts are broken but I've learned to live without them. Today my son made griddle scones for breakfast. It's so nice when I don't have to cook. My son made this card and got me this box of chocolates that I was going to buy myself. Didn't he make a great card?

We prefer our cakes cold and 'aged' so we made this Zebra Cake that I tested for Carla's cookbook yesterday. It's fun making Zebra Cakes and I recommend trying it. It was a good choice for my Mother's Day Cake. Well chocolate anything is good for my Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Last summer I had a few things growing on our balcony. They didn't grow very well and so we didn't get very much produce! I did find out though that we don't like ruccola and I should try to find someone to give the seeds to before they are too old to use anymore.

In this container I've got basil on the left and kale on the right. I keep reading about kale and seeing recipes for it but I've never seen it in the store. I shouldn't say never because I only bothered to find out what it is in Finnish over the winter, so maybe they just sell it in the summer. I found seeds though, so I decided to try and grow some. I read somewhere that a grape container is a good greenhouse for seeds so I tried it. The stickers on the top were difficult to get off but I thought that they blocked too much of the little sunshine that there is.

Here there should be dill on the left and basil on the right. I was surprised that the dill hadn't sprouted yet. It's such a fine plant that I would have thought that it would sprout quickly. I guess the seeds could be dead. I'll have to wait a few days and see what happens. I have no idea when I should try to put them outside!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

This and That

Last month I finally finished the Aspen wrap (Ravelry link) that I started in January of 2008. Between the time I started it and marked it as finished on Ravelry the name changed! After not working on it for about a year I wrote out each of the 16 rows of the pattern repeat on separate cards and used a carabiner (why can I never remember what these are called) to hold them together. It was easy to flip each card when I finished the row and I didn't loose my place.

Last year I bought some baby wool and after looking at a lot of patterns, I've decided to knit a Vortex Shawl (Ravelry link). After the first 13 rows there is only a 2 row repeat so I hope I'll have no trouble remembering it!

It was my son's birthday at the beginning of the month and this is the card I made for him. I saw it somewhere and made my own. We are hoping to invite his grandparents for a birthday meal next week. So I've been trying to tidy the living room and do some of my decluttering goal at the same time. I'm aiming for 7 items from around our home a week.

I'm still doing test baking for Carla's cookbook. This Clafouti Tart is the latest. I used black currants instead of the raspberries because I didn't have any and I'm trying to use up the food from my freezer. I'm thinking of making it again when my son's grandparents come because my son and I both really liked it and also I think that the grandparents will be interested in tasting tofu and a vegan dessert. Though I'm tempted to let them eat it first before telling them what is in it.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What I've Been Up To

I'm disappointed with myself again! It's been so long since I've posted.

My son's in the military hospital with a bad flu and probably bronchitis, so when we decided to go to visit him yesterday I made some biscotti because it would keep well without being refrigerated. I won the book My Sweet Vegan cookbook some time ago and I wanted to try something from it as I've been doing the Carla's cookbook testing for a while now. I made the Orange Hazelnut Biscotti. I substituted almonds for the hazelnuts and left off the melted chocolate. I don't use Amazon but where else do people link to?

I'm taking bridge lessons. I'd be failing if there were tests. Yesterday it took me an hour to translate 2 pages! I wanted to make notes for myself and I thought that I should use English terms in case I want to look things up on the Internet. I'm such a slow translator. I either use English or Finnish and seldom need to translate. I seem to be missing the bridge between two languages. It's probably why French was so difficult for me at school. I wish I had realized it back then.

Last time I was at the charity store I had a great find. They have several boxes that have free items in them and I found 6 English books. Then in the back where they have the books they are selling I picked up 2 more at 0.50 € each. Not bad!