Feienabend

(sorry for the blog-silence, I’ve been busy. . . )

Just so you know, Dear Internet, I don’t actually know German. (And yes, the title of today’s post is in German! how exciting!). Well, I do know a few words and phrases in German, learned from my mom (and singing some songs in German as a kid) who grew up there. So I can pronounce German (well, one dialect anyway) but pretty much understand none of it.

It pretty much translates to “celebrate the evening” – it’s the moment where you can all of a sudden relax and enjoy some free time, put up your feet, and (in North American parlance) veg out. It’s really just a perfect word, and marvelously describes a feeling I have always had in my life, the joy of being able to suddenly have all the remaining time in the day all to myself. For me, this is especially important because it means that I can turn off, reset, and be myself. I’m rarely ever completely myself with other people, and it is supremely exhausting to go through a day consisting of public transit, work, conversations with colleagues, more conversations with colleagues, lunch – more conversations with colleagues, talking talking talking, meetings, then when work is done, more public transit. And if I’m going to the gym, there’s further human interaction and public transiting. And there is only so much talking with people that I can take.

So I really do take a moment, once I’ve gotten home and started to unwind, to realize that – HUGE sigh of relief – I don’t have to talk with ANYONE for the next several hours. I can work on my crafty projects, surf the Intertubes, blog, internet window shop, nap, ANYTHING!! And it is amazing.

Feienabend is pretty much up there with schadenfreude (for me) of awesome words/concepts. So I thought I would share it with you, Dear Internet!!

And, speaking of projects. . .

The boyfriend’s sister has two young girls and apparently could not find nice mittens with idiot strings (you know, the ones that keep your children’s mittens from constantly vanishing??). She guesses that it’s a liability issue – if a child can strangle itself on something, even if it’s you know useful, it cannot be sold anymore. . . So she asked me to make a couple pairs for her girls. So I went looking for a challenging and pretty pattern that would be fun for MY FIRST KNITTED MITTEN PROJECT EVAR!!! YAY!!!!!

So I went to Knitty.com to look for options. And I found this pattern:

Matrix mittens

And, well, I couldn’t say no! I’ve only recently started to plumb the depths of two-colour knitting, so this was a perfect project to further develop those skills. Very quickly as it turns out, since it took less than a week to knit four mittens, their respective idiot cords, finish them, and sew linings for them out of polar fleece. FAST PROJECT, guys!!! Check out the pattern here!!

Here are the mittens I made!!

First project 2012 - Completed!

You use a fairly chunky yarn, so they really knit up fast. And I went a little Mod with my colour choices 🙂  My mom was skeptical that the fuschia and mauve went together, apparently, but did own that they look really cool, once made up in the pattern. I love playing strong colours off each other. And the underlying blue to both colours helps them work quite well together, I think.

And now for our close up. . .

Another pair of mittens!!

So, there you have it, Dear Internet. The reason I’ve been too busy to blog for the last week.

I’m hoping to post about my hike along the Humber River last weekend sometime soon. And you’ll be hearing about my other ongoing projects as they get completed. . . One hint though, to keep you on tenterhooks: there will be more knitting. Surprise! Bet you didn’t guess that one!

Hopefully I’ll be baking soon too – a new recipe has caught my eye! Oooo!!! And there’s my 8-part choral experience coming that I will be telling you about so, rest easy, Dear Internet! I have lots up my sleeve for the next little while 😉

One last Christmas-related post

Ok. It’s January 3rd. 2012 has officially begun. And I have one more thing to say about Christmas.

Sooooo. You might have noticed my absence the last few weeks, Dear Internet, which was due to my overwhelming schedule. Especially my overwhelming baking schedule. So Imma gonna talk at you about my heaps o cookies!!!

I decided to take the bulk of the week before x-mas off in order to do all that x-mas baking. Cause I wasn’t going to not do my massive x-mas bake-a-thon. No sirree!!

The three days before Christmas I baked 10 kinds of baked good. Ten batches of sweets. !!!!!!!! Cause I’m nuts. I was even planning on down-sizing my baking this year. Apparently not. Also, though I have no photographic evidence currently, I made Christmas cakes with my mom this year. But, like, weeks before Christmas. So for some reason I keep forgetting about them. . .

Let’s get to the crazy then, shall we?

In no particular order:

1) Gingerbread!

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A traditional and perennial favourite!

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2) Traditional shortbread

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With a twist, of course. I used dark brown sugar in this one. Cause it tastes even more awesome. And I used the shortbread mold my dad picked up (sooooooo much easier than rolling out and cutting cookies). Though next time I won’t make such huge bricks of shortbread

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3) Nutmeg Maple Butter cookies (from, where else?, Smitten Kitchen – a new favourite)

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Like, a week before I start my baking I have to come across this post on my most favouritest of blogs. AND I HAD TO HAVE IT!! The Christmas cookie fever was officially upon me. And damn, but these are stupidly tasty cookies. I know everyone hearts the pants off the apple pie cookies from the same (AWESOME) blog, but these are my absolute favourites!!

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4) Toblerone shortbread

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Do I need to justify this for you, Dear Internet? Or can we all just agree that this is necessary?

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Awwwwwww yiiiiiiissssssssssss.

5) Ginger shortbread

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Cause I lurve the ginger. Also, it’s a stupidly simple recipe (from this book) from Donna Hay, the Australian answer to Martha. Definitely recommend this one. And you can flavour it whichever way you like best.

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6) Apple pie cookies

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These were such a hit from my fearless leader’s birthday party, that they had to make a near-immediate reprise. Super-fiddly to make, but oh so worth it!!

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7) Honey Lavender shortbread

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I don’t remember exactly where I got the idea for honey shortbread, but I just had to have some for x-mas! And let me tell you, substituting honey for sugar makes shortbread mighty fine. And lavender? Why not?? It’s floral fragrance works very well with honey. Definitely adding this to the repertoire!

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8) Spitzbuben

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These are straight from my childhood. My mom used to make them, before I stopped letting her do the baking. . . And they’re from her childhood in Germany. It means, from what I understand, “naughty boys”, and they’re delicious sandwich cookies made with lemony shortbready dough and raspberry jam. And you poke out three holes on top to make a screaming face-looking arrangement. Like only the Germans would come up with. Though, what do you expect from a culture that came up with “schadenfreude”?? More awesomeness, that’s what!!

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<eeeeeeeeekkkkkk!!!!!!> and soooooo tasty!

9) Rugalach

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These are from Bonnie Stern‘s Cuisinart cookbook, sadly out of print (or maybe her second Cuisinart cookbook? I forget which. Are there even two of them???). If you’re not Canadian, you probably don’t know who she is, but she was pretty big in the Toronto food scene at least. These have a flaky cream cheese-based dough, tart jam, and a cinnamon/hazelnut/cocoa/brown sugar filling that literally makes the best cinnamon toast EVAR. Cause there are always leftovers. . . And only partly because I make too much in the first place in order to ensure leftovers. Only partly.

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And last, but not least,
10) Mincemeat Tarts

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I make my own mincemeat (of course), from a recipe handed down through my paternal grandmother’s family (I think. It’s definitely from the English side of my family tree), full of raisins, and currents (which technically are just a different kind of raisin. Weird), apple, spices, and, well, beef suet. Not my favourite, but it gets the job done. I make a pâte brisée for the dough (with butter, of course), which is easy to make and work with. And they is tasty. I ran out of mincemeat this Christmas, so next time around I have to make a new batch :D. Some of which I’ve promised to a friend of mine. Can’t wait! I love using the meat grinder!!

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Aside from the massive amount of tasty treats, it was a lovely lovely Christmas this year (despite some minor issues I won’t discuss here) full of family and friends and goodwill towards my fellow man, some of which was contributed to a last-minute getaway to a cottage nicely north of the city. And I hope you had a lovely time too, Dear Internet. Happy New Year!!

Let’s see what 2012 has to dump on our heads. . .

Bow ties are cool

On my way home from a lovely swim, and in between the vast numbers of knitting projects, I’m going to take a minute to tell you about my AWESOME Saturday. Completely aside from the joy that is returning to Standard Time, this was a weekend to kick other weekends in the ass. Hard.

It became known to me recently that a friend of mine had never seen Doctor Who. Shock, horror!! So her sister and I conspired (along with herself, of course) to make a super-fantastic Doctor Who marathon indoctrination party!! Yay!!

I made myself a fez (cause fezzes are cool), and dressed up as a mashup of the eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond. Cause I’m a redhead. . . I baked a TARDIS cake:

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It’s an applesauce spice cake with cinnamon cream cheese icing (dyed incredibly blue. . . There were many blue tongues), from do-I-need-to-tell-you-where-I-got-the-recipe??

My friend and her sister baked Doctor Who-themed cookies (it was strangely satisfying to eat Daleks), concocted Sonic Screwdrivers (veeeeeeery tasty!), and made a little TARDIS hideout for the cats:

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Super cute!!! And if you loomed over the cat with your arms in the air and hands all clawed threateningly, she’d go hide in the TARDIS. Which was awesome 😀

We also watched a boatload of Doctor Who. Oddly enough. A bit of the 9th, a few of the 10th, and almost all of the 11th’s first season when it was suddenly after 1AM and I had to get going before transit stopped for the night. About 14 hours of Who. I’m still blitzed on the happy from Saturday.

Ever since (all two work days. . .), we’ve been e-mailing each other at work, sending pictures of the Doctors, Doctor memes, amusing pictures of (the amazing) David Tennant with kittens. Good times.

Life is good 🙂

Now all I have to do is make every day that awesome. Doable? I don’t know, but it’d sure be worth the effort.

The rest of the weekend went well too – singing Sunday morning went well (shock, surprise!!) and the boyfriend came over for dinner and we played through the rest of Portal 2. Well, he played, I watched and gave suggestions and helped figure out some of the tough ones. Can’t wait to play through it myself!! Have to finish Portal. . . Wheeee!!!!

Aside from the insane list of things I need to do in the next couple of months, I’m feeling really content about a lot of things. There are things I might be changing in my life in the nearish future, but for right now, things are pretty good.

How’re you feeling about the run-up to the holidays, Dear Internet?

 

Oh crap, it’s been almost a month. . .

Ummmm. . . Oooops

My only excuse is this pile of excuses. . . 1. I went to PEI; 2. I had several job interviews; 3. I (with a friend) baked and decorated a three-tier cake for a friend’s bachelorette party; 4. I went to a bachelorette party; 5. I suddenly became all employed; 6. I made a party dress (with full lining) to wear for my friend’s wedding; 7. I went to Huntsville for a long weekend to celebrate said wedding; 8. I decided that sleeping was a good idea; 9. I had to take over for our fearless leader on the Wednesday night services I sing (including music selection, conducting, and knowing what the fuck is going on) for the last three weeks.

For some reason I was a bit preoccupied. I hope you’ll forgive me, Dear Internet.

I’m actually here with a tiny rant about nail polish – and not the hundreds of posts I’m intending to write in the near(ish) future. . .

Anyroad – Reasons Nail Polish On My Fingernails Is Annoying To Me:
(in no particular order)
1. My OCD is partly focussed on my fingernails, so polish just feels odd and distracting. So I inevitably end up picking it off within a few days of applying it. My record is a week after application. My other record is a few hours after application. . .

2. It never lasts very long on my fingers (certainly nowhere near as long as on my toenails), leading to excessive reapplication so as to not appear (too) unkempt. Which makes Lazy-Katie angry.

3. It never looks really good when I do it myself and Cheap-Katie is too cheap (and lazy, see above) to get it done professionally with any regularity.

4. Again, re my OCD, I hate letting my nails grow very long. And by “very long” I mean about 1-2 mm of length beyond the quick. This leads to insane trimmage urges. Which does not go very well with polished nails. For some reason.

5. Even though I love colour (to the point of insanity. And beyond), I’m apparently super-conservative about putting funky colours on my fingernails. I have a tattoo, but using blue polish feels weird to me. Don’t get me wrong, I like reds and pinks (occasionally purples, if I’m getting super-adventurous), but I find my choices kinda boring after a while. Not that that changes anything.

Ok. Apparently this rant isn’t so much about how I dislike nail polish on my fingernails as it’s a rant about how nutbar I am. Hmmmm. Oh well. . .

Here’s a photo of my most recent manicure (from the wedding):

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Not bad for four days later. It won’t last much longer, I can feel it.

But anyway, stay tuned for new posts coming up – more Newfoundland, PEI photos, some baking, my friend’s wedding weekend (and my pretty dress!!) – are all coming your way! Sometime this century. . .

Yet another last-minute insane Katie project. . . Brought to you by – Insomnia!

Hey there!

This post, as previously indicated, will not be about food. Or music. Instead, I will show you some pictures of my most recent insane project spurred on by sleeplessness. Wheeee. . .

sewing it up, using the "whatever thin papper I had around" transfer methodthe finished purse. sorry no precess shots - too busy making the damn thing

close up of finished embroiderywith stitched border

the "bead" I made from a bunch of semi-precious stone I had lying aroundthe bead on the bag

ironing the patch in preparationpinning it into place

sewing!close-up of the finished product

the clutch! and it hold a fair amount of stuff

I needed something to put all my stuffs into at the super-shnazzy wedding I attended this past weekend. So last week, I made and embroidered a bag. I cannot justify this insanity, but I did end up with a super-awesome clutch! I used the fabric from the dress I’m going to be making, and lined it in scraps from the dress I had made for the super-shnazzy wedding. I embroidered a patch with Aimee Ray’s Circle of Mermaids pattern, which I fell in love with on Feeling Stitchy, which is a great resource for those wanting to get into/look for inspiration in/find like-minded sewists who love embroidery and other stitchery arts. I’m sorry you can’t really tell what the colour of the main fabric is from these photos – it’s an almost electric teal, and really gorgeous.

I guess I should also show you that super awesome dress I had made for said shnazzy wedding.

Here’s the inspiration dress (I found photos on my desktop! how organized am I. . .)

see Dear Golden Vintage's Etsy page for more beautiful clothing

so gorgeous!

It was so gorgeous, that I had to have it – but it was a size small, and I am not a size small. . . So I found a dressmaker who could recreate the gorgeousness. And here’s the version she made for me:

sorry about the burry :(me and the boyfriend, looking like a total nerd. so cute :)

You’ll notice, Dear Internet, that I went with a much darker titanium-silver fabric. I think I works better than the pale silver would have, with my hair and skin tone. Also, I couldn’t find a fabric that matched the original. And hey, I fell in love with the fabric I found, so it all worked out in the end.

I also made the jewelry that went with the dress – I used a bunch of different shades of dark pearls (5 strands for 20$ at the best bead store on Queen Street!) that played off the dark silk tones in the fabric. Learning to string pearls was a bit of a learning curve, let me tell you. . .

Here’s a close up of me and the boyfriend, you can see the jewelry better in this one

jewelry close-up!

It was a beautiful ceremony, in a beautiful venue. The food was astounding, and we had loads of fun dancing the night away. Not to mention the copious quantities of alcohol.

Now I get to look forward to making my own dress (we’ll see how that goes. . .) for the next wedding I’m attending this year. As well as a second attempt at that Circle of mermaids pattern. . . soooo many ideas of where to go with that one. . . I can’t wait to go raid the sewing store for more embroidery floss 😉

What are you looking forward to, Dear Internet?

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On a more unpleasant note – I’ve spent most of the afternoon in pretty excruciating pain, which has luckily subsided into the only occasional stabby badness. You might or might not be able to tell from these photos, but I have a lovely skin condition that, until I got a new dermatologist a few years ago, had me basically in chronic pain territory.

So strapless dresses, v-necks, deep scoop necks, etc. all make me a bit leery, cause it’s not to fun to have people staring at your chest (possibly disgusted). It’s taken me a while to accept these damn scars (a product of sun damage from not one, but count them two! reeeeeeeeeaaaaaallllllyyyyyy bad sunburns growing up, and a bout of bad skin in teenage land, thanks to dad’s genetic code) and I generally now prefer to keep them covered to protect them, but I’m happy that I’m at least starting to push myself outside my comfort zone and show some more skin every so often. The only problem being that they occasionally flare up with painy and I have to get more injections. Which equals a half a day of total badness.

So, if you please, when I have more pictures that may show my scars, just don’t stare at them unnecessarily, I’ll be able to tell 😉

Newfoundland, part 2 – The Wind

I had a nice swim after work this afternoon (cough. two weeks ago now. cough), and a good browse session at the Gap (to avoid rush hour traffic. . .), so I’m definitely in a better mood today! Which hopefully will translate into being less of a whiny bitch. I can’t guarantee I won’t be a total sarcastabitch, cause that’s my default setting. At least the whine will be dialed waaaay down?

Onwards and upwards!! The first full day of my Newfoundland adventure will be the subject of this post. The day of the wind. We woke up (most of us from the most uncomfortable beds we had ever had the displeasure to sleep in . . .) the next morning to doors that would not stay shut from the drafts, and whistling winds, ominous groaning noises from the house, and trees that threatened to become horizontal (Mr. Dunn, our nigh-unto-incomprehensible neighbour, said that it was nothing. Only 130 km/h. I’m glad I didn’t see real wind then.) But we had a nice lazy Sunday, with big breakfast and some Arrested Development. We eventually decided to brave the wind (I had to get a few ingredients for a baking project I wanted to attempt. how surprising), and visit the nearest largeish village (with the closest Foodland), called Ferryland.

Ok. So, I’ve tried to upload the photos twice. . . I will take a wee break (read: two weeks and several other blog posts. . .).

And now that I’ve moved to WordPress, maybe this will go a bit easier. . .

Still some kinks to work out, but they’re all there, with a minimum of fuss – yay!!!

Next time I might even try to caption them.

But, the gist of it is – we went to the Colony of Avalon, in Ferryland. It’s one of the oldest and best preserved 17th century (or was it 16th. . .) sites in North America. In the mass o photos above, you can see some artifacts from the digs, pretty views of the archeological site, some photos of the 17th century kitchen where they do demonstrations, as well as from the little hike up the hill to the lighthouse. There’s also a photo of a windfarm we passed on the way back to our cottage. And some lupins that I went to pick with one of the guys. All in all a great day. Or so we thought. . . Dun dun Duuuuuunnnnn!!!!

We’d stopped at the Ferryland Foodland on our way to the Colony of Avalon, so I had every thing I needed to make my tasty baked goods. So after dinner (and some drinking. . .), I started preparing the dough and fillings. Partway through this very fun time, one of the guys came downstairs saying that the water in the washroom wasn’t running. At all.We took turns filling pots and bowls and going upstairs to fill the tub (so that we could have a semi-functional toilet at least).

There was much moping and gnashing of teeth. And a certain amount of desire to jump ship. But the next morning, Mr. Dunn came by and fixed the water pump and everything was hunky dorey from then on 🙂 yay!!!

Stay tuned for the next fun installment of My Trip to Newfoundland!!! I hope you’re enjoying the hijinks, Dear Internet.

I’ve been remiss

Oh, Dear Internet, where does the time go?
I was going to post yesterday, I had it all planned, but then I decided to take a quick nap first. And woke up at midnight.
In addition to having missed my intended blogging, I also missed a friend’s band that was playing in town. Sucksorious. Bad friend alert. . .
On a completely random note, I did get around to doing my fingernails, a couple of nights ago.
not so awesome . . .
Toes are easy – you make a big mess, and then fix it in the shower the next day. Fingernails are stupidly difficult. Especially if you suddenly have to go to the washroom while the polish is drying. . . Wheee. In a few minutes, I will be (for the third time) attempting to fix this mess. At least it’s only three nails this time. I think it’s due to the fact that you never don’t need to be using your hands for something. I’m a genius, right? 
 
Sigh.
And now, for something completely different! Random fact about me, your humble blogger: I eat my apples kinda funny. I always, sometimes consciously and sometimes not, end up with a kind of sine wave in my apple. Look!
wheee! though, it might
be a cosine wave. . .
I never said I wasn’t an enormous nerd 🙂
And now for the more interesting part of this post – I have two (count them, two!) new bakings to share with you in the very near future. I need to go to bed now (because obviously something needs to be fixed in my circadian rhythm), but I’ll leave you with a little taste of what’s to come.
awwww 😦  sad not-quite-strawberries
That’s right – one of these recipes will include strawberries. Though, luckily, the companions of these guys were rather less pathetic.
Quarter teaspoon?? Hah!
And the second recipe uses rather more cinnamon than the original required. Cause I loves me some cinnamon (seriously – I have eaten some straight from the jar, and chewed a stick left over from hot cider. The boyfriend thinks this is crazy, but I don’t see why). In addition to the baked goods, I still need to upload my hike photos to share with you, so that’s three whole new posts coming your way, sometime in the near future! Awesome!!
If you’re paying attention (and what are the odds?), you’ll notice that the quality of the photos still isn’t so stellar. Partly from the fact that it’s hard to take pictures of things your doing while you’re doing them, and partly because camera phones aren’t too amazing. I might have my actual camera back, but with no cable, I can’t share any photos I took. So I opted for convenience over quality. Not that my photos will be much better when I start using the real camera. . .
I have a crazy-busy weekend lined up (yay long weekend!!), so I can’t guarantee exactly when these new posts will be emerging, but I hope to have them all up by the end of the weekend – especially once I’ve found my camera cable in the mire that is the boyfriend’s cave of an apartment. I hope you have a marvelous July long weekend, Dear Internet! I’m certainly looking forward to sleeping in (that is, getting up at 8 instead of 5:30. . . AM. . .), and maybe even having a nice nap in my hammock. If the weather co-operates.