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Sunday, 22 September 2013

THE BIG KNIT 2013



I recently picked up my knitting needles after a year long hiatus, and had totally forgotten how much I love knitting. It's started getting colder, so Graeme had requested a pair of slippers. Though after I had finished the first slipper, I realized the Big Knit was coming up, and if I wanted to participate I needed to start knitting some mini-hats straight away! If you've never heard of the Big Knit, it's where Innocent work with Age UK to keep thousands of older people in the UK warm during the winter months, by donating 25p for every hatted smoothie sold in November. Everyone can contribute by donating a knitted mini-hat. Check out their gallery, some of them are insane! I've been meaning to send them some mini-hats for years now, but somehow I've always managed to miss the deadline. But for once, there was still time! So Graeme would have to wait for his second slipper.

I opted to knit some pretty simple mini hats (though I was very tempted to try the Strawberry pattern!). To knit a hat like the one below, cast on 30 stitches. Knit one row, purl the next. Then knit three white, knit 1 red and repeat to the end. Purl one row, and knit 1 white. Knit 1 red, knit 3 white and repeat until the end. Purl and knit the next rows until you've done about 17 rows in total. Cut your yarn, and run in through the loops, remove the knitting needle, tighten and sew the side together. For the bobble, I used the fork method. Ta-da, mini hat!

Now go make some mini-hats and help some older people stay warm!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

WHAT I'M WORKING ON: DIY WRAPPING PAPER

I have one friend who every year, without fail, sends me a birthday card that arrives exactly on the day, no matter where I live. I don’t know how she does it, but  I wanted to take a leaf out of her book and make a bit more of an effort myself. So for the past couple of months, I've been making a conscious effort to remember people’s birthdays and to send them a little something in the post. I love surprising people with post, and what better occasion than birthdays?

And to personalize my post a little bit, I decided to make my own wrapping paper. I recently got several rolls of generic brown wrapping paper from my mother, so I decided to take a couple of those rolls and add a bit of pattern with a bit of acrylic paint and the back of a pencil. Might make some more with some simple lino cut stamps?

Monday, 9 September 2013

MISADVENTURES IN HOME BREWING


I originally planned on calling this post “Adventures in Home Brewing”, but after this weekend’s brewing shambles “Misadventures” seemed far more appropriate. Months ago over a few bottles of beer, Graeme and I decided we wanted to give home brewing a go. Graeme ordered The Complete Joy of Home Brewing by Charlie Papazi, and we waited eagerly by our post box. It took approximately 57 days before it arrived, not that we were counting. We played around with names for our make-belief brewery, and contemplated just trying out a brewing kit while we waited. In the end we decided we’d be patient and wait for the book, only to learn that trying out a brewing kit was the first thing the book recommended. So for our first misadventures in beer brewing, we opted to make an India Pale Ale by St Peters Brewery.

Now, throughout the Especially for the Beginner chapter, the one thing the author really stresses is to relax and enjoy the brewing process. In fact, not only is it repeated several times, it is also in capital letters. RELAX. DON’T WORRY. I would also like to add that I do not particularly recommend trying to brew your first brew the morning after a night out. Even if you think you feel fine, your brain does not work the way it should. So for us, things got unnecessarily complicated. Our syrup boiled over. Our bleach didn't seem to smell of anything, which made us worry that it’d gone off (does bleach go off?) and wasn't actually disinfecting anything. Our syrup boiled over again. The temperature wasn't going down to 20°C, and we were running out of time. We were absolutely not relaxing. We were worrying, and we were getting stressed out and cranky. “I’m never brewing beer with you again!” Graeme declared in a huff as he stormed out of the kitchen. I questioned how we would be able to deal with anything in life as a married couple, if we couldn't even work together to brew a simple beer. Over dramatic? What?



And that’s when we realized how ridiculous the situation had become, and we couldn't really do anything other than laugh. And then we couldn't stop laughing for a while, and finally started enjoying ourselves. Our first attempt at brewing did not exactly go as planned, but it is our first attempt after all. If it doesn't turn out, it doesn't turn out. I took plenty of notes during the process, so we definitely know what we need to do next time to improve. Like relax and not worry, for example. And invest in a new bottle of bleach. So far the brew even seems to be doing what it should be, and it’s smelling rather delicious too. Fingers crossed it stays that way!


Thursday, 5 September 2013

LA SARDINIA / VAGLESKOGEN

A couple weeks ago, Graeme and I took the dog and went on a photo adventure to Vagleskogen, a nearby forrest. For a bit of a change, I took Graeme's La Sardinia camera with me. He's had it for years, but I usually grab one of my Dianas when we go out on a photo adventure, so I had never actually used it before. However, on this particuar day both my Dianas were out of play, both suffering from stuck films.



Think I'll definitely be borrowing this camera again!

Monday, 2 September 2013

AUGUST ON INSTAGRAM

Another month has passed and we're already in September. August flew by, and included  a huge caterpillar, weekends at Hausvik, a short trip to Aberdeen, doggie socks and breakfasts outside in the garden. Summer is definitely coming to an end though, and the fact that I'm currently sitting in bed with the dog lying underneath the covers keeping my feet warm, listening to the rain pouring outside and drinking a pot of Lady Grey tea just underline this. And I'm already getting a little excited about the trees turning orange, wearing cozy sweaters and drinking hot cocoa to warm up after dog walks out in the cold. Bliss!