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From Ctrl+Alt+Del by Tim Buckley

From Ctrl+Alt+Del by Tim Buckley

Hello, crafty and sundry!

Now, I’ve been using the same banana bread recipe for years. I’ve mentioned it in previous posts, because hey, it’s a great recipe and I highly recommend it to everyone. I’m not doing anything particularly different in making it, outside of leaving out the nuts because Smallhausen doesn’t like them (fair enough, kiddo). And yet, I’ve noticed that my recent loaves are somehow a lot better than previous loaves. As said, I’m not doing anything differently, but still, it’s coming out nicer. I guess I must have levelled up my banana bread skill or something, ha ha. I had to make sure it wasn’t just me being hungry though, and asked my husband. He’d confirmed what I felt — he also thought that my banana bread was getting nicer. Courage and wit have served me well, ha ha.

To some, it might seem silly to compare the development of real-life skills to video games, but then, it’s still apt. It requires a lot of practice and effort to get better at something; it requires a lot of effort to level up in a video game. You’ve got to start at the beginning, and you can’t be the best until you’ve put a lot of time into it. I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty good baker,  so it pleases me to know that I am becoming an even better baker. I probably won’t ever be doing silly things like people do on shows such as The Great British Bake-Off (which I don’t watch because I am not a fan of talentless/reality shows), but then, that’s not my goal in baking either. Certainly, I would like for my efforts to look nice, but the main thing is that it is delicious.

 


IMG_2595I finished the top for Smallhausen this week. I’m very happy with my efforts, and while the sewing of the snap and button might not have felt like the prettiest, the worst of it is hidden under the button. And really, the main thing to me was to make sure it was properly secure. Having said that, I was amused every time I tested the snap because I was handling it as if I expected it to start unweaving on the spot! Hopefully I can pin her down and get her to model it; she has, so far, politely and repeatedly refused. As four year olds are stubborn, I’m not going to try to out-stubborn her over it. That’s time I could be spent doing other things, hee hee.

As for my next knitting thing, I’m thinking to do a small project to clear the palate while I decide what sort of cardigan/thing to make for myself. I’m knitting a small gauge square right now, which will help me determine what sort of size I need to pattern out to make baby arms. I’ve found -a- pattern; there’s oodles of leg warmers, but nothing for the arms. It seems strange to me, but then, I have tonnes of arm warmers because it’s a saner way for me to personally handle layers. It’s not like arms are a hard thing to make — make a tube of the correct diameter and length, and job done. I plan on being slightly fancier in my patterning and at least include ribbed ends, but not so fancy as to be discouraging. Having said that, once I get the hang of basic, I will probably try to do something with a cable on it. The question then becomes whether I pattern it for lefties specifically and let the righties deal with living on the other side of the looking glass, or opt for something that comes out the same either way. That shouldn’t be a problem for a slightly ribbed tube, but I will probably want to do a cabled pair after that. We shall see!

<3

Nearly There

Hello, crafty and sundry!

I’ve been not that knitty lately. Instead, I’ve been hunkering down and playing Minecraft, and working on the Decade of Malevolence contest for Evil Genius Online. I’m a huge fan of the original Evil Genius, so I’ve been playing that a bit too while grinding for the competition. I’m still debating whether or not I want to make a mad dash to get into the top 10 with my husband, but we’ll see.

IMG_2585It’s slightly frustrating that I’ve not been knitty, because I am so freaking close to being done with this top. I’ve only got a few more rows to hit a length that will please me, and then finishing off the sleeves. Smallhausen has confirmed that she wants short sleeves, so I’ll probably be able to finish those off with the super-quickness. Yanno, of I can judge myself to pick up my needles and get grinding through the last little bits!

Still, I’m happy, because like in every piece I have done so far, I’ve learned something new. For example, my habit of crossing colours to secure them in place? Probably a great thing to do in colourwork sections, but not so great when you’re working rows in the round. As you can see from the pictures below, I ended up with a weird internal seam, and it wasn’t terrible smooth to look at on the outside either It’s not a big deal — it’s a seam on the side, and I can always claim that it’s just another one of those classy signs of something being homemade… right?

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One of my clever friends suggested that for fastenings, one should consider using snaps even when the pattern calls for a button. Smallhausen at four and a half isn’t a fan of buttons, but doesn’t have an issue with snaps. So the plan is to affix a snap, but sew a button over the snap so it looks like it’s buttoned. Pretty clever, non? Of course, that requires me to manage to sew it all on without screwing it up, but I’m feeling fairly confident. Which means I probably will screw it up, ha ha. But that’s okay — we can only learn by making mistakes.

IMG_2587 I’m also, slowly, trying to teach myself how to knit right-handed. I have no intention of switching hands as my default mode of knitting, but I wouldn’t mind knowing the rudiments with the wrong-right hand in case friends want help with anything. Smallhausen keeps saying she’d like to learn how to knit, so I’d bought the red and yellow pair of children’s needles for her to work on. Little Miss Perfectionist hasn’t conceptualized how to knit in her head yet, so I’ve got them spare on my desk. I hadn’t really thought about how them being different colours is a huge boon in learning how to knit, but it’s certainly been useful for me in trying to figure this out backwards-rightwards. It’s ridiculously awkward, because I am completely left dominant; I can only use a mouse and chopsticks better with my right hand. So there is absolutely no way I could have picked it up right-handed first in my opinion. I’m pleased I can do knit stitch now with some accuracy, but it’s really rather uncomfortable on the wrists due to being the wrong motion set.

Past that, thinking a lot about pies and cakes — most specifically, cheesecakes. I’ve never made one before, and now that I have a proper-sized pan, I will be trying a few recipes here and there until I find one that is signature enough. I’ve got any number of recipe ideas from friends, so we’ll see what works out the best. And in the interim? Lots of cheesecake is a very very good thing to me.

<3

Taking it Back to my Minecraft Home

The first home sweet home

The first home sweet home

For various reasons, I’ve started new Minecraft games since I started playing the game earlier this year. Some of it has been experimentation with biome sizes, cheats, and so forth. A few times, I’ve died several times in a row on a map and been so frustrated that I wanted to start from the beginning. Or perhaps I wanted to take my chances seeing what biome I’d start in. Whatever the case, I’ve got any number of games on the go, but I generally am not one to go back to previous saves of games for whatever reason.

p

Pretty, non?

Today however, I decided I wanted to go back to my first world. In spite of several deaths, I’d kept the map because my husband had built a fantastic pyramid in the world. It’s also semi-decently networked between several houses, though they’re all so close as compared to my homes in later maps as to be laughable. I’d get slightly out of sight of one structure and then panic that I was lost forever.

2014-10-07_21.22.40Now, coming back to my first game is a bit like coming home (*rimshot*). I was surprised to remember where things were in the world, and that I also remembered correctly how lacking in basic supplies. In returning to this game, I’m taking skills I picked up in other games and applying them, which is great! My initial house is over a huge cave complex, so there’s lots of resources to gather now that I know the best way to dig down and get them. My previous attempts kept having me fall in lava and dying, which is part of why I strayed. As my eldest repeatedly asks me, ‘Mommy, do you like lava?’ No child, I emphatically do not.

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Hello, my long-eared loverlies!

One thing that makes me feel really happy about this homecoming is that I found a donkey. Donkeys and mules can be equipped with chests, meaning additional storage when exploring. You can string as many as you want on leads behind you. Suffices to say, I’ve been trying to find one in any game to make my exploring a bit easier; no matter the game, there is never enough inventory/storage to work with. I’m not sure how I’m going to get them down into my current locale, ’cause it requires busting out doors and the like, but we’ll see. I’m pretty good at managing what inventory space I do have, but it’s nice to have a bit of flex.

Really though, I’ve been terribly hooked since I finally gave Minecraft a chance at the start of the year, and I can’t see me playing this game letting up. It’s even got hooks deeper into me at current than The Sims franchise, and as I’ve already established, that’s a 14 year (and counting) addiction. At current, I’m mulling on whether or not to find a server to play on. While I am essentially and pretty much always a solo player, I think I’d be a great asset to a server. I spend a lot of time building roads and railroads, as well as establishing homesteads with adequate supplies of food and crafting materials. As long as I have the supplies to arm and armor myself, and to enchant things, I’m a pretty happy camper. I guess I should ask my friends!I’ve heard friends grumble that Minecraft looks like a digital version of Legos, and maybe they have a point. But then, Legos were totally awesome before selling out to ride the sexism sells train, so I don’t see what the problem is. And, being a sandbox game, there’s no right or wrong way to play — you just do your thing, and that’s the right way.<3

She’s an Angel

[[They Might Be Giants - She's an Angel (Video)]]

As one might guess, today’s cake is an angel food cake! It’s one of those foodstuffs that I consider magical and undoable by my mortal hands, so it took me a long time to get around to trying to make one. Well that, and you can get them for 99 cents back in Texas, so there’s that whole ‘Why should I make this effort when I can get it so cheap?!’ Except I’m not in Texas anymore, so that doesn’t exactly hold true. And anyways, homemade is better than store-bought!

IMG_2562I suspect that some people are deterred by the fact that it’s a bit of a fussy cake. For starters, you need a lot of egg whites; 1 and a half cups is 375ml is something like 10+ normal/small eggs, and each of those comes with the risk of accidentally getting some yolk in. IMG_2564I have and use a separator, but there are any number of methods that people prefer (the popular/hip one involves a bottle, ’cause science). As it were, I managed to accidentally crack some yolks while dumping the egg contents into the separator, so I ended up keeping the yolk in the shell and just dumping the whites through the separator to avoid further contamination. While you can get away with getting a little bit in, too much of the yolk and its fat content means that the whites won’t whip up properly. And even though I only had the smallest amount of yolk that I didn’t manage to scoop out, it took longer to whip than usual. But it DID come out, thanks to my super-powerful, glorious Kenwood (Kenwood 4 Lyfe here, hee hee). Really, I should have separated the yolks out while the eggs were cooler to help avoid that breakage, but never mind.

The recipe also necessitated making cake flour. While you can find cake flour in the States, it’s not particularly common in the United Kingdom. But thankfully, it’s really easy to make. This recipe called for 1 1/4 cups of cake flour. So that would mean that I needed to take out 2 1/2 tablespoons of flour, and replace it with cornstarch. One then sifts the combination a number of times to fluff it up; five seems to be the magic number in this recipe.

IMG_2565And speaking of sifting, there’s even more sifting to do! I’ve noticed that a lot of American recipes call for one to sift sugar and flour together, which is a slight problem. I’ve actually broken a few sifters trying to do this with normal sugar, and my lovely shakey-on-a-stick here is too fine for the same. IMG_2566So I got smart this time and used caster (superfine) sugar. Caster sugar is a finer grind, so it’s easier to use. You can make your own in a blender or food processor, but since I CAN buy a bag of it, figured I might as well save myself that hassle. I made the mistake of using regular sugar with the shaker last time, and my poor husband was very courageously doing his best to grind it through for me. You know what they say — work smarter, not harder, so I did this time!

IMG_2569In that same vein, I invested in a special pan for angel food cake. You see, because it’s a sponge, it needs to cool upside down so it doesn’t collapse. You can, in a pinch, rest the centre of a pan on a bottle, but cats, kids, and my own clumsiness means I’d prefer something less likely to topple.

Now, I think this one came out a bit lower than my previous effort, but that’s okay. As long as it tastes good, right? Taste is definitely more important than appearance, though I’m slowly working on improving the latter in my cooking efforts.

Oh yes, the recipe!

Angel Food Cake I Recipe
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/angel-food-cake-i/

Really though, it’s a fun cake to make, and not too challenging once you’ve mucked into it. And of course, the taste is completely worth it.

<3

Cross-Stitching the Correct Way

I have always been a fan of cross-stitch, but I’ve actually never known how to do it correctly. I got my start when handed a kit at age eight. The kit had no particular instructions, and was on actual cloth rather than aida cloth. I tried to work it, but as I’d not even been introduced to rudimentary sewing, I made a total botch of it and ended up throwing it out. I tried off and on any number of times through my childhood and teens, and it never really bore any fruit.

Because sometimes, I'd do things that were patterns, but not kits.

Something from a book for a lovely friend

Once into my adult years, I managed to sort of brute force an understanding of how they work. I still wasn’t doing it correctly per se, but at least it looked good. For example, yes — I got you were supposed to use two strands, but I would fold them up on themselves and knot the ends, so I was in essence working with four. And then I’d wonder why I’d run out of thread! So of course, instead of wondering why all kits were short on thread, I’d just buy more and do my best to match up colours. I’ve a sewing box overflowing with embroidery thread, which has served me well for the most part. After all, doing something from a kit, and doing something from a book is about the same in essence. The only real difference is that one comes with the thread pre-loaded, and the other doesn’t.

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A much tidier backside

Of course, there was probably more to the instructions here and there than my brain processed, but with anxiety being my default baseline, it makes it really hard to process and retain information. So some bits stuck over the years, like the correct way to plop down little Xs, or how to backstitch. And as said, it looked good to the front, so I just sort of accepted it. I knew it wasn’t right because the backs were eternally a wasteland, and that bit of dissonance kept me frustrated enough to not cross-stitch that often. IMG_2558  I wanted to, but I couldn’t get my brain to calm down enough to teach myself the basics properly.

Still, I’ve had the hankering lately. I want to do one of my baby’s name to match the one I made of her sister’s name; we figure those will look really sharp on their door. But yanno, that would have required getting the book down off the shelf (which, even with that right behind me, requires moving things to get it). But as we were taking a trip to Hobbycraft this weekend, I’d thought a bit about picking up a kit or two. I wasn’t really planning to, but then we spotted a ‘first kit’ meant for children. Whelp, if we’re going to get Lilbit one, I figured I should do one or two myself. I want to be able to teach her rather than throwing her into the deep end, and that (of course) requires me refreshing myself on the basics, and actually learning a few bits that I’d neglected over the years. I think I would have taken to it faster with better guidance available, and the chance to share with my children at their own behest encourages me to keep my skills sharp.

The two pictures of my current tiny project show one of my most recently learned bit of sewing — how to do it ‘single’ strand. Having never been taught properly how to do it, I would always have a double strand and a knot at the end. As one might surmise, it doesn’t make for the tidiest stitching. I was also always incredibly paranoid about things unweaving itself unless I put a million knots in. I’m slowly getting better at putting that particular fret aside, which should (hopefully!) see things like kit cross-stitches not running short on thread. I keep dropping the needle off of the loose end of the thread, but that’s okay. I’ll get the hang of it with practice. And, I think, I will be practicing a lot more in near future now that I’m starting to develop a better foundation of skill and confidence.

<3

(Chocolate) Cake to Bake

I know some people are big on creating their own recipes, but not I. I acknowledge baking as tasty science, but I am, for the most part, happy to follow the instructions set down by others.

Chocolate frosting

Nothing beats homemade. Seriously.

Having said that, I still feel more baker-y than I ever did before moving to the United Kingdom from Texas. For example, store-bought frosting went right out the window. It’s more common here to make it from scratch, and once I got a glob of homemade shoved into my face, I’ve not wanted to go back. And why would I when it’s ridiculous easy and forgiving to make frosting from scratch. It loses that plastic taste that one realizes isn’t actually a part of the frosting for those of us that have stood there in the open fridge, sneaking fingerfuls of Ye Olde Duncan Hines. Nothing to be ashamed of — EVERYONE did this as a kid. I reckon it’s got to be some right of passage.

Anyways.

Came out bright and perky, thanks to substitution power.

Came out bright and perky, thanks to substitution power.

I’m also less fearful of missing ingredients. For example, there’s a lemon cake that I like to make. The frosting recipe calls for a minute amount of buttermilk.

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Almost there…

Considering it is, so far, one of two things I use buttermilk for, and the other takes an entire container, I’m not inclined to buy some just for a spoonful. Instead, one can whip up a wonderful substitute using a bit of milk and lemon juice. Today’s ‘well crap’ was realizing that I didn’t have baking powder. It’s been a long time since I needed any, and the husband very wisely threw out the old/out of date things as part of the process of moving. It’s already on the next shopping list, but that didn’t help my desire to make a cake now now now. Thankfully, I found a site that suggested a viable substitution. I needed 1.5 tablespoons, so I did a tablespoon of cream of tartar, and half a tablespoon of baking soda in addition to the baking soda already in the recipe. If anything, the cake seemed to rise an alarming amount during the baking process, so I guess we can say that it worked as well as, or better than expected.

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The finished product, nom nom.

And of course, homemade cake on the whole is a better experience than store-bought. With a little love, it retains moisture for a reasonable amount of time, and makes you feel self-congratulatory for mastering such tasty science. Granted, both of my recipes came via other sources. For example, the cake recipe came from Hershey:

HERSHEY’S “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” Chocolate Cake Recipe
https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recipe-details.aspx?id=184

IMG_2544Of course, being in the United Kingdom, I didn’t use Hersheys to make the cake. I would have quite happily used my Tesco generic drinking chocolate powder if I had had enough. Instead, cake and frosting were poshed up by the fact the nearest store in walking distance only had Bournville (ooh la la). To my delight, it was THE perfect amount for cake and frosting!

Speaking of the frosting, here’s the recipe for that:

Quick, Easy & Creamy Chocolate Frosting Recipe using Cocoa
https://suite.io/lavinia-roberts/4cze2bc

I do have one minor confession to make about the frosting recipe — I don’t follow the instructions at all. My original copy of the recipe that I printed out just has the ingredients, so I just sort of dump them all in and mix them up. Okay, I guess I have baked enough to know to put the dry ingredients in first, and I do, so it comes out ‘right’. But as said earlier — that’s the great thing about making frosting. It’s VERY forgiving. I ended up having to add a few splashes of milk this time around to make it a bit runnier, but I think that we can all agree that it came out quite well.

<3

A Personal (Sims) Challenge: Be Aspirational

I have been a fan of The Sims franchise since before the first game in the series came out. I’d gotten hooked on Simcity in the mid-90s, and was always a bit saddened that you couldn’t just zoom in on a house or a street and do their story. So when I heard about it around the first time I got my own personal computer (instead of the family one that my parents hogged), I was quite happy to splash out on what became a proper addiction. That’s fair to say, I think; I’ve been playing the game in ALL its assorted iterations for the past 14 years, and indeed, have played 1, 2, 3, and 4 in the past few months.

One of the things many fans do to keep the game interesting is to take part in challenges. One of the best known is the Legacy Challenge, as created by Pinstar. I’ve only one it once on since discovering after Sims 3; while a great game, it’s hella buggy and only functions in the long run with heavy modding. The MasterController suite from NRaas is a godsend in that regards, though you still have to be mindful of not giving it too much data. My tendency to try to flood neighborhoods with horses, for example, breaks things pretty badly. One can also find challenges of note on Mod The Sims, Carl’s Sims Guide, The Sims Forums, and any other number of places.

My Lovely Heroine

My Lovely Heroine

Now me, I’ve never created a challenge… before now. And to be fair, I’m probably not unique in thinking this one up, BUT. It’s what I’m doing right now, and I thought I’d share it.

One thing I am absolutely loving about Sims 4 is that there is no limit to how many aspirations one Sim can do. If you don’t like the one you’re on, you can switch to another. With Miss McClain here, I’m on my fourth aspiration. She’d completed the three aspirations under the Creativity heading, and I’d decided to do the one Athletic one to thin her down after several lifetimes of excess. She’s garnered enough points here and there that I’ve purchased her two Potions of Youth atop several other rewards. And then I figured… why don’t I see if I can complete all the aspirations on one Sim? Seeing how I started with the creative ones, she’s made tonnes of simoleons from painting and royalties to enable her to have never held down a job. So all she does all day (and all night) is work on her aspiration.

Pretty cool, right?

So then, let’s scribble out a semblance of rules!

The Rules:

  • No cheats (obviously)
  • Start with one Sim.
  • You can have or adopt children as you see fit.
  • You may only move -a- single Sim in from the world at large (otherwise, it’s a bit of a money cheat).
  • Only one (additional) Sim may have a job, whether it be the spouse/partner/roommate, or an adult child. This is in addition to any job requirements your main Sim needs to fulfill for their aspirations.
  • If you can find it or create it, you can sell it.
  • If your Sim dies, it’s game over (even with the return of ghosts), but — Ambrosia is okay in lieu of Potions of Youth for staying young.

There is no particular scoring to it — just try to complete as many aspirations as you can with one Sim. I figure this challenge is also a great one for those of us out there who get a bit freaked out by having too many Sims in one household. If you can afford to move to a different lot, that’s your call. If you want to build a McMansion with your money, that’s your call as well.

Enjoy!

<3

Continue in Pattern Five Million Times

It seemed like I would never finish the top of this top that I mentioned in my last post. I’ve done it before, but it was for a size years smaller, so it knitted up faster. Around and around I went, making raglan increases. Mind, it’s a pretty neat way to start a top from the top down with the gentle increasing, and I only managed to fubar in a single extra stitch (I counted before I hit the colourwork section, so it was easy enough to correct).

Whups

Whups

Now me, I hit knitting and colourwork with much enthusiasm, and pretty much loved it right away. Changing colours in crochet feels more daunting for some reason, though that could just be me. Watching how neatly and easily it builds in knitting is a delight, though I realized I still had quite a bit to learn as I worked on this top. For IMG_2534example, the pattern calls for you to move to a larger sized needle to do the colourwork band. I didn’t the first time I made it, and it came out super-tight. As you can see on the left, it’s a rather drawn-in waist, and I was only able to get it on my cute little model by hand-stretching the middle and hoping it didn’t snap. So when I got to making it this time around, I made very sure to move up needles because I am pretty sure I can’t do a loose enough tension to get away with staying on the same. The pattern calls for 4.5mm, so I upped it to 5.5mm for the colourwork band. I went up a full millimeter because well, I couldn’t find my 5.0mm circular, and I figured it would probably be better a bit looser rather than a bit tighter.

Suffices to say, going up the full millimeter seems to have worked pretty darn well. I guess I won’t know for sure until I’m a few rows further along, but it feels delightfully stretchy through and through. I was enjoying stretching it, and accidentally pushed some stitches off the needles — whups! No real harm done, but certainly, I should take it for inspiration to get it done and dusted so I can actually stretch it around. Of course, I will make a point to share a few pictures once it’s done.

As for afters… I’m not sure what I want to do yet. I think I might make something for myself, like a button-up cardigan. I rather like cardigans, but own maybe two. That’s definitely not enough cardigans. I’ve got loads of free patterns to raid from good designers here online, and I’ve also slowly been acquiring books and magazines from friends and assorted locations. There’s also the confidence factor — am I proficient enough to manage something ‘that’ big? I’ll have to force myself to swatch for once probably, mock grump. But it should be awesome though, whatever it is, ’cause knitting is loads of fun.

<3

 

Stitching, Bitching, Love

2014-09-24 20.32.56  I am, for the most part, a very happy introvert. I stay in my little nest doing my own thing, and it brings me much contentment.

But of course, all humans need actual, in person interaction. So to get that fix, I go to a local Stitch ‘n Bitch group once ever other week. I have to say, every two weeks is the perfect amount of time apart for me. Every week would be too much and make me feel guilty about bailing on the husband and kids, while once a month would be so infrequent that I’d likely forget to go, or make excuses not to.

It’s been a really good thing for me. I didn’t find the group until I’d been living five years, and that is a looong time to go without having a local hangout/friend group. From what I understand from the other ladies there, it’s a pretty special group on the whole with a great vibe. I wouldn’t personally know comparatively, but I do know that I like the group, and it has enriched my life since I discovered it.

IMG_2521When I started going, I could only crochet. And, with that, I couldn’t actually really do patterns. For my sins (okay, not sins… awesomeness), I am left-handed, and gifted with a rather hefty dose of anxiety. These things do not making acquiring new skills an easy thing. By that point, I’d been trying off and on to figure out how even to start with knitting for something like nine years. While the group doesn’t get credit for teaching me, being around them does get credit for making me want to buckle down and see what it was all about. It’s been about a year and a half, and once I hit the ground, I’ve been running ever since.

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Knitting patterns make more sense. Seriously.

And, if I’m honest, I’ve crocheted a lot since then. There’s nothing against it per se… outside of the patterns. Between my handedness (which means I’m working them backwards-ish), I just find crochet patterns to be really freaking hard to follow along. On the other hand, knit patterns make sense. You knit or you purl, and you just sort of bop along. Yes, I know there’s more than that, and I have done more than that, but it’s simpler at the heart.

The last month has seen two more big knitted breakthroughs that were scaring me — knitting in the round, and cabling. The latter was surprisingly easy when I finally gave it a go on a swatch. I’ve been reliably informed that I will have to work them opposite directions on patterns for it to come out the right way around, so we’ll see when I do a pattern that requires them.The former i made harder for myself by insisting on figuring out the Magic Loop technique first. Yes, brilliant me, let’s start with the hardest thing first! But I *did* figure it out, and now knitting in the round of any size is lacking in its prior intimidating status.

Right now, I’m doing a shirt for Lilbit (my 4 year old) in the round. I’ve already done the pattern once in a smaller size for Littlerbit (the baby). I’ve learned a bit from it, like needing to do the colourwork sections more loosely, so we’ll see how it comes out this time around. If you’re interested in a fairly simple and enjoyable pattern, it’s free on Ravelry:

Scrap Sweater for the Small Ones
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/scrap-sweater-for-the-small-ones

It also knits up fairly quickly, all told. I did the one for Littlerbit over a few days. This one is taking longer, but I’ve also not been quite as knitty lately. I’m determined to buckle down and get to the colourwork section tonight though, so we’ll see how it goes.

<3

A Great Day (For Banana Bread)

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Two perfectly overripe bananas, just waiting for some love.

Hello, all and sundry!

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Under the cupboard, ooh la la (okay fine, counter. Anyways! :D)

I’ve been looking around my house for the last couple of days trying to think what I should post about. As heavily as I game, I could probably natter on about Minecraft or The Sims non-stop, but that would get dull.

This morning, Lilbit (my 4 year old) asked me for a banana. When I went to get her set up with one, I noticed there was some delightfully overripe ones also on the table. Both Lilbit and her father like them unripe, so the second they go a bit brown, they tend to give them a miss (I exaggerate slightly there). So it didn’t exactly surprise me to find some that were past overripe and into falling apart, which is perfect for making a loaf of banana bread.

Now, like many people, I have my definitive recipe for this. I can’t remember IMG_2503who pointed me to Beard on Bread, but it’s been both the start and the stop for most of my loaf-related baking. Which is to say, there’s a good basic loaf recipe, banana bread recipes, and coffee cake recipes. I’ve not done the book A to Z, but I also don’t have an army to feed either (and my mother-in-law flips between amazement at my baking magic, and mild annoyance at having so much temptation to hand).

IMG_2504

Totally intentional. Didn’t leave the bananas under a pile of bags, nope nope nope.

Of course, one of the best things about banana bread is that it’s an all-purpose loaf. You can have it for breakfast, or for a snack, or for dessert with custard — everything is better than custard, I have learned since immigrating to the United Kingdom. It’s a really simple recipe, and has a pretty darn good shelf life (yanno, if you treat it properly and at least chuck a towel over it). And of course, it gives you the opportunity to come off as a thoughtful baker rather than someone who constantly forgets that there are bananas in the house. No, nobody here forgets there’s bananas, no no no. *cough*

And bonus — this recipe is available online compliments of the James Beard Foundation!

Banana Bread
http://www.jamesbeard.org/recipes/banana-bread

 IMG_2505Now, there’s one suggestion I emphatically make over the recipe’s instructions. It suggests you should bake the loaf for 45-50 minutes, and I disagree. I have found time and time again that baking it for an hour on the dot does the trick, and provides a moist, thoroughly cooked loaf of deliciousness. I also leave out the nuts most times, but that’s more because I forget to buy nuts than any other reason. It’s very good either way. In fact, it’s so good that I didn’t let it cool for more than a few minutes before I cut myself a slice — bliss. I’m thinking I’ll be going back for another soon, and that my husband and Lilbit will be very lucky if there’s anything left for them when they get back!

Back to knitting. Hopefully. If Littlerbit (that’s the baby) lets my have my arms back.

<3

 

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