Thursday, July 26, 2012

Clementine's Purple Teddy Bear

"It is astonishing how many thoroughly mature, well-adjusted grown-ups harbour a teddy bear - which is perhaps why they are thoroughly mature and well-adjusted." - Joseph Lempa

This is the third project I've made for my friend Anna's baby Clementine with the same purple yarn (the first two were the baby outfit and the purple elephant). This was originally meant to be a Christmas present, but is now going to be a birthday present when Clementine celebrates her first birthday soon. 

 This pattern is cute, but you have to knit the individual pieces, sew them together, then stuff and assemble. For a knitted teddy bear, it is very simple, but I prefer the elephant pattern above, which you knit in one piece and stuff as you go - a bit more complicated, but with fewer seams and less fiddling around with needles and thread.

While stuffing and assembling the bear, I was amused to notice that my dogs were paying close attention to my progress (teddy looks a lot like their squeaky toys, and they probably hoped he was destined for their enjoyment). I had to get a picture of the younger dog with the bear once he was finished:

...and I will definitely be keeping teddy up out of reach until he gets shipped!
I still have the same red-velveteen bear from when I was a baby (I like to think that I am thoroughly mature and well-adjusted. In any event, I take no shame in admitting that I still love my teddy bear):

My teddy, a gallant knight
He's been stitched up in several places and is missing an eye, but still sports his lace collar and isn't leaving me any time soon.

I also had to share this photo, which has been circulating around the internet for a while now:

the byline reads "protecting innocent children from monsters-under-the-bed since 1902"

If you still have your teddy bear, go give him a hug and thank him for his faithful service.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Jane Austen Knits Even More

"'It is amazing to me,' said Bingley, 'how young ladies can have the patience to be so very accomplished as they all are.'" - Pride and Prejudice

Now that I'm starting a new full-time job soon, I expect my knitting to slow down a bit. I will still keep it up, but with my current knitting to-do list, and the number of projects I currently have in motion, I really don't need another excuse to buy more yarn and add another slot to my "works in progress" page on Ravelry.

And then they spring this one on me:

Yes, Jane Austen (via Interweave press) has even more knitting projects available for those of us who wish to knit ourselves back in time. It is for sale at Barnes and Noble, or online at Yarn Market.

My definite favorites which I'm hoping will end up in the Ravelry queue at some point:
  • Pemberley Reticule (read: gorgeous lace knitted market tote bag)
  • A Book Cover for Edmund
  • Marianne's Romantic Bookmark
  • Beloved Baby Bonnet (so many of my friends are getting married and having babies, I'm sure to know someone who will appreciate an Austenite baby accessory)
Happy knitting!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Strawberries, Smoked Salmon and Ginger Mint Tea

"The best way to keep good acts in memory is to refresh them with new." - Cato the Elder

This weekend was a trifecta of terrific recipes.

First was this amazing recipe for Iced Green Tea with Honey, Ginger and Mint from Ezra Pound Cake:

Green Tea infused with ginger and mint, with honey and a little lemon juice added. Serve over ice - possibly the definitive cold summer tea.

Next is this recipe for Eggs Norwegian from the Pioneer Woman Cooks webpage:

Eggs Benedict used to be my favorite breakfast - it has been officially ousted by this delightful fishy variation. I've always had an adventurous palate, and have been conducting an on-again off-again love affair with smoked salmon for years. This is perfect for a weekend brunch (unless you're having fuss-pots over who are too scared to try new, weird, and wonderful things. Honestly, if they are coming over, serve it anyway. Life is too short).
I do love the Pioneer Woman, but sometimes she gets things wrong. Here are a few notes/warnings about this recipe:
  • For the Hollandaise sauce, she tells you to use the juice of "1 whole lemon" while failing to realize that not all lemons are created equal. So, instead of using her slap-dash Hollandaise recipe, use this one instead and make the sauce ahead of time.
  • Even though she tells you to toast the English muffins first and only to "light golden," I recommend doing them last and until they have a bit of singeing on the tips of the crannies. That way, they're a bit more crunchy and warm when you serve.

Last and not least are these Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry frosting from the Brown Eyed Baker:

The frosting is pink, but the lighting really washes it out in this picture

These are delightful, and I was looking forward to make the original Strawberry Meringue Buttercream frosting in the recipe, but the humidity here has been out of control for weeks. So, after a valiant attempt with a copper bowl, cream of tartar and over 20 minutes of beating, the meringue was completely comatose and unresponsive, and the plug was accordingly pulled. I went with this deliciously simple Strawberry Buttercream frosting recipe instead.

*apologies for poor picture quality - my camera is dead and I'm stuck with my iPod camera for now*

Bon Appetit!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Chocolate Buns

"Ideas should be clear, and chocolate thick." - Spanish Proverb

My brother came home for a brief visit before I move away from home. To mark the occasion, I decided to make these chocolate swirl buns from the Smitten Kitchen.

Chocolate and cinnamon swirled in a beautiful sweet bread dough: it's safe to say that I have officially reached baking Nirvana...

I will never view cinnamon buns the same way, nor be able to eat them without thinking "but... they could have added CHOCOLATE to these!!!"

the chocolate-cinnamon mixture

unbaked buns

This recipe is definitely going to stay in my repertoire, and should be added to yours, too.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Daniella's Beret

"In the movies, Paris is designed as a backdrop for only three things - love, fashion shows, and revolution." - Jeanine Basinger

I don't know about revolution, but Paris is definitely a wonderful place for love and fashion. This is the second and last top-secret undercover project in the needles n' yarn bag. One of my dear friends is traveling to Paris this month with her husband for his work. This is her first time traveling overseas, let alone to France, and I sadly missed sending her a birthday card not too long ago. Hence, I knitted a French beret as a late birthday present which she could wear in Paris.

But this isn't your typical French beret...

...nope, definitely not. This is the kind of beret French people would see and say "ooh la la!"

(probably because I found the pattern in the Dec. '09 issue of Vogue Knitting magazine)

July 23: here are some pictures of my friend wearing the beret in Paris:

Au revoir, mon amie!