Happy 4th!!!

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That’s one way to celebrate the Stars and Stripes….
Whatever way you chose to celebrate the holiday, I hope your day is fun and relaxing

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Bees, beehives and honey

honey with honey dipper

local blackberry honey – and I love that honey dipper

Day Two (Tuesday April 23rd): A Mascot Project. Your task today is to either think of or research a project that embodies that house/animal. It could be a knitting or crochet pattern – either of the animal itself or something that makes you think of the qualities of that house. Alternatively it could be a type or colour of yarn, or a single button. Whatever you choose, decide upon a project and blog about how and why it relates to your house/creature. You do not have to make this project! It is simply an exercise in blogging about how you come to decide upon what projects to make. Try and blog about the journey which inspiration and investigating patterns, yarns, stitches, (etc) can often guide you through. You may wish to make a collage or ‘mood board’ to present several ideas, or even sketch out your own design.

So, a mascot challenge. Since I’d picked House of Bee, I decided to start out with some free association instead of searching Ravelry for bee patterns. The first things I thought of were honey, sweet and beehive. No, I don’t mean the hairstyle a la Amy Winehouse. I mean the real beehive thing, home of the bees and so on. Still, no big mental leaps here. Then I started thinking of the friend who keeps his own bees – hi Thomas! – and the delicious honey we receive from him ever so often. And how I like finding local honeys (haha) and try to support apiarists (if you can’t easily find anyone near you, try local grocery coops). And I don’t mind crystalized honey – actually I like it better than squeezy tubes. Anyway, back to the bees. Another really cool thing about bees – apart from the fact that they make honey, mmm – is that they structure of the beehive is pretty ingenious. The hexagonal shape of the beehive cells is really efficient – they’re stable, and maximize honey storage with minimal wax required. In that sense bees are excellent mathematicians. There are a lot of cool facts out there about bees and bee colonies and yadayada. And now I will stop boring you with bee and honey geekage.

I started poking around Ravelry for bee related patterns. As you can see, I considered quite a few patterns. But in the end, it came down to two: Anne Hanson’s Pompa and these really cool socks named Snicket Socks. They were inspired by the movie Lemony Snicket, but I think they look like hexagons. And now you know why I picked those socks.

So, the next question was color. Yellow and gold are the obvious choices. As are yellow and gold stripes. And believe me, if I had some yellow yarn handy, or black and yellow striped, I may have knit one of those other projects above. I’m planning to use Wollmeise in Salamander to make those Bumblebee socks in that collage, the same yarn the designer used. They look like they’d be so much fun. But – no yellow yarn here. That’s what happens when you move and the rest of your stuff hasn’t yet caught up with you…

Yarn colorway Berries & Cream

But I do have this gorgeous skein of A Verb for Keeping Warm yarn here, colorway Berries and Cream. It’s cream with occasional pink, in various degrees of saturation. Really really pretty. It makes me think of summer desserts – I mean, fresh, sun-warmed berries and a bit of cream, so delicious.

How many of us can remember sitting outside in the spring and summer sun, enjoying the rays and devouring an ice cream cone, or some fruit, or cooling off with a nice cold, possibly sweet drink. And then the zzzzzzs start, and you start having to defend – i.e. hide – your food & drinks from curious bee scouts. Worse if it’s a whole gaggle of bees seeking you out. (Of course, it could also be ants)… There are all these Disney cartoons out there about ant and bee invasions of various picnic parties… I remember Pluto being harassed by this rather, well, prickly bee in Bubble Bee. Ah, the memories..

berries & goat cheese with honeyIt’s funny, I just recently did a food photography project involving berries, cream and honey. And mint. Mint was the unifying element. But more on that after Knitting and Crochet Blog Week. However, I did want to share a photograph of my inspiration and so I changed it up a bit, with strawberries instead of raspberries, goat cheese instead of yoghurt/cream, and of course that cute little honey dipper. Btw, it’s very difficult to do an action shot all on your own, especially if you don’t have a remote for your camera. I will be rectifying that asap. And the timer focus didn’t work well enough for my taste – somehow the shallow depth of focus wasn’t quite right…

Why am I not surprised that I managed to work in some food into the post, even though it’s supposed to be all about knitting? So anyway, I will be casting on for this project in the next few days. In fact, if I manage to cast on for it today, then I might have a wip picture for tomorrow’s Yarn Along-esque post. Which I still need to draft. Sigh.

Thank you all for bearing with me, and for following along with my thought processes. I’d love to see your mascot project ideas, so please, leave me a link to your post! And for your enjoyment, here is Bubble Bee:

{this moment}

via Soulemama

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Spring salad with deconstructed salad dressing

Spring salad with deconstructed salad dressing

Normally I let the this moment photographs stand on their own, but since next week will be mostly about knitting and crafting, I thought I should sneak in a food post beforehand. This was a quick salad I whipped up – good ingredients and a tasty – deconstructed – salad dressing = lunch of champions. The salad has little heirloom tomatoes, watermelon radish, avocado, feta, plenty of mint, and said dressing.

If you’re wondering what kind of dressing that deconstructed salad dressing is, well, I decided against making a proper dressing, with whisk and all that. Instead, I broke down the individual components and drizzled the ingredients onto the salad. That worked especially well since I used balsamico crema instead of regular balsamico. I bought some (took me a while to find it in a store), but you can easily make your own. Anyway, the dressing is made up of a bit of olive oil in it, a bit of balsamico crema (yum), a bit of honey – very little, but a lot of my dressings have some to balance out the acidity and or spice, kosher salt and a bit of Sriracha. Yup, you read that right. I normally don’t use Sriracha in my dressings since it can so easily overpower other flavors and change the balance of flavors, but I got the idea from this awesomely delicious Ottolenghi salad. Their dressing suggests using chili sauce and caster sugar – I used Sriracha and honey instead.

watermelon radish

watermelon radish – isn’t it pretty?

You can see droplets of the various dressing components in the picture – especially the crema and the Sriracha. The dressing components all mix when you toss the salad. Make sure you toss it well, though, otherwise you’ll taste blobs of, well, dressing components. But I can tell you, that dressing and the finished salad were so tasty. I’ll definitely be making this one again. Plus it was so fast to make! Perfect if you haven’t figured out what you’ll cook beforehand, and you’re trying to put something together last-minute.

Btw, watermelon radishes are among the prettiest foods out there – and they’re so tasty, too! I wasn’t a fan of radishes growing up – but I really like them if you slice them thin. They add crunch and a bit of sharpness, although the watermelon radish is more mellow. And for me, who is not a big raw celery fan, radishes are a great crunch alternative. Watermelon radishes are bigger than regular radishes – they look more like turnips except that they are green and white on the outside. Their degree of pinkness inside may vary – and unfortunately you can’t tell from the outside how pink they’ll be inside. But give them a try the next time you see them at your grocery store or at a farmer’s market – you’ll really like them. They’re also great for breakfast, e.g. sliced thinly onto a piece of Knäckebrod (e.g. Wasa) or Pumpernickel with a bit cream cheese (yeah, that’s the German in me coming through). Yum!

Playing with your food

sweet potato cubes with Tegu blocks

Thank you all for the well wishes! I’m pretty much back to normal, which is good since I had another homework assignment for the photography homework. This time our idea was to do something more abstract, to play around and to not photograph food as food per se. The inspiration was the photography of Annabelle Breakey – a San Francisco photographer who e.g. made QR codes out of lemons and avocados for Taco Bell. Check out this awesome behind the scenes video: http://www.annabellebreakey.com/behind-the-scenes/

The first thing that popped into my head was sweet potatoes. I’d bought some to continue to pursue my quest of finally creating the perfect sweet potato fry (at least to my taste), and, well, I now had an ingredient on hand that would stand up to some manipulation. I first thought of making a Jenga tower out of sweet potato fries. I would have liked to mix the actual Jenga pieces with sweet potato pieces. But, I’m short on time and I couldn’t find any friends who had a Jenga puzzle. Pffft. Well, some browsing at a few kid toy stores later I found these little wooden blocks with magnets in them. They’re by Tegu – a really cute little on-the-go toy for little kids. Well, I meant to get a Easter gift for the younger munchkin anyway, and while this was on the more expensive side, I figured I’d get someone else to pitch in. Hence, my photography session of toys, with a sweet potato slices and cubes inserted. It should be pretty obvious which ones are the sweet potato pieces. Btw, it’s really hard to cut the pieces into exact squares and rectangles! I should have made some kind of stencil.

Tegu blocks and sweet potato pieces

Weekly Photography Challenge: A Day in My Life

curing myself

Almost like the commercial said: “Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea – hey Pepto-Bismol”

Hey guys – I know today’s challenge is to take a series of photographs to reflect what your day is about. I was all set, planning out my photographs – and then life interfered. Yeah, as you might have noticed, that’s Pepto-Bismol and a Coke. In fact, that’s dosage number two (well, Pepto number 4, I think?) for today. I managed to catch the stomach bug that’s going on and have been spending my day (projectile) vomiting. Ugh. Nothing is staying down. At least I’ve made it to the bathroom each time. Actually, that last one was a close call since I was at the checkout, about to pay – when the emergency hit. Fortunately my sister was right there to take over and a bathroom wasn’t too far away. And that’s probably TMI for you guys.

Anyway, this is throwing a huge monkey wrench into my Easter plans. No cooking or baking for me, much less any eating. It’s amazing how a day without any food or beverages makes you feel wobbly. I mean, it’s not like I haven’t fasted before, though not without water intake, but when you fast you also prepare yourself mentally. Me, I’m feeling mostly annoyed that I can’t do all the things I planned – no Easter chocolate, no contributing to the family brunch (sight and smell of food is still a trigger), and no eating any salads right now. Sniff.

Well, this too shall pass. I hope your Easter weekend looks like it’ll be fun, and I’ll check in with you guys once I’m better.