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January 2011
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March 2011

Beau Vest

It is such a feeling of knitting relief that the back of my Green Picket Fence Vest only took four balls, and I have ten, so I should have plenty. The big needles, 5.5mm, make my hands hurt a tad, but the back knitted up so quickly. There are lots of Helpful Notes on The Ravelry about the pattern being poorly organised. I copied and pasted it into Word and then deleted all the parts that weren't relevant and printed it out. I write out each row and what I do and then the front and the back will match exactly.

Back fence
MrsDrWho's mum gave me a big bag full of knitting patterns. Some are so old that that they have shillings as their price. Some I recognise!! And here I am trying to have a year of gently getting rid of things, but this was better than a little Tattslotto win. I shall endeavour to post some pictures over the next few weeks.

Bags of patterns
There was also a bonus of a few sewing books, Enid Gilchrist, and another set of three books (baby, toddler and child) that look a little Japanese in style, where you draw up the patterns. They are full of 'cute' drawings and there are even dolls to sew for the clothes, in case you accidentally have no children to wear the clothes you sew!!

So sewing
Yesterday we rested, and today we went for a walk, which was very exciting. Mainly because Peri didn't roll in anything smelly!! I met MrsDrWho for brunch, eggs Benedict, and then we had a little shop. By the time I came home I was so tired I went straight to bed and slept for three and a bit hours. Luckily The Labradors are trained to nap. On command.

Peri sleeps
It's a wonder Peri didn't slide right out of the chair. Lorelai Gilmore has no chair or couch issues, she just stretches out and sleeps.

Gilly sleeps
That's if she's not helping with the old dish drainer. It seems to be the best thing since sliced bread in Gilly's opinion.

Gilly dish dog

February has had such warm nights, but the days have been cooler and there has been rain and cool breezes. I have started reading again, now I can concentrate for more that two minutes at a time. I have an Elizabethan murder mystery, a Roman Britain adventure and the last in an Australian fantasy trilogy. I also have 24 episodes of Xena and maybe seven of Hercules to watch, they are good knitting TV shows. I have been enthused by the speediness of knitting the Green Picket Fence Vest, and it has spurred me on to start a cardigan soon. As soon and the Fence is finished!!!

Right now I am going to go back to the front of the vest and catch up on Fringe from this week. Two episodes!!!


There's Snow Place Like Home

Although it did snow on the mountain in the Southern Capital last week, that isn't my header inspiration. I was knitting the Snowflake facecloth for the kind volunteer at Leukaemia Support group. She has food intolerances and so I couldn't cook her a thank you/Christmas gift and so I thought I would give her a gift after Christmas: my default position last year!!! I was meant to go to Support Group last Tuesday, but that just didn't happen. I finished the cloth yesterday. It is such a difficult colour to photograph. I have some nice dark green olive oil soap to go with it.

WinGo Star
Paton's Washed Haze Aran was on sale at I've Been Kidnapped By KMart for 75 cents a ball, so although I am not really in love with cotton or acrylic, I am making a long Fence vest for just $7-50, or $6-75, or maybe even $6-00. I am making a tension square.

Vest tension square
I think I have answered all the lovely comments left for me when I was in hospital. Everyone was so very kind and I feel very lucky to have been the recipient of such kind thoughts and words.

I also took a deep breath and deleted all the unanswered comments from before October last year, they were mostly Self Stitched September ones. I decided I was going to sweep my Inbox clean. So, here's a generic reply: Thank you, I am glad you like my skirt/shirt/top/sock etc. I had fun making it!! I have also bitten the bullet and Unsigned myself from Me Made March. I just can't be making myself jump through self imposed hoops, when what I really need to do is rest and recuperate. I shall save my sewing up for Self Stitched September 2011 if they have one.

By Sunday I missed The Labradors awfully, so MrsDrWho came over and fetched them home with me. In ascending order they were excited thus: Oh, Mummy!! Ooooh, Auntie MrsDrWho!!!!! Oh, MrsDrWho's car and we are going to have a ride in it!!!!!!!!!!!!! They were so happy and had been very well behaved. It was so nice to have them home. There has been lots of napping and playing  and cuddling and patting and we even went for a little walk today. We saw a wallaby and they smelled all the smells that had been waiting to be smelled for a week.

The Labradors are home at last
I bought Lorelai Gilmore a special food bowl. MrsDrWho alerted me to its existence, she found one priced at over $40, and then spied the same thing at another pet shop for just $21. I bought one yesterday. Gilly vacuums up her food, and hovers around Peri hoping for some leftovers and then Peri picks up her bowl and walks away, leaving a trail of food behind her.  Gilly doesn't really like the new bowl, but on meeting it for the first time, she was not daunted!!!

Nothing much else has been happening. I have been sleeping a lot, eating restorative soup, and even knitting a little. My wound isn't sore unless I move my arm certain ways and I can take ordinary painkillers for that. It will be three or four weeks before I am properly back to what's normal for me, so I shall be taking things easy and just pottering about more than usual.


Home Again, Home Again......

Well, that was a little unexpected trip to hospital. I am home now, and it is very strange to be at our house with no Labradors, very strange. I was allowed home after I ate something. I had beakfast on Monday and then nothing else till tea last night. Auntie Dutch had ticked the menu and it was chicken schnitzel, creamed potato, peas and carrots. I almost ate it all!!!

MrsDrWho and Auntie and Uncle Dutch looked after everything for me, I am so very lucky. The Labradors were fed by my Next-door Neighbourand spent the night at home alone, then The Dutches purchased special food for Peri and The Labradors were taken to the kennels. Interference was run with my mum so she wouldn't panic!!! MrsDrWho hates hospital, but she came to see me even though it was the first days of school.

I turned up at the DEM* with just the clothes I was wearing, but everything I expressed a need or desire for was magically acquired. All I had to do was lie there and be poorly!!! It took a while to find me a bed, so I was in the ENT/EYE room in the DEM wearing a lovely gown-that-ties-at-the-back for about a day.

DEM for 30 hours
Thank you so much for all your lovely comments. I read them and it made me feel a bit teary, and then very happy!! You are all very kind.

The Doctors (and more importantly Uncle Matthew, who is an excellent nurse) think that normal bacteria that was just floating around inside me gravitated towards my infuser port and when my port was flushed it was pushed through into my blood stream and that makes a septic shower. So I have had two days of last resort IV antibiotics and then the lovely surgeon Dr Luke took my port out under local anaesthetic. The theatre staff realised after a few minutes that when I said I was not very brave, and they heard my beeping pulse monitor getting faster and faster and higher and higher, that I was not joking. They gave me some morphine to 'take the edge off' but it didn't hurt at all really. Of course now it does!!! Oh and my heart is good too, my ultrasound was fine and there were no bacteria growing in my valves. The report said I had no vegetation!!!

I must have something to eat, take my drugs and then I think I willl go back to bed and sleep again. I have probably forgotten something, but I can't remember what. Oh, except that everyone should really have bag, packed with a few essentials, ready in case of emergencies. I am going to pack two, one for home and one to leave at MrsDrWho's house.

It's been an interesting week, and I am very grateful for all the excellent treatment in Hospital (free!!) and from my GP, and especially for my most wonderful friends. Without whom.....

*DEM Department of Emergency Medicine

 


Any Port In A Storm

Greetings readers...sorry to tell you I am a substitue blogger....it is Mrsdrwho here and I can't cook, barely knit, and don't have dogs. I am just giving all the readers of 2paw's blog a message that she is a bit under the weather and is is hospital ( yep...Amy P... she is competing with you!!!!) She is having a minor- ish operation and then will be recovering for a little while but she will be back to brighten your day with her dreadful photography and delicious cooking ASAP.

Oh...the most important info and I am sure you are all concerned...the Girls are off to their holiday home at the kennels they went to before. They went happily...even enthusiastically...they really like it there  so that is all good. They will come home smelling like flowers and pleased to get another big ride in the car.

I'll use my "excellent" grasp on technology and try to access her blog on my phone and show her any comments you may like to leave when I visit her.

So please hum your self some musak waiting music...personally I like to hum Greensleeves.... 
and she will get back to you sometime in the future. Here is a cute picture to tide you over. Guess who stole my chair AND the remote?

9 th Feb 150

 


The Gardening State

Here is the state of the garden before Uncle and Auntie Dutch started at 10am yesterday:

Before
During the day, Peri and Gilly were very helpful, especially Lorelai Gilmore who liked to lie down in the paddle pool and then in the dust to make mud.  She believes in equal helping, first Uncle Dutch, then Aunty Dutch. Repeat ad infinitum. Peri kept watch from the fence in case of an accidental biscuit.

Where is everyone
And here is The Garden State at 3-30pm just as The Dutches were loading the trailer and readying themselves to go to the tip:

Happy Garden Dogs
And after a sticky, humid day, it finally rained and so the garden was all wet and clean and smelled fabulous. I am so very lucky, thank you Auntie and Uncle Dutch. Plus, we had lots of fun. Peri and Gilly love being able to run about all over the backyard again without being prickled by blackberries. Which also never have any blackberries on them.

I am totally worn out. I didn't wake up this morning till 10-05am. I slept very soundly, The poor Labradors were starving hungry and there was no walk, I ache all over. And all I did was walk up and down the steps and make lunch and sit on a seat!!!

I am cross and grumpy because I am tired and sore. MrsDrWho and I had lunch at the Muffin Kitchen on her last day of the holidays today, and I always have Crispy Bacon, Banana, Pineapple and Not Very Much Cheese toasted sandwiches. I spoke very clearly, but when my sandwiches came they were pretty much just crispy bacon and banana. Horrid. The lady said they could take them back and put some pineapple in them. No offer to make me a new sandwich. I ate a few bites but could not eat them at all. I was cross. Poor MrsDrWho had to listen to me being cross. I had so been looking forward to my sandwiches though, I don't ask for much, just what I ordered. Says a lot about my life though, when a sandwich is my biggest problem!!!

I made a Frozen Lemon Pavlova/Meringue Cake a while back. It is for The Dutches but they couldn't take it with them because it would unfreeze. You can add some lemon zest to the pavlova or meringue mixture, they both work well. Then mix lemon curd and softened ice-cream and sandwiched the two pavlovas together. It keeps for ages and ages in the freezer and cuts really easily too. Yum. I should make on for myself!!!

Flmc
Yum
I have been sewing too, lots of buttons for an Advent Calendar. I am up to twelve now...

Calendar
I am off to watch New Tricks, it's the first episode of the new series. I shall have another cup of tea, and maybe something else to eat. I have had another nap this afternoon so I am trying to stay up late so I will sleep when I go to bed.

Next up, a review of The King's Speech!!!!!


Tuesday's Letters Eat 6: 'C' is for Chocolate Caramel Slice

Sometimes known as Millionaire's Shortbread,  here it is just Chocolate Caramel Slice. Let it be known that I am over generous with my slice: MrsDrWho is receiving several slices as her Christmas Back To School present. She likes a high caramel and chocolate to base ratio!!

You can make the caramel in a saucepan on the stove, and stir it for 8-10 minutes, or you can make it in a large glass bowl in the microwave in 2 minutes bursts. I prefer this second method.

Chocolate Caramel Slice  makes about 24 pieces

For the base:

  • 225g plain flour
  • 75g ground almonds (or a substitute if you can't have nuts)
  • 225g butter
  • 100g caster sugar

For the caramel:

  • 1 x 400g tin of condensed milk
  • 175g butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 80ml golden syrup (or honey, maple syrup or treacle)

Topping:

  • 200g chocolate, milk or dark

To make the base, put all the ingredients into a food processor and whizz them up until a dough forms.

I don't have a food processor. Food processorless cooks should rub the butter into the flour until it is finely distributed. Then add the other ingredients and mix until when pressed together the mixture makes a dough. If you give the flour and butter mixture a shake, the bigger lumps not yet incorporated will rise to the top.

All your base belong to us
Grease and line a 20 x 30 cm (approximately) slice tin. It is best to have one that is 4cm deep. Press the base into the tin and prick with a fork or skewer. Then, for best effect, refrigerate for the time it takes the oven to heat to 160*C. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden. Set aside to cool.

Base ically
To make the caramel: place all the ingredients into a bowl and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes at a time. Remove carefully and stir. It will take 8-10 minutes. After 8 minutes only microwave for 1 minute intervals. The caramel with thicken and may look grainy, usually brisk and careful stirring makes the caramel smooth.

Caramel
To make in saucepan, stir all the ingredients over a low heat and then when dissolved, increase the heat to medium and cook, bubbling for 6-8 minutes stirring all the time.

Pour the caramel carefully over the cooled base and refrigerate for about 20 minutes or until a skin forms. Then it is ready to be topped.

Caramel and base
Topping: melt the chocolate in your preferred manner in a bowl over a simmering pan of water, or in the microwave. Only melt till it is almost melted, then stir to smooth the final lumps. Pour over the cooled caramel and smooth the top. Or make lines across, I like doing that.

Topping chaps eh what
Refrigerate again until set and then cut into slices. A knife dipped into hot water facilities the slicing. It will keep very well in an airtight container in the fridge. In cooler climes it probably doesn't need to be in the fridge, but I would still put it there. I worry about things not being in the fridge. It is also much easier to cut when the chocolate is actually set!!!

Sliced


Xena: Worrier Princess

I am a worrier. It's in my genes. My pop was a worrier, my mum is a worrier and I am too. I try not to worry, but even when I am feeling happy and content, there's an undercurrent of worry running deep below in my subconscious.

This week I am worried because I have a rash of tiny lumps on my arm at my elbow, I pricked my thumb with the stalk of a lemon and I am worried I might get tetanus, and then I patted Peri and felt a hard lump on her shoulder. That would be her shoulder bone. Apparently she has been covering her bones with a layer of fat and I have never felt them before. My thumb doesn't have a red line of infection racing up it, and I am still able to talk, so my jaw is fine. The rash is still there, so I still have a worry.

I think I like to fill my mind with small worries so I don't have to deal with the big worries.

Xena:Warrior Princess is being shown on TV and I am watching every day, from the start. Tonight The Sweeney begins. I used to love that show, so it will be interesting to see how it holds up.

I finished MrsDrWho's Hatty Potter. It is very slouchy and when I took a picture it brought to mind the hats The Goodies wore in the Eckythump episode. The colour is more correct in the top photo. It is exactly what she wanted and far too hot to wear until Winter.

Hatty Potter on her head
Hatty Potter Flat
My tea has not been hot. Now I have my lovely new big teapot, I can have two and sometimes three cups of tea from it, but by the second, the tea is cold. I knitted a Tea Mitten, rather than a cosy. I found the pattern on The Ravelry and knitted it today. It took more wool than the pattern said, and I don't know why, so I made i-cord loops instead of a little button placket and one is a different colour. The buttons have some real gold on them (or so it said on the packet) I think I will replace them, but they were the only buttons I had. I also think I cast off the top edge too loosely. Still, it works very well and kept the tea warm for almost a quarter of an hour.

Tea Pot Noodle
Peri and Gilly have been making long shadows when we walk. The position of the Sun must be slowly changing to Autumn setting.  They are so full of life and excitement that they play rough and rowdy rebel games inside, usually over a piece of plastic cup, and they have to be sent outside to run about. It is much better to run about inside though.

Peri's shadow
Gilly's shadow
At the moment it is snake time, until late in March, and so Peri and Lorelai Gilmore have to walk on the bush tracks on the lead. They are very good walkers on leads and don't pull or veer wildly. They always walk with Peri on the left and Gilly on the right. I don't know why, but the older/oldest dog always walks on the left, Harki did too.

Labradors on leads
I have been out to a vegetarian cafe. The food, though tasty, was pretty much plonked on the table with no explanation, so I can't really name anything definitively. The platter was quite large and there was a plate with triangles of flat bread, but the service was non-existent. Maybe we were all on the wrong side of whatever the cool and trendy vegetarian cafe age is??? Disappointing really, because I have been before and the service was fine.

Platter
I bought some new cordless phones today. It barely cost more than the replacement batteries needed for the old ones, and I now have three handsets and an answering machine. It seems wrong, but that's the way the world works now. And who am I to question it?

I have actually read a book at long last, a Gallagher Girls book. I accidentally read them in the wrong order: 1, 3 then 2, but Book 4 is on its way from The Library any day now!!!  I ordered six books from overseas. One of the books is a new novel that costs $35 here and I paid $32-09 for all six. And I don't care, really, I couldn't afford to pay $210 for six new books.

I have signed up for Me-Made-March, which is just like Self Stitched September, except with different initials. I must get sewing again now the weather is cooler.

The weather is forecast to be cool for a few days. We are a little oasis of calm here, and have no real bushfire or flood or any other natural disaster threats. So when my mum and I talked on the phone tonight, we worried that because we had none we must be due for some kind of weather event. We are a worry!!!


Owl You Need Is Love.

The Little Sock Owls have been completed and flown off to be on the stall. The big Owl was nice, but these are so much cuter!!

Owl you need is love
Owl be loving you always
Owl the single ladies
That's basically what I have been doing (Owling) for the last few days. Yesterday it was very hot, Summer Hot Day #6 by my personal reckoning. Still we are lucky not to be awaiting Cyclone Yasi in Far North Queensland. It's pretty awful. I would be at home weathering the cyclone if I was there because the rolling scroll on the news said that animal companions were not allowed into the evacuation centres. I could not leave The Labradors by themselves at home. I hope everyone up there will be safe. The cyclone is almost as big as the whole state.

Look at Peri's happy tail, I caught it mid wag!!!

Peri's happy tail
And Gilly loves her squeaky toy.

Gilly's squeaky toy
I think this one is her Joey from Friends How you doin'? pose.

Gilly, How you doin'
This afternoon we all had a big nap, and now I am knitting away on the Hatty Potter. I need to wind up the second ball, so I will put it away till tomorrow. I need all my wits about me to wind up wool. I must have it organised to take along with me to Knitting Dining Out tomorrow evening. We are having Indian, it was so delicious last time that we're going back!!


Tuesday's Letters Eat 5: 'C' is for Cordial

This month's Delicious magazine has a recipe for cordial:lemon. My mum used to make our cordial when I was small, so I thought I would give it a go. I really like lemon cordial, and lime, the pale see through lime, not the emerald green one.

Unfortunately, while I read the ingredients, I didn't read the instructions, so I will have to come back tomorrow to post a picture of finishing off the cordial as it has to sit in the fridge overnight.

The cordial should keep for a month in the fridge in a sterilised jar or bottle. This is the easy way to sterilise jars or bottles: Preheat the oven to 180*C, wash jars and metal lids thoroughly and rinse well, leaving a little wet. Place into the oven on clean trays, making sure the jars don't touch each other and then 'bake' for 20 minutes. Remove from oven carefully and then allow to cool. Never put cold cordial into a hot jar. It is very bad.

 

Cordial: Lemon   makes about 5 litres when diluted

  • 2 lemons
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 6 tspn of tartaric acid

Grate
I use one of the micro-plane graters, but not everyone has one, so here's the way I grate lemon zest with an ordinary grater. Tear a strip of baking paper and press it gently against the side of the grater you want to use. The grater will grab the paper. The grate as usual. The grated zest will collect underneath the grater, but you can also remove and then gently shake the baking paper and the zest that usually sticks to the metal grater will instead fall off. It makes the grater easier to clean too.

Sugar and zest
Add the zest, juice and halves of the lemons to the sugar and then pour in the boiling water, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved.

Refrigerate
Cover and chill overnight in the fridge.

At long last cordial
Remove the lemon halves, strain and then stir in the tartaric acid. This took a few minutes, then pour into a sterilised jar or bottle.

The usual ratio is one part cordial to five parts mixer (be it water, soda water or even some gin and tonic!!) but the cordial is quite sweet and tart so you may like to dilute it even further. My batch made 800ml, or 27oz in the old money.

Cordial lemon