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April 2010

All Quiet On The Cardi Front

The cold hard truth is that, public humiliation or not, there is no way I am going to finish both my cardigans by Thursday for OPAM. I will finish The Tempest/ADAMO. The button-band needs to be fixed. Against my better judgement I followed the pattern's instructions of picking up one stitch for every two rows. I knew I should do three stitches for every four rows but I did not back myself. The band is fine if I stretch it and pull it down when I am wearing it, but it's just not practical for me to walk about pulling the two fronts down every time I wear the cardigan. It just wouldn't work well with my lifestyle. It needs about another four inches or 20cm of  'stretch' so I'll unravel it and do it again, and I took such care placing the buttonholes too.

Stormy Tempest
The Chappa'ai Cardigan has hit a snag. Not the short row bust darts, they went really well!!! Not finding all the pieces or even charting and knitting the Stargate on the back. Not, it's this:

Great Balls of Fire
The 200g ball of green wool I have been happily waiting to 'open' is, in fact, NOT the one I need. It''s Rustic Green Tweed, not Classic Mid Green. So I have to order another ball and hope the dyelot is not too different. If it is, I will unravel the bands and use that to finish the front along with the remaining wool I have, and then re-knit the bands from the new ball. Apparently I only bought three, what was I thinking?? Even if I had ordered the wool today, it would not have made it here in time, it takes much more than a week for Bendigo parcels to get here, so it will be sometime after Easter.

Stargate chevrons not engaged
I had some help taking the photos until I showed Lorelai Gilmore the spray bottle. She acts as if I am the most cruel mother ever.

Let Lorelai help
Peri has been performing her Big Sisterly duties. Lorelai Gilmore was in awe of Peri's ability to fly up the stairs at the dam lookout. Lorelai Gilmore was afraid, but Peri ran up and then danced about and I added my encouragement and up she came, albeit only to the first landing. She was so excited when she ran back down to Peri she wanted to bite her!!!

Peri teaches Gilly
I am having a little rest from replying to all the lovely comments about The Labradors, Harki, Peri and Lorelai Gilmore, from the last few posts. I am feeling a tad exhausted and have needed some long sleeps in the daytime to catch up. Tomorrow I am going to make some more chocolate crackle Easter eggs with the other half of MrsDrWho's class, so I need to garner my strength. At least it is cool during the night so we can sleep, oh and my new solar lights do an excellent job of lighting up the path too. Twinkly lights!!!

City lights

Monday Munchies #13

Night in Red Velvet

I had oft heard tales told of the Red Velvet Cupcake, but I had never seen or tasted one in real life. Sadly, there was no tasting as the cake has cocoa, but MrsDrWho inhaled the smell of the freshly cooked cakes and declared them delicious without even taking a bite. After a bite? Agree(1000)!!! I did suddenly realise that it is Easter this week, but I will have a Post Easter MM.

Also, gird your loins, because this is post #13,. It's not triskaidekaphobia, it's the fact that we are one quarter of the way through the year already, and I have stuck to my Monday Munchies for thirteen weeks.

For more Red Velvet Cupcake action, look here!!

Red Velvet Cupcakes   makes about 20
  • 125g butter
  • 300g caster sugar (1 1/3 cups)
  • 2 eggs
  • 250ml buttermilk
  • 30ml red food colouring*
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 tspn bicarb soda
  • 3 tspn white vinegar
  • 250g plain flour (1 2/3 cups)
  • 30g very good cocoa powder
  • 500g cream cheese (Philly)
  • 125g butter
  • 500g pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180*C and line two 12 hole muffin trays with paper cases.Cream the butter and sugar and add the eggs, buttermilk, food colouring and vanilla and beat till combined.  Stir in the bicarb soda and vinegar and then the flour and cocoa.Spoon into the paper cases and bake for 20-25 minutes, They will be cooked when the top springs back when pressed lightly, and the cake has shrunk from the edge of the tin.Cool on a rack and then ice when the cakes are cold..

To make the icing, soften the butter and cream cheese, add the vanilla and beat till smooth and fluffy. Slowly add the icing sugar. Whip till it looks like frosting.

*Some recipes say Cochineal, other red food colouring. I could only buy Pillar Box Red and so that's what I used.

Start All The Clocks

Words cannot express how touched we all were by the thoughtful

and kind comments written on yesterday's post. It gladdened our hearts. 

Thank you all so very much.

Yesterday morning, we were doing this:

That last morning
Harki was sitting on her blanket and Peri and Lorelai Gilmore were there too. Peri was quieter than usual and just sat by Harki, while Lorelai Gilmore was leaping about and licking Harki, trying to bite her legs and tipping over the bowl of water all the time.

This morning we were doing this:

Peri and Lorelai Gilmore ran and played and hurtled about. Lorelai Gilmore was so excited to be off lead. She spent half her time just checking up I was within sight, and the other half romping with Peri. I can't seem to make my video green today.

Wheee, Peri and Gilly run fast
The we walked to the broken tree on the track. We haven't been there for more than a year. Peri found something smelly to roll in. Lorelai Gilmore was clean as can be.

Smelly Peri, Good Girl Gilly

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I have not trained Peri and Lorelai Gilmore to pose together yet, so my new avatar is not quite right yet!! It's still to-be-going-on-with.....

New Avatar tbgow
And right on cue, Tori's Peace and Vundy's Mr Lincoln roses are blooming, and in the centre are the beautiful flowers that the doctors and nurses at Harki's hospital sent to us.

Tori, Harki, Vundy
So there will be no stopping of clocks, or cutting off the telephone and the dogs will certainly be getting a juicy bone. We're not blue here, we're green. And I am off to cook MrsDrWho some Red Velvet cup cakes, (not banana!!) pick up some photos from the shop and then I will come home and knit some more of my Chappa-ai cardigan. I am afraid I may not meet all of my OPAM goals this month, but in light of recent events, I think I have a Get Out Of OPAM Free card.

And I Have Loved Her Dearly, More Dearly Than The Spoken Word Can Tell

Today is a sad day, because Harki died. We are 2paw once more.

Yesterday she went for her usual walk and was as happy as could be and I took her photo. I took her photo every day in case that day was her last. Then last night she was very unwell, and no-one slept at our house at all. I helped her off the bed this morning and we sat outside for a few hours, Peri and Gilly playing, and Harki and I at the back door. I rang The Hospital at 8am and Harki bravely went up the stairs and then I helped her into the car. The lovely nurses helped Harki out of the car because I didn't want to hurt her leg again. They had a box of tissues and a cup of tea for me. Harki was very happy to be at the Vet, she hopped in and lay down beside me, and kept looking round the door to see what was happening. Dr Rob and the nurse came and they were so kind.

She just went quietly to sleep, I kissed her goodbye and then came home to Peri and Lorelai Gilmore.

They've been running to the back gate, looking for Harki, but she's not there.


Good bye Harki-Parki-Parker-Posey.

She was beautiful and I loved her dearly.

Best Labrador in the world.

17th August 1999 - 25th March 2010

E.T. Foam Home

At long last foam, foam alphabet squares so I can block my Tempest/ADAMO cardigan. There was such a kind offer to send me some, but I think the postage would be very prohibitive so when MrsDrWho said it would be worth it to check all the shops again, I did. In our $2 chain, Chickenfeed, they had about a pack and three quarters. I made a nice pack and came home, triumphant!! I pinned out the cardigan and sprayed it with water.

Me blocking Tempest
And fended off Labradors. I ended up locking Peri and Gilly out, but Harki was less wicked, only at the end did she want to be in a photo. I ran out of puff towards the end and the sleeves are only pinned half-heartedly. I am pretty sure it will be dry tomorrow and ready to sew up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And yes, I definitely need that many exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Harki blocking Tempest
One of my OPAMs next month is a new ironing board cover so I purchased some dull green heavy cotton fabric with a self pattern. I am going to cut along the length of the fabric and centre the design. Peri and Gilly were determined to make up for not being allowed onto the verandah. Here are just sixteen of the many photos I took whilst trying to get just the fabric in the viewfinder.

Peri and Gilly helping

My Chappa'ai or Stargate Cardigan is resurrected. I had finished the back with the gate and the two sleeves. I spent an hour or two yesterday finding the second sleeve and the extra ball of Bendigo I knew I had. I am attempting some vertical bust darts. I like the way they look in the fabric but have no idea how they will look on me!!! This is also an OPAM as is the Tempset/ADAMO. I am right on track to have my typical finish- at the very last moment. I can't find my knitting journal with all the details of what I actually did, so Paycheck style, I am back engineering the fronts. I counted rows and stitches and decreases and increases up to the underarm on the back. I figure I will knit both fronts up till that point and then I will either have found my book, or I will resort to counting more rows. I do have my Ann Budd book, I put it somewhere safe.....

Chapp'ai Cardi vertical darts 1

I still have to decide it I will do a v-neck, or put in a zip and knit a collar like on the DoctorWho ZippyUppy Cardigan. Still deciding. I have nine days!!

The Election voting is over but there is no clear result and they are not expecting one till next Thursday, which is April Fools' Day!! Very appropriate. It will probably be ALP 10, Liberals 10 and The Greens 5. The Apple Islanders have elected a hung Parliament, but I prefer to call it power sharing. The Westminster system is an adversarial one, but ten people is not enough to fill all the ministerial roles. There will have to be co-operation. Excellent I say.

All The Labradors are asleep at last. Harki has been having lots of small plays with her squeaky toys and Peri and Gilly have been running wildly about, inside and out. Even after their walks. Lorelai Gilmore is lovely, but a trial at times.

Aaaargh. I am such a poor typist, I didn't learn at school,(Maths B, French and German) but it would have been helpful. I have downloaded an Australian Dictionary Firefox add-on which is great, but it is poorly designed for me. I always mistype 'have' as 'ahve'. The little red wriggly line shows me I need to correct it, but right under the word 'have' in the pop up box is 'Add to dictionary' so guess what I am always doing?? Adding it to my dictionary and then trying to remove it. Often so very unsuccessfully.

Now I am going to pick up my knitting and watch The Mentalist, fast forwarding through all the ads!! Tomorrow I have Leukaemia Support Group and there will be egg sandwiches!! Delicious. I have converted most people to egg sandwiches, to my detriment I must say. I'm not going to Trivia tomorrow evening, I'm Brown Owling instead and we are knitting so I can take one of my cardigans with me!! No dog walking tomorrow either so I might try sewing one Easter thingy prototype and see how it goes.

Monday Munchies #12

The Afternoon Tea-ish theme continues this week with scones, but not just any scones, these are the kind of scones I have always been fearful to try: Lemonade scones. However, seeing the recipe in this month's Delicious magazine gave me pause, so I decided to chance my cooking arm!! Beware though, these scones are big, big and fluffy and as light as air. MrsDrWho's only complaint is that there were mouthfuls without white chocolate, so I think more than doubling the chocolate content is warranted.

White Chocolate Scones -makes 8 large scones
  • 3 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup lemonade
  • 1 cup thin pure cream
  • 50g white chocolate-MrsDrWho thinks 150g to get some with each bite
  • 50 ml cream extra
  • strawberry jam for serving
Preheat oven to 190*C and line a tray with baking paper.Sift the flour into a bowl, make a well in the centre and add the cream, lemonade and chocolate. Stir with a knife and then bring together with your hands. Don't really knead, be gentle!!Turn out onto a floured surface and roll or press out to2.5cm thickness. Here I deviated from the recipe, they said to cut out eight round scones with a 5cm cutter, but I made a  disc shaped dough and then cut it into eight wedges. Use the extra cream to brush the top of each scone. When I make these again I will make 12 or 16 from the same mixture.

Place carefully on the tray and bake for about 12 minutes, or until risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack and then serve dusted with icing sugar, filled with jam and maybe a dollop of cream on the side. MrsDrWho ate hers plain, and I tasted one too, I can eat these, and they were truly delicious!!!

Scones and jam

Thou Shall Have A Fishy When The Vote Comes In

There's a small dance on the inside here tonight, because it is the day we voted in the election, and now this evening the ABC has election coverage on TV from 6-30pm. I am very excited. Lorelai Gilmore came with me to vote this morning.

Gilly Votes 2010

We have the strange and unusual to others but not to us Hare-Clark system, whereby we have multi-member electorates, actually five members in each of the five electorates. There's a cute pictorial example here,if you scroll down, with fruit and chocolate!! I am well prepared for the four hours. I have some hot smoked salmon, a ciabatinni and some local wine, a gift from MrsDrWho et al for booking excellent seats for them to see Tom Jones perform! So hard to snap a photo without a Labrador or two poking her nose in!!

Election Feast

The weather has been hot again, and despite the Autumnal Equinox being today/tomorrow, there looks to be little relief in store. I have not been knitting at all. I have yet to block my Tempest/ADAMO cardigan because despite everyone's enthusiastic assurances I am as yet unable to find some of those foam squares for blocking. Instead, I have been doing this: Easter things. When they are finished I will have a give-away. Closer to Easter.

Easter thingies
I have bought some new material to cover Otto and Otto's cushion. (Oh now I know what Peri and Gilly were doing up in The Forbidden Zone. They came down the stairs licking their lips and I looked all about but couldn't see what was happening. I just caught Gilly with her head stuck in the newly opened box of dog biscuits. That's what they were doing: stealing biscuits and running up the stairs into a secret place to eat them.) The material for Otto is not green, I shall pipe it with green material, but it sort of matches the couch and it won't show the dirt and it was on super special for $4 a metre. And again, a dog. Peri is modelling the way the material doesn't show her wet pawprints.

Peri and Otto draped in material

I had morning tea with MrsValley this week at a lovely cafe and we had delicious cake and cheesecake. She brought The Labradors a present, some bandannas, and they wore them on their walks. Harki and Peri went to the dam and sniffed and smelled and wandered happily about. It was awfully hot, you can see their tongues are very pink.

Hari and Peri's bandannas 

I am having some spacing issues today with photos and text. Lorelai Gilmore wore her bandanna on her walk, she ran about off her lead far away from the park. The grass is very green and she sniffed everywhere until I called her, then she ran to me and sat down to have her photo taken!! She's very obedient when she's out!!

Gilly on her walk
I only have a few minutes to ready myself, I need a cup of tea as well as wine, and some sock knitting I think to pass the time. I hope to find some flat foam squares anon, so I can finish my cardigan, and then finish the next cardigan before the end of the month!!!

Eggstreme Measures

Nothing much happening here today. The Labradors all went for a walk, there has been much playing in the paddle pool because it is so hot. I had to go out in the car to The Vet to pay Harki's Drug Tab!!! Now I am off to Trivia night. 

Look at Peri and Harki's happy waggy tails as they head off down the track towards the car. Peri, on the left, has the swishiest tail!!! Harki trots along with a hop, she goes quite quickly on three and a half legs!!

Waggy Tails, Harki and Peri
Oh, yesterday Lorelai Gilmore entered into The Easter Spirit. I came home to find she had stolen eggs from the shopping bag, and was eating them up, shell and all!!!

Easter Eggy Gilly

Easter Egg Eating Bliss

Egg Eating Bliss

Monday Munchies #11

Here's another afternoon tea slice, only this one can be whipped up in an instant and is probably ready to eat in an hour!!! I like this slice, because if I leave off the chocolate, I can eat it.

Cherry Ripe Slice
Cherry Ripe Slice

  • 80g Copha
  • 1 tin condensed milk
  • 250g desiccated coconut
  • 200g glace cherries, quartered
  • 250 or 400g chocolate*: dark or milk
Line a slice tin with baking paper. Melt the Copha gently in a pan over a low heat. Meanwhile combine all the other ingredients and then mix the Copha in extremely well. Press into the slice tin, even out the top and then cover with 250g of melted chocolate.

*You can melt 200g of the chocolate, spread it over the base of the lined tin and pop it into the fridge for 15 minutes. Then press the slice mixture on top, and top with the remaining 200g of chocolate. This gives you a more authentic Cherry Ripe 'look'.

Refrigerate for at least an hour, then cut into fingers or little squares!! It is delicious. Some people add red food colouring, but I think the pale pink imbued by the cherries is just right.

I used 400g the chocolate on top for MrsDrWho.

Skirt So Good, Come On Baby Make It Skirt So Good.

Not much knitting, well no knitting at all since I cast of the last sleeve of the Tempest/ADAMO Cardi. Instead I have been making and finishing two skirts for Mrs HouseOf's birthday.

I drafted the pattern for her A-line skirt last year and it had just been moping around the house waiting for a button decision. She chose the big black shiny buttons. And here it is, adorned with buttons. Oh and dog hairs. Mrs HouseOf kindly said that it wouldn't be from our house if there weren't a few dog hairs.

Button A-line
The second skirt is from Heather Ross's Weekend Sewing. It's the Yard-Sale Wrap Skirt. Mrs HouseOf is slim, and I measured the panels against her black skirt. I am glad I googled because many people said that the skirt was poorly sized. Instead of 6 gores, I cut eight, and thank goodness I did. It wraps around her once, and then half way again. Perfect!! It is made from a light weight denim. The edging and hem are endless 6mm hems turned over twice, pinned, tacked and then sewn on the machine. A labour of love!! But a happy one.

YS Wrap
I felt quite well on Thursday and Friday so I did a few things. We paid for it on Saturday. We woke up and The Labradors ate breakfast and then we went back to bed till 1-08pm. I woke up with a muzzy headache. We went to Romanelli's for Mrs HouseOf's birthday. I had veal and MrsDrWho had seafood pasta. I think she neglected to take a photo of her Cold Chocolate Soup. I believe it tasted divine!!

Veal Marsala Seafood Pasta

The last few days have been blissfully cool, so Harki has been feeling very chipper and looking exceptionally beautiful. She's lounging like a film star I think.

Harki gazing
Peri is also looking lovely. She is so enthusiastic about going for a walk, and even more enthusiastic about a possible treat!!

Peri thinks she needs a treat
Lorelai Gilmore and Peri wrought havoc at our house on Saturday afternoon. After their big sleep in they then proceeded to run amok: like hooligans. I had to spurt them with the Lemon Juice several times and use my cross voice. But look at The Baby, butter wouldn't melt in her mouth.

Gilly is never wicked. Ever. At all.

I have tried some jiggery-pokery and I hope tomorrow's Monday Munchy will appear by magic all by itself. I will be pinning out my cardigan, oh and we will all be sleeping in and hiding from the heat tomorrow. Tomorrow it is Knitting in the Pub, I must organise my project!!!! I am sure there is something else I meant to say, but I can't remember. Rest assured, if I do, I shall say it next time!!