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October 2010

SSS Day 21

Spring is officially here, here. It's the Spring Equinox today and Peri took advantage of the 12 hours (more or less) of sunlight and did a spot of sunbathing. She looks very imperious.

Peri sunbathing
Here is a picture of Lorelai Gilmore exploring the muddier side of life. It hasn't rained for weeks now and the little creek is very low. She has to lie down and still can't get this mucky.

Gilly was muddy
I actually did some sewing for my new top today. I sewed all the darts, the shoulder seams, and attached the facing all around the front and neck edge. I made one sleeve. Then I felt too tired to do any more and stopped before I made a mistake. And cut something I shouldn't.

I wore my Crazy Lime skirt and a green top to sort out and change the car insurances. Thank goodness it is all done.


Tonight there were only three of us at Trivia. We came third and were quite pleased. I knew the Who am I!! I don't know how I did, I knew it after these two clues:

  1. I was born Eleanora Fagan on April the 7th, 1915.
  2. I died in 1959 in hospital suffering from heart and liver disease. I was under police arrest for drug possession.

I also knew that left handed people are banned from polo. My brain knows weird things. Oh, the answer is Billie Holiday.

Melissa gave me a Sunshine award. It is for being nice and friendly. I think niceness is under-rated. Not fake niceness, which is horrid, but genuine niceness. It is so kind of her. I, on the other hand, am hopeless at giving out awards, but this made my day Sunshiny!!! If you visit her blog you can click through and see the other Sunshiny people.

Tomorrow there is Morning Tea with the GardyGardeners, then picking up my car (hmmm) and then afternoon tea with a friend. Often I say to people that we must catch up, and HappyChatterer and I have been doing this all year. We often bump into each other like ships that pass in the night. Well tomorrow we plan to catch up for a cup of tea, maybe some cake, and an hour or so of chatting and knitting. I might just finish the Keating Cardigan. I only have the raglan part of the fronts and backs left to do.

SSS Day 20

Two thirds of the way through the month. I have not sewed anything again. I have bored MrsDrWho to death, talking endlessly of the people who are wearing a different self-stitched thing every day. She calmly points out, each time, that they probably go to work and need a lot of clothes. I do not, and can muddle along with far fewer clothes. Still I am in awe!! Today I wore my Dotty Skirt, my embroidered-to-cover-a-hole top and my lovely emerald green handbag.

I do have a slight cold, and after going in and out four times today I am weary. We went for a walk, then I went to The BlackSpot of DoomLight (tm) twice. I had carefully noted down the DMC colours I needed to buy and when I looked at the rows of thread, none of the colours were there. Typical I thought. Then I thought again. Surely they would have at least one of the colours. I paid for my wool which is a lighter, brighter colour than this,

Oops I bought it again
and went home and googled. Some of the colour numbers didn't even exist in the DMC catalogue. That's when I had an 'aha' moment. The pattern had transposed the Anchor and DMC color numbers. As soon as I swapped them over I recognised the colours I needed. So off I went to The BSODL once more. Success this time. My photo is not poor, it is....artistic!!! The thread is for my Button embroidery, my Secret Project and Christmas.

I had to make a trip out to see about my car which won't be ready till Wednesday now. I have kind of lost interest in my new car. My old car's tyres are OK, it drives well, it's stopped raining so it isn't leaking and The Labradors love to go for a ride in it. I expect my enthusiasm will return.

After my traumatic computer almost conniption there was an anti-virus update and lo and behold it is a woman's voice who declares every 4 hours that my "Virus Database has been updated". Peri and Gilly are a bit perturbed, they didn't mind the American man's voice, but this lady is a bit of a worry!!

They had a lovely time at the dam today running up and down the stairs. Peri looked down and Gilly looked up.

Who's down there Who's up there

Then there was a meeting in the middle and then they were running down the stairs at full pelt. And a little bit of Synchronisation practice as a bonus.

Look out here we come Peri has landed

I have five new books to reads: Halt's Peril which is book 9 of the Ranger's Apprentice series, Artemis Fowl and The Atlantis Complex, and the newest Terry Pratchett, I Shall Wear Midnight, all on loan from the Library of MrsDrWho, then Halo and Heartstone from the State Library. They always all arrive at once.

And now I shall potter off to bed, read a little of Halt's Peril and then, to sleep, perchance to dream.

Monday Munchies #38

It sounds apocryphal, but I leafed through Nigella Kitchen and nothing caught my eye. Instead, I chose something from Delicious Magazine's October issue: lamb cutlets and tabbouleh, except there was no cracked wheat in the supermarket and I do have a bit of a cold and so we are making do with couscous.

I just substituted the couscous for the cracked wheat and followed the instructions on the packet- it took 2 minutes.

Frenched lamb chops cost $43 a kilo here, so we also made do with the unFrenched variety of chops.

Do not be afraid of the anchovies, they are in the marinade, and you don't actually eat them, they just impart a delicious taste.

No need to turn the oven on to toast the almonds, I just dry roasted mine in the non-stick pan for about 4 minutes over a medium heat. Keep an eye on them and toss them every minute or so.

This recipe is ready in 30 minutes or less so it is an excellent week day evening meal!!

Lamb Cutlets with Mint and Parsley Tabbouleh   serves 4
  • 12 Frenched lamb cutlets
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 6 anchovies, chopped
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup burghul (cracked wheat) or couscous
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup flaked almonds, toasted
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch mint, roughly chopped

First, prepare the cracked wheat by putting it into a bowl, pouring in 600ml of boiling water, covering and standing it for 20 minutes.

Put the lamb chops in a flat dish or a big zip-lock bag with the zest and juice of 1 lemon, the garlic and anchovies. Season well with salt and pepper and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Use the 15 minutes to toast the almonds and set aside to cool.

Then chop the herbs and onion. Mix into the cooled cracked wheat and then mix through the zest and juice the other lemon and add 20ml of the olive oil, and your tabbouleh is finished.

Put the remaining oil in a pan and fry the lamb chops over a medium heat in 2 or 3 batches, until they are cooked to your preferred degree of 'doneness'.

Divide the tabbouleh between four dishes and serve with the lamb chops. This is really delicious, but not a huge serving. You could add more salad vegetables to the tabbouleh. I might do that next time.

Plated up

SSS Day 19

Today I remembered a skirt I made a long time ago, just before I started drafting patterns and so I pulled it out and wore it today. It has a centre back zip and is just a tad too short, I keep meaning to undo the hem and add some biased binding to eke out another centimetre or two. Nevertheless I wore it with my Equine Vest and very fine it was too. It had sort of crystalline dragonflies as the pattern.

I have almost knitted to the underarm of The Keating Cardi and I made one sleeve whilst watching Farscape this afternoon.

Cardi that we had to have
Peri Naughty and Lorelai Gilmore have been fine tuning their Synchronisation at the dam.

Synchro 2
Synchro 3
They spent some time today playing with the kitten through the fence, but it was overcast and cool so they soon came back inside.

MrsDrWho gave me a lovely writing set. Actually, she gave me two: one to use and one to keep. I like the way she thinks, because if she had only given me one, I would never have used it!! Here's the top of the box.

Writing set 1
And when you open the lid there is some writing paper and envelopes inside and then you pull open a little drawer, with green ribbon, and there are little notelets and more envelopes. Could this be any more perfect?? I don't think so!!

Top set

 Inside the drawer

I think I am getting a cold, I keep sneezing. I hope it is just Spring Hay Fever!! I am off to bed early to try and ward off any possible cold.

SSS Day 18

Here's what I wore today, the top given to me by MissHockey and my Dotty skirt to lunch with MrsDrWho and then the cardi added when it got a bit cooler. It's a Lisa Ho beaded cardigan and Mrs Valley gave it to me, she bought it for a song at a garage sale. I adore it!!!

I finished adjusting the length of my new top pattern and cut it out. I am so happy it already has a FBA and I am thinking I might just superimpose the front piece over my Amy Butler Liverpool Shirt pattern instead of doing all the adjusting myself. I also made the neckline more scoopy. This is a toile that may be wearable, but I am not worried if it's not. I'd like to get the fit correct if I can.

Cut it out
The BlackSpot of Doomlight (tm) is having a fabulous 60% off wool sale and I bought 13 balls of Debbie Stoller's 10 ply Bamboo Ewe, bamboo and wool mixture, for just $36 instead of $91. The colour is a greeny aqua called Mermaid and I have bought 2000m, enough to make pretty much any cardigan I want. There were two other kinds of her wool but they were ordinary green, which I already have. Still, they are 10 ply and half the price of Bendigo Luxury, which only has only Leaf..... I may be tempted tomorrow. I am definitely buying some DMC embroidery cotton as it is only 59 cents. Bargain!!

Bamboo ewe
Spring is on its way, despite snow down to the 300m level in the south of the island, and I know this because Peri and Gilly are spending inordinate amounts of time outside. Last week: none. This week: they are out in the Sun all day. Except when they hear crinkly paper. Peri keeps squinting in the sunlight so though I took about 50 photos, she was squinting in 48 of them. These are the two best.

Peri says hello
Peri standing fast
The picnic area at the dam had finally started to dry out, it has been a quagmire  with all the rain, but the little creek is not as full as it was. When Lorelai Gilmore hopped today in she didn't like it, so she had to lie right down in the water to make sure all her nether regions got thoroughly wet!!

Gilly's creek 

And just to scare the willies out of me, here's what I saw in The BlackSpot Of Doomlight (tm) today:

It's ba-ack

Just when you thought it was safe to not think about Christmas yet.

SSS Day 17

Peri and Gilly are so tired today. Next door there is a new kitten, he's been living there for about two months now. Peri knows about kittens and that the one that lives next door is 'OK'. Gilly is not quite sure yet. She's happy and excited and then is suddenly overwhelmed by her primal urges. I have to use my growly voice. The Labradors played with the kitten through the fence in The Forbidden Zone, on and off, for about four hours. Tonight they are sooooo sleepy!!! I think lots of playing with the kitten next door could be on the cards.

I cut out paper pattern pieces for a top today and that's all. I spent quite a lot of time looking for two lost Library books. I found one, and did quite a lot of recycling on the way. One is still missing. I know it is somewhere. I went to the Library and they gave me another two weeks' grace.

I met Mr and Mrs Irish from Trivia night at the Library, with their three children and new baby. Because their children are still small, they have lots of things for Baby Irish already, but Mrs Irish said she'd like a bigger cardigan for him, so I have started one. She expected it would be green and it is. It's the Yarn Harlot's Daisy Snake Charmer, or The Keating Cardi. I am making the 6-12 month size on the correct needles, but because I knit tightly I reckon it should average out at a 9 month size!!

Keating Cardi
I wore my Crazy Lime skirt today, and an aqua top, which I am still wearing now and I am too lazy to take off for the photo. I also wore, on a separate occasion, my Ducky Socks. 

I have quite recovered from my Post New Car Migraine and I have been busy today. The weather is warm, sunny and windy. We all hate the wind, but at least it makes it cooler.

I have quite a few new cook books and magazines and so I shall be cooking something from each of them for the foreseeable Monday Munchies future, or until Christmas is closer. Which ever comes first. I really enjoyed cooking the Top Nine AWW cakes. They were all delicious and the recipes were easy to follow and the results looked (mostly) like the pictures in the magazine, so I am very pleased. I think something from Nigella Kitchen on Monday!!!

Whilst I was idly looking at a NZ quilting shop's site today a screen with a warning popped up and said I had terrible viruses and thingies on my computer and that I should download a file to fix it. The page was a Mozilla one, but I googled the download name and it was a virus itself. My anti-virus is one that runs in the background all the time, so I did an extra scan, but there were no viruses or Trojans at all, only some cookies. So beware of the horrid tricky people who want to do nasty things to you computer. Trust No-one. (The Cigarette Smoking Man was in Human Target the other night. Ah, what memories!!)

SSS Day 16

I bought a new car today. I don't actually take possession till next week, maybe Tuesday. I took a yellow car, which was exactly the same, for a test drive with Auntie Dutch. The configuration was pretty much the same as my car but the gear stick was a bit further back so I was doing wavy stirring motions in the general direction of the gear stick at first. We drove the the dam, and it went very well up the hills, and then out the highway a little. It was quite nippy and I could slow down in fifth gear and still pull out and overtake without changing down to fourth*. The wind was gale force and gusty but the car barely moved. It feels a little strange because you can't see the end of the bonnet, but the air-con was really, really cold!!

I managed, with the sale, to secure an 11% discount and they are throwing in (so they say) the metallic paint for free, a full tank of petrol, a year's registration and all on road costs and charges. I am pretty happy. After all the excitement I ended up in bed with a slight migraine but I am up and about and feeling OK now. It was very strange in the showroom, because everyone I had to meet shook my hand and congratulated me on buying a new car. It must be some group hug car showroom thing.
  My possible car
Today I wore my As Dreams Are Made On Cardigan, knitted from sock wool.


The Labradors know the Commonwealth Games are coming up soon, so they are practising for the Synchronised Sniffing. I think they have a good chance of winning.

Synchro for the Games
Here is the knit fabric I bought last week and another dress pattern. The pattern is hard to see properly, so I've added a not very good idea set of line drawings from the envelope.

Dress for me M5752

I hope to do some sewing in the next few days. I have another skirt planned and maybe a woven fabric top as well. I will have to adjust the pattern to fit so there will have to be a toile first. I now know that knit fabric is far more forgiving, and I am going to try to sew more knit things from now on.

*The highway has two lanes in each direction!!!!

SSS Day 15

It's the half way mark of Self Stitched September. Today I wore my Pretty in Lime knitted top and my Dotty Skirt. The tops are grubby because I came home and played with grubby Labradors.

I am very tired. I went to see the Specialist today and I am no better, but no worse and so we are trying a reduction in my main drug to see if I can take fewer side effect countering drugs. But the cumulative effort of buying a new car, two visits to the hospital this week for tests and appointments and a bit of a sore throat have all combined to make me feel run down. The strange thing is that though I feel so tired, when I go to bed I lie there, unable to sleep. Since I am full of so many drugs half a little calmative tablet to help me sleep is neither here nor there I have decided.

The weather today was sunny, then there was heavy rain and wild gusty winds and then sunny weather once more. Yet just over the river- no rain at all. Here's a picture from a walk last week when Peri and Gilly were playing rowdy rebel games and running about beserkers Bonkers in the bush. There's about to be a play fight in 3,2,1....

Look out
I bought a pattern last week at The BlackSpot of DoomLight (tm). I have seen it on The Internet and it looks quite good. It can be knit or woven fabric and I might have a go at using some knit fabric again since I am on a very small roll!!

Nothing sucks seeds like a dress
I have been to visit the car 'shop' again and they do indeed have a green car and sometime tomorrow I will take it for a test drive, and then buy it. Either MrsDrWho or Auntie Dutch is coming with me, because I'd like another opinion, just because I would. I think I shall drive to the dam because that's where the car will mostly be going. I could have driven an automatic this afternoon but I have never driven one and I was feeling tired and I didn't want to dent their car. MrsDrWho was confident I could have driven it. I like her confidence.

I have so many shows stored on the DVR, they are  mounting up, I shall have to spend a day on the couch to be all caught up before it's next week already. If I was Bridget Jones I'd say 'off to Bedfordshire' but here we are more likely to go down The Goodies road to bedtime: So I'm off to 'Sleepy Bobo Land'!!

SSS Day 14

Keep Carlm and Carry On: and that's kind of what I am doing!!

I did a budget and worked out that if I gave up all the fun things in life: outings with friends, books, Trivia nights, knitting, sewing etc, I could afford a bigger car. Consequently I am now having a smaller car!! Possibly a green one. Possibly this one:

Getz There is a sale starting on Thursday, so I hope to buy my car then. It's a smaller version of the cars I looked at yesterday. Labradors will fit in the back.

Here's my afternoon outfit for Self Stitched September. Embroidered top and my Crazy Lime Skirt. Also some green shoes I found in my wardrobe, a present I think from a friend who found them op shopping? They look grubby but the pink(!!) lining is just worn out.

I acquired some green sock wool a while ago. It is pretty fabulous. I am not sure how well it will knit up into socks. This might be my next project.

Today's obligatory Labrador photos. First Peri, being very happy. About everything: the walk, the creek, being wet and muddy, she's just happy!!!

Peri is happiness

And then Lorelai Gilmore looking a bit worried. I think she can hear Peri rustling about in the bush, but can't see her. I think she looks slim.

Gilly worries
Time for bed soon. No walk tomorrow, instead I am making toasted cheese sandwiches and some little Banoffee type things with ginger-nut biscuits, caramel, banana and cream for Morning Tea with The GardyGardeners.

Today MrsDrWho, Mrs Reno and Wee Jock and Bessie's mum and I went to lunch. The building is set in a lovely Japanese style garden. I had a proper main course and then I had this: more food I can eat!!


I am glad yesterday's Monday Munchies was not too offensive, only a few chooks were offended I think. I plan to cook something from Nigella Kitchen for next week. I have still not looked at the book. Not even opened it. Life has been hectic.

"Hello Young Commenters, Wherever You Are,

I'll Reply Quite Soon, When I've Purchased A Car." 

You can sing this to Hello Young Lovers from The King and I. The Labradors and I will be answering all the lovely comments left for us soon. Be assured, be very assured!!

Monday Munchies #37

At last, a MM I can eat.  I chose this recipe because I saw Martha Stewart butterfly a chicken. This is from Donna Hay's 50th Anniversary Issue. Do not be afraid, you can butterfly a chicken in about one minute flat and decrease the roasting time by 25%, so that's very eco friendly!! I used a nice organic chicken.

Warning: raw chicken photos follow.....

First, butterfly your chicken. To do this, put the chicken breast side down, wings closest to you. Then using a pair of kitchen scissors, simply cut up one side of the backbone and then back down the other side. Discard the backbone or feed it to The Labradors.

Step 1
Turn the chicken breast side up and then press down firmly, CPR style. The chicken will flatten for you, and that's it: butterflied!!

Step 2 

Generally a 1.6kg butterflied chicken will cook at 200*C for just 45 minutes. I was amazed at how quickly it cooked.

Spice Roasted Chicken   serves 4
  • 1 tspn chilli flakes (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tspn smoked paprika
  • 1 tspn dried oregano leaves
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1.6kg chicken, butterflied

Preheat oven to 200*C. Mix the first 9 ingredients together in a bowl. Place the chicken in a baking dish and pour the mixture over, spreading it out and rubbing all over the skin.

Spice chicken
I also put in some sweet potato and potato cut into wedges and I drizzled them with a little extra oil.

Cook for 45 minutes, basting with pan juices half way through. To check if it is cooked, poke the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer and the juices should run clear.

Remove from the over, cover and rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Spice Roasted Chicken
And this week a bonus recipe, using the same ingredients bar the chilli. I had already been making this lemony chicken for a while, because it is so quick and very tasty. You use a little more paprika and a little less oil and lemon juice, but I think you could really just use the same mix for both. It must be some kind of generic spice recipe. I cut up another 1.6kg chicken into pieces after watching Martha, and I only had one small de-chickened bone left. The Labradors shared it!!

Lemon Spice Chicken  serves 4
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tspn smoked paprika
  • 1 tspn dried oregano leaves
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 tbspn  olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1.6kg chicken cut into pieces or 6-8 chicken portions
  • 4 potatoes cut into wedges
  • 1 red capsicum cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 yellow or green capsicum cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 red onion cut into 8 wedges
Preheat the oven to 200*C. Mix the first 8 ingredients together and then marinate the chicken and vegetables for an hour. This makes them taste better, but I often just rub the mixture in and put it straight into the oven and it turns out fine.

Lemon Spice Chicken

Cook for 40-45 minutes, turning pieces half way through. Serve with green salad or vegetables. You could also add some tomatoes or zucchini, carrots, almost anything you fancy being roasted. Oops, I forgot to take a photo when it was 'plated up'!!

Oops, I forgot to take a plated up photo

Happy Roasting!!!