Advent, Advent, ein Lichtlein brennt

November 30, 2009 § 5 Comments

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First Advent weekend, and we decorated the hell out of our flat, and consumed copious amounts of hot wine and homemade cocoa, and apart from that, I just sat around and knit. All weekend. Which, in my case, means from Thursday to Sunday.

Good times.

There’s only a single room that doesn’t have some degree of ludicrous Christmas ornamentation, and that’s Michael’s. There’s fairy lights in the bathroom. No kidding.

My favorite part, though, is the garland over the doorway. It’s very… dramatic.

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And due to those babies, I kept wanting to turn off the hallway light, only to realize it was, in fact, not turned on.

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They’re blinding. In the kitchen, it’s a bit more toned down – there’s fairy lights around the big storage rack that extend all the way across the hanging cabinets, and there’s about 20 empty wine bottles up there…

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But, in effect, the whole apartment is all sparkly and pretty cleaned up, too – with the notable exception of my desk, but even the chaos on there is more toned down than usual. Sigh.

Any way, the knitting I did this weekend: I finished the Amber Waves of Zombies, I just need to block it and then graft it together. After that, I was itching for socks, and I finished one of the Neverending Socks of Doom, to get some DPNs free. Then I cast on a sock for Saskia.

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Zitron Trekking XXL, 2.5mm bamboo DPNs, stitch pattern from the Amelia Earhart Aviator Cap, changing direction every third time I start a needle with k2. It’s very… squishy. Not as prominent as I’d hoped, but it’s entertaining, and it’s going pretty fast.

And then last night, I decided what I am absolutely lacking is a big comfy beanie for bad hair days, so I cast on a Classic World War II Watch Cap where I’m about halfway up the 2×2 rib. Which is nice, especially since I only started it yesterday.

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It’s nice to finally use the yarn (Stahl Big Wool) – I bought it, I assume, about 1.5 years ago? I remember messing around with it the beginning of my first semester, wanting to make elf-toed slippers or somesuch, but I gave up on that for some reason. Possibly because I don’t wear slippers. So, yeah. Squooshy and awesome.

What else? I guess my life is kinda boring right now (then again, when isn’t it? and I still find plenty of things to blog about), so… yeah. Knitting, decorating, not much cooking, my parents are coming next week, I discovered cool music… oh!

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Thing is, when I discover a new fandom… I go all the way. I immerse myself in it. I try to find out everything there is to know (birth dates, heights, pets, random references come to mind), I usually read tons of fanfic, I check out other things the people involved have done. Which leads to a ridiculously broad range of movies that I download, a lot of random information pushing actual knowledge out of my brain. My interests branch – I discovered Goethe’s Faust because I was a total Bela B. fan, I started knitting again because I wanted to make a Weasley Sweater, and so on.

And I might change fandoms like other people change underwear, but almost always, I take music with me. Which is a bit of a no-brainer when I’m fangirling bands (like Die Ärzte), but it also happened with Harry Potter (some of the songs from the Cartographer’s Craft soundtrack are still among my favorites), and Torchwood/ Doctor Who (cause Murray Gold’s music is awesome), and Supernatural… well.

Supernatural has all the music my parents love and listen to, and I’m downloading tons of songs they play on the show, so on the one hand, I’m taking with me a lot of classic rock. Then again, the radio station permanently locked on our kitchen radio is a classic rock station, and has been since Saskia moved in here, so it kind of doesn’t count, I guess?

But man, Steve Carlson… he’s a singer-songwriter, and a friend of Jensen’s, I guess, and apparently they’ve written some music together? And it’s this really… chilled-out, friendly country thing that makes me miss summer and hanging out at the beach and just chilling out in the sun. I’ve had Wasted Jamie on loop for the last two days, and I got the album, and it’s just… nice, friendly, upbeat feel-good music.

I’m taking that with me.

Hangin’ tough, staying hungry

November 27, 2009 § 4 Comments

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So! It’s Christmas. Officially. Well, not officially, but our flat looks like Santa Claus’ workshop threw up in here, so yeah, it’s Christmas.

We spent all day decorating – we’re still not done, there’s still a ton littering the floor of the hallway, but Saskia’s off to dancing class, and I’m not touching her stuff. It was like spring cleaning, except for the fact that it’s almost winter; we cleaned windows and vacuumed every last square inch and I’m gonna mop once Saskia gets her crap sorted, so, yeah. Good times.

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We did the whole shebang, with music and scented candles and lots of spiced wine and reverential unpacking of Saskia’s big-ass crate full of stuff. The only thing that didn’t add particularly to the Christmassy mood  – and this is such a silly thing to complain about – was that the weather was gorgeous the whole day.

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We also discovered that we have way too many mugs. This is certainly not a new discovery, but it’s the first time absolutely every single one of our mugs, with the recent addition of the Christmas Market mugs and the ones that came with the spiced wine, was clean and in the cupboard.

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There’s also six more mugs (that came with the Saskia’s tableware set) and of course the espresso cups, and the two yellow ones that belong to my tea pot and… we have too many mugs.

Home in the valley
Home in the city

 

Also, a word on Ruba’iyat. I’m making good progress, almost halfway done with the second chart, which is nice. Even though the pattern doesn’t show quite as much as I’d like, which is partly due to the lighter specks in the brown yarn. Which I don’t particularly mind, it brings some motion into the whole thing. Also, there may not be quite enough contrast between the red and the brown, but I’m not ripping back. Cause the biggest problem with these mitts is, surprisingly enough, my lack of skill when it comes to colorwork.

There, I admitted it. Give me stripes, give me cables, give me short rows, give me lace, and I’ll rock it. Really. But with colorwork, I have tension issues, I knit unevenly, and I consider it nothing short of a miracle that Opus Spicatum came out the way it did.

And Ruba’iyat… I mean, it’s not terrible. I’ve made worse, and I’ve definitely seen worse. It’s to a point where I’m pretty sure most of the uneven spots will block out to some extent, too. But still, it’s frustrating to get your ass kicked by a mitten when you just finished a ginormous lace shawl that came out close to perfect.

Maybe I’ll just put the mittens aside for a bit and finish my mom’s Amber Waves. The rows on that are 10 stitches shorter, take me about half the time, and I can watch a movie. I need a movie.

I wish SPN and Grey’s Anatomy weren’t on hiatus.

Here in Heaven

November 26, 2009 § 5 Comments

Call me God, cause I just gave an angel wings and hung the stars.

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(or, you know, call me Dean, cause I just tied up and humiliated Cas. Take your pick.)

It’s a bit pale, I admit that, but I upped the contrast as much as I could without making it look entirely ridiculous, and so… yeah. It’s not quite as grainy as it looks in the photo, though.

Yay, Castiel Christmas decoration! Only took me about 3.5 hours.

Not-so-yay leftovers I have to now clean up.

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On the other hand, I’m possibly the only person who hangs stars with butter-soft laceweight baby alpaca. And that’s probably as close to heaven as I’ll ever get.

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(Also, I started the Ruba’iyat mittens last night. They’re… intense, to say the least. 2.25mm Harmonies, plant-dyed red and exclusive Zitron Handart brown, both fingering weight)

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Don’t even fix a price

November 25, 2009 § 4 Comments

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I spent about four and a half hours today puttering around in the kitchen, baking, cleaning, cooking, eating, and carefully stacking my cookies into tins. My back hurts, I’m beat… and I couldn’t be happier.

Man. I rocked them cookies.

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SCHOKOLIS

250 g butter
1 pack vanilla sugar
100 g confectioner’s sugar
250 g corn starch
75 g all-purpose flour
30 g baking cocoa
Filling: 100 g hazelnuts

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Beat butter until creamy. Add vanilla sugar and confectioner’s sugar, then the mix of starch, flour and cocoa. Stir first, then switch to kneading. Form rolls with a 2 cm diameter, then cut into 1 cm slices. Add one hazelnut to every slice and form a ball with the nut in the middle. Lay out on a cookie sheet and bake at 180°C for 15-20 minutes. Let the cookies cool off in a strainer or on a rack, then dip into chocolate.

**

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VIENNESE VANILLA CRESCENTS

a)
50 g almonds (ground)
50 g hazelnuts (ground)
280 g all-purpose flour
70 g sugar
200 g butter
2 egg yolks
1 pinch of salt

b)
5 packs vanilla sugar
½ cup confectioner’s sugar

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Mix all a) ingredients together and knead quickly into a firm dough. Wrap in cling foil and let the dough rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Roll dough into cylinders as thick as a pencil, cut into 5 cm/ 2 inch pieces and form into crescents. Bake for 10 minutes until golden.

Mix vanilla sugar and confectioner’s sugar. Dip the crescents into the sugar mixture while they’re still hot, then let them cool on a rack.

Zwischen Mehl und Milch

November 25, 2009 § 4 Comments

Advent is just on our doorstep, and since my first Advent weekend has just started, I decided to bake some cookies. Two kinds, both perennial favorites in my family: tons of Schokolis and vanilla crescents are traditionally baked around this time, and then just before Christmas, we have to rebake because they’re mysteriously all gone.

The Schokolis are all but done – they’re little chocolatey balls with a hazelnut inside, and all that’s left to do is for them to cool off enough so I can coat them with chocolate. Mmh. The dough for the vanilla crescents is still resting in the fridge, and as soon as I’m done messing around with the chocolate, I’m making those.

So, by far, I’m still not done – but I have some downtime right now, cause you don’t hurry cooling – but I wanted to share a couple of impressions from the last day or so, cause the Christmas market opened last night and… Christmas is coming, baby!

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Christian, yours truly, and Saskia, just before we got kinda smashed on hot cider. | Augusteum in the morning light

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Adjusting my color scheme.

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Hazelnuts prior to roasting | baking cocoa

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Beating butter till my arms hurt. Beating butter, by the way, is not a euphemism. I wish!

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Roasted hazelnuts | Schokolis not quite as Prussian and orderly as I would’ve liked them to be

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There’s a reason my family always makes at least a double batch.

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Yesterday sucked, sunset-wise (and generally weather-wise, let’s be honest), but today… man.

Oh! And also… the original Winchester Washcloth charts.

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Red and green just contrast well, it’s not Christmas colors on purpose | After dicking around with the big ones for what felt like forever, I decided to do some actual math for the small one.

When in your ear a banana cheers

November 23, 2009 § 2 Comments

It’s been a while since I baked, for no reason at all (except laziness and general sloth).

But today? I made some kick-ass banana bread. This recipe with a few mods – less butter, way more flour, and instead of vanilla sugar, cinnamon. Maybe next time, I’ll mash up one or two of the bananas, but honestly? Perfect moisture, perfect crumble, perfect crust. AMAZING taste. Good times.

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Plate-lickin’ good times.

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(Yes, I have a Spongebob plate. And a matching mug and cereal bowl. Shut up.)

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And to complement it, Starbucks Passion tea. With hibiscus and tart rosehips and passion fruit and all kinds of awesome stuff. In one of my favorite mugs. The one that says ‘high tide’ on the top…

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… and ‘low tide’ on the bottom.

So, yes. Good times. My hands smell all buttery. And… and I think I’m gonna burst.

So much more than you’re used to

November 23, 2009 § 1 Comment

I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve this…

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… but someone, somewhere in the universe likes me enough to grant me beautiful sunsets like this.

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