Sunday, February 21, 2010

Saturday Projects

I'm so very nearly finished Nate and JJ's jumpers. Sewing the bits together is my least favourite part of knitting, hence why it's taken me two weeks between knitting all the parts and sewing the shoulders together to knit the collar (which I did mid-week - two full evenings!). Yesterday I did charts for their names/initials as I want to embroider (if that's the correct term?) N8 and JJ onto the pockets, which will then be sewn onto the left sleeve. The 'JJ' was easy to chart; 'N8' not so much! But I think it will be fine. I WILL finish the jumpers entirely by mid-week and am hoping to post them off by Wednesday. 
Hagos and I had such fun fixing our oven yesterday. It's been bust since before Christmas. First the fan spectacularly blew up (while baking bread), then the element broke too. So we've been without an oven, without home-made bread and biscuits and ROAST CHICKENS, for too long.

When we started out cooperating yesterday it initially wasn't going so well. I think we're both used to being in control and figuring out the best way of doing things, and our styles were clashing. But once I understood the mechanics of what we were trying to do (instead of just holding a screwdriver and following orders) we got on much better and pooled our thinking and problem-solving skills. Something we're good at. It took us a good hour and a half and we laughed a lot.

So I had to test it out and quickly made these Mrs Beeton's chocolate chip cookies. Having an oven is such a simple thing and something we take for granted, but being without really made me appreciate what having it means.

The cookies were ready for our nightly episode of the wonderful FIREFLY. Delicious!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Postcards from Penguin

So, I love books and I love stationery. You can imagine my excitement when I discovered 100 Postcards from Penguin - postcards of book covers! What a blisteringly great idea. 
They arrived this morning, and I love them all. There are postcards of book covers for every occasion.
I tried to choose four of my favourites to photograph, and had to stop when I reached eleven. I really love the old-fashioned simple orange and (off-)white covers with the title and author, but also the more progressive covers. The colours are beautiful. And aesthetically, this is what book covers should be. Not awful, scrappy-montage rubbish on shiny paper, but covers designed with only the book in mind, using wonderful colours and a matt finish.  
One of the postcards even matched my favourite mug! There are a few postcards I don't think I'll ever be able to part with. The postcard of A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, and Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl are so distinct and easily-identifiable.

Okay, I need to calm down and get back to work :)

Saturday, February 06, 2010

A wet, cold, muddy exhilarating bike ride

I've been wanting to get back out on my bike for the last week or so, and this morning - unusually for a Saturday - I woke up full of beans and determined to get out before Hagos and I went into town for brunch. It was so amazing to be out in the fresh air as the countryside whizzed by. I'm really looking forward to spring and summer.
After we'd had lunch at Frank's Bar (again) Hagos and I went our separate ways to shop, before meeting back at the car to come home again. I wanted to spend some time in the library looking for all things Martin Amis*, but I took a detour down a street that had an Oxfam shop on it, and in the window were a load of Ladybird books. I've long wished my very generous mother had kept my books and toys instead of giving them away, so I was really excited to come across this version of Sleeping Beauty, that I had as a kid.
I was trying to get a photo of the bride at the end, which I thought was beautiful at the time, but my ever-present 'helper' had to stand on it, as she stands or sits on everything I do. She is gorgeous though.

*Martin Amis has just published The Pregnant Widow, his first fiction book in seven years. I read Time's Arrow a few years ago and really loved it, and I read his memoir, Experience, too, and I dip in and out of The War Against Cliche, but I haven't read any other of his fiction, and I really want to read The Pregnant Widow, based on several interviews I've seen and read with him recently. So I got several of his books out of the library today and will make my way through them. I think I might still have to order his latest from my friends at Amazon though.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Potatoes aplenty!

I was very excited to collect my potatoes from my friend Ba yesterday. She had researched, deliberated and chosen the best varieties - did an amazing spreadsheet - and was kind enough to ask if I wanted 'in'. 

So we have 1st earlies: Swift and Pentland Javelin; 2nd earlies: Wiljers and Charlottes; and main crop: Pink Fir Apples. VERY exciting. I can almost feel the heat of spring and summer just looking at them (while sitting in front of the fire).