Glimpses of August

I’m just gonna ignore the fact that there’s been a little more than a whole year till my last blog post and I’ll unceremoniously continue blogging with some glimpses of my hot big hot greek hot August.

We’re doing a bit of house painting, mainly focusing on renovating the bathroom a bit.  As always commited to diy and the lowest budget possible. I hope I can show you some results soon.

News from the garden front:  when my beloved dogs don’t destroy everything I try to grow from seed, I manage to harvest some crops. This year the lucky seeds were the Heirloom Blue Hopi Corn and the Heirloom Roma Tomatoes I got from azuredandelion at etsy. The indian corn seems to like greek climate and produced many corn cobs. Unfortunately we were late at harvesting some of them and they turned hard.  The day was saved when I found a chilli con carne recipe and added them to the mix.

a corn cob weirdo

I found this roma tomato touching the ground, so inevitably it was infested with several bugs. It’s fully ripe so I’m keeping it for next year’s seeds.

I’m trying to desing a new banner for my little etsy shop. I made this bunting using pages from an old german dictionary which I painted with watercolours. Then, I sewed each piece on a fancy ribbon and added some pink buttons. Let’s see now how this is gonna transform to a nice banner, missus.

Sad that I have to say goodbye for now, I had more photos ready to upload. But, you see my diner has arrived and it’s a greek souvlaki with an indian twist, made by an indian local restaurant and named “taj mahal”.  Bye bye!

My knitting and crochet goal…

Last year I said that I was going to crochet and knit every design from this japanese book:

And while I’m not good at keeping promises or craft goals or any goals in general,  somehow I’m keeping this up. The reason might be that it’s not a serious oath, neither something that fiddles with my everyday life and I don’t feel any pressure from it. Why do I bother with such a small goal? Well, my theory is that if I find what keeps me on completing it, then I might use the same mechanism for every abandoned goal, oath, promise (believe me, they’re so many) that I’ve had in the past and I might make them complete. Could it be that I find this particular goal easy to keep because it gives me pleasure? Could be…

Back to the book. This summer I’ve finished two more patterns from it. One for me and one for a friend. And they’re both made with the lovely Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy yarn in color 023. I love this yarn. First, it’s cool for summer, second, once washed it softens and drapes beautifully, and third, it comes in wonderful deep colors.Plus it looks like it will never be worn out or destroyed…

This time I made the front cover tunic for me. That was an excellent pattern, easy and fast! And you get a look that everyone you meet will compliment (and feel jealous if they can’t make it for themselves).

and look how cute the scalloped edges look:

The next object is one of the two hats of the book and I really believe my version came out cuter.  Here’s my friend modelling the gift:

I added a button to the crochet flower and also a pin on the back so that she can remove it and wear it somewhere else if she wants to.

And now that we’re talking about hats and this book I remembered I have actually knitted the second hat design on this book earlier this year. I made it for a Ravelry Swap prize and it’s already mailed to its new home in northern Europe.

I’ve made many changes to this pattern.  I omitted the visor and knitted ribbing at the end in order to make a simple beret.

I used undyed greek cotton that I dyed red after knitting. I think it came out quite nice and summer-y!

A reminder: all patterns can be found at the japanese book: Easy Knit Wardrode Spring / Summer (ISBN: 4529045234)

Baking with Barbie

I promised  I would post the making of the Barbie cake for the Barbie Makeover Cake contest over at Ravelry. Optional theme: Knitting. Who won? Well, all cakes were so good that we didn’t feel like voting so we all won!

I used a basic recipe for a kataifi dessert with pastry cream on top. But instead of making it flat, I baked the kataifi dough in a bowl shape and poured the cream inside. When it got firm and chilled well the whole dessert could stay in place. I made a hole in the middle, stuck the barbie inside and had fun building the decoration.

For those of you who don’t know what a kataifi dough is, it’s a type of phyllo, shredded to look like angel hair and used in sweets with nuts or with cream.  Looks like this:

I arranged it in a tall saucepan and it took a bucket shape when the baking was over…

Then made a pastry cream. The original recipe called for a simple pastry  cream, but I though that would be rather boring so I added a cup of chopped strawberries. Mmmm…

Poured the cream in the kataifi bucket and let chill in the refrigerator. Then I unmolded it and started decorating. I used only turkish delights, whipped cream and a few candy colored sprinkles here and there.

The whole concept is that Barbie’s skirt is made of yarn and she knits herself. Something like a yarn mermaid that regenarates yarn…whatever

Ready… set…eat!!!!

It was yummy!

Bits and Pieces

Posting while running to catch up with real life:

  • The second YART SALE on Etsy has just started and the shoppe is taking part in it. Free shipping on all orders and 10% discount on orders above 20%.  Check the shop for details.

  • A few (actually it’s a few and some more…) days ago Kiki from Kikidi Creations Blog asked me if she could do a small interview with me. Of course I said yes and you can read it all here.
  • The Etsy Greek Street Team is hosting its second monthly giveaway and this time I don’t think you want to miss that! A polymer clay donut ring that glows in the dark! made from Misty Aurora. Just leave a comment at the EGST Blog.

  • I’ve been busy baking and having a huge amount of kitchen fun with the Barbie Cake Makeover that’s been hosted on the Handmade Pincushion Group on Ravelry (warning ravelry link).  Since I’m not allowed to post the photos for a few more days I’m giving you a small teaser here and I promise to come back with the whole adventure documented step by step in photos!!!

Bye!

*run run run*

Cooking With Roses (or I think I can smell this post!)

You know how I am. Hm, maybe you don’t know but I’ll tell you. I don’t like wasting things. I try to reuse and recycle and of course take advantage of all the limited resources I have in hand. And that includes my garden. And that includes my roses.

Two years back mom gave me this fabulous rose plant: dark red, velvety, with roses the size of a small plate. They have the most wonderful and standard rose aroma. This year the plant has grown a lot and produces an abundance of roses. And it would be a real shame to let them just bloom and then die. I mean they’re all fresh and beautiful for the first two days but once they are ready to throw their petals they must be cut so that the next bud will grow, right? It meant I had to cut flowers every days. So I thought that there must be ways that I could use them.  Well, I’m not very much into dried flowers crafts but I’m into cooking.

First I got the idea of adding roses to the strawberry jam I was about to make. A quick search on the internet showed I was not the only one who have thought of it (of course not). So I used my basic strawberry jam recipe from Blue Ribbon Preserves by Linda J. Amendt and added  3 large roses.

I can only show you the result, but it’s only half the joy. The other half is smelling it and tasting it. Spell delicious for me, will you?

The roses were keep coming each day so the next thing I thought was “Rose Flavored Sugar”. This time I couldn’t find a recipe I liked on the web, so I just put two pounds of organic raw cane sugar in a large jar  and added petals from two roses inside. Now I shake my jar a couple of times everyday, while I’m dancing cha-cha. I’m waiting for the roses to leave all their aroma in the sugar filled jar. Maybe a month or so.

Then I needed another project that I could keep open ended, while more roses are coming. Rose Liqueur! I browsed some recipes and I found out that I’ll need approximately a dozen  of roses for a quart of spirit.  Took another large clean jar, added the spirit (100-proof vodka) and two roses (the petals). Two days later I opened it and added the next two roses. I will keep doing so, until I throw enough roses inside or until my plant stops producing them. Meanwhile I keep my jar in a dark and cool place and shake it each time I add a rose.

See how the old roses on the bottom layer have lost their color to the spirit?  Amazing huh? It happens in a few hours. And the aroma of this liqueur is very promising….

I plan to leave it there for a month (or two) then make a simple sugar syrup and add it, while tasting to reach the right sweetness level

Basic Tips if you want to try cooking with roses yourself:

a) use only roses that are unsprayed and not treated with pesticides. These chemicals are very dangerous to your health. And our planet. Why use them in the first place . Don’t use standard commercial roses. They are full of chemicals. You can use organically grown certified roses. Ask the vendor first.

b) cut off the lower white part of the petals. It’s supposed to be bitter and gives a bad aftertaste. At least that’s what I’ve read. And I don’t want to find it out.

c) make sure your roses are clean and without bugs. wash them if necessary and leave them to dry completely before using.

d) pick up varieties with a strong aroma. and pick them early in the morning. their aroma is much stronger!

Don’t forget to have fun. And if you think of another way to use roses in the kitchen, let me know!

Things I find while bicycling. 2+

A field full of flowers! Basically it is an olive tree field, but the owner also planted all these beautiful spring flowers in rows. Amazing! The smell gets you even before you can see it in front of you…

Don’t you love spring? And one more thing. There are so many blossoms  and roses and passion flowers  and a cherry tree on my garden right now. They all make me happy and I love to just look at them. But nothing makes me happier than my two apple trees! One is red the other is granny smith variety. And they make little apples. I mean real apples! And they make me smile each time I look at them! Maybe because I was told I couldn’t have apple trees because I live too close to the sea. But I do have them for three years now! And they have blossoms this time of year…

Go Grab a Giveaway!

The Etsy Greek Street Team of which I’m a proud member, is having its first giveaway. egst-giveaway-01

This month a gorgeous pair of earrings made by my talented friend Evrydiki could be yours! You just have to leave a comment at the EGST blog.

Don’t just sit here, go grab a giveaway!