Friday, August 20, 2010

FO: double-v cardigan

Well, it took a few months but I finally finished it - my double-v cardigan! It is a pattern found in Interweave Knits Spring 2010, by Melissa Wehrle.I knit it as written, and it turned out perfectly, exactly as expected. The pattern was well written and the lace pattern was easy to memorize. Of course, reading "Do this while doing this and at the same time do that" is always difficult but I'm getting used to it after trying to do less simplistic patterns. The real tricky part was decreasing over rows where the stitch count was inconsistent. You really had to think about how many stitches to decrease, and I ended up re-doing half of one of the fronts because I decreased it a different amount from the other front.
The yarn is Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy - a mix of hemp, cotton and rayon. It is extremely light and in combination with the lace, is a very light and breezy sweater. The yarn is a bit tough in the beginning but softens up nicely with use, and with washing.
All in all, I love it!

newfoundland treats

I had the most delicious dessert in Newfoundland. I asked for the recipe, and was shocked at the ingredients ... this square is all over the internet already so I thought I'd post the recipe. It's not healthy, but it's dead easy (you don't even need a measuring cup) and scrumptious!

Newfoundland Skor Squares

Ingredients:
1 box Ritz crackers
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 bag Skor chipits
1 tub vanilla icing

Crush Ritz crackers. Add condensed milk and half the bag of chipits. Mix together, and press into 9x11 inch greased pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, then cool. Mix together the icing and the rest of the chipits. Spread on top. Cut into squares. Enjoy!

newfoundland

We spent a week in Newfoundland this July. It was a hell of a time getting there, but once we were there, we really enjoyed it. The purpose of the trip was to attend a wedding, which was very lovely, but we spent the first six days just the two of us, travelling around the Avalon Peninsula. There was a lot of small towns, friendly people, deep fried fish, and beautiful scenery.

I thought I'd put up some of my favorite pictures from the trip. Enjoy!Path along the cliff at Signal Hill in St. John's. We did the 4k hike down the cliffs and back up in our flip flops. Not on purpose ...
The Battery in St. John's, very neat to walk through all the houses.Cliffs at Cape Spear, the Easternmost point in Canada. Very beautiful.Fin whales in the Atlantic Ocean, outside the St. John's harbour. We saw about 10 whales on this boat tour.

Humpback whale diving in the Atlantic Ocean, near Cape Spear. They kept diving over and over again to give us a good tail shot! It was a really nice boat tour, the weather was beautiful, we were on the ocean for the sunset.


Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve, a bird sanctuary at the southern tip of the peninsula. My pictures don't do it justice. It was so beautiful, so amazing. There will millions of birds all along the cliffs. You could walk right to the edge and look out over the ocean. It was so breathtaking, especially with the fog.

All in all a great trip, if you are ever waaay out east, it is worth seeing. We loved St. John's as well, a vibrant and exciting little town!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cupcakes and Buttercream

I just finished a post on running, and now I'm going to write a post on delicious baking!

I volunteered to make dessert for a get together on the weekend. As usual, I defaulted to cupcakes. I really wanted to try a recipe from my Martha Stewart Cupcakes book, but it was not chocolate. And everyone loves chocolate. So I thought I'd make two kinds of cupcakes. Now, I'm not that self destructive, so I made a half batch of each for a total of 18 cupcakes, which is entirely reasonable. :)

My friend recently brought me back a package of vanilla beans from Bali, and I've been wanting to try them out.
So, the first batch was Orange Vanilla Bean cupcakes from Martha Stewart Cupcakes. I thought this would be a great opportunity to try out the vanilla beans! Here is a picture of the original:
You see that she has even caramelized orange slices for the topping. I did not, as I am no Martha! I thought these ones were very nice. Strong orange flavor with a hint of vanilla. They turned out very well.

The second batch was Red Velvet cupcakes from Cupcakes Galore. They were originally 4th of July cupcakes with red, white and blue decorations. Once again I did not do this. They were nice and moist (and RED!) but not chocolaty enough. This could be because I just attended a wedding with a red velvet wedding cake that was literally LITERALLY the BEST CAKE I'VE EVER EATEN. Sorry, just had to yell. It was that good. So, clearly, these ones did not live up to it. I think they are nice and red because there was not much cocoa, but consequently, there was not much chocolate flavor.

I used Swiss Meringue Buttercream for the icing on both. The Swiss Meringue Buttercream was creamy and perfect and everyone loved it. I don't care for it, since I'm not a butter person, so I probably won't make it again. But it did work well for both cupcakes.

Here is a picture of how they did turn out!Yum! Next post, travelling and some knitting updates! Big updates!

review: Garmin Forerunner 110W

Well, I finally got my belated birthday present from T! It is a few months late but it only came out recently in Canada and I've had a tough time finding it in stock. But now I have it, and I used it on my run today, so I thought I'd give it a quick review.

The Garmin Forerunner 110W is a GPS sports watch/heart rate monitor. It's supposed to be targeted towards beginner/casual runners, as there are no programs on board. It's very simple. It gives you distance, time, average lap pace and heart rate. It gets the satellite signal in under 30 seconds, which is very fast. Ask me how I know that is fast (damn Tom Tom).

Although it is a decently small GPS watch, it is still quite large on my "dainty" wrist. However, the band can be sized as small as you want so it fits nice and snug. The heart rate monitor on the other hand was too big. Even for the woman's size, at the smallest setting it is still loose around my chest (or rather, under-chest). I solved this problem by tucking it under the band of my sports bra and it stayed put during the run. However, it did feel like it was going to come off the entire run.

As for the watch itself, I personally loved it. I had auto lap set to 1km, so it showed my pace over 1km. While not exactly current pace, it was enough to see when I was speeding up or slowing down. It beeped to let me know when I hit the km markers. Maybe because I've been running without a watch lately - not knowing how far or how long I run - but it was exactly what I have been wanting.

I still have to figure out the full features of the Garmin Connect website, but in short, you upload the data from your run and that is when you see all the details. It shows you your real pace, elevation, distance, heart rate, calories, maps out your course, etc etc. Fantastic. You can track all your runs in a calendar, do comparisons, run reports and more.

I feel like I'm trying to sell this watch. I'm really not. I just am not a gadget person (as much as my profession / possession of tons of electronics would suggest) and the previous Garmin GPS watches just seemed too complicated for me, with way too many features that I'd never use. When they came out with this one, I was sold immediately. I just had to wait a few months for it to be released!