Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Shoes from Palmerston North

And very cool new tights from England.

The second day of my recent visit to Palmerston North my friends and I went into town to go to their weekly pub lunch. I was wearing my purple-with-green-braid-pattern-up-the-back tights and these shoes …

… Just as we pulled up to the pub I happened to notice that the leather on my shoe had split, just at the base of the big toe on my right foot, where a bunion would be if I had one.

There happens to be a mall full of shoe shops just across the road from this particular pub, so I ran across intending to get some cheap but whole shoes that I could wear for the rest of the day. Anyway, I was about to purchase a pair of black flats when I saw these:

The flowers on the sides of those wide elastic straps are exactly the same colours as my purple-etc tights. It was a sign that I had to have them, even though it meant walking around motorbike workshops for the rest of the day in 3 inch heels. They are, however, wedges, and uncommonly comfortable for heels that high. I have actually worn them since while going for lunchtime exercise walks!

They also go rather well with my new tights from England that look like skyscrapers.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A quick update

I have been really busy just lately. I went away to a motorbike club 40th anniversary a couple of weeks back and caught up with some people I hadn't seen in decades, then came back to a lot of work to catch up on.

I took some panforte and Italian almond cookies with me as a gift for the friends I stayed with:

The cookies are sort of an Italian version of macaroons. They are just meringue with quite a lot of ground almonds mixed in, whole almonds pressed into the tops, then baked until hard and dry.

I finished my Aran sweater just after I got back …

… and then started designing the next project …

… which is to be a Fair Isle cardigan. I cast on the stitches yesterday and have done the bottom ribbing and half the first pattern band. I planned the design on an iPad app called RectPaint. It's supposed to be for small children to draw blocky pictures with but works quite well for Fair Isle - I just wish it had more, and variable, colours. I had to design it in horrible colours then import the resulting graphics into Gimp so I could replace them with the colours of the wool. I am sorely tempted to have a go at writing an app to design Fair Isle with myself.

I have done a little bit of cooking, and have photos which I MUST get around to posting about - including some new shoes!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


I didn't know what to do with all the grapes from my vine. They're only little ones, but very flavoursome, so I decided to try turning them into raisins.

Firstly I washed them …

… then I picked them off the bunches …

… leaving this pile of twigs:

I spread them out on  an oven rack covered in muslin …

… and put them in the oven, set at 50°C on fan, to dry. I turned them over a few times during the two days it took, and I eventually ended up with …

… currants! Now I know what sort of grapes they are. I think in America they call these things Zante currants, but we just call them currants. They are probably the most expensive currants ever made when you take into account the electricity used to dry them, so I'll have to think of something extra special to do with them.

Not cooking much

And this is why:

It's my first effort at designing a whole jersey and knitting it in one bit without seams. As you can see, I've knitted the body in the round up to the armholes, I've split it and finished knitting the back, and I've made a good start on the rest of the front. After I cast the shoulder fronts and backs off together I'll pick up stitches around the armholes and knit the sleeves down towards the wrists. I want to get it finished so I can wear it this winter, not next. It took me ages to decide what patterns to put on it, I was having problems envisioning them together. I'm pleased with how it looks though.

Another reason for not cooking much is I'm still trying not to eat too much. My weight loss came to a screaming halt despite me eating only 1200 Cal per day net. No weight lost at all for about three weeks. Very disheartening. However, I gave my body a bit of a shock last weekend by eating these …

…on Good Friday. Four for breakfast, three for lunch, two for snacks, and three for dinner. Quite a few calories, but still not enough to put my weekly average into weight-gain territory, and lo and behold, I've started losing again.

I also finally got sick of my two jars of fig jam sitting on the bench unlabelled, so I opened up my Avery Label software and made these:

The jam is now where it should be; on a pantry shelf.