This was the third year for the Twist Fibre festival in Québec, but a first time for me. Thanks to Sue, I finally got to see what all the fuss was about. It was small but packed full of quality vendors. Among other things, Twist features mainly local yarn, fibre, and other materials. I came away with a few very very nice purchases.
I was really excited to see that Laura Sheppard’s Handmade Pottery was there, so I picked up a mug. Much better to purchase in person. It is beautifully crafted.
For someone as busy as I am, I have spent a surprisingly small amount of time and energy exploring the events going on in Ottawa since I moved here in 2007. I was very excited when my friend Stephanie invited me to an an outdoor movie night at Rideau Hall.
They set up a screen on the grounds and hundreds of people showed up for a free screening of The Grand Seduction; an English adaptation of the French Canadian film. We had such a great time. There was free popcorn, beverages provided by a local Scout troop, and even the weather cooperated. The Governor General, David Johnston, said a few words then we all sang Happy Birthday to the director. It was really really nice.
I even managed to get some knitting done. It was pretty cold, and it got dark so I had to put it away eventually.
I finished it a few days later and it turned out perfectly!
Recipe: Strawberry Banana Trifle with homemade pudding
I set out to make a simple dessert, but it ended up being a bit more complicated that I’d intended. It still turned out fabulously, so I’m not really complaining. I bought the angel food cake at the grocery store, but the whipped cream and pudding mix I made from scratch.
I substituted for the corn starch and added vanilla when mixing up the pudding on the stove. Potato starch was a little “glutonous” in the end, I wish I had used tapioca or rice starch but it still worked.
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup starch (tapioca, corn… I used potato)
3/4 dry milk powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a medium bowl mix together all dry ingredients with a whisk.
Combine 2 cups of milk with 1/2 cup of pudding mix in a medium saucepan over high heat, whisking constantly.
Bring to a boil, and then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer and continue whisking until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon (about 3 to 5 minutes).
Let sit for at least 5 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
I’m really happy I was able to go to knit night last week since I won’t be able to go for a few weeks. I had ordered yarn (through Jen) from knitpicks.com and it came in, which means this will soon become Christmas stockings. And by soon I mean sometime in the next year.
After watching the sadness that was a lonely guinea pig, we found someone on Kijiji who was giving away their guinea pig. This is the little girl we brought home on Thursday night. We named her Spike, which is better than “The Nameless One” as we were calling her before. I’m guessing her age at around 2, based on weight. She is very active, really likes her hay, and has a very good understanding of how towel layers work.
After work last Friday we drove to KW for a weekend visit. As always, it was equal parts lovely and exhausting. We didn’t get in until nearly 2AM on Saturday, so I opted not to go for my usual run. After catching up with my mom, we spent the day with my friend Alex while she worked on her costume for a convention coming up. Dinner at My-Thai with Darcy, Ellen, Stela, Heather, Alex, and Chris was so nice. We had a really nice time with everyone.
The impetus for the weekend visit was a family reunion. I am so happy I was able to go this year. That’s two years in a row now. I’m grateful that Chris has been so supportive about increasing our trips to KW.
And in case you live under a rock, Guardians of the Galaxy was so freaking amazing. I want to go and see it again. And again. And again!
The sweater I’m working on is full of modifications, and I can’t wait to be finished it, but in the meantime I’ve started a hat that is already looking really nice. The pattern is Rikke by Sarah Young. I’ve knit it before and I love this pattern. The yarn choice is extremely important because it has to have the right stretch and drape. I’m confident Madelinetosh will work well.
While I was visiting family this weekend, my mom let me taste these amazing treats she had made. They were so very very good, that I feel the desperate need to share the recipe with everyone I know.
Ingredients 1 cup (dry) old-fashioned oats (can use gluten-free)
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (can use dairy-free)
1/2 cup natural almond butter (or any other nut butter)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/3 cup raw honey
1 tsp. organic vanilla
Directions: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Roll into 1 inch balls and place in air tight container in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
Watching Buttercup, our lone guinea pig, is very sad. We can tell she is mourning the loss of her “herd” so we have been giving her lots of special attention. When I make my lunch in the morning, I make sure to give her a few extra treats beyond her usual baby carrot. Today it was a strawberry, a snap pea, and couple pieces of pepper. We are keeping our eye out for middle-aged, female guinea pigs to pop up at the Humane Society.
The weekend was very very full. We attended a housewarming for some very good friends who moved into a new apartment with significantly more space than their old one. They even acquired a new, very blind kitty.
Our weekend was rounded off on Sunday where we met with a bunch of our friends in Orleans with their kids. We had a potluck lunch then wandered over to the park to watch the kids play on the splash-pad while we caught up. We had a really nice day that ended with dinner and a visit with some other friends.
We took advantage of the holiday Monday and bought a new BBQ. Our old one was starting to get a bit rusted out. Super excited to get it hooked up so we can try it out!
KW visit this weekend
We are going to a family reunion this weekend, so hopefully we’ll be able to catch up with some friends on Saturday since we’ll be in town. I’ll have my phone on me so send me a text. There are tentative plans to go to a park with Alex and Kyla on Saturday, so maybe we can do something with other people Saturday evening.
School is going really well. I’m now halfway through my course, and received a higher grade than I expected on my last assignment. YAY! I needed something to feel good about, since my run on Saturday didn’t go very well. I think it was too hot and humid, which I guess I’m not used to. I was only able to run about half of what I can usually manage. I’m going to try and get out another morning this week to make up for it.
I thought I had finished my sweater, but I now think the sleeves are too tight/long, and the body is too short/wide. I guess I’ll have to rip it back to fix it, which sucks but seems necessary.
Recipe: Summer Veggies in a Basil Cream Sauce with Lemony Linguine and Pine Nuts
This summer pasta was a little bit complicated, but it was extremely tasty. I’m not a huge fan of squash, so I switched it up with some yellow peppers and it turned out really well. I’ll definitely make this one again!
Veggies and cream sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ lb squash, cut into half-moon slices
½ lb zucchini, cut into half-moon slices
½ pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
⅛ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add squash, zucchini, and garlic; cook 5 to 6 minutes or until browned and vegetables are tender.
Add tomatoes, salt and pepper; cook 2 minutes. Remove vegetable mixture from pan.
Add cream, Parmesan, and basil to skillet; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.
Return vegetable mixture to skillet, and simmer 5 minutes or until sauce is thickened.
Lemony Linguine with Pine Nuts
6 oz uncooked linguine
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1 green onion, sliced
¼ teaspoon grated lemon rind
Cook linguine according to package directions; drain.
Combine linguine, olive oil, pine nuts, green onion and lemon rind in a serving bowl; toss well.
Note: Toast pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, stirring frequently.
I learned something new last night that I feel the desperate need to impart upon you. Whomever you are.
So we were watching episode 12 of Young Justice, as you do, and this new character shows up: Captain Marvel. Obviously this sparked a discussion about how there can possibly be a Captain Marvel in a show set in the DC universe. I mean, come on!
Anyway, so the logical next step is Wikipedia, where I learned all sorts of fascinating things. Like how at one point in time, Captain Marvel was more popular than Superman. And that Captain Marvel is actually a little boy who is lured into a dark tunnel by a strange man, where he says the magic words “Shazam!” to transform himself into a full grown man.
I just don’t have the words. None. I don’t have a single one. I was all set to hate him but in the end I wasn’t able to. He was too amazing.
The hardest thing about having moved away from my hometown kind of surprised me in the end. Of course I miss the people: my family and friends. But I’ve found that when I’m homesick, what I am homesick for no longer exists. Sometimes my visits home actually leave me feeling even more detached than before I arrived.
That’s why it’s been so important for me to maintain personal relationships with those people. It’s become really important to remind myself that what I really miss is the people, not the place.
So in the interest of maintaining those connections, I got together online with some friends back home for a bit of a nerd-fest. We watched the new Sailor Moon Crystal reboot together online with synced up video and Google voice chat. It was wonderful, and we’re going to do it again in a few weeks.
My English course is going really well. I submitted assignment #4 last week and am keeping a pretty good pace. I’ve done a good job of getting ahead during the week so that I don’t have to worry about course-work on the weekends.
Last weekend was the first one in awhile where I wasn’t overbooked. The only thing I had was the Sailor Moon Crystal online party with my friends, other than that I went for a run, did some cooking, and did a crap tonne of laundry (so exciting!).
I even managed to do some knitting. I finished a project I’ve been working on since December and I’m so excited to show it off. I’ve been wanting to knit a Christmas tree skirt for years, and now I have.
There was a bit of a dark spot this week. One of our two guinea pigs, Fessik stopped eating and then passed away. The vet couldn’t find anything wrong with her. We had her on anti-biotics, but I guess she was already too sick. Goodnight, sweet piggy. We will miss you.
Do you ever have one of those moments when you realize just how privileged you really are? My life is so full right now that I can barely breathe, and it’s equal parts exhausting and amazing. Right now, this is happening:
I can’t believe how quickly this is coming together. I was expecting the deck to take a few weeks, but it looks like it’s going to be done in a matter of days. There’s going to be some stairs going in on the left, and rails all around, and some lattice at the bottom to keep the animals from nesting. I’m going to have to book in a back yard deck-warming party to celebrate.
We had a really nice weekend camping at Murphy’s Point. It’s been a really bad year for mosquitos and I’m bitten all over, but it was worth it. We had a nearly perfect weekend. It only rained briefly while we slept, and otherwise it was sunny and just warm enough. It was a beautiful day on Saturday. I always do a bit of campfire cooking. This time we did one-pot pasta that ended up more like soup, and I brought some granola that I had made the week before.
Since I usually do my running on Saturday mornings, I didn’t get to do it this weekend. I’ll probably suffer for it next weekend. We spent a lot of time around the fire drinking beer and chatting. I didn’t do very much knitting, even though I brought it with me. I started one of the sleeves on my sweater but didn’t make much progress.
I seem to have an ongoing problem with my expectations for grades. Is it a little bit ridiculous to expect 80’s, and then experience crushing disappointment when you don’t get them? I mean, 77% and 73% are both perfectly acceptable! According to the University of Waterloo, that works out to a B+ and a B. What the hell am I complaining about? Honestly, I’m a little bit ashamed of myself, and need to worry less about my grades and more about the written feedback my tutor has been giving me.
Graphic designer with a passion for all things knitted