Happy Anniversary, Love

(taken at Niagara Falls March 7, 2009- the day after we got married, hours before we left for our honeymoon)
One year ago today, I married the most wonderful man I have ever known. G is a fantastic husband, and I’m so ridiculously lucky. Since we started dating, and even now that we’re married, he often tells me something that never fails to make me smile:

I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.

Me too, Guy. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.
Happy Anniversary, my love.

Current WIPs, and my Next Projects

Before I even had a trip booked to Chicago, Eliza and I were planning on having a fingerless mitt swap. We would each knit one mitt, and give the mitt and the remaining yarn to the other, so that they could knit just one mitt and have a complete pair. I knitted her theSwan Maiden mitt, which I loved- I’m definitely going to knit myself a pair of these! Here is a photo of Eliza modelling the one I knit for her:

And Eliza knit me one of the October Leaves Fingerless Mitts, which are lovely: They are going to be perfect for spring!

While on the flight there and back, and anywhere else I could squeeze in a bit of knitting time, I’ve been working on this:

This lovely peat coloured, moss stitch lump is a test knit  Twenty Ten cardigan from Veera, who is working on the pattern. I love it so far!! I’m very excited about the asymmetrical front, and also excited to find the perfect project for my new massive button collection. I’m much further along than this photo shows- I’m actually at the collar portion. But how could I resist posting this picture of Gatsby modelling the WIP? He’s such a camera ham, that Gatsby.

Some of you may recall the lovely Malabrigo laceweight I picked up on the trip, and it is definitely earmarked for specific projects! The olive colourway is going to be the Geodesic Cardigan from the new Knitscene, and the Paris Night colourway is likely to be a Featherweight Cardigan Meets Minimalist. Mods will be especially necessary, since the Featherweight starts at a size about 4″ too big for me.

I love the olive green (it’s one of my favourites), but I’m also in love with that Paris Night colourway- just look at the lovely variations in shade!

Modification Mondays: Modified Silk Cocoon Cardigan

Original Pattern: Silk Cocoon Cardigan

Knitter Extraordinaire: Jill (Rav id)

Mods: Jill transformed the long sleeved wrap cardigan into a short sleeved, v neck pullover.

What Makes This Awesome: As gorgeous as the original pattern is (and I’m a big fan of it), wrap cardigans aren’t for everyone. I personally don’t look that great in them, and subsequently didn’t think too much about the pattern. But this mod is so lovely- the v neck is flawless (really- I wish all my v necks looked this professional!), and the lovely stitch pattern that makes the Silk Cocoon Cardi so distinctive plays out perfectly across the shoulder and upper back. Project page, with details on her mods, can be found here.

Link Love …. and a Madeleine Quest!

Since the demise of Domino and Blueprint (which were pretty awesome shelter magazines for the stylish/ modern/eco-friendly/DIY set), I’ve noticed that there are some fabulous online shelter magazines cropping up- notably Lonny and Nesting Newbies. People have mixed opinions about online magazines: I personally love them because then I can read magazines at work the embedded links make it a snap to click and discover new shops, designers, and information out there in the vast realm of the internet. Not to mention it means that it is way cheaper to produce issues, so the likelihood of folding reduces significantly.

So, if you are looking for a little home decor/ lifestyle magazine fix, click away! The Nesting Newbie link takes you to their website, and the magazine is on the right hand side f the screen. The Lonny link takes you straight to the magazine.  
Now, onto baking!!

I’m on a quest for the perfect madeleine recipe, something that
makes each lovely scalloped beauty a delight on the tongue. I had never
even thought of them before Christmas, when I received two silicone
baking sheets from my in-laws specifically for these shell shaped

Now, I can take hint. My in laws want madeleines. And who am I to argue with that?

My first attempt with this recipe
yielded mediocre results. Okay, I over baked them by about a minute,
but that wasn’t really the problem- they lacked flavour. Truly a
disappointment, because I loved the actual performance of the recipe-
The kitchen was lush with the fragrance of melted butter infused with
lavender earl grey tea, and muddling the freshly grated lemon zest with
the sugar until it smelled like absolute heaven. So why the heck couldn’t’ you taste the lemon or the earl grey once it was baked? It was as though no earl grey, lavender, or lemon were ever in the same room as these things. Mysteries of the universe, I tell you.

Then I tried this recipe, and I got tasty results, but ugly madeleines- they weren’t baked enough, the crumb was really big and muffin-like, and they just needed a bit more finesse. So, I  adjusted the recipe until it was just right.

(my glaze was too runny, and I didn’t have any more icing sugar at the cottage to thicken it up. Learn from my mistake!)

Julie’s Orange and Cardamom Madeleines
(makes 15-18 madeleines)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup icing sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest, plus 2 tablespoons strained orange juice

1. Lightly grease and flour your madeleine pan(s). Set aside.
2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan on the stove, adding in the honey, vanilla, and  orange zest. Once butter is melted, remove from heat and let cool (about 15 mins).
3. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt. Set aside.
4. In your mixing bowl, beat the sugar and eggs on medium high with an electric mixer for 2 minutes.
5. Fold in dry ingredients into the sugar and egg mixture. Then pour the melted butter mixture in, and stir until well combined. Spoon batter into the madeleine tray(s).
6. refrigerate tray(s) for one hour, or overnight. If you refrigerate overnight, press plastic wrap against the trays, covering the batter tightly.
7. When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350C. Remove plastic wrap if you used it, and pop them directly into the oven for 8-10 minutes.
8. once they are removed from the oven, Allow them to cool briefly in the trays, and then pop them out on to a wire rack to completely cool.
9. mix together the icing sugar and orange juice, to make a thick glaze. Add the orange juice a little at a time, to keep the glaze thick. I also added a bit of vanilla, which worked well. Once madeleines are cooled completely, tip the tip of each madeleine into the glaze, and put onto a plate.
10. Now try to eat only one. Really- I dare you to stop at one.

my research, it’s evident that people are passionate about
madeleines. Apparently, with the die-hards you can’t even call them
cookies. To be fair, they are a lot more cake-like than cookie like.
And the batter that is produced is definitely on the wet side… it
reminded me of pancake batter. Which led to me wondering if you could bake pancake
batter in the madeleine moulds, and then dip them into maple syrup.

Turns out, you can. G and I had an amazing breakfast one morning feasting on scalloped shaped pancakes dipped in small bowls of pure maple syrup. It was so tasty, I didn’t think to grab a photo. but trust me on this- madeleine pancake are seriously awesome. Use whatever pancake batter you like best, then bake them in the madeleine pans at 350C for about 7 minutes (I’d check them at 5, in case your oven runs really hot). Enjoy!!

FO: Ravelympics Sweater!!

 Pattern: Twiggy Tunic

Needles: 10 mm circulars

Yarn: Mirasol Sulka

Mods: None.

Notes: I finished my Ravelympics sweater!!!!

At the beginning, I had a really difficult time understanding the pattern- I had it in my head that, because the sleeves are knitted first, that it was a top down construction (it’s not). Silliness, I know. Once I figured that part out, it was smooth sailing. I love, love, LOVE Sulka yarn, it’s so deliciously soft and cuddly. And all those FO photos of being outside in the snow? I’m actually not that cold. That’s a toasty sweater, people!

 G took some WIP shots of the sleeves and yarn cakes out of doors:

And if you haven’t already seen it, you must check out Eliza’s tutorial on how to wind a perfect yarn cake with nothing more than a toilet paper roll. I actually prefer this method to using a ball winder- it produces a larger centre pull area, which I find allows for smoother pull without any tangles. it’s how I wind my yarn all the time now.

 And for those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, you’ve probably figured out that I’m at the cottage for these photos. G and I took a couple days off work to create our own long weekend, where we visited his parents at the cottage. I’m going to say something a little crazy here…. I prefer winter cottaging to summer cottaging.  There is a different kind of tone to winter cottaging. I love the peacefulness of it, the slowed-down moments of discovering deer tracks through the snow across the yard, or the fragrance and warmth of a crackling woodstove. And oh, the light- I am in love with watching the day’s progression over the snow, the way it sparkles in the sunshine, the long blue shadows at dusk.

Plus, snowshoeing!!! My favourite. below, a few photos, including the bird seed cakes we made to hang off the trees for the winter birds:

That’s not the cottage in the background- it’s a barn.