Sunday, 29 November 2009

Quick Knit

This ladybird hat was quick to make - although I had to adapt the pattern slightly as it was probably for Aran weight wool (one of those brands/patterns that doesn't say, but going by needle size my guess is it was heavier than DK). I've knit this before for the little girl I used to mind. She lost the first one at the skating rink and I had to knit her another.

I mentioned that I had got some wool to knit a couple of things for a girl in work.
The photo challenge on SCS this week was curves. It was enormously windy on Wednesday, and pretty dull - but I was rewarded by this rainbow just as I got to work. Seen a lot of rainbows this week!!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Hot off the Needles

...not quite hot. I finished this last week, but only got the buttons when I went into town after work yesterday. I searched both my sewing and my craft button boxes, and couldn't find four matching buttons the right size. This is for my newest nephew, who is now 6 months old. It was fun to knit, because instead of having to knit the front button and buttonhole bands separately, they are cables knit along with the fronts. So, I did have to knit the cable borders for the bottom edge and the sleeves, but it was a lot more fun than knitting ribbed bands.

I picked up some wool to knit a hat and cardigan for someone in work, so there'll be more to show soon.
The weather we've been having is not conducive to outdoor photography, but here's a photo of the Spanish Chestnut tree in work, now almost totally bare. It was a pretty lousy morning, but by the time I finished work it was bright and sunny, so I walked into town instead of waiting for the bus.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009


The photo challenge on SCS this week is pairs of things.
I got lucky this morning. Only thing was I didn't bring my big camera, because I was planning on doing some beading in work, so my bag was pretty packed with the stuff for that. On my way to the bus in the morning, I'd seen one go by, so I knew there was 5 minutes till the next one. That meant I was able to pause and admire one of these beautiful trees - the early morning light on it made for amazing colour. When I stepped across the road to take a picture, I realised that there were actually two trees - and two houses - so it was perfect for the challenge.
Then walking along the quays in town I saw these two painters painting the railings outside Collins Barracks. Thanks to cropping out some of the extra details, I also have two cones.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Bird in the Garden

Last Thursday I bought a tub of mealworms for our little robin, as I'd run out of all the ones I'd saved from a mixed bag of bird food. And of course, I didn't see him again till today. He'll come so close - I need to remember to have the camera ready. In fact, he was so close that I couldn't focus on him while he came to feed from beside the back step - but I snapped him sitting on the wall instead. I know - how many pictures of robins have I already got!
I thought this week was going to be busy in work, so this morning I got up early and made a start on the housework and brought the big bird-feeder in to clean. I hung up a bag of sunflower seeds to keep the birds going, but it was just lying on the ground when I came home. I think the big birds like the pigeons try to take food, and pull it I'd better go and fill up the normal one and hang it out again.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Birds in the Green

On Thursday we were going down to Avoca to visit friends. So C got up early and drove to the office, and I stayed in town when I'd finished my work, and met him at 4. By 3 I had had enough shopping and too much to carry ( a kilo of coffee beans, to start with), so I went to sit in St. Stephen's Green and read. On the way to find a sunny bench I spotted these birds.
The lens of my camera must have been a bit dusty - I needed to clean up some noise in the mallard photo before I could upload it. Better clean it, I suppose!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Pecan Macaraoons

I should have brought my big camera when I went out to post some letters and get some bread and milk. When there was light, it was amazing, with the dark grey sky.
There are so many berries on the trees - hope it's not a sign of a hard winter. It certainly makes for the floors needing cleaning more often - there are so many rowan berries on the footpath that it's hard not to trek them into the house.

On the way back I saw two young starlings fighting - I presume. One of them was chasing the other all over the place round two trees.

Cleaned the fridge this morning, and needed to use some eggwhites, so I made these. The recipe came from an old magazine: Better Houses and Gardens, a Christmas issue.
Pecan Macaroons
3 egg whites
1 cup caster sugar
3 1/2 ounces desiccated coconut
1/2 cup ground pecans
1/2 tsp vanilla

Beat the egg whites and vanilla to a soft peak. Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed for at least 5 minutes or till very stiff. Fold in the nuts.
Drop teaspoons onto greaseproof paper, two inches apart, and cook for 18 - 20 minutes at 325F, 160C, till the edges are lightly browned.
This makes about 45.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

25 years of wind and rain...

Yesterday I went out to visit my aunt. I needed to get an earlier train, which had bad connections and left me with ten minutes in Bray station. I didn't mind too much - the last time I went through the station without having to change, I noticed that they were replacing the original murals from 1984 with mosaics. About time too, they've been getting more and more shabby as time has gone by.
1984 was the year they electrified the line and introduced the DART service. Before that it was diesel trains. We lived 5 miles beyond Bray, on a stretch which wasn't electrified till well after I had left home. So for us, Bray station was the one we used most. In fact it's still a pretty minimal service out to Greystones...
It was so dark and dismal and wet that I just had my pocket camera with me, not expecting any photo opportunities at all...
The first picture shows the diesel trains that I remember so well:

This is one of the DARTs - presumably the original 1980s version. They are now on the third or fourth upgrade - but the old ones are still the most comfortable, I think.

1870s - well, obviously I don't remember that! Where we are now, we occasionally hear steam trains run past, though, for special events.

Somewhere, but I didn't take time to unearth it, is a picture of a gang of us at the far terminus to Bray, in 1984. Me, C before we were even going out, and several others. Not quite sure I want to find it and see what 25 years has done to us.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

A hotch potch of scraps.

I had to make a quiche for work last Friday. We were out on Thursday night, so I made the pastry and cooked the bacon and onion, and left myself a list of everything to remember at 6.30 on Friday morning. After I had my shower and while the quiche was still in the oven, I realised I'd forgotten the extra-mature cheese I'd specially bought. To put it bluntly, I'd forgotten to add any cheese at all. No wonder there didn't seem to be as much filling as I expected and I was left with an empty round pie shell. On Saturday I dealt with that by turning it into a Pear and Frangipane Tart. (Everyone said how lovely and moist the quiche was, and there wasn't a scrap left - I still haven't confessed!)

Which reminded me of this easy pear recipe which I used to cook as a dessert when I was catering for Wet, Wild and Windy Weekends in the Scripture Union centre around this time of the year.
Bake Pears in Caramel Syrup: for 6-8
Take 6-8 medium sized ripe pears, peel, cut in half and scoop out the cores. Roll gently around in a dish with 3 tblsp of lemon juice, to prevent discolouring.
Arrange the pears cut side down in a shallow dish just the right size to hold them. all. Drizzle any remaining lemon juice over, and then sprinkle with enough cinnamon and ginger to give a taste but not be too strong.
In a pan, heat 8 ounces / 1 cup sugar till it melts and goes pale golden brown. Pour it over the pears, making sure to keep your hands well above the dish, as the caramel will spit on contact with the pears and lemon juice.
Bake at 190C / Mark 5/ 375F for about half an hour, till pears are tender. Serve warm with some of the syrup from the pan, and vanilla icecream or thick whipped cream.
Now I want upside-down pear gingerbread - and with the weather having got as cold as it has, it's the time of year for it. I finished my sweater in perfect time.

I don't often post cards here, but I was so happy with how this one turned out, given that it was for a difficult situation - someone leaving work because of redundancy.