Knitting and a Movie

This is yet another knitting blog

Friday, December 29, 2006

Black and White Christmas

Hmm, there seems to be a theme, between this sheep ornament my mom gave me (isn't he cute!) and the project I started over the holiday (any guesses as to what it is?) Pay no attention to the horribly tangled yarn in the background that wants to be Clapotis if I can have the patience to untangle it. Grrrr.

I haven't had much time to post because after the festivities it was back to work. We had some excitement Christmas Eve. My mother-in-law makes a lovely sauce for chicken for which she gave me the recipe last year (their family doesn't do hangikjöt Christmas Eve, it's always roast chicken). One of the steps is to boil the chicken giblets in broth for a couple of hours. (It really gives a great flavour to the sauce). So I was straining them out of the broth, and decided to save them to give them to the pets as a Christmas treat. Good thing. I went to put a lid on the bowl of broth and managed to knock the special broth ALL OVER my clean kitchen. Argh. So I just boiled the giblets in new broth for slightly less time, and the sauce came out fine. And the kids helped me clean the kitchen, so all was well.

We have rice pudding on Christmas Eve, and one bowl has an almond hidden inside. My little nephew was sick, and his asthma was really bad, so he wasn't very hungry, so we let him just look in one of the bowls, and he ended up finding the almond and getting the special present (this year it was some kind of weird play dough stuff made of poly beads), which is pretty cool when one is only 4. Oh, and one of the Christmas arrangements that I worked on for church caught on fire (apparently the acolyte didn't get the part about lighting the candle, and he decided to light the flowers instead. ;))

Other than that, Christmas day was lazy, lots of knitting. And looks like New Years will be lazy too, which is fine by me.

I got a really fun novel. And my Christmas gifts were well received, my mother loved her socks and my sister-in-law loved the bear sweater and the Selbu baby socks (in fact, she asked me to make her mittens! It's the first time I was asked to make someone something.)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

O Christmas Tree

We put up our tree last night. Last year we tried to put up the tree on Ţorláksmessa (the 23rd) only to discover too late that the screws were stripped on the fake tree base. So Ingi had to go to the hardware store and get new screws, and we did it all Christmas Eve day. Which is kind of bad when you are having people over and helping to decorate the church and so on. Well, this year was better, the tree went together OK, but we did have one semi-disaster... most of the lights didn't work. (Well, half the strand would be dead, which led me to believe there was some serious electrical problem with it partway through and didn't make me feel warm and fuzzy about hanging that on my tree.) So the guys ran out to the store and bought more lights. So we have coloured LED lights, which are I guess lower power, then white regular lights, then coloured regular lights. Somehow, that seems appropriate. We also found a bunch of lighted houses that my mom gave me when she was cleaning at one point, and we didn't even know we had. So the house is quite festive.

(the angel is listing a bit, I'm too short to fix her)

I helped with making Christmas greens arrangements to decorate the church, and was given leftover greens. So I made a "kissing ball" of greens... I was googling for the history of this, I believe it comes from Victorian times and was usually made of mistletoe. It was just something I've seen in magazines that I thought was pretty. And now the house will have a little real greens smell, instead of fake tree.

And earlier in the week I finished my mom's Jaywalkers. When I was a little girl, I'd always make handmade gifts and I'd still be working on them right now. That's why I don't make too many knitted gifts.

Gleđileg jól/Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


So, one finished Christmas present to show... a washcloth made from bamboo yarn (yarn is called Bam Boo and the ball label went missing so when I find it I will post the manufacturer). I kind of liked working with bamboo yarn, it's very soft. The only problem is it splits a lot, so you have to be careful of it.

My grandmother was born in China, the daughter of a missionary. So her husband (my grandfather) lovingly planted some bamboo plants at their house to remind her of the place she grew up, and filled the greenhouse/sunroom with tropical plants that couldn't survive the cold climate. She has passed on, and my aunt lives at the house with the bamboo forest... so I thought it would be a nice gift to give her something out of bamboo.

There was a cute Christmas meme at Knitting Iris's blog, so I thought I would do it, especially since I just got my best Christmas gift ever... see below...

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?  Well, hot chocolate, but the farm where I used to buy my milk near my last apartment had the BEST egg nog. Maybe I should drive up there and get some.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? Presents are always wrapped.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?  I think the coloured ones are more fun. I think outside the white ones are more tasteful. No one sees our house so we don't bother with decorating the outside.
4. Do you hang mistletoe?  No, never did.
5. When do you put your decorations up?  23 December.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish?  I think Riz L'Amande. I won't link to a recipe because nothing is better than my mother-in-law's recipe. And I'm not sure if I am allowed to give that out. ;)
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?  I think making WAAAY too many kinds of cookies with my sister.
8 . When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?  I never believed in Santa.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?  Yes. We always opened all our gifts on Christmas Eve growing up. Now, we open our gifts on Christmas Eve and the kids get theirs in the morning.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?  With this and that, some ornaments my mother gave me when I was a kid, some pretty ones I have accumulated over the years. It's no kind of organised themed tree like Martha Stewart would have. That has no personality, in my opinion.
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?  Yes.
12. Can you ice skate?  Not really. I was never very good at it, and I was always afraif of falling. Now, I think I have forgotten how. I don't believe those people who say you don't forget these things.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift?  Yep, easy, I just got it. Ingi got a letter saying his green card is in the mail!
14. What's your favorite thing(s) about the holidays?  The music, the excitement, the sense of wonder and magic to it. And you know, the whole point of Christmas. The story still touches me, every year.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?  Didn't I answer that? ;)
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?  Going to church on Christmas Eve and then having dinner. Although I miss going to the Nutcracker every year, we used to do that as kids. Now I have no one to go with. :(
17. What tops your tree?  A fabric angel that my mother gave me when I was in labour with my daughter (it was December).
18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?  Well, getting presents is fun, but I loooove choosing presents for people that I think they will enjoy.
19. What is your favorite Christmas song?  The Angel Gabriel and O Holy Night. I sang the latter as a solo when I was 12 or something. Singing it still gives me goosebumps.
20.  What is your favorite holiday book?  I don't know if I have one. I love reading kids' holiday books.
21. Candy canes yuck or yum?  Well, I like how they taste but I don't like how they get all pointy. And I just baked with them and I HATE the sticky staticky plastic they come in.
21. What's number one on your Christmas list this year?  A certain book I mentioned the other day. But really, after the gift we just got, I'm good.

Monday, December 18, 2006


One of the funny things about being a newlywed... I decided since I was by myself Saturday morning, I would blast Wagner while doing my Christmas baking. Seemed like something you do as to not disturb the rest of the house. So I go to the classical area of our CDs (we haven't fully integrated or alphabetised the CDs, but the classical ones are together) to get my Tannhauser CD, and I can't find it but there is his. Hmm. I didn't know he had a Tannhauser CD. Guess he wouldn't mind me playing it when he is home. ;)

When I was putting the wash in the dryer, I was checking the t-shirt labels (a lot of Ingi's t-shirts get hung and not put in the dryer) and I noticed that his Okkervil River t-shirt is an American Apparel t-shirt. I like them that much more now, for using a socially conscious company.

Anyway, I did my Christmas baking this weekend. Well, I think so, I may make a few other things. But here's what I made:

Piparkökur (They are a must at Christmas)
White Chocolate and Peppermint Cookie Brittle
Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles Rolled In Spices
(These truffles were just AMAZING. I used Bucare 58.5% dark chocolate by El Ray, that I got at Whole Foods. This is the first time I have made truffles, and it was kind of a pain (the ganache that goes in the centre gets all sticky when you are rolling it), but it was SO worth it. These are the best truffles I have ever had.)
Chocolate cookies with After Eight mints inside (this is one my sister or I make every year)
Jólabrauđ 2.0, with only raisins, no other fruit

While I baked, I listened to Sufjan Stevens's Songs For Christmas boxed set... this is really a great Christmas album(s, it's 5 CDs), and a great price.

We put our tree up next Saturday. I can't believe it's Christmas in a week. It's been so warm here, it feels like spring. Not that I am really complaining about the pleasant weather.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Jólabrauđ 1.0

Last Christmas, one of my favourite bakeries had some really beautiful bread, and I was determined to recreate it. I tried several different recipes but nothing came close.

Well, I got some beautiful bread, but no one else in my house likes the candied fruit. Luckily, my coworkers do, so I brought it into work. Next time I will use just raisins. I think it will be perfect like that (well I didn't mind the candied fruit, but it'll be just fine with raisins).

Now I have a new Christmas food thing that I want to figure out how to make. Anybody have any ideas?

Wednesday night we did a Christmas knitting gift swap. It was lots of fun, and the pretty yarn I brought was appreciated. (By the way, I guess that $130 yarn has Svarovski crystals in it, that's why it's so expensive. I still don't get who would buy something like that.) I got some linen yarn and two cool containers for storing knitting/yarn.

I brought this, I love making this for parties:
Cranberry Glazed Brie
1 small round brie
6 oz fresh cranberries
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons water
pinch of: dried mustard, ground ginger, ground cloves, ground allspice (I usually use a bit more of the last 2)

Combine everything in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, about 8 minutes or until cranberry skins pop. Set aside and let cool. (I usually do this the night before and then refrigerate it.)
Remove rind of top of brie, leaving a bit around the edge to make a lip. Place brie in a baking dish and place cranberry mixture on top. Bake at 300F(150C) for 20-25 minutes.

The guys are going camping, so I think I will watch Dr Zhivago tonight. I borrowed it from the library, I have never seen it and it's one of those movies it seems like one should just see at some point.

I downloaded some songs from Band of Horses from SubPop's website today and they for some reason label them as Children's Music in iTunes. As far as I'm concerned, children should listen to indie music, but it's still silly.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Lots of goings on

We had a busy weekend. I was working Friday and B called to me from the bathroom asking what to do with the fish in the sink. Fish in the sink? Apparently, there was a fish science experiment at school that had finished and the leftover fish got sent home with people. So now we have this fish swimming in the bathroom sink. Well, she needed a home, so we found a little tank on sale for him and got some dried shrimp for her to eat. So far, she seems to be quite happy in her home. Maybe I should find a kitten to send home with his teacher.

I went shopping for yarn for a Christmas gift swap... I got some expensive yarn that I would never buy myself, figuring it would be a fun thing for someone to buy in a swap. While I was looking, I saw a skein of yarn for 130 dollars!!! I can't even believe it! Who spends this kind of money on yarn?

Then the guy FINALLY delivered the title (he had sold the car but didn't actually give us the title so he hadn't taken the cash... I was having serious doubts that we would ever actually see the title) for the Dadillac so now we can go about attempting to get it registered.

Last night a friend had a crafting party... she put out instructions and materials and we made things... I made a needle felted snowman and a beaded snowflake ornament

And then we went to see The Evens play (the former lead singer from Fugazi's new band). It was at an old synagogue which is now a cultural center... a really beautiful space. The show was great fun... nothing is usually going on around here so it was such a nice change.

A friend at work loaned me some Little Britain DVDs. This show is so brilliant, in a slapstick British comedy sort of way.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

More finished things

Well, I don't have a picture, but I finished my second mitten last night when we were watching a Jim Jarmusch Neil Young documentary, Year of the Horse. Thank goodness, it was quite cold today.

Then today I finished the library book I was reading, Perfume: the Story of a Murderer. This book was beautifully written, even if the subject matter was creepy and disturbing. I can't wait to see the movie.

This weekend was my daughter's birthday. We made little hamburgers and had some leftover pork loin we had frozen from the wedding, and I made the chocolate cake my grandmother always used to make, it has coffee in it and is really the best all-around chocolate cake ever. I tried a frosting recipe I found online (that also had coffee) and it was very good too. Ingi's mom sent a whole bunch of licorice with her present, well, K doesn't like licorice. So we bought it from her, and everyone is happy now. Marzipan-filled licorice strings, licorice allsorts, chocolate-rice-covered licorice (I tried to find a link for the non-Icelanders, but couldn't, imagine a Nestle crunch bar outside licorice), fun! Then she wanted to watch Psycho Beach Party because it has Xander from Buffy, it was a silly spoof on surf movies and cheesy horror movies.

I tried to turn on the feed for my blog, we shall see if it works.