Monday, November 29, 2010

Daily Craft - Knitting patterns are up!

Pretty much since I started this blog earlier in the year, I've been meaning to link to my available knitting patterns.  It took me long enough, but I'm happy to say they're now up on the patterns page for you to enjoy.  I love stalking checking out the finished projects that people have made from my designs so if you knit any of these, let me know!  :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Daily Ramblings - "Turkey day" round-up

This year was the first year of hosting Thanksgiving at our house - I knew it was only a matter of time before the family realized we hadn't done it yet!  ;)

I'd never made a whole turkey before, with my turkey repertoire up until now consisting of deli meat and reheating leftovers.  Having said that, wrapping it in bacon proved to be relatively foolproof and was very successful.  Even Deuce had his own Thanksgiving meal consisting of some turkey giblets, which he thoroughly enjoyed.  The only slightly disappointing part was the mac & cheese, which I'd pre-prepared but then forgotten to take out of the fridge to warm up some before popping in the oven.  I'm thinking that it'll make for great leftovers though so I'm not all that worried about it not being perfect on the day.  After all, getting holiday cooking 90% right isn't a bad deal.  The funny part was opening my fridge this morning and realizing that it kind of looks like we didn't eat anything.  Now we get into the post-Thanksgiving leftover cooking, which involves finding creative ways to re-purpose turkey, stuffing, and mashed potato.

In addition to being thankful for tupperware and Pyrex with lids, it's only fitting that I make note of (a few of) the other things that I'm thankful for.  I'm thankful for my family - the one I was lucky enough to be born into, the one that I married into, and those that I've adopted along the way.  I'm thankful for the husband by my side, the roof over my head, my friends and co-workers who make me smile every day.  I'm a lucky girl for sure!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Daily Craft - Almost famous!

This morning, I woke up to a message on Ravelry from somebody who helps maintain the Malabrigo Yarn Facebook page.  They're adding awesome projects made from Malabrigo, and she wanted to feature my scarf made from this pattern on their fan page.  What a great way to start the morning right?  After all, Malabrigo is up there on the list of everybody's favorite yarns right now (and if you've never knit with it, I highly suggest giving it a try - it's buttery!)

A half hour later, she messaged me back to apologize.  We'd both missed the fact I didn't make the scarf with Malabrigo at all, but had used Manos del Uraguay.  Ooops!  While both made in Uraguay, just not the same brand.

And that's why I support early morning coffee....

Friday, November 19, 2010

Daily Travels - North Wales (Part II)

We woke up in Caenarfon to 80mph winds and I was tired as hell on account of the cat spending half the night trying to get up onto the windowsill (read: climbing on me and sticking her tail up my nose) above my bed in the hotel.

We set off into the town center and arrived just in time for the 2 minutes of silence for Remembrance Day.  This occurs at 11am on the 11th day of November (11th month) - recalling the official end of World War I and honoring those that have died on duty in the armed forces.  If you're ever watching British tv shows around this time of year and wondering why they're wearing red poppies, this is the reason. 

Caenarfon castle is incredibly impressive, and what's great about these towns is that they were built within the protection of the castle walls.  Both Caenarfon and Conwy are coastal, and defended the northern coast of Wales from attack.  Now, the harbor serves a more peaceful purpose.

I wish we'd had more time to go inside the castle and wander about, but we were heading for home through Snowdonia National Park.  We'd only just started the drive when we came across this gorgeous little chapel which was so peaceful with such an amazing view - seemed to me about as perfect a final resting place as I've ever seen. 

Now, onto the rest of the drive.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

I'm very grateful to my parents for deciding that we needed to do some sightseeing on this trip as it definitely renewed my love for my "homeland".  While it's nice to be back to normal at home again, these images will always stay with me as a reminder of what I left behind.  

Thanks for joining me on the recap of my trip.  Now back to regularly scheduled programming!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Daily Travels - North Wales (Part 1)

After taking off from Manchester, my parents had planned a trip into North Wales.  My dad is Welsh (from Cardiff) and despite having grown up in England, I've always had very fond memories of Wales.  It's my homeland and I'm proud of it - even if I have no idea how to even begin speaking the language!

The countryside is beautiful and it's so hard to give the colors justice in a photograph.  I love how the clouds are casting shadows upon the hills.

We drove through a little village, Betws-y-Coed, on our travels.  The name means "chapel in the wood" and is pronounced "betus a koyd".

Next stop was Conwy.  I was bummed that we didn't make it there until dusk as I was hoping to get a chance to stop at the castle (where my friends Holly and Paul got married last year!)  I grabbed a few shots with the light that I had though.

We made it on to Caenarfon where we staying for the night and grabbed dinner at a local pub.  I was contemplating the dragon sausages (not made from real dragons, but that's not the point) although settled on some fish-n-chips.

Caenarfon and Snowdonia are next...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Daily Travels - Time to recap

It seems like only a couple of days ago that I left for England, but I'm back already!  My trip was a good one and I got to enjoy all the things that I'd been looking forward to, so I think we'll consider it a great success.  :)  Good news is that I'm not really suffering too bad from jetlag, although I've woken up at 4:30am the last two nights for no reason. 

The flight home was probably the most dramatic flight I've ever been on in my 3 decades of flying.  We were delayed leaving Heathrow due to a passenger being removed from the plane last minute (for reasons unknown to me), and shortly after getting up in the air, an elderly gentleman a few rows ahead of me started having medical issues.  Fortunately, there were 2 doctors on board who tried to treat him as best as they could, but it was decided that we needed to stop in Iceland to get him to a hospital.  The worst part being that he was traveling alone, and didn't speak English.  I can't imagine being abandoned at a hospital in a foreign country without being able to communicate well.  I will say that the Virgin Atlantic staff were pretty amazing about the whole thing and I'm confident that they took care of him once we were on the ground.  I guess I can add Iceland to the list of places I've been, even if it was just on the tarmac in the dark!

I'm weeding through a couple hundred photos right now, which I'll be sharing over the course of the next few days. 

My parents have a condo on the river in Manchester's city center.  I wanted to grab a couple shots from the balcony and was greeted by wonderfully stormy skies with a hint of blue.

Meet Bianca (my parents' little princess).  She likes to travel so pretty much goes everywhere with them.

We took an afternoon to head onto the Snake Pass in Derbyshire and promptly found snow.  The conditions up there get pretty treacherous for driving so I was happy the roads were clear, although we were traveling slowly just in case.

We ended our drive at the Ladybower Reservoir, which provides water to several cities in the North.  Unfortunately it was raining so we didn't really get out and walk around, but I was perfecting the art of photography out of the window of a moving car without getting my camera lens too wet!

Next post, I'll be taking you on our trip to North Wales...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Daily Travels - Off I go

Tomorrow I leave for my trip home to see my parents.  I managed to use my interns wisely to get nice and ahead of the game at work, my green card is here (yay!), all my clothing is washed and ready to be packed, the finances are sorted and overall I'm feeling more prepared than usual!  I haven't traveled without my husband for in years, and especially not for such a long period of time, so I know I'm going to have separation anxiety from him (and, of course, baby cat Deuce).  It'll be nice to see my parents though.

I'm looking forward to....

- Mom's home cooked meals!  Over the years, I've tried to replicate things that my mom cooks, but hers is always better.  She's already planning to make moussaka for me (yum) and has been asking me for a couple of weeks to think of some of my other favorites.
- Indian food!  It's not that I can't get good Indian food in California.  In fact, there's a couple of restaurants that I think are great.  It's still better in England though.
- Fish and chips!  Of course.  There's nothing like eating a big piece of battered cod out of a nice greasy wad of paper.
- Stocking up on chocolate!  Cadburys, Galaxy, Aero, Yorkies....I could go on.  (Can you tell that there's a food theme going on here?)
- Photography!  I miss old buildings.  We're going to be taking a trip to North Wales and I can't wait to be snapping photos of castles.  It seems that the standard in Los Angeles is to tear down old things and I miss wandering around centuries of history.
- Treasure hunting!  OK, well in the not so literal sense.  I'm wondering what is hiding in my room at home.  Time to go through it and find some things I've forgotten existed.  :)

Pretty much the only things I'm not looking forward to are 22 hours round trip on an airplane and really cold weather.  It's an opportunity to wear those handknits that I don't always get to wear in So Cal at least.

Anyway, I'll be popping in here to say hi if I get a chance, but otherwise, I'll have lots to share when I get back.  Happy travels!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Daily Dish - Shredded Beef

The beautiful thing about this time of year is that I'm inspired to make lots of things in the crock pot.  There's something so simple, yet wonderful, about popping some ingredients in the crock pot and coming back from work to a complete meal.  It's practically idiot proof!

Yesterday, I found this BBQ beef recipe and decided to give it a shot with some chuck roast.  By the time I was supposed to shred the beef, the smell of what was cooking had already permeated every room in the house and I was starving.  I think the hardest part of the cooking process was shredding the meat to go back in the pot and cook for longer, rather than shoveling it into my mouth.  It was finished too late yesterday to eat it for dinner, but made for a quick dinner tonight.  We toasted buns, topped with spinach and the shredded beef.  I also sautéed a little broccoli, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, on the side.  Perfect!