Friday, March 26, 2010

Sylvi Berninasdotter

Tomorrow, at approximately 9:06 AM, I will be 24!  I've discovered that there is no lack of "Birthday deals!!!" down here, and since March 1st, I have acquired makeup from Sephora, a 20% discount from Green Planet Yarn, which is my favourite yarn shop, and a 25% discount on fabric from Eddie's Quilting Bee, which I have visited nearly every week this month, and for good reason--Sylvi:

I finally bought myself a sewing machine!  Much research has been done since Christmas, and for my birthday, I finally settled on the Bernina Activa 210.  It's the simplest (and cheapest) of the lowest models of Bernina machines (not including Bernette), and I felt very out of place during the Bernina "Eddiecation" class I took at Eddie's Quilting Bee.  It was a class to learn the ins and outs of your Bernina, and all around me were women with sewing machines that must have cost at least $1500-$2000--but I think I bought exactly what I need, and the class went through the basic stitches of the machine, which are all going to be very useful.

Bernina manufactures a bazillion different specialty presser feet, which are all listed online.  Since I bought my machine at Eddie's, I got that Bernina class, but I also get 10% off on fabric for a year, and more importantly, 20% off of presser feet for a year.  There is a possibility that I have already bought two: the #2 overlock foot, and the #10 edgestitch foot.  Feet aren't exactly cheap, but man those two are awesome already.  I imagine that by the time that year is up, I will have amassed a small army of feet.

This was my second project with Sylvi--the first being new placemats which I forgot to photograph.  This  tiny little dress is made using a pattern from Leila and Ben, and I find that I actually really like the PDF.  Not just this pattern, which was extremely simple, but PDF patterns in general--no messing around with tissue paper, worrying that it will rip, and realizing that you will never reuse that pattern because you basically snip it to shreds while cutting your fabric.  Our printer is currently out of commission, so I sent it to the nearby Kinkos/FedEx Office to get the pattern printed, and it worked out extremely well.

Side story: when I went to the FedEx last Friday to pick up my prints, having submitted my files online, I just happened to run into the dress recipient's father!  I was still kind of sick and we couldn't go visit the newborn, so I at least got some preview photos.

Anyhow, PDF patterns = good.  I'll be buying more of them in the future, I think.  I like the idea of having a digital version that I can re-print and chop up without keeping the extra sizes to tape on at a later date.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Kumquats and Cashews

I actually took a photo before I began nomming on this one, to make it a more difficult post to put up, but apparently that proved too difficult for me. to be just fine, thanks!  But here is the text, anyway:

Kumquats and Cashews and Chicken, oh my!
 - 1 chicken breast
 - ~10 + 2 kumquats
 - ~1/2 cup cashews, unsalted
 - 1/2 cup apple juice
 - < 1/4 cup white wine
 - salt
 - dried parsley

1. Let cubed chicken soak in juice, wine, and salt.
2. Grind cashews, set aside.
3. Remove seeds from 10 kumquats, allow the tiny food processor to mash them to a pulp.  Some extra apple juice may be helpful here.
4. Slice remaining 2 kumquats, remove seeds, and set aside.
5. Mix together kumquat mush and cashews.  Try not to eat any, but fail because it smells so good!
6. Place chicken into oiled, heated skillet. Note: normally when I make marinades fresh, I dump everything into the skillet together. This time I only placed the chicken into the pan, and unlike the failed lemon chicken recipe which I did not post, this one did not taste like wine.
7. Add kumquat-cashew mixture, cook until chicken is done, and the sauce is paste-like.
8. Add kumquat slices and stir a bit more.

I served it with parsley flakes on top, rice, and a nice salad.  You may pretend see that there is a photo here:

It may appear eventually was totally here all along!  The almond-plum is probably my favourite experiment so far, but this is a close second a long with apple chicken.  I should turn these into a book some day.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Goodbye, Olympics

After years of preparations, two weeks of city-wide madness, and 14 gold medals (!), the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver have come to a close.  It felt like an age in coming, and it went by in a blip.  It was surreal seeing shots of my hometown splashed about on NBC, and I daresay I will miss seeing TourismBC commercials between now and our next trip to Canada.  But this is not what I want to say.

Blogs are about opinions, so here is mine: the closing ceremony was hilarious, and I loved it.

Being not only a Canadian, but also a Vancouverite, I may be predisposed to approve of whatever shenanigans they decided to come up with for the "less formal" ceremony--especially in the heady wake of what was a fantastic, well-fought hockey game (what else would we expect from a game of NHL all-stars divided only by the 49th Parallel?), which was won by Team Canada. (Wooo!)

But, from the mime "fixing" the fourth column, to the amusing monologues mid-ceremony, to the crazy "WTF?" dance of inflatable Mounties, giant beavers, floating moose, two-man "canoes", plaid-clad lumberjacks, and "fluttering" maple leaves, the underlying theme of it all seemed to be about poking fun at Canadian stereotypes, and playfulness.  Rather fitting, after the "come play with us" theme during the closing ceremonies of the Torino games in 2006.

Really, that last part of the ceremony was worth the wait, despite delayed coverage on NBC, and despite having to listen to the grating presentations from various NBC commentators.  I really got a good laugh--and I'm sure many other Canadians did, too.  We are proud of our amusing stereotypes! And anybody who might be appalled or unimpressed by the seemingly comical display (especially after Beijing, which, we were told numerous times, was amazing, so amazing, oh my so amazing!--I am looking at you, Costas) perhaps needs to be told, "Don't take yourself too seriously, eh?"