Monday, October 27, 2008

Hey Hey, My My and twisted tea cakes.

Last Wednesday I got to see someone who, in my opinion, is one of the greatest musicians of all time. I discovered Mr. Young fairly early on, and developed a bit of an attachment. I'm sure much to the horror of my boy-band listening friends (thankfully I also loved NKOTB).

I didn't think Neil Young would ever be someone I would get to see live, so jumped at the chance when I heard he was coming to Vancouver. To be honest I was a little worried that it wouldn't be everything I'd hoped(i.e.Massey Hall in the '70s), and that he'd be a grouchy old man not wanting to play any of his 'hits'.

Lets just say, it was incredible. For a guy in his 60s, he totally rocked out! He pulled out so many classics, Cowgirl In The Sand, Cinnamon Girl, Heart of Gold, Hey Hey, My My, Old Man and of course Rockin' In The Free World and many others. He did a fantastic rendition of A Day In The Life for his encore while pulling strings off his guitar, and I was smitten.

Now If only could convince Joni Mitchell to tour....

Ok, completely unrelated but please observe the following.

Why yes they are small morsels of chocolatey, cookie dough goodness. I realise they have nothing to do with Neil Young (although I'm sure he'd like them), I was too excited to not share these with you.

Inspired by the Russian Tea Cakes Julie had bought over the other night, I wanted to make some for myself. However, Richard was begging for chocolate chip cookies....and I of course didn't have all of the ingredients for the tea cakes. So I did them with a twist.

Check out that chocolate! Ok, here's what you do...

1 cup butter
1 teaspoon/good squeeze agave nectar (the real recipe calls for vanilla, but I didn't have that - of course you may use what you like)
6 tablespoons icing sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. In a medium bowl, cream butter and vanilla until smooth. Combine the 6 tablespoons icing sugar and flour; stir into the butter mixture until just blended. Mix in the chocolate chips. Roll dough into 1 inch balls, and place them 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. When cool, roll in remaining icing sugar.

Real Russian tea cakes use chopped walnuts where I used chocolate chips but a) we didn't have any left and b) Richard wanted the chocolate.

Needless to say, they're amazing. Especially when eaten warm with a spoon. Perfect for a quick late night treat, enjoy!

Friday, October 24, 2008

To market, to market.

Thank you all so much for the encouragement and kind words on my last post! My new found freedom is rather exciting, although when I checked my bank balance....also a little terrifying!

My first batch of Keep Cozies were due to be dropped off at Lucky Rooster today, and quite to my surprise I had them all done and ready by last night! There was a minor hiccup with the hang tags, our computer was both out of coloured ink and internet explorer wasn't working so thank goodness for the Muji alphabet stamps I'd bought for Richard awhile back.

Armed with those and a wooden stamp from our printing stash I was able to come up with the above tags for the time being. Possibly the best part of the hang-tag project though, was watching 'Sixteen Candles' on our laptop that would for some reason only play it in German with Icelandic subtitles, 'Fred, sie bekommen ihr bossom!'
I was really happy with how the Cozies turned out, but at the same time have learnt a lot about what I might do differently next time and what stitches I have come to be obsessed with/love. I think Heather was really pleased with them too, so now we'll just have to wait and see if customers feel the same way. It was a bit of an odd feeling carting them over there, never having sold any of my own work before, and so strange no longer having them hiding in little nooks and crannies all over our house. Also a pretty vulnerable feeling I guess, creating something involves so much of yourself and now people get to walk past a window display and critique that.
Aaaanyway, I am excited about tonight and this weekend because a) I found Jane Eyre with Timothy Dalton at the Library b) I also found other exciting movies like The Red Balloon, When Harry Met Sally and My Fair Lady c) I am going thrifting with Holly d) the Parade of Lost Souls is tomorrow where I will be either Annie, Lucille Ball or Annie Hall (depending on what costume I can make and if I can find a tennis racket) and e) Julie and I are watching movies, eating and knitting under quilts and after the markets on Sunday. Oh the treats!
Time to go eat, knit and be merry. I hope you are all having a treat of a weekend, also.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Goodbye Porpoise Spit!

This is officially my first day sans full time work. I handed in my notice at the art gallery a few weeks back, and after working my last day on Monday I am finally free of my windowless office, sleazy business deals and insane (to the point of not really working) filing system. Walking out of there and going to drink mexican beer with R was my 'Goodbye Porpoise Spit!' moment (for those of you who haven't seen Muriels Wedding, please rent it immediately).

Now I get to spend my time in here, the little nook R helped me to carve out for myself. It was the closet in our den, so we took the doors off, found a desk and then I got to play at organising my sewing/crafting stuff. Lets see how long it will stay that way....

My head is so full of ideas as to what to do with my new found freedom, I am afraid I will become overwhelmed and end up on the couch with chocolate and movies all day (really not such a bad idea) so I think after this week I am going to make myself a wee schedule to keep me on track with knitting and crafting projects. Of course time will also need to be made for baking, thrifting, midday movie-ing and walks in the fall leaves.

Right, I am off to climb under my quilt on the couch and finish my knitting order for Lucky Rooster (due this Friday, eep!).

Friday, October 17, 2008


It turns out that I have been caught in the crossfire of some blog-tag! I was tagged by the lovely Evie of handmade romance, and will now let you in on six fast facts about well, myself.

1. As a way to persuade myself to get out of a warm shower on cold (or mostly any) mornings, I count to 60. The idea is that I'll get out in one minute, but sometimes those minutes have more than 60 seconds.

2. I watched the Wizard of Oz quite literally, everyday as a child. Convinced I was Dorothy would often invite my aunt and uncle into my room to perform certain scenes and block the door to ensure my captive audience.

3. I am eating chocolate chips out of the bag, as we speak.

4. I am TERRIFIED of axolotls. I enjoy the band though.

5. I am an Australian citizen, despite only living there for 6 months and I consider myself a kiwi through and through.

6. Richard says 'You make kick-ass brownies, but you call them/it brownie'. A New Zealand thing perhaps, but I figure that you don't call a cake 'cakes' even though you cut it into pieces....
Now, I taaaag.......Julie, Amber, Robert, Kate, Diandra and Kate. The rules are as follows;
The rules:
• Link to the person who tagged you.
• Mention the rules.
• Tell six quirky yet boring, unspectacular details about yourself.
• Tag six other bloggers by linking to them.

• Go to each person's blog and leave a comment that lets them know they've been tagged.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The River

I wanted to share with you, what we were lucky enough to find pretty much right on the doorstep of our weekend escape cabin. Leaves were collected, stones skipped, fresh air breathed and souls made content.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Feliz Cumpleanos

About 8 months ago, while struggling with a double-wide stroller on the '22' bus every Tuesday and Thursday morning, I met a lovely girl who would lift seats for me, help me maneuver the giant contraption and chat to the girls while I sorted myself out (it usually took me awhile to find my bus pass). We chatted about living abroad, our eerily similar husbands to be and reassured each other about our lack of wedding preparedness.
8 months on, we are both married (despite neither of us being that good at things like....sending out invitations on time), I am much more stroller/bus savvy, we have developed a knitting style all our own (as in, we make it up and she tries measuring the circumference of her neck with a knitting needle while I apparently knit with two different size needles every now and then, and neither of us are that sure how to read a pattern). We have seen male strippers, while knitting/eating chocolate/drinking beer/killing ourselves laughing/covering our eyes at the back of the pub. We have trained as doulas together, talked birth, breastfeeding, parenting, baby wearing and reassured each other yet again about our 'crazy hippy' attitudes surrounding it.

Thank you for being my first Vancouver friend, Girl-from-the-bus. Have a wonderful birthday, know that you are loved, eat lots of treats and find those granny boots.

Love Becka (and Richard).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Weekend escape

This weekend, some friends (2 grown-ups, 2 wee ones and a very well behaved dog), Richard and I piled into a car and headed off into the woods. After burritos to fill us up, a bit of singing and a touch of knitting we arrived at our little cabin. What a treat!
Richard reads his banned book 'The Crucible' as I knit whilst in comfy tights.

The next 3 days were spent reading, knitting, watching fun movies, eating good food, skipping stones in the river and visiting an Elvis themed greasy spoon (both the river and the greasy spoon deserve their own posts).
Cabin Play/watch-list:
- Annie Hall
- Neil Young
- Little House on the Prairie Christmas specials
- Amelie Soundtrack
- Eagle vs. Shark
- Elizabeth Mitchell
- Little Women
- Marissa Nadler
- Brady Bunch pilot episode (found at the cabin)
- Joni Mitchell
Here are a few of my favourite cabin moments....
Julie's jam and banana on toast, tea and a rock from Quinn. Good morning, Cabin!

Chopping kindling and sampling berries.

Collecting and finding

Fall colours in the valley, and folks collecting firewood


I think the fire was my favourite part, aside from the company.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Faith like a mustard seed

I had the best sleep last night. After coming home from work with a migraine and being sore from a fall down the stairs (wet stairs and jandals, not a good combination), a night of curry, talking with Richard and a good hot bath did the trick. I even managed to get the laundry done, and bake afghans in there.

So now that I'm up bright and early, I thought I would share my some of my latest creations. I think this is my favourite Keep Cozy so far. A beautiful mustard merino worsted yarn, seed stitched and twisted to keep your neck, chin and heart warm. It still needs some buttons, and I was thinking chunky black ones.... but now I'm not so sure. Ideas?

I also finished this 'Bananarama goes to the cottage' one recently. It isn't the best photo, because we don't have the best lighting in our house come evening. It's actually a little lighter than it seems here, because I double knit a canary yellow and cream alpaca blend together. Banana-cream-pie-a-licious, as Amber said.

Oh, behind the cozy you can see two of my favourite teacups. I was pleasantly surprised to see the same one in this post by the lovely Ella of Little Red Caboose. Teacup twins!

Love a man who can cook.

I took a wee break from 'cookbook' night last week as we had the pie part on the weekend (I will update you with photos aplenty next week!), so I thought I should fill you in on what a great cook my husband is, and make you all jealous with how lucky I am! Ha!

Richard is already an awesome cook so I didn't really need any convincing... however his choices so far have been pretty amazing! First up was an Avocado, Bean and Mango salad that was perfect for a late summer-ish evening. Unfortunately the photos of that didn't work, but you can feast your eyes on the Tomato Sesame Tofu soup above, taken from the Moosewood Restaurant cookbook. It was creamy, nutty and delicious - 'a post-hippy favourite'. We didn't have the tahini it called for, so he made some out of sunflower seeds and it worked perfectly!

To be honest, I wasn't sure if he would remember that Monday was his turn again. Happily though, I came home to this.....

He was preparing Dal from the Vij's cookbook. Vij's is this fancy 'contemporary' Indian restaurant here in Vancouver, that is meant to be amazing! So far, we've only made it to their cookbook (also amazing) that strangely called for seven cups of water for the dal....SEVEN! After draining the lentils (perhaps whoever proof read mistook a 2 for a 7?), and adding all the other 'from scratch' spices he served up the most delicious treat! Spicy dal, curried to perfection and washed down with leftover beer from our weekend party.

Oh, and another night Richard played hooky from work (shh) and we had this for supper. Nice.