Thursday, May 26, 2005

Purple and Blue Posted by Hello

Irises in bloom Posted by Hello

My Garden

Everyone needs a place for the soul to feel at peace, a place where your mind seeks inspiration and rest after times of struggle. For me it is my garden. I suppose it all goes back to my childhood, to the garden my great aunt once had. There was a small summer cabin surrounded by the orchard, and multiple flower beds. Her husband designed the layout: narrow paths bordered by irises, hedges of fragrant black currant bushes fencing off the property, and rows of fruit trees heavy with their sweet harvest in the fall. After his death my aunt (I always called her simply “aunt”, dropping “great”) refused to sell the place. I believe she and the garden needed each other.
She started taking me along since I was five or six years old, and taught me many wonderful things. I learned that tulips and daffodils had to be lifted from the soil after their leaves turn yellow in July, and planted again with good nurturing compost in the fall assuring their continuous bloom. I learned that rose bushes had to be pruned and covered with straw and soil to protect them from winter cold. I learned how to graft a fruit tree and feel ridiculously happy at the first signs of new leaves on a freshly-attached twig. I became a gardener.
Years later and miles away I finally have my own little garden, a distant relative of my childhood place of long ago. It speaks to me in the same secret language. My aunt would have approved…

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

My son’s favorite blinchiki

This recipe comes from my grandma’s notebook. Blinchiki (Russian version of crepes) are long time favorites in our family. They are great with just about any kind of filling: onions and meat, potatoes, mushrooms, and of course farmer’s cheese. I adjusted the recipe somewhat, adding the cheese filling in layers between blinchiki, rather than wrapping it in each individual blinchik. This was the first dish my son asked me to make after returning home from college.

Here it is:


2 eggs
2 cups of milk
1 tbsp olive oil or other vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 lb farmer cheese
½ container sour cream
½ cup raisins (optional)
1tsp vanilla extract
sugar to taste

Prepare the filling: mix farmer cheese with sour cream, vanilla and raisins. Add sugar to taste. (The filling should be the consistency of whipped cream, only heavier).

Warm milk, and add to slightly beaten eggs. Beat thoroughly. Slowly add flour and stir well. Add olive oil.
Heat the frying pan with some oil on it. Pour a generous ladle of batter, fry one side, flip and fry the other side. Place in a covered pot to keep warm. Spread some filling on a top. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Do not spread the filling on the top of the last blinchik.

To serve, cut wedge wise. Heat them up in a microwave, add sour cream and honey if you like.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Top front Posted by Hello

Maggie Jackson's inspired top Posted by Hello

Maggie Jackson's inspired top

I had some linen and rad yarn from Maggie Jackson's line of yarns, and decided to make a summer top with it. I used Kylemore top from Maggie's Ireland book as an inspiration. The whole project was fun!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I just got published!

Well, it is a small online publication really, but I am very proud of it! Here is the link

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Mother's Day Chocolate Cake

I treated my family with this cake that was an idea of the moment. Everyone enjoyed the result.
Here is my recipe:
1 chocolate Graham pie shell (the one that does not require baking)
6 oz semisweet chocolate morsels
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)
1 pint fresh strawberries
Melt chocolate morsels with 4 tbsp of heavy cream on low heat. The mixture should be the consistency of honey. Add more heavy cream if necessary. Combine the mixture with raisins and walnuts, and pour into the pie shell. Let it cool, and refrigerate for 30 min or so.
Meanwhile whip the remaining heavy cream with sugar. (I don't like my desserts to be extra sweet, so experiment with the sugar: you can add more or less, depending ot what you prefer).
Dice half of the strawberries, and mix with whipped cream. Place on a top of the chocolate filling.
decorate with the remaining strawberries. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Maggiknits inspired top

I started something interesting a couple of days ago. Found some Maggiknits linen in Natural and Navy, and knitting a summer top using Maggie Jackson's ideas: blocks of contrasting color/texture, usage of Rag yarn as an accent, geometric hem, etc. It is going fine so far. I will post the picture as soon as I finish the top, hopefully, it will not take long.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Lovlund top Posted by Hello

Corset top: another view Posted by Hello

Corset top Posted by Hello

Recent Projects

These are my two recent projects: Corset top from Interweave (free pattern), and Lovlund (Kornelia Hamilton's pattern). For the Corset top I used recommended yarn (Filatura di Crosa Elena). I enjoyed using it: no splitting even though it is a ribbon yarn. The neck opening turned out too wide, so I had to crochet around it. The pattern offers various knitting techniques: DPN's, circilar and flat. Certainly not boring!
Lovlund presented a little bit of a challenge: Hana Silk from Noro felt weird, maybe because I am mostly used to cotton, wool, and linen. However when done, the top is very pleasant to wear. Here again I had to crochet around the neck opening to make it a little smaller.