Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday's Tin of the Week

Tomorrow is Swiss National Day.  I am sorry to say that I do not own a Swiss flag, yet.  Yet being the operative word here.  But this is what I have learned so far about living in this wonderful city and country:

  • Basel has 2 cantons: Basel-Land and Basel-Stadt.  The word “canton” is similar to “state” for my US compadres.  I live in Basel-Stadt; so therefore, this tin is the flag’s motif from the canton Basel-Stadt. 

  • Most famous Swiss personality – Roger Federer.  Since he is from Basel, I now watch tennis.

  • The Swiss have not received any medals yet in the Olympics but that could all change with the above fore mentioned …

  • Lacherach Chocolatier Suisse – has the best Swiss chocolate

  • A colleague of The Shaker’s told him that Swiss National Day is the result of all the Swiss cantons uniting together to form one country – Switzerland. 

  • You can swim – really you float - down the Rhine with a “wickelfisch” bag. Or as google translate calls it a “wrap fish.”  It’s a bag that is bright in color and keeps your stuff dry.  Gin has done this several time and adds this tip:  put your phone into a ziplog bag and then into the “wickelfisch.”

  • And Basel has it’s own cookie called “Basler Leckerli.”  Also, I found a recipe while I was “googling” the spelling! 

The Martini Knitter

Monday, July 30, 2012

Opening Ceremonies Cast On

I have officially cast on my Team Apathy Socks (aka - socks for Gin) at the start of the London 2012 Opening Ceremonies.  I did not cheat.  But I only accomplished the cast on (56 stitches) and 2 rounds for a total of 168 stitches in 3 hours and 45 minutes.   All 4 of us started off together watching but in the end, it was just Vermouth and I watching the ceremonies.  For us, the Opening Ceremonies started at 10 at night our time and ended at 1:45 in the morning.  We both enjoyed watching the Parade of Nations; we cheered (and accidently woke up The Shaker) for the Netherlands, Switzerland and the US upon entering the parade.  But our vote for best looking at the Parade was the guy from Fiji. What event was he in again???

As some of you know, we are huge field hockey fans -- especially for the Dutch women’s team.   However, we were sadden to hear from our good friend Margriet, that her niece, Willemijn Bos would not be able to play in the Olympics this year.  Sadly in the Dutch women’s last friendly hockey match last week before heading off to London, Willemijn injured her knee and could no longer play.  I know that you hear stories like this all the time in the Olympics but when you meet someone like Willemijn and you see all the hopes and dreams in her eyes and then see it shatter before her it just breaks my heart.  So as we continue to root for the Dutch because of Willemijn it is with a heavy heart for us not to see her there with her teammates. 

So yes, we got to see live coverage of the Netherlands vs. Belgium in the Women’s Field Hockey event all due to The Shaker.  I think we have 4 channels to watch the Olympics coverage on but of course, not the events we would like to watch.  So again The Shaker to the rescue with this link; however, there is no commentary just a live feed.  He was even able to hook my laptop up to the TV so we can watch it on a bigger screen.  I know … fancy!

But back to my socks!  This is how far I got over the weekend:

They knit up really fast because of the color changes.  I have decided to change the color line up for the matching sock because these socks are for Gin.  She picked these 3 colors out 6 years ago.  I was going to make a basic scarf for her but I never did.  The yarn just sat in the bag at the back of my sewing closet.  So I thought that this would be the perfect project for the Ravellenic Games 2012.  But here is something else about Gin’s personality you may not know:  she never wears matching socks.  It might be because by the time she is putting on her shoes, she is late.  So to keep with this tradition I have decided to change the color line up on the next sock – the heel with be blue, not green. 

The Martini Knitter

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Top 6 Things I Accomplished

Here are the top 6 things that I accomplished this week:

Number 1:

When I spoke to Olive last weekend she said that she was going to make her own olive oil infusion oils.  She found a recipe where you take the olive oil and add the herb of choice, place them into a bottle and leave in a sunny place for one month; and daily you must shake the bottle. 

I just ran out of lemon infused olive oil – I use this make homemade croutons and to stir fry chicken for salads. I found some here in a small bottle (100 ml/3.38 oz) that cost 14 CHF and then I remembered what Olive said, and off to the Internet I went.  Here’s the link I used for my lemon infused olive oil. I used this same concept of heating the olive oil and then adding, basil, thyme and rosemary each separately to their respective bottles.  I chose these herbs as they are ones that growing very nicely on my balcony.  Also, I chose to heat the oil as I only get morning (direct) sunlight in our apartment. 

From left to right: Thyme, Lemon, Rosemary and Basil

Which brings me to Number 2:

We got our new apartment keys!  Though we can’t move anything over until the end of next week, as the apartment will be getting freshly painted.  But The Shaker took measurements and we started to plot out where things will go i.e., what my sewing room will look like.  I need some new bookshelves to go into the sewing room and I just can’t wait to go to Ikea this coming week. 

Number 3:

I baked!  In some ways I feel like I haven’t baked in months.  About 2 years ago Olive was telling me about this great brownie booked called the Fat Witch Brownies book by Patricia Helding. Here are the recipes I have tried so far:

Fat Witch Brownie (a family favorite); Cocoa Brownies, Cakey Brownies, Blondies, Congo Brownies, Intense Chocolate Brownies (these last 2 both being The Shaker’s favorite), Caramel Witches and Frozen Cream Cheese Brownies (Gin’s favorite).  And last weekend I made the Berry Good Bars which are really good with vanilla ice cream.  And this weekend I am making No-Bake S’More Fun Brownies no other reason than I found small marshmallows here (doing happy dance).  

I also made Blueberry Muffins this week because The Shaker bought 2 large packages of blueberries to make the Berry Good Brownies – I only needed 1 package.  I secretly think he did this on purpose to get muffins out of me as well.  Here’s the recipe I use and I swear they turn out perfect every time!

Number 4:

I got to knit!  The Heliotropic Pullover is worked from the top down and I am finally passed the sleeve part and onto the body.  I finished the back part of the Lace Hem Top and have completed the lace work on the front.  And yesterday I finished the back part of Provence.  Today my plan is do the lace work on the front lace work and to finish my gauge swatch for my Team Apathy Socks (Ravellenic Games 2012).  The Opening Ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympics start locally for me tonight at 10:00 – if I get to cast on, I think this will be a miracle. 

Heliotropic Pullover
Lace Hem Top
Number 5:

I changed my password on my Gmail account, which almost had the resulting effect of me “chucking” my Blackberry phone out of the 2nd floor balcony!  However, better heads prevailed plus this is how Olive and I communicate!  So instead I spent 2 hours running around the Internet – when I could have been knitting – looking how to resolve this issue.  Finally, I got so frustrated that I had a very large glass of white wine and called The Shaker to ask for help!  Of course after his arrival home and in less than 45 minutes my phone was again receiving my Gmail messages. (Note from The Shaker:  It all came down to the 2nd Verification.  He used this link.)

Number 6 (and certainly not least):

I met up with friends to walk!  It was really hot yesterday but beautiful where we met up to walk.  Sadly I forgot my pedometer gadget so I have no idea how far we walked but it was over an hour. 

The Martini Knitter