Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The African Flower is in Bloom

Towards the end of my previous post entitled, "If Music be the Food of Love, Play On", I mentioned about the cupcakes made by Ayana Grace, my eldest daughter. One time at work, I would read her text message asking me where the muffin pans are. Her text message yesterday was to tell me she's going to the grocery store to get some ingredients for the new recipe she was preparing for. Oh, yes, indeed, she's growing up fast in my kitchen laboratory! Real fast that last night, she ventured into another experiment, a result of her stalking the Divas Can Cook YT channel. 

She got this Pepperoni Pizza Quesadilla recipe from the Divas Can Cook, a food network (and blog site) that features "old fashioned cooking for the modern super woman".

So this was what we had for dinner last night. Late dinner but not too late to celebrate the birthday of my husband who is away at work and won't be home till the weekend. Well, I had two servings myself for dinner (I would have wanted more had I not been watching my diet) and another for breakfast today! Whew, I must remember to reserve a slice or two for my husband! I promised him I would.

By the way, my daughter, Ayana Grace, who enticed me into this blogging world, is the person behind Codename Aya, a blog site featuring beauty and beauty products (make-up, hair, nail arts, etc.). Well, since beauty products are her turf, she has given me permission to post all about her foodie experiments. Hmmm... there's no turning back... the invasion of my kitchen laboratory has begun!  ;) haha!
Note: The following are various meanings of "Ayana": Beautiful African flower; in Hebrew, He  answers; African-American meaning: Favor or Grace.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

If Music be the Food of Love, Play on

I promised myself I won't blog about my work. Yes, I made it Rule No. 1 when I got myself hooked in this blogging world. Since writing is my way of relaxing from the hurly-burly of my job, I told myself my blogs will only be about  my hobbies --- cooking, crochet, dogs, plants, (family? maybe...) and personal journeys. I've mentioned that in my notes About this Site and About the Author

Well, I can't help mentioning how my involvement in a government project has kept me real busy the past weeks (months actually!) almost bringing me to panic mode at times, enough to set me scratching myself all over, that would call for some doses of antihistamine. 

Last Friday, we finally celebrated the launching of the project although in reality the real work has just barely begun! And so that day, I had to go home earlier than usual to take that much needed rest. I enjoyed a bit of luxury by sleeping from 7:00 pm till 5:00 am! My first after a long while! 

But then, there's still the best luxury to culminate the week--- that of having Saturday breakfast with Billy, my husband, while enjoying classical music on air. Simply majestic! Such soothing and comforting music! I have always loved listening to classical music even as a child but it was my first time to listen to these violin concertos straight from "The Four Seasons" and Venice Baroque album by Antonio Vivaldi.  The selections are part of the Venezia Art-Photobook and CD package that Billy brought home after coming from a 10-day trip to Venice where he presented his research paper in mathematics.
 If you would like to enjoy the selection in full, just play the video below while reading on.
Billy goes home every Saturday from a week-long work from the University of the Philippines, Los Banos, Laguna. Hmmm... Yes, I'm a week-end wife! And this is precisely why I cherish Saturdays and Sundays because it's the only time our whole family could be together!

The Saturday breakfast would usually consist of the famous Jollibee "Pinoy Langhap Sarap" (Filipino Smells Delicious) Chicken Joy meal. I would make a combination from the variety of meals so that my kids and I get to have a taste of everything from the assorted chicken, corned beef and beef tapa meals, with fried egg and rice. 

For this Saturday, I imagined myself seated in one of the best concert halls in the world while having breakfast which I concluded with the chocolate cupcake baked by our eldest daughter, Ayana Grace.
I arrived home Friday night to find her baking these but the sleepiness overpowered my enthusiasm to have a taste of it. Well, I can say that Ayana Grace has been growing up fast in my kitchen laboratory these past days and weeks. The cupcakes don't only look good, they taste good as well! Just enough sweetness despite the icing. Sssshhhh....I hate to confess that I, myself, am not good at this craft of making icing. Doesn't that call for a partnership in the near future? 

Hope you enjoyed your weekend! I enjoyed (and still am enjoying) mine. :)

By the way, did you like the violin selections? What classical music do you like best?
= = = = = = = = =
Note: The title of this post is a quote from Shakespeare's work, "Twelfth Night" where Duke Orsino in Act 1 Scene 1 says:
"If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die..."

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Lacy Hair Scrunchies

In my previous post last week, I featured the Retro Neck Band I made during the Christmas holidays last year. It was in keeping with a promise I made almost a year ago to talk about the making of each item I made as part of the holiday marathon 2012. Click here to view post.

Today, the Lacy Hair Scrunchies by Emilee Gettle that was featured in Crochet Spot will be the highlight. This, too, was one of the give-away items I made last Christmas which I featured in my post entitled, "Holiday Season Crochet Marathon Part 3."

It was very easy to make this hair scrunchie. Following the pattern from Crochet Spot, all you have to do is make 1 sc into the hair band / elastic to get started. Then, make 55 repetitive cycles of  "ch 8 - 1 sc" into the elastic ring.  
But wait, instead of making a whole bunch of ch 8-1sc 55 times into the elastic band, I actually made alternate cycles of "ch 8 - 1 sc; ch 5 - 1 sc" pattern to cover the whole ring. A modification I thought of... hmmm saves a few yards of yarn and gives a little bit of emphasis to the artsy twirls! ;)

Simple and easy, right? Now, what are you waiting for? Why don't you grab your favorite color from your stash of yarn and start making a dozen? Would make great gifts which you could pack in pairs a week or two from now.
 Please share with me  in the comment box below which color you picked. :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Neckie Mobius Cowl

Happy weekend to all! I had a heavy week so what could be more relaxing than crocheting a new project on a Saturday? I declared this day as a real rest day for me. No marketing, no cooking (except for a very light brunch --- Tuna Chow Fan side dished with cucumber-tomato mix and left-over chicken nuggets) but how could I say no to crochet? It will always be a perfect relaxation for me! And so, in between sleep periods throughout the day, I found myself working on a cowl.

I used a combination of two patterns. One pattern was the Unisex Cowl - Neckie Crochet from The Sunroom,
The Unisex Cowl - Neckie Crochet
 and the other one was the Mobius Infinity Cowl by Michael Sellick.

I started working using the Mobius Infinity Cowl pattern by Michael Sellick, from Step 1 until after the first part of Step 3, where the direction to start a mobius says, "Turn the work so it has a permanent 180- degree twist." Then, instead of making DCs all the way back to the beginning chain, I shifted pattern to follow the "DC, chain 1, DC" from the Unisex Cowl - Neckie Crochet from The Sunroom.

Using this whole ball of Red Heart Yarn,  I started the work with the twist made at Round 2. Do you notice that in the upper portion of the photo on the right?

Look what I got at the end of the day.

See the inverted band on the lower portion of the cowl, resulting from the 180-degree twist made after Round 1. This was my first time to make a mobius. My husband who is a mathematician explained it to me in mathematical language which I didn't quite understand. Suffice it to say that for a layman, a mobius is simply a loop with a single twist.   A mathematical phenomenon, it is... for a child, it can be magic, for others it can be a riddle, an art, but for crafters, it can be a scarf, a cowl, a lace wrap. How about you? Have you tried any project using a mobius? What project have you made using a mobius design?

Have a great week ahead! :)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Retro Neck Band

I joined a holiday season marathon last year.  Who kept me company? My crochet needle, yarn and me! :) Well, it was a crochet marathon featured in my blog post entitled, "Holiday Season Crochet Marathon Part 3."  In this post, I featured some crochet projects which I gave away as gifts. Among the gifts I gave away was the "Retro Neck Band in Manos Silk Blend."

I found the  4-step pattern for this nice and snug neck band from Ravelry as a free download. Very simple and easy-to-make, this neck band could provide warmth during cold weather.

Here is what I made using variegated yarn. I found a stone from an old bracelet and fastened it as button.

Here's how the original Retro Neck Band by Ann Linderhjelm  looks like. 

Well, what are you waiting for? Why don't you try making one yourself?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Crocodile Stitch Bracelet

I like green, so when I saw this bracelet, I was instantly attracted to its color. The original pattern for this bracelet was made by Tia Davis (click here to view).

Photo from
 I've seen and read about Crocodile Stitch from various crochet patterns but haven't crocheted anything of that sort yet. As they say, this kind of stitch could look quite complicated  but then I realized after making two or three stitches in a row, it was not difficult at all! Well, now is the first time to make my very own. Yes, anybody wouldn't ever miss the great semblance of the stitches to crocodile scales, hence the name, Crocodile Stitch. 

For my first venture on a project made of crocodile stitches, I used variegated yarn for a bracelet  although crochet literature would tell that the stitch would also make very nice and elegant scarves, shawls, flowers, and many other projects. Name it, the crocodile can make it!

Following the tutorial of Tia Davis, I was able to make this.


Learning this stitch was quite challenging! So challenging that it has inspired me to make another project. How about a handbag purely made of crocodile stitches? So keep watch for the coming posts! 
Have a great week ahead!

The Peacock Fan Bookmark

Look what I found in my crafts archive, two pieces of bookmarks I made last year. I was not into blogging yet when I crocheted these so it's only now that I get to feature them here --- The Peacock Fan Bookmark by Mary DuBois from the Crochet World April 2008 Magazine.

  Here are the Peacock Fan Bookmarks I made.

My Peacock Fan Bookmarks side-by-side with the original
I hope to make more of these in the coming days. Gift-giving for the holiday season! :)

How about you? What patterns of bookmarks have you used? Please do share in the comment box below. I would love that!

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Zucchini Magic

I don't know what's with zucchini that I've learned to like and love it the first time I tasted it! The first recipe I tried using zucchini was ratatouille… oh yes, I can still vividly remember, that was shortly after my family and I watched the movie, "Ratatouille". I was so intrigued at why Anton Ego, the critic, "was rocked to the core", that I made efforts to look for recipes so that I could try the dish myself.

Well, my very first ratatouille dish was a hit in my family, especially to my husband who had a one-year stint in France, where he had his first taste of it in 2004. He and my eldest daughter, Ayana Grace, liked it. 

 Their reaction to my first experiment inspired me so much I had to give it another try, this time, as toppings to pasta. Another big hit! From then on, zucchini has been a mainstay in my grocery list (as it's not available in nearest wet market). Having at least one piece in my vegetable bin has made it a regular savior in times of "I-don't-have-much-time-to-think-of-a-meal" moments in my life as a working mother and wife! With eggplant and tomatoes, it often becomes an effective fast food dish I offer to my husband who has been on a veggie and fish diet since he recovered from a mild stroke.

Here are the common dishes I make with zucchini. 
Zucchini omelet
Zucchini fritters
Zucchini Pizza
Zucchini Carpaccio with Avocado Salad
 Both were featured in my previous blogs, Go Green with Zucchini Carpaccio and Sunday's Cram.

Mixed Zucchini Broccoli Spinach Salad
  And just recently, I discovered a new recipe--- Betty Crocker's Pineapple Zucchini Bread.

 I didn't have ingredients (powdered sugar and corn oil and I didn't have time to scout for the right substitutes) for the glaze at the time I tried this new recipe. I didn't have walnuts either. Fortunately, there were still pistachios left in my cupboard. The result--- Pineapple Zucchini Bread with pistachios minus the glaze. 

Pineapple Zucchini Bread with Pistachio toppings

 Well, what do you think? Not quite like Betty Crocker's but then the fact that my husband ate the whole loaf he brought to work (believe it or not!!!!) says it all! Honestly, I disdained the thought that he ate the whole loaf because he said he'd share it with his officemates and it was a violation to his diet! But then, what else could be a better compliment?

I bet I featured much about my zucchini meals. More about the making of each meal featured here in the coming days. I just realized my collection of dishes in my electronic files are beginning to multiply already. Can't wait to share them all! Meanwhile, thank you so much for the visit!  Hope to see you more often. How about joining my site? :)

I'm linking to Home Maid Simple Foodie Friday, Simple Living and Eating Foodie Friday