Summer 2014 Bucket List

Friday, December 31, 2010

Three Six Five

Happy New Year!

You've probably heard of people taking one photo a day for a whole year. It's been a popular thing on the internet for a few years now. I did I did a year in pictures from 2008 to 2009 starting with my 29th birthday. It was a combination of self-portraits and pictures just representing my day. Sometimes I forgot to take a picture and other times I just got really bored, but I still stuck with it.

There's been some talk on Twitter about doing 365 again. My idea for this year is to take one self-portrait a year, post it to Flickr, and write about what I did that day. It would be a good way to get back into journaling, plus I could look back on the year and actually have a record! I feel like this might make it easier to do because even if I feel like the photo is boring, at least I will have something to say about my day.

I've shared my idea with a few other people on Twitter. What I think we should do is join one or more of the 365 groups on Flickr that suit your interests and commitment level. There are many groups on Flickr for 365 projects, here are just a few:

365 Days
Project 365
2011 in Photos - A 365 day Project
Ravelry's Project 365
365 days, the knitterly and crafty types

There are more groups which you can search for if you have a particular interest. Just remember to check the rules of the group before you join. For instance some Flickr 365 groups are only for self portraits while others allow a combination of self portraits and other photos. You may not even post your photos to Flickr, but that's what I'll be doing :)

So get your cameras ready! Who's with me?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Recipe Roundup - Halloween Edition

This week's Recipe Roundup is brought to you by Halloween! I know I featured a few Halloween recipes last week, but since Halloween is only one week away, I decided to only post Halloween recipes this week.

Tentacle Pot Pie
Candy Corn Jell-O Bites
Mummy Meatloaf
The Jacko-O-Lantern Cocktail
Halloween Candy Bark
Ghost Fruit for Halloween
Meat Hand
Shrunken Head Punch
Chocolate Marshmallow-Ghost Cake and Mini Cupcakes
Guacamoldy with Creature Chips
Swamp Sangria
Thomas Keller Oreo Bat Cookies
Melon Brains
Eye Ball Cake Balls
Fossil Cookies

There are so many cool things you can do with food for Halloween. These are just some of the ones I found this past week. 

Also I found out about this cool cook book, all about creepy cupcakes! 

A Zombie Ate My Cupcake

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Recipe Roundup

I read a lot of blog posts every day, and by read I really mean "skim". I do try to read all my blogs every day and save any recipes that look tasty. I might never get around to trying some of them but that doesn't mean I can't share them with you! Every week I will try and post a roundup of the interesting and yummy looking recipes that I found while reading my favourite blogs.

YumSugar's Must-Try Mac and Cheese Recipes
Sopa De Ajo (Garlic Soup) - Just in time for cold and flu season.
A new way to roast a potato.
Chicken Divan Casserole, from Scratch
Potato Chips to Bacon Bites: 15 Potato Recipes for Fall
Mixed Greens with Pomegranate Lemon Dressing
Baked Potato Soup

Halloween Chocolate Pretzels
Candy Corn Parfait

Peanut Butter & Fudge Oatmeal Cookies - These look delicious!
No-Knead Pumpkin Rolls with Brown Sugar Glaze
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread
Hot Chocolate Cookies
Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New blog name!

Knitting and Cats is now East Coast Knits! I guess I should update my blog banner too ;) I'm quite partial to the cats though.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Four pairs of socks and one pair of mittens

I have been doing some knitting. I've been a slow knitter this year, but I have managed so far to knit 4 pairs of socks, and 1 pair of mittens. Though some of these items were actually started back in 2009. I have some other finished items that still need blocking, and those will make it into another post.

My creation

You can click on the links for more info, or check out my Ravelry page.

Right now I'm working on a pair of socks in Noro Silk Garden, a gadget case for a Polaroid camera, and I have a scarf on the needles, though I haven't worked on that in a while (Lace Ribbon Scarf from

Also, I will be launching my own Etsy shop this fall. I have a lot of ideas for items to make, and I will be having a go at dyeing yarn as well. More details on that in the near future.

It's been really hot lately but it has finally started to cool down thanks to Hurricane Earl. I'm going to take advantage of the cooler weather and go knit! Happy Labour Day weekend everyone!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Chicken & Vegetable Medley Soup

I like to cook sometimes, though I haven't been doing much cooking from scratch lately. It's too hot and I find I don't have much appetite in the summer. I had a package of chicken thighs in the freezer which I let thaw over night, and needed to use them up. I have a slow cooker so I decided to make something in that. I didn't have a recipe, but looked through my slow cooker cookbook, and checked to see what I had on hand in the cupboard. What I came up with was really tasty, and I decided to turn the leftovers into a soup. The story of the slow cooker dish and how I turned it into soup is what follows.


  • 1 package of chicken thighs
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced (I ran out so I used garlic powder, don't judge)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (omit or use less if you don't like spice)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 litre of water (omit this if you are planning to serve the chicken over rice)
  • 1 cup of rice (I used basmati)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp Better Than Bouillon (or sub chicken/veg stock that you normally use)
  • dash of fish sauce (I use this in fried rice too) 
  • 1 cup of frozen vegetable medley or other diced vegetable (mine was green beans, carrots, corn, fava beans, and peas)


What I planned initially was to a chicken dish served over rice, so I am including the description of what I did with the slow cooker first. Really though it's better as a soup, so read on to find out how to skip the slow cooker part and make soup. I just wanted you to know what I did at first, you know, in case you do want a chicken dish to serve over rice. 

Add onion and garlic to the slow cooker, then layer chicken pieces on top. I seasoned the chicken between layers with the garlic powder, pepper, salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Once all the chicken has been placed in the cooker, add the can of diced tomatoes. Cook on high for 2-3 hours, or until the chicken is done. 

While the chicken was cooking, I rinsed the cup of rice until the water was clear. I added all the rice ingredients, gave it a stir, and cooked it in my rice cooker. Once the chicken was cooked through, I served it over the rice. It was really tasty, but a bit watery due to the canned tomatoes probably. I decided it would make a great soup, so that's what I did with the leftovers.

After I finished eating, I took all the chicken out of the slow cooker to cool. I added the rice to the slow cooker with the tomatoes and vegetables so (the slow cooker was turned off at this point, just wanted flavours to meld together). When the chicken was cool enough to handle, I removed all the chicken and added it to my soup pot, setting aside the bones and skin to make stock later. I shredded the chicken into smaller pieces, then added the mixture of rice, vegetables and tomatoes that had been sitting in the slow cooker pot. With the soup pot on medium heat, I added more water (maybe a litre) and more frozen vegetable medley. There was an open package of pasta sitting on the counter that I forgot to put away, so I threw that in too (it was about 1 cup dried). I let the soup simmer on medium until everything was heated through.


This is a very hearty and filling soup. You could use any kind of vegetables you have, just dice them up all the same size (if using frozen make sure to thaw before adding to the slow cooker). If your slow cooker is large enough you could make the soup in it, but mine is rather small so I would use my soup pot. Next time I'll just sautĂ© the onions on the stove before adding the chicken to the pot. Once the chicken is browned I would add the other ingredients (leaving out any rice, pasta, or frozen vegetables) and simmer until the chicken is cooked. Then add the vegetables, and simmer until everything has warmed through. The rice turned to mush so I will not bother adding any next time. It's good to cook the pasta separately before adding it to the soup (maybe under cook it a bit).

I froze the leftovers and it has kept up well once reheated. The soup is a bit oily as you can see from the picture above. I did skim off some of the fat and surely you could skim off more if you are concerned about that. A few days later I made chicken stock by adding a couple of litres of water, the skin and bones, and some seasonings into the slow cooker (would normally add aromatic vegetables but didn't have any sadly). After a few hours on high I had delicious chicken stock!

Woo, that's a lot. I don't think I would not make a great recipe writer, hehehe.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Contest time (not my contest though)

Do you like coffee? Do you like chocolate? Do you like to support local businesses? If so, you should enter the Blogiversary Give Away on LifeHealthFit's blog! I love JustUs coffee so I really hope I win! ;)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

You spin me right round

I was bored last week and felt like getting out my drop spindle and doing some spinning. I've only made yarn once before and it didn't go too well. The fibre that time was merino and had a short staple. It kept breaking and I had a hard time pre-drafting it to make spinning easier. Earlier this year Yarnpirate sent me a bit of BLF roving to practice with, so I decided to spin it up.

I separated the roving into long strips and then pre-drafted all those strips into thinner pieces. I call the pre-drafted pieces "buns" because that's what they look like to me! :P

Pre-drafted rovings.

I piled all the "buns" together and divided the pile in half. If I had a scale, I would have weighed out 2 equal piles. I planned to spin singles and ply those together to make 2-ply yarn. It would have been nice to make 2 equal singles but I did the best I could by guessing.

Drop spindle full of spun singles.

After I spun another spindle full of yarn, I plied the 2 together, learning from Youtube videos. The plying was tricky. For one thing it was really humid in that apartment, so the yarn was not moving through my hands smoothly. It may have even been felting a bit because my hands were sweaty. Gross! I also wonder if the singles were spun too tightly because they were kinking back on themselves. I kept on though and ended up with a yarn that I am quite happy with. 

My first 2-ply yarn.

After plying I dunked the skein in a bath to set the twist, then hung it up in the shower until most of the water had dripped off. Unfortunately I didn't tie the skein in enough places and the yarn got a bit tangled up. Oops. I knew better but I guess I was in a hurry to finish. To finish drying I hung the yarn up on a clothes rack, and it took a few days to finish drying because of the humidity.

I am really happy with the finished yarn though. I'm not sure of the yardage, but I will probably pair it with another yarn in my stash and knit a hat or a scarf.

Finished product!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The sweater is finally done!

Pattern: Sesame by Melissa Wehrle
Yarn: Elann Peruvian Luxury Merino Superwash in Dark Chocolate and Café au Lait
Needles: US 3 - 3.25 mm
Started: April 27, 2008
Finished: June 26, 2010

I started this sweater before my trip to Norway in 2008, because I thought it would be a good thing to wear with the spring weather. I could tell I wasn't going to finish it in time though, so I decided to work on it later. I don't know why it took me so long. I finished knitting all the pieces in early 2009 but it was still quite a while before I put everything together. I finished seaming and weaving in the ends earlier this year, and put the buttons on yesterday. Woot!

It's not perfect, but I think it's great for my first adult sweater. It fits and will be nice to wear this fall. The buttons came from Holland, sent to me by my friend's mother (Thanks Lynn).

My only complaint is that this superwash yarn wrinkles easily, but most of my clothes get wrinkled once I put them on anyway ;)

Frasier approves. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Adventures in Dyeing

My friend came over on Saturday and we dyed some yarn. I have dyed yarn before, mostly using Wilton Icing Colours. I had some sock yarn to dye up, and she wanted to over-dye some yarn in her stash.

I am not going to document the entire process here, but I will link to some helpful sites. I tend to just make things up as I go along, which works for me, but it's probably better to have a "recipe" or specific instructions. There is a lot of information out there on how to dye yarn at home, and a lot of different techniques. Below are some links I've found helpful, but you can find more information by doing a web search for the techniques you're interested in.

Lisa's yarn in the dye pot on the stove

My yarn, undyed wool (I did mine in the microwave)

Orange dye bath

Orange dye bath

Green dye bath

Finished wool

Dyed wool drying

Electric Mango!

I can't wait until it's dry and I can knit a pair of socks!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Which buttons?

I have been working on this sweater since April 2008. It was supposed to be finished before my trip to Norway in May of that year. Sooo did not happen. But it's done now, and all it needs are buttons. The top one is a plastic button from Wal-mart, the other two are wooden buttons from Holland, sent to me by Lynn (I owe her a knitted sleeve for her Polaroid).

I think I like the bottom button best. What do you think?

What could this be?

I have something special planned for Saturday. This is a little sneak preview. Stay tuned to find out whats going on!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cotton/Lycra Mata Hari Socks

Here is what I'm working on right now. Well to be honest I have a few WIPs on the go, but this project is what I'm currently obsessed with.

The yarn is a cotton/lycra blend by Greenwood Fibreworks. I had coveted the yarn a few years back, before I had really established a stash and been sucked into online buying. The yarn is unfortunately discontinued but I bought some off another Ravelry user.

The pattern is Mata Hari by Stephanie Degen. It's not a pattern that gives you step by step instructions, but if you've knit enough pairs of socks you can figure it out.

Also, on Saturday was World Wide Knit in Public Day in Halifax. I went to knit on the lawn in front of the public library with my friend. On our way there we saw some knit graffiti! This installation was a creative way to invite people to the first public consultation meeting about the new Halifax Central Library. I did not participate but my friend did. The tree is near the area where the new library will be.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Monthly Craft Night?

I've started volunteering with a local non-profit group, Immigrant Settlement & Integration Services (ISIS), and might organize a monthly craft night for ISIS. From their website:

"ISIS is a leading community organization that welcomes immigrants. Working in partnership, ISIS offers services and creates opportunities that enable immigrants to participate fully in Canadian life."

To learn more about ISIS and the work they do, visit their website at ISIS puts on social events from time to time, such as movie nights or monthly cooking classes. I was chatting with an employee at ISIS about knitting, as her mother owns a knitting shop, and she and some of her family knits. We both thought it would be fun to have a monthly craft night put on by ISIS. It would be a casual get together for ISIS employees, volunteers, and immigrants new to Halifax to enjoy crafting and socializing. The craft night might be held at ISIS, located in the West End Mall, or some other place to be determined.

The only craft I really know is knitting, but certainly there are a lot of people out there into other crafts such as scrap-booking, jewelry making, or crochet. It would be a great opportunity to share what you know and maybe learn something new!

At this point I am just brainstorming, so if you are interested in this (whether you craft or now) or have some ideas for crafty things this group could do, please leave a comment. Also feel free to pass this on to your friends in Halifax.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Rosie the Riveter Knit Kerchief

I have really thick hair and it’s hard to find hats that fit on my head. When out in the sun my scalp always burns, especially in the part. I plan to attend World Wide Knit in Public Day this year so figure I could whip up a kerchief in a few days to protect my head.

Pattern: Rosie the Riveter Knit Kerchief by Amy Boatright
Yarn: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Ombres & Prints
Needles: US6/4.0mm (Denise Interchangeables)
Started: June 10, 2010
Finished: June 12, 2010

I cast on 89 stitches instead of 91. 91 stitches won’t work anyway, because the pattern is a multiple of 4 + 1. Also made my bobbles differently: k1fb twice in next st, turn, p4, turn, k4, slip third, second, and first sts one at a time over fourth st. Other than those mods, I knit the pattern as is. I wasn't sure about the bobbles at first, but once I put it on I thought they looked fine. You can omit the bobbles though if you like.

Kerchief FO
This is what it looks like before you seam up the head band. Looks a bit funny.

Kerchief FO
Here I was trying to demonstrate how to attach the two ends of the head band, though I realized after I uploaded the pic that this is wrong spot to seam, but you get the idea. Clicking on the photo will take you to Flickr where you can see notes on the photo.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Yet Another Blog

I've had a few blogs over the years; some have stuck, some have not. I decided it was time to have a knitting blog again. So here we are! I really plan to only talk about knitting on here, but I might talk about other topics, like cats!

Stay tuned!