Suckerfish Menu

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Summer Salad Tue, 2010-07-06 19:17

 Perfect for those hot Irish summer days (right.. but it also works quite well for this slightly-warmer-than-usual-with-a-little-sunshine days ;). Very easy to make, very tasty and super-duper healthy! 

  • Buy a punnet of red grapes
  • Buy a punnet (box?) of strawberries
  • Make sure there's some pasta left in your cupboards (about 100 grams will do), if not, buy it
  • Buy a lemon (or just use some not-fresh lemon juice)
  • Buy a bag of baby spinach (or, if you're averse to fresh spinach any type of lettuce/salad combination will do, but spinach is nicer :)
  • Optional: a few mini-tomatoes are quite nice too! We had a small tomato plant and used a handful of those
  • Boil the pasta, rinse it thoroughly in cold water
  • Wash all the fruit and veggies to get rid of any nastiness, and cut lemon in half
  • Put everything except the lemon in a salad bowl, then squeeze all the lemon juice over it and mix it up (be careful not to let any lemon pits fall into the salad!)
  • Your Summer Salad is ready to eat! Preferably outside on your balcony/in your garden with the sun still shining :)

Innocent Hats Sun, 2010-06-20 11:14

WWKiP Day in St. Stephen's Green last weekend was great fun! Very different from last year where I didn't know anyone.

This weekend saw another WWKiP-related event organized by This is Knit and (I presume?) sponsored by Innocent Smoothies. Every year innocent smoothies takes donations of teensy little hats that they will then put on their smoothie bottles and for every hatted bottle bought they will donate a certain amount to a certain charity - this year they will donate 25 cents for every bottle to Age Action. If anyone is interested in donating hats or wants to know more about the campaign, check out their website. In fairness, I think spending your time knitting little hats (took me nearly an hour per hat) which will eventually end up as a 25 cent donation is not the best use of your resources, and donating directly to said charity is of course much more effective. One hour of knitting effectively results in 25 cents for Age Action, and an hour of your time donated to Innocent Smoothie advertising. Although, maybe it's not that bad: through the campaign Age Action will also get some more awareness in addition to the donations. The real reason I went to the event this Saturday is that knitting teensy hats with a bunch of nice people while being fed free smoothies sounded quite fabulous :)

 

The goal was 150 hats for the day, and I think me managed about 130 (mainly thanks to a few people who brought in bags of little hats they had already knit). I managed 3 whole hats! There were balloons, there were other decoration, there was a table full of very cute and amazing little hats, there was a fridge full of smoothies / models, there was a big 'hat-o-meter', there was free yarn for hat-knitting purposes and there were lots of friendly knitters - it was a good day :-)

A Beautiful Day Sat, 2010-06-12 12:29

 


Today is WWKiP Day, or World Wide Knit in Public Day, which means I met real Dublin knitters for the very first time exactly a year ago! I loved WWKiP Day 2009, loved meeting other people with the same hobby, loved the Powerscourt Balcony, loved the cookies that were baked by someone (?), loved sitting outside in the sun in St. Stephen's Green and loved putting faces to Ravelry names (I was in absolute shock when I discovered that D. was chicwithstix - I had really pictured her to be very much like her ravatar for some reason.. whoops :-)

 

This year we're meeting up again in St. Stephen's Green at about 2pm today! The question is, of course, what to wear? You cannot show up to something like this without wearing (or carrying, or draping elegantly over ones shoulders) something hand-knit. My original plan was to wear my orange Phildar Tee, which I was knitting this day last year. Seemed sort of symbolic and all that :-) But I decided against it, thinking I might jinx the weather (again) by wearing short sleeves, which would then need to be covered with my coat, completely defeating the purpose. So, Plan B: I will bring my new cardigan! That way we will either get nice weather OR I get to show it off - both ways I win :)

 

Second important question on such a day is: what to knit? As I had an entire evening off as well as a finished cardigan on Wednesday I decided it was time to cast on for something new! And an evening of knitting produced the two saddle shoulders you see right there ----|^ . The shoulders are the very exciting start of Crisp by Wendy Bernard, a nice and simple stockinette vest with some cute accents. The "Slip Stitch Weave" that is used for the shoulders is absolutely genius, really fun to do! Pity there is only so little of it in the pattern :) Since Wednesday I have managed to pick up the stitches for the back and got down to the armholes, so today it's time for the front!

Apologies.. Tue, 2010-06-08 20:07

 

Apologies to anyone who was hoping for nice weather during the bank holiday weekend. I'm afraid I might have jinxed it by buying 4 days worth of salads instead of proper warm and wintry meals on Saturday in preparation of a sunny weekend. The good news is: all salads are gone now and I promise to buy something less summery tomorrow, so the sun should be back in no time!

 

In other news: I have finally finished my cardigan! I'm wearing it now to ward off the bad weather again that I brought on: surely a finished (wool and very warm) cardigan is bound to bring out the sun again?

The Birthday Socks Sat, 2010-05-29 12:11

 

With a deadline of May 25th I finally managed to finish this birthday present on May 13. Phew. This might have been the longest project so far! Not due to the difficulty or size of the project, but really because I got distracted by so many other projects, and because the deadline seemed so very far away at the time :) But here they are!

They are slightly small for the recipient.. they fit, but only just, so hopefully washing them won't make them shrink!

Survived Tue, 2010-05-18 18:34

Our living room has survived the big mess and the huge holes they made in our wall and ceiling. They even sort of cleaned up after themselves.. sort of.

Oooh nooo... Tue, 2010-05-11 19:45

I might have mentioned to a few people that work is being done on our apartment building, with scaffolding being put up and everything - completely ruining our view, look!

But this happened a few weeks ago, and I'm pretty much used to it now. There isn't even any noise or anything (at least not when I'm home), so not complaining.

 

However! Today they just made it worse. lots. worse. We are going to have to clear a corner of our living room - a corner that happens to have a big bookcase in it, a chair, our tomato plant and my yarn! Then they are going to drop by here on Thursday and spent the day happily drilling a hole in our living room wall! A big gaping hole that opens up to the outside. They have also warned us that this will be messy (no shit!).

 

I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed that they won't accidentally knock down the entire wall, that they will come back at some point to close the gap again and that whatever they are going to put in the hole (so far only described as "a box") won't be too big, bulky and ugly!

 

Let the adventure begin...

Shopping Spree Thu, 2010-05-06 18:06

I went to Chapters on Sunday - really only popping in to buy the next Terry Pratchett.. after about 2 hours emerging with this:

(in my defence: it was all on sale and - apart from the Pratchett - all less than a fiver!) 

Drrrrrrrrrrr Tue, 2010-04-27 20:46

Last Friday it was finally time to wear my graduation socks! It proved ridiculously difficult to take a good picture of them though.. The weather was nice, so Trinity was busy, and wearing the shiny gown and funny cap already attracted too much attention. Sitting on the steps with my shoe off and not moving about too much so that the sock was visible proved impossible! This is the best we got, and at least proves that the sock was there ;)

If anyone is ever stuck for cash and can manage to rustle up a graduation gown: all you need to do is stand somewhere in front square in Trinity and wait for the tourists to come up to you to ask if you would mind if they take a picture and charge them for it. Although I suspect that the group of scruffy looking boys who wanted their picture taken with us were actually attempting a pick-pocket and failed miserably (I couldn't even find my own arms in that gown, good luck finding my wallet!).

 

Unfortunately my parents never made it to my graduation because their flight was cancelled and Ryanair didn't have any free seats till Monday. Pity they weren't there! But they have already seen the ceremony 4 years ago, and there wasn't much of a difference this time.

The good news was that I did have two other visitors! When my parent's flight was cancelled my sister let slip that someone else had been planning to come over for my graduation as well, but that this was a big secret - but seeing as flights were cancelled I was probably allowed to know about it now. Turned out their flight wasn't cancelled (because it was on Friday morning). Everyone refused to tell me who was coming over though...

Then on Friday afternoon we were in Trinity, collected the gown, did the mandatory photo shoot, and waited at front arch for these mysterious visitors. All of a sudden Britt and Dre were standing in front of me! My best-friend-since-primary-school and her husband - who recently had a baby boy and were therefore not really on my list of might-be-visitors (and also because she sent me a text on Thursday night asking me to call her on Saturday, I call that misdirection!). A very very nice surprise indeed!

Soon after they arrived all the guests were ushered into the exam hall, and all the Dr-to-be-s were sent to a small room somewhere in the Provosts quarters. After some endless waiting there was a role-call, we had to form an alphabetical row, and after at least 3 double-checks to make sure we were all in the right order we were sent out in a procession across front square into the exam hall. So embarrassing. When we got outside there was a small crowd there who started applauding.. errr.. thanks :) and taking pictures. As soon as we were in the exam hall I started looking around to see if I could spot my guests, but all I could see were camera lenses and lots of flashes.

I found the seat with my name on it and proudly sat down. Realised everyone else was still standing. Quickly got up again... But at least I didn't slip while walking to the podium, and my cap didn't fall off, so things could have been worse :)

Expecting not to see any familiar faces I was pleasantly surprised to see various other graduates that I knew, which gave me a chance to catch up with some people I hadn't seen in 4 years.

After the ceremony we had a lovely dinner in a little Mexican-Italian restaurant in Temple Bar, followed by a strawberry malt from Eddie Rockets, followed by being absolutely thoroughly stuffed!

 

On Saturday we went for a walk in Howth. We took the 31 bus from Eden Quay to Howth Summit, found our way past a car park down a hill to the path running along the cliffs and followed that until we reached Howth. The weather was lovely and I really enjoyed the walk (I had taken Britt there before, but it was lashing rain when we got there last time, so we didn't see much - so she might have had some reservations on the way over :) We ended up in Howth, took the train to Pearse St, popped into the Coral Reef exhibition at the Science Gallery and walked home. An excellent day!

 

Unfortunately they were leaving really early on Sunday (really really really early! We got up at 9am, and they were already in Dusseldorf!). I managed to squeeze in some work on Sunday, followed by a double-doze of cinema. First we saw 'Date Night', which I really enjoyed; no oscar material, but great entertainment. Then we went for pizza and came back to see 'Kick-Ass'. I had very high expectations of that one. After seeing the trailer I had decided I probably didn't want to see it, but then several friends mentioned the movie, ranging from "great movie" to "best movie I've seen this year", so I reconsidered. It was great fun, but nothing spectacular...

 

All in all a great weekend!

Weekend! Sun! And a story about spinning Sat, 2010-04-17 19:26

Life has suddenly become very very busy, but luckily in a good way! Where a weekend used to be just another two days where I did pretty much the same stuff as on any other day, with the only real difference being that Edsko was at home, this weekend feels like an actual weekend - 2 days of taking it easy, recuperating, doing all those things that need doing around the house. Time has become precious again, and I kinda like it (ask me again in a few weeks though ;)

Unfortunately I'm home all by my lonesome this weekend as Edsko managed to get to Belgium on Thursday for a course. Instead of flying out of Dublin at 7am they took a ferry, then drove all across England, took another ferry, drove all the way to Liege and got there around 2am. He got up at 4am. And the best part? They get to do it aaaaall over again on Sunday and Monday to get back here....

Who would've thought that I would ever get to blame a volcano for Edsko getting home a day late? It's just bizarre. My parents are also coming over next Wednesday (as my graduation is on Friday - yay, graduation socks!), so fingers and toes crossed that they'll make it over here!

 

Now it's time to finally tell you all about my spinning adventure!

 

I have already shown you my accomplishments after my first day of spinning, where I joined the spinners on the balcony in Powerscourt and learned to spin on a drop spindle. I continued spinning the rest of the first batch of merino/seacell roving and soon ended up with a spindle full of yarn! Real proper yarn.. yarn made by me.. wow.

 

That's where the niddy-noddy comes in (this is just the best word ever!), which D. had kindly given me on loan after the spinning Sunday. A niddy-noddy is a tool to wind yarn from a spindle into a proper skein. It's quite ingenious and works really well, especially when your yarn has lots of kinks and twists in it like mine did, then the niddy-noddy will certainly help. Having put the yarn on the niddy-noddy I was deadly afraid to take it off again, thinking it was probably going to end up as a big twisted and tangled yarn puddle. I carefully put some strings through the yarn in the right places like instructed by the Internet, took it off, and ended up with a skein! Magical.

 

I then did the same for my second batch of (the same) roving, which is a lot more even and spun up a lot faster than the first one. And tadaaaa!! Two beautiful skeins of white merino/seacell, 50g each with the first one being about 80yds and the second 60 or so.

 

All nice and well.. but there's not much I want to knit in white. Again, D. came to the rescue, providing me with a supply of kool-aid. Kool-aid is absolutely perfect for non-messy, non-fussy dyeing attempts: all you need to do is let the yarn soak for a little while, mix the kool-aid with some cold water in a pan, add the yarn and add more water until all the yarn is completely covered, turn on the heat and wait. You know you're done when the water has turned clear. I read these instructions and didn't have much faith in it - the water turning clear? suuuuure... it's dark purple... like that's ever going to happen. But you know what? It does! It really works.

I used 2 packets of red kool-aid (cherry) and 2 packets of purple (grape), and ended up with a lovely dark red yarn. The dye didn't manage to reach everywhere, leaving the yarn very variegated with lots of white, probably because it was quite twisted. I don't mind though and think the effect is rather nice. It also smells very nice!

 

   

 

The next part of the process takes quite a bit of patience: the drying. Especially as you can't really tell the colour yet because the yarn is still wet and it just takes aaaages. I weighted down the yarn a little with coat hangers, then came back to check it every few hours. In case you're wondering: that didn't speed up the process at all.. weird.

When it was finally all dried and lovely I wound them into balls. I now have 2 balls of fruity-smelly, cherry-red/grape-purple handspun yarn waiting for the perfect project!

 

 

Job! Sun, 2010-04-11 20:56

I have one. Very exciting! 

I Can Run! Tue, 2010-04-06 15:38

I can now officially call myself a runner, and am ridiculously proud of this fact! After 12 grueling weeks of running 3 times a week I finally managed to run for 30 minutes straight - that is 30 minutes of running without stopping once! Pretty impressive if I may say so myself ;-) 

It all started about 12 weeks ago when Edsko convinced me that running is a good thing and that if I could run I might also be able to walk up those stairs in our apartment building without being out of breath by the time I get to the third floor. So we devised a running programming where we had to run 3 times a week for 30 minutes. The first week started with 5 repeats of 2 minute runs followed by 4 minute walks. Those two minutes were pure torture! And 4 minutes certainly wasn't enough to catch my breath and get my heart rate down... But I persevered (isn't that a nice word? I think so..) and stuck to the schedule, not once giving up and stopping before the beep announced that I could. And it worked! 

Spindling Mon, 2010-03-29 21:23

 I learned to spin on a drop spindle today! Thanks Diane for showing me!

Cables! Sat, 2010-03-27 13:45

One of the reason I'm very excited about the Mr. Greenjeans cardigan I'm working on is the fact that it involves cables. I have never done cables before and after a little over a year of knitting I think it's about time to learn. And learn I did!

During FFF last night I had a choice of either starting the cables on the cardigan or continue with my socks - I decided that this was a good time to be brave and start the cables since there were tons of people there who could help me out if I messed up :) I have learned three things:

  1. Cables are easy!
  2. Cables are slow... very very slow going. Patience is required.
  3. Cable needles rock :)

Tomatoes Thu, 2010-03-25 17:23

A few weeks ago we planted some tomatoes in our AeroGarden™ (the only garden that lets us grow anything without it immediately dying on us.. must be our gentle touch :)

We now we have tomatoes! They are still green.. and need a little more growing up.. but there's lots of 'em! I'm ridiculously excited by this :)

Prettier in Green :) Sun, 2010-03-21 15:24

 

Tadaaaaaaa! My green pretty is finished :) It fits perfectly, and I love the colour and the yarn. The colour is a perfect fit for the current nice weather we're having here and the yarn just shows off the stitches really well.

Banana Bread! Tue, 2010-03-16 14:22

I did some baking yesterday, resulting in a very nice lunch today (that's called foresight :)

 

On the left is a variation of this raisin and sultana bread (recipe in Dutch I'm afraid, but it is super easy and Google Translate is a wonderful tool :)

The other one is banana bread based on this video by Chef John (I love Chef John! :) except that I left out the walnuts.. because I'm lazy that way and walnuts just sounds like an awful lot of work.

Teensy Chocolate Chip Cookies! Sat, 2010-03-13 16:17

I finally made it to FFF last night, if only for a little over an hour, and it was great fun! Nice to meet some new people and put some faces to online names. I had never been in the Tea Garden before and it turned out to be really nice - although a tad crowded in one particular room ;) (oh, and my tea smelled like bacon - *not* kidding)

Somebody brought lots and lots and lots of ridiculously cute little hand-made stitch markers to sell. I didn't even know I needed stitch markers until I actually saw them... but did I mention they were cute? :-) 

 

   

 

More hand-made stitch markers can be found at Chocolate Bunni's Etsy shop (there are lots of cakes, and donuts, and croissants and even pizza! and ice cream!)

Graduation Socks Thu, 2010-03-11 17:07

 

Graduation Socks are done! In plenty of time to wear to graduation next month :)

Kindly modelled by my foot and the four copies of my thesis that are still lying around here :-) And do you see that teensy little tassel on the cap! So cute! More pics on Ravelry.. 

I have put the pattern up as a free download on Ravelry as well (mind you, it's not really a pattern, it's just the chart that I created) for any other knitters who want to celebrate their graduation!

One step closer to graduation Tue, 2010-02-16 14:03

 

I SUBMITTED MY THESIS!!!! 

 

(was that big enough? could you read that? Enough exclamation marks? let me try again...)

 

I SUBMITTED MY THESIS!!!!!!

 

I won't make it blink and flash at you ;) I finally got my corrections done, got them approved and got the final version of my thesis printed and bound! It's very pretty:

 

 

Formal Polytypic Programs and Proofs - officially done! Anyone who's been looking forward to reading it: you can find it on my publications page :) Graduation will be at the end of April!

 

Next up: my graduation socks! I have started them on Sunday and am now halfway through foot #1. It's slow going, but progress is being made and I think I might finish them in time.