Wednesday, October 25, 2006

It's a girl! (and Giacosa makes a mean Dolcetto)

The recipient of the Rowan baby blankie was born this morning! Both T and the baby are doing well.
I decided to celebrate by opening a great bottle of Dolcetto D'Alba that I was able to procure via H, who has a friend in the wine business.
The first thing I noticed was the sweet, fruity, wonderful aromas. But it's actually a very dry wine with not alot of residual sugar at all. I guess the dolce part of the Dolcetto is about the grape, not the wine!
The color is a beautiful, enticing, clear violet ruby-reddish purple. It has a lemony acidity to it that is very refreshing, since it's very well balanced. I just had a glass with some crusty bread and cheese, but I think it's a great wine to pair with any kind of a hearty meal like steak and potatoes. I love red wines that are light but not watery, shows off the characteristic of the grape, but not too heavy (or expensive!), kind of like a very good Beaujolais Cru. I think this is my first Dolcetto, and I like this varietal enough to try some others.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Clutches Part II

My second try at felting. I decided to throw in these, one pair of shoes for one bag. I used about twice as much boiling hot water, and much, much more detergent this time. I set it on the lowest setting, and put in about 6 or 7 liters of boiling hot water. It was a little scary pouring it into the machine. The machine still continued to add some hot water, only it's not really that hot. It's only as warm as the hot water in the bath, probably less than 40 C. When the machine was done adding water, it was still hot enough that I could only touch it for a second. The water got very sudsy, and brown.

After 2 cycles of washing, voila!
They are felted!!! I am very happy with how they look. Thanks to Jan for the advice in her comments! Not only are they felted now, they are also a lot more smaller.
I didn't expect them to shrink that much in a second washing. I guess that means the first time really did nothing to it.
You can see how fuzzy and felted they are here.

The green one is still a little big larger than the pink one. The green one shrank from about 18cm tall to 15cm, the pink one from about 17cm to 16cm. The width also shrank about 2cm for both.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sweet potato mania

This weekend we went sweet potato digging with Cutie's daycare. It's what every Japanese preschooler does in the autumn, and this is our 3rd year to participate in this annual event.
You can see here how small each lot is, with people's butts right in front us!

Look, Mommy, this is the biggest one I dug up! Cutie is wearing a Tigers baseball cap. That's Detroit, not Hanshin! Because we had a rainy summer this year, the potatoes were very small.

Crafty Mom on the right is demonstrating how to make a wreath with the sweet potato vines.

Crafty Mom wearing her third or fourth wreath on her head.

So this was all we got this year. Probably a little over a kilo. Two years ago, we probably got as twice as much from the same size area.
This is its pre-washed state.

This is after washing and scrubbing off all of the dirt (and with it, some of the skin) away. Following is what we made:

I sliced the small ones and soaked them in water. Cutie helped and changed the water about 3 times. He then put them out on paper towels to dry.

Great chips!

Imo youkan. This is mashed sweet potatoes that's set in kanten. Kanten is like gelatin, but it's made from seaweed, not cow's spine, (or whatever gelatin is made of.) They were not quite as good as the real thing, but pretty good nonetheless.
Daigaku imo. This is deep fried, then dressed in a sweet & salty soy sauce caramel, sprinkled with black sesame seeds.

I think I'm maxed out on sweet potatoes for this year!

P. S. Mom, the chips are all gone, but there's a lot of imo youkan and daigaku imo for you!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Pommard Domaine Lejeune 2002 Les Poutures

This was a gift from my friend Y when she visited us this summer from Boston.
I do not have the proper vocabulary to do justice to this fantastic wine, but I wanted to post this picture since it was soooo good, and very my kind of Burgundy. Very elegant and smooth, with lots of fruit. Thanks again, Y!

Monday, October 16, 2006

One Skein Clutches

I decided to give felting a try. These are The Clutch You' ll Never Give Up from One Skein by Leigh Radford.
I used Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky Chocolate Souffle, Limeade and Victorian Pink, which my friend C brought back for me from the States. I used 2 strands of yarn instead of 1, with Takumi Clover Bamboo size 12 circular needles.
The first 2 photos were taken before my first learning experience with felting. I even added about 3 liters of boiling hot water to the washing machine, but it didn't really felt. Just got a little fuzzy is all. I was really disappointed, since I expected them to come out looking like this. So, I put the wet bags in a plastic bag with some dishwashing soap, and rubbed while watching TV in the middle of the night for about an hour or so each until about 2am. Directly rubbing it did make it felt a lot more than the washing machine. After rinsing out all the soap water and drying them out on a towel, this is where I am now, with the last photo. The knitted stitches are still very clearly visible. Next time, I will use more hot water and more soap, and more jeans for more agitation.

Meanwhile, my little cutie was very sweet and said the bags still look cute, even if they aren't felted the way Mommy intended them to be.
They are for G & L, 2 little daughters of our friends who will be moving to Tokyo soon. What should I fill the welcome-to-Tokyo bags with? Perhaps some Hello Kitty things? Or traditional Japanese origami? I will have fun planning and shopping until January!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Autumn bouquets

6 of my girlfriends from college, along with 2 hubbies and 8 kids, got together at my place this weekend. It was a long time that so many of us had gotten together all at once, and we had lots of fun over some wine and cheese. The kids had just as much fun, and boy, were they loud!

Everyone brought nice gifts, and most have already been happily consumed, but here are 2 pictures of beautiful flowers I received.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Wanted: "Trackback for Dummies"

My red scarf is on the Red Scarf Project website! See a different photo here, since Blogger's help section is not helpful at all, and I cannot figure out how to do a trackback, or what Blogger seems to call a backlink.

Can you tell how big this is?

My knitting club got together for our monthly meeting. S and T sewed up all the strips together while I knit more of the border. Almost done! It is going to be a really big blankie. The baby can use it for a long, long time!