On the way to Canberra

Last weekend James and I went to Canberra for the long weekend, both for the first time ever. You might think I do lots of travelling in Australia, given that I just blogged about my trip to the Great Ocean Road, but that’s not really true. These two trips were the first time I’d been travelled within Australia since New Years 2009, and the reason was pretty boring: I had to visit the Swedish Embassy in Canberra to renew my passport.

On the way to Canberra

We drove up on Saturday. Door to door, it took about eight and a half hours, and as we were getting close, the light outside the car was so beautiful I couldn’t resist getting my camera out and snapping some photos through the windows.

On the way to Canberra

Throughout the drive, I couldn’t stop marvelling over the unique Australian landscape. I rarely get out of the city, and the vegetation here is so different from what I’m used to in Sweden. Of course, James found me ridiculous: “It’s just normal Australia.” Yeah, after six years here, I’m still a tourist.

Parliament House

One of the first things we did was go to visit Parliament House. We walked from the hotel, which was really bizarre because it was so quiet and empty. We were sure there’d been a zombie apocalypse. Parliament House itself wasn’t really that exciting, but we felt like it was something we had to do, given that we were in the nation’s capital. The most interesting part was just knowing that this is where all the decisions get made.

Parliament House

It is, however, a pretty interesting building, which looks sort of like a fortress, set up on a hill and buried under the ground.

View from the top of Parliament House

You can also take the lift up to the roof and look out over the city.

No knitting in the House of Representatives!

Next, we visited the old Parliament House, which has been turned into a museum. In many ways it was much more interesting than the new building. James pointed out this sign: no knitting in the House of Representatives!

Australian War Memorial

Overall all though, the highlight for me, if you can call it that, was visiting the Australian War Memorial. I didn’t think it was going to affect me that much, but walking through the museum inside which details Australia’s involvement in World War I and II gave me a lump in my stomach and made me tear up more than once.

Australia War Memorial

Seeing all the exhibits and then the names of all the people who gave their lives was incredibly humbling. This is something I won’t forget for a long time.

Australia War Memorial

Australian War Memorial

After lots of work, my latest sweater pattern, Josefin is finally available for purchase.

Josefin

Josefin is a simple pullover knit from the beautiful MadelineToash Pashmina (shown in Trodden). It’s got a versatile shape, dart shaping and slight scoopneck, which makes it flattering on most body types. But it’s the elegant details that really make this pattern: eyelet and garter trims, pleats and subtle puffed sleeves. I’m really proud of this pattern and I hope you love it too.

Josefin!

And now for some technical details: Josefin is knit from the bottom up with top-down set-in sleeves. I love this construction method since it has all the benefits of seamless knits with the structural advantages of a seamed sweater. The nit-picky details, like yardage and needle specifications are all available on Ravelry.

Josefin!

Josefin is now available to purchase on Ravelry for US$6. In addition, I’m currently running a promotion, where you get $2 off with purchase of any two of my sweater patterns. Past purchases are eligible, so if you’ve already purchased one of my other sweaters and buy Josefin today, you still get the discount. The code is HOORAY.

Great Ocean Road

This post is about two weeks late, but I still wanted to share these photos from the Great Ocean Road. My mum visited me for a week at the beginning of the month, and we drove up the coast together with a friend of my mum’s and her daughter. Even though I’ve been in Melbourne for over six years now, I’ve never been up the Great Ocean Road, so it was about time.

Great Ocean Road

We saw the Apostles, went up into the Cape Otway lighthouse and generally acted like tourists. It was great to spend some quality time with my mum and see some of the beautiful sights around Victoria.

Great Ocean Road

I won’t go into more detail right now. Hopefully I’ll have more to say next week, maybe even about something knitting-related!

Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road

Kanelbullar

1 May 2011 · 3 comments in Food

Kanelbullar

Cinnamon rolls are a big deal in Sweden. I mean, we even have a cinnamon roll day. It’s probably been a couple of years since I made them, but I’m pretty sure it’s in my DNA. This week, it’s my turn to bake for bake club at work, and I wanted to make something Swedish, so I whipped out my Swedish cookbooks.

Kanelbullar

Swedish cinnamon rolls (or kanelbullar) are not overly sweet or sticky, like the  rolls I’ve come across elsewhere. While cafes and stores will often sell giant buns, homemade cinnamon rolls are usually pretty small and baked in individual patty pans.

Kanelbullar

They’re delicious and standard in most Swedish homes. I can’t remember the number of times I’ve helped my mum make cinnamon rolls.

Kanelbullar

Anyway, here’s a recipe, adapted to work with the ingredients that are readily available in Australia. After all, I can’t get pärlsocker here and fresh yeast is hard to find.

Kanelbullar

Some recipes call for you to mix the filling together, but I prefer to layer it since that’s the way my mum always did it. This time around, I also mixed in some vanilla extract in the butter in place of sprinkling vanilla sugar together with the sugar and cinnamon. They turned out really well. I’m not sure they beat my mum’s version, but hopefully the people at work will like them! If not, I’m sure James will be happy to eat the leftovers.

Kanelbullar

Kanelbullar
(makes around 50)

100 g butter or margarine
500 ml milk
1 tbsp dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
150 ml white sugar
1 tsp cardamon
about 1300 ml plain flour

Filling
100 g butter or margarine
100 ml sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Topping
1 egg
slivered almonds (or pärlsocker)

Melt the butter, then add the milk and heat until warm. Mix the dry ingredients together, then pour the warm butter-milk into the bowl.Mix together, adding flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Sprinkle some flour over it and cover with a tea towel, then let rise until doubled in size, around 1 hour.

Mix softened butter for filling with vanilla extract and set aside. When dough has risen, knead it, then divide in two and roll each half out into a big rectangle. Spread with vanilla butter, then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Roll up, cut into individual pieces, roughly 2 cm wide. Place in patty pans, cover with a tea towel and let rise for another 20 minutes.

Heat oven to 200ºC. Brush rolls with lightly beaten egg, then sprinkle with slivered almonds. Bake for 810 minutes.

New fringe

My beauty routine is usually pretty low maintenance, but I do like to try something new every now and then. I’ve had a crush on heavy fringes for a couple of years now, and in December last year, I finally went for a fringe, albeit not as heavy as the fringes I’d been coveting. At my hair appointment yesterday, I got the hairdresser to cut it a thicker. I love the result, and it makes an instant hairstyle out of the barely shoulder-length messy bob that I’m currently in the process of growing out.

Red lipstick

I’ve also started experimenting with red lipstick. I’ve never been one for bold lips, but it’s fun to do something different for a change. I’m stilling trying to get the hang of applying it right, but it sure makes a statement.

Sewing

3 April 2011 · 1 comment in Sewing

Wiksten top

I recently took my sewing machine out again. I’ve been wanting to make some clothes for myself for a while and I decided to start easy, with Wiksten’s tanktop pattern.

Wiksten top

Although it’s a simple design, this top has some great details, such as the french seams and bindings. I took my time and spent lots of time getting it all right, and I think it shows. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough for me. The fabric is a beautiful Liberty of London wool/cotton blend, which I actually first fell in love with in another Wiksten design.

Wiksten top

I probably should have shared modelled shots, but I’ve been sick all weekend and am not really feeling up for it. Maybe next time.

Brighton Beach

Melbourne is a funny, unpredictable place, especially when it comes to the weather. This week we’ve mostly had cool, autumnal days, but today it was full-on summer again, so James and I decided to go on an adventure to Brighton Beach.

Brighton Beach

Even though I’ve lived here for six years now, I’ve only been to the beach three times, including today. That’s the CDB across the water up there, so it’s not very far. It’s particularly surprising considering how much I love being down by the water. It makes me feel at peace, even if that was difficult with the intense sun today.

Brighton Beach

It was, however, the perfect day for walking along the beach and eating ice cream. I also loved the colourful and iconic bathing boxes. Unfortunately, my camera battery died right about here.

Prahran station

Instead, I’ll share some silly pictures that I took at the train station on the way down. I love how Melbourne this wall is, with the faded paint and colourful posters. And the obligatory arm’s length shot because who can be bothered to lug a tripod around with them everywhere?

Arms length at the train station

Blanket!

Today, I finally finished a project I’ve been working on for a year and a half. Yes,  the blanket is finally done. I finished the assembly a couple of weeks ago, but it took me much longer than I thought to weave in all the ends. Altogether, there are 480 little squares and it took me roughly 15 hours (evidence here). The finished blanket is about 125 by 155 cm. Here is is stretched out in all its glory.

Blanket!

I started out using the hexagon how-to, but it morphed into something resembling Flowers in the Snow blanket about halfway through. Altogether, I used 12 different hand-dyed sock yarns with white baby wool for the borders. I finished the blanket using two rows of double crochet, which I think pulls it together nicely.

Blanket!

The blanket technically belongs to James, but I know I’ll be warming myself under it plenty this winter. More details, including info about all the yarn used on Ravelry.

Blanket!

Melbourne’s had a pretty pathetic summer this year, weather-wise. Today may technically be at the beginning of autumn, but it felt like the perfect summer day to me: warm and sunny, but not too hot.

Reading in the backyard

This kind of weather makes me want to be outside. I spent some time under the market umbrella in our courtyard with a cold drink and a good book. I’m usually a one-book-at-a-time girl, but at the moment I’m reading three books: The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood, This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey. Luckily, none of them is a particularly difficult read, because I’m not really giving any of them my full attention.

Sausages on the BBQ

In honour of the weather, we threw some sausages on the BBQ, Aussie style, for lunch. I’m not a huge fan of the Australian way of doing sausages, but these were pretty good. Plus, does anything beat eating outside in the sunshine?

New shoes - WAY overdue

Then this afternoon, I got up the energy to get out of the house long enough to get a new pair of Bensimon lace-ups. As you can tell, it was way overdue. I love these canvas flats for casual wear and I figured the navy colour would fit perfectly into my wardrobe. It’s nice not to feel the pavement through the soles of my shoes anymore!

Weaving

27 February 2011 · 7 comments in Weaving

Weaving!

About six months ago, I decided that I wanted to give weaving a go and purchased an Ashford rigid heddle loom. I tried it out using some leftover yarn, but never got up the courage to dip into the “good stuff”. Some time in January, I decided that enough was enough, warped the gorgeous MadelinTosh Pashmina I had reserved for a woven scarf and dove in.

Weaving!

Honestly, I can’t tell really tell you any of the technical details. I used a 10 dpi reed, but I’ve completely forgotten how many ends. I have a book about weaving that I meant to read before starting this project, but in the end I mostly referred to the “learn how to weave” pamphlet that came with the loom.

Weaving!

Obviously, the result isn’t perfect. The edges are a bit wonky and I’m sure an experienced weaver would find many problems with it, but I’m so pleased with my first real weaving project. Pashmina works up into an absolutely beautiful woven fabric, which is lovely and soft and fluid, and I love the subtle variations I got from combining two different colours. I used two full skeins, with Chambray as the warp and Antler as the weft, and the finished scarf is about 23 by 188 cm. It’s a great size for a scarf. I probably should have shown you modelled shots, but I’m in no state to model today, so the backyard will have to do.

Weaving!

All in all, I’m thrilled with this scarf. I know it’ll get lots of use in winter (get cold quick, Melbourne!) despite its flaws. I really hope I can find the time to weave some more in the coming months.

(Excuse the crumpled look. I haven’t gotten around to steaming it yet.)